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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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3,383 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,383
Reviews: 1,260
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 11.56%
Wants: 218
Gots: 478 | FT: 5
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,383 | Reviews: 1,260
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.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #26:

Oh yeah--dark and inviting with that beautiful Belgian-style lacing draped on the glass. Aromas of toffee, licorice root, taffy and cake batter, with hints of bubblegum and peppery alcohol, and a faintness of raisins. Smooth and a little chewy, with a slick, medium body. A tad thick on the malt sweetness to start, the alcohol soon turns the tides with a very warming, peppery alcohol. The sweetness comes in with a layer of toffee, some red grape skin and a suggestion of cooked vegetables, which fades quickly. The peppery flavor meets a dry, toasted, biscuity flavor middle to end. Finishes slightly alcoholic and sweet.

A big, tasty treat here; complex, yet dangerously inviting, as the sweetness melds well with the alcohol. Reminiscent of a young Port wine, so obviously Gulden Draak is a perfect candidate to throw at just about any cheese that has a blue vein running through it.

Photo of Shadman
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nothing Golden about the colour of this brew. Dark, cloudy Chestnet brown. Very nice thick tan head, showed superior tetention and lacing.

Aroma wae nice in a not knocking my socks off way. Rich alcohol soaked fruitiness.

Took quote george from Seinfeld..." I'm blown away" Not incredibly complex, but what's there is amazing. As I'm drinking this I'm thinking why pair wine with food because this is better than most wines I've sampled. Rich malt fruitiness with amzingly well hidden alcohol. Finishes slightly dry and spicy.

Smooth and full bodied mouthfeel.

Still blown away @ how enjoyable this beer was. Smooth, flavourful, not overbearing in any category, yet makes me immediately wishing I had more in the cellar to enjoy.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright, deep gold bordering on amber with a nice white head. Smell has a bit of hops alongside some citrus and sweet, sweet malt. Taste is quite sweet as well with a good amount of grassy, floral hops to balance is out. The mouthfeel is quite full. Nice body without any real alcohol taste. Drinkability is on the high side. High in ABV, but quite delicious. This is a sipper.

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

330ml bottle poured into my St. Bernardus Chalice.

Appearance: Dark brown, but not deep, light can penetrate this one, very nice head, and incredible lacing start to finish.

Smell: Spice and dark fruit (fig) hit the nose immediately, not highly complex but good none-the-less.

Taste: Follows the nose, good, again with the fig flavor plus an abundance of malt, all in all well balanced beer with some hoppy bitterness coming through in the finish.

Mouth: Smooth on the palate, good carbonation.

Drinkability: Very good, enjoyable, a solid example of a Belgian strong dark ale.

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

750ml poured into a Stone Brewery tulip.

Appearance: purple mahogany with small white head and minimal lacing.

Aroma: iron, figs, roasted malts, syrupy and nutty.

Taste: fruity sweetness, malty goodness and belgian spice.

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium carbonation and dry finish.

Overall impression: tasty and sweet, this is an incredible beer. anytime. any day.

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

poured from a 330 ml bottle to a mahogany color with a small head fresh tan collar and great lacing..smell was sweet currant dark fruit with caramel sugars roasted malts with nice yeast ..taste is sweet like a tripel big dark fruit tastes plum and fig its followed by roasted malts candied sugar yeast some clove and spice just delicious and gets better as it warms...mouth feel is full as in full of flavor alcohol is not detected its 10.5 but i never tasted it..its a beautiful brew as a strong dark it pricey but really good

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

Corked and caged 750ml. Served in the proper glass.

Dark brown body, thin white head.

Nose is sweet, buttery, smooth and grainy.

Dark, smooth, sweet, mellow and powerful. Boozy brown sugar and spice. A great taste experience.

Mouthfeel is smooth but tangy.

Nicely balanced and a wonderful sipper. It's ABV is well masked. Savor and enjoy!

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

found this in vancouver and remembered someone from michigan telling me to try it out if i ever found it!

not disapointed at all.

A: Hazzy dark brown with a light tan head, good retention and lacing.

S: dark berries are a definate. prunes and blackberry, there's a tartness there that is just appealing.

T: Caramel and berries, not boozy at all, a tad sweet, but suits.

M: a right proper body, not overly carbonated, just right.

D: i liked it a bit more for sessions than Trois Pistole's from Unibroue. definately not an everyday for me, but two and three go down as easy as one... 4 is on the way, but i won't be right minded after all that 10.5 kicks in.

Photo of MrDanno96
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a deep brown/mahogany color with about a finger of off-white head. Not much lacing, but a little liquid clings to the sides of my snifter.

S: Fairly sweet on the nose - sweet dark fruit, caramel, and a little Belgian spiciness.

T: As the nose indicated, fairly sweet, but very well balanced too. Lots of sweet dark fruit up front - plums, figs, grapes - along with sweet brown sugar and caramel. Some of that typical spice from the Belgian yeast makes its way into the finish, providing a bite of dryness that adds good balance. Well done!

M: On the lighter side of full bodied and incredibly smooth for 10.5%. The alcohol is barely detectable.

D: Quite dangerous. Without knowing the number, I would guess this was 7-8% abv at most. Gulden Draak drinks impressively well for a 10%+ brew. Bravo!

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 Thehuntmaster
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle 10,5% Abv

Appearance: Gulden Draak pours a beautiful shade of deep red-brown with stunning crimson highlights when held to the light. The beer is almost clear with only a few small yeast particles floating around. As with almost all Belgians I have had to date the head is massive. It is light coffee coloured and lasts pretty well, but unfortunately leaves only patchy lace.

Smell: Wow, what a nose... Sweet caramel malt, fruitiness made up of dark cherries, stewed plums, raisons and dates, some scotch like smokiness and a light dusting of spice - hints of clove and cinnamon-.
The alcohol is very well hidden in the nose and that which does come through as the beer warms adds a "good rum" like quality to the nose.

Taste: Again WOW and I thought the nose was good; I really have no choice but to give this beer full marks for flavour. The flavour profile begins with sweet caramel (almost dark brown sugary) malt, this follows into spiced (cinnamon, cloves and a hint of pepper), rum soaked dark fruits (cherries, plums, raisons and dates). The Scotch smokiness from the nose is there along with a hint of chocolate. The finish is slightly bitter and works perfectly in preventing the beer from becoming overwhelmingly sweet.
There is some warming in the throat and stomach; however the alcohol is generally very well hidden for the Abv.

Mouthfeel: Just a tad lighter than full bodied with lively (albeit very pleasant) carbonation, that drifts towards a perfect level around halfway through the bottle.

Drinkability: Superb, I could have easily finished a 750 and will most certainly have this beer again.

Photo of Foxxypants
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I received this beer for my birthday, I decided to put it off for a while, seeing the 10.5%ABV rating. I figured I should save it for a special occasion that dictated a strong beer. That occasion came around, and I got out my Newcastle pub schooner, opened this baby and poured it.

A: Sits perfectly in the glass. Just enough head to look pretty, dark amber/brown color, light filming on the glass when swirled.

S: The smell was pleasant, though nothing too special. Fruity, but strong.

T: I was blown away. It tastes so perfect. Smooth, but it lets you know that it's strong. Complex, with dark fruit flavors, and smooth malt tone. Finishes with hops, and stays around.

M: Creamy, sticks with you. Very smooth.

D: I could drink this every day for ever, if it weren't so hard to find. I plan on hunting this beer down for every special occasion.

Photo of zhanson88
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First off, I really like the presentation of this beer. The white label with the golden dragon they put over the bottle is pretty cool.

Appearance: A dark tanned leather color that turns ruby around the edges. There is a great deal of light tan head that has awesome retention.

Smell: Caramel, dark fruits, and alcohol dominate the nose. I can also pick up something a little buttery in the scent as well.

Taste: Really great, complex malt flavors. Caramel and cherries as well. This is a complex, balanced beer that has a distinct spiciness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Not great. Medium body, but there was a lot more carbonation than I was expecting. The carbonation left kind of a sharp sensation on the tongue that I didn't care for.

Drinkablility: I liked this beer a lot. Mouthfeel wasn't quite what I hoped, but definitely worth a try.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.71/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance: Dark brown with ruby port hues. A huge creamy head that takes a long time to recede. I can't imagine a better looking brew.
smell: Impressive hops and malt. I very good nose but a little subdued for a monster.
taste: Oh man! Hops, and malt in perfect balance. A sherry hint.This is just amazing.
mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy.
drinkability: This beast is amazingly mellow.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with red highlights and somewhat clear. A foamy tan head that is mostly diminishing.

S: Dark fruits (plums or raisins) are balanced with mild hop and reminds me of a port.

T: A sweet initial flavors with notes of dark fruits and ends with a little booze. Brown sugar and caramel malts are there creating a sweet and delicious beer.

M: A soft and light mouthfeel with a syrup like texture. Good carbonation.

D: Would definately drink this again.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,383 ratings.