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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Ratings: 149 |  Reviews: 78
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 Kinsman
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle of the 2009 Vintage.

Ruby reddish-brown body makes up a small portion in the bottom of my chalice, below a massive rocky khaki-colored head that sits about four fingers thick in the glass and a bit more rising above the glass. Slowly this dies down a bit, leaving a foamy lace behind.

Aroma is fully of sweet and spicy notes, with a strong presence of sugar and molasses. A bit of a clove like spice note also makes an appearance, before a more fruity and estery note takes over.

While I was initially taken a bit back with the original Gulden Draak by a heavy alcohol presence, the vintage ale provides a much more approachable beer from the get-go. The taste is not nearly as sweet as the aroma would suggest, but its still very malt forward. Spice flavors are much more apparent here, with a lot more clove and maybe something else I can't quite put my tongue on.

Mouthfeel is very lively with carbonation but otherwise, a solid medium body.

Drinkability is much higher for the vintage ale than flagship Gulden Draak. Both a great beers, but each are very unique, with this one being much lighter and more approachable.

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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 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 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 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 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 HeyItsChili
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at the CBX.

A - 750 ml poured into a tulip glass. Pours ruby-brown semitransparent with an off white head that is gloppy with well defined small bubbles in it.

S - Earthy caramel sweetness enveloped in rich malt.

T - Manages to blend a good amount of brown sugar sweet and a clean crisp hop profile. The hops never veers towards acidic but stays clean with plenty of sweetness to mellow it out.

M - Effervescent, bubbly, alive. Great.

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Photo of Chronofied
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewed just below room temperature in a tulip glass.

Appearance - Reasonably clear with vaguely visible sediment, warm golden brown color with a little bit of ruby when held to the light.

Smell - Sweeter malty smell that is slightly remniscent of caramel. Overall a pretty clean aroma that implies a hoppy taste.

Taste - Taste confirms the smell; malt is prevalent, but not too strong. Caramel taste isn't as acute as the smell. A slightly cozy spice taste comes through, but subtle to the point that you only notice it from a long sip.

Mouthfeel - The feel of the beer is lighter than expected from the smell, but still on the thicker side. It is quite festively carbonated, but still very smooth.

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable; it has a fantastic smoothness to it, maybe in part due to the light caramel, that bonds extremely well with the malt and leaves almost no alcohol heat behind.

Definitely comes recommended.

NB - The pressure inside was enough that when I popped the cork, it put a mark in a ceiling tile... more pressure than many champagne bottles I've opened.

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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 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 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.

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Photo of brownbeer
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours reddish brown with great clarity and a substantial tan head that retains nicely.

Dried fruit aromas; raisin, prune with a bready, spicy yeast background.

Flavors of dark dried fruit, a faint caramel note, light alcohol, and a dry finish with a hoppy gently touch.

It has a creamy body but a wasn't crazy about the carbonation, seemed to be nearing on too much. It gets quite a bit better the more it warms but it could definately be more enjoyable. I hoped for more considering the power of their non-vintage ale.

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Photo of shadow1961
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gulden Draak Vintage Ale 2009 pours a big loose head over a slightly cloudy deep amber brew. Carbonation is very active- the nose is toasted malt, coffee and oak notes, dry herbal hops. Flavor is those toasty malts again up front- not quite sweet, balanced with a nice mix of mate-like earthy/leafy/spicy hops. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light, probably due to the high carbonation, and a bit dry as well. The alcohol content, a fairly high 7.5% ABV, really only makes itself with a bit of a warming sensation. Actually, a pretty nice switch up from heavier kinds of brews you tend to encounter over the holidays- cleansing and refreshing for all the good dark flavors that come with it.

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

Pours dark brown, with some translucence. Very ample head, high carbonation. The cork was coming out on its own after I took the foil off. Leaves a little lacing on the glass.

Smells of cinnamon and clove spice, ginger, brown sugar.

Tastes like Gulden Draak, maybe a bit drier and lower in alcohol. Notes of cola (even Dr. Pepper). Vanilla and dark toffee. Doesn't seem to offer much over the regular Gulden Draak.

Mouthfeel is light and highly carbonated.

A decent yuletide brew, but not extraordinary. Seems to me a marketing strategy is behind this one.

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Photo of erz316
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big white .75L bottle with cork into Westmalle chalice. 2008 vintage

A - the cork explodes off, the beer gushes out all over the table. the beer pours well into the chalice, the medium brown head fades down to the normal thin layer that it usually does, though arguably the head could have lasted longer. pouring a small bit into the glass again, the head violently forms up and stays at a bit better pace. the body is s classic brown with ruby tinges a pretty standard looking bds.

S - gotta let this sucker warm up a bit...smells of dark ripe furits, raisin and plum, and some alcohol. not terribly strong smelling, but a good smell nonetheless. has a bit of a chlorine-like smell, which seems to be tied into the alcohol; I guess it smells like a cool sake more than blatant pool side chlorine, lets say that.

T - not terribly potent in the taste region either, i think i'll stick to the regular draak. initial taste is almost obscured by the tingling of the carbonation, what does come through is a spicy alcohol and a little fruitiness. the finish is malty and the tasty alcohol that this style gets comes out, hints of the bitterness from hops. the aftertaste is malty, but bitter at the same time from hops I suppose; alcohol taste fades quickly and there is a distinctive metallic taste.

MF&D - this brew is highly carbonated, almost annoyingly so. feel is fine, maybe a bit thin, but the carbonation makes up for any lack of thickness.

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Photo of Dankuel
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the beer into a balloon goblet, has a nice deep, red/brown color but with weak bubbly head that is more like carbonated soda pop than a beer head. The beer has a very complex aroma: pears, apples, bananas and tint of nail polish remover (i forget the name of the compound that smells like this)

The beer is extremely fruity, everything you smell (as stated above) is in the taste. The beer has a champange like feel in the mouth, but disapates quickly. This is a decent brew.

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Photo of Travlr
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark brown color with a lively tan head and nice lacing. Roasted coffee aroma, with tastes of moderate alcohol throughout, some caramel and malt, maybe a bit of spice, probably cinnamon or nutmeg. Slight bitterness in the finish. Not very complex, but should age well.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

taste- wood, apple, sweet malt, effervescent

color- brown-ruby

clarity- opaque but it pours clear

smell- cedar, apple

body- full, nice finish, quietly complex

appearance- great color, lively carbonation, nice head

overall impression- great tasting beer, 2.4.2.

notes- refermented in the bottle, natural malt sweetness with a hoppy gentle touch, creamy head. could probably be aged another year, easily. 7.5% abv. this review is for a 2007 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: tulip

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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 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 Nick3
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Dark mohagany color pours a thick 4 finger head that fades away after a few minutes. Nose is molasses, candied sugar, and dark fruit. Beer is very drinkable, so much softer and more mellow than it's more common bretheren. Beer is sweet, but not overly sweet with hints of vanilla. It's a nice change up from the standard GD.

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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 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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Gulden Draak Vintage from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.83 out of 5 based on 149 ratings.
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