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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

364 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 364
Hads: 787
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 13.61%
Wants: 79
Gots: 111 | 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 (33) | 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: 364 | Hads: 787
Photo of Steamer
4.96/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thick, almost dirty appearance; like freshly stomped grapes with all the residue that goes with it. Strong smell of fig, reminds me of the fig newtons I loved as a kid; you can also catch a hint of alcohol in the nose - not surprising considering the high ABV (11%). Nothing tame about the aroma. Wow! Tastes of grapes, fig, sweet caramel, and a little alcohol bite; sweet and fruity after taste. Mouthfeel - Like a high gravity, squeezed fruit drink, very full bodied. Overall - This is about as good as it gets for a quad. I didn't think I would find one better than Trappistes Rochefort 10 but this one is tops it in my book - a little pricey at about $19 for a four pack but well worth it. (693 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up last week at Top Hops, having never tried this before. This looked it packed quite a punch and in actuality, it did. Thankfully, there was so much to like about this and for being a strong beer, I actually had to pace myself when it came time to review it. It's exceptionally tasty and smooth, since all of the flavors and the mouthfeel blended seamlessly together.

The pour to this was quite dark, with a cola-like appearance with garnet edges. The head was pretty full and topped by the lacing, which left a spider-web of remnants down the sides of my point glass as I worked my way through this. Lots of candied sugar, brown sugar, and cherry in the nose, reinforced by plum, currant, and fig in the taste. Ya like dark fruit? Look no further. This beer had it all and boy,, did they come into harmony in this bottle. Toss in some dark chocolate, booze, and mead-like sweetness and the result was this doozy of a brew that subtly hit me over the head before I could even finish it. The worst part about it? I ignored the warning signs and kept right on going, because this was so damn good.

Who cares if this wasn't a session beer? You'll want more than one in a sitting anyways. I had the 11.2 oz. bottle that didn't even expire until January but that was more than enough to get a feel for this. Not all quads are created equal and the spice and heavy mouthfeel weren't present here. What resulted was a beer that would be a dessert until itself, unassumingly shoving dinner aside in the process. A must-have for anyone who love Belgian Beers without the seriousness underneath the surface. Really fabulous take on the style! (1,648 characters)

Photo of Ryanm1
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 ounce cage and cork into a glass. Poured really brown dark in color. Moderate amount of white lacing.

Sweet smell, typical of Belgian quads, tastes of dried dark fruit such as plums, raisins and dates. Thick and syrupy that is a beer that takes a lot of time to finish. The 11 percent abv is noticeable with the smell of alcohol. Also the taste of alcohol is present at the finish similar to a glass of wine. Otherwise the finish was excellent. You can also notice the legs on the glass when finished. (520 characters)

Photo of Lungman
4.87/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is in a class of its own. I dont know what class, but never had anything like it. Super nice quad that pours a thick ruby black. Taste like a pissed off chocolate cake. Smells like honey and brown sugar. How the 11% is hidden so well I will never know. Mouthfeel is creamy but a bit awkward like a junior prom tongue kiss behind the first base dugout, but unforgettable just the same. This damn beer is so sweet and strong. I don't know what to do with this...? (471 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.66/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/25/12.

Pours an almost opaque crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, spice, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with super sweet dark fruit and alcohol flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it's very sweet and sugary, even for the style. (586 characters)

Photo of IchLiebeBier
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark chestnut; small, cream-colored head, dissipates quickly

Aroma: Peppery; spicy; cloves

Taste: Very sweet, warming start; honey-meade like body; well balanced with bitterness; very good flavor

Remarks: Very, very enjoyable beer

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores (312 characters)

Photo of TheRougeBastard
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.5 oz bottle, that was bottle on Jan 25, 2012! The color was a cocoa black with minimal head as poured into my liberated pub glass. The aroma was pleasant with only a slight knod to the 11% abv. First taste revealed hints of dark chocolate, caramel and figs, but surprisingly little alcoholic bite! This is a very smooth beverage! It is a tad heavy so like another poster suggested, this would not be a good choice for a summer BBQ, however a perfect choice for later on! World class all the way! (512 characters)

Photo of Blindpigbiz
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Style/abv: quadruple/11%

Smell: milk chocolate, figs, tinges of apricot, and caramel sauce

Taste: subtle caramel notes with intense dark fruits, figs, and cherries, with coca-cola (minus the effervescence) and a warm-scotch bite at the finish

Pairs very well with barbecue chicken pizza and hot wings: enough said (316 characters)

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle into a snifter, bottled 1/25/12. Just over a year old.

A: Pours a very dark amber/brown, almost black. Two fingers of dense off white foam forms with great retention.

S: Strong dark fruits dominate - mainly prunes and raisins - a touch of plums as well, but in the background. Nutmeg and orange peel help balance the intense dark fruits. Very sweet, but complex with nice yeast esters.

T: Again very sweet, now prunes mix with caramel to produce a very nice malt character. Again, nutmeg comes through quite nicely. A bit of citrus comes through as well, but not as much as I'd like.

M: Quite thick for the style with rather low, creamy carbonation.

O: quite sweet for the style, but very good. I'd enjoy a bit more yeast character as well. Either way, a nice Quad. (782 characters)

Photo of Brew_More
4.76/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is a dark, sweet beer. Not something I might drink on a hot afternoon. However in the evening, this is my favorite beer. Heavy, filling, unique. I have never had a beer quite like this one. This beer is like "Port" is to Wine. It is a beer with a different, unique flavor, that is great to finish off an evening with. Belgium classic. (337 characters)

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 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 tbeckett
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle at Poo Restaurant in Sukhothai. Bartender poured the entire contents of the bottle into a Kasteel glass, which is an unorthodox practice with Belgian beers. This is the first 'craft beer' I've had in about 3 months.

A - Poured murky brown with a half finger white head that faded fast. Good carbonation. Decent lace down the glass and head that maintains as film.

S - Vinous, rich dark fruit, lot's of sugar and brown sugar, vanilla, really smooth aroma.

T - Lot's of sugar, grapes, shark dark fruit, vinous, brown sugary fruits, a touch of alchohol that works well.

M - Nice full body, sweet finish, not cloying, nice carbonation.

O/D - Very little alcohol which is surprising for the ABV. A tad sweet, otherwise quite nice. Warms up to become nice and smooth. Doesn't break the mold but definitely does the trick. (827 characters)

Photo of Offa
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a wonderful, rich but very drinkable quadrupel that belies its strength and is a great after-dinner/dessert ale in particular. but also great with cheeses, etc.

Extremely dark red-brown, almost black, it has a small tan head steadily shrinking to foamy ring and wisps.

Aroma is wonderful zesty fruit and spice, gingerbread, dried figs and cherries, dark toasted bread crust.

Taste is not quite as complex as the aroma but is wonderful, full, well-rounded and approachable despite the richness and strength. It has sweet-spicy dried fruits, ginger cake, port, sweeter up front but a slightly direr finish of dark toast and dried fig. It is not extremely complex, but has some complexity and a nicely well-rounded character. Feel is firm with a hint of oiliness but also a bit lively, and it is not heavy or truly oily, much less viscous. The high abv is hinted at in the port-like element, but otherwise the boozy alcoholic quality is nicely restrained, adding an enriching warmth without making the booziness overtly noticeable, much less harsh in any way. (1,067 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 jonb5
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into Leffe Chalice. Dark with auburn edges, almost opaque. A small tanned head bursted out towards the end of the pour but it faded straight away. Initially the yeasty, cranberry aroma was weak but it got stronger as the beer warmed. Tasted brown sugar, cranberry, cherry, yeast and molasses. Finish was delayed and had a biscuity edge to it, there was also a slight burn from the booze. Had an initial prickly edge from the carbonation, smooth texture, light bodied for the strength. I liked how it hid the booze, need to explore a few more strong dark Belgian ales before I can really give a good judgement on this. (638 characters)

Photo of Marc_V
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Belgian Beer Shop. Very beautiful dark red brown colour. Thick, creamy beige head that lasts very well. The aroma is malty, dark fruits, sweet, clear alcohol presence. Candy sugar, sweet, vinous, creamy, malty, heart warming. Very complex. Super beer. (263 characters)

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 33cl into Westvleteren chalice.

A. 1 finger head. Good retention. Not much lacing. Color is dark amber brown.

S. Dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel, rasisins, figs. Good amount of Belgian yeast. Slightly on the sweeter side.

T. Nice raisiny dark fruit mixed with quite a bit of caramel. Has a little spice on the finish. Taste is delicous. Also get some bready malt as it warms. Really dig the caramel spiciness, which is different then the full on dark fruit onslaught of some other quads. Almost has a cookie quality to it.

M. Full bodied. Low carbonation. Finishes with touch of sugary spice. Really nice mouthfeel on this one. Coats the mouth in creamy caramel dark fruit delicousness.

O. Damn good Quad. Up there with the best. Nice balance. Hides the ABV away without a trace. (799 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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. (512 characters)

Photo of xmorgan
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had 33CL bottle in Hua Hin Thailand and Mondo Vino. Of all the beer places I have scoured in Hua Hin, This one understands how to serve, pour, store beers.

Appearance:
Dark Brown with a dirty white head

Smell: Raisin sweetness with a slight bread like comes out, You know this 11% is going to be sweet from it's smell

Taste: Raisin, mollases fruity, the sweetness is pleasent and does not hit or offend like many beers with high alcohol percentages have. It is well balanced.

Mouthfeel: It sticks to your pallate and leaves a pleasent fruitcake like aftertaste.

Overall: Greatbigbeer! Strong and sweet, I would drink a few of the these over the colder months. As it sits it is quite pleasent in warm weather only as long as you dont excert yourself. (754 characters)

Photo of psuKinger
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

25.4 ounce bomber, corked and caged, poured into one of my Kasteel chalices.

Bottle *pops* with a lot of force. Good carbonation here.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a thin white head on top, and carbonation readily visible, enveloping all edges of the chalice.

S: Molasses, with a hint of figs and prunes, all at a moderate volume.

T: Rich and sweet, this beer tastes like "beer brownies" to me. The molasses is prominant. Figs, prunes, and other dark fruits are present. A healthy dose of candied sugars just heap on the sweetness.

A good dry finish, with some slightly sour acidic notes on the back end that give this beer some depth.

M: A surprising amount of *heft* to this beer for such a large amount of carbonation serves as a good reminder that this beer is indeed 11% ABV. It finishes moderately dry, and sticky-sweet.

D/O: Enjoyable as "dessert beer", but it's just a shade too sweet for me to enjoy multiple pints of in one sitting.

The 11% ABV also puts an upper boundary on this beer's drinkability for me. (1,031 characters)

Photo of The_1084
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice brown color with some amber undertones.

S - Unlike any other beer I have smelled. Presents a mixed fruit aroma with the presence of cherry and raisin being easily recognized. Also, gives off the hint of a sweet wine.

T - Very sweet with a strong taste of wine that is mixed with a variety of fruits.

M - Thick and creamy with light-medium carbonation.

O - This is the first beer I have drank of this style, but overall I am impressed. For a beer with 11% ABV, aside from its high level of sweetness (almost too sweet for my personal taste), it is very easy to drink. A little added carbonation may help balance out the sweetness, but that is just a small note to make in comparison to the many qualities this beer contains. (744 characters)

Photo of laurastradford
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on my Belgian beer tour at a little bar in Bruge,recommended by a local. It poured a dark rich color with a minimal head and very little lace. I tend to prefer golden beers but this was a delicious dark beer. It had a lightness and sweetness to it that I was not expecting. (282 characters)

Photo of BostonHops
3.69/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged bottle served in an oversized wineglass.

pours an opaque, slightly ruddy, deep mahogany tone with a finger of beige/off-white head that quickly lapses into a thin collar; middling, spotty lacing.

aroma is right there with what i look for in a BSDA: nice bouquet of caramel malts, dark fruits, brown sugar, belgian yeast, and maybe some candied sugar. i'm suddenly pretty jazzed about this beer. flavor, unfortunately, doesn't build off that momentum. it largely follows the nose but with a much greater, almost cloying degree of sweetness... dark fruits up front with a big caramal malt wallop emerging in full mid-palate(ish); packs a boozy punch in the finish.

medium-plus/borderline full bodied mouthfeel with adequate carbonation. if the sweetness was dialed back a bit this could be a great beer... still very good, but IMO just a bit too sweet. would absolutely be game for another glass in the future, but i won't be gunning for it either.

originally reviewed: 11-01-2010 (1,005 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)

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 364 ratings.