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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
94
outstanding

3,323 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,323
Reviews: 1,241
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 11.56%
Wants: 209
Gots: 426 | 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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,323 | Reviews: 1,241 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DeepSix
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Poured a brown color with a significant head that made pouring the whole bottle at once impossible. Don't know if thats storage or pouring technique or what. Back to the color impossible to see through.

Smell is of dark fruits, plums, raisins, candi sugar, and the alcohol

A continuation of the smell, maybe with some spice in there? The alcohol is present as well, as with some minor bitterness which i cannot place if is alcohol or hops, I will guess the latter.

This has a pretty thick mouthful, a bit like syrup. Alcohol is present here as well.

The drinkability is there, but I feel as the beer warmed up the ABV became more noticeable, i was tempted to bring down my score because i drank the beer as I was writing this review, but in the end I decided no. Though have no fear the beer seems to taste better as warmed though as well. These like any high ABV beer can knock you on your ass, and this beer is pretty deceptive when still cold.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers that I saw many, many times but always passed, figuring I would get around to it. Three years is long enough, so I grabbed a bottle the last time I was at State Line, and then again, on tap at BXL Cafe in NYC (an excellent bar, IMO). This review is for the bottle.

Not as impressive as the pour I had at BXL, this beer is still gorgeous. Deep mahogany red with rich, reddish brown highlights, there's a dense, light brown head that recedes to a disk slowly. Retention is excellent, 20 minutes into the beer, the head is still dense, an excellent attribute for a 10.5% beer. The nose is excellent. Very rich and fruity with plums and prunes, soaked in rum. Brown sugar and a very prominent yeast character are present. Moderately phenolic, the expressiveness of the yeast reminds me in some ways of the St. Bernardus Abt 12. A little tobacco, a little earth and a little leather are all present. This really is a beer to cook and pair with, and I should try that sometime.

The palate opens moderately sweet with brown sugar, a little vanilla and a moderate leathery and earthy backbone. Definitely fruity, there's a pronounced prune character here. It's not a flavor I typically care for, but combined with the yeastiness, it's very compelling. There's a mild spice note as well, mildly cinnamon sugar and maybe some mace? Alcohol is very well hidden here, there's some that appears towards the finish, amplifying the mild spice flavors. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, the beer greatly benefits from swirling to release the carbonation. Fruity and mildly sugary on the finish, this feel pretty great on the palate. This is growing a lot on me, and I will revisit this. Maybe just a touch sweeter than I'd like, but I can't imagine what a lower FG will provide here, so I can't be too harsh.

I can't help but think that this would make a great beer to braise lamb with. I just might have to try that. Ultimately, this beer does what a dark tripel should do, it has the fruitiness and mild sweetness that a more traditional tripel should, but only with dark fruits and dark sugars. Quite unique IMO.

Photo of BBP
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a thick cherry brown with good carbonation and a nice, albeit thin, creamy head that fills in over time, rather than receeding. Leaves some beautiful lacing.

S- Dark fruit (prunes especially) with a bit of sharp alcohol. Very rich. The only thing that holds me from sticking my nose into it is the sharp alcohol.

T- Dark fruit initially. Prunes, and a little bit of grape (red&green), followed by caramel. It has a lot of sugary sweetness, but it's balanced tremendously well, and doesn't become overwhelming. I despise overly sweet beers, and I'm always impressed when they can incorporate a ton of sweetness and make me like it.

M- Very creamy and smooth. Carbonated perfectly. Medium full body. Slightly dry and sticky in the finish, but only slightly.

D- This is an excellent beer, and one of my favorites from Brewery Van Steenberge. It presents a lot of character, and hides the ABV considerably well. I noticed very little heat even when looking for it. The only way I did notice was in the buzz it gave me. This is one of the ones that makes you sad when it's gone. I definitely plan to pick up more, and recommend everybody try it at least once.

Photo of yobeerman
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark Brown in appearence with a creamy tan head that lasted a while.

S - The smell was of toffee and molasses, with raisens and plums, and a hint of alcohol.

T - The taste was of malt, with toffee and raisens, and a mellow hoppiness.

M - This is a full bodied, thick, and smooth brew. Meant to be sipped and gets better as it warms.

D - This is good Belgian, and one I'd gladly order again.

Photo of keithmurray
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance - deep chestnut color with beige head

smell - this one is pleasant - red wine, grapes, plums, raisins, brown sugar

taste - red wine, grapes, plums, raisins, molasses

mouthfeel - highly carbonated, full bodied, sweetness in the aftertaste, only a slight detection of alcohol

drinkability - a sipper for sure, nice beverage that I would happily go to again

Photo of Torps
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark plum with two finger off white head.. some lacing.. aroma is dark fruits, candi sugar, prunes, spices and yeast.. taste is super sweet and heavy.. lots of dark fruit, dates, black cherry, spices and boozy alcohol. Mouthfeel is pretty good with plenty of carbonation to combat the sweetness. Drinkability is okay. Its a bit too boozy and sweet to drink more than one.

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

The beer pours with a slightly tan head. The beer itself looks brown, and is almost impossible to see through. The smell of this beer has hints of malt and belgian candi sugar. The mouthfeel is heavy almost like a brown ale. The taste starts out sweet, and ends with the flavor of dates, maybe raisins? There is a sweetness to which im assuming is from belgian candi sugar. It would be interesting to find out the malt bill on this beer, I have a feeling there is maybe belgian biscuit malt? The beer is 10.5% abv, but you do not get any of the burning sensations from the alcohol.

Photo of Swedes21
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 ml served in a chilled glass..

Appearance - Beer pours a gorgeous dark auburn colour with visibility though the beer. The beer has a decent amount of carbonation and the head is very full. Head is a light brown, appears both foamy yet has some density to it. Some nice lacing as I drink the beer.

Smell - You can smell the alcohol for sure, but that is too be expected with a 10.5% beer. I would there is a grape base to this beer as well.

Taste - I would have to say a sweet taste upfront combined with the alcohol. There is a nice aftertaste, somewhat bitter but does not stick around.

Mouthfeel - there is hardly any carbonation added in the mouthfeel. I will say the bitterness level does increase as well as the grape/sweetness hints. You can tell you are drinking a 10.5% beer.

Drinkability - I can see why this beer is sold in a 330 ml bottle! The beer packs a punch, you can taste the liquor but also some amazing sweetness. I would have this beer again just not hunt it down.

Photo of DrewZ926
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip

A- Khaki head, about 2 fingers with decent retention. Deep brown with a hint of gold in the light. Not much lacing.

S- Alcohol is what hits me at the first whiff. Also getting tones of oak, cherry, raisins, and malt.

T- Alcohol hits first again, not masked as well as I had remembered. Getting a lot of sweet malt to counteract though. Followed by fruity (raisin/grape/fig/cherry). Extremely full body with powerful finish.

M- Very rich, tastes better as it warms to room temperature, taste becomes more complex and the fruits are brought out more. Lightly carbonated.

D- Paired great with my meal, also goes very well with desserts, mainly chocolate and orange flavored. Very drinkable and extremely tasty. Alcohol becomes a bit much after one bottle, but this is one of my all times favorites.

Photo of A380
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark brown colour with a nice head that stays forever :) Initial smells slightly fruity with a nice caramelized sweet malt and hops and alcohol. Tastes quite the same. Very nice finish and all around very distinct taste. Very nice beer, could go for another one but i would have to stop at two or three as the taste is not exactly my favorite style out there but it is definitely enjoyable and at 10.5% abv it sure makes for an enjoyable time. This is my first belgian strong dark ale and thanks to gulden draak im not afraid to explore it. good stuff!

Photo of scott451
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip. Slightly hazy dark ruby brown with a thin tan head. The head soon disappears. Moderate lacing.

Sweet dark malt smells with notes of prune and spice. Tastes of sweet dark malts with ripe prune. The alcohol brings up the rear. A big well balanced brew. Very sweet but not in a cloying way.

Medium body. Very smooth and well balanced. A masterful big beer. Very drinkable in spite of the high ABV. You want more even though you know you shouldn't

Photo of Kinsman
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here we have a beautiful reddish-brown colored body with ruby accents and a fizzy, foamy, and rocky light tan head. The head slowly fades without leaving much a lace behind but does leave a beautiful creamy crown, about 1cm thick, on top for the remainder of the glass.

Aroma is packed full with a wide variety of flavors. It greets you with a sugary molasses aroma, which slowly steps aside for a notable phenolic aroma. Fruity and a bit yeasty too.

The first taste greets you with an onslaught of flavor and alcohol. In fact, the alcohol is one of the first things I noticed. The date code is to cryptic for me to understand, but I would guess this bottle is no more than a few months with heat like this.

Once you get past the fire-breathing dragon of alcohol and enter the dragons lair, the beer becomes much more welcoming (sorry for the corny dragon reference, but you just have to with this beer). Lots of sweet and sugary malt flavors plus some dark fruitiness. Further exploration reveals a strong phenolic presence. After all is said and done, the beer finishes with a bit of a spicy note reminiscent of cloves and pepper.

Mouthfeel just about requires a full body with this much flavor. It certainly does deliver, and it comes along with a live bubbly carbonation.

Drinkability... well its enjoyable, but this is one hell of a beer. You only need one of these in the night, but its worth it.

Photo of akenethon
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-beautiful tan, persistent foam. opaque dark brown color with red tint. best looking I have ever seen
S-sweet caramelized malty smell wit some herbalness, can smell the strength of alcohol
T-balanced, malty taste. slightly sweet. burns your throat while drinking. slightly bitter aftertaste. feels like cognac
M-medium light mouthfeel, not full but not clear either
D-a really good beer. need to sip slowly and concentrate. as I said, this is a cognac tasting of beer. I love cognac so it fits perfect to my taste. I only wish it had a fuller mouthfeel and tasted less like syrup.

Photo of yapi
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: rather surprised this is a dark brew, in Flemish Gulden means golden, and I always thougt this would be golden colored.

S: peaches to me, fruity, soft oak

T: Sweet, fruity, detect some peaches, some reminders of an oak aged quad, alcohol is present, and I think the taste note of the alström bros 'cake batter' is spot on! Had a lot of cake batter shakes in my time and I love it!

O: very pleasantly surprised by this one! Never was appealed to the bottle, but once poured, loved it. This one isn't a fast drink, alcohol definitely is present. Will buy some more and see what a couple of month time will do

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 fl oz bottle into my favorite beer drinking glass -

Poured a nice rich brown -clear with lots of bubbles -
two finger head with a nice lace that seems to follow it down the glass -

Smell was pleasant and clean hints of toffee -

Taste was extremely pleasant malty with carmel or toffee hints - considering this is a 10.5 by al vol beverage it is excellent -

The taste was so good I wanted to chug this ale - but refrained as to really enjoy a really good brew - very drinkable.

Photo of haazer
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip.

A- Nice combination of brown, amber, maroon and ruby glow on the glasses edge. Decent forming tan head that retains well. Leaves lacing on the glass.

S- Fruity smells of rasberries and raisins. Has a great malt smell to it. Can detect the alcohol but certainly not overbearing.

T- Great combination of fruity and malt flavors. Flavor dominated by raisins, but also pick up black cherry and grape. Is anyone else getting a quad taste to this beer?

M- Very smooth and rich upfront. Alcohol becomes warming. Carbonation is drying. Palate is sweetened immensely with this beer.

D- Very tasty beer. Alcohol is deceiving but I would drink this any time. I only briefly tasted this one but I plan on buying more in the near future. Would definitely seek this out.

Photo of EgadBananas
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, red bronze in color, with a very minimal head that dissipates super fast.

Aroma is bready, sweet caramel malts, with some noticeable alcohol and roasted notes.

Taste is much of the same with sweet malts, caramel and noticeable alcohol sting, along with some brandy-like qualities.

Feel is solid medium in body, minimal carbonation and a slight creaminess.

Very enjoyable, but the alcohol puts a damper on the drinkability. 1 is satisfying.

Photo of dasenebler
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl, Netherlands.

Sexy light garnet with a thick, bubbly light tan head. Thin layer retains, with a bit of lacing.

Aroma is outstanding with a rich, vinous alcohol note, along with ripe stone fruit, such as cherries and plums.

Flavor is warming as hell. This is a very strong beer, but it's pretty smooth. I like the concept of the dark tripel, though my favorite tripels are dry and refreshing, whereas this beer is quite sweet and pretty heavy. There's a big cherry sweetness, along with some brown sugar and molasses. This is a tasty beer, but the alcohol is quite present. The mouthfeel was well-carbonated and pretty slick and medium-heavy.

As a "dark tripel," Gulden Draak is a unique Belgian ale that makes for a great digestif...or nigthcap, in my case.

Photo of NODAK
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is amazing. Full of fruit, banana and there's some cherry in there as well. Booziness is also evident.

Pours a beautiful, cloudy dark brown in the glass. Small head.

Brightly sweet in the front, with tons of banana, dark fruit and a distinct note of cherries. Almost a wine quality to it. The finish is sweet with a candied sugar taste and booziness together, at this ABV it'd be hard to completely cover. It isn't too distracting, but it's there. A small citrus peel bitterness creeps in at the end to finish it off.

Tasty!! A sweet treat, like a dessert to itself. I definitely enjoy this beer, but at this price and ABV, it's a sipper. Even after one, I could feel the warmth.

Photo of dgilks
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sweet, bready malt aroma. Lots of dark fruit. Slightly spicy. Good.

Hazy brown, chestnut colour with basically no head.

Sweet malt with bready overtones. Light toast. Fruity yeast character wiht light stone fruit notes. There is some spice here too.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Silky and good.

This is a decent BSDA. The flavours are good, the alcohol well integrated and the finish dry enough not to be cloying. The aroma could be better but on the whole its decent.

Photo of mralphabet
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 ML bottle poured into a Tulip

A: Poured a dark,clear reddish copper color. Visible carbonation when first poured.. that settles down as it warms. Big 2 finger head that sticks around... Wonderful spotty think lacing all the way down the glass from start to finish. Great looking beer.

S: Loads of dark fruits... Plumb, raisins & a very little hint of dark cherries. There is a lot of sweetness here and a strong hint of alcohol.... After the alcohol burn the aftertaste is slightly sweet and pretty pleasant.

T: Wow, sweet, fruity, spicy and strong. Makes me think more Rum than beer. All the fruits are here soaked down with some pretty strong alcohol... The affect builds are it warms...

M: Med to heavy as it starts out, but as it warms up, it gets heavy, really heavy.... Carbonation is pretty low.

D: Sit back and enjoy 1... that will be all you need. At 10.5% ABV it is very strong. One and done. It is a very nice sit down and enjoy on a nice cool evening... Lots of great flavor and very warming.... it is almost like sipping a very nice cognac.... Give this one a try...

Photo of radioscooter
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is so-far, in 20 years of beer geekitude, my (so far) all time favorite drinking beer. I love it for any time of year and I find myself in an uncomfortably dependent relationship with it. Luckily, I only drink two beers in an evening anymore, and at 10.5%ABV, that suits this brand just fine. It's an ass-kicker and after about 3 minutes, you know you're drinking. Alternate with waters if you're at a pub.

Yes, it is heady and has beautiful Belgian lacing and a strong, rich taste and I suppose there are some fig or plum or fruity overtones, etc. Maybe with some time and effort I'll be able to refer to these attributes with less flippancy and more accuracy.

But so many other more knowledgeable and practiced BAs have reviewed the Draak that I didn't just want to chime in with yet another list of offbeat flavors with which to try to out-obscure this beer's flavor.

What you need to know is fairly simple. If you like dark, strong Belgian triples - this is one of the best. But then - if you already know you like these types of beers, then you've probably already tried this one. It's one of the prominent Belgians in just about every self-respecting alehouse that serves them that I've visited.

I find that served cold from the fridge, or right off a tap - as with many strong ales, its flavor is really masked by the temp. My usual trick is to pour, let sit for 7-10 min. and then sip it slowly over the next 15 minutes. This allows the full flavor experience, which is what separates this beer from other similar styles.

To perhaps bring something new to the discussion, I can discuss the difference between the 11oz bottles, the 750 and the on-tap offerings, as I've experienced all three within the past week.

These conditions may affect many beers similarly, or they may not. Your mileage may vary, obviously. I find that of the three ways I've had it - the larger 750 bottle is my favorite. This beer isn't served by more carbonation, and the big bottle has the least, while the tap version seems to have more. That may be dependent on the bar's system, but Jeff at the legendary Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh knows what he's doing there and it is consistent. The differences are subtle, but the smaller bottle is the lessor of the three. Sadly, we cannot buy the 750's in PA. I just bought a case of the 11's and that wasn't easy either.

For clarity - On tap I usually drink it at the Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh. (in a true GD goblet) I had my last one at the new Bistro 922 version of the Edge which, on the day I was there, had recently opened and was hosting a bevy of Furries from the convention a block away.

I ordered my case of 11's from a local distributor whose usual most exotic is "any beer that has the lime built-in" but he's a friend of mine and likes to tell his other customers about the idiot that pays $90 for a case of beer. I drink this at home poured into my Chimay goblets (shhh don't tell anyone, it's the only glassware I own. But my birthday approaches. Hint, hint)

I found and tried the 750's for the first time on vacation in Virginia and was so excited, I drank a whole one every night for the week we were there. (poured into some rental property wine goblets that were on hand) For the record - the Fredericksburg, VA Wegman's has a punishingly great beer and wine selection for being a freaking supermarket. Represent.

I did read somewhere to pair it with chocolate cake. I never understand the idea of pairing an already-sweet beer with a rich dessert. But all in the effort of science, I tried a small handful of bittersweet chocolate with a sip last night - and whaddya know - bliss.

I'll be cellaring some (if I can bare it) to see how it does over time.

Photo of Mitchster
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a mixed 6-pack from the brewery which I bought for $16. Comes in a 11.2 oz painted white bottle. 10.5% ABV. A "dark triple", which really means a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Pours out to a slightly hazy dark amber, forming a small off tan head with poor retention and weak lacing. Carbonation is mild to moderate, much less than expected for the style. The aroma is off-putting...soy sauce, dark candi sugar, cola, and caramel. When swirled, I get light molasses and alcohol. The mouthfeel is syrupy with a medium-dense body and cloying sweetness of dark candi sugar. The taste is of carob, cola, soy sauce, and caramel, with a very mild bitterness. Some phenols are evident in the middle, and there is a slightly oxidized, but not irritatingly so, finish.

I have mixed thoughts about this beer. It's just OK. The amount of candi sugar they put in this is overwhelming. I'd rather have more malt and less sugar so it didn't taste like cola, but as it is, it's drinkable...just not something I'm inclined to purchase again.

Photo of adam42381
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Pours an opaque mahogany brown with ruby highlights and a small 1/2 finger white head which dissipates quickly. Very minimal lacing.

Smell: Dried fruits and alcohol with hints of caramel and Belgian yeast. Nothing spectacular.

Taste: Sweet dried fruit up front followed by sweet caramel malt and spices in the middle and ending with a mix of bitterness and sweetness at the finish. Aftertaste is sweet and mildly phenolic. The flavor is delicious.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Quite smooth for a beer of this ABV.

Drinkability: Very high drinkability. You don't really notice the alcohol at all so this one could very well sneak up on you.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. The flavor is near perfect. I would very highly recommend this.

Photo of celldog
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Simply the best beer on the planet. I get my Gulden Drak from Yardhouse restaurants. Have never had it from the 12 oz or 750ml bottles.

The explosive flavors of this tripel are so wonderful. Nothing I have tasted compares. This is not for the bud light drinker. This beer is only meant for those who appreciate quality and substance in their beers.

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,323 ratings.