The history of beer and brewing in Belgium goes back hundreds of years. And although Gulden Draak (brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. in Belgium) isn't brewed by monks in an ancient abbey, it IS a premium, top-shelf beer in a rather elite class. Late 2012 saw a new variation on the classic Gulden Draak formula, with the release of Gulden Draak 9000 -- a 10.5% ABV quadrupel ale in the ancient Belgian abbey ale tradition.
Gulden Draak 9000 pours a hazy, clouded amber with a huge, zealous head of gold-tinged suds. It dissipates fast, leaving an erratic, chunky lace. Nose is, like a true Belgian, full of spices and dark fruit. I get some clove action alongside dried berries and yeasty bread. Nice.
Taste comes across like a freight train! It's strong and assertive on the palate, with a wallop of fruit, spice, and bread right up front. The finish leaves a warming, boozy kick. Truly a big, heavy, and complex ale that rivals the original Gulden Draak. Classic and beautiful!
Gulden Draak 9000 retails, in the United States, at $11.99 (750 ml bomber) and $14.99 (4pk/11.2 oz. bottle).