Van Steenberge Gulden Draak Ale

This is a Belgian ale. How do I know? Product of Belgium is written on the front of the label. Speaking of labels, HOLY CRAP! 10.5% ABV? Wow. That's actually pretty impressive. I'm not sure why they decided to coat the bottle in plastic, though. Guinness did it because the nitrogen can leak through the glass, but this is pretty clearly carbonation.

It's very dark for an ale. It's fairly opaque with a brown-maroon tinge. I'm not pulling out the color fan to tell you the exact color, so you'll have to deal with brown-maroon. The head dissipates very quickly, but there's a good quarter of an inch of head that remains on the top, creating a pillow of deliciousness across the beer. The aroma is strong and interesting with its raisins. black licorice, sweet malt, and light hops. I'm thirsty.

First sip is... not like a beer. It's not like any ale I'm used to, and I'm not sure that's a good thing right now, as there is heavy alcohol just kind of dangling inside there with all those tastes and more. Honestly, there are too many different tastes in a simple sip to really figure out exactly what I'm tasting. It's like a big mixed drink that you would get at a bar - there are too many things added to figure out what each one is with a little taste. I'm taking a swig, dangit.

Tip-in is very raisin, and the sweet malt is covering what is only a telltale whiff of hops. The middle of the drink is light licorice, but a heavy, earthy, and grainy taste. The finish hits with a barley wine taste right across the soft palate. It hangs on with a vengeance.

It's not a bad beer, but it's probably too complex to the point that it hurts itself.



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