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: 3,904
Photo of emagana
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours a dark brown with little to no head. I poured super slow so that may contribute to the head. When I first started to smell the beer was during the pour. The yeast was definatly present. In the tulip I got hints of bubble gum and some ripe bannanas. A little alcohol. At first drink I get a caramel malt over powering flavor. Mouth feel shows plenty of carbonation from the second fermentation. I then get lingering bubble gum as it finishes. The beer will compliment some grilled potatoes. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of melbow
3.39/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first taste was sweet and delicious, warming me on a cold night. The second was not any different, in a bad way. The only thing you can taste while sipping is the distinct sweet taste of burnt caramel that hits the palette strong and lingers.

It was very one dimensional.

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Photo of david18
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had a twelve ounce draft of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on the Upper West side. One of the reasons I like Tripels over Dubbels, Quads and Strong Darks is because I like the lightness better. So I'm not sure what a dark Tripel is.

This beer was pretty good but not a real standout. Color was a dark amber with a dark head and low to medium carbonation. Aroma was typical for a quad, yeast, dark fruit, very little hops. The flavor as well had a lot of malty and dark fruit characteristics. Good if you like quads.

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Photo of crazyfraser
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance... Its kind of a red brown with a creamy white head,...

Smell.... is kinda weak, a little boozy.

Taste.... defiantly boozy.. almost too strong to enjoy.. a little caramel, wheaty..

mouthfeel.... very bubbley, high carbonation,

Overall I am not impressed with this brew, too strong, over powers the flavors ..

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle served into a Gulden Draak goblet in Ghent, Belgium. Reviewed from notes.

A: 1.5 finger head of nice cream. Respectable retention for the high ABV. Dark amber colour. Could be black as well. Or perhaps ruby. Hard to tell with the darkness.

Sm: Dark fruity esters. Lightly fruity hops. Maybe some caramel. Certainly caramelized malt.

T: Dark fruit body. Hops linger through the finish. Complex and layered esters comprise the general tone of this beer, but they work together rather than ringing distinct, which is as it should be. Balanced. Some indeterminate cream, perhaps on the open and/or finish. It's buried, anyway.

Mf: Smooth and wet.

Dr: Hides its ABV quite well. Affordable and worth a try for any beer fanatic.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.41/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

The first time I had this beer, I was overwhelmed with delight. I remember it being absolutely amazing. Now this time...

Poured a dark, ruddy, raisin color. Like liquified figs. Extremely sweet aroma with notes of raisins, prunes, caramel, and slight yeast. The appearance and smell of this beer are the best traits. The taste is exceedingly of prunes and alcohol, with lesser notes of raisins, molasses, and winey tastes. Mouthfeel is EXTREMELY thick and creamy, moderate to high carbonation, which is an odd mix. Not very drinkable at all. I had a hard time finishing just one. First and foremost a dessert beer if you are a fan of dark, extremely ripe fruits like prunes and raisins. I remember this beer being better last time I had it.

Perhaps I just got a bad one. I am in no way discarding this beer based on this try. I will be buying Gulden Draak again based on my first exhilarating experience with this brew.

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Photo of emsroth
3.41/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330ml stubby. The last of my van steenberge sampler pack =(

App: Slight head, but that was a result of the pour so I won't deduct. Wonderful amber with the perfect level of translucency: not cloudy but not see through.

Smell: Sweet fruity malt. Definitely cherries (again--must be the van steenberge yeast. I love that smell though, but I am getting a bit bored of it). A hint of roasted malt. No noticeable hops. Occasional alcoholic fumes.

TAste: A subdued sweetness runs throughout. Part caramel, part fruit, and the majority is dry, slightly toasted honey. Ends with slight husk and a seductive herbal finish from the hops. A truly unique beer.

one of the fullest bodies I've had in a beer. A bit subdued in the carbonation department.

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Photo of Jesse13713
3.41/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Maudite Tulip.

Appearance - Two fingers of airy foam cover up a sea of deep brown. Fairly impressive lacing. Looks sort of like a dark fruit juice; like plums or pomegranite.

Smell - Smells heavily of tart dark cherries with a slight belgian yeast note lingering in the background. Smells sort of soapy in a way. Hints of alcohol.

Taste - Very heavy in the area of dark fruits. The plums and pomegranates transfer well from nose to mouth. Dark cherries are present as well. A very sweet finish that makes my mouth pucker slightly. The ABV probably has something to do with this.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - The alcohol is pretty well hidden for being 10.5% ABV. A very sweet and dark fruity beer. Most of the alcohol taste comes with the sweet fruit finish. I enjoyed this beer. For its style, it is high up on my list.

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Photo of MichaelMeister
3.41/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice tan head on this beer. Malt aroma hits you hard after pouring. The first sip smacked of the 10.5% abv right off the bat, but seemed to settle down after several more (sips), but the warming feeling as it flows down the esophagus is actually nice. The taste is slightly sweet and pleasant. It's a decent beer, but I've always felt that higher OG beers detract from the flavor a bit. No different with this one, but still a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of ginemesis
3.41/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A cloudy yet strong caramel color with very good lacing.

S- It smells like an Irish Spring dryer sheet, a very clean and refreshing smell

T- Soapy with an hint of spice that I cannot pinpoint. Tastes like a Marzen.

M- Pleasant creaminess with an appropriate amount of lingering for aftertaste

O- An obvious Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Would be great on a crisp, cool evening...not a cold night or a hot day.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.42/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance; cloudy reddish brown. Tan head that quickly dissipates, leaving little lacing. A thin layer of foam stays on top throughout the drink.

smell; sweet malts and alcohol, simple but of the highest quality. Some plum in there but the alcohol really dominates and mutes other complexities in the smell.

taste; yeasty at first but quickly becoming bitter from the alcohol. Sweetness is no match for the alcohol flavor and only in the aftertaste can one really appreciate the malt profile, which is mango like in my opinion.

A good beer but there are better options for the style.

mouthfeel; rich and medium bodied, smewhat chewy with a sticky feel.

drinkability; Too strong to be a session beer for sure, still easy to drink but the alcohol could be better hidden.

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Photo of Moose90
3.42/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Stubby white bottle, served at room temperature and poured into a 16oz tulip for tasting.

A — Pours out with a dark ruby brown hue into the glass, there is a very tall, bubbly cream colored head that forms and resides above the beer. The head settles a bit and leaves behind spots of lacing along the inside of the glass that are quite thick and heavy.

S — Smell is strongly phenolic and brings some sharp notes of dark fruit, yeast, pepper, cherry, caramel.

T — Taste is much like the nose, though not as assertive, there are notes of sweet caramel, light chewy tannic fruit character, roasted malts, light bitter coffee component. Big yeasty kick to round things out.

M — Medium-Full bodied and a bit sharp with an apparent alcohol heat.

O — A fine beer in its own right, it is just a bit too sharp and hot for my tastes, perhaps this should be chilled slightly before consumption.

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Photo of Rzzzzz
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured cold into a Chimay glass. Deep brown with a luscious head, slow to dissipate. Nice lacework. Strong swirl produces aromas of malt, caramel, & raisins. Initial taste is surprisingly tart, notes of cranberry or grapefruit, malt and alcohol. Heavy on the carbonation. I remember enjoying my last one a lot more. Should be served warmer is my guess.

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Photo of TheBoog013
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750ml bottle

This was an overwhelming beer!

Appearance-- Dark, cloudy and enticing with a firm head.

Smell-- Alcohol comes through right away. Malty with notes of plums.

Taste-- This was very frustrating for me. I felt that the carbonation overpowered everything but the alcohol. I got faint hints of coriander, ginger and bread.

Mouthfeel-- The mouthful overpowered my taste buds with carbonation!

Drinkability-- The most frustrating part of this beer was that by the end I began enjoying it but I think that was mostly due to the alcohol level. Identifying anything past the carbonation, alcohol content or malt flavor was for me, virtually impossible. Maybe my palette wasn't ready for this beer...

I'm going to eventually give this beer another shot but it'll be awhile.

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Photo of Absumaster
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A mahogany dark colored beer with a big head. Smell of candy sugar and some esters, layered with alcohol.
First taste made me frown, the alcohol almost numbed out my mouth! Is this the beer I tasted a few years ago? This tastes far more alcoholic and other tastes are pushed to the back. The burning sensation of the alcohol together with the bitterness (which was present and OK) are sort of in balance. After biting through the alcohol, I an taste some malty whiskey-like and smokey flavors. A lot of sugar has been added, resulting in a rather thin body and should give it a better drinkability, but this is not the case, the beer is syrupy and sticky.

All together a pretty disappointing beer, which is way over the top
in alcohol.

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Photo of Cwrw
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Brought back from Brussels. BB: 30/03/06

Pouring from the faux-ceramic white bottle with the strangely Asian-looking black label, Draak poured beautifully into my abbey-style glass, revealing an extrememly rich-toned beer. At first I seen light ruby, and a dark brown with hints of red, with the slightest touch of light orange.Thick, sedimentary and caramel-thick in body-appearance. A mocha-coloured head formed, which was solid and thick, but was not very consistent throughout my drinking it. Swirling the glass from time to time kept it creamy. Patchy lace, sticky but not screening the glass. The aroma is rather complex, with dark mustiness and phenols dominating. Dark fruits, richly sweet malt. Hints of licorice and leather, horehound, medicinal syrup. Prunes and dates also were quite easy to smell. Initially, the aroma with the glass a good distance from my nose was mouthwatering fruitiness; in closer, the alcohol is immediately evident. Later I sense sourdough and sharp blue cheese. Beastly malt, huge alcohol, and yeast. The flavour at first was metallic, like iron, followed by intense fruit like a cherry brandy, or mollasses. A finish of yeast and oiliness, the everpresent alcohol, and a great deal of bitterness for me. The aftertaste is initially all sweetness, but after a few seconds it leaves the throat very dry and dusty-feeling, which is why I rated mouthfeel and drinkability quite low. The feeling left in my mouth disappointed me: alcohol combined with extreme must is far too dry; mouth-puckering muskiness. Dry tannins as in a rich red wine. This beer literally seemed to purge all saliva from my mouth, and I could actually feel my glands pumping to hydrate my mouth. For me personally, this greatly reduces is drinkability value. Others may not have the same experience. The least taste is in the middle, though it remains full-bodied and resiny. Oily yet gaseous in the mouth. The lees were less sweet, with a strong iron taste. I enjoyed this beer up until the mouth could not handle the dry dustiness. Too much alcohol in the character of it.

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Photo of fullsweep
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330 mL brown bottle wrapped in white plastic, poured into a pint glass (sorry, it's all I have).

A: excellent visuals; almost cola-like colour but a bit lighter, maybe like a dark ginger ale; thickest head ever--my 330 wouldn't fit into the full pint glass until the head dissipated a bit; good head retention, lots of lacing!

S: strong alcohol, some fruitiness as well.

T: again strong on the alcohol, but some malty sweetness--very sweet and syrupy, as well as some ripe fruits.

M: lots of carbonation bite, much more than I'm used to with any type of Belgian ale I've tried before; also a bit tacky from the sweetness.

D: the high ABV makes it less drinkable for me; the 330 size helps and I had to drink this very slowly; but I must admit it's more drinkable than I expected at the first sip.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a hazy, dark brown body with a huge, frothy, off-white head.

Smell: Full aroma brings forth notes of dark caramel malt, plums (and prunes), dark candi sugar, and even brown sugar. You can smell that alcohol lurking in there, too, along with a noticeable sourness.

Taste: Sugar-infused caramel maltiness. A distinct fruitiness delivers a taste of stewed plums. Dash of brown sugar liqueur, if there was such a thing. Small hint of dried banana chips. Sour yeastiness. Warming finish with lingering tastes of fruit and sugar.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body with some chewiness to it. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a tripel wrapped in a +2 Cloak of Maltiness. For that, it's okay, as long you don't mind the high level of sweetness and glaring alcohol presence.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
3.44/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany color with one fingered head.

Smells funny. Too much alcohol smell and a little ripe fruit. Reminds me of a hospital lab. Almost prevented me from drinking it.

Taste is sweet with some ripe fruit. Alcohol is pretty strong for me.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Good carbonation.

Overall this was o.k. Not as good as I had hoped it would be. Have one cellaring and I hope it improves.

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Photo of Kraken
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 3/31/09

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into two over sized wine goblets. Split with GF. Firm pour evokes a scant head. Fair amount of lace. Color is a dark and cloudy brown, lightening a bit near the edges.

Nose- Nice. Offers up plenty of caramel and nutty aromas. Hints of vanilla, and a bit of booziness.

Palate- Very interesting. Lots of sweet caramels. A pleasant nuttiness to it. Some sour, off putting notes. Smooth, but with a pronounced bite of alcohol in the finish. Finishes dry with vanilla and caramel notes.

Mouthfeel- Active, dry, slightly cloying.

Drinkability- Strong, unique, One is enough.

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Photo of iridius
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Ok, so this was one of those beers that I did not like at all during the first glass, got smoother the second and by the end I wanted some more, but at 10.5% ABV probably better that I only had one bottle. I would not buy it again at $15/big bottle, but I also would recommend people that like stronger beers try it at least once, and make sure you have a larger bottle to get the experience.

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Photo of jeffmonarch
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle in a snifter glass.

A - Medium brown/orange with tan head that lingers for a while.

S - Sweet and tart fruit smell with some light malt.

T - Sweet as the smell had shone. It also shows the alcohol but it is subtle enough as to not affect the flavor of the beer. Bright and floral. Good flavor.

M - Light bodied with good carbonation.

D - Good beer. It is not a standout for me but is definitely a good beer.

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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 Jablonski
3.45/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: decently clear, with a ruby red appearance when held to light; small head and no lacing

S: bananas and candi sugar; a bit too sweet

T: dark fruits are stronger in the taste and the candi sugar still comes through; strong metallic aftertaste

M: good carbonation and on the thicker side

D: close to average in drinkability; strong ABV

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Photo of dauss
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown, with just a hint of red. medium sized head that really stays. Good lacing all the way down the glass. Smells extremely odd. Very pungent, spicy, sour. This brew is extremely thick. It just sticks to your mouth and is a slow drinking beer. Its just overpowering how malty it is, how strong the mouthfeel is, and the sweetness. Not very hoppy, has a citrus flavor to it. Also its 10.5% abv, but you can hardly taste the alcohol at all. Definitely worth trying, at least once.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,904 ratings.
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