Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
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Ratings: 2,934 | Reviews: 1,199 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Chrysostom:
4.49/5 rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
As always, I review live, not from notes, puzzling out the libation brewed in houses of salvation. As always, I review to style (ala BJCP), modified by personal taste (contra BJCP), not solely to personal taste, which would be unfair to many great examples of styles that I don't personally favour.
I'm re-reviewing this beer. I had it first out of a small bottle and did a "quick rating" of 3.75 - it was drinkable, and even good, but I wasn't impressed.
Called a "Dark Triple" by the brewers, this is more of a unique Quadrupel.
Presentation: 750mL corked and caged bottle, $11.99, covered in a white plastic coating, making it opaque. Poured in to a Chimay chalice/goblet at around 45ºF, warming as I write.
A: A cloudy, but still translucent-to-nearly-transparent around the edges, dark nut brown colour with strong highlights of some shade of muddy red. On a gentle pour, one finger of head is left, which recedes slowly to an almost-cap upon the face of the beer and a ring around its edges. Lacing nonexistent.
S: The nose is dominated by fruits and esters, with a strong malt presence and sweet odor. There's some elusive caramelized sugar and toffee in there, too. There is no detectable alcohol in the nose at any temperature - it blends that well with the other smells. The fruits aren't the standard Belgian Strong Dark dark fruits - they're more citric. As it warms, a mild Belgian funk and equally-mild spice become noticeable in the nose. Not extremely complex smelling, but appetizing and inviting.
T: Malts, brown malts, roasted malts - lots of malts, did I say? - fresh red grapes, raisins, plums and prunes, a slight, typically Belgian spiciness, with a mild solventy or spicy alcoholic taste on the finish, which actually adds to and completes the flavour, instead of detracting from it as it can so often do. A thread of moderate, but far from cloying or unappetizing, sweetness runs through the beer from start to finish, as is typical in true Belgian Darks but so often devolves in to overly-sweet, unbalanced cloyingness in American "replicas" of the style. The sweetness runs, melds, interchanges and combines with a bready dryness which also runneth from stem to stern. A little warming alcohol on the finish intertwines with the omnipresent exchange and interplay of fruity sweetness and bready dryness. Excellent.
M: The carbonation is loose and light-feeling. This drink is reminiscent of St Bernardus Abbot 12 - the best beer in the world, and the only that I have ever rated perfect 5s down the line - but is a bit thinner in mouthfeel. The loose, bouncy, spritzy carbonation doesn't allow the flavours to pull together as well as they could. It's still excellent.
O: I'm blown out of the water by the differences between the first small bottle I had and this large one, for whatever reason (freshness? etc.). A worthy Belgian Strong Dark/Quadrupel, an excellent example of the style, well-deserving of the reputation it has built up. 4.5s down the line here, and I may be under-rating the appearance and taste a little bit. Highly drinkable, moderately-highly complex, begs you to take another sip. Not as complex and unfathomable as a St Bernardus Abbot 12, but comparable to a Chimay Blue. I'll be sure to come back to this one.
To style (BSDA/Quad): 90/100
To official BJCP style (16E, "Belgian Specialty"): 97/100
To taste: 93/100
Serving type: bottle
03-31-2013 12:10:32 | More by Chrysostom
More User Reviews:
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 2,934 ratings.