Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

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Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

363 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 363
Hads: 785
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 13.61%
Wants: 79
Gots: 110 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 363 | Hads: 785
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Beige head on a hazy deep tudor brown body. Soapy lacing sticks to the glass. Aroma includes candi sugar, brown sugar, dates, overripe banana, some alcohol and raisins. Mouthfeel is thick, tongue coating. Tasting notes are similar to the aroma although the alcohol is not noted on tasting. Very nice quad, as expected from Kasteel. (382 characters)

Photo of Sigmund
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle, at Les Moules Belgian restaurant in Prague. Served too cold. Beautiful deep brown to ruby colour. Large head which disappears rapidly. Aroma of dark malts, oak, old sherry, spices and leather. Flavour is very malty and sweet with a warming mouthfeel, elements of Christmas spices and old sherry. Very good. Yummy! (327 characters)

Photo of whynot44
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful deep mahogany color with a rather thin tan head that subsides quickly to just a collar but still manages to leave a bit of lace.

The aroma is fruity, sweet, brown sugar, caramel, alcohol. Full bodied, sweet malt, fruit - plums, grapes, more plums, maybe some apples - caramel, vanilla, cognac.

Amazing flavors, sweeter than I normally like but somehow pulls it off without being offensive. Only the barest trace of hops to offset all that sweet fruit and caramel.

Smooth, very nice feel in the mouth, definite warmth in the finish but drinkable. This would be a good desert beer either by itself or accompanying a dark, fruity torte. Great beer. (667 characters)

Photo of don1481
4.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into fancy glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown with a hint of red. Head dies down quickly with no lacing.

Smell: plums, candy sugar, brown sugar, molasses. Yummy.

Taste: very bright plums, raisins, brown sugar. Basically the nose, but with more of a bright bold hit. Catches you off guard. For 11 percent ABV, this is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: chewy and a bit sticky. Definitely leaves a residual stickiness to it. Sweet aftertaste.

Overall: VERY impressed. I love a good quad and this is up there with the top tier. (544 characters)

Photo of GIVEMEBACKMYSON
4.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Root beer brown, head is minimal, moderate clarity for the color, thought there would be more of a pillowy head for being a Belgian quad, but ok...

Smell is all sugarplums, dates, prunes, and mildly composted apple peels.

Flavor is really quite spellbinding. I'll do my best here... Up front we have sweeet raisin bread, and that is a sort of a leading notion, and the rest comes secondary, different characters stepping forth and bowing back into obscurity, anonymity....moldy wood, green apples that don't ever go tart, nor sweet...unsmoked cigars, maple wood, pecans, sweet and low, juicy fruit gum. It's all in there, you just have to stop drinking and sit for a while between sips. All the while there hangs a notion, almost a threat, that this will be a sour, but it never is.

The noted lack of head comes through in the mouthfeel. It's not bad, but, lacks some of the pillowiness I'd have hoped for. Really, a touch of CO2 is all that is missing from making this a world beater. Of course, it did travel some route to get from Belgium to Anchorage, and who knows how that went for it. There is alot of good here no matter how you slice it. The flavor, in this "sweet quad" is superb. (1,195 characters)

Photo of Danny1217
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle, poured into a St. Bernardus goblet.
Pours a very dark brown color - darker than most quads I have tried. The head dissipates rather quickly, but leaves a bit of lacing behind. Kind of disappointing head retention for a Belgian ale.
Smells of molasses, caramel, and some dark fruits. Raisins, cherries, cranberries, and figs. A nice and complex aroma.
First thing I notice when it hits my mouth is the extreme smoothness. The body is a tad light in comparison to some other quads and dark Belgian ales, but not to a point where it hurts the beer. The body is still quite full, actually. The carbonation is fairly light. The taste is somewhat similar to the aroma. Lots of caramel, molasses, and candy sugar sweetness. Lots of dark fruits flavors.

A quad that can stand among the elite abbey and trappist quads of the world. (838 characters)

Photo of Kuaff
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%

Bottled February 19th, 2013. Love the styling on the bottle, cage, and cork! Cellar temperature in my cute little tulip glass.

A respectable two to three-finger tan head diminishes to a stable, soft sheet of froth fed by carbonation bubbles, which are visibly numerous. The color is stunning. A deep, dark crimson or garnet that looks almost purple to me (and I'm fond of purple).

The aroma is a classic Belgian bouquet of dark fruit, caramel, fruitcake, a bit of sherry, and vinous grape-like notes. A little earthy and musty (in a good way). Magnificent.

Flavors follow the aroma's set-up perfectly. Terrifically fruity (think raisins, plums, apples, and grapes), a little spicy (cloves, cinnamon, and ginger, among others maybe), and a little bit of pleasant port-like booziness. And it has that unmistakable sweet Belgian yeastiness I love. Some caramel, nuttiness and bread hang out in the finish. Overall, quite sweet!

Its body is effervescent and substantial, as befits a quad.

An outstanding specimen of a Belgian ale. (1,031 characters)

Photo of monketeeth
4.51/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Drinking this one out of a Chimay chalice. Hazy dark brown with a 1 finger head that quickly dissipates. Light lacing holds the side nicely when you swirl the glass. Medium thickness, I would not say syrupy but in the ballpark. Very inviting when held up to the light.

S- Maple syrup, assorted dried fruits (figs, dates and prunes in a good way), brown sugar and a very light touch of cinnamon.

T- Taste follows the nose. Pleasantly sweet ,but not cloyingly so, with lots of those dried fruits and a bit of brown sugar and maple syrup. Really reminds me of the fall going into winter with the dried fruit preserves or even a bit like apple butter. Wow!!! I really love this stuff! As it warms the flavors become more pronounced. Light but very pleasant burn on the back end.

M- Smooth and a bit syrupy with that hint of burn on the way down. The alcohol is nicely hidden with just enough to let you know that it is there. Light to medium carbonation. Overall very pleasant.

O- This bottle was aged for 3 yrs. and I must say, I reeeally love this stuff. I've had other bottles of varying years/age and this one was the best. Simply outstanding as a stand alone or a dessert beer. I would not say that this is a "whole bottle in one sitting" beer. Best shared with a friend. (1,279 characters)

Photo of number1bum
4.51/5  rDev +11.6%
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. (1,267 characters)

Photo of dac
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beeachwood BBQ, Seal Beach, CA. I have also had the bottled version.

Brown in color with a thick tan head which falls into a lace which clings to the sides of the glass.

While waiting for the too cold draught pour to warm up to room temperature cup the belgian
style glass between the hands to warm and enhale the delightful aromas of caramel, brown
sugar, cotton candy, prunes, banana and plethora of other unidentified esters.

Very malty and sweet, but with many complex flavors that are difficult to describe - prune,
raisen, brown sugar, bubblegum. Alcohol of 11%ABV with notable fusel content is impossible
to miss but enhances the experience.

Very drinkable, delicious, addicting. This is a substaintial beer that is excellent by
itself or with a hearty meal. Suitable for sipping after dinner or for breakfast. (836 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thin whitish head, deep ruby body. Laces decently.

Red wine on the nose, primarily.

Taste contains red wine, brown sugar, caramel, and spice.

Mouthfeel is spicy, perhaps tingly, and not apparently 'fizzy'.

Fantastic for a sweet Belgian bruin - like a Gouden Carolus. Sweet food pairing brings out apple, perhaps prunish tartness. (333 characters)

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Poured into an Ikea snifter. The liquid is dark mahogany - very nearly pitch black, and the pour produces a thick, creamy khaki head that eventually settles down to a film that leaves a good amount of lace.

Aroma is quintessential quad - plums, molasses, bread, little bit of milk chocolate, little bit of booze, and a slight warming character.

Holy crap this tastes incredible, and has a lot more nuance than the nose! Starts out with intense, juicy dark fruit, like there's actual plum juice in there. Then comes in a wonderful cocktail of spices and yeasty flavors that I can't even begin to try to describe precisely. The milk chocolate is more pronounced on the palate, and is a great complement to the other flavors. The booze flavor brings in a weird kind of mintiness that is also wonderful. Finish is ever-so-slightly bitter, quickly followed by an aftertaste of rich, sweet, malty molasses. Really, really, great flavors and balance.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer has a really incredible silkiness and is wonderfully viscous with just enough carbonation to break it up.

Overall, super great - I couldn't imagine something better to drink during a long Northern European winter. (1,230 characters)

Photo of BelgiumBill
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served up in a tulip glass. Dark brown nearly black with some garnet highlights when held to the light. A quick beige head that was a bit sticky throughout.

The nose was a sweet malty bready with some dark fruit.

The flavors were dominated by sweet ripened dark fruits such as fig and raisin and banana nut bread. really good! Sometimes I don't care for these overly sweet dark fruit flavor profiles but this one was spot on perfect.

It was smooth and slick in the mouth with well balanced carbonation and only a slight presence of alcohol .

Overall, best quad I've tried yet. Complete package. (599 characters)

Photo of jhtipton
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up in southern Spain. 750 ml bottle with a best by date of July 2016. Poured into my wine glass and it had a minimal head. Very much a dark fruity small and taste. Not much head but it was light brown head and did lace slightly. Deep brown almost ruby color. Lots of fig cherry sweet dark fruit taste. Definitely a sipper and some warming from the alcohol. Very heavy beer and coats the mouth and throat. Overall a splendid quadruple dark Belgian and will consider packing a few when I leave Spain and will continue to stock this. (537 characters)

Photo of ncbeermonger
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
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! (355 characters)

Photo of rye726
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherry wood color with a creamy tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Nose is very fruity with lots of plums and sweet cherries. Sweet malts, caramel and earthy Belgian yeast.

Again a big fruity complex malt profile. Starts rich and finishes with strong flavors of sweet pitted fruit. Dark candy, raisins, plums, toffee, caramel and musky yeast. A port like alcohol flavor in the finish.

Thick and silky with ample carbonation. A very complex dark Belgian brew. Has a long shelf life, but I think it is best a around 1 year. I have aged a few for longer, but the sweetness gets out of balance. (601 characters)

Photo of mickeymac
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It comes in a 750 ml green bottle with a nice looking label. It's caged and corked. The cork says 10-2002, and the back of the bottle says 09-07, apparently the "serve by" date. It pours a beautiful dark brownish-red, sort of a deep cherry. The head comes out strong and fades a bit but leaves a decent trace of lace on the glass. The smell is a very complex combination of ripe fruit and that musty Belgian smell that's so welcoming. The taste is plum and raisin and most certainly on the sweet side, yet without being cloying. The mouthfeel is on the creamy side and makes the experience even more enjoyable. The beer is certainly strong, but the 11% abv does not overwhelm the beer and it's quite drinkable. This is a very nice beer. (736 characters)

Photo of pkalix
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark, thick, not clear through. half-finger head, dissipating to nothing within a minute.
aroma of dark fruit.
taste is dark fruit, sweet malt. too sweet. what the heck did they do to this to make it so sickeningly sweet and yet retain the alcohol? is it a brewed down liqueur?
actually, it's not a bad sipper. maybe that's how i should be approaching this, eh? 11% abv?
i had to give it 4.5's across the board. it's got its ups and downs but this is an enigma. this is special. this a quad and quads are complex. i dont have the patience to evaluate most quads, i just appreciate the ability to drink it and the high abv. i'm a lush, eh? what more can you expect from me? it all comes out here and now. i think i need a good stout after this.... (746 characters)

Photo of magine
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet.

Pours a lively, bubbly dark brown near black with some ruby edging. Lots of bubbles cascading to the top of the glass. Wispy constant carbonated and moving thin island sits atop the brew. Crazy, the ever moving island of bubbles is constantly moving - looks insane. After emptying the full bottle the head now is more present and is nice and creamy and thicker atop the brew. Nice patchy lacing left behind. Good looking brew.

Brew smells of dark fruits, estery Belgian yeasts and sugars, figs, cherries, plums and booze all represented. Good nose.

Brew is very balanced; great carbonation and spice up front, then a smooth creamy middle and drying end. With each sip you crave the next. Sweet flavors; dark fruits, yeasts and mellow maltiness. Barely there booze. Wow this is a tremendous quad.

Wow - tremendous treat here. If you are even remotely interested in Belgian ales you must pick this up if you see it. (940 characters)

Photo of FreshHawk
4.48/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep mahogany brown. Decent sized white head (less than I was expecting though). A little lace is left but not a whole lot.

S - A bit of sweet spice (cinnamon and nutmeg mostly). Good amount of sweet dark sugar and molasses along with sweet dark fruit. Good amount of malt.

T - Lots of caramel malts with dark candi sugar and molasses. Mixed with that are the dark sweet fruit flavors (raisin, plum, date, fig). Also a good amount of cinnamon and nutmeg. Somewhat like a port, there is also a hint of vanilla. The sweet and fruity flavors were quite prevalent, and it reminded me a lot of a Christmas stollen (raisin/currant sweet bread/cake).

M - Medium body with normal carbonation. Fairly creamy and pretty smooth.

D - Good for the style. Obviously it is a sipper, and the ABV and sweetness will hold this back. However, this would be a great way to cap off a meal or and sip on during a night. Not one that I would have multiple per night, and would probably take a couple days break between them. It is one I will come back to though.

Notes: Really is like a liquid dessert. Lots of dark sweet fruit and sugar. Some may think too much (and at times/moods I would probably agree), but I think overall this is a great beer with lots of good flavors. Memorable one also, definitely worth a try. (1,305 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an long stemmed chalice)

A- This beer has a smooth creamy head on a dark dense brown thick body. I couldn't tell if there was any visible carbonation but it was low light in the bar.

S- Nice smell of dark sweet malts with notes of prunes and other dried fruit. A hint of molasses in the finish also.

T- This is deep complex flavors but hints of apples and prunes stuck out the most. As it warmed it became more of an apple juice flavor. However there were lots of other flavors like port and brown sugar with some prunes and red wine hints also.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel with a hint of alcohol but it doesn't feel like 11 %

D- This is a good complex malty beer that has great complexity. I happen to meet the brewer after I wrote my review and he said the kegs are all pasteurized but the bottles are still alive and kicking so I will have to try those next. (887 characters)

Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
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. (1,784 characters)

Photo of dstc
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep murky brown with a fizzy tan head that falls relatively quick to a thin ring. Very thin lace.

Big sweet, candied malt aroma. Alcohol is noticeable as well.

Big malt brew here. Very sweet and a bit boozy. Wonderful, just my style.

Big, full mouthfeel and very smooth. Nice alcohol feel in the mouth.

Great beer. One of my favorites when in want something real sweet. (383 characters)

Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (949 characters)

Photo of ujsplace
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice.

Pours a deep, dark near-black colored brew that has a once finger thick off white, almost tan colored head that quickly fades. Has some nice lacing.

Smells of candied malts, yeasts, dark fruits - raisins, figs, over-ripened cherries and plums; a faint spiciness and a hint of dark chocolate.

Tastes of big, sweet candied malts up front, dark fruits and spicey yeast - leaves a nice cherry aftertaste with generous alcohol warmth that makes it's presence known, but is done deftly. This brew almost has a burgundy-like quality.

Thick and creamy.

This is my kind of brew - especially for this time of year where it is currently 32 degrees outside. This definitely will warm you up a bit. A nice steady drinking brew - not one to be sessioned, but rather enjoyed with a chill in the air. (812 characters)

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.