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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

555 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 555
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 14.91%


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)
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Ratings: 555 | Reviews: 338 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.7/5  rDev +14.9%
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!

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2003 02:25:10 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was served to me in an interesting goblet with the beer logo on the side. A dark, dark brown beer with an initial (though not long lasting) tan creamy head. The beer is quite sweet with lots of caramel notes. A bit of toffee as well, and a finish that is lightly bitter. The bitter seems to be as much from the high alcohol as from the hops. It has quite a thick body that gently caresses and coats the mouth in it soothing embrace. This is quite a good beer, A dark contemplative brew that is great as a rainy Belgian afternoon snack.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2003 16:25:57 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of TripelJ
TripelJ

Florida

4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Kasteel Donker 750ml

I enjoyed the tripel so much I had to try the dark offering from this fine brewery. The deepest crimson-brown with little trace of light through the glass. Smells are abundant, mostly sweet malts, rum raisin, maple syrup, figs, slight phenol from the alcohol. Tastes are sweet with a variety of flavors on the palette that reflect the nose--Raisins, figs, maple syrup (nice thick mouthfeel), maybe some currant to round out the sweetness. This beer is all sweet and it hides the 11% alcohol well in the taste, although you quickly feel the effects. Overall, not the best dark belgian I've had, but certainly worth a try, and I could drink a 750ml by myself anytime.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2003 02:36:48 | More by TripelJ
Photo of bigbelcher
bigbelcher

Arizona

4.9/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One of the best Belgian beers in the world. Packs a wallop at 11% alc. One of my personal favorites and now available in Arizona. If this beer has any drawbacks it is that it is too strong to be a session beer but I could drink it all day long.

Dark, very rich, sweet and malty.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2003 08:51:38 | More by bigbelcher
Photo of marburg
marburg

Michigan

4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Exceptionally deep and rich in color, the beer is a dark brown leather hue with an off-white head that rapidly disappears, becoming little more than a ring around the glass.

Huge aromas of all sorts of blended varieties of sweetness -- over-ripened fruits, perhaps, more than anything. Very sweet to the taste. Sugary. Dark raisins. Very intense flavor that masks the 11% behind a wall of candy-like flavor.

I had only a tiny scrap of a napkin on which to write notes about this beer, and it's most unfortunate. It's fruity complexities are impressive and very fun. I'm sure there are far more adjectives that one could use to describe this beer. It's aroma and taste are compelling to say the least.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2003 18:12:20 | More by marburg
Photo of aracauna
aracauna

Georgia

3.15/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown. Actually black from many angles. The biege head is fizzy and weak. The aroma is faint - sweet, slightly citric. Flavor is surprisingly light considering color. Sweet but not cloying. A bit of wood. Don't let it get too warm however as the sweetness grows and becomes sticky. Works well with sweet foods, however. Far from dry in any sense of the term. Far from bad but is a bit wimpy, which lets the sweetness run wild.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2003 00:08:47 | More by aracauna
Photo of cokes
cokes

Wisconsin

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(10/02 on the cork; best before 09/07)

Shadowy and clear burnt crimson hue under a smallish tan dome that endures as a film.
Yeasty aromatics coupled with bursting ripe darks fruits. Merely a foreshadowing of what is in store.
A wall of sugared plums and candied raisins comes crashing down. In its wake resides figs and dates with a liquid caramel topping. Dark, fruity and twisted wreckage. Brown sugar and molasses ride in triumphantly. Hugely sweet, borders on overpoweringly so, but the yeasty tones that enter next prevent such a fate. Peppery spice, sourdough bread and traces of farmhouse create enough of a countering force to allow the sweetness to be tempered, albeit momentarily. Cane sugar resurges and couples with dark rum and port. Lingering vanilla-creamed blackberries complete things.

A consistency of melted soft-serve ice cream. Thick and heavy, sticky yet runny.
The alcoholic wrath is never noticed in the taste. Hidden is an understatement. This is frightening, and perhaps illegal in its high-octane rush down the throat.
A sipper, but an insanely drinkable one.

A sweet-toothed fantasy.
Find this one.
Please.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2003 00:44:55 | More by cokes
Photo of mickeymac
mickeymac

California

4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It comes in a 750 ml green bottle with a nice looking label. It's caged and corked. The cork says 10-2002, and the back of the bottle says 09-07, apparently the "serve by" date. It pours a beautiful dark brownish-red, sort of a deep cherry. The head comes out strong and fades a bit but leaves a decent trace of lace on the glass. The smell is a very complex combination of ripe fruit and that musty Belgian smell that's so welcoming. The taste is plum and raisin and most certainly on the sweet side, yet without being cloying. The mouthfeel is on the creamy side and makes the experience even more enjoyable. The beer is certainly strong, but the 11% abv does not overwhelm the beer and it's quite drinkable. This is a very nice beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2003 21:13:44 | More by mickeymac
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
JohnnyDuvel

Florida

3.8/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had the Kasteel triple recently, and loved it. One of the best beers I've ever had. This one, unfortunately, is just too sweet for me. Of all of the Belgian beers I've had, this is the sweetest. Pours a beautiful, dark brown with a prominent foamy head. Nice, foamy lace, some head remains throughout. Hard to describe the taste, being that the sweetness is so prevalent. I feel great while drinking this beer. It leaves me (predictably) with a wonderful, warm feeling. But, with all of the great alternatives, I am not likely to buy this one again. (On the positive side, my wife (who doesn't drink beer), tried it and kind of liked it. Now I can get her to sample some other beers!)

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2003 21:26:49 | More by JohnnyDuvel
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.78/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A rich dark brown color, more reddish in light, below a large creamy head. Nose is very sweet, with notes of toffee, cream, nuts, and a particular toasty character. Hints of spices, cloves, anise. Soft, spicy, and warm on the palate, with a lush and lasting finish. ABV unknown to me, but it's starting to deliver now. Perfect consolation on this freezing cold late January Minnesota afternoon. Full-bodied, tangy, hugely characterful, and an ever-unfolding delight to drink. Much like a hybrid of brandy and a candy bar! Delicious, delightful, d'lovely!
Mine was served in a Scaldis glass, which ably did the trick.

11-02-03
Above review from a tap sampling at Bryant Lake Bowl. Just had a 750ml bottled I'd been saving, this one labeled as "Donker-Foncee", and I echo my previous statements: this is one incredible brew. Just wish I could find more bottles around here!

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2003 15:55:56 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of marc77
marc77

California

4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Crystal clear deep garnet hue, w/ a head that quickly dissipates into a tight tan ring due to the high apparent alcohol content. Spotty isolated bubble inlands are left. The aroma is dominated by vinous, alcohol soaked dark fruit w/ a contrasting dark caramel and chocolate malt. Hint of dry, coffeeish roasted barley is present as well. Earthy Styrian Goldings hop nose. When combined with the light clove phenol, bubblegum esters and pleasantly peppery alcohol the nose knows this is a potent Belgian. Unfortunately, there's a slight hint of lightstruck derived mercaptans (curse of the green bottle) that prevents the aroma from acheiving greatness. Assertive, molasses like, dark candi sugar sweetness is perceived initially in flavor, then is ceded by a melange of dark, dried fruit including raisin and sugary dates. The dark fruitiness then melds with dark caramel malt, light chocolate and pseudosweet alcohol to lend an overall impression of bourbon soaked chocolate cake. Yeast derived flavors emerge late and mirror their presence in aroma, consisting of clove and mild bubblegum. Ethanol flavors are well controlled, w/ only slight peppery notes percpetible. Hop bitterness is paltry and leaves malt sweetness virtually unhindered, yet sweetness doesn't become cloying, due to this brew's inherent complexity. Moderately bodied, w/ a sugary and dextrinous mouthfeel. Finishes both sweet and lightly roasty, with enveloping alcohol warmth surfacing concomitantly. Kasteel Donker is a tremendously flavorful brew. Although sweet all around in character, the sweetness is multi faceted and contrasted by both yeast esters and mellow dark grain. Considering its strength, the drinkability is supreme. Donker is an oxy moron of a brew-- ballsy and refined. Bottled 8/2001.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2002 18:33:04 | More by marc77
Photo of mattmaples
mattmaples

Oregon

5/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

You don't see me give all 5 but for this beer I just can't help it. I can not argue with one word Todd wrote. This is easily in the top three of my favorite beers of all time. This is the port wine of beer. Rich complex, malty without being sweet. I have one left in my cellar and the distributor has been out for the last 6 months. Dear god I hope they get more in time! I would put this head to head against any trappist for malt complexity, enjoyability, and price.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2001 00:01:44 | More by mattmaples
Photo of Todd
Todd

Colorado

4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A "donker" beer, brewed in 1999 (mine was). A dark brown brew. Very rich and malty with a port-like finish. Sweet bliss in a bottle with a shelf life of over 25 years. One of my favourite of the sweet dark beers that I tried when in Belgium (March 2000).

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2001 12:33:58 | More by Todd
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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 555 ratings.