Name: Gouden Carolus Classic
Brewery: Brouwerij Het Anker
Country of Origin: Belgium
City & State: Mechelen, Belgium
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 8.5%
First Brewed: ca. 1930s
A full-bodied, attractive, ruby-colored beer that opens up with a mellow aroma of toffeelike malt. The rich taste is equally mellow and smooth, with toffee and raisin notes balanced by a crisp bitterness. A light bitterness then continues into the malty finish.
We are back from Seattle, and all I want is a shot of vodka! We drank SO much beer while we were in Seattle. That’s OK… that’s partly why we went. We started at Pike Brewing Company, then hit up Redhook, Black Raven Brewing Company, and actually reviewed three beers at Elysian Brewing. I thought Pike was my favorite in the area… but now I think Elysian might be my favorite. The management was nice, the bartender was nice, and the beers are incredible. Those three reviews are coming up next!
Today we are back in Belgium for our final beer from Het Anker. At $5.99 a bottle, this better be good. Not sure I have every had a Belgian brown… well, a “Belgian strong dark ale”. I have had several of those, but most reports are calling this a brown. I can guarantee you this doesn’t taste like an American brown. Think Moose Drool. Excited to review this beer. Let’s drink!
In the Glass: I could smell this as I was pouring it, and was getting some pretty intense sweetness. But we will get to that. It looks like a typical brown beer, a brown ale in the glass. It has a nice tan head with some obvious lacing as the beer settles. I already know I am going to want this beer to be bigger than 11.2 ounces. I LOVE a good Belgian dark strong.
Oh, and the bottle says, “BELGIAN BROWN ALE”. Are the two connected?
Nose: I could smell this beer as I was pouring it… and it smells much better in the glass. Imagine a thick raisin/fig syrup being poured over your pancakes. That is what I am getting here. Lots of nice sweet notes and I can somewhat smell the alcohol burn that I am sure is present on the palate.
Flavor: Oh. My. God. I could drink a gallon of this. That is amazing!!! It is as sweet as I wanted, and I don’t really get that ABV burn that I was expecting. I bet this would age/mellow out nicely. I still think the price point is a bit too high, but maybe that just means we need to travel to Belgium and drink this at the brewery. Sheryl better like this, because that is what beer is supposed to taste like. Holy crap, that’s good.
On my second sip, I swished it around in my mouth a little bit. It becomes quite carbonated, but some really nice dried fruit flavors come out; this is where the raisin flavor comes in. Like I said, I wish this was a bigger bottle. My glass is almost empty and I just got started! Too bad I can’t afford to buy this on the regular.
Mouthfeel: It is a little thinner than I would like. For a beer like this, I want it to seem like a meal in the glass. I want it to be heavy, thick, and almost creamy. Not a bad mouthfeel, but just not what I was expecting from a beer with this much flavor. I am going to try and let the rest sit there and warm up a little… wish me luck!
Aftertaste: Eat a piece of raisin bread… that somewhat dry fruity finish that you get from the raisins is what I am getting here. I doubt they do, but you could fool me if they use raisins in the brewing process. More dirty fig like flavors. I bet this would be a GREAT food beer, too. Man, this aftertaste is just hanging on there with every sip. Yummy!
We didn’t try any Belgian beers in Seattle… well, the Monk’s Uncle at Pike. That is one of my favorite beers they make. We did go back to drink a bottle of Old Bawdy, their barleywine and we noticed a barrel aged beer on tap called Entire. It was SO good. At $8 a glass, it better be. We did see a cool Belgian place called the Stumbling Monk, but their beer list wasn’t that impressive and it was overpriced. I think my favorite beer bar was the Uber Tavern. It was pretty much in the ghetto, but had an incredible beer selection.
Anyway, the Gouden Carolus Classic is a GREAT way to end our line of beers from Het Anker. Cheers!
Gouden Carolus Classic – The bottle says: “Gouden Carolus, named after the gold coins of the Emperor Charles V, is brewed by the Anker brewery, established in Mechelen since 1369 and one of the classic Belgian breweries.”
“This very special Belgian ale is brewed using traditional methods and a recipe with top fermentation. Its high gravity gives this ale its warmth and body. It improves with age and will charm you with its warm, coppery colour and its rich bouquet.”
Well, now we are back home and trying beer here again. Our trip to Seattle was brief, but a lot of fun. We also pretty much got in everything that we wanted to do, I think. Heck, I think I got in more this trip to Seattle than I did the one I took on my own last year. At any rate, we are back to drinking beer in Arizona again.
Today’s beer looks pretty dark in the glass, but not black. It’s a very thick, rich-looking brown color. There was some foamy white head at first, but it’s mostly gone now. The smell is unusual… when I first sniffed it, I though I got kind of a nutty smell to it. But then it started to actually smell pretty sour to me. As usual, I have no idea what beer we are drinking or what kind it is. Just to make things even more confusing, I smelled it again and now it smells sweet to me. Maybe something’s just going on with my nose. But let’s taste it to find out for sure.
Hmm. Maybe my nose was actually right. This beer does have a slight nutty and slightly sour taste to it, but not a lot. What I taste the most is sweetness. It’s also got a bit of carbonation. This beer is pretty hard to describe, but I like it. The flavor actually makes me think of brown sugar. It’s like drinking thick brown sugar from the glass in beer form. I kind of love it. The mouthfeel is definitely very thick, and it doesn’t really leave a strong aftertaste, just a hint of sweetness – enough to bring you back for more. This is a good one. And actually, the longer it sits there, the sweeter it gets. Not sure what beer this is still, but I’d definitely buy it again for sure. This is a top fave!