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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

663 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 663
Reviews: 348
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.36%
Wants: 63
Gots: 68 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kasteel Donker Alström Bros
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Ratings: 663 | Reviews: 348 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A high quality brew that pleasantly surprisingly made the LCBO Fall list. Its only drawback is the knockout alcohol punch. Georgeous brown, barleywine and quality yeast aroma. Great taste in my favorite style. Hops, fruit and sugary malt. Good night!

Sammy, Oct 10, 2004
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.7%

t0rin0, Nov 15, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 23, 2013
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

spycow, Mar 11, 2013
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2.7%

zestar, Aug 22, 2014
Photo of metter98
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured very dark amber (near black) into a snifter glass. A thin layer of white bubbles covered the surface and there's a moderate level of carbonation.
S: There are aromas of malty sweetness with some hints of dark fruits in the nose.
T: The taste is complex and has a lot of overall sweetness along with flavors of candi sugar, raisins and plums.
M: It feels medium- to heavy bodied on the palate and a bit a bit thick but smooth.
D: For such a strong beer, you don't really taste the alcohol. This is very drinkable and I would definitely have another.

metter98, May 01, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Texasfan549, Sep 19, 2014
Photo of brentk56
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear but dark, tawny color with a surprisingly modest head for a Belgian; splashes of lace

Smell: Shortbread cookies and dates

Taste: Starts out with a swweet raisin and date praline flavor with and increasing sweetness the blossoms after the swallow; a lot of vanilla and rum raisin flavors on the finish, with underlying woody tones

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick body with moderate carbonation; warming on the finish from the alcohol

Drinkability: Really a bit too cloying for my taste; compared to the top quads this lacks the complexity that the great ones have

brentk56, Sep 15, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark chestnut brown that becomes a combination of ruby red and burnt orange when early morning sunshine is allowed entry. The caramel nougat colored crown filled almost half the chalice on the pour and has an attractive, whipped mousse-like texture. It's pretty sticky too, as evidenced by an impressive array of delicate lace.

The nose is classic Belgian strong dark ale. There's quite a bit of medium-dark fruitiness and even more yeasty spiciness (that favors clove and black pepper). This offering is not going to be a shrinking violet when it comes to flavor intensity, that much is certain.

Kasteel Blond and Kasteel Rouge are excellent examples of their respective styles. Kasteel Donker is merely good. It tastes as if the brewers were a little too heavy-handed with the dark candy sugar. It also lacks the complexity that the best Belgian ales deliver in spades.

Specifics include dark caramel, figs and dates macerated in blackstrap molasses, a hint of anise, and generous pinches of black pepper and ground clove. Less sugary sweetness would have resulted in better beer. An ABV of 11.0% is difficult to bury without a trace, but the brewers did a reasonably good job. A subtle warming sensation is great for this time of year.

The mouthfeel is slightly too syrupy and doesn't have the expansive creamiliciousness that is expected for a Belgian ale. More numerous and better quality bubbles would have gone a long way toward keeping this characteristic from being the low-light of this experience.

Kasteel Donker (which is the exact same beer as Kasteelbier Bruin-Brune) is pretty good stuff. That said, there's definite room for improvement. Belgian beer is like ice cream and cheesecake. Even the less than spectacular ones are pretty damn good.

BuckeyeNation, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of BEERchitect
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am very impressed with how good this beer is. In a nutshell, it's cotton-candy sweet, fruity tart, spicy warm, and marshmellow textured. It's wonderful from sip to finish. A hearty malt / candy sweetness blends with nuts, figs, dates, and a hint of chocolate. Balanced with aged hops and yeasty esters bring out clove and pepperyness. Full and richly textured without a hint of astringency or heat. Finishes very clean despite so many complex flavors, and a bit dry. This beer ranks up there with the Rocheforts and Abt 12s of the world.

BEERchitect, May 03, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.28/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a clear brown color ale with a below average head that had some pretty good retention. Aroma is exclusively comprised of roasted malt with some faint alcohol in the back.. Taste is quite simple, which was a bit surprising for this type of beer and consisted of mildly roasted malt with some warm alcohol at the end. Overall, this is not a bad beer but it is lacking complexity.

Phyl21ca, Jan 18, 2005
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

GRG1313, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -27%

ygtbsm94, Feb 22, 2012
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -2.7%

jaydoc, Nov 03, 2013
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker shade of borwn with a real nice sticky head thats seems to dissapte quickly,great aroma of raisins and light chocolate with some definent alcohol notes.The raisin seems to be the dominant flavor I get with some syrupy flavors as well.A touch of nuttiness and alcohol makes this a nice warmer,I have alot of bottle to drink yet wish me luck.

oberon, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

JAHMUR, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

zeff80, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from the lees, its clear mahogany body rests gently beneath a short, creamy head of light tan foam as very tiny bubbles steadily rise up to support it. The head drops shortly to a wide collar and lacy surface covering, but also leaves some wide rings of sticky lace about the glass. The nose welcomes you with a delicious combination of chocolate covered raisins and caramel splashed with sweet red wine and backed by some earthy and leafy hops. As it warms some candyish - and also peppery - yeast character comes into play adding greatly to its complexity. The body is medium/light, and combines with its very fine, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning to leave it just lightly zesty on the tongue before fading smoothly away. The vinous character of the nose is immediately recognized in the flavor along with assorted dark fruits (plum/prune, dates), a soft note of chocolate, and a sweet light caramel that morphs into a harsher note of molasses that's less refined and a bit edgy at the finish (due in part to alcohol, and in part bitterness). It lingers with some alcohol that fades to reveal the true hop bitterness; then some candy sweetness (bubblegum); and finally a last note of caramel that's charged with delicate clove-like spiciness. Quite complex, rich and flavorful! And although the alcohol could be slightly more restrained, its sweetness is impeccably balanced and never interferes or build on the palate. An impressive brew that's well worth seeking out!

NeroFiddled, Sep 24, 2003
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.2/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

TheManiacalOne, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.68/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aug 04 bottling, bought this because my mind is getting feeble, just reviewed this the other week. Oh well, different batch, so let's compare:

Pours mahogany & murky with a 1 finger off white colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Sweet malt & then chocolate & booze as it warms

T: Rich sweet malt & chocolate with a hint of booze up front. Bready notes & caramel & toffee surfaces as it warms, along oakyness & dryness. Finoshes dry with hints of pecans & brandy This actually works for me better than the more mature version.

mF: Syruppy with low carbonation, but enough to bring out some flavors

The 11% is a little more evident, but complexity makes it more drinkable. Talk about your winter warmers! looking back at my review, my instincts were right, this better than the stuff supposedly in its prime

russpowell, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.78/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A rich dark brown color, more reddish in light, below a large creamy head. Nose is very sweet, with notes of toffee, cream, nuts, and a particular toasty character. Hints of spices, cloves, anise. Soft, spicy, and warm on the palate, with a lush and lasting finish. ABV unknown to me, but it's starting to deliver now. Perfect consolation on this freezing cold late January Minnesota afternoon. Full-bodied, tangy, hugely characterful, and an ever-unfolding delight to drink. Much like a hybrid of brandy and a candy bar! Delicious, delightful, d'lovely!
Mine was served in a Scaldis glass, which ably did the trick.

11-02-03
Above review from a tap sampling at Bryant Lake Bowl. Just had a 750ml bottled I'd been saving, this one labeled as "Donker-Foncee", and I echo my previous statements: this is one incredible brew. Just wish I could find more bottles around here!

feloniousmonk, Feb 01, 2003
Photo of Rifugium
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Also known as Kasteel Bruin. From the name, I thought this was a brown ale. But it's actually something between a dark strong ale and a quad, and is labelled as the latter by BA.

Poured a dark semi-hazy brown with just a bit of head that receded to a film of bubbles. Caramel malts and peppery spice in the aroma, and distinct alcohol. Similar taste with sweet malts and Belgian sugar, slight molasses, and some dark fruits also noticeable; not as much spice as I detected in the aroma. Medium-heavy body with some carbonation, pretty drinkable, but a bit strong.

Rifugium, May 12, 2011
Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy cream colored head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a dry, yet fruity Belgian yeast aroma. The scent is sweet and creamy; very nice. The taste is great. It has a very smooth and rich malty flavor with a sweet and warm finish. It is full of flavor and malt complexity. The mouthfeel is excellent as well. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. It is full of flavor and aroma; a great drinker.

WesWes, Nov 10, 2004
Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a thin, dissipating head.

The smell is of brown sugar and toffee. Some banana-like fruitiness in the back mingles with the dark maltiness.

The taste is sweet - brown sugar upfront. Complexities arise as it progresses: dark friuts - plum/prune/raisins and licorice. Sherry-like with some earthiness. Sweet, rainsiny finish.

Full-bodied, it is almost sticky/cloying, but has a nice, velvety texture.

The sweetness and abv slow this one down, but it is a nice, complex, dark Belgian brew that is very nice to sip on.

jwc215, Jul 30, 2007
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 26, 2011
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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 663 ratings.