Author Topic: Kasteel Donker. Anyone have some information on this beer?  (Read 1457 times)

Offline enso

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Kasteel Donker. Anyone have some information on this beer?
« on: February 10, 2010, 08:20:44 AM »
I really enjoy this beer.  The brewery website has hardly any information about it.

What I am curious about is two things. 

One, this beer has a definite fruity characteristic, much more it would seem than mere yeast derived esters.  It reminds me a bit of the Kriek component of three philosophers (another wonderful beer!) only more so.  As this brewery also produces a few kriek and other fruit lambics is it possible they add some of this?  I know the Rouge has cherries in it.

The second thing that puzzles me is the intense level of sweetness.  Is this beer somehow pasteurized or filtered and then back sweetened or (gulp say it ain't so!  :o) artificially sweetened with chemical sweeteners!  I sure hope not the latter, but I do understand that this is a current practice of lambic/gueze producers in effort to appeal to a wider audience.  A damn shame in it's self.  The only kriek I have tried is Lindemans and I thought it was awful.  Cherry soda with alcohol.   >:(  Not the sour complex and dry treat I imagine when I think of lambic.  But I digress...  That is for another topic.

Anybody?
Dave Brush

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Re: Kasteel Donker. Anyone have some information on this beer?
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 10:16:17 AM »
I'm a fan of Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck and most of their beers, although I'm not all that keen on their St. Louis lineup. My favorite(s) are Bacchus, Brigand and the Kasteelbiers.  The Kasteel Donker used to simply be known as Biere de Chateau, but when they started producing a blonde (tripel) version they changed the name to avoid confusion (I guess?). I know MJ particularly enjoyed visits to the family brewery/castle and discussed in depth this particular beer in the Great Beers of Belgium book (I think?). I know from reading this, that all of their Kasteel beers are fermented at the brewery with the house yeast (Wyeast #3822-Ingelmunster Ale) then matured in the castle cellars with additional yeast. I've used this yeast once before and it can be very fruity (think fresh, tart cherries) hence your affiliation with Ommegang's 3 Philos.  I can't speak as to the addition of sweetners except to say they use them in their St. Louis beers, so it wouldn't be out of the question. Now thanks to you, I'm going to have to break out a Brigand tonight!  ;D    
« Last Edit: February 10, 2010, 10:18:15 AM by Beertracker »
CHEERS! Jeff
"A homebrewed beer is truly a superior beer." ~ "Buffalo" Bill Owens - American Brewer

Jeffrey Swearengin
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Tulsa, OK USA

Offline enso

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Re: Kasteel Donker. Anyone have some information on this beer?
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 10:32:00 AM »
Thanks Jeff,

Yeah, I vaguely recall reading about the St. Louis brands being artificially sweetened in the great beers of Belgium book.  Sadly I do not own the book so I could not go back and reference it.

Nice tip on the yeast though.  I was not aware of that.  I will have to see if I can get my hands on some!

On further reflection after posting this, I suppose if it is indeed sweetened in some way then the fruitiness could be exaggerated.  I hope it is not.  The 2 times I have enjoyed this beer it has been already aged a bit.  The most recent being from April 28, 2008.  I wonder if age brings out the sweetness? 

It does not appear to be bottle conditioned and seems rather clear (though dark) which further supports my suspicions of filtering and sweetening.

The mystery deepens?

Anyway, it still is enjoyable.  I used a bit to flavor some chocolate truffles I am working on.  Should be tasty.
Dave Brush

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Re: Kasteel Donker. Anyone have some information on this beer?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2010, 11:11:48 AM »
...On further reflection after posting this, I suppose if it is indeed sweetened in some way then the fruitiness could be exaggerated.  I hope it is not.  The 2 times I have enjoyed this beer it has been already aged a bit.  The most recent being from April 28, 2008.  I wonder if age brings out the sweetness? It does not appear to be bottle conditioned and seems rather clear (though dark) which further supports my suspicions of filtering and sweetening. The mystery deepens? Anyway, it still is enjoyable.  I used a bit to flavor some chocolate truffles I am working on.  Should be tasty.

I have a few of the newer (black foil) 750mL bottles in the cellar, but haven't tried any to date. I know the smaller (330mL) bottles were always filtered, but the older (gold foil) 750's were bottle-conditioned and gained complexity as it aged. I guess I'll just have to break open a bottle & see if it's as good as I remember it. The chocolate truffles sound decadent btwI!  :)     
CHEERS! Jeff
"A homebrewed beer is truly a superior beer." ~ "Buffalo" Bill Owens - American Brewer

Jeffrey Swearengin
Fellowship of Oklahoma Ale Makers (FOAM)
Tulsa, OK USA