Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,335 Reviews
Gulden DraakGulden Draak

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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

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Reviews: 1,335 | Ratings: 3,904
Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pour is murky deep copper with a large, large lovely off-white foamy thick head that slowly dissipates into decent lacings.

S: Smells almost like sherry. Lots of fruits, dark dried fruits; figs, cherries and rasins. Some spices and yeast.

T: Very sweet, syrupy malt. Candylike sweetness. Dark dried fruits but also fresh cherries and oranges. Vineous and molasses. Really lovely.

M: Aftertaste is rather short, but sweet and faint bitter. Body is full and carbonation very mild. Very smooth, syrupy.

O: This is a very, very nice Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Complex but still modest.

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Photo of clayrock81
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Although I am a beer newbie (neophyte if you will), it is a beer like this that made me quit drinking shitty American beer.
I have had this before, and decided to get the Van Steenberge sampler simply because this was in it and I could review it.
Poured into a tulip glass and the two-finger head that was presented NEVER fully went away; it kept disipating but stay there, constantly refreshing the beer.
Not only was there some serious lacing, but an hour after I had set my glass in the sink there was still a laced rim where the beer had topped off.
The color was a dark brown, or to be more specific those ugly jerseys Adam Sandler's team wore in "The Waterboy" (I apologize for even throwing in that reference; I am just not good w/ coloric adjectives).
Upon smelling the first thing that hit me was the malt since it does have a high ABV. The malts smelled like cocoa or caramel, and one might even think they were getting a coffee bean in there. Also, the smell itself was syrupy, if that makes sense, and I picked up a traces of fruit.
The taste starts out smooth, so there's your Belgian yeast. They really hid the alcohol well here. The first sip had a afterbite, that I won't hide. But after that the beer actually tasted better and went down smoother. I definitely tasted some cocoa and caramel, some cherry too.
Probably what I noticed the most was that it was sweet and bitter at the same time-the sweet part didn't overpower the beer and left it smooth, while the flavor kick was there on the backend, evening it out. It wasn't like a cream stoudt or anything that overpowers/puffs in the mouth, but kept more of a medium body that was thin on the tongue.
This beer actually warmed my mouth up w/o burning it like a shot of whiskey or a very hoppy IPA.
I know there are complexities that a new beer guy like me missed, but I can say that this was an extremely enjoyable drink. Also, it has been a VERY long time since one beer knocked me on my ass, which this one did. I was couch-ridden for about 10 minutes after drinking this one.
That's probably why I don't ever see this in 6-packs.

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Photo of rudzud
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - A dark lightly hazy copper pour with half a finger of tan head that slowly fades.

S - Lots of sweet malts and deep, dark fruits (figs and raisins), but ALOT of booze.

T - Like the nose there are lots of rich dark fruits and sticky sweetness but behind that there is so, so much booze.

M - Should be heavy but the fair amount of carbonation keeps it up off the tongue.

O - I feel there are better strong dark ales than this. It was goos, but way, way too boozy for my liking.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruddy brown in color. Cloudy appearance. Sweet malt, cherry skin, black plums and Belgian candi sugar. Spot on for the style. Fairly earthy malt finish.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This was an anniversary gift from my wife which was part of a "High Octane" Beer Basket. (She knows what I like!) Never heard of this one before so I have been looking forward to trying this.

Pours a dark mahogany color with a slight, creamy, tan head in the beginning but quickly dies down to a very light covering of foamy bubbles on the top. The beer appears thick as it sticks to the sides with good retention before sliding back down into the glass!

Aroma is of toasty, sugary malts, cherries, caramelized raisins. The flavor is very good, not at all what I expected because some other nuances are coming out that weren't overly detected in the nose. Sweet toasted sugary malts in the beginning followed by a subtle blending in of sour cherries with a touch of apple (the apple part is what was surprising). Also picking up a little rasin and some fig on the tongue. The flavors blend in a subtle tartness that makes the beer finish wet instead of dry, which is what I originally expected. The 10.5 ABV is incredibly, and may I say "dangerously", well hidden, practically undetectable. There's not many beers I can recall that has such a deceptive alcohol content. Not overly deep and complex but amazingly well brewed. Hats off to the brewmaster.

The body is on the lighter side of heavy, has a slight prickliness on the tongue, and incredibly drinkable. I could sit and have a few of these and easily lose track of the number. For a beer I've never heard of before, I'd definitely buy this one again - worth checking out.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just an excellent beer, too bad its $3.99 for 330ml, thick long lasting head. Reddish color. Easy to find white bottle at the largest liquor stores. Also available 750ml - $10.39.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a brown colour with a large fizzy beige coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due the darkness of the beer and there is some great lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Chocolate, butterscotch, malts, raisins, yeast, spices

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste lots of dark fruit - cherries, and raisins, mixed with malts and a hint of chocolate and butterscotch. There is also some banana taste and a bit of coriander/all-spice. It ends with a dark fruit sweet aftertaste.

Overall – What a fantastic tasting beer. I can't believe how well the alcohol is hidden and it is truly a dream to drink. I was a little disappointed in it's boring appearance in the glass but the taste and smell more than makes up for it. This is a world class beer that is a must try.

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Photo of weeare138
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears a dark crimson toned orange with a light tan head that slowly fades out into a mild cap that floats during the duration of the drink. Scattered bits of webbing are left around the entire glass.
Smell is of ripe, dark fruit, raisins, cocoa, and some herbal, earth notes.
Taste is of caramel, dark fruit, steeped raisins, and herbal, spicy hops.
Mouthfeel is sweet, syrupy, hot, spicy, and smooth in the finish.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of its short and stubby white painted 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. Body is dark brown with a monsterous head with great retention that produced lacing throughout the duration of the drink. Smell is sweet dark fruits (plumas and raisens) and alcohol. Taste is fruity with a potent alcohol bite dominating the very dry finish. This brew definately gets better as it warms up in the glass. While it is not an absolutely stellar brew, it sure does hold its own as a great beer.

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

I bought 2 bottles of this stuff at Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, Colorado.

Pours so darned beautifully ending up a dark gold in my Chimay glass. Nice head that lingers with very nice lacing around the glass.

The smell is a superb apple, reminiscent of my favourite soda..Jones Green Apple. I couldn't wait to dive right in. ;^)

The taste is a plethora of fruity flavours that are dominated by apple but yet aren't.(if you catch my meaning)
At 10% abv, I want to just sip and enjoy but the drinkabilty of this brew has to be experienced to be appreciated. This is, for me, a truly world class experience in Triples and I'll certainly buy it again!

Long live the Golden Dragon!!

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark cherry-burgundy with a monstrous 3 finger rocky beige head that lasted forever. The head was composed of large macro bubbles when viewed through the sides of the glass and fell around the rim leaving a billowy/towering center piece. There was a spotchy lacing with a good strong visible carbonation at first that soon receded to a slow steady stream of bubbles.

S: dark fruit, caramel raisins.

T: The initial flavor had a cloey, and overpowering malt sweetness with alcohol fusels. The flavor soon receded to a rich, caramel sweetness with some fruitiness (apples) and brown sugar. The beer finishes with a dark fruit, dark caramel and a nice alcohol warming. There was a slight sour raisin taste detected after the swallow.

M: full bodied, warm caramel, slightly creamy with a nice dry spicy alcohol fade.

D: A very nice finish despite an otherwise rough first sip. The beer progressively drinks better as you go along with a wonderful spicy dark fruit and caramel finish.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.47/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL corked and caged bottle.

(A)- Pours a hazy amber color with some white froth.

(S)- A sweet malty and rich profile with plum and prune dark fruits. Hints at vanilla sweetness.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Very rich and sweet with dark fruits of plum, prune, and fig.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. A nice balance to it with heavy heavy malts and a hefty sweetness.

(D)- A solid belgian strong dark ale. A bit heavy and sweet to drink too much of, but tasty.

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

A: Brown color; caramel around the edges. Poured a 2 finger off-white head that lingered to a thick skim. Lots of lace sheeting down the side of the glass.

S: Dark fruits; plums and raisins. Sweet foundation with candi sugar.

T: Bitter up front followed by lots of dark fruit flavors. Finishes sweet with a mild spiciness.

M: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Sweet in the mouth. Hint of alcohol; more prominent as it warms.

D: Nice flavorful beer. Fairly complex. ABV limits drinkability a bit, but well worth a shot.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Yardhouse in Scottsdale, AZ.
Poured a deep amber color with golden brown highlights, crowned by a good two fingers of sticky, foamy head that hangs around a good long while. Nose of sweet, bready malt, raisin, and a hint of spicy hops, along with a touch of yeasty funk. Taste is mildly sweet up front, then becomes richer and maltier as it goes down.

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Photo of wl0307
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coming in a 330ml short bottle (now covered in white plastic wrap instead of being painted white as in the past, making it look really bad and cheap), BB 18/05/2013, served lightly-chilled in Gulden Draak’s own branded tulip-shaped bowl sniffer.

A: a well-lingering dark beige frothy head comes with steady and mild carbonation and a dark reddish-russet body; looking noble and prestigious.
S: sour-ish fruit esters and overripe fruits abound, on top of a creamy base of aromatic malts, dark candy sugar, and plentiful notes of prunes and berry jam. No particularly sharp edge of alc. is detected, bearing in mind this is a really potent ale. It definitely packs a punch, while the overall aroma, albeit pleasant, is not terribly complex for its category/class.
T: sour-sweet as the nose suggests, the even slightly vinegary fruity foretaste is immediately followed by a soothing flow of yeasty maltiness (cocoa, black-date paste, bready malts, etc.), laced with herbally-estery elements and a slowly manifesting stream of mild hop bitterness. Lightly spicy, olive-ish and salty-sweet in the finish, the moderate aftertaste surprisingly still “failed” to deliver any sharp touch of alc., which is definitely a great plus to the overall drinkability.
M&D: smoothly-carbonated, full-bodied and, as experienced throughout the drink, fantastically drinkable; this is a creamy-malty and yeasty ale that doesn’t come very complex but surprisingly easy-drinking amongst its counterparts.

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

Poured into tulip. Poured a deep mahogany with a slight reddish tint. The beer had a tall (over 2 inch) medium tan head that had great retention and lacing.

A rich, full aroma featured some sweetness and fruitiness, backed up by a nice yeast note. The flavors are exactly what the aroma said they would be, just amplified. The fruit was fruitier, yeast bolder and the sweetness, not as sweet as you'd expect from the scent.

The body was full and smooth, it coated the tongue nicely without being sticky. Drinkability was excellent, but at this strength more than a couple is just asking for trouble.

Overall, an excellent beer.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a warm brown dense body with a thick mousse light tan head. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles in this one.

S- This beer has a nose of sweet dark malt with brown sugar, dark raisins and a dark rum alcohol smell.

T- The taste of dark sweet malt has a dark caramel note and a vinous taste to it. The faint note of coffee candy comes through in the background. The finish has a nice alcohol bite that balances the sweetness.

M- This beer has a medium light mouthfeel with a alcohol warmth.

D-This beer has nice dark malt flavors and the alcohol helps keep it in check.

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

I am drinking a 750 mL C&C bottle poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. The ale is chilled.

Appearance: The ale pours with a hazy orange-brown color. There is ample sediment in the glass. The ale poured with a decent head and left a respectable amount of lace around the glass.

Smell: Yeast is the dominant aroma. I also smell the sweetness of candy sugars.

Taste: The candied sugars are quite evident in taste. They give the ale a very pleasing sweet taste. After that, hints of alcohol and fruit (plum maybe).

Mouthfeel: The ale sits very well in the mouth. The yeastiness and sugars taste very nice together.

Drinkability: This is an eminently drinkable ale, but the 10.5% abv is a dealbreaker, too much alcohol makes me sleepy...

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Photo of wordemupg
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml stubby poured into wine glass 27/1/12

A looks light brown until held to the light where it glows a ruby red amber, very short lived tan head leaves no lace

S plums, raisins, lots of brown sugar, sweet malts, and a little booze

T a little molasses on top of what I smell, booze is fairly well concealed but its getting pretty sweet, use of brewers candy I'm guessing

M a little syrupy at then the bubbles help its cause, sticky on the lips with a little heat

O good beer but I thought it would be a little better being a beer of fame and all, not overly complex but still quite nice

for under 4$ I really can't complain, not the best Belgian I've had recently but certainly nothing to be ashamed of

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Photo of Immortale25
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a 1/2 inch tan head that retains well before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves small clots behind.

S- Dark bread, dark fruit and a bit of brown sugar sweetness. The yeast ties everything together to make for a nice bouquet.

T- Sweet, toffee-like malt flavor with more dark bread notes and plenty of spice. Alcohol is there but not overbearing. Slight metallic taste.

M- Somewhat dry with medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- Haven't had this one in a while and it's pretty much just as I remember it. Solid strong Belgian flavor that's complex but still approachable. I used some salty Danish Havarti to cut the sweetness and slight booze bite.

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Photo of barczar
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy deep brown with a frothy, pillowy, 2 and a half inch light tan head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Burnt caramel, pineapple, pear, and rich treacle form the initial aroma. The fruity esters cut the rich malt character perfectly. It's almost buttery. Boozy notes of prunes, dates, and raisins surface as it warms.

Dark fruit character is initially evident, fading to lightly toasted malt, which becomes sweet with a molasses character, eventually drying slightly in the finish. Dark cherries accompany a base of prunes and raisins, adding complexity. Sweeter notes of dates and figs balance the malt character well mid palate. Pineapple and tangerine emerge late. The finish is a little flat.

Body is smooth and fairly thick, but too light to be syrupy. Carbonation is fairly low, and alcohol warmth is present, but doesn't overwhelm.

Delicious beer. Think the aroma trumps the flavor. But highly complex malt and yeast esters. A little too sweet mid palate, and the finish is somewhat of a disappointment.

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Photo of avalon07
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a brownish color and a thick, murky consistency. There was a huge, foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: A strong, almost pungent aroma of apples, alcohol and sugars.

T: Like the smell, the taste is complex, but rather strong. Apples, raisins, alcohol, caramel, malt and even some chocolate. Hops in the finish.

M: Had a high level of carbonation and a smooth finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a drinkable beer, but it's one with a big, bold flavor. Might not be for everyone.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml caged and corked bottle. Served in a Unibroue tulip, the beer pours a murky reddish/mahogany brown color with about an inch light tan head that stayed around a little while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is very nice, it smells like dark fruit, caramel, yeast, spice and some candied fruit. Taste pretty much is the same as the aroma, but there's also some candy sugar and bready malt noticeable. It's a very sweet and malty brew. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's smooth and creamy with moderate carbonation. I think this is a pretty good beer. I know I'd buy this again.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Red/brown sunburst. Clear. Ample frothy head and lacing.

S: Sweet, banana, belgian yeast, hints of booze

T: belgian yeast, malts, dark fruit, sweet sugar, slightly boozy, almost tea like finnish.

M: good carbonation. medium bodied.

D: higher ABVs slightly hidden. Good belgian, very good drinkable strong dark.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer 2 of my flight. A 5oz pour

A - Poured a dark amber brown, clear in color that clears to a blotchy lace ring with some excellent lacing.

S - Light Belgium yeast and sugars, touch of caramel and toffee.

T - Very clean tasting yeast is very fruity with caramel and toffee leading to a slightly hoppy finish. ABV is well hidden with only a slight warming feeling.

M - Again medium bodied for sure. Love well made Belgium's

Overall I will have to be back to get another 5oz pour for 2 bucks. It drinks like heaven on tap a great strong ale.

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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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