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Pauwel Kwak - Brouwerij Bosteels

Not Rated.
Pauwel KwakPauwel Kwak

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,344 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,344
Reviews: 642
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 32
Gots: 120 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bosteels visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  8.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 06-30-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,344 | Reviews: 642 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EPICAC
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

These were served in round bottomed flask-shaped glasses that were held on wooden stands. Had t Berenbak in Antwerp.

Appearance: Pours a hazy brown with a sudsy, beige head that fades to a thin film leaving patchy lace. Chunks of yeast float around.

Smell: Malty in the nose with toffee, caramel, raisins with a light spiciness.

Taste: Sweet caramel maltiness, followed by raisin fruitiness in the center. The finish is lightly spicy and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, light-bodied and a tad watery.

Drinkability: Easy to drink.

EPICAC, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of kkipple
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

As I begin to pour this Kwak into my glass, I hear a distinct fizzy sound from the bubbles, very much like a soda. Interesting. What ends up in my glass is a deep golden colored beer with – what the…? There’s something floating in my glass! Just a second!

The Offensive Floating Object (OFO) turns out to be a dark brown yeast cake, roughly the size and shape of a quarter. I fish it out with a spoon. I thought I heard a weird plop as I finished the pour. Don’t think I’ll be drinking THAT. Blech. Not a promising start. The beer is of course chock-full of much more manageable yeast particles. I think I’ll let it sit a while.

The foamy head settles very quickly, guess it only had about 2 minutes of life in it. No lacing to be found. The beer smells quite yeasty (oh, really!) and I get a peppery, alcohol smell along with a sugary sweetness and green apples. There’s a musty, vague spice in here too.

The rather ominous amounts of yeast bits are taking their sweet time to settle.

Alright, enough waiting. I take a tentative sip. Well, it’s drinkable at least. This Kwak is a very sweet, yet watered-down tasting beer. Lots of candy sugar, sweet malt, and a slight sourness (from the yeast?) along with that peppery alcohol one can smell in the nose. Finishes quick, I keep waiting for more flavors to jump out but they don’t. Leaves a warm, dry, toffee / sour flavor in the mouth. Not much here, really. A bit stale tasting; who knows old it is. Couldn’t find a date of any kind on the bottle.

I have to say this is a disappointment. I had high hopes for this one, after considering the uber-cool travel glass Kwak pimps! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauwel_Kwak) Kwak is uncomplex for the style, I should think, and is altogether too yeasty and stale tasting. Possibly I got a bad bottle, but I’m hesitant to pay another $4 to find out…

kkipple, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of stephendr
3.93/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 ml. bottle – color of amber , clear – nice white head , lingering - nose of jasmine , sweet fruitiness , caramel , cherries , sulfur, and alcohol – taste of sweet fruit , floral , caramel , malts , tar , red cherries , and raisins – low carbonation , slightly tart– aftertaste caramel , malts , cereal , slight alcohol

stephendr, Nov 21, 2006
Photo of bditty187
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think this bottle is fairly old as the label notes it is imported by “Manneken.” It is imported by Artisanal Imports now. I wish there was a date on the bottle.

Coppery-bronze in hue with tons of yeast particles floating around; I hate it. Beige head, at the apex the foam was only a half finger tall. I did slow pour this beer and stopped pouring once a big-ass yeast cake fell into my beer. The head quickly faded to a soapy cap. There was some spotty subsequent lacing. I can’t really say much positive about the appearance beside the color is lovely.

The nose has solvent notes; lots of tropical fruit along with some oranges and apples. Grape jelly; caramel, brown sugar, and some slight medicinal aromas. The nose is quite funky and it smells nothing like I expected it too. No sign of the hops. Moderate-high potency; chatty… odd… but I’ll call it inviting nevertheless.

The palate mirrors the nose; lots of tropical fruit, oranges, apples, pears, grape jelly. Brown sugar, caramel, herbs, bready yeast; lots of alcoholic qualities (it is quite hot!). Not much hops. This beer is loaded with candy sweetness. I can’t image this beer will taste the same fresh. This is one funky beer; it is tasty but too sweet and alcoholic.

Medium in body, low and creamy carbonation, the mouthfeel is affected by the clumps of yeast I am forced to swallow. This makes me sad.

Overall, this is a decent beer. I, more then ever, want to try this fresh as I just don’t believe Kwak is supposed to be like this. Maybe this beer is “past” optimal but I like it and thus the review. This is a beer I’d never age but it is kind of cool to taste an “old” bottle. I purchased my 330ml in Des Moines, IA. I’m happy I’ll be able to buy this in Omaha… soon.

bditty187, Oct 23, 2006
Photo of vancurly
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Leffe chalice.... I thought the $50 AU for 2 x Kwaks plus the wooden-stand & glass was a bit much.

One of the most beautifully coloured beers I seen. It's a red amber colour, clear, but has a blush in it... kinda rosy.

Which is appropriate, as I get a Turkish Delight / rosewater aroma. Deeper inhale detects the usual suspects of complex Belgian malts, and some gamey esters.

Mostly an estery malty flavour. Some honeycomb & toffee. Starts sweet & perfumy, but finishes fairly dryly. There is a light bitterness, and some alcohol heat. Aftertaste of green apple & lychee.

vancurly, Oct 20, 2006
Photo of Osiris9588
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a light ruby hue out of a 750ml bottle caged a cork. The white three-finger head is fluffy, with decent retention and some dots of lacing.

The smell is of light malt, candy, and sour apple. The flavor is of sour apple, sugar, and vinegar, with a slight alcohol burn. This beer is fruity and lighweight, and never even approaches complexity. It's like drinking a glass of juice. It's a grand cru without balls. I wouldn't even call it a Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

It might be alright for someone who wants an easy drinking beer and who doesn't care about flavor or character.

Osiris9588, Oct 05, 2006
Photo of Umbra
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In preparation for this year's Brewer's Art Canard, I thought that I'd try the original to get an idea. Presented in the 75cl bottle with cork and wire cage. Couldn’t find a freshness date, but it is bottle conditioned...

Poured like fine amber ale with a rich, clear tea-like color and creamy white head. Was really careful, and didn’t get any swirlies. There was a nice sticky lacing left on the glass.

Aroma was mixed, with some sweet candi and tropical fruitiness that was sticky in nature. There was also a light hint of alcohol and very light yeast. When it warmed, there was a touch of sourness that came through, too.

There were no hops to speak of in the flavor and it came off as somewhat estery. The predominant flavor was malt with sugary hard candy sweetness. There was a defined alcohol flavor. However, it didn’t really warm the mouth, despite the 8% level. Near the bottom of the bottle, once it had warmed, there was a lactic flavor that was evident. Not quite sure if the sour flavor came from the esters. However, it may be due to some lactobacillus. I’ll try to have a few more kwak bottles to see if this was intended or some sort of spoilage. Regardless, it was well controlled. The combination of the candy, sour, and alcohol was interesting and enjoyable. There were no diacetyl or banana esters mixed in, so the yeast strain they are using came out pretty darn clean.

Had a very full Mouthfeel and a well-controlled amount of carbonation. Finished originally sweet, but eventually dried out the tongue. Quite drinkable and interesting.

Umbra, Sep 20, 2006
Photo of czechsaaz
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very estery and yeasty aroma. The esters come off as strong spicing and the yeast comes off like fresh baked bread. There's a stong anise/licorice aroma that I don't think is from the fermentation. It's a little to strong to be a fermentation by-product. Good caramel malt aroma behind all that.

dark orange/light brown color. Very clear with a thin lasting head. Almost no rising carbonation in the glass.

Nice toasty malty flavor. Back to the bread flavor, it's a little like wheat bread. There's a nice subtle spiceness, some licorice and a little clove. There are some other phenolic-like fermentation flavors that are a little out of balance. Just a little bit of diacetyl like butterschotch. Hop bitterness is restrained but apparent, no hop flavor. On the aftertaste, I get a metalic sensation that I find distracting.

Full bodied beer with very good carbonation level. Slightly warming in your mouth and stomach.

Actually, it's pretty light and refreshing for an 8% beer. Goes down very smooth and easy.

czechsaaz, Sep 20, 2006
Photo of elricorico
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A medium ruddy brown with a nice three finger ivory head. A bit of floaties to this one, but it isn't a new bottle, so I'm not surprised.

The smell is a bit boozy and a bit yeasty. Faintly citric as well. Overall the aroma is a bit on the light end for the style.

Toasted bread in the malt with a bit of toffee on top. Fruity apple and melon mix in there too. A bit alcoholic, somewhat dry and spicy in the finish.

Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation. The floaties are notable when drinking though, and that is a substantial turn off.

Something about this beer doesn't make me want to revisit it often. I can't say I dislike it, but I also can't say it is one of my favourites.

elricorico, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of crwills
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Sampled as part of a large tasting with biegaman, grub, and northyorksammy. I think this may have been an old bottle, even though I just bought it a couple of weeks ago, as the whole group rated it much lower than most of the earlier reviewers. Then again, it was late in the tasting..

Anyway, poured a typical Belgian pale ale colour -- cloudy gold, bordering on orange or amber. Aroma is unpleasantly boozy, with some vegetable notes that probably shouldn't be there. There's an almost fishy aroma to this beer that carries over into the flavour. Carbonation is overly aggressive.

Taste isn't too bad, primarily malty and fruity, with pears, apples, peaches, and other mild fruits dominating. Mouthfeel is ruined by the carbonation. Aftertaste is fine. The beer is drinkable, just not as good as you'd expect with the reputation and the price.

ON ANOTHER NOTE: I just reviewed my 200th beer today. I had been planning to pick a really good beer to celebrate my 200th review, and also my 1 year anniversary on BA. However, I wasn't paying attention and my 200th review ended up being... Rolling Rock, of all things! I got a good laugh out of that. Lowest ranked beer I've ever reviewed, and I accidentally do it for my 200th. Oh well. #300, here I come!

crwills, Sep 15, 2006
Photo of grub
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

tasting party sept 11/06 with northyorksammy, crwills, biegaman and me (grub). everyone threw in a few bottles and we had an interesting mix of beer and mead. not sure of exactly who contributed what, so i'll just thank everyone.

pours a nice amber colour with a big off-white head. lots of lace.

aroma is not what i expected. smell is dominated by corn and DMS. some alcohol noticeable.

taste is ok. a bit of caramel and noticeable alcohol content. DMS is present here too.

mouthfeel is ok. the body is ok, but i think the carbonation is a bit too high, even for the style.

drinkability on this one isn't great. i expected more of this and was somewhat disappointed with it. might have to try this one again sometime as my experience seems to be worse than most other reviewers report.

grub, Sep 12, 2006
Photo of mcallister
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a very cool rounded bottom tapered flute type Kwak glass that was placed in a wooden kwak holder for stabiliztion. You actually use the holder to lift and drink.

A very clear amber with hues of gold throughout. Off white head of medium density rests atop with good retention. Minute lace resides.

Lovely fruity, flowery esters. A roasted caramel malt aroma also. Chamomile, honey, peach and apricot are some of the smells as long as a guest appearance of sweet hops.

Wow!! What a smack of sweet malt and honey suckle in the front palate. Dominated by a flowery floral mid palate with a slight hop bitterness finish. The same flavors as were in the nose with a little more malt and less fruit.

Mouthfeel is smooth and simple. Somewhat creamy and very drinkable.

mcallister, Sep 08, 2006
Photo of allergictomacros
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Clear, filtered coppery red with a medium sized head. Medium lacing.

S - Spicy, yeasty, fruity aromas. High levels of alcohol in the nose and a touch of banana as well. A bit of soft lemon also shows up a little later.

T - Taste is slightly tart up front, with a subdued fruitiness. Light toasted grain comes through in the middle of the sip, followed by a dry-ish, mildly bitter finish.

M - Carbonation is a little high. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a spritzy touch.

D - Not bad at all. Well balanced but light-ish in flavour. Not nearly as boozy as I expected.

allergictomacros, Sep 04, 2006
Photo of plaztikjezuz
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

tasted at the classic wines annual beer tasting earlier this year, i am reviewing this from my notes.
was served a amber colored sample with a good head.
the aroma was citrus, carmel, and malt.
the flavor was malty, soft, citrus, candy sugar.
i really enjoyed this brew.

plaztikjezuz, Aug 30, 2006
Photo of mmcave
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep butter scotch amber, not too effervescence, decent enough head that dissipates at a medium pace. The sent is not dissimilar to that of porter or even a Belgium strong dark ale. The alcohol sent is at minimum. There are more earthy scents than fruity, the toasted malt is present, but not over powering. The first taste is rich, but not thick, with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, raisins and a tiny hint of licorice. These are present, but not over powering in the least, they are more a subtle coloration of the flavor than driving characteristics. Over all I would say this is an decently well balanced beer, not too exciting, but drinkable and of course as most strong ales their strength will sneak up on you.

mmcave, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of janubio
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, served in the Kwak glass. Pours a nice but not very creamy head, that doesn't last much, Aroma: raisins, tropical fruits, spices, caramel. Very sweet flavor, maybe too much because it masks the depth of the beer. Mouth, licorice, tropical fruits, some hot spice that I can't indentify, caramel.

janubio, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of geographie
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into tulip glass from a 330ml bottle at the suggested serving temp (~6 degrees C)

Head retention is outstanding, ~1 minute before i could start seeing the colour of the beer from above. Head is light and airy, signs of lacing. Carbonation seems moderate to weak. Colour is a clear, light brown.

Aroma is rich and malty. Slight smell of lightly burnt toast with jam. Curious.

Taste is quite well balanced - a light dry sweetness, followed by a warming alchohol sensation on the tongue, and then the bitter, which is a fairly plain bitter taste. Nothing floral or controversial about these hops. The alcohol sensation follows through the nose during the sip and stretches just to the belly...would be nicer if it was cooler out. I wish the taste matched the smell.

The carbonation is a bit lacking in the mouthfeel. The beer remains relatively flat after a good swish in the mouth.

Being new to Belgium ales, i am no connoisseur, however, this beer did not leave me wanting a second. The flavours were all there, although not well defined, texture is so-so, and the alcohol sensation was a bit extreme for this beer.

geographie, Aug 19, 2006
Photo of medic25
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the traditional Kwak glass. Color is a reddish-amber, with a big white head that leaves a persistent lace. Sweet, malty aroma. Taste is outstanding; acomplex blend of peppery and sweet, candy sugar flavor, with a faint hoppy aftertaste. Incredibly drinkable; with the alcohol well masked. This has become one of my new favorites, rivaling La Fin du Monde.

medic25, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of atigerlife
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Kwak glass [yeah, the one with the wooden holder].

Pours a light amber w/reddish highlights. Huge light brown head with decent lasting power. Good lacing. Lots of carbonation can be seen rising. The most curious thing is the amount of yeast floating around in the bottle--a LOT of this stuff. The yeast is rather distracting.

Aroma is nice with sweetness dominating. Some fruit in the background.

Taste is rather light with some sweetness throughout, slightly winey and malts being dominant.

Mouthfeel is rather placid considering the carbonation that is rising. Some tingly cleansing ability. Rather light body.

Overall, this is drinkable but not too exciting. Suprisingly placid considering the ABV. Maybe a decent "beginner" Belgian beer but not something I will be seeking.

atigerlife, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of kdmorse
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle used as an apertif at a dinner party with some friends. Enjoyed by all.

Beautiful glowing orange with a solid whitish head and lots of yeast floating. Sweet and sourish odor. Good, sweet malt body. Creamy and slightly syrupy. Easy and enjoyable to drink.

Not my favorite Belgian Pale, but a very solid offering. Easy and tasty to drink.

kdmorse, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of Viggo
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, approximately 3 years old. Interesting to see how this one ages.

Pours a hazy copper orange, some red, lots of chunks, off white head forms, settles down after a while, some lace sticking to the glass. Smell is sweet, apples/pears, caramel, some yeast. Taste is reallly nice, toffee is insane, citrus, orange peel and spice through the middle, more caramel and chocolate in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. Nice and smooth, this definately is nice after aging.

Viggo, Jul 25, 2006
Photo of Conrad
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this one before reading the other reviews so as not to influence my opinion. I was surprised to find I do not rate it as highly as most of the others. But that's the idea, isn't it?
Here goes:
A: Nice deep cleer copper/amber. But no head, and little lacing. I like my beers, especially Belgians with at least some head.
S: Sour alcohol and malt upfront. Then some sharp fruit odours, like over-ripe plums. The first hit of aroma was not all that pleasant.
T: Nice big roasted, but not burnt malt. The alcohol was warming, and quite pleasing. Some good balance between the sweet malt and the hops bitterness.
M: Sour hits on the finish that did not last long. Medium body, a bit slick or oily.
D: It's okay. That's all. I would have another if you are buying.

Conrad, Jul 24, 2006
Photo of johnniemarg
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1pt 9.4 fl oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Beautiful crystal clear amber color with a two finger white head. The head dissipates fairly quickly. Tornado of tiny bubbles rising in the middle of the glass. There is very little lacing left on the glass.

Smell is primarily fruity plum and candy sugar that smells of cotton candy. There is also an alcohol astringent smell. No noticable hop aroma to my nose.

The flavor is very closely in line with the smell. The fruity plum-flavored malt is promptly followed by the cotton candy and the finish is all warm alcohol.

This is on the light side of medium-bodied. It has a slick, oily texture, a perfect amount of carbonation and is warming in the mouth from the alcohol content.

I'm surprised I haven't had this before. Some Belgians turn me off. This one, while not hugely complex by any means, is a supremely drinkable and pleasant brew. This will be a go-to-beer for me from now on. I love this stuff.

johnniemarg, Jul 24, 2006
Photo of supercolter
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance is average. The high points are the caramelly reddish orange color a bit of lacing. The low points are the large amount of sediment and minimal head retention.
Smell is glorious. Very caramelly, a bit of dried fruit, and some dry malt nose.
Taste is a bit above average. It tastes like caramel and some berry fruit to start and finishes with a bit of alcohol taste.
Mouthfeel is good. Some carbonation and good feel on the tounge other than the sediment.
Drinkability is not bad for the style.

supercolter, Jul 05, 2006
Photo of karst
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in 0.4 L rastal New Belgium sniffer @ 56°F ( not like the distinctive hourglass round bottom glass of Pauwel Kwak - shown in Jackson's " Great Beer Guide" - modeled after the stirrup cup served to coach drivers.

Brewed with three types of malt and sweetened with candi sugar. The yeast has formed particles that are suspended by beading. A fine lace and dense head make this rich clear copper colored Belgian (with a healthy bunch of yeast floaties) makes this a very showy brew. Has a rich malt body which hides the 8% abv with its sweet caramel malts. Faint 4-VG adds a little finish to the sweet malty Ale. Amazingly little alcohol in aroma, taste or finish although it aides in the drying. Pepper, clove and other esters are well restrained let the malts dominate.

Like no other Belgian Strong Ale.

karst, Jul 02, 2006
Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
85 out of 100 based on 1,344 ratings.