Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
891 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:
891
Reviews:
393
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
13.79%
 
 
Wants:
101
Gots:
167
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 891 |  Reviews: 393
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 boudreaux
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on date: 09/09/01. I love a beer that doesn't even bother with letting you know when it should be consumed by.

A: pours dark brown, with barely a touch of amber when held to the light; minimal fizz or head (no doubt due to the high alcohol content), light tan in color; almost looks like a dark red wine

S: definite alcohol notes; also, some Beglian spice notes, almost peppery; complex, rich malty sweetness, with a touch of caramel; dark fruits (raisin, plum, dark cherry) are here; a touch of roasted flavors also show up

T: Reflects the aroma (a great thing!); very sweet and alcoholic, like an overly-sweet wine; a hint of bitterness from the toasted malt; the dark fruits and roasted elements are definitely here; also, a touch of the dark candied flavors; strong, Belgian spices are definitely here as the beer warms

M: surprisingly high carbonation, but still a medium-heavy body; smooth and warming, due to the alcohol

D: A little heavy and spicy for my liking; overall, pretty good drinkability considering the high alcohol content; I don't like wines, so this one's somewhat less drinkable for me

Give me this one on a cold night, sitting in front of a fire. It's definitely a great brew.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of shigg85
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of gauchebag
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at a new joint in town, got it because of high abv. It poured a very chestnut brown with a finger of mocha-ish colored head. It smelled fruity and sweet, nothing too discernible though. It tasted predominantly of caramel and burnt sugar to me, I didn't get any of the fruity notes from the smell, it basically came across as a super-alcoholy Sugar Daddy (which I'm going to say is a good thing.)

The abv was hardly detectable and I didn't give it too much time to warm up as the serving size was only 0.25 L but I greatly enjoyed it and would have had another if I didn't have to go back to work. It was very very easy to drink and I definitely felt a bit of hazy glow after even such a small amount which was pleasing as it usually takes a lot to get me there.

I'll be going back for more for sure.

 817 characters

Photo of nycbeerfreak
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Caramel chocolate brown body that has a deep, amber , honey hue to it.

S- Belgian sweet malt and yeast with a dose of alcohol. Great smell appropriate to the style. The sweetness is a dark fruit sweetness like a date or a raisin.

T- Dark fruit tastes of dates and raisins. There is a sweet bread flavor here folks. After that there is the warmth of alcohol and then a return of a more muted dark fruit.

M- It goes down like liquid caramel and the sweet nectar is syrupy sticky.

D- One of the best Quads i have tasted ....end of story

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Photo of rem5
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This bottle was a 2004, got it from the dudes over at shoreline beverage. Having it for christmas eve dinner.

While sipping this beer I was eating apricots and salty almonds which really compliment this beer nicely.

A - Dark brown but not completely opaque. Has orange hues. The head dissapated quickly and left very little lacing on the glass. Head was a light tan with little bubbles.

S - Smells somewhat trappist similar to a chimay. I cant place the aroma but you can smell the alc. Nothing spectacular.

T - Sweet tasting. It hides the alcohol very well. Goes down warm on the backend. The taste i cant place either, but I dont taste any specific fruits. Its quite malty but not overly done.

M - Sweet in the beginning to warm going down. While sipping you can smell tickles your nose just adding to the flavor. Very smooth for such high alc.

D - Most definitely a beer to appreciate and sip. I wouldnt want to gulp this one down.

This is my second review, take it easy on me. What is that flavor!?

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Photo of MartzMimic
4.41/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Kasteel goblet at Taste of Belgium in Palm Beach, Aruba. Pours a dark reddish brown with only the slightest creamy ivory head. It dissipates quickly, leaving minimal lacing. The aroma reminds me of prune, but the sweetness is very evident in the nose. The taste follows the aroma. Prunes, plum and raisins with lots of caramel sweetness. Medium mouth, but the way it slides off the tongue gives it a light feel. It's certainly different from the other quads I've tried, but it is so very good. I wish I could find this one closer to home.

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

From a growler purchased at Half Time, pours dark mahogony, seems to be pretty low in carbonation, mellow head, with just minor lacing observed. Nose is nicely glowing with cola, vanilla, bourbon and spice. Strong late night sipper kind of brew. Plenty of dark candi sugars, cola, alcohol, complexity etc to please all the strong beer/quad lovers out there. Character, boldness obviously evident, well worth a try if you like the style, not for everybody, but certaintly for me! A treat and in nice shape on tap/growler.

 520 characters

Photo of SamuelR
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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.

 817 characters

Photo of Kiro
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Nazzz
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ikantspel
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled on 5-6-10

served into a duvel tulip

pours a dark brown with a super small head and the slightest of lacing.

dark fruit, plums, and medicinal nose.

candy, dark fruits, phenolic to the max.

not too much carbonation to this bad boy. but its almost everything ive ever wanted in a quad. finishes quite smooth and not too dry. maybe a tad too sweet, but sometimes, it just works.

i picked mine up at the total wine and more about 20 miles away for 14.99 (4 12oz)... but ill be back for more and more

 511 characters

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!

 250 characters

Photo of tunemx
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 1/07.

Pours a nice dark brown with major ruby highlights, but somewhat cloudy, not entirely penetrable to light. Ruby highlights are big, and the off white fizzy head hangs around for a minute or two before receding and leaving ok lacing.

Nose contains belgian yeast, dark malts, some dark fruit, slight caramel and some lighter fruits as well.

Taste EXPLODES dark fruit flavor. Plummy raisiny figgy goodness with extremely unique to belgium belgian character. Exactly what I think of when I imagine BSDA/pseudoquady thing. A great and very flavorful brown. Taste starts off lighter with grain and yeast, but quickly develops into rich yet uncloying sweetness of candied fruits. Doesnt have quite the almost buttery richness of some quads, however, a strong yet very tolerable sweetness prevails. the alcohol is unbeleivably slim in the taste profile. The finish is nice and sweet. Sugary residue stays on the lips after each sip. A nice slick finish leads to a sugary plummy aftertaste. wow.

Mouthfeel is pretty much spot on here, there could be a touch lower carbonation, but when I say a touch, I mean VERY slight. Slick on the palate, and rides the tongue right down the palate.

Drinkabiltiy is down right remarkable for the abv. I would have guessed this to be in the 8% range, 9 at most, and that guess would simply be based on the rich flavor. Abv is extaordinarily hidden. Keep in mind the style, so your not going to be sessioning these in 100 degree heat after a sack race at the carnival, but style and abv wise, this one cant be beat for drinkability marks.

Overall a VERY good belgian style brew. Doesnt have the definitive butteriness of a Quad, but it is close, while still showing some other BSDA qualities. This one is sort of a style melder, but the style that it does fit perfectly into, is the one on the label, (funny how that works) which is belgian brown ale. A fantastic beer, one I think is a good cellar candidate for sure, especially with its mighty abv. Drink this one slowly and savor it, let it warm, and dont let the abv get the best of you, and you WILL be pleased. One that will satisfy the craving for the greatest of belgian style freaks. A classic.

 2,200 characters

Photo of TheRougeBastard
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.5 oz bottle, that was bottle on Jan 25, 2012! The color was a cocoa black with minimal head as poured into my liberated pub glass. The aroma was pleasant with only a slight knod to the 11% abv. First taste revealed hints of dark chocolate, caramel and figs, but surprisingly little alcoholic bite! This is a very smooth beverage! It is a tad heavy so like another poster suggested, this would not be a good choice for a summer BBQ, however a perfect choice for later on! World class all the way!

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Photo of tavernjef
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Blue Nile: A browned, dark cherrywood color with a firm capping of off-white foam that lasts a short while. Once the foam has drifted off it keeps a web thin collar and a slight whisp of topical foam residue. Lacing is slick and glaring with some soft spots and stringy patches sticking to the Kasteel chalice in which it was served.

Sweetly scented aroma with a good load of toffee and caramel intertwined with some fig and raisin fruityness. A tone of unique Belgian lambic-like sourness and spicy yeast adds a queer funkyness over the top of its sweetness adding a bit of strangely acceptable earthy, nose hair grabbing, spunk.

Taste is wonderfully sweet and mellow. Very well rounded toffee flavors and caramel stickyness is allowed to settle right in on the palate. It sinks off from there merging into a dark fruity melange of raisiny, plummy, dark cherry syrup and/or jam. Little tropical nuances of apricot and pineapple seep in as it really warms up with a port-like, alcoholic laced, big malt back splash of the toffee and caramel stickyness. Wow, what a ride of sweet candyness. Very nice!

Feel is super silky smooth and fairly full with the malts. Slighty sticky, yet, soft and quite warming on the back end staying smooth and candy soaked with just a nudge of some yeasty spice peppering the edges.

A sweet, sweet treat. Very sensitive and smooth. A carefully crafted sipper that'll keep you planted in one place for a while as it takes hold of your senses. A very nice brew and highly recommended.

 1,537 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Sept 2021 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a foreboding, dark chestnut-brown colour with brick red highlights; at first it appears utterly impenetrable to light, but holding it up to a lamp reveals that the liquid is actually transparent. One finger of smooth, khaki-tinged foam floats atop the surface initially, receding gradually over the next ten minutes or so. The eventual remnants include a creamy collar and cap about half a centimetre high, as well as a nice, thick coating of lace. Each sniff is positively loaded with molasses, caramelized sugars and dark fruits, including fig, date, raisin and prune. The alcohol is also noticeable, but quite well-integrated; the bouquet almost seems to take on the character of sherry or amaretto as it warms.

A delicious strong dark ale - as has already been noted on countless occasions, it is indeed quite saccharine, but despite this fact, I find it to be neither cloying nor tiresome - just delectably rich. Caramelized sugar and treacle are steady background presences, as are vinous notes of red grape and raisin. Dates, figs, black cherries and prunes come to the forefront by mid-sip, giving it a rather fruitcake-like vibe, with subtle hints of herbal licorice root, spice and cola. Finishes with a slight nuttiness, with more of that boozy, sherry-like note that I picked up in the aroma lingering into the sweet aftertaste. On the lighter side of full-bodied, with soft carbonation featuring tiny, fine bubbles that gently agitate the surface of the tongue. A truly satisfying beer to sip and contemplate; I'd say that this 11 oz serving is just about the perfect amount for one person.

Final Grade: 4.46, an A grade. I'll admit that I had my doubts going into this one - I've heard mixed opinions about it in the past - but in my opinion, Kasteel Donker is an absolutely fantastic quadrupel, and easily one of the best Belgian beers I've tried in months. The hefty 11% abv beautifully harmonizes with the commanding, relentless malt bill and its sweet, fruity flavours, while hints of fortified wine and nutty liqueur only add further to the cohesive complexity of this masterpiece. Glad I had the foresight to pick this one for my 1500th review on BA - it's always nice to celebrate that sort of milestone with a memorable brew like this.

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Photo of Lochnessmonster
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of BarryNL
4.46/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown in the glass with gorgeous ruby highlights when held to the light. The head is light tan and lasts well.

S: Full, sweet malty smell.

T: Perhaps a little on the sweet side, but certainly has the strength and flavour that it's not really unbalanced. The flavour is pure sweet malt with some underlying dark fruit. This beer almost has a desert or fortified wine quality to it.

M: Rich and smooth. Low carbonation, just enough to give that melt-in-the-mouth effect.

D: Very drinkable - more so than the alcohol content really allows - especially if you have to get up in the morning. Surprisingly the sweetness doesn't become cloying at all.

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

(Served in an long stemmed chalice)

A- This beer has a smooth creamy head on a dark dense brown thick body. I couldn't tell if there was any visible carbonation but it was low light in the bar.

S- Nice smell of dark sweet malts with notes of prunes and other dried fruit. A hint of molasses in the finish also.

T- This is deep complex flavors but hints of apples and prunes stuck out the most. As it warmed it became more of an apple juice flavor. However there were lots of other flavors like port and brown sugar with some prunes and red wine hints also.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel with a hint of alcohol but it doesn't feel like 11 %

D- This is a good complex malty beer that has great complexity. I happen to meet the brewer after I wrote my review and he said the kegs are all pasteurized but the bottles are still alive and kicking so I will have to try those next.

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

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a wine glass.

Another beer from the cellar, purchased most likely in 2005. Best by date notched at 3/2010.

Appearance: A murky creek water reddish brown color, with some minnow-like bubbles floating to the top. Soapy and fairly quickly dissipating white but kind of off-white head leaves some droplets around the glass.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, and raisins at the forefront, with candied dark fruit, mild chocolate, and earthy and mildly funked up cider vinegar. Some bready, doughy, yeasty malt sweetness too. A bit of cookie cake. Maybe the murkiness of the brew means the yeast has somehow disseminated throughout the bottle before the pour, even though I was careful with it not to disturb the yeast. Heady and complex overall. No real traces of booze either.

Taste: Big up front raisins and toffee, with candied dark fruits and berries. Mild chocolate. Big malt sweetness and some vinous characteristics and sharp apple cider vinegar and rooty earthiness. A bit of nice acidic funk too. Finishes complex, drifting, semi-sweet, and lingering. It also seems like the dissipating alcohol has led it to become more of a cake-like brew than a sometimes particularly boozy Belgian when fresh.

Mouthfeel: The second bottle I've said this about recently, but the carbonation has mellowed out into extremely rich and full creaminess that I'm starting to think happens very nicely with these cellared and aging bottles.

Drinkability: Like good Quads should, I'd imagine, this has certainly gotten better with age, along with being much smoother now. There's still a big sweetness there, and I wonder if that would get even less so as it ages more. I'd imagine this could last much longer in the cellar, but after 4 or 5 years, it's still going strong.

 1,784 characters

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

Pours a deep murky brown with a fizzy tan head that falls relatively quick to a thin ring. Very thin lace.

Big sweet, candied malt aroma. Alcohol is noticeable as well.

Big malt brew here. Very sweet and a bit boozy. Wonderful, just my style.

Big, full mouthfeel and very smooth. Nice alcohol feel in the mouth.

Great beer. One of my favorites when in want something real sweet.

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Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
4.06 out of 5 based on 891 ratings.
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