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

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)

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1,265 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,265
Hads: 3,579
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 19.57%
Wants: 258
Gots: 624 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,265 | Hads: 3,579
Photo of radioscooter
4.83/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is so-far, in 20 years of beer geekitude, my (so far) all time favorite drinking beer. I love it for any time of year and I find myself in an uncomfortably dependent relationship with it. Luckily, I only drink two beers in an evening anymore, and at 10.5%ABV, that suits this brand just fine. It's an ass-kicker and after about 3 minutes, you know you're drinking. Alternate with waters if you're at a pub.

Yes, it is heady and has beautiful Belgian lacing and a strong, rich taste and I suppose there are some fig or plum or fruity overtones, etc. Maybe with some time and effort I'll be able to refer to these attributes with less flippancy and more accuracy.

But so many other more knowledgeable and practiced BAs have reviewed the Draak that I didn't just want to chime in with yet another list of offbeat flavors with which to try to out-obscure this beer's flavor.

What you need to know is fairly simple. If you like dark, strong Belgian triples - this is one of the best. But then - if you already know you like these types of beers, then you've probably already tried this one. It's one of the prominent Belgians in just about every self-respecting alehouse that serves them that I've visited.

I find that served cold from the fridge, or right off a tap - as with many strong ales, its flavor is really masked by the temp. My usual trick is to pour, let sit for 7-10 min. and then sip it slowly over the next 15 minutes. This allows the full flavor experience, which is what separates this beer from other similar styles.

To perhaps bring something new to the discussion, I can discuss the difference between the 11oz bottles, the 750 and the on-tap offerings, as I've experienced all three within the past week.

These conditions may affect many beers similarly, or they may not. Your mileage may vary, obviously. I find that of the three ways I've had it - the larger 750 bottle is my favorite. This beer isn't served by more carbonation, and the big bottle has the least, while the tap version seems to have more. That may be dependent on the bar's system, but Jeff at the legendary Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh knows what he's doing there and it is consistent. The differences are subtle, but the smaller bottle is the lessor of the three. Sadly, we cannot buy the 750's in PA. I just bought a case of the 11's and that wasn't easy either.

For clarity - On tap I usually drink it at the Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh. (in a true GD goblet) I had my last one at the new Bistro 922 version of the Edge which, on the day I was there, had recently opened and was hosting a bevy of Furries from the convention a block away.

I ordered my case of 11's from a local distributor whose usual most exotic is "any beer that has the lime built-in" but he's a friend of mine and likes to tell his other customers about the idiot that pays $90 for a case of beer. I drink this at home poured into my Chimay goblets (shhh don't tell anyone, it's the only glassware I own. But my birthday approaches. Hint, hint)

I found and tried the 750's for the first time on vacation in Virginia and was so excited, I drank a whole one every night for the week we were there. (poured into some rental property wine goblets that were on hand) For the record - the Fredericksburg, VA Wegman's has a punishingly great beer and wine selection for being a freaking supermarket. Represent.

I did read somewhere to pair it with chocolate cake. I never understand the idea of pairing an already-sweet beer with a rich dessert. But all in the effort of science, I tried a small handful of bittersweet chocolate with a sip last night - and whaddya know - bliss.

I'll be cellaring some (if I can bare it) to see how it does over time.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.83/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The main reason I gave the appearance such a high rating was the massive, impressive head that it had. This head was sooo thick and sooo creamy, it is the best head I have ever experienced(jokes aside). The color was a very nice brownish-red, kind of like georgia mud water. The taste was beefy, just like most strong belgians. I really enjoyed this one, but it would have been even better in the dead of winter.

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Photo of Giggy
4.82/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown color with a slight garnet hue. Was amazed to find it so dark since most Trippels are more golden. Large tan head that stayed.

S: Wow! Toffee, caramel and malt. Also the scent of the most loveliest yeast.

T: Very sweet at first but the alcohol comes in and takes it away slightly. Pepper, anise, red grapes, honey and herbs

M: Medium body, creamy and smooth.

O: A must try and a must have for any Belgian lover. This is one you want to recomend and share with friends.

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Photo of acoatley
4.82/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Characteristic thick Belgian head, moderate retention, reddish brow but crystal clear

Aroma: Caramel and vanilla no hops just a hint of sweet malt and butterscotch it’s like a candy factory

Flavor: Delivers maple syrup, butterscotch, definitely some characteristics of that Belgian yeast dark cherries

Mouthfeel: moderate to low carbonation silky smooth full body definitely makes my top 10

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Photo of MattyG85
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark and hazy brownish amber with some ruby red. Pours with a huge off white head that easily takes up the entire space of the tulip. Head slowly fades into a bubbly patchy layer leaving a good amount of lace on the glass.

Smell: Some spicy Belgian yeast and a huge aroma of dark fruits. Big hints of prune juice, raisins, and cherries with some brown sugar, banana, and clove. Also some hints of sweet roasted caramel malts. Alcohol aroma is actually fairly mild.

Taste: Upfront is some Belgian yeast and clove spice. Then comes a big taste of dark fruits with notes of prunes, cherry, and raisins. Also some brown sugar and a hint of banana. A nice taste of roasted caramel malts towards the finish give a bready aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Creamy, juicy, and somewhat prickly. Very smooth with no noticeable alcohol heat.

Overall: A great Belgian ale. Vibrant dark fruits and complex.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This a beer that I order when I bring people to try good beers at the Sharp Edge for the first time. Most people are impressed by the 20oz. tulip shaped glass with the golden dragon on it, plus I know that the imbiber is going to get happy real quick. Appearance: Deep mahogany huge velvety tan light brown head extravagant fine lacing very detailed and webbed. Aroma: Deep mulilayered with fruit and fusel alcohol contains a nice balance between sweetness and the herbal hop profile. Taste: Mild chocolate notes with raisin and apple tones that come out slightly caramelized ripened fruit with a toasted nut edge to it all with a slight spiciness that brings the mouth a full orgy of flavors. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied effervescent a true gem in the realm of Belgian beer. Drinkability: Dangerously easy to consume try to keep it to just one of these bad boys in a sitting, definitely one of my all time favorite Belgians.

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Photo of Jemonster
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A golden amber looking color with almost no head, however, a light lacing is left behing in the glass.

S: Sweet, strong, slightly alcoholic... candylike.

T: Again, very sweet like the smell, reminds me of mead. I taste honey and some earthiness.

M: Sort of flat, good, but definately the lacking aspect in this one.

D: Very smooth and could be a session beer if judged on taste alone, but the 10.5% ABV could cause some problems.

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Photo of dbell23
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a wire and cork 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Mahogany color with a huge foamy off white head that lingers and settles into fluffy cloud on a small dense head. Lacing is really nice.

Smell is dark Belgian classic. Candied fruit,maybe brandied fruit, sweet malt, light phenols, yeasty goodness.

Taste is spectacular. Sweet malt with practically no hop. Candied fruit maybe stewed prunes. Raises, slight banana. Great dark Belgian tastes. The alcohol is hidden but definitely there.

Mouthfeel starts with maybe too much carbonation but, one might imagine, it smoothes out as it warms. Really nice.

Overall, this may be my favorite dark Belgian. Great beer.

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Photo of GreatLeo
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured from the 330ml bottle into a Judas glass with best before date of 24/05/09.
Body is a deep amber color with a strong sticky, foamy head that hangs around for while. Aroma of sweet, bready malt, raisin, and a hint of spicy hops and pepper. Taste is mildly sweet up front, then becomes richer and maltier as it goes down. Finish is smooth one with a small hint of lingering heat from the alcohol content. Considering the high ABV this brew has its hidden extremely well which makes this a beer very drinkable.
Body is very rich and creamy, just what you want for a dessert beer. I've had quite a few light tripel style brews over the years but this is a first in the dark tripel category and I must say I am quite impressed. I'm definately putting a few of these beauties away for cellaring one could only wonder the improvements this beer will make over a year or two.

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Photo of ZAP
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Maroon colored...nice fluffy white head...sweet aroma of caramel drenched black cherries..a bit yeasty on the nose with a very faint barn yard like smell....taste is big time sweet...doppelbock like sweetness...Big sweet dark fruits, also some tropical fruits....rum...caramel, molasses, cotton candy, this is an awesome tasting beer....body is medium...carbonation about medium...drinkability sky high for me..High ABV is nowhere to be found in the taste...this one could be dangerous if I had a lot of it in the house...

What a fucking treat this one was....I must have more of this...I must move to Belgium soon.

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Photo of burring
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I haven't been able to have any type of alcohol for two weeks since I was on antibiotics. Bought this at the beginning of my stint so I had something to look forward to.

Appearance: pours a beautiful auburn color. Slightly cloudy when held up to a CFL. I may even go far as to say it's beautiful? Maybe not but it is a pretty auburn color.

Smell: I can smell the malt and alcohol. It smells fruity. Like putting your nose into a bottle of cran-grape juice. It's pleasant. Inviting.

Taste: malty and sweet. It's a pleasant sweetness. Definitely not a make-your-teeth-hurt-sweet. It's very nice. I taste various berries but I am unable to pinpoint what type of berries I taste. It's reminiscent to the cherries from a cherry tree that used to grow in the backyard where I grew up. I'm not sure if cherries are berries. If not, then go with me. I really enjoy this. I hate to give it a five but I feel like I would be lying to you all if I didn't.

Mouthfeel: smooth, smooth, smooth. From this point on, for mouthfeel, I will plug my nose and really pay attention to the taste. (I'd rather not get into my semantic and lexical knit-picking when it comes to the words taste and flavor.) It's a bit viscus, but not to the point where it feels like molasses on my tongue but to a degree where it feels as it simply rolls over it with deliberateness.

Drinkability: difficult not to drink quickly. It's very tasty. Like, to the point where I want to take the bottle straight to the face. This may sound exaggerated but it's not. Don't believe me? Try it. If you don't like it, well, sorry. We all perceive these things differently. I just would be hard-pressed to find many people who really disliked this beer.

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Photo of Mdez
4.79/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I tried this because of all the good things I've read about it. Even though it's a tripel and "should be" lighter, the darker appearance was intriguing. Once I tasted it, I decided that I would always have some of this around; it's just too good to pass-up; maybe even too good to share. Now I know one more place to stop when I eventually take that beer/winery trip to Belgium...

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Photo of Jon
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak -- now I know. Out of the white bottle comes a dark mahogany chestnut color with an enormous, incredibly durable and creamy khaki head. It laces well down the chalice. Very impressive looking. The bouquet is nutty and sweet, with notes of chocolate, mild alcohol, and, surprisingly, herbal hops. The taste of this beer is ever-evolving as the brew warms. I detected sweet, nutty malt, candy sugar, moderate alcohol, dark chocolate, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, a bit of pepper and twangy hops. The finish has somewhat of a warming alcohol and spicy, twangy hop character. The variety of flavors this beer possesses is incredible. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth with a very mild, subdued carbonation that fits perfectly. The potent alcoholic strength of this brew is hard to detect if you don't read the label first. This is an outstanding ale and is HIGHLY recommended!

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Photo of luvND
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: 330 ml white bottle, attractive package, golden dragon on label

Appearance: Best, thickest head retention that I have ever seen. Beautiful dark brown color.

Smell: Sweet, brown sugar, caramel, some ripe fruit and a hint of the alcohol.

Taste: I drank this first on its own and it was very nice, sweet, nice malt, all Belgian. Then I had it with some turkey sausage and what a pairing, sweetness complemented the spice so well. Finally, I finished it with desert, coffee ice cream and hot fudge and I think it was the best match of the evening. The slightly bitter coffe ice cream with the rich hot fudge brought out flavors in the beer that I hadn' t yet tasted.

Mouthfeel: As smooth and rich as possible. Not too thick though.

Drinkability: Scary at 10+%

Overall: A friend gave me this one. Never heard of it. Now I will confidently rank it as one of the best beers that I have ever tasted, Belgian or other.

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Photo of Suds
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is an experience in itself. It's a beautiful dark brown beer with a full, thick and creamy head. Heavily carbonated: If you hold it to the light, you'll see a constant billowing of bubbles from the scorings on the bottom of a belgain beer glass. Spicy, complex aroma. Pleasing warming sensation from the first sip. Full, creamy, and very malty beer. I loved it.

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Photo of golffan8
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had the beer on tap with a Chilean Sea Bass topped with a miso sauce...great paring! This is a slow drinking, sipping beer that is meant to be appreciated and savored.

A - Appearance was a gold.

S - Smell was dried fruit and alcohol.

T - Initial taste was: molasses, oak and alcohol. It finished with dry fruit and notes of pear and plumb.

This is a great example of an excellent Strong Belgian Ale. It is a beer that should be appreciated with a great dinner and should be paired with a meal with strong flavors (gamey meats, meat or fish topped with a sweet sauce or smoky flavors).

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Photo of MBPChead
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Definitely one of my all time favorite beers and I had plenty of it while I was in France.

Deep brown in color with amber, orange, and caramel hues with a thick creamy head in both texture and color.

Smell; caramel, wheat, brown sugar, slight hints of pepper.

Taste; quite sweet overall with the apparent and forefront flavors of caramel, brown sugar, wheat, rye grains, and black pepper accompanied by plum and prune flavors, slight hits of cinnamon and cloves, with orange and whiskey hints on occasional sips making the level of alcohol present as a reminder, very complex all in all.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy with the same density as water but with medium carbonation giving it a slightly prickly sensation on the tongue.

Drinkability: The flavor of this bier allows it to easily slip over the drinker's taste buds and down the throat I could easily drain several of these, but the level of alcohol in this brew deters that idea quite a bit.

All in all truly an excellently brewed BIER!

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Photo of bigkahunas4
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It had been one month and 7 days since I first laid my lips on the Gulden Draak, having fallen into a late summer's affair after sampling her at the BBF. I saw it as part of the rotational Belgian draughts at Publick House's Monk's Cell and decided it was once again time to call on my mistress. Labelled as "The Bomb" rather than Dark Triple or aby recognized style like its other brothers on the menu, she came out appropriately in a tulip.

Appearance: I have yet to see a better structured brew. 1.5 finger deerskin head that just hung there truly becoming a permanent body part of the Draak. The body was a translucent amber that sparkled ruby when help up to the light. A gem indeed.

Smell: Nose was extremely rich, candied sugar dominating, with notes of figs, plums, and cinnamon.

Taste: Sweet jesus. Just incredibly constructed; sweet but not too sweet, warming alcohol finish but barely noticeable to the untrained palette. Just a gorgeous Belgian flavor, accented by a lovely brown sugar background.

Mouthfeel: Creamy medium body that goes down smooth. My one critique of this beer is that it turns to foam too quickly inside your mouth.

Drinkability: Obviously one of my favorites here. With a high ABV you certainly can't drink any more than a 750 of this, but it no doubt would be enjoyable throughout. Well masked Abv, and just a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of zerk
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this one on tap last night, and it was everything I remembered and more... beautiful cloudy dark amber, with a creamy head. Yeasty, sweet, and spicy... notes of dried fruit and maybe even cinnamon. I've been looking long and hard for a beer that I like more that this, but as of now, Draak rules.

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Photo of steinlifter
4.78/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Came in sexy white bottle, poured a deep amber, left a thick rich, meringue type head, that retained all the way through, lots of bubbles.
smell was of dark fruits, sweet smelling, complex,whiff of molasses.
taste was INCREDIBLE! sweet and tart, fair amount of hop taste, but brilliantly blended into the dark & fruity melange'..some cherry notes..
mouthfeel is excellent as well, full rich, slightly tart, finishes smooth as silk....
This was recommended to me by my friend "cypressbob", who just recently returned from Amsterdam, where he had tried it. This turned out to be spot on!...thanks mate!...highly recommended!

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Photo of Stubbie1
4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby brown with a small tight slightly off white head. The head fades and leaves an island of foam in the middle that stays for the whole ride to the bottom of the empty glass. Dark fruit, figs, plumbs and raisins are the aroma. Mild tones of malt and hint of spice accompany the dark fruit.
First sip was WOW! I wasn’t expecting something to jump out. The dark fruit is dominated with a mild malt and spice. Even banana is present and a slight musty flavor mixed in. Hints of alcohol follow the fruit and finish with a silky smooth mouthfeel.
This is a simply wonderful brew and a new a favorite.

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Photo of Sage
4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Er, where do I start? This a simply fantastic beer. The beer pours a dark reddish-brown, slightly murky. The smell is fine, with lots of fruit and slight toffee/caramel. And the taste is packed - caramel sweetness upfront followed by a clarifying maltiness, and wonderful spicy hints of pepper (that become stronger as the beer warms). And meanwhile somehow the big bludgeoning 10.5 percent of alcohol forgets to step in and hijack the party, instead content to restrain itself to providing a pleasing warming sensation to round it all off. Delicious.

My favourite beer from Belgium that's not black as night (so far...)

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Photo of baconfromwalmart
4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Light brown head made of large and small bubbles, had staying power. The color was darker than I expected and matched the bottle glass perfectly.

Smell: Caramel, toasted marshmallow, hint of raisin.

Taste: First sip tasted like medicinal syrup but in the best possible way. Nice alcohol warmth. Flavors of toasted grain and raisin without the sweetness are really balanced, nothing overpowering.

Feel: Creamy, extremely smooth.

Overall: I usually prefer lighter brews, but this one is smooth, delicious and dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

G – Tripel Karmeliet tulip

A – Deep, dark brown in hue, cola-brown, with soapy eggshell froth.

S – The aroma is strongly malty with notes of black licorice, cherry bbq, rum-raisin, banana ester and pumpernickel.

T – I think this is a very good beer; it tastes very strong, sweetly malty, with port and sherry characteristics present to the point of vinous. Hops are scantly discernible on the finish, but they are quickly upended by the woody, sugary elements of this brew. Initially it seems bit overdone, honestly, as the alcohol fuses with the sugary sweetness to finish in a somewhat cloying manner, but as the beer warms up to you and you to it, it becomes amazingly decadent and delicious. Overall, it is a deliciously flavorful beer, just somewhat unbalanced.

M – Full-bodied and not the slightest bit dry until the finish, which is long and ends on the verge of dryness.

D – This beer will tank you; it is super strong and tastes like candy…

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Photo of Stunner97
4.77/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance- white tan head, with very dark brown color and low amount of carbonation, slight see through when held to light

Smell- mix of chocolate, vanilla, yeast, molasses, and caramel very overall intriguing nose

Taste- Very very nice flavor, lots of chocolate and even vanilla, and caramel, very complex, dark chewey and beautiful malt sweetness, overall such a pleasant flavor of a beer,

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with a very beautiful chewey feel,

Drinkability- even though its 10 percent alcohol you cant even notice it a damn bit, so enjoyable and well balanced, a definite sipper and a great after dinner beer, its creamy sweet and delicous search it out, I got this 4 pack for 9.99 I feel I got the deal of the century, yummy.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
93 out of 100 based on 1,265 ratings.