Pauwel Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

very good
711 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 711 | Ratings: 1,732
Photo of bark
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

“If you want to drink it out of a original Kwak glass, you have to leave your left shoe as a pledge! Those glasses are really expensive.” No, the bartender didn’t pull my leg. The downside of visiting a student pub, I’ll guess. I had my beer in a pilsener flute instead.

The colour is pale amber; the finger-thick foam is white and quite compact.

The smell is sourish with some lactose and some sort of hops.

The carbonation was rather strong and a little bit sticky. But at the same time very fresh and descending.

The taste is sourish and very refreshing. The liberal taste of malt is slowly replaced by a lactose-sweetness and bitter hops. Then, a fine body and a mild taste of aromatic hops emerge. There is a touch of wheat beer in the aftertaste with the combination of candy-sweetness and fruity, spicy hops.

 833 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Except for some large floaties, this beer pours a clear amber color with a full tan head. The aroma is redolent of caramelized malt, and alcohol in the finish. The beer is sweet and malty, with a creamy, pleasing mouthfeel. This is a fairly clean beer, malt is certainly the showcase here. This beer is fairly one-dimensional, but it is also pretty enjoyable.

 359 characters

Photo of HardTarget
1.4/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Reviewed 08-25-04
12 oz. bottle, no date, 8% abv listed. Damn thing gushed on me right here at my computer desk.
Aroma 4.5: Nice Belgian nose; smells more like a Strong Dark, ripe grapes and pears, mild spices.
Appearance 3: A rosy amber body with a very thin cover and a collar of off white. The lace was impressive given the tiny head. No clumps noted.
Flavor 3.5: Vinous, very wine like with grape flavors in the forefront. It has some mild vanilla and clove, presumably from the yeast. Overall rather sweet, I can’t pick out any hop flavors.
Mouthfeel 4: Medium body with a strong alcohol prickle. Smooth with a nice carbonation level.
Overall Impression 2: Enjoyable. My socks are still on, but the alcohol hasn’t really kicked in yet. Still mad about the gushing, I treated it well, had sat in my fridge for over a week. Drinkability? Well, I’m enjoying this glass, but I can’t see doing another given the alcohol level. I’m also not seeing myself crave this to the point of getting another any time soon. Glad I came, but, been here, drank that, have the stain in my carpet to show for it.

Re-reviewed 02-14-06
750 ml bottle, best by 01-01-07.
Aroma 2: Smells like wet cork, and not in a good way
Appearance 1: Large corn flake white protein chunks filled the glass after a gentle pour and careful handling
Flavor 2: Lifeless wood and sweet wort
Mouthfeel 1: Chunky style
Overall Impression 1: I may have gotten a bad bottle, but a quick survey on the main beer page shows that this is far too common to just let go.

I spent good money on this beer only to drain pour it.
Kwak, you're dead to me.

 1,685 characters

Photo of zjungleist
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was pretty scared when I read some of the reviews. Floating clumps, huh? I didn't get that batch thank god.

Rich orange amber color. Dense, medium head with plenty of activity. Very herbal hoppy nose, light malt and a little yeast too. The hop pretty much comes out on top. Taste is malty and sweet, slightly fruity, with a hoppy tang to wrap it up. Slighly warming alcohol too.

As it breathes... I was supprised that the hop faded a bit. The nose got much fruitier, almost peachy. Taste is still pretty herbal though. Nice head and mouth feel. Rich, with a perfect balance of cabonation and density.

Not bad overall, but not a favorite. I found the "herbalness" and "fruityness" kinda traded on and off with each sip. I found the flavor a bit off balance.

 768 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Attractive 750ml painted brown glass bottle, cork and caged. The obverse has the Bosteels Coat of Arms and the words ‘Anno 1791’ with the words ‘Pauwel Kwak’ below. Described as a ‘Traditional Belgian Special Ale’ and listed as Alc. 8% Vol. Bottle reverse, even though it is a painted bottle, has a Best Before Date of 01/01/2007.

Appearance: Pours well, deep robust amber body with some orange chestnut hints. Solid head, off-white, it laces well and leaves a smattered tan colored pattern on the sides of the Glass. A light swirl invigorates the head, whilst a gentle angled tip reveals fine carbonation and lots of it.

Nose: Thick malty nose with big dollops of spicy yeasts and a decent herbal aroma mixed in with brown sugar and some exotic Island fruits with a bold alcohol whiff.

Taste: Fruity malt start with a thick alcohol underbelly. Yeasty middle with some cane sugar twitches and more of the earlier tropical fruits, yet this time they have a more Caribbean feel to them. The alcohol comes through in the back end, finishes with a dry malty ending that is still a tad sweet. Caramel and some spices come into play within the herbal toffee demise. Simple, yet very interesting.

Mouthfeel: Thick malty brew with a smooth feel thanks in part to the carbonation. Creamy at times it has a rich luxurious feel that sinks on the tongue.

Drinkability: Drinks reasonably well, but it is rather one dimensional at times, yet this does not detract from its overall appeal.

Overall: Tis a spicy malty brew for sure. Kwak is not, and has never been a favorite of mine, in fact apart from the funky wooden holder and glass arrangement it has never held an attraction. But I have to state that this sample was rather good, oh so much better from the 75cl than what I ever recall having from the smaller 12 ounce bottles, or even draft. Weird!

 1,879 characters

Photo of Mitchster
2.52/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Ok, wierd experience. This brew kinda scares me. As I'm pouring it out, I get this distinct clump of gooey stuff, and now the beer looks like a snow globe with bits of what looks like coagulated egg flittering around. Is this egg drop beer, or did someone cum in it? Ugh. Find peace young padawan. Hazy dark caramel with orange accents forms a meringue-like beige head with very good retention and solid sheets of lace. Aroma is good enough...mouth watering sour green apples, apple skin, must, dusty basement, an interesting toasty malt note unusual for the style...uh oh...earthy green vegetable notes. I haven't smelled that in a beer before. I wonder if this is going to be okay? Mouthfeel....agh. Something is wrong here. Clumps! Clumps of what? It's either solid clumps of coagulated starch or mold. I am able to retrieve clumps of goo from the brew and it appears to be starch. I let this warm up to room temp and the gobs are still there. I decide to brave it.

Taste of sweet caramel, cloves, candi sugar, orange, alcohol, cider, spices, sour green apples, rotting leaves. Mouthfeel sucks. There is no excuse for clumpy beer. Medium body. Bitterness is mild and soft. Finish is sweet, toasty, and spicy.

I may revisit this one in the future, but what I have here is completely unacceptable. Seems as though cokes has noticed the same thing in his bottle.

 1,369 characters

Photo of filabrazilia
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy cider brown with a small tan head. Good lace.

Very malty in the nose with a touch of alcohol.

The malt flavor dominates the taste. I can't say I can discern much else in the mouth.

This is a pretty thick and chewy brew that is like a sub-par barley-wine.

This is a one-dimensional beer that is okay, but is not the first Belgian I'd grab.

 365 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
3.07/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The first of the Belgians from my trip to Van. Best before date on the back label of the bottle: 02/09/05. Sort of disappointing right from the start, no head on the pour, and although the body is a decent amber, it's not so much cloudy or hazed, as much as it is simply innundated with suspended particles, like a minor protein haze, or even pulp. The aroma contains papaya, candi sugar, sweet malt and alcohol. There is a tropical fruit motif to the flavour, a sweet and sugary taste, along with a buttery blended rum finish to it, an alcohol kick on the aftertaste. Strawberries, I taste ripe strawberries on the aftertaste, like a daquiri. Very light on the mouthfeel, it's an easy beer to drink texture-wise, goes down smoothly, but I don't feel much impetus to finish this sample, let alone to buy more. I think I've seen enough halfway through the glass. Sweet and fruity, but no character or backbone to it at all.

 922 characters

Photo of granger10
4.06/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear amber color with a really nice creamy white head. Not much lacing though. No yeast seen, very clear in color. The smell has a butterscotch sweetness to it and some herbal notes but I also detect band-aid's in the aroma. The taste is very odd. It seems like there are many flavors wrestling with each other. Lots of yeast in the flavor even though there is no yeast in my glass. Very sweet at times with notes of ripe fruit and figs but then very spciy and tart/sour at other times. Alcohol is detectable in the burn and also in the finish the further I go, along with the alcohol sugars/esters. Finish is crisp and lingers but not as long as most Belgians. The body is quite thick and rich. This is definitely different than what I was expecting. Not better, not worse, just different.

 809 characters

Photo of cokes
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clean and clear, dim copper. The head is eggshell, lacking in size, but full of stick.
Nose full of cork, basement, and apple sauce.
This one here is about the yeast. Estery cloves and mustier things. Basements and mildew. Fruity too, with loads of red and green apples. Doughy breads.
It's generally tasty, but lacking depth and structure. Malt provides glimmers of caramel. Juvenile toastiness grows as it warms. Hops add diminished sweetened florals. Lilacs on the close, but bitterness is absent. Grapey finish with stunted alcohol blooms.

Mouthfeel is really bizzarre. It feels like each sip brings particulate matter into the mouth. Like little yeast chunks or something (even though the brew pours clean, and there are no dregs at the bottom). They vanish once in the mouth. It seems the large-bubbled carbonation is the cause, but I've never experienced anything like it before. It's sort of intriguing and more than a bit unnerving.

The strength is never really a factor, but still this is only marginally drinkable.

All told, this seems incomplete.

 1,074 characters

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a moderate amber, slightly cloudy with lots of carbonation and a medium sized off-white head. Lots of yeast chunks (like a broken up yeast cake) coming out before half the bottle was poured. Continued floating arouond during the entire drink. So much yeast, it even was in the head. Aroma: pleasant (but not "wow", malty, semi-sweet, gentle Belgian yeast aroma, slightly herbal, some fruit (figs, plums, dates) with slight sharpness from the hops. Flavor was similar to the aroma, but a bit spicier, and some cherry notes late in the glass come through. Nice effort, but too much yeast.

 592 characters

Photo of putnam
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good dark copper velvety textured transition from liquid to gas.
On the nose it shows primarily roasted grains and only in the background are impressions of sour yeast and fruit. On the palate it is ably balanced between broad, malty cereal flavors and unobtrusive botanical bitterness. All of this occurs in a creamy medium of fine mousse only just offset by tangy fruit and grip on the finish. Because of it's clean, roasty profile this is a perfect Belgian beer for any BA lost in an Anglo paradigm and wanting to dip their toes into the exotic, continental waters of Beer Xanadu.

 584 characters

Photo of Brent
2.76/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This beer was something of a contradiction in terms. There was a great deal of complexity in the flavor profile, yet, it had all the grace of a rhino crashing through the jungle. Poured a hazy, coppery brown. Flavor was very oaky, as though it had been aged in an oak cask, with a heavy-handed tannin aspect. Alcohol flavor was distinct and not integrated. I had to work at enjoying this beer, and, in the end, decided it was not worth the effort.

 447 characters

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

Kwak? What is in this ducks? ;)

Pours a hazy red brew.

Smell is sweet and fruity with a sweet malt and plums smell.

Taste is sweet and quite malty with plums, brown sugar and spice flavor. Light bitter finish to this.

Mouthfeel is good.

A tasty drinkable brew, I will drink this again. A bit fuller flavored than most beers of this style.

Oh and about the ducks comment, sorry for the wise Kwak! :P

 416 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bronze color....fizzy white lace...fruity nose....body is medium to full....taste is enjoyable but not remarkable...malty...fruitiness evident..apples....pears....also some light spicy (peppery) notes....alcohol is hidden for the most part but does add some slighty to the spiciness...

Overall, this is worth trying....tasty...but not one of the greatest beers on earth....I certainly wouldn't turn one of these down but I don't think I'd pay the $$$ I paid for this one again..It is almost too easy drinking for what I consider a sipping style beer....lacks a little depth...still not bad though..

 609 characters

Photo of abents
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a golden amber with little white head that's gone rather quickly. Smells of fruits and a slight alcohol nose. Tastes of not a whole lot, some fruity notes with slight carmel in the finish. Some warming with the alcohol and slight spices detected. Mouthfeel is light with little carbonation goes down smooth, but doesn't excite me all that much. Overall not that impressed with this one.

 392 characters

Photo of CBFanWish
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first time I have ever had a beer where the glass named for it has become more popular than the beer itself. Oh well.
Pours a hazy orange-amber colour with an enormous head. The head releases fruity aromas that include banana, tart apple, tropical fruits (ie starfruit?). The taste is similar in many ways. all the fruity taste with a really cool light cider/banana thing going on. This seems to be the thing with the belgain pale ales. I like it. I wish I had the Kwak glass, but that will soon be in the works.

 525 characters

Photo of PatandDavid
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Redbones the night of the St. Patty's pubcrawl. Pour was a faded and dusty cloudy yellow. I thought the aroma was like jelly candy. Medium carbonation. The taste is slightly sweet, with a lot of yeastiness going on, but it's very good and very smooth. Even with that abv, it was easy to drink. Would get again.

 324 characters

Photo of BeerAngel
3.34/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed tea color with very little head even with a vigorous pour. The smell is very nice revealing light fruit and a hint spices with a small trace of warming alcohol. The taste is a heavy malt, watery sweet fruit, and very faint spicing. The alcohol is fairly hidden in taste with the malt that starts out in the beginning. This is surprisingly a light bodied brew despite the rush of malt at the start of each taste and it finishes lightly sweet. Decent brew. Op uw gezonheid!

 485 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Copper in color with a thick head that produced some light lacing. The aroma was mild as sweetness and fruitiness were detected. The flavor was sweeter than expected. Caramel comes to mind but there were some citrus tones that developed at the end. Then during the swallow a light non-offending sourness was detected.

The mouthfeel smooth and this was medium bodied. Carbonation levels were good. Decent, but there are more drinkable Belgian ales out there.

 461 characters

Photo of canucklehead
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is new to B.C. liquor stores. The beer sets up with a nice mahogany finish coupled with a yeasty nose. The most apparent thing about this beer is the roundness of the spice notes and the smoothness of the finish. This is not the biggest beer in its
style but I found it very drinkable and would buy this again. It is also very food friendly especially with meat dishes.

 381 characters

Photo of BierReise
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml Bottle. No freshness date. This Belgian poured a clear amber with a subtle head of foam that died quickly. Aroma is sweet and spicy with pepper and coriander. Body is very smooth and full yet lacks that crispness I prefer in this style. The flavor is sweet and spicy with the coriander showing up here as well. Overall a decent brew just nothing really exceptional.

 371 characters

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

Somehow, this beer has become as ubiquitous in Philadelphia as Hoegaarden.

Hazy orange beer that at first doesn’t look particularly appealing, but appropriate because you have to expect some protein haze from all that malt. Head is thin and sudsy, and sometimes you'll get some measly lace.

Smell is sweetish more than sweet, most recognizably as caramelized bread tones. Has yeast scents that are soft and blend into the bread scents, and some fruity esters, too. The latter seem a little too thin, antiseptic, and contrived, like a cheap version of Delirium's products.

Taste is sweet and soft, a king-sized bed of pillows made of malt: caramel, bare roast, pale sturdiness with a hint of wheat cleanliness. And thats about it.

Drinkable enough that you want one when you're in the mood, but not a beer I’m gonna settle in to for long. Too simple in a one-sided way, and in that respect, when compared to so many other Belgians, this beer is pretty weak.

 971 characters

Photo of stegmakk
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at Waterzooi...8.50 for a glass tho...anyway...

Poured an amber with nice size white head...
Aroma was a little hard to discern. Mild slight sweet fruity
Taste...this was strange...maybe it was a bad line or maybe it was supposed to taste this way...but...started slightly sweet turned to a tangy sour mellowing with a mild sweet old cider taste...even if it was off I liked it
Mouthfeel was smooth
Overall took me a while to drink this because you don't want to swig big gulps of the tangy sour taste...but i could have had another couple if I planned on taking it easy and drinking slowly

 631 characters

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

Had this served in appropriate glassware at the Hopleaf. Pours a nice amber color with a nice big off-white head. Aroma is fruity malts, most predominant aroma I can come up with is green apple with some hop bitterings. Taste is super sweet, almost too sweet but settles down and is a very quaffable beer. By halfway through really enjoyed this beer and I'd like to try again.

 376 characters

Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,732 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.