Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,335 Reviews
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

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Reviews: 1,335 | Ratings: 3,906
Photo of OnThenIn
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours with a finger of light tan head on top of a dark, slightly hazy brown beer.

S: Pretty clean nose. Smells of earthy goodness and a tiny bit of alcohol. Definitely bready.

T: Bread and some massive dark fruit flavors. There are plums here. Alcohol is definitely present along with a slight bitterness. Definitely other dark fruit such as figs, and of course the sweetness. While the alcohol heat is there, a blatant, offensive alcohol presence is not really evident (Or at least it is that up front).

M: Great carbonation. Prickly, while still having somewhat of a smooth finish. Full bodied.

D: Definitely a sipper due to the abv and warming feeling in the taste. Good, solid beer for the winter. Surprisingly like a dubbel rather than a dark tripple (whatever that means, I am referring to the dark part of that style designation).

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is a bit darker than expected with the body being a dark reddish brown crowned by a nice head of off-white foam. The head recedes to a nice lacing engine of about a quarter inch. The nose is of spice notes and fruit and this follows in the flavors. The body is full and creamy, almost of a syrupy nature. The drinkability is hampered by the fullness and ABV.

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Photo of cbl2
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8/29/2005 $2.00 12 oz. on draft from Cable Beverage 10.50%


Fresh on tap, poured into a chalice, this is a murky brown with a swirling effervescene in the glass, though very little head, more of a thin film, and a bit of lacing.


Cherry cordials comes to mind, with the alcohol shining through a bit more than I would like, though it is tempered by the fresh fruit.


Ultra smooth, with an immediate warming quality in the mouth, imparted by the high alcohol. Alcohol is cut by fresh dark ripe fruit (cherries, plums). Finish is chewy and textured with a long intriguing aftertaste. Not the greatest belgian ever, but this is quite tasty, and worth seeking out. Nicely complex, though marred by too much alcohol presence.

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Photo of TheHammer
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A nice deep dark ruby/amber color with a solid finger of head that produced decent lacing and good retention. Constant carbonation in the body without a trace of sediment. A little bit more head and lacing would have earned the perfect score.

Smell: Predominant soft fruit with a caramel malt backing. Plums and Pluots with touches of figs and honey. Not a lot of warming was required for it to come out which is also nice. A slight bit boozy though, which while not expected could be concealed.

Taste: Starts with light caramel malt with a mixed berry and plum taste that turns to a bit more molasses like in taste and texture and ends with a somewhat odd whisky end, complete with a high alcohol twang. I'd give it 3.75 but it does enough, but that end isn't very nice.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation that helps out the entire beer, and very nice transitioning. Doesn't leave much of an aftertaste, although that is mainly due to the biggest detraction of the beer. The solvent note that the unconcealed alcohol brings is my biggest beef.

Drinkability: Hmm...tough call, I mean the high alcohol twang holds it back a bit, but it's not like you wouldn't expect it from the style. Smooth and medium bodied so all it all it comes out decently ahead. There is room for improvement though.

Final Thoughts: I think it really needs to be paired with food, which I think the high alcohol cleansing the beer offers would help. Drinking this has me thinking back to Chimay Blue, and it's been long enough that I'm not sure if this or Chimay would come out ahead. Certainly worth a shot though.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with ruby highlights. A nice 3 finger tan head with good retention and very nice lacing.

S - Dark fruit, roasted grain, tart apples, dark cocoa, mild spices.

T - It starts sweet with metallic brown sugar, deep chewy malt, boozy dark fruits, raisins, vanilla, and some bitter cocoa then turns tart with green apples, berry fruit. Finishes with a peppery bitterness.

M - Moderate carbonation-almost too much, dry finish, medium bodied due to the carbonation.

This is a different BSDA. I like that's it's very sweet without being cloying and finishes very dry. Lots of cocoa in there as well.

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Photo of dgilks
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sweet, bready malt aroma. Lots of dark fruit. Slightly spicy. Good.

Hazy brown, chestnut colour with basically no head.

Sweet malt with bready overtones. Light toast. Fruity yeast character wiht light stone fruit notes. There is some spice here too.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Silky and good.

This is a decent BSDA. The flavours are good, the alcohol well integrated and the finish dry enough not to be cloying. The aroma could be better but on the whole its decent.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It poured out a hazy amber color with plenty of carbonation topped with a thick light tan and bubbly head with some light lacing. It has a mild bourbon aroma along with some smoked malts and an earthy plant smell is hidden behind everything. It has a medium-to-light body and is quite crisp on the tip of the tongue; slightly bitter overall. There is a strong roasted malt flavor mixed in with a little hops. It is sweet overall and has a slightly dry, alcohol aftertaste...I will be buying this one again.

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Photo of ThePaintedGrey
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

11.2oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

A: Dark and lovely. Almost like a milk chocolaty hue of brown, with hints of ruby red shining through as it's held to the light. Huge frothy head, three-fingers in size at first, beige in color, sits atop this looker of a beer. Head eventually dwindles down to about one finger in size. Retains at this size for the remainder. Beige lacing remains all down the glass.

S: Dark fruits apparent immediately. Maybe raisin or plum. Chocolaty sweetness. Hints of toffee and spice underneath. Alcohol faintly tingles in the back of the nostrils upon second or third sniff. Not surprising, given the alcohol content.

T: Beer was a tad too cold upon first sip, but a lovely sweet chocolate character hits the palette for me right away. As I let the beer sit (this one is a sipper for sure) to warm up a hair, more complex notes start to shine through. The sweet Belgian candy flavors start to mix with the peppery alcohol. This beer has a very (gourmet) dessert-like flavor profile.

M: Full-bodied, the creaminess of the head mixed in give this beer an almost syrupy feel. Mild carbonation throughout. Devastatingly smooth for a beer with 10.50% ABV.

O: While this beer is certainly a treat on occasion, there's just something about it that left me overall yearning for more. Maybe it was the hype surrounding it that clouded my judgment? Nevertheless, this beer is a nice change of pace compared to my usual choices. Complexly flavored, full-bodied, smooth brew, and kind of dangerous because it doesn't drink like a strong ale. It's just not something I'd write home about; it straddles the line between good and exceptional, but falls more along the lines of good.

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Photo of JeremyBrews
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep brown caramel color. Great initial head that fades too quickly to an array of various sized bubbles. Beautiful lcaing.

S- Mostly chocolate malt with very sweet, crystalized sugar aroma. Alcohol smell noticeable.

T- Chocolate, caramel, orange and bitter hops. Wonderful first taste declines to a dull, sour yeast aftertaste with bold alcohol edge.

M- Very creamy, milky texture. Alcohol warmth.

D- Great aroma and wonderfully rewarding and complex initial taste are brought to an excellent alcohol warmth and hop climax. However, the finale is a disappointing alcohol dominance, with malt and yeast flavors almost completely masked. Initial nirvana seems acheived, then abruptly shattered.

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Photo of bylerteck
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Brown to dark brown with red notes when held up to the light. Hazy with strong carbonation and a half finger off white head that sticks around.

S - Yeast, alcohol, prunes, dates, molasses, candi sugar.

T - Tons of boozy prunes and dates with some of that molasses again. Candi sweetness that might be a little too much for me but still works.

M - Very smooth with a little bit of carbonation.

D - Great flavours but far too sweet. A good beer nonetheless. A good dark strong Belgian ale. One of the first where I began to pick up dark fruit notes so it has a bit of nostalgic clout in my books. Mellow, smooth, boozy, and highly drinkable.

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Photo of Mosmo
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle poured into a weizen

A: dark brownish carbonated cola look large sticky frothy tan head that sticks around for a bit

S: toffee, sweet, hints of dark red fruits and faint floral notes

T: caramel, grape, spicy pepper, bitter, noticeable alcohol taste as it moves over the palate and quickly dissipates

M: slightly carbonated mouthy feel. Sticky, hops balancing with malt to the brink of sweetness.

O: Very nice filling brew. Seems the warmer this beer, the more the alcohol aftertaste stands out. Will definitely buy more but not for the hot days.

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Photo of Admiraldinty
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brownish amber in color (not an especially appealling hue) with an incredibly fluffy head. Very honey-like smell with a honey-like sweetness and a bit of peppery spice towards the end. Somewhat smooth-drinking, however the high alcohol content, and overpowering sweetness cause this beer to lose points in the drinkability category. Definitely an after-dinner beer.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown with orange highlights. A HUGE head nearly explodes out of the glass before receding slowly over 5 minutes or so to a thickish film which stayed to the bottom of the glass. Head is a nice tan color but dichotomous in nature; creamy on top with much bigger bubbles below.
Smell is rich, sweet, malt, spice, dark fruits with a hint of hops and smoke. Wonderful balance.
Taste is malt, spice, alcohol, rich dark fruits(raisins, plums, figs?) & oranges, and hints of hops and smoke again. Alcohol is noticeable but far from overpowering. There is a touch of a metallic taste in the aftertaste which is otherwise quite smooth.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, light carbonation, smooth, semi-rich, warming slightly.
Drinkability: even at 10.5% ABV I'd gladly drink several of these bad boys (11.2 oz. bottles). Not the greatest of the style but well up the ladder and well worth the time.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

What a pleasant departure for me! Not sure I would do this very often but a nice change of pace. Served in a brandy snifter type glass which helped bring out the nectar-like aromas. Color is reddish-brown with a nice but not over-powering head. Very silky in the mouth and a sweetness that could get over powering. A good starter or finisher but not sure I'd hang my hat on this one the whole night. If you want a refreshing change, this is a winner. Went great with the chicken quesadillas I had.

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Photo of Prufrock
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

stubby little 11.2 oz. white bottle poured into a pint glass.

murky light brown with an effervescing off-white head that falls quickly. a few chunky globs (coagulated proteins?) that settle after a few impatient minutes.

sweet, sugary, fruity alcoholic aroma. caramel, carob, yeast, prunes, and candi sugar.

sweet and incredibly pleasant. candi sugar and prunes appear once again in the flavor, with a touch of sweetness and alcohol in the finish. sweet but in a subtle, enjoyable way. prickly carbonation and a medium mouthfeel. nothing incredibly adventurous about it, but it could be a regular dessert-type sipping beer.

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

Poured into Gulden Draak snifter at 57F. Massive head stuck around for a bit leaving some intricate lacing. Color is somewhat lighter and redder than I was expecting. A very presentable pour. Nose was malt, candi syrup, slight dark-fruit; not sure if it was my nose today, but not much happening on the aroma side for me. Taste was spot on, with fabulous carbonation fanning the sweet vapors back into my nose. Lots more going on here than in nose, with figs, tobacco, cherry notes. Belgian fruity yeast character present but not over the top. All in all, a fine beer.

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

Appearance: Pours a dark, cola-brown color with a huge 2+ inches worth of slightly yellowish head. Fairly impressive retention, thick chunks of lacing.

Smell: Sweet, almost like molasses it's so sweet, with some dark candied fruits. Not overly complex, and a bit underwhelming IMO.

Taste: Sweet, but not as much as the nose indicated (thank goodness). Still getting plenty of sweet candied fruit, raisins stick out the most. Getting a slight hint of booziness, but at 10.5% ABV it's almost expected.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body, good carbonation. Drinks pretty nice.

Drinkability: An enjoyable beer with some good flavors. I could definitely see myself picking up some more of this brew.

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Photo of bobhits
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

These Belgian beers always do an amazing job creating massive head. This beer has the near explosive levels of carbonation of a Duvel, but is vastly thicker and more creamy. The body is cherry colored, extremely cloudy, and dense.

A blend of cherry, date, fig, rum, and finishing a few spices.

I don't really get the hype on this one. A lot of complex fruity flavors soaked in spiced rum. There's a lot of intense flavor here which I suppose is a big selling point, but the strong alcohol notes really confuse this one. The finish as it warms is taking on a butter scotch flavor that is drowning out some of the alcohol. I really like how this beer is warming up, this one i think is best room temp.

Rather thick with a lack of carbonation in the glass. A bit too much alcohol at first, but it subsides a good bit.

Beautiful beer that has an extremely unique flavor profile for this style. I very well might consider trying this one again. That said at 10.3% it isn't something I'll look for often.

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Photo of jlb307
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a goblet.

A: Pours a nice clear dark reddish brown. Not many bubbles, but had a nice off-white fluffy head that retained well. Developed one or two pools of bubbles on the surface as well.

S: Maybe I'm just not feeling too well, but I wasn't getting much of an aroma. I caught mild hints of ripe fruit and a little malt.

T: Very smooth taste with a little alcohol bite to it. Mild notes of malt, vanilla, and cherry with a yeasty aftertaste. Very pleasant taste. Almost like a mild quad.

M: Just the right balance with the carbonation. Velvety smooth with a little spice.

D: Really good beer that's not too powerful, but definitely a sipper.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big light tan head settles into a pretty nice lacing above a well carbonated dark reddish amber colored beer.

Dark fruits (grapes and apricots) and sour grains dominate the aroma that is tinted with a bit of alcohol.

A light alcohol undermines a dark fruits and roasted grains and a slight sour taste.

A dry aftertaste with some of the dark fruits and light sourness stick around on this medium to full bodied beer.

A bit to much of the sour grains or sour grapes maybe on this for me, it seems it starts out pretty good and as I drink it the more the sour grapes keep coming to the forefront.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark cloudy copper. Soap bubble head with good lacings.

Blackcurrants and alcohol on the nose.

Creamy mouth feel at first followed by some hot carbonation under the tongue. Bittersweet malt with lots of vinous fruits. A sharp, long finish with warming alcohol.

A bit strong to toss back, but certainly a tasty beer.

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Photo of tempest
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice dark pour with a bit of head. Smells spicey with a little dark fruit. Tastes nice, but is a touch simple for such a strong belgian. Flavor sticks with the belgian spices and dark fruit and does expand within those tastes. Yes there's a nice figs flavor, but thats it. No alcohol present, and thats inpressive for a 10.5 beer. It's a good dark belgian, but I didn't find anything new or surprising. Reminds me of Chimay Blue.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at World of Beer in WPB. Served in a tulip.

Appearance - Murky brown body with an ample cream colored head. Surprising head on it, but maybe just because it's on tap. A minimal amount of lacing graces the surface of the beer.

Smell - I get bananas and apples. The apples have a slight tang to them. Some dark fruits. The description on the menu said toffee, but I don't get that over the fruits. A bit of booze in the nose, too.

Taste - Again, a bit of banana from the yeastiness, followed by a strange citrus tang that accompanies the dark fruits prevalent in Belgian darks. It's not bad, it's just not what I expect at all. A complex flavor, to be sure.

Mouthfeel - The flavor is good and I guess they're going for the tripel style, but I'm not liking it. It makes it dry and spicy in the finish when I want it thick and smooth. A strange hybrid of styles that I don't necessarily appreciate.

Overall - Good flavor, for sure. Nothing I haven't tasted before, but still good. I just don't like the dryness in the finish.

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Photo of tone77
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a white 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of dark fruits and alcohol. Taste is good, fruit and spice, some alcohol. Feels full bodied in the mouth and has decent drinkability. Overall this is a high quality brew.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,906 ratings.
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