Gulden Draak Vintage | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Gulden Draak VintageGulden Draak Vintage

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 149
Photo of puboflyons
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage. From a bottle stamped 31H1-14:02. Sampled on December 21, 2012.

The pour is a handsome looking brown with a silky, delicate beige head that lingers ion top of the beer for the entire session.

The aroma is full of the Belgian esters one hopes for when sampling these beers. Notes f sweet Belgian malts, dark fruit, butterscotch, toffee and the slightest hint of hops. But all in all the sensations are mellow thanks to 3 years of cellaring.

The body is better than medium but it is so smooth and creamy.

The taste is alive with barley malts that make me think of an aged barleywine with a good dose of caramel, licorice, and a dash of spice. The hop bitterness at the end is mellow and subtle. I wish I could have more beers like this.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 9/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours dark cloudy orange brown with an off white head. Burst out of the bottle and foamed everywhere. Slightly sour dark and light fruit aroma. Taste of dark and light fruit, high carbonation, somewhat sour, but mitigated by a caramel sweetness. Sour finish with light spice and hops. A fleeting metallic aftertaste drops the rating. Tasty, but too carbonated.

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4.09/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle.Westmalle Chalice glass. Enjoyed on feb´12. Dark copper color.Off-white,large size bubbled,froth. Quickly dissipated crown. Sugar, toasted malts & notes of cinnamon to the nose.Flavors are sweet, malty, spicy with very subtle cocoa.Medium body,medium carbonation. Dry finish. Fruity –sweet plum & dark fruits- aftertaste.Nice drinkability.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Paul, 2008 vintage, the little dragon is wearing a Santa hat, odd , OK.

Beer served in a snifter, beer is brown and hazy with a thin brown head, high heavy carbonation, moderate retnetion, no lacing.

Aroma is sweet, raisin, a little oxidized.

Beer is light in body, completely thinned out on the palate by the over the top carbonation, illogically overcarbonated. It is a little sweet with a dryish finish, decent but not great.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From 02/25/12 notes. 750ml bottle shared by Lunch; bless you Paul. 2008 vintage.

a - Pours a dark mahogany color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of dark fruits, raisins, spices, bready malts, grain, light sugar and fruity malts, light caramel malts. PRettynice nose.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, sweet dark fruits, spices, sugar, bready malts. A little too sweet, a step down from the nose.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, almost nonexistent. Undercarbonated and a little too sweet.

o - Overall a decent beer, but the taste is a tiny bit too sweet and it was undercabronated. Nose was nice, would try it again.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Lunch. Served in a snifter. 2008 vintage.

Pours a medium golden color. Fairly thick with a bit of a white head. Not much lacing. The nose has a bit of sweetness and fruit with a touch of malt in the background. Flavor is fairly similar. Some caramel malt with some brown sugar. Semi sweet and a medium body. Low carbonation. Pretty good.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the wonderful Crane Alley in downtown Urbana, Illinois.

A thick finger of slightly tan froth tops a burgundy-mahogany body with maraschino cherry trim; good, decorative lacing and head duration. Subtle aromas, with some dried fruit, caramel malt, and berry emerging after some patience.

Good, smooth taste, with lots of whiskey-soaked cherry, some raspberry, caramel and biscuit malt. Active yeast adds a bit of heat and a bite in the finish, but over Vintage is smooth, fruity BSDA. The mouthfeel to me is the best aspect of Vintage, for the creamy smooth texture is complimented by a terrific effervescence. The sweet fruit, with a tart hint, makes for a fine finish.

A solid, flavorful, enjoyable beer that is accessible and fruity without packing a big alcohol punch, Vintage is well worth trying. A better, stronger smell and a somewhat bolder, fuller would make it truly superb but, as it stands, this is yet another fine addition to the outstanding Van Steenberge line of beers.

Certainly recommended.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep red, thin layer of head, splotchy lacing

S: lots of candied grape on the nose followed by spicy Belgian yeast, notes of figs

T: things start sweet with lots of grape again, some cherry followed by vanilla and some spicy notes to finish things off. Nice balance.

Mf: medium carbonation, medium body

O: this features nice delicate fruit flavors with a Belgian twist, pretty mild, but considering the abv this drinks very nicely

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Photo of barczar
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into the tulip a clear deep amber color with garnet highlights. A 1.5 finger cream head dissipates slowly into a light layer of foam on the surface. The entire upper glass surface is coated in belgian lace.

Candied malt and a tart dark cherry fruit aroma lead the way. Musty dark fruits become pronounced as it warms. Figs, dates, and plums are somewhat subdued in comparison with the tart, almost sweettart candy finish.

Tart dark cherry leads the flavor profile and dominates throughout. Caramel malt supports beneath, with figs surfacing as the beer warms. I took a break from sampling for about a half hour, and the flavor opened up tremendously. Dates, raisins, and caramel sweetness play a much better supporting role. Diacetyl is present, but not offensive. A hint of pepper closes out the profile.

Body is medium to light with more carbonation than anticipated. For the style I expected more viscosity. Alcoholic warmth is evident in the finish, which is fairly bubbly.

Overall, I expected more depth of flavor. The complexity was lacking compared to other belgian strong darks. I much prefer the straight gulden draak. I think the carbonation helped mute subtle flavors that may have been present. Update: let it warm a LOT and flavor improves significantly.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Release.

A: 1/4" tan coloured head that left a nice lacing over a deep reddish-amber liquid.

S: Sweet dark fruit that is associated with many beers which use Belgian yeast as well as a refreshing citrus smell to it.

T: There is quite a bit of different flavours here including: citrus, pepper, candied apples and figs. The aftertaste is reminiscent of cranberries.

M: Thinner viscosity than expected with a relatively high level of fine carbonation.

O: The thinness and refreshing citrus flavour profile of this beer make it strange for a Christmas seasonal release. I think I would prefer drinking the original Gulden Draak for Christmas and have this during the summer months instead.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark, hazy amber with a puffy, creamy tan head.

S: Aromas of candy sugar, caramel, and cider apples are present on the nose. The smell is somewhere between a dubbel and a typical strong dark ale.

T: Slick on the palate with notes of toffee, caramel, cider apples, cream, candy sugar, and earthy hops. The finish is mellow and warming with apple, caramel, and cream flavors.

M: Medium to full bodied and slick with adequate carbonation. Not bad.

O: This is a solid Belgian strong dark ale. I'm not sure I'd go out of my way for it again, but it's worth a try.

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

Vintage 2008 poured from 750ml C&C bottle into DFH Signature glass.

Appearance: Bit of a gusher, and with that comes a huge frothy white head on top of a mahogany colored body. The head stays around for a rather long time, with some nice lacing slowly moving down the glass. Post thought: The last glass has a wonderful cyclone of thick beige froth. Very attractive.

Smell: Sweet esthery notes project out of the glass. Big sweet plum nose with some candied sugar and spice. A bit of alcohol sits at the back of the nose, nothing overpowering.

Taste: Some grape flavor coming through. The malt shines. Big notes of fruit, some bread, hardly any hop bitterness, just sweet malt and spices.

Mouth: Sticky sweet character. The carbonation is just right despite being a gusher. The caramel sweet body stays with you until revealing a bit of alcohol and metallic sensation.

Drink and overall: Pretty solid BSDA. Seems like it was at a good stage of it's life, unfortunately I did no have the chance to try it fresh. A different beast than it's brother, which I thought was appealing.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, unknown age,

A: Pours a deep red umber with a medium white head, spotty lace.

S: A Belgian malt bomb of esters and sugar. Very appealing and distinct.

T: Quite malty, but well balanced. Caramel, sweet estery malt with a hop presence that's understated but provides backbone. Tasty BSDA.

M: Medium-bodied, smooth though a tad thin at times, very light carbonation.

O: Another classic from the Gulden Draak family, glad I finally got to try it.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A brown bottle with paint on it...shouldn't be light struck. This is a 750mL bottle of Vintage Ale 2010. I've never tried this one before, and it is a bit weaker than others in this category. Let's see what this one has to offer:

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color that you can't really tell the clarity. There is a huge head of tannish bubbles that rose at least 1/2" after the pour. There are lots of bubbles rising. There is some pretty solid lacing left on the glass after drinking.

Aroma: I initially got a good bit of sweet malts and caramel with some reserved yeasty notes. Very reminiscent of a traditional Dubbel. Fruity notes are definitely coming out once the head finally fell.

Taste: The flavor follows the aroma pretty closely except that there is a dryness to the malts that is a little unusual. The sweetness is the main player, but there is enough bitterness to have the malt be the leader in the finish, but not by much. As the head finally starts to fade, you can pick up a bit of grassy and slightly floral hops. There is some warming that hits the back of the throat and stays with the alcohol seeming like it is going to stick around for a while. This along with the acidity from the dark malts hit the palate relatively hard in the finish. The carbonation is high, which is ample for this or practically any other Belgian Style. As the beer warms up, raisins and other dark fruit are coming out in spades.

Opinion: Well, this is a pretty good beer, no doubt. It is more of a Dubbel than a BSD. The flavors are toasty and sweet like you often get with a Dubbel, and the overall texture and mouthfeel doesn't really lean toward the BSD category. I would definitely say that this beer is worth a shot, but drink it expecting a Dubbel and you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Durge
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew is a dark brown color with a nice light tan colored fuzzy head and decent lacing. The aroma is a somewhat non-descript grassy-malt. Okay though. The flavor says grapey malt and grass hop blended into a slightly edgey brew with some metallic notes. There's a subtle underlying milk chocolate and swampy maple sweetness. This stuff is medium bodied with a slightly dry overtone and a vaguely resinous but bubbly feel. Drinkability is decent. An enjoyable Belgian brew, though I don't see the holiday theme in it.

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Photo of charlzm
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Consumed January 25th, 2011 at Lucky Baldwin's Delirium Cafe in Sierra Madre, CA.

Beer presents a clear, caramel color with deep red highlights. A two-finger meringue-like head floats atop the beer.

Aroma is dominated by sweet, dark malt. Brown sugar and plums also noted.

Flavor is more or less like the aroma with the added bonus of having a freshly-baked dark bread character. Almost no bitterness.

The finish is surprisingly clean, considering all the bready malts floating around.

The smallish glass I was served was just enough; any more and it would have ruined my appetite!

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Photo of scottfrie
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into matching Gulden Draak tulip.

A: Pours a dark ruby red with a billowing light tan that slowly faded into a bubbly thin film that left streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: I get big notes of pears and apples with a few other fruits thrown in the mix. It's spicy as well, but not potently so, and there is a detectable amount of alcohol vapor.
T: Overall pretty sweet with fruity flavors of grapes, plums, and orange zest. The yeast adds just a hint of biscuity doughy flavor, but it is not strong. The finish is full of peppery notes, clove and maybe ginger. Aftertaste has a touch of tobacco and maybe wood.
M: Prickly carbonation over a body that is on the fuller side of medium. Mouthfeel is substantial but not overly tingly. Alcohol is pretty much hidden, but there is just the slightest amount of flavor yet no warmth.
D: A really solid BSDA that is better than most I've had, but not the best. I'd definitely drink this again (although there are far too many beers I've yet to try for me to actually think I'll buy this again). Recommended.

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Photo of Tilley4
2.98/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Great looking bottle poured into my Chimay goblet... Dark amber with a thick fluffy head... Persistent as hell... Lots of carbonation...

Lots of Belgian sugar present in the nose... Dark sweet maltiness... Toffee-like... Some fruit aspects... Fairly subdued but what I'm getting is pretty good...

First thing I notice is the stinging carbonation here... Kills the mouthfeel on this beer and distracts from the taste to a point it gets in the way... Dark sweet maltiness is about all thanks to the overwhelming carbonation here...

Disappointing... I wanted this to be awesome but the carbonation was distracting and too over the top...

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Photo of pants678
4.51/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An opaque amber that leans more toward brown than red. A head that's beige and frothy and thick that retains throughout.

Hops come through the nose as well as rosemary, plum and a nutty tinge.

A subtlety compared to the fresh bottle. A fruity sweetness comes through the brown sugar flavor in the middle with a welcomed shot of alcohol with a charred base. Takes a turn to effervescent and spicy strawberry. Well defined, not sure if it's a different recipe.

Fine and persistent bubbles.

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Photo of corby112
2.83/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes:

2008 vintage. Pours a dark ruby red/hazelnut brown color with a thin foamy off-white head that quickly fades leaving little to no lacing behind.

Caramel malt aroma with subtle earthy hops, peppery spice, hazelnut, dark fruit and smoke.

Lighter bodied tuan I expected or hoped for with some sweet caramel maltiness as well as very subtle hop bitterness. Peppery spice with hints of cinnamon and a slightly roasty hazelnut character. Soft carbonation but slightly watered down with a sweet dry finish.

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Photo of crossovert
4.52/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage.

750ml white coated, red foiled, corked, and caged bottle.

It pours a nice brown/plum with a hint of ruby. It has nice clarity and a big foamy tan head. The ehad sticks for a bit and recedes to some excellent lacing.

The smell is intoxicating, just sweet, dark bread, simple but just enchanting.

The flavor is amazing. It has perhaps a bit more of a spicy/herbal note than the regular gulden. It is definitely lighter, but more complex. There is a huge toffee presence, and some barleywine-like flavors. This is almost like a light Belgian dark barleywine. There is a nice hit of fermented dark fruits and a pinch of alcohol. The malt is traditional and bready, providing a hearty base.

The mouthfeel is right on, it has a full body, but a decent carbonation level.

Just an outstanding beer. I would consider buying another one to age for even longer for sure.

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

Perhaps a bit smoother than the regular Gulden Draak, some of the sharpness scaled back. Belgian candy sugar predominates in the malt. Yeast notes are a bit muted, and the alcohol lends a distinctive black peppper bite at the finish. An interesting nightcap.

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Photo of endincolorado
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper with some lighter highlights, a huge, fizzy, off-white head that settles with an audible quickness like soda.

Aroma is of roast, spice, and some interesting herbal notes in back- along with a sweetness reminiscent of apple.

Flavor also has a nice appley flavor like a good cider, along with a very nice yeasty spice, and some roasted malt.

Mouthfeel is medium-light with a very fizzy carbonation.

A tasty offering with a moderately high abv. Price tag is a bit high, but why not spend the extra couple of bucks? After all, it is the holiday season.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Nice pop and overflow on the bottle. Pours dark brown, near with, very frothy head, lots of cling.

S - Bready, Belgian yeasty. Dark fruit in there somewhere.

T - Taste emulates smell pretty much to the tee.

M - Too much carbonation. It takes away from both the body and the flavor. Fair balance.

D - All in all, pretty easy to drink for sure.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a wine glass.

Where can I get a Santa hat for my dragon? No matter, the beer pours a clear sienna topped by a healthy tan froth. The nose comprises cherry, fig, brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. The taste follows this same path, though some nice black pepper mixes in there as well. The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a nice version of the Draak, though I'm not sure I got too much of a difference between the two. (Not too much of a bad thing, there, anyway.)

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Gulden Draak Vintage from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 149 ratings