Brewed by Brouwerij Het Anker in Belgium, Gouden Carolus is just one brand of beers that Het Anker produces. “Louis Van Breedam purchase the beguinage brewery in Mechelen and built one of the first modern steam-operated breweries of that time. Late 1904 the brewery got a brand new identity and was renamed NV Het Anker (The Anchor), after the historic brewer from Mechelen Jan in de Anker.” Below are the Gouden Carolus beers.
- Ambrio (87 Points)
- Classic (97 Points)
- Cuvee van de Keizer Blauw (2011) (98 Points)
- Cuvee van de Keizer Rood (2011) (94 Points)
- Hopsinjoor (94 Points)
- Noël (96 Points)
- Tripel (91 Points)
AMBRIO: 87 Points
This Belgian Strong Ale is available year-round in 11.2 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “This full-tasting, but deceptively drinkable, amber ale has a good fruitiness and a nice hop edge which tempers the caramellised malt. It is clean and precise, within an almost perfect balance of Challenger and Goldings hops.”
My Description: This is a pleasant and nicely balanced Belgian Strong Amber Ale with warming malt notes and a slightly rich texture. It begins with a good sized, off-white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind some lacing. The aroma isn’t too complex with notes of caramel malt, fruit notes like golden raisins, and some dough. Ambrio is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose nicely with caramel malt being the dominant taste note accompanied by some yeast spice undertones. The alcohol is nicely hidden and the aftertaste is slightly bitter delivering a nice overall balance. There isn’t too much going on in this beer, which isn’t a bad thing for when your in the mood for a good malt flavored beer with excellent quality. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, raspberry cheesecake, or chicken parmesan.
ABV: 8% Color: Amber/Copper Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
CLASSIC: 97 Points
This Belgian Strong Ale is available year-round in 11.2 oz. and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Gouden Carolus is one of the strongest and most exciting beers in the world. After lengthy maturing and conditioning, it is bottled unfiltered, giving a beer which is rich in vitamins and 100% natural. Gouden Carolus has unlimited storage (it even improves with age) and will charm you with its warm coppery colour and rich bouquet.”
My Description: Het Anker has created a complex beer that is amazingly smooth with a great mouthfeel. This beer is addicting and the yeast notes do not overtake the malt notes, which is great. It begins with a good sized, beige colored head that fades to a film that holds leaving behind an excellent amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting with notes of caramel malt, dark fruits, molasses, and an interesting note of pear. Classic is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. This beer boasts a delicious flavor profile with caramel malt holding it all in place. Flavor notes of raisins, toffee, yeast spice undertones, and figs blend cleanly together. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and delivers a warming sensation. A slightly bitter aftertaste brings great balance to this beauty with some lingering caramel notes. This is an excellent representation of a Belgian Strong Ale. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled salmon, baked duck with raspberry sauce, or chocolate desserts.
ABV: 8.5% Color: Dark Brown Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
CUVEE VAN DE KEIZER BLAUW (2011): 98 Points
The Belgian Strong Dark Ale is brewed once a year and generally available year-round in 11.2 oz. and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Every year on the 24th of February, the birthday of “Charles the fifth”, the Brewery brews the Gouden Carolus “Cuvee of the Emperor” in a limited quantity and with an eye on the highest quality and tradition. This unique brewing, with only extra fine Belgian hops and with a higher alcohol level, guarantees a better evolution in the time, than the already known Gouden Carolus. This beer, as all our beers, is 100 % natural, with no preservatives, no adjuncts and no chemicals. We bottle it in bottles of 75 cl and closed with a quality cork. Excellent to store several years. Every year the public is invited to assist to the brewing process.”
My Description: With a rich texture and an addicting flavor profile, this beer makes for a great after dinner sipper. This ale is great not only because it is delicious but also because the flavors work harmoniously together, the body is smooth and not too thick, and this Belgian Strong ages beautifully. It begins with a large, beige colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma very brandy-like and inviting with notes of caramel, brown sugar, plums, and other yeast flavors. The aroma invites you to start drinking immediately. Blauw is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is definitely on the sweet side. Strong caramel notes dominate along with notes of molasses, black cherries, plums, raspberries, and yeast spices like cloves. This beer has a wide dimension of flavors. The alcohol adds flavor and character but not in that hot way, which is nice. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and fruit notes linger. It’s hard not to like this beer because the quality is superb and the whole experience is highly satisfying. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, raspberry cheesecake, or grilled steak.
ABV: 11% Color: Muddy Brown Sweetness: 4/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
CUVEE VAN DE KEIZER ROOD (2011): 94 Points
This Belgian Strong Pale Ale is brewed once a year and is generally available year-round in 11.2 oz. and 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the “Cuvée van de Keizer Blauw”, the brewery launched a blond-version : Cuvée van de Keizer Rood. This beer is similar to the previous Gouden Carolus Easter Beer. Blond rich beer that is brewed each year during the easter period. It contains several types of malt and during brewing 3 herbs are added. It’s golden blond colour, it’s high alcohol concentration of 10 %, it’s full and balanced taste make this beer into a source of vitality and strength which will appeal to the demanding beer taster. For ideal tasting pour out gently in one pull to a temperature round 7-8° C. Served with pride it is drunken with respect. This pleasant golden blond beer is chosen for he who loves a richer, somewhat spicy and refreshing beer.”
My Description: Crisp and flavorful are just some of the compliments I can give this ale. It is well crafted and the flavors blend smoothly and each note feels like it belongs. This beer can become addictive. It pours a decent, white colored head that fades quickly to a thin film that holds for a while leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is inviting and sweet with notes of bubblegum, honey, yeast esters, and light fruit notes. Rood is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is clean and complex. A sweetness encompasses the experience along with notes of bubblegum, pale malts, pineapple, citrus, honey, and some spice notes like cloves that swim throughout. The aftertaste is minimally bitter with a lingering flavor which I can only describe as botanical. The alcohol is slightly felt and adds a welcoming flavor component. Hints of sour creep in but just barely. This beer is great and worthy for an emperor. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, roasted asparagus, or grilled poultry.
ABV: 10% Color: Hazy Gold/Orange Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1.5/10
HOPSINJOOR: 94 Points
This Belgian Strong Ale/Belgian IPA is available year-round in 11.2 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Name: “Hopsinjoor” is a wordplay to for one thing the several hops which were used, and on the other hand the typical character of Mechelen of Gouden Carolus: the figure “opsinjoor” is intertwined with the history of Mechelen (see: www.opsinjoorke.be/Opsinjoorke/opsinjoor.htm). Kind of hops: 4 types of hops are used: Golding, Spalt, Hallertau and Saaz. These hops were fractioned at several times in the cooking process in order to keep a maximum of aroma. Regarding to taste we can say that the beer has a gentle, but nevertheless bitter aftertaste.”
My Description: Het Anker does a fantastic job delivering a bitter beer that is filled with flavor and does not destroy the palate. It begins with a very large, white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind an abundant amount of lacing. The aroma is hop forward with floral notes being the most dominant. There are also notes of peaches and earthy hops as well. Hopsinjoor is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. A great balance of flavors begins with a touch of sweetness upfront with notes of floral hops, pale malts, some citrus notes, and a yeast notes. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter but definitely not like an American IPA. Yeast spice undertones and a creamy texture add character and the alcohol is nicely hidden. This is a well crafted beer for any occasion. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, heavy salads, or ceviche.
ABV: 8% Color: Hazy Pale Gold Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10
NOËL: 96 Points
This Belgian Strong Dark is released seasonally during the Christmas season in 750 ml. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “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.”
My Description: This is a Christmas gift all on its own. It pours a large and dense, beige colored head with an amazing retention level and it leaves behind an abundant amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasing and inviting with notes of raisins, plums, licorice, malt, and a hint of bread. Noël is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is complex and delicious with each flavor working cleanly together and not overpowering another. Malt undertones give way to a plethora of dark fruit notes like raisins, plums, and cherries. Toasted bread and a great blend of spices stand out with a hint of toasted bread and a lingering licorice aftertaste. A minimal amount of bitterness helps bring balance and the alcohol is beautifully hidden. This beer is smooth and addicting. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with strong cheeses, baked ham, or chocolate desserts.
ABV: 10% Color: Deep Garnet Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
TRIPEL: 91 Points
The Belgian Tripel is available year-round in 11.2 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “In spite of modern brewing technology, this beer is brewed according to ancient traditions. It unites, now as in the past, the best products of our soil: rich barley and fine hops.. It’s refined character, with a pure and rich taste, will captivate you. It is matured at length in cellar and bottle, and is guaranteed to be brewed only from pale malts. It is traditionally top-fermented and is 100% pure. The Gouden Carolus Triple has a unique colour and a full flavour due to its well-balanced hopping. To properly savour the Golden Carolus “Triple”, pour slowly in one movement leaving the yeast deposit in the bottle. This beer may be served cool but not chilled: 7-8°C is recommended. In 2002 this beer won the Gold Award in the World Beer Cup, San Diego, USA in the “Triple” category.”
My Description: This is a rare approach to a Tripel, most are more hop based where this is on the sweeter side. It pours a large, white colored head with a great retention level and it leaves behind some lacing. The aroma is interesting but pleasant with notes of pale malts, pears and other fruits, honey, and some sweet yeast notes. Tripel is medium bodied with a moderately high carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is layered and complex with notes of pear juice, floral hops, sweet fruit notes, and some grassiness. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the aftertaste is minimally bitter. Some diacetyl can be noticed adding a buttery component to the beer. Overall, this ale is highly drinkable and the finish is real nice delivering a satisfying and refreshing Belgian beer. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp with mango sauce, Hawaiian pizza, or ceviche.
ABV: 9% Color: Golden/Brown Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10