Gouden Carolus Classic, a Belgian Dubbel brewed by the Het Anker Brewery, is the next beer to mark off my epic list. I’m a pretty big fan of any beer coming out of Belgium, though I do struggle to pronounce most of them. ‘Gouden Carolus’ meets the criteria, so theoretically I’ll be a big fan of it too…here’s beer number 90 – Gouden Carolus Classic.
The bottle says:
Another label that’s all black and trimmed in gold; it’s elegant, albeit in a very plain way. It doesn’t really catch the eye, and I wouldn’t choose to buy it based on the label alone. There’s also no English anywhere on the bottle that describes the beer, or reveals any quirky stories about its history – Belgians obviously don’t care for gimmicks. There’s a Belgian flag on the label with “Belgian Family Brewers” written under it…I guess this is like the ‘Australian made’ Kangaroo (an idea for our local craft brewers maybe??) The rear label displays the beers awards (three of them anyway), including a silver medal from the Australian International Beer Awards.
The body is a muddy dark brown colour, not a very attractive at all. Bubbles race up the glass to meet the thick and creamy tan head. The aroma is very sweet and very Belgian; I’m thinking cherry cordial. The taste is malty, with lots of caramel and toffee with some raisins in the finish. The alcohol is pretty strong on the palate, and adds to the overall sweetness. I’m sure I can taste some marshmallow in there as well…
Now there’s some banana in the aroma, but it’s mostly dominated malt and toffee. The sweetness is more prominent, and it feels like its being driven by the alcohol. There’s enough malt to keep it in check, which balances the overall taste to pleasant levels. There’s some bitterness that pops in real quick just to say hi, then disappears without a trace. The cherry cordial I caught at the beginning has evolved into cherry flavoured boiled lollies, and is now a big flavour in the aftertaste. It’s not until you take another mouthful and get the initial malty hit that you’re reminded that you are indeed drinking a beer.
The majority of Belgian beers that I’ve tried always seem to be so light hearted and fun – all fruity and sweet with just enough malt flavours to keep things respectable. Gouden Carolus Classic is no different, although it does push the sweetness level to the boundary of acceptance. Reading back through my tasting notes was like reading a recipe for a really tasty desert, not a beer. It certainly can’t be accused of challenging your tastebuds with any hugely intense flavours – if that’s what your chasing, look elsewhere. If you just want something fun, you could do much worse.