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
903 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:
#1,924
Reviews:
396
Ratings:
903
pDev:
13.35%
Bros Score:
4.8
 
 
Wants:
101
Gots:
171
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 903 |  Reviews: 396
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of stevoj
3.34/5  rDev -18.9%
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 tempest
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
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 NickThePyro
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of flagmantho
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a tulip. My bottle is labeled as having been bottled on 8/4/2007, so it's got a couple of years.

Appearance: very dark brown-amber which allows some red light through when held up to a light source. Head is practically nonexistent: a thin film of large tan bubbles; not surprising for a beer this size.

Smell: musty, yeasty, bready aroma with plums and alcohol. For all that, the aroma is not turned up to a very high volume, even as the beer warms. Not too bad, though.

Taste: rather a lot like the aroma, but somehow more pleasing. Nice rich malt flavor that tastes old and strong. Alcohol is definitely noticeable here, but it's not necessarily a bad thing; the natural dark fruit flavors are complemented.

Mouthfeel: rich, silky mouthfeel despite low carbonation. Body is medium but it has a great, not syrupy but not thin consistency.

Drinkability: actually, quite drinkable for its strength. I'm going to enjoy this glass a lot.

 969 characters

Photo of afsdan
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of bigred89
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of WesWes
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy cream colored head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a dry, yet fruity Belgian yeast aroma. The scent is sweet and creamy; very nice. The taste is great. It has a very smooth and rich malty flavor with a sweet and warm finish. It is full of flavor and malt complexity. The mouthfeel is excellent as well. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. It is full of flavor and aroma; a great drinker.

 569 characters

Photo of Derek
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Unfortunately, this is the first Belgian "Quadrupel" I've had the pleasure of tasting, though the style-lines are a little fuzzy.

It's not as carbonated as a Belgian Dark (similar to how a tripel compares to a Belgium Blonde).

It certainly has some more alcohol taste than a Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue / Blauw), which is classed as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Anyway, the appearance is that of a dark malt syrup. Denser and not as bubbly as the Chimay Blue.

Aroma is dominated by sweet malt, with some port-like undertones.

Taste is very complex. The alcohol strength leaves a distinct taste, similar to a tripel. It could be described as Chimay Blue, taken to a higher level (a little more flavour, a lot more alcohol).

Mouthfeel was full, like a concentrated Belgium Brune.

Drinkability is a tough descriptor, this is a must for any serious beer-geek, but it is certainly not a session beer!

Perfect for a night-cap.

 943 characters

Photo of Whiskeydeez
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of BillRoth
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of puboflyons
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the corked, caged 2011 750 ml bottle. Sampled on September 28, 2016.

The pour is a gorgeous looking mahogany brown with little to no head but decent clarity despite being as dark as it is.

Oh my. Sweet malt notes on the nose along with a wooden and musty cellar character. No booze on the nose at all for 11%. Very mellow on the alcohol front.

The body is smooth as silk with a medium to full texture.

The sweet caramel malts define the flavor. Not the Belgian yeast, Belgian spice, or booze. Yet it is mellow and easy to enjoy despite its ABV size. Aging has done this one wonders.

 596 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
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 spinrsx
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $3.25

Appearance – Hazy brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige coloured head. It’s hard to make out the carbonation level due to the darkness of the beer and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel/molasses, metallic

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel/molasses, and some yeast. There is also some cola like sweetness and a hint of dark fruits.

Overall – ABV is well hidden and it tastes a little like a barley wine in some ways.. I'd like a little more dark fruit flavour rather than the cola notes, but this is still an excellent brew. Just a little one dimensional. Curious to see how this ages.

 780 characters

Photo of enelson
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%

Photo of Latarnik
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of biegaman
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first glance 'brune' seems about all there is to this beer but a birds-eye inspection reveals a universe of colour swirling about the glass. In both reflection and rim there is cognac-like amber, Bordeaux-like red, and rich roasted coffee brown. If this sample is proper indication, expect to see as much head as the Atacama dessert does rain.

I don't need to read the label to know that this is strong; each and every of the eleven percent alcohol is present and accounted for. Still, this potent fog hardly makes breathing more difficult, instead it makes it so much more pleasurable: notes of dark sugar and toffee, anisette, dried cherries, figs, dates and plums reward each breath.

It's a marvel how such disparate things as figs and yeast, barley malt and dates can end up tasting so much alike. When we use to the term 'fruity' in describing beer flavours it is most often a suggestive, nuanced term. Not in this case. The taste is exactly as I'd imagine a blend of macerated figs, dates, dark cherries and pomegranates.

It is like dark fruits were pressed through a sieve, their juices distilled and then the distillate was blended back in with the puree as well as some additional juices. This has the lush, plumpness of perfectly ripened, in season fruits as well as their intense, potent, concentrated spirits. It has as much depth and complexity as any single malt, spirit or wine.

The beer's heightened flavours and fervent potency definitely lend it to a snifter. Often times more can be better with these toothsome, sensual Belgian ales but I'm happy this came in the 33cl bottle because a 75cl one would simply be overkill. It's needless to have more than one glass to appreciate a beer so exorbitant and gratifying.

This is one of those ales that inspires people to make the claim that 'beer is more sophisticated than wine'. While wishing to keep myself out of that discussion, I'll admit, Kasteel Bruin certainly helps out their argument - it really does transcend the world of malted beverages. Any first-rate, self-respecting beer cellar will keep this in stock.

 2,095 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was served to me in an interesting goblet with the beer logo on the side. A dark, dark brown beer with an initial (though not long lasting) tan creamy head. The beer is quite sweet with lots of caramel notes. A bit of toffee as well, and a finish that is lightly bitter. The bitter seems to be as much from the high alcohol as from the hops. It has quite a thick body that gently caresses and coats the mouth in it soothing embrace. This is quite a good beer, A dark contemplative brew that is great as a rainy Belgian afternoon snack.

 545 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. Belgian-style stubby bottle,

A: Pours a reddish brown, with a thick tan-orange head, that's the best I can describe it, which lasts forever, though the bubbles are a little too fizzy in the beginning.

S: Smells heavily of raw brown sugar and prunes, raisins and figs.

T: This may be the sweetest beer I have ever had. Full of residual sugar, the heavy sweetness shocked me a little at first, but I soon got into it. This malt barrage is backed by a large amount of dark fruit, specifically raisin and prune, and also what could be a bit of almond brittle, and Mission fig.

M: Thick and rich, almost syrupy, a little cloying at times, warming as well, there is a definite alcohol burn on the first sip.

D: An interesting beer, I've heard this described as a Belgian Barleywine, and I can understand why, though Quadrupel seems to fit it well as a style on this site. A very good beer, sweet and warming, the smell and taste could use a bit more "oomph," but overall, an enjoyable warming beer, or nightcap.

 1,019 characters

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

 631 characters

Photo of avalon07
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a dark brown color and a semi-thick texture. There was a huge, foamy, long-lasting head and good lacing.

S: Smelled of dark fruit, malt and sugars.

T: A fairly complex taste of figs, raisins, malt and possibly some caramel. The alcohol is barely noticable.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a solid Belgian beer that's well made and goes down easy despite its high ABV.

 460 characters

Photo of mltobin
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of WDJersey
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Kasteel Donker from Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck N.V.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 903 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.