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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: 815
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 20.94%
Wants: 81
Gots: 126 | 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
Reviews: 368 | Hads: 815
Photo of smakawhat
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Trappistes Rochefort glass.

Deep chestnut brown and red, with a swirling top of middle carbonation. Very little head creation, and leaving a faint fine tan collar on the edges. Love this swirling effect.

Huge fig note aromas. Thick raisin, hints of dry nutmeg, and very clean sensing. Not even boozy hot. Very impressive. A bit of a one note angle, but an extremely good one on the bouquet.

Palate hits with a very nice control, but extremely syrupy feel. Thick raisin syrup and fig notes, with a mild sense of brown sugar. Big full mouth coating effect in the palate, and almost nutty aftertaste. Big on the sweetness but goes more to true fruit than something artifical and overly sugary. Hints toward purple juiced grape a bit too.

Overall a very solid off the radar quad, but just a bit too sweet for my tastes.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Poured into an Ikea snifter. The liquid is dark mahogany - very nearly pitch black, and the pour produces a thick, creamy khaki head that eventually settles down to a film that leaves a good amount of lace.

Aroma is quintessential quad - plums, molasses, bread, little bit of milk chocolate, little bit of booze, and a slight warming character.

Holy crap this tastes incredible, and has a lot more nuance than the nose! Starts out with intense, juicy dark fruit, like there's actual plum juice in there. Then comes in a wonderful cocktail of spices and yeasty flavors that I can't even begin to try to describe precisely. The milk chocolate is more pronounced on the palate, and is a great complement to the other flavors. The booze flavor brings in a weird kind of mintiness that is also wonderful. Finish is ever-so-slightly bitter, quickly followed by an aftertaste of rich, sweet, malty molasses. Really, really, great flavors and balance.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer has a really incredible silkiness and is wonderfully viscous with just enough carbonation to break it up.

Overall, super great - I couldn't imagine something better to drink during a long Northern European winter.

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Photo of TheHammer
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%
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.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%

Appearance – As black as your boot this is probably one of the darkest beers I have ever come across. It seems to swallow light like a black hole. Little evidence of carbon

Smell – Roasted malts with caramel and dates or figs, I always get those two mixed up.

Taste – Very sweet, almost syrup like. Liquorice and figs with desert wine.

Mouthfeel – Pretty full in the mouth. I was surprised to find little evidence of the alcohol in the mouthfeel but it has a sticky finish.

Overall – A really good beer although in my opinion not as good as Golden Draak. At 11% it is not to be trifled with. You had better treat this one like a Trappist beer and leave it to one bottle a day. It hits you first at the back of the tongue and it is definitely quite sweet. I find it quite similar to toffee but beyond that there is not much to say. If you like them sweet then this is a good beer for you.

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Photo of MartzMimic
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Kasteel goblet at Taste of Belgium in Palm Beach, Aruba. Pours a dark reddish brown with only the slightest creamy ivory head. It dissipates quickly, leaving minimal lacing. The aroma reminds me of prune, but the sweetness is very evident in the nose. The taste follows the aroma. Prunes, plum and raisins with lots of caramel sweetness. Medium mouth, but the way it slides off the tongue gives it a light feel. It's certainly different from the other quads I've tried, but it is so very good. I wish I could find this one closer to home.

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Photo of BGDrock
3.36/5  rDev -17.2%
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

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Photo of seedyone
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap. I admit it. I go for the sweet and this has all the angles going for it...as long as you're 'on the sweet'. Not white sugar sweet, but that raisiny sweet...dates sweet...kind of, but not really that dried fruity sweet. I'm on that in a minute...as long as there is of depth of flavor. I don't want to tarnish or enhance the experience with words that may be misinterperted so I'll just say if you like deep, serious flavors & have the time to savour...make this the one. So stop reading this & order the damn thing already...

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Photo of FLima
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown color with practically no head which disappeared in a blink.
Malty pleasant aroma of cinnamon and raisins bagel, vinous liquor, prunes, figs and hard candy.
Delightful and liquorish flavor pineapples, maple syrup, strawberries, molasses, red apples, yellow fruits, cola, bananas, figs, muscatel grapes, anise, desert wine, yeast and licorice. Low in spices, relatively to style. Dry aftertaste with a fruity lingering note.
Medium to full body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 11% abv is unexpectedly absent at first and it has a sticky feeling.
Very complex and also sweet quad. This seems to age well and it works perfectly as a dessert beer (you wouldn’t drink a second bottle...). Call it a sleeping pill or night cap.

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Photo of Big_Beers
4.82/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a brown .750 from homebrew store.

smell: ripe fruit, baking spice, heavy on the candy

Taste: sugar coated fruit, candied goodness. I really like this interpretation of a quad. Very sweet like a fine dessert wine.

Mouthfeel: interesting twist between a very wet yet feels dry when the mouth closes. perfect

Overall: I am only saddened that I have not bought this sooner. Makes my fav list for sure

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Photo of John656
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Dark with a reddish hue. Minimal creamy foam head.

S - Yeasty, dark fruits, paint, and prunes.

T - Raisins, molasses, prunes, and brown sugar describe the taste of this beer. The flavour is both complex and strong. There is a taste of booze but it's still smooth on the palate for 11%. Kasteel Donker reminds me of a port or dessert wine in a beer format. I'm generally not a fan of sweeter alcoholic drinks but I respect the elements of this brew.

M - Medium body with creamy mouth feel. Moderate carbonation with a Barley wine-ish texture.

O - This Quad is definitely on the sweeter side with a unassuming punch that finishes as strong as it starts. It may be a touch too sweet to make it an ideal Quad for my taste buds but the deep multitude of flavours still make this a solid beer.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle purchased from LCBO for $3.30 CDN. Seems like a good deal for what is supposedly a world-class Quad.

Appearance - Opaque dark brown cola color, with red hues. A finger of off-white head is poured and dissipates fairly quickly. Soapy residue left on top of this beer.

Smell - Even when quite cold significant dark fruit and candied fruit aromas. The stereotypical Belgian yeast aroma is present, although subdued. Very sweet smelling like a fresh dessert platter.

Taste - Significant cherry flavor and very sweet overall, especially compared with other Quads Belgian Yeasts and some toasted brown sugar mixed in some sort of rich mixture is also something prevalent on the tongue. Quite delicious and very flavorful even at low temperatures. Significant cola flavors in here as well.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated and not boozy until the second half of any given sip, which is when you notice that enormous 11% ABV and decide this is a beer to be respected and should be consumed slowly. Bit of a spicy mixture on the back end at low temperatures.

Overall - A very fine quad, maybe not quite in the Westy 12 and Rochefort 10 league but eminently enjoyable and at all times a serious beer that is to be respected and enjoyed. Would gladly pick up another especially at the current price in Ontario.

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Photo of monketeeth
4.51/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Drinking this one out of a Chimay chalice. Hazy dark brown with a 1 finger head that quickly dissipates. Light lacing holds the side nicely when you swirl the glass. Medium thickness, I would not say syrupy but in the ballpark. Very inviting when held up to the light.

S- Maple syrup, assorted dried fruits (figs, dates and prunes in a good way), brown sugar and a very light touch of cinnamon.

T- Taste follows the nose. Pleasantly sweet ,but not cloyingly so, with lots of those dried fruits and a bit of brown sugar and maple syrup. Really reminds me of the fall going into winter with the dried fruit preserves or even a bit like apple butter. Wow!!! I really love this stuff! As it warms the flavors become more pronounced. Light but very pleasant burn on the back end.

M- Smooth and a bit syrupy with that hint of burn on the way down. The alcohol is nicely hidden with just enough to let you know that it is there. Light to medium carbonation. Overall very pleasant.

O- This bottle was aged for 3 yrs. and I must say, I reeeally love this stuff. I've had other bottles of varying years/age and this one was the best. Simply outstanding as a stand alone or a dessert beer. I would not say that this is a "whole bottle in one sitting" beer. Best shared with a friend.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $3.25

Appearance – Hazy brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. It’s hard to make out the carbonation level due to the darkness of the beer and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel/molasses, metallic

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel/molasses, and some yeast. There is also some cola like sweetness and a hint of dark fruits.

Overall – ABV is well hidden and it tastes a little like a barley wine in some ways.. I'd like a little more dark fruit flavour rather than the cola notes, but this is still an excellent brew. Just a little one dimensional. Curious to see how this ages.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO 330ml bottle for $3.25. Served at 8deg C in a tulip

A- Opened very well. Nice head, very dark

S- Malty. Metallic smell is pretty harsh

T- Pretty good. Very hot though. To be expected at 11%. roasted malt, almost quadly goodness.

M- Excellent! Very creamy and smooth even with the high ABV.

O- Very good. Will need years and years to simmer down but doubt highly it will ever lose it's hotness.

Food Pairing

This wonderful Donker paired well with... roast beef. Nice root veggies and you have a dinner.


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Photo of polloenfuego
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 330 ml bottle to a chalice.

A: pours a deep brown with red highlights. There is a thin one finger head that breaks quickly and leaves a thin ring of bubbles. Small lacing with a swirl.

S: sweet dark fruits such as figs and prunes are up front. Brown sugar, malts and some yeasts are also present. Very pleasant.

T: much of the nose follows onto the palate. Those dark fruits are dominant but the sweet of brown sugar or candy comes through a bit more too. The malts and yeasts round this out nicely. Alcohol is there but not invasive.

M: medium carbonation with a full body. Very smooth and enjoyable.

O: I would say this beer was a sleeper for me. I wasn't expecting what I got at all. While I know some would call it a touch sweet, I liked the dark fruit profile a great deal. If you like big Belgians I think you will like this.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.1/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of falloutsnow
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From: BInny's, Champaign, IL
Date: Bottled 2012-01-25
Glass: Founders snifter

Though a bit strong with its ethanol presentation, I found myself really enjoying this beer's heavy caramel sweetness and interesting anise and dried fruit mixtures. The mouthfeel was fairly heavy, yet effortlessly foamy and smooth thanks to well-executed carbonation. Overall, a very good, somewhat unique Belgian Quad that hit most of my flavor pleasure zones, a good one to seek out again.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of tan colored foam, made up of small-sized bubbles that yield a frothy-looking appearance. Foam retention is average, around one minute, fading to a thick ring around the glass and a medium-sized island of thin foam that remains atop the body of the beer for the duration of the session. Lacing is very good, with some large blotches and lines, with smaller dots clinging with some fairly high density to the walls of the glass. Beer's body is a dark brown to black color, with light bringing out orange hues around the perimeter of the beer. Carbonation not visible through the opaque body.

Aroma of sweet, deep caramel and burnt sugar, with strong raisin characters.

Overall flavor of dense caramel sweetness, burnt sugar, anise, prunes, and ethanol; the anise and other(?) phenols I can't describe products of the Belgian yeast, which give this its characteristic flavors. Front of palate picks up heavy caramel sweetness, prunes, moderate anise, mild ethanol, and a hint of roasted barley. Mid-palate of caramel, burnt sugar, cola, prune, anise, and ethanol, all fairly equally well-expressed. Back of palate of slight grape, prune, anise, caramel, cola, mild ethanol Aftertaste of caramel and burnt sugar, slight raisin and prune, faint anise.

Beer is heavy-bodied, with carbonation of medium to medium-low intensity, resulting in a smooth (1/3) and otherwise foamy (2/3) mouthfeel that suits the beer and the style quite well. Ethanol felt as heat in the nostrils and low burn on the palate and back of throat, not surprising for an 11% ABV beer, fairly well-integrated into the overall package. Closes dry, with heavy stickiness on the palate and lips.

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Photo of RandomExile
3.79/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: brownish red, silty, faintly transparent; fluffy initial tan head, fades to a centimeter ring and covering surface film; spotty lacing
S: sweet, malt, raisin
T: sweet, dark fruit, sugar, alcohol
M: smooth, full-bodied
O: Perhaps too sweet and cloying.. There are fascinating notes of apple peel, raisin, and prune, but you wouldn't want to drink too much of it quickly.

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Photo of thecheapies
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
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

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Photo of Steamer
4.96/5  rDev +22.2%
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.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up last week at Top Hops, having never tried this before. This looked it packed quite a punch and in actuality, it did. Thankfully, there was so much to like about this and for being a strong beer, I actually had to pace myself when it came time to review it. It's exceptionally tasty and smooth, since all of the flavors and the mouthfeel blended seamlessly together.

The pour to this was quite dark, with a cola-like appearance with garnet edges. The head was pretty full and topped by the lacing, which left a spider-web of remnants down the sides of my point glass as I worked my way through this. Lots of candied sugar, brown sugar, and cherry in the nose, reinforced by plum, currant, and fig in the taste. Ya like dark fruit? Look no further. This beer had it all and boy,, did they come into harmony in this bottle. Toss in some dark chocolate, booze, and mead-like sweetness and the result was this doozy of a brew that subtly hit me over the head before I could even finish it. The worst part about it? I ignored the warning signs and kept right on going, because this was so damn good.

Who cares if this wasn't a session beer? You'll want more than one in a sitting anyways. I had the 11.2 oz. bottle that didn't even expire until January but that was more than enough to get a feel for this. Not all quads are created equal and the spice and heavy mouthfeel weren't present here. What resulted was a beer that would be a dessert until itself, unassumingly shoving dinner aside in the process. A must-have for anyone who love Belgian Beers without the seriousness underneath the surface. Really fabulous take on the style!

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Photo of Ryanm1
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 ounce cage and cork into a glass. Poured really brown dark in color. Moderate amount of white lacing.

Sweet smell, typical of Belgian quads, tastes of dried dark fruit such as plums, raisins and dates. Thick and syrupy that is a beer that takes a lot of time to finish. The 11 percent abv is noticeable with the smell of alcohol. Also the taste of alcohol is present at the finish similar to a glass of wine. Otherwise the finish was excellent. You can also notice the legs on the glass when finished.

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Photo of Lungman
4.87/5  rDev +20%
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...?

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.66/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/25/12.

Pours an almost opaque crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, spice, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with super sweet dark fruit and alcohol flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it's very sweet and sugary, even for the style.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark chestnut; small, cream-colored head, dissipates quickly

Aroma: Peppery; spicy; cloves

Taste: Very sweet, warming start; honey-meade like body; well balanced with bitterness; very good flavor

Remarks: Very, very enjoyable beer

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

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