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 nbree00
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Color was a deep brown with some reddish hue to it. Wasn't that thrilled with the appearance, reminded me of weak poorly brewed coffee for some reason, well carbonated though with a head that never seemed to quit.

S: Smells of raisins and honey with a hint of chocolate.

T: Taste is nutty with flavors of dark caramel, raisins and coffee coming through. Quite a complex array with the malt and hops serving to balance just enough so that it is not overpoweringly sweet

M: Feel was not to bad, stroke me as alittle thin for an unfiltered beer.

D: Did not seem like a 10.5% ABV beer at all. For its class found it very drinkable, which for me would mean once in a while given its richness.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of the first belgian beers I ever had, before I even knew anything about belgian beer. This is the first time I've tried it since I was 16, and it's not nearly as awesome as I remembered it being 6 years ago.

The beer pours magnificent, however. It is a rich brown amber color with a burgundy hue when held to the light. The head is a fluffy inch thick and seems to have flowing currents through it from the carbonation jets that stream all along the edges of the tulip glass, creating a brilliant trail in the beer.

The nose is incredibly candi sugar sweet, bordering on the unpleasant side. Lots of malt, dark berries and fruity esters help to balance it out a bit, but it is quite overwhelming.

The taste is an assault on the palate. I think every inch of my tongue shuddered on contact, especially upon the heavy ethanol finish. Very sweet but also has some sour and bitter in the finish. The dark berries and alcohol are strong in the end. Somewhat barleywine-like.

I most definitely could not drink more than one of the 330 mL bottles of this even if I wanted to.

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Photo of RocketWidget
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes in a .33 ml brown bottle, nicely painted white. I wonder if this is more effective for protection against the light than a brown bottle?

Pours a rich dark amber, orange on the corners. Pours outstanding thick brown-white head that lasts throughout the beer. Smell is potent, malty and sugary. Taste is all right, malty and sweet, with the alcohol becoming a part of the taste. Yet, like many of Brouwerij Van Steenberge’s beers, I am left wanting more. Drinkable, and a good beer, but for the price I expected more.

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Photo of rgf001
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks good! Translucid amber with champagne-like bubbles. Head dissipates after a few seconds but a lace in the edges remains. Smell is typical of hops found in other trappist ales.
Sweeter than other Belgian tripples and quads. No off flavors. Good but not great.

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Photo of merlin48
3.57/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2 oz white bottle from a Van Steenberge sampler box. Served at cellar temperature into a chalice, it pours a clear, cola brown body with a small, large-bubbled head that left behind minimal lace. Aroma has overripe bananas, prunes, figs, raisins, a hint of spicy clove and pepper, and fusel alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with effervescent carbonation. The taste features candy sugar, prunes, nearly rotten bananas, danky yeast, clove, and warming alcohol. Finishes slightly bitter, leaving a feeling of alcohol infused prune juice. I really didn't care a lot for this one.

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Photo of mobyfann
3.57/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paid $9.99 for the big 750mL bottle...

The appearence is absolutely beautiful on this bad boy. It pours a dark brown base with a medium dark-tanish head, great retention, fabulous lacing effect and the head bubbles quite nicely from the low-to-mid carbonation. Oh yeah, and the ivory-colored bottle is a sweet mantle piece. The aroma is faint but hint some spice mixed with fruit maybe???

The taste is easy-going for what is refered to as a Belgian STRONG DARK Ale. It wasn't all that strong, except for the ABV, there was a slight alcoholic aftertaste to it, but that's it. The taste itself was spicy syrup in short. Mouthfeel was a little sticky with that syrup sticking to your palette. The drinkability is high for a 10.5% ale, because of the slighty weak taste, the syrupy mix lowers it from a higher score.

Final Thought: Despite it's killer looks altogether, it's a solid Belgian ale.

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Photo of Grunewald
3.57/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - poured from a 330ml bottle into a goblet. It pours a cloudy ruddy brown color with a thick head.

S - sweet malt, candy, prune, marmalade

T - sweet malt that very quickly becomes medicinal (cough syrup) and spicy

M - low carbonation and syrupy with a neutral finish

D - enjoyable flavors, but the medicinal taste is overbearing

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Photo of Trapiste389
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Apperance: Very dark and brooding. A very melancholy and foreboding ale with a tan head full of belgian lace. This is not a beer to be trifled with.

Smell: Heavy malt smell with a fruity note (possibly apricot or plum?). The overwhelming smell is sweetness with little to no hop aroma.

Taste: The first sensation is a powerful sweetness that is a little cloying to me. The only bitterness is in the finish, which is short and a faint with a touch of heavy alchohol.

Mouthfeel: the body is very thick and almost heavy. This combined with the very potent alchohol level makes this a sipping beer, not one for every night.

Overall: this an excellent beer. It is a little to malty for me, but is still wonderfull. As a lover of tripel, I had to try this when I heard that it was a dark tripel. It would make a good alternative to port or sherry as an after dinner drink. Drink this one slow it is a whopper of a beer.

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Photo of granger10
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purple color with a large dense dark tan head. Lacing around the sides. Aroma is sweet with toffee and plum and chocolate. The transcends to the flavor. Chocolate dominates in my mind. Roasted coffee is there as well but is soon tempered by the plummy flavors. There might be some candi sugar in here as well. Alcohol smooths and dries in the finish but I'm still left with a little residual sweetness. The best part of this beer was its body. Really luxurious, vicous, and smooth. It made the beer a quality drinker. I bet this could age really well but too sweet as of now.

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Photo of billybob
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours brown in color with a light tan one finger head and a nice sticky lace that held to the finish. mild caramel and pepper nose. smooth malty taste, black pepper, spice, hint of caramel, hint of coffee, has a rock candy sweetness to it. light to medium body and carbonation ok. got it in a six beer sampler so i do not think i would buy it again.

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Photo of harrymel
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle date: unk

A: pours a cherry hued chocolate ale with two fingers of latte head which falls slowly to a thick quilt of the same. Limited clarity. Spotty lacing.

S: Sweet almonds, yeast, bananas and some earthy hops. Rich caramel is weaved subtly into this beer.

T: Plenty of malts are sharply balanced with alcohol and yeasts. There are some belgian candy sugars in here with nice woody malt flavors; the oxidation is nicely done here. On the finish is a hare of pistachio.

M: Medium bodied with spritely carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

O: Good beer, easy to drink for the ABV. Can be slightly warm on the finish at times, but otherwise, very well done beer.

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Photo of joepais
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle poured dark reddish brown whith an off white billowy head Aromas of grapes (almost vinegar) and yeast fill the nose thru the tulip glass . Smooth rich palate with a slight alcohol burn . The taste of malts, fruits, and alcohol are wonderfuly filling my mouth a well made ale and great bottle design keeps out the uv’s

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Photo of vancurly
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beige rocky head, with a hazy dark browny-chestnut colour.

Aromas of flinty hop, honeycomb malt, faint yeast.

Tastes sweet & spicy, licorice, musky... raisins.

Nice malty mouthfeel.... quite dry in the finish, with a slight alcohol heat.

Not bad...

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Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm going to go way out on a limb and say that "gulden draak" means "golden dragon".

It poured much darker than I was anticipating... Dark reddish brown with a huge white head.

Smell was very complex, though mostly dark fruits and spices came through.

If I thought the aromas were complex, I was in for a surprise. A lot of these Belgian Ales strive for complex blends of flavors. Sometimes it works and they all come together. Other times it ends like you gave a five year old a blender. This one is in between. Judging by others grading, it must just be me, but the different flavors of fruits and spices didn't quite work here.

It's by no means bad. I'm just not getting the same thing out of it as everyone else. It feels surprisingly smooth, but I couldn't have much of this.

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Photo of gyllstromk
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours dark, clear amber. Lots of bubbles. Has the appearance of a cream soda. Caramel, chocolate malts on the nose, some cherry and cinnamon. Taste is caramel and molasses, dark fruits, pears, finishes with cloves and cardamom. Mouth is sticky and thick; leaves a resin on the mouth between sips.

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Photo of allergictomacros
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear dark red with a inch of head. Laces nicely, but the head itself drops quickly to a thing covering sheet.

S - Definitely alcoholic smelling, with some apple-y sweetness, and caramel. Notes of fresh fruit as well, plum, and some hints of grain.

T - I can definitely taste the alcohol in this one. A little on the boozy side. Some caramel and toasted flavours and some fruit as well. A mild bitterness creeps in later with a lingering bitter aftertaste.

M - The body is quite solid, filling the mouth with a slight creaminess. Carbonation is moderate.

D - The first thing that comes to mind is that this is very warming. It has a such a heavy boozy presence that I would have trouble downing many of these in a sitting (never mind the actual abv that would knock me on my ass in a hurry). This isn't a bad brew mind you, but did not meet my expectations. A little rough around the edges.

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Photo of rmueller
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I refer to this beer as the "Hair of the Dog" beer. Best for a hangover! I went to the Redwood City Brew Haus and was recommended along with the German food to help me from the wine party the night before. It worked for the high alcohol level. With that said, I didn't know what to think at first with the distinct white label and wasn't prepared for the full body taste. The after taste is a tad bitter but not overwhelming. This is a sipping beer like a good scotch. Tiny sips at a time not a drink it down quickly style of beer. One to be enjoyed slowly to enjoy the smooth texture. Cheers!

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, despite its name, this beer pours a deep amber color, with ruby highlights when held up to the light. The head is midsized and light brown in color. The aroma is of dark fruit (plum and raisin), rum, and a sort of spiciness that reminds me a bit of coriander. The beer is fairly well carbonated as it fizzes on my tongue. It is sweet and fruity with raisin definitely dominating the fruit component, but notes of figs and prunes are evident as well. The combination of the sweetness and fruitiness gives this beer a certain richness that I was not expecting (you can tell it has been quite a while since I last had this). Overall this is quite a tasty beer, nothing that really makes it stand out and perhaps a bit too sweet, but it is a well built tasty beer.

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Photo of MaximalC
3.6/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a stately, translucent plum color with a modest khaki head (courtesy of a moderate pour) that soon recedes. Not much lacing to speak of. Aroma has a complex sweetness consisting of dark fruit, grapes, pear, and brown sugar. Alcohol is also evident in the nose. The big malt sweetness is fully forward in the taste as well, along with a bit of cherry kick that accentuates the alcohol flavor (which isn't especially well concealed). Some apple skin also sneaks through in the finish, as does cinnamon after some warming. The sweetness is pronounced to the point of being cloying (there could be some straight-up candy sugar in there). Between the dark, sweet malt and big ABV, this almost evokes shades of Samiclaus, albeit not quite to that extreme. The Belgian yeast character adds some texture and complexity, but it's pretty muted for Belgian ale.

Overall, this is a massively sweet yet complex brew that demands sipping, and were it not for the bomber, I doubt I could have a second glass in succession. Not my favorite big Belgian ale.

*Addendum: To echo the advice of BuckeyeNation, do be sure to incorporate the sediment at the bottom of the bottle into the pour (especially with the bomber). The difference in balance is like night and day. The sweetness is tempered a great deal, thereby making this much more drinkable. I wish I would have known in advance, as my palate is probably pretty well skewed at this point, but the difference is hard to miss nonetheless.

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Photo of selecter70
3.61/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

How could I turn down the fierce clawing dragon tap-head? A nice pour from the Independent, definitely now one of Boston's best beer joints (thanks Evan!). A dark reddish smooth pour with fine bubbles settled to a thin head that soon dissipated. A sweet malty caramel aroma, and similar flavor, with yeasty honey qualities, sweet dark plums and anise. The alcohol (10.5%) is not hidden, but rather pointed out by the sweetness, although there is enough tartness to balance. Smooth and creamy, but not so much as to have more than one, this dragon is best sipped by a fireplace on a cold rainy night.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.61/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Pours brownish amber with a booming, big tan head that won't die.

S - Raisins, alcohol, malt.

T - Very earthy, malty, a little burnt caramel, raisins, figs. Lots of pepper and spice. The finish is powerfully alcoholic.

M - Medium bodied, a little silky, with some carbonation in the mix.

Notes - There's sort of an extremely earthy quality of the beer that clashes with the strong alcohol finish that just doesn't quite do it for me.

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Photo of Jwaks
3.62/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving 11.2 oz bottle

Lively whisps of fine bubbles course through a murky, muddy brown body, travelling up to meet a slowly settling glossy khaki cap of froth. Loads of thick sticky dirty-white lace cling to the inside of the glass creating a very attractive and appetizing appearance.

Tons of sour apple, dried currant and bitter yeast aromas dominate the nose with hints of chalk, dry carob, yeast,s concord grape jam, sweet bready chocolate malts and whiffs of spicy alcohol. The nose is disconcerting and reason for concern, the look doesn't match the nose and I have a feeling this will be a very unbalanced sweet and sour brew.

Gentle semi-sweet carob, chalky chocolate malt, mild dark bread and granny smith apple flavors effortlessly cascade across the palate giving way to deeper dark bready malts and hints of dried red berries on the equisitly open knit mid palate. Spicy alcohol peaks on the warm and delicious moderately long finish boasting sweet, creamy milk chocolate, a bit of sour apple and bitter yeast. Wow, the nose is thankfully misleading; this is one very enjoyable and complex brew.

A thick, rich and creamy mouthfeel makes this beer feel almost buttery on the palate. Drinkability is very good though slight sourness and warming alcohol keep drinkability a bit below exceptional.

If you ever spy a white bottle adored withs a black label emblazoned with a golden drake then pick it up, you won't be let down.


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Photo of rousee
3.62/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick dark brown with a small head of foam. A good amount remains after the beer has sat for a few minutes.
Smell is rather boozy and vinous. Slighly floral. I am getting a biting sour smell of cherries followed by honey.
Tastes less boozy than it smells. There is a nice maltiness with the familiar belgian floral and fruit combination. Elements of honey and dark cherries with chocolate. It is layered with flavor as these good Belgian ales tend to be.Still does have some strong alcohol bite although it is not in the form of heat.

The mouthfeel is very bubbly and effervescent. Finishes crisp with a lingering barley sugar taste left over. Its not too drinkable with this high of an abv. A good beer to split with a few friends. As far as my overall impression of this one, for its style--it seems there are much better examples. Good but nothing to seek out.

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Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Big ol' pop from the cork, soft pour into the glass yields a massive, foamy, dense, three inches worth of sandy brown head, Looks gorgeous and provides a wonderful contrast of color sitting there on top of a golden brown and cherry red of the beer itself.

S: Massive does of yeast, you could serriously choke on this stuff or add a new strain of cultures to your basement if you're not careful with this stuff. Beyond the massive punch of yeast there are peppery apples, nutmeg, a general spiciness that lets you know that this is a Belgian beer and something to be reckoned with.

T/MF: Nutty, peppery, cherries, dates, red apple finishes with a musty, yeasty oomph of sweetness that gives off a little bit of heat at the back of the throat in the long finish. If you take some time between sips your mouth starts to get a bit dry in the end and is where I assume the alcohol begins to take its hold and effects the mouthfeel in a negative way in that it starts to become a bit syrupy. If you keep this beer at its proper serving temperature I am sure it would flow a bit smoother but if you are a slow drinker the mouthfeel might suffer as a result.

D: Pretty solid beer, good complexity lots of little avenues of taste to explore with each sip, but I prefer others in this style over this beer and the mouthfeel knocked off some points in the drinkability department as well, but other than that, this beer is worth a look.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at Staminee de Garre, in the proper glassware, of course.

Appearance: Dark brown with red overtones. Thick coffee cream head.

Smell: Good caramel, and something else that kinda made me think of those lactic milk stouts.

Taste: Caramel, but with a bit of butterscotch diacetyl. Really thich mouthfeel and aftertaste that lingers for a long while. In the land of strong dark ales, I'd put this in the upper middle.

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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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