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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

742 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 742
Reviews: 363
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.11%
Wants: 72
Gots: 103 | 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.
View: Beers (32) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 742 | Reviews: 363
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!!

Photo of abents
3.43/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a midnight black with HUGE tan head, looks amazing.
Smells of dark roasted malts and some fruit. Taste is very sweet with dark fruits abounding. Pretty big alcohol on the finish for me. Really sweet sticky finish. Very creamy feel smooth, but the alcohol and sweetness is a little too much. Very interesting beer very different than a lot of the other "quads" not really my favorite, but fine nonetheless.

Photo of everetends
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle that was recommended to me by AKBelgianBeast. Tracked this down at Green's off Ponce in Atlanta, GA. Served up in a goblet.

A: Pours a really nice, dark, rich brown. On the pour just so much activity in the glass. This wave of lighter brown to white swirls throughout the glass as you pour and as it rests. Just so much movement. The pour yielded a really nice, almost finger of cream colored head that has some really good retention and has some sticky ass lacing. This glass is just saturated with sticky ass lace all over it. Really nice.

S: Smell is mostly just some belgian yeast, heavy, dark malts and some dark fruits. Nothing too mind blowing but solid for sure. There might also be a touch of cinnamon in there as well.

T: Taste is damned good. Yet again heavy belgian yeast presence. Dark, rich, sugary malt comes in next. In the middle you find some dark fruits such as plum and plum skin, raisins, and a touch of banana. These fruits are just full of candied goodnessPancake syrup flavors come out in the end with just a thick but reasonable sweetness. Through all this sweetness comes just a nice and quite beautiful, buttery bready backbone. Just great.

M: Medium to full in body with some nice thickness. Syrupy and slick feel on the palate. ABV is just incredibly well hidden. It is there and quite noticable, but the ABV does not feel at all like it is as high as 11%. Pretty smooth going down. Carbonation is perfect for this beer by adding a bubbly crispness but not taking away from the thickness of the brew. Everything is well represented.

D: This beer goes down pretty damned easy. I kept catching myself taking bigger and bigger "sips" as I went on. I didn't want to get trashed, so I slowed myself about. All categories are solid or higher. This beer is damned good and I have to thank Frank for telling me about it. The price at just $7.50, further helps the drinkability because it doesn't break the bank. Great beer.

Photo of avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color and a semi-thick texture. There was a huge, foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: Smelled of dark fruit, malt and sugars.

T: A fairly complex taste of figs, raisins, malt and possibly some caramel. The alcohol is barely noticable.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a solid Belgian beer that's well made and goes down easy despite its high ABV.

Photo of jdhilt
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a four-finger brown head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Mahogany/brown color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Malty nose. Flavor is caramel, dark fruit, sweet. Clean finish. High ABV is hidden. I need more of these to cellar! Bottled Jul 2007, $4.20 for a 330ml bottle from a Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, ME.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.45/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 1/07.

Pours a nice dark brown with major ruby highlights, but somewhat cloudy, not entirely penetrable to light. Ruby highlights are big, and the off white fizzy head hangs around for a minute or two before receding and leaving ok lacing.

Nose contains belgian yeast, dark malts, some dark fruit, slight caramel and some lighter fruits as well.

Taste EXPLODES dark fruit flavor. Plummy raisiny figgy goodness with extremely unique to belgium belgian character. Exactly what I think of when I imagine BSDA/pseudoquady thing. A great and very flavorful brown. Taste starts off lighter with grain and yeast, but quickly develops into rich yet uncloying sweetness of candied fruits. Doesnt have quite the almost buttery richness of some quads, however, a strong yet very tolerable sweetness prevails. the alcohol is unbeleivably slim in the taste profile. The finish is nice and sweet. Sugary residue stays on the lips after each sip. A nice slick finish leads to a sugary plummy aftertaste. wow.

Mouthfeel is pretty much spot on here, there could be a touch lower carbonation, but when I say a touch, I mean VERY slight. Slick on the palate, and rides the tongue right down the palate.

Drinkabiltiy is down right remarkable for the abv. I would have guessed this to be in the 8% range, 9 at most, and that guess would simply be based on the rich flavor. Abv is extaordinarily hidden. Keep in mind the style, so your not going to be sessioning these in 100 degree heat after a sack race at the carnival, but style and abv wise, this one cant be beat for drinkability marks.

Overall a VERY good belgian style brew. Doesnt have the definitive butteriness of a Quad, but it is close, while still showing some other BSDA qualities. This one is sort of a style melder, but the style that it does fit perfectly into, is the one on the label, (funny how that works) which is belgian brown ale. A fantastic beer, one I think is a good cellar candidate for sure, especially with its mighty abv. Drink this one slowly and savor it, let it warm, and dont let the abv get the best of you, and you WILL be pleased. One that will satisfy the craving for the greatest of belgian style freaks. A classic.

Photo of Proteus93
3.7/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was simple labeled as "Kasteel Donker" The bottle on both RateBeer and BeerAdvocate is different from what I have in front of me, but the ABV and general description is the same.

A: A deep chestnut brown with some reddish highlights. Head forms nicely but doesn't last incredibly long, leaving a spidery lacing behind.

S: Rich and sweet malts dominate the nose. A little plum and a touch of raisin, but mostly just a toasted malt graininess.

T + M: Quite a sweet maltiness... almost a little syrupy. Though this bottle was brewed in 2007, it's still a little hot at the end of '08. Alcohol is certainly noticable, adding a notable spiciness. Body is a bit thick - almost a touch sticky, with a little bite of carbonation on the tip of the tongue which mellows out with the richer body.

D: The high alcohol content can be a bit overwhelming after a while, and the sweet flavours started to overwhelm my palate as it went down. A good beer, but very intense, and best suited for very slow consumption.

Photo of tr4nc3d
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown/redish color with a creamy thick looking two inch head. Good retention, great big amounts of little bubbles on top dancing away leaving lacing on the side of my glass.

Smells like banana bread, cinammon, syrup, dark sugar, figs. Very great smell.

Taste is a smooth creamy caramel like, dark sugar, raisins, plums.

Medium body, smooth, nice amount of carbonation, great taste.

This was a tasty brew, good quad that I could drink again.

Photo of ncbeermonger
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The one I had was left in a cellar for a little over a year.
It was super smooth, and the abv was noticable but not over powering. This Brown style beer leaves others of its kind in the dust!
If you see one of these (in this area that's not so easy!) you should grab it up, put it away and forget about it. When you find it trust me it will make your day!

Photo of PorterLambic
3.65/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice brown with a 1/2" head that drops really quickly.
Smell is malt, yeast and a kriek-like cherry note.
Taste is malt, a light cherry, yeast with a good balance.
A medium-full body, light effervescence, warming of the palate and throat. Quite smooth. Overall, good stuff.

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

A: It poured a cloudy reddish brown body with a caramel head that stood tall and was slow to recede.

S: It presented aromas of brown sugar and caramel malts with dark fruits (e.g., raisins).

T: It had a rich, creamy caramel and dark sugar body accented with sweet raisins and hints of tart, ripe plums. There were dark biting spices that danced across my tongue. The alcohol was well hidden.

M: It was medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a sweet front with a tart crisp finish. It finished warm and clean.

D: It was a good quadrupel with decent balance and flavor. It ranks behind others in its class but it is a good contender. It is a bit robust for a session brew.

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle, labeled "Donker." I'm assuming its the same thing.

The appearance is a really pretty dark brown that appears to be a deep burgundy red when held up to light. The head is very thin, almost nonexistent. Smells good, kind of sugary sweet with maybe hints of caramel and, call me crazy, tobacco. The taste is almost shockingly sweet, too much for me. You can feel the alcohol at the end. The start is like caramel, followed by molasses and dark fruits like figs. Somewhat syrupy, maybe. Feels very smooth like a cognac. The effervescence is subtle. Overall decent drinkability. Great beer, although I personally find it to be too sweet.

Photo of number1bum
4.51/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Part of NEPA BC split #18.

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle, bottled July 07. Pours a dark mahogany, slightly reddish brown, with two fingers of khaki head. Head settles to a thin but full lace and leaves some nice stick.

Smells strongly of tannins, which fades a bit as it warms but never completely goes away. Lots of dark fruits, too, but the tannins give it more of a robust red wine sort of aroma than a beer. Candi sugar and caramel malt sweetness become more prominent as it warms.

I was a little leery of how this one might taste given the tannin aromas, but wow, not only is the taste absent tannins, it is absolutely bursting with delicious malty flavor. Lots of candi sugar sweetness, molasses and brown sugar, caramel, sweet and ripe plums and raisins and other dark fruits. Plenty of yeast character, as well. The sweetness is perfect, never cloying, just delicious.

Body is on the plus side of medium and is not nearly as hefty as might be expected given its strength; attributed to the ample candi sugar, no doubt. It's quite creamy and smooth, just luscious in the mouth.

Wow, this is an amazingly tasty beer. I love it. Rich and complex, tantalizingly sweet. Awesome. I could drink this damn near all night, or at least until the 11% knocked me out.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.19/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Iron curtain anyone? An aged beer brought from a friends cellar. Pours a mostly hazy dark amber to brown color. The pour was flowing at the start but need help as we went along. Big fizzy head that quickly dissipated and no real lace to speak of.

The nose is sweet with some noticeable Belgian characteristics. Some lighter caramel and melanodian malt aromas. Some very noticeable sugar notes. The yeast is very present with some alcohol heat and some minor yeast. Some plums, figs and rose but also some dank and slight butyric notes as well.

The taste is noticeable sweet and has that noticeable boarder line under attenuated feel. To start the malt has a strong sugary flavor that really is off. Some malt backing with a more kettle caramel flavor/Special B taste. Very muttled malt profile that is just off. The yeast comes out but not as harsh as the nose. A good ester profile with raisins and plums. Some minor butyric notes as well, but not as bad.

The body is a bit cloying with the sweetness. The lack of carbonation might be effecting this. Overall, this is way too sweet for a quad, not even throwing a Belgium quad into the mix. Some off notes in the nose and continue into the taste. Maybe it's some cup of quad, but there are better US version out there.

Photo of JBushEsq
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Chimay glass

A: A very deep dark brown with very red/copper tones around the edges

S: Smells very sweet and malty with the ethonal coming through at the end

T: Sweet with a lot of malt throughout, reminds me a lot of a sweeter red wine

M: I love the sweetness of this beer, but in the mouth, it is almost too sweet, a feeling that gets more pronounced the more you drink

D: A great beer, I'd get it again without a doubt... But I don't think I could have more than one in a sitting

Overall a really tasty complex beer, though it could be too sweet for some.

Photo of BarryNL
4.46/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown in the glass with gorgeous ruby highlights when held to the light. The head is light tan and lasts well.

S: Full, sweet malty smell.

T: Perhaps a little on the sweet side, but certainly has the strength and flavour that it's not really unbalanced. The flavour is pure sweet malt with some underlying dark fruit. This beer almost has a desert or fortified wine quality to it.

M: Rich and smooth. Low carbonation, just enough to give that melt-in-the-mouth effect.

D: Very drinkable - more so than the alcohol content really allows - especially if you have to get up in the morning. Surprisingly the sweetness doesn't become cloying at all.

Photo of peabody
3.58/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a semi dark brown with two fingers of off-white suds.
Smell is a sugar carmel malt with hints of dried apricot and raisin skin. Slight alcohol notes in the nose.
Almost a dried walnut aroma. Fig works here.
Taste is really sweet carmel malt with a slight hop dryness. As it warms there is a dark cherry with a cover of dark chocolate.
Mouthfeel is a bit oily with aftertones of raisin residue and caramel sugars on the toungue.
Drinkability is low because of the 11% abv.
Can 't taste the alcohol but you can smell it and feel it.

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

Poured into a Chimay challice from a stubby fire plug looking bottle. A mirky muddy brown with a light tan collar with some very tiny bubbles stringing from the sides of the glass barely visible.Leves somes nice webs of lace down the glass

Sweet dark fruityness lots of prune and currants,carmell candy,butterscotch,earthy with a vinious sweetness. Vey malty and complex

Very sweet overripe dark fruit tastes upfront, some nice boozy tastes with a warming feel.candy sugaryness throughout with some burnt carmell flavors near the finish.Mouthwatering bitterness fading out the end of the taste.

Cloying,with some stickyness yet smooth and suprizing drinkability.

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

A: Poured a bright, and vibrant cranberry-sherry color with a thin creamy khaki colored head which quickly gave way leaving a thin, broken film lacing on the way down.

S: very vinous, tart grapes and berries with some noticeable alcohol.

T: sweet sugary malt with vinous grapes, tart berries and a big tart alcohol flavor. There was a big acidity with a wine like nature. Ripe fruit and sugar plums were detected before finishing with a warming tart alcohol finish. Overall a sweet, very acidic, vinous drink that drank more like a sherry or wine then beer. Good overall, but probably wouldn't be interested in buying again.

M: light, very vinous, smooth with sweet sugary malt and tart berries followed by a big tart alcohol finish on the swallow.

D: A nice drink overall, but definitely a slow sipper and the bomber will take a while to get through. The alcohol was noticeable but was halfway through the bottle before I read the 11.0% abv which soon made sense. A good drink I thought but more wine then beer which sways me not to try again.

Photo of sholland119
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is described as a quad at the place I had it and it seems more like a quad to me than a dubbel so I am reviewing it against that expectation.

Pours a murky, deep chestnut brown with a very thin tan head.

Smell is dominated by raisins and malt sweetness with a bit of bittersweet chocolate as well.

Taste is delicious. A very strong caramel sweetness throughout that never becomes cloying or tiresome. Sweet dark fruit and chocolate mix in the flavor profile. Alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy.

This is an easy drinking beer. I am rarely inclined to have more than one of this style and with an 11% ABV, I would certainly stop at one. But I would enjoy a second.

HV

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

Serving size: 750ml corked
Glass: stemmed
Temp: 45 degrees

Very malty nose, notes of raisens, prunes and a lil bit of firecracker... weird huh? but interesting.
Mouthfeel is rich full & deep.
The head stays for s few minuted then retreats to a thin clinging haze, but remains throughout the tasting.
Rich typical belgian taste, definately a beer that you want to spend some time with. Would pair great with duck or some kind of wild game. The big malt hits you right away with little or no hop characteristic.
Overall a wonderful beer that I suggest you try. I would love to try this on draft, but most highly suggest getting a 750 if you see one.
Cheers!

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

11.2-ounce stubby poured into a goblet yields a deep chestnut body with plenty of sediment in suspension, capped with light khaki foam that recedes to a ring leaving fine webby lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is fruity and malty, with a whiff of overripe banana and mushy caramel-covered apple. A warm bready note ties things together.

The taste of the drink is fruity and sweet. Alcohol makes a first appearance, with plenty flavors of banana and plum macerated in dark rum. The booziness grows a bit and a crisp note of red apple emerges as the drink progresses, as does a soft vinous note of dry merlot and a trace of a not-unpleasant metallic note.

The feel of the drink is just about perfect. The drink is soft, light, and well-carbonated, and is about as quaffable as a big 11% abv brew can be.

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

Had the small bottle of this over the weekend, one of the better quads I've had.

Poured a dark brown with a tan fluffy head. Not a strip of lacing, and the head dissapates fast.

Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, and some spice.

Taste is very sweet, spice from the yeast, a very strong alcohol presence, some cinnamon and molasses.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick, little carbonation, very syrupy. Balances well.

Drinkability is good. This is a desert beer if there ever was one.

Photo of Flyer
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Might be the best example of this style I've come across. Pours a deep brown with a good head. Has wonderful raisin and plum notes, very boozy tasting (in a good way). The mouthfeel is rich and thick without ever being sticky. Some wine-like flavors come through late. Highly recommended.

Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful off-white head of three fingers. Lots of lace. The color of the brew is brown where light barely shines through. Attractive.

Farmlike smells; earthy and dark. Some crystal and chocolate malt aromas.

Sweeter than I expected. Strongly malty. Notable alcohol warmth. The body is warming (from the alcohol strength) and thick. The carbonation is relatively light for the creaminess. I don't detect any hop or any other balancing ingredient.

This is an easy beer with which to get snookered. It's subtle and powerful. It isn't a beer with complexity.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 742 ratings.