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Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
91
outstanding
380 Reviews
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Belgium | website

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
380
Ratings:
849
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
20.94%
 
 
Wants:
92
Gots:
150
For Trade:
2
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 380 | Ratings: 849
Photo of jcomp21
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wooowwww!

You gotta try this beer. Strait outta belgium, this beer makes me smile. One of my favorite types of beer, the beglian quadruple/belgian strong dark ale.

Appearance - Very dark brown with some red undertones, there was a quick head that evaporated quickly... but at 11% abv that is expected!

Smell - Wow - like falling in love with a blonde girl in lederhosen on the alps. very figgy and sweet. Some strawberries and chocolate on the back of the nose. Take me to Belgium!!!

Taste - Sweet, pruny, cherry/strawberry, tart raison, with a bite and you can feel a bit of warming from the alchohol.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and smooth

Overall - I want to drink this alot

see you on the next one.

 700 characters

Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a New Belgium tulip from a small bottle which says ``bottled on 100506''. The pour is brown, clear, and very dark. Carbonation is low and there is a thin layer of foam on the beer. The nose is quite unique. I haven't encountered a beer like this one before. I get cherries and raisins, then once I start swirling I start to get a little bit of alcohol, a slight sour note, and a strong wine-like component.

The beer is full-bodied and the taste is complex, sweet, and strong. Initially, I get lots of dark fruit, brown sugar, and caramel. There is a slight touch of alcohol warmth, but the real treasure lies at mid-palate. The flavors develop there and take on port-like qualities. It is absolutely delicious. The mouthfeel is viscous and ``chewy''.

What a wonderful beer. It is like drinking a nice glass of port. It's definitely a sipper and not the easiest beer to drink, and I think it could use a bit more carbonation to help stimulate the palate, but that doesn't take away from its great qualities. I wouldn't suggest this to someone new to beers of this caliber. It has a lot of complexity and a lot of power.

 1,130 characters

Photo of nout72
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This could have easily been my favourite beer, but it is just too sweet.
The earlier review in which I stated this beer is on par with the Rochefort 10 I have deleted, very unfortunate.

There is so much in favour of this beer: it is so smooth (no headache or stomach ache ever), the smell is gorgeous, the taste is full and very balanced, ...but why so damn sweet?

I think I have to buy a bunch and store them for a year and come back to review them again.

Still, I cannot give this beer a lower rating than 4 for taste, because with less sweets it could have been a perfect beer.

Edit 04-14-2012
Yes I can give this beer a lower rating than 4 for taste, it is just way too sweet.

 684 characters

Photo of RodneyFarva
4.63/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into a snifter

a: deep brown, nearly black, with a two finger tan head which took several minutes to dissipate, nice lacing.

s: dark roasted malts, toffee, alcohol heat.

t: malts, bittersweet cocoa, butterscotch and toffee, plums, raisins, a touch of brown sugar, alcohol heat at the end. very rich and smooth. coats the tongue with its richness.

o: splendid, although somewhat sweet quad. alcohol was present but surprisingly, did not end up being a detraction. lots of complexity, and still incredibly smooth.

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

A: 1/2" tan coloured head over brown liquid with decent clarity.

S: Yeast, pears and figs.

T: Raisins, figs, pears, yeast, honey and barley malt. Quite sweet.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of carbonation.

O: Tastes like sweet raisins. If you like that sort of thing, this might be your beer.

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

A
Very dark. There was a little foam, but it quickly went away

S
Dominated by dark, dried fruit.

T
A little fruity. It was sweeter than I expected, but incredible. There's a little coffee or red wine note as well

M
Smooth with very light carbonation

O
This is one of the best beers I've ever had. The one I had was part of a Belgian sampler and I went out the next day and bought a whole case.

 397 characters

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a chalice

appearance - dark mahogany color with thin lacing of khaki head

smell - red wine, purple grapes, malt, brown sugar, cinnamon

taste - plums, raisins, red wine, malt, brown sugar

mouthfeel - medium bodied, ample carbonation,rich, sweet upfront and in the finish, slight detection of alcohol - warming but not overwhelming

overall - this is a really good Quad,on the sweeter side, but if you see it, be sure to try it

Price Point - $4.79/11.2 oz bottle

 492 characters

Photo of DARIVA
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful and sweet dark beer with a slightly smaller head.
This beer drinks very easy way and has a slight carbonation, which I personally might be a bit more.
The taste of caramel is very present.
Furthermore, an above average beer but not really special.

 259 characters

Photo of jsp2
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml corked bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Beautiful deep reddish brown hue topped with thin foam.

Aroma of freshly baked sweet fruity pastries, with raisin, orange, and apple.

A very complex and earthy, fruity flavor with huge sweetness. Sweet, intense, complex, and delicious. It is sweet and the hop level is low, but the earthiness really balances out the sweetness.

Carbonation is low to moderate and keeps the brew lively and light, a great sipper.

Among the best tasting substances to ever come from a bottle, a perfect quad.

 543 characters

Photo of karait95
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A very dark color can be seen, when against light some reddish hues are clearly detected, head is brown but not too big with medium dissipation and no many traces are left behind.

S: Malty aroma, toasted barley smell with clear alcohol, fruits may also be present.

T: Flavor is pretty intense, a full malt and robust body flavor with some toasted ingredients and a strong alcohol flavor.

M: Complex sensations that starts neutral with some sweetness that rapidly changes into bittersweetness and then bitterness at the end not too hard on the mouth but present and also the alcohol sensation hits almost at the same time.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into an Orval goblet.

A:
Mysterious dark ruddy brown with likely clear texture, thin beige foam forms on top and quickly collapses into some patches of bubble, almost no lacing.

S:
Smell of good malty, dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, a bit tea leaves, chocolate, coffee, dough and some phenolic spiciness.

T:
Mellowing fruitiness and sweetness, phenol and spice are inserted as leverage. In its sweet and fruity note, there are varieties of flavor wandering together; plums, raisins, sugar, caramel malt. Subtle hop bitterness fades in at the end also with a long tail of tangy sweetness and fruit.

M:
Full-bodied, a bit syrupy, good and lively carbonation enwraps a palate then scattering and yields silky smooth mouthfeel.

O:
Alcohol is well concealed, don’t feel it much in both aroma and flavor, indeed a worthy pick.

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Photo of magine
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a goblet.

Pours a lively, bubbly dark brown near black with some ruby edging. Lots of bubbles cascading to the top of the glass. Wispy constant carbonated and moving thin island sits atop the brew. Crazy, the ever moving island of bubbles is constantly moving - looks insane. After emptying the full bottle the head now is more present and is nice and creamy and thicker atop the brew. Nice patchy lacing left behind. Good looking brew.

Brew smells of dark fruits, estery Belgian yeasts and sugars, figs, cherries, plums and booze all represented. Good nose.

Brew is very balanced; great carbonation and spice up front, then a smooth creamy middle and drying end. With each sip you crave the next. Sweet flavors; dark fruits, yeasts and mellow maltiness. Barely there booze. Wow this is a tremendous quad.

Wow - tremendous treat here. If you are even remotely interested in Belgian ales you must pick this up if you see it.

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Photo of BelgiumBill
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served up in a tulip glass. Dark brown nearly black with some garnet highlights when held to the light. A quick beige head that was a bit sticky throughout.

The nose was a sweet malty bready with some dark fruit.

The flavors were dominated by sweet ripened dark fruits such as fig and raisin and banana nut bread. really good! Sometimes I don't care for these overly sweet dark fruit flavor profiles but this one was spot on perfect.

It was smooth and slick in the mouth with well balanced carbonation and only a slight presence of alcohol .

Overall, best quad I've tried yet. Complete package.

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

A: Ruby red to deep rich brown. Small khaki head that clears quickly since this is a high octane beer. Excellent lacing and alcohol legs that coat the glass.

S: Molasses, toffee, burnt sugar, caramel, bread, biscuit, sweetness and subtle dark fruit.

T: Caramel sweetness, sugar, molasses, burnt notes, tobacco, almost sherry like and slight belgian phenolics.

M: Rich and velvety. Coats the mouth and tongue with a slick layer. Thick, chewy with an almost taffy feel. Huge alcohol hit but not burning or warming. Just in flavor. Sherry like.

O: An excellent sipper. Can't take more than a baby sip because it's so complex and sweet. It's not something you could have a lot of (high alcohol) and incredibly unique flavor experience. Good stuff. However, I would only want one once a year. Waay to rich to be an all the time beer on hand.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am no fan, generally speaking, of quads. This quad is a bit sweet, but somehow stays in balance and is not overwhelming. Nice looking beer. The belgian yeast comes through with a smooth, light tasting nuttiness, that moves toward the cherry/plum taste. Very drinkable, not much alcohol detected. Lightly delicate with nice lacing out of the tulip. Extremely nice beer, better than I remembered it when I had it around 6 years ago.

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Photo of Douberd
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great colour, deep brown-red with some bubbles visible when hold against the light. One finger beige head that quickly disappeared.
Caramel aroma. Bitter-sweet taste, it was leaving me with a taste of bubblegum after each sip. The high ABV is not at all noticeable, good. Carbonation is balanced. Medium thick on palate.

A truly great beer!

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Photo of hogrider
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a goblet to facilitate taste and smell; it developed a nice half inch head dissipating slowly. I sniffed it for the first time getting a strong scent of caramel and detected a subtle hoppy background; I tasted this brew and my palate detected flavors of caramel, toffee and fruity complex flavors like guava, this brew is sweet…I like the after taste and honestly I want to drink more. ..and remember folks to support your local brewery DRINK BEER. HOG

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Photo of afoltz2
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer rates well for me because of the experience that went along with it, which was "Beer School," one Sunday afternoon at the Beer Trappe in Lexington, Ky. I say that not because it reminds me of a good experience, but part of Beer School is learning about the beers you sample, how they are crafted, what distinct flavors, smells, and feels should be, and you get to compare samples from the same class of beer side by side.

I went to Beer School with my cousin Tony, another beer lover, whose taste differs from mine. I prefer stouts and lagers, he prefers witbiers and hefeweizens. We agreed that both the Kasteel Donker had the best flavor and feel among the six that were sampled that day, all of which were bock beers. I brought home several of the ones I liked to increase my sample size, and reconfirmed that the Kasteel was best in class.

For having a high ABV, this brew does not have a strong alcohol taste to it. It was surprisingly smooth, and the roasted malt flavor was strong but not overpowering beginning and end of taste. I drank from the bottle, like a heathen, so I cannot comment on the pour or the color, sadly, and I will drink from proper glassware next time I try one so I can update my review.

In short, if you like bock-style beers, this is definintely one to try and enjoy!

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Photo of ujsplace
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice.

Pours a deep, dark near-black colored brew that has a once finger thick off white, almost tan colored head that quickly fades. Has some nice lacing.

Smells of candied malts, yeasts, dark fruits - raisins, figs, over-ripened cherries and plums; a faint spiciness and a hint of dark chocolate.

Tastes of big, sweet candied malts up front, dark fruits and spicey yeast - leaves a nice cherry aftertaste with generous alcohol warmth that makes it's presence known, but is done deftly. This brew almost has a burgundy-like quality.

Thick and creamy.

This is my kind of brew - especially for this time of year where it is currently 32 degrees outside. This definitely will warm you up a bit. A nice steady drinking brew - not one to be sessioned, but rather enjoyed with a chill in the air.

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Photo of Mar02x
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A dark brown fluid with some reddish hints. The foam is more beige than off white and transforms quickly till a thin layer.

S - A sweet malty scent mixed with a little yeast.

T - Again a sweet malty flavor with a nice deepness. One can taste this beer is great for aging. There is already some port like tones coming through.

M - A soft to medium carbonation with some alcohol warmth and bitterness in the end. There is noway one can this is a 11% ABV!.

O - An excellent beer! Always good to have a few on you're shelf.

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Photo of stevoj
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A sweet (very sweet) brown ale. aroma is raisins, prunes, cola. Taste is sweet, molasses, dried fruit. Appearance is nothing special, and mouthfeel is a little light but not distracting.

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Photo of ikantspel
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled on 5-6-10

served into a duvel tulip

pours a dark brown with a super small head and the slightest of lacing.

dark fruit, plums, and medicinal nose.

candy, dark fruits, phenolic to the max.

not too much carbonation to this bad boy. but its almost everything ive ever wanted in a quad. finishes quite smooth and not too dry. maybe a tad too sweet, but sometimes, it just works.

i picked mine up at the total wine and more about 20 miles away for 14.99 (4 12oz)... but ill be back for more and more

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Photo of broker0078
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has stayed on top of my beer list for about a year now. I started moving to onto Belgian beers based on tradition rather than reviews. My goal was to taste every Trappist beer I could because I like the history behind a "Trappist" beer.

I like the fact that I could pour this bottle at any angle and the head would be small every time.

I was surprised how little carbonation was in this beer compared to other Quads. I like the fact that the carbonation was low because it seemed to go down smoother.

The dark color was fitting for a Quad and the flavor was like a cup of coffee with roasted malts and raisins.

I feel like Kobe the few times I walk into the distributor and buy this case. But my wallet feels cheated like his wife for the price of it.

Relax baby, I'll fill you with money and keep you happy.

 826 characters

Photo of ibbjamin
3.49/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Paid $5.99 for an 11.2oz bottle from Healthy Spirits in San Francisco. It was bottled 080407 and I am tasting in Sep11. I pour into a chalice to review.

An aggressive pour yields a very small head that dissipates quickly leaving little retention behind. Dark, dark brown in color. Opaque and nearly black, except when held to a bright light. Some strings of lacing.

Dark fruits like raisin, plum, prune and fig dominate, but there is a good malt backing. I also noted molasses, brown sugar, alcohol and Belgian yeast in the nose.

The taste is also dark fruit dominated and quite sweet.

The mouth needs more carbonation, but I recon the aging may have toned this department down a bit too much. I don't think cellaring this one helped it much. Medium body and not as smooth going down as the best I've had in this style.

 823 characters

Photo of GIVEMEBACKMYSON
4.54/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Root beer brown, head is minimal, moderate clarity for the color, thought there would be more of a pillowy head for being a Belgian quad, but ok...

Smell is all sugarplums, dates, prunes, and mildly composted apple peels.

Flavor is really quite spellbinding. I'll do my best here... Up front we have sweeet raisin bread, and that is a sort of a leading notion, and the rest comes secondary, different characters stepping forth and bowing back into obscurity, anonymity....moldy wood, green apples that don't ever go tart, nor sweet...unsmoked cigars, maple wood, pecans, sweet and low, juicy fruit gum. It's all in there, you just have to stop drinking and sit for a while between sips. All the while there hangs a notion, almost a threat, that this will be a sour, but it never is.

The noted lack of head comes through in the mouthfeel. It's not bad, but, lacks some of the pillowiness I'd have hoped for. Really, a touch of CO2 is all that is missing from making this a world beater. Of course, it did travel some route to get from Belgium to Anchorage, and who knows how that went for it. There is alot of good here no matter how you slice it. The flavor, in this "sweet quad" is superb.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 380 ratings.