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Pauwel Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

very good
689 Reviews
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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: 689 | Ratings: 1,660
Photo of nomad
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Somehow, this beer has become as ubiquitous in Philadelphia as Hoegaarden.

Hazy orange beer that at first doesn’t look particularly appealing, but appropriate because you have to expect some protein haze from all that malt. Head is thin and sudsy, and sometimes you'll get some measly lace.

Smell is sweetish more than sweet, most recognizably as caramelized bread tones. Has yeast scents that are soft and blend into the bread scents, and some fruity esters, too. The latter seem a little too thin, antiseptic, and contrived, like a cheap version of Delirium's products.

Taste is sweet and soft, a king-sized bed of pillows made of malt: caramel, bare roast, pale sturdiness with a hint of wheat cleanliness. And thats about it.

Drinkable enough that you want one when you're in the mood, but not a beer I’m gonna settle in to for long. Too simple in a one-sided way, and in that respect, when compared to so many other Belgians, this beer is pretty weak.

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Photo of stegmakk
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at Waterzooi...8.50 for a glass tho...anyway...

Poured an amber with nice size white head...
Aroma was a little hard to discern. Mild slight sweet fruity
Taste...this was strange...maybe it was a bad line or maybe it was supposed to taste this way...but...started slightly sweet turned to a tangy sour mellowing with a mild sweet old cider taste...even if it was off I liked it
Mouthfeel was smooth
Overall drinkability...it took me a while to drink this because you don't want to swig big gulps of the tangy sour taste...but i could have had another couple if I planned on taking it easy and drinking slowly

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this served in appropriate glassware at the Hopleaf. Pours a nice amber color with a nice big off-white head. Aroma is fruity malts, most predominant aroma I can come up with is green apple with some hop bitterings. Taste is super sweet, almost too sweet but settles down and is a very quaffable beer. By halfway through really enjoyed this beer and I'd like to try again.

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Photo of Imbiber
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich amber coloured, not as much sediment as I would have expected. Average-sized white, slightly greyish head on pouring. Fruity, yeasty, complex, flavour-promising aroma. Good carbonation. There's a big, malty, quite rich flavour with some sweetness there; a heavy beer I like very much but not suited to a session; I would alternate with something with more agility and less weight. Not that clever on aftertaste though, but still a great brew; your perfect antidote to corporate industrial 'Light Ales'.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

75 cL bottle. Pours a pale, translucent copper color with a spotty off-white head. Nice nutty, diacetyl aroma of complex complete malt fermentation and vague fruitiness. Aroma just doesn't stop, especially like I drink a great lot of beers +/- ~55 degrees F; pulled out of collection and shared with a couple of pals, it's just perfect for a finisher. Sour notes come through as well as some notes like a Flemish red (slight vinegariness). Gotta mention the nutty aroma again; the malt is most impressive in this light colored malty treat. Totally sweet and dessertish, yet so beer-like, in a connoisseur's kind of way. Again, complete fermentation despite sweetness which accounts for the slightest dry finish. Impeccable. I love this, unlike any other substitute for a dubbel Belgian. A bit syrupy in the mouthfeel, but all good, me and my toothbrush are ready for any sugariness (goddamn Cavity Creeps). It's totally unique but I've experienced this many times before, draught and the 33 cl bottle, not the 75 corked and caged version. I'm convinced this version's better than the draught version or the small bottle. Absolutely hit the spot.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Redbones.

This beer poured a clear, reddish-amber color with white foam that settled to a thin coat. The smell was modest: sweet with traces of caramel malt, and a slight fruitiness (musty grapes). The taste was sweet up front with some vinous grape flavors and some tangy maltiness. There was a slightly musty flavor in the finish, and the flavors really lingered on the tongue. The mouthfeel was smooth with some sweetness but with a dry finish. The body was medium with good carbonation feel on the front of the tongue. The was a rather nice Belgian ale.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The light amber brew arrived at the table with a low but persistent head which lasted until the end. The arom was fruity with a sweet candy aroma. Also present was caramel. The flavor was crisp and contained pepper and a slight bubblegum. The sweet candy flavor lasted into the dry finish. After sipping you are left with an acoholic warmth from the beer.

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Photo of jahred
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

After seeing the Kwak glass on ebay, I had to make a bid. And after I won the auction, I figured it was worth trying out the beer (it's always good to have an excuse to buy a Belgian beer!)

The beer poured with a large amount of carbonation and a pretty dark brown color. I'm not sure if the bubbles were due to a pouring into the unique glass. Smelled mostly like rich, dark malts.

The taste was quite dark for a pale ale. Almost more like a bock than a belgian beer. A malty, bread-like taste, with hints of raisins. A peppery, slightly bitter, lingering finish. Quite unexpected, and not what I was in the mood for.

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pour is full and lively - copper color with a full rocky head and silky lace. Head retention is poor, although a fine layer remains throughout. The aroma is bready, yeast, malt, fruity esters, cherries, clove, musty (or dank) and some bubblegum in the background. The taste is sweet and malty at the start with no surprising hop bitterness or bite. The Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with low effervescence.
IMHO: A very drinkable beer with well-balanced characteristics. The character changes noticeably with warming, more complexity develops.

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Photo of Andreji
4.01/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer certainly is certainly overcharacterised by the "way to drink it".

The beer is certainly fun in its very original glassware but the taste behind it, although good with a nice caramel colour and certainly a nice malty nose and sweet but hoppy feel; finds it hard to go past the actual sensation caused by the appearance and rather can lag behind as you might expect a creme de la creme beer to be served in such a fancy manner.

Nevertheless, nice and has a great name as well (if aesthetics or unimportant details ought to be pointed out...)

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Photo of Jon
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden amber hue with a creamy, quarter-inch head. Laces nicely down the glass. Nose features variations of fruity, sweet and spicy. Notes of apricot and darker fruits, sweet malt, and spices such as coriander and pepper prevail in the aromatics department. A vast array of flavors reign, as well. This beer's sweetness sets it apart from others in its style. More dark fruit (especially dates), caramel, coriander, a minor alcoholic finish and a distinctive yeast flavor profile define Kwak. Mildly carbonated and especially smooth on draught, this beer can turn syrupy or oily as it warms. A nice sipper, but its sweetness and alcohol content keeps it from being overly drinkable. A fine Belgian in the bottle, I find the draft version to be even better.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brilliant orange gold color. Smallish head. Aroma is yeasty and spicy. A medium bodied Belgian Ale. Malty and spicy. Bright and yeasty. Spices (anise, coriander and clove) and fruit (peaches, apricot and bananas). Well balanced. Smooth tasting. It’s a touch sweet, but there are some earthy and musty aspects to this beer as well. The 8% alcohol is somewhat evident in the slight oiliness to the flavor and a touch of bite in the finish. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet

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Photo of dmarch
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange copper in appearance with a large white head. Very spicy aroma with a bit of malt sweetness. Taste is quite fruity with a lot of spices as well. I enjoyed this much more than what the other reviews have indicated. No, it's not the best that Belgium has to offer, but it's still a treat to try this.

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Photo of RoyalT
2.83/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Gorgeous, cloudy orange body full of sediment with a decent head.

Smell – Nice, fruity Belgian nose filled with apricots, banana, some spices (maybe coriander, cinnamon, and allspice), and a good malt/yeast combo.

Taste – Ouch! What a shock. The heavy spice took over the flavor. This didn’t taste at all like what I expected. The alcohol came on too strong as well.

Mouthfeel – This was a pucker-upper to be sure. Not what I was looking for when I bought the bottle.

Drinkability – Sorry, but I won’t buy this again. Maybe I got a bad bottle, but this went down painfully slow.

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Photo of mzwolinski
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A sweet, lightly fruity aroma with hints of mandarin orange, yeast, and sugar. The beer pours light amber in color, with a thin head. Taste is quite sweet, with a raw-sugar maltiness yielding to flavors of tropical fruit and a lightly spicy hop finish. Smooth mouthfeel, and fairly drinkable – seems to go down better the more of it you drink! I only wish it’d been served in the special glass.

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Photo of freed
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I first had this beer while waiting for a bench at Belgo in London. It was my first Belgian Meal with my first Belgian Beer. I was surprised and very pleased. Now I'm happy to try it again.

Rich rosey amber color with a substantial head. Bubbles form uneavenly, and foam laces the glass. Smell is arousing, earthen and malty. Taste is equally malty, sweet, filling, and warm. Finish is clean, hints of white grape. Now I'm ready for dinner.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.02/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

One of my favorite styles of beer! A small tan creamy sized head with fine-medium sized bubbles that quickly diminished.The body was carbonated with a dense appearance.The hue was amber and the nose consisted of alcohol, sweet and fruity.There was not much lacing with this beer.The flavor was definitely that of alcohol and it was somewhat bitter tasting.The mouthfeel was tingly on my tongue, fairly smooth and medium bodied.This one was a bit difficult to get down due to the alcohol taste.

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Photo of importguy
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice golden colour and a small head. Intial smelling of sweet and malt flavour.

The taste gave away to that sweet malty flavour with a hnit of spicy flavour. The alco level is definately apparent on this beer and gives the beer a real warming feeling as you drink it. I think it would be a good fall/winter beer. Hard to drink more than one of these beers when it's the middle of summer and 30 degrees (86 F) outside.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the 11.2 oz. bottle. The color was a dark amber, with a good head. Smell was a sweet malt. The taste was fairly sweet......hints of licorice and spicing amongst the alcohol sweetness. Mouthfeel was fairly smooth. Drinkability-wise, a few more before the sweetness became overwhelming.

After hearing about the uniqueness of Kwak, I decided to give it a try, and I enjoyed it. Although this seems like it was more of a wintery beer than a summer one, I still liked it nonetheless, and maybe I'll have another this holiday season.

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Photo of Globetrotter
4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely presentation in the hourglass shaped glassware held in a wooden stand. Comes out dark reddish gold under a firm tan head that leaves lovely lace. The nose is mild but distinctly hoppy, with flowery undertones. The mouth is lightly carbonated and well balanced. The initial taste has a touch of malt, but is dominated by the hops. This leads to a nice flowery hoppy finish and an excellent smooth bitter aftertaste. I liked it!

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Photo of oberon
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red/copper color with meium head that leaves some great lacing,the aroma is almost non existant with a slight powdered sugar smell.The tast is pretty complex malty sweet with a tast of candied sugar as the backbone alcihol is prevalent in the finish wich is nice and warming.A real nice malty beer,very impressed.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always enjoyed Kwak, and while some speak of it being overrated, I would argue the opposite. A very tasty, malty ale. Creamier than most other Belgian ales. Pours a large, foamy head, with very sticky and prominent lacing. Brownish hue. Definitely balanced towards the malts, and quite sweet. Despite this, a very easy to drink and enjoyable ale (and the ABV is well hidden). Not up there with the absolute greats, but certainly on a par with Corsendonk, Chimay (red), Maudite, and several other excellent Belgian and Belgian-styled brown ales and dubbels.

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Photo of kindestcut
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good Belgian ale. Not great. Good. I have always believed that you use excellence as a guidepost and look at it always. Looking at it while I drink Kwak makes me wonder what they could have done a little differently to make this beer better. I'll get to that in a moment.

Kwak poured a pale brown color with a frothy head. I have ead other reviews that mention a very small head, however, mine nearly overran the glass. Surprising. The beer looks nice.

Kwak's aroma is quite subdued, which is surprising for a Belgian ale. I detect a hint of caramel and sugary fruit. Otherwise, the nose is pretty spare.

At first taste, the Kwak is purely sweet. It is a malty version of a Belgian pale ale wannabe, not unlike a Corsendonk Agnus (which is far more balanced than this). The sweetness overwhelms this beer. As for what could have been done to make it better, I would think some hops...which are very difficult to find here. The sweetness, which is tasty but not expected, actually makes this a drinkable beer.

All in all, a good beer. However, for the style it is mediocre. I usually don't drink mediocre beers more than once but I can see another Kwak in my future. However, given the choice of Kwak versus any number of other Belgians, Kwak will probably lose out.

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Photo of bierman2000
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smooth rich dark brown with caramel, malty overtones.. Alcohol welll noted throughout this bottle with a malty blance that is rich and full bodied and not too sweet.. More like an abbey dubbel in alcohol and color, fruity, delicious and worth every penny. Highly drinkable but dangerous.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very little head when pourred into glass, almost no bubble coming from the bottom. the alcohol is way too evident and takes too much place leaving little for the spice taste to come throught. A little bit disapointed, I was hoping more from this belgian ale which is usually highly rated by beer drinkers...

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Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
85 out of 100 based on 689 ratings.