For 25 years, Gulden Draak, a Belgian strong dark ale (dark triple) brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge, has exemplified the style. Too many trips to the Publick House in Brookline exposed me to the world of Belgian beer, and Gulden Draak and other triples redefined what I thought beer was supposed to taste like. Many of you undoubtedly had similar experiences working your way through the easy-drinking, high-ABV, Belgian beers.
Gulden Draak 9000 Quad is the latest specialty offering from Brouwerij Van Steenberge. The new recipe uses three varieties of malt added in four-times the amount of the traditional Gulden Draak Ale. The beer goes through the same secondary fermentation process with wine yeast as its sister beer.
The beer pours a beautiful golden amber with an impossibly stable head; this thing won't budge. It smells of bananas, figs, and vanilla. The first sip is unspeakably smooth. It tastes of butterscotch, dark fruits, candied sugar, and peppery spice. This is the Rolls Royce of beers. I'm always referring beer novices to Belgian triples and quads to expand their palates, and this beer jumps right to the top of the list.
Gulden Draak 9000 Quad comes in both a four-pack (suggested retail price $15.99 to $17.99) and a 750-ml bottle (suggested retail price $10.99 to $14.99). I'd be curious to try this one against the Gulden Draak Ale and see which one I like better. Either way, they're both exceptional beers.