1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

717 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 717
Reviews: 356
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 14.11%
Wants: 70
Gots: 89 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kasteel Donker Alström Bros
Ratings: 717 | Reviews: 356 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Popsinc
4.12/5  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.

Photo of The_1084
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: poured into the provided thistle glass, deep brown hints at shades of purple, no head to speak of

s: dark fruits, dates, cherries,

m: little carbonation underneath the slick, full body

t: loads of chocolate or carob with raisin and date puree, full-flavored black malts

d: just fine

night 2 of the Reston-DC extravaganza featuring the father of filth, 375 at Granville Moore's jkhylojhoijoijoijoijioiuojloijij

Photo of atigerlife
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
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 TheViolator666
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely a beer I wouldn't go out and look for because I'm not a huge fan of Belgian yeast, but I ended up pleasantly surprised by this one... though I still think the name is hilarious.

750ml corked and caged wine bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep dark auburn color. Fair head with decent lacing, nothing too special here.

S: Smell is fantastic. Very sweet, raisins are dominant. Malty as well and hints of darker fruit, plums come to mind.

T: This one instantly reminded me of a cane sugar beer. Pummeled up front by sweetness and an awesome sweet raisiny/grape flavor. No alcohol burn surprisingly. Also, I'm thankful to have a Belgian beer where the yeast isn't so dominant in the taste!

M/D: This is more of a treat beer, though it wasn't too hard to put down a good 10 ounces of it. Nice medium body, overall an interesting and excellent beer.

Photo of TerryW
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy dark brown beer that pours a decent, but short-lived head. Moderate lace throughout.

Nose is very pronounced - sweet and full of fruit, malt, carmel, yeast and alcohol. A nice beer to inhale.

Great to taste. Lots of things happening in your mouth. Sweet with noticeable malt, wonderfully bready. Tons of heavy dark fruit. Big alcohol punch means this one is for working your way through slowly. That just means you can savour it more. Quite heavy and syrupy on the palate as well.

Nicely complex, an enjoyable beer, best suited for sitting back in the comfy chair when you've got no plans to be going anywhere.

Photo of Mar02x
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of crookedhalo
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75 cl cork and caged bottle, bottled in Jan 2004, dated best before 5-2009 on backside label. Pours an opaque dark chocolate brown color with a sustaining tan head that laces nicely. A lot of vinous, yeasty notes with a ridiculous amount of dark roasted candi sugar and malts. Some earthy undertones as well. Upon first sip I think to myself how a couple of years ago this was like mother's milk to me, and I reflect upon the fact that palates and people's taste preferences change over time and how much this beer could rot your teeth if you pass out before brushing them. Holy shit is it sweet, with just enough vinous fruitiness and moderate hoppiness to cut it before it becomes too cloying. I still love this beer, though. I'm just a bit more critical about beers than a couple of years ago. I'm just trying to reminisce why I loved this beer so much a couple years ago. I think it's the creamy mouthfeel paired with a deep, malty alcoholic punch that is very clean finishing, yet coating the mouth with stickiness. Dangerously drinkable, especially for it's lofty 11% ABV; but, overall, a little too sweet to give it a 4 in the drinkability rating.

Photo of bigdeuce
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

Photo of Tejon
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of thecheapies
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottled in 08-2004, says the cork. Emptied into an Orval chalice.

No head. None. There was a small hiss when the cork eased out, but no evidence in the glass. The color is a murky reddish mahogany. Looks difficult. 1.75

Vinous dark fruits. Rum raisin, date, fig, dark bread, black cherry, fermented grape, candi sugar, dryness, some buttery maltiness. Effectively aromatic, especially without a head. 4.25

Sweet raisiny malt sugar, fig and date, grape, plum, spicy booze with mellowness, aged malts, candi sugar, and dark honey. Aged gracefully, I must say. 4.25

Feels flat and bruised. No carbonation, practically. Body is a little fuller than medium. Mellow booziness, which I like. 2.25

Held up great for flavor and aroma, but I miss the bubbles. 3.75

***

Bottled on 12-30-10. 11.2oz stubby poured into an elegant Kasteel stemmed goblet.

Dark and murky mahogany with red hues. A quaint ring of foam formed and stuck. Looks nice. 4

Fig and raisin esters with dark bread and candi sugar. Nice rich maltiness. Deep plum and grape notes. Somewhat sweet. 4

Rich, sweet, fruity, and boozy. Raisin, grape, fig, some date, and a nice heap of sweet quad breadiness. Optimally phenolic with some medicinal flavors that I like. Quite the tasty ale. 4.25

Feels royally big and boozy. Spicy and playful with a tempered carbonation level. Good mouthfeel. 3.75

I love this beer. Phenomenal for its own level of sweetness. Always a good choice. 4.25

Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a dusty green bottle - thanks to a friend - of an unknown vintage, the bottle has a 08-2009 marking on it.

Right after the pour I get a slightly musty aroma, like it's been laid on its side and absorbed a little cork, or seen a little oak. Dark fruits also dominate with plum and date aromas and a little clove around the edges.

The appearance is a hazy brown with a quickly disappearing (acceptable for an 11% brew) tan head that leaves a little lacing. The flavor reminds me vaguely of plum wine for the smooth esters. I'm also tasting white grape and blueberry with the plum and dates. There's also a slight spiciness that could come from either noble hops of yeast phenols, either way they add a nice subtle layer.

Overall, this is a very good beer and incredibly smooth for the strength, but it doesn't quite have the awe-inspiring complexity of the great quads. Still, very much worth trying.

Photo of Gmann
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Out of a 750ml corked, caged, and foiled bottle. The cork indicates that it was born in November of 2003, the label states to drink by November of 2008. Pours a murky brown color with a nice off-white head that left a nice ring around the glass with some nice lacing. The smell is of mellow roasted malt, mellow dark fruit, and some port wine characteristics. A lighly roasted malt flavor, sweet, with a nice mellow wine grape flavor; quite olde ale like. Definitely port wine like; nice and mellow, nothing sharp here. A Belgian Olde Ale perhaps??? The feel is moderate with soft carbonation, finishes sweet, slick, and sticky. Definitely an aged sample here and aged well. The mellow flavor is quite good; it is very sweet but is quite drinkable. Some nice fruity flavors.

Photo of basica
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow 11 ABV, this is the highest ABV beer I have had thus far. The next highest I tried was 9.5
ABV which is the Westmalle Tripel. This is also the first Quadrupel I have tried; I expected
more complexity in the taste but I am quite sure that if you give me a Dubbel, Quadrupel and a
Belgian Strong Dark Ale, I may not be able to tell the difference. The Kasteel Brune pours out
almost coffee black with a small head that quickly dissipitates to form an average coffee like
lacing. It smells bready and slightly fruity and I think I sense malt as well. This brune hit
me with a fruity sweet taste immediately but it was not overly sweet as some skeptics reported.
It was sweeter than most of the Belgian dark ales but was also balanced out with the malt. The
taste was sufficiently strong and rich and so was the after taste but I preferred the Boucanier
Dark which was similar but better and more well-balanced than this Kasteel Brune. The mouthfeel
of this beer was not as thick as I expected and I would say it is somewhat between full and
medium body, closer to medium body. Again, the Boucanier dark was better in terms of body (closer
to full). The Alcoholism kicks in quite a bit, going at 11 ABV but is still well controlled and
well hidden. Drinkability was surprisingly high although it is an 11 ABV monster but this is
definitely a sipping beer. If you drink it fast, not only would you taste more alcohol than the
fruity Quadrupel taste, you would probably get intoxicated faster. I had mine over 20-30 minutes
and I was already slightly intoxicated. A pretty good but still a few steps to being a great beer.

Photo of avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color and a semi-thick texture. There was a huge, foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: Smelled of dark fruit, malt and sugars.

T: A fairly complex taste of figs, raisins, malt and possibly some caramel. The alcohol is barely noticable.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a solid Belgian beer that's well made and goes down easy despite its high ABV.

Photo of goodbyeohio
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a confident, dense brown with a thin coating of bubbles on top. lacing is pronounced and slides down the side of the glass like a slug. smells very buttery.. yeast toffee and malt notes. fruity with a definite trappist edge in the nose. wow! explodes with banana and berry flavors. taste is a sweet kick with smoothness going down. alcohol is evident but muted by the intense flavor experience here. leaps and bounds above the lighter kasteel. this is a nice, affordable halfway point between rocs grand cru and a trappist quad or dubbel.

Photo of Suds
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich dark brown with crimson highlights and a tan head, this is a pretty beer. Lots of lace, densely bubbled foam, yeah...looks good. The aroma is fantastic as well, with ripe fruit, a little roasted malt (with lots of melanoidins), plenty of alcohol, and a light plum scent. Not as intense as I expected. The flavor, though, is notably impressive. Malty and sweet, low bitterness and decent alcohol feel. Intense malt flavor, and the plum qualities really come out in the taste. The mouthfeel is full and luxuriously smooth. The one downside to the beer is it's sweetness, which is not balanced at all, and can become a bit cloying at times. Still, this is a fantastic brew!

Photo of Cylinsier
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle, labeled "Donker." I'm assuming its the same thing.

The appearance is a really pretty dark brown that appears to be a deep burgundy red when held up to light. The head is very thin, almost nonexistent. Smells good, kind of sugary sweet with maybe hints of caramel and, call me crazy, tobacco. The taste is almost shockingly sweet, too much for me. You can feel the alcohol at the end. The start is like caramel, followed by molasses and dark fruits like figs. Somewhat syrupy, maybe. Feels very smooth like a cognac. The effervescence is subtle. Overall decent drinkability. Great beer, although I personally find it to be too sweet.

Photo of brdc
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large, corked and caged, poured int a goblet.

Dense, opaque dark brown body with some crimson highlights, a thin but good looking head (maybe it is just me, second time tonight), light brown, with decent retention, good lacing.
Nose is heavily malted as expected, caramel, chocolate, raisins and berries, some spiciness as well.
Creamy mouthfeel, nice carbonation, it is quite well balanced, sweet indeed with caramel and chocolate, but fruity, peppery and even somewhat dry at times, which keeps drinkability high.
Not my favorite quadrupel but a very good one.

Photo of Vancer
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Holy crappola, was this one strong, but yet sweet as hell brew. Tasty too!

It may have had an average pour, mahogany brown, minimal head – but what foam could live in that booze? TONS of phenolics, alcohol and sweetish malt in the aroma.

Very unique taste- sweet and stickly malt shake of sharp alcohol and dark fruit candy cane, plus the famous Belgium yeast flavor enrichment. This was a <fresh> bottle, the alcohol was just beneath the surface, and the alcohol exhales could clear a room. Nice.

Thanks to my great son, “studying” overseas in Amsterdam. I was brought this for the unique chance to enjoy direct from Belgium.

Only had a lil' 33cl stubby bottle, could have drank a bigger jobber.

Photo of goblet
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

picked up a 750 ml bottle with a cork and served it in a pint glass .

a dark unclear auburn color with a bubbly tan head that fades fairly quick to a ring around the glass that leaves nice belgian lace.

the aroma is dark fruit and belgian yeast with some toasted malt ,followed by alcohol . the dark fruits remind me of prunes and figs.

the taste is a pure delight it's dark and powerful with alcohol,fruits ,grains,and yeast that seems to blend perfectly together the alcohol isn't to bitter and noticable ,it's very nice .

full body with powerful malt,yeast and alcohol feel on the palette with a tad bit of an alcohol flavor in the after taste.

could be a fan of this brew, cause it's that good .i would pick up a bottle of this again in the future .a fun treat ..cheers.

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.15/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of santa109
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this at L'autre-oeil in Gatineau, QC.

A: Poured a very nice dark mahogany with no head at all into a snifter. A small head started to appear after a few minutes which I found very interesting. It left beautiful lacing on the glass.

S: Enticing aromas of caramel and brown sugar. There was also a bit of grapes in there and it reminded me of port.

T: Very sweet! Plum and dates with some brown sugar. It does get a bit cloying after a while and I generally enjoy this kind of taste.

M: Medium body that is a bit oily. Feels quite smooth.

D: I enjoyed it even though I found the sweetness a bit overwhelming towards the end so I have to deduce a point here.

Overall, a different quadrupel than the ones I'm used to and that I enjoy more. This was still interesting but I don't think I would go for it again.

Photo of jenitivecase
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle from Brussels.

A: Dark amber brown, clear, with substantial carbonation rising up continuously. Pours with a smallish tan head that subsides rapidly into a sizable crown.

S: Malty, and very sweet. I'm picking up an aroma of port with some undertones of dark fruits and brown sugar.

T: Whoa, also very sweet. Mirrors the nose pretty closely; the fruitiness is still present, but with some added caramel tastes and a very sweet, almost syrupy sugar taste. It definitely conceals the presence of 11% alcohol, but I'm worried about the sweetness making this cloying after a while.

M: Good carbonation makes the mouthfeel quite enjoyable. The beer is smooth and creamy, and seems to just glide down the throat. Leaves behind a definite film, but it's coupled with a remaining tingle from the carbonation, so it's not unpleasant.

D: For a quadrupel, this is pretty drinkable. That said, I don't know if I could handle more than one in a go, but I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of this one.

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 mL corked & caged. Button mushroom cork marked "04/2008." The third of three gift beers with matching glasses my wife gave me for Christmas.

Pours a milk chocolate-brown with very little head (even with great effort). What little bubbles there are leave a thick lace on the glass, but there is very little carbonation in this guy.

Soft and sweet aroma - it's a little cold right now, but it should open up more.

First taste almost has the consistency of cold cocoa - smooth and rich. Hint of chocolate, with caramelized fruits and maple syrup. So very soft on the palette - really a unique mouthfeel, just velvety smooth. As it warms a touch, the depth of sweetness comes through - this is a caramelized, rich custard in a glass. Despite the 11% ABV, there is nary a hint of abrasiveness from the alcohol.

A fine sipper, and would make an excellent dessert all on its own.

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 717 ratings.