Kasteel Donker
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker
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Style:
Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #20
ABV:
11%
Score:
93
Ranked #1,913
Avg:
4.18 | pDev: 13.16%
Reviews:
416
Ratings:
945
From:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
 
Belgium
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  105
Gots
  185
SCORE
93
Outstanding
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker
Notes:
Reviews: 416 | Ratings: 945 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of KooVee
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle, bb in 4y, so still very young.

Colour is beautiful, somewhere between dark mahogany and dark chestnut. Very clear. Thick beige head that leaves a persistent lace.

Aroma is molasses and dark fruit. Spices of the clove/cinnamon/nutmeg type, alcohol at the back, reminding of sweeter types of port or sherry.

Taste is very sweet, but to balance it, the mouthfeel is very light, and there is a slight tartness (from the yeast, as I have brewed with this one and it always comes through), combining with the spices and the lively carbonation. For a moment before the middle it actually feels like there's Dr. Pepper mixed in. Bitter caramel stays relatively thickly on the tongue, fading into a Creme Brulee crust. Alcohol is well hidden.

A somewhat unique example of a quad... in being so sweet, yet up to a point balanced. Still too sweet for my personal tastes, satisfies but does not make one want for more. If you use this yeast for a drier quad, the result is still as smooth, with a bit more pronounced tartness... and much less tiring. Yet, this is a very good iconic example of a substyle. I have a vintage bottle I am yet to taste. Will be interesting to see how this ages. There is enough sugar and alcohol, but I wonder if this will become a bit hollow.

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Photo of josanguapo
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

De cervezasbelgas, Almuñecar. En copa Kasteel. Viendo Rick & Morty 4x01 y La Materia Oscura 1x02. Abv en oculto en sabor pero se sube a la cabeza. Rico perfil tipicamente belga, bien azucarado y acaramelado, sin excesos

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Photo of maltdoesmore
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drink it out of Kasteel glasses. Buy a couple of cases every 5-6 years. Had a 2002 bottle last month. Still wonderful.

We don't serve it because not many are appreciative of a great abbey ale.

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Photo of osheamatth
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful chestnut hue with lots of dark fruit on the nose with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg too. Very strong caramel malty sweetness that's not at all cloying even though there is a syrupy characteristic.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Rich, beautiful dark brown; purple when held to the light.

No head or lacing.

Cherries and gingerbread in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel, bordering on thin.

Cherries and gingerbread in the taste; hints of cinnamon.

This beer is supposed to have a shelf life of 25 years; this was brewed in 2002 and I enjoyed it in 2012. Blown away by how well this has aged (not syrup-y like most); blown away by how delicious it is.

Highest recommendation.

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Photo of OlaB
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a medium top of beige head that dissolves quickly and leaves some sticky lacings. Aroma is of dark malts ,bread, caramel, raisins, prunes, cherries, sugar and spices.
The flavour is very sweet with notes of dark and dried fruits, while the background has notes of toasted malts, bread and caramel. It then gets more spices in flavour, before finishing of with a slight bitterness. Even if the flavour is to sweet for how I prefer a quadruple, the sweetness is balanced nicely with the other flavours, and it works very well.. The 11% and is quite hidden in the flavours.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a medium carbonation and medium body.
A very good and enjoyable quadruple.

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Photo of Zet
3.49/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pretty dark brown colour, but the lack of a decent foam layer makes it look to much like a coke. Smell of dark fruits, chocolate and alcohol. These flavours return in the taste, but there is little time to shine due to the sweetness of this beer, which ruins its complexity and balance. Now it's way to straightforward for a beer with this abv.

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Photo of Lucular
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a really, really sweet beer. It has nice Belgian quadrupel characteristics of dark fruit, slight spice, and dark malts, but the sweetness is the defining characteristic for me.

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Photo of Martin194
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Clear reddish-brown with a light-tan head that lasts a while before dissipating.

Smell: Dark fruit, sugar, some bready notes, spices, dark chocolate.

Taste: Sweet with a slightly tart sting - again, similar to dark fruits - with the chocolate and sugar mixing in, along with notes of alcohol (though it certainly doesn't taste like 11%, it's smooth). Some hints of banana in there too.

Feel: Full body, normal carbonation, leaves a slightly warm mouthfeel.

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look - Great dark brown color with barely any head, syrupy
Smell - Toasty sweet Belgian, slight raisin run scent
Taste - Sweet candied dark cherry raisin slight rum
Feel - Full body good crisp carbonation with a warming sensation
Overall - very yummy Belgium

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Photo of mike22ne
4.34/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle, aged 3.5 years since 2014.
Dark and fruity, it's more like a ruby port than most beers. Great complex fruit character of cherries and raisin and dark caramel. Syrupy slick body with little carbonation.
Definitely worth cellaring to let it grow and develop. Very nice!

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Photo of BHapeman
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark brown with a one finger head of tight bubbles. The flavor was full of dark fruits and malt. Medium mouth feel and very smooth.
A great taste!!

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Photo of VABA
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Revisited 7/30/19

A-Pours a very hazy dark opaque chocolate color with slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has abundant fruity hints, mainly raisin and plums
T-The taste follows the nose with a very noticeable plum flavor
M-A medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation
O-A well made fruity beer

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Photo of HoppingMadMonk
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A sort of root beer clear brown color with a slightly creamy thick feel. Champagne like carbonation that worked perfect for this beer. Aroma was malt, candied dried fruit, some yeast. Taste was very similar, a bit sweet but again really worked well for this beer. If a fan of Belgian ales than this is definitely worth a try

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Photo of quadmad
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

11 c from cellar. 15 months in cellar. Pours a deep cola color. Minimal head. Verry smooth on the toungue. Wonderful taste, with underlying alcohol. Minor mouth burn. Overall great taste. \i have to buy more since I am down to my last 10 bottles.

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Photo of markjknowles
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful to look at, a thick, dark reddish brown with a quarter inch of almond colored foam, then surprisingly an almost nondescript smell ( a typical Beer-shipped-from- Europe aroma) gives way to an almost syrupy yet(barely) not too sweet flavor of raisin and prune chocolate subtly carbonated. The alcohol comes through in away that perfectly counterpoints the sweetness. I drank this from a Garre glass. It definitely needs to be drank a the proper temp. Too cold the flavors won't gel. My raring is deceptively low due to the mild aroma. This is a must experience quad. So happy it came my way!

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

11.2 oz. bottle

Pours dark maroon red brown with a creamy khaki colored foam head. Smells like red apple, grapes, pear, plum, cherry, banana, apricot, dried fruit, peppery clove spice, chocolate, toasty caramel malts, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, with floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Tastes like sweet rich toasty caramel malts, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, chocolate, red apple, grapes, pear, plum, dark cherry, banana, apricot, dried fruit, peppery clove spice, with floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy smooth with moderate low carbonation. Overall a really nice quad.

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Photo of JayQue
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very good Quad. Poured from a stubby 330 ml bottle into my Chimay goblet. Dense mahogany brown color with a thin cream colored head. The head faces quickly to a covering of the glass which remains for a good while. There are spots of filmy lacing on the glass. Aroma is rich, dark fruit raisins and cherries and malt. Flavor is rich, dark fruit, malt, candi sugar and Belgian yeast. Slightly sweet, malty fruit flavor. Mouthfeel is rich and fairly smooth with the alcohol presence more warming than hot. I had this beer for a year and the aging probably helped mellowing it. In all, a veary tasty Quad.

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Photo of goodbeergoodfood
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look is mahogany brown nice head based on pour, lots of lacing on the glass.
Aroma is packed with an amazing dark fruits grape or vinius notes ,deep rich malt wheat notes.
Taste is huge dark fruits very right dark cherries and a nice malty finish.
Mouth feels very nice.
Overall this is a great beer has been one of my favorite for sometime. I find it very appealing in all seasons has a year-round offering. Have enjoyed this on a hot summer day just as much is drinking it today on a very very cold day.

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Photo of chinchill
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml stubby brown bottle served in a Belgian snifter.
Pours with very little head despite a vigorous pour, yet a durable partial coat and ring somehow appears and lingers on and on. Clear dark mahogany body.
Loads of dark dried fruit aromas. The flavor is sweet -- too sweet IMO -- but not so sweet as to impede consumption, largely because some subtle but countering bitter shows up in the finish and aftertaste. Hints of green apples with the dark dried fruits. High ABV is well hidden.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking a Kasteel Donker at B Cafe, NYC, my go to Belgian place.
Poured into a goblet, it displays a rich dark mahogany color with a creamy tan head. The head is not as massive as other quads, but it does yield a sticky lace.
In the nose there is the sweetness of raisins, prunes and plum, along with the inviting sensation of freshly roasted dark bread. Light spice and a touch of cocoa lightly ornament the overall aroma.
In the mouth there is a dark fruit and dark candi sugar, even cola like sweetness. Full bodied and fluffy with a gentle carbonation. As I drink it, I also begin to pick up cherries and light citrus peel, which are soon reflected in the flavor. There is also a sense of dark marmalade or jam that is balanced by a finish that is lightly peppery and even with a touch of hops bitterness. As for the alcohol, it is definitely there, however, it is pushed to the background and never boozy.
Rich, dense and complex. A robust malt texture that alternates between dark bread and biscuity. Highly aromatic and dynamic; I should add that as I’m finishing it, I pick up new aromas, mainly biscuit, grass and licorice.
It is not my favorite quad ever considering the ones I rate above it are not as sweet. However, it is finely crafted, tasty and dynamic; well deserving of its high rating.

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Photo of threeviews
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured at cellar temperature from a 33cl bottle (Best By: May 2022...packaged 30 May 2017)into the signature, Kasteel stemmed goblet.

A - An aggressive pour yelids a beer that is dark mahogany in color but when set against light, it is more of a deep, ruby red. The head only amounted to 1-finger kahki colored head with little retention. Although the 11% ABV would tend to stiffle head, I have seen other Belgians of this strength create massive tops that last indefinitely. Knowing that this beer does NOT go through referementation in the bottle, the lack of head is understandable and should be a reason that Van Honsebrouck reconsiders using bottle refermentation for ALL of their beers. (4.25)

S - The aroma is a lovely bouquet that includes Milk Chocolate and Caramel along with Plum, Cherry and Red Grape. Even when rising above cellar temperature, there is absolutely no alcohol in the nose. (5.0)

T - It is a beautiful Quadruple-style ale with all of the trimmings. It has all of the aromas in the nose with a nice, lingering milk chocolate finish, yet far from cloying. This is an ideal digestif beer on its own or with a rich chocolate or custard-based dessert. (4.75)

M - Medium-Full mouthfeel with a delicate and creamy carbonation which finishes surprisingly dry. Regardless of temperature, the alcohol remains hidden throughout making this dangerously drinkable. However, the pithy flavors and relatively hefty body keep this very much a degustation beer. (4.75)

O - Although the brewery thinks otherwise, Kasteel Donker would benefit from bottle refermentation (in addition to the already 3-week lagering time). Considering the 6.50Euro price for a 4-Pack (in a grocery store), it is an absolute bargain. However, when you see the $20+USD price tag in The States, I think other options exist that are a bit better. This is a well made beer with great consistency but if I am going to spend this type of money, my preference would lean towards Kasteel Barista Chocolate Quad. (4.5)

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Photo of The_Bujon
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a superb full bodied plum looking brew with caramel head. The body looks divine, the head unfortunately dissipated quickly even served at the 12degrees recommended.

Aroma is sweet with figs and perhaps spiced apple.

Taste is sublime, quite sweet, but that mix of fruits, malts, caramel is absolutely top drawer, can't think of too many beers that taste better.

A nice warmer this one, floats down the throat like a medicinal tonic for a chesty cough, and the 11% is reasonably well hidden.

Overall, this is a top top brew, if only the foamy head stuck around, I'd dare say this would be in my overall top 10 beers of all time.....it might still regardless.

A must try beer!

Small ammendment coming back to this beer after reviewing others. While it is still an awesome brew, my taste now has this as a touch too sweet, so think my revised rating is more honed second time round.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.58/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L- Pours a dark brown, nearly black, with a 1/2 finger creamy,off-white head..
S- Mostly sweetness and malt. Not big.
T- Very sweet dark fruits slap you in your face. Some carmel malt and brown sugar. A little coffee and nuttiness. A little pepper detected. Way too easy of a drinker for 11%.
F- Incredibly smooth with slight warming
O- very sweet quad that goes down wonderfully!

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Sept 2021 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a foreboding, dark chestnut-brown colour with brick red highlights; at first it appears utterly impenetrable to light, but holding it up to a lamp reveals that the liquid is actually transparent. One finger of smooth, khaki-tinged foam floats atop the surface initially, receding gradually over the next ten minutes or so. The eventual remnants include a creamy collar and cap about half a centimetre high, as well as a nice, thick coating of lace. Each sniff is positively loaded with molasses, caramelized sugars and dark fruits, including fig, date, raisin and prune. The alcohol is also noticeable, but quite well-integrated; the bouquet almost seems to take on the character of sherry or amaretto as it warms.

A delicious strong dark ale - as has already been noted on countless occasions, it is indeed quite saccharine, but despite this fact, I find it to be neither cloying nor tiresome - just delectably rich. Caramelized sugar and treacle are steady background presences, as are vinous notes of red grape and raisin. Dates, figs, black cherries and prunes come to the forefront by mid-sip, giving it a rather fruitcake-like vibe, with subtle hints of herbal licorice root, spice and cola. Finishes with a slight nuttiness, with more of that boozy, sherry-like note that I picked up in the aroma lingering into the sweet aftertaste. On the lighter side of full-bodied, with soft carbonation featuring tiny, fine bubbles that gently agitate the surface of the tongue. A truly satisfying beer to sip and contemplate; I'd say that this 11 oz serving is just about the perfect amount for one person.

Final Grade: 4.46, an A grade. I'll admit that I had my doubts going into this one - I've heard mixed opinions about it in the past - but in my opinion, Kasteel Donker is an absolutely fantastic quadrupel, and easily one of the best Belgian beers I've tried in months. The hefty 11% abv beautifully harmonizes with the commanding, relentless malt bill and its sweet, fruity flavours, while hints of fortified wine and nutty liqueur only add further to the cohesive complexity of this masterpiece. Glad I had the foresight to pick this one for my 1500th review on BA - it's always nice to celebrate that sort of milestone with a memorable brew like this.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 945 ratings