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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

704 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 704
Reviews: 353
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 14.32%
Wants: 71
Gots: 79 | 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
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Ratings: 704 | Reviews: 353 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mmmbeer
2.75/5  rDev -33.3%
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.

Photo of Boto
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

Photo of Absumaster
2.6/5  rDev -36.9%
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.

Photo of weeare138
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of janubio
4.78/5  rDev +16%
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.

Photo of haz77
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of dgallina
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml dark green magnum. Cork dated 11/2003. Bottle dated best-before 11/2008. Sampled 8/2006.

Pours clouded opaque dark brown with red edges. Small (half-inch) of creamy foam that rapidly recedes but leaves decent lace. Smells yeasty, full of dark fruits (cherries, plums), medicinal alcohol. Flavor begins with sweet & sour medicinal alcohol sting, becomes round and malty sweet in the middle and finishes the same way. Heavy, syrupy body with minimal carbonation. Not a great quad. Kind of heavy on the alcohol tones for my taste.

Photo of AndoBrew
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*I liked it would not buy again*

garnet to brown nice cream tan bubble head nice lacing

a lil tart sour smell then some sweet candy malts.. some dark fruit.. lets sip, shall we?

YUM YUM! I can rock this beer, and I will be honest, I dont rock many belgians ok? YUMMY! It actually has depth and flavor beyond the normal belgian candy taste. Starts with big chewy dark fruits.. dates figs plums whatever, you know the kind.. then it has some good brown toasty choco things, finishes with a pinch of booze and then some of the belgian candy

good beer, mouthfeel is nice, may coat a bit to much as you go.. the candy flavors build and it is starting to get a lil more sweet, not to much yet

ehh its turning into more of a normal candy belgian but still holding its own, I like it, drinkability, yeah, very. I wish they would give you a full 12oz, drinking a 4 pk would be fine, you would want some kinda food to fight the sweet in between beers though.

balance off the candy just a touch more and id be all-in

--side note, I found near the end.. if you drink it slower than I would the adding up of the candy sweet taste does not really happen, SO I would recomend to drink this beer at a slower pace than me, to enjoy it the most, the problem is it will let you drink it fast cause its good.

Photo of Brian700
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a reddish/brown color with an off-white head almost a light brown.

The aroma was sweet with a dark fruit presence, raisins, figs, dates. Very enticing to say the least.

The flavor follows the nose, there is some malty sweetness with the presence of dark fruit again, dates, figs, raisins and such. There is also some alcohol warming in the end.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with moderate carbonation.

This is a pretty drinkable beer but is 11ABV so be carefull and don't hurt yourself.

Photo of ybnorml
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark brownbeer with mahogony highlights, Has a small light brown/tan head and some lace. There is a dried fruit character in the aroma with some grainy malt in the background along with an alcohol presence. A raiseny/ fig dried fruit coating slides all over your tongue. With hints of cherries and caramel in the background. All followed by a nice warm alcohol note.

Photo of atigerlife
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark reddish/brown with a small light brown head. Decent lacing. Medium carbonation can be seen.

Aroma of dark fruit [plums] and caramelized malts.

Taste has a strong alcohol profile, dark fruit [plums, figs, raisins] as well as some molasses, caramel and sweet malts.

Mouthfeel has a medium body and is very smooth.

Overall, a very nice quad. Nice sipping beer for a relaxing evening. Of course, can't drink too many of these [my limit is one].

Photo of TastyTaste
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

O! Chateau Donker, why must you put hard-to-remove gold foil on your caged and corked beer?

Appearance: Deep maroon-purple body, medium tan head. Sticky lacing around the glass.

Smell: Sweet carmel and honey, very sweet, with some pineapple, brown sugar, and a little earthiness.

Taste: Rich and very sweet, carmel and honey flavors are up front. More mellow than I remember the on-tap version being. This is a differently styled beer, one that would be good with a slice of apple pie, i think.

Drinkability: The sweetness is more subdued than on tap, if my memory serves, making this a more balanced and mellowed beer. A great dessert beer, above average vs. the style.

Photo of scottoale
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Came in a 750ml., corked green champagne bottle, with the label stating: Donker-Foncee, Alc.11% Vol. on the front. On the back of the label there was a date of: 11-2000 and on the cork 11-2003 Gebotteld.

Pours a murky mahogany brown with burgundy highlights and a thick, frothy two-finger ivory head with dense sticky lacing aplenty.

Dark ripe fruity sweet aroma, really sweet with alcohol coming through strong. A few more sniffs and the sweetness subsides but the alcohol shines, almost smells like a Port or good fine wine.

The flavor...hmm the flavor, tastes like a well matured Port. Sweet dark fermented grapes with a light carbonation, sweet right down to the finish. The finish is clean with a nice earthy rich malt aftertaste that's quite mellow and pleasant. The high ABV is warming...very warming, almost down to your toes!

Full body with a velvety smoooth mouthfeel, and I do mean smoooth. Too easy to drink, tastes like candy...Cheers!!!

Photo of Erdinger2003
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is ok, the head dissapates almost completely away, but holds a good sticky lacing.

Smell is spicy and has a pepper smell. Very little flowery smells, with small traces of cloves, nutmeg, burnt sugar and dark fruit.

Sweet and spicy, I really enjoyed the taste. Burnt sugar is thick and overpowering with flavor. Dark fruit, grape taste.

Mouthfeel is creamy and carbonated, pretty smooth.

I would love to drink more of this beer if it was in my area, I would go looking for it.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn! Who dumped the sugar bowl in my beer? Pours out to a cloudy and hazy brown appearance with a big light tan foamy head. Unorganized lace inside the glass. Aromas of sugary yeast and malt, with a candied toffee element. Taste is medium bodied; decent complexity, but way sweet. Candied sugar, mild sweet malt and grain, some bread yeast, a touch of clove and spices. Not bad, but way too sugary for me. Mouthfeel was sticky sweet, almost like a lollipop. Drinkability would be better if again, it wasn't so sweet. Take away some of the sugary-ness, and this is a far improved beer. Worth a try.

Photo of Hautacam
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cloudy caramel color...very little head to start..and then gone quickly.
Smells of malt, cherry, phenol and alcohol.
Tastes of heavy malt, caramel, sweet and almost nuttty, with a sherry/port like finish. Improves greatly as it warms.
Heavy mouthfeel...almost syrupy. Low carbonation.
Drinkable in terms a sipping ale...wouldn't want to "down a few"...but really nice to split a 750 with someone.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle served at room temperature. It pours a deep amber to ambered brown color with a finger of off white head that falls to a solid coat over top. Solid lacing remains as things recede. Nose is full of big dark fruit, fig soaked it rum. Light puffs of alcohol. There is also a healthy dose of bready and spicey notes as well. Flavor is very mellow. Good sweet fruity fig with a healthy but not offensive alcohol in the background with light doughy breadyness and a healthy spicey yeast character in there as well. I like it. Feel is big and thick, almost chewy, with a light carbonation. I enjoy this beer. Even with the alcohol presence, it is pretty drinkable. I can feel it going to my head a bit as I drink it more, so I know one of these a night would do me just fine.

Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Blue Nile: A browned, dark cherrywood color with a firm capping of off-white foam that lasts a short while. Once the foam has drifted off it keeps a web thin collar and a slight whisp of topical foam residue. Lacing is slick and glaring with some soft spots and stringy patches sticking to the Kasteel chalice in which it was served.

Sweetly scented aroma with a good load of toffee and caramel intertwined with some fig and raisin fruityness. A tone of unique Belgian lambic-like sourness and spicy yeast adds a queer funkyness over the top of its sweetness adding a bit of strangely acceptable earthy, nose hair grabbing, spunk.

Taste is wonderfully sweet and mellow. Very well rounded toffee flavors and caramel stickyness is allowed to settle right in on the palate. It sinks off from there merging into a dark fruity melange of raisiny, plummy, dark cherry syrup and/or jam. Little tropical nuances of apricot and pineapple seep in as it really warms up with a port-like, alcoholic laced, big malt back splash of the toffee and caramel stickyness. Wow, what a ride of sweet candyness. Very nice!

Feel is super silky smooth and fairly full with the malts. Slighty sticky, yet, soft and quite warming on the back end staying smooth and candy soaked with just a nudge of some yeasty spice peppering the edges.

A sweet, sweet treat. Very sensitive and smooth. A carefully crafted sipper that'll keep you planted in one place for a while as it takes hold of your senses. A very nice brew and highly recommended.

Photo of rem5
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle was a 2004, got it from the dudes over at shoreline beverage. Having it for christmas eve dinner.

While sipping this beer I was eating apricots and salty almonds which really compliment this beer nicely.

A - Dark brown but not completely opaque. Has orange hues. The head dissapated quickly and left very little lacing on the glass. Head was a light tan with little bubbles.

S - Smells somewhat trappist similar to a chimay. I cant place the aroma but you can smell the alc. Nothing spectacular.

T - Sweet tasting. It hides the alcohol very well. Goes down warm on the backend. The taste i cant place either, but I dont taste any specific fruits. Its quite malty but not overly done.

M - Sweet in the beginning to warm going down. While sipping you can smell tickles your nose just adding to the flavor. Very smooth for such high alc.

D - Most definitely a beer to appreciate and sip. I wouldnt want to gulp this one down.

This is my second review, take it easy on me. What is that flavor!?

Photo of clvand0
4.83/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew was shared by a fellow homebrewer. Pours a red/brown color with a large head that has ok retention and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is excellent. Filled with all the goodies: Dark fruits, raisins, alcohol, toasty, spice, sweetness, yeasty, malty - all just jumping out. The flavor is equally complex and great. As it warms, tons of dark fruits and raisins come across with some spices, citrus, alcohol and plenty of caramel malt. The mouthfeel is on the high end of moderate and the drinkability is great. This is one of the better Belgian beers I've had (except Westy and Rochefort) and probably the best brew I've had in a long while.

Photo of ypsifly
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Green 750 that is corked, caged, and gold foiled. Best before 05-2009 on back label and the cork sez it was bottled in 01-2004. Served in a Val-Dieu chalice.

Dark reddish brown with a finger of light tan that has good retention and leaves thick lace.

The nose has dark fruits, dry red wine, wood, and a leathery tannic alcohol aroma that fits in perfectly. Faint yeast and earthy malts underneath. The vinous notes become more noticable as it warms.

The vinous notes continue in the taste and are backed by the earthy malt , wood, and a slightly doughy yeast. The dark fruits; plums and a pinch of cherries are still there, and the alcohol comes through as restrained dash of pepper and a warm exhale. This is one of those beers that I can't believe is 11%, but the creeping buzz tells me, "No really, this is some strong brew!". Gotta love that.

The mouth is full, no chewiness or over the top carbonation despite the loud pop when disgorged. At the same time it doesn't lean towards flat given its winey nature. Normally I take a point or so away from a beer that has such a high abv as drinking a lot can lead to a short, but messy night. For this beer, I'm willing to slow down and enjoy as much as I can. Absolutely worth $7.99 a bottle.

Photo of Shiloh
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very black hue with reddish hi-lites on arrival.
The crown was short, limited island lace but a nice glass cling and ring.
I do believe the carbonation is light but diffacult to view thru this ebony body.
The nose is of raisins and alcohol.
The taste is a fruit mash collaberation with a nice minor balance of hops to tame the aggresive fruity explosion.
The high ABV at 11% is not really a factor in the taste.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

Photo of fisherman34
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown in colour. Complex caramel malt aromas along with notes of raisin, vanilla, and other dried fruits. It’s fairly thick bodied, and has some interesting flavors going on, such as malt, prunes, brown sugar, more vanilla, and a mild chocolate note. I actually drank this stuff at the proper temperature this time. Complex and strong stuff.

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 704 ratings.