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Pauwel Kwak - Brouwerij Bosteels

Pauwel KwakPauwel Kwak

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

1,168 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1168
Reviews: 628
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.83%

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)
View: Beers (9) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,168 | Reviews: 628 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Shemmy


4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

For us here in land of zero to minimally quality controlled mass production lager stored for months in 100 degree + warehouses, to find Kwak is like stumbling on the leprechaun's proverbial pot of beer uranium at the end of the rainbow.

Appearance was not too much unlike some other Belgians I can vaguely recall such as Tripel Karmellite, a welcome association in probbaly most people's beer brains. Nothing flash, but you are assured by the toasty golden brown with maybe a slight orange going on that it will be a solid Belgian experience.

On to the taste...a solid buttery, nutty, banana with a shot of whiskey in there somewhere. I was hungry when I had my two bottles, so all of this was very welcome.
I had it with a few slices of white cheddar cheese which may well have brought out some of the damp moldy woodyness as well as the butter.

Seems to me I've heard people complain that Belgians are not well suited to hot weather, the sticky heaviness of them not permitting. Well, most people do have access to air-conditioning, so I don't understand what is the issue, tho' I'd agree, Kwak and others have a heaviness and stickiness which you'd do well to consume in a cool to cold environment.

Mouth feel is nice and well suited I thought. Slightly heavier than many lagers but nearly as fizzy. Quite a bit fizzier than other Belgian ales I thought. Not that its a bad thing, nice to know there's a fizzy one if there's an emergency--zero head tho'.

Overall, I'd say this is one that's got a rich, somewhat complex taste but which is nicely balanced with a relatively high degree of effervesence. It's now on my list list of beers I definitely like.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2013 12:12:12 | More by Shemmy
Photo of RoamingGnome


3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75


On tap at Cafe Hollander. Served in a test tube. Pretty well chilled...

A) A rusty looking brew with over a finger of light tan head. Decent retention. No lacing noted.

S) Fairly sweet and malty. There is some banana, and a mix of spices. Faint alcohol...

T) A little toast and caramel sweetness. Yeasty, fruity, mostly banana. Adequate spice, mainly clove. The alcohol is pretty well hidden, but worth noting.

M) Medium body... Carbonation is about the same. Finishes with some alcohol warmth, but not an unpleasant lingering burn. Drinkability is good from a mouthfeel standpoint.

O) I've had this several times, so I knew what I was getting. It's good... Although, half way through I reached the conclusion I was over paying for the privilege of drinking this from the test tube, and accompanying wooden holder.

Serving type: on-tap

05-11-2013 02:33:33 | More by RoamingGnome
Photo of M_C_Hampton


3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 330 ml bottle into a pint glass, red orange brown colored with a short light tan head that dissipates leaving little lacing, cloudy

S: caramel malt, yeast, honey, banana, bread

T: yeasty, clove, banana, spice, cardamon, cinnamon, vanilla

M: lively carbonation, full bodied, sticky feel, alcohol well hidden

O: an interestingly flavored beer, typical Belgian characteristics with a unique flavor

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2013 00:49:26 | More by M_C_Hampton
Photo of jmckenna15

United Kingdom (England)

4.36/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Great maroon color, head took a while to settle, though it may be because i was pouring it into the tulip class in its wooden holster and i was doing it wrong. But my goodness what a beer. Yes, i paid 8 quid for it, and yes, i had to give up my left shoe for a while to have the priviledge of the glass, but it's the greatest beer ive had thus far. Mouth feel that had a distinct apple flavor to it, blended with a good sweetness mixed with a bitterness that made it refreshing to drink. Regretted it when i drank it all, but it had the all the characteristics of a beer i like: personality, good flavor, complexity, all around enjoyable.

if this is what belgium exports, can you only imagine what they keep to themselves?

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2013 22:41:19 | More by jmckenna15
Photo of DandyEssex

Ontario (Canada)

4.16/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From 330mL bottle, in a tulip. The original glass for this is unnecessary, but fun.

A burnt caramel colour kind of belies the richness of the beer. Nice aromatics (caramel, sweet liquer), but pretty simple. Sweet caramel dominant flavours. Nougat, chocolate and a faint bourbon character. Slick and smooth with a bitter edge on the finish. It's kind of like drinking a chocolate bar. Very drinkable.

I tend to love sweet, malty brews that can play as dessert as well as with food, so this suits me very well. I could see some thinking it a bit overtly rich.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2013 00:36:20 | More by DandyEssex
Photo of tonton

Hong Kong

4.58/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the standard 33cl bottle into a Burgundy wine glass. This glass is great for tasting and for nose but limits the head.

Darker than I thought it would be, caramel color.

The smell hit me immediately - wow! I love it. Strong caramel with a bit of Scotch whiskey, especially when I really breathe it in. Excellent. The best smelling beer I've tried.

Tastes like a good Belgian, with a nice strong caramel finish.

Carbonation is moderate to strong.

I've decided I'm going to buy the gift set with the quarter yard to try this as it was meant to be tasted.

Now my current favorite Belgian.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2013 05:25:54 | More by tonton
Photo of MattSweatshirt


3.08/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle dated 05-10-2014 poured into a wine glass. Didn't have any goofy glasses hanging around to pour it in.

The beer forms some slightly off white head that fizzles away promptly and a clear orange body.

The alcohol is perceptible and comes across a little medicinal. At juts 8% it is a little much and doesn't blend the best with the flavors and aromas. Lots of sweetness, bread, and sweeter red berry notes.

The body is thin-medium. Some tingly carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2013 04:27:45 | More by MattSweatshirt
Photo of rickyleepotts


2.71/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

I have seen this bottle time and time again, but have no idea what it tastes like. I have always been hesitant to buy this because of the price and the size of the bottle. For $4.99, this better be good! But it's not the beer that I remember, it's the glass. Glassware is SO important when it comes to enjoying craft beer, but they admit their glass is all about marketing. We don't have a lot of different glasses here, but I always like to use one with a wide mouth. I like sticking my nose deep in the glass and letting the beer breathe a little.

I like Belgian beers, so I am excited to experience Kwak. (Duck?) Ha!

In the Glass: The beer is a little darker than most pale ales, but this is a Belgian pale. Just think of what a Belgian IPA tastes like… nothing like an American IPA. I honestly can't recall the last Belgian pale I had… but I just keep going back to the name. The label on this bottle is pretty cool, too. Maybe I should start discussing the label (or bottle) for every beer we drink. I already do what the bottle says… I will think on that.

Nose: Just like with a Belgian IPA, there are no hops on the nose. I mean, NOTHING. The aroma is somewhat sweet, with a nice fluffy and yeasty aroma. More yeast than expected, that's for sure. It is cold, so maybe the aroma will develop as the beer heats up. But it smells fun… if that makes sense. Let's drink Kwak!

Flavor: The flavor, at first, is boring. There is nothing on the front of the palate. Then the bubbles kick in, some subtle sweetness picks up toward the back of the palate, and the finish is quick. How is this beer popular? This beer is boring! It is too carbonated for my liking. As I swish this around to get more from the flavor, and to heat the beer up a little, some additional flavors come out. The bubbles are overwhelming when I do this, but some typical Belgian characteristics begin to become obvious. Still, even when swishing it around, I am not impressed with the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel: The first thing you experience are bubbles. Then you get some sweetness going on, leading to a horrible finish. Only when I toss this around in my mouth is there a lasting aftertaste, but by lasting I mean here and gone again in a matter of seconds. Just drinking this, you might as well be drinking Bud Light. Yeah, I said it! I wouldn't order a Bud Light, but I also wouldn't pay $4.99 for a bottle of this again.

Aftertaste: What aftertaste? There really isn't one. What does linger is a subtle dryness… almost tastes like cardboard. I am sure this would be a good beer to pair with food, maybe some old stinky cheeses, but this is not something I am going to order when hanging out with friends.

Kwak, I am sad you aren't better than this. Maybe it's because I didn't drink from the traditional Kwak glass. I will post a photo of the Kwak glass on Facebook and Twitter if you want to see what that looks like. Oh well… can't enjoy them all! By the way, if Brouwerij Bosteels wants to reimburse me, that would be fine.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2013 19:40:07 | More by rickyleepotts
Photo of DenverLogan


3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From a gift box set...12 oz bottles...ready to go. poured in the 1/4 yard.
Giant head...could be awhile before you get a sip if you don't pour right!
Copper color...giant head in the quarter yard.
Aroma of sour and sweet malts.
Flavors of rich malt, amber malts, butterscotch, toasty malts, Italian bread, cocoa...if I could just get through the giant head on this 1/4 yard glass to the beer...
OK...I'll admit, I first had this brew around 1980...it was different then. I've had it at least 40 times. Times change, our taste change, and brewery ownership and direction change. I'm trying to hold this drinking contraption and fully judge the taste. Melons, lemon rind, amber malts, subtle caramel malts, cola, caramel.
I've always considered this a very good bier, especially memorable if you use the proper glass.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2013 05:36:35 | More by DenverLogan
Photo of Arno

4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

@Todd of the Alström Bros. There is more to it then just the "mini-yard glass with a wooden holder" why people drink it. There is quite a bit of history there. In the old days they used these glasses on the coach, where normal glasses were impracticable. So they used the "wooden holders / hooks" to keep the beer during their bumpy journey.

Also it just looks cool and original.

Anyway, i think it's just a very tasty beer, like so many of my friends who love it even more. It's sweet, but also has a sour yeastiness to it giving it more balance and complexity. Together with a very mild bitter finish with fruits and malts it's just a very refreshing and easy to drink beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 20:46:00 | More by Arno
Photo of patra7


3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank it from a 750ml bottle in a chalice.
Appearance: Reddish. 1 finger beige head, slowly recedes into a fairly thin layer.
Smell: Sourness / yeast; a bit fruity; alcohol.
Taste: Sour, sweet, slightly alcoholic.
Mouthfeel: full body, medium carbonation.
Drinkability: Surprisingly quite drinkable, even if its characteristics, when taken individualy, are not exactly to my liking. Maybe I was just in a good mood.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 22:57:50 | More by patra7
Photo of server222


3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

great malty charcacter, slight fruit notes and with a hint of the belgian yeast profile. nose was to be expected from the style, slight malty notes mingled with small fruit and spice smells. glassware was the intial spark that got me to try this one. very ornate glass with wooden handle to support it's odd shape.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer but i was expecting a more intricate expierence with more sophistication. Average to me but a great representation of the style.

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2013 18:17:12 | More by server222
Photo of JimTeal


4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If you are willing to spring for the whole Kwak paraphernalia, which I discovered in Bruge, this is a worthwhile experience so enjoy the "kwak" if you tip up a tad to quickly. As far as Belgian ale, this one holds it's own compared to Zotish style ale. It is middle of the road for good Belgian ales, but definitely drinkable. Not overly complex, a little caramel, banana and slight nutty finish, reasonable alcholol cover and slight sweetness. This is the kind of beer to drink, enjoy and not worry about style or flavor, on the other hand, quite fun to enjoy the Pauwel Kwak drinking system, which is like no other, one reviewer called it a mad scientist contraption, I would say interesting and make sure you don't embarrass yourself pulling the round bottom glass out of the wood stand to sip, pay attention and use your ingenuity figuring it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 22:51:56 | More by JimTeal
Photo of thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before July 26 2014. Always eager to see another BSPA on the shelves, as it's one of my favourite styles and new ones don't seem to appear too often around here. Unfortunately, I don't have one of those absurdly impractical Kwak glasses, so this was poured into a regular snifter.

Pours a clear brownish-amber colour, with a bright ruby-orange look under the light. Generates one finger of foamy, off-white head that recedes relatively quickly, leaving behind a narrow collar, a soapy cap at the surface and some modest smears of lacing along the sides. The aroma is pleasant and mild, comprised of components that include pale malt sweetness, yeast, white grapes, red apples, pears, spice, and maybe a touch of caramel or honey.

The flavour is enjoyable, if a little straightforward, with a firm, steady backbone of pale malts and nutty bread, alongside some caramel notes that provide a continuous sweetness. This is followed up by a modest range of yeasty, fruity ester characters - mostly apples/pears, but maybe with a hint of banana as well. The finish is spicy, with plenty of clove and yeast; and although there is some residual sugar sweetness, the brew tends toward the dry side. Medium-bodied; drinks fairly lightly for an 8.4% strong ale, with subdued carbonation that prickles the tongue gently. Extremely easy to drink quickly, due to its deceptively light nature.

Final Grade: 3.88, an excellent B+. Pauwel Kwak makes for a worthwhile tipple, though as far as Belgian pale ales go I wouldn't consider it a particularly exceptional offering. I'd be hesitant to place this stuff on the same tier as my favourite BSPAs (Duvel and La Chouffe), but it's still a quaffable strong ale in its own right, with higher drinkability than average. If you're looking for an affordable strong Belgian pale to enjoy this winter, Kwak fits the bill nicely.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 18:54:19 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice amber colour, thin layer of head with little head or retention.

S - Buttery caramel, cloves, musty peat and a touch of rum.

T - Much like the nose, buttery caramel dominates, cloves, the peat and rum with a leafy green finish.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly wet.

O - A tasty brew indeed, dangerously drinkable and a pleasant brew to find at the local LCBO.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 04:17:02 | More by andrenaline
Photo of Theshooster

Korea (South)

3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Kwak is a pretty good brown ale that comes with the gimicky, albeit interesting glass that looks as if it came out of a mad scientist's laboratory. It's name derives from the sound the glass makes if it is drank to quickly.

A - Arguably the best part because of the interesting choice of glassware by the brewmaster, dark, caramel color

S - Sweet, spicy

T - Sweet, vanilla and caramel flavoring

M - A little heavy when drinking a few consecutively

O - A good refreshing Belgian brown

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 04:44:21 | More by Theshooster
Photo of IPA35


3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An amber beer with an off-white head. Bad retention, but that's the glass I think.
No haze so this does not have refermentation in the bottle.

Smells fruity, medicinal and a bready maltiness. The fruits are not really dark fruits, they smell a bit German in a way. Banana, pear and such.

Taste is not unlike the smell, a sweet malty beer.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, carbonation of low to medium.

A solid beer, not very special for me though.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 17:31:27 | More by IPA35
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.63/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pauwel Kwak has a thick, creamy, light beige head, lots of streaming bubbles, some lacing rings, and a clear, brilliant, copper appearance. The aroma is subtle, but one can detect some molasses, brown bread, and sugar. Taste is of the same, with indistinguishable fruit and a little-to-no hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is light, watery, and prickly (from the carbonation), and Pauwel Kwak finishes clean, dry, and delicious. The alcohol only shows up when one inhales after a sip, not in the flavor or aroma. This is a most excellent beer!


Serving type: bottle

11-27-2012 15:23:16 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BB July 26, 2014

Beer is reddish-amber in colour with a moderate to large sized beige head. Fades at a steady pace leaving lots of lace.

Banana in the nose, as well as peach, apple and pear. Spices. Quite bready, sweet malt scents. Caramel.

Caramel, bread and some spices stick out immediately, tastewise. Belgian yeast is also prominent. Fruit flavours are there but not as strong as in the nose. Very malty and bready. Finish is rather dry.

Beer is full bodied, surprisingly think for the style, very chewy. Moderate to high carbonation.

Overall, not bad, but not a beer I would go to when in the mood for a BSPA. Too chewy and bready for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2012 03:19:20 | More by jrenihan
Photo of decimator

Ontario (Canada)

3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330ml bottle poured into a goblet. ABV 8.4%.

A - Poured a orange-brown with a thin head. Minimal lacing.

S - Caramel, fruits, some spice. It's got that Belgian aroma for sure.

T - Like the aroma. Sweet, caramel, grains, some sour fruitiness, some booze in the finish. Find the flavour was overall muddled.

M - Medium-heavy body, average carbonation, sticky, some alcohol burn in the finish.

O - Just not into this one. Found it pretty average for the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 02:17:41 | More by decimator
Photo of BGDrock

Ontario (Canada)

3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: beautiful, clear, maple syrup brown/red; pours a full egg white head that lasts about 5 mins leaving a thing layer

Aroma: tart fruitiness, but very mild, some caramel; grainy

Taste & Mouthfeel: oily, silky texture which amplifies a sense of fatty nuttiness at first - almonds, cashews; over time the slight burn from alcohol becomes more prominent along with the taste of rye bread; it's hard to place the flavour, almost like a very dry fruit liquer (grape, raspberry, strawberry); good carbonation; finish gets to be cloying

Overall: started off a little interesting, but really flattens out over time due to a lack of depth and a sticky mouthfeel

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 01:45:00 | More by BGDrock
Photo of korguy123

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chill hazed dark copper pour with ruby highlights. Creamy, foamy, two finger egg shell head. Lacing is decent.

Bananas, pears, grape skins, cinnamon, coriander, brown sugar, vanilla and webcast reminds me of short bread.

Brown sugar, caramel, bananas, cinnamon, vanilla, short bread cookies and a touch of maple syrup. Very sweet. But not cloying.

Medium to full body, decent carbonation, slightly syrupy.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2012 02:09:50 | More by korguy123
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the LCBO, 330ml into a tulip.

Reddish brown, with a couple fingers of eggshell head. Moderate lace and retention. Malty nose, caramel but juggles by some by some pear, red delicious apple and a light herbal and spicy character to the hops. Taste has yeast and a lunch of spice upfront, sweeter malts, a touch of copper, and spicy hop character. Medium feel, drying yea, medium high carbonation. Adequate Belgian strong ale, but there are better choices out there.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2012 01:26:20 | More by liamt07
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle from Bessettes Canton NY for 13$

Appearance - Brownish copper colour with an average size fizzy beige head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone. There are also some small pasrtcles floating around.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, yeast, leather

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, dark fruits, and some leather. There is also a bit of a buttery/caramel flavour and a slight woodiness. It ends with a slightly bitter malty dark fruit aftertaste.

Overall - Better than I had expected based on previous reviews. My bottle was almost at it's best before date, so perhaps this beer develops well over time. I'd buy/drink it again anytime.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2012 00:56:48 | More by spinrsx
Photo of LeeryLeprechaun


3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the traditional stirrup glass that is held by the little wooden apparatus.

Beer pours a caramel to orange color with a huge off white head that surges up the sides of the glass.

The aroma is a vibrant mix of vanilla, caramel, banana, and some clove. Very complex.

The beer is on the sweet side with notes of toffee, caramel, lightly toasted bread, and warming alcohol. Sweet finish to the beer. No taste of hops.

Solid medium mouthfeel.

Overall this is a very cool beer, mostly because of the glass. As far as the beer in the glass it is solid but not stand out.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2012 00:38:08 | More by LeeryLeprechaun
Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
85 out of 100 based on 1,168 ratings.