Pauwel Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

very good
712 Reviews
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Pauwel KwakPauwel Kwak

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bosteels

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: 712 | Ratings: 1,738
Photo of The_Bujon
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Difficult to really judge a Kwak without serving it in the legendary bespoke bauble bottomed glass.

Ultimately the beer looks great in full regalia, a nice deep amber coloured body with a moderate head, and of course the glass to catch the sediment and release the flavour.

The Aroma is very spicy, almost like a mulled wine, and like many Belgian Christmas beers.

Those warming spices do carry through into the taste, and with a touch of gas on the tongue, it does slip down the gullet very well, and keeps the alcohol fairly well hidden.

This might not be everyone's cup of tea, and a touch on the acquired side, but overall a very good beer of that there can be no doubt!

Kwak Attack Attack Attack!

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Photo of Bombelsky
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber, crystal clear. Not persisting off white foam, fizzy. Leaving a small crown with spare lacing. High aroma of fruity esters pears and bananas. Some peppery phenols. Soft perfumy-alcohol, low strength. Very rich malty sweet, low bitterness. Aftertaste is bittersweet. Medium-high body, cloying, oily. Soft carbonation very smooth, spicy ended with some warm alcoholic finish.

Lot of things going on here. Balance missing, a lot of chaos and getting away from style...

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Photo of Davedrinkinbeer
4.43/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Saw a 4-pack of these for sale at my favorite liquor store, so of course I had to get it. Beer is not that cheap, $21.99 for 4 11.2oz bottles. However, if you can find a gift pack, it comes packaged with an interesting type of beer glass that is unique to this beer.

Smell is malty, banana, but is certainly quite strong. Taste is even thru the mouthful, quite thick and chewy, Also detect bread, caramel, and brown sugar in the taste. This beer is certainly on the sweet side.

Feel is very carbonated, slightly sticky mouth feel. Beer does not feel very thick however. At this point, from my experience, this beer feels much like the other popular offering from Bosteels-- Tripel Karmeliet. In fact, the best way that I can describe this beer is to say that it tastes and feels like a sweeter version of Karmeliet (I even think the ABV is the same between these 2 beers).

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, I will probably get more of these in the future.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a medium caramel brown with nice barm. Smell has some spicy ester notes along with some banana, not dissimilar from a tripel. Taste is robust in that phenol department with a chewy raisin bread malt profile underneath with clove and more banana.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.11/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A clear, solid amber color, relaxed approach with a minimal off-white foam cap.

A massive, dense sweetness of caramel, brown sugar, belgian candy and root beer makes up the nose. Subtle herbal aroma's.....but only very subtle. As it warms, the Banana and clove thing pops out in a very aromatic way. A Herbal, spicy yeast scent becomes much more bold, later on.

The malt is a powerhouse, dense, slick and very sweet malty flavor. Malty Caramel, brown sugar attack first, earthy herbals and more earth in the hops and yeast provide a nice balance. Ultra crisp first bite in the feel, levels out to a slick malty ride, full, lush with a slick, malty but also dry ending. The hops are semi-bittet, earthy and provide some spice. Complexity is actually very high.

The only word that realky works with most aspects of this Belgian classic is unique. Big in every way, the flavor spectrum could not be more diverse. Big, sweet, malty, bready, candy flavors, big earthy, funky hops and yeast....and somehow it all gets pulled together and works.

Slightly boozy, certainly malt dominated with big sugars. Abv at 8.4 % is no joke and really creeps up on you because of the complex flavor's that tend to mask its power.

I concider this a bar-setter for the Belgian Strong Dark Ale style. No, not "Pale" ale there's really nothing "Belgian pale" about this. But damn if this one doesn't provide all the right attributes for the classic Belgian Dark side. The color is amber, big malt base....not pale ! Sure it may have golden colored hues in direct light...but this is on the darker side. Perhaps a combo of the two...a malty pale with dark power!

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Photo of Ninjakillzu
4.91/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Chimay chalice, The body is a cloudy dark red/burnt orange hue, with a finger white head. Aromas consist of spices, bread, and liqueur soaked cherries. Flavors are the same. The feel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.6/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Criminally underrated.

Look: Pours a light brown amber color with a two finger off white head. Leaves slight lacing and maintains a head for a while. Not sure why this is labeled a belgian strong pale ale here, it's definitely not a pale color.

Smell: Dark red fruits like cherries and plums complemented by notes of floral yeast and a rich caramel malt aroma.

Taste: Starts with off with a mildly nutty, creamy caramel malt flavor followed by notes of floral belgian yeast, akin to clove, thyme, banana, orange peel and mildly spicy white pepper. Has a prolonged fruity aftertaste of apples, sugarplums, cherries, currants and red figs. The beer is punctuated by a clean, calm, warming sensation of alcohol. Really nice stuff here.

Feel: Mid-heavy body. Low carbonation. Malty,floral, fruity and dry on the finish. Well attenuated.

Overall: 72/100? Idk what the bros were drinking but I think that's a tad low for this one. I'm sampling this from a cork and cage 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass and it's quite good. Don't serve this ice cold as the flavors will become muted, you'll want to let this get to room temperature or slightly below before tasting. I would definitely seek this out and buy it again in the future.

Again I think this beer is mislabeled here on BA, it's not a belgian strong pale ale, more of a belgian strong dark ale in my opinion.

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Photo of Me0773
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: nice copper amber slightly hazy with off white quickly fading head. Moderate lacing on the tulip glass
S: malty, yeasty, sweet with a bit of fire on the nose from the alcohol
T: same as above, warming swallow from the alcohol. Sweet malty flavors with some prune and raisins.
F: good carbonation. Not to much as I see from these styles. Nice firm mouthfeel.
O: nice beer to enjoy on a nice cold night.

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Photo of Pundit_of_Potability
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A brownish amber beer, with a decent head that depletes quickly. The lacing is little to nil. The smell and taste that is immediate is yeast, plums, malts and fruitiness that leaves a tart aftertaste. Everything about this ale is subtle. The malt flavors are noticeable but fade almost as soon as they start. This beer is definitely short on the carbonation, and the feel is somewhat thin. I'm a bit disappointed for the price. It is possible I bought this after it had been on the shelf way too long (which would explain the absence of enough carbonation) so take this review with that in mind.

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Photo of Hunter
3.17/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Look: Tan head of dense bubbles that sit atop a lovely red-brown ale.
Smell: Alcohol and malt, notes of banana and spiced plum.
Taste: Boozy figs, caramel, very little by way of hops.
Feel: Clean at the onset, then slightly cloying in the aftertaste.
Overall: Not bad. Simple without being bland.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle, poured into the Kwak glass and holder, it pours a lovely orangey brown amber with a moderate head. Pleasant flavor of malts. Why is it that these always seem to taste better in their appropriate glassware? The Belgians do it right! While drinking this one, I got a lesson in the appropriate use of their glass and wooden holder. I was over thinking it and not trusting the holder. Nice.

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Photo of delta490
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It's a deep amber that is clear and effervescent. That gives it a big foamy white head with small sticky lacing. The aroma is mild and generically malty. The taste is similar but with just a little hint of depth the aroma lacks. It is light bodied with just a little bit of carbonation

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330 ml bottle. Served in a Pauwel Kwak glass, the beer pours a hazy orange/copper color with about an inch and a half off-white head that stayed around for a long time. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is mostly fruity, the brew smells like pear, bananas, dried fruit, bready malt and some caramel. Taste is similar to the aroma, with pear, dried fruit, figs, dates, caramel and bready malt, banana and yeasty flavors. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit coating and creamy with a decent amount of carbonation. I think it's a good enough brew, glad I tried it.

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Photo of MoohMooh
2.66/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an extremely pretty orange-red (a sunset in your glass!), with a small head and little lacing, very clear, very clean. The smell isn't terribly interesting: mostly malts, with something like wet hay, but mostly alcohol. Taste is even worse, with the alcohol covering pretty much everything. I managed to taste some yeast, and some hidden hops, but that's it. Mouthfeel is okayish; if you don't mind the overpowering alcohol taste, it's a pretty drinkable beer. Not very carbonated though.

Okay, can you see what I'm getting at here? It's too boozy. Take the alcohol out and what have you got left? The few other beers sporting a comparable ABV I've had were much more capable at hiding their alcohol content, and in turn felt complex and interesting (although I didn't necessarily like them that much...). I may try this again if I ever have the opportunity to drink it in its typical glass (which I'll gladly admit is cool beans), but otherwise I'll do just fine without.

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Photo of hopsputin
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a: hazy, burnt orange/copper color with just the slightest hint of ruby red. head is nothing more than a thin tan film on top

s: pears and sweet malt with some general fruity esters - but its dark fruity, a bit different from the BSPA that you're used to. there is also just the faintest hint of Belgian spice in the aroma as well

t: taste aligns with the nose fairly well. dark fruits - raisins, plums alongs side some light brown sugar and caramel. sweeter than other BSPA's. there is something almost woody in here as well, as well as some masked alcohol flavors. the alcohol is hidden quite well, so be careful. towards the back of the mouth, you can pick up some yeast spice and coriander

m: heavier side of medium. carbonation is surprisingly low for a BSPA

o: not necessarily a bad beer, however i find myself saying multiple times that it seems to depart from the traditional BSPA characteristics. honestly, if i closed my eyes, and you told me this was a dubbel, i would probably believe you. on its own, it is an alright beer that is a bit sweeter than you'd expect. as a BSPA, its a tad different so beware.

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Photo of Korbynlehr
4.19/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nose gives me the hit of apple butter or prunes. The head is not existent, even when I tried to force one. The initial taste is of sweet molasses, but just slightly. Good to above average beer that has a kick due to high Abv.

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Photo of BeerKnower
1.97/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I like real beer. Drinks made with cereal grains, and/or sugars not totally derived from barely deserve their own categories, like mead, wine coolers, hard cider. Accepting this as beer is like letting Lance Amstrong go unchallenged. I just had this beer, and I would otherwise give it a good rating as having nice malty flavor, sweet and noticably boosted alcohol, if there were a sugary drink category for it.

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Photo of crisis1290
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A nice coopery orangey color with a fluffy white head on the pour. Bready, fruity notes throughout. Sweet taste that hides the alcohol very well. A very solid amount of carbonation from start to finish. A very nice smooth fruity finish. A very nice balance of fruit versus sweet.
Can't figure out if this goes into my top Belgian Pales. Are there better BP out there ? For sure ! Will this do the job in a pinch ? For sure !

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Photo of JonCorbett
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Poured into the Custom Pauwel Kwak special edition glass. It pours a rich burnt-orange amber mostly clear. The head rises quick, fluffy and foamy and dissipates fairly quick.

Aromatics: Light fruity citrus with undertones of fresh cut grass. An ever so subtle alcohol scent at the very back.

Taste: Sweet and savoury, a light combination of apple and banana come to mind over top of the mild spice and every so slight hop. Sweetness continues into the aftertaste.

Feel: Fairly heavy for what I was expecting - not that it’s heavy, but it does have a slightly oily weight and drys into a unique sweet bitter and finishes very cleanly.

Overall: I love the glass, and I think it suits this beer very well. I think it is my first BSPA, and I liked the complexity in the balance between the fruit aroma, sweet flavours, and bitter feel. Very solid beer in my opinion.

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Photo of jimdkc
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice, dark copper color in my New Belgium globe glass. About an inch of creamy cream-colored head that did not last long. Aroma is bready, caramel with fruity notes of figs, dates, and a hint of banana and vanilla. Taste is quite sweet, but is cut by the high alcohol level. Alcohol is apparent, but not unwelcome. A bit of spicy earthiness from the hops. Smooth medium-bodied mouthfeel and tingly carbonation. Nice alcohol warming and fruity aftertaste. A bit sweeter than I normally like, but overall I liked this!

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Photo of imstimpy
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Picked up in 2015 and aged for another six months. Poured into a Dogfish Head 120 glass leaving the last 1" of swill in the bottle.

Color is a nice copper with a medium to large head. Scent is subtly malt. Taste is quite simple and clean- Belgian malt, spices, and yeast. It reminds me of a Leffe. Ok, but not nearly as good as I remember. Very subtle compared to the Trappists I've had more recently.

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Photo of erk0607
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: coppery brown. Head disappeared almost immediately and lacing soon thereafter.
Smell: Has a sweet, yeasty aroma and is reminiscent of the banana and spices in a hefe. Also kinda fruity smelling.
Taste: Strong malt presence with banana, dark fruit, sweet caramel, and yeast.
Feel: medium-thick bodied, low carbonation. Smooth.
Overall: tasty and definitely sweet. If it weren't so pricy I'd definitely get it again.

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Photo of Ant777uk
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2.75

Unfortunately they do not sell the cool glass thing at my local Paris shop, so it loses a a point for look...

This is a bit unfair for my Kwak, I admit.

Still, the head is fairly good and deep colour.

Nice fruity aroma, quite tingly.

Taste is fairly heavy, malty, with orange peel, red current, coriander and lemon peel coming through. It's a bit too heavy feeling in my opinion, not easy to drink lots of. If it was a bit more frothy and bitter or fruity, it would be better.

I have often bought this in Belgian beer cafés, for the glass. Though as a beer, it's not the best. It's too malty, not enough hops, fruitiness, complexity.

Once I wanted to buy the glass at one of the London Belgo's, though they were not for sale. So I gave the Spanish barmaid about a £15 tip and she let me steal one.

The best option is to steal the glass from somewhere like me, and use it for a Piraat, Chimay, Rochefort or your favourite alternative

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Photo of Beginner2
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed in "Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium", this awaits my review with another tasting.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' CAMRA classic "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"
It also is reviewed on the "1001."

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Photo of JakeScully
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a good beer, an okay have reviewed the 'Bros" (founders of BA) which seem a bit harsh imo. I'd have this one again and again, but yes there are better Belgian Strong Pale Ale out there. Cheers

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Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,738 ratings.
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