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Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

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386 Reviews
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

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

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Reviews: 386 | Ratings: 857
Photo of kegerator
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

very nice brew.
pours a deep mahogany brown with ruby tones. A big 2 inch head develops and sticks around leaving nice lacing behind.
aroma was sweet, brown sugar, caramel with hints of cherries and fruits and a slight background vinegary aroma hmm.
taste was aroma like, hits with grape and fruit with hints of brown sugar and chocolate. Sweet but not overly sweet. Its full bodied and packs a punch. Its smooth, sticky and the alcohol makes its presence known as it warms the body, mind and soul.

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Photo of Viggo
1.71/5  rDev -57.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Only beer I've had that got progressively worse and undrinkable as time went on. Pours a dark mahogany brown, lots of off white head and lacing. Smells is sweet malt, alcohol, and dark fruits. Taste is horribly sweet, dark cherries, and overpowering alcohol. The mouthfeel was the only pleasant thing about this beer, the carbonation was good. This beer is only good for cooking, it tasted like brown sugar mixed with rubbing alcohol, and this was a bottle that had been aged for 7 months at my house. Insanely one dimensional, it burns from the alcohol. Not recommended at all, horrible. It took all my willpower to force it down and not throw this out.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Quite a pleasant surprise and find. Paid $8 for a 750mL bottle in a store that's a bit on the pricey side. Hadn't heard of or tasted this one before so I thought it worth a go.
Poured a pretty mahagony color into my chalice with some head and good lacing on the glass. Smells slightly sharp and mildly fruity.
I don't think I can detect any hops in this one... or juuuust barely. This is quite sweet, almost to the point of cloying but seems to stop just short of that. Very, very smooth flavor and mouthfeel. The tastes I'm getting are mostly dark raisins and dried figs, perhaps a bit of dark sweet cherries. Reminds me a bit of other quadrupels but perhaps without some of the depth or maybe even without some of the smokyness. I find the taste to be quite delicious and juicy.
The sweetness is a little bit over the top and maybe a bit unbalanced which takes some drinkability out of this; however, with a bare whisper of detectability of the alcohol content (a head heavying 11%) you probably dont need to worry about drinking a lot of this.
Great stuff.

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

pours a confident, dense brown with a thin coating of bubbles on top. lacing is pronounced and slides down the side of the glass like a slug. smells very buttery.. yeast toffee and malt notes. fruity with a definite trappist edge in the nose. wow! explodes with banana and berry flavors. taste is a sweet kick with smoothness going down. alcohol is evident but muted by the intense flavor experience here. leaps and bounds above the lighter kasteel. this is a nice, affordable halfway point between rocs grand cru and a trappist quad or dubbel.

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Photo of Sigmund
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle, at Les Moules Belgian restaurant in Prague. Served too cold. Beautiful deep brown to ruby colour. Large head which disappears rapidly. Aroma of dark malts, oak, old sherry, spices and leather. Flavour is very malty and sweet with a warming mouthfeel, elements of Christmas spices and old sherry. Very good. Yummy!

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Photo of Globetrotter
2.83/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased in Antwerp and hand-delivered to Moscow (thanks Marjut and Michael!), this 33cl brown stubby features a big bulge in the neck and a tan and yellow label centered around a drawing of some seventeenth century palace. Ingredients conform to the purity law. Best before 9/09, I opened it on 3/25/05.

Clear but very dark cola like brown hue under a thin 1/2 finger head that fades to collar almost immediately, but then leaves some pretty impressive lace strings along the side. Sweet caramel malt nose, like candy. Mildly carbonated and pretty sticky, basically the consistency of a semi-flat coke (but in a good way...). The opening taste is way too sweet (what? no sugar in here? Ha!), almost like maple syrup. Some hops try to fight their way through the sweetness, and manage to get noticed before falling back into the sugary swamp. The overall impression is way too sweet for me. I can't recommend it.

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Photo of baiser
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured dark brown, with ruby highlights, medium tan head, gorgeous lacing. Aroma of raisins, chocolate, rum, sweetness and more alcohol. Taste was rich, wine-like, and extremely sweet. Dark flavours of chocolate, ripe fruit, yeast, spices, wine. Extremely complex flavours. Smooth, full bodied. It was just a bit too sweet for my tastes. Made it hard to finish. It's definitely a sipper.

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Photo of putnam
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This has the word "Donker" on the label, so I file it here, under the quadrupel style banner.

It is so alcoholic that it doesn't support much foam. I expect barleywine and am greeted instead with a nose of cured, sweet spices from the Indian ocean. Chocolate, cinnamon buns and piney, dry vanilla husks, steeping in moist, tropical perfumes seem to mark the perimeter of the bouquet.
An alcoholic blast of burnt pepper and maple syrup sweetness is evident immediately upon drinking the brown, sweet brine. Chaos reigns in the flavor, but the texture never becomes sloppy. It is a mushroom patch of sweet, woody nectars -- fizzy with youth.

This appears to be an effective budget alternative to world-class quads such as St. B's 12, Westy 12, and Achelse Kluis. $6.75 for a fifth gallon.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

75 cl cork and caged bottle, bottled in Jan 2004, dated best before 5-2009 on backside label. Pours an opaque dark chocolate brown color with a sustaining tan head that laces nicely. A lot of vinous, yeasty notes with a ridiculous amount of dark roasted candi sugar and malts. Some earthy undertones as well. Upon first sip I think to myself how a couple of years ago this was like mother's milk to me, and I reflect upon the fact that palates and people's taste preferences change over time and how much this beer could rot your teeth if you pass out before brushing them. Holy shit is it sweet, with just enough vinous fruitiness and moderate hoppiness to cut it before it becomes too cloying. I still love this beer, though. I'm just a bit more critical about beers than a couple of years ago. I'm just trying to reminisce why I loved this beer so much a couple years ago. I think it's the creamy mouthfeel paired with a deep, malty alcoholic punch that is very clean finishing, yet coating the mouth with stickiness. Dangerously drinkable, especially for it's lofty 11% ABV; but, overall, a little too sweet to give it a 4 in the drinkability rating.

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Photo of nomad
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2002 vintage

If ever I could call a beer's appearance murky, this would be a prime instance. Deep chestnut brown color with not a peak of anything else; even staring at the edges barely showed a change in hue. To counter, or round out depending on your opinion, this meal-in-a-glass facade was abundant head and lacing. Thick coats of white sheen plastered both goblets which received this fine beer.

Smell is a strong mirror of the flavor, extremely strong scents of toasty biscuits, dark honey, muted yeastiness, and a sweet hum of base malt. Delicious before it hits my mouth with the same round of flavors - tastes like a fresh loaf of bread drenched in caramel laced with the barest but finest dark chocolate. Bursts sweet and honey-like in the center before slowly fading to a drier finish, but ever so slowly. With time and exposure the abundant sugars calm as the bready malt core takes over. Drinkability is a tough call - the flavors were so pleasing, so soul caressing, though the alcohol and the sweetness were at times pounding. Without some food to match I would think less of this beer in that category.

I enjoyed this beauty from my cellar with a hunk of Callebaut 65% Dark Chocolate, and I could not wish for a better pairing. Instead of an overload of sweetness, the two brought out earthy and savory flavors left and right of center. The Belgians just might know what they are doing, maybe, possibly, you think?

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Photo of DrJay
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very nice dark chestnut brown with deep amber and red highlights. This was topped by a thin lacing of light brown foam that showed a little stickage and good retention.

Smell: Big roasted malt aroma with some alcohol, dried fruit, tobacco, and floral/perfumy hops. Nice complexity and balance.

Taste: A little too sweet for my taste. Maltiness is quite strong with a good deal of cherry-like fruitiness. Not much in the way of bitterness to balance the sweetness. The finish is quite long, with a spicy phenols and alcohol becoming prominent.

Mouthfeel: Full body and viscous, with lots of unfermented sugars. Low carbonation. In fact, it leaves a sticky residue on the lips. Alcohol warmth is noticeable on the tongue and at the back of the throat.

Drinkability: The syrupy sweetness makes it difficult to get through a whole bottle by myself. The aroma and flavours are quite pleasant, but I just can't get over the sweetness...

330 mL short brown bottle with best before date stamped on the rear label.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a clear brown color ale with a below average head that had some pretty good retention. Aroma is exclusively comprised of roasted malt with some faint alcohol in the back.. Taste is quite simple, which was a bit surprising for this type of beer and consisted of mildly roasted malt with some warm alcohol at the end. Overall, this is not a bad beer but it is lacking complexity.

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Photo of WTexas
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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

Cloudy dark brown beer that pours a decent, but short-lived head. Moderate lace throughout.

Nose is very pronounced - sweet and full of fruit, malt, carmel, yeast and alcohol. A nice beer to inhale.

Great to taste. Lots of things happening in your mouth. Sweet with noticeable malt, wonderfully bready. Tons of heavy dark fruit. Big alcohol punch means this one is for working your way through slowly. That just means you can savour it more. Quite heavy and syrupy on the palate as well.

Nicely complex, an enjoyable beer, best suited for sitting back in the comfy chair when you've got no plans to be going anywhere.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was from a 750ml bottle, dated 09-2003. Appears a slightly translucent brown with reddish highlights and a slight tan head that bubbles down fairly quickly. Some lace it left around the glass as it was consumed. Aroma was fruity sweet with dark ripe fruits and a light sugary caramel. There was a bit of spice to it as well as notes of yeast and alcohol. Fruity sweetness starts of the flavor before giving way to doughy malt with spice that keeps the sweetness in check. Alcohol was barely noticeable and the after taste left a sweet spiciness on your tongue. Mouthfeel was medium to full with a nice creaminess and it was a bit warming as well. Drinkability is great, you just have to slow down a bit to enjoy all the complexities of this fine beer. Great all around beer, that I will definitely pick up again.

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Photo of granger10
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Kasteel Donker shows where the line between beer and wine can get a little blurry. Pours a murky brown color with red highlights, practically no head but there was a good amount of lacing. Smell is really sweet and vinous. Taste is the same way. Lots of dark vinous fruits in a variety of flavors burst out from the start. Really sweet but there wasn't much of a malty sweetness. Alcohol comes in and has quite a kick with lots of flavor. There's a strong Belgian yeast element in here that melds well with the alcohol. Finish is dry and a bit weak for my liking. Becomes too syruppy sweet after a while. Needs more effervescence to offset the fruits. Decent but not the greatest Belgian I have had.

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Photo of pootz
2.37/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottled. Typical Belgian stubbie. Pours a flat cola -red with little or no head. Aroma is alcohol mixed with spice. mouth feel is oils and sweet...pronounced molasses-cola tastes some malt body and the ever pervasive alcohol....very much like a Carib sweet stout...bad job of hiding it and too sweet with adjuncts to be considered a serious for a European ale...these Belgium mutants should have their own category...maybe "rot yer teeth hi grav rummy beer" ...woof , I won’t be going back here.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours super dark burgundy, almost black. The off white head starts off compact and foamy then recedes to a ring. Lacing is patchy and sporadic. The aroma is of plums, sweet cherries, jammy yeast and a waft of airy alcohol. The taste is very malty with lots of ripe dark fruit, port, and christmas bread flavors. The alcohol is zesty and very warming, though its in check considering the high ABV. In fact its the warming effect of the alcohol that makes this such a great winter brew. Hop aroma is virtually non existent. The mouthfeel is smooth and kind of viscous. This is a great Barleywine, very big and full of maltiness. A perfect winter nightcap.

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

A dark brown pour with a medium tan head. Semi sweet nose. Molasses, grapes & black currant. Light roasted notes as well. Taste wise this brew was ru\ich and sweet...deacdent w/ a port-like grape sweetness. Underlying burnt sugars. Alcohol warmth. Nice lingering flavors. Great combo of fruit and alcohol. The mouthfeel was rich and creamy, sticky and sweet, thick n syrupy. This was quite the decadent, dessert beer. A great cold weather sipper, however, a little too sweet to have several.

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Photo of slitherySOB
3.59/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first quadrupel. Never even heard of the style until now. Pours a dark, almost black colour with a hint of dark red when shone through a light. Sadly, next to no head. And lacing was nonexistant. Smells strongly of malt and chocolate. Despite the 11% ABV, not a strong alcohol smell. Taste starts out very sweet and malty. Has some ripe fruits as well, particularly plums and red grapes. Finishes with a chocolate and port taste. Afterfeel is bittersweet, kind of like a dark coffee with sugar and no cream. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Very nice for this beer. I think two would last the night, but a highly drinkable beer nonetheless.

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Photo of tatterdash
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with an off-white head that disappears to a thin ring rather quickly. Has a very sour citrus smell akin to a lambic but not quite so strong, definitely alcohol as well. Taste was definitely different from the smell. some dark fruits, licorice, quite sweet but tasteful, very complex. Having only tried one other Quadrupel, Rochefort 10, this is quite different but shares the complexities that make up this style. Very smooth and drinkable, but the sweetness gets a little strong after a while... I think I had better pick up a few more of these before they are gone.

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Photo of WesWes
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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

Nice mohagany color with a creamy tan head. It has a good level of carbonation, but note quite as much as other Belgians. The aroma is semi-sweet, malty, and caramel-like. It has a fresh, herbal aroma as well. There is some fruitiness in the aroma too. The flavor is sweet...way more sweetness than I was expecting. The flavor is way malty, with caramel and dark fruits toward the finish. Oh, and coming in at 11%, there is the alcohol in the finish. It is full-bodied, with a creamy texture. The alcohol is definitly there, but not as boozing as one might expect from a high-octane brew such as this. It is a very nice brew. The maltiness is a big surprise for me; different than most belgians I've had. I will drink this one again.

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Photo of Sammy
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A high quality brew that pleasantly surprisingly made the LCBO Fall list. Its only drawback is the knockout alcohol punch. Georgeous brown, barleywine and quality yeast aroma. Great taste in my favorite style. Hops, fruit and sugary malt. Good night!

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Photo of cro250klr
4.57/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

It's been a while since I had a Kasteel Brune. Four months to be exact. It was one of our main staples while we were in Belgium. Finally, Kasteel has made it back to northeast Pa. Just in time too, as fall is here and the weather is getting cooler. This has to be one of the best belly warmers on the planet. If you don't like sweet, smooth and malty high abv brews, stay away. I absolutely love strong dark Belgians and this is number three on my all time favorite list. Only a Westy 12 and a Rocheford 10 can give this brew a run for it's money.
The murky apperance in the chalice with it's light tan head is a sight to behold. The sweet fruity aroma and that first alcohol blast just have to be experienced. The yeasty, malty taste reminds me of the sweet dough bread my grandmother used to make. The 11% stands out like a sore thumb but, coupled with the nose and taste, that makes this an amazing beer. When Franklin said, "Beer is proof that God love us and wants us to be happy", he must have been sitting next to a warm fire with a bottle of this liquid ecstacy.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
4.06 out of 5 based on 857 ratings.
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