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: 3,904
Photo of carwreCk
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

The appearance is disappointing. A fairly hard pour gives almost no head at all and it fades quickly. The smell is good. Tastes of dried fruits, plums and alcohol. The mouthfeel is unremarkable. Drinkability is average for the size.

The flavor of this beer is very odd to me. It definitely is distinct. I do enjoy it though. The other areas do not impress me.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 18 June 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 330ml bottle

Poured gently, 2-finger reduces to nice film, lacing is a little runny, color is deep crimson.

Aroma of heavy Belgian yeasts and wheat with some toasted malts, hint of nutmeg.

Taste has a great Belgian yeast backbone with a touch of sourness to it (though it's really just the heavy yeast to me), just of hint of toasted malts, lots of wheat.

Excellent mouthfeel with a heavy front end of wheat that dissipates quickly, leaving a sweet malty taste on the palate. Very good dark Belgian. Not my favorite, but certainly authentic.

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Photo of Lukie
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a strong head, with nice lacing that stuck until the end. The colour was caramel brown with hints of burgundy on the light.

Lots of candy sugar and toffee in the smell. Some sour cherry and grape aswell. Citrusy.

Rich sweet caramel in the taste. Some muddy chocolate, hints of pepper and licorice. It is incredibly unique, and delicious, if but a bit strong in the after taste with the alcohol and dryness.

High Carbonation and Medium body. Tingles on the tongue from the alcohol. Couldn't drink more then one of these in a sitting, as it really hits the palette.

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Photo of kbub6f
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

There's one inch of fine, tan foam over a hazy, dark brown beer with reddish highlights. Sugar and bread in the strong nose. Is that figs? Toffee? Burnt caramel? A strong, sweet, grapesy/raisiny front gives way to a full, fizzy, sweet middle. Almost sweet chocolate. Hot alcohol in the finish with loads of overripe fruit. Bready burps. This is a very strong tasting beer. It's sweet, fruity, bready. Almost too sweet for me, but very good.

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Photo of bbothen
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz into a Piraat snifter.

A - Gusher upon opening but pours a nice rust/brown color with an airy 2 finger head. Nice soapy lace that sticks to glass.

S - Smells sweet, but not overly. Raisins, apple cider, fruity. Very nice.

T - Spicy flavors nicely balanced with the sweet malt & fruit flavors. A bit sour as well, but you may have to look for it. Caramel as well. I likey.

M - Somewhat biting from the carbonation. Still nicely smooth & dry finish.

D - A nice take your time and enjoy it beer. The carbonation would make this a " 2 in a sitting beer" for me. 10.5%. Duh.

This is a fine beer. If you haven't tried it, well, you should. One of the better Belgian strong style brews out there.

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Photo of Turrry
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer was my second entry into 750ml purchases, the first being blue label Chimay..

Appearance was almost a maroon/brown with a clearly unfiltered presence. It pours a tad difficultly, maybe it's cause I'm new, but after pouring the second glass the smallest head I got was 3 fingers thick, and FULL of large bubbles. It's smell was rich with plenty going on, very much consisting of dark fruit. Taste was more of the same, it comes on strong as it works it's way back on your tongue. This was where it becomes difficult because I hate the taste of raisins and that taste is VERY strong in this beer. I could swear apricots are in this one as well. Mouthfeel was a high amount of carbonation that dissipates quickly. Drinkability for me was not great due to the raisin taste as I found myself looking for more tastes with every drink. An enjoyable one time beer, I respect the craftsmanship, but won't purchase again.

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Photo of BeerStoreTop10
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer was superb. After years of drinking craft ales and lagers it was nice to get back to my drinking roots and try a European flavour. It reminded me of a hobo's butthole but in a good way. Would read again.

When I held it up to the light and saw how beautifully red it was I knew how I drunk I must have been to be thinking it was beautiful.

Seriously though, shit was so cash.

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Photo of match1112
3.86/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

an awesome creamy thick tan three finger head sits atop a body of beer that changes color with every direction i look at it. i see shades of brown, purple, mahogany and amber. retention and lacing is outstanding.nose is kinda faint with some malt, candied fruit and earth tones mixed together. taste is really sweet. i can pick out notes of grapes, prunes, spice, malts but mostly alochol. mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. great carbonation and a warming finish. this is a big time beer in a little bottle.

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Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Cheeky Monk in Denver. Is this a tripel or a quad? Sort of in the middle.

A - Reddish-brown in color with a large foamy off-white head.

S - Caramel, candi sugar, spices, and dark fruits.

T - Caramel malt, toffee, candi sugar, plum, raisin, spices, mild hops, and some metallic notes. Pretty sweet. Would be very good if not for the slight metallicity.

M - Palate is medium-full with fairly high carbonation and some alcohol warmth.

D - Average-plus.

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Photo of benmiliron
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a Belgian six-pack sampler for $14.99.

I had the pleasure of having Gulden Draak once on draft at Buckeye Brewing near Cleveland. The bottled version isn't quite as nice, but still quite good.

Sticky maltiness, a strong bite at first. Once the alcohol numbs your tongue a little bit there's a good bit of fruit there too. This is a great brew, but maybe it was a bit old. Or just the bottled version isn't as good. Either way, I'd not but it again.

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Photo of Gmann
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby color, with a moderate off-white head that dissipated into a slight cap that left some spotty lacing. The smell is of light candi sugar, dark fruit, not as strong as a tripel. The taste is slightly sweet, a hint of carob, light raisin/plum flavor. This brew would benefit from less carbonation as I think it takes away from the taste. It has tight carbonation, champagne like, finishes smooth. A very nice balanced beer & quite drinkable though the carbonation needs some dulling down.

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Photo of joecast
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

got a shock when this turned out to be a gusher. havent had one of them for a while. luckily the glass was close by and only a couple of ounces made it to the counter.

not surprisingly then it forms a decent sized head which is light tan in color. good retention and lacing. dark murky brown with no carbonation bubbles visible.

full sweet malty aroma. sweet dark fruits; raisin, plum, maybe some prunes. not too much else makes it through, though i doubt there is much else there (does that make sense?). a little yeast character which is light and lively (not 100% sure its bottle conditioned but guessing yes).

let it warm a bit as the mouthfeel was still a bit harsh/overcarbed. it does smooth out some, but still an aggressive beer.
this stuff is like beer syrup. concentrated stuff. you could buy one bottle of this and make a six pack of "normal" beer. not bad economics really. sweet almost sugary malt fills the palate. some dark fruits again and just a bit of that yeast. moderate alcohol character which is to be expected.

unfortunately the carbonation lets this beer down. best before date is about a year away so guessing they give this beer five years from bottling that makes this one four years old. mayeb too much time conditioning? i shared a bottle of this with my bro-in-law (think it was a larger bottle, not the 330ml) and it was fantastic. this one has been about two notches down from what i remember.

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Photo of stephendr
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark murky brown color –nice thick tan head , small bubbles – nose of caramel , cereal , yeast , orange peel , floral , vanilla , honey , and alcohol – tastes of caramel , mocha , yeast , honey , and sour red cherries – palate is creamy and light - aftertaste caramel , cereal , honey and acidic

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Photo of JaimeLondon
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

Beautifull dark red color and a big and nice yellowish foam.
Smell is full of caramels and cherry. Maltiness comes higher in the taste, altogether with other red fruit tones. Alcohol is also evident in the taste.
Body and carbonation are at good level, but less than it seems.
Yeah.. great beer ;)
I think the reason I didn't like very much this one is because of the huge ABV - not for me..

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep ruby red body with an off white head and tons of bubbles rushing through it.

This is a very fruit forward smelling beer. The alcohol is definitely detectable. Nice touch of sweetness and a pleasant peppery component as well.

The alcohol isn’t hiding here. More fruits and sweetness pop in the flavor. It is also very herbally.

Smooth medium bodied and fairly drying.

A little heavy on the alcohol but still an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 2000.
The Gulden Draak is served in a bottle painted white and decorated with a nice golden dragon.

Appearance : great autumn brown/orange color, with tan foamy head (but not persistent).
Smell : alcohol aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : malt sweetness, nice long caramel notes, persists long in the mouth.
Drinkability : a good beer in the style Belgian strong dark ale (too strong). To drink at cellar t°.

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Photo of jeffboo
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A volcanic eruption of bubbles greeted me as I poured this one into it's, short term, new home. It is dark brown with some reddish/orange highlights and an airy tan foam, with lots of carbonation at first. After it settles down it has a big candy sugar aroma with raisins, syrup, and alcohol. Taste, at first, is obscured by the carbonation,this leads to an airy texture that improves if you give it time.The flavor is lightly fruity with powdered sugar, baking spices and a bit of plum, as the carbonation relaxes I can get tobacco and cedar in the finish with plenty of alcohol. The slightly lighter texture and womp of alcohol is a bit much for my 'buds to carry it to the higher scores. A great cigar beer I would imagine.

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Photo of cooch69
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice bright white coated bottle.

This beer pours a bright medium brown with a compact one finger off white head.

Smells of caramel maltiness, a little bit of the alcohol comes through. Dark fruits, including raisins and figs. And a very doughy breadiness probably coming from the yeast.

Tastes semi-sweet with dark fruits and a bit of alcohol in the finish, but over all the alcohol is pretty well hidden. Also there is dark candied sugar and a bready caramel backbone with only a trace of hops.

This beer is a good guideline for what this style should taste like.(in my opinion anyways).
That being said the beer itself was good at best. A beer I'm glad I tried but there are many in the same style that are more unique or tasty.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak pours a dark brownish color, with a nice large and lacing head. There is a sweet and slightly sour aroma. The taste has a profound sweetness and a slight sourness. Good full flavor, and nice to drink. Overall a very good solid beer, there is a nice fruitiness that is similar to a nice wine.

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Photo of impending
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl into a tulip. Pours a dark rusty amber bronze - unexceptional when the glass is full gorgeous when only an inch remains. Careful pour but surprisingly little head considering, decent lacing.

Aroma of dark candies, malts and spices. While the dark fruits are there they do not dominate. A solvent is present.

Tasty malts not too sweet, mild phenols and the dominate peppery alcohol finishes, especially as it warms. The warm alcohol is appropriate for this style brew and abv. The mouthfeel is slightly viscous in spite of a thin body

kudos for the effort to keep this brew in the dark!

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Photo of xodin
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark mahogany with minimal head fading fast. Aromas contains some spice, roasted malts, and a hint of fruit, but dissipate soon after the pour. Taste is comprised of rum-like spice notes, dark candy, and roasted malts with a hint of bitterness from the hops peeking through. Smooth and sweet through the swallow with a slightly dry and bitter finish. Fairly well balanced, and warming, but lacks significant complexity and character. An above average brew, but nothing overly exceptional about its quality.

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Photo of greg202stewart
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For the price I was expecting more. It was dark brown with little head and came out like liquid caramel. It went down smooth unfortunately, like caramel it was way too sweet and reminded me of a Sam Adams Seasonal. It is very unique though. Just not my bag baby!

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Photo of association330
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle, no freshness date

A - Pours cloudy brown with a faint reddish tinge. A half-finger of tan head drops to a thin cap and thick ring of bubbles. Fair spots of lace.

S - Complex malty sweetness, caramel/brown sugar, hints of dark fruit and Belgian yeast. Faint pepper and alcohol.

T - Follows the nose. Sticky sweet, complex malt character. Dark fruit, faint orange rind, Belgian yeast. Vague pepper and alcohol notes.

M - Medium-bodied, but carbonation is too low. Noticeable alcohol warmth.

D - Nice sipping beer. Needs a touch more crispness, but a bit too sweet and alcoholic to be a real quaffer.

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Photo of hardy008
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown color with a 2 finger off white head with large bubbles and decent lacing. Smell is dark fruit, especially plums. raisins, and cherries, as well as sweet caramel malt. Same for the flavor which mixes sweet malt with some bitterness to make a pretty nice beer. Creamy, full bodied, and nicely carbonated. The only drawback is the alcohol is not hidden, and packs quite a punch at 10.5%. Still quite good though.

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Photo of divineaudio
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle into a tulip.

a - pours a deep chestnut shade with a huge, 3 finger, cream colored head. after calming i get a thin cap and thick swaths of lacing in the glass.

s - sweet bread, clove, carmel.

t - bready carmel malt with notes of clove and candi sugar. a nice earthy bitterness comes in at the end to finish it out.

m - lighter side of medium with lots of carbonation. medium co2 profile with a slight alcohol warming.

o - abv kicks in fast. enjoyable though and a nice beer overall. i probably wouldn't buy this often but it seems like a good candidate for holidays and special occasions.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,904 ratings.
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