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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,300 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,300
Ratings:
3,751
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
19.52%
 
 
Wants:
287
Gots:
749
For Trade:
3
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

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Reviews: 1,300 | Ratings: 3,751
Photo of Rhettbuck
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is really quite amazing, but unless you are a large bear should only be consumed in moderation. I had it with a big giant burger and wedge fries. The pairing was nice, but it can easily overpower whatever you are eating with it. Definitely a beer that every dark beer drinker should have, but look for a good price. I paid five dollars just for one!

When I drank it, there was little to no head when poured. The taste is strong, and somewhat sweet. Color is dark, more so than a brown ale, but not quite what you'd get from an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of jdubjacket
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After Georgia popped the cap in 2004, this was one of the first Belgians I picked up. I thought it was good then, and I think it's great now. Pours a deep brown with a strong head. Very bubbly. Smells like dried fruit and prunes. Taste is sweet fruit, sugar, alcohol, raisins, and prunes. The taste is very complex, but it comes together and is absolutely delicious. Mouthfeel is rather effervescent, but it's a Belgian brew, so that's expected. One of my favorite Belgians and brews.

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Photo of jeranbrews
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A soft beige head with a healthy 2 fingers to it. A dark colored beer, like tea stains and soy sauce. Visible yeasty wisps scurrying at the bottom. The head faded a little quickly on my glass probably due to improper washing, but it left great lacing like a Rorschach diagram all over the place. The painted bottle prevents all sunlight degradation, and if you go to their website there's an interesting story behind the beer's namesake.

S - The appearance and color of this beer were nice, but the smell is even better. Initial smells include caramel, chocolate, and crystal malts. This moves along into some sweet fructose smells that are easy to pick up even with the glass 3 feet away. Caramel flavors, and spicy hops are punctuated with orange peel (also indicated on the label ingredients).

T - The experience improves even further when you take the first sip. The first word that popped into my head was 'divine'. Initially you get a wave of tastes that seem unlikely in a beer. Sweet fruity, candies, then incense-like spices like flavored tobacco from a traditional Arabic hookah. This quickly moves to a malty sensation that cools the palate while warming the heart. There are yeasty tones too, but not dominate. The final after taste of this beer is that of orange peel and a tang of yeast.

M - The weakest point of this beer is that the alcohol does throw the balance of flavor off a bit. You notice that with the mouthfeel. There is a strong smooth body with a bit of an alcoholic fusil sting. It crawls down the throat after coating the mouth.

D - The alcohol of this beer does kill some of the exotic flavors you find. The first gulp was magically delicious, a real candy store of smells and tastes, however the last few sips were not as good. However this is a beer that stands out among most.

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Photo of ericj551
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak pours a hazy red brown with a beautiful fluffy, foamy off white head that doesn't quit. The aroma is sweet, with tons of ripe fruit and estery, slightly chalky yeast. Sweet, syrupy malt hits upfront in the flavor, dying down just a bit as the esters fade. The fruitiness in there, with some nice, slightly burnt caramel. There is some bitterness in the finish, and the fruity esters linger. Dark malty flavor lingers in the aftertaste. The alcohol is present, but light considering the strength. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with plenty of fizzy carbonation.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer at Sharp Edge Creekhouse in Pittsburgh. Served cool in a Gulden Draak Goblet.

A - Deep Bronze w/ a 2 finger beige collar w/ a fined bead that makes sporadic lace

S - Belgian yeast w/ dark malt odors, biscuit and dark brown sugar w/ a very subtle boozy note and hints of fig in the nose

M- Roasted and dry gain in the feel w/ lively carbonation, subtle sweetness and spiced dry finish

T - Deep w/ candy sugar and gentle spice w/ a hint of vegetal, booze and maple-like woody notes and dark fruit - raisin, fig, and cherry notes w/ a pepper like spice and boozy filled cocoa and date-like candy flavors. The taste becomes smooth and creamy as it warms w/ a nut bread and boozy dark cherry w/ candy sugar accents.

D - I really enjoyed this Belgian strong ale. It was the first I remember having it on draft, but I have enjoyed it many times in bottled form. The balanced sweetness w/ dry alcoholic feel is just superb and I recommend it highly. This is well crafted and restrained for the high abv, A welcome ale to my tastebuds.

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Photo of jbsteiny
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this was only the second beer I'd ever reviewed on this site, so I just wanted to re-review, because my tastes have changed since then and this has become one of my favorites...

dark amber color, thick tan head audibly bubbles down to a thin ring eventually, but good head that leaves beautiful white lacing on the glass. aromas of cookies, pepper, bubblegum, really wonderful blend of malt, ester, and phenol! tastes like heaven to me - this is what Chimay Blue should taste like. light notes of coffee and chocolate overlay the rich malt but are pierced with red wine, pink peppercorns, fig, and faint tangerine. dries up remarkably for such a big beer so that the finish is only slightly sweet. if i could sit at my stool for long enough, i could drink this for hours on a cool evening. thank you van Steenberge! some day I will visit you!

=original review (30 Jan 2006) follows=

Got this in a Belgian sampler, and I really liked the bottle. Decided to crack it open for the Lunar New Year -- thought the dragon was auspicious.

On pouring it, I was surprised how dark it was, and got pretty excited. Some reddish hues and a thick tan head made it a good looking beer.

Smelled sweet, rich and malty. Lots of caramel and plum. Tasted much the same -- a little smoky, a little spicy. I think I preferred smelling it -- maybe some more hoppiness or citrus would have helped keep it from being so syrupy. A little too sweet for me right now, but probably would be excellent for desert.

Big mouthfeel, good carbonation, really coats the inside of your mouth. There's no doubt you're drinking a 10.5, but the alcohol isn't overwhelming because of all of rich malts. Having one of these for desert pretty regularly would make my mouth happy.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Slight spice, maybe gingerbread, and hints of alcohol. Always hard to nail aroma in a bar.

Appearance: Ruby amber and very clear. Long lasting dirty white head left tidemarks of joy.

Flavor: Rich. Dark. Trappist yeast. Chocolate, burnt sugar, and roasted grain. Words, just words, they don’t capture the essence.

Mouthfeel: Velvety! Low carbonation makes it hard to resist chugging like a college freshman.

Overall Impression: Fantastic! Served on tap at the Staminee De Garre with a side of mild cheese, simply heaven on earth. One of the best beers of my Belgian trip!

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Photo of meday
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a short bottle into my Allagash tulip

Dark brown with a reddish hue. From the van Steenberge 6-pack mix I bought, this was the only beer that felt adequately carbonated and delivered a beautiful head.

It smelled of brown sugar and plum. Very inviting.

Deep, beautifully sweet first taste. It was nicely balanced, with caramel and plum overtones. After a couple sips, the sweetness mellowed, and the more earthy and rich tones emerged. I am eating a soft sheep's milk cheese with this, and herbal cream becomes much more prominent in the cheese. Not even a hint of alcohol. Brilliant.

Rich and statisfying in the mouth, with a complete finish.

Drinkability...is it gone already???

This is great as an appetizer with cheese, as the caramel sweetness paired great with a soft sheep's or goat's milk cheese.

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Photo of philphilphil
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance was brilliant mohogany with good inch of off white head.
Smell was all dark fruits with malts.
Taste was totally awesome, like the smell but so smooth yet flavourful.
Mouthfeel was good.
Drinkability is only restricted price i love my gulden draak.

probably belgium's best non trappist beer.

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Photo of aristeros
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. Medium amber color, big two and change fingers of head, decent retention and lots of lacing. Surprising clarity with visible carbonation. Red fruit--apples--and big yeast aroma, nutmeg and coriander, some biscuit.

Strong malts and sweet fruit dominate up front, reminds me almost of an apple cobbler. Very smooth mouthfeel, leaning a bit towards syrupy. Carbonation is more assertive than I expected, but not sharp or off-putting. Some banana, lots of biscuit mingling with a small bit of roasted malts, some alcohol on the back end.

Complex brew, and a lot of flavor in this little bottle! It's sweet, even cloyingly so, and the ABV isn't very noticible but will effect its potential as a session beer. Will definitely come back to this one.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a small bottle into a snifter at BJ's.

A: Translucent copper with a slightly tan head.

S: Lots of cherry and pineapple in the nose. Smells delicious.

T: A slight hint of alcohol, a ton of fruit, especially cherry, and a touch of honey.

M: Medium bodied and less than smooth.

O: This is a great Belgian strong dark ale that you can find just about anywhere.

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Photo of weeezle1971
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Great aroma, smooth flavor, and a full pallet of flavors.. Poured into a glass makes a fine creamy head, and releases the fine odors that you and your company can enjoy together. A little high on the alchohol aftertaste, but I still highly recommend this beer for the true Abbey Ale lovers.

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Photo of basica
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have always been a little skeptical about this beer due to differring reviews about it; some
claiming to be overwhelmed by the alcohol in this brew. I still tried it as I read that this one
is a dark tripel which got me interested (although it is classified as a Strong Dark Ale). I am
generally into the Strong Dark Belgian Ales. The Guldan Draak bottle reminds me of the Boucanier
Dark bottle and yes it is a nice looking opaque white bottle with nice golden borders and... a
golden draak on the label. The Guldan Draak pours out dark brown black with a thick head which
was pretty bubbly and had pretty good retention. This dark ale smells mainly of fruits; slightly
bready and slightly yeasty; coming to the taste, these mentioned properties were furthuer
pronounced into a strong full fledged fruity taste which was slightly sweet and slightly yeasty.
This fruitiness was slightly different from most of the other dark ales and it seems to be a
little like the fruitiness which I tasted in the Westmalle Dubbel but still not as fruity. I
have to admit that I enjoyed this slight fruitiness in the taste. The mouthfeel was full bodied
but the downs are that it is a little on the high carbonation end (though it was pretty alright)
and also the alcoholism was pretty showing up (though again this was pretty acceptable). The
after taste was nice and fruity though would be been great if it had been more long lasting.
All in all a great beer with a slightly unique fruity taste and great body which I really could
appreciate and enjoy.

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Photo of dpool
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first thing that struck me about this beer was the deep amber color; holding it up to the light I could barely see through. The smell was amazing and reminded me of sweet cinnamon and brown sugar. The first taste was just as sweet with a stong hint of alcohol at the end.

I enjoyed this beer after a long night of work and it definitly hit the spot. I will be sure to buy this one again and again.

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Photo of dvar
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had one in the right serving temperature; it produced a great foam when served, which continued to exist almost until the end.
Complex flavor, with great after taste. Very strong and bitter. Be caution when you drink, the alcohol does not appear very strongly, deceiving the drinker into becoming intoxicated.

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Photo of Andrewtherooster
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with a nice cloudy white head. Great lacing.

Smells of dark fruits--plums and prunes. I got a little whiff of some green pear qualities, as well as plenty of alcoholic esters.

In the taste there is a reoccurrence of fruits with a big, warming alcohol. Finishes with a roastiness that I'm not sure if it's coming from the alcohol or the malt. While drinking this, I could not help but think about how well this would go with a spicy green curry, or even something like fried plantains. Absolutely delicious beer that I could see going great with food.

Mouthfeel is medium and heavily carbonated. Perfect to the style.

I would whole-heartedly recommend this beer. It's very drinkable, is complex without being overbearing, and absolutely delicious. Well worth the $5 I paid for the bottle.

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Photo of kegger22
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak is dark brown in color with a modest beige head that fades to a collar. As I hold it up to the computer screen, it has a red cast to it. The aroma is like a dessert wine, maybe a sherry, noticeably boozy. The taste follows the nose, sherry, and sweet, and grapes. The feel is medium/full with only a little carbonation. Drinkability is good. I think a 750 ml bottle of this would be perfect to share with some nice, young lady on a date.

Quite good, but unlike any beer I've had; BSDA, Tripel, or other. If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck and tastes like a duck; is it a wine, I mean a duck? Who cares, it is impressive.

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Photo of Nipitato
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a kick ass looking bottle at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Deep amber hue with ruby highlights. Thick and moussy tann/off white head with good retention. Good clarity despite darkness. A good looking beer.

S: Boozy with some scotch like character. Some chocolate and butterscotch (though not diacetyl). Dark fruit esters - raisins come through strong. Spicy: clove, cinnamon, and allspice. This is a very good nose.

T: Boozy strong again with some scotch like character. Very sweet - butterscotch (again not diacetyl) carries through. Some bitterness at the end. The phenols in this beer are very prominent. Clove, cinnamon, and allspice all come to mind. The bitterness balances out the sweetness well.

MF: Full mouthfeel. Well carbonated. Slick and creamy. Alcohol warming present but not hot.

D,notes: A great sipping beer. Very well balanced with nice phenolic compliments.

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Photo of jaymesbawned
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a ceramic painted bomber into a Duvel Tulip

Appearance-Very surprisingly dark for a so-called tripel. nice deep brown with tan head

Smell-Instatnyly get a banana smell, combined with the belgian yeast makes a kind of banana bread quality to it. a tiny bit of alcohol balances it out wonderfully.

Taste-follows the smell with a nice bananabready flavor, posibly some raisin.

Mouthefeel-coats well, but not to thick

Overall- Very solid beer, seems like it is it's own style as I haven't seen any other dark tripels one of my favorites now.

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Photo of Todd
4.58/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of RickS95
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Initial pour is a creamy brown, like hot chocolate, but when it fills the glass it's almost black. Extreme dark brown with just specs of lighter colors around the edges. The head is off-tan and a couple fingers thick with good retention. As the head dies, it's leaves sticky tan foam around the glass.

It's got a bready, chocolately nose not significantly different than chocolate cake or brownies. A bit of an earthy, flowery scent I can't quite put my finger on. As it warms, the chocolate scents grow.

The taste is extraordinary. Tastes like a dark chocolate liqueur, with the slightest hint of vanilla added in for good measure. Just nibbles of hops to keep all the sweetness in balance.

As mentioned, it's sweet, but never too much so. It's got a remarkable creaminess to it. Full-bodied. There's alcohol in there, but despite it's strength it hides in the background. This beer really sticks to your tongue.

One of my new favorite beers. The Belgians simply know how to brew beer.

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Photo of scootny
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A brown fluid, ruddy and deep pours out of a 330 ml bottle. A good and healthy head rises up and remains for a time in my Chimay chalice. A thin covering lingers. Not much carbonation evident but there is lacing to admire as I drink the glass dry.

Smell is sweet and malty. Belgian candy sugar and bananas. Raisins, currants, figs, faint chocolate and toffee.

Taste is outstanding. Big sweet malt goodness. Copious amounts of the dark fruits in the nose. Figs and raisins being the most prominent. This beer is delectably sweet. Alcohol is well hidden and adds just a bit of spice and pepper to balance the sweet. There are hops in here and they are perfect. Gentle and mild they clean the finish up and dry the mouth. Clean and graham crackery. I need more of this to get all of the flavors down, stay tuned.

Moutfeel is light and creamy. Smooth drinking and and refreshing to the tongue and palate. Velvety as well.

Drinkability is way too good for something of this abv. very easy to knock back two bottles maybe three with the right meal.

An exceptional beer that is simply outstanding. It will have you talking to yourself with each swallow.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks about as Belgian as it gets, this pour murky brown with lasting, clingy tan pillow top. Aroma is rich - sweet candi sugar, toffee, and malt. Flavor is almost the same - sweet malt and dark fruits - raisins and plums - with a twang of yeast, finishing ever so slightly tart and dry. This is what I like in this genre. Wow.

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Photo of Stavage
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown liquid. Holding up to the light, it does not seem cloudy at all so you can appreciate the abyss in the centre of the glass. Despite a semi robust pour didn't get much head out of this (for a Belgian). What head I did get retained well though and left a very pleasing sticky lacing.

Some ripe fruits and dried fruits in the smell but also a lot of phenol clove scent and some herbal aromas. A certain...pleasant mustiness which balanced the 'sweetness' on the nose. Unfortunately I also got a slightly metallic scent in there too. That oxidised smell. I wondered if maybe the seal wasn't too great which could account for the relatively flat poor and the whiff of metallic scent, but strangely enough this never followed through to the taste.

Definitely a sweet beer, but also lots of complexities in here too. Some roast dark and sweet malts in here which give a sweetness a biscuitiness but also an earthiness to the flavours. A bit of dried fruit too which also adds a certain richness and sweetness to the proceedings. But with all this sweetness it's never sickly or sticky sweet and it's all well balanced by the earthy notes and the spicy and herbal notes too. Bit of alcohol bite but not much (surprisingly).

Mouthfeel is very smooth and silky. Quite a full beer too. And surprisingly drinkable. Quite a high abv and you'd have never guessed, the main hint is that it warms you a little more than the average beer (and lightens yuor head a little more too).

Overall really enjoyed this and definitely something I want on rotation. Normally I'd say the sweetness would take away from the drinkability for me but rather than be balanced with a bitterness it was successfully toned down with a herbal earthiness so really just an all round winner in my books.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

blood red when exposed to light, clear. 2 finger egg white head in a tulip, leaves a crusty lacing behind. awesome looking. aroma is very yeasty with sweet and sour cherries and candied dates. velvety and reminiscent of a dessert wine. super-belgian and very appetizing. candi sugars give way to an explosion of red fruit and christmasey spices. that cinnamon fruity burst of smooth beeriness is very trappist, and comes very close to my memory of fresh westvleteren 12.. the closest i can remember, next to bbbourgondier and bernardus abt 12. previous gulden draak drafts at other places have been cloudy with yeast, spoiled, or too cold. leave it to moan and dove to hook this up right, and turn me on to something i have been missing for a while. a real eye-opener.

alcohol sting in the end is a bit of a bitch, but sweetness is right there to assist with the balance. a little overcarbonated, but goes down easy regardless. notmuch about this beer to pick on, i'm really stretching to find a flaw. i can still taste it in my cheeks and it makes me want more. what a superb beer.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 1,300 ratings.