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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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3,375 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,375
Reviews: 1,258
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 11.56%
Wants: 218
Gots: 471 | 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: 3,375 | Reviews: 1,258
Photo of Hornet2003
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark ruby amber colour. Very little head but it lingers as I drink it.

Smell: Very Belgian in character. Dark candy sugar, caramel, and a slight sour alcohol aroma.

Taste: Belgian yeasty flavours backed up by a significant sweet malt presence. Slight hoppiness in there but this is a malt-forward beer.

Mouthfeel: Slightly tangy, yet still sweet. No alcohol in flavour but there's definitely an alcohol burn as the beer goes down.

Drinkability: The creaminess makes this dangerously drinkable. No oppressive flavours, just creamy intensity. Probably a one-a-night beer.

Overall: I drank this in Brussels in July 2007 after seeing an American tourist walking in the street and drinking it. Quite a nostalgic beer for anyone who had it for the first time in Belgium-since it is such a memorable brew, you are transported right back to where you first tried it.

Photo of allengarvin
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into a Duvel glass, which turned out to be a good choice as a large frothy head foamed on top of the dark red brew. The nose has a sweet, ripe fruitiness and a very faint corky mustiness. Quite sweet flavor... just bordering on cloying. Malt is restrained, as is bitterness: emphasis is on the yeast character, and it's nice and complex with a lot of fruitiness, as well as some lightly peppery, almost herbal, phenols that blend with the warming alcohol at the finish.

I would prefer a bit less sweet of a beer, but this is still pretty good.

Photo of cvstrickland
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500th BA review:

750 ml white-coated cork-in-cage bottle with a golden dragon on the label, poured into a goblet yields a clear brownish-copper-amber body with a thick cap of sudsy pale tan foam that retains at a fluffy sheet and leaves fat patches of lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is a perfume of fruity and malty goodness with a nice bit of spice. A warm and toasty grainy note provides a solid stage for notes of watermelon, ripe banana, and pineapple to shine.

The taste of the drink is crisp and malty with a fruity breeze of alcohol. A bit of melon and banana sit atop a lightly-sweet caramel backbone mellowed by a touch of dry cocoa. A citrusy bit of orange pops in, then out, of the flavor profile, as does a note of mushy apple. Pineapple makes a number of appearances in like fashion, before the flavor decides that it is actually not that of a spiny fruit, but our old friend Mr. Al K. Hall in a fine disguise. Peppery alcohol becomes more of a growing presence as the drink warms.

Wonderfully soft and mellow with perfect carbonation, Gulden Draak doesn't make a wrong move. It looks like a winner in a gold-rimmed goblet, for sure. It smells great... it tastes great, feels great, and drinks great.... Hmm... that's all I can score it on? Well, ok, so, I guess I'll be going with 'Great'? Or maybe I'll go all Tony the Tiger on it and call it 'Grrreat!'

Photo of jeffmonarch
3.45/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle in a snifter glass.

A - Medium brown/orange with tan head that lingers for a while.

S - Sweet and tart fruit smell with some light malt.

T - Sweet as the smell had shone. It also shows the alcohol but it is subtle enough as to not affect the flavor of the beer. Bright and floral. Good flavor.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation.

D - Good beer. It is not a standout for me but is definitely a good beer.

Photo of wolfbeast
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This heavy, dark beer, or rather: barley wine, is definitely my all-time favourite, one I will go at lengths to get when I can. It is a special brew, not one you would drink every day but rather as a treat. The different properties, then:

Appearance: A very dark beer, with a slight red hue - unlike most triples which are light in colour. It forms a thick, rich head which is a yellow tint. You have to pour this one carefully or it will create large amounts of foam, highly recommended to use the glass specifically for this beer, which shape helps to give you the proper head.

Smell: The smell is lightly sweet, and definitely betrays the alcohol content, but for this kind of beer that is to be expected! A very round smell, no bitterness or hoppy scents of note.

Taste: Absolutely wonderful! It is a complex, smooth, almost toffee-like taste but retains definite hoppy accents as well. It is rich enough to actually "nimble" and roll around, nothing negative at all to be said about the taste.

Mouthfeel: The feel of the beer is soft, thick, you could almost call it cotton-like. Easily coats the mouth to bring out the full flavour.

Drinkability: Exceptionally drinkable. If you have never had Gulden Draak before you might even be cautioned not to drink it too fast, but take it slow, or you may find yourself more light-headed than you would expect. A little goes a long way too, you don't need to drink a lot of this beer to have a wonderful evening, and a just as good morning after, as it is a beer that leaves very little, if any, ill effects.

All in all, exceptional in all respects, and worth the extra mile or extra bit of cash to get. One you should at least try once in your life.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.71/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark cherry-burgundy with a monstrous 3 finger rocky beige head that lasted forever. The head was composed of large macro bubbles when viewed through the sides of the glass and fell around the rim leaving a billowy/towering center piece. There was a spotchy lacing with a good strong visible carbonation at first that soon receded to a slow steady stream of bubbles.

S: dark fruit, caramel raisins.

T: The initial flavor had a cloey, and overpowering malt sweetness with alcohol fusels. The flavor soon receded to a rich, caramel sweetness with some fruitiness (apples) and brown sugar. The beer finishes with a dark fruit, dark caramel and a nice alcohol warming. There was a slight sour raisin taste detected after the swallow.

M: full bodied, warm caramel, slightly creamy with a nice dry spicy alcohol fade.

D: A very nice finish despite an otherwise rough first sip. The beer progressively drinks better as you go along with a wonderful spicy dark fruit and caramel finish.

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

Drank out of a nice chalice.
A- Dark reddish brown liquid with a nice cream colored foam, not a lot of lacing.

S- Dark fruits such as dates, figs, and raisins.

T- Tasted good, sweet and delicious flavors of what was smelled.

M- Smooth, kinda thick, but not syrupy.

D- Easy to drink.

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

11.2oz white bottle, served in a tulip glass.

L - clouded, dark red/amber color with a huge beige head that left globs of sticky lacing.

S - sweet, date/fig aroma.

T - sweetness of dark fruit flavors start this one out, balance of hop bitterness kicks in before the caramel sweetness on the finish.

F - medium bodied with plenty good carbonation.

D - easy drinking brew.

Photo of aubuc1
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap poured into a chimay goblet.

pours a deep amber/brown with a thin head

smells bready/yeasty with some light fruits

tastes sweet, belgian yeasty and plummy

mouthfeel is pretty warm due to heavy alcohol

very nice frinking beer for such high abv
i am missing some smells probably due to low temp

Photo of sevopie
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Cloudy Brown with a tannish head that retains rather well.

Smell - a cacophony of subtle fruit smells with a few spices (nutmeg and ginger stand out) and a slight malt smell.

Taste - Sugary, fruity, and malty. Once again, there's a ton of fruit flavors, almost too many to pick out. Those that I can: figs, raisins and even peaches. Very nice caramel finish.

Mouthfeel - I always harp on this, but Belgians are highly carbonated, most too much. This is no exception, but it usually seems to work with the style. This one definitely works well as such, and has a very slightly oily mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Excellent Belgian that you would have no idea its approaching 11%. As with most Belgians, this one is done well in moderation due to the high carbonation and high ABV.

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

a: beautiful opaque brown w/ some ruby highlights; light tightly bubbled off-white head that leaves decent lace

s: sweet spicy gingerbread and bananabread; light grains; some fruitiness; warm and malty with light alcohol

t: nice winter spiciness; nice banana bread and biscuit; light alcohol; darker toffee malts; dark fruits

m: light sharp carb but smooth and syrupy without being clingy

d: really good belgian dark; spicy and warming
a: amber brown that light barely shines through; light tan foam that fades leaving splotches on head on top; no visible movement

s: really strong wine; light abv; iron; apples; some light sweet syrupiness; warm malts

t: caramel; warm toffee; light wheat biscuit; some spiciness; dark fruits; seems mellowed since last time;

m: light carb; light cloy; my girlfriend says it is too syrupy and it is a little syrupy

d: still a really good beer; has mellowed with age and is different but still just as good

Photo of wagenvolks
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle into a Gulden Draak chalice.

Pours a dark mahogany hue with a sizable inch of bubbly, custard head. The foam slowly recedes to a wispy cap, while the etched circle at the glass' base keeps a central patch well-supplied with bubbles. Aroma is a superb blend of dark fruit (over-ripened apples, black cherry, currant, and grape) with some spicy yeast and fig.

The flavor of Gulden Draak is everything a Belgian Strong Dark Ale should be. Complexity is an understatement, here, as rich caramel malts are awash in a sea of syrupy, dark fruit notes, spice, and musty hops. Mouthfeel is top-notch, with an uppity carbonation level that would be off-putting in other brews. Here, it envigorates the palate and releases some of the more intricate flavors before a warming, boozy alcohol presence grips the back of the palate. Not only is this 10.5% ABV beer delicious, but it's highly (if not dangerously) drinkable. A true belgian beauty.

Photo of MinorThreat
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a painted white bomber.

A-Mahogany hue deep rich color and just a skim of head

S-Rather light, some caramel and toast

T-Rich malty sweetness, caramel, herbal tea, a ton going on i this one. The alcohol gives a subtle flavor but hidden really well. The sweetness is there but not overpowering.

M-Tons of suspended CO2 hidden in it, gives a nice balance to the sweetness and lightens up the body.

D-Very rich and should be enjoyed in moderation.

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

Poured from 11.2 oz. bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep mahogany with a rocky light tan two finger head that leaves a bit of patchy lacing down the glass.

Aromas of bubble gum, dark fruits, caramel, banana, funked up Belgian yeast, and a little alcohol.

Flavors are similar to the aroma. However, a cherry-like fruitiness now seems to dominate. Banana and bubble gum are no longer present. Caramel is present but seems to be overpowered by spice and fruit. Finishes dry, spicy, and somewhat tart.

Mouthfeel is medium-light. High carbonation level makes it very creamy.

Picked up a single bottle of this from the local beer store and had no idea what to expect from this...but wow, it's amazing. The 10.5% isn't apparent at all until you start catching a buzz. Of all the Belgian beers that I've had this is definitely one of the most complex. Great stuff.

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

We're getting into the meat and potatoes of the Stubby Belgian Invite with this beer at hand, and tommorrow will conclude with another strong beer. On to the beer:

A foamer into my snifter, a ruby brown color highlights the beer's appearance. Head retention is very good. Whiffs of phenolic and dark fruits in the aroma. There's a touch of pepper too.

The high alcohol level and smoothness of the beer are the first things to be noticed in the mouth. Typical dark fruit flavors found in this style are juicy and dominant. Touches of prunes and raisins, then a drying grain note. Goes peppery at times towards the end of the sip. Oh, and it's very alcoholic.

What a kick and what a taste. This is the boozy man's Chimay Blue, and a score that should put it in the competiton for winner of the Stubby Belgain Invite. We'll comclude the Stubby Belgain tomorrow night with, wait for it....another Belgian beer in a stubby bottle.

Photo of biegaman
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle, with best before of 05/07/08. Purposely and properly aged for curiosity's sake, enjoyed June 2008. Little change has been observed, the beer has always seemed this sublime to me...

Sandbanks of beige head peak and trough throughout the surface; they seem to only thicken throughout the tasting. This has more colour than most dark beers. The complexion is highly concealed despite having warm tones. The colour, to the light, is a glowing crimson. Hold it up, it is simply cunning.

Freshly baked bread meets sun-drying figs and prunes. The aroma showcases all that is wonderful with Belgian yeasts: the fruity esters, undertones of grape, plum and raisin; scorching Scotch like malts and musty hints of molasses, ginger, cinnamon and brown sugar.

A marriage of lightly tart, fruity tones and bready, biscuit, toffee laced malts. Honey sweetness overcoats the dark fruit flavour of plum, red grapes, and dates. The yeast imparts a hint of esters and spice - cinnamon, molasses, ginger, cookie dough, burnt sugar, tart apples and prunes. Contrary to the popular expression, this is thought for food.

Carbonation is at an ideal level; the body is ever lively, but far from syrupy, allowing flavours sparkle and then dry out on the palate uninterrupted. The tastes stick and reside in the mouth. It's a paradox: every sip makes you fretfully agog for the next, and yet, it is enormously satisfying.

This is certainly one of the most gratifying Belgian Strong Dark Ales there is. Fresh and aged, I have had this now on many occasions and never finished the glass anything but satisfied. This is an essential for the cellar and to have on hand. I'm glad this is exactly as it is.

Photo of tiger88
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper/mahogony into thw glass that prodused a coppery white head. The head dissipated rather quickly. The aroma of malty bread goodness coupled by a sweet spice came through. It tastes remarkably like it smells. The alcohol is well hidden and the spiciness lays over the malt really well. There is a realy clean mouthfeel with this beer with little to no aftertaste. Very drinkable triple. Seek this one out!

Photo of SLeffler27
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This Draak tulip glass nearly burst outward from the huge dense pale ivory head, as the rich ruby dragon's blood swirls below. As the ratio of beer to head diminishes, lushes foam plasters itself on the glass.

Sweet cherry drifts in clouds above the rim, only to be punctuated by bourbon and chocolate. This aroma begins to pound away, growing stronger with the invasion of warmth.

How can it be that such promise can fall short? Mind you, the chocolate raisins and dried berries are delightful, but sometimes the pinnacle of enjoyment comes with the prelude to a kiss.

Gulden Draak brings adventure with it's high carbonation, and dense texture, and rush of warming alcohol.

An entire evening can be devoted to complex beers like this. Just be careful to sip along the way, as this one packs a wallop.

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

A= Dark copper color. Cloudy. Huge light tan head that goes down to a thin but solid head for the duration. Lots of lacing.

S = Very malty. Also smells like sweet apple cider. Some alcohol. Yeasty. Some chocolate in there as the beer warms.

T = Like the smell, very malty. Warming alcohol, with a fair amount of fruity sweetness (like alcohol preserved cherries and figs). A hint of chocolate. Some bitterness in there, but the balance still tilts towards the sweet.

M = Medium to heavy mouthfeel. Very, very smooth. I'd say the carbonation level felt on the tongue was medium -- it's definitely there but it doesn't assault and overwhelm the tongue. The carbonation fits this beer nicely.

D = It's clearly a quality brew but, for my taste, I just think that it's a little too sweet to get a better score or to entice me to drink more than one in a sitting. I enjoyed this beer more after I was halfway through it and got used to its sweetness.

Photo of ski271
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Medium-dark ruby-brown with a medium-sized, light tan, slowly diminishing head. Smell is sweet and malty and big. Belgian yeast, candi sugar, dark fruit and alcohol. The taste is huge. Very complex. Figs, dark cherries, raisin, and tobacco to name a few. It's complexity is matched by thick, full body and syrupy texture. This is one beast of a beer. Fantastic! I definitely recommend seeking out this beer.

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

Pours a dark brown with hints of amber, decent amount of foam in the snifter that goes away quickly, leaving no lacing. Smell is super sweet, grassy, and slightly herbal. Taste is ultra-malty, slightly fruity, with hints of dark fruits (plums, raisins) and roasted malts. Good mouthfeel, very high carbonation gives this one a nice body. A good BSDA.

Photo of bbothen
3.87/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz into a Piraat snifter.

A - Gusher upon opening but pours a nice rust/brown color with an airy 2 finger head. Nice soapy lace that sticks to glass.

S - Smells sweet, but not overly. Raisins, apple cider, fruity. Very nice.

T - Spicy flavors nicely balanced with the sweet malt & fruit flavors. A bit sour as well, but you may have to look for it. Caramel as well. I likey.

M - Somewhat biting from the carbonation. Still nicely smooth & dry finish.

D - A nice take your time and enjoy it beer. The carbonation would make this a " 2 in a sitting beer" for me. 10.5%. Duh.

This is a fine beer. If you haven't tried it, well, you should. One of the better Belgian strong style brews out there.

Photo of yemenmocha
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with light brown head.

Nose has aromas of dark cherry, dark chocolate, and fresh baked brownbreads.

On the palate the body is simply creamy & full, with enough zippy carbonation to keep it interesting. Dark fruits come through as expected, raisins, maybe fig newtons, and some sweet bready flavors too.

Finish is creamy soft and rather sweet.

Photo of dstc
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby color with a big, full off-white head. Great head retention and lacing.

Smells sweet and malty.

Yummy. So smooth and malty. Real full malt flavor with a nice sweetness that balances so well. Tastes of malt, chocolate or maybe caramel, a bit herbal.

In the mouth feels full bodied with a pleasant alcohol bite.

Love it, love it. On of my favorites, a damn fine beer.

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

Presentation: It was poured from a white painted 330ml or 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: It is a dark hazy liquid that is a deep mahogany color with an abundance of small bubbles that form a thick head. The head is light tan in color and has great retention time.

Smell: The aroma has a sweet and fruity character with yeast and a definite alcohol presence.

Taste/Mouth feel: Up front I get a light sting of tart fruit, sour cherry and yeast that quickly turns sweet and malty. More dark sweet fruits come out now like figs, raison and prune mixed with Belgian candy sugar. The alcohol starts to add some warmth and some herbal hops are detected as it heads to the finish were it turns fairly dry. It is well carbonated yet smooth and full bodied.

Notes: This is an excellent Belgian Strong Dark Ale with all the complexity and strength that I love in Belgian ales.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,375 ratings.