Gouden Carolus Christmas

Reviewed by on December 2, 2013 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Het Anker Brewing

  • Origin: Belgium

  • Rated On: N/A

  • Best Before: 29/08/15

  • ABV: 10.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: between cold and room temperature

  • Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

  • Rating: OKAY

The Review

Het Anker has reportedly been operating since the mid-15th century. It has gone through multiple owners over the year and continues to produce delicious beers. Their Gouden Carolus Classic, another Belgian Strong Dark Ale, is a veritable classic in the beer world.

Their holiday release, the Gouden Carolus Christmas is classified as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It’s worth noting that this year’s release is likely different than prior releases based on historical reviews. Tasting of this year’s offering likens it more to a maltier, sweeter Belgian Quadrupel. Regardless of the classification, let’s talk specifics.

The Gouden Carolus Christmas pours a caramel color with ruby highlights with a thin tan head. On the nose this beer has a big banana character underpinned by anise (licorice).

On a first sip, this beer is exceptionally sweet; it explodes with overripe fruit, anise and sweet malts. It’s very intense and concentrated and the finish is sweet, fruity and exceptionally juicy. Even though it’s exceptionally sweet, it’s not syrupy, but it definitely does show some alcohol warming.

Honestly trying this beer today is a bit of a disappointment; it will be much too sweet and cloying for most drinkers and few people would be able to handle more than a wee dram. Ideally a beer like this could be laid down for a couple years, and the yeast contained in the bottle would continue to consume the sugar to end up with a more balanced beer. The 2011 vintages of this beer is drinking very well, but it’s hard to recommend this beer at this time. If you have this, lay it down for a year or two.

Greg Zeschuk

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