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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,311 Reviews
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium | website

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:
1,311
Ratings:
3,798
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
19.52%
 
 
Wants:
294
Gots:
769
For Trade:
3
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Reviews: 1,311 | Ratings: 3,798
Photo of Brad007
4.97/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a mild brown color with a one-finger head that fades fast. Carbonation seems just right.

Aroma is strong with the aroma of plum, raisin, grape and apple. Spicy and inviting.

Taste is smooth with the plum, grape, candied sugar and raisin. A bit of alcohol heat is detectable as well.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth. Carbonation is just right and doesn't "sting" the throat. The flavors as mentioned above, meld together so well that it makes this beer enjoyable.

Drinkability is high on my list. Very smooth, carbonation is just right and I can actually tell the flavors better. Not muddled like a few other examples I've had. The alcohol is barely present, which is the work of a skilled brewer. Worth another bottle for aging because at 10.5% this beer is deceptively drinkable!

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

This is one of those beers that I saw many, many times but always passed, figuring I would get around to it. Three years is long enough, so I grabbed a bottle the last time I was at State Line, and then again, on tap at BXL Cafe in NYC (an excellent bar, IMO). This review is for the bottle.

Not as impressive as the pour I had at BXL, this beer is still gorgeous. Deep mahogany red with rich, reddish brown highlights, there's a dense, light brown head that recedes to a disk slowly. Retention is excellent, 20 minutes into the beer, the head is still dense, an excellent attribute for a 10.5% beer. The nose is excellent. Very rich and fruity with plums and prunes, soaked in rum. Brown sugar and a very prominent yeast character are present. Moderately phenolic, the expressiveness of the yeast reminds me in some ways of the St. Bernardus Abt 12. A little tobacco, a little earth and a little leather are all present. This really is a beer to cook and pair with, and I should try that sometime.

The palate opens moderately sweet with brown sugar, a little vanilla and a moderate leathery and earthy backbone. Definitely fruity, there's a pronounced prune character here. It's not a flavor I typically care for, but combined with the yeastiness, it's very compelling. There's a mild spice note as well, mildly cinnamon sugar and maybe some mace? Alcohol is very well hidden here, there's some that appears towards the finish, amplifying the mild spice flavors. Medium in body with moderate carbonation, the beer greatly benefits from swirling to release the carbonation. Fruity and mildly sugary on the finish, this feel pretty great on the palate. This is growing a lot on me, and I will revisit this. Maybe just a touch sweeter than I'd like, but I can't imagine what a lower FG will provide here, so I can't be too harsh.

I can't help but think that this would make a great beer to braise lamb with. I just might have to try that. Ultimately, this beer does what a dark tripel should do, it has the fruitiness and mild sweetness that a more traditional tripel should, but only with dark fruits and dark sugars. Quite unique IMO.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Brown to dark brown with red notes when held up to the light. Hazy with strong carbonation and a half finger off white head that sticks around.

S - Yeast, alcohol, prunes, dates, molasses, candi sugar.

T - Tons of boozy prunes and dates with some of that molasses again. Candi sweetness that might be a little too much for me but still works.

M - Very smooth with a little bit of carbonation.

D - Great flavours but far too sweet. A good beer nonetheless. A good dark strong Belgian ale. One of the first where I began to pick up dark fruit notes so it has a bit of nostalgic clout in my books. Mellow, smooth, boozy, and highly drinkable.

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

This was an anniversary gift from my wife which was part of a "High Octane" Beer Basket. (She knows what I like!) Never heard of this one before so I have been looking forward to trying this.

Pours a dark mahogany color with a slight, creamy, tan head in the beginning but quickly dies down to a very light covering of foamy bubbles on the top. The beer appears thick as it sticks to the sides with good retention before sliding back down into the glass!

Aroma is of toasty, sugary malts, cherries, caramelized raisins. The flavor is very good, not at all what I expected because some other nuances are coming out that weren't overly detected in the nose. Sweet toasted sugary malts in the beginning followed by a subtle blending in of sour cherries with a touch of apple (the apple part is what was surprising). Also picking up a little rasin and some fig on the tongue. The flavors blend in a subtle tartness that makes the beer finish wet instead of dry, which is what I originally expected. The 10.5 ABV is incredibly, and may I say "dangerously", well hidden, practically undetectable. There's not many beers I can recall that has such a deceptive alcohol content. Not overly deep and complex but amazingly well brewed. Hats off to the brewmaster.

The body is on the lighter side of heavy, has a slight prickliness on the tongue, and incredibly drinkable. I could sit and have a few of these and easily lose track of the number. For a beer I've never heard of before, I'd definitely buy this one again - worth checking out.

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

330ml. Dark brown/red pour depending on the angle. Half finger of light tan that retained very well.

Aroma, malty, raisin. Some spicy yeast, some cocoa. Lighter brown, candi sugars.

Taste, malty again. Not overwhelmed by clove and yeasty spice like many. More of a grainy spice, mingles with prune, light grape, then some dry cocoa. Dopplebock like Belgian.

Medium bodied, coats quite well. Sounds like there is some carbonation variation, but mine was just about right. 330ml is just about right. Don't know what it is, but most Belgian styles I can barely handle that much.
One of the more unique brews worth trying.

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Photo of dgilks
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sweet, bready malt aroma. Lots of dark fruit. Slightly spicy. Good.

Hazy brown, chestnut colour with basically no head.

Sweet malt with bready overtones. Light toast. Fruity yeast character wiht light stone fruit notes. There is some spice here too.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Silky and good.

This is a decent BSDA. The flavours are good, the alcohol well integrated and the finish dry enough not to be cloying. The aroma could be better but on the whole its decent.

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

Had this served in a Gulden Draak glass (neat glass too). Light head which is long lasting. Plenty of lace. Sweet estery aromas with lots of caramel, malt, hint of roasty and yeasty. Big flavor! all of the aroma, except the esters which translates to nice fruitiness. Lush body. Alcohol is subtle but there. Killer beer. Sweet caramel finish. One of my all time favs. Better on draft than bottle.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330mL stubby bottle coated in white plastic. no date.

poured into oversize tulip glass, a dark brown with garnet colored highlights. great 1" head, that shrinks a bit, but never goes away. nice lacing.

aromas of toffee and sourdough bread. tastes slightly sweet, caramel, biscuity malt. finish is slightly herbal and boozy. smooth mouthfeel, medium body. carbonation enough to tingle.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle served in a tulip. Poured a murky reddish-brown with a quarter inch, tan-colored, effervescing head embedded with tiny bubbles. Head eventually dissipated into a swirl with strands of lacing revealed as the brew was consumed. Nose is predominantly dark fruit, definitely some cherries in the mix. Taste follows nose, but quite a bit of alcohol heat, as well as a slightly medicinal, cherry cough syrup quality with a light, hoppy finish. Mouthfeel fell between light- and medium-bodied with an appropriate amount of background carbonation. In terms of drinkability, I found this brew a little too close to cough medicine to be enjoyable.

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Photo of Gusler
3.7/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the pour a murky plum color with a prodigious beige head and tons of lace to conceal the glass. Nose is malt, earthy, sweet, also a bit like an over ripe apple. Starts malt, top is light, potently acidic, scantily hopped, long lasting somewhat sour aftertaste. Alcohol also makes itself known as there is a bitterness I attribute to the high ABV. Not bad, different for sure, will have to sample a few to make a true determination about its suitability.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance- The beer pours from the bottle as a dark brown colored brew with ruby highlights shining through the body when held up to the light. Upon pouring there is a thick and billowy cream colored head with a great level of retention. Over time the head slowly fades leaving a nice level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma is big of dark fruits of prune, raisin, and cherry mixed with a nice brown bready malt aromas. These two smells are complimented with some other sweet smells of caramel and toffee as well as some aromas of a boozy spiced rummy aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with a big shot of the dark fruit that was detected in the nose. Cherry, raisin, and date are all present upfront, mixing with a malty flavor as well as more sweet flavors of a buttery toffee and caramel. At this point the brew is quite sweet , with the flavors then joined by a moderately strong boozy flavor. This alcohol flavor grows stronger and stronger as the flavor advances taking on more rum like characteristics as the taste moves toward the end. With a yeasty and Belgian spice flavor joining the group of tastes late in the game a warming and moderately sweet dark spiced fruit taste is left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel-The body of the brew is on the thick and creamier side with a carbonation level that is rather high overall. The thickness, mixed with the alcohol flavors make for the nice warming quality of the beer, while the carbonation actually helped keep it on the more drinkable and exciting side and complimented nicely the fruit flavors of the brew.

Overall – Strong dark fruit flavors with a good balance in warming boozy flavors, yeasty flavors and spice. A nice slow sipping Belgian strong dark,; great for a relaxing evening on a cool night.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a murky red/brown with one full finger of light khaki colored head. The foam settle pretty quickly, leaving a ring of tiny bubbles along the edges of the glass. There is very little lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is very interesting. I get malt, spice, banana, berries, cherries, apples, yeast, and alcohol. I even get a touch of cider vinegar in there as well.

T: It starts out sweet and syrupy with a good helping of malt, spice, bananas and yeast. Yup. All that right up front. As the beer moves to the middle I get a bit of apple essence and maybe a touch of red cherries. As it moves to the back I get more spice, some big carbonation, and a bunch of booze.

M: Full bodied beer. This is a sipper for sure. It's sweet and sticky, but the carbonation lightens it up a bit. The flavors swirl and coat the palate. Big boozy kick in the back end. Finishes sticky and spicy.

O: This beer is decent. It's not an easy drinking brew, but the flavors are fun to pick out. I don't know if I'd return to this beer in the future, but I'm happy to have tasted it.

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Photo of champ103
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Have had this many times over the years, and surprised I have not reviewed it yet. Most recently on tap at a neighborhood bar close to me that is not known to have a good beer selection. Poured into the proper Gulden Draak tulip.

A: Pours a dark ruby/brown with a dense two finger white head that forms. Which has excellent retention, and beautiful lace all the way down the tulip glass.
S: Peppery yeast and fruity easters are the show up front. Banana, cloves and light bubblegum aromas. Sweet malts, and dark dried fruits of raisins. Fantastic.
T: Like the nose, peppery, clove like yeast up front. The fruity esters are to die for here. Banana, apples. Dried dark fruits of raisins and figs. A toffee sweetness, and candied sugar, that gives this almost a fruitcake like flavor. Outstanding, and complex as hell. I am not doing justice here.
M/O: A big full body that is creamy and smooth. Beautifully crisp carbonation that becomes so smooth this is otherworldly in that regard. Light warming alcohol, but other than that, something I can keep coming back to over and over again. Superlative drinkability (yes I used that word).

A fantastic example of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. While sipping on this at the bar, some of my friends had been raving about a wine they were drinking at the moment. I know it is hard to compare these two beverages, but having some of the wine I could tell it was flabby, week and nowhere near the depth of this. Which shows some beers, and this one in particular can compete in every respect to its grape based companion. Fantastic all around.

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

Reviewed from notes: Shared with my good friend Matt.

appearance: copper brown orange with 1 finger off white head

smell: dark fruits, malty, sweet, slight sourness

taste: dark fruits, grapes/raisons, malts, some oxidation,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: not a bad beer just not really my style. glad I got to try it though.

cheers,l
The CPJ

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the benefits of Beer Advocate is finding out about beers such as this one, which I probably would never have tried on my own. This beer poured a cloudy brown color with a small head. It had a sweet fruit odor with a little malt in there. Wonderful taste: sweet, dark fruit with some hops. Slightly noticeable alcohol. A very robust beer. Eminently drinkable, but at 10.5%ABV, you've got to take it easy.

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

Served from draft into a Gulden Draak tulip, this is a dangerously wonderful beer. The Appearance is a deep ruby with a very tall, creamy off-white head that leaves a very sticky lace and nice-sized collar until then end...which I have to say, never lasts that long for me, and I've had many! The aroma is very sweet, malt and brandy, slight spice but not to complex. The taste is much deeper, initially a bit sweet and vinous, then opening into fig, toffee, prune and toasted malt, and finishing with a strong boozy kick that is a bit on the fusel side. There is not much effervescence and a nice creamy mouthfeel that is well balanced with a bit of diactly butteriness that really works well here, adding up to a very drinkable beer.

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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 Rutager
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330mL, appealing bottle. Half finger head.

Appearance. Dark copper brown, slight haze.

Smell. Rich, malty alcohol. Cherries and toffee.

Taste. Sweet malt and light fruit syrup. Caramel and bread with a medicine-hop finish.

Mouthfeel. Light carbonation.

Drinkability. A bit on the sweet side. One will do.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a dark mahogony brown with red edges and tons of a fluffy light brown head that doesn't want to leave.

S-there are notes of brown sugar and candied fruits up front, rather sweet, a clove like phenol and yeast backbone provide balance, a nice peppery spice to the alcohol present in the back.

T-the taste is very sweet but still balanced enough following the nose only less phenolic. the candied fruits and cooked brown sugar lie up front accompanied by notes of ripe plum. clove like yeastiness and phenols lie underneath, the alcohol is spicy and peppery, nice balance and the flavors really push to equality as I continue to drink.

M-soft on the front of the tongue but lively carbonation in back with a good juicy slick feel to it and somewhat dry in the finish.

D-this is a well balanced brew with plenty of sweetness but nice levels of complexity to keep this well balanced and very enjoyable. the alcohol is present in a good way and in no way shows the true power of this brew.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Slightly cloudy ochre with loose honeycombed sandstone froth. Mild gusher.
Toffee, goji berries, spiced apple, granary bread, wax - multi-facteed.
Lots of blonde caramel (candy sugar?), some Japanese plum, hints of cinnamon and cedar, a big whack of clovey spice, and slight noble hop end.
Rock candy, sour cherries, and cocoa dust with numbing booze and herb linger.
Crisp, round, slightly hot.

BSDA, dark tripel, "red strong beer" as the label says - not sure what to expect with this one, in spite of its reputation. Nose is too brown for a tripel but not fully dark. That ends in the taste - it drinks very light. There's not huge complexity to the taste, just a couple of sugar + spice elements playing off each other, yet it's strangely tasty and moreish. Almost play like a cinnamon-herb hard candy or a Christmas ale.

Oddly compelling.

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

Splendid! Pours a deep, opaque brown with a very thick and remarkably persistent head. Aroma is malty and inviting. Flavor is strong but not fierce, with sweet overtone like molasses and some smoky hints, and just a dash of bitterness. Jazzy and tingly, this is a beer one should sip and savor.

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

This beer is an experience in itself. It's a beautiful dark brown beer with a full, thick and creamy head. Heavily carbonated: If you hold it to the light, you'll see a constant billowing of bubbles from the scorings on the bottom of a belgain beer glass. Spicy, complex aroma. Pleasing warming sensation from the first sip. Full, creamy, and very malty beer. I loved it.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.94/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2 oz bottle into a nice sized Tulip glass. I poured specifically to induce a huge head which didn't take much work - this beer is very volatile. Deep, deep brown-tan (almost with a touch of gold) color with a nearly off-white head. Lacing all up and down the glass, the head retained extremely well. The beer smelled mildly fruity (figs, berries) with a bit of yeast, biscuits, malts, and deep spices which I couldn't clearly identify.

The beer tastes of a nice combination of crispy biscuits, fresh malt, raisins, figs, slight pepper, and burnt caramel sugars. Mild sweetness with a proper alcohol burn shadowing the entire process. For something so high-gravity (10.5% ABV), the alcohol is present, yet concealed well enough to not be troublesome. The beer has plenty of carbonation which really helps the potency of the aroma and the flavor. Body isn't very thick but the beer remains creamy and ends with a crisp, yeasty finish.

Overall, a very delectable Belgian ale which, at a well concealed 10.5% ABV, can sneak up on you if you're not careful. If it wasn't for the large price tag, I would drink this beer much more frequently.

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Photo of mynie
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This isn’t golden! And it doesn’t smell like spicy mustard, either. Goddamn Belgians. They are always out to trick me.

Pours really pretty and dark. Plum colored with an retentive, foamy head. Lots of sediment floating around, despite a good pour—I dunno if this bottle was jostled in the store or if it’s just supposed to be that way.

Very rich, sweet smell. Usually odors that are this sweet are accompanied with a little bit of an alcohol zip, but that’s not the case here. This just smells like tart fruit. Or Fruits, actually. Dozens of fruits. Apple, pineapple, plums, grapes, mango, passion fruit, orange.

Tastes like complex fruit, like the nose, only zippier. A harsh but nice ZING hits you right up front, along with the more sour fruits, then that dissolves into a rather dry, juicy flavor containing for the richer, less tart fruits. This is incredible complexity.

The flavor can be overpowering—I can’t see myself drinking more than a single stubby of this (the 10.5% ABV also factors in), but this is a truly great beer that everybody should try.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.21/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After all the hype, this one just did not do it for me. Too sweet I guess. Pours a mostly clear light brown color with a light, fluffy cream-colored head. Nice lacing and retention.

Smell is of minerals, earth, yeast and sweet malts. Hints of champagne and scotch ale, has a pretty big nose in general.

Thin, sweet and different are the first things that come to mind upon quaffing. I also taste some fountain cola syrup and heavy toasty malts. Almost seems like it has too much unfermentable sugars, and that may be on purpose, but it does not quite do it for me. Fun to try, but at nearly $5 a pop, I believe I'll pass next time.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
94 out of 100 based on 1,311 ratings.
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