Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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: 108 | 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.
View: Beers (33) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kasteel Donker Alström Bros
Reviews: 363 | Hads: 784
Photo of smakawhat
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Trappistes Rochefort glass.

Deep chestnut brown and red, with a swirling top of middle carbonation. Very little head creation, and leaving a faint fine tan collar on the edges. Love this swirling effect.

Huge fig note aromas. Thick raisin, hints of dry nutmeg, and very clean sensing. Not even boozy hot. Very impressive. A bit of a one note angle, but an extremely good one on the bouquet.

Palate hits with a very nice control, but extremely syrupy feel. Thick raisin syrup and fig notes, with a mild sense of brown sugar. Big full mouth coating effect in the palate, and almost nutty aftertaste. Big on the sweetness but goes more to true fruit than something artifical and overly sugary. Hints toward purple juiced grape a bit too.

Overall a very solid off the radar quad, but just a bit too sweet for my tastes. (861 characters)

Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (914 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
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. (1,072 characters)

Photo of biegaman
4.29/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first glance 'brune' seems about all there is to this beer but a birds-eye inspection reveals a universe of colour swirling about the glass. In both reflection and rim there is cognac-like amber, Bordeaux-like red, and rich roasted coffee brown. If this sample is proper indication, expect to see as much head as the Atacama dessert does rain.

I don't need to read the label to know that this is strong; each and every of the eleven percent alcohol is present and accounted for. Still, this potent fog hardly makes breathing more difficult, instead it makes it so much more pleasurable: notes of dark sugar and toffee, anisette, dried cherries, figs, dates and plums reward each breath.

It's a marvel how such disparate things as figs and yeast, barley malt and dates can end up tasting so much alike. When we use to the term 'fruity' in describing beer flavours it is most often a suggestive, nuanced term. Not in this case. The taste is exactly as I'd imagine a blend of macerated figs, dates, dark cherries and pomegranates.

It is like dark fruits were pressed through a sieve, their juices distilled and then the distillate was blended back in with the puree as well as some additional juices. This has the lush, plumpness of perfectly ripened, in season fruits as well as their intense, potent, concentrated spirits. It has as much depth and complexity as any single malt, spirit or wine.

The beer's heightened flavours and fervent potency definitely lend it to a snifter. Often times more can be better with these toothsome, sensual Belgian ales but I'm happy this came in the 33cl bottle because a 75cl one would simply be overkill. It's needless to have more than one glass to appreciate a beer so exorbitant and gratifying.

This is one of those ales that inspires people to make the claim that 'beer is more sophisticated than wine'. While wishing to keep myself out of that discussion, I'll admit, Kasteel Bruin certainly helps out their argument - it really does transcend the world of malted beverages. Any first-rate, self-respecting beer cellar will keep this in stock. (2,095 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
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. (887 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a four-finger brown head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Mahogany/brown color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Malty nose. Flavor is caramel, dark fruit, sweet. Clean finish. High ABV is hidden. I need more of these to cellar! Bottled Jul 2007, $4.20 for a 330ml bottle from a Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, ME. (324 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a bright, and vibrant cranberry-sherry color with a thin creamy khaki colored head which quickly gave way leaving a thin, broken film lacing on the way down.

S: very vinous, tart grapes and berries with some noticeable alcohol.

T: sweet sugary malt with vinous grapes, tart berries and a big tart alcohol flavor. There was a big acidity with a wine like nature. Ripe fruit and sugar plums were detected before finishing with a warming tart alcohol finish. Overall a sweet, very acidic, vinous drink that drank more like a sherry or wine then beer. Good overall, but probably wouldn't be interested in buying again.

M: light, very vinous, smooth with sweet sugary malt and tart berries followed by a big tart alcohol finish on the swallow.

D: A nice drink overall, but definitely a slow sipper and the bomber will take a while to get through. The alcohol was noticeable but was halfway through the bottle before I read the 11.0% abv which soon made sense. A good drink I thought but more wine then beer which sways me not to try again. (1,052 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color. 1/2 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, hops, citrus, tart malt, and slight roasted malt. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, slight hops, caramel, slight tart malt, yeast, and slight cherry. Overall, good body, but noticeably strong alcohol dominates. (435 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Unfortunately, this is the first Belgian "Quadrupel" I've had the pleasure of tasting, though the style-lines are a little fuzzy.

It's not as carbonated as a Belgian Dark (similar to how a tripel compares to a Belgium Blonde).

It certainly has some more alcohol taste than a Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue / Blauw), which is classed as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Anyway, the appearance is that of a dark malt syrup. Denser and not as bubbly as the Chimay Blue.

Aroma is dominated by sweet malt, with some port-like undertones.

Taste is very complex. The alcohol strength leaves a distinct taste, similar to a tripel. It could be described as Chimay Blue, taken to a higher level (a little more flavour, a lot more alcohol).

Mouthfeel was full, like a concentrated Belgium Brune.

Drinkability is a tough descriptor, this is a must for any serious beer-geek, but it is certainly not a session beer!

Perfect for a night-cap. (943 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip. My bottle is labeled as having been bottled on 8/4/2007, so it's got a couple of years.

Appearance: very dark brown-amber which allows some red light through when held up to a light source. Head is practically nonexistent: a thin film of large tan bubbles; not surprising for a beer this size.

Smell: musty, yeasty, bready aroma with plums and alcohol. For all that, the aroma is not turned up to a very high volume, even as the beer warms. Not too bad, though.

Taste: rather a lot like the aroma, but somehow more pleasing. Nice rich malt flavor that tastes old and strong. Alcohol is definitely noticeable here, but it's not necessarily a bad thing; the natural dark fruit flavors are complemented.

Mouthfeel: rich, silky mouthfeel despite low carbonation. Body is medium but it has a great, not syrupy but not thin consistency.

Drinkability: actually, quite drinkable for its strength. I'm going to enjoy this glass a lot. (969 characters)

Photo of DrJay
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very nice dark chestnut brown with deep amber and red highlights. This was topped by a thin lacing of light brown foam that showed a little stickage and good retention.

Smell: Big roasted malt aroma with some alcohol, dried fruit, tobacco, and floral/perfumy hops. Nice complexity and balance.

Taste: A little too sweet for my taste. Maltiness is quite strong with a good deal of cherry-like fruitiness. Not much in the way of bitterness to balance the sweetness. The finish is quite long, with a spicy phenols and alcohol becoming prominent.

Mouthfeel: Full body and viscous, with lots of unfermented sugars. Low carbonation. In fact, it leaves a sticky residue on the lips. Alcohol warmth is noticeable on the tongue and at the back of the throat.

Drinkability: The syrupy sweetness makes it difficult to get through a whole bottle by myself. The aroma and flavours are quite pleasant, but I just can't get over the sweetness...

330 mL short brown bottle with best before date stamped on the rear label. (1,032 characters)

Photo of Viggo
1.71/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Only beer I've had that got progressively worse and undrinkable as time went on. Pours a dark mahogany brown, lots of off white head and lacing. Smells is sweet malt, alcohol, and dark fruits. Taste is horribly sweet, dark cherries, and overpowering alcohol. The mouthfeel was the only pleasant thing about this beer, the carbonation was good. This beer is only good for cooking, it tasted like brown sugar mixed with rubbing alcohol, and this was a bottle that had been aged for 7 months at my house. Insanely one dimensional, it burns from the alcohol. Not recommended at all, horrible. It took all my willpower to force it down and not throw this out. (654 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle
Bottled on 03/05/2009

A- Pours a dark cherry red with some dark brown color as well with a light tan colored head that turns into a ring of lace.

S- The aroma is definitely dominated by the malt. Dark fruits (most notably raisin and plum), dark candied sugar, caramel, cherries and a yeasty spiciness. The aroma is very complex, really liking this one so far.

T- The taste like the aroma is full of sweet malt with lots of raisin and hints of cherry flavor with some alcohol soaked plums in the finish. The alcohol is definitely present in the taste, but is remarkably hidden for a 11% ABV beer.

M- The mouthfeel is full bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I really enjoyed this one. This is a world-class beer without question. I think it is a little underrated here on BA. Definitely worth seeking out! (844 characters)

Photo of Brad007
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark reddish-brown color with a one-finger head into my goblet.

Aroma is full of raisin, tart cherry and sweet malt. Seems to have an interesting touch to it.

Taste is full of sweet malt with hints of cherry and raisin upfront. Smooth and lightly chewy. A bit of alcohol burn as well.

Mouthfeel is full of cherry and raisin and the alcohol. Sweet. Tart. Very refreshing.

A refreshing example of the style. A bit too sweet at times but it has enough depth to stand up to other examples. Very drinkable. (514 characters)

Photo of Gusler
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some how I’ve over looked this beer sitting on a shelf in my favorite beer palace, till a friend pointed out this was the “Donker”, not the “Blonde”, so always read the fine print.

The beer as it shoves off from the bottle pours a pellucid deep garnet color, the head mastodonic in size, the texture creamy, and the color a winsome tan, as it slowly erodes, the laces forms a tight seal upon the glass. Nose has a significant yeast aroma, sweet caramel, hints of fusel alcohol, a real sniffer this one, start is quite sweet, nice malt presence, and the top is moderate in its feel upon the palate. Finish has a potent acidity, the hops stinging in their spiciness, the aftertaste quite dry and sweet, with a definite tummy warming sensation from the 11 percent ABV, a quaffable brew tis’ true. (802 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 jrallen34
3.29/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Drank from a bottle into a chalice in Brussels at Delirium Cafe.

This beer is very thick but with bad head. Its dark black with a tan oily head. There is some decent lacing.

It smells very much like coffee and caramal, ands tastes the same.

Its pretty good, but you can't drink more than one. (296 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (460 characters)

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

11.2oz stub, post-mussels at dr granville moores

cell phone notes

appearance: very dark mahogany with moderate garnet tint. maybe a faux purple shade. almost no head to speak of

smell: big and sweet - booze soaked plum, fig, hot caramel, big candied sugars

taste: pretty original belgian dark - big emphasis on brown sugar, alcohol infused plum, sugar coated raisin, caramel swirls, peppery alcohol.

mouthfeel: sweet and smooth, on the full end of the body scale

drinkability: good enuff (494 characters)

Photo of ccrida
3.4/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into a tumbler, in Amsterdam. Dark ruddy brown, small light tan head, scattered lace.

Smell is kind of acrid, nut liqueur like maltiness that doesn't hint of the extreme sweet alcohol blasts that for comes the first sip.

Taste is very hot, sweet, alcoholic but not fusels, cleaner, not very phenolic, intense focus

Mouthfeel is sticky syrup and coats the back of the throat, with a lighter body.

Drinkability is OK, not this beers strong suit, as it is so intense you must sip slowy. The kind of beer you need to sip with water. An extreme quad, and must try for lovers of the style. A bit too much for me here though to love. (640 characters)

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is malty with caramel and bread hints and a noticeable alcohol nip. It pours a dark, slightly hazy mahogany with a thick, fairly persistent pale tan head. Flavor is malty and surprisingly sweet, having tones of honey, caramel and toffee in addition to the malt. Alcohol bite is more subtle than in the aroma. Texture is fairly smooth and fizzy, leaving behind a soft but persistent tingle. Finish is sweet but not cloying, and has a nice alcohol nip to it. (462 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an almost black body with a constantly there one-finger tan head in a tulip glass. A strong fruit smell, like orange and a little grape (dark fruit), and some hints of sweet and bread malts. A great smoothness is what first struck me with this beer, as there is a balance between the malts (some sweet and bread, little oaky even) and dark/heavy fruits (orange, grape again). A little sticky and syrupy, like there's some molasses in there, but finishes clean with a little bit of a hop prickle on the tongue. A solid beer to sip and relax with as the ABV is well-hidden. (578 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 Jwale73
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my Sam Adams Sensory glass. Poured the color of cola. Two inch thick, fluffy white head settled into a thin layer of foam. A sheet of belgian lacing blanketed the sides of the glass during the tasting. Strong scent of dark fruit immediately hits the nose (raisins, prunes, plums) followed by a sweet, sugary smell and a faint aroma of yeast. Taste similar to nose with a bit of alcohol astringency at the finish, which is pleasantly masked by the sweetness of the brew. Warm, full mouthfeel with a little liveliness on the tongue. This is a truly greaat Quadrupel, but definitely meant for savoring slowly. (616 characters)

Photo of Dogbrick
4.59/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at From The Vine monthly beer tasting Oct 13th, 2003: This was probably my favorite beer of the tasting and a pleasant surprise. This is the beer Chimay Bleu wants to be. Pours a brownish-amber color with a medium thick beige head. Lots going on in the aroma - fruit, malt, port wine and caramel. Nicely rich body with a complex blend of malt, grain, chocolate, raisins and spicy alcohol. The finish is sweet toffee and malt. Outstanding. (446 characters)

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