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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Educational use only; do not reuse.

368 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 368
Hads: 814
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 20.94%
Wants: 81
Gots: 127 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. visit their website

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.
View: Beers (35) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kasteel Donker Alström Bros
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Reviews: 368 | Hads: 814
Photo of ImperialStoat
1.42/5  rDev -65%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Ugh. This is like drinking alcoholic, knock-off brand cola.

It retains several elements of the best Quads, such as a smell of certain spices in the nose and a lingering taste of dark fruits (prunes, figs), but the syrupy-sweetness is so overpowering and one dimensional that I found it hard to notice much else.


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Photo of Viggo
1.71/5  rDev -57.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Only beer I've had that got progressively worse and undrinkable as time went on. Pours a dark mahogany brown, lots of off white head and lacing. Smells is sweet malt, alcohol, and dark fruits. Taste is horribly sweet, dark cherries, and overpowering alcohol. The mouthfeel was the only pleasant thing about this beer, the carbonation was good. This beer is only good for cooking, it tasted like brown sugar mixed with rubbing alcohol, and this was a bottle that had been aged for 7 months at my house. Insanely one dimensional, it burns from the alcohol. Not recommended at all, horrible. It took all my willpower to force it down and not throw this out.

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Photo of Beaver13
1.88/5  rDev -53.7%
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.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
1.89/5  rDev -53.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Reading the reviews here makes me think that I got a bad bottle. Until I have another (which I probably won't for a while), I think this post should stand. I am of the opinion that bad bottles reflects the overall quality of the beer's production and thus should be factored into the beer's rating.

Poured a murky brown with minimal head. Nose is all phenols and a fake grape-y-ness. Gross. Taste is the same, this over-sweet, fake awful grape note. Feel is fine, drinkability is zero. Awful, awful, awful. Drainpour.

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Photo of ronniebruner
1.95/5  rDev -52%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I have to agree with LordAdmNelson. I dont know if I must have got a bad bottle myself... but this did not taste like beer. This tasted like a cheaper bottle of champagne, smells like over sweetened champagne and the abundance of carbonation would lead me to believe this was just a bottle of extra sweet champagne. The aroma is of grapes, definitely no scent of hops, malt or barley. When poured, the color was a golden yellow and did not look too bad, but mixed with the overly strong taste of stale grapes, that severely impacted my score, which is a total shame since I paid $9.99 for a big bottle. Very very disappointing.

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Photo of alexanderplatz
2.01/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.5

Too cloyingly sweet. Combined with low carbonation the result is an unpleasantly syrupy beverage. Tasted worse and worse as the glass wore on. One dimensional and uninteresting. If it had been a blind taste test you could have convinced me it was a novice home brew. Made through half a glass before I decided to drain pour the rest.

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Photo of scottstrades
2.16/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I am amazed that this beer is rated so highly. Unless you like your beers amazingly sweet, and I am talking SWEET, then this is not the beer for you. I love Belgians and seek out the micro beers from Belgium whenever I can and I have nothing slightly sweet beers. This beer, though, is something else. I could not get beyond the overpowering sweetness of this beer and if there is any redeeming quality to this thing, it is lost in the syrup like taste. The taste was so bad that I had to cut it with another beer. Interestingly, I mentioned this to another Belgian beer friend of mine and he said he had to do the same thing. Overpriced and overrated is my opinion. The Triple was also unimpressive. There are many far better Belgians out there for less money.

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Photo of pootz
2.37/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottled. Typical Belgian stubbie. Pours a flat cola -red with little or no head. Aroma is alcohol mixed with spice. mouth feel is oils and sweet...pronounced molasses-cola tastes some malt body and the ever pervasive alcohol....very much like a Carib sweet stout...bad job of hiding it and too sweet with adjuncts to be considered a serious for a European ale...these Belgium mutants should have their own category...maybe "rot yer teeth hi grav rummy beer" ...woof , I won’t be going back here.

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Photo of Absumaster
2.63/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a dark brown, red colour with a small head and glass sticking foam.

Smell was roasted and malty, it reminded me of tobacco. What was striking, was the lack of smell, especially for a beer with 11% alcohol, I expect to have a little more smell.

Taste was SWEET!! My teeth almost fell out of my mouth! Unbelievable. The alcohol is also very apparent and off course the beer is sticky. I could barely get my lipps off each other. Every other taste that is possibly in there is masked by the sweetness of the beer. I would not advise this to anyone who is a serious beeradvocate.

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Photo of Ant777uk
2.67/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

11%..? Nice

Look is kind of dark red, still see through though. Froth goes down very fast.

Aroma is fruity,kind of different and complex.

Taste? OMFG wow. Intense. This is almost like someone has mixed vodka with my Chimay Blue...

No way is it worth 100 as a score. It is not a complex, highly balanced, beautiful taste. But if you value a beer by how strong it is, there are not many more than this...

Chimay Blue is much better than this, give it a try. This reminds me of the extra strong canned beer that we have all tried on the occasion...

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Photo of Seru1
2.7/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- Dark Blackish brown with a very very thin head, almost non existant

Smell- Shoe leather slightly, Some sweet syrupy aromas

Taste- Maple, Molasses, slight burnt character, some jammy red fruits. I like sweet beer and all but this is abit much. The wheat and Belgian yeast are there, albeit in a rather unpleasing form.

Mouthfeel- About what you'd expect from the style, a little thick.

Drinkability- One's good for me thanks.

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Photo of mmmbeer
2.78/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. Belgian stubby, with a freshness date of July 2010, served a bit too cold at Michael's Bistro and Taphouse in a small snifter. It pours a clouded brownish/red that is ruby in the light and is topped with a small, light brown head that retains a thin collar. The aroma is quite vinous, sugary sweet, with a blackberry kick. Think Chambord. It is hugely sweet on the palate, very port-like, with pepper, berries, and maybe some hops near the end. The body is medium, yet syrupy thick, with light carbonation and a medium finish. On the plus side, the alcohol is undetectable, but on the negative side, it is way too sweet and a bit difficult to drink, making me wonder as to why it is rated so highly.

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Photo of erok
2.8/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - poured with little head or carbonation. Reddish brown color. I was afraid I had a bad bottle based on the low level of carb.
S - alcohol and fruity sweetness
T - Cloying sweetness - almost port wine-like, a little estery fruitiness, but not as much as I'd like of for a dark belgian. The alcohol is also apparent in the taste. You can tell from the smell and the taste that this beer is in 11% - it's not hidden.
M - Full and syrupy. The sweetness lingers. Little perceptible carbonation.
D - I wouldn't have another.

Bottom line: If you're expecting a Rochefort, Chimay Blue, or St. Bernardus, you'll be quite disappointed. In contrast, if you like some of the sweeter Belgian-style darks/dubbels (Grimbergen comes to mind), you may find this enjoyable. If I brewed this myself, I'd lament the lack of attenuation.

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.8/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Big beer. Dark brown with medium white head. All malt aroma of toffee and fruits. The taste is extra sweet. Plums, caramel, malt, grapes. Very vinous, rich and warming, alcohol is very noticeable in the finish. Almost syrupy mouthfeel. It would be interesting to age, but overall I must say I expected much more.

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Photo of Globetrotter
2.83/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased in Antwerp and hand-delivered to Moscow (thanks Marjut and Michael!), this 33cl brown stubby features a big bulge in the neck and a tan and yellow label centered around a drawing of some seventeenth century palace. Ingredients conform to the purity law. Best before 9/09, I opened it on 3/25/05.

Clear but very dark cola like brown hue under a thin 1/2 finger head that fades to collar almost immediately, but then leaves some pretty impressive lace strings along the side. Sweet caramel malt nose, like candy. Mildly carbonated and pretty sticky, basically the consistency of a semi-flat coke (but in a good way...). The opening taste is way too sweet (what? no sugar in here? Ha!), almost like maple syrup. Some hops try to fight their way through the sweetness, and manage to get noticed before falling back into the sugary swamp. The overall impression is way too sweet for me. I can't recommend it.

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Photo of impending
2.84/5  rDev -30%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

33cl into a tulip. Pours a ruddy old rootbeer float dreg. Lowly carbonated. Very minor head subsided quickly.

Aroma is more of a dubbel than a strong dark as it lacks that in your face dark fruits. Solvent alcohol smells strong. The dark fruits are overly ripe, way past their prime.

Dark fruits also do not dominate the taste. Pronounced phenols. Alcohol kicks in very early, too early, and is very warm, boozy, too boozy ;) Full bodied slightly viscous mouthfeel.

At room temp - notes of cough medicine from when I was a kid.

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Photo of AlexLMS
2.92/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Kasteel Brune poured with a very dark brown colour. It was opaque due to its dark colour (no floating sediments). The head was brown, foamy and very low (impaired retention).
The nose was dominated by the alcoholic vinous plus molasses and fruits.
The taste was very sweet and again the alcohol was the dominant feature in the palate with the added presence of molasses and sweet malts. Very light on the hops.
The mouthfeel was unctuous with low carbonation level, obviously strong alcohol and a full body. Lingering sweet warming alcohol aftertaste.

I did not fell in love with this one. Some interesting characteristics but overall it is too sweet for my taste.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.93/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As noted by others, this is somewhere between a high ABV brown ale and a Belgian quad, but not really either definitively. I was served a bottle of this in Ghent, Belgium. It was poured into a Kasteel goblet; Belgians really take delicate care to utilize proper glassware. In the same bar I reviewed this in, a waitress was ashamed when a customer asked (in Flemish) for the proper glassware, because she realized she had served a beer in the wrong glass. Dropping more eaves than was polite, I noticed that the "wrong glass" was actually a glass from the correct brewer but not the exact beer for the bottle. Respect. Reviewed from notes.

A: Half-finger head; actually thin. Fair retention, especially considering its 11% ABV. Black colour. Perhaps some might call it an extreme dark brown.

Sm: Caramel, nuts, and light alcohol. I was disappointed to discover the alcohol is present even in the smell, which isn't a great sign.

T: Caramel and nut hop body. Complex. Balanced but strangely built for either style (brown & quad). The dark fruit I've come to expect in a quad is missing, replaced by the standard brown ale nutty hops. The effect is confusing, if not jarring, but the beer still tastes good. You get acclimated and it tastes better.

Mf: Nicely coarse and wet. The alcohol is warming, but a bit unwelcome.

Dr: Not good enough to order again at this price. I can't imagine what this costs in countries in which it's an import.


Reviewed again on-draught in SoCal. 2009 vintage.

A: Pours no head at all. Body colour is a caramel-brown. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Caramalts. Biscuit malts. Brown malt. Residual sugars. Minimal floral hop character. Toffee. Quite sweet. A mild strength aroma.

T: Sweet. Malty, with caramalt, biscuit malt, and brown malts. Simple but enjoyable. Decently balanced for what it is.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Decent carbonation. Good thickness. Suits the flavour profile well.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but a bit too sweet and simple. I wouldn't get it again, but I'm glad I revisited it. Liqueur-esque.


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Photo of ThaCreep
2.95/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Chocolate aroma and taste of both toasted bread and dried fruit. In the mouth it is thick, has a taste of port, but more importantly, it is overly loaded with sugar. It feels the sugar granules on the tongue. The taste of alcohol is therefore fairly well hidden and is therefore withdrawn. Unbalanced and heavy.

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Photo of thierrynantes
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 1999.

Appearance: glowing brown color, with tan foam head (not persistent).
Smell : fruity aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel: soft palate, taste of Porto and coffee, strong sweet sensations.
Drinkability: a beer in the style strong dark ale, too strong and too sweet.

Review translated from french 6-11-2008.

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Photo of Squelch
3.05/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby red. Slight off white head. No lacing

Smell: Sweet and sugary.

Taste: overly sweet. Boiled too much to get the ABV. Way too much candi sugar. No blance to this beer

Mouthfeel. Cant tell due to the sweetness

Drinkability: I will not have this one again.

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Photo of geexploitation
3.05/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a lovely chocolate brown with ruby tinges and little head. The nose is straightforward quad, with sugary smells, some raw alcohol, and lots of chocolate and some sweet, raisiny fruit notes. On the palate, overly sweet first off, with some definite cloying going on, before a dusty, slightly rough date element comes out. Some creamed-and-sugared coffee toward the end. The finish is long and active but way too sweet, with no balancing hop influence to speak of. Mouthfeel is hot with alcohol and heavy on malts, with little lightness on display. Not that I want my quads to be light, but you gotta have balance somewhere. Overall, this is not a good quad. Too sweet, no balance, and not nearly enough complexity to save things in any way. Pass.

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Photo of aracauna
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown. Actually black from many angles. The biege head is fizzy and weak. The aroma is faint - sweet, slightly citric. Flavor is surprisingly light considering color. Sweet but not cloying. A bit of wood. Don't let it get too warm however as the sweetness grows and becomes sticky. Works well with sweet foods, however. Far from dry in any sense of the term. Far from bad but is a bit wimpy, which lets the sweetness run wild.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

4+ year old 750ml bottle. Poured dirty - looking like rust and stagnant creek water. Aroma of dusty attic and dry earth. Flavor was sweet stewed dark fruit, with port and sherry notes. I keep my cellar bottles well, and they do not get light, heat, or physical disturbance, but this one must have had all the yeast completely in solution, because it was so cloudy, but without any floaty chunks etc. I have had my fare share of five and six year old Belgian ales, but this one was weird. It just came out all weird looking, but still tasted fine.

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Photo of p1nt
3.17/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a fresh 750 bottle. happened to be the cheapest 750 in the market, and one I hadn't tried already; I enjoyed the kasteel tripel ok so I thought I'd give it a shot. the beer poured a minimal head which dissipated quickly; had the appearance of flat pepsi, plus a bit of lacing. standard taste/smell for something between a quadrupel and a belgian strong dark ale: overly sweet, raisins, figs, and rather medicinal. body/mouthfeel was much lighter than expected, and offered almost no carbonation - a substantial amount of which I think might have helped balance out the overwhelming sweetness.

I was expecting to enjoy it more as the 11 abv kicked in (like the 120 minute IPA, which went from cough syrup to amazing), but nothing doing - to be honest, I couldn't even finish it.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 368 ratings.