Gouden Carolus: Cuvee Van De Keizer Red (Belgium: Belgium Strong Ale:10.5% ABV)

(2010 Edition: Drunk Early 2011)

Visual: Golden yellow with a solid inch of clear white bubbled head which is solid and long surviving.

Nose: Light and wheaty, mixed with delicate spices. Cumin and cinnamon. Ground up ginger bread, Noticeable alcohol undertow and orange rind. Slightly saison style sourness.

Body: Cane sugar. The alcohol is evident but not fiery, Grapes and slight lemon. Wheat. Orange peel. Saison bitter style. Turmeric and syrup sweetness Banana comes out after a while.

Finish: Gingerbread, spice and wheat. Light cloves. White wine.  Bitter.

Conclusion: I had this once before, as described in the background, and I remembered it as being a bit special. So now I return to see how well the real thing holds up to the version I have in my memory

Still impressive it seems, with delicate spices running through the shining gold body. It’s at points like this that I wish I paid more attention to the spice rack, as there are many and varied flavours that are definitely spices but I can’t quite put a name to.

It’s a very interesting beer, shifting flavours over the bottles life cycle, and often distinct calls to the Saison style whilst still being very identifiable as a strong Belgium style.  Saision Dupont is one I would definitely refer to as being noticeable for having similar notes to the Saison influences in this beer.

Unfortunately the alcohol is a lot more evident in this beer than I remember, and for a beer that trades on crisp subtlety like this one does that does hurt the overall feel.  As you acclimatise to the alcohol it does become much more like the beer I remember. I wonder if the example I’d had before had been aged for a year or so, and if so then this is definitely one that would benefit with some time in the cellar to smooth out.

Overall a fine and idiosyncratic beer that I think would benefit from some time to smooth itself out.

Background: First tried this a year or so ago when I was sharing the bottle with people I had just met who were paying for my beers in exchange for me giving beer advice and improvised tasting notes. This of course put me in a good mind towards the beer so I decided it was worth digging out again.