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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
91
outstanding

621 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 621
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)
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Ratings: 621 | Reviews: 344 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

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

Served in my Sam Adams Sensory glass. Poured the color of cola. Two inch thick, fluffy white head settled into a thin layer of foam. A sheet of belgian lacing blanketed the sides of the glass during the tasting. Strong scent of dark fruit immediately hits the nose (raisins, prunes, plums) followed by a sweet, sugary smell and a faint aroma of yeast. Taste similar to nose with a bit of alcohol astringency at the finish, which is pleasantly masked by the sweetness of the brew. Warm, full mouthfeel with a little liveliness on the tongue. This is a truly greaat Quadrupel, but definitely meant for savoring slowly.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 02:25:01 | More by Jwale73
Photo of bonbini26
bonbini26

New Jersey

4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown, with a thick tan-orange head, that's the best I can describe it, which lasts forever, though the bubbles are a little too fizzy in the beginning.

S: Smells heavily of raw brown sugar and prunes, raisins and figs.

T: This may be the sweetest beer I have ever had. Full of residual sugar, the heavy sweetness shocked me a little at first, but I soon got into it. This malt barrage is backed by a large amount of dark fruit, specifically raisin and prune, and also what good be a bit of almond brittle, and Mission fig.

M: Thick and rich, almost syrupy, a little cloying at times, warming as well, there is a definite alcohol burn on the first sip.

D: An interesting beer, I've heard this described as a Belgian Barleywine, and I can understand why, though Quadrupel seems to fit it well as a style on this site. A very good beer, sweet and warming, the smell and taste could use a bit more "oomph," but overall, an enjoyable warming beer, or nightcap.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 00:18:46 | More by bonbini26
Photo of dac
dac

California

4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
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 Darkale
Darkale

Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love it when you find a beer that you've probably seen a hundred times, and you finally buy it, because someone has recommended it, and you are amazed by it. That is the "elevator speech" for this beer.

I cannot add anything to the descriptions in the reviews for this beer. My only addition is that this is truly one of those beers that lives and dies by the temperature that it is served. Perhaps "lives and dies" is too harsh. I only mean to say, that if it is too cold, then the beer is easy to overlook. But, when it is warm, then the beer is very, very good indeed.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 22:19:05 | More by Darkale
Photo of hoppymeal
hoppymeal

Michigan

3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown with amber hues, clear, a decent size light khaki colred head fades with light lacing. Aroma is nice pruney and plum malt sweetness, some good yeasty breadiness, apples, and fusel alcohol. Taste follows with a big malty sweetness, caramel and toffee, that is cut by a peppery and dry bready and alcohol flavor. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy body, fairly lively carbonation cuts throught that and tingles on the tongue, some warmth and bite from the alcohol strength in the finish and a dryness in the finish as well. A good beer that was much better the closer it was to room temperature.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 03:26:02 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of kenito799
kenito799

New York

3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
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 thierrynantes
thierrynantes

France

3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 1999.

Appearance: glowing brown color, with tan foam head (not persistent).
Smell : fruity aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel: soft palate, taste of Porto and coffee, strong sweet sensations.
Drinkability: a beer in the style strong dark ale, too strong and too sweet.

Review translated from french 6-11-2008.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2007 19:33:43 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. Belgian-style stubby bottle,

A: Pours a reddish brown, with a thick tan-orange head, that's the best I can describe it, which lasts forever, though the bubbles are a little too fizzy in the beginning.

S: Smells heavily of raw brown sugar and prunes, raisins and figs.

T: This may be the sweetest beer I have ever had. Full of residual sugar, the heavy sweetness shocked me a little at first, but I soon got into it. This malt barrage is backed by a large amount of dark fruit, specifically raisin and prune, and also what could be a bit of almond brittle, and Mission fig.

M: Thick and rich, almost syrupy, a little cloying at times, warming as well, there is a definite alcohol burn on the first sip.

D: An interesting beer, I've heard this described as a Belgian Barleywine, and I can understand why, though Quadrupel seems to fit it well as a style on this site. A very good beer, sweet and warming, the smell and taste could use a bit more "oomph," but overall, an enjoyable warming beer, or nightcap.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2007 21:06:38 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of davidchollar
davidchollar

Washington

3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The last quadrupel I had was sort of a strange one. "scaldis" aka bush ambree. That beer reminded me more of samichlaus, both in looks and overall taste, than what I'm used to for a quad. It's nice to see, right from the pour, kasteel is more what I expect from the style.

Deep, dark brown body with a nice and tan, but short-lived head. The appearance is a little disappointing, but let's give 'er a whiff! Yes. A big, strong, and very boozy nose indeed! It's decent, but a bit one-dimensional. Rum and plum, raisin flavors dominate. Nice and creamy mouthfeel with a satisfying alcoholy finish. Wow. It's strong. Definitely feeling the effects as I finish the bottle.

This reminds me of one of my all-time favorites, gouden carolus noel / christmas. I'll take that over this, but I'll recommend both for the high abv category. But of the quads I've had, this is one of my least favorite.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2007 11:52:10 | More by davidchollar
Photo of Deus1138
Deus1138

Georgia

4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first time reviewing a beer I had the pleasure off drinking at a bar, rather than my usual at home reviews.

I sampled this brew at the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, GA. Anyone in the metro-Atlanta area that has an affinity for beer should go here. I'll be posting a very complimentary review of their service right after this.

The brew was brought to me in a delightful little bottle along with a Kasteelbier Bruin-Brune goblet. It had gold around the rim...very nice touch.

I'm really not that great at smelling beer. I don't know what it is, because I have a great sense of smell. I just have trouble detecting all of the flavors and subtleties in beers that I see so many of you talk about in your reviews. I'm working on it though. This brew, however, did not challenge my nose one bit. When I poured it into the goblet at half an arm's length away, I could immediately smell plum and sweetness. I couldn't believe the strength of the smell! I usually have to bring a glass right up to my nose and swirl it a little to smell anything. This was incredible!!! It wasn't overwhelming or too much, it was just a very strong smell of incredible sweetness.

The taste was exceptional. Plum, plum, plum, raisin, and sugary sweetness. Smooth on the palate, creamy, and a nice after taste. The alcohol was slightly noticeable. I began to notice it more with each sip. It only SLIGHTLY detracted from the flavor, which by the way, is one of the best and sweetest I have ever had. At 11% abv, it's a sipping beer. I don't know what it would go good with, since it is just so darn good on its own.

If you have the means, get your hands on this beer. I would have ordered another if I didn't have to drive home!

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2007 21:28:47 | More by Deus1138
Photo of DanGraser
DanGraser

New York

4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving: Served in a goblet after having been cellared for 4 years.

Appearance: Deep brown, light does not reveal any more depth. Coffe colored in the manner of a lighter espresso.

Smell: Complex sweetness, brown sugar, molasses, lighter sweetness reminiscent of port or a good eiswein.

Taste: Unbelievable, this is easily the finest of the sweet dark Belgian quadrupels. Dark candy mingled with dark chocolate and port yielding a wonderful balance of opening sweetness and a dry and incredibly long finish that finally reveals the power of this brew with a warming alcohol effervescence resulting in a stomach-calming warmth.

Mouthfeel: Rich coffee smoothness and mouth-filling layers of flavor. This is one to be sipped.

Drinkability: Very powerful brew but quite enjoyable. Best suited to having a single drink with some good cheese or as an accompaniment to a rich dessert. (Or maybe just have it as the dessert!) Can stand alone and is a wonderful brew to have with a good book or good friends after dinner.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2007 18:33:55 | More by DanGraser
Photo of garbercury
garbercury

Pennsylvania

3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was curious to taste this quad and see how it held up...dated 8/04

A--Beautiful to the eye, brownish-red, lacing and head are definitely noticeable, strong characteristic of this beer.

S--Fruity...and you can really smell the alcohol big time

T--A little bit too sweet to me, not bad at all but reminds me of a wine almost

M--pretty silky. Good character

D--Worth a try I suppose, too sweet for me personally...packs a wallop.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2007 00:34:15 | More by garbercury
Photo of geexploitation
geexploitation

Indiana

3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a lovely chocolate brown with ruby tinges and little head. The nose is straightforward quad, with sugary smells, some raw alcohol, and lots of chocolate and some sweet, raisiny fruit notes. On the palate, overly sweet first off, with some definite cloying going on, before a dusty, slightly rough date element comes out. Some creamed-and-sugared coffee toward the end. The finish is long and active but way too sweet, with no balancing hop influence to speak of. Mouthfeel is hot with alcohol and heavy on malts, with little lightness on display. Not that I want my quads to be light, but you gotta have balance somewhere. Overall, this is not a good quad. Too sweet, no balance, and not nearly enough complexity to save things in any way. Pass.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2007 02:47:36 | More by geexploitation
Photo of franksnbeans
franksnbeans

Ohio

4.18/5  rDev +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 wesleyhighley
wesleyhighley

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -2.4%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2007 21:18:59 | More by wesleyhighley
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
ALESwhatCURESya

Wisconsin

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

375ml Brown Stubby $3.49

A-Deep russet brown with thin, tightly packed, white head. Head retention was a little weak, but for a beer with 11% abv, the lacing was nice. Nice clarity with a little yeast suspension.

S-Intense brown sugar, fig, and raisin. There is even a slight Oud Bruin cellar aroma present. A slight alcohol burn passes the nostrils.

T-Unexpected and surprisingly sweet from the start. The flavor is wonderful, intense, and well balanced. Tons of darkened fruit and sweet molasses sugar.

M-This beer is incredibly smooth from start to finish. The high abv is slightly noticed but warms the mouth and throat. Long lasting sweetness is tough to compare.

D-For an 11% abv beer, this is way to easy to drink. The flavors are so intense, yet balanced, that you crave the next sip. The depth of this beer makes you want to explore numerous glasses at different temps.

One of the best quads that I have had the pleasure to enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2007 02:29:27 | More by ALESwhatCURESya
Photo of acrawf6
acrawf6

Louisiana

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

Pours out a dark murky brown with a small and disappointing tan head that drops to clumps of big bubbles resting on top.

Smell. A sweet smell with dominant of raisons. Pleasant, but that is all i get

Taste. A heavy sweetness, with more juicy raison flavors. There is also a small spiced and pepperyness to it. The sweetness is fruity with the raisons, and also marrichino cherries. Aftertaste is warming with a sweet and pepper taste, and a tartness at the final end.

Mouthfeel. Body is thick, but not exactly full. Feels like a concentration of a beer, but not all the flavors of a quad. Carbonation seems proper with the beer, but on the lower side.

Overall, one of the sweeter beers i have had. Tasty, but not complex, and one i would really have to be in the mood for to truly enjoy the sweet characteristic. I do like it, but i think the flavor is just too one dimensional, and would much rather many other quads, bsda's, and a few dubbels over this one.

This one really hides the 11% extremely well.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2007 02:16:50 | More by acrawf6
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
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

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2007 00:45:11 | More by brentk56
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

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

Ruddy brown, with a small white head. Fairly powerful nose hints of Brown sugar, plums, dates, red apple, golden apple, caramel, toffee and a bit of barnyard. Flavor is extremely sweet and very fruity. Honestly, I think it’s a pretty tasty beer. Well hidden alcohol, with a balanced flavor. This is a fairly tasty, enjoyable Belgian.

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2007 07:03:22 | More by Crosling
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev 0%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2007 04:21:55 | More by jwc215
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a tan head that disapates quickly. In the aroma, it is a sweet caramel and alcohol smell. In the taste, the carmel is there and hints of bitter sweet chocolate. It has a small alcohol presence but it is so smooth and rich, the alcohol mixes well with the other flavors.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2007 16:29:28 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of basica
basica

Singapore

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow 11 ABV, this is the highest ABV beer I have had thus far. The next highest I tried was 9.5
ABV which is the Westmalle Tripel. This is also the first Quadrupel I have tried; I expected
more complexity in the taste but I am quite sure that if you give me a Dubbel, Quadrupel and a
Belgian Strong Dark Ale, I may not be able to tell the difference. The Kasteel Brune pours out
almost coffee black with a small head that quickly dissipitates to form an average coffee like
lacing. It smells bready and slightly fruity and I think I sense malt as well. This brune hit
me with a fruity sweet taste immediately but it was not overly sweet as some skeptics reported.
It was sweeter than most of the Belgian dark ales but was also balanced out with the malt. The
taste was sufficiently strong and rich and so was the after taste but I preferred the Boucanier
Dark which was similar but better and more well-balanced than this Kasteel Brune. The mouthfeel
of this beer was not as thick as I expected and I would say it is somewhat between full and
medium body, closer to medium body. Again, the Boucanier dark was better in terms of body (closer
to full). The Alcoholism kicks in quite a bit, going at 11 ABV but is still well controlled and
well hidden. Drinkability was surprisingly high although it is an 11 ABV monster but this is
definitely a sipping beer. If you drink it fast, not only would you taste more alcohol than the
fruity Quadrupel taste, you would probably get intoxicated faster. I had mine over 20-30 minutes
and I was already slightly intoxicated. A pretty good but still a few steps to being a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2007 17:38:31 | More by basica
Photo of roblowther
roblowther

Texas

4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 33cl bottle. It looks ruby red black in the glass. Is that possible? The head is minimal, tan, and a touch sticky. The smell is astringent, dusky malt, and sour cherries. The taste has a surprising sugar dominance over a cherry background. The finish shows the hops, subtle but adding a great balance. In the immortal words of Homer Simmpson....Swet Jeebus. This stuff is begging to be aged and that just became my plan for the 2nd bottle I have. The mouthfeel is syrupy but nicely carbonated. It has enough bubbles to keep it from falling into the trap that barley wines do for me. They become cloyingly sweet. My apologies to the fans of 35 year old Thomas Hardy ale but its not for me and this really is. The drinkability is excellent. Even though it clocks in at 11 percent the alcohol really only manifests itself as a warmth down the throat and chest. Nice, nice nice. If you can find this stuff. Buy it. Period.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2007 01:46:31 | More by roblowther
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.43/5  rDev +8%
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
Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 621 ratings.