Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,330 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:
1,330
Ratings:
3,894
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
304
Gots:
846
For Trade:
3
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,330 | Ratings: 3,894
Photo of erz316
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

white stubby 33cl bottle into the Augustijn chalice

A - thats alot of head I'm getting here! Of course, that is relating to the beer. there is a good 2-finger sized head in the chalice, with real good retention. the color is a ruby dark brown, held up to the light it appears to be simply a muddy brown, and wholly opaque.

S - there is a nice lemony or apple twang to the beer, as well there are some herbal tones. some sweetness in the mid ground, and mixing in with this are some alcoholic notes. in the far back there are some strong sugars holding up the body, brown and molasses.

T - sweet malts are up front, presenting the palate with a plethora of different kinds of sugary flavours; these range form a light fruity dessert sweet, to a sweet southern tea, (intense in sugar but checked by the bitterness of the tea). there are some dry alcohol notes in the mid ground, but not a distracting amount. the finish is sweet of, brown sugar or honey, imagine the taste of those two on oatmeal: present but mixed in with a definite grain taste. the after taste is primarily sweet of the same types.

MF&D - this is an incredibly smooth and creamy beer, and makes the drinking process so damn easy. the only thing holding it back from a perfect is the carbonation could have been a bit more crisp. this is not to say that there wasn't any carbonation, it was just very dull on the tongue.

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Photo of russpowell
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An old friend from Beligue, the simlpicity of the stubby white bottle just makes it so cool

Pours a slightlty hazed ruby red/brown with 2 fingers of fluffed up tan coloerd head into a Vondel snifter. Superior head retention & very goood lacing

S: Straw, pepper & phenolic notes

T: Big breadyness & boozey warmth up front. Peppery grainyess, dates, caramel & scorched Belgian candy sugar & oaky dryness once this warms up. Finishes cakey, with tanins, toffee, dryness, tobbaaco-like notes & pecans. What super complex, yet drinkable combonation!

MF: Medium bodied, syruppy & low-low carbonation

Drinks very easy for such a complex beer, very pricey, but a nice inulgence at $5.50 a bottle

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Photo of JamieDuncan
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Picked this one up due to ratings and I tend to very much enjoy big Dark Ales and Quads, so figured this was must try. Outstanding looking and smelling beer, nearly perfect. Taste lives up to billing, extremely tasty. Over 10%, no way, not heavy at all. Big bonus points for drinkability. This one is excellent and one I will buy again despite its cost. Very much worth it.

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Photo of mdexter
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Gulden Draak is a one-of-a-kind Belgian. You can tell upon inspection that it's going to be rich and imposing. The beer pours a surprisingly dark, turbid shade of molasses. The aroma is somewhere between caramel and dulce de leche with some earthy notes, maybe raisins and cloves. It has the familiar sweet lace of all tripels with some well-balanced savory malts. The combination produces a boozey mouthfeel like a fortified wine or grappa. It's a strong, unique beer.

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Photo of Marc_V
4.59/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Belgian Beer Shop.com. Hazy amber. The head is thick and off white. Leaves a very nice lacing on the glass. The aroma is filled with fruits. It's sweet, vinous and yeasty. A very intense smell. The taste is very complex with licorice, spices, malts and yeast. The mouthfeel is very full and rich. A very long medium bitter finish. This is one of my all time favorites.

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

I really liked this beer.
The alcohol in the beer is quite high, which something that can be noticed throughout, but does not overpower the taste. Which is quite unique, a sweet after taste with slight bitterness. The taste reminds me of fruit and nuts.
The appearance is quite interesting, a chocolate cloudy look.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

very nice I really enjoyed this beer.

Appearance- reddish brown(chestnut)

Smell- rich malty aroma

Taste- sweet, rich malty flavor

Mouthfeel- medium body, nice carbonation

Drinkability- very drinkable, really enjoyable, intend on drinking it again

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

Served from a painted white bomber.

A-Mahogany hue deep rich color and just a skim of head

S-Rather light, some caramel and toast

T-Rich malty sweetness, caramel, herbal tea, a ton going on i this one. The alcohol gives a subtle flavor but hidden really well. The sweetness is there but not overpowering.

M-Tons of suspended CO2 hidden in it, gives a nice balance to the sweetness and lightens up the body.

D-Very rich and should be enjoyed in moderation.

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Photo of jporf911
4.6/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a standard glass.

Appearance- Ruddy brown with a one-finger tan head. The fizzy nature of the head makes it seem as though there is significant carbonation, which is not true.

Smell- Sweet hints of molasses, toasted grainy yeast, and lemony spice.

Taste- Given its color, I was not at all expecting the wave of flavor that exploded into my mouth. It strikes a splendid balance between sweet and toasted flavors. Tart dark fruit and malt make an interesting combination. There is almost no alcohol taste at all. There is definitely a bit of mild spiciness, but it fades. The flavors change as the beer travels-- sweet, then toasted and spicy, then a pleasant, mildly sweet aftertaste that lingers for an impressive length of time.

Mouthfeel- Some have described it as "syrupy", but "creamy" is a more accurate adjective. It is somewhat thick but not heavy. It is slightly crisp and definitely refreshing.

Drinkability- This beer is dangerous because you can hardly taste the alcohol at all. I've been drinking it over the course of this review, and my typos have increased substantially by this point. It is supremely drinkable and a wonderful experience. If only it were more affordable.

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

Appearance: Dark amber with about an inch of cream colored head. Some lacing that fades in a few minutes.

Smell: The sweet esters dominate the smell. Fruity and full of aroma.

Taste: Ah. Lots of fruity esters with this wonderful caramel malt backbone shining through. Very little bitterness.

Mouthfeel: The well rounded malts linger on the palette.

Drinkability: for a beer of this strength, it is scary how drinkable it is. You could sip these all night. However, I would not make it past two.

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

From the cellar into my snifter... after the cork exploded off as I was unwinding the cage wire and the dragon gushed forth all over the place, that is. Luckily, I was able to direct more of it into my glass than the spillage which ended up on the table, floor, and myself. Wonder why that happened?

A seriously dense, foamy, bone white four-finger head on this one. It sticks around forever. The ale's hue is a deep, dark pure ruby. What stunning beauty!

It has an incredibly scintillating aroma of yeasty sourdough pancake batter, cherries, purple grapes, prunes, raisins, vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch. I think I even get a little cinnamon and allspice, too.

The taste has a potent, POWERFUL sweet breadiness, mixed with a tart dark fruitiness and a caramel-like quality. Cherries and raisins come through a lot, and the finish is kind of like a caramel-glazed cinnamon roll. Pretty awesome.

The feel is another place where this one shines, I think. It's like... rich and buttery... it coats my tongue and sticks to it like warm caramel sauce. High, biting carbonation animates this ponderous elixer with energy.

They call it a dark tripel... but it's really just like a Belgian strong dark ale. And a pretty darn good one.

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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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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,894 ratings.
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