Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,322 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: 1,322 | Ratings: 3,856
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
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Perhaps a dozen tastings finally gets my review.
I suppose a standard Belgian dark for looks and smell.
The taste is highly developed with lots of fruit and malt and, perhaps, a bit on the sweet side (but I didn't write this review in winter when it is best drunk.
I also give it points for the brewer having the audacity to think that this is a dark triple.
I think it is a good quad.

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 we have a classic here from an early brewery that penetrated the American market in the previous century to bring us the glories of Belgian brewing. 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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Photo of captaincoffee
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours brown with a medium head that leaves some lacing. Nose is sweet caramel, malts, and a touch of booze. Flavor matches with raisin malts, dark sugars. Lots of flavor, lots to like here. I half expected this to be a boozy mess, but it is quite well constructed. Great beer.

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Photo of champ103
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Have had this many times over the years, and surprised I have not reviewed it yet. Most recently on tap at a neighborhood bar close to me that is not known to have a good beer selection. Poured into the proper Gulden Draak tulip.

A: Pours a dark ruby/brown with a dense two finger white head that forms. Which has excellent retention, and beautiful lace all the way down the tulip glass.
S: Peppery yeast and fruity easters are the show up front. Banana, cloves and light bubblegum aromas. Sweet malts, and dark dried fruits of raisins. Fantastic.
T: Like the nose, peppery, clove like yeast up front. The fruity esters are to die for here. Banana, apples. Dried dark fruits of raisins and figs. A toffee sweetness, and candied sugar, that gives this almost a fruitcake like flavor. Outstanding, and complex as hell. I am not doing justice here.
M/O: A big full body that is creamy and smooth. Beautifully crisp carbonation that becomes so smooth this is otherworldly in that regard. Light warming alcohol, but other than that, something I can keep coming back to over and over again. Superlative drinkability (yes I used that word).

A fantastic example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. While sipping on this at the bar, some of my friends had been raving about a wine they were drinking at the moment. I know it is hard to compare these two beverages, but having some of the wine I could tell it was flabby, week and nowhere near the depth of this. Which shows some beers, and this one in particular can compete in every respect to its grape based companion. Fantastic all around.

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Photo of anon
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

One of those beers you look at over and over and finally get. One of those beers you wondered why you waited so long to do so.

A deep, dark ruby/bronze hue. Thick, creamy two finger head that sustains itself for quite some time. Over the top retention, a small layer of foam never ceasing to dissipate, even at the end, with traces of lace hanging on throughout.

Smells quite sweet. Candy, berries, toffee. Dark fruit; raisin, plum, fig. Black cherry, Oak, soil, malt, booze. Sweet forward on the tongue. Lucious candy and caramel sweetness coats your mouth and leaves you smacking your lips. Very fruity and tasty; raisin, plum, fig, juniper berry, grape. Heavy grain and malt undertones. Leathery and earthy. Boozy and heavy. Light spice.

Definitely full bodied, thick, rich, creamy, smooth and boozy. The heavy sweetness lingers but gives way to a slightly bitter earthy attribute that mellows things out. An absolutely excellent ale overall. I can imagine drinking this back in the times it was inspired. A somewhat simpler time. The Golden Dragon leaves it's mark.

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

Poured into an over-sized wine glass. Probably gave about 1.5 fingers of head. Stayed around for a while before receding to the edges. Golden-bronze coloured hue, with a little light getting through.

Smell: Awesome, almost like a 'dark stone fruit-bowl', toffee/caramel, sweet bread

Taste: Just like the smell, perfectly sweet, boozy in the finish

Mouth-feel: Nearly full, low carbonation, boozy fruit in the aftertaste.

Overall: An excellent beer, equal to the (if not the) best beers I've had.

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Photo of f1nke
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into small snifter. Dark color.
Fruit, almost sour smell.
Lots of flavor profiles. Fruit, nut, oak, candy, etc. Very bubbly. Smooth start and slightly rough finish. Not enough to make me stop drinking though.

Great overall brew, looking forward to discovering more in this style.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter. Persistent beige head that fades to faint lace. Dark, dark ruby color.

Faint sour berry smell, with roasted nuts.

Taste: nut brown, strong alcohol undertones. Finish is a little rough. Challenging feel, leaves the mouth a little dry.

Heavy beer. Good beer. One to savor. Since it comes in a four pack, make it last.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer pours a dark ruby color with a large sustaining head. The aroma hits me with fresh dark fruit, red currant, plum, black cherry, as well as bubblegum and rose hip. The flavor starts with red currant and black cherry, with a nice tart-sweet balance, as well as bubblegum, subtle banana, and a rich candy flavor at the end. The mouthfeel is full but wonderfully fizzy. Overall this is a spectacular beer providing waves of flavor that crash over my tongue, each proving a new level to examine.

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Photo of NateDyk47
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: medium brown, light tan head, minimal lacing
S: raisins/prunes
T: sweet, raisins & plums, mild bitter aftertaste
F: heavier body, but light carbonation

Typically not a fan of this style of beer, but this one's pretty good.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A; cloudy; medium brown in color; 1 finger khaki head that receded to a splotchy cap; no lacing;

S: raisin, cherry, black pepper, a little perfumy;

T: vanilla, raisin, over ripe peach; the grape in canned fruit cocktail; lightly bitter finish that increases slightly in the aftertaste;

M: medium bodied; moderate to high carbonation - prickly; alcohol is warming, but not hot;

O: very nicely done;

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Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I know that I am supposed to be laser-focused on CANs right now, but a) I purchased a mixed-six box of Belgian bottles recently and b) a homebrewer friend wants the stubby empties. That's fine with me since I usually just fill them with gasoline, get a paper towel wick, light it aflame and pitch it through either a Starbucks or a Wells Fargo Bank window. This way, it keeps me a) out of mischief and b) in beer. Win-win, I think it is referred to as being.

I gently prised the cap off of the bottle, but as I was finishing Pop!ping it open, I began to get some foaming through the neck of the bottle. Consequently, my pour was extremely gentle, so as not to rouse any potential lees. A swirl in the glass raised a finger of fizzy, deep-tan/light-brown head with extremely limited retention. It was as if it could not wait to lay back down & take a nap. Or maybe that was me, extrapolating. Color was a hazy Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27). Nose smelled of dried, dark fruits - (think raisins, prunes, dates, figs) as well as caramel, treacle/molasses, leather and a simple fusel alcohol heat to remind you that the Draak (Dragon) is in charge! Time to hop on its back & go for a ride! The first sip landed on my tongue like it had been scooped out from its source and plopped onto my tongue in a dollop! The taste was neither as sweet nor as hot as the nose had led me to gird myself for. The leather was certainly there and it it was more towards dates & figs than raisins & prunes. Still, it was not playing around. I drank a cheap Minhas product on Sunday & it had the same effect, just much less subtle. Then, it was a sledgehammer to the back of the head while now was akin to an iron glove enrobed in velvet & to my mouth, rather than my brain-housing group. Warming, I began to get notes of brandy & sherry & my thoughts wandered to all of the strippers that I have known over the years: Brandy, Sherry, Cinnamon, China, Candy et al. I kid you not, my 1993 deployment to Roosey Roads, P.R. saw me spending a LOT of time at the sadly now-defunct Papa Joe's! My second gentle pour from the bottle saw a little more clarity beginning to develop, but I do not know how I could have gotten around that initial foaming. Being that it was warmer than it had been initially, it was really starting to bring the heat! I would like to add port to that earlier list. If this were the days before I contracted adult-onset asthma, I would be smoking a cigar with this! Finish was hot, dry, very much a sipper. The leathery fruitiness lingered well after each swallow & I waved with a heavy heart as Draak the Dragon flew off to her next stop. At least, I have a lovely bottle opener to remember her by!

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Photo of Mark13
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottle 27.01.17, stored about 9 months. Aroma of flowers, fruits, caramel, bread and little alcohol. Ruby coloured beer, slightly hazy. Two fingered tan head, reduces to flat with little lacing. Sweet in taste - fruits, caramel, bread. Sour aftertaste of plums, grain, yeast. Low bitterness, very high carbonation, which spoils tasting. Alcohol is strongly perceptible. Full body, thick texture are tiring even for dessert beer. Not bad, but I’ve expected more.

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Photo of mkh012
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark maroon or purple with a finger of chunky tan head. Smells of grapes, plums, brown sugar, a slight medicinal phenolic note. Taste explodes with sticky-sweet grape and plum, slight vinous notes, a balancing breadiness. World-class and classically Belgian in its ability to be both medium bodied and rich and still somehow effervescent. I find this one a bit more tart and bright than other BSDAs, but in a good way. More grape than traditional "dark fruit" like raisins or figs. Over $20 a 4-pack where I'm from but worth it. An A+ Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

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Photo of outdoor7or24
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2 oz poured into snifter.
A: pours a deep burnt orange body, frothy off white +1 finger foam head, spotty lacing, carbonation
S: apricot, toasted malt, caramel, oak, boozy
M: medium creamy body
T: sweet apricot, fruits, boozy, oak, vanilla, some spice, Belgian candy sugar, some phenolic taste
O: great brew, solid triple Belgian

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Photo of staubot
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy Caramel colour with a thick golden head that remains for awhile to seal things in and decent lacing

A nice strong floral malt scent permeates the layer of head .

A sharp karate chop of flavor to the mouth gives way to a caramel chocolate cherry mix with a alcoholic taste that is not off putting or a astringent but goes well with the more complex taste

Crisp seltzer-like with e pleasant aftertaste.

I never give spoilers by looking at rating here first and figured I was somehow over rating but this is just a damn good beer. So complex and full of life packaged in a great bottle!

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks about as Belgian as it gets, this pour murky brown with lasting, clingy tan pillow top. Aroma is rich - sweet candi sugar, toffee, and malt. Flavor is almost the same - sweet malt and dark fruits - raisins and plums - with a twang of yeast, finishing ever so slightly tart and dry. This is what I like in this genre. Wow.

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Photo of chicagobeerguy
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L: A dark dark maroon, small head, lacing

S: Dark fruits, chocolate, smores, a forest floor, the color purple, lightly toasted malts and graham cracker

T: Very complex, are variety of flavors and feels, starts off dark and chocolaty with the grapes and dark fruit and then turns into the sweet malts and toasted graham cracker.

F: Quite carbonated although feels smooth going down, quite light for a dark ale.

O: Quality brew, could see myself drinking this with a nice chicken or pork dish

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Photo of Moose90
3.42/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Stubby white bottle, served at room temperature and poured into a 16oz tulip for tasting.

A — Pours out with a dark ruby brown hue into the glass, there is a very tall, bubbly cream colored head that forms and resides above the beer. The head settles a bit and leaves behind spots of lacing along the inside of the glass that are quite thick and heavy.

S — Smell is strongly phenolic and brings some sharp notes of dark fruit, yeast, pepper, cherry, caramel.

T — Taste is much like the nose, though not as assertive, there are notes of sweet caramel, light chewy tannic fruit character, roasted malts, light bitter coffee component. Big yeasty kick to round things out.

M — Medium-Full bodied and a bit sharp with an apparent alcohol heat.

O — A fine beer in its own right, it is just a bit too sharp and hot for my tastes, perhaps this should be chilled slightly before consumption.

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Photo of Capn_Offal
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A delicious and beautiful brew, which wisks you away on a cloud of pearlescent bubbles over a smooth yet undulating amber sea of dreams. The refreshing breeze of hops gently carries you through flights of golden dragons all drinking flights of this glorious beer. Take time out of your day to experience this beer if you have yet to do so. From pour to finalé, take in every drop and take your time while doing so. You won't be disappointed.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,856 ratings.
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