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 Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber colour with good soapy head.Fresh tasting. Corriander and spicy.Challenger and Golding hops, an above average hoppy Belgian. Medium mouthfeel. Good brandy-like finish. Ingredients clearly list corn and sugar in multiple languages. Expiry February 2010. I would think better with food.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy reddish brown in color and has a high amount of visible carbonation. It poured into a snifter glass with a two finger high dense beige head that slowly died down and consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light aromas of dark fruits and spices in the nose.
T: Flavors of dark fruits stand out in the taste, which also has notes of caramel and notes of malty sweetness. The finish has some mild notes of hop bitterness; while the hops aren't that noticeable in the overall taste they help to balance out the fruity and sweet flavors from becoming overpowering.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate to high amount of carbonation. There are notes of dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never been disappointed by any brews from Brouwerij Het Anker. Naturally I expected great things from the 'amber'. The beer pours an impressive, well headed, rust colored hue, with a mild haze. Firm aromas of caramel malts, heavy bready / yeasty notes, and a firm spicy tartness. Flavors ride a little sweeter than aromas suggest, but keep the fresh bread flavors and textures. Sweetness shows a lot of caramel maltiness with fresh fruits (peaches, cherries, and apricots). The texture is full, but not heavy, very creamy. Finishes with a lot of sweetness, tartness, and a little astringency. Another fine brew.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another souvenir from LCBO-land...

This beer pours a murky orange-tinged brown colour, with more foamy white head than I know what to do with (brava, refermentation en bouteille), which leaves a thin painting of lace as it slowly, slowly recedes. It smells of banana esters, booze, and a bit of funky yeast. The taste is barley malt, mild candy sugar, soft banana, tropical fruit, and a soft metallic alcohol edge. The carbonation is on the low side, the body well weighted, smooth, and a bit sticky, and it finishes sweet and sugary.

A very approachable, and drinkable strong Belgian ale, once you get past the onslaught of blocking foam from even the gentlest of pours...

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Photo of brentk56
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a bounteous head that sticks well and provides swathes of lace

Smell: Malty/yeasty aroma, with a hint of caramel and pepper

Taste: Opens with a malty flavor, that has a very dry caramel character; by mid-palate, there is a sense of floral hops; after the swallow, a bitter presence linger, along with some golden fruit and orange zest

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation; some warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Nice flavor profile; very well balanced

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy amber color ale with a huge foamy white head with good retention. Aroma of light caramel malt with the usual yeast presence. Taste is mostly dominated by some caramel malt, light spices and light bitter finish. Very good for the style but still nothing special that would make me crave for this again.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle into chalice, no bottle dating(older label). Pours very hazy dark reddish brown color with a nice 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of raisin, prune, molasses, caramel, toffee, biscuit, herbal, light pepper, earth, and yeast spiciness. Nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of raisin, caramel, toffee, prune, molasses, biscuit, herbal, light pepper, earth, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of toffee, caramel, molasses, dark fruit, earth, bread, and yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Very nice flavor balance and complexity; there is a very prominent toffee flavor to the beer, likely due to the age of the bottle. No cloying sweetness at all. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with hardly any warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Belgian amber ale. Very nice malt flavor complexity and balance; and very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyable, I wonder how a newer bottle of this compares.

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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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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 BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, rich, bronzed orange peel. The only thing amber about Ambrio's appearance is a thin sliver of that color where beer meets glass. The expansive, airy, rocky, sticky crown of foam is typical for a Belgian ale. I like the thick streamers of sudsy lace, I just wish they were more numerous.

The brewery considers Ambrio to be a hybrid of sorts (my words). They call it an amber ale, hence the name, and say that it has the 'powerful taste' of a brown beer and the 'freshness' of a blonde beer. That's exactly what it smells like. Spiced, overripe apples and figs gets it about right.

The flavor profile hits me the same way. It's darker than the average Belgian pale and lighter than the average Belgian dark. Thanks to what tastes like a healthy amount of caramel malt and a dollop of fig jam and raisin puree, it favors the darker end of the spectrum. Challenger and Goldings hops provide a surprising amount of countering bitterness, keeping things balanced in the end.

Each sip is sweet, bitter, musky and spicy (cinnamon, clove). Like all beer from this brewery, there's a lot of complexity to be had. My first thought was to call the mouthful *merely* good. With time and warming, though, it has developed a lush creaminess that expands to fill every nook and cranny.

On the strength of five fantastically delicious ales from Brouwerij Het Anker, I'd have to consider them my favorite non-American brewery. The fact that this incredibly drinkable beer comes in at the bottom of the pack is a testament to just how special their lineup is. If you love Belgians and want something a little off the beaten path, give Gouden Carolus Ambrio a home in your glass. You won't be sorry.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Presentation - poured from an 11.2 oz brown bottle with a crimson coin displayed on the label depicting Emperor Charles V. According to the information provided this ale was first brewed in the town of Mechelen in 1471.

A - A deep amber/bronze ale with a quickly rising and falling off white head that left a thin residue of lace.

S - Sweet plum and sour cherries with nutty scents and a brown sugar accent that blends with a subtle clove aroma

M - A drying spicy feel with sugary dry powdery texture a-la fig or raisiny sweetness and generous effervescence.

T - A gentle raisin sweet, earthy flavor and a candied fig-like element steps forward in this delectable belgian red. A nice nutty spiced quality and mysterious cherry tomato sweetness enhances the taste. Nuts and mild chocolate notes creep in as it warms. Great herbal flavors add depth as the sweet sugary essence gives way.

D - A sweet, well crafted ale with restrained spice and surprising drinkbility for it's 8% strength.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Gouden Carolus chalice.

1471? Shit, this thing's origins predate Chuckie Vee himself. It pours a clear earthy amber topped by over a finger of off-white micro-foam. The nose comprises figs, rye bread, banana, cloves, light caramel, and a hint of booze. The taste holds notes of pepper, rye bread, nutmeg, caramel, citrus and floral hops, and orange peel. The body is a light medium, with an active carbonation and a somewhat dry finish. Overall, I was abit underwhelmed by this brew. It was alright, but nothing really near special.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a completely murky brown with an orange tint. Minimal crème head. Odd nose. Dough and ink. Seems to calm down a slight bit and morphs into a citrus funk with sugar. Flavor is nice and deep. A little bit of sugar and a fairly firm amount of funk mix in with a defined earthy deep character. Feel has a slightly lower but good carbonation to it. Liquid is good as well. Drinkability is good. This is easy to put down. Even though it is a strong ale, you never see it coming with the abv. Just a nice smooth easy drinker with a little bit of funk.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into an official Gouden Carolus glass.

A really beautiful slightly cloudy body with a gorgeous orange and brown color. Head is once again a creamy whipped off white with a smooth blanket topping.

Bouquet is malty and some dry yeast with a sweet dark prune.

Taste is dubbel dry and carbonated. Big soda water texture, and quinine tastes in the palate. Some creaminess in the palate as well but even some tartness.

Overall I'd say true to style, but not probably something I would want to have again.

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Photo of jwc215
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cage-corked bottle:

Pours hazed amber with a creamy off-white head that leaves some stickage on its descent.

The smell is of caramel, spicy darkish and citric fruitiness, earthy, bready, some peppery alcohol. Very complex.

The taste changes as it progresses with caramel staying a forward constant. Begins with spiced fig-like, raisiny fruitiness that becomes citric as it reaches room temperature. Assertive warming alcohol mixes with bitterness and sweetness in the finish.

Light-to-medium bodied and almost effervescent feel.

Nice complexities with noticeable alcohol. Another classic from Belgium that I was glad to have had.

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Photo of Billolick
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Small 11.2 ounce bottle, "Ambrio 1471" on the label, expensive stuff at over $14 for a four pack! No freshness or bottled on info offered on the packaging. Pours a glowing dark honey shade of amber, Pretty clear, until the slightly yeasty final pour mixes things up. Lifts an initially huge tan head, this beauty very slowly settles down to meringue and then finally to a thick film and leaves behind all kinds of crazy spotty and knit lacing. Bubbles continue to rise to the top. Alcohol in the nose, also some raisins, confectionary sugars and tropical fruits, yum. Warming and tasty brew, plenty of fruity notes, also moderate rum, raisins, maple sugars, spicy yeasty notes, very nice, plenty of complexity and interest to go around. Well worth seeking out and savoring.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from a bottle into a wine glass. Beer is brown and hazy with an aggressive and gigantic off-white head made up of tiny bubbles. Head falls away leaving a lot of lacing. Carbonation is moderate but cannot hold up the monstrous head.

Beer smells yeasty / bready, and has some characteristic ethers and some alcohol in the nose. Smells good, like a Belgian ale.

Beer is slightly bitter in flavor. Sweetness comes up later. Finishes cleanly, very drinkable. Carbonation plays a big role in translating flavors to surprising parts of the palate. The mouthfeel is great, medium bodied. One of the greats here.

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

Appearance: hazy copper color with a three finger head that lasts. Thick lacing paints the glass.

Smell: caramel candy and some soft yeast tones are enjoyable.

Taste: nice malt profile with caramel candy sweetness. Oranges, plums, and yeast are paired with a decent bitterness that balances this out. Alcohol is barely noticeable here.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp and dry at the start, smooth and dry at the finish. Medium bodied. Aftertaste is brief.

Drinkability: decent drinking beer that several can be consumed in a session without getting bored.

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Photo of tempest
3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle with the bolognese at Sette Luna. This was a decent Belgian and reminded me of Chimay Red, but there was an alcohol note and the overall character was a bit plain. There's a light malt flavor with toast crust and a dry but jam-like berry taste. The body is very drinkable, but I'd just like more tasty Belgian character, especially considering how great the other Carolus beers are.

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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 TheSevenDuffs
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

B/B 17/11/12. Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Medium amber with slight orange glow along the bottom. One finger of fluffy white head.

S - Sweetness up front with caramel, pepper, floral/herbal notes and yeast. Some honey and grainy/bready notes too.

T - Sweet caramel, raisins, toffee, candy up front. Some yeast flavours in the background along with some lighter grainy notes. A fairly big sweetness with some warming alcohol to balance it out.

M - Medium body. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of WesWes
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice, dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a refreshingly fruity aroma along with a solid caramel malt scent. It doesn't appear to be as complex as some, but that's alright. The taste is good. It has a crisp, roasted character that goes down easy and finishes with some nice fruity yeast esters. It's quite dry in the end, but I really like the crispness of this one. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with just a tad too much CO2. This is a keeper. I liked the simpler grist of this one. It made it easier to drink and allowed the yeast to take center stage.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice from a bomber. Appears light brown, off white head and some lace. Aromas of malt, booze soaked fruit and apple. Flavor is slightly tart, in a belgian sense, with some roasted malt in the background. Hops are modest here. All in all, nicely tart, dry and malty. A nice dry belgian style amber ale. Would recommend to the beer savvy.

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Photo of biegaman
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ambrio isn't quite as pretty as it sounds; it is a monotone orange (not exactly amber) that gains any glamor only when held directly into the light, when it flares to a blazing tangerine peel. To its credit, the creamy bubbles lathered atop are firm and stalwart enough to subsist indefinitely (as proven by the lasting canvas of lace they deposit).

The aroma offers little to recommend it. A fragrant and fervent yeast gives the nose something to look into, but in the end we find it's a dead end. Apart from the generic spice, there is little fruit or malt; that non-descriptive spice floats on an island all itself without the slightest bit of substance. It is musky and, truthfully, somewhat undesirable.

With the flavour as with the aroma, the yeast pulls its weight but the rest of the ingredients (hops, malts) are doing about as much work as a house cat. There is the taste of rotting apple or pear, with just a hint of sherry and alpine herbs. Otherwise, however, the taste is dominated by a phenolic, zestful yeast and traces of stale bread.

A little caramel or an increased dosage of the fruit would have been nice; this brewery has never held out on the malt so why now, why this beer? Its absence exposes how much alcohol is contained and makes for a beer that is about as satisfying as gazpacho. There is also an odd metallic tang that corrodes through the palate like battery acid.

The iron-like element is stifling, especially because it happens to be accented by a tablespoon of refined white sugar. Between the two, the tongue feels as though it's being slowly oxidized, gnawed away at. Add the alcohol to the mix and you've got a palate being cankered with only the slightest bit of flavour or gratification to show for it.

Het Anker make one of the most refreshing Belgian spiced ales I've tried (Margriet) as well as one of my favourite Tripels, Christmas-themed release and two of my favourite 'go-to' Belgian ales of all-time (Classic and Carolus D'or). This offering, it puzzles me, doesn't fall anywhere near close to the quality and character I've come to expect from this brewery.

 2,116 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz from the Coop for about $4.50.. poured into my Kasteel tulip.

Rich 1" lite tan head... long lasting lacing atop deep orange/light copper brew... would probably have better ratings if it was labeled a BSDA.

Spicy Belgian yeast and ripe fruits... apples and juicy melon... mild caramel component.

Flavor lends itself to the darker side of the spectrum.. black figs and raisins tie perfectly to spicy Belgian notes ... Heyyyy! There is an actually distinct hoppy characteristic to this one... I like. Lingering Belgian spiciness... much more complex than my amateur palate can describe... sorry. Firm medium body with prickly small bubble carbonation

Another great brew from Brouwerij Het Anker .... I've only had it maybe 5-6 times since it's shown up in Boise, but I've grown to really like it and even bought it for a couple coworkers when they wanted me to pick them up some "Ambers" at the Boise Coop.

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