Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Gulden DraakGulden Draak
BA SCORE
4.24/5
Exceptional
4,098 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
Ranking:
#1,575
Reviews:
1,374
Ratings:
4,098
pDev:
11.32%
 
 
Wants:
321
Gots:
950
Trade:
4
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,098 |  Reviews: 1,374
Photo of Crosling
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy orange when held up to the light. A very odd color to say the least. Perfect belgian head, frothy dense and magical. Thick sticky lacing. Ahhh...Belgians.

Incredible nose on this one!!! Sugars, raisins, alcohol, bright apples, sour cherries, yeast, pine and more sugars. Wow!

Slightly disappointed with the flavor but this still was pretty damn tasty. Strawberries, raisins, alcohol, prunes, yeast, sour cherries dipped into sugar and a hard to notice tart undetone. Alcohol is hidden very well. Mid palate seemed to be struggling a bit but a nice lingering finish. Very smooth which makes this really drinkable.

Nice beer that I'll be sure to sample on tap when I am in Belgium this summer.

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Photo of moulefrite
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never had a dark triple, so I thought this to be a solid "good" brew. Dark and fruit driven with moderate headage and generous though not stunning lace. Aromas seemed to focus on dark, fruity caramel-almost burnt sugar like. The taste is odd, while attractive all the while-burnt caramel and stewed prune, over ripe-almost rotten banana, and a touch of roasted coffee bean. Some bitter chocolate chimes in on the finish. This one gets better, as the taste buds acclimate to the burnt caramel/fruit profile. I'll come back to this one for sure-quite a pleasure.

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

First off, very cool bottle with a very cool lable and cap. Bottle itself (11.2 oz) is completely white. I have had this beer in my cellar for well over a year and a half. Pours a cloudy reddish brown with a huge tan head. I don't remember the draft version being this cloudy or dark. The smell is sweet malt and yeast. Looks very effervesant as tons of tiny bubble climb to the top.

The taste is very smooth and complex. Very explosive on my tongue. Sweet and malty in the beginning. Followed by something a bit metallic and then a nice warming. I also pick up some dates and raisins, much like a dubble. No alcohol present until the end. The head seems a bit obstrusive and won't die down.

Seems very different than the draft version that I had at Redbones. I love both but the bottle is better. Now to try the 750ml.

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Photo of Sammy
2.59/5  rDev -38.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Way too sweet for me and friends. Too carbinated. Too high in alcohol. Too creamy. Maybe as dessert beer, but much better competitors there. Comparable to soft drink when you are expecting beer.
Interesting range from this brewery though. And great
bottle.

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

11.2oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with 4 fingers of light tan head. The head retention is just incredible. Go ahead, take it out of the fridge ice cold and pour it. You'll have to wait a good 10-15 minutes for the head to die down enought to get the first taste. There is tons of lacing left as well. The smell is full of burnt malt, plums, and raisins. Very sweet smelling. The taste is also very sweet, with bits of sugar and malt on the tongue. There is a bit of fruit and spices present as well. The finish has just a hint of alcohol to it. Bits of plums and pepper, a little caramel. The mouthfeel is super thick and strong. The drinkability is fairly good for a 10.5% brew. A very good Belgian!

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

Deep, deep ruby hue with a huge tan head. Be careful when uncorking or opening the bottlecap, I've seen plenty of gushers with this beer. Beautiful lacing in the unique tulip-shaped Gulden Draak goblet. Another example of why a goblet is so big whereas the bottle seems so small. Now you know why... Succulent dark fruit aromas interplayed with some mustiness and a big alcohol nose; throw to smallest amount of cocoa butter in the nose and call it well-rounded. Sweet malt texture with some notes of prune and candied dates. Alcohol presence is not in question, it's most in-your-face. Very drinkable for it's ABV. Carbonation plays on the tongue balancing out the high gravity of the malt. I've enjoyed this beer for a long time, and a long time to come.

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

Well, I am not fond of Belgian beers. I bought this at a Moscow grocery store near work, thinking it was another gimmicky Belgian brew. Cute dragon on the dark label affixed to a white painted 33cl bottle. Yeah, yeah. 10.5% ABV. Great. It'll be nothing but sugar. Label lists only purity law worthy ingredients, but I've been around long enough to know that means very little. Best before 6/17/05, I opened it on 11/21/03, expecting mediocre at best.

Poured into my chalice an appeallingly warm dark ruby hue. The head, tan in color, was thin and short-lived, dissipating to film and collar quite quickly. I can't say the head disappointed, though, as beers this strong rarely muster a healthy head. Now the first sniff. Mmm. Sweet and fruity, but not overly so, with good malt and, dare I say it for a Belgian?, hops. Very, very smooth. Oh, and there's alcohol, too. First sip - smooth and slightly sweet, with a nice blend of sour cherries, molasses, caramel and barley. What really won me over, hophead that I am, was the finish. Along with a healthy alcohol punch, there's a good portion of hoppy bitterness here. It lurks in the opening, but comes out nicely in the finish, and sticks around to balance the aftertaste in a way that feels just right. Given the ABV, I'm not sure how many of these I could drink in one sitting, but I'd be happy to push that envelope. Yum!

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

Exceptional.
Deep redish brown brew with a very thick crown that seemed to take forever to leave, and then only partially.
Very high and tan glass cling as well.
Body is only a tad short of being full.
Aroma of raisins, brown sugar and a mystery guest.
The taste definetly makes this product, semi sweet start of raisins, currents and a green cherry like addition.
But the warming alcohol finish is something that must be expierienced to appreciate.
Only problem is a slight syrupy mouthfeel.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - pours a muddy red into a Belgian glass. Large tan head recedes to about a finger, forms a creamy topcoat, and holds. Lots of bubble streamers around the perimeter providing ferocious re-supply for the head. Quite a show.

Aroma - raisins and plums are the main components, even a little cocoa-like aroma. The malts are a little over-shadowed, but they are detectable. As it warms it develops some warm fruitcake smells.

Taste - that first sip is a blast of fruit, malt, and alcohol. Borders on the medicinal. Not the most pleasant start, but it gets better. Lots of plum flavors, and some smoky caramel (but not burnt or charcoal tasting). Very warming, the alcohol is mixed in well but is definitely noticeable to these taste buds. A rather strong hop ending at first mellows to a softer bite and aftertaste. Big taste from a small bottle.

Mouthfeel - pretty heavy beer, syrupy as well. The residue clings to the mouth lining and the alcohol vapors are easily felt in the oral cavity if you swallow and open your mouth a bit. As alluded to in the appearance, this beer has lots of bubble play as well.

Drinkability - definitely not one to handle lightly. Refill with caution, this one will get you there in a hurry. If you're at home, fine, but I wouldn't have a 2nd one otherwise.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 8/09/03

It pours to a brown raisiny color with a thick tan head. The aroma is sweet, malty, and somewhat herbal. It has notes of dark fruits as well. The flavor is sweet and herbal, with a a spiciness and a brown sugar flavor. It is a full bodied, warming brew. A really enjoyable beer.

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

A dark amber pour with an exceptional tan head. Seems like a very lively beer.

The nose is very appetizing. A nice full, malty nose some hoppiness and sweet caramel notes. A little bit of spice is in there too along with a hint of raisiny sweetness.

Lovely. Just lovely. The dryness off the tops quickly turns into a nice honey sweetness that's not overpowering. A little bit of raisin and plum are mixed in nicely. Good hop count & nice maltiness give this beer well rounded body.

A nice full beer with a lively and bubby mouthfeel. Some dryness towards the end. Alcohol warmth in the finish.

I love this beer. It is one of the greats.

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Photo of saltydog
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not sure why this is labelled "dark tripel" here...I've never seen it labelled that way in Belgium. At any rate...Appearence: Reddish brown, dark with highlights. Big rocky head. Clear. Aroma: Malty, sugary, noticeable caramel. Flavor: Sweet, malty caramel. No roastiness.Mouthfeel: Smooth, cream. Finish: Smooth, clean, with a lingering caramel.

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

A birthday present from my housemates. Poured a faded mahogony with a dried buckskin colored head that frothed and bubbled. Smell was deep and rich with esters a plenty, fig, current and ahint of deep red fruits. Taste was hearty and full bodied without too much dominence by the alcohol. In fact the only indication was the warming throat sensation. The taste abounded with figs, mollassas, syrup more dried cherries, and scoops full of brown sugar. Mouthfeel was bubbley but remained full bodied and plentiful. Great autumn beer to warm to as the sun draws low and frost begins to creep like spiderwebs up the window panes.

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

From a 750ml bottle.

Pours a beautiful cherywood color. Deep reddish brown. A small tan head. Smells of apples and strong malt. Syrupy sweet and strong.

Tastes of big malt. Sweet and smooth. Apple flavors are evident. The ABV is listed at 10.5% but you would never know it from the taste. There is no alcohol bite. It is amazingly smooth. Finishes with a sweet/sour aftertaste. Big full bodied beer but subtle as well. It doesn't bludgeon you over the head with its strength but takes you down slowly and sweetly. A great brew to end an evening.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW!!!Pours a deep ruddy brown color.Great aroma with hints of malt,chocolate,fruits.An extremely smooth taste-again notes of chocolate and fruits-figs and currants.A minimal hop bite-great overall malty flavor.Absolutely no hint of the 10.5% abv.A wonderfully smooth beer-full bodied.A great beer-goes down perfectly whether its your first or last of the day.THE BEST Belgian I have had in ages by far!!! I have wanted to try this one for ages and was not let down in the least bit.Wish I had another.

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

Pours to a melted milk chocolate brown color. It is murky and covered in more foam than I could ever imagine coming out of a little 11.2 oz bottle. Fruity aromas fill the air accompanied by some roastiness and a bit of alcohol.

The body is full, and flavor jumps all over you. Masses of fruits and malts with some nice spices. The complexity is not out of this world, but it sure kept me interested. Smooth and rich, it is a great treat to sit down with. The alcohol is almost invisible to the tongue which is very nice for 10.5%. Do not pass by this beer because it is definitely one of the best.

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Photo of beerguy101
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red brown color, small head. Aroma is fruity and sweet. Very malty and sweet. Slight hop bite. Smooth taste. Large body. Mouthfeel is full and round, slightly sweet. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is malty and slightly dry. Alcohol bite is prevalent, 10.5 %

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Photo of Rumrunner
3.23/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle

Pours a mahogany color. It looks like a thick iced tea. Good foamy head at the start but it disappears quickly. The scents are strong brown sugar, some caramel and a deep wet grass finishes the smells.

A very malty brew. The sweet brown sugar is very dominant. A caramel syup adds to the flavors and a sweet fruit finish. A very sweet overall flavor for this ale. Too sweet for me. It is like candy. The sweetness is also an after flavor. The alcohol is very present in the flavor of this ale.

It feels bold and crisp. A heavy touch to the mouthfeel. If you like sweet brews give this one a try.

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Photo of clvand0
4.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark amber (mahogany) color. It first pours with no head, but quickly turns into a thick, white foamy head. The aroma is that of a very sweet malt - very nice. Possibly some fruits in there as well. The flavor is wonderfully odd - very refreshing. It has a sweetness to it with just a tiny bit of spiciness for the perfect blend. The high alcohol content is very well masked and almost non-detectable. The aftertaste is a little sweet malt that lingers on the tongue for a fully enjoyable experience.

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

Poured an brown color with a thin head that stuck to the sides of the glass. A pleasant aroma that borders on flowery with some lingering yeasts. Strong malt flavor with a good balance of hops. The higher alcohol content did not overpower the flavor like some others do. Extremely drinkable as malt aftertastes linger nicely on the tongue. Once my glass was empty, I wanted more but I only had one bottle. I will definitely buy it again.

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

330 ml bottle

Pours out a raisiny brown with a small tight head that lingers. Aroma is fruity with a faint touch of bread and molasses. Taste is divine, lots of fruity hints with that malty backbone. Well balanced with just a touch of bitterness throughout. Eminently drinkable, hides the alcohol content well behind that great taste. A remarkable concoction...

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.98/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Huge dark head that disapear a little bit too quickly for my liking (this seems to be a problem withVan Steenberge). Really yeasty but not as thich as I was expecting from the description. The ABV level is too much apparent for my liking. Extra point for trying to be different: dark triple and cool bottle.

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

Pours a slightly hazy brown with a burgundy cast and dark amber highlights when held to the light; and a full, rocky head of light tan foam completes the appearance. It holds exceptionally well and leaves solid sheets of lace, although they eventually reduce to just some spotty residue. Some chocolate and dark fruit (raisin, plum/prune, cherry, red wine) appear in the nose. The body is medium and nicely creamy due to its very fine, natural carbonation. The flavor is as the aroma indicates with a combination of rich cocoa and ripe dark fruits. It warms across the palate to reveal some softer caramel and alcohol; and a touch of background floral hops. It's very well-balanced by a solid, low-key bitterness. The finish is dry with some residual dark fruit; a wash of alcohol; some leafy hops; and a dull, lingering bitterness. Impressive!

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Photo of Brent
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Normally high abv Belgians like this aren't my favorites because they usually fall into two categories: syrupy sweet or heavy-handed with the alcohol. This golden dragon defies both camps. Murky reddish brown - the aroma is a caramel sweet invitation. 10.5 abv, but no fusel alcohols are present. The flavor is a hodge-podge to search through - rock candy, caramel malt, prune, apple - all in harmony. Despite the overall sweetness, it is not cloying and, while the finish can not be described as clean, it is surprisingly light. And where is the alcohol? Only a peppery bite on the tongue gives it away. Astoundingly smooth and drinkable.

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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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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 4.24 out of 5 with 4,098 ratings