I asked my girlfriend to choose one of the remaining four bottles. Of course, she picked the white bottle that stood out like a sore thumb. This bottle contained none other than Gulden Draak – Golden Dragon in Dutch, er, Flemish – which weighs in at an impressive 10.5% ABV.
10.5%?? On a Wednesday night? Such is the cross I bear to bring you this review.
The beer has a nice aroma – caramel and some fruit notes – perhaps a touch of plum or raisin? Unfortunately, my allergies are awful right now and I can’t trust my nose. Hell, this beer might smell like old gym socks for all I know. Don’t trust a word I’m saying here.
Nice appearance – thick, super-rocky head which took forever and a half to recede. Left less lacing on the glass than I thought it would. Dark, deep reddish-brown color which I found appropriate for a Dark Tripel.
This is a strong beer, and it makes a statement. My initial impression was a nice and sweet caramel malt backbone cut by sour cherry notes. There is a touch of hop bitterness in the aftertaste, but the hops are not overly prominent – like most of these Belgians I’ve tasted, the hops serve to keep the maltiness in check while blending into the background. You can taste that 10.5% alcohol – it brings a sharpness and a bit of heat to the mix.
The beer is heavy and thick, but the alcohol and crisp carbonation help to cut it down to a manageable level. Definitely not a session beer, but the mouthfeel doesn’t bog you down too much.
This beer is like a thief that sneaks up and steals your sobriety. It starts off great, but as you finish the bottle, you can’t help but fall victim to the 10.5% ABV. I would not recommend drinking this before driving, operating heavy machinery, rebalancing your 401(k), proposing, deciding to deep-fry a turkey, buying a puppy. or writing you law school admission essay.