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: 206 | Ratings: 355
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 AZbelgian
2.34/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Pours a cloudy brown with a huge off-white head. Decent lacing and retention.

S - Strong smell of alcohol, yeast and some floral notes.

T - Starts with a hint of candy sugar. Hops and malts combine to make the primary flavor something like brown bread. Flavor finishes with a dry tapering bitterness.

M - Lots of carbonation in the mouth.

O - Overall I was very disappointed, I really like a lot of the other Gouden Carolus'. This is not too complex and the flavors that are there don't work at all to make me want to try this one again.

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Photo of adamette
2.34/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Live review. Poured from the 750ML bottle that I purchased yesterday for $7.89 at Save-On Tobacco & Beverage in Mentor. "Belgian Amber Ale" printed on top of right side of label but no observed "best by" date. Poured into my silver rimmed Westvleteren goblet.

A Light creamy brown head that was not thick but stayed around for several minutes. Body is a rather boring light amber, translucent body. I really like the head on this beer which the Carolus D'Or lacked. 4.0

S Medium roast malt with a significant dark fruit/anise smell. I do not particularly like the dark fruit/anise aspect of the smell. 2.5

T Yeah, that dark fruit and anise smell carries right over into the taste in a kind of a tart funk that I find not pleasing. That funky tartness stayed really consistently from the first taste all the way into the aftertaste, another aspect of the taste of this beer that did not impress me (it was pretty simple really). 2.0

M By looking at it I would have thought/hoped that it would have a nice, creamy feel but instead the harsh tartness of the anise/dark fruit really made it anything but smooth to the feel. I realize, though, that an amber usually has a bit of that harshness. 3.0

D Not very good. I finished a whole goblet of it over a period of 15 minutes to see if it changed with warmth but it really did not. I did not finish the whole 750ML bottle.

Notes: Dissapointed in this one from Gouden Carolus/Het Anker.

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Photo of smares2
2.36/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'll say this, this was an interesting review experience. It's a Belgian Ale that bills itself as an amber, which definitely caught my attention in the store.

This beer is very highly carbonated (it's refermented in the bottle so...). I could only pour less than half in the glass in the first go. Once I was able to get it all poured...

Appearance: Lots of head which clings and ripples up the side of the glass. Some of the head dissipates well along the sides, and the remainder remains thick forming a center crown. It looks like you'd expect a Belgian to look but when you hold it up to light that's when you can see the amber color come out and it's a bit less cloudy than many Belgians.

Smell: nothing real significant about the smell, not the rich experience you'd expect out of an 8% Belgian

Taste: Tries to balance between an amber ale and a strong Belgian, succeeds at neither. Fruity but bland for a Belgian, and not smooth like an amber. Though considering its flavor profile it hides the alcohol taste well.

Mouthfeel: Active on the tongue due to the carbonation

Drinkability: Fine, not what I was hoping

This is not a "bad" beer, but I rate beers relative to their price and their ambition. This one does not live up to what you'd expect out of a high end beer that should lend itself to a single-serving experience. I know I'm one of the few people who isn't at least fairly impressed by this beer, but there are so many Belgian options out there. So for the money or in the Belgian category, I'd recommend other options.

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Photo of TheHammer
2.42/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: What the heck, I started with a modest pour and the head just wouldn't stop climbing. I understand a lot of Belgian beer should have a lot of head but it produced a full hand worth of head, which is excessive. It does lace like crazy and retains very well The body is a murky amber filled with an ungainly amount of sediment.

Smell: A lot of alcohol and a bit of grape scent with an overwhelming amount of yeast and the barest amount of malt. Warming helps it's case out quite a bit more.

Taste: It starts with a mild malt taste but then turns into a taste I would best describe as bad and musty white wine as the yeast makes it's presence far too well known, as does the alcohol which isn't poorly disguised. It ends with herbal and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Very bad transitioning, as the early malt doesn't lead nicely at all into the rest of the beer, and the carbonation seems off, likely because it was all expended in the head. The aftertaste though is nice, with light malt and white grape juice taste.

Drinkability: It's just not there, it's trying too hard to be high class to be an everyday drinker, and there are much better instances of this style and other Belgian styles that conceal their alcohol content a lot nicer.

Final Thoughts: To me, this is a beer that seems out of touch. It has massive carbonation, but it hurts it's case. It has ample yeast, but it also hurts it's case. I don't doubt a lot of effort went into making this beer, but it strangely strike me as someone who is trying to force a great beer. I honestly can't recommend it.

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Photo of bylerteck
2.47/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle at a friend's house in Melbourne. From notes.

A - Poured cloudy dark copper with a film of white head. Good carbonation with no lace and no retention.

S - Alcohol, very mild, odd spoiled yeast and some egg. Woo hoo.

T - Alcohol, light dark fruit, very mild.

M - Medium carbonation, medium body and a sweet finish.

O/D - A boring Belgian ale. For the strength and reputation of the brewery, this is a giant letdown. Flavours were barely coming through and it was pretty uninteresting.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
2.7/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Brown 33cl bottle, best before Sept 2007, drank March 2007.

Poured slowly, oh so slowly into a Straffe Hendrik bowl, or chalice glass, whichever is the correct terminology.

Slightly hazy, teak wood brown with a biege white foaming head, which stayed.

Toffee apple and caramel aroma, sweet and almost sickly at first, the smell weakens as the beer hits the air, the bottle neck before pouring gives off an increadible cloying smell.

Sour, clogging, yeasty, almost nasty, tinny, bitty taste. The alcohol is also oppresive, an altogether not nice taste.

The aftertaste does sweeten up, but the overal taste doesn't match the aroma what-so-ever, a very strange beer.

I have one more bottle left, I intend to age it, the beer can only get better. I look forward to reading this in 5 years.

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Photo of decimator
2.76/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

330ml bottle poured into a goblet.
ABV 8.0%

A - Poured a cloudy golden brown with a 1 cm head. After a few sips the head is still around as a thin cap.

S - Pears, peaches, apples, bananas, hint of spice, and some earth in the background.

T - Sweet malts, plenty of sour fruitiness, a bit of hops and booze in the finish.

M - Medium-low carbonation, creamy, sticky sweetness, wine like dry finish.

O - Comes off pretty sour at first but it mellows a bit as the beer warms up but the balance is a bit too sour for my liking.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.92/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I drank this in Brussels at Delirium Cafe from a chalice.

The aroma is alcohol and malt.

It has a whiteish brown head and is amber in color with a great amount of lacing.

The taste is malty and slightly caramely, with a hint of hops in the bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of TerryW
3.06/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a great big coarse overactive head that settles to a heavy film and gives up lots of lace.

Nose is rather lightweight for a Belgian. Yeast, spice, some dark fruit - but nothing that really stands out. Similarly light taste and mouthfeel. Clean and slightly spritzy. Fruit and yeast and gently boozy. Slight alcohol sting to finish. Again, nothing that really stands out. Overall a fairly average beer that hints at being a Belgian more than anything.

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Photo of brianjay
3.09/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A disclaimer: The store I purchased this from has a habit of keeping beers past their prime. I thought this was quite the find as it is rare, not sure how long they have kept this one on the shelf.

A very cloudy appearance, this body is brown with red hues and has a thick, fluffy, bright-white head which quickly fades to a thin, surface level sea foam.

There are strong fruity notes on this one. You can smell the alcohol. The taste reminds me of dried bread crumbs and meat. The fruitiness is the most overpowering characteristic, however. It sticks on the tongue. The finish is like jam/chutney and dry fruits.

All the things that make it a strong Belgian ale are there, but this one felt much more dry. Not a bad brew to accompany a dinner, but on it's own it feels a bit overwhelming.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A brown, clear beer with lots of carbonation and a big and rough bubbled head.

Smell of caramel and wort that remind me of sweet strawberries. The yeast adds a spicy character, maybe with the addition of cumin? In the nose is a trace of metallic.

Taste is malty with strong caramellic scents. A bot astringent and here the metallic taste comes out a bit too strong. It makes the mouthfeel rough and unpleasant. Some bitterness, but only supporting and hoppiness is absent. The yeast is spicy and a little fruity with exotic fruits. Some flavors of cumin and maybe cinnamon. Basically this is a good beer, but the iron-taste spoils the whole beer.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.13/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Holybrew for supplying this beer.
Hazy, dark copper/amber color looks good up to the light. Some floaters present. Head is slightly diminished and flat. What is there is white, sticky and chunks a bit.
Smells like a malt bomb. Grain, maltiness. Slight hints of soft fruit like banana or plum. Yeasty.
Taste somewhat follows the nose. Sweet malt and soft fruit. Yeast is "dumbed" down a bit, seems flat and oily. Taste isn't bad, just not outstanding. Caramel comes through a bit in the finish.

While drinkable this one lacked some punch and flavor. Slick feeling to it, alcohol comes out somewhat.

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Photo of Dope
3.14/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: A deep red pour with a ridiculously huge head. The head appears to be white with just a tinge of pink oddly enough. I'm not sure if my eyes are deceiving me. The head is big, fluffy and dense. Retention is incredible, it never goes away. Big wall of lacing too.

S: Smells faintly like raspberries and a little bit of caramel.

T: A little bit of caramel and belgian yeast. Some odd tart berries. What am I drinking?

M: Medium bodied, fairly high carbonation.

O: A strange beer, I can't tell if I got a bad bottle, an old bottle, or if it's just not very good. The carbonation is over the top and the flavors are odd. Doesn't taste oxidized or infected though. Strange is all I can say.

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Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: amber as advertised, clear, some carbonation spirals, good bubbly lacing
s: sweet aromas -- caramel and fruits
t: caramel and toffee tastes, sweet fruits, obvious malts & yeast from a belgian
m: medium, almost creamy body, good balance of carbonation, relatively smooth
d: got better as it warmed of course, but never came with anything unique, still worth a try

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a golden brownish amber with an astonishing amount of carbonation, topped by a big, frothy, sticky billowy head.

The aroma is soft pears and yeast, mild but inviting with lots of toffee and dark fruit coming out as it slowly creeps towards room temperature.

The taste is a little tart and waxy, with an apricot character throughout and lots of toffee with just a hint of spice and iron in the finish. Finishes dry.

Medium mouthfeel, a little creamy yet slightly overly carbonated.

It's nice. But frankly I don't really feel strongly enough about it one way or the other to put any real effort in to this review.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Hazy sienna brew with a small head, tiny amount of lacing.

S - Bubblegum, cloves and not much else. These two are strong, but simple.

T - Cloves, bubblebum, sweet caramel malt and bananas. The aftertaste is a mild bitterness with some grassy hops and lingering bubblegum.

M - Carbonation is a bit high, extremely frothy, medium bodied, not very refreshing.

D - Not too bad, but nothing worth seeking out.

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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 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 joezak5
3.23/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; clear, dark reddish brown. Overflowing light tan tight head that very slowly dissipates to two fingers while maintaining the stickage on the sides. Good lacing, excellent retention.

Smell: A sweet malty ambrosia of apples, pears, oranges and dates.

Mouthfeel: Very light and bubbly in the mouth, just a little hops in the back of the mouth.

Taste: I'm still trying to find some distinctive flavor here. Very slight fruity and peppery yeast, slight spiced malts on the finish. I'm letting it warm up and don't having anything jump out at me. It's complex but not pronouced in any way.

Drinkability: Light and drinkable, but no real memorable flavor to make me want to go back.

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

Re-Review/Edit A bit better several days after the first taste. I was coming down with a cold at the first review and it messed with the aroma and taste.

A - dark amber color with a thick off-white head that slowly dies back. It began to froth up the neck of the bottle before pouring. but I was able to pour before spillage

S - aroma is decent but overpowered by the alcohol phenols. Slightly fruity, sweet scent. Raisins or pruny scent.

T & M - taste is better than the scent but highly carbonated. Very bubbly and tingly that goes down easy. Phenols are there but not as overpowering as the smell. Sweet and lingering taste.

It's okay and I'll try others by this brewer.

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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 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 KingSlayer
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

330ml bottle, expiration date due 2015. bought at a local supermarket. poured into a standard pint.

A: poured a caramel semi translucent ale. no head formed, no lacing, no visible carbonation.
S: banana bread, pear juice, vainilla, metallic.
T: metallic component initially assaults the buds, quickly subsides and reveals a sweetness to it, little hops present, bitterness accentuate a little bit towards the end. pear juice aftertaste, mildly alcoholic.
M: medium body, kind of smooth, strange tongue tingling sensation almost like spicy, totally FLAT.
O: palate and nose are OK, the thing that upset me was the complete absence of carbonation (hence no head). for me the mouthfeel was a comlplete let down. would this brew be properly carbonated and it will be great.

Maybe it was the sellers fault/misshandling/ shelf time/ etc.. will revisit again hoping to find that lost precious carbonation.

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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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Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.82 out of 5 based on 355 ratings.
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