Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

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very good
478 Reviews
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Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Gusler on 11-24-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
478
Ratings:
829
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
20.4%
 
 
Wants:
34
Gots:
96
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 478 | Ratings: 829
Photo of Sludgeman
3.39/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottle on 1/8/11, $5.29/11.2oz, poured into a tulip.

A "winter warmer" for sure, but a complex mess and an ugly pour. The alcohol will sneak up on you, but it does not balance the malty sweetness. Not a drain pour, but never again. A very disappointing beer based on my previous experience with and general affection for Carolus. 3.25

A – Pours a cloudy, murky, muddy brown (-) with a beige mousey one-finger head, totally opaque, good lacing. 2.75

S – Sweet port-like, vinous, alcohol – a little whiskey, definitely raisins and figs, spiciness is faint to non-existent. 3.75

T – Sweet malt, some liqueur qualities. 3.25

MF – Medium-bodied, some alcohol warmth in the finish and lasting on the palate, not solventy but close. 3.75

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Photo of jwc215
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml cage-corked bottle:

Pours hazed brown with a tan head that descends to a patch.

The smell is of caramel candy, vanilla, and alcohol.

The taste is of caramel candy, vanilla, and a subtle apple/pear fruitiness. Very sweet - almost sticky.

It has a thickish medium body. A bit syrupy.

A bit too sweet, boozy and almost too syrupy for me to really enjoy this one too much. It has a nice enough sweet candy, with a bit of a fruity character for slow sipping, but too sweet for the whole thing - Glad to have shared it.

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Photo of truthbrew
3.41/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2004 vintage, served at 54F. Pours a crimson with brown hints, unstable brown fluffy (but short lived) head. Dominate aroma is anise which almost covers the alcohol. I am not particularily fond of anise, but this beer did improve and it seemed to blend as the bottle slowly emptied (wow... 750ml of 10.5% abv can take a bit). Feels chewy thick in the mouthfeel. More anise on the exhale.

I am a fan of all other Het Anker beers, so hard to fault this for anything other than personal preference, which makes this review harder. Will review again in a few weeks then again in a year or two, but this I will need to warm up to a bit. A great candidate for cellaring and I'm sure that the strong anise will die down after a long cold conditioning.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. bottle served in my Gouden Carolus chalice. Lot number 12071 indicated on the back label. Pours a dull mahogany hue with a consistent, 1.5 inch, light tan head the sizzles and pops as it slowly recedes into a clumpy quarter inch cap. Nose suggests dark fruit, anise and orange Aspergum. Tastes pretty much like it smells - no real surprises here. There's also a slightly oxidized quality that comes out towards the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium (but closer to light) with an even carbonation that falls just shy of being lively. There's also just a kiss of residual heat that lingers between quaffs as well as a slight acidity. Overall, not a bad example of the style, but not my favorite from this brewer. Not sure what a little age might do to this, but it might be worth laying down a bottle for a year or two.

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Photo of mmmbeer
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL cork-n-cage bottle that could be a year or two old as the label has some wear. Served in a Chimay chalice on Christmas eve. Pours a deep garnet with a 1 finger tan head that reduces to a quarter inch of creamy foam. Smells of holiday spices and some malts. The most prominent flavors are cinnamon and anise, but they're followed with spiciness, yeast, ginger?, clove?, and alcohol. Good spices, but not enough beer flavor. The body is medium to thick and it's easy enough to drink for the 10% beer it is, but I was expecting something more from my first winter Belgian.

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Photo of JanM
3.44/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is supposed to be an exceptional beer but I have to say that I was not that impressed. It had a nice dark red-brown color and good beige foam. But the smell was rather faint. The taste was sweet and fruit-candy like with a streak of must. Alcohol burn in the throat and some liqourice taste after a while. It's a beer that will not disappoint anyone but I think it lacks a distinctive character. Maybe I got a bad bottle?

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Photo of SFLpunk
3.46/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL brown cork finished bottle. 2008.

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel goblet. Rich mahogony (reddish brown) color with a thick, fluffy tan head. Nice lacing as it receeds.

Nose: Orange peel and a little manure (barn yard) are the first things to hit my nose. Lots of corriander, a little funky wool (horse blanket), and a nice meaty smell.

Palate: There's a sliver of cork in my beer! Ok, now that was unfortunate after all the barnyardy smells to feel something like that in my mouth. Moving on: Big orange peel, corriander, and that meaty/wooly thing. The palate is spicy, like fresh cracked black pepper. Medium-bodied and a little wooly on the texture. Finish is more balanced and everything falls into place.

Notes: A little out of balance right now, it might fall together better with some age. The spices are really loud and I can't hear the beer itself. A decent effort, but I'll stick with the Cuvee and the Classic.

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Photo of theopholis
3.47/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Deep, extremely clear brown with ruby hues when held to the light. The head is massive foamy light tan colored affair that refuses to die. Leaves a fair amount of lace, although there is little effervescencing. When it finally subsides a clingy sticky ring and lacing.

Smell- Lots of dark fruits off the starting line. Prunes, raisins, figs, etc. The dark fruit aroma is huge. Followed by a hint of banana esters. Very inviting, but also oddly fearsome.

Taste- Not nearly as complex as aroma let on. The anise comes through with a bit of some kind of candy sugar and cocoa. Again, lots of complex, dark fruits. As it warms, it gets better, but not that extremely rich, complex blend of tastes that a lot of Belgian holiday beers have.

M: Medium body. Low carbonation (which is to style).

Drinkability- Good, but not great. The taste had e a bizarre cafeteria feel to it.

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Photo of jahred
3.47/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had a glass of the Gouden Carolus Noel at my winter beer tasting with friends. Pours a very red color with slight brown tones and a medium-to-small head.

The scent? I wasn't able to describe the strong scent of this beer. Something sweet. Maybe anise? Licorice? Some other spice. It's very noticeable, but I wasn't able to come up with the right words for a decent descrption. Interesting, that's for sure.

The taste is minty, with licorice and anise tones. As it warmed, the best word I came up with was "meaty." Not really sure what that means or how it applies to beer, but as with the scent, this beer really confused me. The mouthfeel, as expected with something described as meaty, was quite heavy.

Though very interesting, this beer was very hard to drink. Maybe it would be easier if consumed with some red meat, but it's certainly not a sipping beer.

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Photo of rand
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From bottle to wine glass

Aged for 1 year

A: Pours out a dark brown, completely opaque, forming a big fluffy head. Amazing retention - as it very slowly recedes, the brew leaves a wall of sticky lacing.

S: The nose is ripe fruits and freshly baked sweetbread. Big tropical tones accent the fruity profile...mango, papaya, banana. Alcohol volatiles and carbonation stream the yeasty brew - powerful aroma.

T: The fruity esters dominate the front of the sip and the tropical tones of the nose are immediately noticed. Figs, raisins, and a raspberry/strawberry candy tinge join in. The alcohol warms but doesn't bite - surprisingly subdued for it's style and ABV. Although there are the many described layers of flavor, there's little to balance the sweet, fruity onslaught, and the sugary sweetness can be a bit much. Finishes sweet and sticky.

M: Rich, creamy, frothy. Carbonation is light, and the full-bodied complexion leaves a trail of residue with each swallow.

D: Definitely meant to be sipped. This brew is far from boring, but it's not delicious: there are a lot of sweet fruity layers to be pondered and observed, but the flavor profile is disjointed. It might take me awhile to drink through this.

Notes: The brew has a lot of interesting characteristics and an expansive flavor profile. And I love Het Anker. But ultimately there's just too much going on and the multitude of tastes almost confuse your palate. Although I like beers with unique and complicated profiles, I like the flavors to blend into a sort of singularity. This brew's flavors, although interesting and distinct, are conflicting and awkward.

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Photo of paterlodie
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BB16-10-06. Good brown head and nice darkbrown almost black beercollor. Nose is very esterfruity making it into a bubblegum and bananamix. Some darkmalt arome comming trough aswell as some candy and high alcohol content obvious. Taste is sweet and alcoholic with good roastnote that goes well with the alcohol and bitterness aswell as a good nutty arome. Highly carbonated with it making taste even more bombastic but IMO very unbalanced to the sweet and alcoholic side. Certainly something else and drinkable but to me one glass is enough.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark chestnut brown body topped with a quarter inch off creamy, off-white head. Very thick, very coating lacing as it goes.

Smell: Earthy, spicy, malty nose with notes of anise, prune, black currants and, wait, is that Jäger I'm smelling?

Taste: Sweet caramel, spiced molasses, black licorice, and candied fruits blended with a full shot, no, make that two shots of Jägermeister. The heavy malts, fruits, and bitter herbal liqueur all vie for dominance. Who's the winner? Well, I'll just say you get a bit more Jäger on the dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Chewy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Grr, when I get my hands on whoever dropped a shot of Jägermeister in my Gouden Carolus Noël, I'll take my shoe to them!

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Photo of mntlover
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice brown, ruby red when held to the light, sports a nice khaki head that leaves some good lace down my tulip.

Aroma is sweet candy sugars on top of malt, molasses decent dose of liquorice. Underneath the sweet and malt some dark fruits and light spice show thru.

Taste is malt, candy sugars, good dose of liquorice with dates and plums peaking out. Little too much liquorice for my tastes. Leaves a lingering Christmas spices and hints of herbal hops

Mouthfeel is good nice medium with a decent but mellow carbonation through out the experience.

Drinkability is ok just a little to much liquorice for my tastes but if thats not a problem for you probably, you will enjoy this one a bunch.

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Photo of kimcgolf
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Typical Christmas beer, that was super thick with very dominant alcohol. Poured a dark brown with thin head that lingered awhile and left okay lacing. For me, there were only two dominant features throughout this beer....black licorice and alcohol. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of black licorice, and so whatever else was in this beer was lost to me, as I just kept getting sidetracked by this taste.

IDefinitely a winter warmer at 10.5% abv, just not my favorite.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark, murky amber brown brew, poured into a Gouden Carolus chalice. Tightly beaded off white head and leaves a bit of lace.

Smell: Some hops, licorice, Christmas spices. All are quite apparent in a fairly strong aroma.

Taste: Decidedly malty, with some brown sugar, date and fig tones. Aniseed like spice. Black licorice is also a dominant flavor coupled with the spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, also has a lingering spicy finish and the flavors stick with you.

Drinkability: A warming winter offering from Gouden Carolus. The black licorice is a love it or hate it thing, and is the main flavor in the beer. Would go nice with some gingerbread cookies.

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Photo of hackmann
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brown body with a light tan head

Aroma: black licorice, sweet fancy raisin, coffee,

Flavors: the black licorice stands out to me … reminds me of Smith Brothers Licorice Cough Drops, then the coffee hits the palate and then hints of sweet fancy raisin, fig, and a touch of chocolate. I do not notice the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation, very light bitter note hits the mid palate if you are paying attention, black licorice and a light roasted coffee with milk lingers on the aftertaste. Body weight seems to be medium-full. That 10.5% abv does not even seem to be a factor so, watch out.

Overall: at first I did not like this and then when I started to think about what I was smelling and tasting then, I started to like this ale. After all I love a good stick of black licorice but, this strong of licorice in beer ...

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled August 6th 2015.

It pours a clear chestnut with a small off white head of foam.

The smell I noticed as soon as I removed the cork. Anise in abundance. It's hard to get past that. Some sweet candi sugar notes. .

Anise, candi sugar, quite sweet this is. Okay, now that palate familiarity has set in, I can taste some dark pitted fruit goodness. Plum and raisin. Despite the temporary reprieve from the anise, I reckon that this Noel is too 1 dimensional for the style.

High end of medium bodied, lively carbonated, more than a little boozy, this doesn't bring out any Christmas cheer for me. Super glad that I got a chance to try it.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark mahogany color with a small dirty cap

S: Black liquorice comes off with some hints at spice, fruits

T: Blacl liquorice is dominant, not over the top but the dominant flavor. Some carame, spice, dark and medium fruits

M: Nice and subtle, not to sweet, no carbonation issues

D: Average. Interesting

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Photo of BierReise
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

75cl Corked bottle No date. Poured a hazy deep amber color with a thin tan head which settled to a thin film. Aroma has a sugary sweetness to it, some bready malt and fruit overtones. Alcohol shows up as it warms. Has a medium body that is smooth with a crispy finish. Flavor is sweet with malt almost barley style. Some fruit and a bit of spiciness also detectable. Overall not a bad seasonal.

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Photo of dqrull
3.51/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Kinda boring looks on this one, little to no head, minimal lacing on the glass, a dark hue of red/brown that is quite appealing though.

Damn! This smells really nice of star anise, liqourice is abundant, but it really seems to be well fitted into the brew, I get some sweet notes of malt and some other spices as well, but the liqourice is slightly overpowering.

A bit on the boozy side, and the sweetness doesnt really match it. A great deal of liqourice in on the palate as well, really lots, almost a bit too intense, some other spices that are hard to place, maybe ginger? Anyway, the liqourice is well integrated into this brew, if they just had kept it a little bit more mellow, as it is now it is a bit too overpowering.

Feels a little too boozy in the mouth, and it has a fairly weak carbonation not the creamy muouthfeel I usually delight in with this kind of belgian brew usually.

Still a very interesting beer! Love how they have gotten such an intense liqourice-attack without it just mashing the rest of the brew to shit, try it if you can, special!

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours emerald with a loose tawny fast-fading head that leaves only trailers of lace. Nose is strawberries and clove with some bubblegum and caramel - mouthwatering! Light chocolate and all spice up front, Belgian yeast is there, an ester pop, and tutti frutti to finish. A tight ginger beer linger. Chewy and fizzy with plenty of burn.

Some interesting flavors but too hot and estery to be very drinkable.

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Photo of devilishprune
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gouden Carolus Noel 12/11/10

A. Dark brown with red highlights when held up to a light. No head retention

S. Mainly licorice, with the alcohol scent hidden very well.

T. Taste follows the nose, but this beer tastes strangely like an undercarbonated Coke. Alcohol is still hidden very well. Very sweet at the beginning.

M. Light body, but very high carbonation.

D. The high alcohol will sneak up on you in this one, I would say that it's pretty drinkable.

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Photo of Adamthome1
3.52/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1pt 9.4 oz bottle; corked bottle opens with similar pressure to champagne, pours a very nice 3 fingered head (and that was with a slow pour, don't pour this one too fast!). label: 9/16/2010, batch 1076

Darker than expected; almost black, but I can see some light through my glass, head retention is great and the head is one of the thicket heads you will find.

Smells earthy, sweet - like granny smith apples, grassy, very typical Belgian style smell

Black liquorish hits right away, it's a roasty, dark flavor, root beer, some stout caramel dark hints, and surprisingly the 10.5% alcohol is very prevalent, I was expecting it to be masked well. Aftertaste is very warm, great winter ale, I am having mine late this year. There is a metallic character that's different, maybe undesirable to some but I am used to it from some of the eastern European beers I prefer.

Body is very creamy and rich. If black liquorish wasn't so dominant I would really like this beer. Slightly above average though, not bad for the $3 discount bin at my local Hy-Vee Spirit shot...This is one to share with a friend, you're basically drinking 3.5 normal beers given the bottle size and alcohol content.

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Photo of RickS95
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep creamy brown, slightly purple hues mixed in. Very thick. The head is slow forming with small brown bubbles and good retention.

Lots of spices fill the nose, along with a healthy dose of malt and plenty of dark, ripe fruits. The high ABV also comes through giving it a port-like scent.

It's malty, very wine-like and even tastes 'thick.' Lacing is really good. Alcohol in the finish.

It's a bit on the sweet side. Can't say it enough, it's thick. It really coats your tongue. A bit of heat from the alcohol in the finish. Despite the sweetness and stickiness, it's slightly dry with an earthy finish.

It's not a bad beer and it's something I could drink a couple of an not be disappointed, but there are some rough edges to prevent it from being a really good beer.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 12/23/2010:

#9 - 12 beers of Christmas. 750 mL bottle at 42* into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: This pours a very dark brown color with amber hues and a thick, two-finger head of heavily carbonated white foam.

S: The nose shows aromas of bananas, booze-soaked dark fruits, and spicy earthiness. I wish there was more to it.

T: The taste is of plums, ripe red grapes, bananas, brandy, and a spicy yeast character.

M: The body is medium with average carbonation and a sticky and somewhat hot finish.

D: This is a bit boozier than I'd prefer and it wasn't very complex.

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Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
89 out of 100 based on 478 ratings.
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