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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

730 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 730
Reviews: 361
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.11%
Wants: 71
Gots: 95 | FT: 1
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: 730 | Reviews: 361 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TastyTaste
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

O! Chateau Donker, why must you put hard-to-remove gold foil on your caged and corked beer?

Appearance: Deep maroon-purple body, medium tan head. Sticky lacing around the glass.

Smell: Sweet carmel and honey, very sweet, with some pineapple, brown sugar, and a little earthiness.

Taste: Rich and very sweet, carmel and honey flavors are up front. More mellow than I remember the on-tap version being. This is a differently styled beer, one that would be good with a slice of apple pie, i think.

Drinkability: The sweetness is more subdued than on tap, if my memory serves, making this a more balanced and mellowed beer. A great dessert beer, above average vs. the style.

Photo of jrenihan
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of StJamesGate
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Glowing chestnut with steady clingy finger of cappuccino foam that trails.
Deep nose of cinnamon raisin toast, brandy butter, and toffee apples.
Golden sultana and soft caramel up front, some almost-ripe figs, vanilla tones, clove sneaking through with some bruised pears, and a hint of herbal hops at the end.
Slight ginger + bubblegum end and long wood spice linger.
Medium headed towards full, chewy, slight heat.

Huge - loads of residual (candy?) sugar make for a big body, and the fruit-and-sweets flavor notes enhance that. Not far from Backwoods Bastard in terms of big, round, sweetness - fruits are all yellow rather than dark. Yeast and fizz save it from cloying, but only just. Nice to sip slow like some honey-soaked pastry that hurts your teeth, but I wanted something to lift this a bit.

The top of the 2nd tier of quads.

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quite a pleasant surprise and find. Paid $8 for a 750mL bottle in a store that's a bit on the pricey side. Hadn't heard of or tasted this one before so I thought it worth a go.
Poured a pretty mahagony color into my chalice with some head and good lacing on the glass. Smells slightly sharp and mildly fruity.
I don't think I can detect any hops in this one... or juuuust barely. This is quite sweet, almost to the point of cloying but seems to stop just short of that. Very, very smooth flavor and mouthfeel. The tastes I'm getting are mostly dark raisins and dried figs, perhaps a bit of dark sweet cherries. Reminds me a bit of other quadrupels but perhaps without some of the depth or maybe even without some of the smokyness. I find the taste to be quite delicious and juicy.
The sweetness is a little bit over the top and maybe a bit unbalanced which takes some drinkability out of this; however, with a bare whisper of detectability of the alcohol content (a head heavying 11%) you probably dont need to worry about drinking a lot of this.
Great stuff.

Photo of busternuggz
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.2 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled date of 9-12-02 (!)
Looks beautiful. Nice rusty brown with a 1/4-1/2" thick bubbly, khaki head, leaves spotty lacing. Very inviting.
Rich and complex smell, I got raisins, cardamom, a bright maple syrup note, a little leather, and figs.
The taste was similarly complex. Big maple syrup, raisins, and dates up front, a little wood. It has a nice spicy/fruity aftertaste to it. Big and rich, but only a little heat every now and then. It's a little too sweet for a while, but as it warms it gets more mellow and a nice honey note comes out. I recommend drinking it close to room temp.
Nice thick texture comes in with all that richness, but it's well carbonated and ends pretty clean.
Definitely a sipper, but it's delicious and interesting enough to keep you going.

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle into a snifter, bottled 1/25/12. Just over a year old.

A: Pours a very dark amber/brown, almost black. Two fingers of dense off white foam forms with great retention.

S: Strong dark fruits dominate - mainly prunes and raisins - a touch of plums as well, but in the background. Nutmeg and orange peel help balance the intense dark fruits. Very sweet, but complex with nice yeast esters.

T: Again very sweet, now prunes mix with caramel to produce a very nice malt character. Again, nutmeg comes through quite nicely. A bit of citrus comes through as well, but not as much as I'd like.

M: Quite thick for the style with rather low, creamy carbonation.

O: quite sweet for the style, but very good. I'd enjoy a bit more yeast character as well. Either way, a nice Quad.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

stubby bottle, says bottled on 090225, I would assume means Feb 25 2009, so its got a little more than a year of aging

A - poured into goblet a deep mahogany color, with a thin creamy head, lots of lacing

S - sweet dark fruit, malt, a little booze

T - taste improves as it warms. nice sweetness, buttery, some alcohol burn in the aftertaste

M - very creamy, sticks to the mouth

D - quite drinkable. enjoyable to sip and let it warm you

Photo of Popsinc
4.12/5  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.

Photo of The_1084
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice brown color with some amber undertones.

S - Unlike any other beer I have smelled. Presents a mixed fruit aroma with the presence of cherry and raisin being easily recognized. Also, gives off the hint of a sweet wine.

T - Very sweet with a strong taste of wine that is mixed with a variety of fruits.

M - Thick and creamy with light-medium carbonation.

O - This is the first beer I have drank of this style, but overall I am impressed. For a beer with 11% ABV, aside from its high level of sweetness (almost too sweet for my personal taste), it is very easy to drink. A little added carbonation may help balance out the sweetness, but that is just a small note to make in comparison to the many qualities this beer contains.

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: poured into the provided thistle glass, deep brown hints at shades of purple, no head to speak of

s: dark fruits, dates, cherries,

m: little carbonation underneath the slick, full body

t: loads of chocolate or carob with raisin and date puree, full-flavored black malts

d: just fine

night 2 of the Reston-DC extravaganza featuring the father of filth, 375 at Granville Moore's jkhylojhoijoijoijoijioiuojloijij

Photo of atigerlife
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark reddish/brown with a small light brown head. Decent lacing. Medium carbonation can be seen.

Aroma of dark fruit [plums] and caramelized malts.

Taste has a strong alcohol profile, dark fruit [plums, figs, raisins] as well as some molasses, caramel and sweet malts.

Mouthfeel has a medium body and is very smooth.

Overall, a very nice quad. Nice sipping beer for a relaxing evening. Of course, can't drink too many of these [my limit is one].

Photo of TheViolator666
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely a beer I wouldn't go out and look for because I'm not a huge fan of Belgian yeast, but I ended up pleasantly surprised by this one... though I still think the name is hilarious.

750ml corked and caged wine bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep dark auburn color. Fair head with decent lacing, nothing too special here.

S: Smell is fantastic. Very sweet, raisins are dominant. Malty as well and hints of darker fruit, plums come to mind.

T: This one instantly reminded me of a cane sugar beer. Pummeled up front by sweetness and an awesome sweet raisiny/grape flavor. No alcohol burn surprisingly. Also, I'm thankful to have a Belgian beer where the yeast isn't so dominant in the taste!

M/D: This is more of a treat beer, though it wasn't too hard to put down a good 10 ounces of it. Nice medium body, overall an interesting and excellent beer.

Photo of TerryW
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy dark brown beer that pours a decent, but short-lived head. Moderate lace throughout.

Nose is very pronounced - sweet and full of fruit, malt, carmel, yeast and alcohol. A nice beer to inhale.

Great to taste. Lots of things happening in your mouth. Sweet with noticeable malt, wonderfully bready. Tons of heavy dark fruit. Big alcohol punch means this one is for working your way through slowly. That just means you can savour it more. Quite heavy and syrupy on the palate as well.

Nicely complex, an enjoyable beer, best suited for sitting back in the comfy chair when you've got no plans to be going anywhere.

Photo of Mar02x
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A dark brown fluid with some reddish hints. The foam is more beige than off white and transforms quickly till a thin layer.

S - A sweet malty scent mixed with a little yeast.

T - Again a sweet malty flavor with a nice deepness. One can taste this beer is great for aging. There is already some port like tones coming through.

M - A soft to medium carbonation with some alcohol warmth and bitterness in the end. There is noway one can this is a 11% ABV!.

O - An excellent beer! Always good to have a few on you're shelf.

Photo of crookedhalo
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75 cl cork and caged bottle, bottled in Jan 2004, dated best before 5-2009 on backside label. Pours an opaque dark chocolate brown color with a sustaining tan head that laces nicely. A lot of vinous, yeasty notes with a ridiculous amount of dark roasted candi sugar and malts. Some earthy undertones as well. Upon first sip I think to myself how a couple of years ago this was like mother's milk to me, and I reflect upon the fact that palates and people's taste preferences change over time and how much this beer could rot your teeth if you pass out before brushing them. Holy shit is it sweet, with just enough vinous fruitiness and moderate hoppiness to cut it before it becomes too cloying. I still love this beer, though. I'm just a bit more critical about beers than a couple of years ago. I'm just trying to reminisce why I loved this beer so much a couple years ago. I think it's the creamy mouthfeel paired with a deep, malty alcoholic punch that is very clean finishing, yet coating the mouth with stickiness. Dangerously drinkable, especially for it's lofty 11% ABV; but, overall, a little too sweet to give it a 4 in the drinkability rating.

Photo of bigdeuce
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am no fan, generally speaking, of quads. This quad is a bit sweet, but somehow stays in balance and is not overwhelming. Nice looking beer. The belgian yeast comes through with a smooth, light tasting nuttiness, that moves toward the cherry/plum taste. Very drinkable, not much alcohol detected. Lightly delicate with nice lacing out of the tulip. Extremely nice beer, better than I remembered it when I had it around 6 years ago.

Photo of Tejon
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of thecheapies
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottled in 08-2004, says the cork. Emptied into an Orval chalice.

No head. None. There was a small hiss when the cork eased out, but no evidence in the glass. The color is a murky reddish mahogany. Looks difficult. 1.75

Vinous dark fruits. Rum raisin, date, fig, dark bread, black cherry, fermented grape, candi sugar, dryness, some buttery maltiness. Effectively aromatic, especially without a head. 4.25

Sweet raisiny malt sugar, fig and date, grape, plum, spicy booze with mellowness, aged malts, candi sugar, and dark honey. Aged gracefully, I must say. 4.25

Feels flat and bruised. No carbonation, practically. Body is a little fuller than medium. Mellow booziness, which I like. 2.25

Held up great for flavor and aroma, but I miss the bubbles. 3.75

***

Bottled on 12-30-10. 11.2oz stubby poured into an elegant Kasteel stemmed goblet.

Dark and murky mahogany with red hues. A quaint ring of foam formed and stuck. Looks nice. 4

Fig and raisin esters with dark bread and candi sugar. Nice rich maltiness. Deep plum and grape notes. Somewhat sweet. 4

Rich, sweet, fruity, and boozy. Raisin, grape, fig, some date, and a nice heap of sweet quad breadiness. Optimally phenolic with some medicinal flavors that I like. Quite the tasty ale. 4.25

Feels royally big and boozy. Spicy and playful with a tempered carbonation level. Good mouthfeel. 3.75

I love this beer. Phenomenal for its own level of sweetness. Always a good choice. 4.25

Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a dusty green bottle - thanks to a friend - of an unknown vintage, the bottle has a 08-2009 marking on it.

Right after the pour I get a slightly musty aroma, like it's been laid on its side and absorbed a little cork, or seen a little oak. Dark fruits also dominate with plum and date aromas and a little clove around the edges.

The appearance is a hazy brown with a quickly disappearing (acceptable for an 11% brew) tan head that leaves a little lacing. The flavor reminds me vaguely of plum wine for the smooth esters. I'm also tasting white grape and blueberry with the plum and dates. There's also a slight spiciness that could come from either noble hops of yeast phenols, either way they add a nice subtle layer.

Overall, this is a very good beer and incredibly smooth for the strength, but it doesn't quite have the awe-inspiring complexity of the great quads. Still, very much worth trying.

Photo of Gmann
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Out of a 750ml corked, caged, and foiled bottle. The cork indicates that it was born in November of 2003, the label states to drink by November of 2008. Pours a murky brown color with a nice off-white head that left a nice ring around the glass with some nice lacing. The smell is of mellow roasted malt, mellow dark fruit, and some port wine characteristics. A lighly roasted malt flavor, sweet, with a nice mellow wine grape flavor; quite olde ale like. Definitely port wine like; nice and mellow, nothing sharp here. A Belgian Olde Ale perhaps??? The feel is moderate with soft carbonation, finishes sweet, slick, and sticky. Definitely an aged sample here and aged well. The mellow flavor is quite good; it is very sweet but is quite drinkable. Some nice fruity flavors.

Photo of basica
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow 11 ABV, this is the highest ABV beer I have had thus far. The next highest I tried was 9.5
ABV which is the Westmalle Tripel. This is also the first Quadrupel I have tried; I expected
more complexity in the taste but I am quite sure that if you give me a Dubbel, Quadrupel and a
Belgian Strong Dark Ale, I may not be able to tell the difference. The Kasteel Brune pours out
almost coffee black with a small head that quickly dissipitates to form an average coffee like
lacing. It smells bready and slightly fruity and I think I sense malt as well. This brune hit
me with a fruity sweet taste immediately but it was not overly sweet as some skeptics reported.
It was sweeter than most of the Belgian dark ales but was also balanced out with the malt. The
taste was sufficiently strong and rich and so was the after taste but I preferred the Boucanier
Dark which was similar but better and more well-balanced than this Kasteel Brune. The mouthfeel
of this beer was not as thick as I expected and I would say it is somewhat between full and
medium body, closer to medium body. Again, the Boucanier dark was better in terms of body (closer
to full). The Alcoholism kicks in quite a bit, going at 11 ABV but is still well controlled and
well hidden. Drinkability was surprisingly high although it is an 11 ABV monster but this is
definitely a sipping beer. If you drink it fast, not only would you taste more alcohol than the
fruity Quadrupel taste, you would probably get intoxicated faster. I had mine over 20-30 minutes
and I was already slightly intoxicated. A pretty good but still a few steps to being a great beer.

Photo of avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color and a semi-thick texture. There was a huge, foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: Smelled of dark fruit, malt and sugars.

T: A fairly complex taste of figs, raisins, malt and possibly some caramel. The alcohol is barely noticable.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a solid Belgian beer that's well made and goes down easy despite its high ABV.

Photo of goodbyeohio
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a confident, dense brown with a thin coating of bubbles on top. lacing is pronounced and slides down the side of the glass like a slug. smells very buttery.. yeast toffee and malt notes. fruity with a definite trappist edge in the nose. wow! explodes with banana and berry flavors. taste is a sweet kick with smoothness going down. alcohol is evident but muted by the intense flavor experience here. leaps and bounds above the lighter kasteel. this is a nice, affordable halfway point between rocs grand cru and a trappist quad or dubbel.

Photo of Suds
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich dark brown with crimson highlights and a tan head, this is a pretty beer. Lots of lace, densely bubbled foam, yeah...looks good. The aroma is fantastic as well, with ripe fruit, a little roasted malt (with lots of melanoidins), plenty of alcohol, and a light plum scent. Not as intense as I expected. The flavor, though, is notably impressive. Malty and sweet, low bitterness and decent alcohol feel. Intense malt flavor, and the plum qualities really come out in the taste. The mouthfeel is full and luxuriously smooth. The one downside to the beer is it's sweetness, which is not balanced at all, and can become a bit cloying at times. Still, this is a fantastic brew!

Photo of Cylinsier
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle, labeled "Donker." I'm assuming its the same thing.

The appearance is a really pretty dark brown that appears to be a deep burgundy red when held up to light. The head is very thin, almost nonexistent. Smells good, kind of sugary sweet with maybe hints of caramel and, call me crazy, tobacco. The taste is almost shockingly sweet, too much for me. You can feel the alcohol at the end. The start is like caramel, followed by molasses and dark fruits like figs. Somewhat syrupy, maybe. Feels very smooth like a cognac. The effervescence is subtle. Overall decent drinkability. Great beer, although I personally find it to be too sweet.

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.