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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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1,314 Reviews
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)

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: 1,314 | Ratings: 3,818
Photo of Gajo74
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown and mahogany color, massive head and a thick frothy lace that just won't die. A truly good looking brew.
There is really a lot going on in the aroma. Big dark fruity aroma; raisins, plums and figs soaked in alcohol. Also there is an earthy aroma; some barnyard, hay and raw grain. Sweet malts; reminds me of bannana or raisin bread. Belgian candy sugar. A strong whiff of alcohol at the end of each inhalation.
The taste is similar to the aroma. A lot of the aforementioned dark fruits. Sweet and malt forward on the tongue. This is balanced by phenols, alcohol and peppery spices and mild hops. Sweet finish and an herbal and dry aftertaste.
Big bodied. Creamy, smooth and silky. The silkiness at times makes it feel like milk. Dangerously drinkable. At 10.5% ABV I would call it a sipper, yet, I drank it pretty fast it was so delicious.

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Photo of Brian700
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is exactly what my palate craves. It pours a deep red/brown with a creamy light tan head that stays put. Good lacing.

The aroma is of sweet dark fruit. Figs, raisins, plums.

The taste follows the nose. There is lots of dark fruit like plums, figs, raisins, and I can taste apricot a little as well. The is a nice alcohol presence that is a little bit warming. Excellent.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium/moderate carbonation. Very swishable, coats the palate nicely.

I have been waiting to try this beer for a long time and it surpassed my expectations. I highly recommend this beer.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark ruby amber colour. Very little head but it lingers as I drink it.

Smell: Very Belgian in character. Dark candy sugar, caramel, and a slight sour alcohol aroma.

Taste: Belgian yeasty flavours backed up by a significant sweet malt presence. Slight hoppiness in there but this is a malt-forward beer.

Mouthfeel: Slightly tangy, yet still sweet. No alcohol in flavour but there's definitely an alcohol burn as the beer goes down.

Drinkability: The creaminess makes this dangerously drinkable. No oppressive flavours, just creamy intensity. Probably a one-a-night beer.

Overall: I drank this in Brussels in July 2007 after seeing an American tourist walking in the street and drinking it. Quite a nostalgic beer for anyone who had it for the first time in Belgium-since it is such a memorable brew, you are transported right back to where you first tried it.

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Photo of mkh012
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark maroon or purple with a finger of chunky tan head. Smells of grapes, plums, brown sugar, a slight medicinal phenolic note. Taste explodes with sticky-sweet grape and plum, slight vinous notes, a balancing breadiness. World-class and classically Belgian in its ability to be both medium bodied and rich and still somehow effervescent. I find this one a bit more tart and bright than other BSDAs, but in a good way. More grape than traditional "dark fruit" like raisins or figs. Over $20 a 4-pack where I'm from but worth it. An A+ Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

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Photo of cvfish
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a dark amber color that produced a fluffy light tan head that laced around the glass nicely

S - Brown sugar, dried plums, red grapes, and yeasts

T - Tastes like maple and brown sugar oatmeal, with raisins and plums mixed in with hops and malts

M - Smooth and creamy medium bodied with light carbonation

D - Great beer, beautiful example of why people love beer....I can't fully express, but its wonderful

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Photo of stevoj
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Superlative beer. Pours dark brown with silky beige head. Sourish, wine-like aroma, prunes, raisins, peat, wood. Taste recalls dried fruits and oak barrels, whiskey, wine. Finish is abrupt, and although flavor is full, there is little lingering on the palate. Truly gorgeous, a real sipper to enjoy.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a dark reddish brown color with an extremely aggressive head. The lacing clings to the glass all the way down.

S: The smell is very yeasty with a citrus scent mixed in. A very pleasant combination.

T: This is one of the best tasting beers I have had so far. It is very full bodied and the alcohol is there, but its well hidden in the taste. You only get a hint of it for a very small instant. The after taste is virtually nonexistent.

M: Nice thick feel in the mouth with a heavy amount of carbonation.

D: The completely clean after taste and outstanding flavor makes me want to knock this one back. I don't recall but a handful of beers as easy to drink as this.

This one is a fantastic beer. I highly recommend it.

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Photo of TeamMathis
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Brown. Maybe a very dark caramel. A nice lace of head.
Smell: Honey, butter, malt, and maybe some fruit.
Taste: Sweet, peppery, alcohol, and malt.
Mouthfeel: Full big body and moderate carbonation.

I love this brew. It is very malty, and somewhat intense...however in excellent ways. The sweetness and pepperiness combine to give this an all around excellent drink with an alcohol intensity that doesn't give that cheap vodka aftertaste. This is a must get.

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Photo of larsee01
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz white glass bottle (brown glass with white cover) poured into glass goblet

Deep dark brown with cloudy body. Thick tan head ain't going anywhere.

Deep malt smell. Mild, with sweet molasses. Pronounced Concord grape with blackberry (?)

Deep rich malt start with grape/plum. Alcohol makes a brief early appearance, but 10.5 ABV would surprise many. Impressive! Heavy, syrupy malt balanced well with pepper and incognito hop bitter. Sweet molasses keeps appearing but again with an earthy balance. Quintessential balance to this one.

What can I say about mouthfeel? I'm glad it's in my mouth. Smooth, creamy and accomodating. Not too thick, but pleasantly lingering.

If this beer isn't highly drinkable, I'm going to MAKE it highly drinkable. 1/2 of a beer is an experience. A great session beer if you are in for a SHORT session. Lots of alcohol, hidden but substantial carbonation challenge your ability to continue enjoying this long term. But you know what? YOU are the boss of you.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured ontap at Burgh's

14 oz snifter. Appears mahogony with just a bit of head, which is fine, more Draak for me.

Nose is sweet fruits and dark malt.

Tastes; Fig, At times Apple. Dark chocolatey malt with a vaguely pernicious roasted edge. Wonderful.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and incredibly smooth.

Easy drinking, powerful, and delicious.

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Photo of Tupperwolf
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak pours from a 330ml white-coated bottle into my now-trusty tulip a generously dark color; After a bit of thinking, the color reminds me most of tree sap - dark brown that glows subtly orange when held to the light. A thin tan head of rising bubbles forms, then dissipates - I think I was a little underambitious on the pour. Lacing from the head is minimal, but there's a serious haze on the glass left by the liquid itself, like a very old window pane.

Smell: Candy, fruit, rhubarb, caramel, lots of distinctly rummy alcohol. Enticing. Smell definitely adds a lot to the flavor and drinking experience.

Taste definitely lets you know you're drinking 10.5% abv, but it's in a very smooth way - it's like a slick brandy. Lots of flavors going on here, especially alive due to the warmth of the liquor. Sweet across the whole palate - definite rum tastes with a butterscotch middle, almost zero bitter finals. Extremely tasty and easy drinking.

Low carbonation, which I think is appropriate, there's just enough to set off the carmally texture of this Belgian. Mouthfeel is great, alcohol warming the back of the tongue and the rest of the way down. Sticky flavors coat the mouth after swallowing, but another swallow can clear them easily if you choose.

Malty, sweet, easy-drinking, heavy on the booze, this Belgian's pretty rad IMO. Wish I'd bought another.

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Photo of Avagadro
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful mahogany in color, and topped with a cream-colored head, Gulden Draak displays marvelous lacing and retention.

S: Deep banana, rum, and spice. This brew has delightful complexity on the nose.

T: More rum, bananas Foster, raisins, and much more. All without being cloying or overbearing.

M: Light, effervescent, and clean on the finish.

D: I, for some reason, was expecting a Duvel knockoff. What I got, however, was one of the most delicious Belgian Strong Dark Ales out there. Much lighter and cleaner than many of the other examples, but with all of the complexity. This is definitely worth a shot for any fan of the Belgian style.

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Photo of DerKaiser
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the Golden Dragon. This Belgian brew pours maple syrup brown with a substantial beige head. The aroma is sugary and delicious, with notes of candied fruit, raisins, apple, and cinnamon.

This beer is huge; very potent with a liquour-like quality to it. It's sweet and nectar like, with burnt honey, raisin, and caramel flavors. A delicious cake-like mouthfeel carries all the way through. Yet, this sweetness is nicely balanced with a peppery alcohol presence that delivers flavor throughout the mouth and nose.

This is a Bentley of beers: big, powerful, expensive, rare, and intoxicating. Everything a Belgian triple should aspire to. Enjoy.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, this living beer poured a reddish tinted dark brown and emitted a generous head. Apparently, the yeast was tired of being bottled up, and wanted out desperately. When the bubbles mellowed, the aroma was mildly sweet. Hints of banana and dry malt were present. The initial taste was sweet and smooth. Certainly, this is an easy drinker. A sweet banana flavor made an appearance with a mild spiciness. The flavor in this one is pretty close to perfect, it does not overwhelm and is not too mild. In the aftertaste, the tart fruit of a triple such as prune and over-ripe are present. The warming sensation of the alcohol does not burn like a a hard liquor, but is quite gentle. The aftertaste almost has the flavor of a good sherry. Like sherry, the first few sips are the best. If you drink to much, you risk failing to appreciate the complexity of the drink. This is one by favorites, and it is very accessable.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep amber that's slightly cloudy with a beautiful creamy light head that retains for minutes.

S- Sweet, fruity, malty, and you can smell the warm alcohol. Very faint hint of piney hops. This beer smells absolutely wonderful.

T- Sweet, complex and strong flavor. much like the smell, very malty, with subtle bitterness in the back from hops that almost balance.

M- Smooth all the way down with medium carbonation.

D- Very, very dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Hard to believe that I've never had this, given how popular this beer is on here. I picked up a bottle of this in Totowa and expected this to be strong, sweet, and full of dark fruit like so many other Belgian beers that I've had recently. That wasn't even close to being the case here and this really took my by surprise, when it came to how easily drinkable and enjoyable this turned out to be. The never felt strong and without a doubt, this was one of the most balanced Belgian beers that I've ever had, to my delight.

This had quite a pour to it, as it came out a dark brown with a hint of raisin down the middle of it, with a fluffy head that held its own before settling down to just a trace of foam. The lacing was quite good in the beginning before lessening as I made my way through this. The aroma was of some candied sugar and blood orange, which were both solidly present in the taste. Not as much booze or dark fruit as was to be expected, with just some plum and warming in the aftertaste. Fig and dark bread round out the flavors and there's enough malt here to give this a great body, with only a hint of carbonation to cleanse everything after each sip. Not a lot of chew to this, but it was just a bit cloying and left a nice, smooth coating from start to finish, leading me to having to pace myself while drinking this.

I don't think I've ever had a beer this strong that didn't taste or feel it, as the alcohol was extremely well-hidden and almost undetectable at the end of my drinking session. Most beers like this feel strong but this one was an exception and felt more like a Dubbel than a Strong Dark Ale. This may be the best Belgian beer I've ever had and given how many other strong candidates are out there, that's no small feat. A must-try for any aficionado of beer, regardless of stylistic preference.

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Photo of Offa
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a delicious, wonderful, compelx, if rather sweet beer.

Copper with very active carbonation, it has a huge, out-of-control tan head with an orange hue, steadily shrinking to a permanent small foamy top and foamy lace.

The aroma is very nice, rich caramelly grain, toasted breasd crut, raisins.

The taste is fruity, raisiny-spicey with hints of spice, caramel, molasses, caramleised bread crust. It's zesty and lively. The main defect is that it is a touch too consistently sweet but otherwise it's wonderful.

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Photo of CrawlingSpirit
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I will preface this review notating that I originally spilt a four pack with an avid Viking lover...while I'm more the fine ale lover.

A: dark with a deep red tint when held before backlight. A nice two finger head in the properly branded glassware. Nice presentation.

S: very dense but odor trickles out with swirling. The smell of thick fruity tones regarless. A very asthetic smell, pleasing.

T: it hits the palate smoothly throughout the experience, more prominent initially then mellowing of one of the smoothest fashions possible!!

M: exquisite and divine combine in a possible state of perfection.. You will be unable to overcome this but only if... Deadly deciving in it's ability to shadow a water-like substance.

D: the last point basically touched upon the pure consumability of this fine brew. If susceptible, one very well may find one's self in an ackward situation. Take care and control.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

In 2008 I reviewed this in bottled form: on 17th Oct 2012 I had it again but on-tap in the lovely De Garre in Brugge (something I've done a few times over the years, but never wrote about).

Deep ruby red in colour with a large off-white foaming head, it looks a picture: just like its bottled brother, the correct glass adding another dimension to the overal appearance.

Rich, strong and powerful malty aromas just ooze out of the glass. Malt loafs, christmas pudding, creamed plums, caramel chocolate bars and dark molasses can also be found in the smell. The taste is an explosion of the same flavours found in the aroma, yet with a mild hop bitterness that prevents the beer being too sweet

This is just one beautiful beer and one I'll never tire of: the alcohol isn't even well hidden, but I don't care, it just helps to make this an exceptionally fine beer.

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Photo of dstc
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark ruby color with a big, full off-white head. Great head retention and lacing.

Smells sweet and malty.

Yummy. So smooth and malty. Real full malt flavor with a nice sweetness that balances so well. Tastes of malt, chocolate or maybe caramel, a bit herbal.

In the mouth feels full bodied with a pleasant alcohol bite.

Love it, love it. On of my favorites, a damn fine beer.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I found my second favorite beer. I think I'm discovering the rank of my favorite styles. This beer was similar in taste to a Trappiste Rochefort 10 which is a Quad. However, this was a lighter body. Not as thick and syrupy and those flavors were a bit more subdued. I guess that is the difference between a triple and quad. I passed this one up so many times. Glad I finally picked it up...I must thank my wife. I should take her to pick beer everytime.

A- Deep rich mahogany with hints of deep ruby in the light. Thind dark head with nice spiderweb lacing.

S- Dark plums, spiced rum soaked raisins, hints of vanilla. Sweet caramel undertones.

T- Dark chocolate coated black cherries, ripe plums and brown sugar. Hints of allspice. Notes of vanilla. Mild spice notes.

M- Creamy and smooth with a semi-dry finish. Mouth feels coated afterwards. Very well balanced.

D- Sweet, sweet dessert. Delicious. If you like dark chocolate and black cherries you'll love this. The balance is elequant and the flavors bold yet subtle. Nothing is overpowering. Excellent beer. One to savor.

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Photo of martinpfal
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Have had this one I the past and not sure why I haven't rated it.....until now.
Look is dark brown Amber. Plenty of head that dies quick. Smell is bready/boozy. Medium body with yes some sweety maltiness which I generally don't like but it completely makes this beer and knocks it out of the park. A delicious Belgian that even at 5.99 a bottle is still one I'll continue to buy.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Just an excellent beer, too bad its $3.99 for 330ml, thick long lasting head. Reddish color. Easy to find white bottle at the largest liquor stores. Also available 750ml - $10.39.

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Photo of JohnnyI
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I absolutely love everything about the look of this beer. From the iconic white bottle, ominous red letters and legendary dragon ship, it promises to be a bad ass experience. Very medeval. The appearance of the beer itself is equally impressive. Like rich, raw maple syrup in color. It poured in to a small snifter with a towering head of loose foam. The beige 3 finger crown resembled swiss cheese, with its loose, large bubbles of varying size and consistency. The beautiful and unique cap settled gradually, leaving soapy residual lacing on the glass. The nose on this beer is incredibly complex. As the beer reached room temperature more and more layers of aroma continued to present themselves. Toffee, burnt caramel, banana esters and slight booze come together in such a wonderful way as to conjure thoughts of bananas foster. Slight mineral notes and clover honey add even more depth to the bouquet. The taste is brimming with candy sugar sweetness and a little fusel alcohol heat. Sweet candied fruits, dried banana chips and a honey crisp character yield to a tart, tangy finish of mild puckering green apple. A peppery spice from the alcohol compliments the assortment of flavors. The finish imparts a slight suggestion of pumpernickel & caraway seed. Extremely complex. As I sample each sip, I believe I could continue to pull additional flavors and aromas out of the experience. Remarkable. The mouthfeel has a lively, creamy texture. Rich and inviting. You just gotta love the big authentic Belgians. They're just so full of character and complexity. A+

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Photo of jmendels
4.63/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This beer was outstanding. At the behest of my best friend, I sought out this beer. As a lover of European beers, this was definitely on my radar. What better time to try it than Easter weekend?

The bottle alone is full of personality, having a different shape than most domestic beers. It draws one's attention to it as something special. It pours a nice amber-brown with the head lacing the bottle rather elegantly. It smells of toffee and roasted malts, with subtle chocolate notes. The first sip came and I was not disappointed. I had to pause and collect my thoughts on what I just drank. There were some spicy notes, yes. There were some toffee notes, yes. It has a noticeable alcohol flavor but not so much that it detracts from the flavorful crafting that went into this brew.

I put this up there with Schlenkerla or Ayinger. Delicious to the last drop.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,818 ratings.
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