Gouden Carolus Ambrio | Brouwerij Het Anker

very good
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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 geexploitation
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This lovely beer pours with a light brown color possessing bright amber highlights and a fine-bubbled head with marvelous stickiness. The nose has that familiar Belgian yeasty note, as well as some rich orange/chocolate notes (which I'm thinking is a Gouden Carolus staple) and some vague spiciness. On the tongue this beer adds a few wrinkles. The orange/chocolate note is there, but added to it is a fresh, lively bubblegum flavor that lightens things considerably. Some substantial sweetness matches against light hop bitterness. A raw alcohol characteristic adds to the liveliness of the flavors. Mouthfeel is full of carbonation and some surprisingly potent acidity, considering the sweetness of this beer. Overall, this is a terrific Belgian amber ale. It doesn't belong in the pale ale category in my opinion; it belongs in a separate, small category of Belgian ambers typified in the US by Ommegang Rare Vos. Very good flavors, good balance of sweetness and acidity and bitterness. Another winner from Gouden Carolus.

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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 Shovelbum
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a two finger rocky off-white head over a semi-hazy deep red-brown body. The head has excellent staying power, and leaves a web of lace coating the glass. Strong aromas of tart and sweet red berries, light pear and citric fruit, and miscellaneous Belgian yeasty goodness. Significant sweetness carries flavors of caramel, sweet orange and berry fruit. An earthy musty character lurks along with a mild cotton candy and marshmallow. A touch of pepper. Citric and earthy hop flavor and bitterness adds balance. Lively carbonation keeps the beer light on the tongue, yet the mouthfeel is smooth. Full bodied.

Yet another excellent example of the under-recognized Belgian ambree style. Wonderful complexity that as usual defies my ability to do it justice with words.

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Photo of sabrills70
3.52/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged brown bottle with no freshness date. Note: My bottle says Ambrio 1471 and states its a Belgian Amber Ale per the label. Pours a slightly hazy medium amber with a two finger head, OK longevity and good lace. Lots of fruit aromas - although they are not nearly as strong as a triple or quad. Slight sherry smells as well. Dried dark fruit flavors mixed with slight sherry. Alcohol is very present - too much presence for 8%. Needs some cellaring. High carbonation. Alcohol is just too noticeable for the "lighter" flavors in this one. But still decent.

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Photo of Shiredave
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at The Rail in Newburgh thanks to a visit from the distributor and Importer reps. ( Thanx Henry!) very nice since this was the only Het Anker product available in the US I had not yet tried.

Chilled sample was allowed to warm -
Pretty red- amber color with a wisp of white head and moderate carbonation.
Rich, sugary malt aroma with a hint of spicy hop and a touch of yeasty barnyard funk. Aroma is not heavy or cloying but deceptively malty ...
... deceptive because this is a hoppy little ( ok, not so little @ 8%) bew. Strong earthy hop flavors and surprisingly firm bittering overpower the light caramel malt flavor that hides noticably in the background. This is no Dubbel - no heavy candy sugar sweetness, chocolate malt or roasted grain character.
Light fruity notes linger in the wake of hop bitterness and alcohol is nearly completely hidden untill the finish. A slightly thin body doesnt quite back up the hop rate but very enjoyable none the less.
A very good, extra hoppy version of a usually malt dominated style. Then again, what beer would define the Belgian Amber ( Ambre) style? The table beers and ambers are a pretty wide open style IMHO.

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Photo of hunteraw
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Color is somewhere between orange and purple, nice and clear. Enormous, rocky off-white head, good retention, possibly due in part to the Duvel tulip it was poured into. Some good lacing, too.

Smell: Belgian yeast over a base of malt. Some spice and perhaps a touch of banana. Slight, sweet vanilla? Nice and complex.

Taste: Belgian, grassy, some citrusy, acidic character as well... Again, some banana. I really need to come up with the vocabulary to describe to non-beer-drinkers what I consider to be just plain "Belgian yeast" - it's so distinctive, but tell a non-beer-drinker that and they just stare. Hoppier than I expected.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, well-carbonated. Crisp, dry, almost cidery finish.

Drinkability: Good, I like this one. Glad I picked it up.

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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 moonman00
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark-brown to red color, with a large head that lasts for a little while.

Smells malty with fruit attributes, apple and some sweetness.

Tastes is bitter and with some hops, you drink, taste the wonderful combination and then the alcohol strikes back. Nice sensation.

This one is a good beer, but not better than the others in the same brand.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Map Room in Chicago, IL. Hazy Amber body with orange hues when held to light. Thick white head dissipates to a pretty skim after a minute or so.

Aroma of caramel, pears and apples, and hints of vanilla. Almost citrusy finish.

Taste has lots of caramel and toffee, a touch of banana, oranges, a slice of ripe pear.

Mouthfeel: smooth and creamy. Sugary and full bodied.

Drinkable? Yeah.

Not very exciting but overall a nice drinkable amber ale with some spunk.

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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 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 Braudog
4.11/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A small little 11.2 oz bottle to end my Valentine’s Eve. Opaque and muddy orange-bronze with a towering textbook Belgian head ... pretty light aroma here for what I hoped to be a big beer. Likewise, the flavor ends up being very restrained. The balance and elegance did meet or exceed my expectations, as do nearly all beers from accomplished continental brewers ... how can they produce such an array and still retain that perfect rope-walker? Quietly caramelled, sublimely brown-sugared, exquisitely spiced without overdoing it. Very good nightcap. (#2701, 2/13/2007)

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer was good, but its "grapiness" (grape flavor and aroma) was the most memorable aspect of this beer.

I was told this beer was a blend of a dark and blonde Gouden Carolus beer, and it looked the part...a rich red-brown color. The head was minimal, but with good staying power. Aroma and taste were both very "grapey," and the mouthfeel had a full, puckery effect. This is a full flavored, very fruity beer. Not bad.

I had this beer on tap from Roman's tavern in Milwaukee.

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Photo of cbl2
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1/21/2007 $12.00 4 pack 8.00% No best by date.


Pours a clear brown with orange highlights that is topped by over 2 inches of creamy tan foam that threaten to spill over the edge of my glass. Head retention is good, and a nice gentle lace is left behind.


Sweet candied belgian sugar with hints of ripe dark fruit. Aromas and color is more indicative of a BSDA, than a pale.


Nice chewy mouthfeel with ripe fig characteristics coupled with sharp bursts of hot alcohol. Some notes of chocolate in the finish along with a striking sherry sensation.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Small bottle style...

A: Pours a cloudy rust color with slight prune like colors. Slight creamy looking one finger cream colored head. Nice retention.
S: Floral and spicy belgian style yeasty like aromas. Fruity apple rinds, pear, and honey notes are present. Fig notes also noticeable. A swirl of the glass unleashes an odd gin like aroma.
T/M: Earthy flavors with yeasty like notes. Dark fruit notes of figs and prunes are hefty followed by slight sweet malt flavors. Yeastyness in the finish intermingled with fruity notes. Slightly grainy and chalky mouthfeel with that odd gin flavor in the finish--it's quite subdued compared to the aromas. Slightly dry aftertaste.
D: Not sure if I'd grab this again. An interesting brew, but I wasn't a huge fan of this one.

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Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to doppel07 for breaking this corked 750 mL bottle open...
Appears a medium light transparent amber with a small white head that fades into a mild cap. Streaky lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, light citrus, a mild dose of sugar, earthy hay, spices, and fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas that seems to be very appealing for my palate. A bountiful mix of an earthy, spicy brew.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, smooth, and sugary.
I don't think the other guys dug this as much as I did but I would seek this out again.

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Photo of phisig137
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle pours a bright orange/copper hue, with a one finger head. Poor retention, and leaves nothing behind. Delicate bubbles continue to rise from the bottom of my Gouden Carolus chalice.

Aroma is quite delicious smelling. Fruity yeast esters, caramel malts, burnt sugars, and more light fruity yeast esters.

Flavor is surprisingly not as good. Some of the malt flavors remain, along with some candi sugar, but the yeast esters seem to be missing. Finish is dry and lingering, begging for another sip. Mouthfeel is full and coating, but aggressive carbonation scrubs the tongue clean. Drinability is good.

I know, the bottle says to drink this chilled, and I did.... but I found that it got a bit better as it warmed up. It is a good beer, without a doubt, but not up to the standards that I'd expect from Het Anker. I'd recommend this to people looking for something different than Duvel or Delerium, but don't expect this to be as amazing as Grand Cru of the Emporer....

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Photo of cjgator3
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark reddish brown with a large off white head. Aroma is dominated by a sweet caramel maltiness with some dark fruits. Taste is much like the smells with a nice malty presence with some warming from the alcohol and a dry finish. Mouthfeel is a little lacking in my opinion but does not detract from the beer too much. Overall, this is a good brew that is definately something I would like to try again in the future.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Note : the bottle indicates abv of 8%, and not 6.5% as indicated here, and also it tastes and feels like the higher number.

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a one finger head that recedes to a foam ring at the edges, leaves some decent lacing. Body is a hazy garnet.

Smell - figs, plums, diacetyl, hint of raisins and sour cherries, and some malt bread.

Taste - the sour cherries and raisins are more prominent upfront on the taste, followed by figs and plums in the middle, with horse blanket on the finish. Sour cherries and horse blanket on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, quite fizzy, slight slickness.

Drinkability - this is very good, and only high abv is the only limit to sessionability, better to enjoy with food.

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Photo of jtell
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber color with a nice fluffy head. Decent lacing and retention on the glass. The smell is malty and bready with a slight hop finish. Taste is great. Sweet malts with a great Belgian yeast taste. Slight hops finish off the beer and boy and I ready for another sip. The mouthfeel is phenomenal. So rich and smooth it is absolutely perfect. I wish other beers could be as smooth as this. Bottle says 8% and at that strength this is very drinkable. The smooth mouthfeel and great flavors also make this a very drinkable beer. I love the beers from Gouden Carolus and this beer did not disappoint. One of the best I have had in a long while.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great beer. An instant classic. Pours to a dark amber color with a brownish tint. No visible carbonation. Has a nice head that settles out to a film after several minutes. Lacing could be better.

The smell is awesome. Has a very nice estery profile of bubblegum and cotton candy. Also has some sweet candi sugar in the aroma, as well as a balancing hops bouquet.

The taste is just as wonderful. Has a nice barley malt flavor on the tip of the tongue that fades into the bubblegummy esters. An assertive crisp hops flavor cleans up the palate in the finish, leaving the drinker with only a memory of the deliciousness.

Very good. Furthermore, after just having recently tried a fresh sample of Westvleteren 8 (and loving it), I find that this is a good subsitute, as well as cheaper and easier to come across.

edit: my bottle also claims 8% ABV, as opposed to the 6.5% in the BA database.

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Photo of fido
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ABV is 8%

I tried this one from a 330 ml bottle; Label says that this beer is 8% ABV, however BA database says 6.5% ABV.

Pours a nice dark orange amber. Nice head and nice lacing; Smell is fruity,Taste is malty; Mouthfeel is dry, but very drinkable.


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Photo of wl0307
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(transcribed from notes) Tasted by half-pint at Penderel's Oak, a JDW pub b/w Holborn and Chancery Lane tube stations, Central London. It's served on the handpump like a real ale! The pump clip says it's available in this form exclusively to the JDW group, and the abv. is also stronger than the normal one: 8%.

A: clear, amber, black-tea-ish hue; sparse foamy head and very low carbonation--suppose this beer doesn't translate too well on the handpull? (as it's lost its charm as a Belgian ale; or my biase.)
S: a profound scent of perfumy red-bean paste (as in most Belgian dark ale I reckon) and slightly pine-nutty, backed by a good honeyish malty overtone; profound toffee+caramel plus an intense note of ripe banana's skins follow, a bit like hefeweizen here (I'm not kidding). Very intense and slightly cloying aroma, much stronger than I could remember from the original 6.5%abv. tap version.
T: slightly salty-sweet and banana-ish (reminiscent of a rich hefeweizen), plus a flow of bittersweet maltiness upfront; simultaneously a thick fruity flavour expands--toffee-coating, dark candy-sugar, and exotic fruity hints; moderately bitter with faint tinges of black tea-leaves in the very end, yet the finish is rather short.
M&D: the absolutely flat-ish texture serves to soften the overall syrupy and cloying flavour, making this a devilishly easy-drinking strong ale. But due to its lack of liveliness, the whole impression of this beer somehow already goes beyond the recognition of its original form, hence a failed "cask-interpretation" IMO. Maybe it's supposed to be a different brew altogether?

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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 Albinoh
4.17/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle states 8% not 6.5%

Dense brown/red color, little foam rises, settles quickly, leaving some lace. Very sweet smell, fruity/floral. Little carbonation, the taste is sweet at the begining, could say a little like bananas, maybe im crazy but i felt papaya... its sugary, after this comes some bitterness. In some sips you can fell the alcohol, but its very well hidden in my opinion. Has a decent body, a little creamy. With this kind of beer (also its brother carlous tripel), i feel like im tasting melted sugar, personaly i liked this beer.

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