Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
3,946 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:
3,946
Reviews:
1,341
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
311
Gots:
867
For Trade:
4
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,946 |  Reviews: 1,341
Photo of LXIXME
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big light tan head settles into a pretty nice lacing above a well carbonated dark reddish amber colored beer.

Dark fruits (grapes and apricots) and sour grains dominate the aroma that is tinted with a bit of alcohol.

A light alcohol undermines a dark fruits and roasted grains and a slight sour taste.

A dry aftertaste with some of the dark fruits and light sourness stick around on this medium to full bodied beer.

A bit to much of the sour grains or sour grapes maybe on this for me, it seems it starts out pretty good and as I drink it the more the sour grapes keep coming to the forefront.

 597 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

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

Dark reddish brown with a huge, foamy, coffee-colored head - looks like a dark Belgian ale, basically (which is to say that it looks awesome).

This beer has a really powerful aroma. The sweet malts are very prominent, bringing to mind brown sugar and molasses.

The taste is dominated by sweet, syrupy malt and dark fruit (black cherries, raspberries), with a hint of brown sugar. Most of the bitterness seems to be provided by the particularly high alcohol volume, rather than from any particularly distinct hop presence. It sounds excessive on paper, but it actually works really well. Though I probably couldn't drink more than one of these in a single sitting, it's one highly enjoyable glass.

The mouthfeel is a bit overwhelming at first. It's heavy like a stout or barleywine, but extremely carbonated. In fact, if this were (much) less carbonated, I'd probably have mistaken this for a barleywine. While I enjoy the richness, it loses some points here because of the almost excessive carbonation at first; you really need to let it sit for a minute before drinking.

I've had this twice and find it really enjoyable, nearly comparable to to Belgium's Trappist beers. The smell and taste are exceptional, but that same richness makes it suffer a bit in mouthfeel and drinkability.

 1,289 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -4.8%

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

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, 8/20/2012 bottle code. Pours lightly cloudy deep ruby red color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy cream colored head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a lot of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big pear, apple, grape, raisin, plum, banana, clove, pepper, dark candi sugar, honey, herbal, toast, brown bread, and yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with great balance and big complexity of fruity/spicy esters with moderate malt sweetness; and good strength. Taste of pear, apple, grape, raisin, plum, banana, clove, pepper, herbal, dark candi sugar, honey, toast, brown bread, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of light and dark fruits, banana, clove, pepper, dark candi sugar, honey, herbal, toast, brown bread,and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Awesome balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors; with a moderate dark malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a slick, crisp, and moderately prickly mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Belgian strong dark ale! Big complexity of fruity/spicy esters with moderate malt balance; and very smooth and crisp to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,415 characters

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

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright, deep gold bordering on amber with a nice white head. Smell has a bit of hops alongside some citrus and sweet, sweet malt. Taste is quite sweet as well with a good amount of grassy, floral hops to balance is out. The mouthfeel is quite full. Nice body without any real alcohol taste. Drinkability is on the high side. High in ABV, but quite delicious. This is a sipper.

 384 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of light brown head on a dark brown body with good clarity. The foam dissipates quickly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Lots of malt and fruity belgian yeast. Notes of caramel and raisins with sweet chocolate and more dark fruit. Some herbal hops in the background.

T - Lots of raisins and dark sugar. Sweet caramel and molasses with figs and plums. Strong note of chocolate and caramelized sugar in the middle, very candy-like. The finish becomes more phenolic with some clove and tobacco notes as well as the pervasive chocolate and caramel notes.

M - Medium-thick body, high carbonation, and a semi-sweet finish.

D - Very drinkable, it never shows its alcohol or becomes cloying. The malt character is complex and spectacular. I really can't come up with anything critical to say about it. A very nice example of the style and much more drinkable than most.

 877 characters

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

330 ml bottle from a Belgian sampler 6-pack served in a large glass wine goblet. Repeated including May 2017.

Bottled under pressure, as evidenced by the soda pop sound (psssfft) upon opening. The beer has an generous but not overwhelming fizzy head that quickly settles to a lasting but irregular tan top coat with a thick ring. The liquid is a hazy near-opaque brown that has a reddish-orange glow when backlit.

S - Moderately strong and rich aroma that is primarily fruity/yeasty and malty, with a medium/dark blend in the malts. I found it quite appealing, and near the 5 mark. There's little hint of the high ABV.

T - Sweet, but with enough bitterness to keep this from detracting from my enjoyment. And I suspect this sweetness helps make the alcohol largely disappear. Rich and complex, with plenty of dark fruit from mid-taste on, and traces of spices including cinnamon. A fine flavor mix that changes with temperature and from the start of a sip to the finish. Previously, I found "A tiny bit too much sourness in the finish for my taste", but this was absent in the more recent tasting. In either case, the finish remains a bit sweet ... nicely so.

M - good, if somewhat high, carbonation helps produce an excellent mouthfeel that is neither too heavy nor too light. Very smooth. Finish is a bit less dry than I'd expect given the ABV.

O - an excellent Belgian dark tripel (or BSDA or Belgian barleywine). Good enough to be a reasonable inclusion if you ever get the chance to do a side-by-side taste test of world-class Belgians; I wouldn't expect it to win, but it wouldn't be out of place and is usually less expensive (vs., say Chimay, Delirium or Rochefort) in the U.S.
(revisited and tweaked in Jan. 2015).

 1,732 characters

Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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

Pours a slightly hazy brown with a burgundy cast and dark amber highlights when held to the light; and a full, rocky head of light tan foam completes the appearance. It holds exceptionally well and leaves solid sheets of lace, although they eventually reduce to just some spotty residue. Some chocolate and dark fruit (raisin, plum/prune, cherry, red wine) appear in the nose. The body is medium and nicely creamy due to its very fine, natural carbonation. The flavor is as the aroma indicates with a combination of rich cocoa and ripe dark fruits. It warms across the palate to reveal some softer caramel and alcohol; and a touch of background floral hops. It's very well-balanced by a solid, low-key bitterness. The finish is dry with some residual dark fruit; a wash of alcohol; some leafy hops; and a dull, lingering bitterness. Impressive!

 844 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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

On-tap 12/28/08 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark reddish brown color, with a short foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of spices, cherries and other dark fruits, Belgian yeast and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is fruity and malty up front with flavors of cherries, Belgian yeast and caramel but it's not overly sweet. There's a hearty but not too heavy malt character and a mild but complimentary hops presence that provide a good balance. The after-taste is tart and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean for the style.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, this beer takes flavors that I don't normally like and used them well to make the beer quite pleasurable to drink.

 914 characters

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

A: Pours a very dark amber to brown with a 2 finger tan head made of large bubbles. The head has decent retention and leaves a lot of lacing.

S: Aromas of ripe fruit, plums, sweet malts, brown sugar, and alcohol.

T: Flavors of dark ripe fruits, plum, cherry, molasses, candy sugar and sweet + roast malts. The taste of the alcohol which is present in the nose is covered up nicely in the flavors.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation and slightly creamy.

O: Overall this is a quite nice beer and very enjoyable. I would definitely enjoy another of these (even right now if I had one on hand). The high ABV is well hidden in the taste and it kind of sneaks up on you.

 688 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown under an off-white head which fades slowly. Aroma of dark fruit, caramel, brown sugar. Flavor is sweet and the alcohol is noted along with the sticky fruits.

 184 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

When you see a tap head that's a huge golden dragon, you have to sample the beer that it guards. Strong? Yes. Dark? Yes. Belgian? Yes.

Poured into a signature stem glass. Rich, hazy, dark, mahogany color with a nice tannish finger of head that retains well. Toasted biscuits and dark fruits in the aroma. Taste starts off with toasty caramel malts and some caramelized sugars and a touch of molasses, with yeasty biscuits and grainy, unsubdued alcohol following. Dark dried fruits in the background. Medium mouthfeel, and can be a bit syrupy, but overall nice and drinkable, though on the strong side.

 643 characters

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

Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev -4.8%

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

Photo of billab914
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,946 ratings.
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