Gouden Carolus Ambrio | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Gouden Carolus AmbrioGouden Carolus Ambrio

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker
Belgium | website

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: 199 | Ratings: 342
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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Photo of Pepeton
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one from a 330 cl bottle, with a best before date well into year 2008.

The label states that this beer is 8% ABV, instead of the 6.5% of the BA database.

Pours a dark, hazy and orange amber. Head is 2.5 inches high, short lived and leaves a sticky lacing in the walls of the chalice.

Smell is fruity, complex to define exactly which fruits. But good.

Taste is fresh, with a nice hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is dry, revealing its alcohol content and yeasty.

I'll buy more if I can still find it.

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Photo of paterlodie
3.32/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bronze/orange beercolor and nice white head. Nose is lots of malts being mostly caramellic and next to that some alcohol noticable. Taste is sweet and alcoholic with liltle malttaste. Aftertaste is only litle bitter. Mouthfeel is cause of the ernormous sweetness of the brew bombastic but far from fresh. Beer is drinkable but not my kind of brew cause of the sweetness.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice a slightly hazy medium amber. The beer cast an deep amber orange hue when held to a lightsource. The head was frothy and tightly bubbled and fell slowly to the edges of the surface and lasted to lace the glass.

The aroma was spicy and fruity - namely citrus. The aroma was extremely floral and difficult to describe the myriad of aromas, but some were muted spices and belgian yeasts.

The flavor was crisp and dry with a citrusy hop bitterness and a grassy hop finish. The malt was light and were not the prominent factor, the hops stole the show. The complexity in the aroma did not show itself to the same degree in the flavor.

The finish was bone dry with a lasting bitterness of citrusy hops. The body was medium and well done.

33 cl bottle. Best before 12.06.06. The beer is much like an APA with a belgian twist. Very hoppy and dry and a nice beer.

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Photo of merlin48
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, pours a slighly hazed, amber orange body. The head is ivory colored, and is huge and billowing, settling down into a rocky, shaving cream coating of the glass. Lacing effect is very impressive.

Aroma is fruity sweet and spicy. Pears and McIntosh apples comprise the fruitiness, while coriander fruits the spiciness.

Mouthfeel features enormously fizzy, carbonation and a medium body.

Taste is nicely complex. Apples and oranges lend a slightly sweet fruity character. Spicy coriander stays in the background, as does a note of candy sugar. The musty yeast is just right for this. The finish is dry, with a lemony citrus note.

Complex flavors and a fine balance of malts, sugars, hops, and yeast make for very good drinkability.

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

33 cL bottle served chilled in a Maudite glass.

Appearance: Glowing, hazy reddish orange topped by a huge off-white head. Very thick and pillowy, the head never really disappeared at all. The lacing left a little to be desired after seeing the sheer hugeness and longevity of the head.

Smell: Fruity peaches and cherries. Nice whiffs of candi sugar and peppery spice. Faint esters of indeterminate sort. A nice one to savor, aroma-wise.

Taste: Big ol' wack of Belgian style hoppiness. Peppery, herby, and kinda woody. Nice malt backing supporting all this and lending a subtle sweetness. Mmmm-mmm good.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a nice prickly presence from the carbonation and the hopping.

Drinkability: Dee-lish. I decided to pick up a Belgian beer in the hopes of recovering a bit from my recent overdose of Lupulin insanity. Wasn't expecting something hoppy, but at least it was hoppy in a different way than an IIPA.. or did all those IIPA's in a row permanently damage my palate? Nice beer, I'd get it again. I think I'm beginning to be impressed by this brewery.

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

Got this in a bottle in Japan.

Rocky brown 1 cm head on a totally opaque reddish brown body.
Smells "belgian". Sweet, very malty with faint spiciness.

Malt and hops upfront, with the bitterness and most of the flavor rapidly receding from the palate. Favor is muddled and has a bit of earthiness on the finish, which is something I do not remember on a belgian before.

Although I was not overly impressed by this beer it will work in a pinch.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On draft at the Brasserie Het-Anker (at the brewery itself) it is called Mechelsen Bruynen. Another note, this beer is supposedly from a recipe dating 1421 and is the "oldest beer from this brewery". Anyway...

Appearance: crystalline chestnut brown, spongey tannish head which compacts to a creamy layer, good lacing

Aroma: pear-like fruitiness, malt, a bit toasty, some green hoppiness

Flavor: a fruity-sweet malt-base followed by tartness and then a substantial hop bite which rides into the aftertaste before fading out, hop flavor is on the woody side, finish is gentle and dry, some lemonade-like sweet/sour in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, gentle English-ale carbonation

Overall Impression: A good beer. I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively high bitterness level. While I've generally stayed from "bitter beer" in the past, my time in the Pacific NW has kindled a desire for hoppiness from time to time. This beer is a good bridge between a typical Belgian ale and a hoppy NW pale ale.

Additional notes after tasting it from a bottle: The malt sweetness and the hop bite are much more subdued than when I tried it on draft. This may be mostly due to age or storing conditions of the bottle, though. The carbonation is higher in the bottle as well. I have to say that I prefer the draft version.

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Gouden Carolus Ambrio from Brouwerij Het Anker
3.82 out of 5 based on 342 ratings.
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