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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1,265 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,265
Hads: 3,579
Avg: 4.19
pDev: 19.57%
Wants: 257
Gots: 623 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,265 | Hads: 3,579
Photo of aleigator
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%

Appears deep red, nearly black. Has a big white, fast vanishing head.

Aromas of malt, caramel, spices and alcohol.

Intense taste of malt, sugar and lots of alcohol, ending with a bitter alcoholic finish, which warms up the belly. Perfect beer for a cold winter night, spices add a decent complexity. I recommend todrink this nearly at room temperature,lots of tastes get noticable while the beer warms up, taste becomes more balanced. Carbonation supports the taste very well, helps to not make this too heavy.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

WOW Have not had a straight rating in a while.

4.25 all around. Here is my first different rating. It's my 251st so here's something different!!

4.25 all around. What a nice beer. Super nice and blended well. I liked the 9000 but this is better believe it or note. The dark triple is weird. Super malt

Enjoyable to the max!

Food Pairing

This wonderful beer went well with...... Pepperoni, green olives and hot peppers on whole wheat pizza


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Photo of tony12hd
5/5  rDev +19.3%

This is one of the best beers I have had. Sweet taste that dissipates quickly, leaving smooth ever slightly bitter, hops flavors . Carbonation is just right. having one right now and the bottle just emptied .gg

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Photo of RyanK252
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

On tap at BC's Pizza and Beer

A: Pours deep dark ruby brown with a frothy light tan head that laces very nicely.

S: Lots of dark fruit with a little roasted malt sweetness, some light spice, some earthiness, and a light booze note.

T: Very fruity, dark fruit dried fruit up front, raisin and prune, followed by some lighter apple and pear notes. This was backed with some spice notes, dark malt sweetness, and a light booze note on the finish.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation.

O: Perhaps not my favorite of the style, but a very well done big beer.

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Photo of e_dawg
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

Pours a dark brown color; when held up to light a mix of ruby red and copper color is revealed. Moderate head which dissipates slowly. Moderate lacing from the high AVB. Toffee and chocolate chip cookie nose. Taste is more toffee with some fruit and cream. Moderate sweetness. Light carbonation. Pleasant finish, the toffee flavor lingers a bit but not too long. The 10.5% alcohol hides itself well.

Don't drink at refrigerator temperature - the flavors open up more when the beer is allowed to warm slightly. Overall this is an excellent and very well balanced beer although it's a touch too sweet for me.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very dark, nearly opaque brown with a huge head that settled down to a half inch retention. Not much lacing, but that's not surprising considering the alcohol in this beer. The aroma was fantastic, with raisins, toffee and dark fruit notes. The taste is phenomenal, with lots of dark fruit flavors and some malty sweetness and a bit of grape must flavor- simply outstanding! The mouthfeel is creamy and silky smooth, with just a bit of alcohol burn. This is just a great beer!

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful dark copper color. The head is a finger high, just barely off-white in shade. Retention is quite excellent due to all the fizz rising to the top. Lacing left on the glass is consistent and thick. Aesthetic appeal is extremely high. (4.5)

Smell: Wow, the nose pops like a champ just from opening it (so much in fact, it gushed a little bit). It doesn't have some of the darker ester notes from a BSDA (such as raisin or fig), instead the fruitiness takes on more of a white grape/apple/pear quality. Some of the caramel-laden malts come through, as well as some yeasty, peppery spice. I'm even getting some candied sugar. Dark tripel? Sure. Killer aroma? Absolutely. (4.25)

Taste: It's a little sweeter than the nose indicated. It opens up with a combination of fruit esters (some light like apple, some slightly darker like cherry), which then evolves into a spicy mid-taste. It finishes with plenty of candied sugar. Malty touches linger throughout - this maltiness is quite varied with notes of caramel, toffee, graham cracker, and even cream. Fruit esters pop even further when this is allowed to open up. Complex and easy to drink - truly the best of both worlds. (4.25)

Mouthfeel: Big, creamy, and sweet; but the healthy carbonation cleanses the palate admirably. There are only vague hints of warmth on the back of the throat and (on the first sip), but the 10.5% is concealed superbly. It's a bit on the sweet side - which means it isn't quite as dangerous as it could be (thank cripes!) - otherwise I have nothing to complain about here. (4.25)

Overall: Fantastic beer that does everything I want a big Belgian beer to do - be perfectly balanced, bold, easy drinking, and deep all at the same time. Though it's a little expensive, it's still on my "must buy" list for the future. (4.25)

4.26/5: Beers like these are exactly why I love Belgian ales

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.4/5  rDev +5%

I've had this beer on tap in Ghent, from a bottle at home, and this time on tap in Boise Idaho. I loved it every time, although never more than the first time in Ghent. The beer is the local favorite there, and is named after the symbol of the town, the golden dragon that sits atop their city hall. When we did our Belgium/Netherlands beer trip, this beer was our favorite of all the beers we had.

It's a wonderful Belgian strong dark ale. I don't have a lot to add to the many excellent descriptions that others have given.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Appearance – Dark like a well brewed cup of Assam with a tall head of dark foam that lasts well but does not leave much in the way of lacing.

Smell – The smell of the bottle reminded me of the French wine cellars my Dad took us to visit when I was a kid. There was also a hint of caramel and liquorish rising from the glass.

Taste – A very heavy flavour hits you on the first sip and there is a definite note of burnt caramel and toffee but not at all in a bad way. Heavier in flavour than a Kasteel the flavour lingers on the tongue in a very pleasant manner and unlike some beers does not invite you to cane the hell out of it.

Mouthfeel – Rather sticky and coating, this beer has good linger. It also feels good and full in the mouth.

Overall – I like it and would recommend it to most people. The flavour is well put together and it goes down very well so it is a good sipping beer for an evening of posting reviews.

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Photo of higherbrow
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

The gold standard of non-Trappist produce tripels, Gulden Draak is an excellent beer. Fruity and earthy, it has an almost pungent flavor that encourages small sips, but rewards the palate with an elaborate, complex flavor. A bit on the pricey side, this is a special purchase, but often worth the price.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.97/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

September 15, 2014

11.2 oz bottle; tulip

A – Pours dark reddish brown, with an inch and a half of light tan, thick foam. Head slowly settles to a couple centimeters on top. Look warm, like a fireside and leather-bound book beer.

S – Raisins and creamy toffee. Dark fruit, maybe cherries. Some fruity esters become prominent on deeper sniffs. A hint of chocolate, maybe raspberry syrup. Some sweetness, like dark, caramelized sugar.

T – Toffee and lots of dark fruit. Some acidic bitterness on the tongue, dark toast and raisin bread. Very very minor tartness in the background. No alcohol flavor.

M – Thick foamy bubbles, some sweetness, and mild bitter acidity. Cleanses the palate, some residual sweetness in the back of the throat, bitterness on the tongue. Mild alcohol warmth, though I had to look for it.

O – Very good beer, and a solid example of a strong Belgian dark ale. Somewhere between a dubbel and a quad. Would gladly drink it again, but it doesn’t stand out that much from other examples for me.

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Photo of constantine_272
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark brown with a thick tan head with good detentions. Left a big sticky foam mess on the glass. Well carbonated. Thick muddy haze.

S: Big sweet alcohol. Molasses, honey brown sugar. Soft leather. Light toasted oak. More alcohol.

T: At first taste the musky yeastiness was too much with a huge alcohol kick. The second and third sips cut through straight to the big roasted grain. There's still a big alcohol flavor but a big rich woodiness and caramel sweetness stands up to it. The big roasted sweet grain really stands up well to the booze, but not so much to overpower. To round it out a tanginess yet again balances out the big sweet grain and a wet aged pipe tobacco and wet dried prunes and figs. The beer finishes tangy and carbonic from the good carbonation with a mild graphite finish. A small yeasty sweetness finishes long but not overpowering with a bit of dry crackers. Truly a great miriad of flavor.

M: Big beer, but not as heavy as I would have guessed. Finishes light with a mild sweet and yeastiness that finishes salty and slightly dry.

O: Not the prettiest beer, but what an amazing flavor profile! It has a huge earthiness, but still a ice light crisp finish that balances out the big flavors so well. I could really go for a lighter version of this so I could drink more without getting obliterated from tho high 10.5% alcohol.

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Photo of HuskerTornado
4.96/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into Gulden Draak tulip glass. Pours a cola brown color with ruby undertones and a medium sized caramel colored head that dissipates slowly, leaving a quarter inch head and a nice amount of lacing in the glass.

Smell is a dark fruits, plums, cherries, raisins, sweet caramel malt and alcohol.

Taste is just as it smells. Sweet, dense malt upfront with a myriad of dark fruits lending support, including raisins, cherries, and plums. In addition to the sweetness, there's also an herbal quality towards the finish, and some peppery notes. Aftertaste reminds me a bit of cinnamon swirl raisin bread. The 10.5% alcohol is there throughout, with extra punctuation towards the finish. This is a big beer, very complex. Mouthfeel is on the medium-heavy side with a slick, smooth and creamy quality due to the healthy carbonation.

Overall, one of the best strong dark ales in the world and one of my favorite beers period. A treat for the senses, always worth having some on hand. Ages very well. Delicious.

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Photo of JaimeLondon
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%

Beautifull dark red color and a big and nice yellowish foam.
Smell is full of caramels and cherry. Maltiness comes higher in the taste, altogether with other red fruit tones. Alcohol is also evident in the taste.
Body and carbonation are at good level, but less than it seems.
Yeah.. great beer ;)
I think the reason I didn't like very much this one is because of the huge ABV - not for me..

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.25/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I was given a bottle of Brouwerij Van Steenberge's Gulden Draak. I was pretty sure I've had this beer before, but when I looked it up it showed that I hadn't reviewed it, so I don't know if I tried it or not, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a white Belgian style bottle into a chalice.

A- The bottle looks nice, it's got a distinctive look to it that makes it stick out a little. It poured a muddy brown color that took on some crimson hues around the edges when held to the light with about a fingers worth of bubbly tan head that quickly faded to a thin ring that eventually disappeared and it didn't leave any lacing behind This was a decent looking beer, but I wish the head and lacing were a little better.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness and it's followed by a fruity aroma being the first to show up and that seems like a pretty even mixture of dark fruit and apple juice like aromas. Up next a slight brown sugar aroma along with some caramel and light toffee like aromas and there's a some spicy Belgian yest showing up in the background. The aroma was decent, but the apple juice aromas were unwanted.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar and it starts off with a lighter amount of high sweetness that had a brown sugar like flavor to it and it was followed by the same fruity aspects that I got in the aroma, but this time they are lighter with neither aspect sticking out the most. Up next comes the malts which impart a sweet malt, light caramel and light toffee flavors with some brown bread and spicy belgian yeast in the background. On the finish there's a slight boozy flavor with pretty much no bitterness and it had caramel, toffee and dark fruit like aftertaste. This was a decent tasting beer, but I thought the sweetness was a little too high.

M- A little smooth, slightly cloying, a little sticky, fairly crisp, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was decent, but I wish it was a little smoother and not so sticky.

Overall I thought this was a decent beer and I thought it was a pretty average example Belgian Strong Dark Ale, the brewery claims this in a dark Tripel, but to me it's just an average Belgian Strong Dark Ale and there isn't anything about it that immediately makes me think of a Tripel. This beer didn't have the best drinkability, it was a little smooth, slightly cloying, a little sticky, fairly crisp, a little filling and the taste didn't do the best job at holding my attention, so I think one bottle would be my limit and even that is a little more than enough, I wouldn't want to have another one in a row. What I like the most about this beer was nothing, there wasn't one single aspect that stuck at as being better than the rest. What I liked the least about this beer was the sweetness and lack of complexity, that seemed to be this beers biggest downfalls. I might buy this beer again if I knew it was fresh, but I'm in no hurry to find a fresh bottle and as it stands now I can't say I would recommend it. All in all I just wasn't too into this beer it seemed a little bland and with the sweetness sticking out the most it didn't really make for the best introduction to a dark Tripel. This isn't my favorite beer from this brewery or my favorite BSDA. Better luck next time guys, this one just wasn't for me.

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Photo of Intrinsic
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours the characteristic medium-brown you would expect from this type of beer, and the head never stops growing - it's like a magic trick. Smells of licorice, cherries, and loads of malts. The taste basically follows along, but has amazing complexity with the added alcohol esters. Almost perfect mouthfeel, quite dry, with smooth, bubbly carbonation that just won't give up. This really is a top-notch beer.

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy red colour, rich head. Smell and taste of honey and dark fruits. Very sweet, possibly one of the sweetest BSDAs I've tried. A bit of acidity when warmed. Similar by sweetness to La Trappe Quadrupel and Urthel Samaranth, which are slightly better. Not bad, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who wants to discover Belgian strong dark ales.

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Photo of Takahiro
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark brown, with thick foam, dissipating rather quickly
S: mineral, caramel malt, toffee,
T: dried prune, caramelized sugar, grapes, alcohol, "touch of wine"
M: complex, there's some winey character towards the end, finishes off rather dry. nice
O: little bit sweet, but not cloy, finishing very dry. nice beer

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Photo of glass_house
4.34/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle poured into a footed tulip

Pours a dark, cloudy amber-brown with garnet highlights and 3 fingers of creamy off-white head, which settles to a thin collar with light lacing. Just a bit of light comes through around the edges and makes it glow. Smell is slightly sweet with faint dark fruit, alcohol, and some roasted notes in the background.

First impression is smooth and crisp, with a slight tickle from the carbonation. Feels remarkably light on the tongue, considering the ABV and array of flavors. Smooth, soft fruits--fig, raisin, and concord grape skin--are accented by a barely tart grassiness and mild spice. Balanced well with toasty toffee and vanilla notes. Finishes with a bit of alcohol heat. As it nears room temperature, the carbonation recedes and the fruits become more pronounced. The last couple ounces are almost reminiscent of a sweet table wine.

I'll never pass up on the Draak when I see it at a decent price. It's deceivingly smooth and hits all the right notes when I'm in the mood for something sweet, complex, and strong.

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Photo of archyquaffer
3.68/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a half-magnum bottle into a shaker pint glass. I started with a high-moderate pour but had to immediately back off the pour to avoid overfilling the glass. The pour produces about 1.5 inches of tan head. The beer is a murky, medium dark reddish-brown with pretty high carbonation. You can see sediment settling toward the bottom of the glass.

Right at first, I get a really distinct tomato paste or ketchup aroma and flavor, or something rather like marinated (?) grape skins. As the tongue becomes more accustomed to this fruitiness, malty and more hop-like flavors seep through. A nutty bitterness is discernible, along with some lingering licorice, spice and citrus. The alcohol is pretty well hidden, but does serve to accentuate the flavors. It's fairly light in body.

I've never had a beer with such a distinct grapeskin taste. I wonder, given the region this brew stems from, if grapes may indeed have been used as an adjunct to malts. This is a very complex, unique and enjoyable brew, though I wouldn't rate it as highly as some other dark strong Belgians I've tried. A very good but not outstanding beer, considering the cost of the bottle (about 11 bucks).

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Photo of Lemke10
4.53/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in downtown Janesville, WI. This pours a brown color with a light beige head. Not too much of a scent other than a little malt aroma. There is a sweet, malty flavor that erupts with delicious flavors. A little bit of alcohol burn given the A.B.V. but very well made.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle marked 17IM at 45 degrees into goblet and allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma somewhat figgy with a hint of alcohol
Head large (5 cm), very light tan, creamy, slowly diminishing
Lacing good with irregular thick rings of small and medium bubbles
Body dark amber, hazy
Flavor begins moderately sweet with hints of figs and dates; no alcohol, no hops, possibly a hint of diacetyl. Flavor ends quickly immediately followed by an alcohol burn in the stomach.
Palate medium to full, creamy, soft carbonation.

This is a very pleasant easy-drinking Belgium ale.

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4.52/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A quick pour easily achieves a three finger head that is full of biscuity light brown bubbles. The bubbles crackle away in a matter of minutes and leave dots of lace behind. Body is a deep mahogany brown tone.

Nose is nicely complex in its own right with hints of sweet bread, vanilla, graham cracker and a malty spicy backbone. Really a lot going on here in just the smell.

Slightly tart as it glides across the tongue with first sip. Really rich and sweet but not overly so. Lots of dark fruit with tones of plum, raisin, and prune play here. Once again the sweet breads and crackers come through in a big way. The alcohol is noticeable but not harsh. This beer would age wonderfully for many years. Very complex brew.

Mouthfeel is rich and thick but not to heavy. This beer is a pure joy to drink. A true classic.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. This bottle is over a year and a half old at this point. I've tried this many times before, but this is the perhaps the oldest that I've had it. This is the last bottle that I've saved from the Van Steenberge gift pack that I purchased in December 2012.

When fresh, this retains a ruby darkish color overall, but the age on this definitely shows this time around, showcasing a garnet brownish color with a typically fluffy off-khaki head. The fluff in particular resembles the same effect as a newly poured root beer float, and while it dies down quickly, it manages to leave behind a strong half finger of head that lasts a good long while. Carbonation shows, with bubbles gliding upwards from the center of the glass, despite minor cloudiness fogging the beer up. This is a classic beer of its kind, and very recognizable among the pack.

While this still smells sweet ever after all this time, the age on this reveals some yeasty and malt nuances I haven't encountered before - funky yeasty phenols resembling a freshly cut green pear, yellow apples, caramelized banana, and, of course, the usual array of raisins, dates, prunes washed in a caramel substance. Toasted toffee finishes it up, alongside a green bell pepper, white peppercorn spiciness that tingles the nostrils each time. Smells sweet at the finish, but the booze is well hidden and the malt and yeasty notes keep things interesting. Far less boozy than their quad (or worse, their Piraat ale), and it's definitely victorious from that perspective.

The flavor comes as a pleasant surprise, especially considering how well cut down the sweetness this time around. Rather than the heavy Port/plum malt profile this beer is typically known of, the apple/pear yeast combo is nice and toasty, and the peppery flavor coats the caramelized dried fruit sweetness nicely, making it an easy beer to drink and hiding the alcohol effectively while striving for complexity. The peppery texture tingles the palate, and warms up the throat, and the caramel, light Sherry note at the finish makes it earthier and nuttier, with a decadent yet restrained sweetness that is approachable. Coats the palate well with a firm viscosity, and finishes lightly yeasty yet bitter, earthy, and spicy.

Not sure if I like it fresh or with age on it, but it still is a classic, even here. This was one of the greats for me when I first started drinking better beer, and revisiting it with age on it was a pleasure indeed. I don't usually drink Belgian beers of this kind anymore, but it works joyfully as a dessert offering even at this point. This is also one of the most recommended offerings to present to people that have a skewed viewpoint on beer. For a monster beer, very drinkable and definitely enjoyable.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly cloudy ochre with loose honeycombed sandstone froth. Mild gusher.
Toffee, goji berries, spiced apple, granary bread, wax - multi-facteed.
Lots of blonde caramel (candy sugar?), some Japanese plum, hints of cinnamon and cedar, a big whack of clovey spice, and slight noble hop end.
Rock candy, sour cherries, and cocoa dust with numbing booze and herb linger.
Crisp, round, slightly hot.

BSDA, dark tripel, "red strong beer" as the label says - not sure what to expect with this one, in spite of its reputation. Nose is too brown for a tripel but not fully dark. That ends in the taste - it drinks very light. There's not huge complexity to the taste, just a couple of sugar + spice elements playing off each other, yet it's strangely tasty and moreish. Almost play like a cinnamon-herb hard candy or a Christmas ale.

Oddly compelling.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
93 out of 100 based on 1,265 ratings.