Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker
BA SCORE
4.12/5
900 Ratings
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Belgium
vanhonsebrouck.be

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-14-2001

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,874
Reviews:
395
Ratings:
900
pDev:
13.59%
Bros Score:
4.8
 
 
Wants:
102
Gots:
172
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 900 |  Reviews: 395
Photo of Estria
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of thehyperduck
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

 2,346 characters

Photo of Tomesco
3.31/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of mishi_d
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of the_awesometeer
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

The beer is a dark brown, so dark it is almost black. There was no head but some carbonation. I get a slight wood aroma as well as some booze, but it is mostly dark fruits and sweetness. The beer follows the nose but I get a slight more sweetness. I can definitely feel the ABV in my mouth as I drink. The beer is mouth coating yet felt somewhat thin.

 355 characters

Photo of logicalparadox
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jaisell
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Glorithm
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from single-serve bottle.

Pours an impressive deep-brown (nearly black). It is nearly opaque, almost like a stout or a porter, rather than a quad. The head is the only disappointment (there was barely any), but the Belgian lacing is exquisite.

The aromas are more evocative of a desert wine than a beer--and that is a good thing. Malts very forward, but not overwhelming, with the full panoply of dark fruits (raisins, figs, plum) followed by a distinctive cherry note providing a touch of tart brightness. Further evoking the wine comparisons are some distinct must and barrel aromas.

The taste follows the nose. Fruity sweetness, with dark fruits very forward, followed by cherry and caramel, and then just a touch of herb--I think anise. And then--the mustiness I smelled and the grainy yeasts arrive with an additional warming (but not biting) booze note at the finish to provide just the thing I wanted for balance. A desert-wine drinker should love this for its sweetness. A quad-lover should love it because of its daring. With each sip I internally ask "isn't this too sweet?" But each sip finishes with the Belgian yeast to convince me otherwise. This is courageously sweet--yet not cloying at all.

The mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy. But not heavy. The booze is detectable, but only as an element. The ABV is dangerously hidden.

This brew is far sweeter than what I normally rate highly for this style but--damn. Hats off to this brewer for pushing the line on the malts without letting it turn into a sticky mess. This is a fabulous quad.

 1,582 characters

Photo of Shanex
4.59/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured the 12oz bottle into a teku glass.

Possibly my all time favorite Quad, Belgian quad.

Smell sugar, mellases, brown sugar. Smells very good.

Taste is mind blowing, raisins, plums and brown sugar...

Simce this is 11% Abv keep this as a dessert beer after dinner.

Overall another excellent offering from the country of beers. Highly recommended. Santé!

 362 characters

Photo of Birdlegs
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brbrocc
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mmmbeer89
3.06/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

way too sweet of a beer for me

30 characters

Photo of Ealanjones
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of yaron73
3.42/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of bb-magic
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Bottle dated 2011. Pours a dark mahogany brown with a thin light khaki head that dissipates to patches, with light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, plums, dates, dark cherries, light oxidation. Flavor follows with sweet caramel malt, candi syrup, plums, dates, raisins and a hint of cherries and mild oxidation. Medium to heavy bodied with moderate carbonation. A sweet, but full flavored quad with all the dark fruit flavors expected. Rich enough to border on an aperitif. This has aged gracefully with just a touch of oxidation that melds well with the fruit and malt. ABV well covered. A great, classic tasting quadrupel.

 659 characters

Photo of mcrawford
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of shelby415
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of LocusSolus
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of stephenlee
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kiro
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Gambyt20
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of puboflyons
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the corked, caged 2011 750 ml bottle. Sampled on September 28, 2016.

The pour is a gorgeous looking mahogany brown with little to no head but decent clarity despite being as dark as it is.

Oh my. Sweet malt notes on the nose along with a wooden and musty cellar character. No booze on the nose at all for 11%. Very mellow on the alcohol front.

The body is smooth as silk with a medium to full texture.

The sweet caramel malts define the flavor. Not the Belgian yeast, Belgian spice, or booze. Yet it is mellow and easy to enjoy despite its ABV size. Aging has done this one wonders.

 596 characters

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 900 ratings
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