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: 3,905
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 LiquidAmber
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a slightly hazy red orange with a one finger off-white head with good retention and nice lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dark stone fruit, sweet and slightly boozy. Flavor follows, with caramel and bready malt, rich fresh and dried plums, hints of tart apricots, Belgian yeast. Finishes warming with a hint of bops and lingering dark fruit. Medium bodied with light creaminess. I can't believe I never reviewed this beer; it was one my first "wow" imported beers and introductions to Belgians. Possibly one of the top 10 Belgian beers I've drunk all my life. As a matter of fact, this Belgian ale inspired me to buy my first dedicated glass, a Gulden Draak tulip that I still use frequently today, so much the gold trim around the lip is worn off. This is a classic Belgian strong dark ale, with great fruit notes and big supporting caramel malt. It's presentation in an unusual bottle, look, smell and taste are all great. A classic, and one of the ales I miss in my quest to try so many different beers; it's been years since I had one of these. A genuine pleasure.

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Photo of Jerseyislandbeer
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up on my trip to Belgium last year. Pours a dark brown colour with beige foamy head that lasts and leaves lacing. The aroma is rich of flavour which include caramel, dried fruit, raisins & figs. Taste is on the thick & slight sweet malty side with caramel, dried fruits, plums, cloves, raisins & hints of spice. Aftertaste has a slightly dry finish, alcoholic warmth and complex fruitiness with a low to medium bitterness. Full body, moderate carbonation. Considering the high alcohol content, it is very well hidden. I'm pleasantly surprised just how good it was & certainly would have it again.

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Photo of OlaB
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: gives a dark red color with a good top of creamy head. Nice lacings on the glass.

S: dark and dried fruits like raisins,plum and pears . I also sense some cherries. Other thing I feel on the nose is caramel,peppercorn and candied sugar.

T&F: the taste is dark fruits with nice caramel malts in the background. In the middle I get more of a peppery flavour and I also get that yeasty sweetness in my mouth, the finishing is sweet dryness in the aftertaste that last for a good time. Gives almost a immediately warming feeling after the first sip.

O: a classic belgian beer that is very enjoyable and tasty. One of the better belgian dark beers

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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

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Photo of tlema1
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: murky mahogany color, with a thin off white head
S: some dark fruit, not a huge nose
T: caramel, dark fruit, candy sweetness at the end
F: medium body, most of the mouthfeel is up front
O: a great Belgian dark ale

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the bottle, it pours a hazy dark amber with a good sized head, dissipating to a small head quickly. Scent is sweetish, with caramel and raisins. The mouth definitely follows the nose. Wow!

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

A - Pours a hazy dark red with a three finger off white head. The head recedes quickly leaving tons of heavy soapy lacing.

S- Aroma is caramel malts, pears and raisins.

T - The taste is tons of caramel malts, brown sugar, plums and raisins.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Soft creamy mouthfeel with a sticky dry finish.

O - A classic and one of the best bang for your buck Belgians around.

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Photo of TripleSun
4.71/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L - dark red with a small head
S - caramel malt, very fruity
T - A hint of spice and the fruitiness is as big on the nose as the tongue
F - Nice carbonation, slight hoppy feel

Wow don't know why I waited so long to experience this beer. Has been in my fridge for months and it kept getting overlooked. Will be back to buy more!

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Photo of beerinabottle
4.73/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Excellent Belgium strong ale picked up (unbelievably) in a sampler 6 pack from the Van Steenberge brewery in a Lidl in Edenderry, Co. Offaly, Ireland for the steal price of 14.99 euro for the 6.

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Photo of Cthulhusquid
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look : Two finger volumes white-brown head, hazy red-brown body.

Smell : Plums, pear, and caramel mainly.

Taste : Sweet brown sugar, caramel, plum, nutmeg, cinnamon.

Feel : High carbonation, medium body, sweet, warming alcohol.

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Photo of jonmikel
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 330 ml bottle bought at a small shop in my home town Getxo (Spain).
-Very very dark amber color. Almost no foam (it disappeared very quickly).
-Very profound smell. Spices at first but it gets more alcoholic if you approach the nose.
-It tastes quite well leaving the flavour in the tongue for a while.
-The carbomation is felt. The feel is much heavier than usual beer.
It has got 10,5% alcohol so you can feel the burden after drinking it.

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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 delta490
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Definitely hit the "dark". It's a deep ruby-tinted brown. Initially it has a big foamy tan head that settles down to a ring and a thin covering. It still leaves some spots of tight sticky head. The aroma is a little sweet, a little spiced, and a hint of the alcohol. There is a big upfront dark fruit sweetness, with a little bit of spice. It is medium-bodied with a small but persistent carbonated tingle.

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Photo of AraBama
3.22/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a frosted mug a deep gold almost brown with a strong tan head.Good lacing .Not a strong smell maybe slight biscuit . Alcohol taste a bit too strong . Light feel . Overall not a bad beer but not great .

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

Pours a reddish brown color with a two finger fluffy tan head. Aroma is sweet caramel malt, peach, and biscuit. Taste follows with caramel sweetness, peach, biscuit and darker bread malts, and an overall sweetness that is not at all off putting due to the fact that it blends so well with the rest of the beer. Mouthfeel is thin to medium, nicely carbonated and easy drinking. Overall, this is a very good beer, a definite mix of triple and BSDA, plus the bottle is just dang cool.

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Photo of Svingjo
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich translucent reddish brown colour with a two finger thick white head that last forever. The nose leads with sweet caramel, peaches, bready biscuits and almost cotton candy like sugar smell. The taste leads with much the same flavours along with dark dried fruits like plums, figs and dates. There is mild carbonation and an alcohol burn that cuts the syrupy sweetness giving it a nice medium mouthfeel. A nice tripel with lots going on a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Tom1313
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

If the overall rating scale allowed a 4.9 this beer would have 4.9 !!

Have had a lot of Ales over the years and this Ale tops them all. I received this as a gift and first tasted it, ice cold on a Sunday after-noon, Northeast of Phoenix, AZ in Queen Valley AZ. I was not expecting the overall taste this beer provided. For me, no other Ale has come close. It is all in the taste and the swallow. I will try other Belgian Strong Dark Ales and other Ales looking to match or surpass this beer. If I find one I will post a new review. With a rating of 4.9 if I find a better beer there will be room for an improved rating !! My Son-In-law, Jason, put me on to this beer. Thanks Jason.

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Photo of nout72
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Gorgeous beer, but I find it too sweetly cloying overall. Very similar to the Rochefort 8, the aftertaste lingers and lingers and in the end you are drinking candy instead of beer.
Still the flavor, fresh form a neutral point is very very nice. Idealy you must sip some water after a sip of Gulden Draak, just to get a fresh start. If it was a bit more dry this would be a top beer.
Maybe next time I will try it with a meal or with a desert of blue cheese and camembert. This beer demands to be neutralized or tamed down by something in order to appreaciate its rich flavor.

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look (4): An unfiltered ruby red and brown hue. A pretty beige head, but that doesn't really stick around.

Smell (4.5): Big thick biscuit bready aroma with caramel malty sweetness. The boozey smells are also there, which is expected once a brew hits double digits in ABV.

Taste (4.25): All of those amazing smells are definitely prevalent in this brew via taste. You can also pick up delicious dried raisons and plums. This is pretty fucking good dawg.

Mouthfeel (3.75): Not as smooth as I'd like, but there is a nice creamy feel there. Still more course then I'd like it. Medium plus to full bodied. Definitely on the sweeter side. The after taste sticks around for a while, so theres a nice ending to it.

Overall (4.25): This is a sexy ass beer. I've got my hands on most of the variants. I'm excited to try them all! Just probably not in one night...

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Photo of Bombelsky
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hello guys,

This is my first post on the Beer Advocate. Here we come:

33cl white bottle with a golden dragon drawn on a label. Poured into a trappists chalice. Hazy, dark amber. Two fingers tall, off white and creamy head. Aroma of a caramel malt, prunes, toffi, pumpernickel bread and soft herbal hops. Sweet malt and bitterness are well ballanced. Full body, oily to creamy. Sticks to lips. Thick. Soft carbonated and salty. Excellent bitter finnish. Long lasting, little bit spicy. Liquor. Warms up a throat. Last inch that I had left in a bottle, have landed in a chalice. That brought fantastic, sweet, honey aroma. I enjoyd this beer and I can totally recommend it. I have drunk it at 9°C temperature.

Best before date: 23.03.2017
Reviewed at: 24.04.2016

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Photo of Beginner2
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Perhaps a dozen tastings finally gets my review.
As a standard for Belgian darks, Gulden Draak defines the style's looks with luscious foam.
The fruity and malty smells promise -- and deliver -- a highly developed taste ( although it can hit the sweet side.) And the mouth ? Soft, soft, really soft.
I also give Gulden Draak points because its brewer has the moxie to call this is a dark triple.
I think it is more like a good quad with a winey yeast.

This is listed in the "1001" and deserves to be there.
Reviewed in "MJ's "Great Beers of Belgium", he thought less of it and, probably, Van Steenberge.
But Overall, we have a classic here from a brewery that penetrated the American market in the previous century to bring us the glories of Belgian brewing and their unique yeasts. So if you have not tried it, try it.

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Photo of LampertLand
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brouwerij Van Steenberge 'Gulden Draak' @ 10.5% , served from a 330 ml bottle purchased for $3.60
A-pour is gold from the bottle to a murky amber in the glass with a medium size beige head leaving a streaky lace along the chalice
S-big & boozey from the pour
T-start is big & boozey , with a bitter finish
MF-ok carbonation , full body
Ov-big beer for such a small bottle
prost LampertLand

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

Poured to a Gulden Draak glass in In De Wildman.

A: Two finger beige head with no retention and minor lacing. Coppery hints on mostly opaque black body.
S: Yeasty, malty and sweet. But with a great proportion between all these three characteristics. The aroma here is really great even by its' simplicity.
T: Sweet malt and a bit alcoholic due to big amount of alcohol present. This beer has a great sweet profile, great in sweetness and great in its presence. It's perfect to think that a ~12% ABV beer tastes this sweet and feels like having a minor amount of alcohol. Just great.
M: High density body. Sweet and not hoppy at all.
O: Simply a great classic beer for the buck. Actually, if you're looking for a high ABV beer, this might be whatyou should be looking for if you're not into quads.

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Photo of cesarrdgz
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tiene una mucha corona de espuma que es duradera, el color es café caramelo y el olor es pura malta. Al tomar se siente la malta y después el alcohol, es para tomarse de pequeños tragos y el sabor se queda en la boca por un buen tiempo... Sin duda alguna muy buena para tener 10,5% de alcohol

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,905 ratings.
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