Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
885 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:
885
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: 885 |  Reviews: 392
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 wesleyhighley
4.01/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

tough to rate as this is the first barleywine that I've ever had. I don't know if it was the style or just the alcohol in this beer, but it was really tough to swallow at times. I enjoyed everything about this except for the acidic, bitter surge that came to me when I swallowed. other than that, this is a great "sit down and watch a movie" beer

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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.

A:
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.

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

T:
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.

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

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

 851 characters

Photo of emeyer
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of phisig137
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cork pops with quite a commotion, and tells me that this was bottled 8-2004. I thought it was much newer than that. Deep brown body lets little light through, and has a nice two finger head with decent retention. Good amount of chunky lacing, and a dense blanket of foam on top of the glass.

Aroma is dominated by sugars. Deep toasted malts, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, and just the slightest twinge of spicy alcohol.

Flavor is much the same, but with more fruity yeast esters. Deep dark fruit flavors of raisons, figs, prunes, and coffee are most prevalent amount the strong malt. Still very sweet from front to back. Mouthfeel is sticky and smooth. Drinkability is dangerously good for a beer of 11%.

An odd brew, but a great one. It's great when fresh, and better when it's 3 years old (like this bottle is). I really think this needs another 5 to 10 years to really shine. I'll hold on to another few bottles for a decade or so to see how they turn out. Right now it is good, but it's just a little too "cola like". It really almost tastes like a thicker version of pepsi.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark brownbeer with mahogony highlights, Has a small light brown/tan head and some lace. There is a dried fruit character in the aroma with some grainy malt in the background along with an alcohol presence. A raiseny/ fig dried fruit coating slides all over your tongue. With hints of cherries and caramel in the background. All followed by a nice warm alcohol note.

 368 characters

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

Photo of biboergosum
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml, caged, corked, and black foiled bottle. Y'know, 'donker' just plain sounds better than 'dark', doesn't it?

This beer pours a clear, dark (sigh) red-brick brown colour, with two fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and yet fizzy beige head, which leaves a bit of thick promontory lace in places around the glass as it lazily sinks away.

It smells of semi-sweet, grainy caramel malt, phenolic yeast, dark (Christ, there I go again!) middle-eastern fruit (figs, dates, raisins etc), an indistinct earthy mustiness, ethereal savoury spice, and a certainly perfumed floral and slightly herbal bitterness. The taste is rather sweet caramel and toffee malt, some separate Belgian candi sugar, middling yeast, a more robust black (hah!) orchard fruitiness (plum, prune, red grapes and dates), sedate musty measures, and a boozed-up floral, herbal, and weedy bitterness equal to that in the nose.

The bubbles are pretty low-key in their lilting and caressing frothiness, the body a solid medium-heavy weight for the style, and generally smooth and creamy, only the hovering, yet benevolent alcohol having any truck here, it would seem. It finishes still fairly sweet, but not overly cloying or tongue-scrapingly so.

Yep, it's 'donker', and sweet, but in a deftly moderated sense, which you tend to get from the better purveyors of these upper-end Belgian offerings. While not standing right beside the pinnacle of said hallmarks, Kasteel Donker is at least playing in the same ballpark, just waiting for its (maybe long overdue) call-up.

 1,538 characters

Photo of danmouer
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A sweet, rich, candy-like strong dark Belgian ale. This beer is like a sinfully rich chocolate cordial truffle. Sweet, rich, warming. What a great way to end an evening, sipping this sinfully luscious brew.

To me, however, it fails to win top marks simply because it is so luscious,,,TOO luscious. The beer is not balanced. It is candy sweet, sinfully rich, dangerously strong...it really works much better as a sinful chocolate sweet than it does as a strong dark ale.

Let's be clear...this is a superb treat...an aperitif or liqueur perfect to warm the soul at the end of the day. But not at all what most folks look for in a beer.

You don't want to drink much of this...but a few sips on a cold night, and then off to beddy-bye with sweet dreams, Oh yes!

 761 characters

Photo of Dentist666
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip.
Very dark brown beer with thin tan head. Thick smell of dark fruits, molasses, licorice, toffee, caramel. Taste is sweet, surprisingly, not very alcoholic, candy sugar, plums, sticky. Light carbonation, still drinkable, despite high ABV.

 256 characters

Photo of falloutsnow
4.04/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From: BInny's, Champaign, IL
Date: Bottled 2012-01-25
Glass: Founders snifter

Though a bit strong with its ethanol presentation, I found myself really enjoying this beer's heavy caramel sweetness and interesting anise and dried fruit mixtures. The mouthfeel was fairly heavy, yet effortlessly foamy and smooth thanks to well-executed carbonation. Overall, a very good, somewhat unique Belgian Quad that hit most of my flavor pleasure zones, a good one to seek out again.

Pours a 1.5cm tall head of tan colored foam, made up of small-sized bubbles that yield a frothy-looking appearance. Foam retention is average, around one minute, fading to a thick ring around the glass and a medium-sized island of thin foam that remains atop the body of the beer for the duration of the session. Lacing is very good, with some large blotches and lines, with smaller dots clinging with some fairly high density to the walls of the glass. Beer's body is a dark brown to black color, with light bringing out orange hues around the perimeter of the beer. Carbonation not visible through the opaque body.

Aroma of sweet, deep caramel and burnt sugar, with strong raisin characters.

Overall flavor of dense caramel sweetness, burnt sugar, anise, prunes, and ethanol; the anise and other(?) phenols I can't describe products of the Belgian yeast, which give this its characteristic flavors. Front of palate picks up heavy caramel sweetness, prunes, moderate anise, mild ethanol, and a hint of roasted barley. Mid-palate of caramel, burnt sugar, cola, prune, anise, and ethanol, all fairly equally well-expressed. Back of palate of slight grape, prune, anise, caramel, cola, mild ethanol Aftertaste of caramel and burnt sugar, slight raisin and prune, faint anise.

Beer is heavy-bodied, with carbonation of medium to medium-low intensity, resulting in a smooth (1/3) and otherwise foamy (2/3) mouthfeel that suits the beer and the style quite well. Ethanol felt as heat in the nostrils and low burn on the palate and back of throat, not surprising for an 11% ABV beer, fairly well-integrated into the overall package. Closes dry, with heavy stickiness on the palate and lips.

 2,160 characters

Photo of drmeto
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

-hard on the edge between very sweet and too sweet
-brown sugar and toffee notes dominating
-slight dark fruit and Banana notes
-clear toasted malt character on the backend
-slightly boozy as it warms up
-slightly undercarbonated
-toasty and slightly alcoholic finish

good, but the sweetness almost kills it for me

 315 characters

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.

 841 characters

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

During a recent trip to Belgium, I enjoyed a lovely 2000 vintage Kasteel and it was absolutely amazing. It was one of the smoothest beers that I've ever imbibed.

Naturally, a bottle of Kasteel was one of my first purchases back in the states. According to the cork, this was bottled 8/2004.

I popped the cork with little fanfare and poured aggressively into my Chimay goblet. The beer was dark, muddy, and brown with hints of garnet. The nearly opaque liquid was crowned by a small, tan head that gave way to fine, silky lacings.

Chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, cherry, sweet and roasted malts blend well to make a complex, albeit subtle aroma. The alcohol can be detected in the background, along with a bit of a nutty quality.

This brew is velvety, smooth as it traverses the palate. The mouthfeel is delightfully creamy with just enough carbonation. The overall sweet flavors offer a pleasing contrast to the potent alcohol, rendering this brew to be quite drinkable.

Roasted, nutty, malt flavors up front with hints of vanilla, brown sugar and molasses. An earthy, doughy, yeast presence can be detected, along with a big, cherry ester taste. The warming alcohol is present in the aftertaste, accompanied by a very slight hop bitterness.

This is a fine example of a quad. The 2004 bottle really held up well in comparison to the 2000. Aged a few more years, the alcohol subsides into some awesome flavors. I'll definitely be throwing more bottles in my cellar for a few years!

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

11.2-ounce stubby poured into a goblet yields a deep chestnut body with plenty of sediment in suspension, capped with light khaki foam that recedes to a ring leaving fine webby lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is fruity and malty, with a whiff of overripe banana and mushy caramel-covered apple. A warm bready note ties things together.

The taste of the drink is fruity and sweet. Alcohol makes a first appearance, with plenty flavors of banana and plum macerated in dark rum. The booziness grows a bit and a crisp note of red apple emerges as the drink progresses, as does a soft vinous note of dry merlot and a trace of a not-unpleasant metallic note.

The feel of the drink is just about perfect. The drink is soft, light, and well-carbonated, and is about as quaffable as a big 11% abv brew can be.

 815 characters

Photo of mcrawford
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bruno74200
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer is good, quite complex between the dark fruits, the toffee, and some estery notes. Too bad it's overly sweet. It makes the beer less enjoyable and more of a sipper

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Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an almost black body with a constantly there one-finger tan head in a tulip glass. A strong fruit smell, like orange and a little grape (dark fruit), and some hints of sweet and bread malts. A great smoothness is what first struck me with this beer, as there is a balance between the malts (some sweet and bread, little oaky even) and dark/heavy fruits (orange, grape again). A little sticky and syrupy, like there's some molasses in there, but finishes clean with a little bit of a hop prickle on the tongue. A solid beer to sip and relax with as the ABV is well-hidden.

 578 characters

Photo of seedyone
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap. I admit it. I go for the sweet and this has all the angles going for it...as long as you're 'on the sweet'. Not white sugar sweet, but that raisiny sweet...dates sweet...kind of, but not really that dried fruity sweet. I'm on that in a minute...as long as there is of depth of flavor. I don't want to tarnish or enhance the experience with words that may be misinterperted so I'll just say if you like deep, serious flavors & have the time to savour...make this the one. So stop reading this & order the damn thing already...

 533 characters

Photo of rderedin
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.75

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 whatname
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Knapp85
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of keepersj12
4.06/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Absolutely a beautiful beer. Pours a ruby red with a small head that lays on top throughout. The aroma is fruity with raisins and grapes, maybe some plums. The taste is sweet with the fruits coming through. A very nice burn develops as it warms. The finish is quite lingering and very nice, warming all the way. This is a sipping on a cold night type of beer, not designed for tailgating.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
4.06 out of 5 based on 885 ratings.
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