Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Gulden DraakGulden Draak
4,049 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 4,049 |  Reviews: 1,366
Photo of Wildman
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a very dark cloudy amber color and formed an off white foamy head that left circular lace when it subsided. An aroma of malt and spice. A flavor of malt, caramel and spice. It has a medium light body and a sweet, slightly sour finish.

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Photo of Admiraldinty
3.92/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brownish amber in color (not an especially appealling hue) with an incredibly fluffy head. Very honey-like smell with a honey-like sweetness and a bit of peppery spice towards the end. Somewhat smooth-drinking, however the high alcohol content, and overpowering sweetness cause this beer to lose points in the drinkability category. Definitely an after-dinner beer.

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Photo of BeerGlassesCollector
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown in color with excellent body and creme-like head which adds to the overall appearance. Great distinctive smell and perfect taste. A very strong Dark Ale (10.5% ABV). Preferably and highly suggested to be enjoyed in the Gulden Draak glass...

Definitely one of the TOP beers worldwide



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Photo of QXSTER1
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This potent brew pours a hazy deep brown with a blush of orange around the edges. The head is a creamy, dense, quiet crown that lasts to the last sip. While the nose screams alcohol the taste is velvet malt. Intense in it's fruitiness with toffee and caramel notes this Belgian barleywine also exhibits a subtle, rounded hoppiness to add to it's profile. The mouthfeel is an exquisite, smooth, thick wonder. I can imagine medieval monk's drinking this brew for dinner with a smile on their face. I had one on my face for sure. Definitely an after dinner or dessert beer, it would be hard to down many of these with it's alcohol content.

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Photo of Gusler
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the pour a murky plum color with a prodigious beige head and tons of lace to conceal the glass. Nose is malt, earthy, sweet, also a bit like an over ripe apple. Starts malt, top is light, potently acidic, scantily hopped, long lasting somewhat sour aftertaste. Alcohol also makes itself known as there is a bitterness I attribute to the high ABV. Not bad, different for sure, will have to sample a few to make a true determination about its suitability.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown in color with ruby highlights. *Very* well carbonated with a thick foamy head which soon settles into a finger thick creamy top.

The aroma first struck me as a little odd. Definitely needs to sit a while to reach its peak. Once it did, I detected lemon, raisin, and spiciness. Some alcohol as it warms more. Very unusual.

Whatever oddness I found in the aroma was more than made up for in the taste. An extremely sweet beer but not in the least bit cloying. Belgian candi sugar, fruity malt esters with a peppery dry finish leaving hints of biscuit in the mouth. As their website states, this is very much like a barley wine but definitely a Belgian entry into the category.

This is dangerously drinkable for such a potent bere. Full bodied and smooth, with just the gentlest of warming sensations from the alcohol.

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Photo of marc77
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Deafening rim shot like pop upon release of the cork. Initial gushing diminishes to allow pouring. Deep crimson in hue, w/ a light haze. The dense, thick, sticky dark tan large bubbled head leaves rough lace. Light bubblegum esters are perceived at first in aroma, then are ceded by a pleasantly tart, unripe citrus fruit. Mellow sweetness then follows and is of a dark, molasses and/or dried date like nature. When the brew warms and breathes, dry, powdery chocolate and raisin - like Special B add richness and round the aroma out. Phenol and higher alcohol are present only at a trace. Very enticing and refined aromawise. Caramelized sweetness from both dark caramel malt and dark candi sugar is perceived at first in flavor, then yields to a yeast derived melange of light clove phenol and esters that mirror the aroma, albeit with banana esters more pronounced. Chocolate malt, although somewhat overshadowed by sweetness and yeast byproducts, contributes a subdued, yet rich undertone that bolsters the malt profile and adds to the complexity of this brew. Full bodied, and once the initially high carbonation dissipates, the mouthfeel is rendered agreeably smooth. Hop bitterness is virtually absent, and although malt sweetness is strong, it never becomes cloying. The lack of alcohol flavors and smooth malt profile renders this brew dangerously drinkable. Finishes w/ a hint of biscuit malt giving way to clean caramel sweetness. Gulden Draak is softly sweet, complex and deceivingly light on the palate. Akin to a tripel in overall character w/ mellow chocolate undertones. Delicious! Superb drinkability due to the nearly complete lack of alcohol heaty harshness. Somewhat smoother in the 750 ml bottle versus the 11.2 ounce.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge long-lasting coffee and cream-colored head is what you'll get when pouring, settling over opaque reddish-amber beer...a visually stunning combination. Some notes of dark fruits greet the nose along with some estery yeastiness. Tasting shows fruitiness, alcoholic warmth..sweet first, then drying out due to the hoppiness. A great mix of many taste sensations...truly a remarkable beer! Finishes with some more dark fruitiness & alcohol. This is a real heavyweight of a beer...even by Belgian standards! 2 bottles worth of flavor seem to be packed into 1, very cool white Duvel-style bottle too.

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Photo of putnam
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Great invincible head atop reddish mocha liquid.
Smells like an old tyme candy factory with strands of taffey, fudge, vanilla and subtle spices (cinnamon). Notes of chocolate ice cream, date syrup, pepper and alcohol. A creamy, frothy mousse establishes a rich, chewy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. A fantastic beer. From the realm of Baron von Munchhausen. The only possible fault is the aggressive, unmitigated alcohol flavor which keeps the drinkablility score down.

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Photo of Todd
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml brown bottle, painted white. No freshness date ... as if you need one at 10.5% alcohol by volume!

Poured in a proper gold-laced Gulden Draak tulip glass, this beer offers a very dark ruddy-brown colour with a mountainous off-white foam head that retains extremely well and trails the glass with its stick -- it's all about the glass.

Peppery aroma with soft grain, faint orange juice, herbal and dried hay.

Flavour is blissful ... ultra-malty, smooth, soft and sweet with strong Belgian candy sugar flavours, light chocolate (more like malted-milk) and semi-burnt caramel edges. I can't stress the sugary character of this beer enough, it's without a doubt sweet, but not in a sickly manner. Carbonation induces a creamy sensation on the palate and aids in slightly subduing the maltiness, while a defining herbal flavour complements, creating a sweet tea-like infusion. Alcohol is there, but it's very devious and nearly undetectable, but it does lend quite a bit of spicy flavour that adds to the overall pepperiness of the beer. A warming sensation hits the head about half-way thru as you slip into beerdom. Finish goes dry with a soft, woody, yeast character.

This beer doesn't pussy-foot around. It's serious, complex, mysterious (alcohol-wise), demands respect and if you're not careful it'll walk up to you and kick your freagin' ass! One of my favourites, and simply a classic amongst Belgian beers.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, opaque color, with a big, whipped, frothy head. The head thins down somewhat, but lasts a bit, and leaves nice lacing. Get some mild sweetness at first in the nose, and some yeastiness present, too. Decent body, and fairly smooth on the tongue, with some carbonation just getting in the way. There's some fruitiness, ever-so-slightly, in the flavor, as well as malty, caramel-like sweetness. It's yeasty, with spices thrown in, and exhibits some alcohol-presence, too. Nice bier.

overall: 3.9
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of BeerManDan
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the best dark ale I've drank so far from Belgium. Nice tight with foam on the glass. Complex aroma mixed with a pleasant spicy taste. Not a big bitter after taste on the palate!

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Photo of Suds
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is an experience in itself. It's a beautiful dark brown beer with a full, thick and creamy head. Heavily carbonated: If you hold it to the light, you'll see a constant billowing of bubbles from the scorings on the bottom of a belgain beer glass. Spicy, complex aroma. Pleasing warming sensation from the first sip. Full, creamy, and very malty beer. I loved it.

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Photo of zerk
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tried this one on tap last night, and it was everything I remembered and more... beautiful cloudy dark amber, with a creamy head. Yeasty, sweet, and spicy... notes of dried fruit and maybe even cinnamon. I've been looking long and hard for a beer that I like more that this, but as of now, Draak rules.

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Photo of cokes
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have a hard time finding any faults with this one.
330ml stubby bottle.
Pours out a hazy brown-orange. Big foamy tan head last around the entire time.
Rich maltiness on the nose. Raisins and more exotic fruit.
Taste verifies these smell. Lots of raisin and molasses notes. Quite sugary too. Faint hints of pineapples and other sweet fruits. Honey, carmel and faint pepper as well.
Reminds me of a nice big doppelbock with sugar added.
Almost too sweet...but so damn tasty.
Big and thick in the mouth. Coating, but cleans out nicely.
10.5%? You could have fooled me. Masks it wonderfully...shows itself in the warmth it provides, but not the taste.
Great stuff.
More please.
Right at the top of my list of favorites

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Photo of jackndan
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak: White stubby Belgian bottle. I have never seen a pour like this one: the entire glass is filled with foam, and the beer had to work its way down through the foam, like water through sand. Reddish, clear in appearance; needless to say, huge dense head, tan, very long lasting (five minutes after the pour, I still have not tasted it). Thick, rich molasses syrup, very sweet. Long lasting sweet aftertaste. Very nice, once a week.

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Photo of John
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

0.33L white painted bottle. Rich, hazy bronze color. Tight tan lasting head. Prickly carbonation. Unique flavor...has the traits of a trippel, but with the malts kicked up making this a toasty and rich trppel. Some oak and yeasty notes impart their own characteristics. Pleasant alcohol warming. Quite nice.

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Photo of ADR
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big bubbled head, settles at 1/4 of an inch for a while. Murky brown color. Complex smells, malts and slight citrusy aromas. Noticeable carbonation in mouthfeel but "beer-like" presence of dense raisins and an acidic wine quality with more than usual hoppiness. Alcoholic...but clears from the palate pretty quickly. Best when inhaling the aromas while tasting. I'm not a monstrous fan of some of the more acidic Belgians, but this was nice. Cool "milk" short and stepped glass bottle.

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Photo of StevieW
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had the little white bottle, pours dark copper brown, with a big foamy head.Cloudy appearance. Darker than most wheats beers I have had. Heavy yeast smell. Tasted very sweet and delicious, like alot of the beligium wheats. Alot of fruit and spices that match up well with my grilled chicken dinner. Nice warm finish with 10.5 % ABV. Very drinkable though. I would buy this again and keep for nice dinners.

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Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sticky, syruppy, sweet,malty and just a bit over the top. I like beers with a big complexity, but this is perhaps a bit too much. But its not bad, could have been better.

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

The golden dragon does live up to its rep. Beautiful bright copper/red. Good nose you can tell its going to be rich.Pour slowly cause this beer gives you a nice head no matter how you pour it.Rich and malty taste,slight toffee and sweetness.Nice balance,great for dessert.

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

Just an excellent beer, too bad its $3.99 for 330ml, thick long lasting head. Reddish color. Easy to find white bottle at the largest liquor stores. Also available 750ml - $10.39.

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Photo of Viking
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

O, joyous day! I found Gulden Draak on tap! Anyone in the Indianapolis area should go to Chalkies to try it out. After tasting on tap, I had to increase my rating a bit.
An excellent beer. I tried a single bottle one weekend and was hooked! Unfortunately supplies in Indy are a bit limited. This brew is best when slightly chilled on cold evenings.

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Photo of mmthompson33
4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Definitely an exceptional beer. Hard to find here in the states, but a treat when you get a bottle. It's a classic example of Belgium's best. This one will lay you down if you're not careful!!

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 4,049 ratings