Gouden Carolus, once, only one beer, but since then a lot more versions of Gouden Caroli hit the market. Actually there was an emperor’s beer before 1960, but this is the year the name Gouden Carolus was given to it.
The brewery is called “Het Anker” (The Anchor), and was originally founded in 1471, but it was called Het Anker since 1904. There are also document that showed there was a brewery on site as early as 1369. Het Anker brews several different beers, of which Gouden Carolus is probably the best known.
This review will be of the ‘original’ Gouden Carolus now named “classic”. A Gouden Carolus was a coin with the head of emperor Charles V on it, who spent his childhood in Mechelen. This beer is also from Mechelen, what a coincidence! It is even a protected regional product from Mechelen.
Color: Reddish brown with cream foam.
Nose: Meaty and musty a bit like a ditch, not very dirty ditch, let’s say: clean ditch. Seems aged in oak.
Taste: Sweet, sugar, candy sugar (the hard brown stuff). Fruity also: Oranges and some banana. Although it has a lot of notes that suggest sweetness, it’s not thát sweet, as you might think right now. It has a depth like you get with roasted malt, although I don’t think this has any. It has a slightly bitter and spicy finish with some dark chocolate, and a hint of burn caramel.
This is definitively a speciality that fits in no Belgian beer group. The brewery itself calls it a brown beer to enjoy. (‘Degustatiebier’ doesn’t translate that well). Also “Dubbel” is sometimes used. It uses one pale and two dark malts. 10 to 15% corn is used nowadays, which made the body lighter, and probably sweeter. This beer can be stored for three years, or maybe more.