Pauwel Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

very good
710 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: 710 | Ratings: 1,732
Photo of biegaman
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
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 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.

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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

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Photo of John_M
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For some reason this beer has always been a favorite of mine. On tap at Max's today.

The beer pours a slight hazy amber orange color with very god head retention and lacing. The is terrific, showing off butter, brown sugar, toffe, sugar daddy candy caramel, and a boatload of spice. Flavors generally replicate the nose, on a fairly sweet frame. Mouthfeel is full (yet light) and fairly long, with a soft, lush finish. Alcohol is very well disguised, leading one to foolishly believe they could down a number of these (bad idea, no matter how delicious this beer is).

What else can I say. Yummm....

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours amber with a full 2-finger head, good lace.

S: Great smell, heavy malt, fruit - apricot, raisin, apple.

T: Fruity esters immediately and a dark, almost molasses flavour. Great treacle, cake batter sweetness at the end. Good complexity.

M: Smooth, very light solvent and phenol, soft carbonation.

D: A very tasty Belgian ale for sure. A bit pricey, but worth it IMO. Kind of a hybrid of the BSPA and BSDA.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.42/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 330 ml. bottle stamped C-CI-CABF-3.28-18:20. Sampled on December 5, 2013.

It is an attractive reddish-chestnut amber pour with a quick burst of white fizzy head that dissolves quickly.

The aroma has many of the expected Belgian esters such as Belgian candied sugar, breaded malts, dark fruit, and allspice but a more earthy hop bite than one comes to expect.

The body is about right falling into the medium range.

The taste is far sweeter than I would expect from a Belgian Strong Ale. That is not to say it is bad because it also has those same bready, yeasty, and dark fruity notes. Pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is another of those beers you assume you've reviewed because you've had so many, but haven't actually registered the tasting. So here goes, this brown 33cl bottle, best before 23 April 2011 was reviewed and consummed at home on 27 April 2010 and poured into the correct bulbous bottomed glass.

I managed to pour it slowly and kept the sediment in the bottle, that might sound easy, but sometimes the bottles can be a bit 'lively' to say the least, this one behaved.

The body colour is a true amber, darker than some amber, but never-the-less, amber. The full head is an off-white foaming blanket of small bubbles, in it's proper glass the beer looks wonderful (if a bit touristy when in a bar).

The aroma is very sweet, toffee, molasses and almost candy floss as the beer warms in the glass.

The flavours within the taste are sweet and malty, no hint of hop bitterness. I've liked this beer for years, it doesn't need the fancy glass really, it can stand alone as a good beer without the glass. Having said that I've got used to drinking from it now, so prefer it served from the wooden stand and glass.

The 8.4% ABV sneeks up on you, the sweetness and lightness of the body lull you into a false sence of security, and just as you finish the beer to ask for another you realise the room isn't in focus as much as it was before you started drinking. A very drinkable beer and a flavourite of my wife and daughter.

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Photo of Derek
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed at Smokeless Joe's in the new Kwak glass (flat bottom, no holder).

A: Golden-bronze with an off-white head; some retention; although the glass produces more head with every swig, there's very little lace.

S: Slightly fruity & spicey, with hints of earthyness from the Belgian yeast. Some brown sugar & light caramel in the background.

T: It's good, but I expected a little more. The flavours are all fairly subtle & well-rounded. Probably a good introduction to the style. The Belgian yeast seems fairly tame, with a light fruityness (apple & pear) & spice, with slight hints of phenols. Bitterness is mild, allowing some sweet malt flavour to come through. Somehow the alcohol is fairly well-hidden.

M: Moderate body; well-carbonated; some residual sugar but a relatively dry finish.

D: Flavours are subtle, nothing is overpowering, great drinker for its strength.

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

A: This beer pours golden with an amber tone. The head that is creamy white is large, and lingers for quite some time.

S: This smells at first sweet (I guess it's sweetness from the malt). Then there is red apples, but also an yeasty and spicy tone.

T: Heavy malty taste, with a nice sweetness. A complex beer with some fruit. You can also taste some alkohol.

M: Creamy and a little dry, you can also feel some fizz on your tounge.

D: This is a nice introduction to the belgian world of beers. It's not the most complex belgian beer, but it's a nice start before you try the dubbel and tripel Trappistbeers. This is a beer you should try at least once.

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

Pours with a two-finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a ring and some lace. Cloudy, amber color. Medium bodied. Sweet raisin nose. Light carbonation. Starts and finishes with sweet overtones, not syrupy, but clean. Pricey at $4.34 for a 330ml bottle from Oliver's Beverage Albany, NY.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3/5  rDev -20%

A - Pours a clear amber color with a generous amount of active carbonation and a very thin,
even, creamy white head across the top.

S - Spice, clove, bready, sweet toffee/caramel malt aroma.

T - Cloves, spice, toasted biscuity caramel malt, cardboard, some alcohol presence, and ever so slight citrus
on the back end that's quickly crushed with more mounds of toasted caramel malt and spice.
The malt and alcohol tends to take more front and center with the spices following.

M - Full body to medium heavy body, slight alcohol warming on the way down, creamy mouth

O - Nothing eventful, I wouldn't spend $12 on another 750 ml bottle of this stuff. It's been quite
awhile since I last had this beer and now I remember why.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml Bottle from Bessettes Canton NY for 13$

Appearance - Brownish copper colour with an average size fizzy beige head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone. There are also some small pasrtcles floating around.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, yeast, leather

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, dark fruits, and some leather. There is also a bit of a buttery/caramel flavour and a slight woodiness. It ends with a slightly bitter malty dark fruit aftertaste.

Overall - Better than I had expected based on previous reviews. My bottle was almost at it's best before date, so perhaps this beer develops well over time. I'd buy/drink it again anytime.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
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 corby112
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a Kwak carriage glass.

Pours a dark golden amber/caramel orange color with some golden orange hues when held to a light source and a three finger frothy, pillowy light beige head. Excellent retention, pretty much only settling a slight bit into a thick lasting cap that coats the glass chunks of soapy lacing.

Sweet caramel malt aroma with a nice earthy, grassy hops. Smells surprisingly hoppy for a Belgian beer with subtle estery dark fruit notes.

Surprisingly hop forward with some subtle earthy hoppy bitterness which is nicely balanced by a sweet caramel malt backbone with hints of toffee and, caramel, slight nut character and subtle dark fruit notes. Possibly some raisin and fig notes. Very well balanced and the bitterness up front actually lingers throughout into a slightly dry sweet finish. ABV decently masked making Kwak pretty quaffable.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, bright orange/amber (light copper) color. Poured a 3 finger creamy off-white head with fair retention. Laced in clumpy broken rings. Decanted continually.

S: Bready grains, caramel malts and citrus. Dark sweet fruits. Mild alcohol. Slight earthy smell in the background.

T: Sweet caramel and toffee. Dark cherries and raisins. Spicy yeast flavors linger through a slightly bitter finish.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation. Slightly yeasty spices linger on the palate.

D: Relatively tolerable 8% ABV. If you like the Belgian ales, you have to try it; it won't be anything exceptional, but its solid.

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Photo of wl0307
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coming in a 750ml champange bottle, corked and caged. BB 14/12/2007, served lightly-chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: pours a clear and bright chestnut brown or copperish hue; semi-thick, beige-hued beer head dissipates very slowly, leaving moderate layers of lacing along the way; the gentle carbonation is much milder than most Belgian ales. Looking elegant~~
S: sweet, caramely Munich malts, slightly syrupy with a spicy hint like ginger on top of a profound sweet fruit-preserve: cherries, orange, coconuts, sticky plums, and slightly banana-ish yeasty at the back. Not terribly complex, but quite pleasant all the same.
T: semi-thick textured, dark candy-sugary malts pour onto the palate, followed by slightly spicy yet rather cloying flavour of ginger-syrup + orange-cordial + over-ripened melon, before the palate hits a semi-dryish and lively aftertaste mixing (Saaz?) hops and more residual caramely maltiness... A surprisingly dryish-sweet aftertaste lingers at the back of the palate, resulting in a (next-to-)healthy balance b/w bitterness and maltiness overall.
M&D: softly-carbonated and medium-bodied for its high alc. content, this beer is quite robust yet unbelie...vably easy to drink. Compared with my previous note of the same beer on tap, it seems the bottled version is indeed sweeter, but in an ideal glassware--a bulb wine glass, rather than the stupid (sorry!) "chemical experiment" like glass-tube--the beer is truly nice and more pleasant.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a chalice)

A-This beer pours a clear auburn body with a gentle carbonation and a thin soapy head.

S- The aroma is dark fruit notes like plums and dried apple, with a faint hint of spice. Very faint alcohol warmth on the tongue.

T- This beer has a sweet taste of fruit almost cider, with a nice pale malt background. Very faint spice from hops that blends into the finish.

M- medium mouthfeel with no alcohol warmth or astringency

D- This is a very nice beer but it doesn't have all the complexity that others do in this style.

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

330ml bottle poured into Corsendonk glass dec5 2009

A clear amber with lots of carbonation and a fairly fast falling fingers worth of head that left no lace

S lots of yeast with some pear and apple

T not far from the smell with a little caramel but it's a little sour and pretty average for the style

M a little thin and bitter and I'm not sure where all the visible carbonation went cause it's a little flat in the mouth

D not bad but nothing special either, for what this beer costs your money is better spent else where

perhaps if I had a Kwak glass to drink out of it would have been a little more fun, but this beer didn't do a whole lot for me, I'm not saying its offensive I was just expecting a little more

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Photo of RBorsato
4.57/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on-tap on 03/09/06 at Monk's Cafe in Philadelphia, PA. (unfortunately, not in a Kwak glass...)

Amber-ish to tawny brown in color with a nice off-white head and moderate carbonation. A very malty (raisin and licorice qualities) Belgian in both aroma and flavor. Fairly fruity overall with some light yeasty character. Medium bodied, refreshing and dangerously drinkable; looking forward to tasting the bottled version.

Per BB: 8% ABV.

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Photo of pat61
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Has ripe light fruit, malt, caramel, not much hop action on the nose. Pours dark amber with a slight haze under a 1” tan tinted white foam cap that produces delicate lace. Rich malt flavors introduce the palate with traces of caramel, light malts, a faint hint of chocolate, and a trace of anise with a little brown ale character. The beer is fairly sweet throughout and may be cloying to some. The balance leans more towards the malt than yeasty esters. The carbonation is medium low with a medium full body.

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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 tigg924
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a goblet

Appearance: orange/brown in color, cloudy, minimal head

Smell: funk and hay

Taste: sour apple, funk, hay, and caramel

Mouthfeel: tart/sour with bitterness, light body with medium carbonation, dry

Drinkability: Kwak is ok for the style. It is very dry. I could not finish more than one glass in a sitting. Worth a try, but I think there are better in the style.

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Photo of avalon07
3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: When poured from a bottle to a tulip glass, had a deep amber color and a somewhat thin consistency. There was initially a big head, but it went away very quickly.

S: Aroma consisted of yeast, malt, apples and a small amount of spices.

T: I thought the taste was a little thin for a Belgian strong pale ale. Malt, apples and yeast, but this wasn't complex enough.

M: While the carbonation level was alright, it could've used a bit more kick. The finish was decently smooth.

D: On the whole this isn't a bad beer, but not a great one either. If you hadn't ever had an excellent Belgian strong pale ale, then this might suffice.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Eulogy. Went for a smaller pour into a gobblet rather than the official Kwak tube.

A - Sunburst, red/orange brown. Decne froth but little lacing.

S - Very bland smell. Very light hints of sweet fruit hidden by a yeasty, musty, bread nose.

T - Malts with a hint of apple. Missing that Belgian yeast flavor ive come to expect. Not much going on, but decent none the less.

M - Light/Medium body, moderate carbonation, creamy yet Sugary sticky

D - average taste at 8% would lead me to something a bit more flavorful in that ABV range.

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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.

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