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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: 858
Photo of psuKinger
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

25.4 ounce bomber, corked and caged, poured into one of my Kasteel chalices.

Bottle *pops* with a lot of force. Good carbonation here.

A: Pours a murky brown color with a thin white head on top, and carbonation readily visible, enveloping all edges of the chalice.

S: Molasses, with a hint of figs and prunes, all at a moderate volume.

T: Rich and sweet, this beer tastes like "beer brownies" to me. The molasses is prominant. Figs, prunes, and other dark fruits are present. A healthy dose of candied sugars just heap on the sweetness.

A good dry finish, with some slightly sour acidic notes on the back end that give this beer some depth.

M: A surprising amount of *heft* to this beer for such a large amount of carbonation serves as a good reminder that this beer is indeed 11% ABV. It finishes moderately dry, and sticky-sweet.

D/O: Enjoyable as "dessert beer", but it's just a shade too sweet for me to enjoy multiple pints of in one sitting.

The 11% ABV also puts an upper boundary on this beer's drinkability for me.

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Photo of The_1084
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice brown color with some amber undertones.

S - Unlike any other beer I have smelled. Presents a mixed fruit aroma with the presence of cherry and raisin being easily recognized. Also, gives off the hint of a sweet wine.

T - Very sweet with a strong taste of wine that is mixed with a variety of fruits.

M - Thick and creamy with light-medium carbonation.

O - This is the first beer I have drank of this style, but overall I am impressed. For a beer with 11% ABV, aside from its high level of sweetness (almost too sweet for my personal taste), it is very easy to drink. A little added carbonation may help balance out the sweetness, but that is just a small note to make in comparison to the many qualities this beer contains.

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Photo of laurastradford
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on my Belgian beer tour at a little bar in Bruge,recommended by a local. It poured a dark rich color with a minimal head and very little lace. I tend to prefer golden beers but this was a delicious dark beer. It had a lightness and sweetness to it that I was not expecting.

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Photo of Marius
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle. Dark bworn pour with a fine-grained beige head and visible carbonation. Dried fruit, like prunes, figs, raisins, alongside notes of caramel and subtle yeast. A bit too sweet for my taste.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged bottle served in an oversized wineglass.

pours an opaque, slightly ruddy, deep mahogany tone with a finger of beige/off-white head that quickly lapses into a thin collar; middling, spotty lacing.

aroma is right there with what i look for in a BSDA: nice bouquet of caramel malts, dark fruits, brown sugar, belgian yeast, and maybe some candied sugar. i'm suddenly pretty jazzed about this beer. flavor, unfortunately, doesn't build off that momentum. it largely follows the nose but with a much greater, almost cloying degree of sweetness... dark fruits up front with a big caramal malt wallop emerging in full mid-palate(ish); packs a boozy punch in the finish.

medium-plus/borderline full bodied mouthfeel with adequate carbonation. if the sweetness was dialed back a bit this could be a great beer... still very good, but IMO just a bit too sweet. would absolutely be game for another glass in the future, but i won't be gunning for it either.

originally reviewed: 11-01-2010

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

Picked up in southern Spain. 750 ml bottle with a best by date of July 2016. Poured into my wine glass and it had a minimal head. Very much a dark fruity small and taste. Not much head but it was light brown head and did lace slightly. Deep brown almost ruby color. Lots of fig cherry sweet dark fruit taste. Definitely a sipper and some warming from the alcohol. Very heavy beer and coats the mouth and throat. Overall a splendid quadruple dark Belgian and will consider packing a few when I leave Spain and will continue to stock this.

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Photo of jcomp21
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


You gotta try this beer. Strait outta belgium, this beer makes me smile. One of my favorite types of beer, the beglian quadruple/belgian strong dark ale.

Appearance - Very dark brown with some red undertones, there was a quick head that evaporated quickly... but at 11% abv that is expected!

Smell - Wow - like falling in love with a blonde girl in lederhosen on the alps. very figgy and sweet. Some strawberries and chocolate on the back of the nose. Take me to Belgium!!!

Taste - Sweet, pruny, cherry/strawberry, tart raison, with a bite and you can feel a bit of warming from the alchohol.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and smooth

Overall - I want to drink this alot

see you on the next one.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a New Belgium tulip from a small bottle which says ``bottled on 100506''. The pour is brown, clear, and very dark. Carbonation is low and there is a thin layer of foam on the beer. The nose is quite unique. I haven't encountered a beer like this one before. I get cherries and raisins, then once I start swirling I start to get a little bit of alcohol, a slight sour note, and a strong wine-like component.

The beer is full-bodied and the taste is complex, sweet, and strong. Initially, I get lots of dark fruit, brown sugar, and caramel. There is a slight touch of alcohol warmth, but the real treasure lies at mid-palate. The flavors develop there and take on port-like qualities. It is absolutely delicious. The mouthfeel is viscous and ``chewy''.

What a wonderful beer. It is like drinking a nice glass of port. It's definitely a sipper and not the easiest beer to drink, and I think it could use a bit more carbonation to help stimulate the palate, but that doesn't take away from its great qualities. I wouldn't suggest this to someone new to beers of this caliber. It has a lot of complexity and a lot of power.

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Photo of nout72
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This could have easily been my favourite beer, but it is just too sweet.
The earlier review in which I stated this beer is on par with the Rochefort 10 I have deleted, very unfortunate.

There is so much in favour of this beer: it is so smooth (no headache or stomach ache ever), the smell is gorgeous, the taste is full and very balanced, ...but why so damn sweet?

I think I have to buy a bunch and store them for a year and come back to review them again.

Still, I cannot give this beer a lower rating than 4 for taste, because with less sweets it could have been a perfect beer.

Edit 04-14-2012
Yes I can give this beer a lower rating than 4 for taste, it is just way too sweet.

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Photo of RodneyFarva
4.63/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into a snifter

a: deep brown, nearly black, with a two finger tan head which took several minutes to dissipate, nice lacing.

s: dark roasted malts, toffee, alcohol heat.

t: malts, bittersweet cocoa, butterscotch and toffee, plums, raisins, a touch of brown sugar, alcohol heat at the end. very rich and smooth. coats the tongue with its richness.

o: splendid, although somewhat sweet quad. alcohol was present but surprisingly, did not end up being a detraction. lots of complexity, and still incredibly smooth.

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

A: 1/2" tan coloured head over brown liquid with decent clarity.

S: Yeast, pears and figs.

T: Raisins, figs, pears, yeast, honey and barley malt. Quite sweet.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of carbonation.

O: Tastes like sweet raisins. If you like that sort of thing, this might be your beer.

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Photo of MrMichael
4.97/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very dark. There was a little foam, but it quickly went away

Dominated by dark, dried fruit.

A little fruity. It was sweeter than I expected, but incredible. There's a little coffee or red wine note as well

Smooth with very light carbonation

This is one of the best beers I've ever had. The one I had was part of a Belgian sampler and I went out the next day and bought a whole case.

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

11.2 oz bottle poured into a chalice

appearance - dark mahogany color with thin lacing of khaki head

smell - red wine, purple grapes, malt, brown sugar, cinnamon

taste - plums, raisins, red wine, malt, brown sugar

mouthfeel - medium bodied, ample carbonation,rich, sweet upfront and in the finish, slight detection of alcohol - warming but not overwhelming

overall - this is a really good Quad,on the sweeter side, but if you see it, be sure to try it

Price Point - $4.79/11.2 oz bottle

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Photo of DARIVA
3.69/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful and sweet dark beer with a slightly smaller head.
This beer drinks very easy way and has a slight carbonation, which I personally might be a bit more.
The taste of caramel is very present.
Furthermore, an above average beer but not really special.

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Photo of jsp2
5/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml corked bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Beautiful deep reddish brown hue topped with thin foam.

Aroma of freshly baked sweet fruity pastries, with raisin, orange, and apple.

A very complex and earthy, fruity flavor with huge sweetness. Sweet, intense, complex, and delicious. It is sweet and the hop level is low, but the earthiness really balances out the sweetness.

Carbonation is low to moderate and keeps the brew lively and light, a great sipper.

Among the best tasting substances to ever come from a bottle, a perfect quad.

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Photo of karait95
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A very dark color can be seen, when against light some reddish hues are clearly detected, head is brown but not too big with medium dissipation and no many traces are left behind.

S: Malty aroma, toasted barley smell with clear alcohol, fruits may also be present.

T: Flavor is pretty intense, a full malt and robust body flavor with some toasted ingredients and a strong alcohol flavor.

M: Complex sensations that starts neutral with some sweetness that rapidly changes into bittersweetness and then bitterness at the end not too hard on the mouth but present and also the alcohol sensation hits almost at the same time.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle poured into an Orval goblet.

Mysterious dark ruddy brown with likely clear texture, thin beige foam forms on top and quickly collapses into some patches of bubble, almost no lacing.

Smell of good malty, dark fruits, caramel, brown sugar, a bit tea leaves, chocolate, coffee, dough and some phenolic spiciness.

Mellowing fruitiness and sweetness, phenol and spice are inserted as leverage. In its sweet and fruity note, there are varieties of flavor wandering together; plums, raisins, sugar, caramel malt. Subtle hop bitterness fades in at the end also with a long tail of tangy sweetness and fruit.

Full-bodied, a bit syrupy, good and lively carbonation enwraps a palate then scattering and yields silky smooth mouthfeel.

Alcohol is well concealed, don’t feel it much in both aroma and flavor, indeed a worthy pick.

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

Poured into a goblet.

Pours a lively, bubbly dark brown near black with some ruby edging. Lots of bubbles cascading to the top of the glass. Wispy constant carbonated and moving thin island sits atop the brew. Crazy, the ever moving island of bubbles is constantly moving - looks insane. After emptying the full bottle the head now is more present and is nice and creamy and thicker atop the brew. Nice patchy lacing left behind. Good looking brew.

Brew smells of dark fruits, estery Belgian yeasts and sugars, figs, cherries, plums and booze all represented. Good nose.

Brew is very balanced; great carbonation and spice up front, then a smooth creamy middle and drying end. With each sip you crave the next. Sweet flavors; dark fruits, yeasts and mellow maltiness. Barely there booze. Wow this is a tremendous quad.

Wow - tremendous treat here. If you are even remotely interested in Belgian ales you must pick this up if you see it.

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

Served up in a tulip glass. Dark brown nearly black with some garnet highlights when held to the light. A quick beige head that was a bit sticky throughout.

The nose was a sweet malty bready with some dark fruit.

The flavors were dominated by sweet ripened dark fruits such as fig and raisin and banana nut bread. really good! Sometimes I don't care for these overly sweet dark fruit flavor profiles but this one was spot on perfect.

It was smooth and slick in the mouth with well balanced carbonation and only a slight presence of alcohol .

Overall, best quad I've tried yet. Complete package.

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

A: Ruby red to deep rich brown. Small khaki head that clears quickly since this is a high octane beer. Excellent lacing and alcohol legs that coat the glass.

S: Molasses, toffee, burnt sugar, caramel, bread, biscuit, sweetness and subtle dark fruit.

T: Caramel sweetness, sugar, molasses, burnt notes, tobacco, almost sherry like and slight belgian phenolics.

M: Rich and velvety. Coats the mouth and tongue with a slick layer. Thick, chewy with an almost taffy feel. Huge alcohol hit but not burning or warming. Just in flavor. Sherry like.

O: An excellent sipper. Can't take more than a baby sip because it's so complex and sweet. It's not something you could have a lot of (high alcohol) and incredibly unique flavor experience. Good stuff. However, I would only want one once a year. Waay to rich to be an all the time beer on hand.

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

I am no fan, generally speaking, of quads. This quad is a bit sweet, but somehow stays in balance and is not overwhelming. Nice looking beer. The belgian yeast comes through with a smooth, light tasting nuttiness, that moves toward the cherry/plum taste. Very drinkable, not much alcohol detected. Lightly delicate with nice lacing out of the tulip. Extremely nice beer, better than I remembered it when I had it around 6 years ago.

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Photo of Douberd
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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!

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Photo of hogrider
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a goblet to facilitate taste and smell; it developed a nice half inch head dissipating slowly. I sniffed it for the first time getting a strong scent of caramel and detected a subtle hoppy background; I tasted this brew and my palate detected flavors of caramel, toffee and fruity complex flavors like guava, this brew is sweet…I like the after taste and honestly I want to drink more. ..and remember folks to support your local brewery DRINK BEER. HOG

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Photo of afoltz2
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer rates well for me because of the experience that went along with it, which was "Beer School," one Sunday afternoon at the Beer Trappe in Lexington, Ky. I say that not because it reminds me of a good experience, but part of Beer School is learning about the beers you sample, how they are crafted, what distinct flavors, smells, and feels should be, and you get to compare samples from the same class of beer side by side.

I went to Beer School with my cousin Tony, another beer lover, whose taste differs from mine. I prefer stouts and lagers, he prefers witbiers and hefeweizens. We agreed that both the Kasteel Donker had the best flavor and feel among the six that were sampled that day, all of which were bock beers. I brought home several of the ones I liked to increase my sample size, and reconfirmed that the Kasteel was best in class.

For having a high ABV, this brew does not have a strong alcohol taste to it. It was surprisingly smooth, and the roasted malt flavor was strong but not overpowering beginning and end of taste. I drank from the bottle, like a heathen, so I cannot comment on the pour or the color, sadly, and I will drink from proper glassware next time I try one so I can update my review.

In short, if you like bock-style beers, this is definintely one to try and enjoy!

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

Poured into a chalice.

Pours a deep, dark near-black colored brew that has a once finger thick off white, almost tan colored head that quickly fades. Has some nice lacing.

Smells of candied malts, yeasts, dark fruits - raisins, figs, over-ripened cherries and plums; a faint spiciness and a hint of dark chocolate.

Tastes of big, sweet candied malts up front, dark fruits and spicey yeast - leaves a nice cherry aftertaste with generous alcohol warmth that makes it's presence known, but is done deftly. This brew almost has a burgundy-like quality.

Thick and creamy.

This is my kind of brew - especially for this time of year where it is currently 32 degrees outside. This definitely will warm you up a bit. A nice steady drinking brew - not one to be sessioned, but rather enjoyed with a chill in the air.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
4.06 out of 5 based on 858 ratings.
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