Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

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Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker
BA SCORE
4.12/5
Exceptional
914 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:
#2,015
Reviews:
401
Ratings:
914
pDev:
13.35%
Bros Score:
4.8
 
 
Wants:
98
Gots:
177
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 914 |  Reviews: 401
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured from the lees, its clear mahogany body rests gently beneath a short, creamy head of light tan foam as very tiny bubbles steadily rise up to support it. The head drops shortly to a wide collar and lacy surface covering, but also leaves some wide rings of sticky lace about the glass. The nose welcomes you with a delicious combination of chocolate covered raisins and caramel splashed with sweet red wine and backed by some earthy and leafy hops. As it warms some candyish - and also peppery - yeast character comes into play adding greatly to its complexity. The body is medium/light, and combines with its very fine, natural carbonation from bottle-conditioning to leave it just lightly zesty on the tongue before fading smoothly away. The vinous character of the nose is immediately recognized in the flavor along with assorted dark fruits (plum/prune, dates), a soft note of chocolate, and a sweet light caramel that morphs into a harsher note of molasses that's less refined and a bit edgy at the finish (due in part to alcohol, and in part bitterness). It lingers with some alcohol that fades to reveal the true hop bitterness; then some candy sweetness (bubblegum); and finally a last note of caramel that's charged with delicate clove-like spiciness. Quite complex, rich and flavorful! And although the alcohol could be slightly more restrained, its sweetness is impeccably balanced and never interferes or build on the palate. An impressive brew that's well worth seeking out!

 1,501 characters

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.

 494 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.23/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap 4/5/08 at Pitcher's Pub in Cumberland, RI, served in an over-sized wine glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a medium off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste malty and sweet with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit and Belgian yeast up front. There's a mild hops presence and a strong alcohol burn. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, decent representation of style, this one really didn't appeal to me all that well. I've certainly had other strong Belgians that I like better.

 797 characters

Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a darker shade of borwn with a real nice sticky head thats seems to dissapte quickly,great aroma of raisins and light chocolate with some definent alcohol notes.The raisin seems to be the dominant flavor I get with some syrupy flavors as well.A touch of nuttiness and alcohol makes this a nice warmer,I have alot of bottle to drink yet wish me luck.

 355 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

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

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

Photo of dcmchew
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Also known as Kasteel Bruin. From the name, I thought this was a brown ale. But it's actually something between a dark strong ale and a quad, and is labelled as the latter by BA.

Poured a dark semi-hazy brown with just a bit of head that receded to a film of bubbles. Caramel malts and peppery spice in the aroma, and distinct alcohol. Similar taste with sweet malts and Belgian sugar, slight molasses, and some dark fruits also noticeable; not as much spice as I detected in the aroma. Medium-heavy body with some carbonation, pretty drinkable, but a bit strong.

 605 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful off-white head of three fingers. Lots of lace. The color of the brew is brown where light barely shines through. Attractive.

Farmlike smells; earthy and dark. Some crystal and chocolate malt aromas.

Sweeter than I expected. Strongly malty. Notable alcohol warmth. The body is warming (from the alcohol strength) and thick. The carbonation is relatively light for the creaminess. I don't detect any hop or any other balancing ingredient.

This is an easy beer with which to get snookered. It's subtle and powerful. It isn't a beer with complexity.

 565 characters

Photo of ZEB89
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of atrocity
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of russpowell
4.64/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aug 04 bottling, bought this because my mind is getting feeble, just reviewed this the other week. Oh well, different batch, so let's compare:

Pours mahogany & murky with a 1 finger off white colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Sweet malt & then chocolate & booze as it warms

T: Rich sweet malt & chocolate with a hint of booze up front. Bready notes & caramel & toffee surfaces as it warms, along oakyness & dryness. Finoshes dry with hints of pecans & brandy This actually works for me better than the more mature version.

mF: Syruppy with low carbonation, but enough to bring out some flavors

The 11% is a little more evident, but complexity makes it more drinkable. Talk about your winter warmers! looking back at my review, my instincts were right, this better than the stuff supposedly in its prime

 829 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark chestnut brown that becomes a combination of ruby red and burnt orange when early morning sunshine is allowed entry. The caramel nougat colored crown filled almost half the chalice on the pour and has an attractive, whipped mousse-like texture. It's pretty sticky too, as evidenced by an impressive array of delicate lace.

The nose is classic Belgian strong dark ale. There's quite a bit of medium-dark fruitiness and even more yeasty spiciness (that favors clove and black pepper). This offering is not going to be a shrinking violet when it comes to flavor intensity, that much is certain.

Kasteel Blond and Kasteel Rouge are excellent examples of their respective styles. Kasteel Donker is merely good. It tastes as if the brewers were a little too heavy-handed with the dark candy sugar. It also lacks the complexity that the best Belgian ales deliver in spades.

Specifics include dark caramel, figs and dates macerated in blackstrap molasses, a hint of anise, and generous pinches of black pepper and ground clove. Less sugary sweetness would have resulted in better beer. An ABV of 11.0% is difficult to bury without a trace, but the brewers did a reasonably good job. A subtle warming sensation is great for this time of year.

The mouthfeel is slightly too syrupy and doesn't have the expansive creamiliciousness that is expected for a Belgian ale. More numerous and better quality bubbles would have gone a long way toward keeping this characteristic from being the low-light of this experience.

Kasteel Donker (which is the exact same beer as Kasteelbier Bruin-Brune) is pretty good stuff. That said, there's definite room for improvement. Belgian beer is like ice cream and cheesecake. Even the less than spectacular ones are pretty damn good.

 1,763 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by CesiumBrews. Thanks Caleb!

Hooray Belgium.

The beer is chestnut brown with crimson highlights, sporting nearly an inch of beige head. The aroma offers dark fruits, yeast, malt, alcohol, brown sugar. The taste follows suit, with the 11% abv well hidden. Sweet, but not cloying. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Palate coating and a tad syrupy. Notes of nuts (clever alliteration, n'est pas?), perhaps almonds. Brown sugar, spices, perhaps nutmeg. a solid quad. I would definitely have this again.

 512 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Billolick
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a growler purchased at Half Time, pours dark mahogony, seems to be pretty low in carbonation, mellow head, with just minor lacing observed. Nose is nicely glowing with cola, vanilla, bourbon and spice. Strong late night sipper kind of brew. Plenty of dark candi sugars, cola, alcohol, complexity etc to please all the strong beer/quad lovers out there. Character, boldness obviously evident, well worth a try if you like the style, not for everybody, but certaintly for me! A treat and in nice shape on tap/growler.

 520 characters

Photo of imbibehour
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Trappistes Rochefort glass.

Deep chestnut brown and red, with a swirling top of middle carbonation. Very little head creation, and leaving a faint fine tan collar on the edges. Love this swirling effect.

Huge fig note aromas. Thick raisin, hints of dry nutmeg, and very clean sensing. Not even boozy hot. Very impressive. A bit of a one note angle, but an extremely good one on the bouquet.

Palate hits with a very nice control, but extremely syrupy feel. Thick raisin syrup and fig notes, with a mild sense of brown sugar. Big full mouth coating effect in the palate, and almost nutty aftertaste. Big on the sweetness but goes more to true fruit than something artifical and overly sugary. Hints toward purple juiced grape a bit too.

Overall a very solid off the radar quad, but just a bit too sweet for my tastes.

 861 characters

Photo of Hayley_86
3.29/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of t2grogan
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of a77cj7
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 914 ratings