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

3,485 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,485
Reviews: 1,279
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 11.56%
Wants: 244
Gots: 562 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,485 | Reviews: 1,279
Photo of tbeckett
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Brown to dark brown with red notes when held up to the light. Hazy with strong carbonation and a half finger off white head that sticks around.

S - Yeast, alcohol, prunes, dates, molasses, candi sugar.

T - Tons of boozy prunes and dates with some of that molasses again. Candi sweetness that might be a little too much for me but still works.

M - Very smooth with a little bit of carbonation.

D - Great flavours but far too sweet. A good beer nonetheless. A good dark strong Belgian ale. One of the first where I began to pick up dark fruit notes so it has a bit of nostalgic clout in my books. Mellow, smooth, boozy, and highly drinkable.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.21/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After all the hype, this one just did not do it for me. Too sweet I guess. Pours a mostly clear light brown color with a light, fluffy cream-colored head. Nice lacing and retention.

Smell is of minerals, earth, yeast and sweet malts. Hints of champagne and scotch ale, has a pretty big nose in general.

Thin, sweet and different are the first things that come to mind upon quaffing. I also taste some fountain cola syrup and heavy toasty malts. Almost seems like it has too much unfermentable sugars, and that may be on purpose, but it does not quite do it for me. Fun to try, but at nearly $5 a pop, I believe I'll pass next time.

Photo of Jwale73
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle served in a tulip. Poured a murky reddish-brown with a quarter inch, tan-colored, effervescing head embedded with tiny bubbles. Head eventually dissipated into a swirl with strands of lacing revealed as the brew was consumed. Nose is predominantly dark fruit, definitely some cherries in the mix. Taste follows nose, but quite a bit of alcohol heat, as well as a slightly medicinal, cherry cough syrup quality with a light, hoppy finish. Mouthfeel fell between light- and medium-bodied with an appropriate amount of background carbonation. In terms of drinkability, I found this brew a little too close to cough medicine to be enjoyable.

Photo of ZAP
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of cpetrone84
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a dark mahogony brown with red edges and tons of a fluffy light brown head that doesn't want to leave.

S-there are notes of brown sugar and candied fruits up front, rather sweet, a clove like phenol and yeast backbone provide balance, a nice peppery spice to the alcohol present in the back.

T-the taste is very sweet but still balanced enough following the nose only less phenolic. the candied fruits and cooked brown sugar lie up front accompanied by notes of ripe plum. clove like yeastiness and phenols lie underneath, the alcohol is spicy and peppery, nice balance and the flavors really push to equality as I continue to drink.

M-soft on the front of the tongue but lively carbonation in back with a good juicy slick feel to it and somewhat dry in the finish.

D-this is a well balanced brew with plenty of sweetness but nice levels of complexity to keep this well balanced and very enjoyable. the alcohol is present in a good way and in no way shows the true power of this brew.

Photo of rfgetz
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Red/brown sunburst. Clear. Ample frothy head and lacing.

S: Sweet, banana, belgian yeast, hints of booze

T: belgian yeast, malts, dark fruit, sweet sugar, slightly boozy, almost tea like finnish.

M: good carbonation. medium bodied.

D: higher ABVs slightly hidden. Good belgian, very good drinkable strong dark.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours into a Gulden Draak glass with a deep amber hue, with a off white lacing of foam. In the nose, I get dark fruits and a small presence of alcohol. It has the characteristcs of a nice barley wine, with the smoothness of a great Belgian triple.

Photo of sweemzander
3.47/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL corked and caged bottle.

(A)- Pours a hazy amber color with some white froth.

(S)- A sweet malty and rich profile with plum and prune dark fruits. Hints at vanilla sweetness.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Very rich and sweet with dark fruits of plum, prune, and fig.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. A nice balance to it with heavy heavy malts and a hefty sweetness.

(D)- A solid belgian strong dark ale. A bit heavy and sweet to drink too much of, but tasty.

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

Had this served in a Gulden Draak glass (neat glass too). Light head which is long lasting. Plenty of lace. Sweet estery aromas with lots of caramel, malt, hint of roasty and yeasty. Big flavor! all of the aroma, except the esters which translates to nice fruitiness. Lush body. Alcohol is subtle but there. Killer beer. Sweet caramel finish. One of my all time favs. Better on draft than bottle.

Photo of mrfrancis
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy dark amber with a thick, pillowy beige head that lasts forever, lacing deep into the glass.

S: Aromas of cider apples, caramel, toffee, and spiced pears are present on the nose. Surprisingly, I'm not picking up any alcohol on the nose.

T: Gentle, delicate notes of toffee, caramel, cider apples, pear drop candy, licorice, star anise, gingerbread, toasted almonds, and a woody, herbal spiciness akin to juniper berries wash across the palate. The finish is gentle and warming with cider apple, pear drop, and woody spice notes underscored by mellow alcohol.

M: Relatively full-bodied and dry with prickly, cleansing carbonation. There is a slight alcohol presence, though it is very subdued and never even remotely distracting. To me, this beer is the prototypical evening sipper.

O: This was one of the first authentic Belgian ales that I really became attached to, and as such, I can't help being a little bit biased when I review it. I still think Gulden Draak is an exceptional ale, and I seem to return to it again and again. In my opinion, this is the best beer made by Brouwerij Van Steenberge.

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance- The beer pours from the bottle as a dark brown colored brew with ruby highlights shining through the body when held up to the light. Upon pouring there is a thick and billowy cream colored head with a great level of retention. Over time the head slowly fades leaving a nice level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma is big of dark fruits of prune, raisin, and cherry mixed with a nice brown bready malt aromas. These two smells are complimented with some other sweet smells of caramel and toffee as well as some aromas of a boozy spiced rummy aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with a big shot of the dark fruit that was detected in the nose. Cherry, raisin, and date are all present upfront, mixing with a malty flavor as well as more sweet flavors of a buttery toffee and caramel. At this point the brew is quite sweet , with the flavors then joined by a moderately strong boozy flavor. This alcohol flavor grows stronger and stronger as the flavor advances taking on more rum like characteristics as the taste moves toward the end. With a yeasty and Belgian spice flavor joining the group of tastes late in the game a warming and moderately sweet dark spiced fruit taste is left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel-The body of the brew is on the thick and creamier side with a carbonation level that is rather high overall. The thickness, mixed with the alcohol flavors make for the nice warming quality of the beer, while the carbonation actually helped keep it on the more drinkable and exciting side and complimented nicely the fruit flavors of the brew.

Overall – Strong dark fruit flavors with a good balance in warming boozy flavors, yeasty flavors and spice. A nice slow sipping Belgian strong dark,; great for a relaxing evening on a cool night.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.53/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy dark brown with a lasting head.
Nose shows loads of spicy phenols with a fair amount of candi sugar and golden syrup showing through too. Also caramel. Very sweet. Not too mention the spicy alcohol. Very bold aroma, that's for sure.
Flavours are similarly sweet, with lots of caramel, golden syrup and brown sugar before the alcohol rolls through. Somewhat cloying and boozy in the finish.
Carbonation is crazy high.

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 barczar
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy deep brown with a frothy, pillowy, 2 and a half inch light tan head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Burnt caramel, pineapple, pear, and rich treacle form the initial aroma. The fruity esters cut the rich malt character perfectly. It's almost buttery. Boozy notes of prunes, dates, and raisins surface as it warms.

Dark fruit character is initially evident, fading to lightly toasted malt, which becomes sweet with a molasses character, eventually drying slightly in the finish. Dark cherries accompany a base of prunes and raisins, adding complexity. Sweeter notes of dates and figs balance the malt character well mid palate. Pineapple and tangerine emerge late. The finish is a little flat.

Body is smooth and fairly thick, but too light to be syrupy. Carbonation is fairly low, and alcohol warmth is present, but doesn't overwhelm.

Delicious beer. Think the aroma trumps the flavor. But highly complex malt and yeast esters. A little too sweet mid palate, and the finish is somewhat of a disappointment.

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 mynie
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This isn’t golden! And it doesn’t smell like spicy mustard, either. Goddamn Belgians. They are always out to trick me.

Pours really pretty and dark. Plum colored with an retentive, foamy head. Lots of sediment floating around, despite a good pour—I dunno if this bottle was jostled in the store or if it’s just supposed to be that way.

Very rich, sweet smell. Usually odors that are this sweet are accompanied with a little bit of an alcohol zip, but that’s not the case here. This just smells like tart fruit. Or Fruits, actually. Dozens of fruits. Apple, pineapple, plums, grapes, mango, passion fruit, orange.

Tastes like complex fruit, like the nose, only zippier. A harsh but nice ZING hits you right up front, along with the more sour fruits, then that dissolves into a rather dry, juicy flavor containing for the richer, less tart fruits. This is incredible complexity.

The flavor can be overpowering—I can’t see myself drinking more than a single stubby of this (the 10.5% ABV also factors in), but this is a truly great beer that everybody should try.

Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark dark rusty golden with a big head of slightly off-white head that hangs around forever and ever. Aromas of dark Belgian candi sugar, spicy yeast complexity, alcohol, fruits, and more. Taste is fruity and boozy with a very sweet caramelized burnt sugar, sort of creme brulee thing going on. Very nice, but after a while a bit much. Mouthfeel is sweet and heavy, syrupy and almost cloying, and the drinkability suffers a bit after time. This is a very nice and intense dark tripel...but it's just so damn sweet after a while that it is not my favorite...

Photo of Pencible
3.89/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A unique style of beer, this poured a very hazy burgundy with lots of thin tan head. It smelled like dark fruit and caramel malt, with noticeable alcohol scent. Its flavor was super sweet, tasting like strong caramel malt with some lemon hops. It was thin but oily with some carbonation, and it had a caramel aftertaste that ended more salty than anything else. Overall this was a very sugary and interesting beer, good as a novelty but not as a regular drinker.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: An 11.2 fluid ounce (330ml) “Duvelian-like” stubby coated with a unique looking white paint finish. Black label, with golden bounds has the words “Gulden Draak Ale” in red text over and above a picture of a golden dragon. Listed at 10.5% ABV.


Appearance: *Catalogue princess, apprentice seductress.*
Dirty thick ruddy dark brown body on the pour. Off-white head, the tanned creamy upper crown sits uniformly across the vestige of my Westvleteren goblet. Closer examination reveals a pellucid mahogany body with deep rich ruby tones. Bespoke looks.

Nose: *Fragrant aphrodisiac, the withered tuberose.*
Alcohol – yes, it either fails to mask the pungent ethanolic aromas, or it wants you to know that it may kick your ass later in the night. A nice dry hop aroma in the back end is somewhat spoiled by the vitriolic alcohol at times.

Taste: *Dynamic young Tarzan courts the bed-sit queen.*
A tasty and viscous warm layer of malts lay the foundation. Sharp herbal traits fill the gaps. Thick caramel and burnt sugar mixes with prunes and dates juice.

Mouthfeel: *Playing games with faces in the neon wonderland.*
An enticing rich thick carpet of malts lays down the base of dark fruits and a high temperature catwalk finish. My neck sweats as the warmth induces a satisfying heart attack that I don’t want to break out of. Like shitting yourself in public; it’s embarrassing in the finish but for a short time up front it kind of feels good, warm and comfy.

Drinkability: *Perform to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles*.
A massive tornado of enticing warm malts and a rich thick globulating warmth of alcohol are the foundation for a serious night cap brew!!! Nevertheless, it may only contain 330ml but I want more. Damn this brew, it is the Devils work indeed.

Overall: *She said she wanted to be an actress or something. Nobody knows where she came from, where she was going. Funny thing was she had a smile on her face. She was smiling. What a waste!*

You know, I *loved* this brew from the very first time I tried it, some 14 or so years ago. Man this is one powerful spicy (yet unspiced!!!) brew. One sip returns me to care free times in Belgian; it can transport me from the bustling Grand Place, the busy yet cosmopolitan Brugge to the quiet of the De Gans, Huise farmhouse café in the rustic East Flanders countryside. Van Steenberge is unfortunately renowned for many of their “sump” brews, but the Gulden Draak is most certainly a first generation creation that demands respect, and it always gets it from me.

Gulden Draak almost begs to pronounced with a thick Romanian accent such as the original name of Bram Stokers Whitby legend Vlad Drăculea, or rather better still as Vlad the Impaler. Either way, **don’t dare** turn you’re back on this one for it WILL come back to get you, either in the daylight, or worse, later at night when you sleep.

But for now it’s just another Chelsea Monday,
Sweet Chelsea Monday.

Photo of Immortale25
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a 1/2 inch tan head that retains well before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Dark bread, dark fruit and a bit of brown sugar sweetness. The yeast ties everything together to make for a nice bouquet.

T- Sweet, toffee-like malt flavor with more dark bread notes and plenty of spice. Alcohol is there but not overbearing. Slight metallic taste.

M- Somewhat dry with medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- Haven't had this one in a while and it's pretty much just as I remember it. Solid strong Belgian flavor that's complex but still approachable. I used some salty Danish Havarti to cut the sweetness and slight booze bite.

Photo of dar482
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This comes in a dark brown and ruby color.

The aroma has big cherry, plum, prune, and brown sugar.

The taste is spot on for a Belgian Dark Strong. The cherry pop reminds me a bit of Three Philosophers. It has good dark fruit flavors and then brown sugar, wonderful mouthfeel and middle, and then a kind dry finish.

Compared to my favorite, Trois Pistoles, it really does lack in the champagne carbonation. However, it's dangerously drinkable with its 10.5% ABV. What lovely and complex full flavors this beer has.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330mL stubby bottle coated in white plastic. no date.

poured into oversize tulip glass, a dark brown with garnet colored highlights. great 1" head, that shrinks a bit, but never goes away. nice lacing.

aromas of toffee and sourdough bread. tastes slightly sweet, caramel, biscuity malt. finish is slightly herbal and boozy. smooth mouthfeel, medium body. carbonation enough to tingle.

Photo of woosterbill
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Prime 16 into its proper branded tulip. Cheers to matching glassware!

A: Clear, radiant ruby body under a half-inch of fine off-white foam that quickly recedes into a ring. Lovely color, and adequate carbonation for the strength.

S: Craziness! Sherry, molasses, creme brulee, brown sugar, rum-soaked raisins, caramel apple. Very sweet, rich, and decadent. Intoxicating in the extreme.

T: Sherry really jumps out, backed up by burned sugar, toffee, dark fruit, vanilla, and fruity alcohol. THe booze is a major component of the finish, but isn't quite overbearing. Delicious.

M: Thick, viscous, and lusciously carbonated. Luxurious.

O: What a beer. I was expecting something big and tasty, but was utterly unprepared for a flavor explosion that reminds me much more of a terrific, fruity barleywine than anything explicitly Belgian. The dessert wine overtones were unmistakable and amazing, while the fruitiness gave enough complexity to keep the sweetness from getting cloying. I might have to pick up a bottle or two to age for a while.

Cheers!

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

I have a hard time finding any faults with this one.
330ml stubby bottle.
Pours out a hazy brown-orange. Big foamy tan head last around the entire time.
Rich maltiness on the nose. Raisins and more exotic fruit.
Taste verifies these smell. Lots of raisin and molasses notes. Quite sugary too. Faint hints of pineapples and other sweet fruits. Honey, carmel and faint pepper as well.
Reminds me of a nice big doppelbock with sugar added.
Almost too sweet...but so damn tasty.
Big and thick in the mouth. Coating, but cleans out nicely.
10.5%? You could have fooled me. Masks it wonderfully...shows itself in the warmth it provides, but not the taste.
Great stuff.
More please.
Right at the top of my list of favorites

Photo of KarlHungus
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a big off white head. The aroma is sweet with caramel tones. The taste is as big as the smell. Dark fruits, caramel, and alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick with low carbonation. Overall, this is a pretty good brew. Definitely worth a try.

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,485 ratings.