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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

653 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 653
Reviews: 347
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 14.39%
Wants: 60
Gots: 63 | 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
Ratings: 653 | Reviews: 347 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of p1nt
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.

p1nt, Mar 17, 2008
Photo of daledeee
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.

daledeee, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of dsa7783
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...

dsa7783, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of brdc
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.

brdc, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of rye726
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.

rye726, Feb 05, 2008
Photo of macster
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.

macster, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of Gmann
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.

Gmann, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of BlackHaddock
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.

BlackHaddock, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
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.

Jwale73, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of bonbini26
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.

bonbini26, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of dac
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.

dac, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of Darkale
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.

Darkale, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of hoppymeal
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.

hoppymeal, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of kenito799
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.

kenito799, Nov 24, 2007
Photo of thierrynantes
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.

thierrynantes, Nov 21, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
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.

Halcyondays, Nov 18, 2007
Photo of davidchollar
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.

davidchollar, Nov 16, 2007
Photo of Deus1138
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!

Deus1138, Nov 08, 2007
Photo of DanGraser
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.

DanGraser, Oct 27, 2007
Photo of garbercury
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.

garbercury, Oct 19, 2007
Photo of geexploitation
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.

geexploitation, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of franksnbeans
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.

franksnbeans, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of wesleyhighley
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

wesleyhighley, Oct 08, 2007
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
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.

ALESwhatCURESya, Sep 24, 2007
Photo of acrawf6
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.

acrawf6, Sep 15, 2007
Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 653 ratings.