Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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.

1,271 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,271
Hads: 3,612
Avg: 4.2
pDev: 19.52%
Wants: 269
Gots: 650 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (92) | Events
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: 1,271 | Hads: 3,612
Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, 8/20/2012 bottle code. Pours lightly cloudy deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy cream colored head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a lot of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big pear, apple, grape, raisin, plum, banana, clove, pepper, dark candi sugar, honey, herbal, toast, brown bread, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and big complexity of fruity/spicy esters with moderate malt sweetness; and good strength. Taste of pear, apple, grape, raisin, plum, banana, clove, pepper, herbal, dark candi sugar, honey, toast, brown bread, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of light and dark fruits, banana, clove, pepper, dark candi sugar, honey, herbal, toast, brown bread,and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Awesome balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors; with a moderate dark malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a slick, crisp, and moderately prickly mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Belgian strong dark ale! Big complexity of fruity/spicy esters with moderate malt balance; and very smooth and crisp to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,415 characters

Photo of MaximalC
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a stately, translucent plum color with a modest khaki head (courtesy of a moderate pour) that soon recedes. Not much lacing to speak of. Aroma has a complex sweetness consisting of dark fruit, grapes, pear, and brown sugar. Alcohol is also evident in the nose. The big malt sweetness is fully forward in the taste as well, along with a bit of cherry kick that accentuates the alcohol flavor (which isn't especially well concealed). Some apple skin also sneaks through in the finish, as does cinnamon after some warming. The sweetness is pronounced to the point of being cloying (there could be some straight-up candy sugar in there). Between the dark, sweet malt and big ABV, this almost evokes shades of Samiclaus, albeit not quite to that extreme. The Belgian yeast character adds some texture and complexity, but it's pretty muted for Belgian ale.

Overall, this is a massively sweet yet complex brew that demands sipping, and were it not for the bomber, I doubt I could have a second glass in succession. Not my favorite big Belgian ale.

*Addendum: To echo the advice of BuckeyeNation, do be sure to incorporate the sediment at the bottom of the bottle into the pour (especially with the bomber). The difference in balance is like night and day. The sweetness is tempered a great deal, thereby making this much more drinkable. I wish I would have known in advance, as my palate is probably pretty well skewed at this point, but the difference is hard to miss nonetheless.

 1,482 characters

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Pours a beautiful deep mahogany with reddish highlights. The beer was initially capped with a finger and a half of off-white foam for a head that quickly dissipated into a thin halo of foam that gripped the glass, and formed wispy clouds of foam over the center of the beer.

Aroma: Dried stone fruit like cherries and plums and raisins. Alcohol, but in a good way, like the way wine smells, but better. Malty, like freshly baked dark bread like a loaf of pumpernickel.

Taste: Fruity with the afore mentioned cherries, raisins and plums. Notes of spices like clove, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla. Some slight molasses sweetness to help round out the slightly sour notes of the Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Chewy. Very, very chewy. Nicely carbonated, but the beer doesn’t cleanse the palate, rather it coast the mouth like velvet. At 10.5% ABV, you do taste and feel the alcohol, but in a good way!

Overall: Belgian strong dark ales are among my favorite styles of beers, the Gulden Draak is an exceptional example of such a beer. If you like Belgian quads and other strong dark ales, and haven’t tried the Gulden Draak yet, do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle. You won’t be disappointed.

 1,209 characters

Photo of jpro
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a Chimay glass...

A: Ruby-tinged amber, with about a half finger of fizzy almond head; a steady stream of bubbles rises up through the murkiness to support a creamy layer of foam; no lace on this 10.5% ale.

S: Dark fruits with some touches of alcohol; figs; molasses; toast; notes of toffee. A lot of interesting nuances in the aroma.

T: Interesting flavors, right off the first sip: raisin, a touch tangy / vinous; quite sweet with some alcohol towards the end.

M: Full bodied; high, tingly carbonation; very lively; a touch of alcohol heat.

O: An interesting beer; glad I tried it; very smooth and drinkable at 10.5%.

 651 characters

Photo of ThePaintedGrey
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

A: Dark and lovely. Almost like a milk chocolaty hue of brown, with hints of ruby red shining through as it's held to the light. Huge frothy head, three-fingers in size at first, beige in color, sits atop this looker of a beer. Head eventually dwindles down to about one finger in size. Retains at this size for the remainder. Beige lacing remains all down the glass.

S: Dark fruits apparent immediately. Maybe raisin or plum. Chocolaty sweetness. Hints of toffee and spice underneath. Alcohol faintly tingles in the back of the nostrils upon second or third sniff. Not surprising, given the alcohol content.

T: Beer was a tad too cold upon first sip, but a lovely sweet chocolate character hits the palette for me right away. As I let the beer sit (this one is a sipper for sure) to warm up a hair, more complex notes start to shine through. The sweet Belgian candy flavors start to mix with the peppery alcohol. This beer has a very (gourmet) dessert-like flavor profile.

M: Full-bodied, the creaminess of the head mixed in give this beer an almost syrupy feel. Mild carbonation throughout. Devastatingly smooth for a beer with 10.50% ABV.

O: While this beer is certainly a treat on occasion, there's just something about it that left me overall yearning for more. Maybe it was the hype surrounding it that clouded my judgment? Nevertheless, this beer is a nice change of pace compared to my usual choices. Complexly flavored, full-bodied, smooth brew, and kind of dangerous because it doesn't drink like a strong ale. It's just not something I'd write home about; it straddles the line between good and exceptional, but falls more along the lines of good.

 1,702 characters

Photo of djura
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got it in Hungary.

A - Tick creamy brown foam,lasting all the way. Medium carbonation with caramel color.

S - Not so strong aromas of dark chocolate malt,yeast and caramel.

T/M - Creamy well balanced beer. Dark fruits,toffee,dark malts. Warm with bitter sweet aftertaste.

O - One of the best i ever had. Almost same as similar Abbey ales. This one is really special good beer!

 380 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep chestnut color with a one finger foamy tan head. Settles to a nice foamy cap over the beer.

S: Lots of fruity dark malt flavors throughout. Light bubblegum, caramel, marshmallow, light red grape and some Belgian yeast.

T: Lots of rich malty sweetness. A touch of booze upfront with some grape nuts, raisin, some faint earthy hops, Belgian yeast and some breadiness on the finish. Good stuff.

 410 characters

Photo of TeamMathis
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Brown. Maybe a very dark caramel. A nice lace of head.
Smell: Honey, butter, malt, and maybe some fruit.
Taste: Sweet, peppery, alcohol, and malt.
Mouthfeel: Full big body and moderate carbonation.

I love this brew. It is very malty, and somewhat intense...however in excellent ways. The sweetness and pepperiness combine to give this an all around excellent drink with an alcohol intensity that doesn't give that cheap vodka aftertaste. This is a must get.

 470 characters

Photo of soju6
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany color with a big creamy head that fades slowly to good lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, dark fruit, spice, bit of caramel sweetness, with a hint of alcohol.

T: Taste of roasted malt, a mild caramel sweetness. Mild bitterness and a clean finish with just a bit of lingering spice.

F: Medium body, smooth and creamy. Very good balance. Has a warming feeling.

O: Very enjoyable beer. Worth checking out.

 434 characters

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Pours a clear dark brown red color. Has a huge head that sticks around a long time, and lots of lacing.

Smell – A sweet malty alcohol scent. With a little spice.

Taste – A slightly spicy very malty flavor. Kind of simple, but very tasty.

Mouthfeel – Super smooth and creamy, with good carbonation. Super easy drinking for 10.5% abv.

Drinkability – To me, this beer was much better than expected based on its rating. I really enjoyed this, and will look for it again.

 493 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured a big two and half fingers of head on a deep red/amber colored body.
The aroma is nice: like a beer candy store. Malt, barnyard and lemon drops.
The flavor profile is over the top. It starts slow with a touch of malt sweetness, into a crescendo of candy and lemon bitterness, and then falling down with a mild bitter bite. Fairly complex.
A bit of fizziness plays into the middle in the best way. The texture is a little syrupy.

 444 characters

Photo of Blindpigbiz
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smell: clean spring water

Taste: bitter hops with a rich, herbal, malty sweetness that carries throughout; subtle toasted walnuts pervade during each sip

This is one of the funkiest tripels Belgium has produced. Normally tripels have either a clementine, orange, or at least another citrus fruit within the flavor of the beer, but with the golden dragon not a one. This beer caught me off guard and I'm down to try it soon. By the way, This beer goes very well with an Italian sub with heavy mayo and oil

 506 characters

Photo of DIM
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a clear, dark coppery amber color. It poured with a massive, uneven, airy head that faded to large lumps of lace. The head never did fully dissipate even though I left the beer alone for twenty minutes.

s: Lots of candi sugar and some caramel with hints of dark fruit, apple, and gentle, well incorporated alcohol. There is something else kind of soft and earthy that I can't find a word for.

t: This does indeed taste like a dark tripel. Very sweet throughout without being heavy or cloying. Candi sugar from start to finish that does have a "darker" caramel note to it. Dark fruit up front getting faintly boozy toward the middle with a bit of earthy tart... something at the end. I'm not doing this one justice damn it.

m: Very soft, active carbonation. Seems to float over the tongue.

o: Just a wonderfully unique beer. I'm glad I finally got around to trying this classic.

 893 characters

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky red/brown with one full finger of light khaki colored head. The foam settle pretty quickly, leaving a ring of tiny bubbles along the edges of the glass. There is very little lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is very interesting. I get malt, spice, banana, berries, cherries, apples, yeast, and alcohol. I even get a touch of cider vinegar in there as well.

T: It starts out sweet and syrupy with a good helping of malt, spice, bananas and yeast. Yup. All that right up front. As the beer moves to the middle I get a bit of apple essence and maybe a touch of red cherries. As it moves to the back I get more spice, some big carbonation, and a bunch of booze.

M: Full bodied beer. This is a sipper for sure. It's sweet and sticky, but the carbonation lightens it up a bit. The flavors swirl and coat the palate. Big boozy kick in the back end. Finishes sticky and spicy.

O: This beer is decent. It's not an easy drinking brew, but the flavors are fun to pick out. I don't know if I'd return to this beer in the future, but I'm happy to have tasted it.

 1,069 characters

Photo of ThaneMcC
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is one of those classic beers whose sheer complexity make it hard to sit down and write down the experience.
Pours an dark amber with copious off white head and fine effervescence. The smell - hard to describe with notes of caramel, vanilla, dark fruity estery notes, yeasty, roasted malts. Honey
Tastes of sweet roasted malts, apple pie (without the cinnamon), gingerbread with sweet notes well balanced and a lovely clean finish.
Medium body with good amount of carbonation preventing the concoction from becoming syrupy - clean palate.
My go-to beer for consistent quality and deliciousness - the only beer better would be Gulden Draak 9000.
It's so good I would get a tattoo of the dragon on my forehead - but I need my job to buy this excellent brew (not the cheapest - but well worth it)

 800 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak pours a dark brownish color, with a nice large and lacing head. There is a sweet and slightly sour aroma. The taste has a profound sweetness and a slight sourness. Good full flavor, and nice to drink. Overall a very good solid beer, there is a nice fruitiness that is similar to a nice wine.

 304 characters

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.

 1,813 characters

Photo of dar482
4.64/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

 516 characters

Photo of barczar
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

 1,038 characters

Photo of jonb5
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle, poured into large tulip shaped wine glass.

A: Dark ruby, taned head, great retention + lacing, looked thick rather than hazy or opaque.

S: Malt, rasperry, molasses.

T: Malt, plum, biscuit, brown sugar, earthy molasses. Burn from the booze comes at the finish.

M: Smooth, body is medium to slighty thick, coarse edge from the booze burn.

O: I think this would benefit from being aged, missing the wow factor but still very good.

 447 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.66/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak has a thin, off-white, root-beer head, and a very hazy, medium-brown, highly bubbly appearance, with innumerable tan chunks floating throughout. There is some thin lacing left behind. The aroma is sweet, of dark, over-ripe fruit, brown bread, and a bit of spice. Taste is similar, with added caramel, toffee, and even a shade of metallic. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and Gulden Draak finishes semi-dry, highly bubbly, and not undrinkable. Overall, this is at least a most excellent beer, and I recommend it in the strongest terms.


 551 characters

Photo of gc0801
3.2/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Had: 2 months ago, from notes
Serving type: Bottle, interesting shape/design/texture, certainly unique. Bottle was on on sale for 8.00, usually is 10-12 or so.
Poured into a regular glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark color, petrol dark+some brown, legs of alcohol down the glass. Nothing much to say here. I like the color/legs of Strong belgian beers (and really, who does not?)

Smell: feint alcoholic burn, dark fruits, caramel, smells like a heavy beer

The alcohol burn is much more felt here. Overpowering sweetness and harshness due to the alcohol burn. Dark fruits and caramel still comes through. Actually tastes good but the high burn level prevents much enjoyment sadly. It becomes more enjoyable after the first few sips however curiously.

Too much of an alcohol burn to really feel much else, not that enjoyable compared to the taste.

It is hard to say whether I like this or not. I enjoy the taste but the alcohol is just way too overpowering.. It is simply too strong to be a SDA but somehow it does not have the balance of what I usually see from a Quad. Has some of the bad qualities of both as well as well as most of the good qualities. Would prefer there to be slightly less alcohol. Simply too much burn.
If the alcohol was half-way hidden, this would get a 3.5-4 easily, if it was fully hidden (as beautifully as some other Strong Dark Ales/Dubs/Quads/ I have had) 4-4.5 or higher, easily.


Retried it to give it as second chance. Sipped it slowly and had it in a proper glass. A bit more balanced now. going up to 3.25

 1,584 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-dark chestnut with ruby highlights and a massive amount of head that slowly disappears and sticks to the glass

S-dark caramel malt, dark fruit (plums, cherries, raisins), light chocolate and molasses

T-lots of dark fruit, malt, brown sugar, yeasty spice, and a very light amount of hops

M-medium body, medium carbonation,

Overall this is really tasty, maybe a tad too sweet, but overall a beer that I would have again and again

 434 characters

Photo of Roman5150
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Very unique white bottle

Appearance: Dark mocha blackish brown, with 2 finger white head.

Smells: Like a trappist trippel, but with some more sweetness. raisins, plums, coriander notes, and dark figs.

Taste: Reminds me of the sweetness of a Chimay Blue, tastes pretty close to a Rochefort 8 in terms of flavor complexity and dark fruits. Very malty. This is a well balanced trippel, even though it has the ABV of a quad. For a 10% beer, the alcohol is pleasantly disguised. You actually can't taste it at all, although you can tell it's there due to the warmth in your throat. This is a damn good beer. The more it warms up, i'm enjoying it even more, the flavors really come out.

Mouthfeel: Amazing! Good amounts of carbonation and the sweetness just attacks your tastebuds.

Overall: Will buy when I see it, this is a damn good belgian. World class...

 859 characters

Photo of KYGunner
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The appearance would include the most gorgeous bottle I've ever seen. For the ale it's a very well presented brown to dark amber with loads of carbonation that stacks as high as you want to pour it. The bubbly head sits on top as a frothy mass.

Wine like qualities hit the nose with a soft alcohol aroma. Grape, must, prune, date and vinegar-like aromas hit the nose in a supremely well blended scent.

The taste has a lot of vinous grape, must and sweetness. I don't get as much fruit as I got in the scent but this is very well constructed and just good to drink.

The feel is very airy, which makes sense as there's loads of carbonation but it gives a real champagne like feel. The throat and chest are filled with air which descends to the stomach, begging you to drink slowly.

 782 characters

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 1,271 ratings.