Kasteel Winter
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Kasteel WinterKasteel Winter
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Strong Ale - Belgian Dark
4.26 | pDev: 9.86%
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Retired (no longer brewed)
Kasteel WinterKasteel Winter
Reviews: 62 | Ratings: 257 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of FBarber
FBarber from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 2013.

Pours a dark matte brown color. Almost no head whatsoever. Opaque and rather still in appearance.

Aroma has strong notes of rich dark bread, some dark fruity notes, caramel, and chocolate covered cherries.

Taste follows the nose with notes of chocolate, plums, dark fruits, caramels, with a rich bready backbone. There is a spicy note that peeps through on the back end.

Feel is dry, almost powdery in character. Mild carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall its a really unique but lovely strong dark ale - the chocolate notes do give it a more holiday-esque character. Really nice beer.

Feb 01, 2020
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macrosmatic from Florida

3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from (very) long-standing notes. The bottle was acquired from a raffle win at the 2014 Brewer's Ball in Tampa. Poured from the 2013 vintage bottle, corked and caged, into an El Catador teku glass. Consumed on 10/30/17.

A: Hazy to turbid dark brown, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly. Fairly low amount of visible carbonation. Not particularly pudding - reminds one of chocolate-caramel pudding.

S: Dark fruits, caramel malts, and brown sugar. A moderate toast to the malt body. Some yeast esters ā€“ apples and pears especially. Almost like a boozy caramel apple, with some toffee as well.

T: Fruity esters up front ā€“ apple and pear again, with some dark fruit, rum-raisins, and prunes. Toasted malts, lots of brown sugar, and milder molasses. Touches of bubble gum and banana. A caramel apple impression again and some notes of vanilla. Mild spices ā€“ but not as heavily spiced like most other "Winter" beers. More caramel and brown sugar plus the raisins and apple fruitiness at and after the swallow.

M: A medium body for style with a sticky mouthfeel. Carbonation sensation on the low side. The alcohol flavors are certainly noticeable but this isn't "hot".

O: A decent beer, though nothing Iā€™d be running to repeat. It comes up a little short in the boozy-raisiny-malty goodness I was hoping for, but it's certainly sweet and malty. But a reasonably tasty Belgian Strong Dark option.

Aug 03, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 9/11/13; drank 1/3/16 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque brown/purple appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small khaki head; decent lace.

Caramel, plum,brown sugar & faint raspberry notes in the nose.

Medium thick, creamy mouthfeel.

Rich caramel & brown sugar flavors up front; faint orange citrus notes on the finish. Mild booze heat emerged as this warmed.

This has aged beautifully.

Apr 28, 2019
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

So smooth and lush with winter and dark flavors. Makes me look forward to the months up coming, would be a perfect beer to have by the fire. Has two flavor groups happening, one a toffee/caramel latte with milk chocolate and vanilla, then other is a molasses dipped dark fruits such as prune and plum, leading to a combining flavor of sweet, dark and slightly bitter. Little light in the body, but not necessarily as bad thing with the cloying sweetness and creaminess.

Sep 29, 2018
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bbtkd from South Dakota

4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V. Kasteel Winter (2013), 11% ABV. Bottled 6/26/13, so the oldest beer I've ever had. Pours very dark brown to black, with a slight tan head. Nose is a light sweetness, taste is sweet moleasses, a hint of chocolate, dark fruit, with a slight bitter close and some alcohol burn. Excellent mouthfeel, overall excellent.

Dec 23, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was poured into a chalice. The appearance was a dark brown color with a thin white to off white foamy head. Moderate lace wove around the glass. The aroma starts off with the milk chocolate up front and bold (coming through pretty dry and sweet). Quad qualities takes a good a minute before displaying themselves. The flavor is pretty sweet through the chocolate, Belgian sugars and dark fruits. Bold Belgian spices make a good effort to balance. Nice sweet Belgian sugar to chocolate aftertaste with the same finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a nice sipping quality about it. Low carbonation. Stickiness is almost cloying but dryness from milk chocolate seems to contain nicely. Overall, pretty nice BSDA that I'd have again in the Winter.

Jun 23, 2017
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Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

3.67/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a single-serve bottle--bottled on June 26, 2013, so this is well-aged, but probably not too long in the tooth yet.

Pours a solid but unspectacular one-finger tan head that quickly disappears--but good classic Belgian lacing. Dark brown and extremely opaque for the style, and lacking in the usual reddish highlights. Not an ugly beer, but not a pretty one either.

The aromas aren't classic, but they are definitely unique. Malts very forward, with distinctive espresso notes, and a touch of dark fruit in the background. As the brew warms. a smoke aroma appears, but so too does a bit of solvent note.

The flavors follow the nose fairly closely, but without the fruit notes. Dark chocolate and coffee with a touch of creaminess combine to provide what is at once a unique take on this style and yet. Ok, I have to say it. Dammit, I feel like I'm drinking a Quad mixed with a Starbucks something or other. The solvents from the alcohol only serve to drive the feeling home. I like the taste in the abstract, but the "get off my lawn" old guy deep inside is rebelling and screaming "THIS IS NOT A QUAD DAMMIT." Because I will admit this might be a personal failing, rather than that of the brewer, I won't deduct too much.

The mouthfeel is pretty thin for the style, and lacking carbonation.

Overall, I'm deeply conflicted about this brew, I absolutely love Kasteel's "Donker." I understand this is a "seasonal," but it feels like a "miss" for me as to the "style." Still, a decent brew that others might find intriguing.

Feb 18, 2017
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Vixie from Illinois

3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dirty brown color with very little head. Not the best looking beer I have seen by any stretch, but I don't try new beers for how they look.

The smell is a bit better than the look. Not a lot going on, mainly coffee and chocolate.

Lot of chocolate in this one. I am also tasting some fruit, as well as a hint of spice, plus a bit of warming on the finish.

Smooth and silky going down, with a hint of heat from the carbonation and abv.

Not quite as fruity as this style usually is, but that is not a bad thing. If I was eating a good quality piece of chocolate and washing it down with a quad, that is a bit of what this experience is. It is nicely done, a change of pace from what you normally get from a Belgian, and worth a try.

Dec 02, 2016
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PorterLambic from Florida

4.05/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A bottle of 2015 release drunk in October 2016.

After removing the cage & cork I'm not impressed by the pour or nose.
Pours a muddy brown with a fizzy head, not unlike a cola. Head is gone as fast as would be any cola's. No lace left behind.
Smell is sweet with a solid note of vanilla. First thought? Candy, maybe chocolate chip cookie dough (YUM!) but nothing beer like really. Further investigation finds some fruitiness and malt.
Taste is where this shines. Notes of vanilla, oak, dark fruits, boozy in the back nose, malty, light smoke. Terrific balance.
Rich, smooth, very whiskey-like. Definitely a sipping brew. Hockey and a bomber, sounds like a winner to me.

Oct 28, 2016
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ThrewRedButter from Massachusetts

4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013 Vintage

L - Ugly, muddy brown with ruby red on the edges and less than a finger of beige/khaki head

S - Intense coffee with subtle dark chocolate and booze.

T - Coffee is huge even after three years. Genuine dark chocolate, dark fruits, cinnamon, iced coffee, vanilla. Great stuff.

F - Big beer at 11% with noticeable warmth, but still calm on the feel with some carbonation bubbles. I'm having an easy time drinking this on a hot Summer's day,

O - Unique to the style thanks to the addition of coffee and chocolate, but it was a gamble that paid off. Delicious on all fronts.

Aug 10, 2016
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shigg85 from Japan

4.74/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Such an amazing chocolatey, velvet brew. Drink this cold at first for a chocolate milk sensation, and then let it warm so those spicier notes come out. Absolutely recommended!

Jun 05, 2016
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jzlyo from Iowa

3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is dark fruit, dark bread and a hint of dry yeast/earth. The flavor is dark fruit, malts, relatively slightly chalky and a mix of nutty and mild sweetness in the finish.

May 16, 2016
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puck1225 from Texas

4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

What a treat! Dark brown pour into a snifter from a. 750 ml bottle. Nice head and lacing. Great toasted malt smell and taste. Chocolate and coffee with spice and sweet candy. Overall very enjoyable and priced well. I will look for it next year!

Feb 28, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.64/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Prefunk pour 9/11/15: Not as much pit fruit, but plenty sweet. Prior rating: 3.4 What a kick this one has! Pours dark brown / ruby with little head, and almost flat carbonation-wise. Aroma reminds me of a northwest coffee stout., with some dark chocolate thrown in to boot. Scent of alcohol hovers on top. Dark chocolate is more prominent in the taste, some sweet molasses, whiskey barrel. Alcohol heat on the backplane. A lot of different styles seem to be in play here.

Feb 03, 2016
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erk0607 from Colorado

4.52/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 poured from bomber

L - Clear, dark brown, so dark I'd say it's opaque unless you actually hold it up to a light

S - Incredibly nutty smell, somewhat chocolatey

T - Lighter than it smells, but still incredibly complex. Chocolate-nut flavor with the malty qualities of a Quad or something similar to that

F - Nice, dense, will foam up a little bit (it has a small, tan head that hangs around as lacing around the edge of the glass), smooth with just enough carbonation to keep it interesting

Overall - awesome beer, great flavor, definitely a beer but really enjoyable and different

Jan 07, 2016
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Ciocanelu from Romania

4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky, dark brown color with light brown head. Aroma has lots of coffee and milk chocolate. Taste has also roasty and chocolate notes. Also some dark fruit character. Not like your regular Belgian dark ale. No evident yeast character. Medium body and carbonation. Really nice one overall, something really different on the Belgian beer scene.

Jan 04, 2016
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delcobrewzzz from Pennsylvania

4.79/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

stellar winter/yule specialty...so the 'style' is spot on yet unique....massive chocolate dollop notes all around....expect that....not expected for sure...a 2013 bottling i procured last year...and it's been in the cellar for a year...perfect timing....cheers to all and happy holidays #krampuslovesyou

Dec 22, 2015
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keithmurray from Connecticut

4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage

Appearance - Murky chestnut brown color with tan head

Smell - caramel, chocolate, coffee, cashew

Taste - creamed coffee, chocolate, raisins, caramel, cashew, toffee

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, slightest of sweetness upfront from the caramel, then the creamed coffee and nuttiness comes thru on the finish

Overall - interesting twist on Belgian style ale. This comes across as more of a stout than a BSDA, but a pleasant surprise. Good beer that is worth a try.

Price Point - $5.50/11.2 oz bottle

Dec 12, 2015
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2 fl.oz. bottle served in a tulip. Bottled on 2013/06/26. Pours a deep reddish-brown with a fluffy, two inch, tan-colored head. Nose expresses cocoa, lactose and perhaps hint of nutmeg. Taste consistent with nose; however, there's also a suggestion of hazelnut. Very pleasant and subtle. Mouthfeel is a bit thin - light-medium in body (but closer to light) with kiss of carbonation. All and all, not an overly complex BSDA but pleasant an enjoyable with a well-masked abv.

Dec 06, 2015
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.19/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thoroughly enjoyed from the 750 ml bottle in a snifter. This FINE strong ale pours a dark brown with mahogany highlights, a very nice head of khaki foam that dissipates to a thick ring, light layer, and excellent lacing. Nose of light coffee (!), cream, cinnamon, cocoa, and candy malts. Flavors blow out the nose with cola and dark roasted malts that fade in the middle to a light coffee touched by subtle cinnamon and chocolate. Back fades to a sweet Belgian candy malt and a warming booze note that is decently well hidden with a touch of fresh bread and cream. Excellent and complex. Perfect moderate carbonation, great mouth feel. Overall excellence from Belgium.


Dec 05, 2015
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.39/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blu Wolf Bistro in Rochester, NY. Listed as Kasteel Chocolate Barista Winter Quad, but I think this is the same thing.

This one pours a dark brown color, mostly clear, with a small head, and not a whole lot of lacing.

Smells like powdered chocolate, rich sweet and creamy coffee, dark fruit, and caramel. Smells absolutely decadent.

Adding chocolate and coffee to a BSDA is a pretty cool idea, and it works here. The coffee is more present than the chocolate, but both are still shining here. The chocolate is powdery, almost has a Swiss Miss hot chocolate type feel to it, with a creamy coffee flavor, definitely more of a vanilla latte feel than a black coffee feel. It's very sweet, but not incredibly so. The base does peek out underneath, with some dark fruit and caramel flavors, and some vanilla.

This has a very creamy and rich mouthfeel, with a thick body, and a lower level of carbonation.

A really nice but very decadent and sweet Belgian strong dark. It's as far from traditional as it gets, but I won't deduct points for that, because it's delicious anyway.

Nov 30, 2015
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drmeto from Germany

4.7/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

-pours a dark brown with ruby tinges and a small to medium,foamy,beige head
-ice coffee,milk chocolate,mocha,cinnamon,nutty,toffee,vanilla
-figs,toffee,caramel,vanilla,cinnamon,ice coffee,mocha,prunes,raisins,molasses
-medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol warming,which is less than expected with an 11%er
This is absolutely incredible.
Perfect fit for christmas

Aug 30, 2015
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bushbeer75 from Michigan

4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1pt. 9.4oz. - caged and corked brown bottle - bottle on 7/10/2013

Kasteel Winter poured a dark brown with a red cast [mahogany like] and atop sat a 1-finger tan head that reduced to spotty lacing in my tulip glass. The nose picked up toasted bread, roasted malt, and toffee also comes to mind. The taste was a mix of flavors. Coffee, toffee and dark fruits upfront with a nice finish blend of chocolate and brown sugar. Mouth feel is smooth and full.

The Ale has a good rich taste that makes for a nice after dinner libation.

Aug 21, 2015
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stortore from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Bottled 7/10/2013.

Pours dark and opaque with a garnet tint, small head. Smell is a pretty big coffee blast. Also chocolate, malts, some vanilla, a touch of licorice. A pretty interesting aroma. Taste follows the nose on the big coffee, chocolate, vanilla and malts. Kind of a cola taste, too. Slight bitterness on the back end. A little boozy, but still pretty smooth. Well carbonated.

A pretty unique beer, too bad it's been retired. Had this at a beer fest and remember it being heavy on the chocolate, where this bottle is definitely coffee forward. Either way, it's very enjoyable. so pick up one if you can still find it.

Jun 28, 2015
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Large bottle served at about 58F in a Belgian snifter. Bottled in July 2013. Seems like just the right thing on a cold winter's eve with snow in the forecast.

Pours clear, chestnut brown with a decent off-white head. Good lacing.

Aroma: rich, with hints of toffee, vanilla, and dark dried Fruits.

Mouthfeel: full and smooth - excellent for 11% ABV. Good soft, medium-light carbonation. Warming.

Taste: rich; lots of chocolate with relatively faint roasted grain, coffee, and dark fruit flavors. Lots of chocolate in the finish, with an aftertaste reminiscent of a Tootsie Roll but better.

Feb 25, 2015
Kasteel Winter from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 257 ratings