Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
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Ratings: 636 | Reviews: 345 | Display Reviews Only:
4.6/5 rDev +12.2%
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!
11-08-2007 21:28:47 | More by Deus1138
4.75/5 rDev +15.9%
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.
10-27-2007 18:33:55 | More by DanGraser
3.68/5 rDev -10.2%
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.
10-19-2007 00:34:15 | More by garbercury
3.03/5 rDev -26.1%
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.
10-11-2007 02:47:36 | More by geexploitation
4.18/5 rDev +2%
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.
10-10-2007 19:15:13 | More by franksnbeans
4/5 rDev -2.4%
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
10-08-2007 21:18:59 | More by wesleyhighley
4.47/5 rDev +9%
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.
09-24-2007 02:29:27 | More by ALESwhatCURESya
3.33/5 rDev -18.8%
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.
09-15-2007 02:16:50 | More by acrawf6
3.6/5 rDev -12.2%
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
09-15-2007 00:45:11 | More by brentk56
3.6/5 rDev -12.2%
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 its a pretty tasty beer. Well hidden alcohol, with a balanced flavor. This is a fairly tasty, enjoyable Belgian.
08-01-2007 07:03:22 | More by Crosling
4.1/5 rDev 0%
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.
07-30-2007 04:21:55 | More by jwc215
3.75/5 rDev -8.5%
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.
07-08-2007 16:29:28 | More by OWSLEY069
4.2/5 rDev +2.4%
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.
06-17-2007 17:38:31 | More by basica
4.88/5 rDev +19%
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.
06-17-2007 01:46:31 | More by roblowther
4.43/5 rDev +8%
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.
06-07-2007 04:06:33 | More by Billolick
4/5 rDev -2.4%
Poured from a 330ml bottle an almost clear brown with a hint of amber / red....just a hint. Head dissipates quickly. Smells good, inviting, no harshness. I smell candy, malt, and (?)butterscotch. Taste is smooth, smooth...I don't get the alcohol taste that others have noted. I get earthy tones in the taste that I enjoy. Not overly carbonated, this is a quad after all. If you draw some air through your mouth with this one (through your mouth, NOT through the beer, a habit from my wine days) you get a very nice lingering and mildly sweet aftertaste.
4's straight across. This is less expensive than some of the top rated quads, and I think it is worth the price. Very pleasant and drinkable, do not chug at 11% abv.
06-04-2007 00:40:40 | More by stonewall2
4.97/5 rDev +21.2%
Yet another spectacular Belgian experienced during a recent business trip to Atlanta and while visiting the Brick Store Pub in Decatur.
This special Belgian Quad was poured from tap into proper Kasteel stemmed glass with a beautiful gold rim and a painted picture of a brick building with "Kasteel Bier" adorning the front. This brew was special from the very start.
The appearance was deep dark brown with a thick, creamy head and lovely thick lace that graced the glass during each round. So far, everything one could hope for in a strong Belgian.
The aroma was incredible...oh so sweet! Perfectly aged prunes, raisens and dates, all aged to perfection. Only a hint of alcohol, but what a pleasant aromatic sensation. Sweet, fruity, but all balanced in harmony with one another.
The taste was very sweet, but balanced with raisens and fruit. The brew simply glides accross your tongue in a fruity cacophony with a warm alcohol finish. Somewhat port like and malty, but it's perfectly balanced.
As to the mouthfeel, I experienced a biscuity and chewy, viscous treat. Just perfect, or as close as you can get to it. This was a pleasure to enjoy and to think it was available on tap. I only wish the pubs in my area would pursue such a treasure as this. Thank you once again Brick Store !
05-28-2007 01:36:23 | More by jim102864
4.28/5 rDev +4.4%
I am very impressed with how good this beer is. In a nutshell, it's cotton-candy sweet, fruity tart, spicy warm, and marshmellow textured. It's wonderful from sip to finish. A hearty malt / candy sweetness blends with nuts, figs, dates, and a hint of chocolate. Balanced with aged hops and yeasty esters bring out clove and pepperyness. Full and richly textured without a hint of astringency or heat. Finishes very clean despite so many complex flavors, and a bit dry. This beer ranks up there with the Rocheforts and Abt 12s of the world.
05-03-2007 16:32:29 | More by BEERchitect
4.05/5 rDev -1.2%
Cork pops with quite a commotion, and tells me that this was bottled 8-2004. I thought it was much newer than that. Deep brown body lets little light through, and has a nice two finger head with decent retention. Good amount of chunky lacing, and a dense blanket of foam on top of the glass.
Aroma is dominated by sugars. Deep toasted malts, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and just the slightest twinge of spicy alcohol.
Flavor is much the same, but with more fruity yeast esters. Deep dark fruit flavors of raisons, figs, prunes, and coffee are most prevalent amount the strong malt. Still very sweet from front to back. Mouthfeel is sticky and smooth. Drinkability is dangerously good for a beer of 11%.
An odd brew, but a great one. It's great when fresh, and better when it's 3 years old (like this bottle is). I really think this needs another 5 to 10 years to really shine. I'll hold on to another few bottles for a decade or so to see how they turn out. Right now it is good, but it's just a little too "cola like". It really almost tastes like a thicker version of pepsi.
04-18-2007 00:17:46 | More by phisig137
4/5 rDev -2.4%
I just opened this last bottle in my storage. It had been there for a while. It popped open with a relieving pop. I must admit to not liking flat beer much and this one can go flat. It poured into the chalice with a fizzy hiss after the white waft of beer smoke appeared. The cork said 4/2000 so it's seven years old. It's good.
This beer can be sweet. I've drunk it over the years. It goes well with Roquefort Caraway cookies at Christmas. But tonight it asked to be opened. I remembered it after having a bottle of Gouden Carolus a few nights ago and remembering the complex, sweet, brownness of this one.
It's not too sweet, but I consider it a dessert beer. It's full bodied but not thick. It's drinkable if you like big sweet beer moving from a dubbel sensibility into a big beer unique unto itself. It remains unique.
04-14-2007 02:05:52 | More by faernt
3.93/5 rDev -4.1%
Had at a lovely small cafe/bar in downtown Brussels, Le Drink Taverne Brasserie. Poured into a branded goblet, under the alias "Kasteel Bier Brune" Was 3,60 euro for the goblet poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle.
Medium to deep hazy brown, moderate rocky head.
Aroma: burnt brown sugar.
Taste: more furnt brown sugar, sweet caramel, sugar and sweetness. A warming, sweet, thick beer. Minimal hops detected.
Mouth is sweet, thick, and full.
Not amazing, but very solid, and something I'll buy again.
04-12-2007 00:40:44 | More by warmstorage
4.18/5 rDev +2%
Holy crappola, was this one strong, but yet sweet as hell brew. Tasty too!
It may have had an average pour, mahogany brown, minimal head but what foam could live in that booze? TONS of phenolics, alcohol and sweetish malt in the aroma.
Very unique taste- sweet and stickly malt shake of sharp alcohol and dark fruit candy cane, plus the famous Belgium yeast flavor enrichment. This was a <fresh> bottle, the alcohol was just beneath the surface, and the alcohol exhales could clear a room. Nice.
Thanks to my great son, studying overseas in Amsterdam. I was brought this for the unique chance to enjoy direct from Belgium.
Only had a lil' 33cl stubby bottle, could have drank a bigger jobber.
04-06-2007 13:57:46 | More by Vancer
4.05/5 rDev -1.2%
During a recent trip to Belgium, I enjoyed a lovely 2000 vintage Kasteel and it was absolutely amazing. It was one of the smoothest beers that I've ever imbibed.
Naturally, a bottle of Kasteel was one of my first purchases back in the states. According to the cork, this was bottled 8/2004.
I popped the cork with little fanfare and poured aggressively into my Chimay goblet. The beer was dark, muddy, and brown with hints of garnet. The nearly opaque liquid was crowned by a small, tan head that gave way to fine, silky lacings.
Chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, cherry, sweet and roasted malts blend well to make a complex, albeit subtle aroma. The alcohol can be detected in the background, along with a bit of a nutty quality.
This brew is velvety, smooth as it traverses the palate. The mouthfeel is delightfully creamy with just enough carbonation. The overall sweet flavors offer a pleasing contrast to the potent alcohol, rendering this brew to be quite drinkable.
Roasted, nutty, malt flavors up front with hints of vanilla, brown sugar and molasses. An earthy, doughy, yeast presence can be detected, along with a big, cherry ester taste. The warming alcohol is present in the aftertaste, accompanied by a very slight hop bitterness.
This is a fine example of a quad. The 2004 bottle really held up well in comparison to the 2000. Aged a few more years, the alcohol subsides into some awesome flavors. I'll definitely be throwing more bottles in my cellar for a few years!
03-16-2007 01:35:21 | More by Estarrio
4.22/5 rDev +2.9%
Served at 50 degrees F in a goblet.
Not much carbonation, and it poured a dark brown w/red ruby-like color. The alcohol hits you right away, but it has a fantastic burnt caramel taste. I find it to be very heavy and filling. For me, it's powerful stuff and not to be taken lightly. I've had several bottles, and some are better than others, but most are very very good.
03-15-2007 00:18:29 | More by crazynipple
3.9/5 rDev -4.9%
Scored a bottle in Belgium over the summer-- unfortunately I was having this after 2/3 of both the chimay (red/blue) and rochefort (8/10) lines, and a delirium tremens, so my memory might not be as acute as I'd like...
Poured dark brown into a goblet without too much head; super-cloudy, this is beer as God intended. Very very malty and pretty estery, with just a little alcoholic spice (much less than I expected); lots of dark fruit and candi sugar. Tasted exactly like it smells.
This was a gorgeous beer, I'd love to get another shot at reviewing it.
03-07-2007 22:09:12 | More by kajerm
Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 636 ratings.