1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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

730 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 730
Reviews: 361
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.11%
Wants: 71
Gots: 95 | FT: 1
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.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kasteel Donker Alström Bros
Ratings: 730 | Reviews: 361 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of TheViolator666
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely a beer I wouldn't go out and look for because I'm not a huge fan of Belgian yeast, but I ended up pleasantly surprised by this one... though I still think the name is hilarious.

750ml corked and caged wine bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep dark auburn color. Fair head with decent lacing, nothing too special here.

S: Smell is fantastic. Very sweet, raisins are dominant. Malty as well and hints of darker fruit, plums come to mind.

T: This one instantly reminded me of a cane sugar beer. Pummeled up front by sweetness and an awesome sweet raisiny/grape flavor. No alcohol burn surprisingly. Also, I'm thankful to have a Belgian beer where the yeast isn't so dominant in the taste!

M/D: This is more of a treat beer, though it wasn't too hard to put down a good 10 ounces of it. Nice medium body, overall an interesting and excellent beer.

Photo of TheCyturn
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a chalice. I held the bottle at least 20 centimeters above the glass in order to get at least some foam. I managed to get some but it collapsed into a very thin layer.
I like the smell: syrup, lots of caramel and the alcohol is very noticeable but that's ok.
Taste: complex:syrup,caramel, extremely sweet,some elements taste a bit like red wine. Almost no bitterness at all. I really had to search for soms hops.
Mouthfeel: excellent!. Very thick and nicely carbonated.
Drinkability: too much sugar and alcohol. I wouldn't drink another one right after having drunk this one.
Tip: the bottle says that you have to serve it at 12°C but I'd drink it a bit colder to mute the sweetness a bit.

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!

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.