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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,318 Reviews
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium
vansteenberge.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,318
Ratings:
3,840
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
19.52%
 
 
Wants:
298
Gots:
809
For Trade:
3
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Reviews: 1,318 | Ratings: 3,840
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(poured into a snifter)

A: solid standard brown in color, sharp-clear, with a jewel-like glow.... very high stand of foam on the pour, off-white in color, decent lacing and retention.... strange, but you can sort of surmise that it's low on hops and perhaps has a good portion of sugar in the bill.... how do i know? imagination?

S: some spicy aromatics, though weak.... dark candy sugar or demerara.... vague roasted/toasted grain....overall, weak and uninspiring with a touch of hot booze

T: way more expressive on the palate than in the sinuses.... dark sugar comes out more... supple yet mellow maltiness w/o being sweet.... quite dry, dropping off and disappearing by the finish, with little residual flavor outside alcohol aromatics....

M: delicate, slightly silky at first... quick shift mid-sip to a rush of boozy warmth that fans out across the palate.... has sort of a soft flare/burn-out effect (zapping out any sweet flavors in the process).... overall, great feel for a triple

O: I could perhaps agree that you could think of this as a "dark triple"

 1,068 characters

Photo of hwwty4
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 11.2oz stubby into my Bell's tulip. This beer pours a dark, prunish brown with a massive, three inch, beige cap that leaves sticky lacing all the way down the sides of the glass. The aroma reminds me first of dark fruits. Hints of ripe, red apple, sour cherries, plum and just a bit of prune. Carmel and toffee come out in the middle of the nose with just a hint of Belgian candy sugar at the finish of the aroma. The flavor is rather vinous to me. Grape jelly, apple and just a bit of prune come through. To me, it reminds me of a sweet wine, where the grapes flavor is very concentrated, like an ice wine. Big sweet malt notes dominate the middle of the flavor profile and it finishes with just a hint of booze mixed with brown sugar. They really do a wonderful job at covering the 10.5% alcohol. As it warms, sour cherry notes really start to dominate. The mouthfeel is light for as dark as the beer is. I understand, it's a stereotype that darker beers are normally heavier in body, but this one really surprised me. The carbonation is crisp and fits really nicely with the body. All in all, this is a really good beer. I'm sure it won't be the last time I drink it.

 1,179 characters

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I waited a long time to try this one, and I finally grabbed both a 750 and a small bottle. I had the small one a couple of weeks ago, and the 750 tonight. Unfortunately, I really didn't like the flavor that much either time. A strange, almost soy-sauce like taste, different than any Belgian I've had previously. Lots of foam, nice looking glass of beer. Smell doesn't put me off, but that strange taste never really fades. Also, not as rich in body as the true greats of the style. Worth trying (and a cool bottle), but I'm disappointed after the hype.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was poured from the bottle into a Piraat snifter-like tulip glass. It has a deep amber color with a nice head that is well retained. The aroma has fruity yeast scents - apple-like. There's also a very sweet malt scent. The flavor is very sweet with alcohol definitely up-front. The malt tastes very caramel-like and biscuity. The finish is somewhat dry. It has medium-light body with high carbonation.

This is a very strong beer. You really have to drink this one with caution. It would be a dangerous session beer. None-the-less it's very tasty.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This looks as it should, dark and ruddy topped by an off white head. Nice head retention and lacing. It certainly looks the part.

The aroma is very sweet and plummy with notes of brown sugar, caramel and vanilla. It smells rich and decadent.

Whoa. This is very strong. Very rich and sweet with a candi sugar aspect but not treacly or cloying. Dried dark fruits--prunes, raisins--with a burnt aftertaste followed by a lingering warming fusel alcohol. The sweetness is kept in check more from a phenolic plasticity than from any hop bitterness. Almost tastes like sucking on an orange pekoe tea bag.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous. Very full bodied.

In one way I like the over-the-top heavy sweetness, which is good for a long winter's night of sipping. But for the style, I prefer something a little drier and lighter in body. So I'm torn even though I dig it. Either way this is not for the feint of heart.

 910 characters

Photo of LOCAL
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml into wine goblet

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/ruby red with a half inch of light tan head which disappears quickly.

Aroma: Big on ripe fruit, apple, plum.

Taste: A Golden Delicious Apple taste comes through real stong, followed by raisin, brown sugar and yeast. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Well carbonated.

Overall: Easy to drink, well balanced. Could have a few of these, but the ABV could prevent having too many.

 474 characters

Photo of Wegomlegging
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into custom glass with enormous head and very black coloring, with whitish tan head. Smell of faint alcohol and carmel malt with some slight yeasty notes. Fantastic flavor, slightly sweet with malty and roasty undertones, very refreshing despite the appearance. Dangerously easy to drink, as the soft mouthfeel coupled with the large head on the glass make it almost seem like you didn't get enough. Very drinkable, but more alcohol in the flavor than most will enjoy. Overall a very good beer that I hope to keep enjoying for many years.

 544 characters

Photo of TLove
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From Notes)

12 oz bottle to glass tumbler.

A rich, amber/pinkish structure with a thin, syrupy body and a 1/2 finger, bubbly head. Sweet, pineapple smell with a sour and sweet mix of raisin, carrot, and sour hops. Wheat, oats, and fruits in the taste. Crisp and sharp. Refreshing and galvanizing. A bit metallic, but grainy and sweet. Alcohol at 10.5% ABV is strong and ever-present from beginning to end.

Sweet, soft and yeasty finish. Sharp and a bit awkwardly over-carbonated (think Pepsi instead of Coke). Well-balanced for a sweet Belgian and very yeasty on the back end, with a surprisingly supple finish.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: much darker pour than I expected for a "Golden Dragon" beer. Pours a moderate brown (with reddish golden highlights when backlit) with a nice, but small off-white head that was strong enough to hang together through the drinking session.

Aroma- much different than many Belgians I've had- for one thing, it was pretty weak. I poured this in a St. Bernardus goblet, which should have concentrated aromas, but it was weak. What was there was very hard for me to pull out specifics- grassy, semi-sweet, earthy tones are my best guess. Flavor was very nice- malty semi-sweet breadiness that included heavier fruits (plums & raisins), chocolate, & toffee. Not as sweet as some, but nice and rich tasting. There was a light herbal finish with a little sharp hop bite at the end- a nice touch. There was also a touch of alcohol feeling at the end.

Overall, this was a nice brew, and I enjoyed it, but it did not wow me. I guess the balance wasn't quite what I hoped for, and the aroma was disappointing.

 1,015 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from an LCBO giftpack, 330ml into a tulip. Best before June 14, 2013.

Poured a cloudy reddish brown with a light tan head and some sticky lace. Good head retention. Nose has some dark fruits, grapes and raisin, and some gentle spicing. Taste has more dried dark fruits and grapes, some vinous notes, booze and some toffee-like sweetness. High carbonation that is a bit peppery in feel, and a heavy moderately boozy body. Long sweet finish. Solid but not great, I wouldn't have this as a first option in light of other BSDA's on the market.

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Photo of rpstevens
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Portsmouth tulip. The beer is a dark mahogany with ruby hazy edges. There is a huge frothy off white head that slowly fades to a thin bubbly cap.

The smell is burnt sugar, figs, raisins, vanilla, cinnamon and caramel. There is a lot of sweet scents in this one, but there is a slight biscuity malt behind it all that helps to balance it out.

The taste is much less sweet than the smell led me to believe. The raisin and fig are still present, along with some slightly tart grape qualities. The vanilla, caramel, burnt sugar and booze sweetness come on strong at the end of the flavor and linger into the finish.

The beer is well carbonated, medium bodied and the flavors balance each other fairly well. This one is a little hot, I have definitely had strong darks at 10% that were a little less harsh, but this one is good.

 854 characters

Photo of LazyL
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark red/orange with a thick creamy beige coloured head. Nice lacing on the bulbous glass.
Classic Belgian scents that are very inviting. Good bread and alcohal notes. At 10.5% this is a slow sipper and although not unpleasant by any means, I can feel it almost immediately. A nice dry and some what sweet finish.
This is a well made beer, but the alcohal is a little too up front for my taste. Worth trying and as a bonus a very cool bottle wrap.

 447 characters

Photo of RedHaze
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark, red tinged, brown with a frothy two finger head. The foam fades slowly to a very thick cap, leaving behind large chucks of foam on the glass.

Smell; sweet dark fruits, and chocolate are the dominant aromas with some spicy yeasts. There's also a bit of alcohol in the nose, and with the fruity notes, lends an almost vinous quality to the beer.

Taste; cherries and plums greet the tongue on the initial sips, followed by a little bit of chocolate and caramel. There's a bit of a floral quality in the middle, and a fairly large alcohol presence in the finish. If it were not for the strong alcohol presence, this beer would be really damn good. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a nice smooth natural ccarbonation, and due to the alcohol the drinkability takes a significant hit.

 799 characters

Photo of churchillps
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a duvel glass.

A: A hazy dark chocolate brown with a thick creamy head.

S: Nose is toffee, coffee, chocolate, and a complex blend of dark malt flavors. Little bit of fruit as well. Not very strong smell, really have to get your nose into it.

T: Very sweet, candies, toffee, chocolate all present. A hint of fruit on the front of the palate at first. Bitter chocolate finish.

M/D: Feels fairly carbonated after first swallowing. Medium bodied. Couldn't have more than 2 of these.

 514 characters

Photo of MLegendre
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep red, slightly hazy, little visible carbonation. Formed a 1/2in white head that disapeared pretty quickly leaving a thin skin on the top. Slight lacing.

S: Slightly yeasty but not too strong, some dark fruit smells as well as a hint of alcohol.

T: Yeasty in the begining and sweet. Becomes sweater while alcohol makes an appearence. ALcohol is decently hidden and only in the background.

M: High carbonation. alcohol on burns a little bit.

D: I'm just now starting to get into the belgian style beers, and I think this was a good start, definatly something I'd get again.

 593 characters

Photo of DaveBlack
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Really a beautiful looking beer murky, rich brown-ruby color with a small amount of tan head that disappears quickly. Beautiful lacing characteristic of Belgians.

S: Malts, dark fruits, Belgian yeast, and alcohol are the main smells. Good representation of Tripel style.

T: Quite sweet up front with toffee malts, then a quick taste of Belgian yeast before the alcohol hits the palate like a freight train, just blasting out everything else. That fades into a peppery flavor, then back into sweetness. The flavor leaves the mouth with a warming alcohol sensation and a sweetness. Would be really good, I just find the alcohol overpowering.

M: Medium bodied and chewy, quite light on the carbonation and fairly sticky on the back of the throat.

O: Not my favorite tripel, largely because of the absurdly alcoholic character that overwhelms the other flavors. Still, if that doesn't bother you than there is a lot to recommend this beer. The yeast and malts are balanced nicely, and the sweetness is nice.

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Photo of wknight167
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy, ruby with a hint of brown. Half finger of head.

S - Sweet stone fruit, possibly cherry, Slight hint of citrus.

T - Sweeter than expected. The fruit really comes through in the taste. Sour cherry with a little raisin to it. Alcohol is warming, but not overbearing.

M - Low carbonation, Medium bodied.

D - Above average. I wouldn't mind another.

 365 characters

Photo of snpub540
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark drown that had some slightly honey colored highlights when held to light. Not alot of head going on here.

Smell was very much bready malts, with an earthy yeastiness and some spices. Some alcohol sweetness is apparent there as well.

Flavor is very much sweet malts upfront with some spicy and floral hop bitterness. Nice warming alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but the alcohol is pretty upfront. Put one down and felt the alcohol when I got off my stool.

 490 characters

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 fl oz bottle obtained at Florian's in Auburn as part of a variety 6-pack. Murky brown body with light tan head that's a couple fingers thick. Smells yeasty, fruity (dates? plums?) and roasty. Tastes roasty, fruity, somewhat chocolatey maybe? Complex and unique certainly. The only dark tripel I know of, so I'm not sure what to compare it to. Rather pleasant and tasty. Good for anyone who like dubbels or maybe stouts.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml. white painted bottle. Leaves a big, crazy 3 finger-plus foamy head. It has excellent retention, and leaves webs upon webs of excellent lacing. Body is a murky dark brown. Very beautiful to behold. Appearance is this ale's strong point.

Smell - horseblanket, then mildly - caramel, figs, plums, maltbread-sweet rolls, raisins, and medicinal alcohol.

Taste - as indicated by the nose. Mildly, a caramel drizzled sweet roll laced with raisins, figs, and plums, then wrapped in a musty horseblanket. Strong fruit pits and sour horseblanket on the finish and the aftertaste. Mostly very well hidden alcohol.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, dry.

Drinkability - this is good ale, but not great ale, so that suppresses sessionability for me - that, in addition to the high abv.

 799 characters

Photo of theopholis
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance-Dark amber/ruby wuth an aggreasive off-white head. Head appears to have significant staying power, and leaves a decent amount of lace. Amazingly, you can't taste the 10.5% alcohol. Must be the Belgium influence....

Aroma- Rich, sweet malts with a fair amount of breadiness. Some molasses and caramel. Yet very clean smelling.

Taste- Full bodied. Very nice,complex malt sweetness with hints of caramel, brown sugar, and ripe dark fruits . The spice and fusels are very subdued but are there.

Mouthfeel- Medium body. Just a tad over-carbonated, but it's not bad.

Drinkability- Pretty drinkable for a 10.5% beer.

 633 characters

Photo of Macca
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

OK so I am scared. Not usually a fan of these monsters.

This pours a dark caramel colour with hints of red. A small beige head. Clear.

Sweet fruitiness on the nose. Only a touch of alcohol - this might just be drinkable yet.

Sweetness is the first thing that hits me on the palate and then the alcohol warmth. Syrupy mouthfeel - a bit cloying for mine. A bit of butter as well.

Meh. OK but not life changing bu then again I didn't think it would.

 450 characters

Photo of Blindpigbiz
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smell: clean spring water

Taste: bitter hops with a rich, herbal, malty sweetness that carries throughout; subtle toasted walnuts pervade during each sip

This is one of the funkiest tripels Belgium has produced. Normally tripels have either a clementine, orange, or at least another citrus fruit within the flavor of the beer, but with the golden dragon not a one. This beer caught me off guard and I'm down to try it soon. By the way, This beer goes very well with an Italian sub with heavy mayo and oil

 506 characters

Photo of northaustin
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

gulden draak is a treat for sure. it is really good and its price usually reflects so. ive had it in the 750ml cork bottle and in the regular 11.2fl. oz. bottle, i have to say if your gonna pay for gulden draak you might as well go for the 750ml botttle because it tastes better in my opinion and youre gonna want more than 11.2fl. oz.

 335 characters

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No bottle date
Poured into a standard tulip glass.

Appearance: (3.75)
Pours a hazy, dark amber with a nice reddish hue. A loosely bubbled, two and a half fingers tall, light beige head quickly forms and has adequate retention, although not quite up to par to others it's category. The head leaves some lacing behind in it's wake.

Aroma: (3.75)
A lot brighter aromatics than I expected; Juicy, sweet plums right upfront with ripe cherries, as well as some fig flesh not far behind. There is a kiss of some orange blossom from the hops before some sweet, biscuity malts round out the nose. Some alcohol phenols are present.

Taste: (3.75)
Sweet cherries and plum flesh greets your palate first with a nice snappy orange-y hop presence in tow. Middle of the taste, there is a distinct fig note right before your palate is smoothed over by a sizable, doughy malt backbone; caramel and toffee with a distinct streak of scorched Belgian candi sugar. Finishes off dry and just bitter enough to balance the sweet malt. Lingering notes of plums, cherries, oranges and more malty breadiness. Moderate to light alcohol flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel: (3.75)
Surprisingly light bodied with high carbonation.

Overall: (3.75)
Gulden Draak set out to be a dark Belgian Triple, it succeeded. The bright, snappy hoppiness is there, as well as the fruit forward yeast and solid bready malt backbone. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of alcohol phenols in both flavor and aroma that really interferes and covers up the above said qualities as the beer warms in it's glass. This is a decent beginner Belgian beer, but it can't hold its own against the big boys of Belgium.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,840 ratings.
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