Pauwel Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

very good
1,762 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 1,762 |  Reviews: 715
Photo of thagr81us
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured a hazy red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark fruit, and alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, banana, alcohol, and a nutty note. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew, but was not awe-inspiring in any way. I know that some people swear by this beer, but I just don't see it. Sure it is an okay brew, but there really isn't any complexity or depth to it in my opinion. I would probably buy this just to get the Kwak glass, but that is about it.

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Photo of NightINgale
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle poured into a tulip glass...

A - The body is cloudy and has a nice ruby colour to it. The head is of a light caramel kind of colour. Pretty good head retention and lacing.

S - The aroma is quite robust, dominated by fruit notes and hints of caramel. Yeasty and bready. Not the most intense smell in the world but still good.

T - Starts out very fruity, with hints of red grape, apple, plum, and even strawberry. This beer is very sweet (perhaps even pushing the sweetness limit a little). The sweetness is enhanced by a caramel-like maltiness, which lingers for quite some time. Some bitter hoppiness is also present. The finish is sweet and bready, with hints of butterscotch. Very tasty, though a bit too sweet! Definitely different from an average Belgian Strong ale.

M - Medium-bodied, a little syrupy. At first there is a pretty high level of carbonation, which then decreases and allows the beer to be a little smoother. The alcohol content gives out a warming sensation but does not get in the way of taste all that much.

D - The drinkability is not that high, even for a Belgian ale. The alcohol hints and the intense sweetness make this beer a sipper at max.

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

This was recommended to me by the waiter at Waterzooi.. with my mussels. He picked this one our for me given what I was eating and though it would go well, which it undoubtedly did. It was served in small yard style glass in a wooden holder. Very crisp, almost grassy aromas- reminiscent of hayfields or being out somewhere on a meadow. Taste was fresh and somewhat bitter, with some subtle tartness in the back of the sip. The beer has strength, but you can't really tell when eating. Goes great with food, especially with mussels in a creamy bacon sauce. I have to say the experience was great and this beer added to it.

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

We pour an entirely translucent brew of deep orange. It creates a head of thick tan foam that recedes at a medium speed. No lace appears throughout the sitting. Carbonation looks to be standard, and no sediment or haze is present. The aroma is naturally malty, with inclusions from sweet browned apples, bubblegum esters, and a fine metallic twinge. There is also a bit of spicy nutmeg high up on the nose, riding alongside a splash of booze. As we sip, the metallic aspects from the aroma hit the tongue at its tip. Fruity esters envelope the remainder of the mouth, but they are light enough to let the alcohol shine through, right from the start, with a bitter pepperiness. There is also a bitterness of yeast observed here. The flavoring calms down significantly through the middle, with sweetened malts washing the palate clean. The beer comes full circle in the end, with sweet and fruity esters and malts, and a generous boozing, to be the last things to leave the mouth. The aftertaste breathes with light malts, simple sweetness, and ethanol. The body is medium, as is the carbonation, fizzing out on the tongue. The mouth is left more satiated than dried, and there is a reasonable frothiness to each sip. The abv is within range, but due to the highly alcoholic flavoring, the beer sips a bit more slowly.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was how much flavor was up front. Stronger brews can tend to save all of their punch for the very last drop, with an explosion of flavoring and alcohol at the back. Here, however, everything robust about it is laid out in the start of the sip, which is certainly interesting. Although we were not able to enjoy this brew out of its traditional glass, it provided a fine tasting, but was a bit cumbersome.

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Photo of DoktorZee
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams Lager glass (not quite the traditional shape, but close)

A - brown-red and highly carbonated, fluffy head that resolves after a few minutes with little lacing

S - very yeasty, bready with no other notes

T - very sweet; surprisningly so. Lots of bread and yeast, with a bit of caramel

M - less carbonation that the appearance, slight warming booziness and still quite light

D - goes down very easy, but actually lacks a little character

Decent drink, but the sweetness is pretty unusual. Probably wouldn't drink it again.

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Photo of bventure
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Ornage/brown, very slightly hazy, pale head dissipates quickly, never entirely disappears.
Smell; Lots of caramel, candied fruits, toffee apple.
Taste: Lots of caramel, russett apples, some alcohol. Maybe rather too sweet, more noticable towards the bottom of the glass.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth, low carbonation
Drinkability: Enjoyable if drunk fairly quickly, gets a bit sweet and stodgy if left in glass too long.

Not one I'd drink all the time, but very nice when in the mood for alcoholic caramel.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours somewhat hazy with a big, light tan head. That head dissipates rather quickly for a 2" high pile of foam and not quietly either. No lace.
Smell is malty with notes of cardboard and light spice.
Taste is malty and spicy with citrus and hops notes. Alcohol present but not heavy. Grape note present as well.
Slightly warming with a somewhat sharp effervescence bite at the front. Mellows nicely, leaving a malty, spicy grape aftertaste. Medium/full body. A decent brew but not great.

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

Mild hazy orange and golden color with 1 finger off white head.

Smells of sweet pears, peaches, apricots and some funky belgian yeasts.

Tastes, at first a pretty big alcohol presense with some apples coming through. a mild bitter hop bite, yeasts and bread/grains come thru in the finish for a nice complexity.

Lite to Med body with big fizzy carbonation, big alcohol warmth, a little bitter and dry in the finish.

Very nice blend of Fruits, malts, yeasts, some hops and a big alcohol kick kept this brew interesting and enjoyable.

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Photo of Ochsenblut
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a mini-yard at a local pub in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

A- Reddish-brown and opaque with a finger of fine off-white head that faded to very sticky lacing.

S- My recent cold prevented me from getting everything out of it, but I smell sweet candy and something floral I couldn't place my finger on.

T- This beer hit me, even closed up and sick as I am with a medicinal and licorice taste. The alcohol is not very well hidden and there is no real hops presence to speak of.

M- Medium to heavy mouthfeel with a small amount of carbonation.

D- This beer lacks complexity. But if you like black licorice and an alcoholic sting in the back of your throat whilst a cold is on, Kwak does the job nicely.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into my duvel tulip. i wish i had the crazy looking bottle and wooden thing for this one, but i didnt want to drop $30 on it. oh well.

A- this one pours out of the bottle a hazy looking amber colored body with a full finger of fluffy bright white head on top. the head lasts for a while and leaves behind large globs of lacing.

S- the first thing i notice in the nose is belgian yeast. after that i get some bready malts and sweet candi sugar. there are some fruity notes here which add to the sweetness. some apple, grape, and pear.

T- the taste starts out with bready malts and belgian yeast. there is a little bit of toffee in here as well. after that i get sweet belgian candi sugar and some light summer fruits (pear, grape, apple, and a hint of cherry). a little bit of alcohol sneaks through at the end along with some grassy hops.

M- this beer is light bodied and highly carbonated. not much warming from the alcohol.

D- this was an average beer at best for the style. i dont think ill be picking this one up again anytime soon. i wouldnt mind having it again in the special glass though.

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

On-tap @ the Bull-Dog in Uptown, Minneapolis MN.

Came in its 'traditional' serving glass with wooden holster/handle.

A - In a dark bar it looked like a hazy orangeish copper

S - mostly sweet fruity notes, a bit of malt

T - A really pleasingtaste, nice and malty with just a little taste of hops coming through? I really enjoyed the taste, mellow carbonation and fruitiness too

M - nice and smooth, no complaints

D - I'd order again, I think it was only 6 during happy hour so it was worth it to me

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

750ml bottle with no freshness date.

Caramel colored, clear for the first pour, hazier toward the second half of the bottle. The head is large and billowing before slowly settling to a collar.

The nose is heavy on caramelized malt and dried fruit. Red apple and pineapple are prominent.

Fruitiness is strong on the tongue; red apple, dried apricot and pineapple. There's a caramelized malt backbone along with a light spiciness. The body is medium, though the beer feels overly sweet halfway through the glass. The finish is semi-dry, bready, a bit peppery.

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Photo of harrymel
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes of 6.5.10:

This beer is a 750ml cork and cage, bottled 6.20.08, two years cellared.

Poured from bottle to New Belgium tulip.

A: Deep amber, almost ruby with mahogany texture. Ongoing ribbons ascend to join sheet of fine linen colored sheet of head.

S: Deep apple nose. Granny smith with a hint of red deliscious skins. Pie cherries as well.

T: Initially light and malty. Then as warms in mouth, yeasty tartness emerging over palate.

M: medium body, low carbonation. You really get to enjoy the beer nuances around 60F. Leaves mouth slick and satisfied for several minutes between sips.

D: I don't really care for Kwak, but I picked these up on discount and wondered what would happen. Now I know. I have a few more bottles and will drink when I want something special, but not too heavy.

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Photo of marty21
3.19/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a hazy deep amber/copper colour. A very big white foamy head that settles to a solid white ring. Leaves a few spots of lacing.

S: Very sweet aroma of tropical fruits. Also malty and some faint floral hops. Spices finish off the aroma.

T: I get a tropical fruit/candy taste as well as some spices. Leaves me with a spice/peppery aftertaste. Can detect some alcohol but it's very well hidden.

M: Has a medium body with medium carbonation.

D: This beer is a lot different then anything I've ever had. It's not a bad beer but I couldn't have more than one in one sitting. It's not because of the high Abv I enjoyed that. The taste is just too sweet. It's almost a chore to finish the last couple sips.

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Photo of jonb5
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml Bottle, poured into leffe goblet, less than 1 finger head, brownish ruby colour,hazy. Sweet corky, hoppy smell. Tastes of sweet wheat, not much carbonation, reminds me of Fullers ESB, abv is more apparent as you drink more. Could have 2 but not more, uncomplex but decent, glad I've tried this but would not seek it out.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear reddish orange with a big fluffy cream-colored head. Light lacing. Great color and decent head retention. Pretty beer.

Really dug for aromas at all stages in the glass. Some alcohol, cherry, and tropical fruit, and woody aromas, but not as strong as I would like.

First sip is alcohol, some cherry and wood, sugary candied notes. This clears to tropical fruit, toasted malt, more alcohol and a fruit flavor (flavor, not sweetness) mingled with a husk bitterness that is long. There is some light mouth-draw right at the end. Very smooth. As the beer warms, the candied elements disappear. The funny thing about this one is that even though you know there's alcohol here (and at 8% it is an ass-kicker), you don't really take note of it that much. The other part of this is that even though the flavors are there, they lack intensity. Not watery, but needs more strength.

Medium body, appropriate carbonation.

One that changes in the glass a bit, and has great elements to it. Decent balance, hidden alcohol levels, but one you can't go too fast or too slow through. Anytime you can put big sips down of an 8% brew, it is obvious that it is well made. It lacks some refinement and in the end you finish it because it is in your glass and not because you want it.

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

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy amber-brown color. Film-like off-white head is mostly a film.

Smell: Hardly any identifiable aromas, but it is pretty earthy. I think there's a bit of apple in there, though.

Taste: It has a fairly mild taste of apple and pear. There's some mild earthy and yeast flavors in there too. Just a slight bit of bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and generally smooth, although there is a bit of (pleasant) grain to it.

Drinkability: No taste of alcohol, and pretty easy to drink.

Rather different from what I expected. Tasty but not particularly inspiring - but there is a certain rustic-ness that is growing on me.

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

11.2oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $4.99. "Best before: BC/AB/CABB 322 15:04." Hmmm...

Poured a russet color that takes on a reddish hue when held up to light. Two inches or so of off-white foam that dropped quickly, leaving a foam collar. Lots of lace.

Fruity and sugary in the nose. Elements of candy, cherries and apples vie for attention.

The apple flavor is the first thing that hits the tastebuds, and is the strongest element of the beer's flavor. There's also the flavor of cherries and caramel candies, but compared to the apples they're rather transitory. A slight warming alcohol sensation makes itself known at the swallow.

Somewhat lightbodied, with a coating mouthfeel.

A good, not great beer. There's better examples of the style out there, but it's hitting the spot after dinner. I'd drink it again for the right price.

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Photo of Agold
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours with minimal head which dissipates pretty quickly. The color is good copper. This beer smells of bananas, caramel, and a bit of vanilla. The beer is sweet with the same banana caramel and vanilla and a little bit of booze in the aftertaste. It really does have a good mouthfeel and average drinkability.

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Photo of CaptainIPA
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on-tap @ Cafe Hollander on Downer and presented in a distinctive mini-yard glass with wooden holder. Heck, the glassware alone is worth the price of admission.

Pours a rich copper color with a billowy white head that fades to a rimming of foam. Sweet malty aroma with a hint of red wine vinegar.

Opens with a malty wallop and flavors of carmelized banana and coriander. Sweet but never cloying. Subtle notes of licorice surface with faint suggestions of juicy fruit gum. Mild hop bitterness emerges, followed by the burn of alcohol. Spicy and rough on the palate.

A complex and powerful ale, with a pronounced and artfully balanced malt character. A bit too heavy for session drinking. Worth imbibing to experience the authentic glassware "system." Pairs well with salty Pommes Frites and dipping mayo.

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Photo of herman77
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

*Review from notes on 10/23*

A: Very murky muddy deep amber. Pretty much the color of ice tea. Can't even see through it, its that cloudy. Fluffy head that leaves a little bit of lacing.

S: Apple, slightly toasted carmel malt, peppery spices, a hint of bubblegum and some alcohol. Lots to decipher in the nose.

T: Carmel and fruity (bananas and pears) sweetness along with clove and herb spices. Some earthy bitter undertones near the finish to balance it out a bit and then the alcoholic kick comes in. Drier finish. Surprised how boozy this tastes. Again, complex overall, but not my thing.

M: Light to medium body. Moderate carbonation. Feels a little smooth and slick.

D: Not my favorite. A little raw and complex. Easy to get your fill after a few ounces, after that you get sick of it pretty quick

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Photo of kjyost
2.68/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle BB 05-06-2011 poured into a tall tulip shaped glass.

A: Pale & light yellowish. Nice lacing
S: Caramel and a bit of belgian esters
T: Sweet malt, bread, little belgian esters, cloying
M: Thick, low carbonation
D: Cloying sweetness kills the beer.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I remember getting this for a work function a few years ago, and the last bottle sat in the office fridge for a long time afterward, until I gave it a good, a fresher 330ml bottle, best before date Aug 2011.

This beer pours a clear, bronzed amber hue, with three fat fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and yet slightly fizzy pale beige head, which leaves some fuzzy sea cavern lace around the glass as it evenly sinks out of sight.

It smells of toasted bready caramel malt, yeast, vinous dark fruit (chiefly strawberries, browned apples, and plums), musty molasses, muddled savoury spices, and a further warming alcohol. The taste is more semi-sweet toffee-inflected caramel malt, brown sugar, fleshy, though indistinct tropical fruit, estery yeast, banana chips, a hint of wet ashes, and a soft drying alcohol astringency.

The carbonation is on the soft side, just a trilling frothiness, the body a sturdy medium weight, and generally smooth, a certain sugary alcohol essence picking away at it. It finishes clean, and quite off-dry, a mesh of fruity malt and scandalously muted alcohol.

A big, and hefty-seeming version of the style, especially for the pale variety, and an uncomplicated boozy fruit bomb at times, the California Cabernet of Belgian strong ales, one sans overt skin extraction. Anyways, a tasty, somewhat off-kilter brew, where I can't help but be reminded of having just watched the Three Sheets episode where Zane expounds on the virtue of the marriage of alcohol and sugar.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.51/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a huge head and looked quite attractive with sort of a peach tea appearance. Taste was very mild and a little sweet with creamy malt. Mouthfeel was above average. Personally I thought this was decent in most categories but with the sole exception that it just didn't have as much flavor as I was expecting. Still, a quality brew.

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Photo of nickhiller
2.23/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: amber colored, a little head and lacing.

S: juicy juice, malt, a little bit of bubble gum and fruit.

T: weird tastes, phenols, strong taste of alcohol, sweet bubble gummy Belgian yeast flavor. Alcohol too strong and overpowering.

M: thick and burning. Mild carbonation.

D: maybe one of the worst Belgians I've ever had, too much alcohol, too little taste.

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Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,762 ratings.
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