Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,330 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

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Reviews: 1,330 | Ratings: 3,893
Photo of abriggs1
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not-so-simply-put, this beer is a Druggernaut of boose, malt, and complexity. I just bought a four pack of this stuff to age, and of course I had to get a single to drink now. The smell is of caramel, toffee, and butter scotch. It's intensely rich, and very complex. I can't wait to get into some of these years down the road. Warms the soul as well as the brain. Truly one of the world's great beers. When I die, I hope to be embalmed with Gulden Draak.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful clear dark ruby-red-brown color. Luxurious thick, heavy, & lumpy off-white head.

Smell: Very bready, with bananas and figs. A bit faint, however.

Taste: Has a wonderful malty/bready taste with a proper amount of sweetness. Candy-like in some ways, but it's not sickly or over-the-top whatsoever. Spices (such as peper and cloves) are present as well, together with some fruits (such as banana). Slight bit of alcohol in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and very smooth with a very mild & tingly carbonation sensation.

Drinkability: The alcohol does gradually become more noticable in the taste after a bit. Very strong (alcohol-wise) as well.

An exceptional beer and one of my favorites. It's not always that easy to find, but if you do, it's definitely worth a try. A real treat.

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Photo of BeerGlassesCollector
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown in color with excellent body and creme-like head which adds to the overall appearance. Great distinctive smell and perfect taste. A very strong Dark Ale (10.5% ABV). Preferably and highly suggested to be enjoyed in the Gulden Draak glass...

Definitely one of the TOP beers worldwide



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Photo of Wreckoncile
4.89/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the good ole 750 ml into a Chimay goblet. Not my first rodeo with Gulden Draak, but my first review of her.

A - Pours a deep bloody burgandy with maybe a finger of creamy foam that descends into the beer fairly quickly leaving average lacing.

S - Hot damn I love this nose. Dark fruits with a black cherry and prunish punch, yeilds to a bit of spiciness and a total kick your ass Belgian yeast that defines a solid tripel for me.

T - Robust and malt forward. The dark fruits dance on the tongue with a splendid array of sweetness, almost a chocolate covered raisin flavor in parts. But the dark fruits succomb at the end to the sweet, bready yeastiness that just makes this beer a classic.

M - The mouthfeel on this one is complex. Its sultry, but retains a bit more carbonation than most beers with that sultry texture. Its a strong beer, but the alcohol is fairly well-disguised for something of the ABV.

O - Gulden Draak is one of my all-time favorites, and this review reflects that. It retains all of the gloriousness of a quality Belgian brewed tripel, but the darkness of it adds a dimension that not many tripels can match. Its fruit profile is darker than most tripels (dark fruits, fewer of the lighter fruits you sometimes get in lighter tripels), almost making it Quad like. But this is a superb beer, among the best ever crafted in my judgement. That's kinda why its part of my avatar.

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Photo of nortmand
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours brown with a long-lingering white tan-white head.

Alcohol, candi and caramel dominate the smell.

Sweet and chocolatey up front. Ends with a bitter hit and a tiny bit of skunk.

Luscious and creamy, this is a beer, albeit strong, that I could drink alot of. Fantastic.

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Photo of Foxxypants
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

When I received this beer for my birthday, I decided to put it off for a while, seeing the 10.5%ABV rating. I figured I should save it for a special occasion that dictated a strong beer. That occasion came around, and I got out my Newcastle pub schooner, opened this baby and poured it.

A: Sits perfectly in the glass. Just enough head to look pretty, dark amber/brown color, light filming on the glass when swirled.

S: The smell was pleasant, though nothing too special. Fruity, but strong.

T: I was blown away. It tastes so perfect. Smooth, but it lets you know that it's strong. Complex, with dark fruit flavors, and smooth malt tone. Finishes with hops, and stays around.

M: Creamy, sticks with you. Very smooth.

D: I could drink this every day for ever, if it weren't so hard to find. I plan on hunting this beer down for every special occasion.

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Photo of tanzaniakate
4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sweet, warm, round. Aftertaste reminiscent of a tawny port. Dark ale flavor with more to it than a regular dark ale. One of our favorites, reserved in our household for special occasions and very special guests.

Doesn't go with everything, so don't plan on serving it with every meal. But it goes great with strong-flavored meats, and as a dessert.

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Photo of Twincrasher
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Deep chestnut color. Much lace and lots of foam.

S: Dark fruits and muted citrus. Alcohol noticable.

T: Warm taste. Very malty despite alcohol. Some pepper tones and dark fruit flavor. Sweet ripe flavor throughout with balancing agent. Belgian yeast is perfect for this recipe.

M - Medium-to-thick body. As the beer warms I get more and more booze warmth. Medium carbonation. Very nice for sipping.

Did not like first time while overseas. Second time excellent.

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Photo of RickJP
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a goblet-style glass I keep sitting around for just such an occasion. Very dark, mahogany coloration and a nice foamy head. Not the most attractive I've ever seen, but close.

Everything else was, for me, perfect. It's like it was made for me. Great mouthfeel, nice fruitiness, nice caramel maltiness on the back end. Not too much though, I didn't think of it as being ridiculously heavy. Probably because of the carbonation, which though light is definitely present.

I considered giving it a 5 in drinkability even, though the alcohol content precludes the possibility of drinking a lot of it in one sitting.

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Photo of brouwer
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this without any forethought - thought I'd give it a try. Purchased at The Good Food Store in Missoula Montana in a 750ml corked bottle. I poured this into a tulip glass. Dark Caramel in color - moderately opaque. The carbonation was appropriate for a tripel. The mouthfeel was excellent with a smooth drinkability. The taste is yeasty (wonderful) with a perfect amount of hop.


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Photo of Spica66
4.87/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this from gwuilliums. Shared with him after brewing Centennial Citra IPA Batch 20.

A: Copper color. Excellent head formation and lacing. Persistent carbonation ring.

S: Smells like a slightly sour dark fruitcake in a good way!

T: A slightly funky explosion of medium dark fruit. In-between figs and apples. Like an aged cider. Wow!!

M: Round and smooth with a wonderful zingy carbonation bite. Absolutely wonderful!

D: A little too much alcohol burn in the chest keeps this from a 5.

One of my favorite beers - ever!!!

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.86/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a magnificent looking deep ruby with a massive, fluffy, four-finger head. Head dissipated fairly rapidly, with big soapy bubbles of lacing.

S - Smells of dark malts with a hint of fruits, Belgian yeasts, and spicy hops. Everything in perfect harmony here.

T - Taste follows the nose, with lush fruits (red grape, plum, beet, mulberry) taking center stage, with an undercurrent of unroasted sweet caramel malts. Belgian yeasts nowhere near as noticeable as they were in the aroma. Spicy/peppery hops carry the finish. ABV noticeable but in a good way, without being "hot". Flavors are very rich. What amazes me is how well balanced this is; total fusion with none of the above characteristics standing out over the other. Perfection.

M - Medium bodied, with standard fizzy Belgian carbonation. Manages to still feel "light" despite the richness and abv. Wizardry!

O - For my tastes, closer to a Tripel than a "Belgian Dark Ale", and a fine one at that. In fact this is one of the best beers I have ever tasted for ANY style. Need more of this immediately.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

oh hell yeah...this is the one. Gulden Draak is nearly perfect. It's hard to see how any brewery, Belgian or otherwise, could improve on this style...other than maybe bringing out a beer with these exact characteristics but with a, say, 7% ABV for better drinkability.

Poured into a Gulden Draak glass and received a fluffy off-white head which retains well, a gorgeous deep-chocolate color that seems to morph into ruby at the bottom. Thick walls of lace are produced during the drink.

An ultra-malty aroma hits you first thing. I also enjoy the fresh-baked yeast rolls aroma, and the sweet fruitiness that reminds of dates drowned in rum. A fragant and fresh aroma, especially for such a dark and high-alcohol brew.

The taste is divine. Milky caramel, juicy raisins, layers of's sweet but not too sweet. Comes very close to the most dessert-y doppelbocks. Only the slight yeast tinge and well-hidden but clearly-present alcohol sets it apart.

Mouthfeel is about as good as all the preceding sensations: creamy, with enough heaviness to chew around in the mouth a while, but very good balance there too. Low fizz, so no real bite, just a velvety smoothness that sticks with you awhile.

Ok, so it's 10.5%, but I find this to be easily drinkable. Not a lot, not as a session beer, but there isn't a day in the year I would turn it away. Absolutely delicious.

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Photo of andjusticeforale
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

“The Golden Dragon”

This beer comes in an intriguing white bottle. It pours a deep opaque yet luminous brown.The head is tan and settles into some chunkiness, a height of about 1 cm. The head reminds the drinker of a finely carbonated stout head. Amazingly fresh and alive out of the bottle, a golden hue becomes apparent.

The smell is of clove and sugar and exotic perfume. The carbonation is exquisitely fine. The first sip hits like a blast of molasses and sweet apple, with a semi dry finish of lingering sweetness. There is an underlying malty-breadiness, and the 10.5% gives the beer a brandy-like quality at times. The alcohol is never overpowering because of the carbonation and full mouthfeel, just present.

This is a beer that commands you to take notice of it. The complexity is not as readily apparent as a Belgian Quad, no plums and cherries and tropical banana fruits, but the complexity is there. The malts and sugar and alcohol- perhaps over the top because of the lack of hops, still show terrific balance sip after sip and are remarkably never cloying. And as the glass warms and the beer swirls, there is more and more magic.

Perhaps this can best be described as a dark imperial tripel. What it lacks in sweet-bitter balance, it regains in its balance of light and dark. In heaven, at the annual golf tournament, at the 19th hole, while celebrating a round of perfect hole-in-ones, you forgot your wallet, but guess what? Jesus buys a round, and its Gulden Drak, and all you can think to say is “thank you lord.”

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Photo of jim102864
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nothing annoys me more than the lack of a date stamp on the bottle. Without it, you don't know if the aging process has impacted the beer and why. In this instance, I experienced argueably the best triple I've ever had, but I'd like to know if I should expect that every time or if I just got lucky and bought a bottle that was perfectly aged and uncorked at the right time. Anyway, it poured a lovely copper color with a thin but creamy head into my Chimay goblet. Carbonation was active. The large and unusual white bottle makes me feel like I'm drinking from a milk bottle. The nose was cheery with fruitiness and hints of cherries and cherry licorice. Honestly, not flavors I normally seek out, but somehow this really works. The taste reflects the aroma; fruity with cherries and strawberrries. Very bouncy with candied sugar making for a smooth, sweet but balanced and pleasant experience. Incredibly smooth and drinkable...I'm very suprised, since I don't expect any of these qualities from your average triple. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. The lovely fruitiness bathes the palatte. This is a highly drinkable triple. I never expected such sweetnes and smoothness from a triple, but wow ! This is a must have. Maybe I just lucked out, but I will be sure to seek this out again and check for consistency.

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Photo of MrBen
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I picked up a bottle of this fine stuff a few days ago. I was pleased to find an opaque bottle, but what was inside was far more impressive. Gulden Draak poured nicely and kept a head between 1/8-1/4" all the way to the bottom of the glass. The beer's color was very appealing and the smell invited curiousity. The tastes were a bit surprising at first, and frankly, at 10.5%, I wasn't sure what awaited.

Anyway, the flavors were big, round, and complex. Lots of floral notes with some candy in there and maybe a tiny hint of pink peppercorns (try a whole pink peppercorn on its own -- it's nothing like black pepper), and just everything sweet in between. The mouthfeel pretty much made the experience for me. The beer was thick, not chewy necessarily, but I could almost sense the presence of two viscosities or thicknesses in there. Very exciting. The beer left a very light coating in my mouth that quickly dissolved between sips, and the aftertaste was probably the most pleasant I'd ever had -- and long lasting.

I agree with other reviews that this beer may be best enjoyed after a big meal, as a dessert. While I don't think its big flavor would detract from a good steak or grilled burger, I do believe that the mix just might not fit too well. I strongly recommend Gulden Draak to anyone -- both the newcomers to Belgians and the guys who are knee deep in the rich traditions. What a fantastic beer.

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Photo of Blackdevil77
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my favorite beers. This beer pours a very dark, brown, redish color with a small head. Smells sweet, you can smell the roasted malts. Taste's even sweeter. And being 10.5 % ABV, it's extremely drinkable. Does not taste like a 10.5 % beer at all so be careful with this one. This beer is definitely a special treat on ocasion type beer for me. I would enjoy this an hour or two after dinner for desert. Not for everybody, but give it a try. This is definitely one of the tastiest beer's I've ever had. I love it

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Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Foggy brown body. Light brown head.

Smell - Malty. Alcoholic. Very much like a duvel, but with flavor.

Taste - Malty body. Sour finish. Delicious. Strong. Moderately heavy complexity. Candy sugar finish.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly little to no solvent burn. Smooth. Sexy.

Overall Drinkability - Delicious. Absolutely awesome. One of the best beers I've had in months.

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Photo of dmarch
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
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 dumbledoom
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was very excited to drink this beer, because I have heard so many great things about it. Gulden Draak fulfilled all of my expectations of greatness and yet at the same time had a lot of unexpected tastes which make this beer unique.

This is a very well-rounded beer. It has the perfect balance of a thick, dark Belgian stung with the sweet tastes of caramel, nuts, and a hint of anise. Although fairly sweet, this beer leaves just the right amount of bitterness on your palate.

A lot of people have complained about the carbonation being too high, but for me, this is one thing that sets this beer apart. It is the perfect amount to make it go down smooth.

I was expecting to get a strong scent and/or taste of ethanol, but that is not the case with this beer. The ABV is high, but it is just enough to keep you feeling warm.

I would highly recommend this beer to anybody.

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Photo of pabstsmear
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass at cellar temperature and let it sit for a few minutes. I held it up to the light and could not detect any sediment, and observed fine carbonation like champagne bubbles coming up in this dark amber brew.
It complex smells of raisins, malt and spice.
The well balanced combination of hops, spice and fruit disguises the high abv and and the only effect of this is the warming sensation one gets.
Very drinkable brew to be savored on a winter night by the fire. To really appreciate it's sophisticated character try a lager after you had a Gulden Draak and you will see just how bland it is in comparison.

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Photo of tubacharlie
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It pours a clear, dark ruby red-brown. Small head but a thin layer of bubbles continues to populate the surface as they percolate from the bottom, with a solid ring around the edge and good lacing.

A slight aroma of sweet alcohol emanates from the snifter, with earthy, floral notes.

The strong alcohol content right up front is tempered with malted grain and soft, warm hop bitterness. The well developed depth of flavor is meaty and reminiscent of dark bread. Excellent lingering mouth presence tingles the senses with perfectly smooth carbonation and a hint of maple syrup in the memory of the tongue.

This is a brew to enjoy slowly, like an old Scotch. One of the signature Belgian beers.

Reviewed 3-12-10

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Photo of KKB
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A – A deep ruby-amber with a voluminous khaki head, carbonation slowly flowing from the bottom; the tight fluffy bubbles on top of this gorgeous looking body make my mouth water a little bit.

S – As one person put it, “it’s malty sweet, scotchy and dark fruity.” I think that is an utterly appropriate explanation. The sweetness invades your senses but it has a juiciness to it that is definitely the product of dark fruits and it has a slight alcoholic aroma to it as well. A slight bready backbone holds all the aromas together and they form a chorus of delight singing hallelujah into my welcoming nostrils.

T – Oh sweet ambrosia thy name is Gulden Draak! The taste of this beer is simply divine, something the Gods most certainly would find an adequate form of sustenance. It is both sweet and sour with the tones that I discovered in the nose following through onto the taste buds: dates, black cherries, raisins, plums, brown sugar, cocoa…then as it warms a sort of clove, cinnamon, butterscotch, tobacco, yeasty-spicy goodness invades the pallet, with maybe, just maybe, a hint of hops in there as well.

M – Velvety cream, a medium-full body with a fine carbonation that makes it oh so smooth to drink. Followed by a nice alcoholic burn that does not overwhelm but merely holds you ever so tenderly, and as my dear friend Harris once said about a cabernet sauvignon, it’s like the last fold of the blanket being pulled over you as you tuck into bed.

O – This is a beer to grow old with, I love this beer, I will have this beer countless times again over the course of my life. I’m sure I’ll find beers I enjoy more in the years I have left to me, as my exploration is still just in it’s infancy, but this beer is one of the first beers I have ever fallen truly in love with. It is a sonnet, a cool and refreshing breeze, the welcome company of a good friend, and a solemn promise of good things to come. Thank you gulden draak.

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Photo of taigor
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into regular glass.

A - Poured hazy dark brown/amber color with small head that dissipated slowly leaving slight lacing around the glass.

S - Malts and yeast with hints of banana and cloves.

T - Sweet and bready upfront with slight hints of fruits and spices. Very simple overall.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation.

D - Very smooth and easy going dark ale. ABV is extremely well hidden and not noticed at all. Excellent ale overall and would love to drink more in the future.

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Photo of Arthurpappas
4.84/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is just like one of my favorite beers! This is rich and creamy and also has a nice strong bitterness, but not overwhelmingly so. This beer also has a high alcohol content that is not at all apparent when drinking it. The smoothness of this beer is incredible, but finding this beer is quite difficult.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,893 ratings.
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