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:
3,872
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
305
Gots:
838
For Trade:
3
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Reviews: 1,325 | Ratings: 3,872
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 fl oz bottle obtained at Florian's in Auburn as part of a variety 6-pack. Murky brown body with light tan head that's a couple fingers thick. Smells yeasty, fruity (dates? plums?) and roasty. Tastes roasty, fruity, somewhat chocolatey maybe? Complex and unique certainly. The only dark tripel I know of, so I'm not sure what to compare it to. Rather pleasant and tasty. Good for anyone who like dubbels or maybe stouts.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml. white painted bottle. Leaves a big, crazy 3 finger-plus foamy head. It has excellent retention, and leaves webs upon webs of excellent lacing. Body is a murky dark brown. Very beautiful to behold. Appearance is this ale's strong point.

Smell - horseblanket, then mildly - caramel, figs, plums, maltbread-sweet rolls, raisins, and medicinal alcohol.

Taste - as indicated by the nose. Mildly, a caramel drizzled sweet roll laced with raisins, figs, and plums, then wrapped in a musty horseblanket. Strong fruit pits and sour horseblanket on the finish and the aftertaste. Mostly very well hidden alcohol.

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, dry.

Drinkability - this is good ale, but not great ale, so that suppresses sessionability for me - that, in addition to the high abv.

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Photo of theopholis
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance-Dark amber/ruby wuth an aggreasive off-white head. Head appears to have significant staying power, and leaves a decent amount of lace. Amazingly, you can't taste the 10.5% alcohol. Must be the Belgium influence....

Aroma- Rich, sweet malts with a fair amount of breadiness. Some molasses and caramel. Yet very clean smelling.

Taste- Full bodied. Very nice,complex malt sweetness with hints of caramel, brown sugar, and ripe dark fruits . The spice and fusels are very subdued but are there.

Mouthfeel- Medium body. Just a tad over-carbonated, but it's not bad.

Drinkability- Pretty drinkable for a 10.5% beer.

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Photo of Macca
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

OK so I am scared. Not usually a fan of these monsters.

This pours a dark caramel colour with hints of red. A small beige head. Clear.

Sweet fruitiness on the nose. Only a touch of alcohol - this might just be drinkable yet.

Sweetness is the first thing that hits me on the palate and then the alcohol warmth. Syrupy mouthfeel - a bit cloying for mine. A bit of butter as well.

Meh. OK but not life changing bu then again I didn't think it would.

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Photo of Blindpigbiz
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smell: clean spring water

Taste: bitter hops with a rich, herbal, malty sweetness that carries throughout; subtle toasted walnuts pervade during each sip

This is one of the funkiest tripels Belgium has produced. Normally tripels have either a clementine, orange, or at least another citrus fruit within the flavor of the beer, but with the golden dragon not a one. This beer caught me off guard and I'm down to try it soon. By the way, This beer goes very well with an Italian sub with heavy mayo and oil

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Photo of northaustin
3.76/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

gulden draak is a treat for sure. it is really good and its price usually reflects so. ive had it in the 750ml cork bottle and in the regular 11.2fl. oz. bottle, i have to say if your gonna pay for gulden draak you might as well go for the 750ml botttle because it tastes better in my opinion and youre gonna want more than 11.2fl. oz.

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Photo of flayedandskinned
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

No bottle date
Poured into a standard tulip glass.

Appearance: (3.75)
Pours a hazy, dark amber with a nice reddish hue. A loosely bubbled, two and a half fingers tall, light beige head quickly forms and has adequate retention, although not quite up to par to others it's category. The head leaves some lacing behind in it's wake.

Aroma: (3.75)
A lot brighter aromatics than I expected; Juicy, sweet plums right upfront with ripe cherries, as well as some fig flesh not far behind. There is a kiss of some orange blossom from the hops before some sweet, biscuity malts round out the nose. Some alcohol phenols are present.

Taste: (3.75)
Sweet cherries and plum flesh greets your palate first with a nice snappy orange-y hop presence in tow. Middle of the taste, there is a distinct fig note right before your palate is smoothed over by a sizable, doughy malt backbone; caramel and toffee with a distinct streak of scorched Belgian candi sugar. Finishes off dry and just bitter enough to balance the sweet malt. Lingering notes of plums, cherries, oranges and more malty breadiness. Moderate to light alcohol flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel: (3.75)
Surprisingly light bodied with high carbonation.

Overall: (3.75)
Gulden Draak set out to be a dark Belgian Triple, it succeeded. The bright, snappy hoppiness is there, as well as the fruit forward yeast and solid bready malt backbone. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of alcohol phenols in both flavor and aroma that really interferes and covers up the above said qualities as the beer warms in it's glass. This is a decent beginner Belgian beer, but it can't hold its own against the big boys of Belgium.

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Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

APPEARANCE - Medium-dark brown with 4-finger head that dissipates fast. No lacing.

AROMA/SCENT - Sweet, herbaceous, fruits.

TASTE - Sweet, mild, herbaceous, fairly boozy.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE/TEXTURE - Not gooey. Carbonation holds up.

VALUE - A bit high.

OVERALL/DRINKABILITY - Not my favorite. At best, a sipping beer.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ran out of time to buy ale today and had to "settle" for this from the store. Didn't pour with much of a head and no real lace to speak of. Color is a grand amber with hints of red. Wonderful aroma of figs, candied yams, yet no alcohol which is surprising given the 10.5% ABV strength of this here brew. Flavor starts off incredibly robust - full of good maltiness, that awesome Belgian yeast, some alcohol that carries over into the finish. Not as complex as I would have hoped, but great flavor. Very robust as I said and pleasing. Finish is long and only slightly bitter. Pretty darn good but expensive at $4.40/11.2oz. bottle. If you see it try it

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Photo of aleigator
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Appears deep red, nearly black. Has a big white, fast vanishing head.

Aromas of malt, caramel, spices and alcohol.

Intense taste of malt, sugar and lots of alcohol, ending with a bitter alcoholic finish, which warms up the belly. Perfect beer for a cold winter night, spices add a decent complexity. I recommend todrink this nearly at room temperature,lots of tastes get noticable while the beer warms up, taste becomes more balanced. Carbonation supports the taste very well, helps to not make this too heavy.

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours from the . . . unique bottle a dark, thick, brown/cola colour, with hints of ruby. Cloudy to the point of opacity, with even a gentle pour netting several fingers of loose, rocky head that are very slow to dissipate, leaving a lot of lacing on the glass.

Smell is grapey/vinous, raisins, brown sugar, cherry cordial, toffee, stone fruits like apricot and peach. An alcoholic sharpness definitely comes through. Banana, clove. Slightly yeasty, slightly peppery. A touch of licorice? Burnt chocolate, hot cocoa. Ginger candies? Rather sharp, but nice.

Taste is fairly alcoholic, with lots of brown sugar, marzipan, lots of fruits in syrup. Again, grapey or vinous, slightly tart. Sour cherries, clove. Bananas. Slightly earthy. Finishes initially sweet but drying in the throat. Slightly yeasty, bready afertaste. High carbonation and somewhat syrupy texture.

This is . . . interesting. The smell here is beautiful, but the taste doesn't quite do it for me--it's quite sweet, quite sharp, and a bit muddled for me. I have no doubt it's well-made, and an exemplar of the style (as many attest), but it loses me on the taste.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this at the bottle shop down the road.

From a bottle into a chalice.

Note: Best before end 2010 and consumed in mid 2009. Given Belgian best before practices, this beer could be over three years old.

APPEARANCE: Pours a very small thinner looking off-white head that quickly fades to a thin film. Colour is a burnt umber brown with some carbonation evident. A bit of film remains until the end and leaves a bit of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: A cool nose of caramel and toasted malt. Definitely some spicy clove and coriander in the nose with hints of spicy alcohol as well. Touches of dried fruits, raisins in particular, in the back with a bit of vanilla in there as well. Pretty nice.

TASTE: Toasted malt up front with some sweet candy sugar. Some dark fruits, dates and raisins mostly, but this is soon taken over by lots of spices, clove and coriander, much like the nose, and a heavy dose of spicy alcohol. Spicy elements hang around into the long lasting aftertaste.

PALATE: Medium-thin body, creamy slick on the palate, goes down fairly smooth but gets a little airy on the way down and finishes slightly mouth coating. A slight alcohol scratch at the very end reminds you how strong it is.

OVERALL: Definitely a good brew. This bottle might be a few years old, which sometimes hurts the head on a Belgian, but the nose and taste have matured quite nicely. The palate is a bit thin and airy, which holds it back a little bit, but non-the-less, this one is certainly worth checking out.

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Photo of collinsroth
3.74/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the Global Beer Network sample pack.

The smell of Gulden Draak is the best part, rich with plums and raisins. Poured a reasonable head, with small frisky bubbles. These bubbles, for me, dominated the taste, and created a prickly feel on the tongue that was not for me.

Tastes hints of the same raisins and plums, with a syrupy taste lingering in the background. The alcohol peeks through in a not unpleasant way. The aftertaste lingers reminding me of a whiskey (unfortunately I don't like whiskey!)....

A good beer - and I can see how others would love it. But not quite there for me.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a really pretty wooden amber with lacing you'd see on the pussycat dolls.

Some stingy alcohol smells, some figs/raisins, Like the breath of a california raisin out on a belgian beer bender...

Pretty sweet taste too. The taste follows the smell, but a candied sweetness pervades this like that Iggy Pop song.

The Rochefort 6 is my measuring stick for all these styles, and while this one is tasty, I wish it had a little more Jesse the Body Ventura than Jesse the Mind Ventura.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
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 htomsirveaux
3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried on tap at Silver Creek Brewing Co., 6 Jul 2011. Served in an ~8 oz. snifter.

Small light brown head. Moderate carbonation. Medium brown in color. Aroma is a bit light, maybe because it's a bit cool, maybe some apple and dark fruit, alcohol. Apple, slightly bitter, some dried fruit. Somewhat warming. Medium body. Slightly fruity sweet finish.

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Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance: malty amber brown. nice thick head, and enticing lacings throughout my glass

smell: sweet, light hops, plums, brown sugar (?), hint of booze

taste: much like an in depth version of it's smell. sweet, malty, fruity, sugary, and just a hint of alcohol. a nice mix of everything goin on here. all in it's right place on my palatte. gets sweeter as it warms.

mouthfeel: robust, and malty. dense, but not too thick. just the right amount of carbonation.

drinkablilty: one bomber was good enough for me. felt full once i was done. like a hearty meal

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This curious little white bottle finally got to me today.
A careful pour produces a clear ruby brown liquid with an overflowing beige head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells of wet cardboard, rich caramel malts, bits of dark fruit. Airing it for a bit thankfully removed most of the aromas of oxidation. The flavor is sweet with lots of brown and caramelized sugars. Deep rich dark fruits mixed with a hint of alcohol round out the flavor quite nicely. Medium to thick body with a moderate to high level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly mouthfeel. This is a nice dark ale I quite enjoyed it.

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Photo of KeOw
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed yesterday (12/9/2010), transcribed 12/10/10.

Haven't had Gulden Draak in about half-a-dozen years. Poured a 330 ml bottle into a Delirium Tremens tulip. No freshness date.

Appearance: After a standard (not gentle) our the head is underwhelming, less than a finger-width of off-white fizz, lacking lacing from beginning to its end, which occurred long before I drained it--negligible carbonation could not replenish it. I recall an impressive head in the past, so it's possible I picked up a quite old bottle. The body is a hazy, dark copper, showing no carbonation.

Smell: Heavy, dark malt, full of dark bread, cookies, and molasses.

Taste: In addition to the above . . . BOOM goes the alcohol, warm and dominant, slightly spicy. Also, dates. Overall, it is extremely sweet, on the edge of excess, but still tasty. The dominance of liquor flavor, from beginning to end, is another sign of an "aged" beer. But, surprisingly, I don't taste any oxidation flavors.

Drinkability: Again, not like my past experience. Way too boozy for me to drink many.

I have to say that I am astonished by how well this flat, old beer tasted. I guess dragons don't lose much with age.

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Photo of drseamus
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark mahogany body with no head. The smell is very malty and fairly sweet with just a hint of spice. The combo of sweetness and spice is a bit overwhelming at first. The malt profile is a bit muted especially in the presence of the blast of sweetness. The body seems to get a bit heavier at the back of the palate and it's possibly the best part of the beer. Not a bad beer but a bit too sweet compared to the malt profile for me.

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Photo of decimator
3.72/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330ml poured into a pint glass. ABV 10.5%.

A - Poured a dark mahogany with a 1cm bubbly head. Head dissipated to surface bubbles. No lacing.

S - Herbal, earthy, dark fruit, honey, some tropical fruit, alcohol. Not quite what I expected but it smells pleasant.

T - brown sugar, some dried fruit, some of tropical fruit (pineapple in particular), more brown sugar, the finish is medium bitterness that sticks around and some booze. As it warms I find there's a slight resin flavour coming through and the finish is a bit harsh.

M - Medium-heavy body, medium carbonation, syrupy, sticky, oily, the finish is dry with some heat.

O - There's a slight harshness in the finish that detracts from this beer. Hard to believe the ABV is that high as the alcohol isn't too obviously although it is noticeable. Still pretty good and easy to drink.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of its short and stubby white painted 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. Body is dark brown with a monsterous head with great retention that produced lacing throughout the duration of the drink. Smell is sweet dark fruits (plumas and raisens) and alcohol. Taste is fruity with a potent alcohol bite dominating the very dry finish. This brew definately gets better as it warms up in the glass. While it is not an absolutely stellar brew, it sure does hold its own as a great beer.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.71/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark cherry-burgundy with a monstrous 3 finger rocky beige head that lasted forever. The head was composed of large macro bubbles when viewed through the sides of the glass and fell around the rim leaving a billowy/towering center piece. There was a spotchy lacing with a good strong visible carbonation at first that soon receded to a slow steady stream of bubbles.

S: dark fruit, caramel raisins.

T: The initial flavor had a cloey, and overpowering malt sweetness with alcohol fusels. The flavor soon receded to a rich, caramel sweetness with some fruitiness (apples) and brown sugar. The beer finishes with a dark fruit, dark caramel and a nice alcohol warming. There was a slight sour raisin taste detected after the swallow.

M: full bodied, warm caramel, slightly creamy with a nice dry spicy alcohol fade.

D: A very nice finish despite an otherwise rough first sip. The beer progressively drinks better as you go along with a wonderful spicy dark fruit and caramel finish.

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Photo of StevenBilodeau
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is fantastic, it has a nice frothy/foamy head, that dissipates with great lacing. It pours out, thick, dark and like chocolate but without the favor of chocolate of course. This beer is excellent, it did not let me down. Good favor, all around good beer. Sweetness, but not too sweet or overwhelming. One of the best Belgian beers I have ever had. To beer lovers this is Gold.

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Photo of goodbyesoberday
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a very loud head that subsides to a thin layer.

Rich dark red maple colour, opaque thanks to my pouring of all and everything into the glass.

It's rich, very rich. Chocolate coated fruit, I'll get back to you on the particulars someday. Dark brown sugar but no burnt toffee. The alcohol steps up and says hello. Very fiery but the dragon's breath hath no boot polish.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,872 ratings.
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