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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,299 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,299
Ratings:
3,750
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
19.52%
 
 
Wants:
287
Gots:
749
For Trade:
3
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

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Reviews: 1,299 | Ratings: 3,750
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark dark rusty golden with a big head of slightly off-white head that hangs around forever and ever. Aromas of dark Belgian candi sugar, spicy yeast complexity, alcohol, fruits, and more. Taste is fruity and boozy with a very sweet caramelized burnt sugar, sort of creme brulee thing going on. Very nice, but after a while a bit much. Mouthfeel is sweet and heavy, syrupy and almost cloying, and the drinkability suffers a bit after time. This is a very nice and intense dark tripel...but it's just so damn sweet after a while that it is not my favorite...

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

oh hell yeah...this is the one. Gulden Draak is nearly perfect. It's hard to see how any brewery, Belgian or otherwise, could improve on this style...other than maybe bringing out a beer with these exact characteristics but with a, say, 7% ABV for better drinkability.

Poured into a Gulden Draak glass and received a fluffy off-white head which retains well, a gorgeous deep-chocolate color that seems to morph into ruby at the bottom. Thick walls of lace are produced during the drink.

An ultra-malty aroma hits you first thing. I also enjoy the fresh-baked yeast rolls aroma, and the sweet fruitiness that reminds of dates drowned in rum. A fragant and fresh aroma, especially for such a dark and high-alcohol brew.

The taste is divine. Milky caramel, juicy raisins, layers of malt...it's sweet but not too sweet. Comes very close to the most dessert-y doppelbocks. Only the slight yeast tinge and well-hidden but clearly-present alcohol sets it apart.

Mouthfeel is about as good as all the preceding sensations: creamy, with enough heaviness to chew around in the mouth a while, but very good balance there too. Low fizz, so no real bite, just a velvety smoothness that sticks with you awhile.

Ok, so it's 10.5%, but I find this to be easily drinkable. Not a lot, not as a session beer, but there isn't a day in the year I would turn it away. Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of audiojon
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid brew, the 10.5% abv is not noticeable at all. Nice appearance, dark ruby w/ beautiful lacing. Aroma is good, not great, but inviting. Taste is solid, but nothing shocking. Not extremely complex, I've come to expect more from Belgians than this has to offer. I'd drink it again, but would probably gravitate towards other Belgians when given a choice.

Worth a try, I could see it being a favorite for some.

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Photo of kkipple
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak comes in a neat Viking-inspired white bottle with a golden dragon on the front. It appeals immediately to my Norse sensibilities and makes me eager to drink whatever is inside.

The Gulden Draak pours a big bubbly head atop a filtered, deep amber brew. Nothing I've not seen before, but neither is it unattractive. (I removed a immature allusion to a woman here.) It does make me wish I had my drinking horn.

Smell needs time to develop as the beer warms. Eventually one ends up with dry alcohol, sweet malts, and overripe fruit. Very rich smelling and promising.

On initial taste, mild sweet malts and alcohol dominate, with beet sugar, Belgian yeast, and dark fruit (prunes?) supporting. There's a mild medicinal taste and the entire experience is warming and rich. A very well balanced beer. It avoids the syrupy sweetness that many dark Belgians have while being quite drinkable.

Mouthfeel is warming, creamy, and full. Very satisfying, nearly as much as burying your axe in the skull of a foe.

If a strong, dark Belgian and a beautiful, blonde Aryan Viking had a son, it would be...no wait, let me rephrase that...

Gulden Draak strikes a nice balance between the sweetness of a dark Belgian and the drinkability of a Triple. It's a very tasty, drinkable brew that is perfect for quaffing after a hard day of burning and pillaging the coasts, or just about any time for that matter! Any real Norseman would be proud to try this.

Thanks to Faustgeist for sharing!

Edit: Had this on tap a year later, and prefer it from the bottle. Bumped up the appearance a notch, too. It tastes richer and sweeter and smells better from a bottle, IMO. Surely more research is required....

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From the bottle into the appropriately screen printed Gulden Draake Tulip glass. Hazy, murky medium brown appearance let no light pass through. Big head of tan foam, and notes of lace were present. Aromas of spicey sugars and malts, with a tame backbone of earthiness. Taste was quite spicey and sweet. Lots of malty caramel notes, with pronounced spices adding zestiness to the beer. Smooth and rich mouthfeel was mixed with bubbly carbonation, very nice on the palate. The drinkability was just not there for me. This is a well made beer, but not one I think i'd want to revisit.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy dark reddish-brown color with chunky white head, that lasted throughout the glass, leaving very attractive lacing on the side of the glass. The smell is fantastic with strong dark fruit (prunes, plums, dates, raisins) dominating. Light toasty notes are also present. Taste is strong on fruit and malt with a magnificent creamy feeling that literally coats the inside of the mouth with the strong fruitiness. Absolutely no alcohol flavors to be found. Nice carnonation also adds to the creaminess. Finish malty and fruity with a hint of hoppy bitterness, but very little. This was an extremely enjoyable beer, The drinkability was too good for a beer of this strength.

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Photo of beerphilosopher
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahhh ... one of my very favorites and a culprit in my love of dark, strong Belgian ales. For the purposes of this review, I poured the ale into a Gulden Draak goblet from a 750 ml white coated bottle. Poured a deep, rich burgundy color that highlights red in the light. Displays a huge, mountainous head of light tan. Nose clubs you with dark, hearty fruits and spice. Dark raisins, cherries, and dates with a yeast bath. A special sweetness is present here as well ... a bit candy-like due to the use of Belgian Candi sugar in the bottle conditioning. Slightly alcoholic nose is present. Palate is extraordinary ...so complex. All of fruits mollases malt, and alcohol - rum like in some ways. The suprise ... this ale is rather hoppy, creating a marvelous balance in the flavor profile. This is master work, really. Full bodied and agressively carbonated, avoiding any semblance of a cloying effect. Though hoppier than many Belgian Strong Darks, Gulden Draak is not at all bitter. Finishes very smooth with a touch of residual sweetness. Gulden Draak is one of my favorites of all time. I love the name, the bottle, the beer ... I could go on and on. This is a world class ale. You need this beer!

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Photo of CDBeerDisappear
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Color is cloudy medium brown with some orange showing when lighted. Full coarse head that dissipate to about a quarter inch with modest lacing.

S - Aroma of sweet malt and floral hops. Caramel overtones

T - Sweet yeasty caramel taste. You can taste alcohol but there is not a long of astringency. Aftertaste is very clean.

M - Feels rich and full with light to moderate carbonation.

D - Very drinkable, I will buy this again and again. Not overly sweet but not bitter at all. Nicely balanced, hops are not obvious as they are in IPA’s but they certainly round out the sweetness of the amount of malt necessary to get an alcohol of 10.5%

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Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am drinking a 750 mL C&C bottle poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. The ale is chilled.

Appearance: The ale pours with a hazy orange-brown color. There is ample sediment in the glass. The ale poured with a decent head and left a respectable amount of lace around the glass.

Smell: Yeast is the dominant aroma. I also smell the sweetness of candy sugars.

Taste: The candied sugars are quite evident in taste. They give the ale a very pleasing sweet taste. After that, hints of alcohol and fruit (plum maybe).

Mouthfeel: The ale sits very well in the mouth. The yeastiness and sugars taste very nice together.

Drinkability: This is an eminently drinkable ale, but the 10.5% abv is a dealbreaker, too much alcohol makes me sleepy...

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Photo of ojiikun
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To me, this beer is just as a tripel should be. It pours cleanly without too much foam, and smells simply wonderful - caramel and spice and minty herbs. Dark and sweet, more like a dubbel, really, but with the kick of a tripel. I frequently compare the taste of dulden draak to that of sweet wine. There is no hiding the 10+% acohol, but the flavors ride well on top of that base. Just the right amount of very bright hops (mint and lemongrass) and sweet, buttery, syrupy malt (black tea and cornsyrup, if not chocolate). Despite the sweetness, there's not sticky mouthfeel, and it drinks like red wine - that is to say very easily, especially if you don't mind the high alcohol. This beer could not be better balanced.

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Photo of jbsteiny
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this was only the second beer I'd ever reviewed on this site, so I just wanted to re-review, because my tastes have changed since then and this has become one of my favorites...

dark amber color, thick tan head audibly bubbles down to a thin ring eventually, but good head that leaves beautiful white lacing on the glass. aromas of cookies, pepper, bubblegum, really wonderful blend of malt, ester, and phenol! tastes like heaven to me - this is what Chimay Blue should taste like. light notes of coffee and chocolate overlay the rich malt but are pierced with red wine, pink peppercorns, fig, and faint tangerine. dries up remarkably for such a big beer so that the finish is only slightly sweet. if i could sit at my stool for long enough, i could drink this for hours on a cool evening. thank you van Steenberge! some day I will visit you!

=original review (30 Jan 2006) follows=

Got this in a Belgian sampler, and I really liked the bottle. Decided to crack it open for the Lunar New Year -- thought the dragon was auspicious.

On pouring it, I was surprised how dark it was, and got pretty excited. Some reddish hues and a thick tan head made it a good looking beer.

Smelled sweet, rich and malty. Lots of caramel and plum. Tasted much the same -- a little smoky, a little spicy. I think I preferred smelling it -- maybe some more hoppiness or citrus would have helped keep it from being so syrupy. A little too sweet for me right now, but probably would be excellent for desert.

Big mouthfeel, good carbonation, really coats the inside of your mouth. There's no doubt you're drinking a 10.5, but the alcohol isn't overwhelming because of all of rich malts. Having one of these for desert pretty regularly would make my mouth happy.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This very rich tripel pours a murky dark cider brown. The head is appetizing in appearance, but the liquid less so. The nose has a bit of complexity, with burnt sugar notes, along with alcohol and a bit of candied apple. Those same tastes come through with more oomph in the beer's flavor, with the the candied apple, in particular, coming forward. This beer is exceedingly sweet, which is nice at first, but the aftertaste it leaves is a bit much -- kind of a sticky film that remains in your mouth. This is pretty heavy, rich stuff that's definitely meant to be enjoyed in moderation.

A good beer for every now and then, but not one I'll keep going back to.

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Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance: malty amber brown. nice thick head, and enticing lacings throughout my glass

smell: sweet, light hops, plums, brown sugar (?), hint of booze

taste: much like an in depth version of it's smell. sweet, malty, fruity, sugary, and just a hint of alcohol. a nice mix of everything goin on here. all in it's right place on my palatte. gets sweeter as it warms.

mouthfeel: robust, and malty. dense, but not too thick. just the right amount of carbonation.

drinkablilty: one bomber was good enough for me. felt full once i was done. like a hearty meal

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Photo of crwills
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool, stubby, white, opaque bottle. Poured into a Fischer glass (yeah, bad choice, probably), a deep orangey brown with bronze highlights and a big yellowy-beige head.

Smell is spicy alcohol, ripe fruit, raisins and pepper.

Flavour is very barley-winish, at least to my inexperienced palate. Raisings, plums, nutmeg, pepper, and a strong alcohol presence. Somewhat sour aftertaste that I didn't particularly like. This beer is high enough alcohol (10.5%) to warm the ears, which is fine but lowers its 'drinkability' a bit in that you can't have much of it.

I remember liking this better the first time I had it at Smokeless Joe in Toronto, but still quite good. I've got another bottle someone gave me for Christmas too, so we'll see how it goes the third time around.

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

Poured into a Chimay chalice from the standard 33 cl. bottle. This beer poured wonderfully dark almost opaque brown/red with a one finger tan white head that dissipated somewhat after a few minutes. Moderate lacing as the beer went down.

The nose is sweet, somewhat fruity, and malty with a small hop undertone.

The taste is complex and again sweet and fruity with heavy malt and underlying hoppy spice and a wonderful lingering finish. The 10.5% abv is not readily apparent in the taste or the mouthfeel.

This beer feels like liquid gold in the mouth and goes down especially smooth.

This is definitely something I could drink a lot of, but slowly. This is a beer to savor, not chug.

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Photo of SSGPat
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When pouring this beer, I knew nothing about it but the name and that it was Belgian. Since it has a covered bottle (covered by plastic), I didn't even have a hint about the color of the beer.

I was quite surpurise to find that it was a beautiful dark strong Belgian.

The pour was beautiful. The creamy off white head was thick.

The smell was of sweatness first, then of malt, then a hint of hops.

The taste was sweater than expected, but considering the smell, it should have been expected. Spicey undertones with a slight twang as it goes down the throat.

Very big mouth.

I beleive that I could drink this beer till I fell off of my stool.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Tight sturdy off-white head. Great lace and insane retention -- it's like concrete. Nice carbonation. Somewhat pale, but a terrific clear reddish amber. Nice.

Smell: Sweet mother of god! Massive, overwhelming aroma of ripe fruit, spice and everything nice. A bit cakey. Bit of pissy yeast funk. Seriously, this is off-the-charts huge, one of a kind.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Whoa, know where the nose is coming from. Punishingly sweet. Just... yeesh. Grapey, mildly tangy, cakey, a bit of chocolate -- didn't see that coming -- a bit spicy. Not too much alcohol, but a bit of burn on the tongue at the end. Kinda thick and dumb, frankly. Mouthfeel is smooth and dense. Nice.

Drinkability: Well, nose is off the hook, amazing. Taste, though, is too much, waaay too sweet for me. Still, at this ABV, you'll feel good about it in the end -- trust me. Enjoyable in moderation.

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Photo of LPorter33
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle.

Appearance = Great looking murky, dark brown-ruby red. A beautiful 1/2'' silky head that lasted for awhile. Amazinly thick and pretty lacing too. An exceptional looking beer.

Smell = A little weak in the nose. I smell alcohol and some dark fruits - grapes and plums. A tiny bit of spice too. Not a bad scent just a bit faint.

Taste = Pretty darn tasty. I love the spicy twist that hits towards the beginning of the taste process - reminds me of pepper mint. This blends nicely with the high alcohol which isn't overwhelming in the least and the sweetness which is quite pronounced from the various fruit flavors.

Overall = This is a great Belgian dark ale. Drinkable, delicious, beautiful. Quite possibly the best I've tried so far.

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Photo of NEhophead
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Creamy, lightly tan colored head. Bits of non-connected lacing around the glass. Murky, ruddy-chocolate brown in color.

Light chocolate, caramel, and toffee tones. Tart apple with some other citric fruit: orange and cherry. Whaffs of alcohol. A balanced odor.

Sharp, acidic tartness up front: green apple, lemon, grape; followed by a chocolate and semi-sweet toffee flavor that drives the taste throughout the sip. The alcohol character is a part of each flavor aspect but really warms up in the aftertaste, along with a some vinous fruit.

Full bodied; creamy yet full and almost thick on the palate. Big, intense flavors fit for a heavy mouthfeel.

The alcohol presence is not hidden, but the different flavor profiles are enriched by it. A nice, dynamic strong Belgian.

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Photo of Derek
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This "dark triple" is really more of a quadrupel... but the line between a "Belgian strong dark ale" is certainly blurred.

A: Copper-brown, off-white head, nice retention and lace.

S: Dark fruit bread (fruity, bready, nutty), a little caramelized sugar.

T: Very Belgian (special B malt?). Sweet caramel, bread, fruity (raisins, prunes, figs, pineapple), fading to a slightly bitter/burnt aftertaste. Alcohol is warming and certainly apparantly, but it's not at all assertive. Well balanced, but there's a slight hint of something burnt in the aftertaste (that isn't appealing).

M: Moderate body is highly carbonated, finish is dry.

D: Quite good, especially considering the strength.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak pours from a 330ml white-coated bottle into my now-trusty tulip a generously dark color; After a bit of thinking, the color reminds me most of tree sap - dark brown that glows subtly orange when held to the light. A thin tan head of rising bubbles forms, then dissipates - I think I was a little underambitious on the pour. Lacing from the head is minimal, but there's a serious haze on the glass left by the liquid itself, like a very old window pane.

Smell: Candy, fruit, rhubarb, caramel, lots of distinctly rummy alcohol. Enticing. Smell definitely adds a lot to the flavor and drinking experience.

Taste definitely lets you know you're drinking 10.5% abv, but it's in a very smooth way - it's like a slick brandy. Lots of flavors going on here, especially alive due to the warmth of the liquor. Sweet across the whole palate - definite rum tastes with a butterscotch middle, almost zero bitter finals. Extremely tasty and easy drinking.

Low carbonation, which I think is appropriate, there's just enough to set off the carmally texture of this Belgian. Mouthfeel is great, alcohol warming the back of the tongue and the rest of the way down. Sticky flavors coat the mouth after swallowing, but another swallow can clear them easily if you choose.

Malty, sweet, easy-drinking, heavy on the booze, this Belgian's pretty rad IMO. Wish I'd bought another.

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Photo of bashiba
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark and creamy brown with tons and tons of sticky head, tons of lacing.

Smell was very sweet and fruity with a nice cherry smell and a bit of alcohol.

Taste is very sweet and fruity up front with a decent bit of hops in the finish along with a noticeable alcohol flavor. Very tasty and complex.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full and very warm.

Drinkability is very good, especially considering the strenghth of this brew. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of BarrelBrother
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My son knowing my love of complex beers and the Belgium "Dubble" style told me he had to take me to the Map Room in Chicago. They feature numerous Belgium brews on tap and he said he had found one that would knock me out. He wasn't kidding! Gulden Drak, WOW.

Appearance: Dark. Cloudy. Mysterious. But I like the deep amber presentation. Solid lacing after pouring.
Smell: This got my attention immeadiately! Nutty, carmel, sweet date like aroma. I had to revisit this sensation a couple of times to make sure I got it right.
Taste: One of the most unique treats to every touch my palate! I must have tasted and pondered the flavors tickling my taste buds over and over. I finally decided on almost a buttery, malted milk flavor with a toasted almond finish. Superb!
Mouthfeel: On tap, it was so smooth! Most Belgium brews seem almost silky when gliding down my palate. This one is no exception, but I like the nutty aftertaste as I drained this goblet of joy.
Drinkability: OK, here is where I got in trouble. I liked this offering on tap so much, I enjoyed 3 large, Belgium tulip glasses in less than 2 hours. It was my birthday and everyone was buying me a round, so I couldn't resist. Long story short, the Drak kicked my assk. I should have known better to do a session with a potent brew like this, but it was pleasure and then pain the next morning. Overall an enlightening experience one I won't forget!

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Photo of amicar
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out of the cool ceramic- like bottle a murky red tinged cloufy brown with tan head. Smells of noble hop, slight apricot and apple. Taste is really something- caramel, toast, fig, sherry. Very malty and filling in the mouth- I mean, tremeandous mouthfeel. Definitely a little bite and warmth when you swallow. Mine had a tiny but of harshness that I'm sure would mellow if I was a little more patient and gave it some age.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours creamy mahogany with ruby highlights and a huge frothy tan head.

The smell is amazing. I get a comples aroma of dark fruits, cherries, and slight spice notes.

The taste is of sweet caramel, dark chocolate, plums, and bit of spiciness. I'm thinking peppery, with coriander. This starts off with sweet malts and ends with a sharp and surprisingly bitter finish. The alcohol is well concealed.

Mouthfeel is amazingly full and creamy.

If I could get my hands on it, I would drink this brew quite often. Very nice.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 1,299 ratings.