Gulden Draak | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
3,920 Ratings
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
Ratings:
3,920
Reviews:
1,336
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
11.43%
 
 
Wants:
305
Gots:
858
For Trade:
4
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,920 |  Reviews: 1,336
Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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

Thanks to Shane for picking this one up, one I know we both wanted to check out.

A: Pours a deep ruby/brown color with a smallish tan head on top. Decent retention, lasting for a few minutes before dissolving to little bits of bubbles on top. Not much lacing.

S: Lots of plum and prune, it reminded me of grapes that are slightly over-ripe, kind of like what it smells like when you walk through a bunch of grape vines actually. There is some dark caramel and a little bit of spice.

T: Rather sweet with the dark fruits returning (plum, prune, and a bit of raisin but not much). There is also a bit of banana, some brown sugar, and caramel. Again, it is lightly spiced and slightly yeasty.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Alcohol hidden rather well.

O: A pretty solid beer, not something I am running out to drink all the time, but would grab it once in a while.

 884 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of duceswild
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

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

 379 characters

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

Finally have gotten around to trying this one after staring at it for what seemed like years. The pour was very nice, and highly carbonated. A rich dark reddish tinted brown liquid came forward and offered a very thick presence in the glass. Absolutely opaque with no light coming through on this at all. Really quite impressive. A huge tan colored head of lace popped on top of this one, with a force that caused me not to be able to pour the entire contents out at one time. Really quite full. After letting the four inch high head of foam calm down I was able to get the rest of the bottle into the glass, but it had a good layer of lace that stuck around for the entire session and copious amounts of side glass lace that permeated throughout.

The aroma was very big and full of spices, as I would have thought it would be. A very nice overall presence on this one, with big hints of plums, and figs mixing though as well as a sort of spiced rum alcohol. Some grainy notes in the back as well, but this was dominated by the dark yeast that was at hand. The flavor followed through perfectly, with a full, yet smooth balanced profile. Notes of raisins and plums were dancing about, as was a noticeable amount of alcohol. Lots of dark yeast flavors, but as it warmed, it really mellowed out and some light hop notes started to percolate through on the back end. Really very complex with a smooth Drinkability that I did not think would be there for something that was well over 10%abv. It was definitely a sipper, however it was dangerously smooth, as I could have easily had another before it really caught up and put a hurting on me.

Overall, I would have to say that this one was excellent. Really, a top notch brew that I would love to be able to try again. Luckily, it is everywhere that would not be an issue. One of the most solid representations of the style, and truly an ale that cannot be ignored.

 1,912 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer at Sharp Edge Creekhouse in Pittsburgh. Served cool in a Gulden Draak Goblet.

A - Deep Bronze w/ a 2 finger beige collar w/ a fined bead that makes sporadic lace

S - Belgian yeast w/ dark malt odors, biscuit and dark brown sugar w/ a very subtle boozy note and hints of fig in the nose

M- Roasted and dry gain in the feel w/ lively carbonation, subtle sweetness and spiced dry finish

T - Deep w/ candy sugar and gentle spice w/ a hint of vegetal, booze and maple-like woody notes and dark fruit - raisin, fig, and cherry notes w/ a pepper like spice and boozy filled cocoa and date-like candy flavors. The taste becomes smooth and creamy as it warms w/ a nut bread and boozy dark cherry w/ candy sugar accents.

D - I really enjoyed this Belgian strong ale. It was the first I remember having it on draft, but I have enjoyed it many times in bottled form. The balanced sweetness w/ dry alcoholic feel is just superb and I recommend it highly. This is well crafted and restrained for the high abv, A welcome ale to my tastebuds.

 1,049 characters

Photo of Jason
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 330ml odd sized fatty that has a bone colored plastic lining to block UV-rays out. No freshness date

Appearance: Hazed brown leather color with a healthy looking head that sports some great retention.

Smell: Lemony with a candied alcoholic fruitiness, a tad buttery within the malt sweetness.

Taste: Very potent, spicy peppery alcohol, syrupy nectar like sweetness, meat broth and a hard dose of phenolics provide balance to the sweetness. Viscous smoothness. Estery with some warming fusel alcohols as well. The after taste has a faded herbal tea flavor which lingers with a residual sweetness.

Notes: At 10.5% abv it holds together quite well as there is enough body to match the alcoholic character. Veal Marsala with Parmesan coated linguini is a great pairing, try using this beer in a redux sauce with mushrooms and shallots over the veal.

 871 characters

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

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 11/25/11 notes. Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a dark mahogany brown color with two fingers of fluffy tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, molasses, sweet fruity malts, light alcohol, and light spices.

t - Tastes of sweet dark fruits, molasses, bready malts, booze, yeast, and light spice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink for over 10% ABV.

o - Overall a very good Belgian dark ale. Lots of sweet dark fruits mixing with a little spice. Something I would definitely buy again.

 573 characters

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

A: The pour is a dark amber color, definitely some brown notes to it with a finger and a half of khaki head.

S: Tons of bubblegum and banana aroma. Some clove notes to go along with it. A bit of caramel and brown sugar along with dark fruits such as plums and black cherries.

T: Quite sweet with tons of banana, dark fruit, and dark sugar flavors such as brown sugar and caramel. Quite a bit of bubblegum flavor as well. Mild alcohol and spice notes, as well as some yeast, provide depth.

M Medium in body with a fairly high level of carbonation.

O: One of those classic beers and one that I still enjoy a decent amount. Not a favorite, but solid.

 651 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Soft, creamy head that forms nice peaks. Super thick lace. Cloudy milk chocolate color.

S - Raisins, figs, allspice, clove. Ends with light alcohol notes.

T - Sweet dried fruits open the profile. Prunes, golden raisins, pumpernickel bread. Booze rolls around in the middle of the profile, as the taste transitions to lighter breads, yeast, and just a touch of bitterness from the hops. Honey and light malt round out the aftertaste.

M - Medium-light body. Has a smoothness that coats the back of your palate.

D - Even though the booze makes a cameo, the beer does a great job of hiding the 10% ABV. The sweetness in the beer might be too much for some people.

O - A little too sweet. It almost drinks like a desert beer (more ice-wine than port), but still delicious.

 777 characters

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of woodychandler
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I know that I am supposed to be laser-focused on CANs right now, but a) I purchased a mixed-six box of Belgian bottles recently and b) a homebrewer friend wants the stubby empties. That's fine with me since I usually just fill them with gasoline, get a paper towel wick, light it aflame and pitch it through either a Starbucks or a Wells Fargo Bank window. This way, it keeps me a) out of mischief and b) in beer. Win-win, I think it is referred to as being.

I gently prised the cap off of the bottle, but as I was finishing Pop!ping it open, I began to get some foaming through the neck of the bottle. Consequently, my pour was extremely gentle, so as not to rouse any potential lees. A swirl in the glass raised a finger of fizzy, deep-tan/light-brown head with extremely limited retention. It was as if it could not wait to lay back down & take a nap. Or maybe that was me, extrapolating. Color was a hazy Brown to Dark Brown (SRM = > 22, < 27). Nose smelled of dried, dark fruits - (think raisins, prunes, dates, figs) as well as caramel, treacle/molasses, leather and a simple fusel alcohol heat to remind you that the Draak (Dragon) is in charge! Time to hop on its back & go for a ride! The first sip landed on my tongue like it had been scooped out from its source and plopped onto my tongue in a dollop! The taste was neither as sweet nor as hot as the nose had led me to gird myself for. The leather was certainly there and it it was more towards dates & figs than raisins & prunes. Still, it was not playing around. I drank a cheap Minhas product on Sunday & it had the same effect, just much less subtle. Then, it was a sledgehammer to the back of the head while now was akin to an iron glove enrobed in velvet & to my mouth, rather than my brain-housing group. Warming, I began to get notes of brandy & sherry & my thoughts wandered to all of the strippers that I have known over the years: Brandy, Sherry, Cinnamon, China, Candy et al. I kid you not, my 1993 deployment to Roosey Roads, P.R. saw me spending a LOT of time at the sadly now-defunct Papa Joe's! My second gentle pour from the bottle saw a little more clarity beginning to develop, but I do not know how I could have gotten around that initial foaming. Being that it was warmer than it had been initially, it was really starting to bring the heat! I would like to add port to that earlier list. If this were the days before I contracted adult-onset asthma, I would be smoking a cigar with this! Finish was hot, dry, very much a sipper. The leathery fruitiness lingered well after each swallow & I waved with a heavy heart as Draak the Dragon flew off to her next stop. At least, I have a lovely bottle opener to remember her by!

 2,706 characters

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of TMoney2591
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sloeber tulip glass.

Back in the day, I was jazzed to try this beer because of the opaque white bottle. Good to see not much has changed. It pours a surprisingly clear garnet topped by a firm finger or more of ecru froth. The nose comprises figs, raisins, rye bread, strawberries, lightly roasted malts, and nutmeg. The taste follows pretty closely, with a blend of dark fruits interbreeding with caramel, toffee, rye bread, and a nice spice blend that I assume would make a good banana bread even better. Good times. The body is a hefty medium, with a moderate carbonation and feel that borders on the chewy, but never quite makes it (and that's not necessarily a bad thing here). Overall, a very nice brew, better than I remember it being.

 754 characters

Photo of ZEB89
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of thatoneguymike
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

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

A: Gulden Draak appears a chestnut brown color with ruby / crimson highlights visible when held to the light. The liquid is murky and hazy, with random bits of sediment meandering randomly through the beer. Atop the beer sits a half inch of khaki head that leaves some decent lacing on the glass.

S: The aroma is of Belgian yeast, alcohol, slightly sweet malts. The beer tastes better than it smells, actually. The aroma is fine, but could be more grandiose.

T: The beer is sweet and malty. In spite of this, the heat, or alcohol presence, is quite subdued. If it weren't for the sweetness, it would be pretty easy to gulp down a few of these too fast. The Belgian yeast flavor is great, but I would prefer it to be brought to the forefront a bit more.

M: Alcohol content is well hidden. The feel is medium-bodied and creamy, with a malty / candy sweetness present throughout.

D: A good beer, but not my favorite BSDA. Still, it's a solid beer and one I will continue to enjoy on occasion.

 995 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at World of Beer in WPB. Served in a tulip.

Appearance - Murky brown body with an ample cream colored head. Surprising head on it, but maybe just because it's on tap. A minimal amount of lacing graces the surface of the beer.

Smell - I get bananas and apples. The apples have a slight tang to them. Some dark fruits. The description on the menu said toffee, but I don't get that over the fruits. A bit of booze in the nose, too.

Taste - Again, a bit of banana from the yeastiness, followed by a strange citrus tang that accompanies the dark fruits prevalent in Belgian darks. It's not bad, it's just not what I expect at all. A complex flavor, to be sure.

Mouthfeel - The flavor is good and I guess they're going for the tripel style, but I'm not liking it. It makes it dry and spicy in the finish when I want it thick and smooth. A strange hybrid of styles that I don't necessarily appreciate.

Overall - Good flavor, for sure. Nothing I haven't tasted before, but still good. I just don't like the dryness in the finish.

 1,033 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
4.2 out of 5 based on 3,920 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe