Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
3,920 Ratings
Gulden DraakGulden Draak
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium
vansteenberge.com

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
Ratings:
3,920
Reviews:
1,336
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
305
Gots:
859
For Trade:
4
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,920 |  Reviews: 1,336
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4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. This bottle is over a year and a half old at this point. I've tried this many times before, but this is the perhaps the oldest that I've had it. This is the last bottle that I've saved from the Van Steenberge gift pack that I purchased in December 2012.

When fresh, this retains a ruby darkish color overall, but the age on this definitely shows this time around, showcasing a garnet brownish color with a typically fluffy off-khaki head. The fluff in particular resembles the same effect as a newly poured root beer float, and while it dies down quickly, it manages to leave behind a strong half finger of head that lasts a good long while. Carbonation shows, with bubbles gliding upwards from the center of the glass, despite minor cloudiness fogging the beer up. This is a classic beer of its kind, and very recognizable among the pack.

While this still smells sweet ever after all this time, the age on this reveals some yeasty and malt nuances I haven't encountered before - funky yeasty phenols resembling a freshly cut green pear, yellow apples, caramelized banana, and, of course, the usual array of raisins, dates, prunes washed in a caramel substance. Toasted toffee finishes it up, alongside a green bell pepper, white peppercorn spiciness that tingles the nostrils each time. Smells sweet at the finish, but the booze is well hidden and the malt and yeasty notes keep things interesting. Far less boozy than their quad (or worse, their Piraat ale), and it's definitely victorious from that perspective.

The flavor comes as a pleasant surprise, especially considering how well cut down the sweetness this time around. Rather than the heavy Port/plum malt profile this beer is typically known of, the apple/pear yeast combo is nice and toasty, and the peppery flavor coats the caramelized dried fruit sweetness nicely, making it an easy beer to drink and hiding the alcohol effectively while striving for complexity. The peppery texture tingles the palate, and warms up the throat, and the caramel, light Sherry note at the finish makes it earthier and nuttier, with a decadent yet restrained sweetness that is approachable. Coats the palate well with a firm viscosity, and finishes lightly yeasty yet bitter, earthy, and spicy.

Not sure if I like it fresh or with age on it, but it still is a classic, even here. This was one of the greats for me when I first started drinking better beer, and revisiting it with age on it was a pleasure indeed. I don't usually drink Belgian beers of this kind anymore, but it works joyfully as a dessert offering even at this point. This is also one of the most recommended offerings to present to people that have a skewed viewpoint on beer. For a monster beer, very drinkable and definitely enjoyable.

 2,804 characters

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,920 ratings.
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