Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,335 Reviews
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
Reviews:
1,335
Ratings:
3,904
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
306
Gots:
852
For Trade:
4
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,335 | Ratings: 3,904
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of martinpfal
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Have had this one I the past and not sure why I haven't rated it.....until now.
Look is dark brown Amber. Plenty of head that dies quick. Smell is bready/boozy. Medium body with yes some sweety maltiness which I generally don't like but it completely makes this beer and knocks it out of the park. A delicious Belgian that even at 5.99 a bottle is still one I'll continue to buy.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.

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

Hazy Caramel colour with a thick golden head that remains for awhile to seal things in and decent lacing

A nice strong floral malt scent permeates the layer of head .

A sharp karate chop of flavor to the mouth gives way to a caramel chocolate cherry mix with a alcoholic taste that is not off putting or a astringent but goes well with the more complex taste

Crisp seltzer-like with e pleasant aftertaste.

I never give spoilers by looking at rating here first and figured I was somehow over rating but this is just a damn good beer. So complex and full of life packaged in a great bottle!

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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 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 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.

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

This beer was a rich dark amber with a thick creamy head that subsided to heavy lacing. there was pleanty of yeast making the beer a littel cloudy.
The aroma contained malts flowers herbs, and fruit.
It tasted richly of molasses and cloves and nutmeg allong with tou8ches of dark chereries, black currents, cinnamon, and dark breads.
The mouthfeel was heavy but pleasantly carbonated.
overall i felt that this was an excelent rich beer and will definatly get it again

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Photo of vwcraig
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 330mL bottle into a Duvel glass.

Dark brown with a two-finger high tan and rocky head. Head really retains well and laces nicely as the glass is emptied.

Can really smell sweet malts, prunes maybe even some apricot in there.

First taste was able to sense a coffee-like bitterness. Taste really follows the nose with this one. Quite smooth.

Sharp carbonation in mouthfeel. Experienced slight numbing on tongue.

Not as smooth as Chimay Blue but still very enjoyable. This is a good one for the LAST beer of the evening.

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Photo of wangbruins
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The guy at the store shouted the name of this beer at me (with a faked accent) when I asked where the beer was. He said they just got it in and popped a bottle and loved it. I can see why. The bottle was a bit bigger than the one in the picture here and was corked, not capped.

A- Dark brown with a nice thick head that rest nicely as does the beer itself

S- Sweet smelling with lots of caramel and maple syrup scents

T- Sweet syrup and a hint of chocolate with some coffee aftertaste

M- Very smooth for a beer of its dark color and it settles nicely

D- It didn't last long for me but I was a little light-headed after. One at a time people, if it's the size I had.

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Photo of Mark13
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottle 27.01.17, stored about 9 months. Aroma of flowers, fruits, caramel, bread and little alcohol. Ruby coloured beer, slightly hazy. Two fingered tan head, reduces to flat with little lacing. Sweet in taste - fruits, caramel, bread. Sour aftertaste of plums, grain, yeast. Low bitterness, very high carbonation, which spoils tasting. Alcohol is strongly perceptible. Full body, thick texture are tiring even for dessert beer. Not bad, but I’ve expected more.

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Photo of PBBC
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up for Sunday dinner with the family.... most were too intimidated to try it for some reason.

The beer pours nicely, yielding large ammounts of slightly tan head on top of a rich red-mahogany.

The aroma I first picked up was grapes... wine grapes. This was followed closely by a sweet-orange peel and rich malt aroma.

The taste was very well balanced: nice full malt body (was this beer based on munich malt?), the toffee-like (candied apple and toasted malt?) sweetness being balanced by the dry, crisp finish of warming alcohol and light hop citrus-tones.

Overall, an excellent beer to accompany any meal, especially on a cold autumn day.

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Photo of mexikrainian
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml poured into a Stone Brewery tulip.

Appearance: purple mahogany with small white head and minimal lacing.

Aroma: iron, figs, roasted malts, syrupy and nutty.

Taste: fruity sweetness, malty goodness and belgian spice.

Mouthfeel: medium body with medium carbonation and dry finish.

Overall impression: tasty and sweet, this is an incredible beer. anytime. any day.

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Photo of MeneerBeerSnob
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip

a-pours a deep auburn with off white mocha two inch head

s-Belgian yeast, caramel, dates

t-hits your taste buds with tons of flavor including sweet caramel, fruity dates and raisins, yeast and malt

m-lots of light carbonation that brings out the flavor

o-really great tripel, lots of complex flavor and perfect for unwinding after a long day

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Photo of KKB
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A – A deep ruby-amber with a voluminous khaki head, carbonation slowly flowing from the bottom; the tight fluffy bubbles on top of this gorgeous looking body make my mouth water a little bit.

S – As one person put it, “it’s malty sweet, scotchy and dark fruity.” I think that is an utterly appropriate explanation. The sweetness invades your senses but it has a juiciness to it that is definitely the product of dark fruits and it has a slight alcoholic aroma to it as well. A slight bready backbone holds all the aromas together and they form a chorus of delight singing hallelujah into my welcoming nostrils.

T – Oh sweet ambrosia thy name is Gulden Draak! The taste of this beer is simply divine, something the Gods most certainly would find an adequate form of sustenance. It is both sweet and sour with the tones that I discovered in the nose following through onto the taste buds: dates, black cherries, raisins, plums, brown sugar, cocoa…then as it warms a sort of clove, cinnamon, butterscotch, tobacco, yeasty-spicy goodness invades the pallet, with maybe, just maybe, a hint of hops in there as well.

M – Velvety cream, a medium-full body with a fine carbonation that makes it oh so smooth to drink. Followed by a nice alcoholic burn that does not overwhelm but merely holds you ever so tenderly, and as my dear friend Harris once said about a cabernet sauvignon, it’s like the last fold of the blanket being pulled over you as you tuck into bed.

O – This is a beer to grow old with, I love this beer, I will have this beer countless times again over the course of my life. I’m sure I’ll find beers I enjoy more in the years I have left to me, as my exploration is still just in it’s infancy, but this beer is one of the first beers I have ever fallen truly in love with. It is a sonnet, a cool and refreshing breeze, the welcome company of a good friend, and a solemn promise of good things to come. Thank you gulden draak.

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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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