Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

3,488 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,488
Reviews: 1,279
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 11.32%
Wants: 245
Gots: 564 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (96) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,488 | Reviews: 1,279
Reviews by 3HovsepiansBrews:
Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A lovely copper with nice white head

S- The smell of alcohol slightly cuts through the sweet aroma of dark fruits.

T- Very sweet. It is almost as if it is a dessert beer. Albeit, the taste is very complex with a sweet mixture of several fruits such as raisins and prunes. Additionally, there is a subtle sour cherry flavor that blends well with the high alcohol.

M- The high carbonation tickles the palette and the tongue.

D- Not very drinkable due to the combination of high alcohol and high sweetness. One bottle of this every once in a while more than does the job.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Earl123
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is my first beer review so be gentle:)

An excellent overall beer. Unique character, a modern take on traditional brewing methods. Unlike some US mutations of the Belgian Tripel, it is not overly hoppy. It is actually one of the few beers my girlfriend and thoroughly enjoy together.

Taste is innovative and complex - cloves, bananas, cinnamon(?). A little fruitcake-y but not too much so and definitely stops short of a gueuze.

Everything else was excellent about the beer. The feel is not oppressively heavy and, as mentioned, not overly carbonated.

I prefer the 9000 version of the beer which is slightly more boozy in flavor (and reality). But this is a solid second.

Photo of mdexter
4.59/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Gulden Draak is a one-of-a-kind Belgian. You can tell upon inspection that it's going to be rich and imposing. The beer pours a surprisingly dark, turbid shade of molasses. The aroma is somewhere between caramel and dulce de leche with some earthy notes, maybe raisins and cloves. It has the familiar sweet lace of all tripels with some well-balanced savory malts. The combination produces a boozey mouthfeel like a fortified wine or grappa. It's a strong, unique beer.

Photo of majorbase2
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep, dark reddish brown color with a big bubbly head. Dissipates to nothing shortly after, leaving some very spotty lacing.

Aroma is dark fruits, some light milky chocolate, and very sweet caramel. Raisin and red grapes are very noticeable. Definitely some alcohol present, which pairs nicely with the red grapes, giving it an aroma reminiscent of a red wine.

First sip reveals some incredible complexity. Lots of sweetness up front, which pairs with some melted caramel and raisin. Red grapes, fig, and brown sugar. A good deal of alcohol warmth.

Medium bodied. Gotta sip this one. Pretty decent carbonation.

Photo of sporklift87
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured two fingers light brown sudsy head, excellent retention and sticky lacing. Dark orange and brown, with some amber shining through. Quite clear, minimal clouding. Smells of raisins, brown sugar and sweet malt. Notes of other dark fruits like plum and cherries. Aromatics have a lot to say, and loudly. Upon tasting, higher alcohol content is apparent, but well disguised behind a menagerie of bold flavors, matching aromatics. Brown sugar is apparent up front, followed by a lingering aftertaste of the dark fruits. Wonderful mouth feel, chewy, syrupy, foams up on the tongue, but not overwhelming in terms of acidity or carbonation. An incredible balance. Flavor lingers on front of tongue for several minutes. What an amazing beer. I picked up a 750 for $13, not the best price I've found it at, but well worth it for such a spectacular treat. Very highly recommended. Even my burps are delectable.

Photo of LovingCup
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Okay let me preface this by saying I'm no expert on Belgian strong dark ales...new territory here. Last similar-ish beer I had was Finch's Nuclear Winter and despite my hometown <3', this is much better.
First, cool ass bottle and classy sounding af. The next part is the looks, perhaps my favorite aspect. Huge puffy head with peaks and valleys. Dark brownish color with a ruby shimmer in the light, can't see through shit. And the best part is I let this sit for 10 minutes after pouring and the bubbles persisted, but the real magic was the vertical linear formation of them: it looked straight like the letters from The Matrix and I ain't even trippin'!
As for the smell. Very complex. Sugary caramel sweetness. Most present are dark fruits: figs, dates, a lil grape, and that one that makes you shit. Oh yeah, prunes. A touch of chocolate even. And a bit of booze.
The flavor is intense, but more approachable than expected (tho I was expecting a knockout punch) its big, but at the same time, drinkable...sip by sip. I like high abv beers but don't enjoy overly boozy flavors. This is good. The alcohol is there in a background warming sort of way, not an obnoxious boozy way. I think considering its 10.5% it is masked rather well tbh. Idk my palate isn't used to this style the way it is for others yet but this isn't bad at all. On the contrary it's quite good. The mouthfeel I want to say is medium.
Overall I give it a 92. im actually surprised by how massive yet inoffensive this was. glad I picked up this bottle of Gulden Draak. Very pleased. Hope to revisit this beer (and style) again sometime in the near future.

Photo of Popsinc
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark amber pour with an exceptional tan head. Seems like a very lively beer.

The nose is very appetizing. A nice full, malty nose some hoppiness and sweet caramel notes. A little bit of spice is in there too along with a hint of raisiny sweetness.

Lovely. Just lovely. The dryness off the tops quickly turns into a nice honey sweetness that's not overpowering. A little bit of raisin and plum are mixed in nicely. Good hop count & nice maltiness give this beer well rounded body.

A nice full beer with a lively and bubby mouthfeel. Some dryness towards the end. Alcohol warmth in the finish.

I love this beer. It is one of the greats.

Photo of RoyalT
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance – The body is a beautiful, almost glowing brown and somewhat clear. I couldn’t work a head to save my life, which is not unusual for some of these high ABV ales.

Smell – The huge malt and alcohol nose fills the room. This one is super sweet with lots of crushed, soggy, alcohol-soaked fruits such as cherries (lots of cherries), raisins, star fruit, some banana, and figs.

Taste – My Lord, this is thick. It’s almost like a malt/fruit syrup soaked in booze. All the notes from the smell come out at the tongue, especially the figs and cherries. This is really strong.

Mouthfeel – No carbonation but very thick and sweet.

Drinkability – This would make a great “dessert ale” or a fine aperitif, which is what I used it for.

Comments – This one was difficult to rate. It lacked some classic aspects of the BSDA style such as big, fluffy carbonation and dominant malts, yet scored big on the blend of fruits and booze. I was therefore reserved in my rating but expressed my enthusiasm for this ale in the Drinkability category.

BTW – This comes in a really unique solid white bottle. My label fell off when I pulled it from the fridge, so it looked like somebody’s home brew. Cool.

Update – I originally rated this from an ’03 bottle so thought I’d take another crack with an ’05. The head came up a bit better and the ale seemed more balanced. It wasn’t as boozy, had more yeasty notes, and carbonation was a bit tighter. I changed the ratings around a bit, but any way you cut it this is a good beer.

Update – The 2007 is a real gem. It's buttery smooth, shows some killer yeast, and hides every bit of alcohol.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great buzz! Great alcohol content. Lots of fun to drink. Appearance is wonderful. Deep dark brown with a super sticky thick, everlasting white head. Great lacing! Smells of wet herbs and hay, a pinch of orange, and peppery grains. Tastes great. Smooth as silk. Super malty. Slightly burnt caramels and chocolates. Sweet and warming. Wet hard woods, leaves, and sweet mulch. Full bodied goodness.

Beer to the point. True greatness. I’ll be picking up a few 750s of this one.

Photo of tectactoe
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a nice sized Tulip glass. I poured specifically to induce a huge head which didn't take much work - this beer is very volatile. Deep, deep brown-tan (almost with a touch of gold) color with a nearly off-white head. Lacing all up and down the glass, the head retained extremely well. The beer smelled mildly fruity (figs, berries) with a bit of yeast, biscuits, malts, and deep spices which I couldn't clearly identify.

The beer tastes of a nice combination of crispy biscuits, fresh malt, raisins, figs, slight pepper, and burnt caramel sugars. Mild sweetness with a proper alcohol burn shadowing the entire process. For something so high-gravity (10.5% ABV), the alcohol is present, yet concealed well enough to not be troublesome. The beer has plenty of carbonation which really helps the potency of the aroma and the flavor. Body isn't very thick but the beer remains creamy and ends with a crisp, yeasty finish.

Overall, a very delectable Belgian ale which, at a well concealed 10.5% ABV, can sneak up on you if you're not careful. If it wasn't for the large price tag, I would drink this beer much more frequently.

Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look (4.5/5) ~ Deep coppery with some really nice red and orange tones in it (the colour gives the impression of fullness and richness). Given the abv, the head was great: it was very moussy, and fell exceptionally slowly with some nice lacing. Towards the clear side of hazy.
Smell (4/5) ~ spot on for the style. Rich complex maltiness plays off of some really nice yeast notes with a subtle spicy and earth y hop presence. Malt is strongly of the Munich/Vienna type variety with some nice melanoidin notes (plums, prunes, dried apricots); there is also a faint smokiness to the nose. You get a lot of the fruity and floral notes that you’ expect from this style.
Taste (4.5/5) ~ very good. Maltiness was front and centre and the beer was malty-sweet in balance (though I’d still say it was in with the Trappist versions and not the very sweet Abbey ones). I get a whole lot of Munich/Vienna melanoidins and all the fruitiness they bring (plum, prune, dried apricot); but there was also a smoke – not burnt mind you – note that reminded me a bit of very fine tobacco, which I liked a lot. The finish, which would otherwise be sweet is gets a lot of spice and gentle alcohol to balance everything out well. Floral and fruity yeast notes round it out. Some very mild earthy hops and enough bitterness to achieve some nice balance.
Feel (4/5) ~ pretty much what you’d expect: relatively gentle carb and pretty heavy in terms of body. I’d describe it as achieving a pretty silky/velvety feel well.

I’ve had more a few of this style and I’d have to say that this is more of the most compelling versions. I really liked the complexity of the malts, especially with that cigar/tobacco note that was played up. I think the spiciness and bitterness were great foils for the otherwise overwhelming sweetness. Kudos to the brewers!

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #26:

Oh yeah--dark and inviting with that beautiful Belgian-style lacing draped on the glass. Aromas of toffee, licorice root, taffy and cake batter, with hints of bubblegum and peppery alcohol, and a faintness of raisins. Smooth and a little chewy, with a slick, medium body. A tad thick on the malt sweetness to start, the alcohol soon turns the tides with a very warming, peppery alcohol. The sweetness comes in with a layer of toffee, some red grape skin and a suggestion of cooked vegetables, which fades quickly. The peppery flavor meets a dry, toasted, biscuity flavor middle to end. Finishes slightly alcoholic and sweet.

A big, tasty treat here; complex, yet dangerously inviting, as the sweetness melds well with the alcohol. Reminiscent of a young Port wine, so obviously Gulden Draak is a perfect candidate to throw at just about any cheese that has a blue vein running through it.

Photo of steelerguy
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Mahogany brown, not seeing the ruby "highlights" of others. Moderate carbonation, nice head that lasts and leaves a good bit of carbonation.

S - Caramel and dark fruit and raisin bread. Good but could have a little more depth.

T - More dark fruits, yeast, peppery alcohol, and deliciousness.

M - Nice carbonation, starts off a bit thick and creamy, but the carbonation and alcohol warmth clean it up and make it very drinkable.

D - Oh yes...just mentioned why it was so drinkable, great taste and not too heavy.

Photo of blitz134
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I’ve had this one in the cabinet for a little while now and finally decided to pop the cap on this one to celebrate the end of a day of working on a project paper. Little victories are what really matter in the long run.

This bottle has always intrigued me with its opaque white color and the quite odd robot dragon on the front. Last time I checked robot dragons didn’t drink beer. But the good thing is: no chances of being skunked by light with this one. The pour wasn’t very vigorous by any means but the head formation nearly filled my oversized wine glass with a huge frothy light tan head. While the head reduced by quite a bit but it still seemed to linger around in a thick layer on top of the nearly opaque dark garnet coloration. This is truly a beauty. This is the most opaque dark Belgian I’ve had to date.

Typical of Belgians there is the aroma is dominated by the sweet malty dark fruit characters. Mainly raisins and plums with this one with a little clove spiciness in the background. Not an overpowering smell but it is good nonetheless. There is a hint of alcohol underneath the nice aroma.

I don’t find the taste quite as complex as some of the other dark Belgians I’ve had but this one is still quite good. There is a sharp spiciness with hints of clove that sting the cheeks and lingers for quite a while with a definite belly warming sensation. Along with this spiciness there is also sourness from the tart fruits which this beer conjures up. Good flavor overall, but the spiciness skews the lines between many of the individual flavor profiles.

Mouthfeel is quite awesome. It seems almost chewy while still seeming light bodied in a way. Drinkability is brought down a bit with how much the alcohol sensation lingers. Not a session beer by anymeans, but something I’ll be sure to return to.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the benefits of Beer Advocate is finding out about beers such as this one, which I probably would never have tried on my own. This beer poured a cloudy brown color with a small head. It had a sweet fruit odor with a little malt in there. Wonderful taste: sweet, dark fruit with some hops. Slightly noticeable alcohol. A very robust beer. Eminently drinkable, but at 10.5%ABV, you've got to take it easy.

Photo of Todd
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml brown bottle, painted white. No freshness date ... as if you need one at 10.5% alcohol by volume!

Poured in a proper gold-laced Gulden Draak tulip glass, this beer offers a very dark ruddy-brown colour with a mountainous off-white foam head that retains extremely well and trails the glass with its stick -- it's all about the glass.

Peppery aroma with soft grain, faint orange juice, herbal and dried hay.

Flavour is blissful ... ultra-malty, smooth, soft and sweet with strong Belgian candy sugar flavours, light chocolate (more like malted-milk) and semi-burnt caramel edges. I can't stress the sugary character of this beer enough, it's without a doubt sweet, but not in a sickly manner. Carbonation induces a creamy sensation on the palate and aids in slightly subduing the maltiness, while a defining herbal flavour complements, creating a sweet tea-like infusion. Alcohol is there, but it's very devious and nearly undetectable, but it does lend quite a bit of spicy flavour that adds to the overall pepperiness of the beer. A warming sensation hits the head about half-way thru as you slip into beerdom. Finish goes dry with a soft, woody, yeast character.

This beer doesn't pussy-foot around. It's serious, complex, mysterious (alcohol-wise), demands respect and if you're not careful it'll walk up to you and kick your freagin' ass! One of my favourites, and simply a classic amongst Belgian beers.

Photo of shapudding
4.04/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Came from the tap a beautiful plum color, medium carbination, not too fizzy. Head reduced to a light creamy white colored ring. Light lacing. Surprising amount of carbination for the alcohol content. You can lightly taste the alcohol, but it is not too overpowering as to scare off those that do not like the flavor of it in their beer. Tastes like a barleywine, but not too intense. Nice. Sweet. Caramel, but not too heavy on it. Very smoth and creamy.

edit: Just have to note that I was back at The Drafting Room in Springhouse to have a bit more with drinking buddy blitheringidiot, and decided to make my Memorial Day weekend much more memorable by taking a growler of it with me! Sorry everyone in this area! That kicked the keg! But man it made me happy!!!

Photo of generallee
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a white painted 330ml or 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: It is a dark hazy liquid that is a deep mahogany color with an abundance of small bubbles that form a thick head. The head is light tan in color and has great retention time.

Smell: The aroma has a sweet and fruity character with yeast and a definite alcohol presence.

Taste/Mouth feel: Up front I get a light sting of tart fruit, sour cherry and yeast that quickly turns sweet and malty. More dark sweet fruits come out now like figs, raison and prune mixed with Belgian candy sugar. The alcohol starts to add some warmth and some herbal hops are detected as it heads to the finish were it turns fairly dry. It is well carbonated yet smooth and full bodied.

Notes: This is an excellent Belgian Strong Dark Ale with all the complexity and strength that I love in Belgian ales.

Photo of EsoxLucius
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

found this in vancouver and remembered someone from michigan telling me to try it out if i ever found it!

not disapointed at all.

A: Hazzy dark brown with a light tan head, good retention and lacing.

S: dark berries are a definate. prunes and blackberry, there's a tartness there that is just appealing.

T: Caramel and berries, not boozy at all, a tad sweet, but suits.

M: a right proper body, not overly carbonated, just right.

D: i liked it a bit more for sessions than Trois Pistole's from Unibroue. definately not an everyday for me, but two and three go down as easy as one... 4 is on the way, but i won't be right minded after all that 10.5 kicks in.

Photo of Doomcifer
3.41/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The first time I had this beer, I was overwhelmed with delight. I remember it being absolutely amazing. Now this time...

Poured a dark, ruddy, raisin color. Like liquified figs. Extremely sweet aroma with notes of raisins, prunes, caramel, and slight yeast. The appearance and smell of this beer are the best traits. The taste is exceedingly of prunes and alcohol, with lesser notes of raisins, molasses, and winey tastes. Mouthfeel is EXTREMELY thick and creamy, moderate to high carbonation, which is an odd mix. Not very drinkable at all. I had a hard time finishing just one. First and foremost a dessert beer if you are a fan of dark, extremely ripe fruits like prunes and raisins. I remember this beer being better last time I had it.

Perhaps I just got a bad one. I am in no way discarding this beer based on this try. I will be buying Gulden Draak again based on my first exhilarating experience with this brew.

Photo of Jason
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 330ml odd sized fatty that has a bone colored plastic lining to block UV-rays out. No freshness date

Appearance: Hazed brown leather color with a healthy looking head that sports some great retention.

Smell: Lemony with a candied alcoholic fruitiness, a tad buttery within the malt sweetness.

Taste: Very potent, spicy peppery alcohol, syrupy nectar like sweetness, meat broth and a hard dose of phenolics provide balance to the sweetness. Viscous smoothness. Estery with some warming fusel alcohols as well. The after taste has a faded herbal tea flavor which lingers with a residual sweetness.

Notes: At 10.5% abv it holds together quite well as there is enough body to match the alcoholic character. Veal Marsala with Parmesan coated linguini is a great pairing, try using this beer in a redux sauce with mushrooms and shallots over the veal.

Photo of merlin48
3.57/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 oz white bottle from a Van Steenberge sampler box. Served at cellar temperature into a chalice, it pours a clear, cola brown body with a small, large-bubbled head that left behind minimal lace. Aroma has overripe bananas, prunes, figs, raisins, a hint of spicy clove and pepper, and fusel alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with effervescent carbonation. The taste features candy sugar, prunes, nearly rotten bananas, danky yeast, clove, and warming alcohol. Finishes slightly bitter, leaving a feeling of alcohol infused prune juice. I really didn't care a lot for this one.

Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Tap Room in Bedford NY. In a Gulden Draak Belgian style glass. Yeehaa, top rated brew on tap in the appropriate glass. This stunning brew pours ruby, brownish, and cloudy. Dark tan head, leaves nice wavy lacing. Exotic nose of cherries, fruit,alcohol,cloves,apricots. Flavor notes figs, raisins,nuts, sweet malts,vanilla,oak, Belgian yeastyness. Can you say complex? Soft mouthfeel, this is terrific stuff, bold flavors, strong and intense. A Belgian lovers dream. Seek this stuff out and enjoy!

Photo of fdrich29
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at Ayotte's in Hudson, NH on 1/30/09. Capped and corked, opaque bottle, bottle conditioned triple. Pours like a young brandy beneath a creamy off-white head with nice carbonated lacing. Smells of figs, malt, sugar, light hops and alcohol. Tastes of fig, malt and hops. Smooth mouthfeel with an alcohol kick on the tail end. Fantastic tasting beer, but with an 10.5% AVB, drinkability is low.

Tremendous example of the style, a well-crafted and great tasting beer.

Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. The beer pours a dark brown color with a large off-white to tan head. The aroma has a lot of Belgian candy sugar as well as some dark fruit and a little bit of toffee. The flavor is full of dark fruit. I get a lot of raisins, as well as some cherry and plum notes. There is a little bit of sweetness from the candy sugar, as well as some brown sugar and molasses notes. The alcohol is very well hidden and is barely noticeable. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A very nice beer.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,488 ratings.