Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Gulden DraakGulden Draak
BA SCORE
90.6%
Liked This Beer
4.24 w/ 3,967 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
Ranking:
#803
Reviews:
1,347
Ratings:
3,967
Liked:
3,594
Avg:
4.24/5
pDev:
11.32%
Alströms:
4.42
 
 
Wants:
315
Gots:
881
Trade:
4
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,967 |  Reviews: 1,347
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Photo of KYGunner
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The appearance would include the most gorgeous bottle I've ever seen. For the ale it's a very well presented brown to dark amber with loads of carbonation that stacks as high as you want to pour it. The bubbly head sits on top as a frothy mass.

Wine like qualities hit the nose with a soft alcohol aroma. Grape, must, prune, date and vinegar-like aromas hit the nose in a supremely well blended scent.

The taste has a lot of vinous grape, must and sweetness. I don't get as much fruit as I got in the scent but this is very well constructed and just good to drink.

The feel is very airy, which makes sense as there's loads of carbonation but it gives a real champagne like feel. The throat and chest are filled with air which descends to the stomach, begging you to drink slowly.

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4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Chrysostom
4.49/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As always, I review live, not from notes, puzzling out the libation brewed in houses of salvation. As always, I review to style (ala BJCP), modified by personal taste (contra BJCP), not solely to personal taste, which would be unfair to many great examples of styles that I don't personally favour.

I'm re-reviewing this beer. I had it first out of a small bottle and did a "quick rating" of 3.75 - it was drinkable, and even good, but I wasn't impressed.

Called a "Dark Triple" by the brewers, this is more of a unique Quadrupel.

Presentation: 750mL corked and caged bottle, $11.99, covered in a white plastic coating, making it opaque. Poured in to a Chimay chalice/goblet at around 45ºF, warming as I write.

A: A cloudy, but still translucent-to-nearly-transparent around the edges, dark nut brown colour with strong highlights of some shade of muddy red. On a gentle pour, one finger of head is left, which recedes slowly to an almost-cap upon the face of the beer and a ring around its edges. Lacing nonexistent.

S: The nose is dominated by fruits and esters, with a strong malt presence and sweet odor. There's some elusive caramelized sugar and toffee in there, too. There is no detectable alcohol in the nose at any temperature - it blends that well with the other smells. The fruits aren't the standard Belgian Strong Dark dark fruits - they're more citric. As it warms, a mild Belgian funk and equally-mild spice become noticeable in the nose. Not extremely complex smelling, but appetizing and inviting.

T: Malts, brown malts, roasted malts - lots of malts, did I say? - fresh red grapes, raisins, plums and prunes, a slight, typically Belgian spiciness, with a mild solventy or spicy alcoholic taste on the finish, which actually adds to and completes the flavour, instead of detracting from it as it can so often do. A thread of moderate, but far from cloying or unappetizing, sweetness runs through the beer from start to finish, as is typical in true Belgian Darks but so often devolves in to overly-sweet, unbalanced cloyingness in American "replicas" of the style. The sweetness runs, melds, interchanges and combines with a bready dryness which also runneth from stem to stern. A little warming alcohol on the finish intertwines with the omnipresent exchange and interplay of fruity sweetness and bready dryness. Excellent.

M: The carbonation is loose and light-feeling. This drink is reminiscent of St Bernardus Abbot 12 - the best beer in the world, and the only that I have ever rated perfect 5s down the line - but is a bit thinner in mouthfeel. The loose, bouncy, spritzy carbonation doesn't allow the flavours to pull together as well as they could. It's still excellent.

D: High.

O: I'm blown out of the water by the differences between the first small bottle I had and this large one, for whatever reason (freshness? etc.). A worthy Belgian Strong Dark/Quadrupel, an excellent example of the style, well-deserving of the reputation it has built up. 4.5s down the line here, and I may be under-rating the appearance and taste a little bit. Highly drinkable, moderately-highly complex, begs you to take another sip. Not as complex and unfathomable as a St Bernardus Abbot 12, but comparable to a Chimay Blue. I'll be sure to come back to this one.

To style (BSDA/Quad): 90/100
To official BJCP style (16E, "Belgian Specialty"): 97/100
To taste: 93/100

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4.75/5  rDev +12%

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4/5  rDev -5.7%

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4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of jmendels
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This beer was outstanding. At the behest of my best friend, I sought out this beer. As a lover of European beers, this was definitely on my radar. What better time to try it than Easter weekend?

The bottle alone is full of personality, having a different shape than most domestic beers. It draws one's attention to it as something special. It pours a nice amber-brown with the head lacing the bottle rather elegantly. It smells of toffee and roasted malts, with subtle chocolate notes. The first sip came and I was not disappointed. I had to pause and collect my thoughts on what I just drank. There were some spicy notes, yes. There were some toffee notes, yes. It has a noticeable alcohol flavor but not so much that it detracts from the flavorful crafting that went into this brew.

I put this up there with Schlenkerla or Ayinger. Delicious to the last drop.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 90.6% out of 100 with 3,967 ratings
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