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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

372 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 372
Hads: 826
Avg: 4.06
pDev: 20.94%
Wants: 83
Gots: 139 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Belgium | website

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 (35) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kasteel Donker Alström Bros
Reviews: 372 | Hads: 826
Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of stonewall2
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of jim102864
4.97/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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 !

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

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Photo of phisig137
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of faernt
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of warmstorage
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Vancer
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Estarrio
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

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Photo of crazynipple
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: 750ml
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.

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Photo of kajerm
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of rallison
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served into a mini Chimay goblet at Lucky Baldwin's.

Nice dark brown color. Taste is exceptional. Rich, bready malts. Nice, smokey, roasted character that you especially notice toward the end. Some hops to balance out the sweetness. Balance is perfect. Mouthfeel is very rewarding - nice and full and not syrupy. Drinkability is extremely good for a beer of this abv.

Highly recommended. This is a wonderful quad, and great on tap (I haven't tried a bottle yet, but will look forward to). Go, and drink some of this nectar.

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Photo of dedrinker
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

4+ year old 750ml bottle. Poured dirty - looking like rust and stagnant creek water. Aroma of dusty attic and dry earth. Flavor was sweet stewed dark fruit, with port and sherry notes. I keep my cellar bottles well, and they do not get light, heat, or physical disturbance, but this one must have had all the yeast completely in solution, because it was so cloudy, but without any floaty chunks etc. I have had my fare share of five and six year old Belgian ales, but this one was weird. It just came out all weird looking, but still tasted fine.

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Photo of GbVDave
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured form a 11.2oz bottle into a St. Bernardus chalice.

A: Pours the color of Coke. Dark brown with purple and ruby tints. No head to speak of but the foam ring leaves some minor lacing. Very still.

S: Aromas of caramel, figs, plums, green apples, and brown sugar. Tiny hint of alcohol hiding amongst the other aromas.

T: Tons of sweet flavors in this one. Dark candi sugar, plums, figs, caramel, cola nut, did I mention it's sweet? I like my Quads with more balance than this. This beer is crying out for some roasted malt and hops to balance out the sweetness.

M: Big and thick if a tad too syrupy. Rich and creamy.

D: I rate this one just above average. The large (11% abv) alcohol content is very well hidden but the overly sweet flavors make a dent in the drinkability factor for me. With more balance this beer could be quite good.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is, without question, one of the greatest quads I have ever had. It poured darker than alot of other quads I have seen. Quite murky, as well, with lots of sediment. Smell was toasted cereals, dark fruits, malt, sugar, and perhaps some fresh cut red apples. Quite lovely. Taste was sweet malts and toasted cerals first, some dark fruits and caramelised sugar in the middle, and a brief "mention" of alcohol on the finish. Splendid job of concealing an 11%abv. Mouthfeel was smooth and easy drinking with light CO2.
Wonderful smell, delicious taste, and a solid, fantastic representation of the style. Smashing!!

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Photo of EPICAC
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a bottle at Delirium Café in Brussels.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a thick foamy head that fades into a sudsy film.

Smell: Caramel, dark fruit, and a hint of roastiness.

Taste: Malty and sweet throughout. There are strong flavors of raisins that dominate. The finish is spicy with noticable alcohol, residual sweetness and a light roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: A little sweet, but otherwise drinkable.

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Photo of jettjon
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 date on cork, 750 ml bottle. Pours chestnut brown, nearly opaque with hundreds of tiny bubbles. One-finger head that quickly fades to a solid cap and ring with moderate lacing. Pleasant nose, dark fruit like grapes out front, almost grape juice-like; alcohol on the nose, sweet malts. Tastes very sweet, again reminscent of grape juice; dark fruits: grape/cherry/plums on the mouth; yeast, malt, and mild alcohol burn toward the middle. Finishes dry and lightly bitter. Mouth is viscous and smooth, with low carbonation but not flat. Drinkability is very good, marred only by the slight over-sweetness of the beer.

Overall: This is a very good quad, but a bit overly sweet.

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Photo of russpowell
4.64/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aug 04 bottling, bought this because my mind is getting feeble, just reviewed this the other week. Oh well, different batch, so let's compare:

Pours mahogany & murky with a 1 finger off white colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Sweet malt & then chocolate & booze as it warms

T: Rich sweet malt & chocolate with a hint of booze up front. Bready notes & caramel & toffee surfaces as it warms, along oakyness & dryness. Finoshes dry with hints of pecans & brandy This actually works for me better than the more mature version.

mF: Syruppy with low carbonation, but enough to bring out some flavors

The 11% is a little more evident, but complexity makes it more drinkable. Talk about your winter warmers! looking back at my review, my instincts were right, this better than the stuff supposedly in its prime

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Photo of mmmbeer
2.78/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 oz. Belgian stubby, with a freshness date of July 2010, served a bit too cold at Michael's Bistro and Taphouse in a small snifter. It pours a clouded brownish/red that is ruby in the light and is topped with a small, light brown head that retains a thin collar. The aroma is quite vinous, sugary sweet, with a blackberry kick. Think Chambord. It is hugely sweet on the palate, very port-like, with pepper, berries, and maybe some hops near the end. The body is medium, yet syrupy thick, with light carbonation and a medium finish. On the plus side, the alcohol is undetectable, but on the negative side, it is way too sweet and a bit difficult to drink, making me wonder as to why it is rated so highly.

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Photo of Boto
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle: This one pours a slightly hazy caramel brown. There was a very small head on mine. The aroma is quite nice. Caramel malt comes through, with some breadiness. Some fruits in there also, possibly raisins and plums. Very full, rich taste. Some candi sugar, plums, breadiness, many others. An exceptional brew.

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Photo of Absumaster
2.63/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a dark brown, red colour with a small head and glass sticking foam.

Smell was roasted and malty, it reminded me of tobacco. What was striking, was the lack of smell, especially for a beer with 11% alcohol, I expect to have a little more smell.

Taste was SWEET!! My teeth almost fell out of my mouth! Unbelievable. The alcohol is also very apparent and off course the beer is sticky. I could barely get my lipps off each other. Every other taste that is possibly in there is masked by the sweetness of the beer. I would not advise this to anyone who is a serious beeradvocate.

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Photo of weeare138
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle corked/caged: 11/03 - cork, Best Before 11/08 on bottle...
Appears a dark, dense mahogany brown with a creamy 2 finger tan foam that settles into a foamy cap that doesn't want to leave. Fine amounts of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, raisins, molasses, nuts, earthy yeast notes, and mild clove and peppery spices. There is also a gentle port wine character to it, along with an aged, and slightly oxidized, cork laden aroma that doesn't detract too much from the overall complexity and beauty of this beer.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas in a mix that is comparible to the best that Belgium has to offer. Lots of caramel and candy flavors entice the palate with sweets, spices, and a gentle alcohol punch that lets you know this is a heavyweight.
Mouthfeel is smooth, medium bodied, warming, complex, mildly bitter towards the cocoa powdery, dry finish.
Opened this with a friend to celebrate the births of my new daughter, and his new son. He stays away from dark beer but this one certainly won him over.

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Photo of janubio
4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown head with few bubbles. It doesn't last much and leaves almost no lace. Brown reddish very nice colour. Nose of chocolate, cherries, apricots and plums. A hint of vanilla. Sugar cane, alcohol, sherry aged wine. Heavy sweet flavor, I think that I notice it more in the 75 cl. bottle than in the 33 cl one. Don't know why, lately I find the sweetness a bit artificial. Mouth of chocolate, brandy, cherries, plums, apricots, sherry aged wine again, sugar cane, aniseed. A beer of the gods. One of them. Too complex to find all the characters in one taste.

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Photo of haz77
3.42/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a deep burgundy with a small fizzy head that disappears immediately, leaving a thin ring. Small bubbles of low carbonation.

S - Alcohol, cherry, wet dog, metallic edge, dark sugar, phenols, light solvent.

T - Alcohol warmth comes through almost immediately and keeps building. Sweet cherries at first with caramel appearing in the middle. At this point an overpowering syrupy sweetness quickly builds before the alcohol becomes predominant. Phenolic and warming aftertaste.

M - Smooth medium body and low carbonation.

D - Wasn't particularly easy to drink. If you like sweet beer then give it a go, but it's not something I'll be trying again soon as I found the sweetness overpowering.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 372 ratings.