Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,332 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,332 | Ratings: 3,897
Photo of berley31
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with a small head that dissipated to a thin film. Body is a dark brown color, and very hazy. Tiny bit of spider-web lacing on the glass.

S: VERY fruity aroma, with the dark fruits most apparent. Grapes / raisins shine through over everything else.

T: Sweet at first, with the raisins coming through again. Actually finishes fairly dry, which quickly keeps the sweetness from lingering on the palate. Surprisingly, the alcohol is barely detectable.

M: Light-body, medium-creamy texture, and very fizzy carbonation.

D: A tasty, fruity Belgian Strong Dark.

 567 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a dark amber color, definitely some brown notes to it with a finger and a half of khaki head.

S: Tons of bubblegum and banana aroma. Some clove notes to go along with it. A bit of caramel and brown sugar along with dark fruits such as plums and black cherries.

T: Quite sweet with tons of banana, dark fruit, and dark sugar flavors such as brown sugar and caramel. Quite a bit of bubblegum flavor as well. Mild alcohol and spice notes, as well as some yeast, provide depth.

M Medium in body with a fairly high level of carbonation.

O: One of those classic beers and one that I still enjoy a decent amount. Not a favorite, but solid.

 651 characters

Photo of JAStheAce
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gulden Draak pours out steaming from this very cool white-washed 750 ml bottle which masks the beast's secret! Dark brown with fiery red accents. I was shocked to see the bottle say "tripel" and have it pour out dark brown as I am used to seeing tripels in their traditional golden color. very nice looking rocky brown head about that took up about half my my tulip glass. This beer smells fiery peppery and fruity. Taste overwhelms the palate at first and is hot and spicy throughout with some serious alcohol and flavor. Substantial body and did I mention it is a spicy brew that really warms you up. Good stuff here.

 619 characters

Photo of mickstepp
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

 358 characters

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

Hard to tell from the dating code, but I think this bottle is from 2010.

Dark chestnut in color. Tripel Karmeliet glass gave the head some oomph. Started with a solid two inches. Lacing is having trouble committing to stick, but the cap is nice. Buttermilk-colored foam with glistening bubbles.

Indescript aromas of dark fruits, yeastiness, and nuts. A very sweet alcohol note asserts itself as the undercurrent. Raisin, creme de cacao, dried fig, and toffee notes. A pretty creamy aroma that I forgot that it had. That booze is under a pretty big blanket of Belgian malts and yeast strains. There's even something green in the nose, like aged hops.

Dried fruits and nuts, like trail mix, plus lively yeast esters and a strong booziness dominate. Some light cherry, fig, raisin, hints of overripe banana, and a touch of apricot. More of a roasty character to this beer, like coffee, than in most other Belgian Strong Darks. Clove-y spice. There's a milky flavor that adds to the other components, like fruit cake dredged in half-n-half. Finishes on the clean side, with nuances from the yeast carrying over slightly.

Body is surprisingly thinner, like a staunch medium. Carbonation still has a little fun driving bubbles around. Can't really fault the booziness. It's the nature of the beast.

I haven't had this particular brew in awhile (and, it used to be a Belgian bar staple for me back in the day). I can't say that I still enjoy it as much, but it's still a fine ale, worthy of a recommendation.

 1,506 characters

Photo of Torps
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark plum with two finger off white head.. some lacing.. aroma is dark fruits, candi sugar, prunes, spices and yeast.. taste is super sweet and heavy.. lots of dark fruit, dates, black cherry, spices and boozy alcohol. Mouthfeel is pretty good with plenty of carbonation to combat the sweetness. Drinkability is okay. Its a bit too boozy and sweet to drink more than one.

 379 characters

Photo of TruePerception
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Gulden Draak: trippel, 10.5% ABV; Appearance: mid/dark amber; Smell: sour, caramel/woody notes, molasses; Taste/Mouthfeel: strong toasted malt, bit of pine and wintergreen, toffee, well carbonated; complex, easy to drink, good.

Poured into a pint glass.

 304 characters

Photo of wordemupg
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml stubby poured into wine glass 27/1/12

A looks light brown until held to the light where it glows a ruby red amber, very short lived tan head leaves no lace

S plums, raisins, lots of brown sugar, sweet malts, and a little booze

T a little molasses on top of what I smell, booze is fairly well concealed but its getting pretty sweet, use of brewers candy I'm guessing

M a little syrupy at then the bubbles help its cause, sticky on the lips with a little heat

O good beer but I thought it would be a little better being a beer of fame and all, not overly complex but still quite nice

for under 4$ I really can't complain, not the best Belgian I've had recently but certainly nothing to be ashamed of

 713 characters

Photo of kelticblood
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Absolutely exceptional appearance! Poured a huge very thick beige head that actually retained its height. Reduced a bit which revealed evenly thick lacing that encircled my glass. The color is a very dark red. When held up to the the light it is clear which no sediment or hazing. Bubbling carbonation is seen rising from the bottom up. First sip was extremely over-powering and hits you hard. 10.50 ABV is not hidden. Very thick bodied.. Doesnt really leave a long lingering bitterness, but has a dry finish. Great carbonation.. There is so much going on in the taste its hard to rate and describe. Sweet malts with hints of molasses and raisins.No hop flavor I could detect. Aroma is all malt and alcohol. The mouthfeel is very harsh and doesn't go down smooth. This beer makes no attempts to please the masses and doesn't hold back on anything. This came in a special 6 pack of Exclusive belgian Ales. This is a complex beer that takes no prisoners!

 952 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep tan/amber, glows red in the light, mostly clear, full one-inch head with amazing retention, stong on bubbly carbonation

S: Slightly weak nose, raisiny malt aroma with hint of spiced fruit and alcohol

T: Sweetness of cinnamon raisin, with a slight tartness to balance it out. Strong on alcohol in finish.

MF: Medium thickness, decent carbonation, slight watery feel takes away a bit.

D: A bit strong, but nice drinkablility overall. Lacking the complexity to make it a top beer in its class.

 511 characters

Photo of Pencible
3.89/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A unique style of beer, this poured a very hazy burgundy with lots of thin tan head. It smelled like dark fruit and caramel malt, with noticeable alcohol scent. Its flavor was super sweet, tasting like strong caramel malt with some lemon hops. It was thin but oily with some carbonation, and it had a caramel aftertaste that ended more salty than anything else. Overall this was a very sugary and interesting beer, good as a novelty but not as a regular drinker.

 462 characters

Photo of n1ckels
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours like a cola with wispy foam & iced tea color
S: Refreshing, sweet, metallic or rust
T: More bitter than sweet, low end Belgian, losengey
M: Tingly, sharp, & numbing: 10.5%
D: Not quite as effortless as some of the more perfumey lighter belgians

Did Apple make the bottle? Great bottle, good beer. Would be a a perfect breakfast beer- paired with waffles & syrup...or pancakes


 400 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

When you see a tap head that's a huge golden dragon, you have to sample the beer that it guards. Strong? Yes. Dark? Yes. Belgian? Yes.

Poured into a signature stem glass. Rich, hazy, dark, mahogany color with a nice tannish finger of head that retains well. Toasted biscuits and dark fruits in the aroma. Taste starts off with toasty caramel malts and some caramelized sugars and a touch of molasses, with yeasty biscuits and grainy, unsubdued alcohol following. Dark dried fruits in the background. Medium mouthfeel, and can be a bit syrupy, but overall nice and drinkable, though on the strong side.

 643 characters

Photo of goblue3509
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cooper color with a tight head. The aroma is of dark fruits plums, raisins, and dark cherries along with a hint of apricot and beligan yeast. The taste has a nice yeasty sweetness to it, very enjoyable with an apricot flavor in the middle. The mouthfeel is moderate carbonation. Overall very solid the alcohol is well hidden and the flavor is nice and well balanced. Overall you could easily enjoy a lot of these.

 426 characters

Photo of CaptainIPA
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap @ Cafe Hollander Tosa and presented in appropriate glassware.

Pours a delectably dark chestnut brown with a two-finger head that slowly fades before lacing well. Aromas of dark fruit and roasted malt.

Opens big, malty and sweet with suggestions of dark fruits -- primarily raisins and plums -- and toasty roasted malts. A toffee-like sweetness surfaces, balancing any evidence of bittering hops. Smooth and chewy mouthfeel throughout. Warm and peppery notes emerge before finishing dry. 10.5% ABV is well concealed. Pairs well with a tasty BLT and side of pommes frites.

 586 characters

Photo of Fish113d
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml/11.2fl. oz. bottle poured into a large tulip

An aggressive pour reveals a growing, billowy, fizzy off-tan head that quickly begins to dissipate toward the surface. Body is a clear, brown mahogony color with ruby tones. Decent head retention really w/ some cling on the glass.

Aroma is very fruity and spicy; plums, along with toffee hit my sinuses, along with a decent amount of coriander and clove aromas. Alcohol is apparent on the nose as well.

Sipping reveals a very sweet body with a huge fruit flavor up front, followed by a tinge of alcohol on my tongue. Brown malts w/ some mild dryness also comes to play on my palate. The finish leaves a bit of oak dryness along with a bit of bourbon flavor.

The feel is a bit fizzy at first, and when swishing, foams up in my mouth. As I swallow the medium-body quickly warms my entire throat all the way to my belly. This makes a great brew if you're a bit chilly.

I poured this at about 55 degrees (F) and I'll not let it warm too much. Pretty solid Belgian. Enjoyable, but the alcohol burn DOES hinder it just a bit in my opinion. NOt the best of it's style, but nice, and I love the bottle; it'll fit nicely on the shelf.

 1,193 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gulden Draak on tap? Whoa! To what do I owe the pleasure of this at the Springhouse Drafting Room? Down boy. My fellow BA Shappuding kicked it with a growler purchase!

Plum colored, scant light rays escaped across the glass body, with creamy tan head the hurried off to a halo coating.

Dark grains, like wheat but lacking awl-kee-hawl esters. Afterscents of sour Belgian & bread.

Almost a barleywine, despite its Dark Triple moniker. Reminds me of a doublebock flavor. Malty caramel and roasted malts with Vermont Maple Syrup.

A mild sizzle mouthfeel lends to a ~eh~ 3.5/5 drinkability. Tread lightly and enjoy.

Last swigs: Comparable to a recently enjoyed AVERY Reverend Quad. Heavy hitter so slay the Draak if you are so inclined.

Beer is good. Happy heavy beering.

 787 characters

Photo of Bierman9
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
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


 581 characters

Photo of AaronHomoya
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL corked bottle.

Appearance is a lovely dark auburn color with a great, thick head that lasts pretty well for a beer of this strength.

Smell is complex. A sweet, spicy aroma with figs and dark, dried fruits with a hint of alcohol.

Taste is an interesting mix of malty sweetness with some fig and raisin flavors and hints of roasted malt as well. A bit sweet and raisin-y for my tastes, but still quite good. The alcohol is also masked well.

Mouthfeel is medium-thick, with fairly low carbonation and a somewhat sticky, syrupy feel.

Drinkability suffers a bit due to the strong sweetness and the high ABV of 10.5% that becomes more noticeable as the beer warms.

 680 characters

Photo of coldmeat23
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Pours dark brown with a slight hint of amber. One finger of creamy tan foam for a head. Retention is very good and so is the lacing.

Big nose, full of sweet maltiness. Big notes of candi sugars. Hints of dark fruits. Dark cherries, plums and raisins are prominent, along with notes of bananas. Nice level of yeastiness. Light notes of rum-like booziness.

The taste is not quite as sweet as the nose suggested. It's got a lot more balance to it.
Sweet maltiness is still here, but not quite as bold as expected. Mild presence of candi sugars. Some light presence of dark fruits. Nice notes of yeast and some mild spiciness. A light butteriness.

Good medium, almost full-bodied, beer. Nice, low, level of carbonation. Smooth and mildly creamy.

Great flavor, but at 10.50%ABV, this one will put you down, quick. More of a dessert brew, anyway. It's super-tasty, but slightly on the sweeter side of things.

 957 characters

Photo of ClashmoreMike
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A= Dark copper color. Cloudy. Huge light tan head that goes down to a thin but solid head for the duration. Lots of lacing.

S = Very malty. Also smells like sweet apple cider. Some alcohol. Yeasty. Some chocolate in there as the beer warms.

T = Like the smell, very malty. Warming alcohol, with a fair amount of fruity sweetness (like alcohol preserved cherries and figs). A hint of chocolate. Some bitterness in there, but the balance still tilts towards the sweet.

M = Medium to heavy mouthfeel. Very, very smooth. I'd say the carbonation level felt on the tongue was medium -- it's definitely there but it doesn't assault and overwhelm the tongue. The carbonation fits this beer nicely.

D = It's clearly a quality brew but, for my taste, I just think that it's a little too sweet to get a better score or to entice me to drink more than one in a sitting. I enjoyed this beer more after I was halfway through it and got used to its sweetness.

 948 characters

Photo of kflorence
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally chasing the golden dragon!

A: Gotta love the bottle. Pours a dark amber in color with tints of cherry and caramel with a lovely, thick, frothy head that lasts forever. Tons of lacing. Carbonation levels look good.

S: Wow, overwhelming fruit hits the nose with force giving this brew an overall bubble-gum like aroma. Lighter fruits such as pear and apple are perhaps more dominating, but there are darker fruits lingering in the background; cherry and apricots, maybe some plum and fig. The alcohol is beautifully masked, almost undetectable. Not much in the way of hops, though they seem floral and perhaps a bit on the citrus side of things.

T: The fruits hit the tongue first, much like in the aroma, but there is much more complexity here. There is a definite malt backbone that wasn't so prominent on the nose but comes through especially towards the end of the sip. The malts are mostly caramelized and very sweet, almost sugary. This brew finishes with a bit of yeast and spice with the 10.5% ABV finally showing it's nasty head with a bit of astringency. Toasted bread and apricot linger on the tongue. I can appreciate this beers complexity, but I don't care much for the style; it's a bit too sweet and fruity for me (almost like a wine hybrid).

M: Loved the mouthfeel on this one. Overall the beer is medium bodied with fairly high carbonation with some syrup and cream. Swish it around in your mouth a bit and foams up and goes down very creamy. Perhaps a tad high on the carbonation, but pleasant on the tongue.

O: This is no doubt one of the defining beers in the category, and rightly so. It offers beer lovers plenty of complexity and is a great example of brewing craftsmanship. While I can appreciate the beauty of this beer, personally I feel that it is overly sweet, fruity and astringent (the high ABV certainly does not help its cause). I certainly could not drink more than one of these. Perhaps it's an acquired taste?

 1,955 characters

Photo of carwreCk
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

The appearance is disappointing. A fairly hard pour gives almost no head at all and it fades quickly. The smell is good. Tastes of dried fruits, plums and alcohol. The mouthfeel is unremarkable. Drinkability is average for the size.

The flavor of this beer is very odd to me. It definitely is distinct. I do enjoy it though. The other areas do not impress me.

 391 characters

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 18 June 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 330ml bottle

Poured gently, 2-finger reduces to nice film, lacing is a little runny, color is deep crimson.

Aroma of heavy Belgian yeasts and wheat with some toasted malts, hint of nutmeg.

Taste has a great Belgian yeast backbone with a touch of sourness to it (though it's really just the heavy yeast to me), just of hint of toasted malts, lots of wheat.

Excellent mouthfeel with a heavy front end of wheat that dissipates quickly, leaving a sweet malty taste on the palate. Very good dark Belgian. Not my favorite, but certainly authentic.

 603 characters

Photo of Lukie
3.87/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a strong head, with nice lacing that stuck until the end. The colour was caramel brown with hints of burgundy on the light.

Lots of candy sugar and toffee in the smell. Some sour cherry and grape aswell. Citrusy.

Rich sweet caramel in the taste. Some muddy chocolate, hints of pepper and licorice. It is incredibly unique, and delicious, if but a bit strong in the after taste with the alcohol and dryness.

High Carbonation and Medium body. Tingles on the tongue from the alcohol. Couldn't drink more then one of these in a sitting, as it really hits the palette.

 577 characters

Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,897 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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