1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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

559 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 559
Reviews: 339
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)
View: Beers (30) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 559 | Reviews: 339 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of TripelJ
TripelJ

Florida

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Kasteel Donker 750ml

I enjoyed the tripel so much I had to try the dark offering from this fine brewery. The deepest crimson-brown with little trace of light through the glass. Smells are abundant, mostly sweet malts, rum raisin, maple syrup, figs, slight phenol from the alcohol. Tastes are sweet with a variety of flavors on the palette that reflect the nose--Raisins, figs, maple syrup (nice thick mouthfeel), maybe some currant to round out the sweetness. This beer is all sweet and it hides the 11% alcohol well in the taste, although you quickly feel the effects. Overall, not the best dark belgian I've had, but certainly worth a try, and I could drink a 750ml by myself anytime.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2003 02:36:48 | More by TripelJ
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 marburg
marburg

Michigan

4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Exceptionally deep and rich in color, the beer is a dark brown leather hue with an off-white head that rapidly disappears, becoming little more than a ring around the glass.

Huge aromas of all sorts of blended varieties of sweetness -- over-ripened fruits, perhaps, more than anything. Very sweet to the taste. Sugary. Dark raisins. Very intense flavor that masks the 11% behind a wall of candy-like flavor.

I had only a tiny scrap of a napkin on which to write notes about this beer, and it's most unfortunate. It's fruity complexities are impressive and very fun. I'm sure there are far more adjectives that one could use to describe this beer. It's aroma and taste are compelling to say the least.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2003 18:12:20 | More by marburg
Photo of aracauna
aracauna

Georgia

3.15/5  rDev -23%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2003 00:08:47 | More by aracauna
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 mickeymac
mickeymac

California

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It comes in a 750 ml green bottle with a nice looking label. It's caged and corked. The cork says 10-2002, and the back of the bottle says 09-07, apparently the "serve by" date. It pours a beautiful dark brownish-red, sort of a deep cherry. The head comes out strong and fades a bit but leaves a decent trace of lace on the glass. The smell is a very complex combination of ripe fruit and that musty Belgian smell that's so welcoming. The taste is plum and raisin and most certainly on the sweet side, yet without being cloying. The mouthfeel is on the creamy side and makes the experience even more enjoyable. The beer is certainly strong, but the 11% abv does not overwhelm the beer and it's quite drinkable. This is a very nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2003 21:13:44 | More by mickeymac
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
JohnnyDuvel

Florida

3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had the Kasteel triple recently, and loved it. One of the best beers I've ever had. This one, unfortunately, is just too sweet for me. Of all of the Belgian beers I've had, this is the sweetest. Pours a beautiful, dark brown with a prominent foamy head. Nice, foamy lace, some head remains throughout. Hard to describe the taste, being that the sweetness is so prevalent. I feel great while drinking this beer. It leaves me (predictably) with a wonderful, warm feeling. But, with all of the great alternatives, I am not likely to buy this one again. (On the positive side, my wife (who doesn't drink beer), tried it and kind of liked it. Now I can get her to sample some other beers!)

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2003 21:26:49 | More by JohnnyDuvel
Photo of marc77
marc77

California

4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Crystal clear deep garnet hue, w/ a head that quickly dissipates into a tight tan ring due to the high apparent alcohol content. Spotty isolated bubble inlands are left. The aroma is dominated by vinous, alcohol soaked dark fruit w/ a contrasting dark caramel and chocolate malt. Hint of dry, coffeeish roasted barley is present as well. Earthy Styrian Goldings hop nose. When combined with the light clove phenol, bubblegum esters and pleasantly peppery alcohol the nose knows this is a potent Belgian. Unfortunately, there's a slight hint of lightstruck derived mercaptans (curse of the green bottle) that prevents the aroma from acheiving greatness. Assertive, molasses like, dark candi sugar sweetness is perceived initially in flavor, then is ceded by a melange of dark, dried fruit including raisin and sugary dates. The dark fruitiness then melds with dark caramel malt, light chocolate and pseudosweet alcohol to lend an overall impression of bourbon soaked chocolate cake. Yeast derived flavors emerge late and mirror their presence in aroma, consisting of clove and mild bubblegum. Ethanol flavors are well controlled, w/ only slight peppery notes percpetible. Hop bitterness is paltry and leaves malt sweetness virtually unhindered, yet sweetness doesn't become cloying, due to this brew's inherent complexity. Moderately bodied, w/ a sugary and dextrinous mouthfeel. Finishes both sweet and lightly roasty, with enveloping alcohol warmth surfacing concomitantly. Kasteel Donker is a tremendously flavorful brew. Although sweet all around in character, the sweetness is multi faceted and contrasted by both yeast esters and mellow dark grain. Considering its strength, the drinkability is supreme. Donker is an oxy moron of a brew-- ballsy and refined. Bottled 8/2001.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2002 18:33:04 | More by marc77
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 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 KickbacksSteve
KickbacksSteve

Florida

4.56/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Beige head on a hazy deep tudor brown body. Soapy lacing sticks to the glass. Aroma includes candi sugar, brown sugar, dates, overripe banana, some alcohol and raisins. Mouthfeel is thick, tongue coating. Tasting notes are similar to the aroma although the alcohol is not noted on tasting. Very nice quad, as expected from Kasteel.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2013 06:58:08 | More by KickbacksSteve
Photo of zaphodchak
zaphodchak

Virginia

4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thin whitish head, deep ruby body. Laces decently.

Red wine on the nose, primarily.

Taste contains red wine, brown sugar, caramel, and spice.

Mouthfeel is spicy, perhaps tingly, and not apparently 'fizzy'.

Fantastic for a sweet Belgian bruin - like a Gouden Carolus. Sweet food pairing brings out apple, perhaps prunish tartness.

Serving type: on-tap

08-08-2011 01:15:55 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

3.65/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at Tops, served up in a goblet.

A: cranberry-colored and mostly clear with no head to speak of save a very thin khaki ring.

S: plums, cinnamon, lots of maple, molasses and some light tart cranberries. Sweet and deep.

T: maple, cinnamon, molasses and brown sugar, in that order. There's an interesting toasty backbone reminiscent of ritz crackers and a tinge of vodka amidst the slightly drying finish. It's decent, but has none of the depth of the top-tier quads.

M: medium, massaging carbonation amidst a smooth medium body. It's lightly fizzy as I swish it about, and there's a slight alcohol burn on the way down.

D: it's a respectable quadruple, for sure. But this 10 ounces cost me $11 (!) and at that price, I expect to be gobsmacked with pure deliciousness. On this front, sadly, Kasteel did not deliver.

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2010 23:26:22 | More by Phelps
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured an opaque, dark, dark brown color with a thick, khaki-colored head of foam. It was long lasting and left patchy lace on the glass.

S -It smelled of raisin, currants and other dried fruits. Good roasty malt aroma with some caramel notes.

T - Great dried fruit flavor - mostly plum, raisin, apple and currants. Good sweet maltiness with a touch of caramel and chocolate.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth with some alcohol warmth. A medium to full bodied beer with a somewhat dry finish.

D - This is a very tasty quadrupel. It is certainly worth a try, especially on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2010 22:00:53 | More by zeff80
Photo of gauchebag
gauchebag

New York

4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at a new joint in town, got it because of high abv. It poured a very chestnut brown with a finger of mocha-ish colored head. It smelled fruity and sweet, nothing too discernible though. It tasted predominantly of caramel and burnt sugar to me, I didn't get any of the fruity notes from the smell, it basically came across as a super-alcoholy Sugar Daddy (which I'm going to say is a good thing.)

The abv was hardly detectable and I didn't give it too much time to warm up as the serving size was only 0.25 L but I greatly enjoyed it and would have had another if I didn't have to go back to work. It was very very easy to drink and I definitely felt a bit of hazy glow after even such a small amount which was pleasing as it usually takes a lot to get me there.

I'll be going back for more for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

05-13-2010 00:10:40 | More by gauchebag
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 sholland119
sholland119

Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is described as a quad at the place I had it and it seems more like a quad to me than a dubbel so I am reviewing it against that expectation.

Pours a murky, deep chestnut brown with a very thin tan head.

Smell is dominated by raisins and malt sweetness with a bit of bittersweet chocolate as well.

Taste is delicious. A very strong caramel sweetness throughout that never becomes cloying or tiresome. Sweet dark fruit and chocolate mix in the flavor profile. Alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy.

This is an easy drinking beer. I am rarely inclined to have more than one of this style and with an 11% ABV, I would certainly stop at one. But I would enjoy a second.

HV

Serving type: on-tap

08-22-2008 18:40:12 | More by sholland119
Photo of RomanW70
RomanW70

Rhode Island

3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pitcher's Pub in Cumberland, RI. Pours dark brown. Nice aroma of dark fruits, brown sugar, and a hint of alcohol. Flavor of dark fruits and brown suagr with a warming alcohol finish. Has a very vneous quality, Quite tasty, but very sweet, which is a little distracting. Underneath the sweetness is a beer with a loy of complexity. I enjoyed the beer, but it's defintely not an everyday beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-31-2008 22:42:43 | More by RomanW70
Photo of Biscuit033
Biscuit033

Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -18.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2008 13:12:04 | More by Biscuit033
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.2/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap 4/5/08 at Pitcher's Pub in Cumberland, RI, served in an over-sized wine glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a medium off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste malty and sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit and Belgian yeast up front. There's a mild hops presence and a strong alcohol burn. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, decent representation of style, this one really didn't appeal to me all that well. I've certainly had other strong Belgians that I like better.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2008 23:54:00 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of dac
dac

California

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beeachwood BBQ, Seal Beach, CA. I have also had the bottled version.

Brown in color with a thick tan head which falls into a lace which clings to the sides of the glass.

While waiting for the too cold draught pour to warm up to room temperature cup the belgian
style glass between the hands to warm and enhale the delightful aromas of caramel, brown
sugar, cotton candy, prunes, banana and plethora of other unidentified esters.

Very malty and sweet, but with many complex flavors that are difficult to describe - prune,
raisen, brown sugar, bubblegum. Alcohol of 11%ABV with notable fusel content is impossible
to miss but enhances the experience.

Very drinkable, delicious, addicting. This is a substaintial beer that is excellent by
itself or with a hearty meal. Suitable for sipping after dinner or for breakfast.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2008 01:58:57 | More by dac
Photo of kenito799
kenito799

New York

3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint pour for an insane $3 at Eichden's, Center City, Minnesota.

Pours a medium chestnut brown, the small head fades to a thin ring. Nice lacing is left down the glass.

Aroma sweet candi sugar malty with root beer and nutmeg notes.

The somewhat syrupy mouthfeel conveys a very sweet sugary brew, fruity and mildly spicy flavors, bubble gum, sarsparilla.

A well made Belgian brew, alcohol hidden fairly well, but quite sweet. this makes it a bit less drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2007 22:53:25 | More by kenito799
Photo of franksnbeans
franksnbeans

Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear mohogany color with some tan head and plenty of lacing. Smells of dried and candied dark fruit, fig, rasins and very earthy. Taste is very complex. The earthy notes are the backbone to a nice and sweet fig, dried fruit and almost some cherry. Gets a little medicinal taste in the finish as it warms up. Full in the mouth but ever so smoooth. Very drinkable for such a high ABV brew. A delish experience indeed that must be tried.

Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2007 19:15:13 | More by franksnbeans
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a growler purchased at Half Time, pours dark mahogony, seems to be pretty low in carbonation, mellow head, with just minor lacing observed. Nose is nicely glowing with cola, vanilla, bourbon and spice. Strong late night sipper kind of brew. Plenty of dark candi sugars, cola, alcohol, complexity etc to please all the strong beer/quad lovers out there. Character, boldness obviously evident, well worth a try if you like the style, not for everybody, but certaintly for me! A treat and in nice shape on tap/growler.

Serving type: growler

06-07-2007 04:06:33 | More by Billolick
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
Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 559 ratings.