Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

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Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

363 Reviews
THE BROS
100
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 363
Hads: 784
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 13.61%
Wants: 79
Gots: 109 | FT: 2
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 363 | Hads: 784
Photo of DenisKolkin
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle purchased from LCBO for $3.30 CDN. Seems like a good deal for what is supposedly a world-class Quad.

Appearance - Opaque dark brown cola color, with red hues. A finger of off-white head is poured and dissipates fairly quickly. Soapy residue left on top of this beer.

Smell - Even when quite cold significant dark fruit and candied fruit aromas. The stereotypical Belgian yeast aroma is present, although subdued. Very sweet smelling like a fresh dessert platter.

Taste - Significant cherry flavor and very sweet overall, especially compared with other Quads Belgian Yeasts and some toasted brown sugar mixed in some sort of rich mixture is also something prevalent on the tongue. Quite delicious and very flavorful even at low temperatures. Significant cola flavors in here as well.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated and not boozy until the second half of any given sip, which is when you notice that enormous 11% ABV and decide this is a beer to be respected and should be consumed slowly. Bit of a spicy mixture on the back end at low temperatures.

Overall - A very fine quad, maybe not quite in the Westy 12 and Rochefort 10 league but eminently enjoyable and at all times a serious beer that is to be respected and enjoyed. Would gladly pick up another especially at the current price in Ontario. (1,313 characters)

Photo of monketeeth
4.51/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Drinking this one out of a Chimay chalice. Hazy dark brown with a 1 finger head that quickly dissipates. Light lacing holds the side nicely when you swirl the glass. Medium thickness, I would not say syrupy but in the ballpark. Very inviting when held up to the light.

S- Maple syrup, assorted dried fruits (figs, dates and prunes in a good way), brown sugar and a very light touch of cinnamon.

T- Taste follows the nose. Pleasantly sweet ,but not cloyingly so, with lots of those dried fruits and a bit of brown sugar and maple syrup. Really reminds me of the fall going into winter with the dried fruit preserves or even a bit like apple butter. Wow!!! I really love this stuff! As it warms the flavors become more pronounced. Light but very pleasant burn on the back end.

M- Smooth and a bit syrupy with that hint of burn on the way down. The alcohol is nicely hidden with just enough to let you know that it is there. Light to medium carbonation. Overall very pleasant.

O- This bottle was aged for 3 yrs. and I must say, I reeeally love this stuff. I've had other bottles of varying years/age and this one was the best. Simply outstanding as a stand alone or a dessert beer. I would not say that this is a "whole bottle in one sitting" beer. Best shared with a friend. (1,279 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $3.25

Appearance – Hazy brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. It’s hard to make out the carbonation level due to the darkness of the beer and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel/molasses, metallic

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel/molasses, and some yeast. There is also some cola like sweetness and a hint of dark fruits.

Overall – ABV is well hidden and it tastes a little like a barley wine in some ways.. I'd like a little more dark fruit flavour rather than the cola notes, but this is still an excellent brew. Just a little one dimensional. Curious to see how this ages. (780 characters)

Photo of DaveBar
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO 330ml bottle for $3.25. Served at 8deg C in a tulip

A- Opened very well. Nice head, very dark

S- Malty. Metallic smell is pretty harsh

T- Pretty good. Very hot though. To be expected at 11%. roasted malt, almost quadly goodness.

M- Excellent! Very creamy and smooth even with the high ABV.

O- Very good. Will need years and years to simmer down but doubt highly it will ever lose it's hotness.

Food Pairing

This wonderful Donker paired well with... roast beef. Nice root veggies and you have a dinner.

Enjoy (539 characters)

Photo of polloenfuego
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 330 ml bottle to a chalice.

A: pours a deep brown with red highlights. There is a thin one finger head that breaks quickly and leaves a thin ring of bubbles. Small lacing with a swirl.

S: sweet dark fruits such as figs and prunes are up front. Brown sugar, malts and some yeasts are also present. Very pleasant.

T: much of the nose follows onto the palate. Those dark fruits are dominant but the sweet of brown sugar or candy comes through a bit more too. The malts and yeasts round this out nicely. Alcohol is there but not invasive.

M: medium carbonation with a full body. Very smooth and enjoyable.

O: I would say this beer was a sleeper for me. I wasn't expecting what I got at all. While I know some would call it a touch sweet, I liked the dark fruit profile a great deal. If you like big Belgians I think you will like this. (848 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Glowing chestnut with steady clingy finger of cappuccino foam that trails.
Deep nose of cinnamon raisin toast, brandy butter, and toffee apples.
Golden sultana and soft caramel up front, some almost-ripe figs, vanilla tones, clove sneaking through with some bruised pears, and a hint of herbal hops at the end.
Slight ginger + bubblegum end and long wood spice linger.
Medium headed towards full, chewy, slight heat.

Huge - loads of residual (candy?) sugar make for a big body, and the fruit-and-sweets flavor notes enhance that. Not far from Backwoods Bastard in terms of big, round, sweetness - fruits are all yellow rather than dark. Yeast and fizz save it from cloying, but only just. Nice to sip slow like some honey-soaked pastry that hurts your teeth, but I wanted something to lift this a bit.

The top of the 2nd tier of quads. (841 characters)

Photo of falloutsnow
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From: BInny's, Champaign, IL
Date: Bottled 2012-01-25
Glass: Founders snifter

Though a bit strong with its ethanol presentation, I found myself really enjoying this beer's heavy caramel sweetness and interesting anise and dried fruit mixtures. The mouthfeel was fairly heavy, yet effortlessly foamy and smooth thanks to well-executed carbonation. Overall, a very good, somewhat unique Belgian Quad that hit most of my flavor pleasure zones, a good one to seek out again.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of tan colored foam, made up of small-sized bubbles that yield a frothy-looking appearance. Foam retention is average, around one minute, fading to a thick ring around the glass and a medium-sized island of thin foam that remains atop the body of the beer for the duration of the session. Lacing is very good, with some large blotches and lines, with smaller dots clinging with some fairly high density to the walls of the glass. Beer's body is a dark brown to black color, with light bringing out orange hues around the perimeter of the beer. Carbonation not visible through the opaque body.

Aroma of sweet, deep caramel and burnt sugar, with strong raisin characters.

Overall flavor of dense caramel sweetness, burnt sugar, anise, prunes, and ethanol; the anise and other(?) phenols I can't describe products of the Belgian yeast, which give this its characteristic flavors. Front of palate picks up heavy caramel sweetness, prunes, moderate anise, mild ethanol, and a hint of roasted barley. Mid-palate of caramel, burnt sugar, cola, prune, anise, and ethanol, all fairly equally well-expressed. Back of palate of slight grape, prune, anise, caramel, cola, mild ethanol Aftertaste of caramel and burnt sugar, slight raisin and prune, faint anise.

Beer is heavy-bodied, with carbonation of medium to medium-low intensity, resulting in a smooth (1/3) and otherwise foamy (2/3) mouthfeel that suits the beer and the style quite well. Ethanol felt as heat in the nostrils and low burn on the palate and back of throat, not surprising for an 11% ABV beer, fairly well-integrated into the overall package. Closes dry, with heavy stickiness on the palate and lips. (2,160 characters)

Photo of RandomExile
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: brownish red, silty, faintly transparent; fluffy initial tan head, fades to a centimeter ring and covering surface film; spotty lacing
S: sweet, malt, raisin
T: sweet, dark fruit, sugar, alcohol
M: smooth, full-bodied
O: Perhaps too sweet and cloying.. There are fascinating notes of apple peel, raisin, and prune, but you wouldn't want to drink too much of it quickly. (372 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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 (1,454 characters)

Photo of Steamer
4.96/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Thick, almost dirty appearance; like freshly stomped grapes with all the residue that goes with it. Strong smell of fig, reminds me of the fig newtons I loved as a kid; you can also catch a hint of alcohol in the nose - not surprising considering the high ABV (11%). Nothing tame about the aroma. Wow! Tastes of grapes, fig, sweet caramel, and a little alcohol bite; sweet and fruity after taste. Mouthfeel - Like a high gravity, squeezed fruit drink, very full bodied. Overall - This is about as good as it gets for a quad. I didn't think I would find one better than Trappistes Rochefort 10 but this one is tops it in my book - a little pricey at about $19 for a four pack but well worth it. (693 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up last week at Top Hops, having never tried this before. This looked it packed quite a punch and in actuality, it did. Thankfully, there was so much to like about this and for being a strong beer, I actually had to pace myself when it came time to review it. It's exceptionally tasty and smooth, since all of the flavors and the mouthfeel blended seamlessly together.

The pour to this was quite dark, with a cola-like appearance with garnet edges. The head was pretty full and topped by the lacing, which left a spider-web of remnants down the sides of my point glass as I worked my way through this. Lots of candied sugar, brown sugar, and cherry in the nose, reinforced by plum, currant, and fig in the taste. Ya like dark fruit? Look no further. This beer had it all and boy,, did they come into harmony in this bottle. Toss in some dark chocolate, booze, and mead-like sweetness and the result was this doozy of a brew that subtly hit me over the head before I could even finish it. The worst part about it? I ignored the warning signs and kept right on going, because this was so damn good.

Who cares if this wasn't a session beer? You'll want more than one in a sitting anyways. I had the 11.2 oz. bottle that didn't even expire until January but that was more than enough to get a feel for this. Not all quads are created equal and the spice and heavy mouthfeel weren't present here. What resulted was a beer that would be a dessert until itself, unassumingly shoving dinner aside in the process. A must-have for anyone who love Belgian Beers without the seriousness underneath the surface. Really fabulous take on the style! (1,648 characters)

Photo of Ryanm1
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 ounce cage and cork into a glass. Poured really brown dark in color. Moderate amount of white lacing.

Sweet smell, typical of Belgian quads, tastes of dried dark fruit such as plums, raisins and dates. Thick and syrupy that is a beer that takes a lot of time to finish. The 11 percent abv is noticeable with the smell of alcohol. Also the taste of alcohol is present at the finish similar to a glass of wine. Otherwise the finish was excellent. You can also notice the legs on the glass when finished. (520 characters)

Photo of Lungman
4.87/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is in a class of its own. I dont know what class, but never had anything like it. Super nice quad that pours a thick ruby black. Taste like a pissed off chocolate cake. Smells like honey and brown sugar. How the 11% is hidden so well I will never know. Mouthfeel is creamy but a bit awkward like a junior prom tongue kiss behind the first base dugout, but unforgettable just the same. This damn beer is so sweet and strong. I don't know what to do with this...? (471 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.66/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1/25/12.

Pours an almost opaque crimson-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, spice, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with super sweet dark fruit and alcohol flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but it's very sweet and sugary, even for the style. (586 characters)

Photo of IchLiebeBier
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Dark chestnut; small, cream-colored head, dissipates quickly

Aroma: Peppery; spicy; cloves

Taste: Very sweet, warming start; honey-meade like body; well balanced with bitterness; very good flavor

Remarks: Very, very enjoyable beer

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores (312 characters)

Photo of TheRougeBastard
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.5 oz bottle, that was bottle on Jan 25, 2012! The color was a cocoa black with minimal head as poured into my liberated pub glass. The aroma was pleasant with only a slight knod to the 11% abv. First taste revealed hints of dark chocolate, caramel and figs, but surprisingly little alcoholic bite! This is a very smooth beverage! It is a tad heavy so like another poster suggested, this would not be a good choice for a summer BBQ, however a perfect choice for later on! World class all the way! (512 characters)

Photo of Blindpigbiz
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Style/abv: quadruple/11%

Smell: milk chocolate, figs, tinges of apricot, and caramel sauce

Taste: subtle caramel notes with intense dark fruits, figs, and cherries, with coca-cola (minus the effervescence) and a warm-scotch bite at the finish

Pairs very well with barbecue chicken pizza and hot wings: enough said (316 characters)

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

33cl bottle into a snifter, bottled 1/25/12. Just over a year old.

A: Pours a very dark amber/brown, almost black. Two fingers of dense off white foam forms with great retention.

S: Strong dark fruits dominate - mainly prunes and raisins - a touch of plums as well, but in the background. Nutmeg and orange peel help balance the intense dark fruits. Very sweet, but complex with nice yeast esters.

T: Again very sweet, now prunes mix with caramel to produce a very nice malt character. Again, nutmeg comes through quite nicely. A bit of citrus comes through as well, but not as much as I'd like.

M: Quite thick for the style with rather low, creamy carbonation.

O: quite sweet for the style, but very good. I'd enjoy a bit more yeast character as well. Either way, a nice Quad. (782 characters)

Photo of Brew_More
4.76/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is a dark, sweet beer. Not something I might drink on a hot afternoon. However in the evening, this is my favorite beer. Heavy, filling, unique. I have never had a beer quite like this one. This beer is like "Port" is to Wine. It is a beer with a different, unique flavor, that is great to finish off an evening with. Belgium classic. (337 characters)

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Beige head on a hazy deep tudor brown body. Soapy lacing sticks to the glass. Aroma includes candi sugar, brown sugar, dates, overripe banana, some alcohol and raisins. Mouthfeel is thick, tongue coating. Tasting notes are similar to the aroma although the alcohol is not noted on tasting. Very nice quad, as expected from Kasteel. (382 characters)

Photo of pkalix
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

dark, thick, not clear through. half-finger head, dissipating to nothing within a minute.
aroma of dark fruit.
taste is dark fruit, sweet malt. too sweet. what the heck did they do to this to make it so sickeningly sweet and yet retain the alcohol? is it a brewed down liqueur?
actually, it's not a bad sipper. maybe that's how i should be approaching this, eh? 11% abv?
i had to give it 4.5's across the board. it's got its ups and downs but this is an enigma. this is special. this a quad and quads are complex. i dont have the patience to evaluate most quads, i just appreciate the ability to drink it and the high abv. i'm a lush, eh? what more can you expect from me? it all comes out here and now. i think i need a good stout after this.... (746 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle at Poo Restaurant in Sukhothai. Bartender poured the entire contents of the bottle into a Kasteel glass, which is an unorthodox practice with Belgian beers. This is the first 'craft beer' I've had in about 3 months.

A - Poured murky brown with a half finger white head that faded fast. Good carbonation. Decent lace down the glass and head that maintains as film.

S - Vinous, rich dark fruit, lot's of sugar and brown sugar, vanilla, really smooth aroma.

T - Lot's of sugar, grapes, shark dark fruit, vinous, brown sugary fruits, a touch of alchohol that works well.

M - Nice full body, sweet finish, not cloying, nice carbonation.

O/D - Very little alcohol which is surprising for the ABV. A tad sweet, otherwise quite nice. Warms up to become nice and smooth. Doesn't break the mold but definitely does the trick. (827 characters)

Photo of Offa
4.67/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is a wonderful, rich but very drinkable quadrupel that belies its strength and is a great after-dinner/dessert ale in particular. but also great with cheeses, etc.

Extremely dark red-brown, almost black, it has a small tan head steadily shrinking to foamy ring and wisps.

Aroma is wonderful zesty fruit and spice, gingerbread, dried figs and cherries, dark toasted bread crust.

Taste is not quite as complex as the aroma but is wonderful, full, well-rounded and approachable despite the richness and strength. It has sweet-spicy dried fruits, ginger cake, port, sweeter up front but a slightly direr finish of dark toast and dried fig. It is not extremely complex, but has some complexity and a nicely well-rounded character. Feel is firm with a hint of oiliness but also a bit lively, and it is not heavy or truly oily, much less viscous. The high abv is hinted at in the port-like element, but otherwise the boozy alcoholic quality is nicely restrained, adding an enriching warmth without making the booziness overtly noticeable, much less harsh in any way. (1,067 characters)

Photo of Danny1217
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle, poured into a St. Bernardus goblet.
Pours a very dark brown color - darker than most quads I have tried. The head dissipates rather quickly, but leaves a bit of lacing behind. Kind of disappointing head retention for a Belgian ale.
Smells of molasses, caramel, and some dark fruits. Raisins, cherries, cranberries, and figs. A nice and complex aroma.
First thing I notice when it hits my mouth is the extreme smoothness. The body is a tad light in comparison to some other quads and dark Belgian ales, but not to a point where it hurts the beer. The body is still quite full, actually. The carbonation is fairly light. The taste is somewhat similar to the aroma. Lots of caramel, molasses, and candy sugar sweetness. Lots of dark fruits flavors.

A quad that can stand among the elite abbey and trappist quads of the world. (838 characters)

Photo of jonb5
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle, poured into Leffe Chalice. Dark with auburn edges, almost opaque. A small tanned head bursted out towards the end of the pour but it faded straight away. Initially the yeasty, cranberry aroma was weak but it got stronger as the beer warmed. Tasted brown sugar, cranberry, cherry, yeast and molasses. Finish was delayed and had a biscuity edge to it, there was also a slight burn from the booze. Had an initial prickly edge from the carbonation, smooth texture, light bodied for the strength. I liked how it hid the booze, need to explore a few more strong dark Belgian ales before I can really give a good judgement on this. (638 characters)

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.