Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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

778 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 778
Reviews: 367
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 13.83%
Wants: 78
Gots: 108 | FT: 2
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: 778 | Reviews: 367
Photo of ClevoPiwo
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter from a 750ml bottle. The color is a deep burgundy with a medium head that dissipated into a frothy ring around the glass with some lacing.

The smell is very sweet. Lots of raisins come through and give it a vinous quality. Dark fruit, malts and raisins dominate the smell.

The taste is very similar to the smell; very sweet with lots of raisin and dark fruit coming through. Raisins in the front with a nice sweet fruity aftertaste. The alcohol is present as well, giving a warm mouth feel that warms on the way down.

Overall, a very interesting and vinous beer. The mouth feel is thick and coats the palate with a sweet raisin taste - very full flavor.

Photo of DiUr
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark brown looking, almost black, with a thin beige head that leaves little lacing. Some yeast down there in the glass.

Deep aroma of dark fruits and malt, with a hint of yeast. Grapes, apples and figs. It resembles both the one of English Ales and Port-Red Wines, as complex as it sounds. You can almost smell the cork and wooden barell, and while sweet in the nose it is also slightly acidic, the kind of an old red wine. Alcohol is present.

The taste is very sweet, but quite delicious and somehow balanced. Dark fruits and Port wine, with alcohol noticeable and very little hops.

Thick and sirupy mouthfeel, but with good drinkability.

I don´t like my beers to be so sweet but it was done in a good way, and i learnt to love it while sipping. Had no problem in downing 75 cl., and i would definitely have this nectar again to get deeper in its complexities.

Photo of jcomp21
4.77/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wooowwww!

You gotta try this beer. Strait outta belgium, this beer makes me smile. One of my favorite types of beer, the beglian quadruple/belgian strong dark ale.

Appearance - Very dark brown with some red undertones, there was a quick head that evaporated quickly... but at 11% abv that is expected!

Smell - Wow - like falling in love with a blonde girl in lederhosen on the alps. very figgy and sweet. Some strawberries and chocolate on the back of the nose. Take me to Belgium!!!

Taste - Sweet, pruny, cherry/strawberry, tart raison, with a bite and you can feel a bit of warming from the alchohol.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and smooth

Overall - I want to drink this alot

see you on the next one.

Photo of cro250klr
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's been a while since I had a Kasteel Brune. Four months to be exact. It was one of our main staples while we were in Belgium. Finally, Kasteel has made it back to northeast Pa. Just in time too, as fall is here and the weather is getting cooler. This has to be one of the best belly warmers on the planet. If you don't like sweet, smooth and malty high abv brews, stay away. I absolutely love strong dark Belgians and this is number three on my all time favorite list. Only a Westy 12 and a Rocheford 10 can give this brew a run for it's money.
The murky apperance in the chalice with it's light tan head is a sight to behold. The sweet fruity aroma and that first alcohol blast just have to be experienced. The yeasty, malty taste reminds me of the sweet dough bread my grandmother used to make. The 11% stands out like a sore thumb but, coupled with the nose and taste, that makes this an amazing beer. When Franklin said, "Beer is proof that God love us and wants us to be happy", he must have been sitting next to a warm fire with a bottle of this liquid ecstacy.

Photo of jsp2
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml corked bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Beautiful deep reddish brown hue topped with thin foam.

Aroma of freshly baked sweet fruity pastries, with raisin, orange, and apple.

A very complex and earthy, fruity flavor with huge sweetness. Sweet, intense, complex, and delicious. It is sweet and the hop level is low, but the earthiness really balances out the sweetness.

Carbonation is low to moderate and keeps the brew lively and light, a great sipper.

Among the best tasting substances to ever come from a bottle, a perfect quad.

Photo of BarryNL
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown in the glass with gorgeous ruby highlights when held to the light. The head is light tan and lasts well.

S: Full, sweet malty smell.

T: Perhaps a little on the sweet side, but certainly has the strength and flavour that it's not really unbalanced. The flavour is pure sweet malt with some underlying dark fruit. This beer almost has a desert or fortified wine quality to it.

M: Rich and smooth. Low carbonation, just enough to give that melt-in-the-mouth effect.

D: Very drinkable - more so than the alcohol content really allows - especially if you have to get up in the morning. Surprisingly the sweetness doesn't become cloying at all.

Photo of santa109
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this at L'autre-oeil in Gatineau, QC.

A: Poured a very nice dark mahogany with no head at all into a snifter. A small head started to appear after a few minutes which I found very interesting. It left beautiful lacing on the glass.

S: Enticing aromas of caramel and brown sugar. There was also a bit of grapes in there and it reminded me of port.

T: Very sweet! Plum and dates with some brown sugar. It does get a bit cloying after a while and I generally enjoy this kind of taste.

M: Medium body that is a bit oily. Feels quite smooth.

D: I enjoyed it even though I found the sweetness a bit overwhelming towards the end so I have to deduce a point here.

Overall, a different quadrupel than the ones I'm used to and that I enjoy more. This was still interesting but I don't think I would go for it again.

Photo of chileman13
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked 1 pt+ bottle into oversized goblet.
A- deep brown/reddish cloudy brown. It leaves a good lacing on the glass.
S- Sweet fruity very light smell.
M-Smooth medium with average/correct cabonation.
T- Sweet carmel, dried fruit, plumy raisin. Manechevitz dessert beer.
Good 11% abv beer buzz. The abv is not reflected in the taste.
Not my style of beer, however I enjoyed the adventure.

Photo of Seru1
2.7/5  rDev -34.5%
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.

Photo of cwc
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interesting beer. Wait, is this beer? I guess so. A new experience for me, for sure.

First of all, the bottle itself is intriguing. Not unusual for a Belgian beer, of course, but this bottle stands out in the world of beer. Basically, it looks like a bottle of champagne, with gold foil covering the cork. Oh, this one was brewed in 2008.

When we corked the bottle, we didn't smell much of anything, but the smells come out when you pour it into a glass. Definitely a sweet smell. The color itself is beautiful, an interesting reddish brown.

It's sweet. Sufficiently sweet that my wife said, "this is really interesting and makes me reconsider what I think of as beer, but you can have mine". Fair enough, it's delicious and the flavors are really complex, I tasted one on the initial sip, something different when I swished it around my mouth and then another in the aftertaste. You like complex beer? This is it. It's sweet, for sure, and you can also taste the alcohol (although not so much after you have more than a glass or two of it.)

Really interesting beer and I'd like to try others from this brewery.

Photo of jenitivecase
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle from Brussels.

A: Dark amber brown, clear, with substantial carbonation rising up continuously. Pours with a smallish tan head that subsides rapidly into a sizable crown.

S: Malty, and very sweet. I'm picking up an aroma of port with some undertones of dark fruits and brown sugar.

T: Whoa, also very sweet. Mirrors the nose pretty closely; the fruitiness is still present, but with some added caramel tastes and a very sweet, almost syrupy sugar taste. It definitely conceals the presence of 11% alcohol, but I'm worried about the sweetness making this cloying after a while.

M: Good carbonation makes the mouthfeel quite enjoyable. The beer is smooth and creamy, and seems to just glide down the throat. Leaves behind a definite film, but it's coupled with a remaining tingle from the carbonation, so it's not unpleasant.

D: For a quadrupel, this is pretty drinkable. That said, I don't know if I could handle more than one in a go, but I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of this one.

Photo of Paisan
3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a mean, bad-ass SOB. In a good way, I mean.
You smell AND taste chocolate, dry fruit, raisins, toffee. This is SO sweet, kinda syrupy, but it fits. Very warm alcoholic afterfeel. Creamy, smooth, full.
Drink it slowly, drink it wisely, coz it WILL kick you in a place where it hurts.

Photo of oldhippie247
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours basically opaque with just a little ruby-ish hue around the edges when held to a light. Big, fluffy off-white head lingers nicely.

Nose is dark, estery, and definitely Belgian. A little alcohol comes through despite an overall subtle nose that really only features dark fruits such as dates and figs. Something a little artificial in the nose is a bit of drawback.

Smooth mouthfeel that seems to fill out as the beer warms a bit. Again, dark date-like fruits with just the slightest hint of spice (as a substitute for hops it seems), make up the flavor profile. ABV of 11% is well-balanced and does not come across as too boozy.

I really wanted to like this beer because I really like the Rouge from Kasteel, and at first I thought I was going to be disappointed. If tasted cold this beer is less than great, with both nose and palate closed. I would suggest serving this just barely below room temp (NC in mid-March). The nose doesn't open much, but it tastes tons better.

Photo of danmouer
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A sweet, rich, candy-like strong dark Belgian ale. This beer is like a sinfully rich chocolate cordial truffle. Sweet, rich, warming. What a great way to end an evening, sipping this sinfully luscious brew.

To me, however, it fails to win top marks simply because it is so luscious,,,TOO luscious. The beer is not balanced. It is candy sweet, sinfully rich, dangerously strong...it really works much better as a sinful chocolate sweet than it does as a strong dark ale.

Let's be clear...this is a superb treat...an aperitif or liqueur perfect to warm the soul at the end of the day. But not at all what most folks look for in a beer.

You don't want to drink much of this...but a few sips on a cold night, and then off to beddy-bye with sweet dreams, Oh yes!

Photo of Blindpigbiz
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Style/abv: quadruple/11%

Smell: milk chocolate, figs, tinges of apricot, and caramel sauce

Taste: subtle caramel notes with intense dark fruits, figs, and cherries, with coca-cola (minus the effervescence) and a warm-scotch bite at the finish

Pairs very well with barbecue chicken pizza and hot wings: enough said

Photo of monketeeth
4.51/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Photo of MikeGill
3.59/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

1pt 9.4fl.oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Medium opague brown with the faintest trace of a head. Some sticky lacing. Rich bitter chocolate aromas up front along with an oloroso sherry quality. I also picked up something resembling really good root beer.

Felt the carbonation was a tad too low especially for something this strong served in a Champagne-like bottle. Sweet malt dominates producing flavors of chocolate covered fruit along with fresh wild cherries. The subtle bitterness is juxtaposed by big sweetness finishes somewhat boozy reminding me of straight coffee liquor.

Photo of fairdinkum2
3.2/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Loads of sweet malts in this ale. The level of sweetness obscures much of the taste profile, leaving an ale that doesn't really show the complexity or balance of others in this style.

Low carbonation leads to a poor head, even with a vigorous pour, although the ale is attractive in color.

Nothing wrong with the high alcohol content, which is masked by its syrupy character

Photo of rwathree
3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, poured into a snifter. Had this once before three years ago at a private tasting. I'll admit right away that I remembered a different beer than the one I had last night.

A: Nice, dark brown color, but weak, barely-there head.

S: You can tell right away that this one's going to be sweet. Heavy commingling of brown sugar and raisin.

T: Overwhelmingly sweet at first, which threatens to ruin the beer from the get-go. After I got past that, I could appreciate some of the other elements, especially a pleasant, champagne-like effervescence.

M: For all it's sweetness, it's not an overly thick beer. Nice and rich, and the carbonation is pleasant.

D: On the plus side, the alcohol presence isn't too powerful. But that sweetness makes this hard going down.

I can see this going well with a rich cheesecake or something equally bold and sweet, and maybe it mellows over time. That said, I won't drink this again as a stand-alone beer, and don't think I could get through a 750ml. Not bad, but I'm not likely to revisit this (again).

Photo of Burgieburg
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect consistency; rich, sweet taste with a hint of plum...phenomenal beer!

Photo of GuruDel
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a tulip, split 3 ways.

A: Pours a dark brown. Nice 2 finger off white head that vanished quickly.

S: Dark fruits and booze. Smells sweet, I was worried based off the smell that this wouldnt be enjoyable.

T: WOW what a difference from the smell, a great blend of spice, dark fruit and a good kick from the yeast all hides the booze well. So many flavors it was tough to pin point but really enjoyable. Truely world class.

M: good carbonation, lively on the tongue and easy to enjoy.

O: What a great beer, complex, easy to get and affordable make this a great quad.

Photo of WTexas
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was introduced to this beer in 2000 by a friend from Maastricht, Netherlands (near the Belgian border) who'd bring it on her visits to Germany. Alas, I was happy to rediscover it at Martin Wine Cellar during a recent trip to New Orleans.

Sampled a 750ml bottle with a "Gebotteld" date of 11-2003. Poured a beautiful dark copper color into my goblet. Left a medium head that quickly dissipated into a heavy lacing. Smelt of caramel, chocolate, and fruits. These aromas became more pronounced as the beer warmed. A pronounced, yet balanced, sweetness that was consistent to the last milliliter. Had an exquisite creaminess which is surprising when one considers the 11% abv. Most certainly drinkable, but probably better enjoyed in sips versus quaffs. I'm pacing myself so my six bottles will last until my trip to Mardi Gras next month when I pick up at least another six bottles. Don't pass this beer by if given an opportunity to sample it. Now if they can only find a Texas distributor.

Photo of wesleyhighley
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

tough to rate as this is the first barleywine that I've ever had. I don't know if it was the style or just the alcohol in this beer, but it was really tough to swallow at times. I enjoyed everything about this except for the acidic, bitter surge that came to me when I swallowed. other than that, this is a great "sit down and watch a movie" beer

Photo of auro0006
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a fantastic beer. If aged, it would be even more fantastic.

The color is a dark, almost opaque coffee-brown. The head is a beautiful, creamy tan.

The nose showcases aromas similar to caramel and chocolate. Roasted malts and dark candi sugars are also detected.

The body is velvety and rich.

Flavors of roasted malts are most noticeable as they sweep over the tongue. Dark, dried fruits such as figs, raisins and plums reveal themselves in the center. The creamy, long finish brings out the most of this rich brew.

Photo of afoltz2
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer rates well for me because of the experience that went along with it, which was "Beer School," one Sunday afternoon at the Beer Trappe in Lexington, Ky. I say that not because it reminds me of a good experience, but part of Beer School is learning about the beers you sample, how they are crafted, what distinct flavors, smells, and feels should be, and you get to compare samples from the same class of beer side by side.

I went to Beer School with my cousin Tony, another beer lover, whose taste differs from mine. I prefer stouts and lagers, he prefers witbiers and hefeweizens. We agreed that both the Kasteel Donker had the best flavor and feel among the six that were sampled that day, all of which were bock beers. I brought home several of the ones I liked to increase my sample size, and reconfirmed that the Kasteel was best in class.

For having a high ABV, this brew does not have a strong alcohol taste to it. It was surprisingly smooth, and the roasted malt flavor was strong but not overpowering beginning and end of taste. I drank from the bottle, like a heathen, so I cannot comment on the pour or the color, sadly, and I will drink from proper glassware next time I try one so I can update my review.

In short, if you like bock-style beers, this is definintely one to try and enjoy!

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 778 ratings.