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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3,275 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,275
Reviews: 1,228
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 11.56%
Wants: 200
Gots: 392 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,275 | Reviews: 1,228 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kegger22
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak is dark brown in color with a modest beige head that fades to a collar. As I hold it up to the computer screen, it has a red cast to it. The aroma is like a dessert wine, maybe a sherry, noticeably boozy. The taste follows the nose, sherry, and sweet, and grapes. The feel is medium/full with only a little carbonation. Drinkability is good. I think a 750 ml bottle of this would be perfect to share with some nice, young lady on a date.

Quite good, but unlike any beer I've had; BSDA, Tripel, or other. If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck and tastes like a duck; is it a wine, I mean a duck? Who cares, it is impressive.

Photo of Katahdin
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A unique Belgian style beer in that it is very dark and full bodied. Rich, creamy head that lingers in the glass and holds together well. The taste has a interesting blend of pepper and fruit. The richness and complexity of the pepper is balanced by the dried fruit taste that lingers longer than the peppery flavor. An easy beer to drink and a credit to the Belgian Tripel class. Highly recommend!

Photo of ecoastman
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm starting to warm up a little by the end. Good stuff and definitely worth a try for Belgian fans. OK to start but loving it by the end. I'd like to see this offered separately from the Belgian sample pack at the Ontario LCBO.

I kind of like the ceramic look-a-like bottle and asian theamed design. The beer pours nicely into a chalice with cherry hues and a nice dense head that recedes to a thin layer but is well retained. There's just a little lacing along the way.

Complex bread, fruit, sweet candy malt belgian-like aromas. Very nice and not too boozy.

The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and a touch syrupy. There's surprisingly little courseness for the ABV, but then again it's a Belgian...

Sweet and malty to start and the volatiles from the ABV bring out some of the fruity complexities of the yeast. Notes of strawberries and cherries.

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

Pours a dark cloudy copper. Soap bubble head with good lacings.

Blackcurrants and alcohol on the nose.

Creamy mouth feel at first followed by some hot carbonation under the tongue. Bittersweet malt with lots of vinous fruits. A sharp, long finish with warming alcohol.

A bit strong to toss back, but certainly a tasty beer.

Photo of lester619
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cool looking white bottle with a pissed off dragon on the label. Pours a dark hazy brown with a thin, sticky head. The smell is amazing. Spicy pepper, sweet prune, medicinal herbal tea with an almost menthol quality. Earthy, leathery with a bourbon like alcohol burn. This is some harsh stuff. I get a warm boozey alcohol burn at first, then a ton of different flavors come out. Sweet and tart cherries, black pepper, spicy, earthy, oak notes. Green tea with lemon grass. There is some understated hop bitterness. Lots going on. It's 10.5 abv, but it drinks more like a good 80 proof bourbon. This is for sipping. I can't imagine the skill that must go into brewing something like this. My hat's off to the the Belgian craftsmen responsible for creating an amazing drink.

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

-Pours a red brown with a small but prominent head and some minor lacing.

- Smell is raspberries, pear, nutmeg and a bit of caramel - amazing nose!

-Taste is quite dry compared to the nose, a bit of nuts, still some ripe berries, with an alcohol/slight off dry hop/almost red wine like finish.

Amazingly drinkable, great, well balanced beer - a great combo between bitter, fruity and malty. wow!

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

A: Hazy, muddy tan aged leather

S: Candied fruits with a hint of something citrusy

T: Distinct malty sweetness. This IS a very sweet beer, but not cloyingly so. Tastes of pepper and a spice which I can't place. Very warm in the finish...reminds you that its 10.5% ABV

M: Thick, viscous, slightly syrupy

D: Like a lot of Belgians, this one conceals its ABV extremely well. You don't feel it until you stand up. Extremely tasty beer, one that I wish were more widely available in my area

Photo of MeisterBurger
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This looks as it should, dark and ruddy topped by an off white head. Nice head retention and lacing. It certainly looks the part.

The aroma is very sweet and plummy with notes of brown sugar, caramel and vanilla. It smells rich and decadent.

Whoa. This is very strong. Very rich and sweet with a candi sugar aspect but not treacly or cloying. Dried dark fruits--prunes, raisins--with a burnt aftertaste followed by a lingering warming fusel alcohol. The sweetness is kept in check more from a phenolic plasticity than from any hop bitterness. Almost tastes like sucking on an orange pekoe tea bag.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous. Very full bodied.

In one way I like the over-the-top heavy sweetness, which is good for a long winter's night of sipping. But for the style, I prefer something a little drier and lighter in body. So I'm torn even though I dig it. Either way this is not for the feint of heart.

Photo of hardy008
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown color with a 2 finger off white head with large bubbles and decent lacing. Smell is dark fruit, especially plums. raisins, and cherries, as well as sweet caramel malt. Same for the flavor which mixes sweet malt with some bitterness to make a pretty nice beer. Creamy, full bodied, and nicely carbonated. The only drawback is the alcohol is not hidden, and packs quite a punch at 10.5%. Still quite good though.

Photo of TheStoutAholic
3.3/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Glass type: tulip glass.

A: Well this is my first DARK Triple therefore was very dark for a triple

S: The smell was very sweet smelled of fruit.

T: This was a very fruity tasting Triple.

M: Has a very fruity taste with a head that doesn't mask its flavor one bit.

D: It started tasting better as it warmed up to room temperature.

This was my first taste of a Dark Triple therefore I have nothing to compare it to, it was decent, more fruity than I was ready for though.

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap and it was poured into a Gulden Draak tulip glass. It is a dark amber/brown color with a beautiful thick, creamy head. The nose was kind of weak, but consisted of raisin, alcohol, and very malty. The taste was pretty good and got better as it warmed. There was a lot of raisin, very malty, with a nice spiciness. I could feel the alcohol on the back of my throat. It seemed almost too sweet. The mouthfeel was pretty syrupy with a touch of carbonation. The sweetness cuts into the drink ability of this beer, not to mention its high alcohol content. However, if I wasn't driving I could have had at least one more of these before trying something else. This beer does not match up with Chimay Grande Reserve in my opinion, but overall I was very pleased to try this beer and would like to have it again.

Photo of yuriruley
4.72/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Reddish/Brown, not much of a head on it but it sticks with the drink all the way down. Some lacing

Smell - Dark fruits right off the top with a slight apple smell and malts.

Taste - Can taste the fruit flavor and maltyness. Not getting a whole lot of alcohol flavor. Very well balanced. This is one of the tastiest beers I have had recently.

Mouthfeel/Drink - Not as heavy as I expected, good carbonation. Deceptively easy to drink for it's ABV.

I have had this beer prior to reviewing it. Last year my mom bought me a bottle for Christmas, and I liked it, but that was before I was really into beer. So I decided to revisit it and I was not disappointed.

Photo of Tone
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark amber color. 3/4 inch head of a pale tan color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of hops, sweet malt, yeast, dark citrus, alcohol, and slight bread. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of dark citrus (cherries), sweet malt, hops, yeast, and slight alcohol. Overall, a good body, blend, alcohol is well-hidden, and good aroma.

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

Poured from tap at Ortinos Northside into a 10 ounce tulip glass.

A: A dark brownish red color with a two finger fluffy off white head. Not much glass lacing.

S: Sweet sugar and candy malt with some sweet fruit smells. A hint of tangyness.

T: Sweet dark fruits with plum, raisin, cherry and a hefty sugar candy sweetness that also gives off biscuit sweetness and a hint of molasses and some light chocolate flavor. A slight hop tartness offsets the sweetness but never takes center stage. Finish is smooth and coating but alcoholic.

M: Full, coating, sweet with a decent alcohol presence. Alcohol does not hinder the flavor at all.

D: Medium. I could have one or two, but that would be it.

Overall a nice Belgian that I was happy to try on tap. A great beer that everyone should have the opportunity of trying. Well done.

Photo of brystmar
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750mL white bottle into a snifter. This beer pours with a healthy amount of head and leaves beaded lacing on the glass.

Smells of malt mix with lighter doses of fruit & peppery goodness. My only wish is that the scent itself was more pronounced.

One sip of this beer tells you there's something very special in your hands. Creamy malt hits first, followed by a distinct fruity sweetness not typically associated with this style. It's sweet, but not overly so by any stretch. Carbonation is higher than average, but well balanced by the full-bodied texture and various flavors in this complex beer. Delicious!

Gulden Draak is deceptively easy drinking -- watch out for that 10.5% ABV -- but first rate nonetheless. One of my favorites.

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

A: This beer pours a deep, translucent reddish-cola color. The tall, light tan head is somewhat dense, foamy, and frothy. Retention is very good, with plenty of scattered lacing on the glass.

S: Sweetly malty in the nose - a bit whiskeyish actually. Vibrant, tart dark fruitiness is also very noticeable, with notes of raisins and cherries. Some mild yeasty/spicy aromas are also present.

T: A big, sweet, malty flavor. Hints of caramel and brown sugar. Definitely fruity - raisins, slightly overripe plums, and cherries, adding to the sweetness a tangy, tart bite. A robust leafy/herbal hop bitterness jumps into the picture toward the finish, adding a pleasant balance to what would otherwise be a very sweet beer. Some additional sticky molasses and perhaps cocoa flavor lingers in the aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied. Carbonation is on the light side. Finishes sticky and a bit dry. Alcohol provides some sneaky heat overall.

D: A big, complex beer. This is definitely worth trying. Drinkability is high, as this is a unique brew, but the sweetness and alcohol make it a slow sipper. A malty, hoppy, dark tripel.

Photo of cichief
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml. bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a deep caramel-brown with a nice tan head, the beer was clear when held up to the light.

S- Scents of ripe fruit and spice. The sweetness of this beer is inviting.

T- Very malty sweet. Hints of candied fruit and subtle clove. Balanced.

M- Medium to full, coats the tongue well. The carbonation is well done, as a bottle conditioned beer should be.

D- A little goes a long way, a nice treat from time to time, but the alcohol content will hold me back.

Photo of jbonapar
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

5-year old bottle picked up at Pub Italia in Ottawa.

Appearance - Dark caramel brown. Beautiful caramel head.
Smell - Delicious sent of butterscotch, brown sugar and dark candied fruits.
Taste - Delicious butterscotch, candied fruits with some strong esters. The alcohol is certainly in the mix here and you can taste it right up front. However, the strong sweet flavors overpower the actually overpowering of the alcohol. Kind of a contradiction, but true...

Drinkability - I think one in a row of these would be the max. Certainly a nice evening drink, sit back watch a movie or read in front of a fire-place. This would be the perfect beer to warm you up.

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

A - A soft beige head with a healthy 2 fingers to it. A dark colored beer, like tea stains and soy sauce. Visible yeasty wisps scurrying at the bottom. The head faded a little quickly on my glass probably due to improper washing, but it left great lacing like a Rorschach diagram all over the place. The painted bottle prevents all sunlight degradation, and if you go to their website there's an interesting story behind the beer's namesake.

S - The appearance and color of this beer were nice, but the smell is even better. Initial smells include caramel, chocolate, and crystal malts. This moves along into some sweet fructose smells that are easy to pick up even with the glass 3 feet away. Caramel flavors, and spicy hops are punctuated with orange peel (also indicated on the label ingredients).

T - The experience improves even further when you take the first sip. The first word that popped into my head was 'divine'. Initially you get a wave of tastes that seem unlikely in a beer. Sweet fruity, candies, then incense-like spices like flavored tobacco from a traditional Arabic hookah. This quickly moves to a malty sensation that cools the palate while warming the heart. There are yeasty tones too, but not dominate. The final after taste of this beer is that of orange peel and a tang of yeast.

M - The weakest point of this beer is that the alcohol does throw the balance of flavor off a bit. You notice that with the mouthfeel. There is a strong smooth body with a bit of an alcoholic fusil sting. It crawls down the throat after coating the mouth.

D - The alcohol of this beer does kill some of the exotic flavors you find. The first gulp was magically delicious, a real candy store of smells and tastes, however the last few sips were not as good. However this is a beer that stands out among most.

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

11.2 oz bottle. $3.99, I think.

Appearance: Pours clear brown with red highlights. Ruby when held up to light. Its a little lighter in color than a Coke. Big rocky off white head fades within a few minutes, leaving a thin rim, but lots of lacing.

Smell: Very sweet with dark fruits. Also some sour or tart fruit smells too which seems weird. Boozy. Swirling brings put some nice yeastiness. Pretty good, not great.

Taste: Wow its hot. Very boozy. Rum soaked fruit, and unfortunately some sour fruit taste as well. Finishes with nice spicy bready taste.

Mouthfeel: Overall its pretty full with a little syrupiness but carbonation is adequate enough to keep it from seeming overly syrupy or flat.

Drinkability: Well, its pretty good, not great. I'm not a real fan of the strong booziness in this style, or the sourness (although its slight). I would drink it again if given to me, but I wouldnt buy it-- there are better choices for the money.

Photo of MadeInOregon
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had Gulden Draak about 3 or 4 times in the past and remember liking it a lot so I wanted to give it another go and see if it was as good as before. Unfortunately I was a little disappointed, but it's still an enjoyable drinking experience.

The body is dark amber accompanied by a thin, tan head which sticks around for a while. In the glass it looks like a barleywine and looks very strong in general.

Gulden Draak smells syrupy sweet and astringent. Though the aroma is interesting, it's actually not very pleasant and kind of overwhelming.

As for taste, I should have trusted my instincts and let it warm up a little before tasting as it's much tastier and drinkable when it's closer to room temp. When cold it tastes syrupy sweet very much like a barleywine--making me wonder if this really is a "Dark Triple" and not a Quad (?). Regardless of temperature this beer is very strong and warming, which is nice if you're in the mood for it.

As it warms up the hops are more evident and the yeast is present in the aftertaste. The consistency is highly carbonated just like a triple but with a more warm and creamy feel.

I wouldn't ever turn this beer down when offered, but from now on I will definitely make sure to drink it after it's been out of the fridge for an hour. That's when it moves from being just a strong and interesting beer to one that is smooth and enjoyable.

Photo of JeremyBrews
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep brown caramel color. Great initial head that fades too quickly to an array of various sized bubbles. Beautiful lcaing.

S- Mostly chocolate malt with very sweet, crystalized sugar aroma. Alcohol smell noticeable.

T- Chocolate, caramel, orange and bitter hops. Wonderful first taste declines to a dull, sour yeast aftertaste with bold alcohol edge.

M- Very creamy, milky texture. Alcohol warmth.

D- Great aroma and wonderfully rewarding and complex initial taste are brought to an excellent alcohol warmth and hop climax. However, the finale is a disappointing alcohol dominance, with malt and yeast flavors almost completely masked. Initial nirvana seems acheived, then abruptly shattered.

Photo of haddon
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a dark amber with a nice off-white frothy head that doesn't hang around very long. decent lacing down the goblet

S- molasses, biscuit, apricots, raisins & molasses. something else on the nose, maybe butterscotch.

T- dates, figs & rum with a hint of warm alcohol that balances very well.

M- mild to medium body with good carbonation

D- love this belgian ale. only got better as the beer warmed. could drink one every night and never tire of the complex flavor profiles.

Photo of selecter70
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

How could I turn down the fierce clawing dragon tap-head? A nice pour from the Independent, definitely now one of Boston's best beer joints (thanks Evan!). A dark reddish smooth pour with fine bubbles settled to a thin head that soon dissipated. A sweet malty caramel aroma, and similar flavor, with yeasty honey qualities, sweet dark plums and anise. The alcohol (10.5%) is not hidden, but rather pointed out by the sweetness, although there is enough tartness to balance. Smooth and creamy, but not so much as to have more than one, this dragon is best sipped by a fireplace on a cold rainy night.

Photo of shanecb
3.78/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice dark amber/brown color that's very clear. Attractive carbonation constantly rising, just enough to look pleasant. A little but of an off-white head, but just coats the top of the beer. No lacing.

S - Rather pleasant. Lots of maltiness and sweetness to the nose. Also a little something else, maybe dark fruit or licorice. After awhile I definitely started to notice some alcohol smell coming through, which wasn't all that pleasant though it was muted.

T - A lot of what was in the nose. Sweetness with maltiness is rather overpowering at first. Also maybe a little honey to it. I wanted to give it a higher rating, but I really seem to get a slightly metallic or rusty aftertaste, which I saw a few people mentioned. It seemed to go away as I drank it but that might have been my getting used to it. Also, some sips have a rather unpleasant alcohol twinge to it.

M - Wonderful! Feels creamy and full in the mouth. Carbonation just flirts with the tongue and is wonderful. This is one of the few 5s I've given for mouthfeel, but it definitely deserves it.

D - Alright, because it has a rather nice flavor, but due to the alcohol and metallic tastes I'm getting I don't think I'd drink more than one at a time.

Overall, I really wanted to give this a little bit of a higher rating, but it just has a few things I had to knock off points for.

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,275 ratings.