1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Pauwel Kwak - Brouwerij Bosteels

Not Rated.
Pauwel KwakPauwel Kwak

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,465 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,465
Reviews: 659
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.53%
Wants: 34
Gots: 179 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bosteels visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  8.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 06-30-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (9) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Pauwel Kwak Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,465 | Reviews: 659 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of roblowther
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky reddish-brown with a medium density, rocky tan head fed by a zillion little champagne bubbles up the side of the glass. The smell is caramel & roasted malt with something cherry-like in the background. The taste is caramel but has almost a burnt note in it somewhere. The finish is dry, offsetting the initial sweetness. The mouthfeel is gorgeous, silky and oily. The drinkability is very good, certainly helped by the mouthfeel. Not too much alcohol in the forefront on this one, given its strength. Definitely one you could sip (note "sip") all evening. The beer, overall, makes me think of sitting in an exposed timber and plaster pub somewhere, drinking at a long wooden table as old as, well, beer, meeting new friends and listening to the world go by outside. For whatever that literary detour is worth.

Photo of tatterdash
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I waited 2 monthes for my Kwak glass to arrive, I finally get to enjoy it, thanks Viggo! Pours a clear amber burnt orange with a creamy off-white head that laces very well. Smell was a earthy citrusy hop and malty grassy crystal malt and a bit of alcohol. Taste was very unique and unexpected, almost like an American Barleywine. Sweet syrupy front with solvent alcohol, but not over-powering or unpleasant. tropical fruits creep in, and the finish is dry with some maltiness sticking around. Mouthfeel was thin but warming, and this is a very pleasant and unique Belgian.

Photo of MCDuhamel
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a Leffe chalice (I don't have a stirrup glass).

A: Very dark orange/medium amber with very active carbonation. Quite bright and clear. The head developed quickly into a nice 2 inch cap, and slowly melted into a solid quarter inch over the surface. Decent laceing, but nothing extraordinary.

S: Strong toffee and light sugar notes, with a hint of spice. The aroma is immediate and quite pronounced without being in any way off balance. Absolutely outstanding.

T: The flavor rushes in with a delightful toffee/caramel character, which gives way to a somewhat minerally and out-of-place citrus-like finish. There are notes of honey and vanilla in the middle. The citrus notes on the finish are, unfortunately, a bit distracting, and after the world-class nose one feels a bit deceived.

M: Medium bodied, slight coating sensation but lifted by the carbonation.

D: Above average drinkability, but lacks the deceptive quaffability of the best tripels.

Overall: This is a very good beer, well worthy of its reputation, which I certainly enjoy drinking. However, poured from tap into a stirrup glass at a bar that knows how to handle Belgian ales properly it is at its best; the bottled version seems slightly harsher and less refined.

Photo of DogFood11
2.91/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz brown bottle. Classy looking label. Poured into a tulip it formed a milky off white head that leaves some ring lacing. Shiney copper body.

A touch of musk up front followed by a brew that leans on spices. There is a light and fruity underbelly that is more subdued than most in this style that I've sampled. It kind of comes across like carbonated fruit juice and then the spices kick in to round it out. I'm not talking about being too sweet or fruity as it works out in the end. Charcoal in the nose doesn't translate to the taste. Alcohol is strong and played a big role in making this similar to a tropical mixed drink. Not for me.

Notes: I went back and forth on this brew. There is a lack of depth in this beer but it turns out decent.

Photo of MiScusi
2.7/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's Pasadena for Belgain Beer Fest.

Was a reddish-purple with only soap sud-resembling head. The smell was alcohol and grapes, like a weak wine. The taste was of grapes and volatile alcohol... very similar to a wine.... carbonatioin was on the lower end. Not really to my tastes, and if it is really a belgian pale ale, it IMO doesn't measure up anywhere close to a say, Duvel.

Photo of rec
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark copper with a head to appreciate and lace to accompany that.

Sweet caramel malt and yeast come through strongest in the aroma.

The aroma is represented well, with some light fruits and some very mild spice additional in the taste. Kwak finishes sharp, dry and with noticably high yet suitable carbonation.

It really is a great brew, and in my opinion should be rated higher than what it has been.

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

Sweet and malty, thick, very lightly perfume-like.

I've had this on tap in the past and I appreciated that more, but as always most brews on tap are better than the bottle...

When I got down to the yeasty goodness, I was really interestingly pleased with the flavor. Good big ass beer to drink while watching Kevin Smith Strikes Back!

Photo of jmz62565
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear rusty red/orange with a giant white foamy head. The head doesn't last too long and there is little lacing. The smell is not very pungent,but a real "bisquity" aroma is prevelant along with a mix of spices and alcohol. The taste is a mix of alcohol, lemon, candy sugar, coriander, cherries and other fruits. A good tasting beer with some minor flaws. The m/f is light with flavors mixing well. For a high alcohol beer,this is very drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of deBeers
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet with a biting tartness that blossoms into a bouquet of flavors. Hard for me to describe. Flowery esters and spicy clove (phenols?) notes coming through. Smooth on the palette but very complex. Caramel malts, a blend of apricot/banana/breadiness that somehow is creamy yet has a bite too it.

Alcohol presence is noticeable thoughout the whole drink. Almost a sweetness working its way out as beer warms. Sorry for the mess of a review this was from sparse notes about six months ago at Delaney's in New Haven. Beer is served in it's own miniscule yard glass with holder. Very elegant and recommened trying at least once on tap!

Photo of theformula
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice lookin brew. Pours a burnt orange, bright copper body. Has a decent tan head with minimal retention.

It smells great, but the alcahol strength is a little obvious IMO. Sweet, fruity (cherries, blood orange?), vanilla and honey. A mineral note hangs around and yeast it bready and delicious.

Medium body and a soft feel in the mouth. Little carbonation.
A sweet, fruity ale. The alcahol is strong right up front, followed by a malty, cherry-like sweetness/tartness. Notes of honey, minerals, light hops and a dtry, decent finish in which the dry, mineral character holds on. Nice orange and a little clove in the background.

Not too bad. It's a heavy gravity ale just by the scent and it doesn't feel ashamed of it. Not much of a finish though. I'd drink another, but wouldn't kill for it (Duvel on the other hand...).

Alcahol is just to dominate and flaunting.

Photo of Shovelbum
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger head of creamy off-white foam over a glowing amber body. A few rather large chunks of yeast made it into my glass and drift aimlessly around in the currents of rising carbonation. Head falls to a thin layer that is concentrated around the edge. Aromas cherries and oranges mix with Belgian yeast. Flavor is quite soft, with a light caramel upfront, notes of pepper, a prevailing pear character throughout and a hint of lemon at the finish. The sweetness is a major force, but the body is still lean. Carbonation is medium to low for the style. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Apart from the chunks of yeast milling about in the glass this was an all around great ale drinking experience. The ale was refrigerated for a week prior to drinking and didn’t ‘abuse’ the bottle prior to the pour, so I am led to believe that this may be a bit over yeasted, or the strain is so flocculent that it can’t help itself from forming big natty chunks. I didn’t really mind them except on the last swallow.

Upon further inspection of the BA classification of this ale it is yet another example of a Belgian Ale defying style categories--- or the need for a Belgian amber ale category. Pale this ale ain’t. But it shouldn’t have to be.

Photo of andjusticeforale
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a nice big bottle; poured into a tulip; really nice copper color, foamy head as promised, and smell of iron, geramn styler euro hops for a second, blood, oddly enough, and swirly alcohol.

The taste was medium bodied, spicy, sweet, strong solid malt backbone without a ton of complexity. Really solid, sip after sip, balanced, never too sweet, never too bitter, the finish and drinkability excellent. I would pair this with food, perhaps a nice light marinated chicken sandwich or a chefs salad with gorgonzola.

This is better than average, its not super, but its really servicable.

Photo of GooberMcNutly
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into an (improper) stout glass. Aroma of toasted bread and roasting chestnuts with a strong coppery head. Docked points on appearance due to the large (20 or more per glass) of floaties in the glass, even after a very careful pour. But the flavor and mouthfeel are so much more than the standard belgian golden ales that I don't even care. Strong roast nuts, toasted almonds, caramel and hints of apricot and cherry pull together to give a beer that is a little different with each sip as the palate becomes accustomed.

Photo of JanM
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a chestnut color and two fingers of foam. It sounds strange but I thought it smelled of milk and sweet fruits. The taste was sweet and yeasty with notes of apricots and peaches, and some smoke. The liquid almost had a syrup feel to it. This beer rates pretty high in BA but I was not so impressed.

Photo of GbVDave
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a clear, dark amber. Largish 3 finger head that leaves a lot of lace.

S: Notes of sweet malt, belgian yeast, pepper, and alcohol.

T: Take the above and add some mildly sweet fruit flavors and lightly bitter hops. Sweet and dry at the same time.

M: Sort of thin, sharp, and carbonated.

D: If they were to dial back the abv 1-1.5% this would be so much more enjoyable. It's quite drinkable as it is now, but, could be even better. I've had much better and I've had a lot worse.

Photo of brushpig
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a 4pack with kwak glass at Sam's wines and liquors.

Deep amber beer with orange and red tones good head with decent lacing.

Fruity tropical and earthy aromas, with a light spicyness.

Smooth mouth feel yet a hearty brew, taste of fruit, spices, and figs. Quite warming alcohol sensation. Not as flavorful as some of the other Belgium strong pale ales, but a good experience. Drink it out out the mini yard glass with holder.

Photo of Foxman
3.31/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It pours a quite clear and carbonated deep amber. Three fingers of sculptable beige head settle sooner as opposed to later. Toile lacing patterns the inside of the glass.

In the aroma a lightly sweet malt presence is rather vague and is tamped further by a musty earthiness. Yeast yields a mild clove ester as well as an unfortunate muddled staleness. The alcohol lurks airily in the background.

Upon tasting, the malt is a bit more distinctive here, with muted caramel sweetness that quickly cedes to a feather of clove and citrus esters. The alcohol has a fair bite, and the finish is green apple crisp and dry. The flavor shows a couple positives, but it seems dumbed-down and shallow overall.

Light to medium bodied, the spice effect leaves the chief palatal impression.

It's got a name, but the rep falls short. I mean, it's not a drain-pour, but it's just too thin and shallow to stand up to the rest of Belgium's best. The ABV is big enough to render its drinkability somewhat questionable. So the name on the bottle is why I bought it, but what's in the bottle is why I won't buy it again.

Photo of Drew966
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pauwel Kwak pours a reddish orange color with a white head from a brown 11.2 ounce bottle. The aroma is sweet malt, alcohol is also noticeable. Taste is pleasant, heavily on the malty side, quite sweet with alcohol being noticeable. An enjoyable quaff.

Photo of Gmann
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out of a 750ml corked and caged bottle. First pour out of the bottle was a clear amber color, though I am sure it will cloud up by the time I get to the end of the bottle. Nice large off-white head, however it left no lacing. Smell is of sweet caramel, almost buttery, a bit of dark fruit. Taste is caramel malt, the malt stays through to the end, buttery, too buttery for my liking. Creamy, nice carbonation. I was a bit disappointed in this ale, had a nice complexity but too buttery.

Photo of SuperSpy
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark copper with a big rocky head. Very clear and excellent lacing. Just beautiful.

S - Sweet malt, caramel, raisins.

T - Delicious toffee, a bit of molasses or perhaps brown sugar and spiciness. A nice sweet beginning with a dry finish.

M - Medium bodied with a creamy carbonation and very dry finish.

D - Absolutely delicious and easy to drink.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An 11.2oz./33cl bottle poured into the bulbous coachman's glass/stand, typical of the Kwak. Our first pour in this type of glass since sharing one at Paters Vaetje in Antwerp; since then we bought our own on ebay.

A: Amber/copper with a gigantic off-white frothy head. Presentation gets even higher marks for being in the 'proper' glassware. Clear consistency and with an excellent, even lace.

S: Smells of sweet malts, caramel and sugars.

T: Big butterscotch flavor, followed with brown sugar, hints of mint (?) and a spiced yeast finish. Almost no hops or bitterness.

M: A little flat and a bit oily. Buttery & like a very thin syrup. A very thin trace of bittering hops rounds off the finish, leaving a slight dryness in the mouth.

D: Almost an 'everyday' drinker, definitely an enjoyable and very easy to drink strong pale. Pleasant flavors, sweet and caramel-laden with good balance, though it leans toward the sugary malts; this is one I could have many times. Also a favorite for my wife.

Photo of EPICAC
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Photo of kkipple
2.89/5  rDev -23.3%
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…

Photo of stephendr
3.92/5  rDev +4%
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

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.

Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
85 out of 100 based on 1,465 ratings.