Before starting my beer review, an extra special thanks to LJ for buying me this bottle of beer. Friends are good, but friends who buy friends beer are better. Unless they buy them Bud Lite. Then friends should be keel-hauled by their friends. But still, a gift beer is still a good thing in general. And also a special thanks to BMM for helping me drink this bottle. I know it's hard work sharing good beer, but someone has to do it.
This 750ml bottle of Gouden Carolus is brewed every year on the 24th of February, the birthdate of Charles the Fifth, who in turn drank this beer before fox hunts because it inspired rider and steed with enthusiasm, creating the best possible atmosphere in which to kill small, wily animals. Given the prestigious origin of said beverage, we can safety say that the current anathema against drinking and driving did not originate with Charles, nor would he likely be pleased by the government warning on the bottle about not mixing alcohol and fox-hunts. Needless to say, a great big dark bottle (vintage 2004) looking intimidating, was ready to be uncorked and enjoyed.
The appearance was an amber-red liquid, almost like a Georgia creek after a good rain, but with a slowly forming white head, tinges of red mixed in. This poured quite thickly without a lot of "splash", like some great rich treat finally ready for what it was made for.
The smell was very malty, sweet with tinges of spice. Something like oak or wood came to me as well, though it was not well defined. No discernible hops.
Medium-to-full mouthfeel; nicely balanced carbonation with an almost syrupy thickness. But not too much, not too little.
Taste was very nice. Big malt upfront, earthy, more of that wood aroma shows up here too. A nice sweetness permeates the whole thing from first taste to swallow with no bitterness at all. The malt was mostly like dark-meat fruits, like raisins and plums, though those flavors did not immediately come to mind in terms of actual flavor. Just a kind of subtle fruitiness that was definitely not "light". Also, none of the roasted malt flavor you might expect in a stout or porter. This was the big malt you find in other Belgian strong ales, sweet, thick, and powerful. The 10% ABV is nicely hidden and complements the whole experience.
All in all, an excellent beer worthy of all kinds of special occasions. I recommend getting a few bottles and laying them down until some worthy event calls for a worthy beer. Enjoy.
Labels: beer reviews