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 bigkahunas4
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

It had been one month and 7 days since I first laid my lips on the Gulden Draak, having fallen into a late summer's affair after sampling her at the BBF. I saw it as part of the rotational Belgian draughts at Publick House's Monk's Cell and decided it was once again time to call on my mistress. Labelled as "The Bomb" rather than Dark Triple or aby recognized style like its other brothers on the menu, she came out appropriately in a tulip.

Appearance: I have yet to see a better structured brew. 1.5 finger deerskin head that just hung there truly becoming a permanent body part of the Draak. The body was a translucent amber that sparkled ruby when help up to the light. A gem indeed.

Smell: Nose was extremely rich, candied sugar dominating, with notes of figs, plums, and cinnamon.

Taste: Sweet jesus. Just incredibly constructed; sweet but not too sweet, warming alcohol finish but barely noticeable to the untrained palette. Just a gorgeous Belgian flavor, accented by a lovely brown sugar background.

Mouthfeel: Creamy medium body that goes down smooth. My one critique of this beer is that it turns to foam too quickly inside your mouth.

Drinkability: Obviously one of my favorites here. With a high ABV you certainly can't drink any more than a 750 of this, but it no doubt would be enjoyable throughout. Well masked Abv, and just a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of zerk
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this one on tap last night, and it was everything I remembered and more... beautiful cloudy dark amber, with a creamy head. Yeasty, sweet, and spicy... notes of dried fruit and maybe even cinnamon. I've been looking long and hard for a beer that I like more that this, but as of now, Draak rules.

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Photo of steinlifter
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Came in sexy white bottle, poured a deep amber, left a thick rich, meringue type head, that retained all the way through, lots of bubbles.
smell was of dark fruits, sweet smelling, complex,whiff of molasses.
taste was INCREDIBLE! sweet and tart, fair amount of hop taste, but brilliantly blended into the dark & fruity melange'..some cherry notes..
mouthfeel is excellent as well, full rich, slightly tart, finishes smooth as silk....
This was recommended to me by my friend "cypressbob", who just recently returned from Amsterdam, where he had tried it. This turned out to be spot on!...thanks mate!...highly recommended!

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Photo of Stubbie1
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby brown with a small tight slightly off white head. The head fades and leaves an island of foam in the middle that stays for the whole ride to the bottom of the empty glass. Dark fruit, figs, plumbs and raisins are the aroma. Mild tones of malt and hint of spice accompany the dark fruit.
First sip was WOW! I wasn’t expecting something to jump out. The dark fruit is dominated with a mild malt and spice. Even banana is present and a slight musty flavor mixed in. Hints of alcohol follow the fruit and finish with a silky smooth mouthfeel.
This is a simply wonderful brew and a new a favorite.

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Photo of Sage
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Er, where do I start? This a simply fantastic beer. The beer pours a dark reddish-brown, slightly murky. The smell is fine, with lots of fruit and slight toffee/caramel. And the taste is packed - caramel sweetness upfront followed by a clarifying maltiness, and wonderful spicy hints of pepper (that become stronger as the beer warms). And meanwhile somehow the big bludgeoning 10.5 percent of alcohol forgets to step in and hijack the party, instead content to restrain itself to providing a pleasing warming sensation to round it all off. Delicious.

My favourite beer from Belgium that's not black as night (so far...)

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Photo of baconfromwalmart
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Light brown head made of large and small bubbles, had staying power. The color was darker than I expected and matched the bottle glass perfectly.

Smell: Caramel, toasted marshmallow, hint of raisin.

Taste: First sip tasted like medicinal syrup but in the best possible way. Nice alcohol warmth. Flavors of toasted grain and raisin without the sweetness are really balanced, nothing overpowering.

Feel: Creamy, extremely smooth.

Overall: I usually prefer lighter brews, but this one is smooth, delicious and dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

G – Tripel Karmeliet tulip

A – Deep, dark brown in hue, cola-brown, with soapy eggshell froth.

S – The aroma is strongly malty with notes of black licorice, cherry bbq, rum-raisin, banana ester and pumpernickel.

T – I think this is a very good beer; it tastes very strong, sweetly malty, with port and sherry characteristics present to the point of vinous. Hops are scantly discernible on the finish, but they are quickly upended by the woody, sugary elements of this brew. Initially it seems bit overdone, honestly, as the alcohol fuses with the sugary sweetness to finish in a somewhat cloying manner, but as the beer warms up to you and you to it, it becomes amazingly decadent and delicious. Overall, it is a deliciously flavorful beer, just somewhat unbalanced.

M – Full-bodied and not the slightest bit dry until the finish, which is long and ends on the verge of dryness.

D – This beer will tank you; it is super strong and tastes like candy…

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Photo of Stunner97
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance- white tan head, with very dark brown color and low amount of carbonation, slight see through when held to light

Smell- mix of chocolate, vanilla, yeast, molasses, and caramel very overall intriguing nose

Taste- Very very nice flavor, lots of chocolate and even vanilla, and caramel, very complex, dark chewey and beautiful malt sweetness, overall such a pleasant flavor of a beer,

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with a very beautiful chewey feel,

Drinkability- even though its 10 percent alcohol you cant even notice it a damn bit, so enjoyable and well balanced, a definite sipper and a great after dinner beer, its creamy sweet and delicous search it out, I got this 4 pack for 9.99 I feel I got the deal of the century, yummy.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say about this beer that hasn't already been said. 11.2 oz bottle served in a goblet. Beer is dark brown, nearly black, nice head, steady carbonation. Beautiful ether smell associated with strong Belgians. Taste is sweet and balanced alcohol. No hint of roasting in the flavors, except maybe slightly. One of my all time favorite beers. Excellent, you have to try this beer.

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Photo of wmtxbb
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a chalice

Appearance: Hazy gold-amber color with finger-sized head that dissipates into lacing.

Smell: Sweet dark malts, cherry and wood. Very interesting scent.

Taste: The first thing I notice is that I can barely taste the 10.5% alcohol, it is amazing. Gulden Draak drinks like a session brew, but with the flavor profile and alcohol content of triple. Lemonade flavor, cherry, dark malts, some fruit esters. Ends a little dry, but not as dry as most 10% brews.

Drinkability: A lack of head retention is this beer's only fault. I could drink this just about everyday. Definitely world class.

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Photo of OtisinAZ
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As i am not a big fan of the Belgiums (too sweet) this triple was one hell of a surprise.
The pour - dark with a nice tan head that settled fairly quickly.
The taste - WOW!!! perfect balance of sweet with a caramel malt perfectly carbonated. Easy drinking and enjoyable.
The smell - slight nutty and candy left me wondering what I was in for. Turns out it was one of the finest beers I have ever had.

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Photo of mmthompson33
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Definitely an exceptional beer. Hard to find here in the states, but a treat when you get a bottle. It's a classic example of Belgium's best. This one will lay you down if you're not careful!!

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Photo of pants678
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml, a nice deep, dark amber color. Single finger white head with a body that's closer to red than brown.

First is cinnamon, then oak, not overpowering through.

Tastes of brown sugar and sour cherries, on the back, then raspberry or cherry. Sweet but not tart. Hard to go beyond that, really. I once thought of his beer as a stroll on the beach at midnight. Possibly the most pretension thing I've ever said about beer.

The bubbles are fine, as with most Belgian's I've had to this point.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Pours a beautiful deep mahogany with reddish highlights. The beer was initially capped with a finger and a half of off-white foam for a head that quickly dissipated into a thin halo of foam that gripped the glass, and formed wispy clouds of foam over the center of the beer.

Aroma: Dried stone fruit like cherries and plums and raisins. Alcohol, but in a good way, like the way wine smells, but better. Malty, like freshly baked dark bread like a loaf of pumpernickel.

Taste: Fruity with the afore mentioned cherries, raisins and plums. Notes of spices like clove, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla. Some slight molasses sweetness to help round out the slightly sour notes of the Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: Chewy. Very, very chewy. Nicely carbonated, but the beer doesn’t cleanse the palate, rather it coast the mouth like velvet. At 10.5% ABV, you do taste and feel the alcohol, but in a good way!

Overall: Belgian strong dark ales are among my favorite styles of beers, the Gulden Draak is an exceptional example of such a beer. If you like Belgian quads and other strong dark ales, and haven’t tried the Gulden Draak yet, do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle. You won’t be disappointed.

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Photo of liquoredgoat
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with an aggressive near-caramel colored inch thick head that dissipates to a lingering foam, now ivory. The beer is an autumn leaf, syrup brown with golden hues.

S - Nose is sweet with honey, plums, whiskey, and faint cinnamon.

T - Palate is honey, dry cereal, alcohol, wheat grass. The finish is white wine dry, with alcohol nuzzling the throat for a good while.

M - A medium body with great carbonation. One of those Belgians that you just hold in your cheeks for a stretch simply for the frothy sensation.

O - This is world class stuff, and definitely a definitive example of the style. Maybe the best example. In order to see if it trumps Chimay Blue, I will have to do repeated tastings of both. Lucky me.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is one of those classic beers whose sheer complexity make it hard to sit down and write down the experience.
Pours an dark amber with copious off white head and fine effervescence. The smell - hard to describe with notes of caramel, vanilla, dark fruity estery notes, yeasty, roasted malts. Honey
Tastes of sweet roasted malts, apple pie (without the cinnamon), gingerbread with sweet notes well balanced and a lovely clean finish.
Medium body with good amount of carbonation preventing the concoction from becoming syrupy - clean palate.
My go-to beer for consistent quality and deliciousness - the only beer better would be Gulden Draak 9000.
It's so good I would get a tattoo of the dragon on my forehead - but I need my job to buy this excellent brew (not the cheapest - but well worth it)

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Photo of higherbrow
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

The gold standard of non-Trappist produce tripels, Gulden Draak is an excellent beer. Fruity and earthy, it has an almost pungent flavor that encourages small sips, but rewards the palate with an elaborate, complex flavor. A bit on the pricey side, this is a special purchase, but often worth the price.

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Photo of bowersdm
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

33cL bottle poured into a...some type of glass.

A - cloudy ruby color, like apple cider, nice thick head. good lacing

S - hops, spice, fruit, malt

T - caramel malt, fruit, spice, hops and more fruit, no alcohol taste at all.

M - smooth

D - this beer is wayyy too easy drinking for a 10% ABV beer.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: An 11.2 fluid ounce (330ml) “Duvelian-like” stubby coated with a unique looking white paint finish. Black label, with golden bounds has the words “Gulden Draak Ale” in red text over and above a picture of a golden dragon. Listed at 10.5% ABV.

Appearance: *Catalogue princess, apprentice seductress.*
Dirty thick ruddy dark brown body on the pour. Off-white head, the tanned creamy upper crown sits uniformly across the vestige of my Westvleteren goblet. Closer examination reveals a pellucid mahogany body with deep rich ruby tones. Bespoke looks.

Nose: *Fragrant aphrodisiac, the withered tuberose.*
Alcohol – yes, it either fails to mask the pungent ethanolic aromas, or it wants you to know that it may kick your ass later in the night. A nice dry hop aroma in the back end is somewhat spoiled by the vitriolic alcohol at times.

Taste: *Dynamic young Tarzan courts the bed-sit queen.*
A tasty and viscous warm layer of malts lay the foundation. Sharp herbal traits fill the gaps. Thick caramel and burnt sugar mixes with prunes and dates juice.

Mouthfeel: *Playing games with faces in the neon wonderland.*
An enticing rich thick carpet of malts lays down the base of dark fruits and a high temperature catwalk finish. My neck sweats as the warmth induces a satisfying heart attack that I don’t want to break out of. Like shitting yourself in public; it’s embarrassing in the finish but for a short time up front it kind of feels good, warm and comfy.

Drinkability: *Perform to scattered shadows on the shattered cobbled aisles*.
A massive tornado of enticing warm malts and a rich thick globulating warmth of alcohol are the foundation for a serious night cap brew!!! Nevertheless, it may only contain 330ml but I want more. Damn this brew, it is the Devils work indeed.

Overall: *She said she wanted to be an actress or something. Nobody knows where she came from, where she was going. Funny thing was she had a smile on her face. She was smiling. What a waste!*

You know, I *loved* this brew from the very first time I tried it, some 14 or so years ago. Man this is one powerful spicy (yet unspiced!!!) brew. One sip returns me to care free times in Belgian; it can transport me from the bustling Grand Place, the busy yet cosmopolitan Brugge to the quiet of the De Gans, Huise farmhouse café in the rustic East Flanders countryside. Van Steenberge is unfortunately renowned for many of their “sump” brews, but the Gulden Draak is most certainly a first generation creation that demands respect, and it always gets it from me.

Gulden Draak almost begs to pronounced with a thick Romanian accent such as the original name of Bram Stokers Whitby legend Vlad Drăculea, or rather better still as Vlad the Impaler. Either way, **don’t dare** turn you’re back on this one for it WILL come back to get you, either in the daylight, or worse, later at night when you sleep.

But for now it’s just another Chelsea Monday,
Sweet Chelsea Monday.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

08/11/06- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz stubby bottle. No freshness info, but there is a small stamped code at the bottom of the label. Poured into an oversized wine glass that looks remarkable like a St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Liquified caramel coloring. One maybe 1 1/2 inch larger bubbled head forms upon the pour. Remains at a good 1/5th inch thick and creamy head. Minute yeasties float around. Spalltered lacing all around. It was a crapshoot between a 4.5 and a 5. Did a coin flip.

Smell- This is a caramel/fruit cocktail. Doesn't fume out like you would hope, which is the only strike against the smell. Melted fresh made carnival caramel like the kind you would dip an apple into. Dark fruits galore. Figs, plums, prunes, raisins, plus some licorice.

Taste- Big and bold as you would expect from a 11% or so brew. Taste mirrors the scent to presice pinpoint. Like a liquid Caramello bar. Anise and liquorice jump out after the caramel coats your tongue. The dark fruits follow. Prunes and figs are predominant. Plums and raisins meld in nicely.

Mouthfeel- Slightly drying. Full and thick...even a bit vinous mouthfeel. Medium carbonation (just about right). Really makes you crave another sip.

Drinkability- This dude is strong. Drank this on an empty stomach right before lunch (may regret that, but I still have a bottle of Beatification and Stone 2006 Old Gaurdian to consume before the day is over). Quite the tasteful one and worthy of considerable praise. Will have to find a large bottle of this. Still trying to figure out what bottle I am going to break open once my child is born in March...this ain't a bad prospect. Again, will have to steal the Rachel Ray catch phrase..."YUMMO"!

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Photo of Iguana
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Finally found a bottle of this to try at The Beir Stein in Eugene, Oregon.

A: Poured a deep dark brown/ruby with a creamy 3/4 inch head that dwindled to a nice 1/4 inch head that lasted throughout the beer.

S: I get smells or raisin's, plum's, spices, and alcohol. Smells really nice.

T: Wow, just wow. Dark fruit, dark sugars, really rich and sweet. Really didnt get much hints of the yeast but got lots of sweetness.

M: Silky smooth going down with a nice alcohol burn in the finish. I dont think it could be any better than that.

D: I could try and drink a few of these in a night and it would be a grand night indeed but at 10.5% abv I would prolly end up sleeping on the floor. I will buy this one whenever I can find it.

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Photo of Tom1313
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

If the overall rating scale allowed a 4.9 this beer would have 4.9 !!

Have had a lot of Ales over the years and this Ale tops them all. I received this as a gift and first tasted it, ice cold on a Sunday after-noon, Northeast of Phoenix, AZ in Queen Valley AZ. I was not expecting the overall taste this beer provided. For me, no other Ale has come close. It is all in the taste and the swallow. I will try other Belgian Strong Dark Ales and other Ales looking to match or surpass this beer. If I find one I will post a new review. With a rating of 4.9 if I find a better beer there will be room for an improved rating !! My Son-In-law, Jason, put me on to this beer. Thanks Jason.

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Photo of goschool
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My aggressive pour created a brilliant tan head that eventually faded on top of a ruby-brown body. Alcohol looms over fruit, caramel, and dry hops in the nose. The taste has a ton of caramel to go with anise, and dark fruit. The mouthfeel is full bodied and dry. Fantastic beverage.

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Photo of acevenom
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice. Pours dark caramel brown with a light tan head that dissipates quickly. Plenty of bubbles can be seen rising from the side and bottom of the glass in the initial pour, but not much is seen after that. The booze is strong with this one in the aroma. I can also pick up the dark candi sugar, Belgian yeast, and bready malt. I can also pick up that dark fruit aroma that is common with this style. There are good flavors here. I can pick up the bready malt, sweetness from the dark candi sugar, and the fruity flavors from the yeast. I can also pick up the alcohol here. The body is full with moderate carbonation. The finish is dry. This is a good sipper. This is an excellent beer.

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Photo of calcio360jrd
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak is 4 sure one of my all time fav beers. This belgian strong dark ale has some amazing toffee like smell and sweetness that few beers can match. I've had the pleasure of having this in both bottle and on draft in the same night, not many beers i can say that about. This beer just tastes great, not for everybody though, the sweetness factor gets some people, but i thing the 10.5% of the beer evens the sweetness out to a pretty close to perfect beer!

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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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