Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Kasteel Donker | Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Kasteel DonkerKasteel Donker
BA SCORE
4.12/5
Exceptional
904 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
Ranking:
#1,926
Reviews:
396
Ratings:
904
pDev:
13.35%
Bros Score:
4.8
 
 
Wants:
101
Gots:
172
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 904 |  Reviews: 396
Photo of Beertracker
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of pwoods
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz. stubby 'Duvel' style brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a chalice.

A: Deep shoe leather pour that's completely opaque. A short fluffy head forms and holds for a bit before falling to a chunky skim. Decent lacing throughout.

S: Alcohol soaked dark fruits dominate most of the aroma. Some sweet caramel malts and maybe a touch of meatiness in the back.

T/M: Alcohol is very present and meets nicely with the dark, plump, pulpy fruits. More of the sweet caramel and light meaty flavor. Has a touch of sour/tart fruit flavor to it but very much an undertone. Still, it's not quite what I want. Body is nearly full but a syrupy feel to it. Lighter carbonation makes for a vinous feel.

D: This would be a very tasty brew if it weren't for that little bit of sour fruit in the back. Still, not terrible, and seems reasonably drinkable for a Quad.

 869 characters

Photo of ommegangpbr
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 1,063 characters

Photo of dipso123
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of KajII
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

Poured a clear dark brown with a small light brown creamy head that disappeared very quickly and had fair lacing. The aroma was of nutty dark malts and a horse blanket scented yeast with notes of brown sugar, raisons and dried fruit. It tasted sweet, rich and malty with hints of brown sugar at the start but matured into a nice sweet-sour yeasty flavor with notes of dried fruit at the end that left the flavor lasting an average duration on the taste buds. Mouthfeel was medium in body and nice and creamy in texture. Overall a very interesting brew. Sweet yet bold in flavor, which did a great job of concealing the high alcohol content. One definitely worth trying again.

 710 characters

Photo of Brushkanna
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of rarigney
4.77/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of tillmac62
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

BOD 2/6/13. Pours a dark garnet that is almost black unless held to light. Outstanding head volume, lacing and retention...considering it's 11% ABV.

Outstanding rich nose of plum, raisin and fig over a solid caramel malt base. Light alcohol notes are present.

Light medium body with a smooth texture. Light carbonation with just a touch of effervescence in the middle and finish.

The flavor profile is almost world class. Reasonable intensity, quite complex and very well balanced. The only flaws are the body is a bit light and the alcohol is not quite covered. The fruits of the nose predominate with sweetness upfront that flows through plum, fig and raisin. The middle brings an alcohol note that intensifies into the finish and also provides a bit of heat. The flavor shifts from the sweet dark fruits noted earlier into a prune that is slightly astringent. Prune and alcohol linger.

 902 characters

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.45/5  rDev +8%
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 Dukeofearl
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brown that's almost opaque, with glimmers of port colors when held up to the light. Holds a small off-white to tan head that sits nicely atop the brew.

Armoa is very sweet, malty, and bready. Quite pleasant. The flavor is of a sweet (almost very sweet) raisiny dark rum flavor with brown sugar. Alcohol is quite present (it grabbed me by the shirt and shouted "Here I am" in my face), and this had a well-balanced bite at the end.

This is a very nice beer, but it kicked. I was not expecting it to be as sweet and strong as it was, and this is something I couldn't have very often.

 602 characters

Photo of johntfox
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of tlema1
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
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 janubio
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown head with few bubbles. It doesn't last much and leaves almost no lace. Brown reddish very nice colour. Nose of chocolate, cherries, apricots and plums. A hint of vanilla. Sugar cane, alcohol, sherry aged wine. Heavy sweet flavor, I think that I notice it more in the 75 cl. bottle than in the 33 cl one. Don't know why, lately I find the sweetness a bit artificial. Mouth of chocolate, brandy, cherries, plums, apricots, sherry aged wine again, sugar cane, aniseed. A beer of the gods. One of them. Too complex to find all the characters in one taste.

 557 characters

Photo of Everydayoff
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
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 Jaisell
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Cork dated 11/2003. Best by 11/2008.

Pours a hazy brown with hints of red. Thin tan head. Lots of sheeting lace. Smells fruity. Rich caramel and vinous aromas.

Rich and fruity flavor. Alcohol still present in this nearly three year old sample. Sweetish and candy sugar flavore. Hints of plum and notes of port. Big beer, thick and sticky mouth although the low level of alcohol taste dries it out, keeps the sweetness in check. This is some nice brew. Some more for the cellar is in order.

 509 characters

Photo of seedyone
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
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 Dzu
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into chalice.
L: Dark red/brown with a weak white foam head.
S: Caramel, dark fruits, raisin.
T: Sweets, plums, complex taste, that i liked.
F: Low cabonation medium body.
O: Veryimpressive quad.

 202 characters

Photo of meathookjones
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
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 ybnorml
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
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 mishi_d
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mwar
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of CreekyJarls
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ramrod666
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of BostonHops
3.69/5  rDev -10.4%
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

 1,005 characters

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 904 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.
  • Our Events

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

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