Gouden Carolus Ambrio | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 09-15-2003

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Reviews: 207 | Ratings: 357
Photo of thehyperduck
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; the last of 4 included in a Het Anker mixed pack. Best before May 26 2019 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a translucent orange-amber colour, supporting one finger of soapy, off white-tinged head that dissipates within the next several minutes. A modest ring of foam around the perimeter survives, along with a soapy film on the surface. The aroma is a bit muted and, frankly, uninteresting - there's light notes of caramel, spice, overripe orchard fruit and toasted bread, but that's all she wrote. It doesn't open up much as it warms, either.

The taste is a bit of an improvement, but not an enormous one - it's still very subtle and sparse for this type of beer. The malts in particular seem almost diluted for the style, offering up only a touch of caramel, plum and vague breadiness, while a one-note candi sugar sweetness is left to fill in the gaps. The hops, too, are barely worth acknowledging, generating only a perfunctory herbal quality that is easy to miss amidst the yeasty back end. Indeed, the yeast tries its best to add some depth, imparting a pleasant spiciness to the finish, but winds up abruptly halting just in time for the lightly sweet aftertaste. Medium in body, with reasonably lively carbonation that prickles the surface of the palate and foams up slightly in the mouth. Definitely not a bad beer, nor is it a great one - though one compliment I will bestow upon it is that it's quite easy to knock back.

Final Grade: 3.75, barely making the cut for a B+. Gouden Carolus is a well-respected name in beer geek circles, but Ambrio is not their most superlative offering. I'll point out that I found the other three brews in this mixed pack (the Classic, Hopsinjoor, and Tripel) to be uniformly excellent, so I think it's safe to say that this bottle of Ambrio wasn't mishandled or otherwise abused. I just wasn't terribly impressed with it - easily the most underwhelming of the four. I'd consider drinking it again, but I wouldn't pay a premium for it, and there are plenty of other BSDAs from Belgium or Quebec that I would seek out again long before I will feel the need to repeat this one. Worth a look, but not a world-class beer.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.09/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is my eighth from Het Anker (probably making it my second most Hads among Belgium brewers.)
Het Anker's darks have become my "go-to" particularly in the winter. Having enjoyed their Tripel, I was glad to find Ambrio and bridge the gap.

There is lots going on for the eyes and nose to keep it interesting. A dark, rusty amber has a decent head. The nose seems balanced with a prominent bready, maltiness with yeasty fruits. I detect enough hops.
The Taste is fuller, sweeter. Ambrio Fells creamier than expected yet, mostly interestingly, also finished dry. This combination helped it go great with food... and, I hope, will again.
Buy. Enjoy.

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Photo of The_Bujon
3.54/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Ok so being in Belgium recently, I opted to tackle a few new brews (as you do!), and this one came out in the highly scientific 'close eyes and point' to the beer menu.

It looks very inviting, and the dark Amber is exactly what you get, with a fluffy white head which retains til your last couple of gulps.
The Malty lingering after taste really isn't for me, and I do find Kwak a better alternative. That said, some will love this brew, I just found it a touch harsh.

Worth quaffing?, absolutely, worth buying a case? Perhaps not.
Bujon's verdit, if you have it, booof it!

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Photo of Zet
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange amber with a full head of foam that sinks slowly but keeps the surface well covered. Smell of grassy hops, light fruits (apple, pear), yeast and booze. Same flavours in the taste, which contains a pleasant mix of sweet and sour flavours. The hops have moved to the background here. The alcohol is manifest, but mixes well with the other flavours. The taste does get a bit dull near the end though. Mouth feel is medium, carbonation is a bit too high. I had no idea what to expect from this bottle, but it is basically a belgian tripel in my opinion. A fine one, worth a try, but not exceptional. In fact, this brewery has a beer called "tripel" that is, in fact, a better tripel.

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Photo of Cramshawbar
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The nose is of robust dark Belgian, yet it is of light hue. Love how a slight head lingers.
But what is inside?
Well, it is quite boozy for its style, which is fine, but with the combination of its carbonation, it kind of burns the sides of your tongue and the roof of your mouth, almost champagne style. Slightly annoying only.
The yeast is strong in this one and frankly, too strong.
All in all, glad that I had the opportunity to try through a taster's pack.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle served cold into a tulip. Purchased as part of the holiday tasters pack that just arrived in LCBO stores. Best before May 2019.

Appearance - cloudy with loads of bubbles. Impressive two plus fingers of rocky off- white head. Incredible retention and brilliant weaving spider silk lacing.

Smell - boozy with some caramel and some faintcoarse grain. Not as malty as I'd suspected. Some hints of dark fruits.

Taste - fairly light and booze is present but not overwhelming. Funky yeast, restrained bitterness. Just a bit of caramel and cherry and possibly some prunes mixed in. A little sourness mixed in for added complexity.

Mouthfeel - light bodied yet a chewier texture than you'd expect. Carbonation is high but light and spritzy at the same time. An airy feel.

Overall - a bit of a contradiction is that this is a light beer as far as Belgian dark strong ales go and also light in color for a Belgian dark strong ale. Tasty, sufficiently boozy and quite easy to drink, The first beer in the tasters pack is a hit and the others have a reputation that exceeds even this. Thumbs up for the Ambrio.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy reddissh/brown/amber beer with huge bubbly off-white head, long retention, some laces.
Smell - caramel, spices, bread, candied fruits.
Taste - semisweet, some alcohol, caramel, yeast spiciness, dark fruits hues.
Medium body, high carbonation.

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Photo of drmeto
3.18/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

-pours a cloudy,glowing amber with a huge,frothy,offwhite head
-high carbonation visible
-big chunks of yeast settling at the bottom of the glass
-not reallly willing to open up
-bready,caramel,sugar,earthy,slight funk,iced coffee,grainy, tea
-also very subdued
-caramel,toffee,bready,strawberries,faint coffee,plums
-low to medium carbonation
-medium body
-alcohol noticeable
One thing about these Gouden Carolus Beers is, that they are quite different from eachother.
This at times seemed like a Blend of English Brown Ale & Flamish Red.
Unfortunately, this didn't want to open up.

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Photo of teromous
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the back label, stamped: "03/06/2013 13054"

Appearance: This beer was just itching to come out. It was forming a cloud of white foam at the top of the bottle before pouring. In the glass it is a nice brown and amber color with some opalescence showing light and shapes at a beautifully refracted spectrum of light tea colored browns and sun-burnt gold. The head is pure white and short but fluffy. It retains a short head and leaves nice lacing on the glass. It is a picture-worthy beer.

Aroma: Buttered popcorn and dates with a strong whiff of sulfur that wanes and waxes. The aroma is not the most flattering.

Taste: There is a decadent alcoholic caramel flavor with just a touch of burnt flavor at the edges. It is a bit like tasting a very well made caramel followed by some alcoholic caramel liqueur. As a whole it works well together. It has a sweetness about it that the beer does not counter on its own. It would be best paired with some crackers and cheese. Diving deeper into the sweetness there is a nice date flavor and a bit of brown sugar. I did notice that over the course of drinking the bottle that there was a bit of skunkiness to the beer but given that it is in a bottle and just over three years old I don't find it at fault.

Mouthfeel: This is a sipper and not because of the ABV but because of the sweet nature of the beer. Drinkability is hampered slightly because of this. The beer is dextrinous and gives quite a bit of texture.

Overall: It is an enjoyable Belgian Strong Dark Ale but it will take some effort on the part of the drinker to cut at the sweetness with some sort of food to achieve an equitable balance. The beer I am drinking is enjoyable but it is nothing that would blow my socks off. I purchased it at just over three years old (did not cellar it myself) and I do not know how it compares to a fresh variant of the beer. I would be open to trying a fresh version of the beer but I doubt I would pick it up again at three years of age. It is enjoyable enough but the light skunkiness and hints of sulfur throw a few curve-balls that this can't quite swing at.

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Photo of Dzu
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 0.33 bottle into goblet.
L: Turbid copper-color with a weak foam head.
S: Belgian yaest, caramel.
T: Bittersweet, spices.
F: Medium carbonation and body.
O: Worth to try bsda.

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Photo of MrDell
4.4/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5


Gouden Carolus – Ambrio
Belgian Strong Ale – 8% - 330ml Bottle - Best before 04.11.2017

From the Het Anker website:
Gouden Carolus Ambrio is aromatically brewed according to the ancient recipe of the Mechelschen Bruynen. Ambrio is a 'white' beer brewed with 'brio'. This white beer of high fermentation finds its origin in the traditional beer of the city of Mechelen. As each city had its own typical beer, the Mechelenians drunk their amber beer: "Mechelschen Bruynen" for hundreds of years.
Our brewery is the only brewery that still brews this type of beer. According to the tradition the basic recipe of this beer dates from 1421 and is therefore the oldest beer from the brewery.
The current version is slightly heavier than the original and finer hopped. The balance between the different malts, the fine hops and typical aromas with herbs ensure that this beer combines the whole-hearted nature of brown beers with the freshness of blonde beers.
This flavored and spicy light brown tasting beer should be served fairly fresh. Refermentation in the bottle.

Appearance: Pours Amber colour with a huge fluffy, just off white head. Beer is clear and has loads of tiny fast moving bubbles throughout the glass.

Aroma: On the nose I'm getting loads of fruity yeast, it's spicey, grassy, lots clove. Smells very fresh.

Taste: Clove and bubble gum upfront, lots of flavours coming from the yeast then you get the alcohol warmth on the way down.

Mouthfeel: It's medium-full bodied, finishes quite dry.

Overall: Very pleasant beer. They also say on het anker's website that this has the depth of a dark beer and is as refreshing as a blond and I can see what they're getting at, as an amber it does have elements of both light and darker Belgian beers. 8.85 / 10.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very hazy reddish brown in color with heavy amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and moderate amounts of garnet red highlights. The beer has a four finger tall foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a large patch of medium thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of acing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark fruit (figs and dates) and spices.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of dark malts with a light to moderate amount of caramel + brown sugar sweetness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of dark fruits (fig and dates) and moderate flavors of spicy/peppery Belgian yeast. There is a moderate flavor of spices in the finish as well. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish and a hint of booze which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth with light to moderate amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Alcohol is pretty well hidden considering the strength of the beer and is definitely an enjoyable slow sipper with nice complexity of flavor.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark red colour. Not bad, but too sweet and dull, and in that respect close to Gouden Carolus Classic. Hopsinjor is still the best of Het Anker's beer.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Estilo: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol: 8.0 ABV

Apariencia: Color ámbar intenso, dorado antiguo y marrón rojizo, con una amplia corona de espuma color marfil de alta retención.

Aroma: Frutos del bosque, bayas, caramelos, azúcares, notas florales, notas de madera quemada.

Sabor: Interesantes sabores a maltas y azúcares con regusto sutil a alcohol. Frutos rojos, frutos frescos y cítricos. Notas ácidas.

Sensación: Cuerpo medio con carbonatación alta.

Maridaje recomendado: Bife de chorizo a la leña. Costillas al bbq.

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Photo of barczar
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%

Likely several years old, found on clearance at the local shop.

Great caramel malt and melanoidin character in the aroma complement the Belgian yeast ester notes of pear and bruised apple well. Flavor is mostly pear skin, apple, and caramel malt, slightly nutty at the finish. Not offensive, but not particularly characterful.

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Photo of benfons
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

Clear dark amber colour, nice big head. Some caramel, hint of prunes in the nose. Tastes a bit bland, some cola flavours, some caramel, a bit of tart. A bit flat for my taste. Really average strong brown beer.

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Photo of FLima
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Slightly hazy amber copper color with a huge beige head with eternal retention and leaving strong laces.
Light aroma of caramel malt, raisins, orange marmalade and other overripe fruits.
Bold flavor with lots of spices initially and notes of herbal hops, rum, green apples, pears and lots of sugar. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness that fades away quickly with sugar overtaking it.
Light body with good carbonation. Alcohol of 8% abv is definitely there.
I found it disappointing comparing to other Gouden Carolus. In one word: boring, too much sugar and caramel lacking complexity and a bit of balance. But looks nice.

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Photo of TheDoctor
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful ruby-amber-brown with a tremendous, effervescent tan head that goes from half the glass to a couple inches of fluffy cream. Great retention; perfectly even chunky lacing. Poyfect!

Sweet dough, flowers, clove, roasty malt. Spicy and sugary. Warm.

Rich, rummy, spicy, yeasty, aromatic. The taste comes onto the tongue spicy and warm. It progresses through sweet maltiness and subtle dry hoppiness before a lingering boozy finish with yeasty spice.

Round, coating, and warm. The body is a touch past medium. On the whole it is velvety with really subtle carbonation. Awesome.

Fantabulous beer in every way!
This is not the best representation of its style if we are judging it that way (I'm not) but is a very good beer. I can think of other beers that I would judge as "better" but this is a very tight package that is exactly what it should be, which I can't say about them (if that makes any sense).
One of the most perfect-looking beers that I have ever had with an alluring spice-laden nose and a taste that shys away from copying the smell. The velvety palate and lingering booze warmth make for a complete package.
Will have again; find it.

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Photo of DrinkNewport
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Does any else notice how ridiculously long Belgian beer names are? If you're not royalty, six words in your name is way too many.

Beautiful brown pour with a nice head. This is a very "typical" Belgian beer. The aroma is...well, just "Belgian". The same with the flavor. This isn't a bad thing. It's not bad to be a typical Belgian beer, any more than it's bad to be a typical Ferrari.

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Photo of Underrower
2.03/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2

750 ml bottle in a goblet

Label says amber-looks amber. Not much head. What there is dissipates quickly.

Smells, sweet, a little funky, maybe over riper fruit and yeast.

Taste- disappointing. Tastes like overripe plums or some other fruit. Later there is a bitterness like you licked an ash tray. I had to go back and lower the taste score. The farther I got into this bottle, the worse it gets. The taste is awful. Rotten plum then ashtray.

Great mouth feel if you can ignore the funky tart taste.

Overall-disappointment. On tap the Gouden Carolus Couvee Van de Kaiser Blau is my favorite beer of all time. The only IPA I like it Gouden Caroulus Hopsinjoor. I was expecting more from this. I really wished this was better. Would not ever want to taste this again.

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Photo of spoony
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From an undated 330 ml bottle into a tulip.

A-The brew is pretty clear and deep amber/honey colored. The greyish-khaki head starts out at two fingers tall, but drops quickly and leaves a decent bit of fine lacing behind. No bubbles visible.

S-The smell is concentrated with fruity, spicy alcohol warming my nostrils. After a bit of time in the glass, the malty caramel and vanilla come through and stay strong. The scent is a bit rough and atypical for a Belgian.

T-The taste is heavy on the malty caramel with only the faintest hint of bitterness on the mid-palate. It is sweet, but less sugary sweet than many BDSA varieties. The finish is warming, spicy, and alcoholic, but somehow fitting.

M-The feel is medium body with a drinkable style of carbonation that isn't terribly soft, but isn't crisp, either...right in the middle, I guess.

O-This is a surprisingly enjoyable beer. The caramel maltiness of the brew is unlike most other Belgians I have had, which focus more on dark fruit and candy/brown sugar flavors than this brew, which feels more English or American in style. The alcohol is very present, but provides a nice, spicy balance against the malts.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the caged, corked 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on July 4, 2013.

The pour is mainly ruby red with a long-lasting, silky tan head that lingers and laces. Excellent clarity.

There is a fabulous Belgian maltiness and plum or prunes on the nose followed by butterscotch, Belgian yeast, and a distant hop hint.

Full body that is also smooth and creamy.

The taste, while not as vibrant as the nose, exhibits a dark fruit character with mellow malts and a lingering moderate hop bitterness ending dry at the finish. Alcohol is fairly well-integrated. Quite delightful all in all.

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Photo of Bung
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. hazy rust colored pour. Finger of off white head.

Aroma, fig, prune, raisin. Light candy sugar.

Taste, some red fruit and plum. Less sweet than I was expecting from the nose. Some brown sugar like maltyness. Definite raisin. A light cocoa in the finish.

The usual carbonation, lighter side of medium body. Not real sticky so it drinks fairly well. Reminds me of a dubbel.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.17/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet.

A: Pours a dark amber color. It's fairly clear for the style; then again, I left the dregs in the bottle. The head is a fluffy two finger offwhite shade. It slowly but steadily fades away after time, falling down to a thin film.

S: Quite standard for an amber ale - that is, it's very much dominated by caramel, toffee, brown sugar, earth, and maybe a hint of chocolate - only with some apple and pear notes from the Belgian yeast. As it warms up, it becomes more chocolaty, and that's always a good thing to me.

T: The opening is laden with caramel, and combined with some fruity esters, evokes caramel-coated apples in its flavor profile. It finishes fairly dry, aside from some lingering white grape notes in the aftertaste. Truth be told, this one is pretty boring...but at the same token, 90% of all amber ales bore me. In terms of craftsmanship and balance (if not depth), it's at least rock solid.

M: It's pretty damn drinkable for an 8% brew - for better or worse, it drinks like its 5%. Of course, it's about as interesting as a 5% brew, too. The finish is quite dry, and even somewhat astringent. Well carbonated.

O: Not very interesting to me. That's the only real problem here: it's just boring, and there's little complexity to make it interesting. I don't find any reason to return to this one in the future, but it's not bad.

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Photo of MadScientist
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: More foam then beer with 3.5 fingers of sticky, light tan bubbles. Long lasting head leaving thick ropes of lacing on the glass. a dark golden beer with good clarity.

S: A fairly fruit nose with strong aromas of plums and apricots. Light notes of spice and moderate sweetness. Low perfumy alcohol aroma.

T: Medium, honey like sweetness with a flavors of apricots blended with some light notes of black pepper. A low hops bitterness and light earthiness. The balance is somewhat sweet with a fruit and spicy aftertaste a medium sweet finish.

M: A medium to medium-full bodied beer with very strong carbonation. There is some noticable carbonic prickle on the tongue. Light alcohol warmth.

O: A fruity and spicy Strong Dark without any of the subtle dark malt flavors typical for the style. Think of a Belgian Pale done imperial style, if that's what you want to drink I think you enjoy this one.

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Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.82 out of 5 based on 357 ratings.
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