Gulden Draak Barrel Aged Calvados
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Gulden Draak Barrel Aged CalvadosGulden Draak Barrel Aged Calvados
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Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #35
Ranked #3,301
4.28 | pDev: 5.61%
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Gulden Draak Barrel Aged CalvadosGulden Draak Barrel Aged Calvados
Notes: Gulden Draak Barrel Aged Calvados is the second in the series of Gulden Draak Quad barrel aged beers. The brewer ages Gulden Draak Quad 9000 in Calvados (Apple Cider Brandy) barrels for roughly 4-6 months. An ideal length of time for the residual flavors of the barrels to meld with the beer. This is a beer unlike any you’ve ever tasted. Once again Jef Versele from Brewery Van Steenberge produces a gem for all to enjoy. Cheers!
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Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 54 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of puck1225
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My Christmas Eve beer! Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass. Brownish golden yellow with a nice white head and good curtain lacing. Smell and taste of pears and appples. Herbal flavors, candied oranges. Hint of booze. Made the evening merrier!

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle, no dating, just under $20.

Pours a clear orange, massive head of foam that shrinks to aboot a half inch when things settle down. Nice lacing.

I smell apples, caramel malt, candi sugar, and alcohol when I take deep whiffs. Stopping that.

Taste is slightly tart apples, loads of candi sugar, caramel malt, alcohol on the back end.

Smooth mouthfeel, it is a strong one that demands slow sipping. I'm obliging. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. "Gulden Draak Calvados Barrel Aged Ale"
750 ml brown glass bottle, corked & caged without any apparent freshness dating.

Notes via stream of consciousness: Well I'm glad to see that this is currently well reviewed as Van Steenberge has put out some lesser than fantastic beers in the past and I wasn't sure if this was just a gimmick or not. But OK, so what are Calvados barrels? As I recall Calvados is a French apple brandy despite the fact that the name sounds Spanish, or do I have that wrong? Ahh, yes, it states apple cider brandy on the label and also mentions that the base beer is the Quad 9000. OK, I have an idea where we're headed now. The bottle's opened with a light pop (certainly not a Champagne pop) and the beer hasn't started to rise up out of the bottle at all. It's poured a very hazy orange colored body beneath a disappointing looking head of off-white. It looks like sparse, weak, soap suds after you've done the dishes in the sink. I have this in a large Duvel tulip glass that has nucleation points etched into the base of the glass and I see some bubbles rising from the center but I doubt I'd get much in a regular glass at all. Maybe I should have poured it rougher? Ahhh, yes, I tried that with the other half and got a massive head, so please disregard. It is, however, cloudy now. On to the aroma, it's malty and sweetish and fruity with notes of apple, apricot, and orange - maybe even some peach. There's more to it though. There's some light spiciness, some star anise, some clove, a hint of alcohol, a touch of what seems like woodiness but is not necessarily from the oak, and a hint of vanilla which I do think is from the oak. It's a nice aroma. It's not too bold, it's welcoming, it's sweetish but balanced, and fairly complex if you dig in. On to the flavor then... sweetish, definitely sweetish and doughy/sugary, but balanced by an underlying alcohol and bitterness and soft spiciness from the yeast. Is there also some oaky dryness there? Yes, I think so. Am I getting everything I found in the nose? Yes, I'd say so. Wow, this is a doozy. I can't say if it would be better with more carbonation as I have nothing to compare it to, but the softer carbonation seems to be hurting it for me. It's full bodied as well which doesn't help, although you'd think that all of that sugar would have helped to form more foam - the second massive head has now dropped and there's not really that much lacing left behind. On the other hand, you only get one shot at your foaming capabilities and you do use lose them while moving beers around during barrel aging so maybe that's to blame. I wonder if other "vintages" would be better, if they even exist. So where are we at? I guess I've covered it. Overall it's fantastic though.

Review# 6,450

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak was one of my first interests in craft, in those iconic white bottles, and it has proved itself a standard in the Belgian craft arena... I have had their quad and the Brewmaster's Edition, and found both to be high quality beers... I must also state that I am partial to Calvados and apple brandy barrel-aging for beer - I don't think I've ever failed to enjoy a beer aged in barrels of that sort... Disclaimers aside...

Into a goblet, pour reveals a translucent orange-amber body under a finger-plus of off-white foam that persisted as a partial film across the surface and left little lacing behind... Aromas of apple, pear, and orange, lightly accented with booze and barrel wood hit the nose immediately... Flavors on the sip bring more of the same, filled out with with a jammy blend of fig, plum, and peach marmalade beneath... Bits of tannin provide hints of an edge, but this is basically an elegant, sweet and clean fruit jam of a beer, smooth but with a gentle fuzz of carbonation... Body stays medium-light and is lifted by graceful vapors of fruited alcohol across the palate... Very nice drinking experience - recommended...

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Photo of flagmantho
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 750mL corked & caged bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich, deep golden-orange hue with a nearly haze-free body. Head is two fingers of pillowy ivory foam that have a lot of staying power and leave a good lace on the glass. Great!

Smell: very sweet aroma with a rich maltiness. I'm not sure I get the calvados cask here, but it sure is a massive Belgian candy aroma. This feels more like a BSDA or tripel in aroma than a quad, however, without all the great complexity that a quad can bring.

Taste: big and sweet and malty up front, but with a much finer array of subtler flavors on the finish. There's pear for sure, and apple, and just a hint of the brandy barrel toward the end which I think does a good job to round out the flavor. There's alcohol heat as well, for sure, but I think it just balances the sweetness. Very good indeed!

Mouthfeel: medium body but with plenty of stickiness and carbonation, yielding a very enjoyable creaminess indeed. This is what I like.

Overall: this is a really, really good beer, although high sweetness level impedes drinkability a bit. Still, very good.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper-orange body with minimal head and good lace that stuck around. The aroma is comprised of candi sugar along with dark fruits in addition to some wood and apple notes. Medium to heavy bodied beer that is a little boozy but not much with a woody smoothness, not vinous but more of a cider-like sweetness combining with some dark fruits and candi sugar, and has some obvious malt heft to give it balance and preventing it from being watery/sharp. Strong beer that I liked although not my first choice for a Belgian.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.86/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 19.71 (Including tax and discount)/750 mL cork and cage bottle ($ 0.776/oz) from Spec’s, DeZavala, San Antonio, TX. Reviewed 10/6/18.
Undated bottle. On shelf in store. Stored at 42 degrees and served at 60 degrees in a hand washed and dried Jester King snifter.
Appearance – 4.
Body – Orange, slight haze.
Head – Large (Maximum 5.2 cm, controlled center pour), off-white, low density froth, good retention, slowly diminishing to an irregular frothy ring and a heaped partial layer with some thick fragments of lacing.
Lacing – Good. Wide bands of tiny to large bubbles with holes.
First pour – Dark yellow, clear.
Aroma – 3 – Very weak fruitiness. No yeast, no apple, no barrel.
Flavor – 4.25 – Begins with a fruitiness that is distinctly not apple. Seems a bit smoother than regular Gulden Draak. No alcohol (10.5% ABV), no diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 4 – Full, creamy, soft carbonation.
Impression and interpretation – 4 - I am disappointed in the weak nose. Otherwise, I think this is a Strong Dark Ale, not a Quadrupel as stated on BA. Either way, it’s not worth double the price of Gulden Draak.

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Photo of bshefftz
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

As other reviewers noted, it's very orange - doesn't look like a quad, and I'd say splits the difference between a tripel and a quad. I liked the tangy apple aroma. Just hints of the barrel flavor. A fine, balanced beer that I'm unable to compare accurately to the base beer since it's been too long since I've had one.

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Photo of josanguapo
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From Labirratorium. In Teku glass. Playing Avernum 3. Surprisingly well hidden 10.5% abv and smoothness on the sip. Nice marmalade notes but didnt find any odd notes attributable to the calvados

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Released at Systembolaget, Sweden May 4 - 2018.

Clear amber beer with a huge, fluffy, creamy white head that stays forever!

Nose: Ripe apples, belgian yeast, banana, almond, cherry, peach, red berries, raisin, plum, toffee and calvados barrels. The nose is absolutely amazing!
Taste: Candied sugar, raisin, calvados, apple, pear, peach, orange, alcohol, oak, clove and plum.
Mouth: Medium body. Dry. Very light carbonated. Soft and smooth. Bitter ending.
Pretty light body and suprisingly easy drinking for that ABV! Really good!

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Photo of snaotheus
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a large snifter. Can't find a date.

Pours a dark amber with a moderately small head and a lot of carbonation. Moderately hazy. Smell is apple liquor, yeast, maybe apple cider.

Taste is where the quad comes in, and things get interesting. Not much banana flavor, but a hint of clove, more yeast. Apple is quite noticeable, but not overpowering. Surprisingly crisp tasting.

Mouthfeel is very dry and surprisingly light. Overall, good beer, and very interesting.

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Photo of 98green
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap. I’m not a Belgian expert by any means, but this was very nice. Candi sugar dominates for me, with apple notes in the background. Nice alcohol burn in the finish. One is plenty but this is a good desert beer for sure

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Photo of stephens101
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reddish-orange with a tall and unbroken tan froth.

Smell is mostly sweet with bubblegum, cherry, black grape, grain and maybe even some green apple.

Apple, some booze, faint vanilla and wood float smooth across the tongue. There are flourishes of other light fruits as well as burnt sugar in the finish.

Body is medium to heavy. Carbonation is lively and plentiful.

I have always loved the base beer, and this one takes it up a notch. Wonderful.

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Photo of mactrail
4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is about the most orange beer ever, a dark shade with a fine grained pile of foam in the Gulden Draak tulip. It's really sweet with that distinctive Belgian candy taste. So rich it's like a dessert.

The unique fruity weirdness is quite powerful, not to mention the heat and the yeasty flavors. Finally it tastes like apple pie, minus the spice, and the brandy long into the aftertaste. A unique and delicious barrel aged brew. On tap at Public House in La Jolla

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Photo of Hunter
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Lovely clear, reddish copper ale. Decent head of dense bubbles, some tracing.
Smell: Subtle, clean notes of candi sugar, holiday spices like cinnamon and nutmeg
Taste: Crisp apple steeped in booze, grassy hops, sweet malt. The aftertaste is more complex, with raisins and malt.
Feel: Surprisingly light for a beer with 10.4% ABV. Clean finish, no residual flavors.
Overall: Very good ale, will seek this one out again.

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Photo of TonyLema1
3.94/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: deep gold color, tons of carbonation, big fluffy head, nice lacing
S: apples, wikelike aromas, Belgian yeast, fruit
T: apples, candied sugar, Belgian yeast
F: tons of mouthfeel, slightly boozy
O: this tastes like a Tripel, not a Quad as listed

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Photo of VashonGuy
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak Calvados pours a clear copper, with a nice head, and lacing that lasts forever. The taste is apples, raisins, and plenty of the apple brandy, along with some wood. It's lighter bodied than I expected. It's been a couple of years since I've had the base Gulden Draak, but I remembered it as darker and heavier than this beer, so the light mouthfeel surprised me just a bit. Regardless of exactly how it relates to basic Gulden Draak (one of my favorite BDSAs), this is a great beer.

Serving: on tap

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Arrow Wine for $23.99. Aged in apply brandy/calvados barrels. Caged and corked. Poured into a small stemmed tulip glass.

A beer for a cold night. A complex and balance beer. 4.5

A – Pours a clean golden resiny color with a two-finger off-white head. Has a nice carbonation. 4.75

S – Aromas of candied sugar, floral sweetness, fruity, faint green apples and strawberries, pears. 4.5

T – Slightly sweet (honey) and fruity, alcohol is evident, faint spiciness but less than the regular version of this beer. Low to no bitterness. 4.25

MF – Medium heavy body, smooth and even creamy, warming, with a semi-dry finish. Thinner than expected. 4.25

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Photo of superspak
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 9/7/2017. Pours crystal clear golden orange/amber color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with amazing retention, that reduces to a large cap that lasts. Thick soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big golden raisin, peach, plum, pear, apricot, cherry, fig, date, red apple, brandy, white grape, oak, peppercorn, light banana/bubblegum/clove, honey, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, and light nuttiness; with mild vanilla, toffee, herbal, grass, and yeast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/bready malt, candi sugar, and Calvados barrel notes; with great strength. Flavors of big golden raisin, peach, plum, pear, apricot, cherry, fig, date, red apple, brandy, white grape, oak, peppercorn, light banana/bubblegum/clove, honey, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, and light nuttiness; with mild vanilla, toffee, herbal, grass, and yeast/oak earthiness. Light peppery yeast/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of golden raisin, peach, plum, pear, apricot, cherry, fig, date, red apple, brandy, white grape, oak, peppercorn, banana, bubblegum, clove, honey, caramel, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, light nuttiness, herbal, grass, and yeast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/bready malt, candi sugar, and Calvados barrel flavors; with an awesome malt/spiciness balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness for yeast/oak spiciness and carbonation. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready/grainy, and lightly crisp/slick/sticky/tannic balanced mouthfeel that is fantastic. Alcohol is extremely well hidden; a mildly increasing warmth of 10.5%, with zero barrel booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is an amazing barrel aged pale quadrupel style! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/bready malt, candi sugar, and Calvados barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV. I love the base beer, this just dials up the complexity and overall richness to another level. Perfectly balanced malt, yeast, and barrel complexity; adequate dryness and not overly sweet/heavy feeling for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium to dark coppery orange with a half finger light khaki head with good retention and nice lacing. Aroma of candi and bready malt, apples, apricot and clove, somewhat resembling a tripel profile. Flavor has the same candi and bready malt as the aroma, Belgian yeast, apples, apricots, citron, raisins and clove; a distinct apple brandy flavor that melds with the other fruit very nicely. Medium bodied with light creaminess and sharp carbonation. A little lighter bodied than a quad, but with all the solid mixed fruit I'd hope for in that style. This definitely leans in the direction of a Belgian strong dark ale with a rich fruit flavor that is enhanced by the fresh tasting apple brandy. Not much wood, but otherwise great barrel notes. ABV is dangerously well covered, this is awesomely drinkable. Gulden Draak was one of my introductions to great Belgian strong ales and an ale I return to with great pleasure. This is a very nice barreled version with an excellent choice of barrels. Very enjoyable.

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Gulden Draak Barrel Aged Calvados from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 54 ratings