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 crimsonfloyd
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reddish brown. Smells of clove, dates, and syrup. Taste is of caramel, dates, and cola. Nice, smooth, and rich on the tongue, but a bit of a minty bite on the finish. Overall very well rounded and flavorful.

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Photo of handmuffin
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into glass at home. Pours ruby brown in color, medium high clarity, with large, long lasting tawny colored head. Aroma is a mostly dried fruit, like raisins and cherries with some caramel malt. A small amount of alcohol aroma is detected. No hop aroma is detectable. Flavor is more dried fruit and caramel, no dark roasted flavors but a more mellow maltiness, like a Marzen. No hop flavor detectable. Very minimal alcohol flavor at the end. Medium body with medium high carbonation. Overall this beer is fruity, boozy and slightly sweet, with a dry finish. All of the characteristics are very well balanced, producing an extremely drinkable 10.5% beer. It may lack a little of the richness and complexity expected of Belgian beers like the Trappist ales or other quads, but still very interesting and enjoyable.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gentle pour into snifter (it's a volatile Belgian after all). Steady khaki head. Thick nutty brown color.

Sweet nose with some caramel and fruit, among other subtleties.

Similar taste, with brown sugar, sweet malts, and some berries.

Mouth has carb, but is overall medium in body.

General consensus is pretty accurate, a great, sweet-but-strong Belgian dark. Comes in a pretty unique bottle shape too. Strong resemblance to some dunkel lagers, like eisbocks.

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Photo of descobar
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cellared 2013 Bottle:
Smell: Bold caramel and toffee, raisins and plums, estery earthy yeast.
Look: Pours amber/brown with a nice 1/2" thick tan head with decent retention. The beer is opaque and maybe a bit darker at the bottom of the glass, probably due to sediment accumulation. Minimal lacing observed.
Taste: complex combination of strong sweetness (caramel, toffee, candy sugar), dark fruits (raisins dominating), med-heavy bitterness and some vinous notes. Almost tart.
Palate: medium bodied, rich, creamy texture, lively carbonation, and significant astringency at the back of the palate. Finish is sweet and malty with lingering astringency and a slight alcohol burn.
Overall: this is complex Belgian beer. after aging, remains very complex. cannot say it has "mellowed" but is still drinking strong and assertive! #respect hahaha

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Photo of Radcpa
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark golden appearance with a significant head that dissipates quickly. The aroma is a slightly sour fruit. Taste is a smooth sour fruit with a little too much carbonation.

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Photo of spursfaninla
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First had this visiting Spain more than 20 years ago, but we had it on tap then. Got a bottle. Beautiful color, rich taste, a bit sweet, fruity is right.

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Photo of the_awesometeer
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer is a dark caramel brown color. Had a thick white head that thinned out into a layer that lasted my whole beer. The beer has a nice aroma of dark fruits and alcohol, almost a wine like smell to it. It tastes similar to how it smells. A nice sweetness of dark fruits, followed by a nice warmth of alcohol. Very carbonated and full bodied.

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Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy dark amber color with a thick foamy head. Head retention and lacing are excellent. Sweet aroma with Belgian yeasts and dark fruits. Very smooth taste. Raisins, brown sugar, other dark fruits and sweet malts predominate. Medium to lighter bodied with mild to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of BeerBobber
3.31/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a caramel brown with a thick soapy tan head. Leaves a nice heavy lacing down the glass.

Smells of roasted caramel with a lot of sweet malts. Oddly getting something like a boiled rice smell as well.

The taste was plums, raisins, caramel and a lot of malts. All of these on the heavy side of sweet. Getting overpowering raisin taste.

Medium mouth that was sticky on the tongue and has a heavy wet finish.

Not for me. The raisin sweetness overpowering that taste just was not going anywhere for my taste buds. Oddly same reaction from the wife but she thought it was overpowering in sweetness somewhere else, just could not pin point it. The other odd thing was when I went to pour I popped the top on the bottle and it exploded with a rush of smoke followed by a fountain of beer. Both bottles did this and had been sitting silently in the fridge prior to pouring. They were not shaken or disturbed in any fashion. A bit disappointing at a price point of about$20 for a four pack, yet I am still glad I ventured into Draak territory and survived.

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Photo of ordybill
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a bright slightly murky brown with a very small off-white head. The aroma is malt driven with a noticeable alcohol presence. The taste is malt and alcohol. A really good beer, you have to be in the mood to drink a strong ale to fully enjoy it.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dark and hazy brown with a red tint. Super active upon pouring. 3-4 finger head with a slower pour than I normally perform. Very Dark!! Very active and remains so - the head never really dissipates. Nice retention / bubble replenishment. Nice lacing everywhere the brew touches.

Smells of dark sun ripened fruit. Prunes and raisins. Rich and sweet smelling. Quite aromatic. Definitely can smell the Belgian yeast.

Wow! Not what I expected. I saw this brew listed as a Dark Tripel? But see its in the Belgian Dark Strong category. Not much like a tripel at all. Only a hint of bitterness at first sip. Then there is a sweet blast of malt and caramel that overpowers. Sweet and rich fruit flavors swirl around. There's grape/raisin, plum/prune, fig, molasses, caramel, and more. It only dries out slightly as the rush of alcohol cuts through. It gets pretty boozy for a few seconds, but slowly fades out. Not too overpowering. A bit of spice and yeast. Quite complex and like a really strong Quad.

Full-bodied and very fizzy. Stays active and very interesting.

Awesome beer!! Will definitely buy in the future. Really surprised with this one. There are so many flavors in this bottle. Quite strong (high ABV). Rich, fruity, and caramelly.

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Photo of MjBrewhouse
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer knocked my socks off, different flavor profile than I'm used to. Little spice, nice amount of malt, yeast, caramel color and flavor, dark fruit, raisin. I'm in heaven.. oh and 10.5 abv, oh my! All the flavors and alcohol are so well integrated. This is a special beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle, Lidl, Bristol - Pours clear amber with a large light tanned foamy head. High carbonation. Nice lacing. Aroma - yeasty/bready overnotes, ripened orchard fruits. Taste - Sweet, light tartness, ripened fruits, yeasty notes at the back. Lovely strong Belgian ale.

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Photo of Ginger-tipple
4.54/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank it a bit early on a Sunday morning, but it is a magnificent brew. The whiskey flavour could have been a bit stronger and the aftertaste was a bit weak.

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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle,into a Funky Buddha snifter.

Frothy,off white / light khaki,2 finger head with nice retention.Hazy light brown in color,with minimal,distorted light showing through the glass.Medium / heavy carbonation.

The nose starts off with some bright / dark fruit notes...Mostly grape with some orange zest.Also getting some sweet malt,and bread notes.A little bit of caramel and some hidden spices as well.

The palate is very sweet,with tons of bright citrus flavor.Backed up by some sweet bread,and malts.It almost tastes more like a wine,or a Saison.Once it started to warm the caramel,and spice flavors came out beautifully.

The body is medium,with a dry finish.

This is my first time trying a dark tripel,and I'm not sure how to feel about it....Tastes and smells great,bit its almost like I'm not drinking a beer.But overall I would say it is very good.

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Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
4.94/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Okay.....Let me take a breath for a second, because this one is wonderful....And I am still savoring my first glass, with two more to go! The cork wanted out of this one....Popped like a champagne cork. Wonderful yeast, fruit and caramel smell...Beautiful frothy head with light lacing. A wonderful dark brown color... The first sip knocked me over.... It seemed great. The second sip blew my mind as I could taste all the wonderful malt and caramel flavor, yeasty fruitiness, raisin-esque sweetness, and then the spicy background. all these flavors come together wonderfully for a combined oneness. If I forget about "tasting," everything it just melds together perfectly. Mouthfeel: Perfect blend of creamy and carbonated....So easy to drink! But beware, almost 11 ABV! A MUST experience, even at $13 a bottle! I know they call it a "Dark Tripel," but more likely a Strong Dark ale--all semantics I suppose.

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Photo of HappyGuy12345
4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into tulip glass
Appearance: Deep brown in color with over 4 fingers of slowly dissipating tan head
Smell: Strong hints of coffee, caramel and chocolate along with some fruits. This is one of the best smelling beers that I have ever tried.
Taste: Pleasurable arrangement of caramel malts, hops bitterness, coffee, and array of fruits. The flavor profile is complex, but it is done very well in this Triple. The high alcohol content (10.5% ABV ) is obvious to anyone who has tried this beer.
Mouthfeel: Definitely a full bodied beer with moderate amount of carbonation.
Overall: Very tasty and aromatic beer overall. Due to noticeable high alcohol content, this is definitely a beer that needs to be imbibed slowly to be most enjoyable. It is certainly a delicious beer that I would love to try again, and it's no surprise why it has such a high rating on BA.

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep reddish brown with massive foamy head and lacing that just hangs on the glass till empty. Smell is fantastic, very light floral notes and fruit mix with a breadiness to it. Taste is great, I expected a bite of alcohol but it was very smooth and clean, great tastes of fruit, floral and malt. The finish is very clean and leaves a slight wine finish. Overall this was an awesome beer. I always see it at the store and I finally gave it a shot. I will be drinking this many more times, excellent beer and just a complex mix of flavors that result in a world class beer.

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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 Gobearswalter34
4.84/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a hazy, dark cherry red with a one-finger, creamy, off-white head. Lots of lacing, no carbonation.
S- Awesome Carmel malt an dark fruit smell.
T- Follows nose. Awesome dark cherry pie! Tons of malt, yeast and funk combines with Dark fruits of cherry, dates, caramel for an amazing triple, A slight slap on the ass on the way out from the alcohol.
F- This is one perfectly smooth beer. There is some age on this one, and I wonder what this would taste like fresh from the brewery in Belgium. One day my friends!
O- I do not have a lot of experience with the Trippel. This is the best I have had.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.65/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the single-serve iconic white bottle emblazoned with gold dragon.

Appearance--Classic murky brown Belgian Strong Dark with classic two-finger head giving way to a faint lacing all the way down the drink.

Aroma--Malts and dark dried fruits, VERY forward, but with nearly as strong herbal notes to balance out the presentation.

Taste--Where do I start. This has complexity in spades. Get a wine reviewer because I won't do this justice. I will revert to the beer-reviewer vernacular. Reminds one a bit of a barleywine because of the depth of flavors that are muddling around on my palate, crossed with a tripel, because there is a deceptive dryness and bitterness that comes through as well. Maybe a little heavy-handed on the malts up front, but balanced well with herbal notes and spicy alcoholic notes. The ABV is there but exceptionally well-hidden. Dangerously-drinkable.

Feel--This thing would probably come off too darn sweet, but the carbonation is pretty high for the style, and delivers just the crisp finish that is needed. It prevents this from being what would otherwise possibly be a "cloying" offering. Maybe a little "thin" compared to what I would expect, but not in a bad way.

Overall--If you're with some wine snobs that look down their noses at your brew, have them try this one on for size with whatever they drink with their cheese. A bold, excellent, brew that stands up well against the best of the style.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a slightly hazy red orange with a one finger off-white head with good retention and nice lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dark stone fruit, sweet and slightly boozy. Flavor follows, with caramel and bready malt, rich fresh and dried plums, hints of tart apricots, Belgian yeast. Finishes warming with a hint of bops and lingering dark fruit. Medium bodied with light creaminess. I can't believe I never reviewed this beer; it was one my first "wow" imported beers and introductions to Belgians. Possibly one of the top 10 Belgian beers I've drunk all my life. As a matter of fact, this Belgian ale inspired me to buy my first dedicated glass, a Gulden Draak tulip that I still use frequently today, so much the gold trim around the lip is worn off. This is a classic Belgian strong dark ale, with great fruit notes and big supporting caramel malt. It's presentation in an unusual bottle, look, smell and taste are all great. A classic, and one of the ales I miss in my quest to try so many different beers; it's been years since I had one of these. A genuine pleasure.

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Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up on my trip to Belgium last year. Pours a dark brown colour with beige foamy head that lasts and leaves lacing. The aroma is rich of flavour which include caramel, dried fruit, raisins & figs. Taste is on the thick & slight sweet malty side with caramel, dried fruits, plums, cloves, raisins & hints of spice. Aftertaste has a slightly dry finish, alcoholic warmth and complex fruitiness with a low to medium bitterness. Full body, moderate carbonation. Considering the high alcohol content, it is very well hidden. I'm pleasantly surprised just how good it was & certainly would have it again.

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Photo of OlaB
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: gives a dark red color with a good top of creamy head. Nice lacings on the glass.

S: dark and dried fruits like raisins,plum and pears . I also sense some cherries. Other thing I feel on the nose is caramel,peppercorn and candied sugar.

T&F: the taste is dark fruits with nice caramel malts in the background. In the middle I get more of a peppery flavour and I also get that yeasty sweetness in my mouth, the finishing is sweet dryness in the aftertaste that last for a good time. Gives almost a immediately warming feeling after the first sip.

O: a classic belgian beer that is very enjoyable and tasty. One of the better belgian dark beers

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Photo of SargeMcCluck
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muddy amber-brown with a small, eggshell head.

The initially modest aroma opens up as the beer warms, bringing on a blanket of peppery, fruity toffee, masked somewhat by a background of boozy raisin. Biscuit, cloves, rum and nutmeg are added to the mix when sipping, making for a balance of darker, autumnal flavours and the cloud of crisp, sweet alcohol that remains apparent on the nose. This strikes me as being something of a clear midway point between a Belgian pale or tripel and the fruity complexities of a quad.

The mouthfeel is pleasant fizz and enveloping warmth, making things very comfy as you get down to the bottom. If it weren't for the price, this would be a very nice 'any time' kind of treat. I'm definitely picking up that badass goblet, too

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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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