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 rallison
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served into a mini Chimay goblet at Lucky Baldwin's.

Nice dark brown color. Taste is exceptional. Rich, bready malts. Nice, smokey, roasted character that you especially notice toward the end. Some hops to balance out the sweetness. Balance is perfect. Mouthfeel is very rewarding - nice and full and not syrupy. Drinkability is extremely good for a beer of this abv.

Highly recommended. This is a wonderful quad, and great on tap (I haven't tried a bottle yet, but will look forward to). Go, and drink some of this nectar.

 529 characters

Photo of scottoale
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Came in a 750ml., corked green champagne bottle, with the label stating: Donker-Foncee, Alc.11% Vol. on the front. On the back of the label there was a date of: 11-2000 and on the cork 11-2003 Gebotteld.

Pours a murky mahogany brown with burgundy highlights and a thick, frothy two-finger ivory head with dense sticky lacing aplenty.

Dark ripe fruity sweet aroma, really sweet with alcohol coming through strong. A few more sniffs and the sweetness subsides but the alcohol shines, almost smells like a Port or good fine wine.

The flavor...hmm the flavor, tastes like a well matured Port. Sweet dark fermented grapes with a light carbonation, sweet right down to the finish. The finish is clean with a nice earthy rich malt aftertaste that's quite mellow and pleasant. The high ABV is warming...very warming, almost down to your toes!

Full body with a velvety smoooth mouthfeel, and I do mean smoooth. Too easy to drink, tastes like candy...Cheers!!!

 962 characters

Photo of WTexas
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was introduced to this beer in 2000 by a friend from Maastricht, Netherlands (near the Belgian border) who'd bring it on her visits to Germany. Alas, I was happy to rediscover it at Martin Wine Cellar during a recent trip to New Orleans.

Sampled a 750ml bottle with a "Gebotteld" date of 11-2003. Poured a beautiful dark copper color into my goblet. Left a medium head that quickly dissipated into a heavy lacing. Smelt of caramel, chocolate, and fruits. These aromas became more pronounced as the beer warmed. A pronounced, yet balanced, sweetness that was consistent to the last milliliter. Had an exquisite creaminess which is surprising when one considers the 11% abv. Most certainly drinkable, but probably better enjoyed in sips versus quaffs. I'm pacing myself so my six bottles will last until my trip to Mardi Gras next month when I pick up at least another six bottles. Don't pass this beer by if given an opportunity to sample it. Now if they can only find a Texas distributor.

 993 characters

Photo of texashammer
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Honey colored. Cloudy brown with ruby tones in the light. No head to speak of. Smells wonderful and full, wow! of roasty pruny flavors, raisins, port wine, honey, sweetness. Mouthfeel is slick and slightly syrupy. Asks to be drunk a little slower than you wanted to drink it. :) Similar prunes and raisins and port wine sweetness in my mouth. Wow. This is a wonderful beer. The sweetness is best appreciated as or with dessert. Also paired beautifully with a Dutch Gouda-like cheese with caraway seeds in it. The slight spice in the cheese with the sweetness of the beer was great.

 581 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy cream colored head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a dry, yet fruity Belgian yeast aroma. The scent is sweet and creamy; very nice. The taste is great. It has a very smooth and rich malty flavor with a sweet and warm finish. It is full of flavor and malt complexity. The mouthfeel is excellent as well. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. It is full of flavor and aroma; a great drinker.

 569 characters

Photo of Mitchellrhen
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HippieDave56
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 33cl into Westvleteren chalice.

A. 1 finger head. Good retention. Not much lacing. Color is dark amber brown.

S. Dark fruit, brown sugar, caramel, rasisins, figs. Good amount of Belgian yeast. Slightly on the sweeter side.

T. Nice raisiny dark fruit mixed with quite a bit of caramel. Has a little spice on the finish. Taste is delicous. Also get some bready malt as it warms. Really dig the caramel spiciness, which is different then the full on dark fruit onslaught of some other quads. Almost has a cookie quality to it.

M. Full bodied. Low carbonation. Finishes with touch of sugary spice. Really nice mouthfeel on this one. Coats the mouth in creamy caramel dark fruit delicousness.

O. Damn good Quad. Up there with the best. Nice balance. Hides the ABV away without a trace.

 799 characters

Photo of tr4nc3d
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown/redish color with a creamy thick looking two inch head. Good retention, great big amounts of little bubbles on top dancing away leaving lacing on the side of my glass.

Smells like banana bread, cinammon, syrup, dark sugar, figs. Very great smell.

Taste is a smooth creamy caramel like, dark sugar, raisins, plums.

Medium body, smooth, nice amount of carbonation, great taste.

This was a tasty brew, good quad that I could drink again.

 452 characters

Photo of Treyliff
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz chubby bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 2/6/13

A- pours a deep brown color with a ruby hue, small foamy off-white head reduces to leave a ring around the edge

S- dark fruity aromas of black cherry, raisin, date, plum & fig. Fresh brown bread with hints of caramel, candied sugar, brown sugar, licorice & alcohol

T- lots of sweet malt up front with flavors of candied Belgian sugar, brown sugar & molasses. Dark fruits kick in mid-palate with flavors of cherry juice, plum & fig. Bready brown malt adds fruit-cake-like flavor, more sweetness on the finish with more dark fruit on the linger

M- viscous body with low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a slightly chewy warming finish

O- this is definitely a sipper that drinks more like a dessert port, this would be a fine choice for an after dinner drink

 832 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 330 ml bottle to a chalice.

A: pours a deep brown with red highlights. There is a thin one finger head that breaks quickly and leaves a thin ring of bubbles. Small lacing with a swirl.

S: sweet dark fruits such as figs and prunes are up front. Brown sugar, malts and some yeasts are also present. Very pleasant.

T: much of the nose follows onto the palate. Those dark fruits are dominant but the sweet of brown sugar or candy comes through a bit more too. The malts and yeasts round this out nicely. Alcohol is there but not invasive.

M: medium carbonation with a full body. Very smooth and enjoyable.

O: I would say this beer was a sleeper for me. I wasn't expecting what I got at all. While I know some would call it a touch sweet, I liked the dark fruit profile a great deal. If you like big Belgians I think you will like this.

 848 characters

Photo of 2GOOFY
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bonbini26
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a reddish brown, with a thick tan-orange head, that's the best I can describe it, which lasts forever, though the bubbles are a little too fizzy in the beginning.

S: Smells heavily of raw brown sugar and prunes, raisins and figs.

T: This may be the sweetest beer I have ever had. Full of residual sugar, the heavy sweetness shocked me a little at first, but I soon got into it. This malt barrage is backed by a large amount of dark fruit, specifically raisin and prune, and also what good be a bit of almond brittle, and Mission fig.

M: Thick and rich, almost syrupy, a little cloying at times, warming as well, there is a definite alcohol burn on the first sip.

D: An interesting beer, I've heard this described as a Belgian Barleywine, and I can understand why, though Quadrupel seems to fit it well as a style on this site. A very good beer, sweet and warming, the smell and taste could use a bit more "oomph," but overall, an enjoyable warming beer, or nightcap.

 979 characters

Photo of Douberd
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great colour, deep brown-red with some bubbles visible when hold against the light. One finger beige head that quickly disappeared.
Caramel aroma. Bitter-sweet taste, it was leaving me with a taste of bubblegum after each sip. The high ABV is not at all noticeable, good. Carbonation is balanced. Medium thick on palate.

A truly great beer!

 342 characters

Photo of Wildman
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a very dark amber, almost black color and formed a small light tan bubbly head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, caramel and coffee with a hint of the alcohol present. A flavor of malt, caramel, raisins and dark fruit with a hint of chocolate. The body is fairly light with a sweet finish. Not a bad beer that hides it's alcohol level well.

 432 characters

Photo of BenBreeg
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Brewski
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JBushEsq
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Chimay glass

A: A very deep dark brown with very red/copper tones around the edges

S: Smells very sweet and malty with the ethonal coming through at the end

T: Sweet with a lot of malt throughout, reminds me a lot of a sweeter red wine

M: I love the sweetness of this beer, but in the mouth, it is almost too sweet, a feeling that gets more pronounced the more you drink

D: A great beer, I'd get it again without a doubt... But I don't think I could have more than one in a sitting

Overall a really tasty complex beer, though it could be too sweet for some.

 578 characters

Photo of Gusler
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some how I’ve over looked this beer sitting on a shelf in my favorite beer palace, till a friend pointed out this was the “Donker”, not the “Blonde”, so always read the fine print.

The beer as it shoves off from the bottle pours a pellucid deep garnet color, the head mastodonic in size, the texture creamy, and the color a winsome tan, as it slowly erodes, the laces forms a tight seal upon the glass. Nose has a significant yeast aroma, sweet caramel, hints of fusel alcohol, a real sniffer this one, start is quite sweet, nice malt presence, and the top is moderate in its feel upon the palate. Finish has a potent acidity, the hops stinging in their spiciness, the aftertaste quite dry and sweet, with a definite tummy warming sensation from the 11 percent ABV, a quaffable brew tis’ true.

 802 characters

Photo of mJJJJJJJ
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Brian700
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a reddish/brown color with an off-white head almost a light brown.

The aroma was sweet with a dark fruit presence, raisins, figs, dates. Very enticing to say the least.

The flavor follows the nose, there is some malty sweetness with the presence of dark fruit again, dates, figs, raisins and such. There is also some alcohol warming in the end.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with moderate carbonation.

This is a pretty drinkable beer but is 11ABV so be carefull and don't hurt yourself.

 514 characters

Photo of Beginner2
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This may well have been my first "Eureka" revelations in the world of beer.
It came on November 18, 2009 at a cafe in Ghent. We were sitting at an outside table on a quiet plaza containing a church. The sun -- however low it was -- provided enough heat to sit outside. As the setting sun's shadow covered me, the minimal heat was replaced by this quad; called a Bruin in the Flanders part of Belgium. Since I am not writing a novel and you are not reading one, I'll cut that experience short.

When I got home, I did something I have done for no other beer during the course of my 62 years: I bought a case... and I am a better man for it.

So consistent was this case over five years that I cannot change my previous rating based on this current one, the final beer in that case. (I hoped the case would last ten years.) The disappointing part is that this ale is still improving; still melding its flavors, still complexing its dark fruits, still getting sweeter without getting syrupy. In brief, this is still a great quad.

For a more temperate opinion. listen to someone who knows.
MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave the quad we now call "Donker" 3 of 4 stars... (I roughly adjust his rating as about 12% less than my effusiveness.)

Donker and its tripel brethren are not so much as reviewed in his "Great Beers of Belgium", as he tells the story of his repartee' with the owner of Van Honsebrouck. Very hilarious material. If you can get the book, I recommend it... but particularly this passage.

Bottom-line: if you haven't tried this quad, buy it.... and you won't go wrong... particularly if you end up buying a case.

A fresher 4 pack was bought in August 2016 and I just Had one (in lieu of dessert.) I concur with buying a case: it is best to let this Donker age. It becomes graceful, which is better than I can say for us in what is supposed to be an important election year.

 1,883 characters

Photo of BobZ
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle
Poured into Rochefort Chalice

Appearance: Deep reddish brown, nice light tan head, a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Wow, really nice nose with a caramel sweetness and very complex undertones.

Taste: delicious beer, deep complexity, but malty sweetness is the dominant characteristic. Not "overly" sweet just truly great flavor.

Mouth feel: Very smooth, but may tend to coat the palate a little too much.

Drinkability: Drinkable, but due to the sweetness and tendency to coat the mouth, this beer may be best when coupled with some other dark ales (like Unibroue La Terrible) in a session.

 605 characters

Photo of Msclamogna
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first foray into the world of Belgian ales, and I couldn't be happier with my selection. The two reviewers before me were right; it is on the sweet side, but I disagree about it being overly sweet (when I think of overly sweet I think of Dogfish Head's barley wine). This beer would be excellent with a sharp cheddar or a blu cheese.

A full body, with high malt intensity and mild hoppiness.

Once again, this is my first foray into Belgian ales. Two friends had different bottles of Delirium at the same time, and after tasting the other two, I will say that I liked this one the most.

 599 characters

Photo of NickThePyro
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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