Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Gulden DraakGulden Draak
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

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User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 1,386 | Ratings: 4,130
Photo of Raime
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Have seen this a hundred times at my local craft shop but simply never picked it up until now. At $5 for the single I'm hoping for a solid brew.

Look - Ruby red with a brown twinge. Finger of off white head an ample carbonation on the appearance.

Smell - Cherry apple pie is the first thing that comes to mind. A fair bit of that typical belgian yeast as well.

Taste - Again, A mixture of cherry, baked bread, apples, with a moderate kiss of alcohol.

Feel - Very alcoholic and moderate bodied with a high level of carbonation.

Overall - At the price point I was hoping for better but this is still a solid, slow drinking and tasty belgian. Like a much smoother and less cloying dubbel for comparison. On a 2 degree Fahrenheit Michigan night, it's pretty nice for the warming effects. May change ratings as I finish the bottle if I feel a warmer brew experience is drastic enough from the experience fresh out of the fridge.

EDIT UPDATE : The flavors retained much the same but I must admit that this beer became aeons smoother as it warmed and that fact coupled with the ABV warrants a few changes in the ratings.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.69/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

I'm frequently amazed how some thousands of reviews later, I keep coming across beers that I've drank for ~020 years that I haven't written a review for. Anyways, pours a light amber color with a thin white but not virgin white color that is thin and around 1/4" deep. The smell kicks down a hot alcohol burn, some caramel and apple notes.

Taste still drops the apple notes and the alcohol burn is still the most prominent thing about the beer. Every time I've had this, I have always wondered why such punishing alcohol gets a pass taste and mouth feel wise from people. It is really oppressive, there isn't much in the way of other flavors to help carry it. Its like those hot sauces that are just hot, that provide little other flavor to it. Once you get as accustomed as you can to the heat, you can pick up notes of raisin and other dark fruit from the yeast profile.

Sorry I can't endorse this beer. Typical American.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25


I know I had this several time sin the past, but just never rated it,

12 oz. Bottle to snifter.

LOOK: medium brown with a reddish hue, healthy frothy eggshell head. Mostly Clear, but not much light gets through.
AROMA: aroma is warm and spicy and sweet. Brown Sugar, fruitcake, rum. Light cinnamon. Maybe a hint banana.
TASTE: Apple cider, raisin, Rum or brandy presence and high abv give this a very warming finish.
FEEL: Full body and thick. A healthy supply of carbonation as well.

Great winter beer.


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Photo of andrewh995
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red mahogany with an off white head. Smells of sweet caramel, malt, and toffee. Tastes of Belgian yeast, honey, malt, very sweet caramel, toffee, and dark fruits. Medium in body and carbonation. Overall a very good Belgian dark, but a little sweet for my tastes.

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Photo of Stoutmaster9
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

11.2 fl.oz
Poured into a big mouth wine glass.
Smoke from the bottle.
Bubble eruption, at first large, loud and foamy. Fine bubbles soon to follow.
Deep color, dark rusty amber/gothic copper.
Scent of malts, dark fruits, especially Figs. An abundance and depth almost absurd. Secondary wave more figs, figgy-citrus.
Fantastic throat burn; tastes of old fashioned Candy. Cellared fruits and titanic malt. Intense carbonation.

A lingering saucy tart. A cherry fruitcake , dreaming creamy. Brandy glaze hop-tang.

Our Golden Dragon dreams upon thresholds of bliss most perilous!

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Photo of detgfrsh
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From a 750ml bottle. Pours dark brown with a finger of fluffy tan head. Smells of bready malts and raisins. Heavily carbonated feel, slightly syrupy. Rich and complex taste, with sweet malt and raisin flavors dominating. Some alcohol burn at the end. I think there's a bit too much carbonation, it overshadows some of the flavor. Otherwise, this is a very good dark Belgian.

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Photo of Jtee
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From a 330ml bottle served straight from the fridge at 8 degrees Celsius into a white wine glass. Best before date: 03/07/2019.

Look: The beer pours a slightly veiled deep amber/light copper with 6cm of rocky, tan head that fades into a solid cap within 5+ minutes. Good lacing with very persistent head for a 10.5% ABV beer.

Smell: Moderate strength and malty-sweet. Rich and complex with notes of dried fruit (golden raisins and figs), mild strawberry & milk chocolate, bready-toasty malts, and a very low phenolic spice. The significant, perfumy ethanol makes a pleasant contribution to the beer's overall bouquet. No apparent hop-aroma. Layered, harmonious, and enticing.

Taste: Follows the aroma with medium-strong intensity and sweet balance. Rich and complex with notes of dried fruit (golden raisins and figs), bready malts, and again with a faint berry-like note (strawberry) & milk chocolate. The finish is long, strong, and malty-sweet.

Feel: Medium-full body with lively carbonation. Creamy with moderate, yet smooth alcohol warming.

Overall: Gulden Draak does not disappoint. It's very Belgian in it's character and though lighter than many other beers within the style, it's still an excellent representation of Belgian dark strong ales. Thus far, this is my favourite offering from Van Steenberge. Try it if you like em' strong and Belgian.

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Photo of tdiers
4.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I am no expert on beers. I only know what I like. This is my second go to Belgian Dark Ale. Since Gouden Carolus Christmas is so hard to find, I've been searching coast to coast on this small island in Japan (Okinawa) for a replacement. I've found it with Gulden Draak. It has the rich malty, bready, spicy, and thick sweetness that I love in a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. The taste is complex and hard to narrow down. All I can say is it tastes great! Watch out for the alcohol kick. At 10.5% it kicks pretty good by the end of the 750ml bottle.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from cork and cage bottle into tulip glass. It pours a cloudy, orange-cola color with a huge, fluffy, khaki-colored head and lacing with amazing retention. The nose features cola, toffee, candied apple, and molasses. It's highly fragrant. It's quite sweet with lots of toffee and molasses, brown sugar, red wine notes, and discernible alcohol. There is a slight dry bitterness in the after taste. It has a rich, creamy mouth feel with only moderate carbonation, and the 10.5% ABV is noticeable. Overall, I understand why Gulden Draak is so highly regarded. It's well-crafted and highly flavorful but a little too sweet for my taste. It's a good dessert sipper but I wouldn't recommend it for casual drinking.

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Photo of Holderness
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L — Pours a lovely filtered deep ruby amber with a good-sized cream colored head produced with moderate pour. Decent retention and great lacing
S — Caramel, toffee, fruity yeast esters, tamari, molasses, and a touch of booze
T — Leads with a good amount of sweet malts and banana esters. Followed by waves of caramel, toffee, herbaceous grassiness, and burnt sugar
F — Almost velvety mouthfeel. Medium+ carb. Long lasting, charred/bitter finish
O — A huge Belgian that is all I anticipated but nothing more. Better with the yeast mixed in.


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Photo of VoxRationis
4.99/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Decanted from an 11.2 oz (330 ml) white bottle into a conical pint glass; no production information.
A: Pours a hazy, dark copper color with a generous off-white head although limited retention or Belgian lacing.
S: Aromas of apple, caramel, maple syrup and mocha predominate with a very nice interplay.
T: Flavors follow the nose. Complex. Alcohol notable (how could it not be) but has almost a brown rum quality. Very little bitterness evident.
M: Full bodied with very pleasantly persistent effervescence evident. The bubbliness continues throughout consumption.
O: Wow! This is a really top of class beer. Definitely among the best drink experiences I have had lately and definitely imparts further respect for the style (as if it needed any). Would without question drink/serve/gift/relish.

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Photo of tanzervaz
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The perfect afternoon Belgium ale. I had the pleasure of trying the draft nitro version at Brat Haus in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Great full bodied mouth feel! especially after the bartender made sure the nitro was poured right and the foam head was a perfect 20%. A must try, one of my all time favorites. 4.8/5

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Photo of MinerBob
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For a beer rated at 10.5% this beer awesomely smooth! Pours a dark tea color with a white head. Has a wine smell with deep molasses. The flavor is very good but a little sweet.

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Photo of iawaska
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This is a beautiful, dark Belgian ale. It pours smoothly into a hazy dark brown with a full creamy tan head without being overly carbonated. It smells very much like caramel and licorice with a bit of chocolate and maple syrup aromas and even cheesecake. It is hard for me to describe the flavor of this beer since it is very complex but has a fairly close resemblance to its smell. It tastes of caramel and licorice with a fruity taste I can't pin down. Perhaps raspberry? It goes beyond this elementary description, of course, but these flavors were most prominent to me. The alcohol is apparent but far from overpowering. I expected this beer to be much more bitter than it was but it actually went down as smooth as one could hope for when drinking such a thick and sticky beer. Overall, this is a beer I am going to come back to again and again for its incredible depth of flavor and properly satisfactory finish in every standard from look to smell to feel. I would recommend this to everyone interested in craft beer. From newcomers to the long-haul dedicated drinkers of beer, this is a world-class beverage that is worth a try.

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Photo of Impetuous
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with great head and sticky lacing.

Flathead cherries and a variety of bready malts and alcohol. The carbonation is light but the brew still feels VERY robust.

Pretty damn good.

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Photo of hopflyer
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Unknown bottle date

Pours deep copper/ruby color, very clear. Full 4 finger head hangs around a while. Lots of carbonation.

Yeasty smell, farmhouse, grassy. Some fruit like black cherry and plum.

First sip carries the black cherry flavors along with the yeast.

Light to medium bodied, high carbonation. Little to no alcohol detected given its 10.5%

Very good belgian with usual teary character.

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Photo of The_Bujon
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep plum, with a caramel tinted head.

The head disappears in a flash and is a bit of a disappointment.

Aroma is toffee and prune, and a hefty waff of alcohol to boot. This drinks smells like it's going to put hairs on your chest.

Taste is equally as good, perhaps a touch too sweet, but suppose at 10.5% abv it was a little expected. Plenty of spice and winter warming fruits, and the alcohol does warm the gullet.

Feel is surprisingly watery, which is a bit of a shame, because the appearance and taste are full blooded.

Aftertaste is just like bonfire toffee, sweet and lingers on the roof of the mouth.

It's a bloody good beer, one for the wintery nights in Bruges.

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Photo of Brolo75
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a clear chestnut color with a toffee colored head, no retention or lacing, not much carbonation.

A: Slight notes of dark fruits like figs, plums, dates, burnt brown sugar, caramel, toffee, Belgian yeast note like banana, pepper, and clove, smells promising.

T: Initial notes of dark fruit like dates, plums, figs as well as burnt brown sugar and caramel, slight bitterness in the middle, finish has banana, pepper, and clove lingering in the aftertaste, alcohol comes through pretty strong.

M: Medium/full bodied with a dry finish, good amount of carbonation.

O: A solid beer, lots of depth, complexity, and flavors in this beer, nice balance of flavors, my only complaint is that the alcohol is noticeable and it's presence increases as the beer warms.

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Photo of puck1225
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had it on tap into a snifter. Dark golden yellow color with a foamy cream head and great lacing. Smell of sweet apples and pears. The apples and pears carries over to the taste with cloves and cinnamon. An excellent beer!

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a chalice every time I’ve had it. The appearance was a nice gentle golden hazy orange to brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute leaving a nice clingy foamy lacing gracing the sides of the glass. The aroma smells of a light Belgian spice of clove and coriander to adequately weave itself in and out of some nice sweet candied fruits such as plums, apricots and peaches. The taste took all of those previously mentioned flavors and wrapped them up into a super nice sweet and spicy package to grace my taste buds in a very nice way. On the palate, this one sat right at about a medium on the body with a fairly decent sessionability about it. However, I find myself sipping this for the most part. Overall, this one was a mighty fine Belgian Strong Ale. Everything just seems to fit nicely.

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Photo of Kate2786
4.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! This is the best beer I have ever tasted! Malty, smooth, full-bodied, little alcohol taste, especially considering that it is 11. 43 percent. Got it on tap at a local Georgia pub. Not sure if I can get it anywhere else nearby. I would stock up on it if I could.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.14/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at chandler Whole Foods. A quick review.

Dark Amber

Very Belgian-spice forward. Tons of bubblegum and licorice... almost to a fault. Very malt forward. A good amount of grain character as well. Viscous in flavor and mouthfeel with a surprisingly lighter carbonation level. Overall, I wouldn't have this beer again. There are many better Belgian beers available. It gets a 82.5/100.

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Photo of crimsonfloyd
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Reddish brown. Smells of clove, dates, and syrup. Taste is of caramel, dates, and cola. Nice, smooth, and rich on the tongue, but a bit of a minty bite on the finish. Overall very well rounded and flavorful.

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Photo of handmuffin
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into glass at home. Pours ruby brown in color, medium high clarity, with large, long lasting tawny colored head. Aroma is a mostly dried fruit, like raisins and cherries with some caramel malt. A small amount of alcohol aroma is detected. No hop aroma is detectable. Flavor is more dried fruit and caramel, no dark roasted flavors but a more mellow maltiness, like a Marzen. No hop flavor detectable. Very minimal alcohol flavor at the end. Medium body with medium high carbonation. Overall this beer is fruity, boozy and slightly sweet, with a dry finish. All of the characteristics are very well balanced, producing an extremely drinkable 10.5% beer. It may lack a little of the richness and complexity expected of Belgian beers like the Trappist ales or other quads, but still very interesting and enjoyable.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Gentle pour into snifter (it's a volatile Belgian after all). Steady khaki head. Thick nutty brown color.

Sweet nose with some caramel and fruit, among other subtleties.

Similar taste, with brown sugar, sweet malts, and some berries.

Mouth has carb, but is overall medium in body.

General consensus is pretty accurate, a great, sweet-but-strong Belgian dark. Comes in a pretty unique bottle shape too. Strong resemblance to some dunkel lagers, like eisbocks.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 4,130 ratings