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style
Brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Ertvelde, Belgium

bottled
common

on tap
common

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 2352   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.8   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Gulden Draak is a high fermentation beer with secondary fermentation. For the secondary fermentation, wine yeast is used. The white bottle, the black banner, the golden dragon and the red letters, constitute a stylish result that has no equal among the many Belgian special beers. Gulden Draak can be drunk as an aperitif or dessert, or whenever you have the time to sit back and relax. But this barley wine is also perfect with and in stews, especially the Ghent variety. It is also a plus in sauces for red meat, such as a bordelaise. It is particularly suited as a dessert beer, especially in combination with dark chocolate.


3.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
Myklanjlo (3) - California, USA - APR 6, 2005 does not count
11.2 fl.oz. bottle. Pours a ruby brown, moderately dark and slightly cloudy. Bottle-conditioning is immediately present with a strong "hiss" as the cap is removed. Bubbles are fine and plentiful, producing a creamy, two-finger head with incredible retention. The aroma is fairly sweet, smelling of dark candi sugar, Belgian yeast, well-present alcohol, and notes of rich, dark fruit, like an aged saison. Alcohol is immediately present on the palate, asserted by the pronounced effervescense of the conditioning, but quickly changes to an almost cloying, syrupy sweetness with a significant bite of bitterness. It finishes on the back of the tongue with faint hints of dark chocolate and candied figs. All in all, I found this to be an interesting ale for the style. The high alcohol content, however, disrupts the balance of this beer and detracts from both the palate and mouthfeel, which is a disappointment considering the impressive appearance and aroma of this Belgian strong ale.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
hammenlind (737) - Sundbyberg, SWEDEN - APR 4, 2005
Dark brown colour. Beige thick rounded head. Hoppy, fruity nose. Flavour from cranberry. Extremely rounded. Smooth palate with excellent bitterness.

3.9
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
SwedeDog (364) - Windsor, Connecticut, USA - APR 3, 2005
33 cL bottle Pours dark ruby with a small head that sticks around and leaves a great lacing in itís wake. Aroma is rather weak, especially when compared to other Belgians. Sweet and musty. Flavor starts off spicy (corriander and cloves) with a small alcohol bite in the background (youíd never guess the 10.5%) Let this one warm, and the flavor really blooms. Candi sugars, raisin, fig, prune (and probably other dried fruits) By the end of the glass, it becomes very sweet. It finishes like silk, very smooth, sweet, maybe a little bitter and dry. This one can be dangerous, itís very drinkable and goes down easy ... that 10.5% will sneak up on you. It surprised me, itís pretty good.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
ElJefe (553) - Rochester, New York, USA - MAR 21, 2005
UPDATED: MAR 27, 2005 Pours as smooth as silk, with a deep mahogany brown color with a thick tan head. Aroma of raisins, woodsiness, and a peppery spiciness. Flavor is sweet, but it is balanced by the spiciness. Alcohol warms the finish. It may not be the best of itís style, but letís face it, it is up against stiff competition. A very good brew, at least give it a try.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
wunderbier (1434) - Tampere, FINLAND - MAR 20, 2005
33 cL bottle, goblet. Deep red-brown body with lively carbonation is capped by a giant, creamy, tan head that lasts quite well. Very mellow, and muddled, malt aroma. Caramel sweetness, earthy, herbal/perfume hops, and some dark fruits (prunes and the like). Er, like I said muddled. Flavor starts off heavily sweet with a sharp and spicy acidity. Finishes moderately sweet with moderate acidity and a slightly stale bitterness. Medium full body, slick texture, fizzy (yet soft feeling) carbonation, moderate alcohol presence. The bottom line is: rather indecisive aroma and flavor, carboard hops, alcohol burn...ehhh....

3.4
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
JensenTaster (1719) - DENMARK - MAR 14, 2005
(on bottle) Medium-clear, dark brown color. Alcoholdominated and complex nose of caramel, raisins, yeast and some fruit, I canīt make out. SUPER smooth mouthfeel, like barley, canesugar and alcohol, rolled uop in a bonbon. The malts fades nicely out to a loong alcoholic finish. Strong too.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
DerWeg (1524) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - MAR 11, 2005
UPDATED: JAN 3, 2007 33cl, slightly cool. I was dreading this beerís sweetness from the last try but a year in cool storage has beautifully balanced it out. Dried dark fruits vanilla and toasty malt. Great carbonation, head and mouth feel. I will keep a new bottle a year and rate it again. **footnote** 2007 january - kept a few bottles for TWO years. Slightly acetic aroma when uncapped, oh no! But no harm done. This beer continues to evolve and express malty nuances that remind me on Bayerisher Doppelbocks and also a bit of that treacly substance called Kasteel Donker.

4.1
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
drismyhero (815) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - MAR 11, 2005
This little bottle has managed to hide in the back of my fridge for up to six months, but this surely didnít detract from its appeal because this was really good. Great looking beer, huge creamy head with a great ruby color...I guess "Gulden" doesnít mean golden. Aroma is a mix of toasted caramels and yeast. The toasted malt is absolutely everywhere in the flavor, giving any sharpness from the alcohol a much softer edge and a nice palate to boot. The combination of malts and yeast here is very well done, perfect balance. There are some light hops coming through, but rather than affecting the flavor much they seem to simply put the already overpowered alchohol back another gear, leaving the drinker perplexed by the strong warmth coming through such a quaffable beer. Very nicely done.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
BrockLanders (774) - Panama City, Florida, USA - MAR 7, 2005
Bottle. Pours a translucent ruby-brown color with a fine light brown head. Nose is sweet raisins, prunes and caramel malts. Smooth mouthfeel with flavors of sweet fruits, light hop spice, apple, raisin, caramel, and plenty of alcohol. I enjoyed this one.

4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
redmosquito (172) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - FEB 26, 2005
Am I confused? I expected the Piraat and the Draak to be exactly the opposite in color than they really are. The Draak pours a nice mahoghany color with a slightly off white head. It has a wonderful malty aroma, a blend of sweet caramel and nutty Munich malt, and a nice yeast finish, that reminds me more of a lager than a Belgian ale. The taste is similar to the aroma, malty with some bitterness, and surprisingly no sign of that 10.5% it lists on the label. The body is also good as well not dry as one might expect with a strong Belgian. Overall this is an excellent beer that is highly drinkable, especially for a big beer.


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