Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
892 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
Ratings:
892
Reviews:
394
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
13.79%
 
 
Wants:
102
Gots:
168
For Trade:
3
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 892 |  Reviews: 394
Photo of The_Bujon
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 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 if too many beers that taste better.

A nice warmer this one, floats down the throat like a medicine 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!

 677 characters

Photo of GlennWB
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of MikeNatalie
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
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!

 389 characters

Photo of StormAles
4.84/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bubblegumsnaps1
3.64/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of priley
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of shigg85
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BelgianBeerChef
4.52/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Tomislav
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BrewskiBrandon
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of brandonld23
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Estria
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of thehyperduck
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
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 -18.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of mishi_d
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of the_awesometeer
4.27/5  rDev +5.2%
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 -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jaisell
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Glorithm
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of bshefftz
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
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 JakeScully
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
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 +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of brbrocc
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
4.06 out of 5 based on 892 ratings.
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