Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Gulden DraakGulden Draak
Gulden DraakGulden Draak

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark Triple Ale brewed with caramel malt and re-fermented with Bordeaux wine yeast

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,386 | Ratings: 4,130
Photo of jaz
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say about this beer? IMO, if the gods had a favorite drink, it would be Gulden Draak! This beer poured a beautiful, slightly hazy, deep reddish carmel color with a generous, thick, creamy white head. The aroma was a fantastic blend of alcohol, carmel, and spices. As I tipped the tulip to my lips, I could taste the sweet juice before it touched my mouth! The taste was an extreme blast of sweetness, a complex and wonderful blend of malts and a definite alcohol flavor that swirled my taste buds into a frenzy. I swallowed, and to my delight a wonderful hops bitterness came through, riding along side the flavors of coriander and sweet orange peal. My mouth was in heaven, and my pallet demanded more of the heavenly nectar, but my brain cells warned me of the effect that 10.5% alcohol would have on my ability to drive home. So much for driving home, I'm headed to the store to buy more Gulden Draak!!

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Photo of Capn_Offal
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A delicious and beautiful brew, which wisks you away on a cloud of pearlescent bubbles over a smooth yet undulating amber sea of dreams. The refreshing breeze of hops gently carries you through flights of golden dragons all drinking flights of this glorious beer. Take time out of your day to experience this beer if you have yet to do so. From pour to finalé, take in every drop and take your time while doing so. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of GISentinel
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Although I am by no means as experienced as many other beer tasters here, I recently had some Gulden Drak. The bottle looked more like a wine bottle that had been spray painted white and contained 1pint 9 ounces I believe. At a beer tasting party we compared this with 5-6 other premium beers, which included other offerings from Belgium, a dunkel from Germany, and an ale from England. Our 6 member tasting group unanimously chose Gulden Drak the best of the bunch. Since it was probably the best beer I have ever had, I rate it a 5 across the board.

Delicious! A must try for any who have never tasted it.

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Photo of 1fastz28
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

got this in a belgian mix a six pack, and holy crap if the other 5 are this good, i'm going to go nuts.

its just a 5 across, no question about it

has a beautiful deep amber color and a nice head, and a big head

smell is wonderful, taste is wonderful, its just a fantastic beer. has a strong alcohol bite to it with a myriad of spicy yeast flavors

mouthfeel is a thicker more syrupy type

and as far as drinkability to it, i just wish i had bought more, its awesome

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Photo of neckbracesub
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 25.4 ounce bottle into a double shot glass, enjoyed in sipping sessions with my fiancee until it was gone.

Where do I even begin with an ale that is this heavenly? There really isn't a single area that Gulden Draak could have room for improvement. This is one of those rare brews that is completely deserving of the term PERFECTION.

It pours a gorgeous autumn color and has a slight carbonation with a nice foamy head.

The aroma gives off a pleasant scent of brown sugar and a blend of subtle fruits.

As soon as it hit the tip of my tongue its taste won me over. I had been told on several occasions that this was a world-class beer, but I had no idea I would find it as flawless as I did. There is an amazing combination of just the right amount of semi-carbonation, sugar and fruit in the tones of this ale that make it a one-of-a-kind!

As for the aftertaste: It goes down like a wonder and leaves the senses in a state of bliss long after you're done.


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Photo of Beer-Revelry
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours an incredibly dark brown with a nice 2 finger, ivory, creamy and solid head. Nice whispy lacing on the walls of the glass.
S - Sweetness, caramel, malts, fresh rain or spring water earthiness, slight citrus but no hops present.
T - Let it warm up first! Sweet sweet malts, caramel, slight alcohol tinge and burn, medium finish, pleasant creamy mouthfeel, medium bodied. Almost drinks like a heavy porter or a lighter stout.
O - A really unique, delicious and excellent beer!
V - 12.99 for a large, 25.4 oz bottle.

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Photo of notyourdadsbeer
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged at Euclid Hall into a tuplip glass.

A: Perfect brown with a nice latte colored head that starts high but fades in time. Fantastic lacing and tight bubbles.

S: Caramel and toffee up front but not too sweet. Plums and dark fruit follow and intices the senses. You can pickup bannana notes from the yeast as well.

T: Caramel up front and toffee to finish. Now the finish is very very long and the flavor is a bit fleeting. Makes you want to keep sipping honestly. Warm and slightly booze on the back of the throat. Great hints of dark plum and cherries for fruit and the caramelized malts for the sweetness. Has a nice bite too.

M: This is a full bodied beer for sure! The carbination is perfect as is the balance of this beer between heavy and sweet. The finish lingers but the fruit dies fast forcing you to keep sipping, i love it.

D: This is an amazing beer and one that should be put on a pedastal for Belgium beers. This is a sipper and one that should be shared amongst friends over a fire in leather chairs smoking a stoggie. I would give this beer as a gift to anyone I truly cared about and share it with only those that could appreciate it.

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Photo of tony12hd
5/5  rDev +17.9%

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 33redskins33
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my favorites. Its a dark color for a triple and it smells great. The flavor is bolder than most triples and that's why I like it so much. Get it, if you can.

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Photo of invertedrdm
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As a preface to this review I will admit that this is one of my all time favorites and that I've been craving it, so that might amplify the scores a bit. Regardless, this is my actual opinion on this compared to other strong darks I've tried.

Serving type was a bomber poured into a Mad Elf tulip style glass. Poured smooth and creamy brown, almost like cream soda but a bit darker, with a big fluffy head that dissipated after a minute or so leaving a nice lacing.

Smell is sweet and fruity with a tinge of alcohol and medicine.

Taste is spicy in a way that compliments the fruit and medicine tastes perfectly, alcohol is well hidden considering the size of the brew but still somewhat visible.

Mouth-feel is smooth, not too light yet not at all viscous.

Overall a highly recommended beer to any Belgian ale lover, especially those liking a good spice or fruit/medicine flavor.

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Photo of Brian2001
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am enthralled with this beer yet dismayed at the other reviews regarding taste and smell. One reviewer mentioned creamed pears. I believe it is more like bittersweet prunes prepared with the smokey essence from french pine bark. This also correlates to the hint of bakers chocolate. However, that is a false tasting note which can fool the novice. You see, as the french pine bark tree is expertly roasted, it will certainly lend itself to the essence of bitter chocolate. It is this essence which has been expertly infused within this fine beer. Bottom line is... I kind of like it. Im gonna buy it again when i have a hankering for some sweet light wood.

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Photo of MEsoJD
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Full bodied, brown/ruby color. Creamy/Long lasting head.

S: Figs, raisins, sweet malt, and honey. There's a lot in there.

T: Taste Sweet/Creamy with subtle hops and spices. Alcohol warms as you finish. The taste of Cherry also lingers in my head.

M: A little dry, smooth, good carbonation, and a little heavy.

O: A unique Belgian triple. A delight with every sip. Maybe needs a bit more hop, but other than that. It's pretty much perfect in my eyes. Would recommend and buy all the time. You can also have this at room temp. Doesn't need to be that cold in my opinion.

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Photo of bigdeuce
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have never given all "5's" on a rating as to date. I had to bow down in awe at this beer! It is an absolute MASTERPIECE! Nice white cap head with a tremendously appealing dark brown color. Scented of light apricots with a splash of maraschino cherries. The taste is so clear and clean. I couldn't even fathom that this brew was 10.5%. Despite that I could session this beer, well maybe for about 90 minutes. It goes down with a slight oft-plum taste with crazy belgian yeasts and smooth, crispy effervescent flavors. I could not find a morsel wrong with this one. It should be on the USA banned substances list!

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.99/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Decanted from an 11.2 oz (330 ml) white bottle into a conical pint glass; no production information.
A: Pours a hazy, dark copper color with a generous off-white head although limited retention or Belgian lacing.
S: Aromas of apple, caramel, maple syrup and mocha predominate with a very nice interplay.
T: Flavors follow the nose. Complex. Alcohol notable (how could it not be) but has almost a brown rum quality. Very little bitterness evident.
M: Full bodied with very pleasantly persistent effervescence evident. The bubbliness continues throughout consumption.
O: Wow! This is a really top of class beer. Definitely among the best drink experiences I have had lately and definitely imparts further respect for the style (as if it needed any). Would without question drink/serve/gift/relish.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
4.98/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

hands down my favorite beer. This beer is absolutely exceptional, it was one of the first good beers that I ever had the pleasure of tasting and at the time I assumed that as I grew in knowledge and experience I would find better beer and be less impressed by the golden dragon, this however, has never happened, as many people have stated you should take your time with this beer, though I would say more so to appreciate the nuances of the beer that to worry about being plastered, there's a lot to appreciate here and a lot to experience. you'll never have this beer mastered or locked down, so enjoy each experience with it as a new one. also, ages great, you can notice some smoothing differences in it even after just a few weeks on the shelf.

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Photo of Brad007
4.97/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a mild brown color with a one-finger head that fades fast. Carbonation seems just right.

Aroma is strong with the aroma of plum, raisin, grape and apple. Spicy and inviting.

Taste is smooth with the plum, grape, candied sugar and raisin. A bit of alcohol heat is detectable as well.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Carbonation is just right and doesn't "sting" the throat. The flavors as mentioned above, meld together so well that it makes this beer enjoyable.

Drinkability is high on my list. Very smooth, carbonation is just right and I can actually tell the flavors better. Not muddled like a few other examples I've had. The alcohol is barely present, which is the work of a skilled brewer. Worth another bottle for aging because at 10.5% this beer is deceptively drinkable!

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Photo of endovelico
4.97/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Taken from notes. Reviewed on 13-02-2009. Poured into Chimay glass. Best before date: 04-04-2009. Reviewed under medium high artificial light.

Appearance: Pours a three thinger fluffy white headed brew. Murky. Brown colored. Unperceived Effervescence. Great lacing. Overall excellent appearance, almost unique. Wish i had this on a Tulip.

Aroma: Ripe fruits, raisins, grapes, caramel and belgian dark candy sugar / molasses upfront and chocolate, cinnamon and slightl biscuity aroma in the back. Medium High to high Aroma intensity. Very complex and well balanced. Slight alcohol Aroma, but blends well with the overall aroma profile.

Taste: Very complex and sweet. Caramel / Molasses / Belgian Dark candy sugar, dark fruits and chocolaty like flavors. Noticeable alcohol flavor. Very well balanced. Medium high to high flavor intensity. No hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium low to low bitterness. Full bodied. Medium low to low carbonation. Coating mouthfeel, goes down smoothly. Liquorish like texture. Sweet molassy like aftertaste.

Drinkability: Excellent prototype of the style, and much worth the price. Goes down almost too easily considering the ABV and is not too filling or coying, which is surprising considering the ammount of residual sugars that are probably contained.

On a final note: One of my favourite brews. Should be elevated to be the Standard for the Belgian Strong Dark Ales. Will have whenever possible.

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Photo of HuskerTornado
4.96/5  rDev +17%
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 Gunnz
4.95/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very nice dark burgandy in color with a decent caramel cream colored head.

Malty and chocoltey nose with a slight hint of hops.

Strong malty flavor with hints of caramel. Classic of strong ales.

Smooth yet heavy bodied, but enjoyable.

Very highly recommended. Definitely something I would drink again. Probably something I would want to save as a treat for myself to keep from having too much of a good thing too often.

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Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Okay.....Let me take a breath for a second, because this one is wonderful....And I am still savoring my first glass, with two more to go! The cork wanted out of this one....Popped like a champagne cork. Wonderful yeast, fruit and caramel smell...Beautiful frothy head with light lacing. A wonderful dark brown color... The first sip knocked me over.... It seemed great. The second sip blew my mind as I could taste all the wonderful malt and caramel flavor, yeasty fruitiness, raisin-esque sweetness, and then the spicy background. all these flavors come together wonderfully for a combined oneness. If I forget about "tasting," everything it just melds together perfectly. Mouthfeel: Perfect blend of creamy and carbonated....So easy to drink! But beware, almost 11 ABV! A MUST experience, even at $13 a bottle! I know they call it a "Dark Tripel," but more likely a Strong Dark ale--all semantics I suppose.

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Photo of Kate2786
4.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! This is the best beer I have ever tasted! Malty, smooth, full-bodied, little alcohol taste, especially considering that it is 11. 43 percent. Got it on tap at a local Georgia pub. Not sure if I can get it anywhere else nearby. I would stock up on it if I could.

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Photo of clvand0
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark amber (mahogany) color. It first pours with no head, but quickly turns into a thick, white foamy head. The aroma is that of a very sweet malt - very nice. Possibly some fruits in there as well. The flavor is wonderfully odd - very refreshing. It has a sweetness to it with just a tiny bit of spiciness for the perfect blend. The high alcohol content is very well masked and almost non-detectable. The aftertaste is a little sweet malt that lingers on the tongue for a fully enjoyable experience.

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Photo of wolfbeast
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This heavy, dark beer, or rather: barley wine, is definitely my all-time favourite, one I will go at lengths to get when I can. It is a special brew, not one you would drink every day but rather as a treat. The different properties, then:

Appearance: A very dark beer, with a slight red hue - unlike most triples which are light in colour. It forms a thick, rich head which is a yellow tint. You have to pour this one carefully or it will create large amounts of foam, highly recommended to use the glass specifically for this beer, which shape helps to give you the proper head.

Smell: The smell is lightly sweet, and definitely betrays the alcohol content, but for this kind of beer that is to be expected! A very round smell, no bitterness or hoppy scents of note.

Taste: Absolutely wonderful! It is a complex, smooth, almost toffee-like taste but retains definite hoppy accents as well. It is rich enough to actually "nimble" and roll around, nothing negative at all to be said about the taste.

Mouthfeel: The feel of the beer is soft, thick, you could almost call it cotton-like. Easily coats the mouth to bring out the full flavour.

Drinkability: Exceptionally drinkable. If you have never had Gulden Draak before you might even be cautioned not to drink it too fast, but take it slow, or you may find yourself more light-headed than you would expect. A little goes a long way too, you don't need to drink a lot of this beer to have a wonderful evening, and a just as good morning after, as it is a beer that leaves very little, if any, ill effects.

All in all, exceptional in all respects, and worth the extra mile or extra bit of cash to get. One you should at least try once in your life.

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Photo of Jra1985
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers so I will try not to be biased.

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

A- Dark brown and very inviting. Nice thick head that lingers for a little while.

S- Great aroma that has a very earthy smell to it. Malty and sweet.

T- An excellent taste. Sweet and Malty. Brown Sugar?

M- Warms the mouth. Good balance of carbonation and refreshingly smooth for a high abv.

O-Overall this is an excellent beer I that I enjoy alot. Reasonably priced and a top notch beer I would recommend to anybody.

I tried to not be biased in this review but its just an excellent beer that deserves high praise. A must try.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a cute little stubby 11.2oz single from Steve's Liquor here in Madison. Neat white bottle too.

Pours a murky mahogany brown with a short off-white head in my sweet new Schlitz chalice. That's right - Schlitz chalice. Anyhow, nose is warm and spicy with apple cinnamon and nutmeg over Belgian yeast. Tastes like chilled sparkling apple cider - winter spices, fresh pressed apples, figs, and some light bready yeast. Quite sweet overall, not a whole lot of bitter to balance it, but I didn't mind. Like a much more refined version of New Glarus' Apple Ale. The 10.5% is almost nonexistent, expertly hidden without bitterness. Another pleasant surprise for the night after DFH's 90 Minute IPA. Good beer night for me. Wish this wasn't so damn expensive, so a rare treat for me that I will surely enjoy again.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 4,130 ratings