Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
886 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:
886
Reviews:
392
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
13.79%
 
 
Wants:
100
Gots:
161
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 886 |  Reviews: 392
Photo of puboflyons
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
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

Photo of CoreyC
4.64/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle dated 2013-05-06, so a bit over 3 years
A - Dark brown light head
S - Nice sweet carmel malts
T - Deliciously sweet - not too sugary, but excellent carmel and dark fruit flavor
M - Nicely smooth/thick
O - Just an excellent tasting BSDA, well worth aging

 262 characters

Photo of JohnTurano
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Fettpopps
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Silke_Neryn
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of tuesunsommiel
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark brow, ruby red when held up to the light
S: Malt, dried/candied fruit, alcohol, yeast
T: Complex, candied fruit, plum, slight raisin, alcohol (not overpowering)
F: Oily, great complexity and pleasant aftertaste
O: Complex beer and definitely worth the price in Europe

 275 characters

Photo of windowside
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of reitzbrewing
4.73/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tlema1
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 2011
L: murky brown, with a thin but long lasting head
S: I get a plum wine almost sake quality
T: absolutely delicious, so easy drinking, muted dark fruit and a definite sweetness
F: silky, not boozy at all, goes down really easy
O: I'll probably never have an almost 5 year old beer again, this is excellent

 317 characters

Photo of kdevilliers
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of infinitebruner
3.46/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

May 24, 2016

11.2 oz. bottle, snifter

A – Extremely dark brown, not quite black, and on the cloudy side. A centimeter, maybe, of light tan head, gone as quickly as it appears.

S – Black cherry, a ton of cola, stone fruit, and big alcohol esters. Warm on the nose. Smells a bit thin, like a cordial or a port or dessert wine. A bit of chocolate and toffee in the background. No hop character.

T – Stone fruit, pear, fruity esters from the alcohol. Light chocolate, almond, and sweet cola. May be some licorice in there as well. Zero hop flavor.

M – A bit on the thin side, the presence of a lot of alcohol very obvious. Drinks almost like a lightly carbonated port or dessert wine. Sweet, on the verge of cloying. Some alcohol warmth on the finish.

O – A strange beer, almost more like a cordial or wine, as noted a couple times. If I tried this blind, I’d be convinced there was a ton more alcohol in it, or that it wasn’t beer at all.

 969 characters

Photo of MFS_71
4.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Freepack88
4.39/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Darcj5
4.59/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of blueberryann
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of jkhara12
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of mattreitz49
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of YvesB
3.77/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Trosevear
4.83/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Dark brown with a slight white head leaving nothing and no lacing at all.

S: Sickly sweet but what I expected from a quad slight hop and malt smell as well.

T: Dark maple and a syrup taste as well and kinda brown sugar, all super sweet tastes to it.

F: Full bodied flavour and carbonation to it.

O: A really amazing beer would buy this again and sip on it again slowly!!

 377 characters

Photo of Beginner2
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
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 bnes09
2.49/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Dense, super hazy and syrupy appearance with no head at all. Ultra sweet flavor. Tastes like apple cider with added syrup. No head character or hop balance. Feels like syrup. Minimal carbonation.

 200 characters

Photo of noz03
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Howlader
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
4.06 out of 5 based on 886 ratings.
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