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

Poured from a ceramic painted bomber into a Duvel Tulip

Appearance-Very surprisingly dark for a so-called tripel. nice deep brown with tan head

Smell-Instatnyly get a banana smell, combined with the belgian yeast makes a kind of banana bread quality to it. a tiny bit of alcohol balances it out wonderfully.

Taste-follows the smell with a nice bananabready flavor, posibly some raisin.

Mouthefeel-coats well, but not to thick

Overall- Very solid beer, seems like it is it's own style as I haven't seen any other dark tripels one of my favorites now.

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Photo of Todd
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml brown bottle, painted white. No freshness date ... as if you need one at 10.5% alcohol by volume!

Poured in a proper gold-laced Gulden Draak tulip glass, this beer offers a very dark ruddy-brown colour with a mountainous off-white foam head that retains extremely well and trails the glass with its stick -- it's all about the glass.

Peppery aroma with soft grain, faint orange juice, herbal and dried hay.

Flavour is blissful ... ultra-malty, smooth, soft and sweet with strong Belgian candy sugar flavours, light chocolate (more like malted-milk) and semi-burnt caramel edges. I can't stress the sugary character of this beer enough, it's without a doubt sweet, but not in a sickly manner. Carbonation induces a creamy sensation on the palate and aids in slightly subduing the maltiness, while a defining herbal flavour complements, creating a sweet tea-like infusion. Alcohol is there, but it's very devious and nearly undetectable, but it does lend quite a bit of spicy flavour that adds to the overall pepperiness of the beer. A warming sensation hits the head about half-way thru as you slip into beerdom. Finish goes dry with a soft, woody, yeast character.

This beer doesn't pussy-foot around. It's serious, complex, mysterious (alcohol-wise), demands respect and if you're not careful it'll walk up to you and kick your freagin' ass! One of my favourites, and simply a classic amongst Belgian beers.

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Photo of RickS95
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Initial pour is a creamy brown, like hot chocolate, but when it fills the glass it's almost black. Extreme dark brown with just specs of lighter colors around the edges. The head is off-tan and a couple fingers thick with good retention. As the head dies, it's leaves sticky tan foam around the glass.

It's got a bready, chocolately nose not significantly different than chocolate cake or brownies. A bit of an earthy, flowery scent I can't quite put my finger on. As it warms, the chocolate scents grow.

The taste is extraordinary. Tastes like a dark chocolate liqueur, with the slightest hint of vanilla added in for good measure. Just nibbles of hops to keep all the sweetness in balance.

As mentioned, it's sweet, but never too much so. It's got a remarkable creaminess to it. Full-bodied. There's alcohol in there, but despite it's strength it hides in the background. This beer really sticks to your tongue.

One of my new favorite beers. The Belgians simply know how to brew beer.

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Photo of scootny
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A brown fluid, ruddy and deep pours out of a 330 ml bottle. A good and healthy head rises up and remains for a time in my Chimay chalice. A thin covering lingers. Not much carbonation evident but there is lacing to admire as I drink the glass dry.

Smell is sweet and malty. Belgian candy sugar and bananas. Raisins, currants, figs, faint chocolate and toffee.

Taste is outstanding. Big sweet malt goodness. Copious amounts of the dark fruits in the nose. Figs and raisins being the most prominent. This beer is delectably sweet. Alcohol is well hidden and adds just a bit of spice and pepper to balance the sweet. There are hops in here and they are perfect. Gentle and mild they clean the finish up and dry the mouth. Clean and graham crackery. I need more of this to get all of the flavors down, stay tuned.

Moutfeel is light and creamy. Smooth drinking and and refreshing to the tongue and palate. Velvety as well.

Drinkability is way too good for something of this abv. very easy to knock back two bottles maybe three with the right meal.

An exceptional beer that is simply outstanding. It will have you talking to yourself with each swallow.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks about as Belgian as it gets, this pour murky brown with lasting, clingy tan pillow top. Aroma is rich - sweet candi sugar, toffee, and malt. Flavor is almost the same - sweet malt and dark fruits - raisins and plums - with a twang of yeast, finishing ever so slightly tart and dry. This is what I like in this genre. Wow.

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Photo of Stavage
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown liquid. Holding up to the light, it does not seem cloudy at all so you can appreciate the abyss in the centre of the glass. Despite a semi robust pour didn't get much head out of this (for a Belgian). What head I did get retained well though and left a very pleasing sticky lacing.

Some ripe fruits and dried fruits in the smell but also a lot of phenol clove scent and some herbal aromas. A certain...pleasant mustiness which balanced the 'sweetness' on the nose. Unfortunately I also got a slightly metallic scent in there too. That oxidised smell. I wondered if maybe the seal wasn't too great which could account for the relatively flat poor and the whiff of metallic scent, but strangely enough this never followed through to the taste.

Definitely a sweet beer, but also lots of complexities in here too. Some roast dark and sweet malts in here which give a sweetness a biscuitiness but also an earthiness to the flavours. A bit of dried fruit too which also adds a certain richness and sweetness to the proceedings. But with all this sweetness it's never sickly or sticky sweet and it's all well balanced by the earthy notes and the spicy and herbal notes too. Bit of alcohol bite but not much (surprisingly).

Mouthfeel is very smooth and silky. Quite a full beer too. And surprisingly drinkable. Quite a high abv and you'd have never guessed, the main hint is that it warms you a little more than the average beer (and lightens yuor head a little more too).

Overall really enjoyed this and definitely something I want on rotation. Normally I'd say the sweetness would take away from the drinkability for me but rather than be balanced with a bitterness it was successfully toned down with a herbal earthiness so really just an all round winner in my books.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

blood red when exposed to light, clear. 2 finger egg white head in a tulip, leaves a crusty lacing behind. awesome looking. aroma is very yeasty with sweet and sour cherries and candied dates. velvety and reminiscent of a dessert wine. super-belgian and very appetizing. candi sugars give way to an explosion of red fruit and christmasey spices. that cinnamon fruity burst of smooth beeriness is very trappist, and comes very close to my memory of fresh westvleteren 12.. the closest i can remember, next to bbbourgondier and bernardus abt 12. previous gulden draak drafts at other places have been cloudy with yeast, spoiled, or too cold. leave it to moan and dove to hook this up right, and turn me on to something i have been missing for a while. a real eye-opener.

alcohol sting in the end is a bit of a bitch, but sweetness is right there to assist with the balance. a little overcarbonated, but goes down easy regardless. notmuch about this beer to pick on, i'm really stretching to find a flaw. i can still taste it in my cheeks and it makes me want more. what a superb beer.

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Photo of Earl123
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is my first beer review so be gentle:)

An excellent overall beer. Unique character, a modern take on traditional brewing methods. Unlike some US mutations of the Belgian Tripel, it is not overly hoppy. It is actually one of the few beers my girlfriend and thoroughly enjoy together.

Taste is innovative and complex - cloves, bananas, cinnamon(?). A little fruitcake-y but not too much so and definitely stops short of a gueuze.

Everything else was excellent about the beer. The feel is not oppressively heavy and, as mentioned, not overly carbonated.

I prefer the 9000 version of the beer which is slightly more boozy in flavor (and reality). But this is a solid second.

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Photo of taez555
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love the bottle. From far away the dragon always reminds me of an upside down dead cockroach. Be that good or bad. The white bottle is always a conversation starter.
This beer poured a HUGE rootbbeer style head. So big in fact I had to wait a minute for it to die down before I could add the whole bottle to the glass.
The body color was a very dark brown that was so dark in fact that I couldn't see much to any light through the beer.
The nose was slightly subtle, but deffinatly had a lot of that classic belgian smell, with hints of sweetness and alocohol.
The taste blew me away upon the first sip. A very thick body, followed by what you think is about to be a big hop build, but is quickly overshadowed by a wonderful hit of fruit flavors. Raisins, plums, grapes and some sour apple flavors. All the while balanced with a nice subtle hop and caramel flavor.
The sweet fruity syrupy flavor lingered for a long time after.

This is a very interesting and exciting beer to drink. With every sip I enjoyed it a little more. I'd drink and everytime it would hint at a huge hop taste, but then quickly change to the sweet fruity flavors. A wonderful play with your taste buds. It was heavy yes, but easy to drink, like a chilled melted caramel. An exciting beer for a winter evening or if you're up for a nice beer to just slowly sip and enjoy.

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Photo of ccrida
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from draft into a Gulden Draak tulip, this is a dangerously wonderful beer. The Appearance is a deep ruby with a very tall, creamy off-white head that leaves a very sticky lace and nice-sized collar until then end...which I have to say, never lasts that long for me, and I've had many! The aroma is very sweet, malt and brandy, slight spice but not to complex. The taste is much deeper, initially a bit sweet and vinous, then opening into fig, toffee, prune and toasted malt, and finishing with a strong boozy kick that is a bit on the fusel side. There is not much effervescence and a nice creamy mouthfeel that is well balanced with a bit of diactly butteriness that really works well here, adding up to a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of drpimento
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this served in a Gulden Draak glass (neat glass too). Light head which is long lasting. Plenty of lace. Sweet estery aromas with lots of caramel, malt, hint of roasty and yeasty. Big flavor! all of the aroma, except the esters which translates to nice fruitiness. Lush body. Alcohol is subtle but there. Killer beer. Sweet caramel finish. One of my all time favs. Better on draft than bottle.

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Photo of erz316
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

white stubby 33cl bottle into the Augustijn chalice

A - thats alot of head I'm getting here! Of course, that is relating to the beer. there is a good 2-finger sized head in the chalice, with real good retention. the color is a ruby dark brown, held up to the light it appears to be simply a muddy brown, and wholly opaque.

S - there is a nice lemony or apple twang to the beer, as well there are some herbal tones. some sweetness in the mid ground, and mixing in with this are some alcoholic notes. in the far back there are some strong sugars holding up the body, brown and molasses.

T - sweet malts are up front, presenting the palate with a plethora of different kinds of sugary flavours; these range form a light fruity dessert sweet, to a sweet southern tea, (intense in sugar but checked by the bitterness of the tea). there are some dry alcohol notes in the mid ground, but not a distracting amount. the finish is sweet of, brown sugar or honey, imagine the taste of those two on oatmeal: present but mixed in with a definite grain taste. the after taste is primarily sweet of the same types.

MF&D - this is an incredibly smooth and creamy beer, and makes the drinking process so damn easy. the only thing holding it back from a perfect is the carbonation could have been a bit more crisp. this is not to say that there wasn't any carbonation, it was just very dull on the tongue.

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Photo of russpowell
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An old friend from Beligue, the simlpicity of the stubby white bottle just makes it so cool

Pours a slightlty hazed ruby red/brown with 2 fingers of fluffed up tan coloerd head into a Vondel snifter. Superior head retention & very goood lacing

S: Straw, pepper & phenolic notes

T: Big breadyness & boozey warmth up front. Peppery grainyess, dates, caramel & scorched Belgian candy sugar & oaky dryness once this warms up. Finishes cakey, with tanins, toffee, dryness, tobbaaco-like notes & pecans. What super complex, yet drinkable combonation!

MF: Medium bodied, syruppy & low-low carbonation

Drinks very easy for such a complex beer, very pricey, but a nice inulgence at $5.50 a bottle

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Picked this one up due to ratings and I tend to very much enjoy big Dark Ales and Quads, so figured this was must try. Outstanding looking and smelling beer, nearly perfect. Taste lives up to billing, extremely tasty. Over 10%, no way, not heavy at all. Big bonus points for drinkability. This one is excellent and one I will buy again despite its cost. Very much worth it.

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Photo of mdexter
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Gulden Draak is a one-of-a-kind Belgian. You can tell upon inspection that it's going to be rich and imposing. The beer pours a surprisingly dark, turbid shade of molasses. The aroma is somewhere between caramel and dulce de leche with some earthy notes, maybe raisins and cloves. It has the familiar sweet lace of all tripels with some well-balanced savory malts. The combination produces a boozey mouthfeel like a fortified wine or grappa. It's a strong, unique beer.

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Photo of Marc_V
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Belgian Beer Shop.com. Hazy amber. The head is thick and off white. Leaves a very nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is filled with fruits. It's sweet, vinous and yeasty. A very intense smell. The taste is very complex with licorice, spices, malts and yeast. The mouthfeel is very full and rich. A very long medium bitter finish. This is one of my all time favorites.

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Photo of zooalbert
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I really liked this beer.
The alcohol in the beer is quite high, which something that can be noticed throughout, but does not overpower the taste. Which is quite unique, a sweet after taste with slight bitterness. The taste reminds me of fruit and nuts.
The appearance is quite interesting, a chocolate cloudy look.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

very nice I really enjoyed this beer.

Appearance- reddish brown(chestnut)

Smell- rich malty aroma

Taste- sweet, rich malty flavor

Mouthfeel- medium body, nice carbonation

Drinkability- very drinkable, really enjoyable, intend on drinking it again

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Photo of MinorThreat
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a painted white bomber.

A-Mahogany hue deep rich color and just a skim of head

S-Rather light, some caramel and toast

T-Rich malty sweetness, caramel, herbal tea, a ton going on i this one. The alcohol gives a subtle flavor but hidden really well. The sweetness is there but not overpowering.

M-Tons of suspended CO2 hidden in it, gives a nice balance to the sweetness and lightens up the body.

D-Very rich and should be enjoyed in moderation.

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Photo of jporf911
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a standard glass.

Appearance- Ruddy brown with a one-finger tan head. The fizzy nature of the head makes it seem as though there is significant carbonation, which is not true.

Smell- Sweet hints of molasses, toasted grainy yeast, and lemony spice.

Taste- Given its color, I was not at all expecting the wave of flavor that exploded into my mouth. It strikes a splendid balance between sweet and toasted flavors. Tart dark fruit and malt make an interesting combination. There is almost no alcohol taste at all. There is definitely a bit of mild spiciness, but it fades. The flavors change as the beer travels-- sweet, then toasted and spicy, then a pleasant, mildly sweet aftertaste that lingers for an impressive length of time.

Mouthfeel- Some have described it as "syrupy", but "creamy" is a more accurate adjective. It is somewhat thick but not heavy. It is slightly crisp and definitely refreshing.

Drinkability- This beer is dangerous because you can hardly taste the alcohol at all. I've been drinking it over the course of this review, and my typos have increased substantially by this point. It is supremely drinkable and a wonderful experience. If only it were more affordable.

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Photo of wampahoofus
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark amber with about an inch of cream colored head. Some lacing that fades in a few minutes.

Smell: The sweet esters dominate the smell. Fruity and full of aroma.

Taste: Ah. Lots of fruity esters with this wonderful caramel malt backbone shining through. Very little bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The well rounded malts linger on the palette.

Drinkability: for a beer of this strength, it is scary how drinkable it is. You could sip these all night. However, I would not make it past two.

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Photo of Kuaff
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From the cellar into my snifter... after the cork exploded off as I was unwinding the cage wire and the dragon gushed forth all over the place, that is. Luckily, I was able to direct more of it into my glass than the spillage which ended up on the table, floor, and myself. Wonder why that happened?

A seriously dense, foamy, bone white four-finger head on this one. It sticks around forever. The ale's hue is a deep, dark pure ruby. What stunning beauty!

It has an incredibly scintillating aroma of yeasty sourdough pancake batter, cherries, purple grapes, prunes, raisins, vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch. I think I even get a little cinnamon and allspice, too.

The taste has a potent, POWERFUL sweet breadiness, mixed with a tart dark fruitiness and a caramel-like quality. Cherries and raisins come through a lot, and the finish is kind of like a caramel-glazed cinnamon roll. Pretty awesome.

The feel is another place where this one shines, I think. It's like... rich and buttery... it coats my tongue and sticks to it like warm caramel sauce. High, biting carbonation animates this ponderous elixer with energy.

They call it a dark tripel... but it's really just like a Belgian strong dark ale. And a pretty darn good one.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown and mahogany color, massive head and a thick frothy lace that just won't die. A truly good looking brew.
There is really a lot going on in the aroma. Big dark fruity aroma; raisins, plums and figs soaked in alcohol. Also there is an earthy aroma; some barnyard, hay and raw grain. Sweet malts; reminds me of bannana or raisin bread. Belgian candy sugar. A strong whiff of alcohol at the end of each inhalation.
The taste is similar to the aroma. A lot of the aforementioned dark fruits. Sweet and malt forward on the tongue. This is balanced by phenols, alcohol and peppery spices and mild hops. Sweet finish and an herbal and dry aftertaste.
Big bodied. Creamy, smooth and silky. The silkiness at times makes it feel like milk. Dangerously drinkable. At 10.5% ABV I would call it a sipper, yet, I drank it pretty fast it was so delicious.

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Photo of Brian700
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is exactly what my palate craves. It pours a deep red/brown with a creamy light tan head that stays put. Good lacing.

The aroma is of sweet dark fruit. Figs, raisins, plums.

The taste follows the nose. There is lots of dark fruit like plums, figs, raisins, and I can taste apricot a little as well. The is a nice alcohol presence that is a little bit warming. Excellent.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium/moderate carbonation. Very swishable, coats the palate nicely.

I have been waiting to try this beer for a long time and it surpassed my expectations. I highly recommend this beer.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark ruby amber colour. Very little head but it lingers as I drink it.

Smell: Very Belgian in character. Dark candy sugar, caramel, and a slight sour alcohol aroma.

Taste: Belgian yeasty flavours backed up by a significant sweet malt presence. Slight hoppiness in there but this is a malt-forward beer.

Mouthfeel: Slightly tangy, yet still sweet. No alcohol in flavour but there's definitely an alcohol burn as the beer goes down.

Drinkability: The creaminess makes this dangerously drinkable. No oppressive flavours, just creamy intensity. Probably a one-a-night beer.

Overall: I drank this in Brussels in July 2007 after seeing an American tourist walking in the street and drinking it. Quite a nostalgic beer for anyone who had it for the first time in Belgium-since it is such a memorable brew, you are transported right back to where you first tried it.

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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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