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:
3,799
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
294
Gots:
769
For Trade:
3
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Reviews: 1,311 | Ratings: 3,799
Photo of MeneerBeerSnob
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into a tulip

a-pours a deep auburn with off white mocha two inch head

s-Belgian yeast, caramel, dates

t-hits your taste buds with tons of flavor including sweet caramel, fruity dates and raisins, yeast and malt

m-lots of light carbonation that brings out the flavor

o-really great tripel, lots of complex flavor and perfect for unwinding after a long day

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Photo of KKB
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A – A deep ruby-amber with a voluminous khaki head, carbonation slowly flowing from the bottom; the tight fluffy bubbles on top of this gorgeous looking body make my mouth water a little bit.

S – As one person put it, “it’s malty sweet, scotchy and dark fruity.” I think that is an utterly appropriate explanation. The sweetness invades your senses but it has a juiciness to it that is definitely the product of dark fruits and it has a slight alcoholic aroma to it as well. A slight bready backbone holds all the aromas together and they form a chorus of delight singing hallelujah into my welcoming nostrils.

T – Oh sweet ambrosia thy name is Gulden Draak! The taste of this beer is simply divine, something the Gods most certainly would find an adequate form of sustenance. It is both sweet and sour with the tones that I discovered in the nose following through onto the taste buds: dates, black cherries, raisins, plums, brown sugar, cocoa…then as it warms a sort of clove, cinnamon, butterscotch, tobacco, yeasty-spicy goodness invades the pallet, with maybe, just maybe, a hint of hops in there as well.

M – Velvety cream, a medium-full body with a fine carbonation that makes it oh so smooth to drink. Followed by a nice alcoholic burn that does not overwhelm but merely holds you ever so tenderly, and as my dear friend Harris once said about a cabernet sauvignon, it’s like the last fold of the blanket being pulled over you as you tuck into bed.

O – This is a beer to grow old with, I love this beer, I will have this beer countless times again over the course of my life. I’m sure I’ll find beers I enjoy more in the years I have left to me, as my exploration is still just in it’s infancy, but this beer is one of the first beers I have ever fallen truly in love with. It is a sonnet, a cool and refreshing breeze, the welcome company of a good friend, and a solemn promise of good things to come. Thank you gulden draak.

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Photo of irishmoss
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle with no apparent date. I love the idea of an absolute lightproof bottle. Poured a very dark garnet/brown color with an almond head that reduced till it sat on top. Initial aroma from the bottle was cotton candy, but when poured it was spicy and like a fresh cut field. The taste was heavy malts and brown sugar with brandy soaked cherries and plums. There were some faint hints of caramel in the finish, perhaps burnt. There was a little hoppiness to the finish, but not much. Alcohol is masked well, making this quite drinkable. A complex ale in a sweet-kinda way, would have liked to see more hops here. But over all it was a great experience that I would love to have again.

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Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A lovely copper with nice white head

S- The smell of alcohol slightly cuts through the sweet aroma of dark fruits.

T- Very sweet. It is almost as if it is a dessert beer. Albeit, the taste is very complex with a sweet mixture of several fruits such as raisins and prunes. Additionally, there is a subtle sour cherry flavor that blends well with the high alcohol.

M- The high carbonation tickles the palette and the tongue.

D- Not very drinkable due to the combination of high alcohol and high sweetness. One bottle of this every once in a while more than does the job.

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Photo of JimsArcade
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Medium-brown and cloudy. The pour from the tap left very little head. It looks heavy and almost daunting.

S: Syrupy, caramel-malt aroma hints at slow-sipping beer: what I'd expect of a beer of this magnitude. The smell is dominanted by raisins.

T: Excusite and complex. The malty sweetness is actually quite mild and finishes relatively dry.

M: Smooth and a little sticky given its associated mild-sweetness. It's not as heavy as I thought it was going to be.

D: Remarkably easy to drink given the alcohol content. If I wasn't told the ABV ahead of time, I would've ordered more and eventually been in trouble.

Draak is one of the best belgian strong ales I've ever had. Highly recommended!

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Photo of L0ne
3.96/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From backlog. On draft, February 2015.

Classic Belgian flavors. Fruity from the Belgian yeast, banana, cherry, lots of spices. The spices, spicy alcohol character (a bit too booze forward for me though), and prickly carbonation all work hand in hand to create a unique drinking experience.

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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 jerryjeff
4.42/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma
Nice and spicy in character, getting hints of raisin, fig, and clove maybe with the malt scents intermixed.

Mouthfeel
Medium in carbonation, a bit of oiliness on the palette remains.

Appearance
Pours to medium dark amber with some reddishness. Not much in way of initial head from pour, but what is there is hanging around and lacing a bit (poured to chimay goblet).

Taste
An almost brandyish character, the alcohol is fairly well hidden in there (10.2% abv) with some slight warming. Some clove in the taste maybe, and there is some residual malt but not too much sweetness.

Drinkability
I really, really like this. I don't know how many I'd want at a sitting though, it's a beer to drink slowly and taste fully.

Overall
This stuff is really great, one of my favorites I've had recently.

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

Look (4): An unfiltered ruby red and brown hue. A pretty beige head, but that doesn't really stick around.

Smell (4.5): Big thick biscuit bready aroma with caramel malty sweetness. The boozey smells are also there, which is expected once a brew hits double digits in ABV.

Taste (4.25): All of those amazing smells are definitely prevalent in this brew via taste. You can also pick up delicious dried raisons and plums. This is pretty fucking good dawg.

Mouthfeel (3.75): Not as smooth as I'd like, but there is a nice creamy feel there. Still more course then I'd like it. Medium plus to full bodied. Definitely on the sweeter side. The after taste sticks around for a while, so theres a nice ending to it.

Overall (4.25): This is a sexy ass beer. I've got my hands on most of the variants. I'm excited to try them all! Just probably not in one night...

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Photo of yuriruley
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Reddish/Brown, not much of a head on it but it sticks with the drink all the way down. Some lacing

Smell - Dark fruits right off the top with a slight apple smell and malts.

Taste - Can taste the fruit flavor and maltyness. Not getting a whole lot of alcohol flavor. Very well balanced. This is one of the tastiest beers I have had recently.

Mouthfeel/Drink - Not as heavy as I expected, good carbonation. Deceptively easy to drink for it's ABV.

I have had this beer prior to reviewing it. Last year my mom bought me a bottle for Christmas, and I liked it, but that was before I was really into beer. So I decided to revisit it and I was not disappointed.

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Photo of kbanks13
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz poured into a tulip

A: Pours a clear copper/burgdy color with almost a finger of frothy tan head which disappears almost immediately. There is virtually no lacing on the glass. Color was nice, but the rest was a bit of a dissapointment.

S: Warm alcohol up front followed by currants, anise, sweet plums and caramel. Some toasty grain too.

T: Alcohol hits hard immediately, but not harshly. Tart cherries and sweet dark fruits come up. A hint of caramel which fades to a toasty grain/malt flavor that lingers on the tongue.

M: A bit thin but coating and slick for sure. A bit more carbed than other examples of this style that I've had.

D: The alcohol content of this beer was very apparent in this brew's smell and taste. More so than the other styles I've had at comparable ABV. This is only something to keep in mind, not something to discourage me from buying more in the future. It had lots of great flavor and had a nice smell to it too. I enjoyed this and would buy more later. Wondering if a little age might dull down the aggressiveness of the alcohol here though, I will have to try later.

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Photo of HopNelius
4.7/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served out of a bottle and into a stemless wine glass.
Appearance- dark brown, light to medium carbonation, two finger head that quickly reduces.
Smell- notes of rasins, ginger and figs, wonderful aroma.
Taste- Dark fruit and Belgium yeast shines through balanced with malt and hops, alcohol warms at the end.
Mouthfeel- very pleasant.
Overall- Very Drinkable Belgium beer that is acutally rather complex.At 10.5 abv you wouldn't know it as it is so well balanced.

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Photo of Night
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours hazy red-brown with a bit of a diffuse vermilion glow - rather gorgeous color. Head is massive and all bubbles, no cream whatsoever; very odd. Dies down quickly to thin, bubbly lacing here and there. Aroma is deep and rummy with characteristic Belgian yeast tones. Notes of walnut and honey dominate with nice raw malty undertones and cake sweetness. Mouthfeel is surprisingly hot and sharp with a medium body that has a lightly juicy character. Flavor is very well matched to aroma, but the sweetness comes through a bit more than the nutty flavors. Molasses, dark fruits - raisin, prune, tempered by a touch of apple skin and flour. Fairly strong cake and cookie malts. Yeast comes through present but nicely rounded out. Finish is sweet and lightly sour with a long, warm, and dry aftertaste.

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Photo of chunkylover53
4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mmmm. I like this beer a lot.

It's full of heady goodness - huge bubbles that stack up way above the glass. And the smell - very caramelly with a hint of fruit and very very strong. I could smell it from 4 feet away.

It pours a dark, cloudy mahogany and laces really thickly.

As for the taste: Lots of caramel, and very warm from the alcohol, but smooth.

I wish I could get this on it's own instead of in a gift set with a bunch of other beers.

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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 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 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 VikingBeer
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip glass. This beer is a classic for a reason. Pretty, dark-brown liquid with a nice head; not a lot of lacing, though. Smell is vintage quad, with a textbook spicy Belgian-yeast aroma and a nice whiff of caramel/toffee sweetness. Flavors are also textbook: toffee, roasted apples and bananas, plums and cherries, toasted walnuts, a hint of coffee, and cocktail-rye bread from the malts lead; pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, from hops. Very nice indeed.

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

Company travel offers the benefit of fine dining. As the waitress at Sullivan's steakhouse in Indianapolis rattled off a very common beer list, I resorted to my standard reply that I enjoy the fancier beers. Fortunately somewhere in here training she remembered that they carried Gulden Draak, which she advised was a German beer. It sounded enticing so I ordered it.

Much to my suprise she came back with a 750 ml corked and caged bottle. She even had a special snifter glass with the Gulden Draak name. She poured it perfectly with a thick and foamy three finger head. The aroma was wonderful and the taste sublime. Slightly chilled, the malts imparted a cacaphony of flavors. This triple was so fine that I never noticed the 10.5% ABV. At $19 for the one bottle, thank goodness for business trips.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter. Persistent beige head that fades to faint lace. Dark, dark ruby color.

Faint sour berry smell, with roasted nuts.

Taste: nut brown, strong alcohol undertones. Finish is a little rough. Challenging feel, leaves the mouth a little dry.

Heavy beer. Good beer. One to savor. Since it comes in a four pack, make it last.

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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 DeepSix
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Poured a brown color with a significant head that made pouring the whole bottle at once impossible. Don't know if thats storage or pouring technique or what. Back to the color impossible to see through.

Smell is of dark fruits, plums, raisins, candi sugar, and the alcohol

A continuation of the smell, maybe with some spice in there? The alcohol is present as well, as with some minor bitterness which i cannot place if is alcohol or hops, I will guess the latter.

This has a pretty thick mouthful, a bit like syrup. Alcohol is present here as well.

The drinkability is there, but I feel as the beer warmed up the ABV became more noticeable, i was tempted to bring down my score because i drank the beer as I was writing this review, but in the end I decided no. Though have no fear the beer seems to taste better as warmed though as well. These like any high ABV beer can knock you on your ass, and this beer is pretty deceptive when still cold.

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Photo of EsoxLucius
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

found this in vancouver and remembered someone from michigan telling me to try it out if i ever found it!

not disapointed at all.

A: Hazzy dark brown with a light tan head, good retention and lacing.

S: dark berries are a definate. prunes and blackberry, there's a tartness there that is just appealing.

T: Caramel and berries, not boozy at all, a tad sweet, but suits.

M: a right proper body, not overly carbonated, just right.

D: i liked it a bit more for sessions than Trois Pistole's from Unibroue. definately not an everyday for me, but two and three go down as easy as one... 4 is on the way, but i won't be right minded after all that 10.5 kicks in.

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Photo of Chrysostom
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As always, I review live, not from notes, puzzling out the libation brewed in houses of salvation. As always, I review to style (ala BJCP), modified by personal taste (contra BJCP), not solely to personal taste, which would be unfair to many great examples of styles that I don't personally favour.

I'm re-reviewing this beer. I had it first out of a small bottle and did a "quick rating" of 3.75 - it was drinkable, and even good, but I wasn't impressed.

Called a "Dark Triple" by the brewers, this is more of a unique Quadrupel.

Presentation: 750mL corked and caged bottle, $11.99, covered in a white plastic coating, making it opaque. Poured in to a Chimay chalice/goblet at around 45ºF, warming as I write.

A: A cloudy, but still translucent-to-nearly-transparent around the edges, dark nut brown colour with strong highlights of some shade of muddy red. On a gentle pour, one finger of head is left, which recedes slowly to an almost-cap upon the face of the beer and a ring around its edges. Lacing nonexistent.

S: The nose is dominated by fruits and esters, with a strong malt presence and sweet odor. There's some elusive caramelized sugar and toffee in there, too. There is no detectable alcohol in the nose at any temperature - it blends that well with the other smells. The fruits aren't the standard Belgian Strong Dark dark fruits - they're more citric. As it warms, a mild Belgian funk and equally-mild spice become noticeable in the nose. Not extremely complex smelling, but appetizing and inviting.

T: Malts, brown malts, roasted malts - lots of malts, did I say? - fresh red grapes, raisins, plums and prunes, a slight, typically Belgian spiciness, with a mild solventy or spicy alcoholic taste on the finish, which actually adds to and completes the flavour, instead of detracting from it as it can so often do. A thread of moderate, but far from cloying or unappetizing, sweetness runs through the beer from start to finish, as is typical in true Belgian Darks but so often devolves in to overly-sweet, unbalanced cloyingness in American "replicas" of the style. The sweetness runs, melds, interchanges and combines with a bready dryness which also runneth from stem to stern. A little warming alcohol on the finish intertwines with the omnipresent exchange and interplay of fruity sweetness and bready dryness. Excellent.

M: The carbonation is loose and light-feeling. This drink is reminiscent of St Bernardus Abbot 12 - the best beer in the world, and the only that I have ever rated perfect 5s down the line - but is a bit thinner in mouthfeel. The loose, bouncy, spritzy carbonation doesn't allow the flavours to pull together as well as they could. It's still excellent.

D: High.

O: I'm blown out of the water by the differences between the first small bottle I had and this large one, for whatever reason (freshness? etc.). A worthy Belgian Strong Dark/Quadrupel, an excellent example of the style, well-deserving of the reputation it has built up. 4.5s down the line here, and I may be under-rating the appearance and taste a little bit. Highly drinkable, moderately-highly complex, begs you to take another sip. Not as complex and unfathomable as a St Bernardus Abbot 12, but comparable to a Chimay Blue. I'll be sure to come back to this one.

To style (BSDA/Quad): 90/100
To official BJCP style (16E, "Belgian Specialty"): 97/100
To taste: 93/100

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

Not sure why this is labelled "dark tripel" here...I've never seen it labelled that way in Belgium. At any rate...Appearence: Reddish brown, dark with highlights. Big rocky head. Clear. Aroma: Malty, sugary, noticeable caramel. Flavor: Sweet, malty caramel. No roastiness.Mouthfeel: Smooth, cream. Finish: Smooth, clean, with a lingering caramel.

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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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