Van Steenberge ‘Gulden Draak – Classic’ Dark Tripel


“Such an impressive symbol that has been around for more than 6 centuries requires an equally impressive beer. Like the dragon at the top of the city, Gulden Draak has been one of the world’s best beers for years. It is a dark tripel, which in itself makes it an exceptional beer, but the complex taste with notes of caramel, roasted malt and coffee makes it unique. In short, the beer is worthy of its name.”

Glassware: Trappist Goblet.

Appearance: Slightly dark rubescent red with soft pink highlights. It forms a big and frothy three finger head which stays the course and leaves a smattering of lace on the glass.

Aroma: Candy overload! Instantly we’re getting red toffee apple and coconut-infused caramel slice. The amount of caramelised sugary sweetness is insane but what’s even more insane is the balance. Behind it is a mammoth malt bill which provides decadent notes of buttery brown bread, treacle, carob and wheat biscuits. Layered with lots of dark fruits like cherry, plum, raisin and dates, yeast-driven spices, bubblegum and banana. Wow…so much going on.

Flavour: Super sweet and riddled with candi sugars, dark fruits and cough syrup but carefully layered with yeasty spice, bubblegum, banana bread, caramel, nuts, tobacco and musky florals. Loving how it keeps pretty sweet, fruity and yeasty and then right at the end it throws in a light toasty-ness to counter it all. Even with all of the rich flavours we can still pick up a subtle herbal hop all the way through.

Mouthfeel: Luscious and velvety with a lively sparkle from the Co2. The 10.5% ABV comes in and out. Medium-full body.

Overall: Extremely complex but absolutely spot on. Dark red Tripel or Quad? It’s a tough one as it exhibits a lot of character from both styles. What is clear is that it’s an amazing drop.