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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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,255 Reviews
THE BROS
98
world-class

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Reviews: 1,255
Hads: 3,513
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.05%
Wants: 247
Gots: 574 | 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
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Reviews: 1,255 | Hads: 3,513
Photo of MrBen
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I picked up a bottle of this fine stuff a few days ago. I was pleased to find an opaque bottle, but what was inside was far more impressive. Gulden Draak poured nicely and kept a head between 1/8-1/4" all the way to the bottom of the glass. The beer's color was very appealing and the smell invited curiousity. The tastes were a bit surprising at first, and frankly, at 10.5%, I wasn't sure what awaited.

Anyway, the flavors were big, round, and complex. Lots of floral notes with some candy in there and maybe a tiny hint of pink peppercorns (try a whole pink peppercorn on its own -- it's nothing like black pepper), and just everything sweet in between. The mouthfeel pretty much made the experience for me. The beer was thick, not chewy necessarily, but I could almost sense the presence of two viscosities or thicknesses in there. Very exciting. The beer left a very light coating in my mouth that quickly dissolved between sips, and the aftertaste was probably the most pleasant I'd ever had -- and long lasting.

I agree with other reviews that this beer may be best enjoyed after a big meal, as a dessert. While I don't think its big flavor would detract from a good steak or grilled burger, I do believe that the mix just might not fit too well. I strongly recommend Gulden Draak to anyone -- both the newcomers to Belgians and the guys who are knee deep in the rich traditions. What a fantastic beer. (1,415 characters)

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

750ml caged and corked bottle with no apparent date. I love the idea of an absolute lightproof bottle. Poured a very dark garnet/brown color with an almond head that reduced till it sat on top. Initial aroma from the bottle was cotton candy, but when poured it was spicy and like a fresh cut field. The taste was heavy malts and brown sugar with brandy soaked cherries and plums. There were some faint hints of caramel in the finish, perhaps burnt. There was a little hoppiness to the finish, but not much. Alcohol is masked well, making this quite drinkable. A complex ale in a sweet-kinda way, would have liked to see more hops here. But over all it was a great experience that I would love to have again. (707 characters)

Photo of mschofield
3.28/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Deep red with a crackiling bubbly reddish tan head.
Aroma of wet wheat, fruit and horse blankets.
Robustly flavored of dark fruit (fig/cherry/plum), molasses and roasted caramel. Notes of a distilled spirit nature.
Medium-full feel, very syrupy.
Seemed as if it hadn't fully fermented, almost like malt extract. (315 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gulden Draak is a nice full flavored dark belgian beer. It pours a hazy dark orange color that reminded me of apple cider. The head is slightly off white, medium bodied and remains all the way to the bottom of the glass. An aroma of clove, brown sugar, yeast and mild alcohol hovers over the surface.

Each sip of this slightly chewy medium bodied beer is packed with flavor. It's an interesting combination of clove, bubblegum, and caramel malt. There are hints of alcohol and a brown sugar sweetness mixed in that contribute to its sweet finish. A mild alcohol and caramel malt flavor is left behind.

This beer seems to me like a good example of the Belgian strong dark ale style, but does not seem any better or worse than other brands out there, such as Unibroue Maudite. (780 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy red with some dark orange hints with minor head and lace. Citric smells or orange and lemom with some spice and faint malt. Flavor is much stronger than aroma, peppery with some malty, almost molasses like sweetness. Aftertase has some serious residual sweetness, yet it is not cloying but rather neat sweetness. (325 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (1,648 characters)

Photo of beergeek279
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 12 oz. glass at Burgh's. The color was a dark brown, with a wispy white head. The smell was an appleish sweetness. The taste was very apply sweet, with lots of candi sugar sweetness, and an alcohol that was present but not in the least overwhelming. Mouthfeel was nice and thick. Drinkability, despite the 10.5%, would be excellent, and I would be happy having quite a few of these.

Amongst the best Belgians brought into the US. Beautifully sweet, and drinking much underneath its ABV, Gulden Draak is simply a fantastic beer, and certainly one that I will have again! (585 characters)

Photo of Crosling
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy orange when held up to the light. A very odd color to say the least. Perfect belgian head, frothy dense and magical. Thick sticky lacing. Ahhh...Belgians.

Incredible nose on this one!!! Sugars, raisins, alcohol, bright apples, sour cherries, yeast, pine and more sugars. Wow!

Slightly disappointed with the flavor but this still was pretty damn tasty. Strawberries, raisins, alcohol, prunes, yeast, sour cherries dipped into sugar and a hard to notice tart undetone. Alcohol is hidden very well. Mid palate seemed to be struggling a bit but a nice lingering finish. Very smooth which makes this really drinkable.

Nice beer that I'll be sure to sample on tap when I am in Belgium this summer. (706 characters)

Photo of moulefrite
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never had a dark triple, so I thought this to be a solid "good" brew. Dark and fruit driven with moderate headage and generous though not stunning lace. Aromas seemed to focus on dark, fruity caramel-almost burnt sugar like. The taste is odd, while attractive all the while-burnt caramel and stewed prune, over ripe-almost rotten banana, and a touch of roasted coffee bean. Some bitter chocolate chimes in on the finish. This one gets better, as the taste buds acclimate to the burnt caramel/fruit profile. I'll come back to this one for sure-quite a pleasure. (560 characters)

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, very cool bottle with a very cool lable and cap. Bottle itself (11.2 oz) is completely white. I have had this beer in my cellar for well over a year and a half. Pours a cloudy reddish brown with a huge tan head. I don't remember the draft version being this cloudy or dark. The smell is sweet malt and yeast. Looks very effervesant as tons of tiny bubble climb to the top.

The taste is very smooth and complex. Very explosive on my tongue. Sweet and malty in the beginning. Followed by something a bit metallic and then a nice warming. I also pick up some dates and raisins, much like a dubble. No alcohol present until the end. The head seems a bit obstrusive and won't die down.

Seems very different than the draft version that I had at Redbones. I love both but the bottle is better. Now to try the 750ml. (827 characters)

Photo of Sammy
2.59/5  rDev -38%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Way too sweet for me and friends. Too carbinated. Too high in alcohol. Too creamy. Maybe as dessert beer, but much better competitors there. Comparable to soft drink when you are expecting beer.
Interesting range from this brewery though. And great
bottle. (259 characters)

Photo of SheepNutz
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with 4 fingers of light tan head. The head retention is just incredible. Go ahead, take it out of the fridge ice cold and pour it. You'll have to wait a good 10-15 minutes for the head to die down enought to get the first taste. There is tons of lacing left as well. The smell is full of burnt malt, plums, and raisins. Very sweet smelling. The taste is also very sweet, with bits of sugar and malt on the tongue. There is a bit of fruit and spices present as well. The finish has just a hint of alcohol to it. Bits of plums and pepper, a little caramel. The mouthfeel is super thick and strong. The drinkability is fairly good for a 10.5% brew. A very good Belgian! (762 characters)

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

Deep, deep ruby hue with a huge tan head. Be careful when uncorking or opening the bottlecap, I've seen plenty of gushers with this beer. Beautiful lacing in the unique tulip-shaped Gulden Draak goblet. Another example of why a goblet is so big whereas the bottle seems so small. Now you know why... Succulent dark fruit aromas interplayed with some mustiness and a big alcohol nose; throw to smallest amount of cocoa butter in the nose and call it well-rounded. Sweet malt texture with some notes of prune and candied dates. Alcohol presence is not in question, it's most in-your-face. Very drinkable for it's ABV. Carbonation plays on the tongue balancing out the high gravity of the malt. I've enjoyed this beer for a long time, and a long time to come. (756 characters)

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

Well, I am not fond of Belgian beers. I bought this at a Moscow grocery store near work, thinking it was another gimmicky Belgian brew. Cute dragon on the dark label affixed to a white painted 33cl bottle. Yeah, yeah. 10.5% ABV. Great. It'll be nothing but sugar. Label lists only purity law worthy ingredients, but I've been around long enough to know that means very little. Best before 6/17/05, I opened it on 11/21/03, expecting mediocre at best.

Poured into my chalice an appeallingly warm dark ruby hue. The head, tan in color, was thin and short-lived, dissipating to film and collar quite quickly. I can't say the head disappointed, though, as beers this strong rarely muster a healthy head. Now the first sniff. Mmm. Sweet and fruity, but not overly so, with good malt and, dare I say it for a Belgian?, hops. Very, very smooth. Oh, and there's alcohol, too. First sip - smooth and slightly sweet, with a nice blend of sour cherries, molasses, caramel and barley. What really won me over, hophead that I am, was the finish. Along with a healthy alcohol punch, there's a good portion of hoppy bitterness here. It lurks in the opening, but comes out nicely in the finish, and sticks around to balance the aftertaste in a way that feels just right. Given the ABV, I'm not sure how many of these I could drink in one sitting, but I'd be happy to push that envelope. Yum! (1,378 characters)

Photo of Shiloh
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Exceptional.
Deep redish brown brew with a very thick crown that seemed to take forever to leave, and then only partially.
Very high and tan glass cling as well.
Body is only a tad short of being full.
Aroma of raisins, brown sugar and a mystery guest.
The taste definetly makes this product, semi sweet start of raisins, currents and a green cherry like addition.
But the warming alcohol finish is something that must be expierienced to appreciate.
Only problem is a slight syrupy mouthfeel. (499 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.73/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - pours a muddy red into a Belgian glass. Large tan head recedes to about a finger, forms a creamy topcoat, and holds. Lots of bubble streamers around the perimeter providing ferocious re-supply for the head. Quite a show.

Aroma - raisins and plums are the main components, even a little cocoa-like aroma. The malts are a little over-shadowed, but they are detectable. As it warms it develops some warm fruitcake smells.

Taste - that first sip is a blast of fruit, malt, and alcohol. Borders on the medicinal. Not the most pleasant start, but it gets better. Lots of plum flavors, and some smoky caramel (but not burnt or charcoal tasting). Very warming, the alcohol is mixed in well but is definitely noticeable to these taste buds. A rather strong hop ending at first mellows to a softer bite and aftertaste. Big taste from a small bottle.

Mouthfeel - pretty heavy beer, syrupy as well. The residue clings to the mouth lining and the alcohol vapors are easily felt in the oral cavity if you swallow and open your mouth a bit. As alluded to in the appearance, this beer has lots of bubble play as well.

Drinkability - definitely not one to handle lightly. Refill with caution, this one will get you there in a hurry. If you're at home, fine, but I wouldn't have a 2nd one otherwise. (1,306 characters)

Photo of BeerBuilder
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 8/09/03

It pours to a brown raisiny color with a thick tan head. The aroma is sweet, malty, and somewhat herbal. It has notes of dark fruits as well. The flavor is sweet and herbal, with a a spiciness and a brown sugar flavor. It is a full bodied, warming brew. A really enjoyable beer. (300 characters)

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

A dark amber pour with an exceptional tan head. Seems like a very lively beer.

The nose is very appetizing. A nice full, malty nose some hoppiness and sweet caramel notes. A little bit of spice is in there too along with a hint of raisiny sweetness.

Lovely. Just lovely. The dryness off the tops quickly turns into a nice honey sweetness that's not overpowering. A little bit of raisin and plum are mixed in nicely. Good hop count & nice maltiness give this beer well rounded body.

A nice full beer with a lively and bubby mouthfeel. Some dryness towards the end. Alcohol warmth in the finish.

I love this beer. It is one of the greats. (649 characters)

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

Not sure why this is labelled "dark tripel" here...I've never seen it labelled that way in Belgium. At any rate...Appearence: Reddish brown, dark with highlights. Big rocky head. Clear. Aroma: Malty, sugary, noticeable caramel. Flavor: Sweet, malty caramel. No roastiness.Mouthfeel: Smooth, cream. Finish: Smooth, clean, with a lingering caramel. (346 characters)

Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A birthday present from my housemates. Poured a faded mahogony with a dried buckskin colored head that frothed and bubbled. Smell was deep and rich with esters a plenty, fig, current and ahint of deep red fruits. Taste was hearty and full bodied without too much dominence by the alcohol. In fact the only indication was the warming throat sensation. The taste abounded with figs, mollassas, syrup more dried cherries, and scoops full of brown sugar. Mouthfeel was bubbley but remained full bodied and plentiful. Great autumn beer to warm to as the sun draws low and frost begins to creep like spiderwebs up the window panes. (625 characters)

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a 750ml bottle.

Pours a beautiful cherywood color. Deep reddish brown. A small tan head. Smells of apples and strong malt. Syrupy sweet and strong.

Tastes of big malt. Sweet and smooth. Apple flavors are evident. The ABV is listed at 10.5% but you would never know it from the taste. There is no alcohol bite. It is amazingly smooth. Finishes with a sweet/sour aftertaste. Big full bodied beer but subtle as well. It doesn't bludgeon you over the head with its strength but takes you down slowly and sweetly. A great brew to end an evening. (551 characters)

Photo of lackenhauser
4.54/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW!!!Pours a deep ruddy brown color.Great aroma with hints of malt,chocolate,fruits.An extremely smooth taste-again notes of chocolate and fruits-figs and currants.A minimal hop bite-great overall malty flavor.Absolutely no hint of the 10.5% abv.A wonderfully smooth beer-full bodied.A great beer-goes down perfectly whether its your first or last of the day.THE BEST Belgian I have had in ages by far!!! I have wanted to try this one for ages and was not let down in the least bit.Wish I had another. (502 characters)

Photo of ElGuapo
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a melted milk chocolate brown color. It is murky and covered in more foam than I could ever imagine coming out of a little 11.2 oz bottle. Fruity aromas fill the air accompanied by some roastiness and a bit of alcohol.

The body is full, and flavor jumps all over you. Masses of fruits and malts with some nice spices. The complexity is not out of this world, but it sure kept me interested. Smooth and rich, it is a great treat to sit down with. The alcohol is almost invisible to the tongue which is very nice for 10.5%. Do not pass by this beer because it is definitely one of the best. (601 characters)

Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red brown color, small head. Aroma is fruity and sweet. Very malty and sweet. Slight hop bite. Smooth taste. Large body. Mouthfeel is full and round, slightly sweet. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is malty and slightly dry. Alcohol bite is prevalent, 10.5 % (259 characters)

Photo of Rumrunner
3.23/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle

Pours a mahogany color. It looks like a thick iced tea. Good foamy head at the start but it disappears quickly. The scents are strong brown sugar, some caramel and a deep wet grass finishes the smells.

A very malty brew. The sweet brown sugar is very dominant. A caramel syup adds to the flavors and a sweet fruit finish. A very sweet overall flavor for this ale. Too sweet for me. It is like candy. The sweetness is also an after flavor. The alcohol is very present in the flavor of this ale.

It feels bold and crisp. A heavy touch to the mouthfeel. If you like sweet brews give this one a try. (618 characters)

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
93 out of 100 based on 1,255 ratings.