Home > Belgian Ale, Belgian Strong Ale > Gulden Draak (309 of 1001)

Gulden Draak (309 of 1001)

Rating: 4.15

This one is a beer that I’ve had since last December when I orederd quite a few beers from the BeersOfEurope website with a view of trying them over Christmas last year but I didn’t really make much headway into my backlog. I’ve had the beer cellaring since then and thought that it’d be a good one to try now that winter is upon us in the UK. Gulden Draak is a 10.5% abv. beer from East Flanders in Belgium and you can’t argue with the price either, £3.49 for a the bottle. It takes its named from the golden dragon that sits on top of the Ghent belfry and is an award-winning beer that was named the best in the world by the American Tasting Institute (now known as ChefsBest) in 1998. It is also a beer that is seemingly hard to classify with some labelling it as a barley wine but given it is definitely a strong ale from Belgium I opted for the save bet and listed it as a Belgian strong dark ale here. It is also my 309th from the 1001 beers list and although I’ve not drank anywhere near as many from the list as I’d have hoped to this year I’m optimistic that I’ll make a little more progress in the run up to Christmas.

Gulden Draak

Appearance (4/5): This one pours quite a dark, almost mahogany brown colour with a foamy head that is tan brown looking and falls from a half centimetre tall to end up a thin surface lacing that’s a little patchy at one side but there’s slightly more build up around the edges and it doesn’t look bad at all particularly for such a strong beer.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a strong-smelling beer and one that is also rich with some dark fruits and sugars coming through, there was some prunes and raisins along with dates and apricots. The nose is definitely a complex one with some sweet malts and hints of alcohol but this is fairly well masked given the strength of the beer. I also managed to detect some bananas and cloves around the middle and towards the end, some cherries and even some chocolate feature before some spices close the show.
Taste (8/10): Following closely on from the nose, the taste of this one was again very complex but also quite strong with more alcohol here than the nose suggested. It kicks off with some dark, ripe fruits and plenty of sugars to give the beer a sweet taste to begin with before some darker malts and Belgian style yeast make an appearance. The spices from the end of the aroma feature a little earlier here and the fruits are similar to those of the nose with dates, prunes and apricots featuring along with toffee and caramel, some molasses too and a little bit of butterscotch or vanilla.
Palate (5/5): The beer is quite an effervescent one with plenty of carbonation and a smooth feel that has a nice kick to it thanks to the strong alcohol content. It is a wonderfully complex offering that comes through with an excellent balance whilst being quite dry with a warming alcohol finish. It’s fairly light as well but packs in a lot of flavours in spite of this with it proving a great beer to sip away at.

Overall (17/20): This one is a really nice Belgian ale with plenty of complexity and a huge amount of flavour backed up with plenty of alcohol that give the beer a nice, warming feel and make it ideal to sip away at over the course of an hour or two. Despite still being noticeable, the alcohol content certainly isn’t overdone with the dark fruits and sweetness helping mask some of it and helping the beer down easier. I really enjoyed this one although there are still a few better Belgian beers in the style category out there but it’s still one that I wouldn’t mind picking up again at some point.

Brewed In: Ertvelde, East Flander, Belgium
Brewery: Brouwerij Van Steenberge
First Brewed: circa. 1980
Type: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Abv: 10.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: BeersOfEurope.co.uk
Price: £3.49

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  1. January 30, 2017 at 09:17
  2. January 30, 2017 at 14:27

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