Gulden Draak Brewmaster's Edition - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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Gulden Draak Brewmaster's EditionGulden Draak Brewmaster's Edition

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very good

203 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 203
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 17
Gots: 55 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: firemanmike109 on 11-06-2013

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 203 | Reviews: 44
Reviews by Greywulfken:
Photo of Greywulfken
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quick buyer beware: this is not a barrel-aged edition of the Gulden Draak dark tripel. This is a completely different beer.

A: cloudy medium amber body; frothy sea-foam head - cork popped like champagne and the beer foam was coming out of the bottle right off the bat - caught it all in my snifter (*beer agility*); beer left laces down the glass

S: apple, peach, and pear orchards, candi sugar and holiday sweet spice

T: wet, boozy pale fruits; suggestions of apple pie seasonings and bright and chewy spices; higher notes of vanilla and oak/wood

M: smooth, full, lush, rich, creamy, fuzzy, soft and wet-fruit-sweet

O: a plush and immersive drinking experience. If you dig Belgian tripels and similarly-styled BSPAs, this is a surefire hit. And just in time for the holidays.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RichardMNixon
4.82/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Strong apples flavor complimented by cherry and oak; phenomenal.

Photo of MTLDOG
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip. Thick amber color with 1 finger of cream colored head. Good lacing. Smelled sweet, dark raisins, malty, great smell. Taste was a bit too sweet, raisins and spices, sugar and a little boozy. Had a nice finish though with malt and yeasty. Avg mouthfeel pretty smooth. I enjoyed this beer, slightly too sweet for my taste but it was a nice beer.

Photo of Sliver
3.14/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Smooth one. Great after taste

Photo of puboflyons
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 750 ml. corked, caged dated 02/2014. Sampled on New Years Eve 2014.

It pours an attractive looking medium amber-copper with a faint haze. A big cream-colored foamy head that sticks around.

The Belgian candied sugar and roasted malts are highly evident in the aroma with a slight whiff of whiskey barrels but no booze considering it is 10.5%.

Medium to full body although a slight carbonated, acidic feel but easy to work around.

Again, overly sweet Belgian candied sugars, juicy roasted malts, and a little wood in the flavor. Mild bitterness and somewhat dry. $20 per bottle though? I could have bought a couple regular Gulden Draaks at that price.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 ml caged and corked bottle, bottled 08/2013. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a cloudy orange/amber color with about a couple inch frothy off-white head that stayed around for a long time. There's also a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like caramel malt, whiskey, vanilla, dried fruit, and some oak. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some apricots, golden raisins, apples and cloves. The whiskey flavor is subtle, it's definitely there but not overpowering. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and has high carbonation. It has a bit too much carbonation for me, but it doesn't hurt the drinkability of this beer too much. Not sure if I waited too long to drink this, but overall I liked it. Certainly worth a try if you come across a bottle.

Photo of n2185
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy yellow-orange with a half-finger of white head that fades into a frothy ring with decent lacing.

S: Belgian spices and candy sugar up front with light fruit aromas and sweet breads. There are some oak and white wine-like notes toward the finish.

T: Similar to the aroma, Belgian spices and candy sugar with sweet breads up front. There are some light fruits along with oak and light whiskey flavors towards the lightly boozy finish.

M: Medium-light body with lowish carbonation, this beer is fairly drinkable considering its abv and barrel aging.

O: An enjoyable beer overall. The barrel flavors and aromas are more subtle than I would like, but it's still a solid beer.

Photo of PittSlovak
2.49/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

For a special special edition, I was disappointed in this version of Gulden Draak. It's lacking in malt flavor and has a strong alcohol flavor. I'd rather have the regular version than the Brewmaster's Edition.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.49/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Brewer's Haven Boise... Paid $13ish... Pours a hazy dark yellow/orange... looks like peach or apricot nectar... not very pleasing... the head is off white and sticks around for quite a while... Not nearly as dark as the standard Gulden Draak.

The nose is pretty interesting.. spicy/fruity... apricot and lite clove with a dusting of whiskey and vanilla.. complex but restrained.

Lighter whiskey than expected... much more of a BSPA than a BSDA... no dark malt/fruit elements really at all... peach and apricot are the biggest players with a dry vanilla/oak in the background... light clove phenol notes with an even lesser peppery bite.

Body is medium/light with a pretty big but expected carbonation.


Photo of Gregaroo
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a chalice at home to ring in the new year. Spectacular.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a cloudy caramal amber with a two finger snow white head with great retention and thick lacing. Aroma of pale malt, light slightly tart fruit, clove and Belgian yeast. Flavor is light stone fruit, sweet caramel malt, white raisins, apple, hints of butterscotch, gets a bit sweet then finishes with drying clove and hop bitterness. Not much wood from the barrels. Medium bodied with light creaminess and peppery carbonation. Although there this little overt evidence of barrel flavors (maybe a hint of vanilla), this is more integrated, sweeter and denser than the standard Gulden Draak and I like what barrel aging has done. It would have been even better with some serious oak flavors, but I like it as it is too. A well made strong pale that is closer in character to a quadrupel.

Photo of firemanmike109
4.74/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Its the gulden draak aged in whiskey barrels. At first taste i had it to cold, after lering it warm up the taste was amazing. The whiskey taste was very mild. The brew master saidbhis insperation came from his numerous trips to united states. Hard to go into full dwtail as I finsihed the bottle before I could add the beer to beeradvocate.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Hazy gold. big billowy head on the pour. Much lighter than I remember "regular" Gulden Draak. Pretty nice looking brew though.
smell: Rich, yeasty, fruity, sweet nose. Not getting any whiskey here but a fine nose nonetheless.
taste: Mirrors the nose. Rich, and complex. Some fruit, a hint of aromatic spice. Sweet and rich.
overall: always dug the Draak. A nice addition. The whiskey barrel treatment is subtle for sure. anyway, quite nice.

Photo of ThickNStout
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Corked and caged 750mL bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 21.99. Bottled 08/2013. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours hazy orange with a three finger white head. Keeps a thick layer of milky haze accross the surface and leaves lots of lace.

Smells fruity and sweet with mild barrel funk, faint whiskey, apples and spiced pear.

Flavors of clove, apples, pepper, barrel, yeast, honey, caramel, vague whiskey, oak and a touch of alcohol. Sweet, fruity and yeasty with the barrel it's self very faint.

Creamy medium feel with a fairly sharp carbonation. Apple, caramel and an almost spiced rum note in the aftertaste.

From appearance to flavors the Gulden Draak Brewmaster's Edition seems like more of a Belgian strong pale ale than strong dark. A slightly different take on their base, which I think they call a "dark tripel". Not a bad quaff but the price will prohibit a repeat purchase.

Photo of GJH1959
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The color is a brownish orange but more orange. A very, very sweet smell to it with hints of apple and clove. I am not a whiskey drinker but I did not pick up any smell of whiskey. The taste of whiskey was not really present until it hit the back of the tongue. Considering the high alcohol content and being aged in whiskey barrels, the taste of alcohol is not as strong as it could be. My only problem is do I keep it to myself or save a little for my wife for when she gets home. Sorry dear.

Photo of Mdez
4.69/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I got this as a gift this past Christmas; despite the fact that I would buy it because it was too costly, my MIL bought it for me at $19.99 a bottle. Although I couldn't tell that much of a difference from the regular Gulden Draak, this was slightly surperior; it had a slightly boozier quality (and I like that) and seemed to hit me a bit harder than usual. Wonderful...

Photo of roblowther
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 corked and caged, poured into a Chimay goblet, and the weekend is off to a great start. It pours a very effervescent tan gold color with a very active frothy off white head that settles down to a creamy thin layer and leaves no lacing. The smell is bananas, butterscotch, and bread. Taste is surprisingly citrusy given the smell. It has some oranges and cherries bouncing around on the front end, then settles to a pleasant breadiness with a slightly dry finish. Very nice, the end of the flavor leaves you craving another sip of the start. It's a moebius beer. Mouthfeel is tingly and soft, maybe a tad thin for everything else going on here. Overall, this is a fantastic beer. I'm a fan of their other offerings and this one does not disappoint. Now pardon me, all of this typing is making me thirsty.

Photo of jdhilt
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a five-finger+ white pillowy head that takes forever to fade leaving an excellent lace. Hazy amber color, ton of yeast left in bottle. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Clove and sweet fruity nose and flavor is light fruit, clove and hints of oak. Higher ABV is hidden. Bottled 8/2013. Pricey at $20.50 for a 750ml bottle from a Tully’s Beer & Wine Wells, ME.

Photo of JayQue
3.94/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good Belgian with an American twist...whiskey barrel aging.. Poured from a 750 ml corked and caged bottle into my Chimay goblet. Hazy orange color with a big frothy and bubbly white head.

The aroma is dark fruit (Cherries, plum and raisins). Smells a little sweet and very pleasant.

Flavor is a bit more complex. The dark fruit is prominent but there is also a fair amount of Belgian yeast and the whiskey and wood are noticeable as well.

Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and rich. There is some alcohol presence (mild burn) and a faint amount of whiskey is noticeablee as well.

Goes down easily for a high abv beer. Tasty.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

The beer poured a hazed deep golden, almost orange but not quite. Looks darker than the 9000 but much lighter than standard Gulden Draak. There was a bit of sediment in the glass as well.

The aroma had alot of candy like malts, wild honey, bread, booze soaked fruit, whiskey and toffee. Other whiffs reveal more of the alcohol lying underneath along with the malt.

A delicious tasting beer, there are alot of notes of toffee, honey, butterscotch, sweeter breads, caramel, candied fruit and alcohol. There is some influence from the tannins, and a small dryness, but not dry. Gingerbread, toffee, butterscotch and brown sugar. Really nice and sweet with perhaps just a hint of whiskey barrel aging in the taste.

Overall, this a delicious ale that truly is drinkable and worth savoring. Kind of an oddity as it more closely resembles the Gulden Draak 9000 than any other beer from that "line". Regardless, its a hell of a beer and worthy of toasting from here in PA all the way to Brussels.

Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$18.00 USD. Label art is white/gold with classy posh fonts. "Aged in Whiskey Barrels." 10.5% ABV confirmed. 750ml brown glass bottle with hood-and-wire cap (aka cage) over a branded cork served into an Avery stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; Gulden Draak is me favourite tripel. Bottled 08/2013. There is zero indication regarding beer style on the label, so I'm reviewing this one open-ended.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of simple white colour. Decent thickness. Low creaminess and frothiness. Decent consistency and complexion. Could be softer. No lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes, and even when I tilt it the lacing doesn't stick. Head retention is average - about two minutes.

Body colour is a dull hazy nontransparent peach-copper. Semitranslucent. No yeast particles are visible, but it's so hard to see into I doubt I'd notice them if they were there.

I'm quite surprised at its colour - this just isn't gulden draak. Clearly, the base beer was not gulden draak; they brewed a different base. I'm looking forward to trying it, but it isn't unique or special (like regular Gulden Draak is). There are no egregious flaws. Definitely not a dark tripel.

Sm: Saison-esque orchard fruit: pear, apple, peach. Clean barley. Belgian biscuit malt with a hint of funkiness. Straw/hay. Peppercorn. Hints of spice. Clove. Nectar. Floral hop character. Apricot. Some honey. Plenty of sweetness here, probably from the Belgian pale malts. It's a sticky, somewhat cidery aroma. I have trouble initially finding the whiskey and barrel notes, but as it warms I do pick up some faint vanilla accompanied by a subtle reticent oak character. There's none of the booze or bite of whiskey. No peat either.

An inoffensive aroma of moderate strength. The sweetness really has me worried.

No yeast character is detectable. As it warms, the alcohol presence becomes more noticeable. I'm still not quite sure what style this is - maybe a saison meets tripel?

T: I'd hoped for a whiskey barrel aged Gulden Draak, and this is not at all that. Not a dark tripel by any means.

Plenty of Belgian pale malts with an accompanying sweetness, orchard fruits: peach, apricot, pear, apple, cidery notes, fruity esters, floral hop character, and some straw/hay notes redolent of a saison. Quite nectary throughout with plenty of residual sugars. Too sweet. Some restrained spice - clove and pepper. Clean biscuity Belgian yeast.

The barrel/whiskey notes are reticent and timid. At best, there's a faint hint of fleeting vanilla. No rich toasty oak character or spicy whiskey here. Not quite sure how long they aged this, but it seems like the barrel aging was a wasted effort as it adds little.

I'm shocked at its simplicity. I did not expect such a common effort from Van Steenberge. I guess I'm naive and didn't think a steeped-in-tradition Belgian brewery was capable of a marketing gimmick. There's just not much going on here - there's little complexity, subtlety, or nuance, and not much intricacy. It's fairly plain for a tripel (the style I've settled on given its flavour profile). The balance is good but not great - it's cohesive, but too sweet. Not a gestalt build. There's a unity of flavour and good amplitude, but it lacks depth of flavour. Average flavour duration and intensity.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with enough coarseness to coax out the limited diversity of flavours. Well-carbonated, perhaps overly so. Medium-bodied. Fairly thick, to style. It's really creamy on the open, which I love. Not quite as mellow a presence as I'd like. It'd be better softer. It gets a bit abrasive and warm in the second act, which reduces drinkability. Should be lighter and more approachable.

Not oily, astringent, harsh, or gushed.

Dr: Honestly, the drinkability is pretty low. This shouldn't be a sipper - the whiskey character hardly comes through at all - but it is. ABV is not well hidden. To be honest, the barrel aging feels like a gimmick to sell the beer. Nowhere is the length of aging specified and I assume it's laughably low given the lack of whiskey or barrel presence. This is not the level of quality I'd expect from Van Steenberge. Frankly, if they'd just taken regular Gulden Draak and aged it in whiskey barrels it'd be better. There's no way I'd buy this again at this price - or half of it for that matter. Really disappointing for the price and brewery. I wouldn't recommend this to friends or trade partners. Worth trying? Sure. But keep your expectations in check.

*When it finally comes nearly to room temperature, some of the whiskey character finally emerges - albeit in the form of a faint indistinct spiciness. Quite weak.


Photo of BEERchitect
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

When considering Belgian Ales, I generally prefer drier, lighter beers of subtle complexity and high drinkability. Sweeter versions are not usually preferred. ...well, with a small exception. The Gulden Draak is the sweeter and heavier version that I absolutely adore. While its ample sweetness balances its alcohol beautifully, I'm excited to see what happens with this whiskey barrel aged rendition.

Pouring a much lighter than expected color, its hazy peach-tan blend gives it a camel color with a milky appearance. As a rich lather of foam swirls to the top, its staying power is strong as well is its interspersed lacing.

Bold fruity-sweetness of peach, pear, apple, dates, figs and white grapes seem wrapped by the sultry scent of butterscotch, caramelized wood and circus peanuts. Soft powered sugar notes give the beer a creamy marshmallow-like scent. Spicy alcohol brings out a soft white pepper scent with mild clove. Its a delicate and creamy scent that promises a malt-forward taste.

And its creamy caramel and sugary taste continues its dance on the palate. Something akin to cream sickle, peanut brittle, caramel and butterscotch pushes the taste buds just outside the realm of normal beer lexicon and evokes flavors of buttery candy flavors but without fault. its full creamy middle is wrapped in heavy whipping cream, sweet white wine and soft wood spice for some semblance of balance. Its savory finish is mildly creme brulee-like and the softest of any whiskey flavor possible.

Full throughout, the beer's creaminess dissolves into its residual sweetness to amplify the effect of marshmallows. Although its texture quivers lightly late, it holds its structure until deep into the session where mild wine-like acidity, wood spice, and alcohol warmth dries the beer mildly. Still a linger of creamy sweetness echoes well into the next sip.

There's very little about the Brewmasters Reserve version that's recognizable here. But its a divine beer that's perfectly suited for cold weather, family gatherings and lavish food.

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 8/1/2013. Pours very hazy orange amber color with a 1-2 finger foamy off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings around the glass, with moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of big peach, pear, apple, apricot, orange peel, candi sugar, honey, bread, herbal, clove, light pepper, light vanilla, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and fruity/spicy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big pear, apricot, orange peel, peach, apple, honey, bread, candi sugar, clove, light pepper, light vanilla/oak, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of pear, apple, apricot, orange peel, honey, bread, candi sugar, herbal, light clove, light vanilla, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity and balance of malt, candi sugar, and fruity/spicy yeast ester flavors; with light barrel flavor character and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly slick and smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian Strong pale ale. All around good complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast ester and malt flavors with light barrel presence; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of scottfrie
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into matching Gulden Draak tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy golden that looks like unfiltered apple juice. The head is huge and nearly overflowed the glass after an easy pour. After the head subsided a thick collar lasted the whole beer through.
S: Sweet whiskey overtones mix well with spicy and very fruity Belgian yeast. I get notes of apples, pears, red grapes, bubblegum, pepper, and sweet candied sugar.
T: Follows the nose with intensely fruity, spicy, and rich Belgian ale flavors with sweet and caramely whiskey notes. Sweet candy and earthy spice linger long after the swallow.
M: Full body, frothy yet soft carb, potent flavor, sweet and chewy mouthfeel. Booze is hidden extremely well. No warmth.
O: Loved it. A very flavorful and drinkable sipper. Great balance as the whiskey was not overpowering.

Photo of artoolemomo
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up pretty much all head and has really good retention as well. The head is almost cotton white but has a slight yellow note while the body is a muddy pale to medium amber which appears as pale amber with peach tones when held up to the light. Lacing is a bit spidery but prevalent.

Nose- Mostly Belgian yeast. It seemed as if there were bourbon notes when I first sniffed the bottled but those are all gone. Light banana, light coriander, light cloves. Swirling shows a mild, rounded banana. Some cream. Solid but in no way intriguing.

Taste- Very reflective of the nose and pretty much rattles off the big three: banana, coriander, and cloves. No whiskey notes at the moment but this may need to warm up. At the moment, tastes like a good Tripel or Belgian Strong Pale. Some lemon and a vague notion of whiskeyness in the middle. Tiny of bitty of ashiness on the finish that has a little bit of bandaid. Very sprite with nice spice (even hints of cinnamon) but not drastically different from standards of the style. Some notion of brown bread that evokes even oranges and has a slight inclination toward fruitcake. This is in the background. Incredible balance and integration but lacks some presence and complexity. Especially the complexity that barrel aging should bring. Honestly, at this point, I feel like I'm paying for a name and the packaging. Lemon starts to build and vague notes of oak form. I'm really trying to love this beer but it's not going to happen. It's just a good, solid beer with a slight tendency to very good. Very enjoyable, just not 19 dollars enjoyable.

Mouthfeel- Almost medium bodied with a start of rich smoothness that is quickly broken up by appropriate carbonation that has a carbonic rip. Pretty dry finish that leaves tongue feeling like sandpaper.

Drinkability- It's Gulden Draak, it's easygoing, it's delightful. What isn't delightful? The price.

Overall- Good to really good beer that's a big disappointment. The whisky notes are minor and really add nothing. It is another confirmation of my thought that barrel aging doesn't work for everything. Or almost anything? If you can fart away 20 bucks, I would buy this. If not, just stick to their basic lineup.

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Gulden Draak Brewmaster's Edition from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
89 out of 100 based on 203 ratings.