1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

631 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 631
Reviews: 345
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 14.63%
Wants: 56
Gots: 57 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kasteel Donker Alström Bros
Ratings: 631 | Reviews: 345 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brabander
Brabander

Netherlands

4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

I got two of this bottles, each 75 centiliter, from my beerbuddy Apophis666, thanks Sietse!!!

This is a beer which has been bottled in 1999. vintage beer! Poured in my Struise glass on the first day of Christmas the beer looks very good. The head tsays for quit a while. Darkred to brown fluid with no carbonation, that's a pity.

Great taste, sweet smell and sweet in the mouth. This is a well balanced top fermented beer. Dark sugars.

12-27-2010 21:50:35 | More by Brabander
Photo of macster
macster

Florida

4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

Bottled 01/2004. Best by 05/2009. Yeah, indeed this is one to quench a sweet tooth, but still a unique, well crafted Belgian Ale.

Pours a fairly clear maroonish-brown hue displaying a thin, patchy head with spotty lacing.

Complex, but somewhat reserved aromas of brandy-soaked plums, figs, black cherries and orange slices with some caramel and malt lingering in the background.

A quite intense sweetness is the initial impression on the first sip; almost reminiscent of Myer's Dark Rum. Body is full and chewy. Dark, ripe fruit flavors nicely mimic the aromas, but much more rich and muscular. The 11% alcohol is definitely a necessity here to cut through the sugary sweetness and it comes real close to doing its job and rendering some respectable balance here.

This baby would certainly make an excellent dessert after a hearty dinner.

02-03-2008 07:07:58 | More by macster
Photo of basica
basica

Singapore

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
Photo of alabamagolf
alabamagolf

Alabama

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

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.

06-17-2009 23:25:37 | More by alabamagolf
Photo of BillyBoysPie
BillyBoysPie

Kentucky

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

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.

11-16-2009 16:09:07 | More by BillyBoysPie
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
ViveLaChouffe

Georgia

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

750ml bottle. Cork dated 11/2003. Best by 11/2008.

Pours a hazy brown with hints of red. Thin tan head. Lots of sheeting lace. Smells fruity. Rich caramel and vinous aromas.

Rich and fruity flavor. Alcohol still present in this nearly three year old sample. Sweetish and candy sugar flavore. Hints of plum and notes of port. Big beer, thick and sticky mouth although the low level of alcohol taste dries it out, keeps the sweetness in check. This is some nice brew. Some more for the cellar is in order.

08-14-2006 02:49:52 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of Mar02x
Mar02x

Netherlands

4.18/5  rDev +2%

A - A dark brown fluid with some reddish hints. The foam is more beige than off white and transforms quickly till a thin layer.

S - A sweet malty scent mixed with a little yeast.

T - Again a sweet malty flavor with a nice deepness. One can taste this beer is great for aging. There is already some port like tones coming through.

M - A soft to medium carbonation with some alcohol warmth and bitterness in the end. There is noway one can this is a 11% ABV!.

O - An excellent beer! Always good to have a few on you're shelf.

12-19-2011 18:25:12 | More by Mar02x
Photo of Gmann
Gmann

New York

4.18/5  rDev +2%

Out of a 750ml corked, caged, and foiled bottle. The cork indicates that it was born in November of 2003, the label states to drink by November of 2008. Pours a murky brown color with a nice off-white head that left a nice ring around the glass with some nice lacing. The smell is of mellow roasted malt, mellow dark fruit, and some port wine characteristics. A lighly roasted malt flavor, sweet, with a nice mellow wine grape flavor; quite olde ale like. Definitely port wine like; nice and mellow, nothing sharp here. A Belgian Olde Ale perhaps??? The feel is moderate with soft carbonation, finishes sweet, slick, and sticky. Definitely an aged sample here and aged well. The mellow flavor is quite good; it is very sweet but is quite drinkable. Some nice fruity flavors.

02-03-2008 04:09:56 | More by Gmann
Photo of franksnbeans
franksnbeans

Ohio

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
Photo of kwakwhore
kwakwhore

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +2%

Dark brown/reddish pour into a Duvel tulip. Not much head, little bit of lacing.
Sweet malt, port aromas dominate the smell. As this beer warms the aroma becomes more and more complex.
This is a very sweet beer, sweet up front with the slightest hint of hops in the finish. The flavor becomes more complex and a little less sweet as the beer warms. The alcohol becomes a bit more prominent as well.
Mouthfeel is rich and full with a bit of heat from the alcohol.
Alcohol content is not obvious in the tasting, but as I drink this I begin to feel it. Couldn't see having more than one of these. This would make a marvelous dessert beer, something to be sipped and savored slowly.

07-02-2008 03:29:37 | More by kwakwhore
Photo of goodbyeohio
goodbyeohio

Oregon

4.18/5  rDev +2%

pours a confident, dense brown with a thin coating of bubbles on top. lacing is pronounced and slides down the side of the glass like a slug. smells very buttery.. yeast toffee and malt notes. fruity with a definite trappist edge in the nose. wow! explodes with banana and berry flavors. taste is a sweet kick with smoothness going down. alcohol is evident but muted by the intense flavor experience here. leaps and bounds above the lighter kasteel. this is a nice, affordable halfway point between rocs grand cru and a trappist quad or dubbel.

04-23-2005 18:25:31 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of Suds
Suds

Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev +2%

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!

04-16-2009 19:52:09 | More by Suds
Photo of Vancer
Vancer

Illinois

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
Photo of goblet
goblet

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +2%

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.

08-15-2009 00:35:23 | More by goblet
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

4.18/5  rDev +2%

Shared by CesiumBrews. Thanks Caleb!

Hooray Belgium.

The beer is chestnut brown with crimson highlights, sporting nearly an inch of beige head. The aroma offers dark fruits, yeast, malt, alcohol, brown sugar. The taste follows suit, with the 11% abv well hidden. Sweet, but not cloying. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Palate coating and a tad syrupy. Notes of nuts (clever alliteration, n'est pas?), perhaps almonds. Brown sugar, spices, perhaps nutmeg. a solid quad. I would definitely have this again.

10-10-2012 23:37:44 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

Poured from a dusty green bottle - thanks to a friend - of an unknown vintage, the bottle has a 08-2009 marking on it.

Right after the pour I get a slightly musty aroma, like it's been laid on its side and absorbed a little cork, or seen a little oak. Dark fruits also dominate with plum and date aromas and a little clove around the edges.

The appearance is a hazy brown with a quickly disappearing (acceptable for an 11% brew) tan head that leaves a little lacing. The flavor reminds me vaguely of plum wine for the smooth esters. I'm also tasting white grape and blueberry with the plum and dates. There's also a slight spiciness that could come from either noble hops of yeast phenols, either way they add a nice subtle layer.

Overall, this is a very good beer and incredibly smooth for the strength, but it doesn't quite have the awe-inspiring complexity of the great quads. Still, very much worth trying.

06-17-2008 21:19:34 | More by tempest
Photo of mwalters
mwalters

Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

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!

08-22-2008 00:07:06 | More by mwalters
Photo of crookedhalo
crookedhalo

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

75 cl cork and caged bottle, bottled in Jan 2004, dated best before 5-2009 on backside label. Pours an opaque dark chocolate brown color with a sustaining tan head that laces nicely. A lot of vinous, yeasty notes with a ridiculous amount of dark roasted candi sugar and malts. Some earthy undertones as well. Upon first sip I think to myself how a couple of years ago this was like mother's milk to me, and I reflect upon the fact that palates and people's taste preferences change over time and how much this beer could rot your teeth if you pass out before brushing them. Holy shit is it sweet, with just enough vinous fruitiness and moderate hoppiness to cut it before it becomes too cloying. I still love this beer, though. I'm just a bit more critical about beers than a couple of years ago. I'm just trying to reminisce why I loved this beer so much a couple years ago. I think it's the creamy mouthfeel paired with a deep, malty alcoholic punch that is very clean finishing, yet coating the mouth with stickiness. Dangerously drinkable, especially for it's lofty 11% ABV; but, overall, a little too sweet to give it a 4 in the drinkability rating.

02-22-2005 08:42:55 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

Large, corked and caged, poured int a goblet.

Dense, opaque dark brown body with some crimson highlights, a thin but good looking head (maybe it is just me, second time tonight), light brown, with decent retention, good lacing.
Nose is heavily malted as expected, caramel, chocolate, raisins and berries, some spiciness as well.
Creamy mouthfeel, nice carbonation, it is quite well balanced, sweet indeed with caramel and chocolate, but fruity, peppery and even somewhat dry at times, which keeps drinkability high.
Not my favorite quadrupel but a very good one.

02-10-2008 04:03:29 | More by brdc
Photo of jenitivecase
jenitivecase

Kansas

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

33cl bottle from Brussels.

A: Dark amber brown, clear, with substantial carbonation rising up continuously. Pours with a smallish tan head that subsides rapidly into a sizable crown.

S: Malty, and very sweet. I'm picking up an aroma of port with some undertones of dark fruits and brown sugar.

T: Whoa, also very sweet. Mirrors the nose pretty closely; the fruitiness is still present, but with some added caramel tastes and a very sweet, almost syrupy sugar taste. It definitely conceals the presence of 11% alcohol, but I'm worried about the sweetness making this cloying after a while.

M: Good carbonation makes the mouthfeel quite enjoyable. The beer is smooth and creamy, and seems to just glide down the throat. Leaves behind a definite film, but it's coupled with a remaining tingle from the carbonation, so it's not unpleasant.

D: For a quadrupel, this is pretty drinkable. That said, I don't know if I could handle more than one in a go, but I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of this one.

07-16-2008 20:40:34 | More by jenitivecase
Photo of thecheapies
thecheapies

Pennsylvania

4.14/5  rDev +1%

750ml bottled in 08-2004, says the cork. Emptied into an Orval chalice.

No head. None. There was a small hiss when the cork eased out, but no evidence in the glass. The color is a murky reddish mahogany. Looks difficult. 1.75

Vinous dark fruits. Rum raisin, date, fig, dark bread, black cherry, fermented grape, candi sugar, dryness, some buttery maltiness. Effectively aromatic, especially without a head. 4.25

Sweet raisiny malt sugar, fig and date, grape, plum, spicy booze with mellowness, aged malts, candi sugar, and dark honey. Aged gracefully, I must say. 4.25

Feels flat and bruised. No carbonation, practically. Body is a little fuller than medium. Mellow booziness, which I like. 2.25

Held up great for flavor and aroma, but I miss the bubbles. 3.75

***

Bottled on 12-30-10. 11.2oz stubby poured into an elegant Kasteel stemmed goblet.

Dark and murky mahogany with red hues. A quaint ring of foam formed and stuck. Looks nice. 4

Fig and raisin esters with dark bread and candi sugar. Nice rich maltiness. Deep plum and grape notes. Somewhat sweet. 4

Rich, sweet, fruity, and boozy. Raisin, grape, fig, some date, and a nice heap of sweet quad breadiness. Optimally phenolic with some medicinal flavors that I like. Quite the tasty ale. 4.25

Feels royally big and boozy. Spicy and playful with a tempered carbonation level. Good mouthfeel. 3.75

I love this beer. Phenomenal for its own level of sweetness. Always a good choice. 4.25

12-09-2013 21:10:01 | More by thecheapies
Photo of avalon07
avalon07

South Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

01-07-2009 13:43:24 | More by avalon07
Photo of Cylinsier
Cylinsier

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

10-21-2008 23:01:45 | More by Cylinsier
Photo of bigdeuce
bigdeuce

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

I am no fan, generally speaking, of quads. This quad is a bit sweet, but somehow stays in balance and is not overwhelming. Nice looking beer. The belgian yeast comes through with a smooth, light tasting nuttiness, that moves toward the cherry/plum taste. Very drinkable, not much alcohol detected. Lightly delicate with nice lacing out of the tulip. Extremely nice beer, better than I remembered it when I had it around 6 years ago.

02-05-2012 03:01:41 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of ommegangpbr
ommegangpbr

New York

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

Quite a pleasant surprise and find. Paid $8 for a 750mL bottle in a store that's a bit on the pricey side. Hadn't heard of or tasted this one before so I thought it worth a go.
Poured a pretty mahagony color into my chalice with some head and good lacing on the glass. Smells slightly sharp and mildly fruity.
I don't think I can detect any hops in this one... or juuuust barely. This is quite sweet, almost to the point of cloying but seems to stop just short of that. Very, very smooth flavor and mouthfeel. The tastes I'm getting are mostly dark raisins and dried figs, perhaps a bit of dark sweet cherries. Reminds me a bit of other quadrupels but perhaps without some of the depth or maybe even without some of the smokyness. I find the taste to be quite delicious and juicy.
The sweetness is a little bit over the top and maybe a bit unbalanced which takes some drinkability out of this; however, with a bare whisper of detectability of the alcohol content (a head heavying 11%) you probably dont need to worry about drinking a lot of this.
Great stuff.

05-21-2005 00:48:50 | More by ommegangpbr
Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 631 ratings.