Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Gulden DraakGulden Draak
4,074 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

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Ratings: 4,074 |  Reviews: 1,371
Photo of Jon
4.78/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak -- now I know. Out of the white bottle comes a dark mahogany chestnut color with an enormous, incredibly durable and creamy khaki head. It laces well down the chalice. Very impressive looking. The bouquet is nutty and sweet, with notes of chocolate, mild alcohol, and, surprisingly, herbal hops. The taste of this beer is ever-evolving as the brew warms. I detected sweet, nutty malt, candy sugar, moderate alcohol, dark chocolate, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, a bit of pepper and twangy hops. The finish has somewhat of a warming alcohol and spicy, twangy hop character. The variety of flavors this beer possesses is incredible. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth with a very mild, subdued carbonation that fits perfectly. The potent alcoholic strength of this brew is hard to detect if you don't read the label first. This is an outstanding ale and is HIGHLY recommended!

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Photo of garymuchow
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It was a wonderful experience that with every sip I was finding new and different taste and qualities, like a different beer each time I brought the glass to my nose and lips.
Aroma was sweet, somewhat fruity with a shot of phenol (very light). Sweetness is pleasant and not excessive. Pours with large tan/beige head that slowly settles. Dark amber to brown/burgundy in color. Slightly cloudy, fizzy sounding head. No lacing, but steadiness of the head.
Flavors have nice blending with no excesses. More biting when cooler. Strong fruitiness (raison esp. as warms and mellows). Long lingering. Sweetness is understated, slight bitternesss, slight spiceness. Well blended complexity. Dark malt, with slight roast. Even a shot of caramel noted. Bitterness noted on a fairly long finish. Alcohol presents as it warms.
Rich, but not always excessive (biting at times). Surprisingly little warmth considering the alcohol level. Carbonation prevents significant smoothness. Medium feel.
Lightness of aroma contrasts nicely with darkness fo the flavors, this creates a nice sensation.
Quite an enjoyable experience.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.83/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The main reason I gave the appearance such a high rating was the massive, impressive head that it had. This head was sooo thick and sooo creamy, it is the best head I have ever experienced(jokes aside). The color was a very nice brownish-red, kind of like georgia mud water. The taste was beefy, just like most strong belgians. I really enjoyed this one, but it would have been even better in the dead of winter.

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Photo of TheDM
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice head! Invigorated light brown head of fine to medium bubbles that left a nice lacing as it receded. It poured an opaque dark brown body. It has a very nice malty aroma. It had a mild initial taste and a very strong finish.

Im Himmel gibt es kein Bier
Darum trinken wir es hier

In Heaven there is no beer!
That is why we drink it here!

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Photo of jcalabre
3.94/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Originally sampled on 5 May 2002. This pours a beautiful mahogany color w/ a frothy head. The flavors are complex w/ the usual Belgian suspects: dried fruit apples etc. It has a very nice sweet finish. I'm surprised to see that the alcohol level is 10.5%. I couldn't taste it. Very smooth, this is an elegant beer.

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Photo of jaz
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What can I say about this beer? IMO, if the gods had a favorite drink, it would be Gulden Draak! This beer poured a beautiful, slightly hazy, deep reddish carmel color with a generous, thick, creamy white head. The aroma was a fantastic blend of alcohol, carmel, and spices. As I tipped the tulip to my lips, I could taste the sweet juice before it touched my mouth! The taste was an extreme blast of sweetness, a complex and wonderful blend of malts and a definite alcohol flavor that swirled my taste buds into a frenzy. I swallowed, and to my delight a wonderful hops bitterness came through, riding along side the flavors of coriander and sweet orange peal. My mouth was in heaven, and my pallet demanded more of the heavenly nectar, but my brain cells warned me of the effect that 10.5% alcohol would have on my ability to drive home. So much for driving home, I'm headed to the store to buy more Gulden Draak!!

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Photo of jeffboo
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A volcanic eruption of bubbles greeted me as I poured this one into it's, short term, new home. It is dark brown with some reddish/orange highlights and an airy tan foam, with lots of carbonation at first. After it settles down it has a big candy sugar aroma with raisins, syrup, and alcohol. Taste, at first, is obscured by the carbonation,this leads to an airy texture that improves if you give it time.The flavor is lightly fruity with powdered sugar, baking spices and a bit of plum, as the carbonation relaxes I can get tobacco and cedar in the finish with plenty of alcohol. The slightly lighter texture and womp of alcohol is a bit much for my 'buds to carry it to the higher scores. A great cigar beer I would imagine.

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Photo of Ahhdball
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber color, with a very small head. Low carbonation. This is closer to a barley wine than a regular ale.

To taste it is to have your mouth set aflame with darker fruits. One sip and you know that it'll hit you harder the more you drink. Very strong but sweet with a warming touch at the end. Sticky mouth feel and goes down fast, too fast if your not carefull! I would love to have this with a favorite cigar and a roaring fire. I'm looking forward to this again!

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Photo of brakspear
3.14/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a murky deep brown with a explosive and billowing head...looks nice in the glass.

The aroma is sickly sweet bubble gum, raisins, plums. Too much for my preference.

The taste is evidently complex to some, but to me it is too muddy sweet and rife with the flavor of overipe and rotting fruit. The bite of the alcohol also sears the tongue. The body seems about right to support the heavy sweetness in this beer.

Perhaps I am just not a Belgian triple fan, but this beer...with its high alcohol content and overwhelming sweetness was a chore to drink.

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Photo of daledeee
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Belgians believe in effeciency-10.5%.

I also love the story about the battle over the recipe and it has been brewed since around 1100AD.

Before I tried a bunch of other German and Belgian beer this was one of my favorite brews.

Make no mistake, it is a fine offering. Pours a beautiful glass of very dark brown beer with an uncontrollable head. Lots of malt and caramel taste. There is dark fruit mixed in with the other flavors. I didn't notice much hops. Finishes spicy and full flavored. Compared to other Belgians, this is a little sweet for me. Alchohol is more upfront than in some of the other strong beers I have had.

I love the bottle. A great way to keep light out. I would like to talk to someone who has aged one of these.

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Photo of goz
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is a beautiful dark brown, with a large and long-lasting tan head which leaves great lacing. Aroma is of dark fruits, grape, raisin, plum, some cherry, mild hints of alcohol that become slightly more pronounced as it warms. Flavor is graps, cherry, raisin, and some of the alcohol in the end. Carbonation is fairly lively on the tongue, body is pretty full. Extremely tasty brew here.

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Photo of marburg
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is review #100 for me. I was going to pull out my last bottle of Rodenbach Alexander and have that, but I decided that I'd rather save that for now. So Gulden Draak it is!

This superb brew pours a deep brownish-red akin to a dark, stained wood. A fabulous redolence -- complex and multi-faceted to say the least -- featuring red wine, grape soda, ripe fruits, and brown sugar. The gustatory sense delights as the flavors are primarily the same -- very sweet and delicious, ambrosial even. The mouthfeel is marked by a clear alcohol presence and a lively tango between the tongue and the natural carbonation. A gentle suggestion of dark plum skin graces the mouth as the sip is finished. From its handsome bottle through its delightful finish, this is simply excellent.

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Photo of dmarch
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Even before I opened the bottle I knew this would be a good beer. The white coating on the bottle is simple, yet makes it stad out from all the other beers on the shelf. It has a dark amber color with a huge tan head that is very well retained. One of the best visual beers I know of. Even if it doesn't taste good, the beauty of this beer is worth noting. But fortunately, it does taste wonderful. At 10.5 percent alcohol, gulden draak avoids tasting like whisky like some other high alcohol beers. The caramel-like sweetness hides the alchohol very well. The alcohol taste is apparent, but does not distract you from the malt character.

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Photo of taez555
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love the bottle. From far away the dragon always reminds me of an upside down dead cockroach. Be that good or bad. The white bottle is always a conversation starter.
This beer poured a HUGE rootbbeer style head. So big in fact I had to wait a minute for it to die down before I could add the whole bottle to the glass.
The body color was a very dark brown that was so dark in fact that I couldn't see much to any light through the beer.
The nose was slightly subtle, but deffinatly had a lot of that classic belgian smell, with hints of sweetness and alocohol.
The taste blew me away upon the first sip. A very thick body, followed by what you think is about to be a big hop build, but is quickly overshadowed by a wonderful hit of fruit flavors. Raisins, plums, grapes and some sour apple flavors. All the while balanced with a nice subtle hop and caramel flavor.
The sweet fruity syrupy flavor lingered for a long time after.

This is a very interesting and exciting beer to drink. With every sip I enjoyed it a little more. I'd drink and everytime it would hint at a huge hop taste, but then quickly change to the sweet fruity flavors. A wonderful play with your taste buds. It was heavy yes, but easy to drink, like a chilled melted caramel. An exciting beer for a winter evening or if you're up for a nice beer to just slowly sip and enjoy.

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Photo of Myk
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this beauty at lucky baldwins in pasadena. good times. the appearance was a murky brown with a think, thick head, reminding me of a root beer float. the aroma is full of fruit, yeast, tiny hint of sweet malt and hop spice. the taste was floral and fruity. with sweet and almost sour at times mild grape flavor. it is a medium bodied beer with sweet fruity yeast aftertaste.

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Photo of aaronh
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served with a moderate sized, dense tan head atop a red copper body, the beer displayed excellent head retention. The aroma was a well balanced malt and hops aroma which was appealing and begged me to take a drink. Upon taking the first sip, I was hit by a very sweet kaleidescope of flavors, all soaked in alcohol. Then a surprising roasted malt note crept in, with an ever so faint note of hop bitterness in the finish to help sweep away the chewy sweetness. The mouthfeel is excellent, very moist and supple feeling as it coats the tongue. The drinakbility is good considering the sweetness in the flavor and the ABV. This was a very pleasant experience that I hope to repeat sometime soon.

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Photo of mickstepp
3.9/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was lucky enough to find this on tap at Teller's in Hyde Park. Served in an authentic Gulden Draak tulip glass. Dark brown/amber pour with a nice frothy head. Spicy nutmeg aromas. Silky mouthfeel. Light malt profile. Lightly hopped. Very yeasty and bready. The taste of the high alcohol is muted by the spicy malty notes. Very nicely balanced. A good beer.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A deep, dark, burgundy brown color, and a thick, full, rocky, tannish head. Aroma sizzles over with all things good, a sensory overload of hop sensation: fruity notes, earthy notes, hints of leather and lavender, grapes, wines, figs, raisins. One of my all-time favorite aromatic brews. A full pallet-load of hops on the palate (sorry, couldn't resist trying that one out just once!) A flood of brilliant bitterness on first sip, that just keeps giving and giving and giving. Solid malt here, too, holding everything together. Fierce and fiery, like the breath of the beast that graces the label and gives this ale it's name. Hot, substantial, and impressive, the dragon is formidable!
One drawback is the "drinkability" issue. My first time with the Dragon, I shared a750ml with a friend, and still woke up the next AM, moaning and groaning, able only to utter: "Guuuulden Drak...guuuuuulden draaaaak....."
Had a for the purpose of this review, and I felt it terribly the next day. How to rate the ease with which one drinks the Dragon, when the Dragon always slays you? "Yes, I'll have another"...some other day....

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Photo of Rocko
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice and foamy head with big bubbles that settles fast on the copper colored liquid. Leaves a little lace on top. Big and fruity smell that reminds me of raisins. The taste is very rich, sweet and fruity. However I think the taste is a bit too sticky sweetish and it reminds me alot of sherry. :l

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a light coffee color, with HUGE tan, rich,cremy foam that left decent lace. The aroma was citrusy, with hints of apple, and a bit biscuity. The taste was malty, biscuity, a bit of caramel, floral hops, sweet malt, hint of fruitiness (bananas and apples). The mouthfeel wa sweet. creamy, warming (alcohol), tangy, with good carbonation.

The drinkability was good. Fruity and hoppy.

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

The fourth beer of my Valentine's sampler. Nice dark amber color, and a good head to boot. The first sip stiffened me in my chair. I could taste the ABV, but for some reason, it didn't have that "liquir" taste that turns me off. The fruits and the hops were there, but the ABV presense never left.

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

Pours a muddy brown in color with an ivory-tan head that oh so slowly fades to about 1/4 inch. Leaves a spotty lace.

Slight medicinal aroma that is not offensive, just sticky sweet. Mollasses, alcohol, and raisins too.

Sweet malty taste, alcohol warmth is noticable, but not overpowering. A most pleasant fruitiness also.

Slightly sticky thick mouthfeel leaves a nice lingering aftertaste all the way down my throat.

One of the more drinkable strong beers I have had. A truly excellent beer.

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Photo of inebrius
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thai dessert plate nose of mango, lime and rice pudding emanates from this deep rosewood brew. Begins semi-sweet fermented fruit to meet up with a few hop vines growing in an alcohol desert oasis. Maybe a wisp of chocolate in there too, but more like a memory than concrete. Kahlua & Tonic? Nah, it's better than that. Bubbly and tasty!

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Photo of DerKaiser
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the Golden Dragon. This Belgian brew pours maple syrup brown with a substantial beige head. The aroma is sugary and delicious, with notes of candied fruit, raisins, apple, and cinnamon.

This beer is huge; very potent with a liquour-like quality to it. It's sweet and nectar like, with burnt honey, raisin, and caramel flavors. A delicious cake-like mouthfeel carries all the way through. Yet, this sweetness is nicely balanced with a peppery alcohol presence that delivers flavor throughout the mouth and nose.

This is a Bentley of beers: big, powerful, expensive, rare, and intoxicating. Everything a Belgian triple should aspire to. Enjoy.

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Photo of Amdahl
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown with more than ample white head. The aroma is sweet. The smell of fruit is dominant. Raisin is the first smell, but this smells like a very complex beer. The taste is very smooth and sweet. There are not a lot of hops in the flavor; it is really malty. There is a definite warming as this beer goes down. Medium bodied. This is a beer that I will try again and again until I completely figure it out.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 4,074 ratings