Gulden Draak Vintage | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

very good
78 Reviews
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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 BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Seemingly a highly drinkable version of the original Gulden Draak due to its lower gravity and reserved sweetness level.

The Vintage Dragon pours with a billowing light tan head that surges to the top of the chalice. The color is a deep mohogany-amber color with mild haze. Rocky with foam, the head also has creamy intermitten pockets. Sticky lacing aggressivley adheres to all sides of the glass. A very nice looking beer.

Aromas of sugar plumbs, candied cherries, ripe berries, light spice and tartness, malty rich fruitcake, dates, raisons, figs, plumbs, and grapes: all play into the complex nose and with a sorghum hearty sappiness to pull all the scents together.

Fruity, malty, sugary and grainy to taste as well. There's a very direct and consisted carry over from what the aromas are into what the tastes are. Stone fruits/dehydrated fruits combine with rum-soaked fruit cake for a complex yet melded flavor. Orange zest and light pepper add to alcohol flavor for balance and intrigue.

The mouthfeel has modest early creaminess that whisps away with an evaporative wetness. Warming alcohols steer away from bite or heat, allowing for high drinkability. The beer carries a light feel from early creaminess into a long linger of fruit and sweetness.

This beer has all of the flavor and quality of the 11% Draak but in lighter tone and tenner. Perhaps aiming towards Dubbel character, this beer reminds me of Ommegang Abbey Ale. Absolutely delicious.

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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 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 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 ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep, dark reddish-brown body with a tall, foamy, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, pleasantly fruity nose with notes of toasted caramel, similarly toasted grains, plump plums, and, lastly, a few cloves.

Taste: Flavors of toasted dark caramel and dark candi sugar deliver a moderate amount of sweetness (and rightly so). Splash of plum wine. ¼ teaspoon of freshly-ground, peppery spices. Little zip of booze. Touch of fruit and toasted grains on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Though I was initially taken aback at this being a relatively light beer when compared to the standard stalwart, Gulden Draak, I ultimately found it to be exceedingly more drinkable and more enjoyable than the original.

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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 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 TMoney2591
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
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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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 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 LiquidAmber
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
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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Photo of Gobzilla
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured an opaque chocolate brown with ruby highlights that had a half finger of head and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma was similar to the regular gulden draak which consisted of caramel, brown sugar, dark fruits, pear esters, and for sure some belgian yeast. It also did have some booze presence. The brown sugar and caramel flavor strike first along with pear dark fruit accents but the booze was not quite hidden. In the mixture the belgian yeast did help on the sweetness and to tone down the boozy bite. The brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, boozy, dark fruity, and malty finish. It drank alright but was kinda tought due to how boozy it hit the palate. Even though it was a little tough to take down I always enjoy gulden draak wether the vintage or the OG.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak makes a Xmas ale? Easy decision, grab the bottle and pay the $14.99 for the corked and caged magnum. On to the beer:

Smoke, then a rush of bubbly liquid come out of the bottle after the cork is popped. The head on top of this dark auburn liquid is very airy; it apears very soapy looking, but time makes the texture more compact and creamier. A few trickles of lacing are left on the glass. Smells like happy; choolate covered raisins, brown sugar, plum, figs. Soft, yet exhilirating, The outlook for the rest of the journey looks really good.

There's nothing wrong with the flavor of Gulden Draak Vintage. It has a little bit of a tradtional Belgian-made Xmas flair to go along with the traditional flair of dark Belgians. Biting dark fruit flavor hits, some grassy hops provide a surprise to me. Little dabs of caramel and unsweetened chocolate work their way into the profile. The carbonation is soft for the most part, the texture being creamy. Surprisingly dry with just a teeny touch of bitterness and leftover cocoa powder going on in the aftertaste.

I like it. I could see this being part of a hearty wintertime dinner (poutine anyone?).

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Gulden Draak Vintage Ale (2009), poured from a white painted bomber into a chalice. Pours an impenetreble ruby with a soapy off white head.

Smell: Bready malts and some distant noble hops.

Flavor: Light fruit from the malts intermingles with a spicy hop. Grapes and fig, juicy malt. A flash of tartness soon subsides to an appetizingly dry finish. Similar to regular Gulden Draak with alittle less booze and over the top fruit esters, and markedly drier.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth with the aforementioned dry finish.

Drinkability: The mellow little brother of Gulden Draak. I found this beer to have its charms and certainly was worth the try. I would definately have this again sometime.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2007; Sampled February 2008
I am actually excited that this is not as strong as the regular version. This is very well carbonated, a careful pour produces ahead that starts out a full four-fingers in height and then continues to grow three-finger above the tops of my glass before it reaches an equilibrium. The head is a dirty-amber tinged, tan color and sits on top of a dark, burnt amber colored brew. When held up to the light the beer shows a brilliantly clear, rich cranberry hue. The aroma is a nice mix of malt, fruit and spice notes. The aroma has notes of apples, figs, brown sugar, sweet berries, toasted grain, caramelized malt, dusty malt, raisins, prunes, clove, a touch of ginger, soft lemon zest, and notes similar to dark holiday sweet breads. This brew has a very rich, decadent smelling aroma that I am quite enjoying.

Lightly sweet flavors remind me of rip plums (sweet with just a touch of tartness to it). The beer has prickly carbonation that causes the beer to dance across the tongue and also provides a peppery carbonic bit that helps to balance the sweetness. The beer has certain heft to it that gets pretty well cleaned up by the carbonation, keeping this beer fairly light and easy drinking. Dark fruit notes of raisins join somewhat concentrated plum notes as well as malty flavors of caramelized sugar, lightly toasted malt and a touch of biscuit flavors. The finish definitely has a touch of hot alcohol to it that provides a bit of warming character and also combines with the ample fruit notes to provide light flavors of brandy. There is a bit of spiciness that comes through towards and into the finish that also helps to balance the sweet fruit notes found up front; light spice notes of pepper, ginger, definite clove and a light herbal note are noticeable.

This has a rich fruitiness to it that is quite nice and appropriate for a beer with a winter-themed label. I do like that, despite the rich fruit notes, this beer is fairly easy drinking. This is definitely more enjoyable than the regular version, the sweetness and palate fullness of the original is not so overwhelming here and allows this version to be much better balanced and palatable (apparently most people like big powerful flavors, as the average scores are reversed for most, so feel free to ignore my perspective).

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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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 Halcyondays
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
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 puboflyons
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
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 jdhilt
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a five-finger+ very light tan pillowy head that takes forever to fade leaving a good lace. Nice clear deep amber color. Fierce carbonation and medium bodied. Spicy apple nose. Flavor is sweet/sour apple and malts. The original Gulden Draak is better. Pricey at $13.25 for a 750ml bottle from a Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, ME.

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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 barczar
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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 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 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 Durge
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
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 scottfrie
3.83/5  rDev 0%
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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Gulden Draak Vintage from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.83 out of 5 based on 148 ratings.
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