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:
297
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 BarrelBrother
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My son knowing my love of complex beers and the Belgium "Dubble" style told me he had to take me to the Map Room in Chicago. They feature numerous Belgium brews on tap and he said he had found one that would knock me out. He wasn't kidding! Gulden Drak, WOW.

Appearance: Dark. Cloudy. Mysterious. But I like the deep amber presentation. Solid lacing after pouring.
Smell: This got my attention immeadiately! Nutty, carmel, sweet date like aroma. I had to revisit this sensation a couple of times to make sure I got it right.
Taste: One of the most unique treats to every touch my palate! I must have tasted and pondered the flavors tickling my taste buds over and over. I finally decided on almost a buttery, malted milk flavor with a toasted almond finish. Superb!
Mouthfeel: On tap, it was so smooth! Most Belgium brews seem almost silky when gliding down my palate. This one is no exception, but I like the nutty aftertaste as I drained this goblet of joy.
Drinkability: OK, here is where I got in trouble. I liked this offering on tap so much, I enjoyed 3 large, Belgium tulip glasses in less than 2 hours. It was my birthday and everyone was buying me a round, so I couldn't resist. Long story short, the Drak kicked my assk. I should have known better to do a session with a potent brew like this, but it was pleasure and then pain the next morning. Overall an enlightening experience one I won't forget!

 1,417 characters

Photo of nbree00
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Color was a deep brown with some reddish hue to it. Wasn't that thrilled with the appearance, reminded me of weak poorly brewed coffee for some reason, well carbonated though with a head that never seemed to quit.

S: Smells of raisins and honey with a hint of chocolate.

T: Taste is nutty with flavors of dark caramel, raisins and coffee coming through. Quite a complex array with the malt and hops serving to balance just enough so that it is not overpoweringly sweet

M: Feel was not to bad, stroke me as alittle thin for an unfiltered beer.

D: Did not seem like a 10.5% ABV beer at all. For its class found it very drinkable, which for me would mean once in a while given its richness.

 694 characters

Photo of midworken
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Extreme amount of head. The body was dark brown and was nearly opaque. Smelled like it should: malts with a slight hint of nutiness. Taste upfront was of fresh baked bread and lingered from the beginning until the sip was long gone. Although this is a sweet brew, it was balanced nicely with hop characteristics represented as a pecan/pine flavor.

 347 characters

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

L: rather surprised this is a dark brew, in Flemish Gulden means golden, and I always thougt this would be golden colored.

S: peaches to me, fruity, soft oak

T: Sweet, fruity, detect some peaches, some reminders of an oak aged quad, alcohol is present, and I think the taste note of the alström bros 'cake batter' is spot on! Had a lot of cake batter shakes in my time and I love it!

O: very pleasantly surprised by this one! Never was appealed to the bottle, but once poured, loved it. This one isn't a fast drink, alcohol definitely is present. Will buy some more and see what a couple of month time will do

 615 characters

Photo of mmthompson33
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Definitely an exceptional beer. Hard to find here in the states, but a treat when you get a bottle. It's a classic example of Belgium's best. This one will lay you down if you're not careful!!

 195 characters

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

This beer pours a very dark brown with more than ample white head. The aroma is sweet. The smell of fruit is dominant. Raisin is the first smell, but this smells like a very complex beer. The taste is very smooth and sweet. There are not a lot of hops in the flavor; it is really malty. There is a definite warming as this beer goes down. Medium bodied. This is a beer that I will try again and again until I completely figure it out.

 434 characters

Photo of davidfoley
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Orange, Burnt Caramel, Light Ruby, colour. Moderate head retention. Strong carbonation.

Smell - Malty, Spicy, light hops. Hints of Orange, Apple, Banana, Apricot, Vanilla, Alcohol, & Fig

Taste - Well balanced, tangy sweet with lots of fruit. Hints of orange, rhubarb, summer berries, & lime. Smooth, mild bitterness with some tangy fruity malt in the after taste. Quite sweet and fruity. Mild alcohol presence. Strong sweetness from the malt

Mouthfeel - Smooth, slightly syrup with string crisp carbonation.

Drinkability - Good beer, a little fruity for my taste. Heavy Alcohol weight, 10% ABV, so not a session beer. A nice winter warmer.

 656 characters

Photo of SpencerSauce
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a scary looking beer haha. Tasted awsome. Popped the cork off like a rocket.

A- Dark reddish, with a dark head. almost brown.

S- caramel or something sweet , black cherries are prominent. Boozy smell.

T- sweetness of caramel, brown sugar or toffee. Cherries for sure.

M- coats the mouth nicely, smoothe though

D- easy for a while then gets slightly harder.

 368 characters

Photo of PsychoJedi
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours good with a thick head. Color is dark, but does not taste like a dark beer. It smells rather good, but nothing too special. A little dry in the taste, but nothing too bad. Goes down smooth with no real after taste. Not a bad beer, but nothing too special other than the oddity that it does not taste like a dark beer.

Verdict: Try this beer.

 348 characters

Photo of Maurod4d
2.91/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer was served into a goblet and poured from an 11.2 oz bottle.
The color was a rich amber not quite brown to my surprise, with a very thick foamy head.
On the nose I got tons of honey... Then with the taste I got tons of honey as well and that to me is where it went down hill.

In my opinion it was a much to sweet beer in an attempt to mask the high alcohol content.

None the less it was unlike any other beer I have ever tasted before in my life and was quite an experience and pleasure to taste this beer, just not up my alley as far as favorite tastes.

 565 characters

Photo of BassBone
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay chalice from the standard 33 cl. bottle. This beer poured wonderfully dark almost opaque brown/red with a one finger tan white head that dissipated somewhat after a few minutes. Moderate lacing as the beer went down.

The nose is sweet, somewhat fruity, and malty with a small hop undertone.

The taste is complex and again sweet and fruity with heavy malt and underlying hoppy spice and a wonderful lingering finish. The 10.5% abv is not readily apparent in the taste or the mouthfeel.

This beer feels like liquid gold in the mouth and goes down especially smooth.

This is definitely something I could drink a lot of, but slowly. This is a beer to savor, not chug.

 696 characters

Photo of vikingmike
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy, muddy tan coloured...like aged leather

S: Candied fruits with a hint of something citrusy

T: Distinct malty sweetness. This IS a very sweet beer, but not cloyingly so. Tastes of pepper and a spice which I can't place. Very warm in the finish...reminds you that its 10.5% ABV

M: Thick, viscous, slightly syrupy

D: Like a lot of Belgians, this one conceals its ABV extremely well. You don't feel it until you stand up. Extremely tasty beer, one that I wish were more widely available in my area

 505 characters

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

Pours a dark brown with a nice cloudy white head. Great lacing.

Smells of dark fruits--plums and prunes. I got a little whiff of some green pear qualities, as well as plenty of alcoholic esters.

In the taste there is a reoccurrence of fruits with a big, warming alcohol. Finishes with a roastiness that I'm not sure if it's coming from the alcohol or the malt. While drinking this, I could not help but think about how well this would go with a spicy green curry, or even something like fried plantains. Absolutely delicious beer that I could see going great with food.

Mouthfeel is medium and heavily carbonated. Perfect to the style.

I would whole-heartedly recommend this beer. It's very drinkable, is complex without being overbearing, and absolutely delicious. Well worth the $5 I paid for the bottle.

 810 characters

Photo of xodin
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark mahogany with minimal head fading fast. Aromas contains some spice, roasted malts, and a hint of fruit, but dissipate soon after the pour. Taste is comprised of rum-like spice notes, dark candy, and roasted malts with a hint of bitterness from the hops peeking through. Smooth and sweet through the swallow with a slightly dry and bitter finish. Fairly well balanced, and warming, but lacks significant complexity and character. An above average brew, but nothing overly exceptional about its quality.

 521 characters

Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Reddish-mahogany with a ½ inch of finely bubbled beige head that has serious staying power.

Smell: Smells like plums and apricot. The aroma is very fruity.

Taste: bready malts complimented by floral fruitiness from the yeast. It has a very sweet plum flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Not heavily carbonated.

Drinkability: definitely a great choice for a dessert beer. At 10.5% abv, it is deceptively balanced. This is a little too sweet to drink much of.

 466 characters

Photo of xuptygm
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big fizzy cream colored head which recedes within the first couple sips leaving a small amount of lace. Smells of alcohol and sweet roasted malt, raisins(?), sweet bread. Pours a very dark colored brown. Some light visible through the glass, but not much. A kick ass Belgian Ale. This is what Belgium is known for. So so smooth and a “big” beer for sure. Very complex. It only gets better as it warms. Enjoy with a hearty meal.

 431 characters

Photo of Meganomiidae
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Beautiful scorched honey brown body, with a thick and quickly dissipating tan head, leaving minimal lacing.

S: Seductive raisin and fig, mingling with dessert pull-apart bread sweetness. Slight coconut and rum undertones.

T: Honey, caramel, and stone fruits mingling with an ever so slight black pepper that boldens with increasing temperature. Lesser hints of deep red grape. Finishes slightly sweet leaning more towards dry.

M: Smooth, effervescent, fun. Not quite champagne level carbonation, but fairly high. Nice and light, like a tripel should be.

O: Can't believe it took me this long to get around to trying this beauty. Generally a bit cheaper than most belgian beers in my neck of the woods, and thus certainly worthy of repeat.

 755 characters

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.

 1,468 characters

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.

 392 characters

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

 772 characters

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

had this beauty at lucky baldwins in pasadena. good times. the appearance was a murky brown with a think, thick head, reminding me of a root beer float. the aroma is full of fruit, yeast, tiny hint of sweet malt and hop spice. the taste was floral and fruity. with sweet and almost sour at times mild grape flavor. it is a medium bodied beer with sweet fruity yeast aftertaste.

 377 characters

Photo of OtisinAZ
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As i am not a big fan of the Belgiums (too sweet) this triple was one hell of a surprise.
The pour - dark with a nice tan head that settled fairly quickly.
The taste - WOW!!! perfect balance of sweet with a caramel malt perfectly carbonated. Easy drinking and enjoyable.
The smell - slight nutty and candy left me wondering what I was in for. Turns out it was one of the finest beers I have ever had.

 400 characters

Photo of JAStheAce
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gulden Draak pours out steaming from this very cool white-washed 750 ml bottle which masks the beast's secret! Dark brown with fiery red accents. I was shocked to see the bottle say "tripel" and have it pour out dark brown as I am used to seeing tripels in their traditional golden color. very nice looking rocky brown head about that took up about half my my tulip glass. This beer smells fiery peppery and fruity. Taste overwhelms the palate at first and is hot and spicy throughout with some serious alcohol and flavor. Substantial body and did I mention it is a spicy brew that really warms you up. Good stuff here.

 619 characters

Photo of ksmi116
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Koningshoeven goblet.

A - Dark brown body with a good sized tan head. Dissipates eventually with some solid lacing on it,

S - First smell is a bit of an alcohol burn, then dark fruits and candied sugar smells. Quite good smelling so far!

T - Raisins, candied sugar, bitterness at the finish. Less impressive taste than the smell, which really threw me for a loop. I tend to have a problem discerning Belgian style flavors though, not sure why.

M - high carbonation with a medium body.

D - Overall, a good beer, just I expected more with the hype

 564 characters

Photo of HuskerTornado
4.96/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into Gulden Draak tulip glass. Pours a cola brown color with ruby undertones and a medium sized caramel colored head that dissipates slowly, leaving a quarter inch head and a nice amount of lacing in the glass.

Smell is a dark fruits, plums, cherries, raisins, sweet caramel malt and alcohol.

Taste is just as it smells. Sweet, dense malt upfront with a myriad of dark fruits lending support, including raisins, cherries, and plums. In addition to the sweetness, there's also an herbal quality towards the finish, and some peppery notes. Aftertaste reminds me a bit of cinnamon swirl raisin bread. The 10.5% alcohol is there throughout, with extra punctuation towards the finish. This is a big beer, very complex. Mouthfeel is on the medium-heavy side with a slick, smooth and creamy quality due to the healthy carbonation.

Overall, one of the best strong dark ales in the world and one of my favorite beers period. A treat for the senses, always worth having some on hand. Ages very well. Delicious.

 1,023 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

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

    Subscribe