Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,335 Reviews
Gulden DraakGulden Draak

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark Triple Ale brewed with caramel malt and re-fermented with Bordeaux wine yeast

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

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Reviews: 1,335 | Ratings: 3,906
Photo of rudzud
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - A dark lightly hazy copper pour with half a finger of tan head that slowly fades.

S - Lots of sweet malts and deep, dark fruits (figs and raisins), but ALOT of booze.

T - Like the nose there are lots of rich dark fruits and sticky sweetness but behind that there is so, so much booze.

M - Should be heavy but the fair amount of carbonation keeps it up off the tongue.

O - I feel there are better strong dark ales than this. It was goos, but way, way too boozy for my liking.

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Photo of xav33
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Gulden Draak
11.2 oz bottle
Soft pour in a tulip glass
Unknown bottling, marked 30CD 11:22, slain 12/06

Poured a muddy ruddy brown with a huge fully lasting yellowish brown head with good lacing.

Smelt of strong candy corn, cotton candy, sucre d'orge, candied pineapple, fruitcake.

Taste was upfront strong to harsh sweet malt and fruitcake and moderate bitter spruce, light orange sourness followed by a strong bitter moss and mushrooms yeastiness and dark roasted malt, and sweet candied oranges and fruitcake with some light bitter grass hops and dry sherry or brandy tones on a long finish. Palate was medium to full bodied, soft and creamy, lively carbonation, strong astringency and light alcoholic wafts.

Overall, a generally cloying and sweet beer, but a wonderful look, smell and great taste. Better when warmish.

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Photo of Ek0nomik
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured In: Wine Glass

Appearance: The pour is a dark auburn and cocoa color with a finger of spacious, light cocoa colored head. The head retention is good, and it also produces a nice amount of lace along the wine glass. The carbonation looks high, but what one would expect with a Belgian ale.

Smell: The nose is a mixture of sweet dark malt and dark fruit. The malt seems slightly toasted, with some notes of chocolate. The fruit brings out fig, raisins, and surprisingly a little bit of tart cherry. The nose is actually quite nice.

Taste: Perhaps I am not a huge fan of the style, but I found the nose really pleasant, but the palate, well, not as much. The tasting starts out with slightly sweet dark malt. Alcohol starts to shine through, right as the fruit is on its way. Some fig and raisins come through, as well as some spice from the Belgian yeast. Unfortunately that slightly tart and sourness in the nose doesn't show up. The mixture of flavors here just isn't playing well for me.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated, medium to full bodied.

Drinkability: I wouldn't pick up this beer again. The nose had me excited and ready to dive in, but the combination of yeast, alcohol and dark fruit was a combination of flavors that just wasn't very attractive to my palate.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL corked and caged bottle.

(A)- Pours a hazy amber color with some white froth.

(S)- A sweet malty and rich profile with plum and prune dark fruits. Hints at vanilla sweetness.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Very rich and sweet with dark fruits of plum, prune, and fig.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. A nice balance to it with heavy heavy malts and a hefty sweetness.

(D)- A solid belgian strong dark ale. A bit heavy and sweet to drink too much of, but tasty.

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Photo of Vegita182
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Not going to do a standard review. Just wanted to say that I love dopplebocks and went into this beer expecting it to be similar to one since it was a triple. That being said, I was sadly disappointed. Maybe its just not my cup of tea. But it had no carbonation in the mouth, and was just like taking a bite out of fudge with nothing to wash it down. Just too much sweetness, mixed with the thickness of this beer was hard for me to get around. The biggest disappointment I had was the smell, So complex and inviting, makes your mouth water just thinking about it. Then the taste just doesn't do it justice. Overall I wouldn't buy one again.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap as part of a Belgian sampler. Expectations were high, this one's been on my "must have" list for a while and I love a good strong ale. Color is light brown, with a small cap of tightly-bubbled head. Aroma is of malts, sweet dark fruits, raisins, plums. The taste is metallic plum/fig booze. Too sweet, and mish mash of strong booze and sweetness that alternate in every sip. The fig flavor was too much. Mouthfeel was smooth, at least. Probably not going to have this one again.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Gorgeous deep ruby coloration with murky brown hints. Nice head of froth that rode the whole way down. Laced very well. Easily one of the most attractive brews I've seen in a while.

S - Alcohol hits first, but sifting past that a barrage of different fruits and nuts makes themselves known.

T - Apple and sugary malts seem to dominate the profile, which is consistently battling the alcohol taste for the spotlight. Slightly disappointing, I can't help but think this would be much more flavorful with a lower abv. Finishes sweet and fairly dry.

M - Full bodied, low carbonation level, pungent alcohol sting.

D - Small servings only please, the large bottle of this was difficult to finish, even sharing it with friends. It seems that Steenberge loves high alcohol brews, I just wish they'd make a session brew. They obviously have great talent, but does every beer need to be over 10%?

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep dark brown tinged with dark reds. Pours with a ton of carbonation. Head is massive, pillowy, dirty-white. Leaves super sticky lacing. Solid retention. Drops to a small, loose cap and collar.

Smell: Loaded with Belgian yeast. Spice and some serious candi sugar and caramel sweetness. Clove, ripe banana, deeply Belgian and peppery. Some hints of chocolate as well. Belgian sweetness. Bubblegum, but faint.

Taste: Ripe banana and clove. Big malty sweetness. Candi sugar layered throughout. Belgian yeast adds a ton of spiciness. Some minor lemon and hay. Slightly damp. Over cooked and caramelized malts. Some caramel and biscuit malts. Faint hints of bubblegum. Heavy clove as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Slightly high carbonation on a medium body. Clean overall. Some dryness toward the end.

Overall: Draconian? I think not.

This is no mythical beast of awesome power. It's a solid take on the style and brings some unique malts to the party, but it ultimately lacks depth and an overall appeal.

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Photo of rvdoorn
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Look: the beer pours dark brown color with a nice light-brown head.
Smell: Roasted malts, dark fruits, caramel, dark sugar and alcohol.
Taste: Dark sugar, caramel malts, dark fruits, more sugar with some slight hoppy aftertaste in the end
Mouthfeel: too high carbonation and a medium body
Overall: Too alcoholic, too sweet and not a very good mouthfeel

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I thought this beer was pretty good. It was spirited, and tasted to me a bit like cognac (not that I’ve had cognac more than once in my life), and was a nice way to cap off an evening.

It poured a clear red sparkling color. A liquor-like aroma that I’m guessing is cognac-like with a deep smell and lots of alcohol esters. Flavor was cereal and malty with a warming sensation and thick brown liquor like caramel flavor. Mouthfeel was thick and astringent, like a liquor. Pretty good.

I’d recommend this.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gulden Draak is a nice full flavored dark belgian beer. It pours a hazy dark orange color that reminded me of apple cider. The head is slightly off white, medium bodied and remains all the way to the bottom of the glass. An aroma of clove, brown sugar, yeast and mild alcohol hovers over the surface.

Each sip of this slightly chewy medium bodied beer is packed with flavor. It's an interesting combination of clove, bubblegum, and caramel malt. There are hints of alcohol and a brown sugar sweetness mixed in that contribute to its sweet finish. A mild alcohol and caramel malt flavor is left behind.

This beer seems to me like a good example of the Belgian strong dark ale style, but does not seem any better or worse than other brands out there, such as Unibroue Maudite.

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Photo of donnebaby
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown, lively looking brew. Very bright. Loose but ample light brown head. Smells like candy sugar, molasses, and sweet vanilla. A dark tripel -- cool, why not. Pretty high residual bitterness over a mildly roasty, sweet and juicy flavor. The beer is surprisingly well balanced for 10.5%, with alcohol certainly being felt, but not tasted. Sweetness becomes a bit cloying. Too spritzy and boozy for me to want to enjoy more than one of these, but nice on a warm day fowsure.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The back label read, in broken English, that this is a "dark tripel". I didnt know what to expect.

A- Deep reddish brown that can best be described as purple. The head is sizable but doesnt hold for any special length of time.

S- Totally sweet but sort of weak. Loads of fruits (like one would expect from a tripel). Plum and fig mostly.

T- Very very sweet. Nearly no balance. Huge on figs.

M- Not sticky and not too dry. Full body with unobtrusive carbonation.

D- This beer is good but nothing special. I think it is a bit too much money.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Yardhouse in Scottsdale, AZ.
Poured a deep amber color with golden brown highlights, crowned by a good two fingers of sticky, foamy head that hangs around a good long while. Nose of sweet, bready malt, raisin, and a hint of spicy hops, along with a touch of yeasty funk. Taste is mildly sweet up front, then becomes richer and maltier as it goes down.

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Photo of hustlesworth
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- loose airy beige head was completely unexpected, full of bubbles and fizzily active. settles rather quickly with a few spots of lace left behind. body is clear and dark rosewood color with a burgundy tint. still a little disappointed with the foam, but it easily rebuilds itself (with better texture) with a good swirl of the tulip.

S- sticky sweet dark fruits and dark cane sugar. apple, cherry, plum, red grape, and a touch of fruity alcohol esters. caramel and toffee come out also with an earthy graininess. some spiciness from the yeast, allspice, & peppercorn, sandalwood, vanilla, acetone, and what may be noble hops.

T- at first it's almost sickly sweet until a fresh grain taste pushes in and begins to balance things out a little. a bit metallic also, my overall impression is plums figs dates and raisins soaked in cognac and a ridiculous amount of candy sugar. almost overly sweet for may taste on the front half but mid way zesty hop flavor and alcohol bitterness cut through somewhat. port wine, wood, and soil, earthy hops, and dark chocolate undertones. yeast spiciness here as well, but it seems be disguised by alcohol and sweetness. earthy and sharp bitter finish with still some more fresh grain taste lingering on the palate.

MF- rich and full, the candy sugar has definitely pumped up the body to stellar proportions. almost stout thick, mouth filling with tight medium carbonation, sadly a filmy coating of cloying sugary sludge remains.

D- i am totally on the fence with this damn beer. i'm not a man with a sweet tooth, so naturally the sweeter things don't appeal to me as much, but as many pros as this beer has for me, it has an equal amount of cons. potency being the least of my concerns, the sugary sweetness seems to drown out other subtle flavors and i would gladly trade the high abv for something a bit more...nuanced. or should i say, something that allows the nuances to be appreciated.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.51/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle with no visible date.

A- hazy dark brown colored bottle with a gushing 3 finger head that quickly reduces to a thin layer on the surface. moderate lacing left on the sides of the glass.

S- sweet malts and yeast are the main things i notice first. also some fruits. apples and pears mostly. smells moderately alcoholic.

T- very sweet upfront. lots of yeast and the fruits i could smell. decent amount of alcohol in the finish.

M- extremely light and fizzy from high level of carbonation

D- had some trouble finishing this one. its not that i hated it, its just that 750 is too big. next time ill go with the smaller 330ml. certainly not my favorite for this style.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.52/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Appearance: Presented in a unique white bottle with a classy looking label that features an ancient style dragon. Practically jumps out of the bottle into the tulip I served it in. Head builds to a massive 4 fingers very quickly. Careful with the pour on this one... Head is light tan, stays around for a loooong time, and leaves clumpy lacing on the sides of the glass. The brew is extremely dark red. Appears brown at first glance, but held to light a red note shines through.

Smell: Aroma is surprisingly light. Fresh grapes at first glance, but after a swirl gives off a nice spicy smell. Cinnamon comes to mind, but fades quickly into fruit again. Great smelling beer.

Taste: Not too impressed here. The flavor is huge and complex, but for some reason doesn't work the way it should It's still way above average, but there's just someting about the way the flavors interact in the brew that slightly turns me off. Starts with a dark fruit character that leads into molasses or syrup or something. A slight chocolatey malt note comes in at the middle, and then finishes with a big yeasty punch to the throat.

Notes: This is the last of the 4 pack I purchased of this. I made it through all of them, but my mouth feels bruised every time I finish one of these. Maybe too complex for it's own good, this beer is a good choice, but a very tiring drink that can't be rushed.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy dark brown with a lasting head.
Nose shows loads of spicy phenols with a fair amount of candi sugar and golden syrup showing through too. Also caramel. Very sweet. Not too mention the spicy alcohol. Very bold aroma, that's for sure.
Flavours are similarly sweet, with lots of caramel, golden syrup and brown sugar before the alcohol rolls through. Somewhat cloying and boozy in the finish.
Carbonation is crazy high.

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Photo of BierStein711
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into 16oz chalice two and a half finger soda head

Dark brown tea color

Smelled of barley malt and hops

Tasted malt and hop bitterness, and alcohol

Mouthfeel: Warming and thick, the alcohol really came into play here.

Overall, I can see why so many people consider this to be a world class beer. I for one probably would opt out of having it again.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle. $3.99, I think.

Appearance: Pours clear brown with red highlights. Ruby when held up to light. Its a little lighter in color than a Coke. Big rocky off white head fades within a few minutes, leaving a thin rim, but lots of lacing.

Smell: Very sweet with dark fruits. Also some sour or tart fruit smells too which seems weird. Boozy. Swirling brings put some nice yeastiness. Pretty good, not great.

Taste: Wow its hot. Very boozy. Rum soaked fruit, and unfortunately some sour fruit taste as well. Finishes with nice spicy bready taste.

Mouthfeel: Overall its pretty full with a little syrupiness but carbonation is adequate enough to keep it from seeming overly syrupy or flat.

Drinkability: Well, its pretty good, not great. I'm not a real fan of the strong booziness in this style, or the sourness (although its slight). I would drink it again if given to me, but I wouldnt buy it-- there are better choices for the money.

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Photo of Jerreve
3.53/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drank one from my cellar. 33cl bottle

I must say it didn't quite taste as usual. Strange harsh tast, very alcoholic. I was expecting something different, smooth and sweeter. Normally one of my favourites to end the day in my chair.
Was it because it was still a young one, perhaps.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.54/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Gulden Draak pours ruby brown, almost clear with no traces of yeast?, but a generous sticky head for this ABV. Aroma is vinous, very malty (caramel, butterscotch) with a tickling grapes character melted with ashes. The taste is as sweet as anticipated, very caramelic, but mostly floral clover honey and licorice with a slight medicinal note and more brown sugar toward the finish which is all malt. I couldn't drink too much of this myself, but I appreciate the sipping experience and the medium body fits well. I think this would blend together better being forgotten for a while in a cave. Thanks Martin!

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pors a murky brown witha large tan head. Head melts away rather quickly, and leaves just a thin cap.

Aroma is very sweet, toffee, toffee, toffee. some fruitiness too. (fig, prune)

Flavor is sweet, but nat as sweet as I thought given the aroma. Caramel, prune, sugar.

smooth and creamy mouthfeel

High ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle served in a tulip. Poured a murky reddish-brown with a quarter inch, tan-colored, effervescing head embedded with tiny bubbles. Head eventually dissipated into a swirl with strands of lacing revealed as the brew was consumed. Nose is predominantly dark fruit, definitely some cherries in the mix. Taste follows nose, but quite a bit of alcohol heat, as well as a slightly medicinal, cherry cough syrup quality with a light, hoppy finish. Mouthfeel fell between light- and medium-bodied with an appropriate amount of background carbonation. In terms of drinkability, I found this brew a little too close to cough medicine to be enjoyable.

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Photo of fisherman34
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in colour with medium carbonation. Aromas of berry fruit, bubblegum, sweet malts, and caremel. More sweet malts in the mouth, along with notes of black pepper, wood, brown sugar, and red grape skin. Heavy in the mouth, but the carbonation level keeps it from getting too cloying. Pretty good, but not as good as I had hoped it would be.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,906 ratings.
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