Gouden Carolus Ambrio | Het Anker
From a 330ml bottle served slightly chilled at 10 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. Best before date: 17/04/2021 – I don't know how old this beer is but it's safe to assume it was packaged mid-April last year. In any case I think it's been in the bottle for quite a few months and definitely under questionable storage (since it was picked up at the LCBO). Still, my expectations are high considering the brewery.
The beer pours a cloudy amber with a whopping 7.5cm of dense, mousse-like, light tan head that dissipates into a thick cap within 6+ minutes. Gorgeous. World-class.
Moderate strength and leaning towards sweet. Rich and complex aroma just like you'd expect. Prominent fruity esters with milder, peppery phenols and even milder malt character. Notes of dried cherries and pome fruit (ripe apples & pear). A touch of banana and slightly caramelly malt with quite a bit of bread crust character creating a wonderful platform for the expressive yeast. Mild noble hops and a trace of perfumy ethanol provide balance to the sweetness from the malt. The dry nose is reminiscent of bready-caramelly malt and some fruity esters. It's refreshing to experience an aroma that keeps you coming back for more.
Follows the aroma with strong intensity, good balance, and moderate perceived bitterness. The palate opens up with notes of fruity esters (pears & apples) and cherries leading to a fruity-malty center of bready caramel and dried fruit which are complimented by mild earthy hops, some phenols, and faint ethanol. The long finish is strong and balanced with notes of pear, bread crust, and earthy hops. Very few beers strike such great balance with such bold character. Absolutely delicious!
Medium-full body with high carbonation. Creamy, smooth, and slightly prickly with a sweet-ish finish and restrained alcohol warming. No astringency or harshness of any kind. An absolute delight on the palate – world class.
Het Anker's Gouden Carolus Ambrio is a wonderful beer demonstrating excellent craftsmanship. The flavour and balance are outstanding and are paired with moderate drinkability. It's been such a while since I've had a beer this fabulous that I forgot these things exist. Recently, I had begun thinking my standards have gotten too high, but Ambrio is here to remind me that is not the case. I think this one's worth seeking out and I highly recommend it to anyone with a preference for rich and complex things in life. Salud!