Brewed by Brouwerij Het Anker
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Mechelen, Belgium


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1427   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.81/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
For the Christmas and New Year festivities the Gouden Carolus range is now extended to include this seriously heavy strong brown ale. Het Anker are thus rekindling a long lost tradition from the days of yore when they marketed Cardinal Christmas and Anker Christmas.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
footbalm (1219) - Western Minneapolis Suburbs, Minnesota, USA - JAN 10, 2007
Bottle from the Blue Max. Pours an amber brew with very little head. A fine example of the style. Loads of luscious exotic fruit esters from the Belgian yeasy strains. Man, what mastery. Even some funky spices tossed in there to make this even better. Rich and flavorful.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
beerinmarch (2830) - Washington, USA - JAN 7, 2007
This beer was really nice on tap at Concordia ale house. Pours dark copper brown with a small of-white head. Rich caramel flavor with hints of chocolate, plum, cherry, and molasses. Sweet up front with a lightly bittered finish to keep it from being cloying. The spices in the finish show, but are slightly muted since his didnít have a ton of carbonation cutting through the thick body.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
SSSteve (4006) - - JAN 7, 2007
pours a hazy dark brown with a small tan head. brown sugar aroma. flavors of plum, raisin, peach, brown sugar, caramel and molasses. very rich and full bodied.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
bgburdman9 (861) - columbus, Ohio, USA - JAN 7, 2007
On tap at oak cafe. Poured a brown color with a small head. Aroma was of spices and also some malty and belgian yeastiness. Flavor was a little too medicinal tasting to me and it kind of overpowered the taste.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 16/20
GarrettB (1474) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 6, 2007
UPDATED: OCT 14, 2007 Of the three Noels I picked up for Christmas the Gouden Carolus stood out as the weakest. In retrospect it seems regrettable because it presents such a wide pantheon of tastes, but none of them work in concert. It fulfills neither the Christmas spirit, nor any secular day of festive drinking, and so was cast into the shadows of the two other Noels and left to ponder its mistakes. The head is thin but soft as goose down, and maybe even softer than the calm, soothing narrative voice of Morgan Freeman. The Noel itself is a little less comforting, taking the unmistakable shade of red of human blood. Freshly ground black pepper and hops lead the aromatic charge, sending the drinker reeling with its pungency. Then it mellows with a very dairy phase, smooth and silky like cream and a bit funky like good stinky cheese. A little banana is thrown into the fray to sweeten things up, but gently enough that it doesnít trespass on the aforementioned cream, and then a little coke to rough it up with even more sweetness but of a more calloused and inveterate kind. Thereís also a nice smell that borderlines between plum and wine, and after that a few dashes of spice, including cumin with its distinct association with chili, and a smattering of nutmeg. Itís a very raucous smell, but lacks cohesion, losing some of its potential for excellence. It is, however, well matched to the taste which maintains a kinship to its more gaseous counterpart while maintaining enough difference to give it something to show for itself. The banana makes a triumphant return but this time holding hands with a dark malty figure. Itís a fun pairing and reminds me of a lot of chocolate-banana combo desserts, like the hallmark banana split. Then this simple pairing slides down to a spicy and peppery stage reversing the order of the smell, before collapsing into a surprisingly simple, quiet and anti-climactic yeastiness. The whole sequence is flavored with allspice, juniper and cardamom, but it ends up being too spicy, and very similar to excess alcohol ends up eclipsing more flavors then it complements. I see a lot of expression and a lot of brewersí frustrations, but itís simply too many flavors all at once without any direction or precision. It seems fuzzy and chaotic, and even worse, purposeless. Itís hard to describe, but I like a beer thatís confident with itself, and determined enough to have a specific agenda. The Gouden Carolus Noel seems a bit confused, and may need time to straighten itself in preparation for Decembers to come.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
kepano (261) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JAN 6, 2007
A priori, Gouden Carolus takes a simple but elegant approach, showing deep Burgundy hues and a clean off-white coiffure - the mark of a quiet noblesse, a certain feminine flair begging wordlessly with powdered cheeks. Up close, it is a grand perfume that exudes. A symphony of spices, soft yet striking, translated on the nose as allspice, saffron and black pepper. Sweet esters appear with agility: banana, bubble gum, lemon, a hint of minty pine and maraschino cherries forming melodious legato. It seems, however, that darkness lurks. A touch of fig, the ripeness of raisins, caramel orchestrating transparently; this context allows the springy fragrances to sing even louder and echo tumultuously in the mouth. The burning spiciness of black pepper, orange peel, nutmeg, anise and saffron combined initially overwhelm the tongue, forming a voluptuous cacophony, a sudden and deafening climax. Soon, interwoven subtleties begin to appear, tones of bread and wood, fig, prune, bacon, cherry and banana. Sip after sip, as the ale warms its body becomes smoother, individual spices begin to dissociate, its flavor lingers long after the swallow. The rhythm progressively slows until the last drop is consumed. Beer is sometimes a sensual experience.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
doubleipa (224) - Georgia, USA - JAN 4, 2007
Quarter inch haed thaís gone in a minute. Very bark brown. Could smell this bad boy from 2 feet away. Light yeast, light bread, and light maltiness. Strong cherry, with maybe a hint of allspice and vanilla. Moderate alcohol taste. Good, but not outstanding as a "Christmas" beer.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
StewardofGondor (1934) - Washington Heights - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 4, 2007
2006 bottle shared with tpkenned.
Translucent and chestnut copper in color with a foamy, dark tan head being fed from below. Black pepper over prunes and plums marinating in a pool of brandy, licorice and caramel sauce lead the nose. Nutmeg dances with burnt anise for a charming, spicy black dimension. Grape currant gets boiled down into a plum paste. Daisies twine into a broiled concord bed being charged with charred cocoa beans stuffed with raisins. Nutmeg gets tossed into a pruney, dark ginger and rye bread compound. Fluffy mouthfeel and supportive effervescence to the flavorful stream. Plum sauce coats spicy, spiced pumpernickel on its way out, along with a hint of caramelized cardamom cola to sweetly sing into the night.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
guzzler67 (1670) - Hanover, Maryland, USA - DEC 31, 2006
Dark copper appearance with a large beige head and light lacing. Yeasty, rich malt aroma with layers of licorice, ripe dark fruit and some spicyness. Sweet, caramel malt taste blends with flavors of plums, cherries, licorice and molassas. Smooth, full bodied, modestly carbonated mouthfeel with a warming, lingering, dessert wine-like finish.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
SDalkoholic (2359) - Linda Vista, California, USA - DEC 31, 2006
Full aroma of sweet malt and belgian yeast thats completely decked out with spices. Appears as a bold dark brownish red and creamy head. The drink is perfectly balanced and still allows a strong domination of malt, sugars, and light dashes of spice. This ale gives off a warm presence of alcohol but also hides it beneath all of the flavors and full body creamness. Merry Christmas is very true if you have this during the holidays.

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