1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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

620 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 620
Reviews: 344
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 14.63%
Wants: 55
Gots: 49 | 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)
View: Beers (30) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kasteel Donker Alström Bros
Ratings: 620 | Reviews: 344 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LumpyGuitar
LumpyGuitar

New York

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the small bottle of this over the weekend, one of the better quads I've had.

Poured a dark brown with a tan fluffy head. Not a strip of lacing, and the head dissapates fast.

Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, and some spice.

Taste is very sweet, spice from the yeast, a very strong alcohol presence, some cinnamon and molasses.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick, little carbonation, very syrupy. Balances well.

Drinkability is good. This is a desert beer if there ever was one.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2008 01:05:56 | More by LumpyGuitar
Photo of Flyer
Flyer

Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Might be the best example of this style I've come across. Pours a deep brown with a good head. Has wonderful raisin and plum notes, very boozy tasting (in a good way). The mouthfeel is rich and thick without ever being sticky. Some wine-like flavors come through late. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2008 00:38:56 | More by Flyer
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful off-white head of three fingers. Lots of lace. The color of the brew is brown where light barely shines through. Attractive.

Farmlike smells; earthy and dark. Some crystal and chocolate malt aromas.

Sweeter than I expected. Strongly malty. Notable alcohol warmth. The body is warming (from the alcohol strength) and thick. The carbonation is relatively light for the creaminess. I don't detect any hop or any other balancing ingredient.

This is an easy beer with which to get snookered. It's subtle and powerful. It isn't a beer with complexity.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2008 22:44:12 | More by smcolw
Photo of jenitivecase
jenitivecase

Kansas

4.15/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2008 20:40:34 | More by jenitivecase
Photo of dreadnatty08
dreadnatty08

District of Columbia

4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a ton of carbonation (surprising) brings forth a very dark, cloudy amber colored beer with just a half inch of off-white head that soon falls to a trace. Aromas are a mix of spicy phenolics, dark fruits, bright alcohol and a touch of toasty malt notes. On the palate, it is a very rich, thick Belgian with tons of malty flavors, minimal carbonation and a pretty sweet finish. Overall, it's a bit different than most BSDA, but I like how they presented it.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2008 01:02:27 | More by dreadnatty08
Photo of kwakwhore
kwakwhore

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown/reddish pour into a Duvel tulip. Not much head, little bit of lacing.
Sweet malt, port aromas dominate the smell. As this beer warms the aroma becomes more and more complex.
This is a very sweet beer, sweet up front with the slightest hint of hops in the finish. The flavor becomes more complex and a little less sweet as the beer warms. The alcohol becomes a bit more prominent as well.
Mouthfeel is rich and full with a bit of heat from the alcohol.
Alcohol content is not obvious in the tasting, but as I drink this I begin to feel it. Couldn't see having more than one of these. This would make a marvelous dessert beer, something to be sipped and savored slowly.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2008 03:29:37 | More by kwakwhore
Photo of santa109
santa109

Quebec (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2008 21:22:21 | More by santa109
Photo of brewandbbq
brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle with the new graphics.

Pours dark mahogany with amber edging. A beige head of a half-inch rose up with a longish pour. Traces of finely beaded lacework throughout the glass, with whisps on the surface.

Aromatics lead off with rum-soaked raisins, caramel, nougat, vanilla, and fresh figs.
Alcohol warms the nose and dark fruits step forward.

Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Slickish and slightly chewy.

Dark rum, plump raisins, toffee, and a hint of Kahlua start the pallet. Drizzeled caramel, cocoa-dusted fruit, and warming alcohol follow through.

Finishes with lingering figs, dark rum, caramel, and brown sugar.

Pretty damn flawless and tasting like a real freshie. Quite a bit of fresh dough and lively hops (for a quad).
Way too drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 01:17:09 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2008 21:19:34 | More by tempest
Photo of SLeffler27
SLeffler27

New York

4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark raisin to walnut brown with a light head in a Kasteel chalice.

The aroma fills the room with a rich, peppery scent reminiscent of merlot wine. Even my wife said, "Wow!"

Subtle chocolate and caramel flavors intermingle with occasional spicy bursts.

This is crisp, yet smooth and creamy without being overpowered by the alcohol which does bite in the throat.

Sip this, one serving per sitting - but what a sitting!

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2008 21:22:06 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of RomanW70
RomanW70

Rhode Island

3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
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 tai4ji2x
tai4ji2x

Massachusetts

3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330ml brown bottle at "beermania", a belgian beer bar in beijing, served in branded chalice.

clear, dark cola w red tint, some head but soon fades to thin ring. minimal lacing.

smells of caramel with phenolic sweetness, something like prune juice. hint of herbal grassiness.

slightly medicinal sweetness on the palate shocks me. again some caramel and candy. faint bitterness. finish starts cloyingly sweet as well, but at least the faint bitterness rounds it out slightly, albeit not enough.

feel is syrupy, with some fluffy carbonation which is otherwise quite gentle. finishes out smoother though.

this thing is just too sweet, without enough other complexities that stand out or even hold their own. maybe passable as a dessert, but even then the medicinal notes might detract from that as well...

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2008 14:14:29 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of Biscuit033
Biscuit033

Pennsylvania

3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
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 pwoods
pwoods

Ohio

3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. stubby 'Duvel' style brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a chalice.

A: Deep shoe leather pour that's completely opaque. A short fluffy head forms and holds for a bit before falling to a chunky skim. Decent lacing throughout.

S: Alcohol soaked dark fruits dominate most of the aroma. Some sweet caramel malts and maybe a touch of meatiness in the back.

T/M: Alcohol is very present and meets nicely with the dark, plump, pulpy fruits. More of the sweet caramel and light meaty flavor. Has a touch of sour/tart fruit flavor to it but very much an undertone. Still, it's not quite what I want. Body is nearly full but a syrupy feel to it. Lighter carbonation makes for a vinous feel.

D: This would be a very tasty brew if it weren't for that little bit of sour fruit in the back. Still, not terrible, and seems reasonably drinkable for a Quad.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2008 23:52:26 | More by pwoods
Photo of jdubjacket
jdubjacket

Georgia

3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into two pint glasses. Very mixed feelings about this beer. Pours an opaque dark brown color that looks like murky pond water. Nose is sugar, candy, dried fruit. Taste is VERY sweet. Unfortunately, I could only handle a few sips of this beer. This beer is so sweet, it's nearly undrinkable. I've tried giving this beer a chance two times now, and both times, it's just too alcoholic and too sweet to finish. Not my favorite quad - too sweet to be truly enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2008 02:41:02 | More by jdubjacket
Photo of Donnie2112
Donnie2112

Alaska

4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: deep, dark opaque brown, tinges of red and orange, nice little bits of lacing and a thin layer of head on top.

smell: Maple, very sweet smelling a bit of alcohol as if I'm smelling red wine

taste: again maple syrup or molasses,vanilla, a tinge of chocolate a bit of cherry in the malt. finishes snappy with a bit of alcohol, I detect a trace of hops. I keep coming back to red wine in my mind for some reason, even though there's not a lot that I would normally associate with a red wine. Just a fascinating flavor for a beer.

mouthfeel: creamy with plenty of carbonation

drinkability: this is simultaneously full flavored and refreshing. I quickly finished the 1 pt 9.4oz bottle and wished for a case of the stuff. It's very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2008 02:23:01 | More by Donnie2112
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.2/5  rDev -22%
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 p1nt
p1nt

New York

3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a fresh 750 bottle. happened to be the cheapest 750 in the market, and one I hadn't tried already; I enjoyed the kasteel tripel ok so I thought I'd give it a shot. the beer poured a minimal head which dissipated quickly; had the appearance of flat pepsi, plus a bit of lacing. standard taste/smell for something between a quadrupel and a belgian strong dark ale: overly sweet, raisins, figs, and rather medicinal. body/mouthfeel was much lighter than expected, and offered almost no carbonation - a substantial amount of which I think might have helped balance out the overwhelming sweetness.

I was expecting to enjoy it more as the 11 abv kicked in (like the 120 minute IPA, which went from cough syrup to amazing), but nothing doing - to be honest, I couldn't even finish it.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2008 20:24:45 | More by p1nt
Photo of daledeee
daledeee

Iowa

4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes in the classic fat belgian style bottle. Pours a very dark brown with a light tan one finger head. This went away but a nice lace stayed throughout this extended drink. 11% ABV can and does slow you down!!

The nose is sweet, caramel, apricot or figs or prune. The taste followed this nose. This beer is made with high standards but is too sweet for my tastes. Caramel and dark fruits prevail. Not a hop profile to speak of. Overall a good beer, but as as I said a tad sweet.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2008 02:22:58 | More by daledeee
Photo of dsa7783
dsa7783

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ML green Belgian bottle copped caged and corked from Total Wine and More in West Orange... "Kasteel Donker" on the logo sticker... this beer packs a punch at a whopping 11% ABV... Pours a grape-colored hue with minimal frothy head that left apparent lacing around the top of my mug... Strong alcoholic and prune aroma leads to a taste complete with dark, dehyrdated fruits, raisins, currants, figs, caramel, and cinnamon... the strong alcohol content is certainly noticeable in both the flavor and aroma and makes itself known after a few sips with a warm, inviting glow... definitely a beer for colder-weather days... Although labeled as a quadrupel, this brew could easily pass as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with its syrup and molasses quality... not my favorite-tasting sample, but a quality brew nontheless... strong, rich, and dark flavor is really highlighted... Worth a try...

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2008 22:36:09 | More by dsa7783
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large, corked and caged, poured int a goblet.

Dense, opaque dark brown body with some crimson highlights, a thin but good looking head (maybe it is just me, second time tonight), light brown, with decent retention, good lacing.
Nose is heavily malted as expected, caramel, chocolate, raisins and berries, some spiciness as well.
Creamy mouthfeel, nice carbonation, it is quite well balanced, sweet indeed with caramel and chocolate, but fruity, peppery and even somewhat dry at times, which keeps drinkability high.
Not my favorite quadrupel but a very good one.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 04:03:29 | More by brdc
Photo of rye726
rye726

Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherry wood color with a creamy tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Nose is very fruity with lots of plums and sweet cherries. Sweet malts, caramel and earthy Belgian yeast.

Again a big fruity complex malt profile. Starts rich and finishes with strong flavors of sweet pitted fruit. Dark candy, raisins, plums, toffee, caramel and musky yeast. A port like alcohol flavor in the finish.

Thick and silky with ample carbonation. A very complex dark Belgian brew. Has a long shelf life, but I think it is best a around 1 year. I have aged a few for longer, but the sweetness gets out of balance.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2008 04:06:59 | More by rye726
Photo of macster
macster

Florida

4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 01/2004. Best by 05/2009. Yeah, indeed this is one to quench a sweet tooth, but still a unique, well crafted Belgian Ale.

Pours a fairly clear maroonish-brown hue displaying a thin, patchy head with spotty lacing.

Complex, but somewhat reserved aromas of brandy-soaked plums, figs, black cherries and orange slices with some caramel and malt lingering in the background.

A quite intense sweetness is the initial impression on the first sip; almost reminiscent of Myer's Dark Rum. Body is full and chewy. Dark, ripe fruit flavors nicely mimic the aromas, but much more rich and muscular. The 11% alcohol is definitely a necessity here to cut through the sugary sweetness and it comes real close to doing its job and rendering some respectable balance here.

This baby would certainly make an excellent dessert after a hearty dinner.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2008 07:07:58 | More by macster
Photo of Gmann
Gmann

New York

4.18/5  rDev +2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2008 04:09:56 | More by Gmann
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep joy, another beer presented to me to pour by my daughter at her Belgian beer and food night.

Poured into the lovely correct goblet style glass with the castle design on the base of the glass stem. The glass really sets it off nicely.

Very dark, almost forbodingly dark, with a rich biege head, wonderful. Held up to the light you can see it is clear and clean, even though it is so dark in apperance.

The whole experience was good, the aroma was a dark chocolate cake mix with currents, the taste not far off the same.

Rich and smooth feel to it, very drinkable even at 11%, we polished off 4 (small) bottles on the night.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2008 18:21:14 | More by BlackHaddock
Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 620 ratings.