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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.

3,354 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,354
Reviews: 1,250
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: 11.56%
Wants: 212
Gots: 454 | 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:
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: 3,354 | Reviews: 1,250 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwc215
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml faux ceramic cage-corked bottle, poured into a tulip glass:

Pours dark brown with a thick, foamy/creamy off-white head. The head thins then stays around, leaving some broken rings of lacing on the glass.

The smell is of caramel with earthy notes and dark fruits. A nice spiciness mixes in.

The taste is of sweet caramel/toffee, a bit toasty, with earthy/peppery spicing and medium to dark fruitiness (some raisins, esp. as it progresses). Some sharp, grassy hops come through to help the herbal spiciness balance the sweetness. Very complex and tasty.

Medium-bodied, sharp yet creamy.

The alcohol/spicy bite slows it down a bit, as does the lingering sweetness (though it never reaches cloying). No complaints, here though, as it is meant to be sipped slowly anyway.

A complex, delicious sipping treat!

Photo of spointon
4.69/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz stubby white bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A= This ale poured a clear, deep reddish amber color with a 2" rocky, foamy head. Over time the head shrunk to a quarter inch but never dissipated.

S= The smell is where I was first truly impressed by this beer. There is a lot going on, definite Belgian fruity yeast, but also maltiness and a bit of caramel. There is not a lot of alchohol smell despite the high abv.

T= Much like the aroma, but with incredible complexity. Sweet, rich, estery, yeast-funky, delicious!

Mouthfeel was good and the drinkabilty was high as well. It took me a while to "get" this beer, but once I did, I could easily drink this daily! Definitely a great beer that I will enjoy again and again.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.9/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Killer bottle! This image of a golden dragon and medieval writing appeals to the side of me that loves Lord of the Rings and Iron Maiden! Looks like a T-shit that I would have worn in high school....I was a dork though.

A - A ridiculously huge tan head threatens to flow over the side of my big ass snifter....yep, there it went. Let me grab a paper towel. Ok. That prodigious head sticks around for a long time, and when it finally does begin to settle, it gets really rocky and pitted. Tons of really nice arcing lace is left on the glass. The brew appears to be dull cloudy brown until it's held to the light and becomes deep dark crimson.

S - Maple syrup covered fruit, honey, Belgian waffles, wild clover, and outdoorsy hay-like hops. The fresh fruit aromas are amazing. There are the expected dark fruits (dates and prunes), along with some unexpected summer fruit freshness (peaches, dried apricots). Actually, this reminds me of apricot baby food in a way. The alcohol is slightly noticeable when you inhale deeply, and I like that!

T - Maple syrup, malted milk balls cores....(just the inner part without the chocolate coating), honeycomb cereal, butterscotch, dates, raisins, dried apricots and apples. Malty and boozy like a good scotch, but accentuated with a beautiful citrus hop flavor.

M - Ridiculously full bodied, sugary syrupy thick, alcoholic, and solid like biting into a honeycomb. The massive sweetness and full body are moderated by a fiery alcohol attenuation and some really citric hops. Wow.

D - This is a completely mind blowing brew, but not something for sessioning or drinking with food. This is sweet, heavy, deserty, and boozy...sort of like the Grand Marnier of beers and that is the ONLY reason I'm not giving this straight 5s. This one has that "it" quality of the best beers in that it almost gives me the shivers when I smell it and smack my lips!

Gleaned directly from the Van Steenberge website:
"Did you know that the Gulden Draak is named for the golden statue at the top of the clock tower of Ghent? The statue was originally given to the city of Constantinople
(now Istanbul in Turkey) by the Norse king Sigrid Magnusson in 1111, during one of
the first crusades; hence of course the form of a Viking ship that the beast was given. Approximately one hundred years later, Boudewijn IX, Count of Flanders, was the Emperor of Constantinople in one of the following crusades. Because he found the statue so beautiful, he simply took it back to Flanders with him. In 1382, the cities of Bruges and Ghent even did battle for this statue."

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

Found this on tap at the Yardhouse in Scottsdale, AZ. Have had this from an 11.2oz in the past. Came to the table in a chalice with a 1/2 finger light tan head, which receded rapidly and left minimal lace.

Smells of sweet dark malts and dark fruits. No real detectable alcohol in the nose. Flavor is complex. Thick and malty - viscous and sweet, but not overly sweet. A bit of a spicy herbal aftertaste, which I beleive is imparted by the hops. I didn't detect much alcohol in the taste, but there definitely was a warming feeling in the back of the throat and chest.

Carbonation from the tap was significantly less than my prior tasting from the bottle, which I thought was overly carbonated.

Excellent dark belgian. I will definitely seek this out again.

Photo of dsa7783
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a short, fat, 11.2 oz ceramic white bottle with a black back-drop with a dragon on it, this powerful Strong Dark Ale pours a magnificient ruby-red, copper/brown color with a tremendous, impressive head... smell is slightly malty with caramel and bread aromas bursting through... taste is equally dominated by a caramel essence with bread and butter flavors, and a nutty, sweet, honey essence that completely takes hold over this brew... very unique and intersting... copped as part of a six-pack "Living Beers" gift set from the Van Steenberge Brewery in Belgium... spicy, rich, thick, and full of flavors, this is definitely a top-notch beer... 10.5% ABV is slightly hard to detect, so go easy with this one... awesome rendition of the style... Definitely recommended...

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

Bottle conditioned and courtesy of the LCBO as part of a mixed Belgian sixer. Deep brown body with a long-lasting tan head. Aroma of caramel and vanilla. Extremely sweet, chewy flavour, with the caramel coming through again. Goes down very smoothly, and I imagine would pair excellently with desserts.

Photo of MisterClean
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap yardhouse in Irvine. Wanted to try a Belgian to end the night and hope I wasn't disappointed.

A - Poured a murky dark, murky, carmel-black color.

S - Sweet perfume of carmelized brown sugar, a bit of honey, and currant.

T - Wow!!! Brown sugar and honey malts with a clean finish. Light notes of sourness from Belgian malts/hops/yeasts.

M - Warm, with only light notes of alcohol.

D - Would pair excellent as an after-dinner or with a cigar.

Photo of PotownAl
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow...I really enjoyed this beer!

Pours a really nice deep brown, think oak. Very high carbonation, lessens with some time in the glass. Creamy white head, great retention. I pick up a big honey sweetness in both the taste and smell. Althought it has a high ABV, it drinks like a lager half it's strength.

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


Poured into a chalice a nice light brown color, nice carbonation (Big POP on opening), nice little creamy tannish head, some sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, nice touch of dark fruits, and caramel. The taste is malty, dark fruits, caramel. The taste is also slightly sweet at first with a nice tangy finish. The alcohol is hidden very well for a brew with this high of an ABV. Medium body, complex brew. Very drinkable, I like this one, at first I thought it might be like the Piraat Triple, but a dark version, too my surprise it is an excellent BSDA, and very tasty, recommended.

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

Pours a cloudy brown that has a big touch of amber to it. Minimal head. Nose is slight with a lean towards marshmallows. Touch of citrus. Flavor is very well balanced with a strong sweet tone that stays constant. Strong and steady. After a while you get a slight alcohol tone that has stayed masked consistently as you drink. Tons of things rolling over your tongue on this one. Caramel is another. Mouthfeel is a bit too high on the carbonation, which drops the drinkability just a touch. Overall damn good. Worth trying. Worth trying again.

Photo of czfreeman
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one from a 11.2oz white bottle. Dark brown color, Incredible head! a very, very foamy beer. Very malty nose, yeasts, dark candied fruits,almost gingerbread-like aroma. smells delicious. Very full on the palate. overwhelmingly good flavors of yeasts, malts, very sweet-almost candylike mouthfeel. A good choice around the holidays most definatley. This beer is one to savor very slowly.

Photo of clayrock81
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Although I am a beer newbie (neophyte if you will), it is a beer like this that made me quit drinking shitty American beer.
I have had this before, and decided to get the Van Steenberge sampler simply because this was in it and I could review it.
Poured into a tulip glass and the two-finger head that was presented NEVER fully went away; it kept disipating but stay there, constantly refreshing the beer.
Not only was there some serious lacing, but an hour after I had set my glass in the sink there was still a laced rim where the beer had topped off.
The color was a dark brown, or to be more specific those ugly jerseys Adam Sandler's team wore in "The Waterboy" (I apologize for even throwing in that reference; I am just not good w/ coloric adjectives).
Upon smelling the first thing that hit me was the malt since it does have a high ABV. The malts smelled like cocoa or caramel, and one might even think they were getting a coffee bean in there. Also, the smell itself was syrupy, if that makes sense, and I picked up a traces of fruit.
The taste starts out smooth, so there's your Belgian yeast. They really hid the alcohol well here. The first sip had a afterbite, that I won't hide. But after that the beer actually tasted better and went down smoother. I definitely tasted some cocoa and caramel, some cherry too.
Probably what I noticed the most was that it was sweet and bitter at the same time-the sweet part didn't overpower the beer and left it smooth, while the flavor kick was there on the backend, evening it out. It wasn't like a cream stoudt or anything that overpowers/puffs in the mouth, but kept more of a medium body that was thin on the tongue.
This beer actually warmed my mouth up w/o burning it like a shot of whiskey or a very hoppy IPA.
I know there are complexities that a new beer guy like me missed, but I can say that this was an extremely enjoyable drink. Also, it has been a VERY long time since one beer knocked me on my ass, which this one did. I was couch-ridden for about 10 minutes after drinking this one.
That's probably why I don't ever see this in 6-packs.

Photo of Contra
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Absolutely delicious. Flavor is intensely malty, which easily hides the 10.5% abv. Nice cherry characteristic, with some yeasty qualities. A rather creamy mouthfeel, and well carbonated. The head clings to glass, frothy on the surface. Really, has to be tasted to be understood.

Overall, fantastic. I love the style, and I've only tried a few of varieties out. Will easily make it amongst my top favorites.

Photo of korndog
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Gulden Draak snifter at 57F. Massive head stuck around for a bit leaving some intricate lacing. Color is somewhat lighter and redder than I was expecting. A very presentable pour. Nose was malt, candi syrup, slight dark-fruit; not sure if it was my nose today, but not much happening on the aroma side for me. Taste was spot on, with fabulous carbonation fanning the sweet vapors back into my nose. Lots more going on here than in nose, with figs, tobacco, cherry notes. Belgian fruity yeast character present but not over the top. All in all, a fine beer.

Photo of Bigjay1584
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, it has been a long long time since my last review, but I had one sip of this baby and I felt it'd be a sin not to give this brew the credit it deserves. I got this bottle from the New Beer Distributor in Manhattan. I'll admit I was enticed largely by the novelty of the white bottle color (as well as the 10.5% abv, and its Belgian origin). This brew definitely measures up.

I poured the contents of the 11.2 oz bottle into my Chimay goblet, sat back, and enjoyed the view.. About two inches of creamy tan head crowned an opaque pale reddish brown body (note: I'm kinda color blind so thats the best I can do). Fine tan lacing was left, from top to bottom (Except for areas where agitated, and drank from). Gorgeous.. just the way it should be.

Smells pleasantly fruity and yeasty. Certainly doesn't clobber you over the head. There is a subtle cherry flavor that I notice throughout.

Tastes fantastic.. that slight cherry smell carries over onto the tongue and lingers. Some hop bitterness comes out as it warms slightly, which serves to balance it out nicely.

Mouth feel is full and crisp.. not over carbonated.

For a beer of this strength, the drinkability is very good. My stomach is certainly begging for more.. and I very well could (If only I had another).
At any rate, Gulden Draak is a Belgian that I'd like to meet with much higher frequency. Cheers!

Photo of irishkyle21
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was my favorite beer in the mixed six pack. Has a deep brown color with some ruby in the mix as well. Full sized tanned head holds up well, thick rings of lace mark their territory.

Smells of sweet dark fruits, candy sugar, caramel malt, molasses and a dark rum like alcohol.

The taste is fairly sweet but finishes slightly sour and bitter. Also has hints of caramel and dark fruits.

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

I poured this beer from a 330ml white coated bottle at 46° into a balloon wine glass. A nice slight head appeared above the carbonated and brown colored beverage. Very little lacing was observed as the beer settled. Date information appeared on the back label of the bottle.

Caramel malts seemed to drift away from the glass while pouring. This aroma was confirmed along with sweet candy spiciness during the actual smell for what you can time.

The sweetness and carbonation were the first noticeable effects of the tasting. Belgian candy and a slight bitterness were well combined.

The taste filled the mouth and there seemed to be a slight burning sensation in the nostrils from the carbonation of the beer. The taste lasted quite a while and invited drawing air in and out of the mouth which resulted in an eventual cherry taste.

This was an interesting beer as it seemed to change with the temperature as different tastes would invite you to wait and then try again. A beer to be savored and drank when you have time to ponder all the different nuances to it.

Photo of srandycarter
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Into the tulip

A - Deep and dark, near white HUGE head. Aggressive, persistent lacing.

S - Candi/brown sugar, cooked fruits and yeast, some alcohol.

T - Taste matches smell in a magnified way.

M- Medium to full body, good coating and carbonation.

D - Good solid beer. Too boozy to session but very nice.

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

This beer i suspect will get better with age. It pours looking like a dubbel, and is kind of a mix between dubbel and trippel. It pours dark brown with a thin white head. smells like a strong ale, but doesnt taste like one. at first it feels and tastes like a dubbel in the mouth as the carbonation is more flat than most trippels but more abrasive than most belgian strong dubbels. an interesting and certainly good beer but i found it a bit watery by belgian standards and for its color. But nothing to snuff at. I bet it will be delectable with three or four years of cellar time. abv is hidden well

Photo of MiguelMandingo
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up while visiting my sister in Jacksonville, Florida. I am almost finished with the stash I scored while I was there. All of the beers I picked up from J-ville I picked up from Broudy's. Anyone in the Jacksonville area should check them out if they haven't yet. This beer was awesome - one of the better Belgian's I have had in quite some time.

Poured part of a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

Appearance - This beer looks stunning. It produced a 2 finger, light tan head.
It had the texture of latte foam, and it never fully dissipated. The head never died, at all. It had a constant carbonation stream rising from the sides of glass, which constantly replaced whatever head had diminished. This beer is alive. It left a ton of lacing. It is a nearly opaque deep reddish brown - light could only penetrate the perimeter of the glass.. Beer doesn't look better than this. Exquisite.

Smell - This beer has a big, bold scent. This beer isn't playing around. There is a deep caramel sweetness in the scent - a deep, dark, candi sugar smell. Like brown sugar and a slight hint of molasses. There are fruit smells from the yeast, like red apple, pear and sweet cherry. As the beer warms, you can smell the alcohol presence worming its way through the scent. If only they could replicate this into a solid, tangible dessert. Until then, I will more than settle for smelling a beer like this.

Taste - It tastes like every bit of the scent, but way more pronounced. I get the deep caramel sweetness, tied with brown sugar and molasses. The fruit flavors pair nicely with the sweetness - red apple, pear, sweet cherry and fig. The cherry flavor also appears as slightly tart, like it was mixed with green apple skins. What I can taste in the flavor that isn't present in the scent is a fairly large hop presence - for the style, IMO. The hops come in at the end of the flavor, and they are very floral and billowy - adding a nice slight bitterness to round our the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Solid medium body. The beer is slightly sticky, it coats the mouth - but not in that oily kind of way. To complement the stickiness, the beer is very creamy and smooth. The carbonation level is nearly perfect. It provides a prickly sensation to cut through the sticky, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability - This beer is fantastic. It has a great flavor, scent, and mouthfeel. It looks delicious too, which adds to its appeal. I wish they sold this beer here in Texas - it would easily make its way into my regular rotation. The ABV makes itself known fairly quickly. I wouldn't have more than one 750ml to myself in one evening, but more than one isn't necessary - it has taken me almost an hour and a half to get 3/4 of the way through the bottle. I am savoring every sip of this one.

Search it out, and when you find it - hoard it.

Photo of 1759Girl
4.73/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: warm brown chestnut in color. Lively, cloudy, with a big belgian head, and lacing that probably could last through until tomorrow.

Smell: yeasty, estery

Taste: Complexity you'd expect from a tripel. Tangy start that hits the tip of your tongue with ferocity. A big full yeast and malt flavor rounds this out quickly, and lends itself to the chewy character. Finishes with a mellow sweetness.

Mouthfeel:Kapow! This beer invades your mouth, and I'm happily pillaged. Others may find this a bit over bearing. They should probably avoid strong beers.

Drinkability: I could probably drink a lot of this, but I have a big love for the golden dragon and the town of Ghent... oh and a bigger love for tasty beer.

Photo of ElGordo
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Body is a deep amber color with golden brown highlights, crowned by a good two fingers of sticky, foamy head that hangs around a good long while. Aroma of sweet, bready malt, raisin, and a hint of spicy hops, along with a touch of yeasty funk. Palate is mildly sweet up front, then becomes richer and maltier as it washes over the tongue. A raisiny sweetness emerges just before the swallow. Finish is smooth, sweet malt with just a hint of lingering heat from the alcohol.
Body is rich and creamy, just great for a Belgian dark ale. Velvety smooth in the mouth, without being foamy on the swallow. This is an excellent example of the style, and one that I wish I drank more often. Hopefully I'll amend that soon.

Photo of Rzzzzz
3.43/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured cold into a Chimay glass. Deep brown with a luscious head, slow to dissipate. Nice lacework. Strong swirl produces aromas of malt, caramel, & raisins. Initial taste is surprisingly tart, notes of cranberry or grapefruit, malt and alcohol. Heavy on the carbonation. I remember enjoying my last one a lot more. Should be served warmer is my guess.

Photo of Trueant1
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown/reddish color. The head is incredible. Thick, foamy, sticks around, 3 fingers, leaves thick globs of foam on the sides of the glass.
Smells very sweet and thick. Almost smells of candied apples.
Belgium sugars are in the nose too.

Tastes of sweet syrupy malts up front. An agressive hop characther in the mid pallet. And some pheno alcohol throughout.
Somehow this brew balances nicely. It really is a top notch treat from across the pond. love it!~

Photo of lowbrau68
3.82/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz stubby bottle.

A- Dark, chocolate brown, amber notes along edge of glass when held up to light. Tan, pillowy head.

S- Floral, spicy, with the characteristic Belgian yeast aroma.\

T- Spicy, malty and, surprisingly, not much ETOH character despite 10% ABV. Roasted malt flavor w/notes of coffee, medium mouthfeel and silky for it's overall complexity and malt character.

I think this is a relatively drinkable beer given its strong alcohol content but I wouldn't want to drink more than 1 or 2 in a row. Overall this is a flavorful, complex beer and I can see where Unibroue gets its inspiration for Chambly Noire. Not personally my favorite beer but objectively speaking, this is a great Belgian beer.

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,354 ratings.