Gouden Carolus Ambrio/Classic/Tripel (Belgium)

Gouden Carolus, Belgium

1) Ambrio, 8% ABV

On the back label:

“Gouden Carolus Ambrio is named after the golden coins of Charles V. The amber ale was first brewed in 1471 by the Anker Brewery. The Het Anker Brewery was established in 1369 and the Ambrio is based on the first town ale, known as ‘Mechelschen Bruynen’. Refermented in the bottle. This full-tasting, but deceptively drinkable, amber ale has wonderful fruitiness and a nice hop edge which tempers the caramellised malt. It is clean and precise. A perfect harmony between the powerful taste of brown ales and the freshness of the blonde ales.”

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: great balance and smoothness
  • Where I got it: W.16th (?)
  • How much: ~$10 750ml, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting notes: pours orange brown with a very nice thick foamy head, great micro CO2 retention, sticky lacing, lots of fast-moving CO2 streams. Drinks with 6/10 malted honey sweetness, hints of chamomile, red berries, and transitions into dark fruit bitterness, light hops, and alcohol. Very creamy mouthfeel. Medium-high complexity, medium depth, med-long length, great transitions, good carry, quite good drinkability. Overall a decent beer but not special enough for a 2nd go.

2) Classic, 8.5% ABV

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: sweet & smooth malts
  • Where I got it: W.16th (?)
  • How much: ~$4, 330ml, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting notes: pours kahlua brown, decent small foamy head, good retention, sticky lacing, some CO2 streams. Medium-thick caramel malts on the nose. Drinks with 7/10-level sweetness with a bit of alcohol in the start, transitions into malted caramel, traces of chamomile, brown sugar, honey, finishes light bitter. Medium complexity, medium depth, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Overall solid but 1x is enough.

3) Tripel, 9% ABV

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: tropical fruity
  • Where I got it: W.16th (?)
  • How much: ~$10 750ml, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again:Yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy orange marmalade, very nice thick foamy head, great foamy retention, sticky lacing, lots of fast moving CO2 streams. A mix of apricot, malt, and traces of cinnamon on the nose. 6/10-level sweetness up front, creamy mouthfeel, tastes of mango, light malts, apricot, coriander, with an dryish light alcoholic bitter finish. Medium complexity, medium depth, medium length, good transitions, good carry, very good drinkability (especially when in a chilled glass). I like it more than the ambrio.

*2nd tasting 9/2012: apricot, chamomile floralness and light malts hit the palate; got the mango and coriander as well. Very refreshing and crisp. Upgrade from B to B+.