Pauwel Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

very good
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Pauwel KwakPauwel Kwak

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bosteels
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 06-30-2001

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Reviews: 687 | Ratings: 1,651
Photo of Franziskaner
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

Murky mahogany brown in color with a minuscule trace of head covering half of the top of the beer. Aroma is strongly centered around dark malt with a bit of candy sugar. The taste is exactly as the aroma advertised. Light Brussels lacing. The mouth is fairly smooth and easy drinking.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.39/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

Poured from corked & caged 750mL bottle into a tulip. Almost can't believe I haven't tried this yet!

Appearance: medium amber hue with no haze and a moderate effervescence. Head is a finger of creamy ivory foam with a moderate retention. A bit dark for a pale but not bad.

Smell: an alcoholic fruitiness with a bit of a floral character. It's also quite sweet. I think I would have preferred more actual malt character here.

Taste: much like the aroma, there's not a ton of maltiness here, just kind of a sweet fruitiness. There's bitterness as well, but it does not play well with this beer's other flavors. I must say I'm not a big fan.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a big carbonation and a great mouthfeel. Easily this beer's most redeeming characteristic.

Overall: not as drinkable as most other BSPAs. It's not terrible, but it kind of rubs me the wrong way, flavor-wise. I won't be going after the Kwak again.

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Photo of generallee
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 11.2oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 8.4% abv.

Appearance: This is a very hazy beer with a brownish tan color and a quick fading off white head. A quick swirl is needed to keep some foam on top. Lacing is minimal and very slick.

Smell: Right up front there is a big raisin like fruity sweetness. This is backed up by bready yeast and malt notes.

Taste / Palate: Now on the tongue the bready Belgian yeast notes hop out first. Dark fruit, raisins, plums and apples move in with sweet maltiness. In the middle there is an attempt by the hops to come out and play but the yeast notes and malt notes and now some sweet boozy notes hold out and finish strong. The body feels smooth with lots of fine carbonation. Just right for a big Belgian Ale.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

With the employment of kettle caramelization, Pauwel Kwak's confidence in this "grand cru" of a beer earns the beer the name of the brewmaster. ...and one sip will show you why!

As the dark amber decants, a rusty haze gives a glimpse into its rustic roots. Once tipped, aromas of soft nuts, caramel, bread crust and fresh baking bread entice the nose while a balance of cinnamon and nutmeg balance upon the initial taste.

Once the beer develops over the middle, its bready and toasty middle gives slight bready texture that's lifted with rose-type wine. Its acidity enlivens the malt and gives its terse caramel sweetness life with red grape, red apple and dried dates. Its nutmeg flavor garners esteem just ahead of the beer's finish.

That's when the high effervescence lifts the taste and refreshes the palate with ease- its steely caramel flavor dissolves easily, carrying with it any malty weight and bready texture- nearly preferring wine like zestiness in charming warmth as the taste closes.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap in the iconic glass at 1400 Bier Haus here in Calgary. Darker colored than the style descriptor would suggest, a copper red with rather minimal beige head. Aroma is instantly boozy, a little grainy, with some raisin and nutty/spicy Belgian yeast notes apparent. On the palate, delivers some toffee, banana peel, dried plum/fruit roll up, cherry, and shortbread cookie flavors although everything is rather subtle, with some coarse alcohol overshowing the proceedings more than I would like. Medicinal clove and cinnamon oil flavors build over time and I get some minty wintergreen or something in the dryish boozy finish. Well-attenuated body and drinkable in this regard, on the fizzy side. Does not reach the lofty heights of some of its countrymen but worth sampling on tap. Do not be entirely dissuaded by the gimmicky glass. Does feature the expected estery/phenolic Belgian yeast profile and not super sweet.

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Photo of FoamInnovation
4.59/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap into a traditional Kwak coachmen bulb.
A-Ruddy, almost a red-brown, off-white head, approx. 1-1/2", slowly breaking down to minimal lacing.
S-European hops, bubble gum, over ripe banana are balanced with a slightly sweet malted tone of spun sugar
T-Jesus-Candy-Coated-Christ is this fantastic. Warm banana tones with medium bodied rich malt, some white grapes and brulee. Gorgeous.
M-Medium bodied, mouth filling without being cloying, good carbonation balance and nice finish of banana and touch of bitterness.
O-Absolutely wonderful. Happiness in a glass. Extremely well balanced.

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Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 330ml bottle with a BB of April 2014, so it's just out of date. Purchased ages ago from a supermarket while on a trip to Belgium, and subsequently stashed in my garage. I quite like the glass that is associated with this beer, though I don't possess one.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. A deep chestnut-amber hue with some floating sediment and good carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy off-white foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a patchy surface layer. Aroma of sweet, fruity malt with hints of caramel/toffee, raisins, dried fruit, sherry, mild brown sugar, yeast esters, faint banana and subtle stewed leaves. A warming whiff of booze in the background, and perhaps a touch of oxidation. Not bad.

Tastes of sweet, fruity malt with a lingering finish. Notes of raisins, dried fruit, caramel/toffee, sherry, mild brown sugar, yeast esters, banana, faint spice and stewed leaves. Some alcoholic heat in the background along with a twinge of cardboard. Sweet, with a prolonged yeasty character upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and tingly, with pleasant carbonation and decent body. Slightly oily on the palate. Mildly astringent, followed by an aftertaste of sweet, fruity malt, caramel, sugar and yeast esters.

Alright but not outstanding. Looks OK, with a satisfyingly complex aroma of dried fruit, caramel and yeast. The flavour is similar yet somehow lacklustre - difficult to pinpoint but perhaps too sweet and cloying. Faint harsh undertones don't help. Body is acceptable. Doesn't stand out from the crowd; no need to seek it out.

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Photo of DmanGTR
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had this on tap a couple of times. Pours a deep orangeish, almost a brown tone. Fruits of the pear/apple variety, along with a touch of white grapes and a slight hint of must, but not really much else going on. None of the classic Belgian yeast/bready aromas. Flavor is about the same, nothing great, nothing bad. The alcohol is barely noticed, which is a good thing. A rather lackluster beer with not too much going on. Fairly standard, nothing to wet your pants about.

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Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours clear, red-brown with a generous sized tan head that soon reduces to a thin and irregular coat. Nonetheless, the glass is nicely sheeted when tipped.

Aroma: dark fruits with a trace of very ripe banana. Lightly spicy.

Flavor: dark fruits with a trace of very ripe bananas and cherries. Faintly spicy.

Feel: A strong point. Medium+ but soft carbonation. Medium-full body. Dry and light at mid-taste.

O: a good Belgian ale but bettered by a good number of competitors. Certainly worth trying.

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Photo of hardy008
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper with a one finger light tan head, with decent retention and spotty lacing. the aroma has apples, pears, Belgian yeast, caramel, brown sugar, bananas, and cloves.

The taste is sweet, but the sweetness is not cloying. There is caramel malt, apples, pears, pepper, Belgian yeast, brown sugar, bananas, cloves, dark fruit, and phenols.

Medium bodied with below average carbonation. Easy to drink. Worth trying, and buying again in my opinion.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark orange/red color, with a white head.

S: A lot of fruit, strawberries and cherries in particular in the nose, just a hint of plum.

T: A slight taste of alcohol, some citrus flavors, a bit of strawberry.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation.

O: Not the best beer they make, but it's still a tasty Belgian ale.

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Photo of chogm54
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

sounded interesting at the bottleshop-although truth be told the name does not inspire confidence. here goes...

a - deep red/copper - looks great in the tulip glass, white head, 2mm or so, than leaves a thin white lacing,

s - roasted malts, sweet white wine, there is also the hint of alcohol giving away its strength

t - malty, slightly burnt caramel and yeast. Sweet lingering finish with alcohol coming in. Alcohol not as overpowering as the smell suggests.

M - medium carbonation which goes down well, medium body, a lot more crisp than other belgian ales.

Glad to say this tastes better than I thought it would - the smell lets it down a bit, but then beer is meant to be drunk, not smelt.

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Photo of SmashPants
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: a solid, embossed 330mL brown bottle with a traditional Euro label, well presented. Nice package.

Appearance: just like a Belgian Strong should be. Really deep amber tending toward brown with a tinge of ruby. Fantastic head - nice and thick two fingers, creamy also. Decent lacing.

Aroma: lovely smell of heavy fruits, sherry, caramel and toffee malts and light spices.

Taste: a very smooth caramel flavour with those spices again. Some liquorice accompanies also. Not so much as a hint of harsh alcohol, which is well-disguised.

Aftertaste: flavours linger for quite a time, particularly the toffee and caramels. Very smooth.

Mouth feel: medium in body with low- to- moderate carbonation. Goes down very smooth.

Overall: I had this beer around a year or so ago as I was cutting my teeth on styles of beer other than lager. This was an awesome entrance into the world of international ales, and still hovers near the top of my list of beers. A great, easy-drinking higher ABV ale which is silky smooth without the harshness that can sometimes accompany such high ABV.

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Photo of keithmurray
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with enjoy by date of 4/1/2014
Appearance - dark copper crimson color with tan head

Smell - the smell is one note, but it is a pleasant aroma of honey, bit of apple in there as well

Taste - honey, clove, apple, Belgian yeast

Mouthfeel - medium body, lower level of carbonation, nice flavor with honey sweetness upfront, flavors linger properly, not as crisp as other entrants in the style

Overall - good beer that was darker in appearance than I was expecting. Would have like to have seen a higher level of carbonation on this, but otherwise, Worth a shot if you see it

Price Point - $10.99/750 ML BOTTLE

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Photo of captaincoffee
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Lounging around in Venice after New Year's, thought I'd give the Italian wine a rest and have some Belgian beer (Italy is a lot closer to Belgium anyway).
Poured brown-copper color with large white head and a lot of lacing.
Nose was musty with fruit cake like aroma.
Taste was malty with some of the same fruit cake flavors coming through.
For this size beer (in ABV), it was a bit lacking in mouthfeel.
Overall, enjoyable, but there are other Belgian Strong's that are better choices.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Kwak pours a bronze color with small lacing head. There is a sweet aroma with a strong yeast flavor; lots of Belgian candies. The taste is similar, sweet taste with a lot of Belgian candy flavors, and strong hints of yeast. Full flavor, good body; sweet. Overall a nice sweet beer.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Amber beer with a dark honey tone. The head is enormously thick in the Kwak glass. Three to four fingers of head. Airs out with tesselating lace.

Musty apple, estery yeast, nutty toast, candi sugar, fruit cake malts, and a Belgique kind of caramel. Smells good. Hints of cherry and pear. Mild booziness is an added bonus.

Boozy ale with caramel malts, pomme fruit, nuttiness, kilned grain, pear, rind-y aged hop, and treacle. Good flavors, but a different approach. Estery yeast has character, but the malts are candy thick, causing a lot of general distraction. That alcohol really lays on thick.

The booziness complicates an, otherwise, appealing mouthfeel. If you're expecting full-bodied and rich, you're barking up the wrong tree. Kwak is a little syrupy, but the carbonation resonates in the finish nicely. All in all, decent.

I like Kwak for what it is, a strong Belgian amber with apple-y character. Good beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

thanks to Erik Ney for sharing this growler with tenderbranso69 (Tim) and me, enjoyed in a goblet chilled on Christmas Day '13.

The color is amber with moderately hazed look with small head with fine bead head collapses to a ring and spots of lace cling. The smell is very good, lots of tropical aroma of yeast with banana dominant and light spice ester. The feel is smooth and mostly malty with slight yeast tanginess and medium carbonation with subtle spice and alcohol with a mostly dry finish.

The taste is great, lots of malt with a mild yeast fruitiness and and a gentle spice quality with mild hop flavor which adds to the caramel element from the malt with an almost candy-like flavor with a semi-dry finish. Overall this is a pretty decent Belgian ale, I had this a few times before and was glad to revisit this as it was easy on the palate considering the strength. Thanks again, Erik Cheers!

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Photo of gr0g
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours amber in color with high clarity. Very nice head formation and retention with some nice lacing. Yeasty and fruity aroma. Ripe candied apple. Yeasty phenols. Interesting, but somewhat uninspiring.

Somewhat sweet on the palate at first, but then some hop bitterness comes in to balance it out. Fruity esters abound: golden raisin, dates, ripe apple. Definitely seems like there's some candi sugar in there. Mouthfeel is soft and smooth despite the full carbonation. Very nice texture.

Kwak is an interesting hybrid sort of Belgian ale, sitting halfway between a pale and a dark ale. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of FLima
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Clear copper color with a thin head.
Strong aroma of Belgian yeast, brown sugar and prunes.
Intense fruity flavor, notes of Belgian Yeast, caramel malt, spices including cloves and cinnamon, apple juice and finishing with overripe dark fruits and hints of tea bags.
Medium body with appropriate carbonation. Alcohol of 8% is well hidden on its malty base.
A bit overly sweet beer, though the prior time I had it was very cold and I remember enjoying it greatly but it was on bottle. Maybe it was badly served from tap.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a whole bunch of head which seems to have okay retention. The body is a slight off-white with hints of yellow while the body is a medium to dark amber which appears medium when held up to the light. Some wisps of lacing.

Nose- I feel like I already have a good sense of what this beer is going to taste like. Up front there is a lot of banana, then cloves, followed by a good amount of breadiness. Some yeast but I figure this is going to be malt dominated. Swirling reveals a slight ashiness.

Taste- Very reflective of the nose. Shows a good amount of bananas, then cloves with a bit of ashiness. Good amount of malt and bread. Slight sweetness (maybe lemon) in the background that I can't quite pinpoint. Seems a little thin. Some hint of raisins and figs. Bits of molasses and brown sugar. Pretty good for a beer that is dominated by the malt bill. Above average to good in my opinion. No real flaws but could use more complexity and presence. The balance and integration are wonderful though. Seems like it would be a good gateway to Belgian beers as the clove and yeast notes are quite subdued. Light notes of spice (some cinnamon, some coriander) start to appear on the finish and in the linger.

Mouthfeel- Easily, the premier aspect of the beer. Almost medium bodied with light carbonation. Very smooth, very creamy. This is the type of mouthfeel that makes me bump a beer up a notch.

Drinkability- Not the most interesting beer but the mouthfeel really drives this. Pricey at 9-10 bucks for an above average flavor profile. Won't buy again but appreciate that I did one.

Overall- Good, solid beer. Amazing mouthfeel. This beer is worth trying based on that alone.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 330 ml. bottle stamped C-CI-CABF-3.28-18:20. Sampled on December 5, 2013.

It is an attractive reddish-chestnut amber pour with a quick burst of white fizzy head that dissolves quickly.

The aroma has many of the expected Belgian esters such as Belgian candied sugar, breaded malts, dark fruit, and allspice but a more earthy hop bite than one comes to expect.

The body is about right falling into the medium range.

The taste is far sweeter than I would expect from a Belgian Strong Ale. That is not to say it is bad because it also has those same bready, yeasty, and dark fruity notes. Pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of Bucciamarcia
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is dark red/amber, very little foam that disappears quickly. Strong smell of malts and some sweet, maybe honey. Taste is mainly roasted malts with average hops and strong yeast. It's got a strange aftertaste I couldn't idenfity. Alcohol is well masked under the strong malts, mouthfeel is dense and well balanced.

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Photo of fourstringer
3.01/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured from 750 mL bottle into Duvel tulip and Brewer's Art goblet with a moderate hand. Date reads 24/01/15. Seen this around, but never bit. Let's see...

A: Ruby-tinted amber with 1 finger of tight off-white head. Dies down quickly to a film within 2 minutes. Good clarity. Light lacing.

S: Light nose overall. Some belgian yeast. Indistinct fruit. Apple. Malt.

T: Sweet maltiness initially with transition to light hop bitterness. Semi-dry on the finish. Noticeable alcohol presence that actually seems to dominate the flavor profile. Mild fruitiness. Light malt. Sugar. Does have a vinous quality. Tartness develops in the aftertaste.

M: Low carbonation with fairly light body. A bit of stickiness on the lips. Disappointing.

O: A bit light across the board - smell, taste, mouthfeel. Alcohol strikes me as the predominate flavor. Fairly underwhelming and not a whole lot to speak highly of. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

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Photo of socon67
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into the appropriate odd shaped glass with wooden holder.

A - Amber pour, active tan foam that does settle (again this glass is more cute than practical). No lacing and active carbonation.

S - Scents of cherries and a bready yeast note. Actually a nice aroma on this beer.

T - Does not translate to the taste. Sweetness is offset by some acidic burn in the finish. Some diacetyl notes.

M - Balance could be better. The burn in the finish keeps this from being as easy to drink as it should. Other examples of this style tend to be easier to work on.

O - Honestly the novelty of the glass is all that this has. Not a bad Belgian pale but there are many better examples.

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Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
85 out of 100 based on 687 ratings.