Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
94
outstanding
1,325 Reviews
Gulden DraakGulden Draak
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:
1,325
Ratings:
3,872
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
305
Gots:
838
For Trade:
3
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,325 | Ratings: 3,872
Photo of BricksandPorter
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured refrigerator cold into a crystal tulip.

P – A fine, cloudy mahogany brown, opaque with hues of purple and maroon. I almost overpoured – high carb. Took a minute to settle, before I proceeded with a slower pour. Punch you in the face wheat malt aroma. You can smell the alcohol on this one. Rocky, bronze one finger head with walnut brown edges, medium-large bubbles and good, ney GREAT, retention.

N – raisons, cherries, blackberries and apricot line the nose to really exacerbate the malt profile. A real definitive sour overtone indicates the ABV is for real. It has some hints of smoke and burning wood.

T – slick and smooth chocolate base (not stout chocolate - just balanced and light) with a great fruit profile. Blackberries, banana and sour cherries with a hearty sweetness that is smooth and really interesting. The alcohol on the nose is almost completely non-existent on the palate until the burp, when it really pulls through. Has a spicy finish and rounds very well for such a high ABV. Second time around I got a twiggy, wood-like earthiness that I didn’t get on the first taste. Not piney, but just earthy. Almost like roasting walnuts. Overall -- Grand!

M – a bit heavy on the profile. The carbonation makes the flavors stick around for a good long while. Not the smoothest Belgian I have ever had, and definitely on the higher “chunky” scale as far as tripels go. The bottle carbonation does the style right and this beer is no exception.

D – If for nothing more than the ABV, I’m not sure I could hold up to more than two or three of these. The alcohol hits you immediately, and the cacophony of flavors begins to take a toll on your tongue after the first one. I definitely recommend this for someone who appreciates great beer.

Cheers!

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

33cl bottle poured into a weizen

A: dark brownish carbonated cola look large sticky frothy tan head that sticks around for a bit

S: toffee, sweet, hints of dark red fruits and faint floral notes

T: caramel, grape, spicy pepper, bitter, noticeable alcohol taste as it moves over the palate and quickly dissipates

M: slightly carbonated mouthy feel. Sticky, hops balancing with malt to the brink of sweetness.

O: Very nice filling brew. Seems the warmer this beer, the more the alcohol aftertaste stands out. Will definitely buy more but not for the hot days.

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Photo of DerKaiser
4.62/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the Golden Dragon. This Belgian brew pours maple syrup brown with a substantial beige head. The aroma is sugary and delicious, with notes of candied fruit, raisins, apple, and cinnamon.

This beer is huge; very potent with a liquour-like quality to it. It's sweet and nectar like, with burnt honey, raisin, and caramel flavors. A delicious cake-like mouthfeel carries all the way through. Yet, this sweetness is nicely balanced with a peppery alcohol presence that delivers flavor throughout the mouth and nose.

This is a Bentley of beers: big, powerful, expensive, rare, and intoxicating. Everything a Belgian triple should aspire to. Enjoy.

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

This is effectively a joint review I did with my friend westvleteren21 a few nights ago. At the beginning of the summer we each purchased this beverage as a birthday gift for the other, however my friend became sick after a very suspicious Japanese steak house meal and we were unable to enjoy our delicious beverages. As it turns out, he moved from MA back to MD so they’ve been sitting in my fridge all summer, taunting me. At last, he came back to visit, the beers have been consumed, and the wait was well worth it!

A light brown head formed but faded relatively fast. The coloration was a very nice chocolate brown with some pleasing gradations, looking a bit like cider and sometimes wine. Some vinegar-like sourness found it’s way into the nose, which was also reminiscent of cider and cherries. The taste was, well, absolutely fantastic! A nice balance of malts and alcohol persisted, with caramel, cider, apples, rum, and maple tastes. In some ways, this reminded us of Chimay. The mouthfeel was thick and delicious; carbonation just right. Of course, this is a fairly heavy, alcoholic, dessert-like beer and so a bit less ‘drinkable,’ but let me tell you that, aint stoppin’ me. My buddy suggested warm apple-pie a la mode as a pairing, and I think that sounds great. Van Steenberge once again ladies and gentlemen!

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

Pours three inch off-white and highly carbonated head. Very cloudy, dark amber color. Smell has fruit and spice. Good lead it to a very good taste. Hints of ginger and other spices. also hints of some citrus. Very drinkable. pretty happy with this beer.

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Photo of digitalbullet
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: deep brown with reddish hues. Medium head that dissapates fairly quickly.
Smell: sweet Candi sugar, molasses, and some fig notes. Slight scent of alchohol.
Taste: Candi sugar, vinous sourness, yeasty breadyness. Mild alcohol burn
Mouthfeel: thin. Good carbonation.
Drinkability: hardly noticed the 10.5%. Dangerous brew. Very tasty. Worth seeking out.

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

Beer pours a dark brown with little to no head. I poured super slow so that may contribute to the head. When I first started to smell the beer was during the pour. The yeast was definatly present. In the tulip I got hints of bubble gum and some ripe bannanas. A little alcohol. At first drink I get a caramel malt over powering flavor. Mouth feel shows plenty of carbonation from the second fermentation. I then get lingering bubble gum as it finishes. The beer will compliment some grilled potatoes. I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of mmthompson33
4.76/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Definitely an exceptional beer. Hard to find here in the states, but a treat when you get a bottle. It's a classic example of Belgium's best. This one will lay you down if you're not careful!!

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Photo of A380
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark brown colour with a nice head that stays forever :) Initial smells slightly fruity with a nice caramelized sweet malt and hops and alcohol. Tastes quite the same. Very nice finish and all around very distinct taste. Very nice beer, could go for another one but i would have to stop at two or three as the taste is not exactly my favorite style out there but it is definitely enjoyable and at 10.5% abv it sure makes for an enjoyable time. This is my first belgian strong dark ale and thanks to gulden draak im not afraid to explore it. good stuff!

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Photo of BarrelBrother
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My son knowing my love of complex beers and the Belgium "Dubble" style told me he had to take me to the Map Room in Chicago. They feature numerous Belgium brews on tap and he said he had found one that would knock me out. He wasn't kidding! Gulden Drak, WOW.

Appearance: Dark. Cloudy. Mysterious. But I like the deep amber presentation. Solid lacing after pouring.
Smell: This got my attention immeadiately! Nutty, carmel, sweet date like aroma. I had to revisit this sensation a couple of times to make sure I got it right.
Taste: One of the most unique treats to every touch my palate! I must have tasted and pondered the flavors tickling my taste buds over and over. I finally decided on almost a buttery, malted milk flavor with a toasted almond finish. Superb!
Mouthfeel: On tap, it was so smooth! Most Belgium brews seem almost silky when gliding down my palate. This one is no exception, but I like the nutty aftertaste as I drained this goblet of joy.
Drinkability: OK, here is where I got in trouble. I liked this offering on tap so much, I enjoyed 3 large, Belgium tulip glasses in less than 2 hours. It was my birthday and everyone was buying me a round, so I couldn't resist. Long story short, the Drak kicked my assk. I should have known better to do a session with a potent brew like this, but it was pleasure and then pain the next morning. Overall an enlightening experience one I won't forget!

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Photo of nbree00
3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Color was a deep brown with some reddish hue to it. Wasn't that thrilled with the appearance, reminded me of weak poorly brewed coffee for some reason, well carbonated though with a head that never seemed to quit.

S: Smells of raisins and honey with a hint of chocolate.

T: Taste is nutty with flavors of dark caramel, raisins and coffee coming through. Quite a complex array with the malt and hops serving to balance just enough so that it is not overpoweringly sweet

M: Feel was not to bad, stroke me as alittle thin for an unfiltered beer.

D: Did not seem like a 10.5% ABV beer at all. For its class found it very drinkable, which for me would mean once in a while given its richness.

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Photo of midworken
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Extreme amount of head. The body was dark brown and was nearly opaque. Smelled like it should: malts with a slight hint of nutiness. Taste upfront was of fresh baked bread and lingered from the beginning until the sip was long gone. Although this is a sweet brew, it was balanced nicely with hop characteristics represented as a pecan/pine flavor.

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

L: rather surprised this is a dark brew, in Flemish Gulden means golden, and I always thougt this would be golden colored.

S: peaches to me, fruity, soft oak

T: Sweet, fruity, detect some peaches, some reminders of an oak aged quad, alcohol is present, and I think the taste note of the alström bros 'cake batter' is spot on! Had a lot of cake batter shakes in my time and I love it!

O: very pleasantly surprised by this one! Never was appealed to the bottle, but once poured, loved it. This one isn't a fast drink, alcohol definitely is present. Will buy some more and see what a couple of month time will do

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

This beer pours a very dark brown with more than ample white head. The aroma is sweet. The smell of fruit is dominant. Raisin is the first smell, but this smells like a very complex beer. The taste is very smooth and sweet. There are not a lot of hops in the flavor; it is really malty. There is a definite warming as this beer goes down. Medium bodied. This is a beer that I will try again and again until I completely figure it out.

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

Appearance - Orange, Burnt Caramel, Light Ruby, colour. Moderate head retention. Strong carbonation.

Smell - Malty, Spicy, light hops. Hints of Orange, Apple, Banana, Apricot, Vanilla, Alcohol, & Fig

Taste - Well balanced, tangy sweet with lots of fruit. Hints of orange, rhubarb, summer berries, & lime. Smooth, mild bitterness with some tangy fruity malt in the after taste. Quite sweet and fruity. Mild alcohol presence. Strong sweetness from the malt

Mouthfeel - Smooth, slightly syrup with string crisp carbonation.

Drinkability - Good beer, a little fruity for my taste. Heavy Alcohol weight, 10% ABV, so not a session beer. A nice winter warmer.

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Photo of SpencerSauce
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What a scary looking beer haha. Tasted awsome. Popped the cork off like a rocket.

A- Dark reddish, with a dark head. almost brown.

S- caramel or something sweet , black cherries are prominent. Boozy smell.

T- sweetness of caramel, brown sugar or toffee. Cherries for sure.

M- coats the mouth nicely, smoothe though

D- easy for a while then gets slightly harder.

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

Pours good with a thick head. Color is dark, but does not taste like a dark beer. It smells rather good, but nothing too special. A little dry in the taste, but nothing too bad. Goes down smooth with no real after taste. Not a bad beer, but nothing too special other than the oddity that it does not taste like a dark beer.

Verdict: Try this beer.

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Photo of Maurod4d
2.91/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer was served into a goblet and poured from an 11.2 oz bottle.
The color was a rich amber not quite brown to my surprise, with a very thick foamy head.
On the nose I got tons of honey... Then with the taste I got tons of honey as well and that to me is where it went down hill.

In my opinion it was a much to sweet beer in an attempt to mask the high alcohol content.

None the less it was unlike any other beer I have ever tasted before in my life and was quite an experience and pleasure to taste this beer, just not up my alley as far as favorite tastes.

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Photo of SargeMcCluck
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muddy amber-brown with a small, eggshell head.

The initially modest aroma opens up as the beer warms, bringing on a blanket of peppery, fruity toffee, masked somewhat by a background of boozy raisin. Biscuit, cloves, rum and nutmeg are added to the mix when sipping, making for a balance of darker, autumnal flavours and the cloud of crisp, sweet alcohol that remains apparent on the nose. This strikes me as being something of a clear midway point between a Belgian pale or tripel and the fruity complexities of a quad.

The mouthfeel is pleasant fizz and enveloping warmth, making things very comfy as you get down to the bottom. If it weren't for the price, this would be a very nice 'any time' kind of treat. I'm definitely picking up that badass goblet, too

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Photo of BassBone
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay chalice from the standard 33 cl. bottle. This beer poured wonderfully dark almost opaque brown/red with a one finger tan white head that dissipated somewhat after a few minutes. Moderate lacing as the beer went down.

The nose is sweet, somewhat fruity, and malty with a small hop undertone.

The taste is complex and again sweet and fruity with heavy malt and underlying hoppy spice and a wonderful lingering finish. The 10.5% abv is not readily apparent in the taste or the mouthfeel.

This beer feels like liquid gold in the mouth and goes down especially smooth.

This is definitely something I could drink a lot of, but slowly. This is a beer to savor, not chug.

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Photo of vikingmike
4.45/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy, muddy tan coloured...like aged leather

S: Candied fruits with a hint of something citrusy

T: Distinct malty sweetness. This IS a very sweet beer, but not cloyingly so. Tastes of pepper and a spice which I can't place. Very warm in the finish...reminds you that its 10.5% ABV

M: Thick, viscous, slightly syrupy

D: Like a lot of Belgians, this one conceals its ABV extremely well. You don't feel it until you stand up. Extremely tasty beer, one that I wish were more widely available in my area

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Photo of Andrewtherooster
4.57/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with a nice cloudy white head. Great lacing.

Smells of dark fruits--plums and prunes. I got a little whiff of some green pear qualities, as well as plenty of alcoholic esters.

In the taste there is a reoccurrence of fruits with a big, warming alcohol. Finishes with a roastiness that I'm not sure if it's coming from the alcohol or the malt. While drinking this, I could not help but think about how well this would go with a spicy green curry, or even something like fried plantains. Absolutely delicious beer that I could see going great with food.

Mouthfeel is medium and heavily carbonated. Perfect to the style.

I would whole-heartedly recommend this beer. It's very drinkable, is complex without being overbearing, and absolutely delicious. Well worth the $5 I paid for the bottle.

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

Pours a cloudy dark mahogany with minimal head fading fast. Aromas contains some spice, roasted malts, and a hint of fruit, but dissipate soon after the pour. Taste is comprised of rum-like spice notes, dark candy, and roasted malts with a hint of bitterness from the hops peeking through. Smooth and sweet through the swallow with a slightly dry and bitter finish. Fairly well balanced, and warming, but lacks significant complexity and character. An above average brew, but nothing overly exceptional about its quality.

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Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Reddish-mahogany with a ½ inch of finely bubbled beige head that has serious staying power.

Smell: Smells like plums and apricot. The aroma is very fruity.

Taste: bready malts complimented by floral fruitiness from the yeast. It has a very sweet plum flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Not heavily carbonated.

Drinkability: definitely a great choice for a dessert beer. At 10.5% abv, it is deceptively balanced. This is a little too sweet to drink much of.

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

Big fizzy cream colored head which recedes within the first couple sips leaving a small amount of lace. Smells of alcohol and sweet roasted malt, raisins(?), sweet bread. Pours a very dark colored brown. Some light visible through the glass, but not much. A kick ass Belgian Ale. This is what Belgium is known for. So so smooth and a “big” beer for sure. Very complex. It only gets better as it warms. Enjoy with a hearty meal.

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Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,872 ratings.
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