1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,050 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,050
Reviews: 1,204
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.58%
Wants: 169
Gots: 278 | FT: 3
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,050 | Reviews: 1,204 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of norwichboy


4.4/5  rDev +4%

Presentation deserves a mention with a white coated Duvel shaped bottle, with a striking black label with gold trim and gold dragon print above red lettering "Gulden Draak".

Appearance: very deep golden colour with a large very thick creamy biege head, excellent retention and glass-coating lacing. Smell: very sweet alcohol, bubblegum, caramel and fruit aromas: pear, some cherries and banana too. Taste: woomph, there's the alcohol; dark fruits, some spiciness. Very sweet plus sour and bitter. A very long bitter-sweet aftertaste. Lightly carbonated. Drinkability: there's certainly reward for the very strong alcohol sweetness, and I'm left wanting more. This is a beer to grow and grow on you.

11-21-2006 11:19:55 | More by norwichboy
Photo of jimbomill

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +2.8%

The white bottle with the Black label, which is adorned with a golden dragon (the gulden draak) complete with red and subtle white lettering stands out.

The pour yields a bit of foam atop a rich dark brown body, highlighted by the golden "Duval" lettering on my glass. First taste is rich and creamy, with a hint of toffee/coffee taste.

The nose is nicely coincident to the taste values. This sibling to the strong pale ale Piraat belgium is equally great. It is a tad heavier, consistent with the Strong Dark Ale belgium that is GD.

11-15-2006 03:35:40 | More by jimbomill
Photo of nriech


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%

A: Pours thick dark brown with a small head of foam. Clear redish-amber.

S: Sweet dark fruits on the nose, cloves, very light and clean. Little hop character, but what is there is very floral and fruity.

T: Opens with a sweet, complex vinuous note, very much like port or sherry, with abundant dark fruit notes, and little hop presence. Thick caramel and burnt sugar mixes with prunes and dates.

D: Very nice and easy to drink, alcohol is not really a factor in the taste but in drinkability its always there in the back of my mind. This beverage would pair well with so many foods I would have to say its would compliment almost any meal thats not spicy.

11-14-2006 13:11:46 | More by nriech
Photo of largadeer


4/5  rDev -5.4%

Dark reddish brown with a huge, foamy, coffee-colored head - looks like a dark Belgian ale, basically (which is to say that it looks awesome).

This beer has a really powerful aroma. The sweet malts are very prominent, bringing to mind brown sugar and molasses.

The taste is dominated by sweet, syrupy malt and dark fruit (black cherries, raspberries), with a hint of brown sugar. Most of the bitterness seems to be provided by the particularly high alcohol volume, rather than from any particularly distinct hop presence. It sounds excessive on paper, but it actually works really well. Though I probably couldn't drink more than one of these in a single sitting, it's one highly enjoyable glass.

The mouthfeel is a bit overwhelming at first. It's heavy like a stout or barleywine, but extremely carbonated. In fact, if this were (much) less carbonated, I'd probably have mistaken this for a barleywine. While I enjoy the richness, it loses some points here because of the almost excessive carbonation at first; you really need to let it sit for a minute before drinking.

I've had this twice and find it really enjoyable, nearly comparable to to Belgium's Trappist beers. The smell and taste are exceptional, but that same richness makes it suffer a bit in mouthfeel and drinkability.

11-09-2006 04:13:51 | More by largadeer
Photo of Backer2004

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Found this one during my birthday dinner @ Mac's Speed Shoppe in Charlotte for 6 dollars a bottle. Poured in a beautiful Belgian glass that they sold to us for $3. Nice dark, full of malty goodness. Incredible lacing & carbonation. One of my favorites in quite awhile.

11-06-2006 01:04:32 | More by Backer2004
Photo of alysmith4

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -5.4%

Beautiful dark amber color, with a decent head that kept pace with the beer as I drank it. Sweeter taste than I had expected, with a definite almond flavor. Could taste the alcohol as well, but it stood up to the comlexity of its flavors. Reminded me of an almond liquor, only with carbonation. Be carfeul to drink slowly, and try to pair it with a game bird or sharp cheese.

11-05-2006 20:53:28 | More by alysmith4
Photo of vwcraig


4.2/5  rDev -0.7%

Poured 330mL bottle into a Duvel glass.

Dark brown with a two-finger high tan and rocky head. Head really retains well and laces nicely as the glass is emptied.

Can really smell sweet malts, prunes maybe even some apricot in there.

First taste was able to sense a coffee-like bitterness. Taste really follows the nose with this one. Quite smooth.

Sharp carbonation in mouthfeel. Experienced slight numbing on tongue.

Not as smooth as Chimay Blue but still very enjoyable. This is a good one for the LAST beer of the evening.

11-05-2006 19:36:45 | More by vwcraig
Photo of Beerzebub


4.25/5  rDev +0.5%

Attractive rosewood color, a finger of thick off-white head, big lace.

Smells delicious, like middle eastern deserts - dates and baklava. And solvents.

Fairly sweet, which works very well. Cooling alpine herbal character, vaguely like chartreuse, jagermeister, root beer. Also dates, honey, cola, nuts, blackberries, grapeskin, banana. Long finish, drying out with some astringency, with a phenolic clove character emerging from the banana, and solventy esters and some alcohol.

Pretty good mouthfeel, I like the astringency. Surpisingly drinkable at first, but quickly establishes itself as a sipper. I seriously doubt that more than 750 ml would be enjoyable.

Good and interesting beer, aggressively distinct personality.

11-03-2006 07:32:44 | More by Beerzebub
Photo of MrHurmateeowish


3.8/5  rDev -10.2%

11.2 fl oz bottle obtained at Florian's in Auburn as part of a variety 6-pack. Murky brown body with light tan head that's a couple fingers thick. Smells yeasty, fruity (dates? plums?) and roasty. Tastes roasty, fruity, somewhat chocolatey maybe? Complex and unique certainly. The only dark tripel I know of, so I'm not sure what to compare it to. Rather pleasant and tasty. Good for anyone who like dubbels or maybe stouts.

10-29-2006 01:39:07 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Photo of MLegendre


3.8/5  rDev -10.2%

A: Deep red, slightly hazy, little visible carbonation. Formed a 1/2in white head that disapeared pretty quickly leaving a thin skin on the top. Slight lacing.

S: Slightly yeasty but not too strong, some dark fruit smells as well as a hint of alcohol.

T: Yeasty in the begining and sweet. Becomes sweater while alcohol makes an appearence. ALcohol is decently hidden and only in the background.

M: High carbonation. alcohol on burns a little bit.

D: I'm just now starting to get into the belgian style beers, and I think this was a good start, definatly something I'd get again.

10-11-2006 03:18:56 | More by MLegendre
Photo of jdoolin


4.43/5  rDev +4.7%

Presentation: 11.2oz painted white bottle poured into the proper gold-rimmed Gulden Draak tulip, with a small circle etching in the bottom.

Appearance: Maybe the most attractive and appealing looking beer I've ever seen, but only in its proper tulip, where the colors blend perfectly. A gorgeous, dark, reddish brown with a huge, foamy, cream color head that lasted the whole time due to the constant stream of bubbles provided by the etching. A sight to behold.

Aroma: Spicy, sweet and yeasty, with hints of fruit. Barleywine like.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Oh, so smooth. Thickness is balanced by the carbonation. Very malty and sweet, with the dark fruit, caramel and molasses flavors of candi sugar. I love the fruitiness of this beer blended with the yeasty flavors. Spicy, peppery, and the sweetness is also balanced well by the carbonation. Not at all cloying. You would never know this was 10.5% ABV by the taste. But by the time you're halfway through the glass, you know it.

Notes: One of my favorites. This is one serious Belgian ale that will knock you on your ass if you're not careful. If at all possible, enjoy this in its proper tulip glass.

10-06-2006 05:37:20 | More by jdoolin
Photo of stephendr


3.88/5  rDev -8.3%

Dark murky brown color –nice thick tan head , small bubbles – nose of caramel , cereal , yeast , orange peel , floral , vanilla , honey , and alcohol – tastes of caramel , mocha , yeast , honey , and sour red cherries – palate is creamy and light - aftertaste caramel , cereal , honey and acidic

10-05-2006 04:59:56 | More by stephendr
Photo of assurbanipaul


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

Pours a clear, dark garnet with a firm, half-inch white head. Aroma is faint, dark sticky malts.

Taste is more rich, deep malts, quite sweet. Contains some flavors of raisins and sweet candy sugar, but not without just a hint of malty sourness. Some dark cola syrup and some good esters also hide in the profile. No flavors of alcohol but its kick is quite noticable.

Mouthfeel is medium but the alcohol leaves the palate sticky. Leaves the palate with a dry malt aftertaste. Could almost make it as a Belgian wee heavy. It hurts so good I can't stop.

09-25-2006 22:38:57 | More by assurbanipaul
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +2.4%

Had this with dinner at Stella's on commercial drive. It is a real dark pleasure redolent of Xmas cake and nuts with a deep old yeast note in the back. I really found the smoothness and complexity took this beer to a real satisfying finish. Much like Rochefort 8 or Chimay Blue this beer is a great accompaniment
to cheese or dark sauces.

09-22-2006 19:58:07 | More by canucklehead
Photo of RobertDwight


4.05/5  rDev -4.3%

Poured into a tulip glass it has an inviting deep reddish brown hue. I poured it very slowly to compensate for the extreme growth of white head after pouring. It grows like a chia pet to about three fingers big. After taking a few sips the head reduced to 1 finger with light lacing around the glass. I get sweet smells along with dried fruits and spices. Taste starts out sweet and then slightly sour with flavors of prunes and dried apricots; then moves to more roasted malt flavors. It warms the throat as the alcohol is present right at the end, especially when it warms up. Mouthfeel is rich, but not overly viscous. It has very good drinkability, and its a pleasure from start to finish...I wish I had some more!

09-15-2006 21:51:27 | More by RobertDwight
Photo of BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev +1.2%

Typical Belgian appearance: aggressive head followed by a dark chocolate-cola brown. The white bottle is certainly eye-catching.

Belgian yeast and candy-sugar scent. I'm a bit stuffed up, so my scoring on this may be inaccurate. Noticeable alcohol scent. Malts present but not very strong, very little hops.

Dry yeasty taste with a powerful malt and candy sugar backing. A bit bitter and metallic on the finish, maybe due to hops. Good flavour, almost bordering on a triple.

Mouthfeel is very good, with the carbonation spot on. Drinkable, spare for the high ABV. Another very good Belgian!

09-15-2006 04:36:46 | More by BDTyre
Photo of EvilKeith


4.22/5  rDev -0.2%

This one poured into the glass a fairly clear iced tea color with ruby highlights. The head was a finger deep cap of frothy fine tan colored foam. The head had a decidedly Belgian look to it, thick and clingy.
The scent came across as sweet and spicy. It was filled with a vague dark fruitiness, graininess and peppery alcohol. Yeast was present, but not as pronounced as many others of the style. As it warmed to room temperature a sweet maltiness was more readily detected.
The taste was somewhat sweet, not overly so. Black cherries, spicy alcohol, and mild yeast notes were there. There was also a very gentle bittering in the middle.
The blend of a medium body and a fairly light carbonation gave this a red wine-like mouthfeel, but without the dryness.
Gulden Draak was very complex and flavorful. I found it to be one of the best, if not the best, of the Belgian Strong Dark Ales I have tried so far.
It is highly drinkable. The only thing keeping my drinkability number from being higher was the elevated ABV.

09-13-2006 01:26:49 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of Osiris9588


4.03/5  rDev -4.7%

Served from a 750ml bottle, caged and corked, and painted white, with that really cool golden dragon label. The color is a nearly opaque deep brown with an amber tint around the edges. The tan, 2-finger head is thick and creamy, showing decent retention, with considerable lacing, clinging in fluffy tufts all around the circumference of the tulip.

The aroma consists of rich caramel malts, citrus, a little clove and corriander, and a subtle floral characteristic. The well-balanced flavor profile features light citrus, subtle clove, a touch of hoppy bitterness, berries, rasins, caramel, and some chocolate--and ample, warm alcohol.

The mouth is well-rounded, not overly complex, and smooth. The sweetness nor the alcohol overwhelms the palate--thus resulting in a very drinkable brew, for those who enjoy the style. Very solid overall. And again, the golden dragon on the label is very cool.

09-10-2006 21:07:28 | More by Osiris9588
Photo of mmcave


4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours dark, almost black with some light amber reddish high lights. Nice thick half inch head that doesn't seem to be going any where. Sent is subtle with smells of butterscotch and notes of caramel, cloves and bread. Taste is nice, sweet, mild barley, sweet caramel, bread, little toasted malt, hint of bitterness mixed masterfully with fruit I can't name. The after taste is nothing too crazy, but enough to keep you coming back for more. The burden and blessing with this beer is it's alcohol content. Its great that such an intoxicating beer is so good, but I can only drink so many before I am sauced. All the same I enjoy this beer and its adventures once every other week.

09-07-2006 02:57:09 | More by mmcave
Photo of fisherman34

Manitoba (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -16.1%

Dark amber in colour with medium carbonation. Aromas of berry fruit, bubblegum, sweet malts, and caremel. More sweet malts in the mouth, along with notes of black pepper, wood, brown sugar, and red grape skin. Heavy in the mouth, but the carbonation level keeps it from getting too cloying. Pretty good, but not as good as I had hoped it would be.

09-06-2006 01:29:31 | More by fisherman34
Photo of allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -15.4%

A - Clear dark red with a inch of head. Laces nicely, but the head itself drops quickly to a thing covering sheet.

S - Definitely alcoholic smelling, with some apple-y sweetness, and caramel. Notes of fresh fruit as well, plum, and some hints of grain.

T - I can definitely taste the alcohol in this one. A little on the boozy side. Some caramel and toasted flavours and some fruit as well. A mild bitterness creeps in later with a lingering bitter aftertaste.

M - The body is quite solid, filling the mouth with a slight creaminess. Carbonation is moderate.

D - The first thing that comes to mind is that this is very warming. It has a such a heavy boozy presence that I would have trouble downing many of these in a sitting (never mind the actual abv that would knock me on my ass in a hurry). This isn't a bad brew mind you, but did not meet my expectations. A little rough around the edges.

09-05-2006 23:08:15 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of rousee


3.6/5  rDev -14.9%

Pours thick dark brown with a small head of foam. A good amount remains after the beer has sat for a few minutes.
Smell is rather boozy and vinous. Slighly floral. I am getting a biting sour smell of cherries followed by honey.
Tastes less boozy than it smells. There is a nice maltiness with the familiar belgian floral and fruit combination. Elements of honey and dark cherries with chocolate. It is layered with flavor as these good Belgian ales tend to be.Still does have some strong alcohol bite although it is not in the form of heat.

The mouthfeel is very bubbly and effervescent. Finishes crisp with a lingering barley sugar taste left over. Its not too drinkable with this high of an abv. A good beer to split with a few friends. As far as my overall impression of this one, for its style--it seems there are much better examples. Good but nothing to seek out.

09-03-2006 23:06:34 | More by rousee
Photo of geographie


4.35/5  rDev +2.8%

A :: Clear redish-amber hued beer with weak, white head. Some signs of lacing.

S :: Coffee, then toffee, then cocoa fill my nasal cavaties. This beer reeks of well-roasted goodness - so unexpected from such a light looking beer.

T :: Very sweet toffee front - this flavor is incredibly apparent, consuming your mind. After comes the raisins in the middle. Malt takes a back seat here and rides on a very sweet wave of unfermented sugars. This finishes with style -- a modest exit with only the tiniest trace of bitterness egging you on to have just one more sip.

M :: Strange, but good. Airy, creamy, and filling my mouth all at once - almost a whole body experience. This begnign seeming ale packs quite the punch!

D :: Whoa - one is enough for me. Overly sweet to continue drinking (unless you've got a sweet-tooth), but darn good!

09-03-2006 16:54:11 | More by geographie
Photo of spaced


4.33/5  rDev +2.4%

From a corked 750mL bottle (no freshness date) into a tulip glass. Pours a dark brown with a big, rocky tan head. Aroma is sweet and fruity, with a hint of pears and a whiff of alcohol. Big, complex, malty sweetness with a bit of caramel dominates the taste. This sweetness is by far the most noticeable thing here, followed by the alcohol, which combines with the carbonation to contribute a nice, spicy character. Hops are there, but the malts and alcohol definitely run the show. The alcohol is less evident as it warms, but it still makes its presence known.

Overall, this is a damn fine beer. I wish the alcohol was hidden a bit more, but this more of a personal preference than a real criticism. I wouldn't hesitate to drink this again. Just watch out for the 10.5% abv, it'll kick your ass if you're not careful!

09-02-2006 16:42:48 | More by spaced
Photo of dblinkhorn


4.18/5  rDev -1.2%

Poured from corked and caged 750ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance - Pours a dark ruby, copperish red color, with no haze whatsoever (probably the prettiest brew I've ever seen). There is a lot of carbonation activity inside the beer. A thick and very velvety smooth head forms that is about three and a half fingers thick and slightly tan in color. It takes a long time to dissipate and there is superb lacing on the way down.

Smell - Sweet dark fruits on the nose (prunes and raisins stand out mainly). There is a lighter scent of spice than I had expected, but it is still of medium intensity and easily tracable. There are definite notes of cloves, as per usual with the style. A slight trace of alcohol is noticeable for a 10.5% ABV. There is little hop character, but what is there is very floral and fruity. The malt character is rich and somewhat earthy, but very clean smelling.

Taste - Lots of spice up front, paired nicely with a milder (than in the smell) dark fruit character. The floral hop character shines pretty strong also, and adds some nice complexity to the initial taste. The brew is also suprisingly on the sweeter side compared to most of this style, but it is not overdone. There are obvious (although background) notes of light grain (also has a wet barnyard smell). The malt is very rich and bready, and again with a slight earthiness (barely noticeable in the taste, but there). The 10.5% ABV shows itself quite a bit more than in the smell, but it is not of an objectionable strength.

Mouthfeel - I was not expecting such a fuller-bodied beer as this one for the style. It is extremely smooth and on the highest end of medium-bodied if not full-bodied. The only thing that kept me from giving a perfect score here is the slight carbonation bite that accompanies the initial part of a sip.

Drinkability - The score for this was mainly hurt by the quite noticeable alcohol warmth/burn. It's understandable with a 10.5% ABV, but this does take from a beer's drinkability. Personally, however, I don't find the ABV offensive at all, so I could finish a whole 750ml of this stuff over a night. This stuff will take you to that euphoric feeling of the buzz in no time, so be careful.

Overall, this is a much higher quality brew than I expected. The most impressive thing was the outstanding floral character of the hops and the surprisingly full body for the style. It was close to some of the lighter stouts. A must have for certain.

08-31-2006 02:27:17 | More by dblinkhorn
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,050 ratings.