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Kasteel Donker - Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Not Rated.
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

703 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 703
Reviews: 352
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 14.32%
Wants: 71
Gots: 79 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001)
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: 703 | Reviews: 352 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brad007
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of Gusler
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of dirtylou
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
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

Photo of avalon07
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
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 Evil_Pidde
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of jrallen34
3.28/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

Photo of ccrida
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
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.

Photo of spinrsx
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of Dogbrick
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Photo of cjgator3
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a tan head that disapates quickly. In the aroma, it is a sweet caramel and alcohol smell. In the taste, the carmel is there and hints of bitter sweet chocolate. It has a small alcohol presence but it is so smooth and rich, the alcohol mixes well with the other flavors.

Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Blue Nile: A browned, dark cherrywood color with a firm capping of off-white foam that lasts a short while. Once the foam has drifted off it keeps a web thin collar and a slight whisp of topical foam residue. Lacing is slick and glaring with some soft spots and stringy patches sticking to the Kasteel chalice in which it was served.

Sweetly scented aroma with a good load of toffee and caramel intertwined with some fig and raisin fruityness. A tone of unique Belgian lambic-like sourness and spicy yeast adds a queer funkyness over the top of its sweetness adding a bit of strangely acceptable earthy, nose hair grabbing, spunk.

Taste is wonderfully sweet and mellow. Very well rounded toffee flavors and caramel stickyness is allowed to settle right in on the palate. It sinks off from there merging into a dark fruity melange of raisiny, plummy, dark cherry syrup and/or jam. Little tropical nuances of apricot and pineapple seep in as it really warms up with a port-like, alcoholic laced, big malt back splash of the toffee and caramel stickyness. Wow, what a ride of sweet candyness. Very nice!

Feel is super silky smooth and fairly full with the malts. Slighty sticky, yet, soft and quite warming on the back end staying smooth and candy soaked with just a nudge of some yeasty spice peppering the edges.

A sweet, sweet treat. Very sensitive and smooth. A carefully crafted sipper that'll keep you planted in one place for a while as it takes hold of your senses. A very nice brew and highly recommended.

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Photo of WOLFGANG
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of enelson
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of tbeckett
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of Jwale73
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of ROGUE16
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: The ‘Kasteel bier Donker-Foncee’, or Bruin-Brune to you and me, comes in a Green 750ml flask like Belgium bottle that has an inverted base. Champagne presentation, right down to the fact that the entire neck is covered in a thin gold foil. Cork, Capped and Caged; once the foil and cage was removed, the thumbed cork was easily extracted with a light “thrupp”. The main label is the exact same design as the newer Kasteel incumbent, the Blond (or Gouden Triple), except for the fact that the label edges are a darker shade of orange. Listed at a whopping Alc. 11% Vol., the cork is dated ‘Gebotteld 09-2003’, but the bottle has a Best Before Date of 11-2008 on the reverse label.

Appearance: Very dark mahogany body, clear at first but gets a little hazed as I dredge out the dregs from the recessed concave bottle bottom. Big head at first, it settles with the first pour to a bubbly halo cover and a broken surface leaving some nice lacing. Subsequent top-ups induce a more permanent cap-like uniform covering. I drank this from a Chimay Glass, but I wish I had the proper glass, a high stemmed flat base Goblet that lends this monster a truly magnificent presentation.

Nose: Intensely fruity and inviting. At first you are comforted with a raisin soaked plum pudding mixed with some caramel and a yeasty alcohol presence. Then, a crafty punch of strong fruity fortified slightly vinegary red wine cum port like whack gets the finish, when a powerful alcohol soaked wood and funky soil aroma come into play also. Complex but in an inviting way, temperature really plays an immense part on the nose of the brew, it gets sexier as it warms, or does it get warmer as it gets sexier?? Argh, who cares!! Superb.

Taste: Where the nose starts, the tastes certainly continue. The dark fruity entrance is adorable, but the best aspect of this brew is the last two-thirds. Hard to describe, but an aged red-wine vinaigrette and wood soaked port aspect comes through but only ever in a background role, yet it adds an immensely massive character to this brew. All the while, raisins, plums, toffee, caramel and fusel alcohols swim around in an orgy of indulgence.

Mouthfeel: Somehow, whilst the 11% alcohol provides a dark fusel alcohol feel to the darker fruits, and it adds to the warming aspects, it never interferes with the middling mouthfeel, which lends an awesome Drinkability to this fantastically fruity Strong Dark Belgium Ale.

Drinkability: For an 11% goliath, this is seriously and dangerously drinkable, easily a 4.0, and at times like tonight, a very dangerous “might not get to work tomorrow after a 750ml all to myself” 4.5.

Overall: It’s been a long day at work today, but “holy f**k” if a whole 750ml bottle of this powerful 11% dark fruity warming monster all to myself didn’t relax me immediately when I got home! I have many happy memories of my first trip to Belgium; however, after drinking several of these quaffable monsters in the ‘old’ Bottelje bar in Ostende, this was most certainly not one of them. Oh yes, this is the old favorite that I “don’t” remember!!! LOL.

A dependable, solid, very impressive and well put together complex brew. It does not age that well I find, but is at its best after 1 to 2 years when the alcohol softens a tad and the dark fruits and vinous aspects really balance and shine through.

Along with Rochefort 10, St.Bernadus 12 & Westie 12, this is a brew that I always try and seek out for the last brew of the night after a hard days drinking when in Belgium! It makes a fantastic Nightcap, and has given me a second wind to continue drinking on more than one occasion. Treat this one with some serious respect!!

Photo of dcmchew
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of DmanGTR
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of cokes
4.78/5  rDev +16%
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.

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
92 out of 100 based on 703 ratings.