Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas | Brouwerij Het Anker

BA SCORE
89
very good
869 Ratings
THE BROS
67
poor
Read the review
Gouden Carolus Noël / ChristmasGouden Carolus Noël / Christmas
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium
hetanker.be

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
Ratings:
869
Reviews:
499
Avg:
3.97
pDev:
15.37%
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
107
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 869 |  Reviews: 499
Photo of jlindros
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Armsby Abbey Ho-Ho Belgian Christmas.

Light creamy head, little lacing, dark molasses brown ruby color.

Nose complex and weird, holiday spices cinnamon, clove, nutmeg maybe, hints of citrus, booze, light coffee, creamy malts and caramel, molasses, candi sugar, OK but just all over the place.

Taste malty, caramel malts and reddish malts galore, semi sweet, light candi sugar and molasses, light biscuit, vanilla, spices with more holiday spices, little creamy, earthy and herbal little tannic flavor probably from the spices or barely detectable hops. Light estery booze. Finishes a bit boozy, drier but sticky syrupy feel, more spices and caramel reddish malts, hint of dark fruits finally.

Mouth is a bit heavier bodied, decent carb, warming almost tingly booze.

Overall nice except the earthy herbal tannic taste I'm not a fan of. Decent spices held in check, great almost barleywine malt profile, tasty and decent booze profile.

 952 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 release, on-tap 12/29/09 at Julian's in Providence, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a bright crimson color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, Belgian yeast, dark fruit and some spice.

T: The taste is fruity with strong flavors of cherries, other dark fruits and brown sugar. Then a bready Belgian yeast and hearty malt character follow. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean for the style.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easy, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, good representation of style, this is a nice stronger Belgian-style beer to drink for a while until it starts to catch up with you.

 830 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Note: 2012 Vintage

A: Pours a murky reddish brown in color with light to moderate amounts of active visible carbonation visible along the edges of the glass and some amber highlights. The beer has a two finger tall creamy foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark fruit malty sweetness (plum and prunes are most dominant) along with just a hint of spices/anise/licorice.

T: Upfront there is a moderate amount of malty sweetness with stronger flavors of dark fruits (plum and prunes). That is followed by a light to moderate flavor of anise/licorice and Belgian yeast. Light notes of alcohol in the finish as the beer warms up.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with some light notes of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: This is a great beer for the winter/holiday season - perfect for sipping along side the fireplace on a chilly. A very nice representation of the BSDA style, especially since it has strong dark fruit aromas/flavors but without very much sweetness.

 1,175 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Photo of Kegatron
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a goblet.

Pours a deep, dark amber with a fairly nice sized poof of tanish white head retained well into a nice foamy covering. Lacing was good. Aroma is sweetness, yeast, deep notes of dark fruit, and alcohol.

Taste is dark malts, candy sweetness, mellow dark fruits, spices. Finishes with a fizzy bitterness and then a splash of sweetness and warmth. Mouthfeel is effervescent yet velvety. Alcohol is present but not overly noticeable, instead imparting more of a warming sensation.

Lots of deep notes of sweetness and spices and a warming alcohol effect make this a perfect Belgian beer for sipping by the fire during those cold winter nights.

 669 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review from notes. Dark brown color with light brown head. Aroma pops with star anise / liquorice and dark sugar. Taste follows with the same liquorice note, dark fruits and syrupy sweetness. Really interesting dark sugar / liquorice profile. This is probably my favorite belgian Christmas beer from the ones I had so far.

 322 characters

Photo of dcmchew
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black, 2 finger beige head, really sticky.
Smells sweet and fruity, of banana, dark fruit, ripe fruit jam, also lots of caramel and traditional spices. This should be tasty, if not overly sweet.
Very sweet malts, with truckloads of caramel and chocolate, but there's also a dark roastiness, creating notes of (very sweet) coffee. Doughy yeasts creating a "Christmas cake" kind of taste, but they're also very spicy, with nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, cocoa powder, hints of vanilla, faint licorice, prickly peppercorn and minty notes of anise seed. Fruitiness is lower than expected, but brings dark fruit jam, slightly acidic red apples and some sweet red grapes with a musty characteristic. The herbal spices lead to the hops in the end, mildly bitter, with a nice finish.
The mouthfeel is chewy, chunky, sliding down the throat, with a mild carbonation. Alcohol is a bit more than warming, with a faint (very faint) booziness, not ruining the beer though.
A nice Christmas ale, not the sweetest of the bunch, but still for people with a sweet tooth. Perfect for the season.

 1,083 characters

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into my Pumking chalice. Dark brown in color with a thin, sticky head to it. Really nice lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a big dark fruit presence to it with notes of plum, fig and raisin all present. I get some notes of clove and anise to it as well. The spices are nicely balanced with the malty flavors. Nice aroma for a holiday spiced beer.

The taste follows up with some very rich and sweet dark fruit flavors. Fig and plum seem to lead the way. The spices are a little more reserved but I do get more of the clove and anise towards the finish. Enough bitterness comes out in the finish to keep the sweet dark fruits from becoming cloyingly sweet. It comes together very well and again the spices are nicely balanced with the malt flavors.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being about average for the style. Overall, I thought it was a very good holiday spiced beer. They didn't go overboard on the spices, which I appreciate. The dark fruit flavors were also particularly nice in it. It came together very well and is one of the better holiday spiced beers I've had in a while.

 1,133 characters

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!

 771 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.63/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle pours deep chesnut (garnet when held to the light) with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Very good lacing & head retention

S: Bannanas, iron, alcohol & breaddy notes

T: Chocolate, bannanas, cakeyness, & a kiss of earthy hops up front. Oak, caramel, tannins & pine follow. Fruitty notes come through as this warms (pears, peaches, & berrys) with mucho warmth. Finishes, dry,oaky, fruitty & with a little hint of bananna split, plus a little licorice aftertaste!

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, with a little chewyness

Super drinkability for the abv! This a interesting/complex, beautiful winter warmer that is helping fight off the chill here! One of the better x-mas begians I've tasted, If not the best

 736 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Murky tawny with bright cranberry, orange and lemon highlights. As wonderful as the liquid itself is, the head is even more gorgeous. The golden brown sugar colored crown filled more than half the glass on the initial pour and was a reverse cascader that would have made a nitro pour blush. It's also a lace maker extraordinaire. A fantastic look.

There's no letdown in terms of the aroma. It's heavily spiced and dark fruity with a whiskyish edge to it that I love. It smells like this will be a big, bold, fascinatingly complex beer. I hope so since those are the best kind.

Gouden Carolus Noel is everything that I hoped it would be and more. I was impressed with Gouden Carolus Classic so I know what to expect from Brouwerij Het Anker. As the nose portended, this is a big, full-bodied, sweet, spicy BSDA. I wish I knew the spice additions because they add so much to the flavor profile.

The bottom floor is a massive malt base that brings to mind heavily roasted barley, molasses and raisin puree. The next few floors are occupied by Scotch whisky-soaked figs, dates and plums. And the penthouse suite of this towering skyscraper of a beer is where the spices live. I'll take a stab and say... ginger, clove, nutmeg, anise, coriander and sweet orange peel. Oh yeah, and chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Quite a few Christmas beers remind me of fruitcake. This one reminds me of mincemeat pie (minus the beef and the suet, of course). Its sweetness won't be to everyone's liking, but I absolutely love it. I'm having a hard time thinking of another beer that I'd rather sip at the conclusion of a multi-course Christmas feast. Just make sure you pour it into a crystal snifter.

The mouthfeel is pure pleasure. It's heavily silky, and even sticky on the finish, without being the least bit heavy. In my experience, only Belgian brewers are able to create big beers with such light, almost ethereal, mouthfeels. A typically Belgianesque amount of carbonation would not have worked, so it's a relief that the bubbles are so well-behaved. Noel is still far from subdued in the mouth, however.

Gouden Carolus Noel is one of the best Christmas beers that I've ever had the pleasure to drink. I'll have to check my reviews to be sure, but it might be the single best. I haven't yet completed my Christmas list this year. Given the fact that I've thorougly enjoyed the top half of this 750 (and can't wait to savor the bottom half), I'd have to say that a case of this incredible ale has just made its way to spot number one. I'm feeling pretty merry right now and expect to feel even merrier with each passing ounce. This is glorious, glorious beer.

 2,656 characters

Photo of Jason
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%

Photo of Slatetank
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a brown color with about a finger and a half of off white foam. Moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, some bready malts, and booze. Maybe a hint of some spices as well.

t - Tastes mostly of dark fruits, especially raisins and dates.I also got a little bit of banana, as well as the taste of sweet malts and a tiny hint of booze, but not as much as in the smell. Pretty nice.

m - A sticky sweet taste with a medium body and little carbonation. A little alcohol taste to it but considering the ABV not too bad.

d - I thought this was an above average Belgian. I enjoyed the sweet smell and taste of dark fruits and sweet malts, and would definitely try this again.

 743 characters

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff.

The beer appears dark chestnut brown with a formidable khaki head. Ample lacing and lasting head retention. The aroma offers malt, sweet spice, brown sugar, dark fruit, alcohol. Sweet breads, dark fruit, spices, malt, brown sugar, and Christmas cookies in the flavor. Quite sweet throughout - I am glad to be splitting this bottle. Licorice, candies, decadent holiday sweets, fruitcake. Complex and well done, though a bit cloying for my taste. The feel is thin to medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Overall, a bit too sweet, though well done and enjoyable. Best in small quantities.

 631 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad Mex Robinson I'm going to say thanks to Nick, he's one of the bartenders/servers who has had experience working at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse. Needless to say I know he's a fan of Gouden Carolus Tripel and if he saw that they could get a keg of the Noel I'm sure he swayed somebody to make that decision. Appearance: Deep ruby brown light white bubbly effervescent head scattered lacing on the chalice. Aroma: Deep plum spiced nutmeg and other chirstmas spices infused with warming alcohol fruit notes of raisins and apples, nice. Taste: Strong sweetness layers of spice, fruit, and alcohol complexities. Not quite as solid as it has been in the bottle, but damn good nonetheless one of the best Belgian Christmas offerings. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied solid carbonation effervescent tickles the palate a bit. Drinkability: A winter warmer of a devine caliber draft was an experience definitely amazing in the bottle but still great flavorful experience on tap.

 961 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of rolltide8425
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2009 9 9 stamped bottle resembling a nice dark dark brown giving off a great dark mahogony hue around edges, big head and retention.

Fascinating smell of chewy licorice and a floral/perfume quality. Sometimes it even smells like a candied rose or something. Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and dark spices.

Great sweet nutmeg and hard candy palate with a great mouthfeel that seems perfectly balance between body (not wet or syrupy) and afterfinish that is noticeable but not overpowering. Highly alcohol masked as well for 10.5

Drinkability is very desirable, but truly a Christmas beer. I can't see myself having this in July when it's 90 degrees out of course ;) but... why would you want to ;)

 709 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large bottle, cork and cage, pours dark brown, murky and cloudy, dark tan head, good retention and well developed sticky lacing. Nose is strongly anise, ginger, alcohol and burnt fruits. this is a lovely and complex BSDA. Alcohol evident, warming. Notes of dark sugars, burnt fruit, smoke, vanilla, bananas, jam, dark malt. This strong brew has it going on in many directions. Fine winter treat.

 395 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Gouden Carolus Noël / Christmas from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.97 out of 5 based on 869 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.