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Gulden Draak

Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Boasting a whopping 10.5 percent ABV, Gulden Draak is a seriously hefty brew. Bottle conditioned after using wine yeast for the secondary fermentation, Gulden Draak’s aromas are dominated with notes of caramel, milk chocolate, black currants and alcohol. Rick picked out whiffs of “dark toffee and bitter chocolate, topped by toasted almonds.” He found the alcohol character a touch solventy, with a hint of roses. The intense dark malt aromas struck Tom as “reminiscent of dark, yeasty bread” laced with “hints of raisin, damson fruit, and prunes.” Tom and Rick both agreed the aromas were finely nuanced with well-camouflaged alcohol. Pouring a deep, burnished copper and crowned by a prodigious, meringue-like tan head, this beer epitomizes the Belgian Dark Strong Ale style. Bold flavors of toffee, caramel, dark dried fruits, and bittersweet chocolate are front and center with alcoholic warmth riding beneath the surface. Mike had high praise for the “deft blend of candied pecans, dried figs, and caramelized banana notes” floating over the slightly solvent-like alcohol burn. Among the sweet fruit notes, he also picked out tantalizing hints of coriander and nutmeg. Pete’s first impression was of dominant flavors of “sultry clove and ripe banana, with a definite sweet edge.” Hidden within he found bursts of cacao and espresso to tame the lingering sweetness. Devilishly drinkable, but strong enough to merit respect and caution, Gulden Draak is the perfect dessert beer.