Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

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1,802 Ratings

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Bosteels

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Belgian Specialty Ale

Added by kbub6f on 06-30-2001

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Ratings: 1,802 |  Reviews: 729
Photo of stjaernstoft
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Kwak, ABV: 8.4%.
330 ml bottle, 24.90 SEK at Systembolaget.

A: Hazy, blood orange-coloured liquid, and an off-white head that leaves some retention.

S: Fruity and malty aroma, with notes of apricots, grapes, bananas, toffee and rye bread.

T: Sweet, fruity, malty and somewhat boozy flavours, with notes of apricots, green grapes, bananas, rye bread, butterscotch, syrup and yeast. Medium bitterness.

M: Soft, warming, but syrup-y sticky. Medium to large body.

O: Friends of mine use to drink this in pubs, but even though the glass is cool, I find it too sweet for my liking - on tap. In bottle it's not as sweet, a decent beer, but still pretty sticky and not as well-balanced as other pale Belgians. I'd go for Duvel or a nice tripel!

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle pours a modestly hazed amber color with a fat cap of light beige froth. Very fine-bubbled and dense. Retention is good and thick sheets of lace are left behind.

Nose is fruity and bready..the yeast is plenty active on this brew. Caramel popcorn maltiness with maybe a touch of honeyed brown sugar.

Taste is sugary and yeasty with a mild hop bitterness on the finish. Its like melted brown sugar, pinch of cinnamon and clove dust sprinkled on a piece of toasted, buttered dark bread. Interesting, but all the flavors dont seem to come together just right for me. Meh, not my favorite Belgian offering...worth a shot though to see if it works for you.

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Photo of windypete
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

got a 330ml bottle from chelmsford beer fest 2011 after wanting to try for ages!.
Poured into a chalice glass, had a nice dark brown tint to it with very little head & nice tiny bubbles.

Taste has a sweetish caramel hint to it but has a nice kick to the aftertaste! & gets better with each mouthfull.

A solid beer with good tastes & powerful edge to it but for me other strong ales are ahead in my list but would get this again as its a loverly tipple.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is a ruddy, deep amber. Two fingers of eggshell-colored head dissipated fairly quickly to leave a thick ring around the edge and a spotted lacing.

Smell: Sweet candy caramel, toffee, bready malts and yeast, and dark fruit reminiscent of fig (in that way it reminds me of Fig Newtons). A brandy-like alcohol edge is present, but is not overpowering. Everything is very well balanced. As it warms a little more, flavors of banana and apple also present themselves.

Taste: The mouthfeel is smooth, thick, and rich, though the flavor is not as potent as the aroma. It mostly mirrors the smell: sweet candy caramel, toffee, lots of breadiness (which no doubt contributes to the thick feel), and fig. There is a touch of brandy, but the alcohol is completely hidden.

Drinkability: Smooth and flavorful, this is very tasty and very well crafted stuff. The roads in Belgium must have been very dangerous with carriage drivers drinking this on their routes.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

710th Review on BA
Bottle to goblet

Bjs Chino Hills

App-  Dark copper with a meld of light brown, also with a two finger head  nice spotted cling.  

Smell-  Malt forward and a slight diluted alcohol note.  A slight citrus/ hop note.  

Taste-  A spicy malt forward beer.  A little note of yeast and some robust bubbles.  Doesnt seem like a pale ale at all.  Much more a strong ale based on color and abv

Mouth-  Medium bodied and medium carbonated.  Soft bubbles and some malt and bubbles

Drink-  A nice little belgian. With good balance and nice flavors.  Seems a bit off on style in listing.  Probably would have again.

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Photo of sergeantstogie
2.29/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured a nice clear light brown with 1/2 inch of head into my Duvel tulip. The head dissipated almost immediately.

The smell was inviting. Lots of spice and caramelly boozyness.

I let the beer warm up to near room temp but the whole time I was bothered by how watery it finished. Even at room temp, the most it got was some water followed by some faint malty caramel booze taste and finished water.

I simply can't recommend this beer to anyone. There are many better beers out there especially Belgians.

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Photo of Vixie
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color and forms a large creamy cream colored head. The head does linger for some time.

The smell is very much on the sweet side, with a huge amount of malt scent. I can also detect some floral notes, and a bit of pepper.

The taste is sweet, but more like a candy sweetness. Just when I think it is becoming too sweet, the spices kick in, balancing it out. There is pepper there, and a hint of coriander. I am also picking up a few citrus notes as well. it does have a hint of the Belgian candy sugar flavor I associate with the Belgian dark ales.

The feel is a touch weak, it seems a touch watery at first, but the carbonation kicks in and helps make it feel a bit more solid.

Actually an easy to drink beer overall. While nothing about it makes me stand up and take notice, it is still a really good beer. It goes down easy, and is easy to like. One I wouldn't mind trying again.

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Photo of Flounder57
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

purchased this 750 ml bottle at Craft Beer Cellar and now taking the time to enjoy it up in Maine. Beer was poured into an unstemmed wine glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a two finger foamy head that disappeared very quickly with no lacing. A very nice deep amber red with nice carbonation. The beer is so amber that you can't see through the glass

Smell: malty caramel sweetness, fruity, and some clove spice. I pick up hints up banana too.

Taste: Banana, clove, caramel malt, and slight hop bitterness and booze towards the end

Mouthfeel: The beer is very smooth and easy to drink. A decent amount of carbonation and medium bodied. Definitely a good amount of tingling in my mouth going on.

Overall: This was a good version of a belgian strong ale. I know it was pricey, but it would be a treat that would be me in a good mood and warm me up in the winter time. I am pleasantly pleased with this beer and would purchase it again.

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Photo of MEsoJD
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: A thick amber color with a creamy head.

S: Smells of malt, fruits, and spices.

T: Taste malty, alcohol presence is apparent, and sweet. There's a fruit in there but it's hard to pick up.

M: Smooth, well balanced.

O: It's a very easy beer to drink. Well balanced is the best way to describe it. Not too sweet or strong. I would defiantly recommend. Not a favorite but I'll keep it in mind.

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Photo of Skeeter206
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Grill Next Door in Haverhill, MA. I got the yard, which is a wooden handle holding a pretty cool looking glass that will not stand on its own.

A~ The glass and handle is awesome, but the beer could have looked better. Dark orange look, with a slight white head that dissipated almost immediately with little to no lacing.

S~ Smells sweet, some citrus, some licorice in the smell, kind of a weak smell.

T~ Taste out performs the smell in this beer. It has a lot going in on in my opinion, some sweet malts and citrus with nougat like taste up front. Licorice on the backbone but not too overpowering. A little bit of alcohol in there.

M~ Good mouthfeel, not too carbonated, and not too thick and syrupy. Slightly carbonated, not too heavy not too light for the style.

O~ Another very good beer on tap at the grill next door, its a beer you need to try out of the yard glass they created for it. Its quite the experience, and a 22oz 9% alcohol beer will kick you in the liver pretty quick.

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Photo of Daniellobo
3.38/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fair ale, a bit unremarkable but acceptable, with a marketing-identity pushed through its own eccentric glassware.

Presentation: 330 ml brown capped bottle. Old fashion Kwak branding in gold and burgundy colors, with awards and seal displaying the glassware. Back label offers a small braggy description of the brew. Offers and illegible best by date, and shows Alc. by Vol. (8.4%). Served in tulip glass.

A - Medium to deep amber pour, fair frothy head, medium to low retention, some surface memory with some touches of lacing.

S - Aroma is a relatively short, generic yeasty touch, with sugar and fruit touches.

T - Taste expands it somewhat with a fair malty backbone held by the yeasty identity, a bit acidic in the finish completing the notes of booze soaked fruit.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation, feeling a bit bigger and astringent with the way the booze and yeast behave.

O - Fair, and not too bad a try but again…

Notes: Reminds me a bit of a softer version sometimes of some Belgians that although not my favorites are on a different league like a standard Scaldis for instance. I wonder how much this one survives by the smart marketing of the wooden stand for the official glassware because other than that, and while relatively decent, this is not a brew that I would carry in my memory.

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Photo of omnigrits
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml cork and cage poured into a New Belgium globe.

A. Darker than I was expecting but with a good strong off white head and nice lace.

S. A little too much on the, shall we say, subtle side. What's there (bready grains, banana, some Belgian yeast) is good but it's a strain to find it.

T. Again, a little too muted compared to many others I've tried, but pleasant enough. There's plenty of malt sweetness, some tropical fruit flavours, a little raisin maybe?

M. Medium bodied, creamy and and smooth.

O. If I hadn't known that this was a pale ale I wouldn't have guessed it. With its colour and sweetness and dark fruit flavours it's borderline dark ale. I won't mark it down for that because there's always going to be some blurring of style guidelines, which can sometimes be a bit too strictly adhered to. Leaving that aside though, the beer itself doesn't really stand out. It's fair to middling and no more. A decent enough beer to try but not one that I might go back to.

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Photo of sommersb
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 07-11-2011
Freshness: Unknown
Packaging: 330 ml brown bottle
Glassware: Tulip
Purchased: Single from Frugal MacDoogal, Nashville

An attractive beer of bright amber color. In the glass I see lots of bubbles from the bottom. The head is off-white and creamy and sits at about 3 fingers. Both lacing and retention are good.

Very aromatic, with sweet caramel malts, coriander and cloves spices, and fruit notes such as banana.

The taste is rich, with caramelized bananas as a main element. There is also a strong licorice-like taste and spiciness. The light bitterness is balanced with malty sweetness. There's also some warmth from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth, with a medium body. This beer is very carbonated, a little too much for my liking. Finish is a little prickly due to the carbonation, with an aftertaste of the many spice notes.

Overall a highly enjoyable beer. Due to the high price, it's not one I'll purchase often, however.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Srving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - bronze tan/ dark burn orange. Unfiltered floaters, monster 4 inch creamy head.

Smell - Sugars, yeast, floral fruits, rasins, plum, lemon, banana.

Taste - Sweet sugared floral kick at first. Lots of plum, grape and rasin. Plenty of malts mixed in also. The warmer this got, the sweeter it became. Alcohol is pretty masked until at the end.. Not much hop flavor is aloud to come through from the yeast.

Mouthfeel - Really sweet and easy to drink. Easy on palette without much aftertaste. No damage to mouth, just left with sugars and yeast. A little thin and dry at the end.

Overall - This was fantasic as a dessert ale. Shocked from the low scores it has. Its a nice session beer, a 22oz is plenty enough, the sugary sweetness could be a bit much.

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Photo of DijonKetchup
3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pick up a bottle in LA.

Pours a nice copper red, very 'pretty' beer. Good head build and retention, looks good.

Smells very nice, lots of caramel and raisins. Some yeastiness, breadiness and dark fruits.

Actually the taste is somewhat of a letdown compared to pour and smell. It is quite hot, apparantly a huge victim of candi sugar. It seems to be brewed decently, but something is missing here. After 3-4 sips it becomes even glaringly guilty of candi-sugar-overdose.

I wanted this to be better than it is for a belgian pale ale, but it is just too hot for it's own pants. Get an American pale ale and a shot of schnapps and you'll have more fun.

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Photo of jhtipton
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was recommended this beer quite some time ago and eventually found some at a mom and pop store in Palermo. Pours a nice reddish brown cloudy with some decent head and lacing. Nice malt with yeasty overtones and prominent alcohol warmth. Not sessionable but a decent Belgian. Some raisin and date attributes. I would try again but when afforded the chance for some of the other Belgian heavy hitters and trappistes would have to pass.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Leura Cellars, when I realised that I was yet to review it. Interesting.

Pours a clear copper amber colour, with a fine and minimal head of white. Some sticky lacing, but the body looks relatively light, and the carbonation streams effortlessly to the top of the glass. Not bad.

Nose is light and caramelly, with not a lot of Belgian esters or spice. Indeed, it's very light overall. Just some mild candy and caramel sweetness, and a very subtle touch of grain. Not the standard Belgian aroma I'd expect.

Taste is similar, with more of a strong English Amber character to it that a true Belgian, lots of caramel malt, a bit of sticky grain and a slight astringency on the finish. Back is extremely thick and heavy—feels like it really needs something else to clean it out.

Not bad, but certainly not great. Belgian beers spread quite the gamut, but this is one you feel could have used a little more balance, and a little more of that classic Belgian yeast character. Lacks a lot.

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Photo of beerpirates
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33 cl bottel

Aroma: Candi sweetness with various fruits, caramelly malt, and a little bit of alcohol.
Appearance: Clear reddish-brown with a diminishing white head, but it does retain a ring around the edge throughout.
Flavor: Malty, light Belgian-like fruitiness, slightly spicy. Moderately sweet overall with a spicy finish. Strong alcohol, but not hot or astringent.
Palate: Medium body, smooth, well carbonated (but not overly so).
Overall: Balanced flavors and very little bitterness. True to style and quite good.

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Photo of Durge
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another nice discovery at The Grill Next Door in Haverhill, MA this one shows a deep and cloudy rusty amber color with a fairly scant white tuft on top and very little lacing left on the snifter. The aroma brings mild cherry nougat and mild apple raisin. Not very strong but not concerning. The flavor includes a mild apple pie a la mode sort of idea. There’s a fair touch of licorice and sweet scone. It’s medium to light bodied with a very fine, subtle carbonation. It feels a bit watery but that doesn’t ruin it. The clove/spice idea dominates the fruit introduction as it works over your taste buds, but it finishes weakly with an odd, sweet but watery licorice summary. Not my favorite but not bad if you like licorice somewhat unbalanced in your beers. Moderate drinkability.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Pours a beautiful looking deep ruby red colour with a head that settles down quickly.

Not much of a scent apart from alcohol and a slight fruitiness.

This is a noticably strong beer which lets it down as the taste of the alcohol almost overpowers the fruitiness and hoppiness of the beer.

Overall quite good, i'd have this again.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Pretty good. Pours into that funky glass with the wood frame, a orange-amber color with a fluffy white head that retains well. Bready aroma loaded with Belgian yeast. Some light sugar and banana as well. Bready taste, light sugar, bananas and apricots, toasted malts, and a dry bitter hop finish. Medium mouthfeel and quite drinkable.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew was poured into it's signature glass. It has a good head to start off that settles into a white ring around the top. The color is a very nice amber color. The taste is a little spicy and had a great caramel flavor to it. The mouthfeel is pretty light but had enough body to be flavorful and pleasing. Overall this beer has some elements of a Belgian Quad. I really enjoy the flavor and the look of the brew. Very cool brew.

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Photo of BeerNemesis
4.29/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pauwel Kwak | 330 ml. on-tap | 8.4 % ABV | May 2011

Brewer: Brouwerij Bosteels
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale (BSPA)
Glass: Pauwel Kwak "Coachman's glass"

The glassware really makes Kwak impressive to behold. My friend was skeptical that BXL East would serve it in the proper glassware. It's a good thing they did because it's shimmering amber body and creamy crown have never looked better. In this case, presentation makes a huge difference.

Sweet apricots, cherries, toffee malt, rose water, Belgian candi sugar, grassy herbs.

Apricots, banana, toffee, caramel, and bready malts come forth first. Then spices and grassy herbs alternate in waves, washing over rocks of Belgian candi sugar in a delightful gustatory symphony. A touch of warming alcohol on the finish seals the deal.

Chewy and supple but not too heavy. The cascades of carbonation massage my tongue. Clean and herbal on the finish.

I didn't know what to expect and had actually been avoiding this beer because of negative reviews. I was wrong. It's a blast to drink.

Would I get it again?:
Oh Yeah!

Bottled: on-tap May 2011
Served: May 19, 2011

Price = $9.00 at BXL East (NYC)

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a bierpassion tasting glass.

A: Nice tight off white head atop a fairly clear medium brown body. Head retention is quite good.

S: Very yeasty, but in a bready sense, not a Belgian sense.

T: Nice balance of sweetness, bitterness and alcohol. Yeast flavors are dominant and damn tasty. There is a distinct fruitiness on the finish.

M: Carbonation is good, beer is thick but doesn't seem to sit on the tongue.

O: This feels like somewhere between a Belgian dark and Belgian pale, and it preforms really well there, with enough complexity to make it great.

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer pours amber in color with a big off-white head sitting on top.

S: Lots of yeast and bread notes up front. Plenty of caramel, toffee, and brown sugar sweetness with a pleasant fruitiness to it as well. Raisins and bananas are the most prominent fruits and there is a mild spiciness to it, too.

T: A similar array of flavors are present. A touch of alcohol warms things up and the dominant malt sweetness is really present throughout. Toffee and caramel work quite nicely with the banana, pear, and raisin flavors.

M: Medium in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: Really nice smooth feeling on the tongue with nice flavors and aromas.

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Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 1,802 ratings