Serafijn Donker | Microbrouwerij Achilles

Serafijn DonkerSerafijn Donker
21 Ratings
Serafijn DonkerSerafijn Donker

Brewed by:
Microbrouwerij Achilles

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by TheLongBeachBum on 02-03-2005

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 21 |  Reviews: 17
Photo of desint
3.67/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
4.68/5  rDev +31.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I can only guess that people rating this beer poorly are getting bad bottles. My bottle poured perfectly with a nice dark color and a one finger head. The smell was typical for a beer of its kind: yeasty and fruity. The flavor is dominated by malt and caramel with a hint of plums and dry fruit. The carbonation was medium high and more than sufficient to impart a creamy finish and a dry, fizzy finish. Under-rated. Give it another chance.

 440 characters

Photo of mattfancett
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of Tinfang
2.94/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

33cl bottle poured into a Sint Bernardus goblet. Best by date of 13/09/14 stamped on the cap. Purchased through Beerboxx in Belgium.

Smell - candi sugar

Appearance - thin head mocha head that faded out quickly. Little lacing. Ruby brown in the glass. Looked appealing when first poured.

Taste - predominantly sugar and dark caramel malt. Not much in other dimensions but there was some bridge between the two dominant tastes. Slightly spicy, slightly molasses, slightly hoppy.

Mouthfeel - a bit thin since the level of carbonation seemed low

Overall - This is not one of my preferred styles, but I have had some that were quite delicious. Other than the two dominant flavors not much was happening. The near lack of anything other than the malt to play off of made the sugar all the more obvious.

 801 characters

Photo of Chico1985
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750ml with an orange foil top. 'Lot 0607' on the cap, meaning it was bottled in 2007, this one's an oldie.

Pour is very dark red, not much translucence here. A finger or so of beige head turns into a thick ring and splotchy cap after some time. Somewhat simple but pleasant scent of caramel, molasses, and raisins, nice and dessert-like.

Taste follows nicely with caramel and dark fruits, some chocolate, toasted bread and light spiciness. It has that calmed down-smoothed out malty feel that should be expected of an aged beer of this style but really not much oxidation. Pretty good mouthfeel with carbonation that just feels a bit too spiky. Tiny bit of alcohol heat.

Kinda surprised by the lackluster reviews, I think this has held up pretty well. Nice aged caramel dark fruit flavors, nothing off really, I'd say the carbonation level is the weakest part of the beer.

 876 characters

Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of beerpirates
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

33 cl bottel poured into my lost abbey stemware glass ,

A dark amber to brown ale with a thick luscious light moka head. A nice caramel, dark fruit, and light fudge aroma, very pleasing. In mouth, tingly caramel malt with licorice, nuts, warming alcohol, and light coriander and other spices. Lingering spices in mouth. Medium bodied for the style.

 349 characters

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, brown color with a one-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. It left some soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled of raisin, plum and other dried dark fruits. Some nice caramel maltiness, too.

T - It tasted rich and malty with some spice and notes of plum, raisin and toffee.

M - It was soft and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a clean, dry finish.

D - This is a pretty good Belgian ale. It was a really good deal on sale at Fleming Place Wine and Spirits in Topeka, KS.

 498 characters

Photo of codewarrior
3.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750mL bomber, poured into a chalice

I bought this beer against the advice of the beer guy at Colorado Liquor Mart, and wish I had listened to him. I know that Donker's are supposed to be sweet, but this was a whole-nother level.

A: unfiltered brown, but lighter than expected.

S: Sweet, single-mindedly so. The sweet overpowers any subtlety that might be there.

T: Sweet. Too Sweet. Sickeningly so at the finish. I can only think of one other beer that rivaled this for sweetness: Dogfish Head Fort, a spontaneously fermented Framboise lambic, that has a finish like cough-syrup (no, not in a good way).

F: Solid feel on this guy.

D: First few sips were pretty good. By the end of an 8oz glass, way, way, way, way, way too sweet. Almost tastes like they sweetened it with aspartame.

I have full faith in the palate of the Shelton Brothers, and believe that either this beer, or this batch is a fluke for the music teacher Van de Moer. I look forward to trying his other brews.

 983 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber from Premiere Gourmet, cellared for a year or so. Carbonation is there, head was short-lived, just abit of white head on dark brown. Fresh bold yeasty aroma. Above average mouthfeel, a tasty and satisfying caramel malty dark brown, some brown sugar, a tad of spice likely ginger and clove but not overwhelming. A beerman's Coca cola.
Nicely drinkability despite tongue tingling.

 385 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.07/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into my St. Feuillien goblet, Serafijn Donker is ruby with tons of floaties, with a large but quickly settling off-white head that leaves zero lace. Served at 50F, where I've kept it for a couple months, the cap it stamped 'LOT 0607' - I got it on clearance and wonder if it's actually from June 2007?

Smell is strong and sugary, lots of fruity esters and rubbery phenols.

Taste is not quite as sweet, an initial flash but then it's quickly tempered by the phenols, leaving a fairly thin taste that allows the alcohol solvents to shine through. Simple and not too inspiring.

Mouthfeel is a bit sugary, medium-light bodied, pretty heavily carbonated. Of course you can't feel the floaties.

Drinkability is ok, it's kind of light and not to assertive, that you can suck it down with ease. But there's really nothing about it that would ever draw me back, and my overall impression is boring.

 916 characters

Photo of dnichols
3.63/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I shared a capped 750 ml bottle with imacoug.

A: It poured a thick dark brown with mahogany tints and a tanish one finger head that fell fast and didn't leave much lacing.

S: It had a distinct aroma of sweet roasted malts, caramel, and dark ripe fruits (e.g., plums and raisins).

T: It displayed the toasted malts and yeasty dark bread flavors early complemented by dark tasted a bit like my grandmothers rum soaked fruit cake.

M: It was medium bodied and highly carbonated. It was sweet on the tongue and finished wet with a residual aftertaste of sweet syrup flavor on the tongue.

D: It was not as complex and flavorful as other Belgium BSDAs. Its serviceable but not among the best in the class.

 719 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Russet-orange-bronze with a huge amount of carbonation that is agitating the yeast into light flurries, like a recently shaken snow globe. The toasted almond colored crown looks cheap. It has no character and no stickiness, leaving the glass virtually untouched as it shrinks way too quickly. Beer... good. Head... abysmal.

The aroma is a small step in a positive direction. At least I can tell what the brewer was trying to accomplish. Speaking of which, the label says that this dark ale is most closely related to a dubbel, but is a little sweeter, and is lighter and less roasty. It also says to think of it as 'an assertive nut brown ale, Belgian-style'. Each sniff delivers steely caramel, dried fruit (nothing darker than figs) and faintly spicy Belgian yeast.

The first mouthful says that dubbel is the most accurate style choice. It also says that if the mouthfeel was worth a damn, this would have a fighting chance to be pretty good beer. Too little malt and too much carbonation rob the flavor of some amount of depth and complexity.

Let's go with toasted brown bread, ripe figs, a drizzle of caramel, a handful of oak chips, a generous pinch of clove and a small pinch of black pepper. Maybe a wee bit of ethanol as well, but it's easily ignored. Warming nudges the flavor intensity knob one-half notch higher, integrates things a bit better and allows the carbonation to go from fizzy to lazy.

The mouthfeel is disappointing. It isn't horrible, but its shortcomings command too much attention. Unfortunately, I haven't had a good mouthfeel from this brewery yet. By the final quarter of the bottle, it just does manage to leave an 'average' impression.

Serafijn Donker (Flemish for 'Dark') is a good Belgian dubbel in the taste department, but it doesn't make the grade otherwise. Whoever runs the show at Microbrouwerij Achilles needs to figure out how his fellow countrymen came to be considered the best mouthfeel brewers in the world. For the time being, when it comes to beer, his Achilles' heel is all too obvious.

 2,039 characters

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.03/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750ml bottle, with Lot 0607 stamped on the label. Served in a tulip glass, it was a red/brown color with a thick tan head. It had an aroma of banana and sugar. The taste was also of banana and brown sugar, as well as a good malt presence. I thought this was a smooth, well-balanced beer, fun to drink. Will try some other offerings from this brewery.

 352 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.04/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a, three-finger cream head that goes slowly to a thin layer, leaving traces of lace. Medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Cloudy amber color. Nose is malty. Flavor is sweet, fruity and malty. Nice, mellow dark ale. $10.50 for a 750ml bottle from Liquid Solutions Oregon City, OR.

 297 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Huge, light brown head settles slowly and leaves average lace. The body is hazy, dark brown with amber highlights.

S - Spicy, fruity aroma. Clove, cinnamon, and coriander along with banana and raisins. Dark malt and caramel backs everything up.

T - Strong spicy character up front. Balanced by fruit, mostly banana. Big, dark caramel comes in next along with darker malt notes that are roasted and chocolatey. There is some alcoholic warmth (spicy, bordering on hot) in the finish along with moderate hop bitterness.

M - High carbonation, medium body, very dry finish.

D - Quite a heavy beer despite the dry finish. It is a little harsh in its spiciness and somewhat hot as well. The drinkability suffers a bit because of these flaws, but it has a lot of character and would almost certainly improve with age.

I paired this with steak au poivre, served with sauteed wild mushrooms and green beans. Even with a heavily flavored meal like that, the beer was a bit overpowering.

 984 characters

Photo of dgallina
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown wine bottle marked lot 06/2007 on the cap.

Pours clear red / brown with a creamy inch-high head. Recedes to one finger of foam and sparse tendrils of lace. The nose is packed with banana, nut, and pepper notes. The flavor begins with white pepper and mild medicinal bitterness. Smooth cocoa and tropical fruit tones develop in the center and into the long sweet finish. Nice and mellow, but not complex in taste. Medium body is creamy and clean, with gentle carbonation. A mild and relaxed beer. Pleasing, but not a stand-out.

 539 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear amber color ale with a big light brown foamy head with great retention and some good lacing. Aroma of sweet Belgian malt is dominating with some hints of dry fruits. Taste is also dominated by nice toffee Belgian malt with some candi sugar and some dry fruits such as figs and plums components. Body is about average with some good carbonation and no alcohol could be notice. Overall, I would have to say that this beer was very well done for the style.

 476 characters

Photo of stcules
2.47/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Brown mahogany color, beige foam, a few, and quickly disappearing.
The smell is quite caramel, with red fruit. Malt in the background.
The taste is very caramel, too. Even some point of coffee and liquorice at the nose, and then in the mouth. And it is also quite bitter, with a bitternes root and alpine herbs like, in the aftertaste mostly, quite aromatic.

 360 characters

Photo of paterlodie
2.15/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Serafijn dark pours in almost without a head. The litle yellowbrown foam I saw was gone fast. Copperbrown beercolor, with quiet a snowstorm going on in my glas make appearance pour. Smell is sweet, vegetable but luckily enough found some malts and yeastspice. Taste is sweet, oxidated and other unfriendly aromes that were luckily enough fastly overruled by "einer unedlen Bittere". Not impressed by this I poured out more then 3/4 of it.

 438 characters

Serafijn Donker from Microbrouwerij Achilles
Beer rating: 3.55 out of 5 with 21 ratings
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