Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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:
298
Gots:
809
For Trade:
3
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,318 | Ratings: 3,840
Photo of DubbelTrubbel
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite beers for my first review!

750ml bottle into Gulden Draak tulip

A- rich dark ruby, creamy head- large bubbles.

S- candy, sugar, only a little alcohol. Heavy on the fruit- an incredible belgian aroma.

T- Just enough bitterness to balance intense sweetness and slight mustiness. Lemony aftertaste.

M- Nice balance between heavy and light mouthfeels.

O- Great, complex beer. Very drinkable for the alcohol level.

 436 characters

Photo of Paddez
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This came in a white 33ml bottle with a classy looking label. Poured into the offical glaas wich is a Duvel shaped tulip with a golden dragon printed on its side. Excellent presentation.

The beer itself pours a dark & hazy orangy brown brew. with a huge, slightly tan head. Great retention.

Smell: Smells of sweet malts & caramel and sweet candy fruits can be picked up. There were also some less likable aroma's though: there's something awkward & muddy I disliked and the fruit element is a bit too sweet and over the top making it smell as if the fruits are really overripe.

Taste: This is good stuff. Sweet, dark fruits, spices and malty caramels flow out in a dry, long-lingering aftertaste. The sweet complex taste is very similar to that found in good Quadrupels like the Rochefort 10 and the St. Bernardus Abt. 12.

Mouthfeel & Drinkabillity: Full and thick, yet smooth and creamy. The alcohol has a warming effect, but is otherwise hidden really well. The 10,5% really doesn't show, and the beer is -surpisingly- not very heady and amazingly drinkable.

 1,085 characters

Photo of Raven3464
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It pours a brownish-red body with a huge three finger head. Retention is incredible.

Smell: The initial pour releases an incredibly inviting aroma of clove and dark fruits like raisins, plums, and cherries. As the beer warms the smell starts to resemble rum with a punch of alcohol and caramel. The booze smell never takes over despite the high ABV. A slight yeast aroma can also be noticed.

Taste: Brown sugar is the first flavor which comes to mind. This is followed by hints of clove, cherries, plume, and caramel. There is a good balance of hops, as the aftertaste is sweet but with a hop bite still lingering in the back of the throat. There is enough alcohol to let you know you are drinking a bold brew but it is never overpowering. Surprisingly, hints of Belgian yeast (i.e the Belgian twang) are not so apparent.

Mouth feel: This is like alcoholic syrup with just the right amount of carbonation. In other words, it is thick and yet still easy to drink.

Overall: This is one of the overall best dark ales I have ever had. I highly recommend it.

 1,073 characters

Photo of dpool
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first thing that struck me about this beer was the deep amber color; holding it up to the light I could barely see through. The smell was amazing and reminded me of sweet cinnamon and brown sugar. The first taste was just as sweet with a stong hint of alcohol at the end.

I enjoyed this beer after a long night of work and it definitly hit the spot. I will be sure to buy this one again and again.

 402 characters

Photo of soccerman7
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A nice dark brew that has a nice head that slowly faded down the goblet

S - Russian Pumpernickel bread and candy sweetness.

T - Boozy upfront that hits to sweetness and then turns to bread and crust flavors. Really interesting.

M - For a tripel it is very nice and as smooth as the style could be.

D - A most certain sipper but really worth trying. Great brew.

 369 characters

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 atremains
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this 330 into my chimay glass. Dark bronze color, head is was kind of weak and hard to produce, almost like soda fizz, retreated quickly. Carbonation slowly trickles to the top. Fruity raisin-like and a bit of alcohol in the nose. Alcohol is prevelant in the beginning, as it warms and the flavors come out it is masked a bit more. It tastes like what it is: a dark tripel. Almost like "hey, you got your dubbel in my tripel". Fruity flavors. Mouthfeel is enjoyable, it doesn't fizz away immediately like the head. Solid beer, maybe not for one of the hottest days this summer so far, but I will return to the one in the future.

 635 characters

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

Poured into a snifter from a 330 ml bottle bought at a small shop in my home town Getxo (Spain).
-Very very dark amber color. Almost no foam (it disappeared very quickly).
-Very profound smell. Spices at first but it gets more alcoholic if you approach the nose.
-It tastes quite well leaving the flavour in the tongue for a while.
-The carbomation is felt. The feel is much heavier than usual beer.
It has got 10,5% alcohol so you can feel the burden after drinking it.

 470 characters

Photo of OatherS
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Short stubby white bottle with a black label with a gold dragon on the front and cap. 330 cL bottle.

Appearance: Loud foamy pour. One finger head that is bubbly. Dark color with a hint of amber.

Smell: Winey and alcoholy odor.

Mouthfeel: Sharp, bubbly, alcoholy hit to the taste buds.

Taste/Drinkability: A nice malty flavor that is a little bit too strong and striking for my tastes.

 396 characters

Photo of Merticois
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look - Beautiful dark amber/brown color with a thick foamy head.

Smell - A very strong aroma of brown sugar, caramel, vanilla and alcohol.

Taste - Dark Fruit, Caramel, vanilla, sugar and very strong alcohol flavor.

Feel - Thick and zingy. The finish lingers on the tongue a while.

Overall - The flavor is quite good but the alcohol flavor almost overpowers the rest of the beer. Still a very good dark Belgian.

 414 characters

Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look (4.5/5) ~ Deep coppery with some really nice red and orange tones in it (the colour gives the impression of fullness and richness). Given the abv, the head was great: it was very moussy, and fell exceptionally slowly with some nice lacing. Towards the clear side of hazy.
Smell (4/5) ~ spot on for the style. Rich complex maltiness plays off of some really nice yeast notes with a subtle spicy and earth y hop presence. Malt is strongly of the Munich/Vienna type variety with some nice melanoidin notes (plums, prunes, dried apricots); there is also a faint smokiness to the nose. You get a lot of the fruity and floral notes that you’ expect from this style.
Taste (4.5/5) ~ very good. Maltiness was front and centre and the beer was malty-sweet in balance (though I’d still say it was in with the Trappist versions and not the very sweet Abbey ones). I get a whole lot of Munich/Vienna melanoidins and all the fruitiness they bring (plum, prune, dried apricot); but there was also a smoke – not burnt mind you – note that reminded me a bit of very fine tobacco, which I liked a lot. The finish, which would otherwise be sweet is gets a lot of spice and gentle alcohol to balance everything out well. Floral and fruity yeast notes round it out. Some very mild earthy hops and enough bitterness to achieve some nice balance.
Feel (4/5) ~ pretty much what you’d expect: relatively gentle carb and pretty heavy in terms of body. I’d describe it as achieving a pretty silky/velvety feel well.

I’ve had more a few of this style and I’d have to say that this is more of the most compelling versions. I really liked the complexity of the malts, especially with that cigar/tobacco note that was played up. I think the spiciness and bitterness were great foils for the otherwise overwhelming sweetness. Kudos to the brewers!

 1,838 characters

Photo of Jra1985
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers so I will try not to be biased.

Poured from a bottle into a glass.

A- Dark brown and very inviting. Nice thick head that lingers for a little while.

S- Great aroma that has a very earthy smell to it. Malty and sweet.

T- An excellent taste. Sweet and Malty. Brown Sugar?

M- Warms the mouth. Good balance of carbonation and refreshingly smooth for a high abv.

O-Overall this is an excellent beer I that I enjoy alot. Reasonably priced and a top notch beer I would recommend to anybody.

I tried to not be biased in this review but its just an excellent beer that deserves high praise. A must try.

 633 characters

Photo of larsee01
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz white glass bottle (brown glass with white cover) poured into glass goblet

Deep dark brown with cloudy body. Thick tan head ain't going anywhere.

Deep malt smell. Mild, with sweet molasses. Pronounced Concord grape with blackberry (?)

Deep rich malt start with grape/plum. Alcohol makes a brief early appearance, but 10.5 ABV would surprise many. Impressive! Heavy, syrupy malt balanced well with pepper and incognito hop bitter. Sweet molasses keeps appearing but again with an earthy balance. Quintessential balance to this one.

What can I say about mouthfeel? I'm glad it's in my mouth. Smooth, creamy and accomodating. Not too thick, but pleasantly lingering.

If this beer isn't highly drinkable, I'm going to MAKE it highly drinkable. 1/2 of a beer is an experience. A great session beer if you are in for a SHORT session. Lots of alcohol, hidden but substantial carbonation challenge your ability to continue enjoying this long term. But you know what? YOU are the boss of you.

 996 characters

Photo of Moxley
2.8/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The white bottle and 10.5 ABV had my hopes high - and, it's Belgian, which is always great!

A - Poured a dark, cream soda like color, with a short bubbly tan head. Minimal lacing

S - Lots of sweet toasted malt, caramel, and a strong maple scent.

T - This is a crazy sweet beer, like liquid maple candy! You can feel the heat of the 10.5 ABV level creeping back up your throat and warming your ears after the first few sips. I got a bit of malt, but mostly straight up maple sweetness.

M&D - Lots of carbonation and a thick, creamy, sticky film coated my mouth. I think my teeth were aching a little from the excessive sweetness.

This is definitely a sipping beer, a good replacement for those who don't like wine, but are hanging out with winos. Somewhat reminiscent of Chimay, just not nearly as good.

I can appreciate this beer for what it is, it's just not for me.

 874 characters

Photo of Wegomlegging
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into custom glass with enormous head and very black coloring, with whitish tan head. Smell of faint alcohol and carmel malt with some slight yeasty notes. Fantastic flavor, slightly sweet with malty and roasty undertones, very refreshing despite the appearance. Dangerously easy to drink, as the soft mouthfeel coupled with the large head on the glass make it almost seem like you didn't get enough. Very drinkable, but more alcohol in the flavor than most will enjoy. Overall a very good beer that I hope to keep enjoying for many years.

 544 characters

Photo of Arthuros
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Great dark blonde triple, with a honeyish taste and a strong sweetness. Strong ABV, strong taste, little happiness.
Quite refreshing if cold, gets heavy if warm quickly, avoid pints.

A great beer though, probably goes well with cheese.

 237 characters

Photo of Dinglehacker
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter. Persistent beige head that fades to faint lace. Dark, dark ruby color.

Faint sour berry smell, with roasted nuts.

Taste: nut brown, strong alcohol undertones. Finish is a little rough. Challenging feel, leaves the mouth a little dry.

Heavy beer. Good beer. One to savor. Since it comes in a four pack, make it last.

 340 characters

Photo of tiger88
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper/mahogony into thw glass that prodused a coppery white head. The head dissipated rather quickly. The aroma of malty bread goodness coupled by a sweet spice came through. It tastes remarkably like it smells. The alcohol is well hidden and the spiciness lays over the malt really well. There is a realy clean mouthfeel with this beer with little to no aftertaste. Very drinkable triple. Seek this one out!

 423 characters

Photo of philphilphil
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance was brilliant mohogany with good inch of off white head.
Smell was all dark fruits with malts.
Taste was totally awesome, like the smell but so smooth yet flavourful.
Mouthfeel was good.
Drinkability is only restricted price i love my gulden draak.

probably belgium's best non trappist beer.

 303 characters

Photo of wescj
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Color is dark brown, with a nice ruby hue. Khaki head looks great, supports good retention till halfway through.

Very sweet and malty aroma. Not very strong or complex, but appealing nonetheless.

First taste is almost overbearingly sweet, This mellows out after a few sips, and malts come through with more depth.

Mouthfeel is buttery, with lingering spiciness.

 407 characters

Photo of jlb307
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a goblet.

A: Pours a nice clear dark reddish brown. Not many bubbles, but had a nice off-white fluffy head that retained well. Developed one or two pools of bubbles on the surface as well.

S: Maybe I'm just not feeling too well, but I wasn't getting much of an aroma. I caught mild hints of ripe fruit and a little malt.

T: Very smooth taste with a little alcohol bite to it. Mild notes of malt, vanilla, and cherry with a yeasty aftertaste. Very pleasant taste. Almost like a mild quad.

M: Just the right balance with the carbonation. Velvety smooth with a little spice.

D: Really good beer that's not too powerful, but definitely a sipper.

 681 characters

Photo of jmc44
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into a Gulden Draak tulip glass a somewhat hazy dark brown with red hues, a 2-finger tannish head. The head leaves very nice lacing and is always present.

Fairly aromatic with some spicy alcohol, malty sweetness, and dark fruits, raisins. Very appealing and pronounced.

Upfront is the malty sweetness, a bit chocolate and caramel, followed by dark fruits, raisins. Finishes with a hint of spice from alcohol. Very, very nice. Wonderful to drink.

The beer is velvety and creamy; a delite to drink. Although it is strong at 10.5% ABV, it goes down easy and will knock you on your butt if you are not careful.

All in all a wonderful beer, one of my favorites.

 675 characters

Photo of Opethsprite
2.73/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Written from notes...
Served in a bizzare, white bottle, the beer pours a muted hazelnut color with a thin head. The nose is sweet and orange, with raspberry and a metallic element. An initial bitterness to taste turns quickly into an ULTRA sweet bit, fading nicely into spices in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-to-full, and with good carbonation. This beer is highly drinkable *IF* you can stomach that crazy sugar shock half-way through.

 440 characters

Photo of OrangeAmps
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

on tap!

very sweet and carbonated, which is precisely why i dig this beer. it is intensely alcohol heavy, but the taste is negligible. The lacing retains very well, and the dark amber color is beautiful. It is definitely a pronounced belgian beer, but unlike most belgians ive had. Its very creamy and bubbly, like some glorious amalgam of beer and soda.

Its a little less heavy on the carbonation on tap, imo. And also, the porcelain bottles are pimp.

Great beer.

 470 characters

Photo of Stavage
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown liquid. Holding up to the light, it does not seem cloudy at all so you can appreciate the abyss in the centre of the glass. Despite a semi robust pour didn't get much head out of this (for a Belgian). What head I did get retained well though and left a very pleasing sticky lacing.

Some ripe fruits and dried fruits in the smell but also a lot of phenol clove scent and some herbal aromas. A certain...pleasant mustiness which balanced the 'sweetness' on the nose. Unfortunately I also got a slightly metallic scent in there too. That oxidised smell. I wondered if maybe the seal wasn't too great which could account for the relatively flat poor and the whiff of metallic scent, but strangely enough this never followed through to the taste.

Definitely a sweet beer, but also lots of complexities in here too. Some roast dark and sweet malts in here which give a sweetness a biscuitiness but also an earthiness to the flavours. A bit of dried fruit too which also adds a certain richness and sweetness to the proceedings. But with all this sweetness it's never sickly or sticky sweet and it's all well balanced by the earthy notes and the spicy and herbal notes too. Bit of alcohol bite but not much (surprisingly).

Mouthfeel is very smooth and silky. Quite a full beer too. And surprisingly drinkable. Quite a high abv and you'd have never guessed, the main hint is that it warms you a little more than the average beer (and lightens yuor head a little more too).

Overall really enjoyed this and definitely something I want on rotation. Normally I'd say the sweetness would take away from the drinkability for me but rather than be balanced with a bitterness it was successfully toned down with a herbal earthiness so really just an all round winner in my books.

 1,786 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe