Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

1,335 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: 1,335 | Ratings: 3,904
Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Easy near-white head, great lace. Light brown color...cloudy.

Sweet aroma with some nuttiness and spiciness--like a cinnamon candy.

Strong sweetness is counterbalanced by a dry finish. Complex flavors featuring a touch of sourness. Strong alcohol warmth. Full body with high carbonation.

Traditional trippel--high alcohol and high malt flavors. Smooth and full flavored.

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

Purchased in the van Steenburge sampler box. A wonderful brew in many ways. The bottle design is wonderfully simple, with a nice Medieval style dragon label on a white bottle surface. It poured smoothly into my chalice, and formed a nice head to match. The smell had powerful scents of malts, what I love in a good Belgium dark strong ale. The taste was up there with the best Belgiums I have had, i.e. Chimay's Grand Reserve. If this beer tasted great from a small capped bottle, I wonder how incredibly a 750ml corked version would be? (If it is made at all)

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. While I am very particular to the dark strong ales, which is my drink of choice, that bias makes me picky. I would purchase Gulden Draak again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of Shovelbum
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thin tan head over a hazy, murky, brownish body. A thin bit of foam remains most of the way down, but leaves only spotty lace. Aromas of caramel and vinous fruit explode out of the bottle. Notes of pear, yeast, biscuit, and a trace of melon. Flavor is mildly sweet caramel and plum up front—slightly nutty. Mid section is more berrylike with a bit of mystery spice and a touch of alcohol-- and then a crisp bitterness/ carbonation moves in for the finish. A bit of chocolate is detectable throughout. Medium body. Moderate carbonation.

An interesting brew. There are some characteristics that seem to draw from the dubbel’s bag of tricks, despite the main thrust of the ale in the dark strong direction. Dark triple ehh?-- those wily Belgians, you just can't pin them down. Makes for interesting sipping. The label art is pretty wild too.

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Photo of RedHaze
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark, red tinged, brown with a frothy two finger head. The foam fades slowly to a very thick cap, leaving behind large chucks of foam on the glass.

Smell; sweet dark fruits, and chocolate are the dominant aromas with some spicy yeasts. There's also a bit of alcohol in the nose, and with the fruity notes, lends an almost vinous quality to the beer.

Taste; cherries and plums greet the tongue on the initial sips, followed by a little bit of chocolate and caramel. There's a bit of a floral quality in the middle, and a fairly large alcohol presence in the finish. If it were not for the strong alcohol presence, this beer would be really damn good. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a nice smooth natural ccarbonation, and due to the alcohol the drinkability takes a significant hit.

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Photo of eberkman
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep brown with red highlights into a snifter. Leaves about a two-finger, bubbly tan head. Lots of bubble action streaming up from the bottom of the glass. Leaves a nice, thick lacing too.

The aroma is one of alcohol, toasty malts, yeast and sweet, dark plums and cherries. Very pleasing.

The taste is a lot like the smell -- toasty, malty, yeasty and rich fruity. Some hard candy/caramel in there too. With an awesome alcohol warming on the way down.

Mouthfeel is full, but crisp and bubbly like a champagne. Very drinkable based on taste, but be careful and sip slowly. This one will knock you on your behind if you're not careful.

I loved this. Just a real powerhouse Belgian. Just the prospect of relaxing with a glass of this and good book at the end of a long day could keep me going for a while.

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

Poured a dark mahogany color with a small, charcoal head. The intricate, silky lacings are persistent throughout.

Sweet plum, metallic cherry, spicy alcohol and a doughy yeast presence make for an enticing aroma.

The taste is sweet cherry, raisin and candied prunes up front. The delightful sweetness is accompanied by a big malt presence, and an earthy, tart bitterness in the finish. The yeast brings some interesting flavors into the mix as well. The alcohol is extremely well masked. There are some hints of clove and pepper in the subtle, spicy finish.

Full bodied with a well-carbonated, fizzy mouthfeel. This is a delightfully drinkable sipping beer.

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Photo of xav33
3.46/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Gulden Draak
11.2 oz bottle
Soft pour in a tulip glass
Unknown bottling, marked 30CD 11:22, slain 12/06

Poured a muddy ruddy brown with a huge fully lasting yellowish brown head with good lacing.

Smelt of strong candy corn, cotton candy, sucre d'orge, candied pineapple, fruitcake.

Taste was upfront strong to harsh sweet malt and fruitcake and moderate bitter spruce, light orange sourness followed by a strong bitter moss and mushrooms yeastiness and dark roasted malt, and sweet candied oranges and fruitcake with some light bitter grass hops and dry sherry or brandy tones on a long finish. Palate was medium to full bodied, soft and creamy, lively carbonation, strong astringency and light alcoholic wafts.

Overall, a generally cloying and sweet beer, but a wonderful look, smell and great taste. Better when warmish.

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Photo of funkengruven
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Second from the Van Steenberge pack. Poured from a white bottle, interesting, This turned out to be among one of the most impressive beers I've had in a long time.

This poured a very very nice chocolate brown with a very vigourous and assertive head , reducing to a half inch head remaining on the top of the glass. Perfect head retention on this one. Smell contains hints of dry fruit, prunes and dates. The flavor of this brew bring forward these complex aromas, every sip serves a different aroma, mostly prunes, dates and grapes. The mouthfeel on this one is quite bold, not overbearing but still very assertive, and most surprising about this beer is the smoothness and overall drinkability, the ABV on this is high but you would never detect this by tasting it.

A exquisitely crafted beer, and a very fine example of a Belgian ale. Very recommended.

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Photo of dherling
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out a dark reddish brown, with a bubbly off white head, great lacing. The nose offers lots of dark fruits like plums, cherries and raisins, followed by sweet candy sugar. There's a bunch of alcohol in the nose too. The taste is sweet sugar, bubblegum, cottong candy, and spice up front. The finish hits you with dark fruit again, then some faint chocolate and alcohol. Mouthfeel was creamy, with a long burning finish.

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Photo of Byeast
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a dirty opaque brown , with a small tan head that dissipates to some lace at the top.

Smell: rich and slightly sweet malt , some candied fruity aromas , bit of spice and slight alcohol presence.

Taste:Very Malty in sugary , rich way. The malt comes across very sweet at first but balances out very nicely with the other flavors. Darker fruit , some spicyness , pepper, bit of medicinal quality , finishes with some balancing bitterness.

Mouthfeel: creamy with a mildly dry finish.

Drinkability: A tasty and very drinkable ale. The alcohol is masked very well. Rich and hearty with unique flavor.

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Photo of norwichboy
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation deserves a mention with a white coated Duvel shaped bottle, with a striking black label with gold trim and gold dragon print above red lettering "Gulden Draak".

Appearance: very deep golden colour with a large very thick creamy biege head, excellent retention and glass-coating lacing. Smell: very sweet alcohol, bubblegum, caramel and fruit aromas: pear, some cherries and banana too. Taste: woomph, there's the alcohol; dark fruits, some spiciness. Very sweet plus sour and bitter. A very long bitter-sweet aftertaste. Lightly carbonated. Drinkability: there's certainly reward for the very strong alcohol sweetness, and I'm left wanting more. This is a beer to grow and grow on you.

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

The white bottle with the Black label, which is adorned with a golden dragon (the gulden draak) complete with red and subtle white lettering stands out.

The pour yields a bit of foam atop a rich dark brown body, highlighted by the golden "Duval" lettering on my glass. First taste is rich and creamy, with a hint of toffee/coffee taste.

The nose is nicely coincident to the taste values. This sibling to the strong pale ale Piraat belgium is equally great. It is a tad heavier, consistent with the Strong Dark Ale belgium that is GD.

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Photo of nriech
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours thick dark brown with a small head of foam. Clear redish-amber.

S: Sweet dark fruits on the nose, cloves, very light and clean. Little hop character, but what is there is very floral and fruity.

T: Opens with a sweet, complex vinuous note, very much like port or sherry, with abundant dark fruit notes, and little hop presence. Thick caramel and burnt sugar mixes with prunes and dates.

D: Very nice and easy to drink, alcohol is not really a factor in the taste but in drinkability its always there in the back of my mind. This beverage would pair well with so many foods I would have to say its would compliment almost any meal thats not spicy.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark reddish brown with a huge, foamy, coffee-colored head - looks like a dark Belgian ale, basically (which is to say that it looks awesome).

This beer has a really powerful aroma. The sweet malts are very prominent, bringing to mind brown sugar and molasses.

The taste is dominated by sweet, syrupy malt and dark fruit (black cherries, raspberries), with a hint of brown sugar. Most of the bitterness seems to be provided by the particularly high alcohol volume, rather than from any particularly distinct hop presence. It sounds excessive on paper, but it actually works really well. Though I probably couldn't drink more than one of these in a single sitting, it's one highly enjoyable glass.

The mouthfeel is a bit overwhelming at first. It's heavy like a stout or barleywine, but extremely carbonated. In fact, if this were (much) less carbonated, I'd probably have mistaken this for a barleywine. While I enjoy the richness, it loses some points here because of the almost excessive carbonation at first; you really need to let it sit for a minute before drinking.

I've had this twice and find it really enjoyable, nearly comparable to to Belgium's Trappist beers. The smell and taste are exceptional, but that same richness makes it suffer a bit in mouthfeel and drinkability.

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Photo of Backer2004
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this one during my birthday dinner @ Mac's Speed Shoppe in Charlotte for 6 dollars a bottle. Poured in a beautiful Belgian glass that they sold to us for $3. Nice dark, full of malty goodness. Incredible lacing & carbonation. One of my favorites in quite awhile.

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Photo of alysmith4
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark amber color, with a decent head that kept pace with the beer as I drank it. Sweeter taste than I had expected, with a definite almond flavor. Could taste the alcohol as well, but it stood up to the comlexity of its flavors. Reminded me of an almond liquor, only with carbonation. Be carfeul to drink slowly, and try to pair it with a game bird or sharp cheese.

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Photo of vwcraig
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured 330mL bottle into a Duvel glass.

Dark brown with a two-finger high tan and rocky head. Head really retains well and laces nicely as the glass is emptied.

Can really smell sweet malts, prunes maybe even some apricot in there.

First taste was able to sense a coffee-like bitterness. Taste really follows the nose with this one. Quite smooth.

Sharp carbonation in mouthfeel. Experienced slight numbing on tongue.

Not as smooth as Chimay Blue but still very enjoyable. This is a good one for the LAST beer of the evening.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Attractive rosewood color, a finger of thick off-white head, big lace.

Smells delicious, like middle eastern deserts - dates and baklava. And solvents.

Fairly sweet, which works very well. Cooling alpine herbal character, vaguely like chartreuse, jagermeister, root beer. Also dates, honey, cola, nuts, blackberries, grapeskin, banana. Long finish, drying out with some astringency, with a phenolic clove character emerging from the banana, and solventy esters and some alcohol.

Pretty good mouthfeel, I like the astringency. Surpisingly drinkable at first, but quickly establishes itself as a sipper. I seriously doubt that more than 750 ml would be enjoyable.

Good and interesting beer, aggressively distinct personality.

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Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 fl oz bottle obtained at Florian's in Auburn as part of a variety 6-pack. Murky brown body with light tan head that's a couple fingers thick. Smells yeasty, fruity (dates? plums?) and roasty. Tastes roasty, fruity, somewhat chocolatey maybe? Complex and unique certainly. The only dark tripel I know of, so I'm not sure what to compare it to. Rather pleasant and tasty. Good for anyone who like dubbels or maybe stouts.

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Photo of MLegendre
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep red, slightly hazy, little visible carbonation. Formed a 1/2in white head that disapeared pretty quickly leaving a thin skin on the top. Slight lacing.

S: Slightly yeasty but not too strong, some dark fruit smells as well as a hint of alcohol.

T: Yeasty in the begining and sweet. Becomes sweater while alcohol makes an appearence. ALcohol is decently hidden and only in the background.

M: High carbonation. alcohol on burns a little bit.

D: I'm just now starting to get into the belgian style beers, and I think this was a good start, definatly something I'd get again.

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Photo of jdoolin
4.41/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2oz painted white bottle poured into the proper gold-rimmed Gulden Draak tulip, with a small circle etching in the bottom.

Appearance: Maybe the most attractive and appealing looking beer I've ever seen, but only in its proper tulip, where the colors blend perfectly. A gorgeous, dark, reddish brown with a huge, foamy, cream color head that lasted the whole time due to the constant stream of bubbles provided by the etching. A sight to behold.

Aroma: Spicy, sweet and yeasty, with hints of fruit. Barleywine like.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Oh, so smooth. Thickness is balanced by the carbonation. Very malty and sweet, with the dark fruit, caramel and molasses flavors of candi sugar. I love the fruitiness of this beer blended with the yeasty flavors. Spicy, peppery, and the sweetness is also balanced well by the carbonation. Not at all cloying. You would never know this was 10.5% ABV by the taste. But by the time you're halfway through the glass, you know it.

Notes: One of my favorites. This is one serious Belgian ale that will knock you on your ass if you're not careful. If at all possible, enjoy this in its proper tulip glass.

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Photo of stephendr
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark murky brown color –nice thick tan head , small bubbles – nose of caramel , cereal , yeast , orange peel , floral , vanilla , honey , and alcohol – tastes of caramel , mocha , yeast , honey , and sour red cherries – palate is creamy and light - aftertaste caramel , cereal , honey and acidic

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Photo of assurbanipaul
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear, dark garnet with a firm, half-inch white head. Aroma is faint, dark sticky malts.

Taste is more rich, deep malts, quite sweet. Contains some flavors of raisins and sweet candy sugar, but not without just a hint of malty sourness. Some dark cola syrup and some good esters also hide in the profile. No flavors of alcohol but its kick is quite noticable.

Mouthfeel is medium but the alcohol leaves the palate sticky. Leaves the palate with a dry malt aftertaste. Could almost make it as a Belgian wee heavy. It hurts so good I can't stop.

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

Had this with dinner at Stella's on commercial drive. It is a real dark pleasure redolent of Xmas cake and nuts with a deep old yeast note in the back. I really found the smoothness and complexity took this beer to a real satisfying finish. Much like Rochefort 8 or Chimay Blue this beer is a great accompaniment
to cheese or dark sauces.

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Photo of RobertDwight
4.06/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass it has an inviting deep reddish brown hue. I poured it very slowly to compensate for the extreme growth of white head after pouring. It grows like a chia pet to about three fingers big. After taking a few sips the head reduced to 1 finger with light lacing around the glass. I get sweet smells along with dried fruits and spices. Taste starts out sweet and then slightly sour with flavors of prunes and dried apricots; then moves to more roasted malt flavors. It warms the throat as the alcohol is present right at the end, especially when it warms up. Mouthfeel is rich, but not overly viscous. It has very good drinkability, and its a pleasure from start to finish...I wish I had some more!

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,904 ratings.
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