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

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1,313 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: 1,313 | Ratings: 3,817
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.92/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a cute little stubby 11.2oz single from Steve's Liquor here in Madison. Neat white bottle too.

Pours a murky mahogany brown with a short off-white head in my sweet new Schlitz chalice. That's right - Schlitz chalice. Anyhow, nose is warm and spicy with apple cinnamon and nutmeg over Belgian yeast. Tastes like chilled sparkling apple cider - winter spices, fresh pressed apples, figs, and some light bready yeast. Quite sweet overall, not a whole lot of bitter to balance it, but I didn't mind. Like a much more refined version of New Glarus' Apple Ale. The 10.5% is almost nonexistent, expertly hidden without bitterness. Another pleasant surprise for the night after DFH's 90 Minute IPA. Good beer night for me. Wish this wasn't so damn expensive, so a rare treat for me that I will surely enjoy again.

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Photo of radshoesbro
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured 330 ml white bottle with no freshness date. pours dark dark brown with a hint of orange around the edges. small head w/ good retention. minimal lace. nose has malts, yeast, raisins (?), and super alcohol. however, the most prevalent thing in the smell is definately the apricots. sweet malty flavor. the malts remind me vaguely of milk chocolate. really almost to complex to put into words, you've really gotta try this to understand the taste. this is totally full of flavor! definately has an alcohol taste to it, but it's not strong at all.

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Photo of qwert59
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've recently been on a quest to try all the Belgians I can, and every time I've talked to someone about Belgian beers, Gulden Draak comes up, but it's been impossible to find in my area. I guess you could say I've been chasing the Gulden Draak.

But I finally found it. And I was not disappointed.

The nose is largely spiced apples and yeast, but is very pleasant and warming.

Gulden Draak pours a hazy redish amber with minimal head, but nice, active carbonation.

The first taste is amazing. This is an incredibly complex beer which almost refuses to show itself to you. My initial taste said that it was just more spices and apples. But as the beer opened up, I noticed pears, apricots, slight notes of dark fleshy fruits like cherries, raisins and currants, and also touches of cinnamon.
Very little alcohol taste for a 10.5 per cent beer.
There was a nice slight touch of sweet malts on the finish.
The carbonation was just right, it kind of rolled over your tounge, but it was not overpowering. The carbonation added some body to the beer, and made it's physical presence a little more noticeable.

The after taste is reminiscent of the nose, spcied apples and yeast again.

Overall, this is a super complex, well crafted beer. I like how the nose and after taste are similar, it kind of bookends the massive complexity of the flavor, although this bookending can be deceiving (i.e., my inital response was "apples and spice! apples and spice! apples and spice!). But this beer could definitely show me something new each time. It's also surprisingly drinakble for something of this complexity and magnitude.

I highly recommend Gulden Draak.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - A dark brown color with a frothy, two finger, deep tan head. It has great retention and nice little rings of lace. A pretty beer for sure.

S - Oh my! Fabulous odor! Pineapples, dates, currants, vanilla, molasses malt. The abv is undetectable.

T - Strong molasses malt accompanied by sweet dates and black currants. There is a bitter aftertaste paired with a sweet date and pineapple flavor. Abv is well masked, but detectable. Very good.

M - Smooth and viscous. A bit too frothy and it kind of leaves a film in your mouth. It is neither dessicating nor refreshing .

D - This is strong and sweet, yet I had no trouble drinking it. I tasted it before and had to have a full one for myself. Very nice. I just wish it were cheaper.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle bought from www.onlyfinebeer.co.uk

Poured a dark red / burgundy colour... Head was a creamy tan / grey colour.
Quite small beading produced a nice thick, foamy head which lasted until near the end...

Aroma - Malty, dark fruits, brown sugar, lemony notes...

Taste – Plums, malt, treacle, vanilla, slight aniseed hints. Quite noticable alcohol. Nice hopiness...

Feel - Sharp with quite noticable carbonation.... creamy aftertaste.. full bodied..

Overall - An excellent dark ale... one of my favourites...

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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 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 BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A treat for all the senses. Looks dark ruby to dark brown in color, nicely carbonated for a Belgian. 1/2 inch head, laced wiell, and shows nice legs (sounds sexual). Aromas and flavors meld together nicely. Thick and creamy with barley malt, caramel, toffee, port wine, good hop flavor and balance, noticable alcohol throughout. Full rich body--would make a great after dinner beer. Finishes sweet, alcoholic, and tingly. It's a sipper, but worth the patience. I had this on tap durring the winter and it was more creamy and more refreshing.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.58/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

blood red when exposed to light, clear. 2 finger egg white head in a tulip, leaves a crusty lacing behind. awesome looking. aroma is very yeasty with sweet and sour cherries and candied dates. velvety and reminiscent of a dessert wine. super-belgian and very appetizing. candi sugars give way to an explosion of red fruit and christmasey spices. that cinnamon fruity burst of smooth beeriness is very trappist, and comes very close to my memory of fresh westvleteren 12.. the closest i can remember, next to bbbourgondier and bernardus abt 12. previous gulden draak drafts at other places have been cloudy with yeast, spoiled, or too cold. leave it to moan and dove to hook this up right, and turn me on to something i have been missing for a while. a real eye-opener.

alcohol sting in the end is a bit of a bitch, but sweetness is right there to assist with the balance. a little overcarbonated, but goes down easy regardless. notmuch about this beer to pick on, i'm really stretching to find a flaw. i can still taste it in my cheeks and it makes me want more. what a superb beer.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.83/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice apperance...dark mahogoney color/ 1 finger head holds true throughout.

The smell was interesting in that I smelled some sour in the background but overall it was spicey.

Omy the taste leaves no room for improvement...Some warming in the immediate aftertaste then gone...the sour smell was just some lemon to cleanse the palate after every drink. Spices hold true . very complex and beyond my capabilities to put into words but flawless.

High alcohol content is fairly well hidden but at 10.5% its impossible to hide. This one warmed me up good.

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Photo of luvND
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: 330 ml white bottle, attractive package, golden dragon on label

Appearance: Best, thickest head retention that I have ever seen. Beautiful dark brown color.

Smell: Sweet, brown sugar, caramel, some ripe fruit and a hint of the alcohol.

Taste: I drank this first on its own and it was very nice, sweet, nice malt, all Belgian. Then I had it with some turkey sausage and what a pairing, sweetness complemented the spice so well. Finally, I finished it with desert, coffee ice cream and hot fudge and I think it was the best match of the evening. The slightly bitter coffe ice cream with the rich hot fudge brought out flavors in the beer that I hadn' t yet tasted.

Mouthfeel: As smooth and rich as possible. Not too thick though.

Drinkability: Scary at 10+%

Overall: A friend gave me this one. Never heard of it. Now I will confidently rank it as one of the best beers that I have ever tasted, Belgian or other.

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Photo of ZAP
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Maroon colored...nice fluffy white head...sweet aroma of caramel drenched black cherries..a bit yeasty on the nose with a very faint barn yard like smell....taste is big time sweet...doppelbock like sweetness...Big sweet dark fruits, also some tropical fruits....rum...caramel, molasses, cotton candy, this is an awesome tasting beer....body is medium...carbonation about medium...drinkability sky high for me..High ABV is nowhere to be found in the taste...this one could be dangerous if I had a lot of it in the house...

What a fucking treat this one was....I must have more of this...I must move to Belgium soon.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a big off white head. The aroma is sweet with caramel tones. The taste is as big as the smell. Dark fruits, caramel, and alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick with low carbonation. Overall, this is a pretty good brew. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled, served in Cafe Gollem, Amsterdam

Pours with a dark orange body, some brown hues also. Tannish head with good retention, a little lacing

Smell, strong fresh tropical fruit, thick malt, some dried fruits too, little bit of nuts

Taste, creamy mouthfeel, smooth alcohol followed by sweet fruity esters. Little hint of honey, almost bready finish

So tasty, almost in between a pale and dark, like a tripel mixed with a strong dark ale or dubbel

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy brown with orange highlights. A HUGE head nearly explodes out of the glass before receding slowly over 5 minutes or so to a thickish film which stayed to the bottom of the glass. Head is a nice tan color but dichotomous in nature; creamy on top with much bigger bubbles below.
Smell is rich, sweet, malt, spice, dark fruits with a hint of hops and smoke. Wonderful balance.
Taste is malt, spice, alcohol, rich dark fruits(raisins, plums, figs?) & oranges, and hints of hops and smoke again. Alcohol is noticeable but far from overpowering. There is a touch of a metallic taste in the aftertaste which is otherwise quite smooth.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied, light carbonation, smooth, semi-rich, warming slightly.
Drinkability: even at 10.5% ABV I'd gladly drink several of these bad boys (11.2 oz. bottles). Not the greatest of the style but well up the ladder and well worth the time.

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Photo of jettjon
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From the Belgium sampler pack. 330 ml/11.2 oz bottle. Pours dark brown coffee color with light brown, copious, foamy head that fades slowly. Perhaps some yeast residue but hard to tell due to dark color. Very few bubbles precipitate. Nose is quite pleasant with a pronounced scent of fruit, perhaps cherry or strawberry or watermelon or some similarly sweet fruit. Initial taste is fruity yet slightly bitter. The alcohol is there but at 10.5% ABV, it is remarkably well masked, or perhaps integrated. Crisp, bubbly mouthfeel. Slight metallic iron/blood finish. Overall interesting and remarkably drinkable for a triple-malt, but not a favorite. Rated at a 90, I’ll have to give this one a second try. Perhaps I’m not ready for this beer yet, or perhaps this particular bottle had a bad metallic aftertaste not characteristic of others.

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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 palliko
3.38/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a cloudy mahogany with some foam that lasts a while. Aroma has citrus and plums, mixed with toffee malt. Initial taste contains a biting jalapeno pepper, honey and beef broth. Terrific – sounds like a great combination, doesn’t it? Finish is strange, with ethanol and Earl Grey vying for dominance. Um, I’ll pass on this one. Might be good with certain foods.

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Photo of DrJay
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy reddish brown with a very light brown head, slightly rocky. Aromas of alcohol, rich malts, ripe fruit, and a little spiciness. Very sweet, like candy sugar, with dark fruits, alcohol warmth and a bit of pepper at the finish. Medium/full body and moderate carbonation, just a bit sticky with residual sugar.

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Photo of alexgash
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Darkish, murky, russet brown, with amber edges, topped by a two finger cushion of light khaki head that laces nicely. Nose is tangy and oaky, with caramelized brown sugar, yeast, light fruits, and faint pepper. Intense malt flavors up front: sugary sweet tropical fruits (banana, pineapple juice, kiwi) dominate, but are somewhat tempered by a toasted bitterness. Sweetness easily wins out. Brown sugar and caramel flavors mix with yeast. Light spiciness noticeable near the finish. Finish is sweet, yeasty, and very warming. Full-bodied with a near syrupy consistency toward the finish. Somehow avoids being cloying, but very sweet nonetheless. Oh, and quite good!

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Photo of Paddez
4.46/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This came in a white 33ml bottle with a classy looking label. Poured into the offical glaas wich is a Duvel shaped tulip with a golden dragon printed on its side. Excellent presentation.

The beer itself pours a dark & hazy orangy brown brew. with a huge, slightly tan head. Great retention.

Smell: Smells of sweet malts & caramel and sweet candy fruits can be picked up. There were also some less likable aroma's though: there's something awkward & muddy I disliked and the fruit element is a bit too sweet and over the top making it smell as if the fruits are really overripe.

Taste: This is good stuff. Sweet, dark fruits, spices and malty caramels flow out in a dry, long-lingering aftertaste. The sweet complex taste is very similar to that found in good Quadrupels like the Rochefort 10 and the St. Bernardus Abt. 12.

Mouthfeel & Drinkabillity: Full and thick, yet smooth and creamy. The alcohol has a warming effect, but is otherwise hidden really well. The 10,5% really doesn't show, and the beer is -surpisingly- not very heady and amazingly drinkable.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from an undated 11.2oz into a tulip.

Burnt amber with lively carbonation and a huge frothy head of light tan. Good retention and sticking.

Smells of candied lemons, spicy yeast, with a touch of malts paired with floral hops. Complex, balanced and very mouth watering.

Tastes very sweet. Borders on cloying. The sweetness is paired with alcohol and pepper in the finish. There's a slight lingering tartness on the palate. Doesn't taste near as interesting as it smells.

The mouthfeel is full enough for the style, but the alcohol and carbonation make it a bit awkward. I love BSDAs, but this one doesn't do it for me. My next round would be something else.

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Photo of bucko
3.18/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours with a nice carmely-brown color, almost opaque, or at least very dense. The head is off-white and at least a couple of inches which settles to about 1/2 inch after some time. The smell is sweet with hints of fruit and perhaps cake, perhaps even a little nutty. I'm not so crazy about the first sip, all I'm tasting is alcohol. Second sip I the sweet malt takes over. The aftertaste is powerful and not unlike that of a good port, albeit a bit smokey and most noticably not a port. Long term after-taste is almost astringant and I can't help but want something else to wash it away. The mouthfeel is odd to me. It looks like it should be heavier, and it's anything but light, but it isn't heavy, either. Confused? So am I. Very complex. Perhaps too much for my taste. I think I'll have to try a few more before I have a solid opinion.

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Photo of pootz
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml belgian "stubby" bottle..1 year 3 months old. Poured an opaque brandy-red color. Tight mocha cap, soft carbonation. Nose is tart-sweet like mulled apple wine with rasins and some mustiness with light chocolate tones. Viscous body, vinous character....Wonderfully complex flavor substantial malt spine mingles with plumbs, figs, cocoa, tangerene peal bitters. Finishes wet and very brandy like in character. Warming. A great Belgian warming ale with substantial complexity.

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Photo of bhitt
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 330 bottle. Relentless bubbly white head over dark chocolate color.

This beer has a unique and complex smell. Give yourself some time with this one. Spicy, sweet, a little citrus. Fruity with cinnamon and sugar and a robust yeastiness.

Excellent flavor. Just a sip feels like a four course meal. Extremely well-rounded and truly singular taste. Thick malty flavor and certainly sweet, balanced by subtle spicy notes that seem different every time, depending on how big a drink you take. High alcohol content is well disguised and really only combines with the carbonation for a prickly finish.

This is one of my favorites. Don't miss it. The complex flavor will force you to recall that there's just nothing like a strong Belgian ale.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,817 ratings.
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