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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

663 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 663
Reviews: 348
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.36%
Wants: 63
Gots: 68 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 663 | Reviews: 348 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by danmouer:
Photo of danmouer
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A sweet, rich, candy-like strong dark Belgian ale. This beer is like a sinfully rich chocolate cordial truffle. Sweet, rich, warming. What a great way to end an evening, sipping this sinfully luscious brew.

To me, however, it fails to win top marks simply because it is so luscious,,,TOO luscious. The beer is not balanced. It is candy sweet, sinfully rich, dangerously strong...it really works much better as a sinful chocolate sweet than it does as a strong dark ale.

Let's be clear...this is a superb treat...an aperitif or liqueur perfect to warm the soul at the end of the day. But not at all what most folks look for in a beer.

You don't want to drink much of this...but a few sips on a cold night, and then off to beddy-bye with sweet dreams, Oh yes!

danmouer, Jan 14, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker shade of borwn with a real nice sticky head thats seems to dissapte quickly,great aroma of raisins and light chocolate with some definent alcohol notes.The raisin seems to be the dominant flavor I get with some syrupy flavors as well.A touch of nuttiness and alcohol makes this a nice warmer,I have alot of bottle to drink yet wish me luck.

oberon, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of Popsinc
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown pour with a medium tan head. Semi sweet nose. Molasses, grapes & black currant. Light roasted notes as well. Taste wise this brew was ru\ich and sweet...deacdent w/ a port-like grape sweetness. Underlying burnt sugars. Alcohol warmth. Nice lingering flavors. Great combo of fruit and alcohol. The mouthfeel was rich and creamy, sticky and sweet, thick n syrupy. This was quite the decadent, dessert beer. A great cold weather sipper, however, a little too sweet to have several.

Popsinc, Dec 01, 2004
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into chalice style glass.

Pours a syrupy dark brown to near black, very small head that diminishes to a rather dense short layers of off-white foam. Light lacing.

Lots of dark fruit and hints of alcohol. Heavy sweet malts come to mind as you inhale.

I was a bit surprised by the sweetness that envelops the tongue on the first swig. I know this is considered a strong dark ale but it seemed more like a very sweet barley wine. Very sweet and heavy in the mouth, with the strong flavor of fig most present.

This is quite a brew. Rather a bit syrupy for my taste but it doesn't necessarily taste bad. As for the style of a strong dark Belgian ale, I suppose, but it's closer to cough syrup. I did enjoy it overall though and if you are feeling adventurous, give it a shot.

SIRIUS2, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of danthehopslamman
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

danthehopslamman, Aug 06, 2013
Photo of Todd
4.83/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A "donker" beer, brewed in 1999 (mine was). A dark brown brew. Very rich and malty with a port-like finish. Sweet bliss in a bottle with a shelf life of over 25 years. One of my favourite of the sweet dark beers that I tried when in Belgium (March 2000).

Todd, Oct 14, 2001
Photo of Beaver13
1.83/5  rDev -55.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

750ml bottle, bottled on 070924 (9/24/07?). Pours a murky brown with a small head that quickly goes to a tiny collar.

The aroma is subdued. It has some sweet caramel and toffee malts, some oak, a little dark fruit, and a bit of oxidization and alcohol.

The flavor is very sweet sugary malts and molasses, a little cola and fruit with a big sugary finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and syrupy.

Overall, this is way overly sweet. It's a bit of a treacly mess. As it warms and I get accustomed to the sweetness a little nutty malt and banana come out. So there's some complexity, but the sweetness overwhelms everything and makes it rather unpleasant.

Beaver13, Mar 31, 2010
Photo of Doomcifer
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Doomcifer, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of JakerLou
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

JakerLou, Jun 22, 2013
Photo of petewheeler
4/5  rDev -2.7%

petewheeler, Aug 15, 2014
Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a growler purchased at Half Time, pours dark mahogony, seems to be pretty low in carbonation, mellow head, with just minor lacing observed. Nose is nicely glowing with cola, vanilla, bourbon and spice. Strong late night sipper kind of brew. Plenty of dark candi sugars, cola, alcohol, complexity etc to please all the strong beer/quad lovers out there. Character, boldness obviously evident, well worth a try if you like the style, not for everybody, but certaintly for me! A treat and in nice shape on tap/growler.

Billolick, Jun 07, 2007
Photo of andrewdanks
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

andrewdanks, May 30, 2014
Photo of Chadster1975
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Chadster1975, May 21, 2012
Photo of Marius
3/5  rDev -27%

Marius, Jul 03, 2012
Photo of jcdiflorio
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Chimay challice from a stubby fire plug looking bottle. A mirky muddy brown with a light tan collar with some very tiny bubbles stringing from the sides of the glass barely visible.Leves somes nice webs of lace down the glass

Sweet dark fruityness lots of prune and currants,carmell candy,butterscotch,earthy with a vinious sweetness. Vey malty and complex

Very sweet overripe dark fruit tastes upfront, some nice boozy tastes with a warming feel.candy sugaryness throughout with some burnt carmell flavors near the finish.Mouthwatering bitterness fading out the end of the taste.

Cloying,with some stickyness yet smooth and suprizing drinkability.

jcdiflorio, Sep 10, 2008
Photo of afoltz2
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer rates well for me because of the experience that went along with it, which was "Beer School," one Sunday afternoon at the Beer Trappe in Lexington, Ky. I say that not because it reminds me of a good experience, but part of Beer School is learning about the beers you sample, how they are crafted, what distinct flavors, smells, and feels should be, and you get to compare samples from the same class of beer side by side.

I went to Beer School with my cousin Tony, another beer lover, whose taste differs from mine. I prefer stouts and lagers, he prefers witbiers and hefeweizens. We agreed that both the Kasteel Donker had the best flavor and feel among the six that were sampled that day, all of which were bock beers. I brought home several of the ones I liked to increase my sample size, and reconfirmed that the Kasteel was best in class.

For having a high ABV, this brew does not have a strong alcohol taste to it. It was surprisingly smooth, and the roasted malt flavor was strong but not overpowering beginning and end of taste. I drank from the bottle, like a heathen, so I cannot comment on the pour or the color, sadly, and I will drink from proper glassware next time I try one so I can update my review.

In short, if you like bock-style beers, this is definintely one to try and enjoy!

afoltz2, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev -2.7%

bpfrush, Nov 16, 2011
Photo of MrMichael
4.98/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A
Very dark. There was a little foam, but it quickly went away

S
Dominated by dark, dried fruit.

T
A little fruity. It was sweeter than I expected, but incredible. There's a little coffee or red wine note as well

M
Smooth with very light carbonation

O
This is one of the best beers I've ever had. The one I had was part of a Belgian sampler and I went out the next day and bought a whole case.

MrMichael, Mar 12, 2012
Photo of BGDrock
3.35/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark brown, clear body; mocha head fades out quick, but it was poured in a chalice

Aroma: rye bread, tin, caramel, roast malt, dates, banana

Taste & Mouthfeel: super sweet and syrupy, a feel which is accentuated by the low carbonation - it really is like drinking American "maple" syrup; banana, dates, candy sugar dominate, and a whisper of chocolate, breath of alcohol, appear in the finish; kind of like coke or root beer, but without the carbonation

Overall: only barely avoids being cloying, the lack of suds or balance to provide a break from the sweetness hurts the beer's potential - teetering on the edge of being a very good brew; it's difficult to finish the bottle

BGDrock, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of rwathree
3.3/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter. Had this once before three years ago at a private tasting. I'll admit right away that I remembered a different beer than the one I had last night.

A: Nice, dark brown color, but weak, barely-there head.

S: You can tell right away that this one's going to be sweet. Heavy commingling of brown sugar and raisin.

T: Overwhelmingly sweet at first, which threatens to ruin the beer from the get-go. After I got past that, I could appreciate some of the other elements, especially a pleasant, champagne-like effervescence.

M: For all it's sweetness, it's not an overly thick beer. Nice and rich, and the carbonation is pleasant.

D: On the plus side, the alcohol presence isn't too powerful. But that sweetness makes this hard going down.

I can see this going well with a rich cheesecake or something equally bold and sweet, and maybe it mellows over time. That said, I won't drink this again as a stand-alone beer, and don't think I could get through a 750ml. Not bad, but I'm not likely to revisit this (again).

rwathree, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of DarrellK
4.68/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great expression of the style. The pour from the 750ml bottom produced a great foamy head that was quite peresistent and left a classic Belgian lace. Very dark with ruby hints, the aroma was there but not as strong as I might have imagined, mostly sweet and raisiny. Mostly a sweetish malt flavor with some raisin taste with a drying burlap finish. Shae a bottle for desert and you will make a friend, drink it alone and you will be asleep early.

DarrellK, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of sgttibbs
4/5  rDev -2.7%

sgttibbs, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an long stemmed chalice)

A- This beer has a smooth creamy head on a dark dense brown thick body. I couldn't tell if there was any visible carbonation but it was low light in the bar.

S- Nice smell of dark sweet malts with notes of prunes and other dried fruit. A hint of molasses in the finish also.

T- This is deep complex flavors but hints of apples and prunes stuck out the most. As it warmed it became more of an apple juice flavor. However there were lots of other flavors like port and brown sugar with some prunes and red wine hints also.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel with a hint of alcohol but it doesn't feel like 11 %

D- This is a good complex malty beer that has great complexity. I happen to meet the brewer after I wrote my review and he said the kegs are all pasteurized but the bottles are still alive and kicking so I will have to try those next.

rhoadsrage, Oct 13, 2005
Photo of pwoods
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. stubby 'Duvel' style brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a chalice.

A: Deep shoe leather pour that's completely opaque. A short fluffy head forms and holds for a bit before falling to a chunky skim. Decent lacing throughout.

S: Alcohol soaked dark fruits dominate most of the aroma. Some sweet caramel malts and maybe a touch of meatiness in the back.

T/M: Alcohol is very present and meets nicely with the dark, plump, pulpy fruits. More of the sweet caramel and light meaty flavor. Has a touch of sour/tart fruit flavor to it but very much an undertone. Still, it's not quite what I want. Body is nearly full but a syrupy feel to it. Lighter carbonation makes for a vinous feel.

D: This would be a very tasty brew if it weren't for that little bit of sour fruit in the back. Still, not terrible, and seems reasonably drinkable for a Quad.

pwoods, May 22, 2008
Photo of Tarks
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Tarks, May 17, 2012
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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 663 ratings.