Pauwel Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

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Pauwel KwakPauwel Kwak
Very Good
1,794 Ratings
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: 1,794 |  Reviews: 725
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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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazed orange color with a bushy off-white head and a vigorous visual carbonation release.

The smells are of tart and bitter orange peel, and sweet preserved apricots. The earthy yeast, which is so typical for the strong belgian beers, is here, but on the back bench; it's not terribly strong.

The first tastes I detect are an odd combination of sharp apple cider tartness, freshly baked whole-grain breads, and some of the preserved apricots I thought I'd detected in the smell. The acidity of the brew is fairly well balanced by the semi-sweet graininess. The overall texture of the beer is thick and dry.

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Photo of Macca
3.51/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours a clear amber colour with a large solid head that drops away very quickly. Very little lacing. Looks dead in the glass.

Some dark sugar aromas on the nose. Some medicinal notes. A bit of booze.

Some alcohol warmth on the palate but nowhere near what I was expecting for a 8.1% beer. Getting the dark sugar again. A bit of tropical fruit. Caramel

Medium bodied. Not a lot of carbo.

A lot more drinkable than expected. Looks bloody awful in the glass though.

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Photo of AdamBear
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the tap, poured in to the classic oddly shaped Kwak glass.

A-nice chestnut and hazy with a foamy white head that stays.

S-caramel and belgian sugars. much like a clean belgian dubbel. very sweet with a good strength

T-wow, this is a good, clean, and light drinking belgian. the belgian sugars and caramel come in so easily with out any alcohol taste. ends with the good sugars and dark roasted malts. there are no bad aspects to this that i can find. i'm impressed. the taste on this is much lighter than the alcohol suggests.

M-creamy carbonation with a good smooth finish

D-this actually goes down a lot better than most belgians. i do love a good belgian, but i find most to be too heavy to be drinkable, some heavier than the ABV suggests...but not this one. it stays great all the way through. i'll be recommending this to others. JUST ONE MORE THING: In no way, is this is a great BSPA. it doesn't remind me of one at all. instead, i think if you're in to dubbels, this is a good beer for you. I'm actually surprised it isn't listed as one.

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Photo of atlason
4.77/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a Goose Island chalice. Enjoyed with a Belgian beef stew, made with Kwak.

A: Deep amber brown, half finger of thick, stable head. Lacing is thick and uniform.

S: Spicy yeast and liquorice.

T: Dubbel-like maltiness, caramelly with rich spicy character and prominent liquorice. Very grassy but mild hops. Aftertaste is medium long and very consistent with the main taste.

M: Perfect chewiness but a little bit tiring on the palate due to sweetness.

Overall one of my favorite Belgian beers, perhaps my favorite after Orval.

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Photo of stonesean
3.33/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a famous "Kwak" stirrup cup at "The Pegasus" bar in Diest, Belgium.

Appearance: Amber, a big giant head that dissapated slowly, but left almost no lace. Crystal clear, strange for the style as I understand.

Smell: Almost like a vienna lager. Strange. I feel like something's missing, but I can't put my finger on it. Not bad, but not what I expected.

Taste: Malty, the alcohol is clearly there. A bit of a raisin/fruit finish, and sadly, a bit of a metallic tang.

Mouthfeel: Watery, crisp and clean. Certainly not heavy or cloying, but not exciting either. Little carbonation left from that big head.

Overall: A suprise, but not a good one. Michael Jackson raved about this one, and I found it to be average to above average at best. Perhaps the times have caught up to this one, or there was something wrong with my bottle. Slightly above average, but there are dozens of Belgian beers to drink before this one.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Apricot amber color. Off-white head settles into ½ inch of cream.

S - Relatively mellow. Warm malt. Touch of honey.

T - Soft malt. Mildly bitter pine hops. Mellow med-dark honey. The flavors are smooth, well balanced, and well defined.

M - Soft and smooth with a pleasant carbonation.

O - Keep the gimmicky glassware, just give me the beer :)

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Photo of biegaman
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Kwak's distinctive presentation - an elegantly branded, round-bottomed, hour-glass shaped yard glass that is held upright in a wooden stand - does a great deal for this otherwise ordinary looking beer. In a normal glass, there's nothing catchy about its amber appearance, save maybe the ruby highlights. And without that oddball device rigging things and making pouring so awkward, don't expect much head to form.

The uninitiated might find this aroma to be a little bizarre; indeed, Belgian beer comes standard with some notably different features than those of commercial lager beers. For starters, there's the fruity esters and peppery phenols of the yeast. This one also adds a faint musty quality. Alas the malts are much more robust, tinged with caramel and toast.

The taste offers little else but conventional, unembellished malt and yeast flavours - and there's nothing wrong with that. Its almost nutty-sweet, cookie-like malts and yeast, which is suggestive of over-ripened fruits and a light rash of phenolic spice, don't leave me licking my lips or rubbing my belly in satiation, but they're more than palatable.

Besides, it has a pleasant sweetness that leaves you tempted to go right back in for another sip. Do take heed, however - this ale may be easy-drinking but it is over 8% alcohol! (I feel it's my responsibility to tell you because otherwise you might not sense it.) Although Belgian ales tend to age better than most, this is one best enjoyed fresh.

Kwak is sort of the anatomical skeleton of Belgian ales; its conventional, unvarnished qualities provide a plain, paradigmatic taste of the style and a quintessential, agreeable learning experience for young reviewers, curious drinkers or aficionados alike. Despite being an ale stripped-down to its bare essentials, it's still an enjoyable, social and perfectly acceptable beer worth drinking (or at least trying to pour properly) at least once.

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Photo of rsdaugherty
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap into goblet at Yardhouse downtown Denver
A - a dusky opaque brown/amber/red hue, barely a 1 finger head quickly disappeared to a thin scattered layer 3
S - fruity, toasted malts, mild sweetness, florals, grass 3.5
T - slightly sweet nuts/malts, a flowing structure/flavor throughout the taste, an appealing spicy slightly floral/bitter aftertaste, good balance 4
M - minimal carbonation but what was there were small bubbles and gave a nice smoothness, medium body, light mouth feel 3.5
O - 8% ABV not that much of a factor, a solid good beer but not up to the complexity level I had expected, I would drink it again but I will not seek it out 3.5

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Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 1,794 ratings
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