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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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

645 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 645
Reviews: 345
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 14.39%
Wants: 60
Gots: 62 | 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: 645 | Reviews: 345 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cyberkedi
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is malty with caramel and bread hints and a noticeable alcohol nip. It pours a dark, slightly hazy mahogany with a thick, fairly persistent pale tan head. Flavor is malty and surprisingly sweet, having tones of honey, caramel and toffee in addition to the malt. Alcohol bite is more subtle than in the aroma. Texture is fairly smooth and fizzy, leaving behind a soft but persistent tingle. Finish is sweet but not cloying, and has a nice alcohol nip to it.

Cyberkedi, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of Metalmonk
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love the stubby bottle, it's like I'm drinking a Canadian lager or something...only the pour clearly shows I'm not. This is an ultra-dark brown color, fudge-like and opaque, and the head is a dirty white thing, creamy and long-lasting.

Aroma is dessert-like, also earthy/yeasty, but mostly I'm reminded of chocolate cake, port, fig, chocolate-covered cherries, strong herbal tea, mint leaves, toffee. Alcohol is a faint background trace, which is impressive for any 11% beer.

Taste is rather rich, with plenty of complexity and depth. Not rich or sweet in any detrimental way, it remains even-keeled all the way. Characteristics of brown sugar, caramel, graham cracker, sweet spices / mint / strong herbs, cola, root beer, grape, raisin. Extremely well-controlled alcohol, which acts as a supportive layer, raising all the aforementioned taste impressions up to a lofty height. A mild candy-like finish, although it's a pretty faint finish all around.

Super velvety smooth feel, with an airy yet not limp body. Silky smooth, silky smooth, and silky smooth. There's just no need to describe it otherwise.

As drinkable as any 11% quad is ever going to be. This beer exhibits absolutely amazing balance and does everything right. It also reminds me exactly which country first awakened me to the vast possibilities of beer. Time to refocus my buying habits toward Belgium again. This is superb.

Metalmonk, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of KajII
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

Poured a clear dark brown with a small light brown creamy head that disappeared very quickly and had fair lacing. The aroma was of nutty dark malts and a horse blanket scented yeast with notes of brown sugar, raisons and dried fruit. It tasted sweet, rich and malty with hints of brown sugar at the start but matured into a nice sweet-sour yeasty flavor with notes of dried fruit at the end that left the flavor lasting an average duration on the taste buds. Mouthfeel was medium in body and nice and creamy in texture. Overall a very interesting brew. Sweet yet bold in flavor, which did a great job of concealing the high alcohol content. One definitely worth trying again.

KajII, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of AEK
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml brown bottle poured into a Kasteel chalice.

A. A deep, clear brown beer with a white head that disappeared rapidly.

S. Vine fruit, port like, sherry.

T. Plenty of port, hessian and liquid malt bread, burnt sugar, overly sweet.

M. Full bodied.

D. This was my ultimate beer then somehow its qualities were not as good as they once were. I noticed on the label that it no longer seems to be re fermented in the bottle and it is noticeable, which is why I have given it lower marks than I would have liked. Still, a mighty barleywine that will keep you good company whilst reading a bed time book.

AEK, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of keepersj12
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Absolutely a beautiful beer. Pours a ruby red with a small head that lays on top throughout. The aroma is fruity with raisins and grapes, maybe some plums. The taste is sweet with the fruits coming through. A very nice burn develops as it warms. The finish is quite lingering and very nice, warming all the way. This is a sipping on a cold night type of beer, not designed for tailgating.

keepersj12, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of Squelch
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Ruby red. Slight off white head. No lacing

Smell: Sweet and sugary.

Taste: overly sweet. Boiled too much to get the ABV. Way too much candi sugar. No blance to this beer

Mouthfeel. Cant tell due to the sweetness

Drinkability: I will not have this one again.

Squelch, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of rvdoorn
4.95/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

1998 vintage. Knowing i really don't like this beer fresh (waaay too sweet with sharp alcohol) i was very curious popping this bottle. Poured into a kasteel beer glass. The beer pours a dark brown colour with no head. Smell is very sweet: dark fruits, figs plums and the typical vintage smell. Taste is still sweet,but much less strong than the fresh one.plums, figs,candy sugar. This beer is so balanced,it is incredible. Very soft mouthfeel,no sharpness at all, liquid silk. Reminds me of a good porto. One of the best vintage beers i ever had!

rvdoorn, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of Msclamogna
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first foray into the world of Belgian ales, and I couldn't be happier with my selection. The two reviewers before me were right; it is on the sweet side, but I disagree about it being overly sweet (when I think of overly sweet I think of Dogfish Head's barley wine). This beer would be excellent with a sharp cheddar or a blu cheese.

A full body, with high malt intensity and mild hoppiness.

Once again, this is my first foray into Belgian ales. Two friends had different bottles of Delirium at the same time, and after tasting the other two, I will say that I liked this one the most.

Msclamogna, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of ronniebruner
1.93/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

I have to agree with LordAdmNelson. I dont know if I must have got a bad bottle myself... but this did not taste like beer. This tasted like a cheaper bottle of champagne, smells like over sweetened champagne and the abundance of carbonation would lead me to believe this was just a bottle of extra sweet champagne. The aroma is of grapes, definitely no scent of hops, malt or barley. When poured, the color was a golden yellow and did not look too bad, but mixed with the overly strong taste of stale grapes, that severely impacted my score, which is a total shame since I paid $9.99 for a big bottle. Very very disappointing.

ronniebruner, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of LordAdmNelson
1.85/5  rDev -54.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Reading the reviews here makes me think that I got a bad bottle. Until I have another (which I probably won't for a while), I think this post should stand. I am of the opinion that bad bottles reflects the overall quality of the beer's production and thus should be factored into the beer's rating.

Poured a murky brown with minimal head. Nose is all phenols and a fake grape-y-ness. Gross. Taste is the same, this over-sweet, fake awful grape note. Feel is fine, drinkability is zero. Awful, awful, awful. Drainpour.

LordAdmNelson, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of beerpirates
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

75 cl bottel @ kulminator Antwerp

Vintage 1989 !!!

A: Pours a reddish brown, with no head and no carbonation

S: Smells heavily of raw brown sugar and prunes, raisins and figs.

T: This is à very sweet beer ! Full of residual sugar, the heavy sweetness shocked me a little at first, but I soon got into it. This malt barrage is backed by a large amount of dark fruit, specifically raisin and prune, and also chocolate

M: Thick and rich, almost syrupy, warming as well, there is a definite alcohol burn on the first sip.

D: this vintage has had his best years , its not really beer anymore, more like à very sweet port ,
overall, an enjoyable warming beer, or nightcap.

beerpirates, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured this beer into my crystal beer mug , the color being dark brown, but held into the light, being very red, almost like a red wine. Little head building , dissipating fast ,but leaving some lacing on the glass.
Smell is dominated by sweet notes like caramel honey and fruits like fig, plum, cherry.
Tasting the beer, the alcohol presence is immediately felt. Sweet caramel and honey up front, followed by by roasted malt flavor in the middle and a nice fruity lingering of plum, fig and dark cherry.
Very smooth sweet beer, with a creamy after feel. Very pleasant!
It is a great beer, which reminds me of doppelbock.
I am glad, I tried this beer!

Hopfenpeter, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of boudreaux
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on date: 09/09/01. I love a beer that doesn't even bother with letting you know when it should be consumed by.

A: pours dark brown, with barely a touch of amber when held to the light; minimal fizz or head (no doubt due to the high alcohol content), light tan in color; almost looks like a dark red wine

S: definite alcohol notes; also, some Beglian spice notes, almost peppery; complex, rich malty sweetness, with a touch of caramel; dark fruits (raisin, plum, dark cherry) are here; a touch of roasted flavors also show up

T: Reflects the aroma (a great thing!); very sweet and alcoholic, like an overly-sweet wine; a hint of bitterness from the toasted malt; the dark fruits and roasted elements are definitely here; also, a touch of the dark candied flavors; strong, Belgian spices are definitely here as the beer warms

M: surprisingly high carbonation, but still a medium-heavy body; smooth and warming, due to the alcohol

D: A little heavy and spicy for my liking; overall, pretty good drinkability considering the high alcohol content; I don't like wines, so this one's somewhat less drinkable for me

Give me this one on a cold night, sitting in front of a fire. It's definitely a great brew.

boudreaux, Jan 30, 2011
Photo of Robertgc
4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of my top three beers. Slight oaky smell. Sweetness is there at first, and all the way through. No bitterness at all. At the right temperature, sort of reminds me of a "flat" coke. In a good way! So smooth, rich and full. Very sweet and rich. very drinkable with a wonderful mouthfeel.

Robertgc, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of auro0006
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a fantastic beer. If aged, it would be even more fantastic.

The color is a dark, almost opaque coffee-brown. The head is a beautiful, creamy tan.

The nose showcases aromas similar to caramel and chocolate. Roasted malts and dark candi sugars are also detected.

The body is velvety and rich.

Flavors of roasted malts are most noticeable as they sweep over the tongue. Dark, dried fruits such as figs, raisins and plums reveal themselves in the center. The creamy, long finish brings out the most of this rich brew.

auro0006, Jan 16, 2011
Photo of AdamBear
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-dark maroon brown, thin white head

S-very, very sweet belgian sugars. they smell slightly caramelized, medium strength

T-well this is very clean, crisp, and sweet. the alcohol note is present and fairly strong. there's a good mixture of berries and belgian sugars, with the sugars dominating the after-taste.

M-medium carbonation with a slightly dry finish

D-oh boy, the ABV on this one comes in to play. a better one of this style that i've had and i truly do want to have this again. not an easy drinker, but definitely a happy drinker.

AdamBear, Jan 09, 2011
Photo of Brabander
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Brabander, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of AlexLMS
2.9/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Kasteel Brune poured with a very dark brown colour. It was opaque due to its dark colour (no floating sediments). The head was brown, foamy and very low (impaired retention).
The nose was dominated by the alcoholic vinous plus molasses and fruits.
The taste was very sweet and again the alcohol was the dominant feature in the palate with the added presence of molasses and sweet malts. Very light on the hops.
The mouthfeel was unctuous with low carbonation level, obviously strong alcohol and a full body. Lingering sweet warming alcohol aftertaste.

I did not fell in love with this one. Some interesting characteristics but overall it is too sweet for my taste.

AlexLMS, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of impending
2.85/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

33cl into a tulip. Pours a ruddy old rootbeer float dreg. Lowly carbonated. Very minor head subsided quickly.

Aroma is more of a dubbel than a strong dark as it lacks that in your face dark fruits. Solvent alcohol smells strong. The dark fruits are overly ripe, way past their prime.

Dark fruits also do not dominate the taste. Pronounced phenols. Alcohol kicks in very early, too early, and is very warm, boozy, too boozy ;) Full bodied slightly viscous mouthfeel.

At room temp - notes of cough medicine from when I was a kid.
mediocre
cheers
jd

impending, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of Phelps
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at Tops, served up in a goblet.

A: cranberry-colored and mostly clear with no head to speak of save a very thin khaki ring.

S: plums, cinnamon, lots of maple, molasses and some light tart cranberries. Sweet and deep.

T: maple, cinnamon, molasses and brown sugar, in that order. There's an interesting toasty backbone reminiscent of ritz crackers and a tinge of vodka amidst the slightly drying finish. It's decent, but has none of the depth of the top-tier quads.

M: medium, massaging carbonation amidst a smooth medium body. It's lightly fizzy as I swish it about, and there's a slight alcohol burn on the way down.

D: it's a respectable quadruple, for sure. But this 10 ounces cost me $11 (!) and at that price, I expect to be gobsmacked with pure deliciousness. On this front, sadly, Kasteel did not deliver.

Phelps, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25.4oz dark green bottle. Bottled on date stamped on back label.
Poured into an Allagash tulip glass.
The color is a deep leathery brown color with a thin beige head and some sticky trailing lace.
Nice rich smells of chocolate malt, molasses, dark rum, resinous hops and banana bread all blend together.
The flavors lean heavily towards the malt end of the spectrum. Figs, dates, doughy brown bread and rum cake are deep and rich. Resinous and citrusy hops temper the sweetness somewhat. Velvety rummy alcoholic notes are quite present.
The body is fairly heavy and slightly oily (in a good way).
For such a heavy brew, it's very gulpable, and that could prove dangerous.
Donker is a funny name.

BeerResearcher, Nov 08, 2010
Photo of perrymarcus
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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, belgian yeast, and maybe some candied sugar. i'm suddenly pretty jazzed about this beer.

taste is a bit of a disappointment: 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); a bit an alcohol kick in the finish, but other than that an 11% ABV is well-hidden. if the sweetness was dialed back a bit this could be a great beer... still very good, but IMO just a bit too sweet.

medium-plus/borderline full bodied mouthfeel with adequate carbonation. i wouldn't mind having this again in the future, but as far as this sitting is concerned i can see the 750 bottle wearing on me soon.

perrymarcus, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured an opaque, dark, dark brown color with a thick, khaki-colored head of foam. It was long lasting and left patchy lace on the glass.

S -It smelled of raisin, currants and other dried fruits. Good roasty malt aroma with some caramel notes.

T - Great dried fruit flavor - mostly plum, raisin, apple and currants. Good sweet maltiness with a touch of caramel and chocolate.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth with some alcohol warmth. A medium to full bodied beer with a somewhat dry finish.

D - This is a very tasty quadrupel. It is certainly worth a try, especially on tap.

zeff80, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of irs
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

holy MF S! this was a gift from a very very very generous friend. bottled on date is 071102. So this is an 8 year old Belgian, and I know he aged it well.
I am so not worthy, this is my first review on BA, but I feel like I just can't just drink something this rare and try to pay some homage to my friend's generosity.
A - looks like Newcastle, warm, moist, medium dark brown with a sweet beige lacing along the glass.
S - Sweet. Feels like walking through ripe honeysuckle, but not...Caramel and butterscotch. I hate very sweet smells, but this is somehow addictive.
T - very sweet. Like a cake infused with brandy, or rum, more like rum, but very intense and sweeter than rum.
M - this is what I like best. its chewy, yet light. it leaves a very nice aftertaste on the palate. Carbonation seems just what it should be for the whole experience.
D - Hard to answer. One is very nice. I wouldn't have two. Two would be awful. For a nice dessert, I think this is wonderful. But just one.

irs, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of Pencible
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a nearly opaque dark mahogany with a bit of light tan head.
S: It smelled like bready yeast and prune and molasses, with banana and a bit of cocoa powder.
T: It tasted like very sweet caramel and a blend of dark fruits, with bready yeast and a bit of banana. It had a lasting sweet aftertaste with a bit of alcohol.
M: It was fairly thick with smooth and subtle carbonation.
D: This was a solid dark Belgian ale with a very sweet character. It had great body, and the alcohol wasn't bad (even though it was noticeable), so it was easy to drink. Great candidate for aging, but also enjoyable fresh.

Pencible, Sep 08, 2010
Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 645 ratings.