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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
92
outstanding

662 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 662
Reviews: 348
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.36%
Wants: 63
Gots: 67 | 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: 662 | Reviews: 348 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of meathookjones
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was from a 750ml bottle, dated 09-2003. Appears a slightly translucent brown with reddish highlights and a slight tan head that bubbles down fairly quickly. Some lace it left around the glass as it was consumed. Aroma was fruity sweet with dark ripe fruits and a light sugary caramel. There was a bit of spice to it as well as notes of yeast and alcohol. Fruity sweetness starts of the flavor before giving way to doughy malt with spice that keeps the sweetness in check. Alcohol was barely noticeable and the after taste left a sweet spiciness on your tongue. Mouthfeel was medium to full with a nice creaminess and it was a bit warming as well. Drinkability is great, you just have to slow down a bit to enjoy all the complexities of this fine beer. Great all around beer, that I will definitely pick up again.

meathookjones, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of granger10
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kasteel Donker shows where the line between beer and wine can get a little blurry. Pours a murky brown color with red highlights, practically no head but there was a good amount of lacing. Smell is really sweet and vinous. Taste is the same way. Lots of dark vinous fruits in a variety of flavors burst out from the start. Really sweet but there wasn't much of a malty sweetness. Alcohol comes in and has quite a kick with lots of flavor. There's a strong Belgian yeast element in here that melds well with the alcohol. Finish is dry and a bit weak for my liking. Becomes too syruppy sweet after a while. Needs more effervescence to offset the fruits. Decent but not the greatest Belgian I have had.

granger10, Dec 15, 2004
Photo of pootz
2.3/5  rDev -44%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottled. Typical Belgian stubbie. Pours a flat cola -red with little or no head. Aroma is alcohol mixed with spice. mouth feel is oils and sweet...pronounced molasses-cola tastes some malt body and the ever pervasive alcohol....very much like a Carib sweet stout...bad job of hiding it and too sweet with adjuncts to be considered a serious for a European ale...these Belgium mutants should have their own category...maybe "rot yer teeth hi grav rummy beer" ...woof , I won’t be going back here.

pootz, Dec 12, 2004
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.93/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours super dark burgundy, almost black. The off white head starts off compact and foamy then recedes to a ring. Lacing is patchy and sporadic. The aroma is of plums, sweet cherries, jammy yeast and a waft of airy alcohol. The taste is very malty with lots of ripe dark fruit, port, and christmas bread flavors. The alcohol is zesty and very warming, though its in check considering the high ABV. In fact its the warming effect of the alcohol that makes this such a great winter brew. Hop aroma is virtually non existent. The mouthfeel is smooth and kind of viscous. This is a great Barleywine, very big and full of maltiness. A perfect winter nightcap.

CAMRAhardliner, Dec 06, 2004
Photo of Popsinc
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brown pour with a medium tan head. Semi sweet nose. Molasses, grapes & black currant. Light roasted notes as well. Taste wise this brew was ru\ich and sweet...deacdent w/ a port-like grape sweetness. Underlying burnt sugars. Alcohol warmth. Nice lingering flavors. Great combo of fruit and alcohol. The mouthfeel was rich and creamy, sticky and sweet, thick n syrupy. This was quite the decadent, dessert beer. A great cold weather sipper, however, a little too sweet to have several.

Popsinc, Dec 01, 2004
Photo of slitherySOB
3.6/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first quadrupel. Never even heard of the style until now. Pours a dark, almost black colour with a hint of dark red when shone through a light. Sadly, next to no head. And lacing was nonexistant. Smells strongly of malt and chocolate. Despite the 11% ABV, not a strong alcohol smell. Taste starts out very sweet and malty. Has some ripe fruits as well, particularly plums and red grapes. Finishes with a chocolate and port taste. Afterfeel is bittersweet, kind of like a dark coffee with sugar and no cream. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Very nice for this beer. I think two would last the night, but a highly drinkable beer nonetheless.

slitherySOB, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of tatterdash
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with an off-white head that disappears to a thin ring rather quickly. Has a very sour citrus smell akin to a lambic but not quite so strong, definitely alcohol as well. Taste was definitely different from the smell. some dark fruits, licorice, quite sweet but tasteful, very complex. Having only tried one other Quadrupel, Rochefort 10, this is quite different but shares the complexities that make up this style. Very smooth and drinkable, but the sweetness gets a little strong after a while... I think I had better pick up a few more of these before they are gone.

tatterdash, Nov 23, 2004
Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy cream colored head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a dry, yet fruity Belgian yeast aroma. The scent is sweet and creamy; very nice. The taste is great. It has a very smooth and rich malty flavor with a sweet and warm finish. It is full of flavor and malt complexity. The mouthfeel is excellent as well. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. It is full of flavor and aroma; a great drinker.

WesWes, Nov 10, 2004
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice mohagany color with a creamy tan head. It has a good level of carbonation, but note quite as much as other Belgians. The aroma is semi-sweet, malty, and caramel-like. It has a fresh, herbal aroma as well. There is some fruitiness in the aroma too. The flavor is sweet...way more sweetness than I was expecting. The flavor is way malty, with caramel and dark fruits toward the finish. Oh, and coming in at 11%, there is the alcohol in the finish. It is full-bodied, with a creamy texture. The alcohol is definitly there, but not as boozing as one might expect from a high-octane brew such as this. It is a very nice brew. The maltiness is a big surprise for me; different than most belgians I've had. I will drink this one again.

BeerBuilder, Nov 05, 2004
Photo of Sammy
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A high quality brew that pleasantly surprisingly made the LCBO Fall list. Its only drawback is the knockout alcohol punch. Georgeous brown, barleywine and quality yeast aroma. Great taste in my favorite style. Hops, fruit and sugary malt. Good night!

Sammy, Oct 10, 2004
Photo of cro250klr
4.58/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's been a while since I had a Kasteel Brune. Four months to be exact. It was one of our main staples while we were in Belgium. Finally, Kasteel has made it back to northeast Pa. Just in time too, as fall is here and the weather is getting cooler. This has to be one of the best belly warmers on the planet. If you don't like sweet, smooth and malty high abv brews, stay away. I absolutely love strong dark Belgians and this is number three on my all time favorite list. Only a Westy 12 and a Rocheford 10 can give this brew a run for it's money.
The murky apperance in the chalice with it's light tan head is a sight to behold. The sweet fruity aroma and that first alcohol blast just have to be experienced. The yeasty, malty taste reminds me of the sweet dough bread my grandmother used to make. The 11% stands out like a sore thumb but, coupled with the nose and taste, that makes this an amazing beer. When Franklin said, "Beer is proof that God love us and wants us to be happy", he must have been sitting next to a warm fire with a bottle of this liquid ecstacy.

cro250klr, Oct 04, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: The ‘Kasteel bier Donker-Foncee’, or Bruin-Brune to you and me, comes in a Green 750ml flask like Belgium bottle that has an inverted base. Champagne presentation, right down to the fact that the entire neck is covered in a thin gold foil. Cork, Capped and Caged; once the foil and cage was removed, the thumbed cork was easily extracted with a light “thrupp”. The main label is the exact same design as the newer Kasteel incumbent, the Blond (or Gouden Triple), except for the fact that the label edges are a darker shade of orange. Listed at a whopping Alc. 11% Vol., the cork is dated ‘Gebotteld 09-2003’, but the bottle has a Best Before Date of 11-2008 on the reverse label.

Appearance: Very dark mahogany body, clear at first but gets a little hazed as I dredge out the dregs from the recessed concave bottle bottom. Big head at first, it settles with the first pour to a bubbly halo cover and a broken surface leaving some nice lacing. Subsequent top-ups induce a more permanent cap-like uniform covering. I drank this from a Chimay Glass, but I wish I had the proper glass, a high stemmed flat base Goblet that lends this monster a truly magnificent presentation.

Nose: Intensely fruity and inviting. At first you are comforted with a raisin soaked plum pudding mixed with some caramel and a yeasty alcohol presence. Then, a crafty punch of strong fruity fortified slightly vinegary red wine cum port like whack gets the finish, when a powerful alcohol soaked wood and funky soil aroma come into play also. Complex but in an inviting way, temperature really plays an immense part on the nose of the brew, it gets sexier as it warms, or does it get warmer as it gets sexier?? Argh, who cares!! Superb.

Taste: Where the nose starts, the tastes certainly continue. The dark fruity entrance is adorable, but the best aspect of this brew is the last two-thirds. Hard to describe, but an aged red-wine vinaigrette and wood soaked port aspect comes through but only ever in a background role, yet it adds an immensely massive character to this brew. All the while, raisins, plums, toffee, caramel and fusel alcohols swim around in an orgy of indulgence.

Mouthfeel: Somehow, whilst the 11% alcohol provides a dark fusel alcohol feel to the darker fruits, and it adds to the warming aspects, it never interferes with the middling mouthfeel, which lends an awesome Drinkability to this fantastically fruity Strong Dark Belgium Ale.

Drinkability: For an 11% goliath, this is seriously and dangerously drinkable, easily a 4.0, and at times like tonight, a very dangerous “might not get to work tomorrow after a 750ml all to myself” 4.5.

Overall: It’s been a long day at work today, but “holy f**k” if a whole 750ml bottle of this powerful 11% dark fruity warming monster all to myself didn’t relax me immediately when I got home! I have many happy memories of my first trip to Belgium; however, after drinking several of these quaffable monsters in the ‘old’ Bottelje bar in Ostende, this was most certainly not one of them. Oh yes, this is the old favorite that I “don’t” remember!!! LOL.

A dependable, solid, very impressive and well put together complex brew. It does not age that well I find, but is at its best after 1 to 2 years when the alcohol softens a tad and the dark fruits and vinous aspects really balance and shine through.

Along with Rochefort 10, St.Bernadus 12 & Westie 12, this is a brew that I always try and seek out for the last brew of the night after a hard days drinking when in Belgium! It makes a fantastic Nightcap, and has given me a second wind to continue drinking on more than one occasion. Treat this one with some serious respect!!

TheLongBeachBum, Aug 05, 2004
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown that's almost opaque, with glimmers of port colors when held up to the light. Holds a small off-white to tan head that sits nicely atop the brew.

Armoa is very sweet, malty, and bready. Quite pleasant. The flavor is of a sweet (almost very sweet) raisiny dark rum flavor with brown sugar. Alcohol is quite present (it grabbed me by the shirt and shouted "Here I am" in my face), and this had a well-balanced bite at the end.

This is a very nice beer, but it kicked. I was not expecting it to be as sweet and strong as it was, and this is something I couldn't have very often.

Dukeofearl, Apr 05, 2004
Photo of Wildman
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a very dark amber, almost black color and formed a small light tan bubbly head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, caramel and coffee with a hint of the alcohol present. A flavor of malt, caramel, raisins and dark fruit with a hint of chocolate. The body is fairly light with a sweet finish. Not a bad beer that hides it's alcohol level well.

Wildman, Feb 23, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
2.75/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Big beer. Dark brown with medium white head. All malt aroma of toffee and fruits. The taste is extra sweet. Plums, caramel, malt, grapes. Very vinous, rich and warming, alcohol is very noticeable in the finish. Almost syrupy mouthfeel. It would be interesting to age, but overall I must say I expected much more.

Rastacouere, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of pbrian
4.78/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Cork dated 08-2001

Deep crimson red highlights make it through this clear, dark brown bier. The vigorous pour produced just a medium rich tan head but a thin film lasted the whole glass and left a mess. Port-like, sweet dark fruits in the aroma, with some mild spices, sweet bubblegum, and alcohol vapors. Flavor is very rich, sweet, fruity. Again, very vinous and port-like. Dark candi sugar, dark caramel malts, dark raisins and plums, everything's sweet, dark and beautiful. Low carbonation, thick, creamy sweet mouthfeel. Very warm and flavorful. Did I mention sweet? I don't know if a fresh version would receive such high numbers, but the aged version sitting in front of me is fabulous.

pbrian, Feb 19, 2004
Photo of Gusler
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some how I’ve over looked this beer sitting on a shelf in my favorite beer palace, till a friend pointed out this was the “Donker”, not the “Blonde”, so always read the fine print.

The beer as it shoves off from the bottle pours a pellucid deep garnet color, the head mastodonic in size, the texture creamy, and the color a winsome tan, as it slowly erodes, the laces forms a tight seal upon the glass. Nose has a significant yeast aroma, sweet caramel, hints of fusel alcohol, a real sniffer this one, start is quite sweet, nice malt presence, and the top is moderate in its feel upon the palate. Finish has a potent acidity, the hops stinging in their spiciness, the aftertaste quite dry and sweet, with a definite tummy warming sensation from the 11 percent ABV, a quaffable brew tis’ true.

Gusler, Feb 03, 2004
Photo of Andreji
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quite a nice brew I brought back from belgium.

This kasteel Ingelmünster pours a dark brown-caramel opaque tone with a creamy tan head, about 1cm that leaves some lacing and takes its time to fade.

A full nose, with many notes of fruits and wheat combined that provide for a very pleasant introduction, that properly combines a full bodied tasting experience with a complex beer that gives ground for just a few more, were it not for its considerable ABV which becomes gradually perceptible in both nose and mouth.

Very good brew, nonetheless.

Andreji, Jan 23, 2004
Photo of bditty187
4.65/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown hue with maroon influences, brightly reddish highlights were the light penetrates it, the beige head reached a modest finger in height but it held like cement. As I quaffed sheets of lace were formed. An impressive sight visually. The aroma wafting from my glass is delightful with tart fruitiness, hints of oak, and toasty malt. I was expecting more, especially in hindsight after I tasted it. The nose lacks the complexities of the palate. Chocolate-coated raisins soaked in brandy aged in oak barrels starts the palate, glorious sweetness settles in and then explodes on the tastebuds, igniting a fire of alcohol, tropical fruit, and traces of pepper. The sweetness is absolutely wonderful, simply perfect. It isn’t cloying and offset perfectly with the bourbon, brandy alcohol heat, then add in the complex fruitiness and WOW! The maltiness is damn near identical to cake. Where did that toffee come from? Apples? The finish is sweet like a chocolate cake soaked in alcohol topped with a tropical fruit jelly spiced with peppery-cloves. Low but playful carbonation, nearly perfect for this beer, the body is slightly fuller than medium, near ideal. The aftertaste is long and wonderful with qualities similar to an aged Barleywine but with so much more. The alcohol potency is not noticeable on the taste, impressive, it is easy to drink but so tasty you want to sip and savor it. As I did. This is seriously one of the best beers I have ever tasted and shockingly I bought it in Nebraska! Lincoln to be exact, I must go get more 750mls to cellar, even if they did run $12 each.

Seek this out.

bditty187, Jan 20, 2004
Photo of scottstrades
2.08/5  rDev -49.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I am amazed that this beer is rated so highly. Unless you like your beers amazingly sweet, and I am talking SWEET, then this is not the beer for you. I love Belgians and seek out the micro beers from Belgium whenever I can and I have nothing slightly sweet beers. This beer, though, is something else. I could not get beyond the overpowering sweetness of this beer and if there is any redeeming quality to this thing, it is lost in the syrup like taste. The taste was so bad that I had to cut it with another beer. Interestingly, I mentioned this to another Belgian beer friend of mine and he said he had to do the same thing. Overpriced and overrated is my opinion. The Triple was also unimpressive. There are many far better Belgians out there for less money.

scottstrades, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of allboutbierge
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 bottle drank out of a Kasteel chalice obtained out of a gift set.

Color varies from a black in the center to a deep orangish brown on the edges of the glass, body is completely opaque. Head is not overwhelming large and has an offwhite, slightly beige brown color to it. Aroma is extremely bready, covers up the alcohol smell, and has numerous candy-like sugar notes. A fig scent is somewhere in there--all in all its fairly complex. Taste is extremely sweet and centered on figgy, buttery, and slightly sour notes. Some prune-like qualities are in there. I know I havent used the most appetising words and comparisons to describe taste but dont worry, its actually pretty damn good. The beer finishes with a semi sweet aftertaste. Drinkability is there though I caution against taking up on it. This is no baby beer, packing 11% it will make the biggest man sway if he gets careless. Other than that the taste is extremely entertaining and unique which makes for quite a drinkable brew.

allboutbierge, Nov 21, 2003
Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker shade of borwn with a real nice sticky head thats seems to dissapte quickly,great aroma of raisins and light chocolate with some definent alcohol notes.The raisin seems to be the dominant flavor I get with some syrupy flavors as well.A touch of nuttiness and alcohol makes this a nice warmer,I have alot of bottle to drink yet wish me luck.

oberon, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of DarrellK
4.68/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great expression of the style. The pour from the 750ml bottom produced a great foamy head that was quite peresistent and left a classic Belgian lace. Very dark with ruby hints, the aroma was there but not as strong as I might have imagined, mostly sweet and raisiny. Mostly a sweetish malt flavor with some raisin taste with a drying burlap finish. Shae a bottle for desert and you will make a friend, drink it alone and you will be asleep early.

DarrellK, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of Dogbrick
4.58/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at From The Vine monthly beer tasting Oct 13th, 2003: This was probably my favorite beer of the tasting and a pleasant surprise. This is the beer Chimay Bleu wants to be. Pours a brownish-amber color with a medium thick beige head. Lots going on in the aroma - fruit, malt, port wine and caramel. Nicely rich body with a complex blend of malt, grain, chocolate, raisins and spicy alcohol. The finish is sweet toffee and malt. Outstanding.

Dogbrick, Oct 14, 2003
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from the lees, its clear mahogany body rests gently beneath a short, creamy head of light tan foam as very tiny bubbles steadily rise up to support it. The head drops shortly to a wide collar and lacy surface covering, but also leaves some wide rings of sticky lace about the glass. The nose welcomes you with a delicious combination of chocolate covered raisins and caramel splashed with sweet red wine and backed by some earthy and leafy hops. As it warms some candyish - and also peppery - yeast character comes into play adding greatly to its complexity. The body is medium/light, and combines with its very fine, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning to leave it just lightly zesty on the tongue before fading smoothly away. The vinous character of the nose is immediately recognized in the flavor along with assorted dark fruits (plum/prune, dates), a soft note of chocolate, and a sweet light caramel that morphs into a harsher note of molasses that's less refined and a bit edgy at the finish (due in part to alcohol, and in part bitterness). It lingers with some alcohol that fades to reveal the true hop bitterness; then some candy sweetness (bubblegum); and finally a last note of caramel that's charged with delicate clove-like spiciness. Quite complex, rich and flavorful! And although the alcohol could be slightly more restrained, its sweetness is impeccably balanced and never interferes or build on the palate. An impressive brew that's well worth seeking out!

NeroFiddled, Sep 24, 2003
Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 662 ratings.