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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,318 Reviews
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)
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
Reviews:
1,318
Ratings:
3,840
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
19.52%
 
 
Wants:
297
Gots:
809
For Trade:
3
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,318 | Ratings: 3,840
Photo of coltonbrimhall
3.99/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

-look is a dark beer with a light brown head
- smell is of brown sugar, raisin, and light red grapes
-bitter start but then turns to a plum, fig , dark fruit notes, then mellow yeasts
- feel is a bit over carbonated for my opinion
- overall a very complex beer really good but alot to keep track of

 298 characters

Photo of craigdb
3.31/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

If this really was a darker triple, I might be inclined to rate it higher. Instead I get a boozy, overcarbonated dubel. It's not terrible, but like the 9000, it's something other than what it should be.

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Photo of majorbase2
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep, dark reddish brown color with a big bubbly head. Dissipates to nothing shortly after, leaving some very spotty lacing.

Aroma is dark fruits, some light milky chocolate, and very sweet caramel. Raisin and red grapes are very noticeable. Definitely some alcohol present, which pairs nicely with the red grapes, giving it an aroma reminiscent of a red wine.

First sip reveals some incredible complexity. Lots of sweetness up front, which pairs with some melted caramel and raisin. Red grapes, fig, and brown sugar. A good deal of alcohol warmth.

Medium bodied. Gotta sip this one. Pretty decent carbonation.

 622 characters

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

Appearance: Pours an incredibly dark brown

Overall: Tastes like sweet sweet malts, caramel, slight alcohol tinge and burn, medium finish, pleasant, medium bodied. A really unique, delicious and excellent 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 arvidkoval
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L- Dark amber color, nice white head.

S- Sweet malt and dark fruits. Caramel candies.

T- Caramel, grapes, slight booze.

F- Good, smooth, thick feel. Moderate carbonation.

O- This stuff is awesome.

 207 characters

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.

 469 characters

Photo of jhartley
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thick fluffy tan colored sea foam head...It lasted forever! Tons of heavy duty lacing in the glass! Honey brown colored body.
Aromas of raisins, dark fruits.
Sweet up front with raisins and plums and a nice amount of carbonation; clean finish with some bitterness.
Dangerously drinkable! Just the right amount of carbonation to off-set the sweetness.
Top notch world-class beer that is a real treat to sip on!

 413 characters

Photo of CalgaryFMC
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle poured into a tulip. An amazing hue somewhere between ruby red, almost rose, and a darker brown amber with a billowing sudsy off-white head that fizzes and pops but never totally disappears.

Aroma evokes lightly toasted breakfast cereal, raisin, caramel, banana chips, prunes, nutmeg, faint peppercorn. Whoa ... Richly fruity but not excessively sweet, moderately spicy.

The taste is a case study of how to craft a top tier Belgian ale. Well-concealed alcohol but just enough of a peppery lingering burn. Rich caramelized banana, pear, and raisin flavors initially, followed by marshmallow, cinnamon, mace, and cake batter. There's almost a sour crab apple fruitiness lurking in the background. Syrupy, thick. Body nothing like a tripel but I suppose its a "dark" variant thereof. The style designation here is bang on. The sweetness is perfectly positioned, not cloying but still the dominant impression. Nice spicy yeast is just a step behind. Moderate carbonation and a persistent fruity, spicy, malty finish. Some gooseberry-like hops. A hint of carob.

A superlative brew and one I'd keep on hand at all times. Unique, yet meets one's expectations and thus provides a certain comfort.

 1,207 characters

Photo of baconfromwalmart
4.77/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Light brown head made of large and small bubbles, had staying power. The color was darker than I expected and matched the bottle glass perfectly.

Smell: Caramel, toasted marshmallow, hint of raisin.

Taste: First sip tasted like medicinal syrup but in the best possible way. Nice alcohol warmth. Flavors of toasted grain and raisin without the sweetness are really balanced, nothing overpowering.

Feel: Creamy, extremely smooth.

Overall: I usually prefer lighter brews, but this one is smooth, delicious and dangerously drinkable.

 539 characters

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

This beer is just like one of my favorite beers! This is rich and creamy and also has a nice strong bitterness, but not overwhelmingly so. This beer also has a high alcohol content that is not at all apparent when drinking it. The smoothness of this beer is incredible, but finding this beer is quite difficult.

 311 characters

Photo of spacebear09
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

How this is classified as a tripel is beyond me. This brew is awesome, but it's more like a quad. Very sweet, but not cloying. It pours with probably the biggest head I have ever seen on a beer. Complex taste of spices and honey. Simultaneously crisp and creamy mouthfeel. I don't drink Belgians all that much anymore, but this beer kicks ass!

 343 characters

Photo of Robert17529
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very smooth almost sweet enjoyable. When poured huge head of foam died down after a few minutes but nice layer of foam lingered a while.I would have again.

 155 characters

Photo of janubio
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber to brown colour, with an off white medium head that leaves a good lace. Smell of spices, dark fruits, chocolate, hints of red wine, candy, prunes. Medium body, I expected some more, Alcohol is there, but does not seem that much. Taste of prunes, banana, dark fruits, chocolate, hints of red wine to. Classic. And cool bottle, label, and cap.

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Photo of JohnnyI
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I absolutely love everything about the look of this beer. From the iconic white bottle, ominous red letters and legendary dragon ship, it promises to be a bad ass experience. Very medeval. The appearance of the beer itself is equally impressive. Like rich, raw maple syrup in color. It poured in to a small snifter with a towering head of loose foam. The beige 3 finger crown resembled swiss cheese, with its loose, large bubbles of varying size and consistency. The beautiful and unique cap settled gradually, leaving soapy residual lacing on the glass. The nose on this beer is incredibly complex. As the beer reached room temperature more and more layers of aroma continued to present themselves. Toffee, burnt caramel, banana esters and slight booze come together in such a wonderful way as to conjure thoughts of bananas foster. Slight mineral notes and clover honey add even more depth to the bouquet. The taste is brimming with candy sugar sweetness and a little fusel alcohol heat. Sweet candied fruits, dried banana chips and a honey crisp character yield to a tart, tangy finish of mild puckering green apple. A peppery spice from the alcohol compliments the assortment of flavors. The finish imparts a slight suggestion of pumpernickel & caraway seed. Extremely complex. As I sample each sip, I believe I could continue to pull additional flavors and aromas out of the experience. Remarkable. The mouthfeel has a lively, creamy texture. Rich and inviting. You just gotta love the big authentic Belgians. They're just so full of character and complexity. A+

 1,567 characters

Photo of Beer-Revelry
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours an incredibly dark brown with a nice 2 finger, ivory, creamy and solid head. Nice whispy lacing on the walls of the glass.
S - Sweetness, caramel, malts, fresh rain or spring water earthiness, slight citrus but no hops present.
T - Let it warm up first! Sweet sweet malts, caramel, slight alcohol tinge and burn, medium finish, pleasant creamy mouthfeel, medium bodied. Almost drinks like a heavy porter or a lighter stout.
O - A really unique, delicious and excellent beer!
V - 12.99 for a large, 25.4 oz bottle.

 527 characters

Photo of LovingCup
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Okay let me preface this by saying I'm no expert on Belgian strong dark ales...new territory here. Last similar-ish beer I had was Finch's Nuclear Winter and despite my hometown <3', this is much better.
First, cool ass bottle and classy sounding af. The next part is the looks, perhaps my favorite aspect. Huge puffy head with peaks and valleys. Dark brownish color with a ruby shimmer in the light, can't see through shit. And the best part is I let this sit for 10 minutes after pouring and the bubbles persisted, but the real magic was the vertical linear formation of them: it looked straight like the letters from The Matrix and I ain't even trippin'!
As for the smell. Very complex. Sugary caramel sweetness. Most present are dark fruits: figs, dates, a lil grape, and that one that makes you shit. Oh yeah, prunes. A touch of chocolate even. And a bit of booze.
The flavor is intense, but more approachable than expected (tho I was expecting a knockout punch) its big, but at the same time, drinkable...sip by sip. I like high abv beers but don't enjoy overly boozy flavors. This is good. The alcohol is there in a background warming sort of way, not an obnoxious boozy way. I think considering its 10.5% it is masked rather well tbh. Idk my palate isn't used to this style the way it is for others yet but this isn't bad at all. On the contrary it's quite good. The mouthfeel I want to say is medium.
Overall I give it a 92. im actually surprised by how massive yet inoffensive this was. glad I picked up this bottle of Gulden Draak. Very pleased. Hope to revisit this beer (and style) again sometime in the near future.

 1,630 characters

Photo of MrDell
4.84/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

24.05.2016

Gulden Draak
Belgian Strong Dark Ale / Dark Tripel - 10.5% - 330ml Bottle - Best before 08.10.2016

From the Brewery Van Steenberge website:
Gulden Draak is a dark triple, which in itself makes it an exceptional beer. But it is the complex taste with hints of caramel, roasted malt and coffee in combination with the creamy hazel head that makes it unique. It is a beer that is worthy of its name.
Like the other special beers of the Brewery Van Steenberge, Gulden Draak is a high fermentation beer with secondary fermentation. For the secondary fermentation, wine yeast is used. This also contributes to the unparalleled taste.

This also happens to be the beer that started me off on my obsession with Belgian beers, so let’s see if it’s as good as I remember it to be.

Appearance: Pours a lovely deep brown/ruby red colour. With a one finger, tightly packed off white head. Excellent retention at this heigh ABV. With a lot of nice lace work. Loads of fast moving small bubbles. Very nice looking beer.

Aroma: Smells kind of sweet and sour. Definitely picking up caramel along with the wine yeast (aromas not dissimilar to a red). Lots of Horlicks-type sweet malt in the aroma, like but with the astringent element backing it up.

Taste: Malt, loads of caramel and toffee but also with just a slight hint of that wine yeast in the background keeping it balanced, although sweet. Hides it's 10.5% very well. Beautiful.

Mouth feel: It's full bodied and very smooth on the palate. Not at all bitter. Leaves the mouth feeling fresh unlike many other high strength dark beers.

OveralI: As good, if not better than I remember. I can see how this one got me into Belgian beer so much. Will start drinking more one again. 10/10.

 1,748 characters

Photo of 33redskins33
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is one of my favorites. Its a dark color for a triple and it smells great. The flavor is bolder than most triples and that's why I like it so much. Get it, if you can.

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Photo of logicalparadox
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Delicious dark Belgian strong ale. Nice head to start, atop a very dark brew with big doughy aromas of dried fruits: raisins and dates and prunes. Is someone baking pumpernickle? Looks and smells suggestive of boozy prune juice once the head is gone. Definitely sweet, but not overly so. Big, rich flavors of fruitcake and dark nut breads. Again, doughy, with lots of yeast coming through. Made with wine yeast, so while it does cary a distinct Belgian profile, it finishes almost like a plum wine or plum brandy.

Packs a real punch, but the high ABV (10.5%! Whew! Dragon indeed) is reasonably hidden. I've heard this one called a barely wine, but I wonder if that label was thrown out there just do to the ABV. This one is a legend in any case, and I'm glad to have tried it. Will definitely come back to ride the dragon again sometime.

 840 characters

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

Picked up a single at TW Arrowhead in late September for $5.99.

Beer poured dark brown with a nice off white head that is hanging around.

Nose is very wine like, dark fruits dominate.

Taste is dark fruits, light chocolate. Finish is very wine like.

Mouthfeel is light and very smooth.

Overall definitely a world class brew. Very light, smooth, and flavorful.

 365 characters

Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

APPEARANCE - Medium-dark brown with 4-finger head that dissipates fast. No lacing.

AROMA/SCENT - Sweet, herbaceous, fruits.

TASTE - Sweet, mild, herbaceous, fairly boozy.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Not gooey. Carbonation holds up.

VALUE - A bit high.

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - Not my favorite. At best, a sipping beer.

 322 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle included in a sampler picked up at the LCBO; best before June 16 2016. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours a cloudy, effervescent ruby-copper colour, topped with an inch of fluffy, pillowy light beige-coloured head. Good retention; it takes more than a few minutes for the froth to dissipate into a denser, creamier cap and collar, with a modest amount of lace. The aroma is very rich and sweet; dominated by boozy caramel and molasses sweetness, as well as notes of raisin, dates, ripe pear and black cherry. I am getting light hints of strawberry and banana, too, and perhaps even a note of port wine.

The taste falls much along the same lines, with sugary caramel sweetness, molasses and cherry blending nicely with dark fruit notes that include plum, raisin, fig and grape. Banana and ripe pear are next, followed by some herbal, earthy hop bitterness that leads into a warming, boozy-rum finish accented with vanilla, clove and anise. Full-bodied, with moderate carbonation levels that gently prickle the tongue, and provide a generally smooth, fulfilling feel on the palate. The alcohol is not masked particularly well, which limits drinkability - but it works quite nicely in conjunction with the flavour profile.

Final Grade: 4.51, an A grade. Gulden Draak is an excellent strong Belgian dark ale that is guaranteed to put some hair on your chest. Rich-flavoured is almost an understatement, as the dark fruit and sugary, boozy flavours make this feel like a dessert in and of itself. Easily one of the better examples of this style that I have tried - worth seeking out, worth the price, and any Belgian dark ale fan worth his or her salt should consider this one a must-try.

 1,702 characters

Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,840 ratings.
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