Brouwerij Bosteels

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Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
Ranked #136
Ranked #26,667
3.81 | pDev: 12.86%
Brouwerij Bosteels
Very Good
Notes: In Napoleon’s time Pauwel Kwak was a brewer and owner of the ‘De Hoorn’ inn in Dendermonde. Mail coaches stopped there every day. But at that time coachmen were not allowed to leave their coach and horses in order to have their thirst quenched along with their passengers. As a result, the inventive innkeeper had a special Kwak glass blown that could be hung on the coach.
In this way the coachman had his Kwak beer safely at hand. Today Kwak is one of the few remaining historic Belgian beers and is still served with respect for tradition in its original kwak glass. Recognizable, special and just as idiosyncratic as the taste of the beer itself.

Kwak is a traditional strong Belgian amber ale, a perfect blend of malt and hops with a great complexity of flavour.
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Photo of VicCooper
VicCooper from Ireland

2.97/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a fan of belgian beer, in general. Of course there are some gorgeous ones, but as they make hundreds of different beers in different breweries, that makes extremely hard to find them.

Top: one inch of sparkly head, yellow-ish, off-white in colour, but disappears in less than a minute, literally like a freshly poured Fanta... A bigger patch of lacing remains in the middle, fadind away in a few minutes, and a thin ring inside of the glass. Meh...

Colour: slightly cloudy dark amber. That actually looks nice. But the lack of head...

Smell: first, dry rose wine and belgian witbeer. After some decanting, sour apples, pears, a hint of banana and vinegar.

Taste: pears, A LOT. Sweet, flavoured cider. Some apples and a slight yeast note in the background. Tastes quite sweet, gets drier to the finish, which is semi-dry. Medium body, low carbonation (like a somewhat flat champagne). Alcohol is quite well hidden, hard to believe it’s 8.4% ABV.

Summary: ehh, to be honest, this beer is one prime example why I am NOT a fan of belgian beers. I like my beers beer-like, looks, taste and smell included.
This one feels basically a cider to me. In every possible way. No more of this, thank you. Duval is great in the genre, a milestone if you like, this one however is nowhere close to that league. I want my money back.

Nov 24, 2020
Photo of hk117
hk117 from Hong Kong

3.89/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle - slightly sweet but rich and malty flavour, surprisingly smooth and easy to drink. You won't taste the alcohol but will definitely feel it after a glass or two

Aug 01, 2020
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TheGent from New Jersey

3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Translucent with an ever so slight haze. Dark cherry wood in color. A huge, beige head that settles down to a finger with some lacing once settled. Visible carbonation with some bubbles.

Smell: Sweet and fruity with a lot of pear, caramelized pear, red delicious apple, red grape. Overripe banana.

Taste: A lot of apple and pear on the flavor as well. Some bread and honey. It leans toward sweet with a hint of dryness on the finish.

Feel: Medium carbonation. Smooth with a hint of warmth. Not too sweet and not too dry.

Overall: I think this beer is very good. It’s very fruit forward to me focused on pear and apple. It’s not complex, but enjoyable.

May 07, 2020
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CTHomer from Connecticut

4.16/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: crystal clear; amber in color; 1 finger tan head that receded to a thick collar; little lacing;

S: bready caramel, dark fruit, and a hint of pepper;

T: sweet malt for a moment, then bready caramel and dark fruit; almost all dark fruit by the finish; mild bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; dry finish; hides the ABV well

O: complex aroma and flavor; dangerously smooth; carbonation was lighter than expected;

Apr 29, 2020
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misteil from Ireland

4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

look: rich mahogany in colour, quite hazy, loads of bubbles rising through the glass, one finger off white head, dissipates to a thin layer of bubbles with great retention, loads of lacing.

smell: toasty, roasted malt, some caramel sweetness, some buscuit, whiskey, plum, raisin, cherry, some nuts maybe, spicy and floral.

taste: sweet and smoky malt dominate, caramel, tobacco smoke, plum, cherry, some apple, almost meaty, vegimite-y unami flavours, tad of hop bitterness on the finish, no alcohol flavours come though at all despite its strength, lovely.

feel: medium mouthful, medium carbonation, sticky and wet, hides it’s strength incredibly well, wouldn't know it’s 8.4% at all just from drinking it.

overall: a top notch beer, very much a night cap beer, thoroughly enjoyable.

Apr 24, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330 ml bottle into a tulip snifter. Bottled 3/2/18, had 10/17/19. Was already more than a year old when given to me.

Pours a medium amber, cloudy, with a one inch foamy head and some foamy lacing. Aromas of malt, Belgian yeast, caramel, dates, light spices, a light herbal aroma, faint root beer. Flavors of grapes, malt, caramel, more spices than the nose- cloves, for one, tastes a little bready. Smooth, a decent but thin feeling light to medium body, well carbonated.

It’s good, and fairly enjoyable with more caramel than others, but not near the top for the style. The biggest negative is the kind of thin mouthfeel that deteriorates through the bottle.

Mar 27, 2020
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Act25 from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Delicish, but overly carmelized in my humble opinion unless you're eating sausages and meats and want to cut the grease.
Enjoyed at Brussels Airport, which has fair selection of mass Belgian brands.
a) Caramel colored 1 finger head that lasts and laces inside the balloon glass.
s / t) Bread crust, smeared with brown caramel, almost a nutella of a beer. Some apple. Caramel apple?
f) Despite all this caramel, it's not overly sweet, Just too sweet for me, and it cleans up nicely in the finish.
o) A different caramel Belgian classic.

Mar 03, 2020
Photo of ItalianWarrior96

3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Beer with a color tending to red, on presents with a very compact foam and which remains persistent and does not fade easily.
The smell does not communicate anything special, the alcoholic note makes itself felt a lot on the sense of smell.
The taste is not bad at all, it is a beer made very well, certainly above average but that does not excel because the ABV is felt too much on the olfactory level.

Feb 29, 2020
Photo of elnachooo
elnachooo from Spain

3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

De color cobrizo con un dedo de espuma de retención media. Cuerpo y carbonatación media. Aroma a malta y notas de miel y caramelo. En boca es dulce y floral, muy fácil de beber.

Jan 12, 2020
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.57/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Huh, woulda swore I reviewed this years ago. 11.2oz bottle, dated 1/17/19, poured into 14oz teku. Poured a clean, clear dark amber-light brown color with about 1/2 inch of light khaki head that OK retention and almost no lacing.

The aroma is of sweet malts, some yeast spice, and a slight touch of alcohol. Pretty much the same on the tongue, with the yeast being a bit bolder, and the alcohol subdued a touch.

The body was on the full side of medium, smooth, and had sweet finish that dried out nicely after a few moments. Drinkability was very good, I could easily knock back a couple of these in a session. Overall, a very nice brew. Certainly should be on any beer nerds must try list.

Nov 03, 2019
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Lanas from Greece

4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Oh yes this beer is delicious.. Has very weird and strange taste but definitely is great to me..
It start very punchy with a lot carboration in your mouth and also with some slightly sour fruity taste and after you feel one beyond words aftertaste that remind you many "Belgian" beers that you have taste in your life. The aftertaste is perhaps one of the best i have taste today.. Can complete your mouth very well.. On the other hand the mouthfeel is in the middle.. Is slightly light beer and perhaps for that has some average ratings here..
Overall one great and refreshing beer to drink.. Is aggressive, is fresh and in the end it taste like a true beer..

Sep 14, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.84/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 3/2/18; drank 7/7/19 @ the Yarchives.

Cloudy orange/brown appearance.

An even pour yielded a big, noisy khaki head; nice lace.

Cream, clove & mild caramel notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Caramel & clove flavors up front; cream & faint cinnamon notes on the finish.

Almost what we'd now call a winter warmer vibe here; not my preferred tasting notes, but this was solid & well put together.

Jul 08, 2019
Photo of Martin194
Martin194 from Iowa

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

Look: Clear bronze with an off-white head.

Smell: Yeast, some anise and dark fruits, sugar, booze.

Taste: Very sweet and boozey; reminded me of rum, brown sugar, raisins. The aftertaste is dry, kind of yeasty.

Feel: Medium body, leaves a warm, dry mouthfeel.

Overall: I really enjoyed this!

Apr 21, 2019
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Dinglehacker from Oklahoma

4.49/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into thistle. Beige head that fizzes down to nothing. A little patch of lace. Murky ruby brown.

Sweet nose w/ mild anise and dark fruit. Taste follows, with a milk chocolate creaminess and toffee & banana notes. Mouth is light, though carbonated.

Great Belgian beer. Kwak has its own glassware, but I found that a similar thistle glass works.

Feb 18, 2019
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the small bottle in a snifter. This decent little ale pours a nice
and glowing medium dark amber with a nice head of white foam that subsides
to a thick ring, thin layer, and displays some nice light lacing. Nose features notes of
subtle peaches, subtle stone fruits, subtle herbal notes, mild banana esters, and light
yeasty funk. Flavor profile follow the nose with subtle exceptions; hints of coriander
mingle with mild caramel and honey malts with light grain notes awash in under-ripened
peaches and mild banana flavors. Nice mouth feel; medium body, medium low
carbonation, and a moderately dry finish that is refreshing.

Overall a nice ale, would work well with spicy foods.


Dec 14, 2018
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aleigator from Germany

2.55/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Pours an amber color with a huge, stable white head.

Smells of banana, clove and some lime defined hops, creating quite a diverse nose, which comes very well together.

Has a higher carbonation among a lighter bodied beer with a mineralic finish to it.

Begins with a big chunk of cloves, cinnamon and toffee, which then gets totally overwhelmed by an insane amount of rock sugar. After that sugar rush becomes omnipresent, nothing else happens, with the exeption of a light stony carbonation adding in.

This is just distractingly sweet.

Nov 24, 2018
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RichardLeahy from Australia

3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From 330 ml bottle into tall glass. L. Golden, deep, with a large frothy white head that dissipates quickly leaving reasonable traces. Looks interesting. S. Always a weak spot with my nose. But some interesting fruit/grain notes. T. Not what I was expecting (I was thinking more a red ale caramel/nut flavour). Touches of sweetness and a definite alcohol backbone. But mainly fruity, somewhat spicy. Finishes reasonably dry. F. Medium body, not too bubbly. O. Glad I've tried it, even though not as outstanding as the reputation might suggest.

Oct 13, 2018
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.27/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Had in one of their goofy glasses and stand. That was really the big appeal. Taste has a dried fruit and syrupy malt base with apple vinegar and molasses finish. Lingered in mouth like a tootsie roll. Thin, watery, and just bland. But hey the glass is crazy

Sep 20, 2018
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Greywulfken from New York

3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Waterzooi in Garden City, served in the specialized kwak glass and stand... Orange-hued amber color with a fluffy tan head and bubbles quick to effervesce from the bottom... Surprisingly sweet, with flavors of spiced orange and candied dates, with hints or herb and clove and banana... Mild bitterness, medium-weight body... Very enjoyable even if not something I'd return to... Gets props for the presentation and fun factor...

Sep 01, 2018
Photo of puck1225
puck1225 from Texas

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

Had it on tap poured into a traditional Kwak fluted glass with a bulb at the bottom held with a small wooden holder.
Yellowish brown color with nice head and lacing. Floral somewhat herbal smell. Taste is herbal with vanilla and licorice. Slight rustic booziness. Enjoyed it!

Jul 16, 2018
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matuto from Brazil

3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

330 ml bottle, exp. 11/2018, thick foam, amber to brown beer, lots of tutti frutti sweetness on aroma. Medium body, hidden alcohol at a brief first moment after a sip, showing up just after and hiding again with great aftertaste. Interesting feeling, showing some complexity. Little drinkability, even if it's not the worst for a beer with 8.4% ABV. Not my favorite style, but it gets its highlights with a persistent malt aftertaste.

Apr 07, 2018
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sb17 from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was served my Kwak in the Couchman's glass with a round bottom supported by a wooden holster. I was instructed not to remove the glass from the wooden holster while sipping, so I did as I was told. Poured a nice dark/amber with a milky head. Sweet taste, a bit of alcohol on the nose. Malt forward. I don't know if I'll order this out in public again because of all of the bells and whistles - but definitely in the comfort of my own home!

Feb 27, 2018
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bret717 from Pennsylvania

4.37/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look- Pours opaque amber w/ring of head around edge of the glass

Smell- sweet pipe tobacco, cherry, mild bubblegum, very subtle hint of smoke

Taste- tobacco, banana, bubblegum and a little smoke come together very nicely. As the beer warms more of that banana and bubblegum come out

Feel- light/medium bodied, highly carbonated

Overall- This was a nice surprise and sort of reminded me of a belgian version of a barleywine because of the rich tobacco notes I was getting from it. That and the subtle smoke blended surprisingly well with the bubblegum, banana and cherry.

Feb 17, 2018
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pubscout from New Jersey

4.56/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Classic...especially in its original holster. I’ll admit it tasted a tad better at Bosteel’s in Belgium, but probably only because it was super-fresh and poured by Jack Antwerpen himself. But just as good as the bottle I had at The Belgian Consulate in NYC as a guest of Michael Jackson. Sweetish, bready, smooth and boozy enough to be interesting, this beer should be experienced by anyone claiming “Beer nut” status. One of The PubScout’s faves...have one in the Cafe Vlissinghe in Bruges for a bucket list memory you’ll take to your grave. ( And the lasagna there is FABULOUS! )

Jan 07, 2018
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spectru from Florida

3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Two champagne bottles of Pauwel Kwak were a Christmas present, along with two distinctive blown glasses, trumpet-shaped with round bottoms, with wooden stands. This really gives an impressive look to the presentation. The beer is a clear dark amber with a creamy head. It's hard to pour into these glasses without creating a lot of head. The aroma was noticeable as soon as the bottle was uncorked - a nice traditional beer smell. The mouthfeel is smooth and a little tangy. The flavor is rich and mild and pleasant and a little sweet. I had hoped to share with someone, but I get to drink the whole 3/4 Liter myself.

Jan 01, 2018
Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 1871 ratings