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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

557 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 557
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 14.91%


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)
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Ratings: 557 | Reviews: 338 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mattmaples
mattmaples

Oregon

5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

You don't see me give all 5 but for this beer I just can't help it. I can not argue with one word Todd wrote. This is easily in the top three of my favorite beers of all time. This is the port wine of beer. Rich complex, malty without being sweet. I have one left in my cellar and the distributor has been out for the last 6 months. Dear god I hope they get more in time! I would put this head to head against any trappist for malt complexity, enjoyability, and price.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2001 00:01:44 | More by mattmaples
Photo of jsp2
jsp2

Virginia

5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml corked bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Beautiful deep reddish brown hue topped with thin foam.

Aroma of freshly baked sweet fruity pastries, with raisin, orange, and apple.

A very complex and earthy, fruity flavor with huge sweetness. Sweet, intense, complex, and delicious. It is sweet and the hop level is low, but the earthiness really balances out the sweetness.

Carbonation is low to moderate and keeps the brew lively and light, a great sipper.

Among the best tasting substances to ever come from a bottle, a perfect quad.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2012 01:00:38 | More by jsp2
Photo of xmorgan
xmorgan

California

5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had 33CL bottle in Hua Hin Thailand and Mondo Vino. Of all the beer places I have scoured in Hua Hin, This one understands how to serve, pour, store beers.

Appearance:
Dark Brown with a dirty white head

Smell: Raisin sweetness with a slight bread like comes out, You know this 11% is going to be sweet from it's smell

Taste: Raisin, mollases fruity, the sweetness is pleasent and does not hit or offend like many beers with high alcohol percentages have. It is well balanced.

Mouthfeel: It sticks to your pallate and leaves a pleasent fruitcake like aftertaste.

Overall: Greatbigbeer! Strong and sweet, I would drink a few of the these over the colder months. As it sits it is quite pleasent in warm weather only as long as you dont excert yourself.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2012 08:26:53 | More by xmorgan
Photo of MrMichael
MrMichael

Pennsylvania

4.98/5  rDev +21.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 18:45:09 | More by MrMichael
Photo of jim102864
jim102864

Connecticut

4.97/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yet another spectacular Belgian experienced during a recent business trip to Atlanta and while visiting the Brick Store Pub in Decatur.

This special Belgian Quad was poured from tap into proper Kasteel stemmed glass with a beautiful gold rim and a painted picture of a brick building with "Kasteel Bier" adorning the front. This brew was special from the very start.

The appearance was deep dark brown with a thick, creamy head and lovely thick lace that graced the glass during each round. So far, everything one could hope for in a strong Belgian.

The aroma was incredible...oh so sweet! Perfectly aged prunes, raisens and dates, all aged to perfection. Only a hint of alcohol, but what a pleasant aromatic sensation. Sweet, fruity, but all balanced in harmony with one another.

The taste was very sweet, but balanced with raisens and fruit. The brew simply glides accross your tongue in a fruity cacophony with a warm alcohol finish. Somewhat port like and malty, but it's perfectly balanced.

As to the mouthfeel, I experienced a biscuity and chewy, viscous treat. Just perfect, or as close as you can get to it. This was a pleasure to enjoy and to think it was available on tap. I only wish the pubs in my area would pursue such a treasure as this. Thank you once again Brick Store !

Serving type: on-tap

05-28-2007 01:36:23 | More by jim102864
Photo of Steamer
Steamer

Missouri

4.96/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thick, almost dirty appearance; like freshly stomped grapes with all the residue that goes with it. Strong smell of fig, reminds me of the fig newtons I loved as a kid; you can also catch a hint of alcohol in the nose - not surprising considering the high ABV (11%). Nothing tame about the aroma. Wow! Tastes of grapes, fig, sweet caramel, and a little alcohol bite; sweet and fruity after taste. Mouthfeel - Like a high gravity, squeezed fruit drink, very full bodied. Overall - This is about as good as it gets for a quad. I didn't think I would find one better than Trappistes Rochefort 10 but this one is tops it in my book - a little pricey at about $19 for a four pack but well worth it.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2013 01:03:44 | More by Steamer
Photo of rvdoorn
rvdoorn

Netherlands

4.95/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1998 vintage. Knowing i really don't like this beer fresh (waaay too sweet with sharp alcohol) i was very curious popping this bottle. Poured into a kasteel beer glass. The beer pours a dark brown colour with no head. Smell is very sweet: dark fruits, figs plums and the typical vintage smell. Taste is still sweet,but much less strong than the fresh one.plums, figs,candy sugar. This beer is so balanced,it is incredible. Very soft mouthfeel,no sharpness at all, liquid silk. Reminds me of a good porto. One of the best vintage beers i ever had!

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2011 17:32:42 | More by rvdoorn
Photo of bigbelcher
bigbelcher

Arizona

4.9/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best Belgian beers in the world. Packs a wallop at 11% alc. One of my personal favorites and now available in Arizona. If this beer has any drawbacks it is that it is too strong to be a session beer but I could drink it all day long.

Dark, very rich, sweet and malty.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2003 08:51:38 | More by bigbelcher
Photo of roblowther
roblowther

Texas

4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 33cl bottle. It looks ruby red black in the glass. Is that possible? The head is minimal, tan, and a touch sticky. The smell is astringent, dusky malt, and sour cherries. The taste has a surprising sugar dominance over a cherry background. The finish shows the hops, subtle but adding a great balance. In the immortal words of Homer Simmpson....Swet Jeebus. This stuff is begging to be aged and that just became my plan for the 2nd bottle I have. The mouthfeel is syrupy but nicely carbonated. It has enough bubbles to keep it from falling into the trap that barley wines do for me. They become cloyingly sweet. My apologies to the fans of 35 year old Thomas Hardy ale but its not for me and this really is. The drinkability is excellent. Even though it clocks in at 11 percent the alcohol really only manifests itself as a warmth down the throat and chest. Nice, nice nice. If you can find this stuff. Buy it. Period.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2007 01:46:31 | More by roblowther
Photo of becktone
becktone

Ohio

4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes 2-10-09

Eye: Dark brown in color with garnet highlights. Head formation was nice but retention could be better. Lacing is nice-sheets. Color of head is mudslide brown. Texture of it is creamy.

Nose: Faint aroma overall. I get lightly roasted notes as well as a bit of chocolate. Dark fruit is in here as well, rasins mainly. Bready notes as well. Some vinous characers are coming through as well as some oaken character associated with them. Hints at alcohol.

Tongue: Very complex beer, this one. Big on the dark fruit, lots of rasins, some faint chocolate notes. Black cherries...this beer almost gives me the same taste as chocolate covered cherries. Alcohol is noticeable, but helps to balance out the brew, it counters the sweetness. Dark malt really comes through in this one, this is one great beer. One of the best Belgian darks that I've had in quite a while.

Feel and Drinkability: Medium body with moderate delicate tiny carbonation bubbles. Nothing all that special about it really. It does feel just as it should though, I can't see this one feeling any different and having it work as well as what it already is. This is an easy brew to drink and its worth picking up and trying. I know that I'll be going back to it in the near future. Its a great beer that I feel is overlooked.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2009 21:31:49 | More by becktone
Photo of Spiderhouse
Spiderhouse

California

4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A--Monster head with two fingers of tan foam. Amazing retention and very heavy lacing. Best part? Tiny, slow rising bubbles that i have never seen in a beer; mostly, in expensive champagne.

S--Chocolate, warm pumpernickel, heavy spice notes. Never smelled anything like this on a beer. Intoxicating.

T--Semi-sweet baker's chocolate, dark bread, and rich butter. My wife (of Swedish extraction), said this reminded her of "Swedish Christmas". The finish is long and comforting. Pretty damn amazing.

M--Syrupy, but not in a bad way. Emulsified egg whites and cream. Delicious.

D--The high ABV and heavy texture make it hard to repeat, but this is like the great dessert that sends a meal from merely 'good' and into 'unforgettable'. One of the best beer experiences I have ever had.

Served in a brand chalice at Lucky Baldwin's, Pasadena, CA

Serving type: on-tap

09-23-2009 01:56:07 | More by Spiderhouse
Photo of Lungman
Lungman

Alabama

4.88/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is in a class of its own. I dont know what class, but never had anything like it. Super nice quad that pours a thick ruby black. Taste like a pissed off chocolate cake. Smells like honey and brown sugar. How the 11% is hidden so well I will never know. Mouthfeel is creamy but a bit awkward like a junior prom tongue kiss behind the first base dugout, but unforgettable just the same. This damn beer is so sweet and strong. I don't know what to do with this...?

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2013 06:39:30 | More by Lungman
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
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).

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2001 12:33:58 | More by Todd
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew was shared by a fellow homebrewer. Pours a red/brown color with a large head that has ok retention and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is excellent. Filled with all the goodies: Dark fruits, raisins, alcohol, toasty, spice, sweetness, yeasty, malty - all just jumping out. The flavor is equally complex and great. As it warms, tons of dark fruits and raisins come across with some spices, citrus, alcohol and plenty of caramel malt. The mouthfeel is on the high end of moderate and the drinkability is great. This is one of the better Belgian beers I've had (except Westy and Rochefort) and probably the best brew I've had in a long while.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2005 18:18:06 | More by clvand0
Photo of Brew_More
Brew_More

Kentucky

4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is a dark, sweet beer. Not something I might drink on a hot afternoon. However in the evening, this is my favorite beer. Heavy, filling, unique. I have never had a beer quite like this one. This beer is like "Port" is to Wine. It is a beer with a different, unique flavor, that is great to finish off an evening with. Belgium classic.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 03:22:32 | More by Brew_More
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A rich dark brown color, more reddish in light, below a large creamy head. Nose is very sweet, with notes of toffee, cream, nuts, and a particular toasty character. Hints of spices, cloves, anise. Soft, spicy, and warm on the palate, with a lush and lasting finish. ABV unknown to me, but it's starting to deliver now. Perfect consolation on this freezing cold late January Minnesota afternoon. Full-bodied, tangy, hugely characterful, and an ever-unfolding delight to drink. Much like a hybrid of brandy and a candy bar! Delicious, delightful, d'lovely!
Mine was served in a Scaldis glass, which ably did the trick.

11-02-03
Above review from a tap sampling at Bryant Lake Bowl. Just had a 750ml bottled I'd been saving, this one labeled as "Donker-Foncee", and I echo my previous statements: this is one incredible brew. Just wish I could find more bottles around here!

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2003 15:55:56 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(10/02 on the cork; best before 09/07)

Shadowy and clear burnt crimson hue under a smallish tan dome that endures as a film.
Yeasty aromatics coupled with bursting ripe darks fruits. Merely a foreshadowing of what is in store.
A wall of sugared plums and candied raisins comes crashing down. In its wake resides figs and dates with a liquid caramel topping. Dark, fruity and twisted wreckage. Brown sugar and molasses ride in triumphantly. Hugely sweet, borders on overpoweringly so, but the yeasty tones that enter next prevent such a fate. Peppery spice, sourdough bread and traces of farmhouse create enough of a countering force to allow the sweetness to be tempered, albeit momentarily. Cane sugar resurges and couples with dark rum and port. Lingering vanilla-creamed blackberries complete things.

A consistency of melted soft-serve ice cream. Thick and heavy, sticky yet runny.
The alcoholic wrath is never noticed in the taste. Hidden is an understatement. This is frightening, and perhaps illegal in its high-octane rush down the throat.
A sipper, but an insanely drinkable one.

A sweet-toothed fantasy.
Find this one.
Please.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2003 00:44:55 | More by cokes
Photo of pbrian
pbrian

Connecticut

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cork dated 08-2001

Deep crimson red highlights make it through this clear, dark brown bier. The vigorous pour produced just a medium rich tan head but a thin film lasted the whole glass and left a mess. Port-like, sweet dark fruits in the aroma, with some mild spices, sweet bubblegum, and alcohol vapors. Flavor is very rich, sweet, fruity. Again, very vinous and port-like. Dark candi sugar, dark caramel malts, dark raisins and plums, everything's sweet, dark and beautiful. Low carbonation, thick, creamy sweet mouthfeel. Very warm and flavorful. Did I mention sweet? I don't know if a fresh version would receive such high numbers, but the aged version sitting in front of me is fabulous.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2004 03:11:50 | More by pbrian
Photo of janubio
janubio

Spain

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown head with few bubbles. It doesn't last much and leaves almost no lace. Brown reddish very nice colour. Nose of chocolate, cherries, apricots and plums. A hint of vanilla. Sugar cane, alcohol, sherry aged wine. Heavy sweet flavor, I think that I notice it more in the 75 cl. bottle than in the 33 cl one. Don't know why, lately I find the sweetness a bit artificial. Mouth of chocolate, brandy, cherries, plums, apricots, sherry aged wine again, sugar cane, aniseed. A beer of the gods. One of them. Too complex to find all the characters in one taste.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2006 20:46:26 | More by janubio
Photo of Robertgc
Robertgc

Georgia

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of my top three beers. Slight oaky smell. Sweetness is there at first, and all the way through. No bitterness at all. At the right temperature, sort of reminds me of a "flat" coke. In a good way! So smooth, rich and full. Very sweet and rich. very drinkable with a wonderful mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2011 23:32:46 | More by Robertgc
Photo of DanGraser
DanGraser

New York

4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving: Served in a goblet after having been cellared for 4 years.

Appearance: Deep brown, light does not reveal any more depth. Coffe colored in the manner of a lighter espresso.

Smell: Complex sweetness, brown sugar, molasses, lighter sweetness reminiscent of port or a good eiswein.

Taste: Unbelievable, this is easily the finest of the sweet dark Belgian quadrupels. Dark candy mingled with dark chocolate and port yielding a wonderful balance of opening sweetness and a dry and incredibly long finish that finally reveals the power of this brew with a warming alcohol effervescence resulting in a stomach-calming warmth.

Mouthfeel: Rich coffee smoothness and mouth-filling layers of flavor. This is one to be sipped.

Drinkability: Very powerful brew but quite enjoyable. Best suited to having a single drink with some good cheese or as an accompaniment to a rich dessert. (Or maybe just have it as the dessert!) Can stand alone and is a wonderful brew to have with a good book or good friends after dinner.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2007 18:33:55 | More by DanGraser
Photo of dqrull
dqrull

Sweden

4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a really beautiful wine-red colour, not a very big head, slightly tan and dissipates quickly leaving some creamy lace.

Smells of prunes and raisins, some belgian yeast esters, sweet malt with a hint of almonds and a small hint of red wine, maybe port.

Wow. This tastes like... if you put a bowl of really tasty prunes, raisins, dried figs, dried peaches, pickled peaches and mandarins in a bowl, sprinkle it with almond icing and caramellized brown sugar, and then pour a good deal of port over it and leave it in the fridge over night, marvelous. The taste is really long, big and smooth, starts off with the expected sweet malt-attack and seamlessly transforms into the fantastic onslaught of fruits and port described above, and all the while, during this increadibly long and consistent taste a light, light tartness is balancing the sweetness so it never even gets close to being cloying or annoying in any way, sublime.

A very light carbonation and a mid-viscous liquid fits this brew perfectly.

I could drink myself to death on this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 01:22:17 | More by dqrull
Photo of EkimGram
EkimGram

New York

4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Poured from 11.2oz bottle dated 080407 into large snifter. Colour is a dark espresso brown. Pours a half-inch head, rather bubbly, that died down quickly.

Smell: Dark fruits, roasty, a little boozy, and some mild spice.

Taste: Not what I had expected from the smell. Tame, rather sweet in the way a plum is sweet. The alcohol blends in nicely with the complex flavours of what I sense to a be a little rich, sweet, somewhat roasty, almost a meaty flavour if I may. Very difficult to pick out a single flavour.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, relatively thick yet it has a very nice creamy-velvety characteristic.

Overall: Nothing I have ever drank before with an 11+% ABV has been smoother. Truly a wonderfully crafted beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2011 04:58:12 | More by EkimGram
Photo of jcomp21
jcomp21

California

4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wooowwww!

You gotta try this beer. Strait outta belgium, this beer makes me smile. One of my favorite types of beer, the beglian quadruple/belgian strong dark ale.

Appearance - Very dark brown with some red undertones, there was a quick head that evaporated quickly... but at 11% abv that is expected!

Smell - Wow - like falling in love with a blonde girl in lederhosen on the alps. very figgy and sweet. Some strawberries and chocolate on the back of the nose. Take me to Belgium!!!

Taste - Sweet, pruny, cherry/strawberry, tart raison, with a bite and you can feel a bit of warming from the alchohol.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and smooth

Overall - I want to drink this alot

see you on the next one.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2012 02:57:41 | More by jcomp21
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from the lees, its clear mahogany body rests gently beneath a short, creamy head of light tan foam as very tiny bubbles steadily rise up to support it. The head drops shortly to a wide collar and lacy surface covering, but also leaves some wide rings of sticky lace about the glass. The nose welcomes you with a delicious combination of chocolate covered raisins and caramel splashed with sweet red wine and backed by some earthy and leafy hops. As it warms some candyish - and also peppery - yeast character comes into play adding greatly to its complexity. The body is medium/light, and combines with its very fine, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning to leave it just lightly zesty on the tongue before fading smoothly away. The vinous character of the nose is immediately recognized in the flavor along with assorted dark fruits (plum/prune, dates), a soft note of chocolate, and a sweet light caramel that morphs into a harsher note of molasses that's less refined and a bit edgy at the finish (due in part to alcohol, and in part bitterness). It lingers with some alcohol that fades to reveal the true hop bitterness; then some candy sweetness (bubblegum); and finally a last note of caramel that's charged with delicate clove-like spiciness. Quite complex, rich and flavorful! And although the alcohol could be slightly more restrained, its sweetness is impeccably balanced and never interferes or build on the palate. An impressive brew that's well worth seeking out!

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2003 02:25:10 | More by NeroFiddled
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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 557 ratings.