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.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

3,088 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,088
Reviews: 1,206
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 11.58%
Wants: 173
Gots: 294 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

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: 3,088 | Reviews: 1,206 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Graham5161986
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a hazy dark brown with hints of ruby and a massive fizzy, bubbly, tan head that has very good retention and leaves some very nice lacing on my glass.

S: the first thing I detect is ripe blackberries and bananas! Gorgeous! More fruitiness in the background and the slightest hint of floral hops

T: Tons of classic Belgian sugary, fruity malt flavour with some definite banana notes, a slight floral hoppiness throughout and a somewhat spicy, nutty finish. Deliciously complex. The 10.5% ABV is very, very well hidden amongst the flavours.

M: medium to heavy bodied, slightly creamy, spicy and very crisp. Goes down smooth and crisp with an oily sensation left on the palate.

D: All I can say is wow. This is an incredible Belgian Ale. I can't get enough of the blackberry aroma and its the fruity, sweet complexity has me enjoying every last drop of this beer. If the bottle didn't say 10.5% ABV, I would have had no idea - it is so easy to drink.

Definitely one the the best beers out there.

Graham5161986, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of cavedave
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour produces a thick, glowing brown with red highlights, cloudy with fine yeast to the point of opacity, beauty of a beer. It is topped by a finger's worth of beige head, which diminishes languidly to a bubbling cap. Lace splotches cling momentarily to the snifter, then fall.

The smell is a hypnotic bouquet of yeasty notes of a sweet and spicy variety, candy sugar, earthy tones, and a malt presence that is hard to finger, not a bready smell, not caramel, all wrapped in a fruity, and herbal edge. Man, this is complex, and balanced. I could keep my nose here until supper burns. I feel a buzz from just the aroma, if that's possible.

The beer is warmed to where I like drinking tripels now. Good gosh, the flavor of this is staggeringly fine. The yeast is more subdued in the sip than in the aroma, but still it finds a rhythm right away, leading into a sweet rush of caramel, plum, subtle earthy notes, leading into a juicy finish that stays clean and pure, with hints of herbs and spice lingering seductively. Alcohol is present like a ghost, felt but not tasted; there, but not.

Mouthfeel is the perfect combination of thick but not cloying, and low carbonation. Somehow it does the impossible, supporting a long finish, and clearing out. I like the clear out of Unibroue beers, but this is even a better clear out.

Drinkability? Triple red flag warning for extremely, dangerously, fantastically drinkable. This beer fucking rocks. Wish it were less expensive. Lotta nickels for this one!

cavedave, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of KrisPaulk77
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The missus picked me up a Belgian sampler pack recently, and Gulden Draak was among the offerings.
I poured it into my Chimay chalice. The beer poured a deep, rich mahogany color, with a show of deep garnet when held to light. Crowning this liquid was a creamy head of khaki colored foam. The head maintained for a minute or so, but then fell down to a nice looking cap of cream and bubbles. Bits of lace clung to the sides as the beer was drank.
The aroma was sweet, spicy and alluring, with notes of pepper and spices, sweet malts, light citrus oil, a little boozy alcohol, and whisps of dark fruit.
The taste of the beer is delicious. It's a mixture of peppery spice, coupled with a nice sweetness from the malt, and a nice dry finish. Flavors of raisins and dried figs show, cut in by the spiciness of the beer, and the taste of caramel is there as well. Lovely and complex. The beer has a rummy quality to it, but that's allright by me.
The beer had good body and lots of carbonation. It is definitely a sipper, one to be enjoyed, savored and sipped over a stretch of time.
I'll buy this again.

KrisPaulk77, May 21, 2010
Photo of jamie2dope
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured into a Chimay chalice a chestnut brown color, with a small white lace head that held up quite well. Smell was through the roof with overly ripe fruit flavors, and some chocolate. Sort of reminds me chocolate covered cherries. Taste was also big on the candy-like fruit, and also a bit of spicy herb as well. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, and high on the drinkability factor. The alcohol is really well hidden on this beer. I never would have guessed that it was anywhere near 10% alcohol. I will definitely be coming back to this beer in the near future.

jamie2dope, Feb 16, 2007
Photo of Crosling
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy orange when held up to the light. A very odd color to say the least. Perfect belgian head, frothy dense and magical. Thick sticky lacing. Ahhh...Belgians.

Incredible nose on this one!!! Sugars, raisins, alcohol, bright apples, sour cherries, yeast, pine and more sugars. Wow!

Slightly disappointed with the flavor but this still was pretty damn tasty. Strawberries, raisins, alcohol, prunes, yeast, sour cherries dipped into sugar and a hard to notice tart undetone. Alcohol is hidden very well. Mid palate seemed to be struggling a bit but a nice lingering finish. Very smooth which makes this really drinkable.

Nice beer that I'll be sure to sample on tap when I am in Belgium this summer.

Crosling, Dec 23, 2003
Photo of wagenvolks
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

wagenvolks, Jul 14, 2008
Photo of TheDM
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice head! Invigorated light brown head of fine to medium bubbles that left a nice lacing as it receded. It poured an opaque dark brown body. It has a very nice malty aroma. It had a mild initial taste and a very strong finish.

Im Himmel gibt es kein Bier
Darum trinken wir es hier

(Translation)
In Heaven there is no beer!
That is why we drink it here!

TheDM, Jul 09, 2003
Photo of CplHunter
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into one of my free Sam Adams "Better Beer Glass" (thanks a million Jim!). What a gorgeous color. It's a dense, cloudy, (almost purple!) brown. Light brown head. It eventually thins, but it lasts and lasts. The head is clingy and always present.

S: Plums and figs. It's overwhelming. It's sweet. It's fantastic.

T: Well go figure...plums and figs! VERY sweet. Porty. I can't pick out any hops, but that's not out of the ordinary for this style.

M: High gravity. Low carbonation, but not flat. A VERY quick hit to the tongue, then smooth.

D: I have to come back to the "porty" feel. I couldn't have more than one. It's just too sweet. I'd describe it as an "after dinner beer", best shared with a friend. That fits it perfectly.

BIA (Buy It Again?): Absolutely. Wonderful stuff. I love the presentation in the bottle. White heatshrunk Duvel-type "pony" bottle. Very unique. Certainly keeps it well protected against the UV!

CplHunter, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of Beernoisseur
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Beautiful burnt orange, brown with a 2 inch head that hangs around forever.

S - Fruity, floral esters. Loads of sweetness. Cirtusy hops come through in the background.

T - Sweet, warm, malty and hoppy, With a load of fruits. Cherries, berries, and various other sweet fruits shine through like crazy. After that, there are the citrus notes of the hops. Amazing.

M - Wonderful smoothness. Sweet, and rounded

D - This beer is so delicious, I would want to drink a ton of them, but at 10.5% it's hard to put down more than one or two.

Beernoisseur, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of pjwilson
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisting this one after about a year, I didn't do reviews back then and my palate was still developing.
Appearance: nice dark amber, not too much head or lacing, but there is some.
smell: ah yes the yeast. and the malts. and the fruitiness. I'm gettting hints of dark rum, perhaps from some dark sugars used in this one. Nice balance between yeast and malt.
taste: Ah, this a reminding me of Trois Pistoles, another beligan strongdark. The malts are more upfront than the yeasts, mmm that's some sweet malt. Yet it is not a very sweet beer overall, pretty dry actually. It's great. I could drink this daily. This is the 330 ml bottle, I'd like to try the 750 if ever see it. There is absolutly no trace of the 10.5 percent alcohol in the taste, none!
Mouthfeel: nice and carbinationed. Real light body for the alcohol, never had a beer with this much alcohol this light and smooth. yet i'm catching a buzz half way through the bottle. hehe
drinkability: this is really good for the stlye, only my self restrait is stoping me from finishing the bottle faster, it's so damn smooth.
To me this is a real classic and on the must try list for everybody. I'm pretty sure it's the same yeast as Trois Pistoles, but this is a bigger, more maltly beer, more likeable, a more . Both are favorites of mine. i drank this a bit colder than cellar temp.

pjwilson, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of gcamparone
4.46/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 25 oz bottle into a La Trappe goblet. Purchased in North Providence, RI.

A- Pours a muddy brown, slightly hazy body with bright cherry highlights. A fluffy, airy, generous khaki colored head rises and reduces slowly to a frothy layer, leaving thick lacing. Very inviting.

S- Lots of fruity aromas coming through here.. dark fruits, white wine, plums, and raisins are all present upfront. There's definitely a roastyness coming through too.. lightly roasted malt, citrus, and a slight alcohol aroma.

T- Sweet caramel, toffee, and brown sugar upfront.. raisins, plums, candied sugar, bubblegum soon thereafter. The finish leaves an absolutely delicious roastyness on the tongue that I really love about dark Belgian beers. Some booze present , the 10.5% is not hidden well (-.25 for that).

M- Medium-heavy body, medium-low carbonation. Pretty rich.

I was highly impressed with the Gulden Draak. It was highly complex, flavorful, and full bodied. Sits up there with some of the best Belgian tripels. A must try.

gcamparone, Sep 12, 2013
Photo of jmz62565
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly cloudy brownish/red with a large tan head that leaves great lacing. A very impressive looking brew. The smell is pungent with sweet malt, alcohol, and some different dark fruits. The taste is creamy with dark fruit,sweet malt,candy sugar,alcohol, and a carmel/like smoothness. The m/f is medium with all the flavors mixing very well wgile doing a good job of hiding the 10.5 alcohol. The warmth is there,just hidden in the first sip. This is a true Belgian classic that should be had by all !!!! Cheers.

jmz62565, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of ChopperSmith
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml large white bottle with beautiful labeling into a Duvel Tulip glass.

Appearance: Hazy deep brown with ruby red color when held to the light. A cloudy tan peak of foam formed that receded slowly and left good sticky lacing behind and a frothy tan cap throughout. Impressive looking.

Smell: Sweet and yeasty with caramel and biscuit aromas mixed with yeasty phenols and dark wine-like fruits. A little alcohol in the mix, but blends well with the rest of the scents.

Taste: Fantastic! Sweet and yeasty, with flavors of caramel and toffee malts, with hints of raisin and plum. Also a good spicy yeast that has flavors of clove and nutmeg. This is a delicious world class Belgian Strong Dark Ale (or Dark Tripel). Very unique and tons of character.

Mouth Feel: Medium bodied with a good creamy carbonation. Slick and slippery on the tongue.

Drinkability: Outstanding! This is an excellent example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It has a unique flavor profile with a lot of complexity. It's a fantastic sipping beer that tastes even better as it warms. I have a new favorite Belgian ale!

ChopperSmith, Oct 17, 2011
Photo of JLeege
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 mL - poured into a tulip
From notes.

Appearance- pours a dark yet vibrant amber color with a dense off white head. Good retention and lace.

Smell- Dark fruits, doughy malts, yeast, lots of spice.

Taste- Caramel, sweet doughy malts, and maple syrup start things off. Leading into very strong dark fruit notes; cherry, plum, raison. Some banana and a hint of chocolate as well. A bit yeasty. Spicy throughout , some residual sugars, sweet, but not cloying. Delicious.

Mouthfeel- Medium body and carbonation, a tad prickly, but mostly smooth. Slight warming from the ABV's.

Overall- Dark Tripel? Whatever that means... This is a fantastic Belgian dark ale, one of my favorites!

JLeege, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A birthday present from my housemates. Poured a faded mahogony with a dried buckskin colored head that frothed and bubbled. Smell was deep and rich with esters a plenty, fig, current and ahint of deep red fruits. Taste was hearty and full bodied without too much dominence by the alcohol. In fact the only indication was the warming throat sensation. The taste abounded with figs, mollassas, syrup more dried cherries, and scoops full of brown sugar. Mouthfeel was bubbley but remained full bodied and plentiful. Great autumn beer to warm to as the sun draws low and frost begins to creep like spiderwebs up the window panes.

GreatPondBrewer, Oct 08, 2003
Photo of phantomwyse
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark tawny body with a finger and half to two finger khaki cream head, rich and full.

S: Dark grape, apple, tart plum, fermented pear, sugary acai, light coca, even a bit strawberry.

T: Overripe grapes, apples, and plums all with a hint of chocolate and alcohol, a dark rum, perhaps black strap rum, character. The boozey fruits lean into slightly roasted and caramel malts. Chocolate cherries end the desert fruit deluge.

M: Full, creamy, crispy and dry with a cloying aspect.

D: Tall dark beer with a light head and dark fruity qualities and an ornate chalice seeks discerning beer drinker willing to enjoy sipping slowly, slowly over a long evening by a crackling fire and bear skin rug

...or, yeah, it's good,

..or, if you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain, if you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain...

phantomwyse, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of twilight
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Stubby 33cL bottle with apparent enamel coating. Pours a dark red koolaid color with a scrumptiously large head that recedes into a fine-bubbled thin head that dons the glass to the bottom.

The nose is all about christmas spice. Very much plums (or, rather, prunes) and maybe just maybe some citrus. The taste is light (It's the first thing I notice) and awash with that plummy plum goodness usually reserved for dubbels and quadrupels. Actually, if you melded the two styles you'd have them here, but it's not quite at the level of a tripel.

It's funny because the taste is really nice and all, but it just feels like it's a much lower abv. There's the sweetness, the spice and the long fruit finish that leaves more of a bitter citrus aftertaste on the palate. The alcohol burn is only slightly present, and this is welcome, but mind-boggling at the abv this one has.

Must remember to sip. Must remember to sip.

twilight, Jul 14, 2004
Photo of Fnord
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours reddish-black, with an dense, off-white head.

Smell - Very complex! Alcohol, bitter chocolate, licorice, brown sugar and yeast. I'm sure there's a ton of other aromas I'm missing as well.

Taste - It has that distinctive Belgian yeast taste. The alcohol makes itself known as well. The bitter chocolate comes out to play, with the licorice and brown sugar following timidly behind. Hops are also present, though just enough to keep the alcohol in balance.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, with fairly brisk carbonation.

Drinkability - It's too strong to drink a lot of, but that's fine. One at the end of the night is plenty.

Notes - Wow, this one's good. It's hard to overstate that. This one may give Trois Pistoles and Brasserie de l'Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru a run for their money for my favorite Belgian Strong Dark.

Fnord, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of andrenaline
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glad to see this made it up to Northwestern Ontario. A treat indeed and a brew I plan to buy several of.

A - Pours a slightly hazy ruby red colour, thumb of fluffy off-white head with solid retention and nice sheeting lacing.

S - Nose is dominated by dark fruit, vineous red wine, raisins, and figs. A sugary caramel scent comes through with burnt brown sugar and a touch of musty alcohol sweetness.

T - Sugary caramel dominates, musty alcohol sweetness with a touch of heat, big fruit rich flavours of raisins and red grapes, yeast esthers and toffee notes linger.

M - Lighter bodied ale that fills the mouth, goes down with a touch of heat and finishes surprisingly wet.

O - Not surprisingly this brew did not fail to deliver, offering up loads of flavour and an incredibly well hidden ABV. Delicious is an understatement, well worth trying out.

andrenaline, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of cretemixer
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muddy brown in color with an ivory-tan head that oh so slowly fades to about 1/4 inch. Leaves a spotty lace.

Slight medicinal aroma that is not offensive, just sticky sweet. Mollasses, alcohol, and raisins too.

Sweet malty taste, alcohol warmth is noticable, but not overpowering. A most pleasant fruitiness also.

Slightly sticky thick mouthfeel leaves a nice lingering aftertaste all the way down my throat.

One of the more drinkable strong beers I have had. A truly excellent beer.

cretemixer, Feb 08, 2003
Photo of russwbeck
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Huge head on this one, wish I used my Duvel Tulip instead of my Mad Elf version. Head is beige, and the pour is deep mahogany, almost brown. Very nice retention and lacing.

S: Getting alcohol on the nose, dark fruits, and some maltiness. Smells more like a Quad than a Triple. I guess that's why it's listed as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

T: Taste starts off with dark fruits, which give way to some warming booziness, finished off by some candied sugar. A bit bitter from the yeast. Very interesting drink.

MF: Nice twang of carbonation on this one and a medium body.

D: I could drink this all day. The alcohol isn't overpowering and the taste is very interesting.

russwbeck, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of Amdahl
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown with more than ample white head. The aroma is sweet. The smell of fruit is dominant. Raisin is the first smell, but this smells like a very complex beer. The taste is very smooth and sweet. There are not a lot of hops in the flavor; it is really malty. There is a definite warming as this beer goes down. Medium bodied. This is a beer that I will try again and again until I completely figure it out.

Amdahl, Dec 18, 2002
Photo of Bitterbill
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought 2 bottles of this stuff at Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

Pours so darned beautifully ending up a dark gold in my Chimay glass. Nice head that lingers with very nice lacing around the glass.

The smell is a superb apple, reminiscent of my favourite soda..Jones Green Apple. I couldn't wait to dive right in. ;^)

The taste is a plethora of fruity flavours that are dominated by apple but yet aren't.(if you catch my meaning)
At 10% abv, I want to just sip and enjoy but the drinkabilty of this brew has to be experienced to be appreciated. This is, for me, a truly world class experience in Triples and I'll certainly buy it again!

Long live the Golden Dragon!!

Bitterbill, Oct 10, 2005
Photo of mrfrancis
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy dark amber with a thick, pillowy beige head that lasts forever, lacing deep into the glass.

S: Aromas of cider apples, caramel, toffee, and spiced pears are present on the nose. Surprisingly, I'm not picking up any alcohol on the nose.

T: Gentle, delicate notes of toffee, caramel, cider apples, pear drop candy, licorice, star anise, gingerbread, toasted almonds, and a woody, herbal spiciness akin to juniper berries wash across the palate. The finish is gentle and warming with cider apple, pear drop, and woody spice notes underscored by mellow alcohol.

M: Relatively full-bodied and dry with prickly, cleansing carbonation. There is a slight alcohol presence, though it is very subdued and never even remotely distracting. To me, this beer is the prototypical evening sipper.

O: This was one of the first authentic Belgian ales that I really became attached to, and as such, I can't help being a little bit biased when I review it. I still think Gulden Draak is an exceptional ale, and I seem to return to it again and again. In my opinion, this is the best beer made by Brouwerij Van Steenberge.

mrfrancis, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of vikingmike
4.45/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy, muddy tan coloured...like aged leather

S: Candied fruits with a hint of something citrusy

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

M: Thick, viscous, slightly syrupy

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

vikingmike, Nov 29, 2009
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 3,088 ratings.