Friday, August 28, 2015

Gulden Draak Brewmaster's Edition 2013 (10/10)

You'll notice a decidedly Valentine's Day appearance to the photo at the left.  That's because I received the bottle of Gulden Draak Brewmaster's Edition as a Christmas gift in 2013 and waited until February 2014 to open it and take notes.  Time flies. It's now May 2015 and I'm finally reviewing it here.

The Gulden Draak Brewmaster's Edition is an amber colored ale aged in whiskey barrels.  It was originally made to celebrate the 230th birthday of the brewery and as a tribute to the brewmaster's grandfather.  I saw it available again in 2014, so it looks like it may be a yearly thing now (hence my decision to review a beer from 2013 in 2015).

It pours a cloudy amber color with three fingers' worth of off-white head.

The aroma is an enticing combination of malt sweetness, warming alcohol, fruit, and whiskey.  The whiskey element in the aroma and flavor is more subtle here than in beers like Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, and Anderson Valley Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout.  But it's not so subtle that you're going to miss it.

The flavor is sweet, with notes of dark fruit, spices, and whiskey.  You might pick up a bit of honey or vanilla in it.  The finish is very mildly bitter, with a warming alcohol element to it. It's a beer you'll want to savor, not just because of its complexity, but because of its price.  The bottle you see pictured here retails for about $19.99.  As with regular Gulden Draak, this is a beer I'd probably drink every day if it sold for about a quarter of the price.  At this level, it's one I'll indulge in only yearly or when someone is kind enough to gift a bottle to me.

I was actually fortunate enough to get two bottles for Christmas in 2013.  I cellared one of them and hope to open it later this year so see how well it ages.

I don't seem to be alone in my appreciation of this beer.  Rate Beer gives it a 97 overall.  Beer Advocate rates it an 89 or "very good" with only 145 people weighing in.

I've seen this for sale consistently at The Andersons General Store in Dublin.  I've occasionally seen a bottle elsewhere, but not often enough to recommend a specific location.

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