Gulden Draak Vintage | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

very good
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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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-17-2006

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Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 148
Photo of claspada
2.08/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap @ Rattle h Hum NYC

Pours a beautiful light head, nice light lacing as well. The beer is a deep reddish brown with average carbonation for the style. The nose is of malt and earth, with a Belgian yeasty note. Taste starts well with malt and light hops but then quickly and unfortunately changes to this metallic and mediciny mess. Light mouthfeel. Second sip is even worse as I cannot get past that initial off flavor which lingers on the tounge. Had to order another beer to wash out the taste. DO yourself a favor and skip this one.

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Photo of MCDuhamel
2.49/5  rDev -35%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a corked and caged 750 ml bottle into a chalice at around 50F.

Pours a beautiful tight head that follows the beer down the glass; lots of lacing. The beer is a deep ruby, nicely clear, with small bubbles rising quickly to the surface. The nose is of malt and earth, with a spicy note. On the tongue, though, the first impression is of a bloody penny; a strong metallic and blood-like character stays with the beer. That overpowers the remaining flavors, which are of malt, some red fruit, and clove. The mouthfeel is comparatively light, about what one would expect for the style but nothing unusual. In quantity, that metallic/bloody character makes it hard to keep going.

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Photo of corby112
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
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 magictrokini
2.92/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ehh. Pours rich brown with some cloudiness. Uncontrollable off-white head that explodes out of the glass, then gets rocky as it slowly fades. Nice aroma of spice, caramel, sandalwood, dried fruits, and sweet bread. Then it goes downhiil, fast. Weak, watery mouthfeel. Taste of raisins, caramel malt, dirty yeast, overly spiced cookie dough. Problem is all of these tastes are weak and flat.

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Photo of Tilley4
2.98/5  rDev -22.2%
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 joepais
3.06/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 vintage 750 ml bottle poured into my duvel tulip dark ruby red with a big beige head. the cork had wonderful aromas of bread dough and spices which continued to flow from the glass that I poured a hint of spice as well as a sweet fruit aroma The palate on this one is very crisp (carbonated ) but a medium feel to it .Flavors of sweet fruit, spice and bitter hop finish I'll say that the flavors are very mild tho Not what I expected for a winter offering from this company. The regular Gulden Draak is much more pronounced and prehaps better than this one. I dont know where the brewer was going with this one

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Photo of farrago
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Huge 3-4 finger head if poured down the center of the glass, lacey, delicate foam of larger bubbles which dissipate at a steady rate, too fine to leave much lacing behind. Muddy brown in color with more yellow than orange tinge, murkily opaque with a few bubbles visible. Herbaceous, leafy nose like moss, fallen leaves and wet dried grass, close to salty at moments, light coating of ginger and cocoa beans but nothing about the scents screams sweetness, any fruit is muted figs and dates. In the mouth it's medium-bodied, the carbonation has sufficient fluff to broaden total palae coverage. Some apple and pear pairs up with the dates but as the cocoa, chocolate element is so dry, again, the lack of sweetness is palpable. Slightly lower herbal, forest-like character, however, does end with an increased astringent dryness. Mixed spices, nothing gains clarity on its own. To be fair, in my explorations of the Belgian Strong Dark Ale category I have been underwhelmed and think the category just doesn't do it for me. Chances are others will like this better than I.

 1,071 characters

Photo of froghop
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours a dark brown mahogany with a large brown wispy head that dissipates quickly and leaves a little lacing.

smell is of malt, some spice, some fruits, some caramel.

taste is watery, malt, some spice, some caramel, a little wood bark, end is somewhat dry.

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Photo of Tdizzle
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage cellared in my closet for over a year. 7.5% ABV.

A- Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Chimay chalice, this beer pours a murky brownish-red color with a dense, tan colored head that settles to a thick layer, leaving sticky blankets of lacing behind.

S- Belgian yeast and Belgian candi sugar with dark fruits in the background. Spices, lemon zest and orange peel too. The aroma is heavier on the spice notes and could use a heftier yeast and malt backing.

T- Besides the expected flavors of spicy Belgian yeast and sweet, bready malts, this beer is pretty bland. The finish is tasteless, save for a slight metallic bitterness.

M- Full-bodied and a bit creamy with a good amount of prickly carbonation bubbles.

D- This beer is easy to drink, but the lack of flavor doesn't make me want to explore it any further than my initial pour.

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Photo of janubio
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber colour, nice reddish to the light.
Strong head that last for a while leaving a strong lace too.
Aroma is yaesty, flowers and honey, I expected more from this.
Velvety but strong flavour. Mouth is spicy, cherries, fruits and some chocolate.
Strange that it has less alcohol than the usual Gulden Draak.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another decent Belgian, spiced up a bit for Christmas. Dark brown with an overdone head. Candy sugar and spice on the nose. Warm, alcoholic taste with background of spice and fruit. Not much better than a typical Belgian.

Not the best I've had. A little too much alcohol in the taste, and the spices don't seem to be that prominent. Vintage...but from when?

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Photo of waldoiverson
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ml into us pint

A: amber brown with offwhite head that left quickly

S: almond, alcohol, cherry and coconut

T: Like a porto, strong cherry and alcohol

M: Strong carbonation helped clean palate

D: a bit heavy for common drinking but pretty nice

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Photo of GClarkage
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

4/13/08- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle caged and corked. No freshness date, but I am assuming it's late 2007 as I think this is the first year they have brewed their Vintage Ale. Poured into my Koning chalice.

Appearance- Deep copper or amber colored. Starts off with a 3/4 inch head which soon mostly evaporates. Leaves behind very sparce if any lacing.

Smell- Picks up a bit more scent as it warms, but still a real sniffer. SOme spices such as clove and maybe a touch of cinnimon, maybe a bit of a dark fruit note.

Taste- Drink at room temperature number one. Even if a tiny metallic note comes out as it warms. Definite clove in the flavor along with a little plum and fig note. Seems about 7.5% as listed, but it's a burning hot abv.

Mouthfeel- Brisk carbonation, light sweetness in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- Wasn't blown away by it, but did enjoy it. Probably don't need to visit again though.

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Photo of russpowell
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml opens with a resounding pop!

Pours a super bubbly caramel/garnet with 3+ fingers of sand colored head. Good lacing & head retention

S: Bananas, dark fruit, white pepper & cloves (not much)

T: Bananas, appleskins,a touch of caramel & oaky dryness up front. A bit of booze sneaks in as this warms along with apricot, candi sugar, & more apple skin, plus just a touch of toastyness. finishes dry with slight phenol flavor, then much green apple peels & dark candi sugar; almost pulled a 4.0, some age should help the cause

MF: Medium bodied with fairly lively/too much carbonation

Drinks okay, a bit too carbonated & flavors aren't really meshing for me. Probably would be better with a a year+ minimum aging; at least I have a base-line for it now

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big '09 750.

The wife bought this for me at Brewforia... thanks babe! Been working all day and then came home and worked for the wife.. a fair trade I guess... poured into my Delirium goblet.

Foamy lite tan head.. has pretty good retention and okay lacing.. the brew is pretty clear cola brown.

Nose features the traditional dark fruit esters... raisins... mild fig.. but the rich maltiness really only shows as it warms up significantly..

Flavor has a nice wave of caramel that moves with the abundant bubbles into the dark fruits... finish is lingering with a carbonic bite to it... phenols have a peppery element..

a bit too carbonated even for the style.. and that lends to the sorta acidic element on the end...

good beer... I may get another to hang on to...


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Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
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 lordofthewiens
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 Vintage , served in a goblet. A medium brown color with a thick tan head. It had a dark fruit aroma (cherry, mostly), some caramel, a little spice. The mildly spiced aroma translated into a very spicy taste, which I thought was a little bit on the sharp side and not that enjoyable. The fruit and caramel took a back seat to the spices. An OK beer, but I won't be looking for another.

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Photo of Yesac
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml 2008 Vintage poured into chalice.

A- dark brown/ruby red color, decent sized tan head.

S- Sweet nose consists of sweet fruits, some slight sourness up front with the fruit, slight caramel, Belgian yeast. Faint overall aroma.

T- Toned down from the regular Gulden Draak. Light sweet fruits, carmelized sugar, toasty malt finish. Some warming from the 7.5%.

M- highly carbonated, light bodied, slightly dry on the palate.

D- Slightly to high on the carbonation. Very sweet and overall a lighter version of the regular Gulden Draak in all aspects. Certainly a great representation of a winter brew however.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
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 Thorpe429
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
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 mdfb79
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
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 Phyl21ca
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear brown color ale with a super huge light brown color head with great retention and perfect lacing. Aroma of candi sugar with nice Belgian malt and notes a dry hops and a peppery yeast. Taste is also dominated by sweet creamy malt which are well balanced with candi sugar and a spicy and peppery yeasty finish. Body is quite full with great carbonation and very light alcoholic ester are noticeable. Well done and a very good example of Belgian ale.

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Photo of largadeer
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Chestnut-colored with faint translucency and about an inch and a half of head upon first pour. It looks great, especially compared to most dubbels.

Smell - Brown sugar, black cherries and a bit of spice.

Taste & mouthfeel - Caramel, roasted nuts, maraschino cherries. Lightly spiced with moderate sweetness. Medium-bodied; smooth, silky texture. Pretty light on the palate overall; it's extremely easy to drink despite the rather high ABV.

Notes - This isn't merely a spiced holiday version of Gulden Draak, it's an entirely different beer brewed in the Belgian dubbel style. Quite a bit lighter than the regular Gulden Draak, but still very good.

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Photo of beergod1
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The first time I seen this, I was shocked, I didn't know GD had any thing else. So I couldn't wait to try it. It poured Very dark brown with a good lasting tan head. Sweet and slightly alcoholic aroma with dark fruits and malt and some yeasty hints. Has a Medium spicyness to it. Not a lot of body, more one-dimensional dominated by sweet malt and a warming alcoholic tone. It's not bad, just not very exciting. A good plain Belgian ale. Regular Gulden Draak is better. I think I'll stick with American Christmas Ales, It seems to me there are a lot more Heartier Ales and Lagers at Chrismas time, then Foriegn. IMO

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Photo of koolchas
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass...

gulden draak "used" to be my favorite begian strong ale and this brew brought me back to belgian ales.

but, as stated by other member, this vintage ale seemed much lighter than the original.

still a very good choice for style, seems like the brew was lightened up a bit with some spices added. the only positive about it being "lighter" is that you don't get the fullness in the stomach after a few glasses which many winter seasonals will do to you.

one of the easier winter brews i've drank so far, but i was expecting so much more. more flavors, more complexity, just more of everything ....

regardless, still worth a try at least once, but once may be enough for most.

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Gulden Draak Vintage from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.83 out of 5 based on 148 ratings.
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