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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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716 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 716
Reviews: 356
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.11%
Wants: 69
Gots: 89 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. visit their website

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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 716 | Reviews: 356 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ClevoPiwo
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
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 asabreed
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a wine glass.

Another beer from the cellar, purchased most likely in 2005. Best by date notched at 3/2010.

Appearance: A murky creek water reddish brown color, with some minnow-like bubbles floating to the top. Soapy and fairly quickly dissipating white but kind of off-white head leaves some droplets around the glass.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, and raisins at the forefront, with candied dark fruit, mild chocolate, and earthy and mildly funked up cider vinegar. Some bready, doughy, yeasty malt sweetness too. A bit of cookie cake. Maybe the murkiness of the brew means the yeast has somehow disseminated throughout the bottle before the pour, even though I was careful with it not to disturb the yeast. Heady and complex overall. No real traces of booze either.

Taste: Big up front raisins and toffee, with candied dark fruits and berries. Mild chocolate. Big malt sweetness and some vinous characteristics and sharp apple cider vinegar and rooty earthiness. A bit of nice acidic funk too. Finishes complex, drifting, semi-sweet, and lingering. It also seems like the dissipating alcohol has led it to become more of a cake-like brew than a sometimes particularly boozy Belgian when fresh.

Mouthfeel: The second bottle I've said this about recently, but the carbonation has mellowed out into extremely rich and full creaminess that I'm starting to think happens very nicely with these cellared and aging bottles.

Drinkability: Like good Quads should, I'd imagine, this has certainly gotten better with age, along with being much smoother now. There's still a big sweetness there, and I wonder if that would get even less so as it ages more. I'd imagine this could last much longer in the cellar, but after 4 or 5 years, it's still going strong.

Photo of jrallen34
3.29/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Drank from a bottle into a chalice in Brussels at Delirium Cafe.

This beer is very thick but with bad head. Its dark black with a tan oily head. There is some decent lacing.

It smells very much like coffee and caramal, ands tastes the same.

Its pretty good, but you can't drink more than one.

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: poured into the provided thistle glass, deep brown hints at shades of purple, no head to speak of

s: dark fruits, dates, cherries,

m: little carbonation underneath the slick, full body

t: loads of chocolate or carob with raisin and date puree, full-flavored black malts

d: just fine

night 2 of the Reston-DC extravaganza featuring the father of filth, 375 at Granville Moore's jkhylojhoijoijoijoijioiuojloijij

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

11.2oz stub, post-mussels at dr granville moores

cell phone notes

appearance: very dark mahogany with moderate garnet tint. maybe a faux purple shade. almost no head to speak of

smell: big and sweet - booze soaked plum, fig, hot caramel, big candied sugars

taste: pretty original belgian dark - big emphasis on brown sugar, alcohol infused plum, sugar coated raisin, caramel swirls, peppery alcohol.

mouthfeel: sweet and smooth, on the full end of the body scale

drinkability: good enuff

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

Poured from a tapered capped bottle, with a rust orange/dark-brown color, no head, into my dimpled stein.

Appearance - Nice walnut color, plenty of carbonation, poor head with no retention, zero lacing after first swallow.

Smell - Sweet, fruity, plum...maybe?

Taste - Beer was brewed with a sweet character in mind. Brown sugar and honey flavors prevail. Not too boozy compaired to some American craft ale's. Minimal alcohol taste. The Belgiun's know how to make 11% ABV so SMOOTH!

Mouthfeel - Texture a bit thick and sticky, but not bad. Hangs around for a minute.

Drinkability - Easy consumption, too sweet for me. The wife liked it, although she likes Reisling too...

Fun, Definitly worth a try.

Photo of Buschyfor3
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz stubby bottle into my St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Pours a burgundy/rusty/muddy reddish brown body with no head at all; even a couple swirls of the glass only serve to produce the thinnest ring of fine khaki-colored bubbles on the surface. Lots of ruby red colored highlights streaking througout the glass - looks every bit the part of a strong dark ale.

S: Big boozy nose - huge, medicinal alcohol fumes. Some candy-sugar sweetness is present along with a dark fruitiness that appears behind the alcohol, coming in the form of raisins and prunes; or maybe booze soaked raisins and prunes! There is also a husky, musty note in the nose, maybe the calling card of the Belgian yeast. All in all, this nose packs a big alcoholic punch which overrides many of the other aromas - definitely not as complex as other Belgians I've tried, but definitely the most pungent.

T: Huge sweet flavors in this - primarily a candy, sugary sweetness. That dark fruitiness in the nose also manifests itself in the taste with a sweet, boozy, rum-soaked raisin flavor. Then there follows a huge blast of peppery, medicinal alcohol that dominates the palate through midsip and only recedes in the finish. Aftertaste shows of some sweet malts - a touch of honey, like sweet, fresh baked honey-wheat bread. A delicious mingling of sweet, boozy flavors.

M: Not much carb at all. Really, the mouthfeel is fluffy, and quite powdery, but there isnt much of a crispness or a tingling on the tongue which is what I've come to expect from strong dark ales.

D: 11% ABV and its quite present! The booziness in the nose and taste can be felt in the pit of the stomach as it quickly warms the insides. I could probably finish a 750 of this and be good for the entire night. Strong, and very sweet. Probably not a beer for everyone's tastes, but I quite enjoy this Belgian. Definitely sweeter than some similarly situated Belgian-style beers I have tried (think Maudite, Trois Pistoles).

Like I said, this is a very potent, dark Belgian ale that I quite enjoyed, even if it is ridiculously sweet and the booze is quite powerful. Regardless, the rum-raisin notes and sugary-candy flavors pair nicely with the huge, peppery alcohol blast and finishes nicely with that sweet bready flavor on the palate. Definitely the best strong dark ale I've tried up to this point. Very surprised that there are only 11 reviews for this beer - its a definite must try!

Photo of TheSarge
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Kasteel Bruin pours with a minimal amount of dark tan head. After a vigorous pour, there was only about a half an inch thick head, and seemed to dissipate rather quickly. The body is deep dark ruby red, when held up to sunlight, and seems to be will filtered.

The smell is of dark over ripe cherries, a hint of vanilla, and a finish of sweet bready malts.

In the taste, the cherry character is certainly there, with a cola like quality as well.

The detection of alcohol is a little too much. I know this is a higher ABV brew, but I think the alcohol is too much in the mouth feel. This is also a little syrupy and almost more than full bodied.

I think this is an overall good beer, and probably should've waited until colder times to sample this bruin.

Photo of Jeffo
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this at the bottle shop down the road.

From a bottle into a chalice.

Note: According to the label, this was bottled in 2007. As such, it's probably around 2 years old.

APPEARANCE: Pours a very small tan head that quickly disappears into a thin wispy film. Colour is an opaque dark brown, bistre perhaps, with very little carbonation. A bit of a film stays to the end and leaves some lacing down the glass. Unfortunately the head is a little too average.

SMELL: Nice mild aroma of caramel malt and dark fruits. Raisins and dark grapes give it a slight wine-like aroma. Some characteristic Belgian yeast and alcohol notes round out the bottom end.

TASTE: Lots of caramel malt and dark fruit notes, raisins, grapes and plumbs. Again, the dark grapes give it a wine-like quality as well. Some candy sugar and spicy alcohol show up at the end. Mild and long lasting aftertaste of sweet malt, dark fruits and a touch of spicy alcohol. Nice; definitely on the sweet side.

PALATE: Medium-full body and creamy silky smooth on the palate. Syrupy mouth-feel. Goes down very creamy smooth and has no bite, which was surprising for 11% ABV. Finishes quite sticky and mouth-coating on the palate.

OVERALL: Definitely a tasty treat. It's certainly aged well. I enjoyed this one much more than their triple. A solid, drinkable brew, worth having again.

Photo of benclimbs
3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a dark reddish brown in a tulip

Smell is some caramel with a good bit of alcohol hitting you on the finish

Taste is very sweet, maple, with a little nutty flavors. Alcohol is pretty prominent, not as well masked as other Belgian 11-12% beers. Overall it's a nice beer but not a fave for the style

Rich mouthfeel and pretty long lasting sweet finish

Photo of Suds
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich dark brown with crimson highlights and a tan head, this is a pretty beer. Lots of lace, densely bubbled foam, yeah...looks good. The aroma is fantastic as well, with ripe fruit, a little roasted malt (with lots of melanoidins), plenty of alcohol, and a light plum scent. Not as intense as I expected. The flavor, though, is notably impressive. Malty and sweet, low bitterness and decent alcohol feel. Intense malt flavor, and the plum qualities really come out in the taste. The mouthfeel is full and luxuriously smooth. The one downside to the beer is it's sweetness, which is not balanced at all, and can become a bit cloying at times. Still, this is a fantastic brew!

Photo of seanbhudson
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly opaque amber brown color with a medium tan head that dissipates at an average rate. There is a moderate amount of lacing.
Sweet dark fruit (Plums, cherry, raisin), alcohol. Almost smells like a port/sherry.
Taste similar to aroma. Sweet dark fruit, brown sugar and alcohol. There is hint of sourness that comes through like a granny smith apple.
Medium-full body with a syrupy texture. Light fizzy carbonation.
A rich but smooth and easy drinking beer. There are no funky flavors in here. However it is 11% alcohol and a bit too sweet to drink too much of this.
NOTES: BBCSD-0902-Larry

Photo of endovelico
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 29 - 03- 09. Taken from notes. Poured into kasteelbier chalice. Best before date: 09 - 2013. Reviewed under medium artificial light.

Appearance: Pours a opaque dark brown brew. Forms a thick light brown / créme cap that stays thourought. Unperceived effervescence. Shows some ruby highlights when faced against the light. Decent lacing.

Aroma: Medium high aroma intensity. Sourish notes, strong dark Belgian candy sugar notes, grapy, raisiny, alcohol zing, intense dark caramel complexity.

Taste: Medium high strength. Belgian dark candy sugar upfront, slight smokiness, nutty, grapy, raisiny, dark caramel.

Mouthfeel: Coating. Low carbonation. Low bitterness.

Drinkability: Excellent representation of Belgian Strong Dark Ale / Quad. This is what i have in mind when looking for something of the style. The price quality ratio is also excellent (at least where i got it). Not an easy drink by any means, but not as hard as the ABV or the 11º (Belgian representation for body by the way, means 1.110 OG) suggests.

One thing of note though, i had this brew before and i remember a strong distinct sourish character in the beer that i did not find this time around. I'm hopping to try this beer again to see how it holds up against my two previous experiences.

Photo of becktone
4.85/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes 2-10-09

Eye: Dark brown in color with garnet highlights. Head formation was nice but retention could be better. Lacing is nice-sheets. Color of head is mudslide brown. Texture of it is creamy.

Nose: Faint aroma overall. I get lightly roasted notes as well as a bit of chocolate. Dark fruit is in here as well, rasins mainly. Bready notes as well. Some vinous characers are coming through as well as some oaken character associated with them. Hints at alcohol.

Tongue: Very complex beer, this one. Big on the dark fruit, lots of rasins, some faint chocolate notes. Black cherries...this beer almost gives me the same taste as chocolate covered cherries. Alcohol is noticeable, but helps to balance out the brew, it counters the sweetness. Dark malt really comes through in this one, this is one great beer. One of the best Belgian darks that I've had in quite a while.

Feel and Drinkability: Medium body with moderate delicate tiny carbonation bubbles. Nothing all that special about it really. It does feel just as it should though, I can't see this one feeling any different and having it work as well as what it already is. This is an easy brew to drink and its worth picking up and trying. I know that I'll be going back to it in the near future. Its a great beer that I feel is overlooked.

Photo of oldhippie247
3.49/5  rDev -15.1%
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 adamette
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Live Review. Poured from a short stubby ~12 oz. bottle that I purchased at Beers of the World in Rochester, NY last October. Poured into my Samuel Smith pint glass since (going by the name) I thought this was a brown ale (I would have poured it into my 3 Philosopher's snifter instead!).

A Caramel chocolate brown body that glows in front of direct light with a generous but brief (one minute) head that has now dissipated to a single ring around the top.

S Ahhh....that glorious Belgian sweet malt and yeast with a dose of alcohol and oh...so inviting. Great smell appropriate to the style. The sweetness is a dark fruit sweetness like a date or a raisin.

T Yummm...deep dark fruit tastes of dates and raisins follow right into the taste and dominate the first 2/3 of the taste. After that there is the warmth of alcohol and then a return of a more muted dark fruit.

M Oh sooo smooth. It goes down like liquid caramel and the sweet nectar is syrupy sticky.

D Great if it wasn't for the cost and rarity of the beer. Really though I savored every drop and it is quite good in it's style.

Notes: I kept thinking of a Raison d'extra from DFH while drinking this.

Photo of rec
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Disclaimer: like my Pannepot review, this is a recollection of last night's outing to Delirium Cafe, based on my notes.

This beer looks seriously rich. Different variations of black and brown amidst the glass, as if chocolate into coffee. The head is super-creamy and laces all too well.

Heavy malt and dark fruit are the prominent notes on the nose, and unfortunately being in a beer cafe, I couldn't smell much else at that point.

The taste is immediately awesome. It's perhaps the most rich, sugary, syrupy beer I've ever had. Mostly dark fruit, but there is some strong cinnamon and maple syrup flavours coming through, too. It finishes with a bread-like after-taste which helps create some equilibrium after the sugar high. Not recommended for diabetics?

Unfortunately, without trying to take away from the glorious brew this is, one glass was enough - it's just too rich and too thick to be even remotely considered a session beer. And I love thick beer.

Get it, try it, love it. And leave it at 1.

Photo of Brad007
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a one-finger head into my goblet.

Aroma is full of raisin, tart cherry and sweet malt. Seems to have an interesting touch to it.

Taste is full of sweet malt with hints of cherry and raisin upfront. Smooth and lightly chewy. A bit of alcohol burn as well.

Mouthfeel is full of cherry and raisin and the alcohol. Sweet. Tart. Very refreshing.

A refreshing example of the style. A bit too sweet at times but it has enough depth to stand up to other examples. Very drinkable.

Photo of Nick3
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle with a bottled on date of March 28, 2007. Cool artwork on the bottle depicts the brewery I believe. Beer poured into a Kasteel beer glass commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Van Honsebrouck brewery.
Beer is a dark, dark brown with little head. Gorgeous lace envelops the glass as you work your way through the beer. Smell is reminiscent of molasses and anise. Beer is very rich and complex in flavor; molasses, candied sugar, chocolate, portlike. Alcohol makes itself known but is well masked by the strong, rich flavors. Chewy and sticky on the palate; it's one of those beers that you can still taste for minutes after the last sip . . . and it leaves you wanting more. Not for the faint of heart with it's alcohol level but definitely a great sipping beer to be savored. I really liked this beer and will seek it out again. Holds it's own against some of the best strong belgian darks out there. I likened it to St. Bernardus Abt 12.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice ruby brown color with an admirable sized head. Soft peppery aroma with a mild malt note. Huge malty flavor with a moderate caramel sweetness. Very slight hop bite. Mellow dried fruit flavor. Lacks the yeasty/sulfury notes most Belgians exhibit. No trace of alcohol at 11%. Must use quite the clean yeast to ferment. Great body-has a slight creaminess to it. I find this to be a great beer, rather sweet but I like them like that. This would be a great Belgian to turn someone who has never had one on to. Might not be to style but I really like this one.

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an almost black body with a constantly there one-finger tan head in a tulip glass. A strong fruit smell, like orange and a little grape (dark fruit), and some hints of sweet and bread malts. A great smoothness is what first struck me with this beer, as there is a balance between the malts (some sweet and bread, little oaky even) and dark/heavy fruits (orange, grape again). A little sticky and syrupy, like there's some molasses in there, but finishes clean with a little bit of a hop prickle on the tongue. A solid beer to sip and relax with as the ABV is well-hidden.

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

The Donker poured a dark brown with a quarter inch foam head that dissipated quickly. It had a tight bubble pattern that clung to the outside of the drink next to the glass. The lacing was fairly sticky and was wall like.

The smell was fruity and of brown sugar. The fruits were definitely apple dominated with a tinge of sourness. The taste was sweet then sour. You got a good malt taste up front then it was dominated by a fruity apple-nation. The abv is pretty well hidden and isn't too apparent till it hits the throat and leaves a burn. Overall it is a pretty good BSDA.

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

this is a good quality beer. pours nice and full rich body and color. nice head and carbonation. the taste is sweet. maybe a bit too sweet.

not my favorite taste but very good. brown sweet fruit. the abv is noticable but not overpowering. this would be a good sipper by the fire.

suckem up and movem out.


Photo of TLove
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is a medium brown, with a light, subtle head and a beautiful consistency all the way though.

Smell is very fruity and strong, reminiscent of a strong dark ale or a quad. The taste rolls over dark fruits, birch wood, and fig on the palate, though the 11% ABV presence is seemingly overwhelming to the initial taste. The complexity of the body is not engulfed by the high ABV and the beer eventually comes into its own after a few more sips.

The mouthfeel is well-laced with a balance of hops, fruit, alcohol, and a wood-induced earthiness. The drinkability and finish are not as well-rounded as I have come to expect from most Belgians, but the complexity and taste speak for themselves.

Photo of matty
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown colored ale with a very rapidly fading head.Aroma is dark fuits.Taste is sugar cane,raisins,plum fig and dark cherries.Alcohol is pretty well hidden in the taste but believe me this is not an ale you would want to play quarters with.Overall a solid ale that I would recommend and purchase again!!

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 716 ratings.