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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,311 Reviews
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium | website

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:
1,311
Ratings:
3,800
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
19.52%
 
 
Wants:
294
Gots:
770
For Trade:
3
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Reviews: 1,311 | Ratings: 3,800
Photo of slitherySOB
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this beer improperly, because an accident has left me without the use of my left hand. Colour looks like tanned leather and dry apples. HUGE head due to improper pour. After 10 minutes, it subsides to about 2 fingers of tanned, dense foam. Smells of caramem malts, citrus(lemon? grapegruit?), spices and... the smell of a mowed lawn about 4 hours and the cut grass has dried in the sun. Big malt and candy sugar taste, with some maple syrup. Very sweet. Any sweeter, and it'd be nauseating. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, with an almost syrupy texture. Very drinkable and goes great with a heavy meal of beef wellington.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark drown body, still clear enought to let plenty of light though to reveal active carbonation.

Smell: Sweet toffee and plums, honey, raisin, very complex and "Belgian".

Taste: Coffee and roasted malts, honey sweetness and dark fruits. Flavors are all well-blended and work together nicely. May be an older bottle, because everything seems slightly muted (i.e., not much of a hop bite).

Mouthfeel: Very smooth going down, chewy, and moderately carbonated. Good.

Drinkability: I definitely appreciate this one more than the first time I tried it, 2 1/2 years ago. It is a solid and delicious example of BSDA, a style crowded with so many great beers, this one definitely brings it's own qualities to the table, and doesn't dissapoint.

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Photo of haz77
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark chesnut with a tight tan head that sit a finger deep. Looks to have very little carbonation.

S - Sweet spicy alcohol. Some plums and other fruit in there too. Smells utterly delicious.

T - Doesn't dissapoint. Not quite as good as the smell, but very very nice. Big mouthful of sweet malts and fruit up front and moves onto brown sugar. Finishes up with some alcohol warmth, but not as much as the smell would have suggested.

M - Heavy, smooth and lightly carbonated.

D - A bit too heavy to have more than 2 or 3.

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Photo of scottoale
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

White painted brown glass 330ml.bottle pours a dark, slightly cloudy
mahogany brown ale. The head 1inch thick and foamy off-white with some nice lacing as well.

Smells sweet and malty with plum and fig fruityness then alcohol comes through with some authority. Nice aroma.

Sweet malt fills the mouth with a fruity bouquet as the alcohol amplifies
the flavor. The hops come into play and pan the sweetness to a well balanced finish. Very tasty and not too sweet.

Big in flavor, big in body with a smooth, yet tingly mouthfeel, high ABV is very warming and ever so present.

Easy to drink but take it easy and savor it a bit. I recommend this to lovers of strong ale...Cheers!

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Photo of BadBadger
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yum, Yum, the Gulden Draak is certainly a beverage taste treat. Pours a nice dark cloudy color. The head is off-white and plentiful. The smell is malty. The taste is malty sweetness, There is a malty after taste, but this does not really distract from the overall pleasure of this brew. Highly drinkable at relatively high ABV, be warned and enjoy!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the benefits of Beer Advocate is finding out about beers such as this one, which I probably would never have tried on my own. This beer poured a cloudy brown color with a small head. It had a sweet fruit odor with a little malt in there. Wonderful taste: sweet, dark fruit with some hops. Slightly noticeable alcohol. A very robust beer. Eminently drinkable, but at 10.5%ABV, you've got to take it easy.

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Photo of JohnfromDublin
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted a bottle on March 31st 06 in De Kuppe, Brugge, Belgium (cost €3.50).

Poured into the correct glass (Duvel-like) a light tan (beige) decent head on a ruby red to brown body. Hazy. Nice lacing on the glass.

Smell was the best. I don't think I have given a 5 for smell before. Blackberries and other fruits of the forest, malt later. Superb.

Taste: it had a nice tang to it, more raspberries than blackberries, some rust. Aware of the alcohol in the background.
Smooth silky mouthfeel.
Drinkability; well maybe one or two, but at 10.5% I'm not so sure.
Very nice.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Whoa! This is rich...beginning with the gorgeous white bottle.
Pours deep amber with an incredible cream head that stays full for a very long time. Laces nicely while you slowly finish the drink.
Aroma is sweet dark fruits, sweet malts, light alcohol.
Mouthfeel is creamy and very, very full.
Taste of dark ripe fruits, raisens, sweet malts, heavy alcohol.
Definate alcohol burn going down with rich dark fruit aftertaste.
Make this the last drink of the night...preferably with dessert and take your time sipping it.
Like fine sherry or brandy...definately as rich, filling, and warming.
Impressive

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Photo of sabrills70
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz brown stubby bottle painted white with no freshness date. Pours a dark amber with a good frothy 2 finger head and very ggod lace. Good strong malt aromas with some sherry and brandy like aromas. Dried dark fruits - raisins etc. Again with big malt flavors and dried dark fruts. Alcohol is present but not overpowering. Sticky on the lips and warming all the way down. Definate winter beer. Creamy and smooth. Not a beer to gulp but for one with an ABV of this magnitude it is very easy to drink. Tasty and well made.

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Photo of goodbyesoberday
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a very loud head that subsides to a thin layer.

Rich dark red maple colour, opaque thanks to my pouring of all and everything into the glass.

It's rich, very rich. Chocolate coated fruit, I'll get back to you on the particulars someday. Dark brown sugar but no burnt toffee. The alcohol steps up and says hello. Very fiery but the dragon's breath hath no boot polish.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A blend of coffee and root beer with a smooth, beige head that retains well. Excellent, Swiss cheese-like lacing.

Smell: Very fruity, full of banana and strawberry, plus chocolate and nutty malts. Almost like a sundae!

Taste: Excellent. Starts with coffee, then segues into banana and chocolate, and ends with roasted hazelnuts and a vodka-like alcohol flavor. Sweet and brown sugary, especially towards the end. Very complex and well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Tingly yet chewy with a slight alcohol burn on the way down.

Drinkability: A tad heavy, and the elevated ABV is somewhat prohibitive, but besides that this is very drinkable.

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Photo of Phatz
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What strange beer. It is like a stout/Belgian.

Appearance: The darkest Belgian I have seen. It pours a completely opaque Maple syrup brown.

Smell: It has a strange dark musty smell that made me think of my immediately of my boots. I don't think it is a foot odor smell I think it may be the smell of leather that I am picking up. I have also heard before about a beer described as smelling like a horse. I think that would apply in this case. Anyway, it also gives me a huge amount of dark fruits and shoo-fly pie, brown sugar, molasses, caramel, very toasted malts and blueberries. Under everything else there is the tiniest bit of alcohol that does creep out into your nose.

Taste: Extremely sugary. Tons of dark brown sugar. Well toasted almost burnt malt taste along with the plums, red grapes and dark fruit sweetness. It has a bit of the alcohol showing through (in a wine like attribute) which definitely dries it up in the mouth a bit. It has the most gentle floral hop character that you could ask for. There is just enough subtle sour (tart) in the aftertaste to balance out the immense sweetness on the front end.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy and very thick. This is a very heavy big beer from all measurements.

Drinkability: I am giving this a 4.5 drinkability not because it is an easy drinking beer but because I LOVE drinking this beer. You must be careful with this bad boy. Seriously; it is more than the 10.50 % ABV it is very heavy and if you don't take it slow you WILL regret it. This is a nightcap beer. I certainly don't want to put anything on top of this, other than a glass of water and a good night sleep.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark dark rusty golden with a big head of slightly off-white head that hangs around forever and ever. Aromas of dark Belgian candi sugar, spicy yeast complexity, alcohol, fruits, and more. Taste is fruity and boozy with a very sweet caramelized burnt sugar, sort of creme brulee thing going on. Very nice, but after a while a bit much. Mouthfeel is sweet and heavy, syrupy and almost cloying, and the drinkability suffers a bit after time. This is a very nice and intense dark tripel...but it's just so damn sweet after a while that it is not my favorite...

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

oh hell yeah...this is the one. Gulden Draak is nearly perfect. It's hard to see how any brewery, Belgian or otherwise, could improve on this style...other than maybe bringing out a beer with these exact characteristics but with a, say, 7% ABV for better drinkability.

Poured into a Gulden Draak glass and received a fluffy off-white head which retains well, a gorgeous deep-chocolate color that seems to morph into ruby at the bottom. Thick walls of lace are produced during the drink.

An ultra-malty aroma hits you first thing. I also enjoy the fresh-baked yeast rolls aroma, and the sweet fruitiness that reminds of dates drowned in rum. A fragant and fresh aroma, especially for such a dark and high-alcohol brew.

The taste is divine. Milky caramel, juicy raisins, layers of malt...it's sweet but not too sweet. Comes very close to the most dessert-y doppelbocks. Only the slight yeast tinge and well-hidden but clearly-present alcohol sets it apart.

Mouthfeel is about as good as all the preceding sensations: creamy, with enough heaviness to chew around in the mouth a while, but very good balance there too. Low fizz, so no real bite, just a velvety smoothness that sticks with you awhile.

Ok, so it's 10.5%, but I find this to be easily drinkable. Not a lot, not as a session beer, but there isn't a day in the year I would turn it away. Absolutely delicious.

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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 kkipple
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak comes in a neat Viking-inspired white bottle with a golden dragon on the front. It appeals immediately to my Norse sensibilities and makes me eager to drink whatever is inside.

The Gulden Draak pours a big bubbly head atop a filtered, deep amber brew. Nothing I've not seen before, but neither is it unattractive. (I removed a immature allusion to a woman here.) It does make me wish I had my drinking horn.

Smell needs time to develop as the beer warms. Eventually one ends up with dry alcohol, sweet malts, and overripe fruit. Very rich smelling and promising.

On initial taste, mild sweet malts and alcohol dominate, with beet sugar, Belgian yeast, and dark fruit (prunes?) supporting. There's a mild medicinal taste and the entire experience is warming and rich. A very well balanced beer. It avoids the syrupy sweetness that many dark Belgians have while being quite drinkable.

Mouthfeel is warming, creamy, and full. Very satisfying, nearly as much as burying your axe in the skull of a foe.

If a strong, dark Belgian and a beautiful, blonde Aryan Viking had a son, it would be...no wait, let me rephrase that...

Gulden Draak strikes a nice balance between the sweetness of a dark Belgian and the drinkability of a Triple. It's a very tasty, drinkable brew that is perfect for quaffing after a hard day of burning and pillaging the coasts, or just about any time for that matter! Any real Norseman would be proud to try this.

Thanks to Faustgeist for sharing!

Edit: Had this on tap a year later, and prefer it from the bottle. Bumped up the appearance a notch, too. It tastes richer and sweeter and smells better from a bottle, IMO. Surely more research is required....

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

From the bottle into the appropriately screen printed Gulden Draake Tulip glass. Hazy, murky medium brown appearance let no light pass through. Big head of tan foam, and notes of lace were present. Aromas of spicey sugars and malts, with a tame backbone of earthiness. Taste was quite spicey and sweet. Lots of malty caramel notes, with pronounced spices adding zestiness to the beer. Smooth and rich mouthfeel was mixed with bubbly carbonation, very nice on the palate. The drinkability was just not there for me. This is a well made beer, but not one I think i'd want to revisit.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy dark reddish-brown color with chunky white head, that lasted throughout the glass, leaving very attractive lacing on the side of the glass. The smell is fantastic with strong dark fruit (prunes, plums, dates, raisins) dominating. Light toasty notes are also present. Taste is strong on fruit and malt with a magnificent creamy feeling that literally coats the inside of the mouth with the strong fruitiness. Absolutely no alcohol flavors to be found. Nice carnonation also adds to the creaminess. Finish malty and fruity with a hint of hoppy bitterness, but very little. This was an extremely enjoyable beer, The drinkability was too good for a beer of this strength.

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Photo of beerphilosopher
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahhh ... one of my very favorites and a culprit in my love of dark, strong Belgian ales. For the purposes of this review, I poured the ale into a Gulden Draak goblet from a 750 ml white coated bottle. Poured a deep, rich burgundy color that highlights red in the light. Displays a huge, mountainous head of light tan. Nose clubs you with dark, hearty fruits and spice. Dark raisins, cherries, and dates with a yeast bath. A special sweetness is present here as well ... a bit candy-like due to the use of Belgian Candi sugar in the bottle conditioning. Slightly alcoholic nose is present. Palate is extraordinary ...so complex. All of fruits mollases malt, and alcohol - rum like in some ways. The suprise ... this ale is rather hoppy, creating a marvelous balance in the flavor profile. This is master work, really. Full bodied and agressively carbonated, avoiding any semblance of a cloying effect. Though hoppier than many Belgian Strong Darks, Gulden Draak is not at all bitter. Finishes very smooth with a touch of residual sweetness. Gulden Draak is one of my favorites of all time. I love the name, the bottle, the beer ... I could go on and on. This is a world class ale. You need this beer!

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Photo of CDBeerDisappear
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Color is cloudy medium brown with some orange showing when lighted. Full coarse head that dissipate to about a quarter inch with modest lacing.

S - Aroma of sweet malt and floral hops. Caramel overtones

T - Sweet yeasty caramel taste. You can taste alcohol but there is not a long of astringency. Aftertaste is very clean.

M - Feels rich and full with light to moderate carbonation.

D - Very drinkable, I will buy this again and again. Not overly sweet but not bitter at all. Nicely balanced, hops are not obvious as they are in IPA’s but they certainly round out the sweetness of the amount of malt necessary to get an alcohol of 10.5%

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Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am drinking a 750 mL C&C bottle poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. The ale is chilled.

Appearance: The ale pours with a hazy orange-brown color. There is ample sediment in the glass. The ale poured with a decent head and left a respectable amount of lace around the glass.

Smell: Yeast is the dominant aroma. I also smell the sweetness of candy sugars.

Taste: The candied sugars are quite evident in taste. They give the ale a very pleasing sweet taste. After that, hints of alcohol and fruit (plum maybe).

Mouthfeel: The ale sits very well in the mouth. The yeastiness and sugars taste very nice together.

Drinkability: This is an eminently drinkable ale, but the 10.5% abv is a dealbreaker, too much alcohol makes me sleepy...

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Photo of ojiikun
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To me, this beer is just as a tripel should be. It pours cleanly without too much foam, and smells simply wonderful - caramel and spice and minty herbs. Dark and sweet, more like a dubbel, really, but with the kick of a tripel. I frequently compare the taste of dulden draak to that of sweet wine. There is no hiding the 10+% acohol, but the flavors ride well on top of that base. Just the right amount of very bright hops (mint and lemongrass) and sweet, buttery, syrupy malt (black tea and cornsyrup, if not chocolate). Despite the sweetness, there's not sticky mouthfeel, and it drinks like red wine - that is to say very easily, especially if you don't mind the high alcohol. This beer could not be better balanced.

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Photo of jbsteiny
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this was only the second beer I'd ever reviewed on this site, so I just wanted to re-review, because my tastes have changed since then and this has become one of my favorites...

dark amber color, thick tan head audibly bubbles down to a thin ring eventually, but good head that leaves beautiful white lacing on the glass. aromas of cookies, pepper, bubblegum, really wonderful blend of malt, ester, and phenol! tastes like heaven to me - this is what Chimay Blue should taste like. light notes of coffee and chocolate overlay the rich malt but are pierced with red wine, pink peppercorns, fig, and faint tangerine. dries up remarkably for such a big beer so that the finish is only slightly sweet. if i could sit at my stool for long enough, i could drink this for hours on a cool evening. thank you van Steenberge! some day I will visit you!

=original review (30 Jan 2006) follows=

Got this in a Belgian sampler, and I really liked the bottle. Decided to crack it open for the Lunar New Year -- thought the dragon was auspicious.

On pouring it, I was surprised how dark it was, and got pretty excited. Some reddish hues and a thick tan head made it a good looking beer.

Smelled sweet, rich and malty. Lots of caramel and plum. Tasted much the same -- a little smoky, a little spicy. I think I preferred smelling it -- maybe some more hoppiness or citrus would have helped keep it from being so syrupy. A little too sweet for me right now, but probably would be excellent for desert.

Big mouthfeel, good carbonation, really coats the inside of your mouth. There's no doubt you're drinking a 10.5, but the alcohol isn't overwhelming because of all of rich malts. Having one of these for desert pretty regularly would make my mouth happy.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This very rich tripel pours a murky dark cider brown. The head is appetizing in appearance, but the liquid less so. The nose has a bit of complexity, with burnt sugar notes, along with alcohol and a bit of candied apple. Those same tastes come through with more oomph in the beer's flavor, with the the candied apple, in particular, coming forward. This beer is exceedingly sweet, which is nice at first, but the aftertaste it leaves is a bit much -- kind of a sticky film that remains in your mouth. This is pretty heavy, rich stuff that's definitely meant to be enjoyed in moderation.

A good beer for every now and then, but not one I'll keep going back to.

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Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance: malty amber brown. nice thick head, and enticing lacings throughout my glass

smell: sweet, light hops, plums, brown sugar (?), hint of booze

taste: much like an in depth version of it's smell. sweet, malty, fruity, sugary, and just a hint of alcohol. a nice mix of everything goin on here. all in it's right place on my palatte. gets sweeter as it warms.

mouthfeel: robust, and malty. dense, but not too thick. just the right amount of carbonation.

drinkablilty: one bomber was good enough for me. felt full once i was done. like a hearty meal

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 1,311 ratings.
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