Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
887 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:
887
Reviews:
392
Avg:
4.06
pDev:
13.79%
 
 
Wants:
101
Gots:
163
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 887 |  Reviews: 392
Photo of dcmchew
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of russpowell
4.64/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aug 04 bottling, bought this because my mind is getting feeble, just reviewed this the other week. Oh well, different batch, so let's compare:

Pours mahogany & murky with a 1 finger off white colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Sweet malt & then chocolate & booze as it warms

T: Rich sweet malt & chocolate with a hint of booze up front. Bready notes & caramel & toffee surfaces as it warms, along oakyness & dryness. Finoshes dry with hints of pecans & brandy This actually works for me better than the more mature version.

mF: Syruppy with low carbonation, but enough to bring out some flavors

The 11% is a little more evident, but complexity makes it more drinkable. Talk about your winter warmers! looking back at my review, my instincts were right, this better than the stuff supposedly in its prime

 829 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark chestnut brown that becomes a combination of ruby red and burnt orange when early morning sunshine is allowed entry. The caramel nougat colored crown filled almost half the chalice on the pour and has an attractive, whipped mousse-like texture. It's pretty sticky too, as evidenced by an impressive array of delicate lace.

The nose is classic Belgian strong dark ale. There's quite a bit of medium-dark fruitiness and even more yeasty spiciness (that favors clove and black pepper). This offering is not going to be a shrinking violet when it comes to flavor intensity, that much is certain.

Kasteel Blond and Kasteel Rouge are excellent examples of their respective styles. Kasteel Donker is merely good. It tastes as if the brewers were a little too heavy-handed with the dark candy sugar. It also lacks the complexity that the best Belgian ales deliver in spades.

Specifics include dark caramel, figs and dates macerated in blackstrap molasses, a hint of anise, and generous pinches of black pepper and ground clove. Less sugary sweetness would have resulted in better beer. An ABV of 11.0% is difficult to bury without a trace, but the brewers did a reasonably good job. A subtle warming sensation is great for this time of year.

The mouthfeel is slightly too syrupy and doesn't have the expansive creamiliciousness that is expected for a Belgian ale. More numerous and better quality bubbles would have gone a long way toward keeping this characteristic from being the low-light of this experience.

Kasteel Donker (which is the exact same beer as Kasteelbier Bruin-Brune) is pretty good stuff. That said, there's definite room for improvement. Belgian beer is like ice cream and cheesecake. Even the less than spectacular ones are pretty damn good.

 1,763 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful off-white head of three fingers. Lots of lace. The color of the brew is brown where light barely shines through. Attractive.

Farmlike smells; earthy and dark. Some crystal and chocolate malt aromas.

Sweeter than I expected. Strongly malty. Notable alcohol warmth. The body is warming (from the alcohol strength) and thick. The carbonation is relatively light for the creaminess. I don't detect any hop or any other balancing ingredient.

This is an easy beer with which to get snookered. It's subtle and powerful. It isn't a beer with complexity.

 565 characters

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of atrocity
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of ZEB89
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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 atlbravsrno1
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.18/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by CesiumBrews. Thanks Caleb!

Hooray Belgium.

The beer is chestnut brown with crimson highlights, sporting nearly an inch of beige head. The aroma offers dark fruits, yeast, malt, alcohol, brown sugar. The taste follows suit, with the 11% abv well hidden. Sweet, but not cloying. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Palate coating and a tad syrupy. Notes of nuts (clever alliteration, n'est pas?), perhaps almonds. Brown sugar, spices, perhaps nutmeg. a solid quad. I would definitely have this again.

 512 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of smakawhat
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Trappistes Rochefort glass.

Deep chestnut brown and red, with a swirling top of middle carbonation. Very little head creation, and leaving a faint fine tan collar on the edges. Love this swirling effect.

Huge fig note aromas. Thick raisin, hints of dry nutmeg, and very clean sensing. Not even boozy hot. Very impressive. A bit of a one note angle, but an extremely good one on the bouquet.

Palate hits with a very nice control, but extremely syrupy feel. Thick raisin syrup and fig notes, with a mild sense of brown sugar. Big full mouth coating effect in the palate, and almost nutty aftertaste. Big on the sweetness but goes more to true fruit than something artifical and overly sugary. Hints toward purple juiced grape a bit too.

Overall a very solid off the radar quad, but just a bit too sweet for my tastes.

 861 characters

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 jwc215
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a thin, dissipating head.

The smell is of brown sugar and toffee. Some banana-like fruitiness in the back mingles with the dark maltiness.

The taste is sweet - brown sugar upfront. Complexities arise as it progresses: dark friuts - plum/prune/raisins and licorice. Sherry-like with some earthiness. Sweet, rainsiny finish.

Full-bodied, it is almost sticky/cloying, but has a nice, velvety texture.

The sweetness and abv slow this one down, but it is a nice, complex, dark Belgian brew that is very nice to sip on.

 547 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.75/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A rich dark brown color, more reddish in light, below a large creamy head. Nose is very sweet, with notes of toffee, cream, nuts, and a particular toasty character. Hints of spices, cloves, anise. Soft, spicy, and warm on the palate, with a lush and lasting finish. ABV unknown to me, but it's starting to deliver now. Perfect consolation on this freezing cold late January Minnesota afternoon. Full-bodied, tangy, hugely characterful, and an ever-unfolding delight to drink. Much like a hybrid of brandy and a candy bar! Delicious, delightful, d'lovely!
Mine was served in a Scaldis glass, which ably did the trick.

11-02-03
Above review from a tap sampling at Bryant Lake Bowl. Just had a 750ml bottled I'd been saving, this one labeled as "Donker-Foncee", and I echo my previous statements: this is one incredible brew. Just wish I could find more bottles around here!

 876 characters

Photo of Tone
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color. 1/2 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, hops, citrus, tart malt, and slight roasted malt. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of alcohol, sweet malt, slight hops, caramel, slight tart malt, yeast, and slight cherry. Overall, good body, but noticeably strong alcohol dominates.

 435 characters

Photo of t2grogan
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Bottle dated 2011. Pours a dark mahogany brown with a thin light khaki head that dissipates to patches, with light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, plums, dates, dark cherries, light oxidation. Flavor follows with sweet caramel malt, candi syrup, plums, dates, raisins and a hint of cherries and mild oxidation. Medium to heavy bodied with moderate carbonation. A sweet, but full flavored quad with all the dark fruit flavors expected. Rich enough to border on an aperitif. This has aged gracefully with just a touch of oxidation that melds well with the fruit and malt. ABV well covered. A great, classic tasting quadrupel.

 659 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of stevoj
3.34/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A sweet (very sweet) brown ale. aroma is raisins, prunes, cola. Taste is sweet, molasses, dried fruit. Appearance is nothing special, and mouthfeel is a little light but not distracting.

 186 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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

Poured from a dusty green bottle - thanks to a friend - of an unknown vintage, the bottle has a 08-2009 marking on it.

Right after the pour I get a slightly musty aroma, like it's been laid on its side and absorbed a little cork, or seen a little oak. Dark fruits also dominate with plum and date aromas and a little clove around the edges.

The appearance is a hazy brown with a quickly disappearing (acceptable for an 11% brew) tan head that leaves a little lacing. The flavor reminds me vaguely of plum wine for the smooth esters. I'm also tasting white grape and blueberry with the plum and dates. There's also a slight spiciness that could come from either noble hops of yeast phenols, either way they add a nice subtle layer.

Overall, this is a very good beer and incredibly smooth for the strength, but it doesn't quite have the awe-inspiring complexity of the great quads. Still, very much worth trying.

 914 characters

Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
4.06 out of 5 based on 887 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More