Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

779 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 779
Reviews: 367
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 78
Gots: 108 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 779 | Reviews: 367
Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful off-white head of three fingers. Lots of lace. The color of the brew is brown where light barely shines through. Attractive.

Farmlike smells; earthy and dark. Some crystal and chocolate malt aromas.

Sweeter than I expected. Strongly malty. Notable alcohol warmth. The body is warming (from the alcohol strength) and thick. The carbonation is relatively light for the creaminess. I don't detect any hop or any other balancing ingredient.

This is an easy beer with which to get snookered. It's subtle and powerful. It isn't a beer with complexity.

Photo of BucBasil
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Picked this one up at the Carrefour in Varna, Bulgaria. I am so happy to see good beer starting to make its way into this country. This beer was labeled "Kasteel Bruin-Brune 11^o". I believe that this is the same beer. Anyway, on to the beer...

Poured from the stubby 330mL bottle into a snifter.

A: The beer is a carbonated, opaque, pure brown, with a bit of light coming through when held up. the beer is topped with a frothy tan head of about 2.5 to 3 fingers with ok retention.

S: A big sweetness is the first noticeable aspect, heavy with dark fruit and some sugar. Some light roasted nut. Yeast.

T: Wow this is an unexpectedly sweet beer. The first sip is molasses and brown sugar coating overripe dark fruit. Malt begins to make an appearance after being held in the mouth, light and somewhat fleeting, but present in the form of dark breads. Then the yeast comes in and blows everything away in the finish, again with a very sweet character. Somewhat cloying, this beer took some time to get used to, though as it warmed, some different and more subtle notes came into play, including a light roasted nut flavor that was nice for a moment and a touch of cinnamon-sugar...

M: Very smooth with a touch of soft carbonation.

D: This is a pretty sweet beer, but still ok for such a high alcohol content. Masked very well, there is hardly any burn, but the sweetness does become a little annoying later down the line. Pick this one up to give it a try - could be a good gateway beer into Belgians, but I could have used a bit more balance.

Photo of TheCyturn
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a chalice. I held the bottle at least 20 centimeters above the glass in order to get at least some foam. I managed to get some but it collapsed into a very thin layer.
I like the smell: syrup, lots of caramel and the alcohol is very noticeable but that's ok.
Taste: complex:syrup,caramel, extremely sweet,some elements taste a bit like red wine. Almost no bitterness at all. I really had to search for soms hops.
Mouthfeel: excellent!. Very thick and nicely carbonated.
Drinkability: too much sugar and alcohol. I wouldn't drink another one right after having drunk this one.
Tip: the bottle says that you have to serve it at 12°C but I'd drink it a bit colder to mute the sweetness a bit.

Photo of AndoBrew
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*I liked it would not buy again*

garnet to brown nice cream tan bubble head nice lacing

a lil tart sour smell then some sweet candy malts.. some dark fruit.. lets sip, shall we?

YUM YUM! I can rock this beer, and I will be honest, I dont rock many belgians ok? YUMMY! It actually has depth and flavor beyond the normal belgian candy taste. Starts with big chewy dark fruits.. dates figs plums whatever, you know the kind.. then it has some good brown toasty choco things, finishes with a pinch of booze and then some of the belgian candy

good beer, mouthfeel is nice, may coat a bit to much as you go.. the candy flavors build and it is starting to get a lil more sweet, not to much yet

ehh its turning into more of a normal candy belgian but still holding its own, I like it, drinkability, yeah, very. I wish they would give you a full 12oz, drinking a 4 pk would be fine, you would want some kinda food to fight the sweet in between beers though.

balance off the candy just a touch more and id be all-in

--side note, I found near the end.. if you drink it slower than I would the adding up of the candy sweet taste does not really happen, SO I would recomend to drink this beer at a slower pace than me, to enjoy it the most, the problem is it will let you drink it fast cause its good.

Photo of dgallina
3.52/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml dark green magnum. Cork dated 11/2003. Bottle dated best-before 11/2008. Sampled 8/2006.

Pours clouded opaque dark brown with red edges. Small (half-inch) of creamy foam that rapidly recedes but leaves decent lace. Smells yeasty, full of dark fruits (cherries, plums), medicinal alcohol. Flavor begins with sweet & sour medicinal alcohol sting, becomes round and malty sweet in the middle and finishes the same way. Heavy, syrupy body with minimal carbonation. Not a great quad. Kind of heavy on the alcohol tones for my taste.

Photo of nelsonsaigon
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saigon (bottle)

I am neutral on this beer.

Photo of ibbjamin
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Paid $5.99 for an 11.2oz bottle from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. It was bottled 080407 and I am tasting in Sep11. I pour into a chalice to review.

An aggressive pour yields a very small head that dissipates quickly leaving little retention behind. Dark, dark brown in color. Opaque and nearly black, except when held to a bright light. Some strings of lacing.

Dark fruits like raisin, plum, prune and fig dominate, but there is a good malt backing. I also noted molasses, brown sugar, alcohol and Belgian yeast in the nose.

The taste is also dark fruit dominated and quite sweet.

The mouth needs more carbonation, but I recon the aging may have toned this department down a bit too much. I don't think cellaring this one helped it much. Medium body and not as smooth going down as the best I've had in this style.

Photo of beergirltammy
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was served this beer at a small bar in Brussels, Belgium. I am a huge lover of dark beers and was really excited to try this. It was poured in the proper glassware and had a very nice mahogany color to it. I got about a 1/2" of head to it, which receded fairly quickly. The smell was surprisingly sweet. I was expecting more of a subdued earthy scent, but this smelled almost like cherry cough syrup. The first sip yielded more of the cough syrup taste, but as I let it roll around in my mouth a bit, I tasted more of a molasses/brown sugar hint. Honestly, I feel as though this is a good beer, but it is hard for me to get past the cough syrup taste of it.

Photo of oldhippie247
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours basically opaque with just a little ruby-ish hue around the edges when held to a light. Big, fluffy off-white head lingers nicely.

Nose is dark, estery, and definitely Belgian. A little alcohol comes through despite an overall subtle nose that really only features dark fruits such as dates and figs. Something a little artificial in the nose is a bit of drawback.

Smooth mouthfeel that seems to fill out as the beer warms a bit. Again, dark date-like fruits with just the slightest hint of spice (as a substitute for hops it seems), make up the flavor profile. ABV of 11% is well-balanced and does not come across as too boozy.

I really wanted to like this beer because I really like the Rouge from Kasteel, and at first I thought I was going to be disappointed. If tasted cold this beer is less than great, with both nose and palate closed. I would suggest serving this just barely below room temp (NC in mid-March). The nose doesn't open much, but it tastes tons better.

Photo of mopargoof
3.45/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice 750ml bottle. Looks like a very dark belgium but then poors off red from a green bottle. Very little head. Sweet aroma. Very soft and silky at first sip followed by an overly sweet sugary body.

I was a little disappointed in this beer. Several of my friends say this is the best beer that they have ever tasted but I found it to be extremely sugary and sweet. Good alcohol content at 11% and no indication of the kick until its on you. Very expensive - buy 1 bottle and try before you spend the $100 plus on a 12 750ml bottle case.

Photo of abents
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a midnight black with HUGE tan head, looks amazing.
Smells of dark roasted malts and some fruit. Taste is very sweet with dark fruits abounding. Pretty big alcohol on the finish for me. Really sweet sticky finish. Very creamy feel smooth, but the alcohol and sweetness is a little too much. Very interesting beer very different than a lot of the other "quads" not really my favorite, but fine nonetheless.

Photo of haz77
3.42/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a deep burgundy with a small fizzy head that disappears immediately, leaving a thin ring. Small bubbles of low carbonation.

S - Alcohol, cherry, wet dog, metallic edge, dark sugar, phenols, light solvent.

T - Alcohol warmth comes through almost immediately and keeps building. Sweet cherries at first with caramel appearing in the middle. At this point an overpowering syrupy sweetness quickly builds before the alcohol becomes predominant. Phenolic and warming aftertaste.

M - Smooth medium body and low carbonation.

D - Wasn't particularly easy to drink. If you like sweet beer then give it a go, but it's not something I'll be trying again soon as I found the sweetness overpowering.

Photo of ryanonline
3.41/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Looks nice, dark and deep with Ruby highlights. Big tan head. Good lacing.

Smells very sweet and light roasty. No hops.

Tastes a bit too sweet, almost saccharin. And a touch of roastiness.

Clean and creamy with a slightly dry finish.

Too sweet and a bit heavy i coukd only stomach like one or two of these.

This is one sweet muuhfuuh.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a bright, and vibrant cranberry-sherry color with a thin creamy khaki colored head which quickly gave way leaving a thin, broken film lacing on the way down.

S: very vinous, tart grapes and berries with some noticeable alcohol.

T: sweet sugary malt with vinous grapes, tart berries and a big tart alcohol flavor. There was a big acidity with a wine like nature. Ripe fruit and sugar plums were detected before finishing with a warming tart alcohol finish. Overall a sweet, very acidic, vinous drink that drank more like a sherry or wine then beer. Good overall, but probably wouldn't be interested in buying again.

M: light, very vinous, smooth with sweet sugary malt and tart berries followed by a big tart alcohol finish on the swallow.

D: A nice drink overall, but definitely a slow sipper and the bomber will take a while to get through. The alcohol was noticeable but was halfway through the bottle before I read the 11.0% abv which soon made sense. A good drink I thought but more wine then beer which sways me not to try again.

Photo of ccrida
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into a tumbler, in Amsterdam. Dark ruddy brown, small light tan head, scattered lace.

Smell is kind of acrid, nut liqueur like maltiness that doesn't hint of the extreme sweet alcohol blasts that for comes the first sip.

Taste is very hot, sweet, alcoholic but not fusels, cleaner, not very phenolic, intense focus

Mouthfeel is sticky syrup and coats the back of the throat, with a lighter body.

Drinkability is OK, not this beers strong suit, as it is so intense you must sip slowy. The kind of beer you need to sip with water. An extreme quad, and must try for lovers of the style. A bit too much for me here though to love.

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is ok, the head dissapates almost completely away, but holds a good sticky lacing.

Smell is spicy and has a pepper smell. Very little flowery smells, with small traces of cloves, nutmeg, burnt sugar and dark fruit.

Sweet and spicy, I really enjoyed the taste. Burnt sugar is thick and overpowering with flavor. Dark fruit, grape taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy and carbonated, pretty smooth.

I would love to drink more of this beer if it was in my area, I would go looking for it.

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.37/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330ml brown bottle at "beermania", a belgian beer bar in beijing, served in branded chalice.

clear, dark cola w red tint, some head but soon fades to thin ring. minimal lacing.

smells of caramel with phenolic sweetness, something like prune juice. hint of herbal grassiness.

slightly medicinal sweetness on the palate shocks me. again some caramel and candy. faint bitterness. finish starts cloyingly sweet as well, but at least the faint bitterness rounds it out slightly, albeit not enough.

feel is syrupy, with some fluffy carbonation which is otherwise quite gentle. finishes out smoother though.

this thing is just too sweet, without enough other complexities that stand out or even hold their own. maybe passable as a dessert, but even then the medicinal notes might detract from that as well...

Photo of BGDrock
3.36/5  rDev -18.4%
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

Photo of Naugros
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very brown in color with little head to speak of. Not what I expect from a Belgian beer. I'm used to billowy heads, but this did not develop one. Maybe it was the drinking vessel (a chalice) the precluded it. It did however leave nice lacing down the sides of the chalice.

I'm getting pears off of the nose and caramel sweetness and some dried fruit...raisins.

Yep, definitely raisins. You can taste them and they are sweet, very sweet...too sweet for me. The sweetness wrestles the heat of the alcohol to the ground and subdues it, but if you listen closely you can hear the 11% ABV crying "uncle". It's there but masked by the sugars. This is the frou frou drink of Belgian beers...almost schnapps-like.

The body is medium but all the sugar made it feel heavier. I could not perceive the carbonation.

I'm not sure I can finish this beer. I'm afraid that it will give me a headache. I'm not fond of the sugary flavor and maybe it's because I am unfamiliar as to what a donker should taste like. If this indicative of the style then I'll steer clear. I'm now hesitant to try their tripel.

Photo of Biscuit033
3.33/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Brown but you could see through it with small white head and OK lacing.

S: Dark fruits and sour cherry hit me immediately and not much else.

T: There is prune, raisins, brown sugar and molasses, tart cherry flavors that add to the sour flavors but very, very sweet.

M: Full body but a bit oily and long tart finish.

D: It is very sweet and not tart enough to balance all of the flavors to drink an entire glass.

Photo of acrawf6
3.32/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a dark murky brown with a small and disappointing tan head that drops to clumps of big bubbles resting on top.

Smell. A sweet smell with dominant of raisons. Pleasant, but that is all i get

Taste. A heavy sweetness, with more juicy raison flavors. There is also a small spiced and pepperyness to it. The sweetness is fruity with the raisons, and also marrichino cherries. Aftertaste is warming with a sweet and pepper taste, and a tartness at the final end.

Mouthfeel. Body is thick, but not exactly full. Feels like a concentration of a beer, but not all the flavors of a quad. Carbonation seems proper with the beer, but on the lower side.

Overall, one of the sweeter beers i have had. Tasty, but not complex, and one i would really have to be in the mood for to truly enjoy the sweet characteristic. I do like it, but i think the flavor is just too one dimensional, and would much rather many other quads, bsda's, and a few dubbels over this one.

This one really hides the 11% extremely well.

Photo of rwathree
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
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).

Photo of RuudJH
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 33 cl.
Chestnutbrown coloured , creamy thin head, the boozyness is upfront in both the smell and the taste, but nevermind that. It's fruity and malty, but mainly the whole brew is too much sweetness from caramel and candy burnt sugar, to me a bit over the top.

Photo of TheHammer
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured with a rather lame finger of head that quickly retreated to half a finger, put up a solid fight and then disappeared. The body is a thick molasses colored brown that seems to offer thin carbonation.

Smell: A heavy kick of molasses like malt which seems to be the trademark of the style to a backing of pecans and candied raisins. Warming really helped it come out.

Taste: Very sweet, which I suppose isn't surprising for the style, as the molasses-like malt dominates the beer. Notes of pecans, raisins, berries drown in overwhelming sea of malt. If it wasn't for the heavy alcohol content being noticeable, you could pass it off as some kind of malt soft drink.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation fell flat really quick which was disappointing, but the sweet malt aftertaste doesn't cling, so that is nice. Transitioning is decent I guess, but even though it in no way lingers, you get this sticky sensation as you drink it.

Drinkability: Well, I didn't have any issues getting it down and it settled down nicely in my stomach. The high ABV is concealed very well, and while it's not the most refreshing thing around, I wouldn't turn it down.

Final Thoughts: All in all, I was kinda a bit disappointed by it. I think part of the reason is I saw Donker, and thought Dunkel and was expecting something richer and bitter then something this light and sweet. It's ok, but I get the feeling Quad's are the malt version of IPA, meaning too much of one aspect of the beer dominating the others.

Photo of jrallen34
3.29/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Drank from a bottle into a chalice in Brussels at Delirium Cafe.

This beer is very thick but with bad head. Its dark black with a tan oily head. There is some decent lacing.

It smells very much like coffee and caramal, ands tastes the same.

Its pretty good, but you can't drink more than one.

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 779 ratings.