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Gouden Carolus Ambrio | Brouwerij Het Anker

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BA SCORE
86
very good
203 Reviews
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Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium
hetanker.be

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
203
Ratings:
348
Avg:
3.82
pDev:
17.02%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
33
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 203 | Ratings: 348
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

L:
-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
S:
-not reallly willing to open up
-bready,caramel,sugar,earthy,slight funk,iced coffee,grainy, tea
T:
-also very subdued
-caramel,toffee,bready,strawberries,faint coffee,plums
F:
-low to medium carbonation
-medium body
-alcohol noticeable
O:
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

14.05.2016

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.

 538 characters

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

A:
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!

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

T:
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.

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

O:
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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Photo of Sludgeman
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. A small 330 ml bottle. Lot 26/01/14, 11010 – not sure how to interpret, maybe "drink by" Jan 1, 2014?

A very nice complex BDSA. On the malty side balanced with some spice and alcohol.

A – Pours a slightly cloudy amber with a dense off-white 3-finger head. (did not pour the bottom of the bottle into the glass). Average to below average lacing.

S – Slightly sweet, raisins, figs (faintly?), maybe a very slight spiciness as well.

T – Rich with some bitterness to balance dark fruits and a slightly caramelly malt character.

MF – Well carbonated, medium to heavy bodied, medium dry finish. Sort of a sharp start with a fizziness in the finish.

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Photo of newton99
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: the beer pours an amber color with a medium head.
Smell: Some malts, yeast, caramel and some fruits. All very faint.
Taste: Malts, caramel, hints of orange zest with a light spicy hoppy finish.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation, medium bodied
Overall: very single dimensional

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Photo of Filosoof
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I don't like ambers, but this one is interesting. The looks are one of the best I have ever seen. Great, big top. Lovely light amber colour.

Last year I thought the smell is very one dimensional. But since the beer/cheese pairing in Het Anker I know better.

The taste is vanilla and toffee. Spicy. Great to be paired with spicy cheeses.
Nicely hopped. Faint taste of the great Blauwe Band. Round, nice finish.

Overall: fascinating, different amber.

 451 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a foggy, dusky amber-brown body with a medium-tall, off-white head.

Smell: Bready, toasty malts with a sugary, sweet-scented element in there. Fruity touches of spiced golden raisins and baked apple. and faint, underlying basement quality to it.

Taste: As with the nose, it's bready and toasty malts sweetened up with a little nibble of brown sugar and rock candy. A little bit of sultana with skins-on orchard fruits (maybe even some strawberry as it warms and the suds die out). Modest spiciness, a touch of alcoholic warmth, faintest funk, and a hint of leather-flavored Chiclets all run together at the tail-end. Finishes quite effervescent -- prepare for loud, unstoppable burps, if you're in polite company.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Highly carbonation, quite spritely moving across the tongue.

Overall: Flavorful, pretty decent.

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Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.82 out of 5 based on 348 ratings.
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