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

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BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,318 Reviews
Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)Gulden Draak (Dark Triple)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Belgium
vansteenberge.com

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dark Triple Ale brewed with caramel malt and re-fermented with Bordeaux wine yeast

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-19-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,318
Ratings:
3,840
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
19.52%
 
 
Wants:
298
Gots:
809
For Trade:
3
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,318 | Ratings: 3,840
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 uawildcat
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an oversized Bordeaux wine glass. Had a large head creamy head that fell quickly. Was a cloudy brown color.

Smell is extremely boozy. The first thing that hit me was the acetone-y alcohol smell. Behind that is a pleasant sweet malt smell.

Taste is much better than the smell. Tastes likes figs and maple syrup mixed together. The carbonation makes for a prickly drink. Hides the alcohol well.

Overall a good beer, worth trying once in awhile. Just too pricey.

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

Great bottle.

Appearance: Carmel brown with a nice half inch beige head. Great retention.

Smell: Toasted malt, carmel tones with a bit of yeast and crusty bread.

Taste: warming brown sugar, very clean and crisp. This one really gets better as it warms up. The flavors come out more and the bitter hops play a bigger role after it sits for a while. Really nice beer.

Mouthfeel: chewy sweet with a lot of carbonation.

Drinkability: all in all a very good beer, great after a nice dinner of BBQ meats, the smoky flavors mix well with the sweet carmel tones in the beer.

Love the bottle.

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

A unique Belgian style beer in that it is very dark and full bodied. Rich, creamy head that lingers in the glass and holds together well. The taste has a interesting blend of pepper and fruit. The richness and complexity of the pepper is balanced by the dried fruit taste that lingers longer than the peppery flavor. An easy beer to drink and a credit to the Belgian Tripel class. Highly recommend!

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Photo of Maudite
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Rich, thick, hazy, the color of toffee, breakfast tea, or figs. 3 fingers of deliciously thick nut brown head formed and wouldn't quit.

S- Spicy, rich warm maltiness, sweet, apples...dark rich fruits (figs, dates, raisins...), earthy dark bread. A slight butterscotchy diacetyl. A complex and warm nose.

T- Warming alcohol bite, caramel, toasty grains, bread, dark fruits, spiced cake...almost like a brandy.

M- Acidic, bright, warm. Sticky and sweet in the mouth, quite lingering, subtle hop spice on the finish.

D- Very delicious apéritif. A strong drink, so hard to recommend more than one, but perhaps something worth keeping on hand for when the occasion arises.

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: The well rounded malts linger on the palette.

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

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

330ml into wine goblet

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/ruby red with a half inch of light tan head which disappears quickly.

Aroma: Big on ripe fruit, apple, plum.

Taste: A Golden Delicious Apple taste comes through real stong, followed by raisin, brown sugar and yeast. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Well carbonated.

Overall: Easy to drink, well balanced. Could have a few of these, but the ABV could prevent having too many.

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

On draft at Ginger Man, from notes.

a - nice burgundy. Clear, no head.

s - Belgian yeast, bananas. Some alcohol.

t - nice tangy and sweet. Solid ABV mask.

m - medium body, nice carbonation.

d - tangyness balances ABV. Smooth. Some alcohol on finish but we're talking 10.5% here. Good stuff.

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Photo of pinkano
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - dark little hazy amber with nice head
S - very sweet smell of dark fruits, jam, caramel, malt and apples
T - sweet taste, which mixes with dark fruits (plums, figs, dates), coffee, malt, yeast with nice long end.
M - medium to full body with medium to low carbonation
D - drinkable, but very heavy and full and also strong, so be carefull

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Photo of mickstepp
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was lucky enough to find this on tap at Teller's in Hyde Park. Served in an authentic Gulden Draak tulip glass. Dark brown/amber pour with a nice frothy head. Spicy nutmeg aromas. Silky mouthfeel. Light malt profile. Lightly hopped. Very yeasty and bready. The taste of the high alcohol is muted by the spicy malty notes. Very nicely balanced. A good beer.

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

750ml bottle, corked and caged. Poured into my small Piraat goblet. Pours a wonderful shade of brown with nice ruby highlights hidden within. Big fluffly white head that dissipated to a nice glass coating lace. BIG hints of dark fruit here particularly raisins and dates soaked in a bit of alcohol. Underneath that I found a faint, buttery malt sweetness aroma. This beer smells really big! To my surprise, it did not taste very big...meaning that it hid its palatable alcohol pretty well. On top of the raisiny flavor I also got a nice refreshing apple taste. Also present is a subtle caramel malt backbone with little bits of butterscotch here and there. This is super tastey. Normally I'd think carbonation would be weird in a beer like this, but the bubbles are very smooth and enhance the creamy mouthfeel which leaves behind a pleasant sweetness that is not sticky. And finally, this beer will kick you to the curb if you're not careful...it hides the booze extremely well.

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

I picked up a bottle of this fine stuff a few days ago. I was pleased to find an opaque bottle, but what was inside was far more impressive. Gulden Draak poured nicely and kept a head between 1/8-1/4" all the way to the bottom of the glass. The beer's color was very appealing and the smell invited curiousity. The tastes were a bit surprising at first, and frankly, at 10.5%, I wasn't sure what awaited.

Anyway, the flavors were big, round, and complex. Lots of floral notes with some candy in there and maybe a tiny hint of pink peppercorns (try a whole pink peppercorn on its own -- it's nothing like black pepper), and just everything sweet in between. The mouthfeel pretty much made the experience for me. The beer was thick, not chewy necessarily, but I could almost sense the presence of two viscosities or thicknesses in there. Very exciting. The beer left a very light coating in my mouth that quickly dissolved between sips, and the aftertaste was probably the most pleasant I'd ever had -- and long lasting.

I agree with other reviews that this beer may be best enjoyed after a big meal, as a dessert. While I don't think its big flavor would detract from a good steak or grilled burger, I do believe that the mix just might not fit too well. I strongly recommend Gulden Draak to anyone -- both the newcomers to Belgians and the guys who are knee deep in the rich traditions. What a fantastic beer.

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Photo of audiojon
3.91/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A solid brew, the 10.5% abv is not noticeable at all. Nice appearance, dark ruby w/ beautiful lacing. Aroma is good, not great, but inviting. Taste is solid, but nothing shocking. Not extremely complex, I've come to expect more from Belgians than this has to offer. I'd drink it again, but would probably gravitate towards other Belgians when given a choice.

Worth a try, I could see it being a favorite for some.

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Photo of minnesotaryan
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a deep dark amber with a lot of cream colored foam on top of it.

Smell: Sweet dark fruit, yeast and alcohol.

Taste: Caramel malt, dark cherry, the yeast provides some spice, very sweet, very complex, a nice alcohol burn is ever present.

Mouthfeel: medium mouth feel, not too heavy and not too thin. It lingers but not in a bad way.

Overall: This is a wonderfully complex beer, very much a sipper. I do not think I could drink these every day, but when the opportunity arises, this is a great beer for sharing with friends.

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Photo of Blindpigbiz
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smell: clean spring water

Taste: bitter hops with a rich, herbal, malty sweetness that carries throughout; subtle toasted walnuts pervade during each sip

This is one of the funkiest tripels Belgium has produced. Normally tripels have either a clementine, orange, or at least another citrus fruit within the flavor of the beer, but with the golden dragon not a one. This beer caught me off guard and I'm down to try it soon. By the way, This beer goes very well with an Italian sub with heavy mayo and oil

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Photo of DPJ3322
4.51/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a snifter to enjoy this guy.

Appearance - I had no idea what the color would be, I expected a trippel for some reason, came out rich but not dark brown, very pretty. However, the head bubbled away very fast.

Smell - Boozy initially in the smell followed by a very subtle and nice fruit sweetness.

Taste - Boozy up front again, I get hints of fruit and raisins followed by a kind of muted sweetness, with apples lingering on my tongue for the aftertaste. Very complex and subtle, I like it.

Mouthfeel - Heavy carbonated fizz up front and it gets kind of viscous as it sits on the tongue.

Overall - I really like this beer and I am savoring my bottle, it was well worth the money spent on it. I like the complex layering present in taste, smell and mouthfeel. Once again, a great beer, very European.

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Photo of Torps
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark plum with two finger off white head.. some lacing.. aroma is dark fruits, candi sugar, prunes, spices and yeast.. taste is super sweet and heavy.. lots of dark fruit, dates, black cherry, spices and boozy alcohol. Mouthfeel is pretty good with plenty of carbonation to combat the sweetness. Drinkability is okay. Its a bit too boozy and sweet to drink more than one.

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Photo of Rocko
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice and foamy head with big bubbles that settles fast on the copper colored liquid. Leaves a little lace on top. Big and fruity smell that reminds me of raisins. The taste is very rich, sweet and fruity. However I think the taste is a bit too sticky sweetish and it reminds me alot of sherry. :l

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Photo of greg202stewart
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For the price I was expecting more. It was dark brown with little head and came out like liquid caramel. It went down smooth unfortunately, like caramel it was way too sweet and reminded me of a Sam Adams Seasonal. It is very unique though. Just not my bag baby!

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

Opened and poured the 330ml bottle dated best before 08/06/07. Slighly dark brown colour with lots of head. The smell is of sweet wheat with a light trace of alcohol. The initial taste is of a sugar like sweetness. This is followed by plunge of slightly smokey raisiny taste. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and quite tart, a tartness similar to the white layer of Brie cheese. The alcohol taste is well camouflaged, but its definately there. I wished I hadn't knew that this beer had 10.5% alcohol content before I tried it.

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Gulden Draak (Dark Triple) from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,840 ratings.
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