Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,325 Reviews
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
Reviews:
1,325
Ratings:
3,874
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
305
Gots:
838
For Trade:
3
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,325 | Ratings: 3,874
Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Cheeky Monk in Denver. Is this a tripel or a quad? Sort of in the middle.

A - Reddish-brown in color with a large foamy off-white head.

S - Caramel, candi sugar, spices, and dark fruits.

T - Caramel malt, toffee, candi sugar, plum, raisin, spices, mild hops, and some metallic notes. Pretty sweet. Would be very good if not for the slight metallicity.

M - Palate is medium-full with fairly high carbonation and some alcohol warmth.

D - Average-plus.

 469 characters

Photo of benmiliron
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a Belgian six-pack sampler for $14.99.

I had the pleasure of having Gulden Draak once on draft at Buckeye Brewing near Cleveland. The bottled version isn't quite as nice, but still quite good.

Sticky maltiness, a strong bite at first. Once the alcohol numbs your tongue a little bit there's a good bit of fruit there too. This is a great brew, but maybe it was a bit old. Or just the bottled version isn't as good. Either way, I'd not but it again.

 463 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark ruby color, with a moderate off-white head that dissipated into a slight cap that left some spotty lacing. The smell is of light candi sugar, dark fruit, not as strong as a tripel. The taste is slightly sweet, a hint of carob, light raisin/plum flavor. This brew would benefit from less carbonation as I think it takes away from the taste. It has tight carbonation, champagne like, finishes smooth. A very nice balanced beer & quite drinkable though the carbonation needs some dulling down.

 503 characters

Photo of joecast
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

got a shock when this turned out to be a gusher. havent had one of them for a while. luckily the glass was close by and only a couple of ounces made it to the counter.

not surprisingly then it forms a decent sized head which is light tan in color. good retention and lacing. dark murky brown with no carbonation bubbles visible.

full sweet malty aroma. sweet dark fruits; raisin, plum, maybe some prunes. not too much else makes it through, though i doubt there is much else there (does that make sense?). a little yeast character which is light and lively (not 100% sure its bottle conditioned but guessing yes).

let it warm a bit as the mouthfeel was still a bit harsh/overcarbed. it does smooth out some, but still an aggressive beer.
this stuff is like beer syrup. concentrated stuff. you could buy one bottle of this and make a six pack of "normal" beer. not bad economics really. sweet almost sugary malt fills the palate. some dark fruits again and just a bit of that yeast. moderate alcohol character which is to be expected.

unfortunately the carbonation lets this beer down. best before date is about a year away so guessing they give this beer five years from bottling that makes this one four years old. mayeb too much time conditioning? i shared a bottle of this with my bro-in-law (think it was a larger bottle, not the 330ml) and it was fantastic. this one has been about two notches down from what i remember.

 1,431 characters

Photo of stephendr
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark murky brown color –nice thick tan head , small bubbles – nose of caramel , cereal , yeast , orange peel , floral , vanilla , honey , and alcohol – tastes of caramel , mocha , yeast , honey , and sour red cherries – palate is creamy and light - aftertaste caramel , cereal , honey and acidic

 299 characters

Photo of JaimeLondon
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%

Beautifull dark red color and a big and nice yellowish foam.
Smell is full of caramels and cherry. Maltiness comes higher in the taste, altogether with other red fruit tones. Alcohol is also evident in the taste.
Body and carbonation are at good level, but less than it seems.
Yeah.. great beer ;)
I think the reason I didn't like very much this one is because of the huge ABV - not for me..

 391 characters

Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep ruby red body with an off white head and tons of bubbles rushing through it.

This is a very fruit forward smelling beer. The alcohol is definitely detectable. Nice touch of sweetness and a pleasant peppery component as well.

The alcohol isn’t hiding here. More fruits and sweetness pop in the flavor. It is also very herbally.

Smooth medium bodied and fairly drying.

A little heavy on the alcohol but still an enjoyable brew.

 454 characters

Photo of thierrynantes
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 2000.
The Gulden Draak is served in a bottle painted white and decorated with a nice golden dragon.

Appearance : great autumn brown/orange color, with tan foamy head (but not persistent).
Smell : alcohol aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : malt sweetness, nice long caramel notes, persists long in the mouth.
Drinkability : a good beer in the style Belgian strong dark ale (too strong). To drink at cellar t°.

 437 characters

Photo of jeffboo
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

 726 characters

Photo of cooch69
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice bright white coated bottle.

This beer pours a bright medium brown with a compact one finger off white head.

Smells of caramel maltiness, a little bit of the alcohol comes through. Dark fruits, including raisins and figs. And a very doughy breadiness probably coming from the yeast.

Tastes semi-sweet with dark fruits and a bit of alcohol in the finish, but over all the alcohol is pretty well hidden. Also there is dark candied sugar and a bready caramel backbone with only a trace of hops.

This beer is a good guideline for what this style should taste like.(in my opinion anyways).
That being said the beer itself was good at best. A beer I'm glad I tried but there are many in the same style that are more unique or tasty.

 738 characters

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak pours a dark brownish color, with a nice large and lacing head. There is a sweet and slightly sour aroma. The taste has a profound sweetness and a slight sourness. Good full flavor, and nice to drink. Overall a very good solid beer, there is a nice fruitiness that is similar to a nice wine.

 304 characters

Photo of impending
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl into a tulip. Pours a dark rusty amber bronze - unexceptional when the glass is full gorgeous when only an inch remains. Careful pour but surprisingly little head considering, decent lacing.

Aroma of dark candies, malts and spices. While the dark fruits are there they do not dominate. A solvent is present.

Tasty malts not too sweet, mild phenols and the dominate peppery alcohol finishes, especially as it warms. The warm alcohol is appropriate for this style brew and abv. The mouthfeel is slightly viscous in spite of a thin body

kudos for the effort to keep this brew in the dark!
cheers
jd

 603 characters

Photo of xodin
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark mahogany with minimal head fading fast. Aromas contains some spice, roasted malts, and a hint of fruit, but dissipate soon after the pour. Taste is comprised of rum-like spice notes, dark candy, and roasted malts with a hint of bitterness from the hops peeking through. Smooth and sweet through the swallow with a slightly dry and bitter finish. Fairly well balanced, and warming, but lacks significant complexity and character. An above average brew, but nothing overly exceptional about its quality.

 521 characters

Photo of greg202stewart
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For the price I was expecting more. It was dark brown with little head and came out like liquid caramel. It went down smooth unfortunately, like caramel it was way too sweet and reminded me of a Sam Adams Seasonal. It is very unique though. Just not my bag baby!

 262 characters

Photo of association330
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle, no freshness date

A - Pours cloudy brown with a faint reddish tinge. A half-finger of tan head drops to a thin cap and thick ring of bubbles. Fair spots of lace.

S - Complex malty sweetness, caramel/brown sugar, hints of dark fruit and Belgian yeast. Faint pepper and alcohol.

T - Follows the nose. Sticky sweet, complex malt character. Dark fruit, faint orange rind, Belgian yeast. Vague pepper and alcohol notes.

M - Medium-bodied, but carbonation is too low. Noticeable alcohol warmth.

D - Nice sipping beer. Needs a touch more crispness, but a bit too sweet and alcoholic to be a real quaffer.

 617 characters

Photo of hardy008
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown color with a 2 finger off white head with large bubbles and decent lacing. Smell is dark fruit, especially plums. raisins, and cherries, as well as sweet caramel malt. Same for the flavor which mixes sweet malt with some bitterness to make a pretty nice beer. Creamy, full bodied, and nicely carbonated. The only drawback is the alcohol is not hidden, and packs quite a punch at 10.5%. Still quite good though.

 424 characters

Photo of divineaudio
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle into a tulip.

a - pours a deep chestnut shade with a huge, 3 finger, cream colored head. after calming i get a thin cap and thick swaths of lacing in the glass.

s - sweet bread, clove, carmel.

t - bready carmel malt with notes of clove and candi sugar. a nice earthy bitterness comes in at the end to finish it out.

m - lighter side of medium with lots of carbonation. medium co2 profile with a slight alcohol warming.

o - abv kicks in fast. enjoyable though and a nice beer overall. i probably wouldn't buy this often but it seems like a good candidate for holidays and special occasions.

 601 characters

Photo of MarcatGSB
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from the Shelden Grill in Houghton, MI. Served with a frosted mug (yep), so that is what I used.

Appearance: pours a real nice brown color with a frothy white one finger head. Great lacing remains on the glass.

Nose: Nice esthery clove and banana nose. Sweet toffee and candies fruits. Borderline dried figs or raisons.

Taste: Dried fruit with a nice peppery alcohol feel. Good phenol and sweet balance.

Mouth: Viscous. Really nice and inviting. The alcohol is not noticeable and a sweet sipping treat.

Drink and overall: Nice Belgium triple. The color is beautiful and the brew is inviting.

 611 characters

Photo of WetCoaster
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Tight sturdy off-white head. Great lace and insane retention -- it's like concrete. Nice carbonation. Somewhat pale, but a terrific clear reddish amber. Nice.

Smell: Sweet mother of god! Massive, overwhelming aroma of ripe fruit, spice and everything nice. A bit cakey. Bit of pissy yeast funk. Seriously, this is off-the-charts huge, one of a kind.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Whoa, know where the nose is coming from. Punishingly sweet. Just... yeesh. Grapey, mildly tangy, cakey, a bit of chocolate -- didn't see that coming -- a bit spicy. Not too much alcohol, but a bit of burn on the tongue at the end. Kinda thick and dumb, frankly. Mouthfeel is smooth and dense. Nice.

Drinkability: Well, nose is off the hook, amazing. Taste, though, is too much, waaay too sweet for me. Still, at this ABV, you'll feel good about it in the end -- trust me. Enjoyable in moderation.

 885 characters

Photo of ksmi116
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Koningshoeven goblet.

A - Dark brown body with a good sized tan head. Dissipates eventually with some solid lacing on it,

S - First smell is a bit of an alcohol burn, then dark fruits and candied sugar smells. Quite good smelling so far!

T - Raisins, candied sugar, bitterness at the finish. Less impressive taste than the smell, which really threw me for a loop. I tend to have a problem discerning Belgian style flavors though, not sure why.

M - high carbonation with a medium body.

D - Overall, a good beer, just I expected more with the hype

 564 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 11/5/2008 (bottle):

Pours a dark chestnut brown body, clear. Average creamy light tan head, somewhat diminishing. Very floral aroma, some dark fruit. Some alcohol in the nose. Some nuttiness too. Somewhat watery body, soft. Floral taste, some fruitiness like strawberries. Toned down taste compared to the nose. Maybe some toasted or roasted notes. Definitely some dark fruit.

 386 characters

Photo of Night
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours hazy red-brown with a bit of a diffuse vermilion glow - rather gorgeous color. Head is massive and all bubbles, no cream whatsoever; very odd. Dies down quickly to thin, bubbly lacing here and there. Aroma is deep and rummy with characteristic Belgian yeast tones. Notes of walnut and honey dominate with nice raw malty undertones and cake sweetness. Mouthfeel is surprisingly hot and sharp with a medium body that has a lightly juicy character. Flavor is very well matched to aroma, but the sweetness comes through a bit more than the nutty flavors. Molasses, dark fruits - raisin, prune, tempered by a touch of apple skin and flour. Fairly strong cake and cookie malts. Yeast comes through present but nicely rounded out. Finish is sweet and lightly sour with a long, warm, and dry aftertaste.

 802 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a light brownish color with a light tan colored head. The head is a little fizzy but does have a little bit of retention to it. The lacing isn't strong but it's got just a little bit going on from time to time. The smell of the beer had an earthy spiced aroma to it mixed with some bright fruity notes and a touch of booze. The taste of the beer had a subtle sweetness to it upfront and had a slight bite to it in the aftertaste from the settling spices. There's a little bit of bread in the taste too. The mouthfeel is well carbonated and almost medium bodied. Overall this beer is good on mostly every level and really worth trying if you haven't already.

 681 characters

Photo of henrysunset
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

very dark, probably filtered from what little light made it through, enormous imprssive head.

s: sweet... floral bitterness, but very very floral,

t: very sweet, malts galore.. little alcohol flavor upfront, but increasing on second sip...

very smooth, reasonably drinkable, but I've had easier drinkers at 10%.

 321 characters

Photo of BitteBier
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bar area was dark, but so is this beer itself. Some crimson peeked out from the dark murk when I exposed it to the light. A really nice, foamy, off-white head on this one that persisted long enough that I had to ingest some of it to get at the liquid foundation. The nose is potent, though less of alcohol than sweet grains and dark, fruity notes. The taste is sweeter than I had expected, and the alcohol was not quite in balance, though also not unduly assertive. A bit of chocolate/red wine and hops makes things interesting. The mouthfeel is nice--substantial but not clingy. Our server pushed this as "what some have called the best beer in the world." That lowered my expectations for it, actually, but I'm glad I gave it a try.

 738 characters

Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,874 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe