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

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94
outstanding
1,312 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:
1,312
Ratings:
3,810
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
19.52%
 
 
Wants:
298
Gots:
781
For Trade:
3
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,312 | Ratings: 3,810
Photo of gfanikf
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The light color can throw you off at first, but once you get past the first taste, you get an incredibly rich and flavorful drink that doesn't feel heavy or oppressive to the tounge like many other high abv beers.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours creamy mahogany with ruby highlights and a huge frothy tan head.

The smell is amazing. I get a comples aroma of dark fruits, cherries, and slight spice notes.

The taste is of sweet caramel, dark chocolate, plums, and bit of spiciness. I'm thinking peppery, with coriander. This starts off with sweet malts and ends with a sharp and surprisingly bitter finish. The alcohol is well concealed.

Mouthfeel is amazingly full and creamy.

If I could get my hands on it, I would drink this brew quite often. Very nice.

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Photo of DIM
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a clear, dark coppery amber color. It poured with a massive, uneven, airy head that faded to large lumps of lace. The head never did fully dissipate even though I left the beer alone for twenty minutes.

s: Lots of candi sugar and some caramel with hints of dark fruit, apple, and gentle, well incorporated alcohol. There is something else kind of soft and earthy that I can't find a word for.

t: This does indeed taste like a dark tripel. Very sweet throughout without being heavy or cloying. Candi sugar from start to finish that does have a "darker" caramel note to it. Dark fruit up front getting faintly boozy toward the middle with a bit of earthy tart... something at the end. I'm not doing this one justice damn it.

m: Very soft, active carbonation. Seems to float over the tongue.

o: Just a wonderfully unique beer. I'm glad I finally got around to trying this classic.

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Photo of Hunter
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Pillowy, thick head of dense bubbles atop a dark, nearly black-red ruby brew. Proper lacing all around.

smell: Heady notes of alcohol, sweet malt, smoke, and spice.

taste: Holy crap, the heat of alcohol blends with a fruity, floral, peppery tongue that'll set you up and knock you back. 10.5% ABV I would expect nothing less. THIS is what a winter warmer should be about and rarely is - warming, smooth, and clean.

mouthfeel: scouring on the initial taste, then mellowing to a smoothness akin to a fine brandy. Can you tell I'm pleased?

drinkability: This is something I'd almost recommend a brandy glass for. Lovely.

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Photo of ronniebruner
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I had a pint of this on tap at The Yardhouse. This is very, very strong beer. The aroma is crisp and strong, the beer itself sweet and tarty. The beer is definitely not smooth or for the faint of heart, but this is a great beer. High ABV and a strong sugary taste, not too sweet, not too bitter, but will definitely leave a strong aroma in your mouth

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW!!!Pours a deep ruddy brown color.Great aroma with hints of malt,chocolate,fruits.An extremely smooth taste-again notes of chocolate and fruits-figs and currants.A minimal hop bite-great overall malty flavor.Absolutely no hint of the 10.5% abv.A wonderfully smooth beer-full bodied.A great beer-goes down perfectly whether its your first or last of the day.THE BEST Belgian I have had in ages by far!!! I have wanted to try this one for ages and was not let down in the least bit.Wish I had another.

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Photo of birderbeerer
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown. Held to the light it's a deep amber/rust. Medium head. Laces well but doesn't last long.

S: Whoa. A lot there. Raisins, fruit, chocolate. Like a dessert bread about to go in the oven. As it warms, it really takes on a strong yeast nose. Some toasted toffee. Every inhalation is a little different.

T: Big malty sweetness. Chocolate and caramel. Raisins. Licorice. Rich, sweet bread. A little herbal with a bit of a brothy overtone. A little alcohol in the finish but that is offset well by both the the sweetness and breadiness.

M: Thick and creamy but not syrupy. Goes down easy.

D: For a big and super sweet beer, this is remarkably light to drink. The alcohol is hidden very well and for all its chewy breadiness it actually fairly light in body.

This reminds me more of the quads I've had than other tripels.

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

Sampled on-tap at the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, Georgia.

This review is a long time coming. Gulden Draak was my "gateway beer" into the world of Belgian beers several years ago. To those ends, I have sampled more than a few, but have yet to review my "first love".

Appearance - Clear brown/dark brown pour with a vibrant, but not overblown, head provided the by barmaid. Carbonation is present and provides support to a finger or two of head that is maintained.

Smell - Malty sweet with a grassy presence as well. A nutty almost spicy tone is there as well, but the malt sugar nose is predominant. Lovey aroma that draws you into the glass

Taste - Caramel in the initial presentation with a fruity mouth as well. As it warms the smoothness of this offering is to be admired, with a warming comfort of malt making itself known. The hops are comfortably providing a supporting role in this offering.

Mouthfeel - Did not sense the alcohol content at all. The carbonation provided ample transport for a medium-bodied beer. Carbonation was well balanced and did not have to work at filling a void.

Drinkability - I was lucky that this was my "gateway beer" to Belgians back in the day. This brew rammed home all the variety that is present in many Belgian Strong Dark Ale offerings. This is not for the faint of heart nor is it for someone who is expecting a typical "beer". This will make you a believer in the value of going beyond the water, malt, hops doctrine.

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

This beer is really quite amazing, but unless you are a large bear should only be consumed in moderation. I had it with a big giant burger and wedge fries. The pairing was nice, but it can easily overpower whatever you are eating with it. Definitely a beer that every dark beer drinker should have, but look for a good price. I paid five dollars just for one!

When I drank it, there was little to no head when poured. The taste is strong, and somewhat sweet. Color is dark, more so than a brown ale, but not quite what you'd get from an Imperial Stout.

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

After Georgia popped the cap in 2004, this was one of the first Belgians I picked up. I thought it was good then, and I think it's great now. Pours a deep brown with a strong head. Very bubbly. Smells like dried fruit and prunes. Taste is sweet fruit, sugar, alcohol, raisins, and prunes. The taste is very complex, but it comes together and is absolutely delicious. Mouthfeel is rather effervescent, but it's a Belgian brew, so that's expected. One of my favorite Belgians and brews.

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

A - A soft beige head with a healthy 2 fingers to it. A dark colored beer, like tea stains and soy sauce. Visible yeasty wisps scurrying at the bottom. The head faded a little quickly on my glass probably due to improper washing, but it left great lacing like a Rorschach diagram all over the place. The painted bottle prevents all sunlight degradation, and if you go to their website there's an interesting story behind the beer's namesake.

S - The appearance and color of this beer were nice, but the smell is even better. Initial smells include caramel, chocolate, and crystal malts. This moves along into some sweet fructose smells that are easy to pick up even with the glass 3 feet away. Caramel flavors, and spicy hops are punctuated with orange peel (also indicated on the label ingredients).

T - The experience improves even further when you take the first sip. The first word that popped into my head was 'divine'. Initially you get a wave of tastes that seem unlikely in a beer. Sweet fruity, candies, then incense-like spices like flavored tobacco from a traditional Arabic hookah. This quickly moves to a malty sensation that cools the palate while warming the heart. There are yeasty tones too, but not dominate. The final after taste of this beer is that of orange peel and a tang of yeast.

M - The weakest point of this beer is that the alcohol does throw the balance of flavor off a bit. You notice that with the mouthfeel. There is a strong smooth body with a bit of an alcoholic fusil sting. It crawls down the throat after coating the mouth.

D - The alcohol of this beer does kill some of the exotic flavors you find. The first gulp was magically delicious, a real candy store of smells and tastes, however the last few sips were not as good. However this is a beer that stands out among most.

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Photo of ericj551
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak pours a hazy red brown with a beautiful fluffy, foamy off white head that doesn't quit. The aroma is sweet, with tons of ripe fruit and estery, slightly chalky yeast. Sweet, syrupy malt hits upfront in the flavor, dying down just a bit as the esters fade. The fruitiness in there, with some nice, slightly burnt caramel. There is some bitterness in the finish, and the fruity esters linger. Dark malty flavor lingers in the aftertaste. The alcohol is present, but light considering the strength. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with plenty of fizzy carbonation.

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

I had this beer at Sharp Edge Creekhouse in Pittsburgh. Served cool in a Gulden Draak Goblet.

A - Deep Bronze w/ a 2 finger beige collar w/ a fined bead that makes sporadic lace

S - Belgian yeast w/ dark malt odors, biscuit and dark brown sugar w/ a very subtle boozy note and hints of fig in the nose

M- Roasted and dry gain in the feel w/ lively carbonation, subtle sweetness and spiced dry finish

T - Deep w/ candy sugar and gentle spice w/ a hint of vegetal, booze and maple-like woody notes and dark fruit - raisin, fig, and cherry notes w/ a pepper like spice and boozy filled cocoa and date-like candy flavors. The taste becomes smooth and creamy as it warms w/ a nut bread and boozy dark cherry w/ candy sugar accents.

D - I really enjoyed this Belgian strong ale. It was the first I remember having it on draft, but I have enjoyed it many times in bottled form. The balanced sweetness w/ dry alcoholic feel is just superb and I recommend it highly. This is well crafted and restrained for the high abv, A welcome ale to my tastebuds.

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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 HardTarget
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Slight spice, maybe gingerbread, and hints of alcohol. Always hard to nail aroma in a bar.

Appearance: Ruby amber and very clear. Long lasting dirty white head left tidemarks of joy.

Flavor: Rich. Dark. Trappist yeast. Chocolate, burnt sugar, and roasted grain. Words, just words, they don’t capture the essence.

Mouthfeel: Velvety! Low carbonation makes it hard to resist chugging like a college freshman.

Overall Impression: Fantastic! Served on tap at the Staminee De Garre with a side of mild cheese, simply heaven on earth. One of the best beers of my Belgian trip!

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

Poured from a short bottle into my Allagash tulip

Dark brown with a reddish hue. From the van Steenberge 6-pack mix I bought, this was the only beer that felt adequately carbonated and delivered a beautiful head.

It smelled of brown sugar and plum. Very inviting.

Deep, beautifully sweet first taste. It was nicely balanced, with caramel and plum overtones. After a couple sips, the sweetness mellowed, and the more earthy and rich tones emerged. I am eating a soft sheep's milk cheese with this, and herbal cream becomes much more prominent in the cheese. Not even a hint of alcohol. Brilliant.

Rich and statisfying in the mouth, with a complete finish.

Drinkability...is it gone already???

This is great as an appetizer with cheese, as the caramel sweetness paired great with a soft sheep's or goat's milk cheese.

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

appearance was brilliant mohogany with good inch of off white head.
Smell was all dark fruits with malts.
Taste was totally awesome, like the smell but so smooth yet flavourful.
Mouthfeel was good.
Drinkability is only restricted price i love my gulden draak.

probably belgium's best non trappist beer.

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

Poured into a tulip. Medium amber color, big two and change fingers of head, decent retention and lots of lacing. Surprising clarity with visible carbonation. Red fruit--apples--and big yeast aroma, nutmeg and coriander, some biscuit.

Strong malts and sweet fruit dominate up front, reminds me almost of an apple cobbler. Very smooth mouthfeel, leaning a bit towards syrupy. Carbonation is more assertive than I expected, but not sharp or off-putting. Some banana, lots of biscuit mingling with a small bit of roasted malts, some alcohol on the back end.

Complex brew, and a lot of flavor in this little bottle! It's sweet, even cloyingly so, and the ABV isn't very noticible but will effect its potential as a session beer. Will definitely come back to this one.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.56/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a small bottle into a snifter at BJ's.

A: Translucent copper with a slightly tan head.

S: Lots of cherry and pineapple in the nose. Smells delicious.

T: A slight hint of alcohol, a ton of fruit, especially cherry, and a touch of honey.

M: Medium bodied and less than smooth.

O: This is a great Belgian strong dark ale that you can find just about anywhere.

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Photo of weeezle1971
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Great aroma, smooth flavor, and a full pallet of flavors.. Poured into a glass makes a fine creamy head, and releases the fine odors that you and your company can enjoy together. A little high on the alchohol aftertaste, but I still highly recommend this beer for the true Abbey Ale lovers.

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Photo of basica
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have always been a little skeptical about this beer due to differring reviews about it; some
claiming to be overwhelmed by the alcohol in this brew. I still tried it as I read that this one
is a dark tripel which got me interested (although it is classified as a Strong Dark Ale). I am
generally into the Strong Dark Belgian Ales. The Guldan Draak bottle reminds me of the Boucanier
Dark bottle and yes it is a nice looking opaque white bottle with nice golden borders and... a
golden draak on the label. The Guldan Draak pours out dark brown black with a thick head which
was pretty bubbly and had pretty good retention. This dark ale smells mainly of fruits; slightly
bready and slightly yeasty; coming to the taste, these mentioned properties were furthuer
pronounced into a strong full fledged fruity taste which was slightly sweet and slightly yeasty.
This fruitiness was slightly different from most of the other dark ales and it seems to be a
little like the fruitiness which I tasted in the Westmalle Dubbel but still not as fruity. I
have to admit that I enjoyed this slight fruitiness in the taste. The mouthfeel was full bodied
but the downs are that it is a little on the high carbonation end (though it was pretty alright)
and also the alcoholism was pretty showing up (though again this was pretty acceptable). The
after taste was nice and fruity though would be been great if it had been more long lasting.
All in all a great beer with a slightly unique fruity taste and great body which I really could
appreciate and enjoy.

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Photo of dpool
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first thing that struck me about this beer was the deep amber color; holding it up to the light I could barely see through. The smell was amazing and reminded me of sweet cinnamon and brown sugar. The first taste was just as sweet with a stong hint of alcohol at the end.

I enjoyed this beer after a long night of work and it definitly hit the spot. I will be sure to buy this one again and again.

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Photo of dvar
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had one in the right serving temperature; it produced a great foam when served, which continued to exist almost until the end.
Complex flavor, with great after taste. Very strong and bitter. Be caution when you drink, the alcohol does not appear very strongly, deceiving the drinker into becoming intoxicated.

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Photo of Andrewtherooster
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with a nice cloudy white head. Great lacing.

Smells of dark fruits--plums and prunes. I got a little whiff of some green pear qualities, as well as plenty of alcoholic esters.

In the taste there is a reoccurrence of fruits with a big, warming alcohol. Finishes with a roastiness that I'm not sure if it's coming from the alcohol or the malt. While drinking this, I could not help but think about how well this would go with a spicy green curry, or even something like fried plantains. Absolutely delicious beer that I could see going great with food.

Mouthfeel is medium and heavily carbonated. Perfect to the style.

I would whole-heartedly recommend this beer. It's very drinkable, is complex without being overbearing, and absolutely delicious. Well worth the $5 I paid for the bottle.

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Photo of kegger22
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak is dark brown in color with a modest beige head that fades to a collar. As I hold it up to the computer screen, it has a red cast to it. The aroma is like a dessert wine, maybe a sherry, noticeably boozy. The taste follows the nose, sherry, and sweet, and grapes. The feel is medium/full with only a little carbonation. Drinkability is good. I think a 750 ml bottle of this would be perfect to share with some nice, young lady on a date.

Quite good, but unlike any beer I've had; BSDA, Tripel, or other. If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck and tastes like a duck; is it a wine, I mean a duck? Who cares, it is impressive.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,810 ratings.
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