Duvel Belgian Golden Ale | Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV

BA SCORE
95
world-class
7,900 Ratings
Duvel Belgian Golden AleDuvel Belgian Golden Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV
Belgium
duvel.be

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-06-2000

BEER STATS
Ratings:
7,900
Reviews:
2,817
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
11.45%
 
 
Wants:
462
Gots:
1,599
For Trade:
5
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,900 |  Reviews: 2,817
Photo of kojevergas
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

I've had this classic many a time before, but haven't yet reviewed it somehow (though I could swear I remember reviewing it in Holland). "Best before: 09/2015." 11.2 fl oz brown glass "snub" design glass with iconic label art and branded pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local Colorado beer store and served into a Duvel stem-tulip in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high. Props to Duvel for the pouring instructions - "Pour Unhurriedly." 8.5% ABV confirmed per the label.

Served chilled. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a four finger wide head of white colour. Disappointingly thin and airy. No real creaminess. Not as fluffy or soft as it should be. Head retention is good - about 5-6 minutes. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a translucent clear pale gold of above average vibrance. Has some yellow and copper hues. Very clean; no floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing, classic appearance for a Belgian golden ale.

Sm: Starches, Belgian golden malts, clean crisp barley, floral hop character, and Belgian pale malts. Hints of vitamin-y biscuity yeast character. Sweetness seems perfect based on the aroma. Has a kiss of candi character and a faint trace of peppercorn. There's also a vague fruitiness - perhaps from the hops? As best I can tell, it's crisp ripe apple. The distinctly Belgian character of the yeast - the light fruitiness, the spiciness - is what really elevates the aroma for me.

No alcohol is detectable - a feat at 8.5%. If I smelled it blind, I'd guess it was maybe 5%. Wow.

It's an inviting, alive aroma of moderate strength.

T: Light starchiness is present, and doesn't work too well in this flavour profile. The bulk of the body is comprised of Belgian golden malts. Hop character is predominantly floral, with a kiss of fruitiness in there too - crisp apples and pears. The yeast is lightly biscuity and spicy, and definitely feels like a Belgian strain. Clean crisp barley lends it some added depth of flavour. Light clove and grassiness also make an appearance. Quite estery. Duration and intensity of flavour are average for the style.

What's amazing here is how well the beer hides its ABV; I'd never guess this was 8.5%. Dangerously downable stuff.

It's also very well balanced, and boasts some impressibe subtlety. Decent complexity. It could be more intricate and nuanced.

Mf: Could be softer. It's nicely smooth and dry, and is well-carbonated. Aptly medium-bodied, with perfect thickness given the flavour profile. Very good presence on the palate; it's almost fleetingly light - which greatly aids drinkability. Not as crisp or ripe as many beers in the style; it's a bit more subdued. Effervescent. The texture complements the taste well, but isn't quite ideal. There's room for improvement.

Not oily, gushed, harsh, hot, boozy, astringent, or rough.

Dr: Extremely drinkable - especially for the ABV. Every time I drink it, I'm shocked how quickly it disappears from my glass. Undoubtedly a classic beer in a demanding style, Duvel remains one of the beers you have to try if you're an enthusiast. It's one of the best in its class and is absolutely a style-defining beer, but I don't know that it's the best Belgian golden ale out there. Still, I could happily kill 12 of these in a night without getting tired of it and definitely plan on picking it up again in the future. I can see why it's in the top 100, but I don't know that it's amongst the best 100 beers I've had personally. What sets it apart for me isn't the taste necessarily, but more its incredibly light feel and dangerous drinkability. This is the definition of easy drinking.

Probably the best widely available beer in the world, period.

B+

***
12/31/16:

I revisit this often, and I figured I'd add more impressions:

That's just it. ABV couldn't be better disguised, it's soft as fuck, the malt backbone is perfect, it's refreshing in spite of its ABV, the hop profile is terrific for the style...this is just great.

As drinkable as any beer could be at this ABV. What a treat.

A- / EXCELLENT

 4,251 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy straw color with a foamy whipped egg white head that persists well and thoroughly laces the chalice

Smell: Lemon and yeasty funk dominate but there is a subtle candi sugar aroma underneath

Taste: Starts with a tangy lemon and green apple flavor that is soon joined by a vaguely funky/vaguely sweet element; after the swallow, the bitter grassy Saaz hops hit their stride and persist well into the finish

Mouthfeel: Light and effervescent with warming alcohol on the way down the gullet

Drinkability: Not my favorite among the Belgians but I respect it for what it is; always welcome when available

 626 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked 750, served in cups furnished by Calvin's BBQ in Chicago.

Cork went off with a bang, and into the cup with an eternal excess of foam, that had the texture of whipped merengue. It was majestic on the surface, delicate, irregular peaks formed spontaneously. Racing carbonation was visible in the hazy golden ale.

Smell was lightly fruity pear yeast esters, with a light spicy grain element.

It had a delicate, effervescent feel that was perfectly balanced by a light maltiness, followed by pear and apple notes from the yeast. Dry finish, high on the drinkability scale. Duvel seems to be universally appealing to beer fans, wine drinkers, foodies, and even the adventurous macro drinker.

It made an excellent pairing with BBQ pulled pork, rib tips, and fried okra.

 785 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden ale with one very nice head that stayed on top of brew for a few minutes. Quite refreshing with the right amount of spice. Alcohol taste is not too distinct. I could drink this one very often. I find a ressemblance in the malts to the one Unibroue use for their beers.

 275 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The first thing I notice upon pouring this beer is the huge, billowing head. Very impressive. The beer itself is golden and brilliantly clear.

The nose is full of estery goodness, banana and lemon, and a touch of pale malt.

The flavor is strongly citrusy; lemon grass and orange peel, mild malty sweetness, and a lightly hopped finish. Extremely dry in the finish.

The mouth is heavier than I was expecting from such a pale beer, but then it does have 8.5% alcohol. However, it's not nearly as filling as, say, Rochefort 10. The carbonation is extremely crisp and refreshing, like champagne.

 594 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a clear, golden yellow with a huge head. It was highly carbonated, too. It smelled of alcohol, corn and grass. The taste was spicy and hoppy. I also detected a clove or vanilla flavor. The mouthfeel was creamy. It is highly drinkable, except for the 8.5% ABV.

 269 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of dmorgan310
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -29.9%

Photo of superspak
4.36/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature tulip, best by 12/24/2013. Pours slightly hazy golden straw color with a nice 3 finger fluffy white head with fantastic retention that reduces to a thick cap that lasts. Nice soapy lacing clings around the glass with plenty of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of lemon, pear, bready grain, grass, pepper, coriander, and yeast spices. Nice and clean aromas with good strength. Taste of big lemon, pear, apple, biscuit, light tart grains, pepper, grass, coriander, herb, clove, and yeast spices. Fairly dry finish; with some lingering notes of light fruit, pepper, bready grains, and yeast spices for a bit. Great flavor balance, with a good amount of complexity. Medium body with high carbonation; and extremely smooth drinking for the level of alcohol with the prickly carbonation. Alcohol is completely hidden, which is surprising for 8.5%. Overall this is just a fantastic Belgian strong pale. Great balance, complexity, and smooth drinking; and also has the best glass in the beer world.

 1,019 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

G: Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Quite pale and golden. Very nice white head and lacing.

S: Good smell of Belgian yeast a long with the tiniest bit of sourness and a little bit of dry sweetness.

T: Some hops with a good dose of Belgian yeast and pale malts. Slight sweetness and a tad bit of spice.

M: Very crisp. Fairly light mouthfeel, with a small alcohol bite.

D: Exceedingly drinkable--this will be a standby during the summer months.

 451 characters

Photo of mothman
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a tulip glass

Pours huge 2 finger pillow top head. Color of head is slightly off white. Color is a clear golden yellow. Nice retention with a ton of splattered lace and rings.

Aroma: Wow I am really enjoying the aroma. Nice clove and spice flavor. Some bananas and fruits. There is also a big yeast aroma. Everything blends together so nice here.

Taste: Very yeasty. A lot of clove and spices here. I get some bananas and a fruit flavor mix. Reminds me a little of a saison and hefe combined together. Well done. I really have to give this a 4.5 because it is simply amazing for how light of a beer it is.

Mouthfeel: This is one of the best crisp beers I have had. Very crisp, a little boozy, but smoothes out nice. It seems to be just a little to carbonated for me. It isn't bad or anything, just not for me. Body is actually fairly light for the abv it has. Ends with a pretty clean, yeast flavored aftertaste.

Overall, this beer is pretty solid. I will definitely be keeping this one around more. It is just so drinkable. It is just so well crafted. I am really amazed by this beer. The world needs to experience Duvel. I will recommend this to anyone.

 1,171 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.53/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Two fingers of rocky white head cover a clear, straw colored body and settle slowly, leaving thick lace.

S - Fruity and spicy with peppery hops and mango like tropical fruit.

T - Fruity with a bit of green apple. Spicy hops, a bit of pepper. Sweet and grainy malt with some DMS.

M - Medium body, high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Easily drinkable with a nice hop character. The apple and DMS seem out of place, but I know this bottle has been well cared for. I will have to give this another chance in the near future to see if it can live up to my memories of it being a much better beer.

 603 characters

Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a real nice pour, a straw color with a huge rocky head that sticks very nice to my glass,aroma is spicey and very yeasty.The taste is fruity with definent yeast flavors and some very spicey notes,a truley enjoyable complex beer.A world classic Iam glad I finally got the chance to try this beer.

 300 characters

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured perfectly clear until the end of the bottle when the yeast was roused. A perfect decant was not possible as the head was literally rising out of the glass! Hazy yellow-gold body with an orange-cast topped by a dense, rocky bright-white head that holds extremely well - buoyed by a tight-beaded effervescent carbonation - and leaves some exceptional lace . The aroma is quite fragrant: fruity, yeasty, candy sweet and malty, lightly peppery with a touch of spicy hops. The body is light/medium with an extremely fine and highly effervescent carbonation that is pillowy soft and velvety smooth in the mouth. The flavor is surprisingly full and rich, starting with a candyish malty sweetness, becoming dryish in the middle with some earthy and lightly spicy hop flavors, and finishing long and malty with some more distinct Saaz notes and touches of bitterness. The alcohol is amazingly well hidden. Impressively balanced with a fresh hop presence and bitterness that dances amongst such sweet malt character. Amazing. As Michael Jackson notes, Duvel is equally impressive served chilled, or as it warms toward cellar temperature. This makes it quite drinkable, and enjoyable, as a glass can be savored over a period of time. One of my favorite beers in the world, and absolutely recommended.

 1,306 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber bottle served in snifter, then revised in Sept. 2015 with a 330 ml bottle.

A - sparkling clear golden liquid with a frothy, white head. Medium retention but with lasting ring. Hazy after bottom sediment is added (which I did mid-tasting).

S - Hoppy (Noble?) and yeasty. The hop component is way more like a Czech lager than I expected but the Belgian fruity and yeasty complexity is right out front.

T - Refined balance of flavors with excellent finish. Notably tart and yeasty

M - soft; dry champagne-like finish

O - Superb for style.

 551 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.2/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Acquired from grub courtesy of the Birthday Club 2, so a big “Thank you” goes out to him. Poured from a 330ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a bright yellow color with a large foamy white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of bananas, light malts, Belgian yeast, some spice and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong sourness and flavors of Belgian yeast and spices. There’s a mild hops presence and a thin malt character. The after-taste is slightly bitter as there isn’t very much sweetness throughout the taste to counteract the sourness and bitterness.

M: Very crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, clean and very dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easy, not too filling, nice kick, good representation of style, I had tried this beer at a tasting once long ago and didn’t like it very much, however, that was before I had tried many Belgian beers. I liked many Belgian beers that I tried since then and realized that I may not have given this beer a fair shot, thus I was anxious to give this beer another try. However, I was disappointed again. I realize now that I simply don’t like this beer as much as I appreciate its craftmanship.

 1,253 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a slightly cloudy golden yellow with a decent 1-inch thick white head with fades to a thin cap and leaves spotty lace. Yeasty and floral with some faint spice notes. Overall solid.

 187 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a crystal clear light golden yellow in color with some moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a three finger tall fizzy white head that reduces by condensing down to a thin layer with larger pillowy patches and a thicker ringer at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: This beer does not have one of the strongest smells but it is definitely not weak either... I get some notes of yeast, spices, and some light fruit (possibly pear). Also, there are both floral and citrus hops present as well.

T: The flavor is far more intense than the smell but follows in the same vein. There is quite a bit of light fruit flavor including apple and pear as well as the banana + clove. There is a light hop bitterness in the finish but it is not overwhelming.

M: Light bodied with significant amounts of carbonation. Crisp and dry.

O: A very enjoyable and easy to drink beer. A little strong to be sessionable but definitely a beer that you want to have many times. The presence of the alcohol is well hidden but this is a strong beer.

 1,071 characters

Duvel Belgian Golden Ale from Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV
4.28 out of 5 based on 7,900 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe