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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
93
outstanding

1,259 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,259
Hads: 3,543
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.05%
Wants: 252
Gots: 601 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,259 | Hads: 3,543
Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was THE beer for me back in 2007-2009, which was before I really discovered North American specialty craft beers. I'd always went with craft options since around 2002 but for the really interesting stuff I always went Belgian. Fast-forward to today and most of my Belgian beers in the past year or two have been gueuze. I hadn't had a Gulden Draak in about 2 years.

This one I'd cellared in my wine fridge for about a year. Not enough time to change much, but perhaps took the edge off.

A: Dark crimson red with dense and stubborn off-white head.

S: Raisins, dried fruit, red fruit and stone fruit. Lots of fruit but in a heavy and dark way. Big malt presence, prickle of Belgian yeast.

T: Red fruit maltiness with a slightly tart or bitter finish. The alcohol heat is there though not enormous. Slightly herbal, tiny bit of licorice.

M: Crisp and lighter than the beer calls for, to me. I guess this is where it's a dark triple instead of a quad.

O: A solid beer for sure and much fruitier and sweeter than I'd remembered. Solid complexity though I'd like a bit more substance in the physical body of the beer. I've been spoiled though: this is no Westvleteren. (1,179 characters)

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(poured into a snifter)

A: solid standard brown in color, sharp-clear, with a jewel-like glow.... very high stand of foam on the pour, off-white in color, decent lacing and retention.... strange, but you can sort of surmise that it's low on hops and perhaps has a good portion of sugar in the bill.... how do i know? imagination?

S: some spicy aromatics, though weak.... dark candy sugar or demerara.... vague roasted/toasted grain....overall, weak and uninspiring with a touch of hot booze

T: way more expressive on the palate than in the sinuses.... dark sugar comes out more... supple yet mellow maltiness w/o being sweet.... quite dry, dropping off and disappearing by the finish, with little residual flavor outside alcohol aromatics....

M: delicate, slightly silky at first... quick shift mid-sip to a rush of boozy warmth that fans out across the palate.... has sort of a soft flare/burn-out effect (zapping out any sweet flavors in the process).... overall, great feel for a triple

O: I could perhaps agree that you could think of this as a "dark triple" (1,068 characters)

Photo of cambabeer
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with reddish hues transparent body below a beautiful white head and lace that sticks to the glass. Smells of malt, creamy and alcoholic. Some herbal spices and pepperiness with some sweet fruit to balance it out. Raisins and bubblegum. Very nice mouthfeel, thickness from the malt. Sweeter and fruitier in the beginning, the warming alcohol and a little bit of hops then break through and the aftertaste is toasty and malty with a little bit of dried fruits. Bready from the malt. Honestly, hard to describe as every with every sip I seem to find new characteristics. A great brew and good treat, ABV definitely noticeable. (634 characters)

Photo of Mdez
4.79/5  rDev +14.6%
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... (380 characters)

Photo of dlcoblen
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 2.5 to a 3.5 finger head. It pours bubbly, you can hear the bubbles fizzing. The color is dark red with a creamy white head.

S: fruit, dark fruit medley. You can smell the alcohol due to the high abv. Also I picked up an apple aroma?

T: salty caramel and dark sugared fruits. This dark triple was showing its true colors when it warms up. The room temperature brings out a lot more dimensions in my opinion. So let this one warm up a bit.

M: Carbonated balance with a real light syrup mouth feel.

O: After letting this brew warm it was quite enjoyable to taste the different levels of flavor. I will be buying this again. (628 characters)

Photo of jprock01
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Be careful drinking this beer. It will knock your d.kk into the dirt. I had some in California, then met some Hispanics, with whom I naturally drink tequila. Well shooting tequila and chugging the beer two or three times caused me to lose my coat and get a cut over my eye. I haven't drunk it since. (299 characters)

Photo of FLima
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark mahogany color with a huge beige mushroom head with great retention and leaving lots of strong laces.
Nice malty aroma with notes of hay (just initially), dark fruits and caramel.
Bold flavor with strong malty and spicy notes, prunes soaked in liquor, caramel, earthy hops, candied sugar, dried fruits, cloves, bubblegum and cherries. Just a hint of vinous tartness. Dry aftertaste that lingers its predominant flavors.
Medium to full body with good carbonation, somewhat sticky. Alcohol of 10.5% abv is very harmonic with the overall beer.
Big beer, tasty and one of the most condimented beers around, but also quite fruity and with a strong malty base to support it. Recommendable sipper. (699 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted 2 January 2014, reviewed from notes.

Pours a dark amber-brown, apparently clear, but dark enough that I can't really see through it. Two big fingers of yellowish head, quite dense. Head is lasting, with lovely fingers of lacing reaching up the glass.

Smell is rich and sugary and lightly alcoholic. Lots going on in there, brown sugar, balanced by some aromatic twinges that rise up in the nose. It's well balanced, though somewhat split in two, with the deep and the thin, the light and the dark.

Taste is potent. As in the smell, it's sugary, with brown sugar and caramel. A little herbal bitterness, blending into alcoholic bitterness, but they're both smoothly balanced by the sugars.

Feel is a bit over-carbonated. Medium-heavy body, plenty of residual sugars. Carbonation flares up, foamy and eruptive in my mouth. Would be better with 25% less carbs.

I really like this beer. It's rare to encounter such a big beer that's so well-balanced. It definitely tilts toward malty, but for me it has just the right amount of counter-weight in the lightness and bitterness. (1,083 characters)

Photo of damndirtyape
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, no date, but did see a “14CM” laser printed on one side of the label. Poured into a Karmeliet tulip glass.

Appearance: Very dark amber with lots of carbonation coming up through the beer when held up to the light. Big thick rocky light tan head with lots of chunks, sheets, and strands of lacing all over the glass.

Smell: Fruit, just a hint of mustiness, yeast, toffee and raisins with a swirl. Maybe just a hint of orange peel in there as well. Lovely.

Taste: Lots of sweetness with caramelized malt, candi sugars, and fruit notes. Mild bitter finish; I’m not getting any phenolic character, but there is some spiciness to it at the end. Rich and deep in sweetness, but balanced and not cloying would be a good way to describe the flavor of this beer. Very nice.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, nicely slick and thick at the same time – a bit chewy as well. Definitely sticks to the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: A definite treat of a beer, worth savoring slowly after a meal, but I think I could pair this with the right meal and/or desert and it would go equally well. Alcohol is dangerously hidden, as I know if I had another one of these I would be in trouble. So one is enough per evening, but it is so tasty I would not mind a bigger glass / bottle to enjoy slowly over an evening. (1,319 characters)

Photo of BethanyB
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A clear dark gold, with a massive, moussey white head. Leaves lots of lacing on the glass. A good looking example of a darker version of the Tripel style.

Smell: Very boozey! The various smells are unexpected, yet appetizing. Pineapple, hay, and a clove/banana mixture one would expect more from a Hefeweizen. Gives the impression that this is a big beer, but with lighter and brighter flavors.

Taste: Melanoidins not present in the smell are prominent in the taste. Toffee, caramel and dates are surprisingly good when combined with a pina colada flavor. Lightly toasted malt and soft spices bring balance to the mix. A slightly medicinal aftertaste reminds me of a beer that hasn't been completely fermented, but it doesn't take away from the fact that this is one delicious drink.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with high carbonation.

Overall: It. Is. So. Good. Slightly green, and a little too alcohol-forward perhaps, but no matter. Give me more of this delectable sipper. (992 characters)

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2013, so it's well out of date. Picked up ages ago as part of a Belgian six-pack and stashed in my garage. Hopefully the high ABV will have helped to preserve it. Nice bottle, though I wish they still coated them with ceramic....

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle conditioned. A dark reddish-brown hue that appears almost black in the glass. Intense carbonation is just visible, along with chunky floating sediment. Yields a large head of creamy beige foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a thick surface layer. Aroma of sweet, fruity malt with hints of prunes, dried fruit, sherry, fruitcake, brown sugar/caramel, mild oxidation and a warming whiff of booze. Impressive but faintly cloying.

Tastes of rich, fruity malt with a sweet character and a lingering finish. Notes of prunes, raisins, dried fruit, sherry, fruitcake, brown sugar, caramel, subtle oxidation, a twinge of vanilla, stewed leaves and faint earthiness. Pretty sweet, with a hint of warming alcohol in the background. A mild, leafy bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with good body and perhaps a shade too much carbonation. An aftertaste of sweet, fruity malt, dark sugar and booze.

A Belgian classic, though sweeter than I remember it. Perhaps the age of the bottle has resulted in a touch too much oxidation? Looks decent, with a superbly rich aroma and flavour of dried fruit and booze. Body is OK, though the carbonation could be toned down a tad. An excellent beer, particularly for winter, but one to be savoured at leisure. Add this one to your must-try list. (1,610 characters)

Photo of TheDoctor
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A:
Pours a fairly cloudy amber-honey color with a big three fingers of tan head (intense carbonation overflowed immediately on opening it) that settles like a frothy honeycomb to a couple inches of perfection. Great retention; nice thorough lacing. Fantabulous!

S:
Pretty flat chalky yeast smell. Some sweet notes and bubblegum, but barely there.

T:
Round and warm with some nuttier flavors at the beginning settling into fruity tastes and a slight lingering aftertaste of dark fruits. Nuts, chocolate, cherries, candi sugar, deliciousness.

M:
Rich and full-bodied with great carbonation and a creamy, soft texture that makes it a very enjoyable beer to drink.

O:
Fabulous beer.
This is a fine looking (both in the bottle and in the glass) and fine tasting brew that should not be missed. The only off thing that I found was the nose. I tried repeatedly but could not detect much of an aroma to speak of. I'm not even congested, so who knows. Anyway, it doesn't much matter because the flavors, feel, and looks of the beer more than make up for it.
Will have again without a doubt; worth clamoring to get ahold of. (1,119 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No date that I can see.

A: Pours a very, very dark brown. Very tall and frothy light brown head. Head fizzes out very quickly initially, then slows to a crawl. Great retention. I swear at times the head is getting bigger as it sits. Almost no lacing at all, just a few fluffy specks here and there.

S: Dark bready aroma with quite a bit of brown sugar. Some cloves and some dark fruits. Indistinct dark fruits that I can't quite put my finger on. Dates and raisins? Smells reminds me of fruitcake, oddly enough.

T: Sticky, sugary candi sugar and brown sugar to boot. Rich, dense dark bread. Lots of spices join it, like a heavy spicecake now. Decent amount of dark fruits in here, again with the dates and raisin I'd say. Lots of cloves, particularly on the back end. No real sign of alcohol, maybe just a hint in the aftertaste.

M: High carbonation but heavy, sticky body. The carbonation is important to prevent this from becoming a mess. Prickly but sticky. Interesting combination.

O: A very intriguing brew. Bottle states that this is a "dark tripel" and I kinda agree. It has that high carbonation and big bright fruity crispness of a tripel but with lots of brown sugar and dark bread flavors. It's like a cross between a tripel and a quad. Very unique and very tasty. (1,280 characters)

Photo of BeerStoreTop10
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer was superb. After years of drinking craft ales and lagers it was nice to get back to my drinking roots and try a European flavour. It reminded me of a hobo's butthole but in a good way. Would read again.

When I held it up to the light and saw how beautifully red it was I knew how I drunk I must have been to be thinking it was beautiful.

Seriously though, shit was so cash. (387 characters)

Photo of Auraan
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep ruby red, semi-opaque, with a one finger off-white head that receded to a white ring rather quickly. While the head was nothing to write home about, the body color was fantastic. Scents of bubblegum, apple, pear, banana, fruity esters of a less describable sort, Belgian yeast, candi sugar and faint hints of alcohol. A good, fruity, yeasty, sweet and complex Belgian aroma. Taste begins with candi sugar, notes of apple and pear and some yeasty dark bread, moves into raisin, prune, sweet bready malts, caramel and some earthy Belgian yeast. Finishes with more bready malt and just a touch of alcohol. Quite nice, rather sweet, but not overly so and very complex. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy bodied, with moderate carbonation, a slight alcohol burn, and a drying finish. Very nice sipping mouthfeel. Overall this is an excellent Belgian Strong Dark. Its got the complexity in both aroma and flavor that defines the style, and a very nice profile to both to boot. (975 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tulip glass.

A: Pours a deep, burgundy-rust color with a finger of fluffy off-white head. Superb, thick retention and some decent lacing. There’s a couple centimeter cap of head for as long as you care to drink this.

S: Booze-soaked fruit (plum, grape), jelly doughnut (?!), caramel, butterscotch, some cherry, and fresh bready malts.

T: Light fruit (dried cherry and raisin), bready malts, slight booze (though not bad considering the ABV), and a mild sweetness on the finish. Contains a slight mouthwatering quality. Rich and full flavor, well balanced, and not overly sweet.

M: A little warming alcohol, though belying the 10 percent ABV. Creamy mouthfeel, with slightly sharp carbonation (which mellows out considerably with some time) and medium-full bodied.

O: A tasty tripel, quite good esp. given that I’m not a huge fan of the style. (852 characters)

Photo of brureview
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a light chocolate color with a 2F head in a tulip glass.

The aroma: light vanilla, chocolate and very spicy with a strong clove presence. The clove is different than other beers in the style.

The mouth feel is very carbonated and transitions well to the taste.

The taste is exceptionally complex: spice, chocolate, clove and a strong alcoholic finish. The chocolate is more prominent with warming.

Overall a great beer- especially for the cold winter months. (469 characters)

Photo of DRStaples
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Other reviews seem centered on bottled examples. I tasted in Middleton Ma at Maggies Farm on draught. Served in a tulip glass and poured with a large head. Unlike bottled reviews, I did not get an expected alcohol nose but rather a sweet malty aroma. In drinking, I found a very well balanced experience and a warming feeling (obviously from the gravity). Overall, one of the top ten brews I've tasted this year. (412 characters)

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 6 of 6 of the Belgian Taster's pack from LCBO. Served cold into an oversized wine glass. Before even revisiting this great beer, I knew it would be my favorite from the six pack once I tried all the others. Another awesome cap and fantastic looking white bottle covering with dragons on it.

Appearance - Dark, amber and mahogany color spills into the glass and gives a tremendous 3 fingers of khaki head resting on top. Head lingers entire duration eventually fading down into a soapy floating cap. Magnificent lacing down the sides too. Wow!

Smell - Rich, bready malts, caramel, butterscotch a little bit of dark fruit, prunes and maybe cherries especially. The booze is present but not outlandish. To me smells like a 7-9% ABV as opposed to the 10.5% so it is somewhat well hidden.

Taste- Big malts like caramel and butterscotch that start sweet but quickly are reigned in so as to not be cloying of obstructive in any manner from beer nirvana. Light smokey undertone and a bit of a burn from the alcohol especially at the conclusion of a sip. Toasted sugars and Belgian yeasts are also present but much more subdued.

Mouthfeel - Slightly dry finish although that's expected given the alcohol level, but before that the beer is rich and velvety, but serious in character and not delicate.

Overall - This is a beer that gets straight to the point does not beat around the bush and try to trick you into what it is: a serious and delicious Belgian Strong Dark Ale that is extremely well crafted and will put you on your ass if you don't respect it. Definitely a sipper. Personally one of my two favorites from the style with the Rochefort 8 yet how they achieve their excellence couldn't be more different. A huge recommendation for anyone wanting to try something in the style. (1,792 characters)

Photo of TheStig
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Golden Dragon indeed!

Aggressive is a good place to start with this. Popping the top resulted in a louder "crack" than I was expecting, and a substantial tongue of fog licked out of the top. I liken it to opening a bottle of ginger kombucha-- thankfully, the contents of the bottle didn't spill all over the floor (like kombucha sometimes does) but even my most gentle of pours produced a violent three finger head that threatened to creep over the top of the glass. I waited five minutes for the head to subside, and it left a sticky trail of lacing that resembled a cross between spiderwebs and Swiss cheese.

Color was a foggy, rich amber.

Scents that jumped out at me were black grapes, spicy wine notes (think Shiraz), grapefruit, pomegranate and cherry.

They do a very good job of taming the alcohol burn, folding it into layers of spice that compliment the heavier fruity sweetness.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly less aggressive than it would appear, but it still has a healthy carbonated bite. Sip gently.

Very impressive. (1,034 characters)

Photo of DPJ3322
4.51/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter to enjoy this guy.

Appearance - I had no idea what the color would be, I expected a trippel for some reason, came out rich but not dark brown, very pretty. However, the head bubbled away very fast.

Smell - Boozy initially in the smell followed by a very subtle and nice fruit sweetness.

Taste - Boozy up front again, I get hints of fruit and raisins followed by a kind of muted sweetness, with apples lingering on my tongue for the aftertaste. Very complex and subtle, I like it.

Mouthfeel - Heavy carbonated fizz up front and it gets kind of viscous as it sits on the tongue.

Overall - I really like this beer and I am savoring my bottle, it was well worth the money spent on it. I like the complex layering present in taste, smell and mouthfeel. Once again, a great beer, very European. (816 characters)

Photo of polloenfuego
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the distinctive white 330 ml bottle to a snifter.

A: poured a hazelnut or ruby brown with an enormous head that over filled the glass but stayed tight. The head eventually breaks down after a few minutes leaving nice lacing and a thin layer of foam.

S: Yeasts, raisins, dark fruits and a hint of cherry.

T: subtly sweet and yet not. Malts are there, as is the yeast. Dark fruits and cherry linger on the palate as you drink this beer. The alcohol is there but hidden in the back.

M: good carbonation, full bodied. As others have said, this beer is a sipper...enjoy it a bit at a time.

O: a great BSDA. Very flavorful and enjoyable. I would recommend this beer to anyone who wants to enjoy a nice full bodied beer on a cool blustery fall/winter day. (762 characters)

Photo of TastyAdventure
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - 1/2 finger soap suds head, deep red, almost brown.

S - dates, brown sugar, yeast, dark bread, alcohol

T- sweeeet sweet dates. dark sugar candy, other dark fruitiness, syrup soaked bread, molasses.

M - more carb than expected, but neccessary for this heavy, sweet beer. It would be cloying with out the high carb. Body is full and slick.

Overall, this is dessert! So sweet. Tasty. (387 characters)

Photo of whynot44
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hazy copper brown color with a substantial off-white head that slowly settles down to a thin cap that persists and leaves some decent lacing.

The aroma is yeasty, raisins, plums with hints of citrus, vanilla and caramel.

The taste is rich caramel malt, plums, cloves, alcohol, hints of cherry and vanilla. The finish brings out some nice hop bite to offset the sweetness.

Medium/full bodied, smooth and almost creamy, easy to drink, but more of a "sipper". Take your time and enjoy it.

Overall, a heavy duty brew, very nice, especially in cool weather. (560 characters)

Photo of Xalkalinex
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This was my choice for my 21st birthday present.

Aroma: malty with hints of cherry and licorice.

Taste: Sweet, but not to sweet. Notes of black cherry with A hint of licorice. Honestly very Jaegermeister like taste. Slight taste of liquor, but very well masked by the flavor.

Feel: Perfect amount of carbonation. If you swish it to coat your mouth you get an amazingly thick foam. This beer is a sipper, but very smooth with a warm dry finish.

Look: It's all about taste for me, but for those who are curious... Nice thick head with slight lacing when poured. Beautiful dark brown with a slight copper tone.

Overall, a great beer well worth the $5 a bottle. A great balance of flavor with a dry finish, but with a nice warming feeling. I highly recommend this one. (770 characters)

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
93 out of 100 based on 1,259 ratings.