Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
3,946 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
Ratings:
3,946
Reviews:
1,341
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
311
Gots:
869
For Trade:
4
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,946 |  Reviews: 1,341
Photo of Agold
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of liquoredgoat
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with an aggressive near-caramel colored inch thick head that dissipates to a lingering foam, now ivory. The beer is an autumn leaf, syrup brown with golden hues.

S - Nose is sweet with honey, plums, whiskey, and faint cinnamon.

T - Palate is honey, dry cereal, alcohol, wheat grass. The finish is white wine dry, with alcohol nuzzling the throat for a good while.

M - A medium body with great carbonation. One of those Belgians that you just hold in your cheeks for a stretch simply for the frothy sensation.

O - This is world class stuff, and definitely a definitive example of the style. Maybe the best example. In order to see if it trumps Chimay Blue, I will have to do repeated tastings of both. Lucky me.

 728 characters

Photo of Teleweizen2
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - this beer pours a murky, opaque burgundy/brown. a light tan foam dissipates quickly to a mere film, leaving just a slight bit of lacing.

S - the aroma is quite unique. chocolate is most prominent. notes of caramel, banana, raisins, and spice round out the complex aroma.

T - a toasty, nutty malt character on the forefront, which adds a light herbal bitterness as it warms on the tongue. the notes of spicy yeast, dark malts, and high alcohol elicit flavors of rum raisin and banana bread. the finish is long and sweet.

M - the ale has an almost buttery character. medium bodied with a mild carbonation.

O - a very interesting ale, perfect for winter/cold weather consumption.

 688 characters

Photo of barleyroad
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is amber in color and pours nice with a nice balance of foam. Smell, there is a hint of hops and notes of roasting. Mouthfeel is clean and crisp, no after taste. Taste, HOPPY, yea, Oh this is a barley wine in our book. Overall this is a nice drinking beer. This will go well with fried oysters..

 306 characters

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.

 914 characters

Photo of evlu1441
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a mixed sampler six-pack from van Steenberge. This is probably their most famous beer as far as I can tell (maybe tied with Piraat), and I'm very excited to see what it has in store for me.

It pours a dark, murky, reddish-brown with a substantial head that settles down to about a finger over the beer. There is a lot of carbonation rushing to the top and some slight lacing as well.

The aroma has lots of banana and sugar cane/rum coming through to start. There is also a distinct aroma of leather and it is also is slightly doughy with a hint of black pepper. A fantastic aroma if you ask me!

The flavour is much lighter than I would have expected for such a dark beer. That doesn't mean that it's lacking flavour by any means. It is very sweet off the bat, with notes of banana and graham cracker coming through clearly. It also has some dark dried fruit flavours in the background and some faint toffee as well.

Overall, this is one of the best beers I've had in a long while. Great stuff!

 1,009 characters

Photo of jsprain1
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Cocoa brown with a thick tan head that drops down to a quarter inch. Some lacing.
S- Smell is a rich malty dark fruit quality. Dark cherries and there is a light banana like quality.
T- It's very heavy on the dark fruits. It's very fig like. There is also a dark caramel flavor to it. There is also a sugary, like brown sugar, flavor. Finish has a bourbon-like note to it.
M- Fairly firm body. Aggresive carbonation. Finish is overly hot though. Uncomfortably so.
O- A well-made BSDA, but in comparison I'd prefer Trois Pistoles, especially given the price.

 560 characters

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

A: Large frothy light-brown head crowns an almost opaque chestnut brew. Fantastic retention and good lacing as well.

S: Lots of dark fruity esters complemented by rich toasted malts and rounded out by a lush herbal hoppiness.

T: Dark, caramel-like sweetness mixes with ripe plums and almost earthy raisins. Mild bitterness mostly serves to hold back the malt. The dark fruits are what really stick out here. Long, complex finish with hints of licorice and toffee.

M: Heavy mouthfeel with a very robust carbonation that renders the beer slightly creamy. Slightly astringent on the finish and maybe a tad hot as it goes down.

O: A nice, rich beer that packs a kick and represents its style well. While the mixture of fruits and sweetness was appealing, I would have liked to see a slightly more complex malt bill. I imagine some more burnt notes would go well with this beer. But hey, that's just me. Definitely a keeper, though, and worth going back to.

 957 characters

Photo of Digimaika2
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have been holding on to this bottle for about a year. Bottle labelled best before: 3/6/2012.

A: Pours a dark amber or bloody orange colour with a hearty foam head that quickly dissipates. Thin blanket rests on top with sporadic patches of foam throughout.

S: Caramel-like malts, tropical fruits (banana & pineapple), dark fruits (figs & cherries), bittersweet molasses, and maple syrup qualities. Very nice.

T: Taste is actually a little more subdued than the aromas indicated - I'm assuming as a result of the aging. Malts aren't as biting and upfront and are mellower with only fragments of caramel and molasses coming through. Fruits are more subdued as well, and take on more of a very tasty berry quality (raspberries & strawberries). Slight sour notes poke through which I'm favourable of. Alcohol superbly hidden considering the ABV.

M: Medium body with a medium carbonation. Appropriate for the style.

D: I might have to put aside a couple more bottle of this to age (although it will be hard to do). Without a doubt, aged or not, one of the best belgian strong ales I've ever had. This is definitely the measuring stick for me when it comes to this style.

 1,171 characters

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

Bought a single 12 oz. bottle of this at my local store. Poured it into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Just beautiful. Pours out a dark brown with a thick, pillowy light brown three finger head. The head slowly dissipates into a one finger head. The color is a dark amber when held up to the light. Nice, very nice. There is a bit of lacing as I drink.

Smell: Smells of sweet booze, floral notes, malts, caramel. Just a bit of metallic smell, but not that it takes away from it.

Taste: Taste is amazing. It is very sweet, boozy, and tastes of caramelized fruits, like plums. Not really any bitterness, and the alcohol is hidden exceptionally well.

Mouthfeel: So nice. Very light carbonation with a very light syrupy kind of consistency. The drinkability is very high, which is surprising for the alcohol content.

Overall: A great beer that gives an amazing head with the sweet smell of caramelized plums and an almost syrup like mouthfeel, much like the women I prefer. Highly recommended.

 998 characters

Photo of ericj551
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak pours a hazy red brown with a beautiful fluffy, foamy off white head that doesn't quit. The aroma is sweet, with tons of ripe fruit and estery, slightly chalky yeast. Sweet, syrupy malt hits upfront in the flavor, dying down just a bit as the esters fade. The fruitiness in there, with some nice, slightly burnt caramel. There is some bitterness in the finish, and the fruity esters linger. Dark malty flavor lingers in the aftertaste. The alcohol is present, but light considering the strength. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with plenty of fizzy carbonation.

 578 characters

Photo of ikantspel
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle served into a duvel tulip

pours a dark oak brown. creamy 2 finger head.

dark fruits with toasty malts. a little bit of banana in there. can this smell any better

slightly boozy at first. mostly taste a kinda maple syrup and malt flavor. this is beyond good

this is so damn good. i really cant wait to try their quad thats coming out.

 351 characters

Photo of Jimmys
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle into long stemmed tulip.

A: gotta note the head first, brownish/white head begins bustling, diminishes, but still has good retention. beautiful sticky lacing all over the glass. very hazy reddish brown hue.

S: apples and pears. so fruity. grapes. figs. what other fruits can i pick from here... otherwise, brown sugar and a little bit of heat.

T: maple syrup. a lot of sugar on the palate. works very well with the fusel alcohol flavor. fruitiness similar to the nose. definitely apples in the finish. a spicy pepper flavor as well.

M: moderate, a bit on the lighter side, carbonation on a full body.

D: nice to see such a recently bottled brew that is not too hot. especially on this big of a body. great fruit and sweetness. very enjoyable belgian.

 771 characters

Photo of minnesotaryan
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep dark amber with a lot of cream colored foam on top of it.

Smell: Sweet dark fruit, yeast and alcohol.

Taste: Caramel malt, dark cherry, the yeast provides some spice, very sweet, very complex, a nice alcohol burn is ever present.

Mouthfeel: medium mouth feel, not too heavy and not too thin. It lingers but not in a bad way.

Overall: This is a wonderfully complex beer, very much a sipper. I do not think I could drink these every day, but when the opportunity arises, this is a great beer for sharing with friends.

 544 characters

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

Poured from a 750 ml large white bottle with beautiful labeling into a Duvel Tulip glass.

Appearance: Hazy deep brown with ruby red color when held to the light. A cloudy tan peak of foam formed that receded slowly and left good sticky lacing behind and a frothy tan cap throughout. Impressive looking.

Smell: Sweet and yeasty with caramel and biscuit aromas mixed with yeasty phenols and dark wine-like fruits. A little alcohol in the mix, but blends well with the rest of the scents.

Taste: Fantastic! Sweet and yeasty, with flavors of caramel and toffee malts, with hints of raisin and plum. Also a good spicy yeast that has flavors of clove and nutmeg. This is a delicious world class Belgian Strong Dark Ale (or Dark Tripel). Very unique and tons of character.

Mouth Feel: Medium bodied with a good creamy carbonation. Slick and slippery on the tongue.

Drinkability: Outstanding! This is an excellent example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. It has a unique flavor profile with a lot of complexity. It's a fantastic sipping beer that tastes even better as it warms. I have a new favorite Belgian ale!

 1,107 characters

Photo of uawildcat
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized Bordeaux wine glass. Had a large head creamy head that fell quickly. Was a cloudy brown color.

Smell is extremely boozy. The first thing that hit me was the acetone-y alcohol smell. Behind that is a pleasant sweet malt smell.

Taste is much better than the smell. Tastes likes figs and maple syrup mixed together. The carbonation makes for a prickly drink. Hides the alcohol well.

Overall a good beer, worth trying once in awhile. Just too pricey.

 474 characters

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

Big fluffy head on a dark, amber colored beer. Long lasting retention. Nicely clinging lace.

Aroma is defintitely boozy, sweet with toffee, raisin, yeastiness. Touches of malt and citrus as well.

Tasty and strong. Booze is there in every sip as well as in the finish. Peppery, citric, sweet, low bitterness levels. Big and boomy flavor. Pretty unforgettable. Not an every day drink, this one will lay you out quick.

Mouthfeel pleasantly combines bubbly carbonation and somewhat chewy viscousness. The booze and malty sweetness linger on.

Very complex, intriguing beer. Not for the faint of heart!

 601 characters

Photo of xuptygm
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big fizzy cream colored head which recedes within the first couple sips leaving a small amount of lace. Smells of alcohol and sweet roasted malt, raisins(?), sweet bread. Pours a very dark colored brown. Some light visible through the glass, but not much. A kick ass Belgian Ale. This is what Belgium is known for. So so smooth and a “big” beer for sure. Very complex. It only gets better as it warms. Enjoy with a hearty meal.

 431 characters

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a brown color with a decent off white head. The smell is sweet and lightly spicey with some definite dark fruit notes. the flavor follows suit with some brown sugar dark fruit sweet flavors followed by a little spiceynesss from the yeast. the mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good feel. overall this beer is damn tasty and veryu sweet

 351 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.68/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle into matching Gulden Draak tulip.

A: Pours a very dark ruby amber with a billowing dark tan head that really frothed up with the pour and took forever to fade into a thick bubbly layer with a solid central butte. Crazy sheets of sticky lacing were left down my glass.
S: Powerful notes of very sweet dark fruits including plums, raisins, prunes and red grapes. There some ripe banana in there too along with some coriander and
T: Syrupy sweet fruits with the spices coming through in the finish. All the flavors from the nose are there, and I get a hint of tobacco, vanilla and milk chocolate in the finish. The alcohol is just barely noticeable in the aftertaste, and I get flavors of red grapes, spices, and tobacco.
M: Medium-thick body with a slick mouthfeel and hidden alcohol. Carbonation is tingly but drinkable.
O: Very fruit and sweeter than most but it’s still a pretty good beer. There are other’s I’d pick first though.

 953 characters

Photo of chugalug06
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very strong soapy head. Head is slight red color with lots of brown. Brew is nice ruby red, also with lots of browns. Clarity is weak as is lacing.

S - Deep sour apple scent. Lots of light airy spices. Mild apricot and mango. Scent is very nice.

T - Very strong heat up front that slowly strengthens. Brew is nice and sweet with wonderful cover over the heat. Brew also is very spicy with lots of unique flavor.

M - Perfect bitter level. Very wet and drinkable. Carbonation is slightly over done, but doesn't distract.

O - Super glad I got to try this one. I will age one and report back in a few years. Until then, cheers!

 632 characters

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.

 531 characters

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

Good god, look its a bottle of Old Spice!
Er, no, its just a bottle of Gulden Draak... but like all beer sold in white bottles I was sufficiently weirded out to give this a miss on many many occasions.

Massive spongy cream coloured head which goes the distance. Tres impressive. Dark chesnut brown and the boquet in the bottle is minimul at best wuith just a trace of clove.clove at first but little of anything else. A spritzy body which in fact is too spritzy for perfection but there's a lengthy middle and some, as expected, clove on the palate as well. Angular with an emerging burly element which breaks the surface bringing a slightly meaty and sappy body. Nose becomes increasingly more spicy roasty as well.

Strong, potent and heady, this really is a cheek burner which is sure to warm your cockles in the coldest, wettest and dampest of Scottish Winters. Makes sense now really.

 891 characters

Photo of ferrari29
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a Tulip shaped glass

A - Beer pours with a thick creamy light brown colored head; that holds well; nice layer of sticky lacing forms around glass; dark amber colored body is cloudy in appearance and is well carbonated

S - Fantastic dark fruit nose; figs and raisin; caramel malt and lots of brown sugar; as the beer warms up, its high alcohol content really begins to transcend the other scents in the beer; touch of toffee

T - Really good dark fruit flavors; nice mixture of dark figs and dates; raisins; caramel malt back-end and plenty of high alcohol burn; caramel malt finishes the sip

M - Creamy and smooth; burns the throat a bit; leaves behind a linger toasted malt flavor; refreshing

D - Great beer, I picked this up in Italy at a local grocery store, brought it back to the states and finally had it; I wish we had more beers like this in the US; anyway, its a great drink with great dark fruit flavors and fantastic nose; not for the faint of heart

 993 characters

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.

 588 characters

Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,946 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.