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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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

743 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 743
Reviews: 363
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.11%
Wants: 72
Gots: 102 | 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: 743 | Reviews: 363
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.73/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep dark and ruch ruby color. The head is completely non-existant, even poured vigorously directly into the bottom of the glass. Wispy bubbles coat the surface, but no lacing is left.

S: The smell is overwhelmingly vinous, much like a merlot, but deeper layers also bring forward candied sugars, caramel, and nutmeg. A little bit out of balance for me.

T:Dates, dark fruits, brown sugar, and caramel with an overlying taste of red wine grapes. Finish is sweet and borders on cloying, but falls short, luckily. The malty finish also brings with it some spices - mainly nutmeg - and some chocolate.

M/D: Smooth but thick, this beer does have a good amount of alcohol warmth in the aftertaste/exhale. A good one to share, this would have been hard to drink alone. I think it was a bit too sweet. I imagine that time would do this one well, as it would balance out somewhat.

Photo of mirish72
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle for my birthday after trying this on tap at Armsby Abbey last year.

Pours a dark brown with a little head. Has a strong sweet & malty aroma.

Tastes a little too sweet for my liking with an almost bready like chewiness. It is also a boozey beer and you can taste the 11% in this one.

Overall probably not my first choice for a Belgian, but I will definitely try others.

Photo of dstc
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep murky brown with a fizzy tan head that falls relatively quick to a thin ring. Very thin lace.

Big sweet, candied malt aroma. Alcohol is noticeable as well.

Big malt brew here. Very sweet and a bit boozy. Wonderful, just my style.

Big, full mouthfeel and very smooth. Nice alcohol feel in the mouth.

Great beer. One of my favorites when in want something real sweet.

Photo of aerozeppl
3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Bottle.

A: Dark brown in color. A minimal amount of white head being replenished by a steady flow of bubbles in my chalice. It lacks that special look a beer has when held up to the proper light but it is still a nice looking beer.

S: Belgian candied sugar right up front. It has a nice sweetness to it that only the Belgian brewers seems to obtain. Little bit of figs in there as well. Nice nose.

T: Sweetness right up front. Quite a bit of it. The yeast gives out some nice fruity esters to hold it in check. Figs like the nose. A touch of raisins as well.

M: A little bit of a chewy mouthfeel. This is a big beer so that is ok. I do expect the Belgian big beers to be light then beat me in the liver though.

D: One of those good Belgian beers that gets stuck in the middle. Good beer for sure but not excellent. I got this one for free so for me it is a steal and a good beer. If I paid over $10 for it then it would be a bad beer. Horrible economics but facts.

Photo of danmouer
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
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 phishgator
3.27/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Chimay Chalice. Small white head that dissipates quickly. Color is a rich brown with a little amber on the edges. The smell is candi sugar and ripe figs. The taste is sugary sweet! After it warms up the taste isn't as potent. The stickiness of the brew brings down the motuhfeel and drinkability. It will warm you up at the end of the night. A definite sipper.

Photo of ThaCreep
2.95/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Chocolate aroma and taste of both toasted bread and dried fruit. In the mouth it is thick, has a taste of port, but more importantly, it is overly loaded with sugar. It feels the sugar granules on the tongue. The taste of alcohol is therefore fairly well hidden and is therefore withdrawn. Unbalanced and heavy.

Photo of OskarL
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Red as a red wine with some foam that disappears.

Smell - Malts, sour red wine, sweet plumbs

Taste - A very sweet taste of malts, brown sugar, sweet dark fruits and almond paste.

Mouthfeel - A full body with a long lasting taste.

It's like drinking a dessert! A bit too sweet but very nice to be sipping of!

Photo of dqrull
4.71/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a really beautiful wine-red colour, not a very big head, slightly tan and dissipates quickly leaving some creamy lace.

Smells of prunes and raisins, some belgian yeast esters, sweet malt with a hint of almonds and a small hint of red wine, maybe port.

Wow. This tastes like... if you put a bowl of really tasty prunes, raisins, dried figs, dried peaches, pickled peaches and mandarins in a bowl, sprinkle it with almond icing and caramellized brown sugar, and then pour a good deal of port over it and leave it in the fridge over night, marvelous. The taste is really long, big and smooth, starts off with the expected sweet malt-attack and seamlessly transforms into the fantastic onslaught of fruits and port described above, and all the while, during this increadibly long and consistent taste a light, light tartness is balancing the sweetness so it never even gets close to being cloying or annoying in any way, sublime.

A very light carbonation and a mid-viscous liquid fits this brew perfectly.

I could drink myself to death on this beer.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 mL corked & caged. Button mushroom cork marked "04/2008." The third of three gift beers with matching glasses my wife gave me for Christmas.

Pours a milk chocolate-brown with very little head (even with great effort). What little bubbles there are leave a thick lace on the glass, but there is very little carbonation in this guy.

Soft and sweet aroma - it's a little cold right now, but it should open up more.

First taste almost has the consistency of cold cocoa - smooth and rich. Hint of chocolate, with caramelized fruits and maple syrup. So very soft on the palette - really a unique mouthfeel, just velvety smooth. As it warms a touch, the depth of sweetness comes through - this is a caramelized, rich custard in a glass. Despite the 11% ABV, there is nary a hint of abrasiveness from the alcohol.

A fine sipper, and would make an excellent dessert all on its own.

Photo of objectivemonkey
3.76/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first time I had this beer, its was preceded by several monster imperial stouts. Did not go over well. That said...

Into my Duvel glass, pours a dark burgundy through a light but for the most part appears vague brownish color. The head starts off nice, about one inch of off white fluffy topping hat recedes to a ring and center spot. Lacing is bounteous. The aroma is fairly typical, if a little weak... Fruits, a nice yeastiness, some spices, pretty stock.

The taste is fairly nice, but isn't spectacular. And the mediocre mouth drags it down a little more. There is a nice variety of hints, plums and dates, anise, lots of candied sugars I'm sure. It suffers from too much sweetness really, like they were trying too hard to juice this thing up. And juiced up it gets, much too thick, too little carbonation, it doesn't get to the point of being difficult to drink, but if just a little better, I feel this could have been quite nice.

Photo of irishking1977
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Corked 750 ml bottle. I've had both Kasteel Tripel and Kasteel Rogue (that one is amazing for a sweet fruit beer/kriek) So I figured I'd give the dark variety a try.

A: Pours a ruby red/brown with decent tan head that does not retain itself long. Lots of lacing as well. Nice looking strong Belgian dark ale.

S: I can only detect maple brown sugar, candy sugar and alcohol. Doesn't seem as if the alcohol has been hidden on this one too well.

T: Woah. Lots of sugary sweetness with a malt and caramel background. As I predicted, alcohol is a bit upfront, but I didn't notice until now that the ABV is 11.0. I orginally thought it was 7 or 8. No wonder the alcohol seems so pronounced. Still a decent strong Belgian brew.

M: Somewhat syrupy and mildly carbonated. Decent balance, but I can't help myself in thinking that there is a syrup base for this beer, and it's simply add to carbonated water.

D: Because of the high ABV, this is an okay sipper. I have this 750 ml bottle to finish myself, and that's probably going to be difficult. This is good to share with a friend. Especially if that friend likes sweet, boozy beers.

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.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into chalice style glass.

Pours a syrupy dark brown to near black, very small head that diminishes to a rather dense short layers of off-white foam. Light lacing.

Lots of dark fruit and hints of alcohol. Heavy sweet malts come to mind as you inhale.

I was a bit surprised by the sweetness that envelops the tongue on the first swig. I know this is considered a strong dark ale but it seemed more like a very sweet barley wine. Very sweet and heavy in the mouth, with the strong flavor of fig most present.

This is quite a brew. Rather a bit syrupy for my taste but it doesn't necessarily taste bad. As for the style of a strong dark Belgian ale, I suppose, but it's closer to cough syrup. I did enjoy it overall though and if you are feeling adventurous, give it a shot.

Photo of ImperialStoat
1.42/5  rDev -65.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Ugh. This is like drinking alcoholic, knock-off brand cola.

It retains several elements of the best Quads, such as a smell of certain spices in the nose and a lingering taste of dark fruits (prunes, figs), but the syrupy-sweetness is so overpowering and one dimensional that I found it hard to notice much else.

Avoid.

Photo of d0ggnate
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle my neighbor brought back from Belgium. Marked "Brewed anno 2008"

A: Poured to my glass with a rich deep brown / mahogony color. Soft single finger tan head that fades to just a rim around the glass. Apparent carbonation rises around the edges of my glass.
S: Sweet raisins and candied sugars. Subtle vanilla and hints of oak.
T: More sweet and sticky raisins. Complex array of flavors. A bit of leather and wood comes out.
M: Well carbonated and very full bodied. Almost creamy. Warming as it goes down.
D: Very good beer. I haven't had a true quad in a while and this one fit the bill. Great example of the style.

Photo of BillyBoysPie
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle into the Kasteel goblet at Aufsturtz in Berlin.

Pours a dark chocolate color with ruby notes. Quarter inch dark tan head; lots of lacing.

Dark big fruits, dried plums and figs. Brown sugar, cinnamon, a touch of tart orange. Alcohol is present in the nose, but not obtrusive.

Dense, almost sugary taste. Dried fruit is prime, alcohol makes a nice presence in the beer, then spices and sugars. Balanced flavor, but very dense. A beer to sip.

Very heavy mouthfeel, really rich and dense. Reminds me a bit of 2% milk, but without the milk flavor.

Great beer, but it made me itch. Hmm... that's never happened before. Either way, it's worth drinking.

Photo of Paisan
3.86/5  rDev -6.1%
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 erok
2.8/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - poured with little head or carbonation. Reddish brown color. I was afraid I had a bad bottle based on the low level of carb.
S - alcohol and fruity sweetness
T - Cloying sweetness - almost port wine-like, a little estery fruitiness, but not as much as I'd like of for a dark belgian. The alcohol is also apparent in the taste. You can tell from the smell and the taste that this beer is in 11% - it's not hidden.
M - Full and syrupy. The sweetness lingers. Little perceptible carbonation.
D - I wouldn't have another.

Bottom line: If you're expecting a Rochefort, Chimay Blue, or St. Bernardus, you'll be quite disappointed. In contrast, if you like some of the sweeter Belgian-style darks/dubbels (Grimbergen comes to mind), you may find this enjoyable. If I brewed this myself, I'd lament the lack of attenuation.

Photo of RuudJH
3.3/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle 33 cl.
Chestnutbrown coloured , creamy thin head, the boozyness is upfront in both the smell and the taste, but nevermind that. It's fruity and malty, but mainly the whole brew is too much sweetness from caramel and candy burnt sugar, to me a bit over the top.

Photo of ccrida
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into a tumbler, in Amsterdam. Dark ruddy brown, small light tan head, scattered lace.

Smell is kind of acrid, nut liqueur like maltiness that doesn't hint of the extreme sweet alcohol blasts that for comes the first sip.

Taste is very hot, sweet, alcoholic but not fusels, cleaner, not very phenolic, intense focus

Mouthfeel is sticky syrup and coats the back of the throat, with a lighter body.

Drinkability is OK, not this beers strong suit, as it is so intense you must sip slowy. The kind of beer you need to sip with water. An extreme quad, and must try for lovers of the style. A bit too much for me here though to love.

Photo of Spiderhouse
4.87/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A--Monster head with two fingers of tan foam. Amazing retention and very heavy lacing. Best part? Tiny, slow rising bubbles that i have never seen in a beer; mostly, in expensive champagne.

S--Chocolate, warm pumpernickel, heavy spice notes. Never smelled anything like this on a beer. Intoxicating.

T--Semi-sweet baker's chocolate, dark bread, and rich butter. My wife (of Swedish extraction), said this reminded her of "Swedish Christmas". The finish is long and comforting. Pretty damn amazing.

M--Syrupy, but not in a bad way. Emulsified egg whites and cream. Delicious.

D--The high ABV and heavy texture make it hard to repeat, but this is like the great dessert that sends a meal from merely 'good' and into 'unforgettable'. One of the best beer experiences I have ever had.

Served in a brand chalice at Lucky Baldwin's, Pasadena, CA

Photo of Seru1
2.7/5  rDev -34.3%
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 goblet
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

picked up a 750 ml bottle with a cork and served it in a pint glass .

a dark unclear auburn color with a bubbly tan head that fades fairly quick to a ring around the glass that leaves nice belgian lace.

the aroma is dark fruit and belgian yeast with some toasted malt ,followed by alcohol . the dark fruits remind me of prunes and figs.

the taste is a pure delight it's dark and powerful with alcohol,fruits ,grains,and yeast that seems to blend perfectly together the alcohol isn't to bitter and noticable ,it's very nice .

full body with powerful malt,yeast and alcohol feel on the palette with a tad bit of an alcohol flavor in the after taste.

could be a fan of this brew, cause it's that good .i would pick up a bottle of this again in the future .a fun treat ..cheers.

Photo of Evocatus
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle. Has a dark color, like a coke but with a hint of read. Head was a dark beige that dissipated into a ring rather quickly. Smelled of dark fruits. Tasted like a light rum; a mix of sugarcane and a little bit of spices were there. Alcohol taste started to become prevalent after it warmed. Mouthfeel was thick but not too bubble. Overall pretty good. I was worried that it would be too heavy for an 11%, but there wasn't a strong alcohol kick at all, instead just a subtle feeling in the aftertaste.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 743 ratings.