Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
388 Reviews
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
Reviews:
388
Ratings:
867
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
13.79%
 
 
Wants:
98
Gots:
154
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 388 | Ratings: 867
Photo of brewandbbq
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle with the new graphics.

Pours dark mahogany with amber edging. A beige head of a half-inch rose up with a longish pour. Traces of finely beaded lacework throughout the glass, with whisps on the surface.

Aromatics lead off with rum-soaked raisins, caramel, nougat, vanilla, and fresh figs.
Alcohol warms the nose and dark fruits step forward.

Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. Slickish and slightly chewy.

Dark rum, plump raisins, toffee, and a hint of Kahlua start the pallet. Drizzeled caramel, cocoa-dusted fruit, and warming alcohol follow through.

Finishes with lingering figs, dark rum, caramel, and brown sugar.

Pretty damn flawless and tasting like a real freshie. Quite a bit of fresh dough and lively hops (for a quad).
Way too drinkable.

 772 characters

Photo of tempest
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a dusty green bottle - thanks to a friend - of an unknown vintage, the bottle has a 08-2009 marking on it.

Right after the pour I get a slightly musty aroma, like it's been laid on its side and absorbed a little cork, or seen a little oak. Dark fruits also dominate with plum and date aromas and a little clove around the edges.

The appearance is a hazy brown with a quickly disappearing (acceptable for an 11% brew) tan head that leaves a little lacing. The flavor reminds me vaguely of plum wine for the smooth esters. I'm also tasting white grape and blueberry with the plum and dates. There's also a slight spiciness that could come from either noble hops of yeast phenols, either way they add a nice subtle layer.

Overall, this is a very good beer and incredibly smooth for the strength, but it doesn't quite have the awe-inspiring complexity of the great quads. Still, very much worth trying.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.64/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark raisin to walnut brown with a light head in a Kasteel chalice.

The aroma fills the room with a rich, peppery scent reminiscent of merlot wine. Even my wife said, "Wow!"

Subtle chocolate and caramel flavors intermingle with occasional spicy bursts.

This is crisp, yet smooth and creamy without being overpowered by the alcohol which does bite in the throat.

Sip this, one serving per sitting - but what a sitting!

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Photo of RomanW70
3.92/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pitcher's Pub in Cumberland, RI. Pours dark brown. Nice aroma of dark fruits, brown sugar, and a hint of alcohol. Flavor of dark fruits and brown suagr with a warming alcohol finish. Has a very vneous quality, Quite tasty, but very sweet, which is a little distracting. Underneath the sweetness is a beer with a loy of complexity. I enjoyed the beer, but it's defintely not an everyday beer.

 401 characters

Photo of chinabeergeek
3.37/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

330ml brown bottle at "beermania", a belgian beer bar in beijing, served in branded chalice.

clear, dark cola w red tint, some head but soon fades to thin ring. minimal lacing.

smells of caramel with phenolic sweetness, something like prune juice. hint of herbal grassiness.

slightly medicinal sweetness on the palate shocks me. again some caramel and candy. faint bitterness. finish starts cloyingly sweet as well, but at least the faint bitterness rounds it out slightly, albeit not enough.

feel is syrupy, with some fluffy carbonation which is otherwise quite gentle. finishes out smoother though.

this thing is just too sweet, without enough other complexities that stand out or even hold their own. maybe passable as a dessert, but even then the medicinal notes might detract from that as well...

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Photo of Biscuit033
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Brown but you could see through it with small white head and OK lacing.

S: Dark fruits and sour cherry hit me immediately and not much else.

T: There is prune, raisins, brown sugar and molasses, tart cherry flavors that add to the sour flavors but very, very sweet.

M: Full body but a bit oily and long tart finish.

D: It is very sweet and not tart enough to balance all of the flavors to drink an entire glass.

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Photo of pwoods
3.61/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. stubby 'Duvel' style brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a chalice.

A: Deep shoe leather pour that's completely opaque. A short fluffy head forms and holds for a bit before falling to a chunky skim. Decent lacing throughout.

S: Alcohol soaked dark fruits dominate most of the aroma. Some sweet caramel malts and maybe a touch of meatiness in the back.

T/M: Alcohol is very present and meets nicely with the dark, plump, pulpy fruits. More of the sweet caramel and light meaty flavor. Has a touch of sour/tart fruit flavor to it but very much an undertone. Still, it's not quite what I want. Body is nearly full but a syrupy feel to it. Lighter carbonation makes for a vinous feel.

D: This would be a very tasty brew if it weren't for that little bit of sour fruit in the back. Still, not terrible, and seems reasonably drinkable for a Quad.

 869 characters

Photo of jdubjacket
3.24/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into two pint glasses. Very mixed feelings about this beer. Pours an opaque dark brown color that looks like murky pond water. Nose is sugar, candy, dried fruit. Taste is VERY sweet. Unfortunately, I could only handle a few sips of this beer. This beer is so sweet, it's nearly undrinkable. I've tried giving this beer a chance two times now, and both times, it's just too alcoholic and too sweet to finish. Not my favorite quad - too sweet to be truly enjoyable.

 491 characters

Photo of Donnie2112
4.66/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance: deep, dark opaque brown, tinges of red and orange, nice little bits of lacing and a thin layer of head on top.

smell: Maple, very sweet smelling a bit of alcohol as if I'm smelling red wine

taste: again maple syrup or molasses,vanilla, a tinge of chocolate a bit of cherry in the malt. finishes snappy with a bit of alcohol, I detect a trace of hops. I keep coming back to red wine in my mind for some reason, even though there's not a lot that I would normally associate with a red wine. Just a fascinating flavor for a beer.

mouthfeel: creamy with plenty of carbonation

drinkability: this is simultaneously full flavored and refreshing. I quickly finished the 1 pt 9.4oz bottle and wished for a case of the stuff. It's very drinkable.

 752 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

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Photo of p1nt
3.17/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

a fresh 750 bottle. happened to be the cheapest 750 in the market, and one I hadn't tried already; I enjoyed the kasteel tripel ok so I thought I'd give it a shot. the beer poured a minimal head which dissipated quickly; had the appearance of flat pepsi, plus a bit of lacing. standard taste/smell for something between a quadrupel and a belgian strong dark ale: overly sweet, raisins, figs, and rather medicinal. body/mouthfeel was much lighter than expected, and offered almost no carbonation - a substantial amount of which I think might have helped balance out the overwhelming sweetness.

I was expecting to enjoy it more as the 11 abv kicked in (like the 120 minute IPA, which went from cough syrup to amazing), but nothing doing - to be honest, I couldn't even finish it.

 778 characters

Photo of daledeee
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes in the classic fat belgian style bottle. Pours a very dark brown with a light tan one finger head. This went away but a nice lace stayed throughout this extended drink. 11% ABV can and does slow you down!!

The nose is sweet, caramel, apricot or figs or prune. The taste followed this nose. This beer is made with high standards but is too sweet for my tastes. Caramel and dark fruits prevail. Not a hop profile to speak of. Overall a good beer, but as as I said a tad sweet.

 481 characters

Photo of dsa7783
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ML green Belgian bottle copped caged and corked from Total Wine and More in West Orange... "Kasteel Donker" on the logo sticker... this beer packs a punch at a whopping 11% ABV... Pours a grape-colored hue with minimal frothy head that left apparent lacing around the top of my mug... Strong alcoholic and prune aroma leads to a taste complete with dark, dehyrdated fruits, raisins, currants, figs, caramel, and cinnamon... the strong alcohol content is certainly noticeable in both the flavor and aroma and makes itself known after a few sips with a warm, inviting glow... definitely a beer for colder-weather days... Although labeled as a quadrupel, this brew could easily pass as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with its syrup and molasses quality... not my favorite-tasting sample, but a quality brew nontheless... strong, rich, and dark flavor is really highlighted... Worth a try...

 886 characters

Photo of brdc
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Large, corked and caged, poured int a goblet.

Dense, opaque dark brown body with some crimson highlights, a thin but good looking head (maybe it is just me, second time tonight), light brown, with decent retention, good lacing.
Nose is heavily malted as expected, caramel, chocolate, raisins and berries, some spiciness as well.
Creamy mouthfeel, nice carbonation, it is quite well balanced, sweet indeed with caramel and chocolate, but fruity, peppery and even somewhat dry at times, which keeps drinkability high.
Not my favorite quadrupel but a very good one.

 566 characters

Photo of rye726
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherry wood color with a creamy tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Nose is very fruity with lots of plums and sweet cherries. Sweet malts, caramel and earthy Belgian yeast.

Again a big fruity complex malt profile. Starts rich and finishes with strong flavors of sweet pitted fruit. Dark candy, raisins, plums, toffee, caramel and musky yeast. A port like alcohol flavor in the finish.

Thick and silky with ample carbonation. A very complex dark Belgian brew. Has a long shelf life, but I think it is best a around 1 year. I have aged a few for longer, but the sweetness gets out of balance.

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Photo of macster
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 01/2004. Best by 05/2009. Yeah, indeed this is one to quench a sweet tooth, but still a unique, well crafted Belgian Ale.

Pours a fairly clear maroonish-brown hue displaying a thin, patchy head with spotty lacing.

Complex, but somewhat reserved aromas of brandy-soaked plums, figs, black cherries and orange slices with some caramel and malt lingering in the background.

A quite intense sweetness is the initial impression on the first sip; almost reminiscent of Myer's Dark Rum. Body is full and chewy. Dark, ripe fruit flavors nicely mimic the aromas, but much more rich and muscular. The 11% alcohol is definitely a necessity here to cut through the sugary sweetness and it comes real close to doing its job and rendering some respectable balance here.

This baby would certainly make an excellent dessert after a hearty dinner.

 846 characters

Photo of Gmann
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Out of a 750ml corked, caged, and foiled bottle. The cork indicates that it was born in November of 2003, the label states to drink by November of 2008. Pours a murky brown color with a nice off-white head that left a nice ring around the glass with some nice lacing. The smell is of mellow roasted malt, mellow dark fruit, and some port wine characteristics. A lighly roasted malt flavor, sweet, with a nice mellow wine grape flavor; quite olde ale like. Definitely port wine like; nice and mellow, nothing sharp here. A Belgian Olde Ale perhaps??? The feel is moderate with soft carbonation, finishes sweet, slick, and sticky. Definitely an aged sample here and aged well. The mellow flavor is quite good; it is very sweet but is quite drinkable. Some nice fruity flavors.

 774 characters

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep joy, another beer presented to me to pour by my daughter at her Belgian beer and food night.

Poured into the lovely correct goblet style glass with the castle design on the base of the glass stem. The glass really sets it off nicely.

Very dark, almost forbodingly dark, with a rich biege head, wonderful. Held up to the light you can see it is clear and clean, even though it is so dark in apperance.

The whole experience was good, the aroma was a dark chocolate cake mix with currents, the taste not far off the same.

Rich and smooth feel to it, very drinkable even at 11%, we polished off 4 (small) bottles on the night.

 631 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in my Sam Adams Sensory glass. Poured the color of cola. Two inch thick, fluffy white head settled into a thin layer of foam. A sheet of belgian lacing blanketed the sides of the glass during the tasting. Strong scent of dark fruit immediately hits the nose (raisins, prunes, plums) followed by a sweet, sugary smell and a faint aroma of yeast. Taste similar to nose with a bit of alcohol astringency at the finish, which is pleasantly masked by the sweetness of the brew. Warm, full mouthfeel with a little liveliness on the tongue. This is a truly greaat Quadrupel, but definitely meant for savoring slowly.

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Photo of bonbini26
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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 dac
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beeachwood BBQ, Seal Beach, CA. I have also had the bottled version.

Brown in color with a thick tan head which falls into a lace which clings to the sides of the glass.

While waiting for the too cold draught pour to warm up to room temperature cup the belgian
style glass between the hands to warm and enhale the delightful aromas of caramel, brown
sugar, cotton candy, prunes, banana and plethora of other unidentified esters.

Very malty and sweet, but with many complex flavors that are difficult to describe - prune,
raisen, brown sugar, bubblegum. Alcohol of 11%ABV with notable fusel content is impossible
to miss but enhances the experience.

Very drinkable, delicious, addicting. This is a substaintial beer that is excellent by
itself or with a hearty meal. Suitable for sipping after dinner or for breakfast.

 836 characters

Photo of Darkale
4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love it when you find a beer that you've probably seen a hundred times, and you finally buy it, because someone has recommended it, and you are amazed by it. That is the "elevator speech" for this beer.

I cannot add anything to the descriptions in the reviews for this beer. My only addition is that this is truly one of those beers that lives and dies by the temperature that it is served. Perhaps "lives and dies" is too harsh. I only mean to say, that if it is too cold, then the beer is easy to overlook. But, when it is warm, then the beer is very, very good indeed.

 574 characters

Photo of hoppymeal
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown with amber hues, clear, a decent size light khaki colred head fades with light lacing. Aroma is nice pruney and plum malt sweetness, some good yeasty breadiness, apples, and fusel alcohol. Taste follows with a big malty sweetness, caramel and toffee, that is cut by a peppery and dry bready and alcohol flavor. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy body, fairly lively carbonation cuts throught that and tingles on the tongue, some warmth and bite from the alcohol strength in the finish and a dryness in the finish as well. A good beer that was much better the closer it was to room temperature.

 599 characters

Photo of kenito799
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint pour for an insane $3 at Eichden's, Center City, Minnesota.

Pours a medium chestnut brown, the small head fades to a thin ring. Nice lacing is left down the glass.

Aroma sweet candi sugar malty with root beer and nutmeg notes.

The somewhat syrupy mouthfeel conveys a very sweet sugary brew, fruity and mildly spicy flavors, bubble gum, sarsparilla.

A well made Belgian brew, alcohol hidden fairly well, but quite sweet. this makes it a bit less drinkable.

 466 characters

Photo of thierrynantes
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beer bottle (33cl.), tasted in 1999.

Appearance: glowing brown color, with tan foam head (not persistent).
Smell : fruity aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel: soft palate, taste of Porto and coffee, strong sweet sensations.
Drinkability: a beer in the style strong dark ale, too strong and too sweet.

Review translated from french 6-11-2008.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
4.06 out of 5 based on 867 ratings.
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