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Pauwel Kwak | Brouwerij Bosteels

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very good
701 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: 701 | Ratings: 1,700
Photo of DubbelTrubbel
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Served in Kwak glass (what else), poured at around 55 degrees. 750 ml bottle

A- Amber to deep red, depending on the point in the glass! Rich almost khaki foam, plenty of bubbles. Cautious pour, but could use a more voluminous head to start.

S- Belgian yeast, spice, then a fruity, festive smell

T- Some toasty malt, some candy sugar, spices, plenty of balancing hop bitterness. A hint of pilsner malt. Hop bitterness lingers on the finish. Very rich overall, without being heavy

M- Nice carbonation, better than in the 33 cl bottles. Very easy-going. Noticeable stickiness

O- This is a nice middle ground between session and refresher beers, and strong, knock you out beers. It's good at the end of a busy day- without ending your day.

 741 characters

Photo of Foxybrau
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Likely on the sweet end of the spectrum within the class, I find this to be a strong, solid brew. The nose is fig newton and honey. Taste follows closely with a warm, clean finish and virtually no hop.

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Photo of stjaernstoft
3.1/5  rDev -17.3%
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 JohnnyI
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to an awesome bartender at Liberty Tap Room in Mount Pleasant, SC, I was able to take home one of their iconic Kwak wood-handled beer glasses. It might be a gimmick, but it absolutely adds to the experience. I'm hoping the bottled variety is as delicious as I remember from that trip to the tap room. The cloudy, tarnished copper liquid pours with a tremendous amount of foam. Maybe part of it is the shape of the glass (with the spherical bottom) but either way, that's a lot of foam! As it settles down there's splotchy, soapy lacing on the glass. The aroma bears a strange metallic scent, like a handful of pennies, with traces of banana. A little buttery toffee in the nose too. The flavor is sweet and malty with a hint of clove bitterness. It's a tad cidery, imparting a tangy flash of flavor. There's a buttery, honey sweet bread-like taste that reminds me a little of sticky buns. A little funky Belgian yeast and fruity banana esters in the finish. The alcohol here is thinly veiled, lending a boozy solvent-like layer. The mouthfeel is pretty standard, with medium body and carbonation that may be a touch too lively. In total, this is a tasty Belgian strong ale that lacks some of the finesse and character of its contemporaries. Not quite as refined as some of the others I've tried, but delicious nonetheless. Perhaps if they put as much work in to the beer as the glass, it would be world-class.

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Photo of stjarnflikka
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, brown and golden beer. There is a thick brown foam and many small bubbles from the carbonation.

Smell is malty with some sourness to it. Theres alcohol in it togeteher with a candy like sweetness. In the back is a somewhast roaster and peppery tone.

Taste is bitter with lots of barley and a sugarsweetness. There is a big, orung bitterness throughout the taste with some liqourice or anise traces in it. It is has a very nice and sweetbitter aftertaste with alcohol in it.

Too bad for me, i dont really appreciate the alcohol in this one.
Besides from that, its a good beer.

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

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, this beer is a nice color: deep amber or mahogany with hints of copper or caramel color. Decent head reaches about 1/2 finger lengths and dissipates into a light ring around the edge leaving a slight lacing.

Smell is malty and sweet with hints of dark ripe fruit, raisin, and caramel. Not a whole lot else going on with the smell apart from the malt and fruit sweetness.

Taste is creamy up front with malt presence and a sweet raisin taste. While the initial taste is nice, there isn't much middle or finish to speak of. The alcohol is present and warms on the way down but that is the really the only lingering taste that I get.

Overall a decent beer. Finishes quick and doesn't have quite the complexity of other Belgians, but nonetheless enjoyable.

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Photo of jonmikel
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a big tulip glass from a 33 cl bottle.
-Opaque of reddish colour.
-Strong smell
-The taste is very good. At some point it remind to cookie flavour.
-Mouthfeel is bitter but I like it a lot.
I think it's a very very good beer.

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Photo of TheJudge
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pretty dark amber color beer, served in an appropriate bulb-glass in a wooden holder. A nice looking offwhite head that holds and laces well. The smell is notably alcohol, and that dominates the sweet malt underlying.

You do not taste the alcohol as much as you smelled it. This is Malty, sweet at first, with a sour aftertaste that is not unpleasant, but does not add to it. It feels good in the mouth, bubbly but not overdone. The malt does not coat. This is a little strong to drink all day, but good enough to have a couple.

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Photo of boblog
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Odd as it is brown. Fairly big head, good lacing and retention.
Smell:Champagne like bitterness. Moderate malt sweetness, fair amount of hop smell.
Taste: Champagne yeasty flavors. Sweet malt arounds out the flavor, ends on dry hop note.
Mouthfeel: Bubble and medium bodied. Really enjoyable mouthfeel.
Drinkability: I could drink a gallon of this, but I would regrett it due to price and high abv.
Overall a very good Strong pale ale, I love this beer.

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Photo of DevAJ
4.75/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is by far my favorite Belgian (and possibly overall) beer at the moment. I'm not even really sure how to describe it. It's distinctly Belgian, but it's also very easy to drink. I originally got the very last 222 year gift pack (the one with the glass) of it at a local liquor store a while ago. It's actually pretty easy to find around here as there is one store that always has it, but it's by far one of the priciest beers around ($5.99 for a single 11.2 ounce bottle). Worth a try even if you don't think you like the Belgian styles. Having the official Kwak glass is pretty cool too.

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Photo of KevCan
4.71/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pulled from the kegerator at work into a compostable plastic cup made in the good ol' U.S. of A. I love my job. Paired with some whole wheat crackers from the microkitchen.

Look: This beer was like 90% head when I poured it. It slowly settled down to reveal a deep reddish amber color underneath a thick foamy head. A little hazy with a few chunky particles floating around. Not sure if that's intended.

Smell: Sweet biscuity malt backbone, with a nice fruity yeast complement. Classic Belgian ale notes. Smells really great.

Taste: Unexpected taste of dark fruit, maybe plum or cherry. A bit of holiday spices. Incredibly drinkable for the ABV. I would have guessed this is more like 5% ABV. I could guzzle this. Just the right balance of maltiness, sweetness, and a touch of hoppy bitterness.

Feel: Goes down really smooth, just the right thickness. Low to medium carbonation, which is surprising given how big the head was.

Overall: Seriously delicious. An outstanding and underrated Belgian ale, in my opinion.

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

I tried this one before reading the other reviews so as not to influence my opinion. I was surprised to find I do not rate it as highly as most of the others. But that's the idea, isn't it?
Here goes:
A: Nice deep cleer copper/amber. But no head, and little lacing. I like my beers, especially Belgians with at least some head.
S: Sour alcohol and malt upfront. Then some sharp fruit odours, like over-ripe plums. The first hit of aroma was not all that pleasant.
T: Nice big roasted, but not burnt malt. The alcohol was warming, and quite pleasing. Some good balance between the sweet malt and the hops bitterness.
M: Sour hits on the finish that did not last long. Medium body, a bit slick or oily.
D: It's okay. That's all. I would have another if you are buying.

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Photo of Arthuros
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sweet golden Belgian strong ale.

Taste of honey and rye. Banana as well.

Quite heavily carbonated. Dark golden color.
Sweet aromas, with hints of whiskey.

Decent sweet ale, with some ABV. Not a game-changer, but a good beer.

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

After removing the cork from this bottle (which has sat undisturbed in the cellear for quite some time), it started spewing out everywhere. luckily, not much beer was lost.

appearance (once in the glass) is nice, a good sized head and it has a medium-brown-amber colour to it.

aroma is whole bunch of sweet caramel malts, with just a touch of belgian yeast smell.

taste: a good alcohol bite at first, subsiding a little to let some really sweet malts shine. lip smacking taste. there are some flavours of honey, wheat, apple, and pear, and caramel chew. very tasty despite the alcohol flavour predominance, which took it from 4.5 to a 4 for taste.

mouthfeel is very good, just the right carbonation and a good thick thewy body to compliment the flavours. drinkability for a brew that is tasty like this is obviously going to be high.

I do really like this beer.

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

Had this on recommendation of the waiter at BierMarkt in Toronto.

Very interesting pour into what I assume is the traditional Pauwel Kwak glass...sort of a dumbbell-shaped affair, all rounded curves. Glass upended onto bottle, then flipped over and the bottle pulled out after filling 3/4 of the way up the glass. Effect was similar to a stout pour...lots of bubbles dying down to a two-finger head. The similarities ended there, I think.

Are we *sure* this is a "Belgian Strong Pale Ale"? Doesn't act like the others I've tried.

Some sediment readily obvious, cloudy medium reddish brown. Nice colour, actually...I like the warm tones.

Very fruity aroma, sweet but with some depth to it...maybe figs and bananas?

Taste was surprising, actually. Very little carbonation, and figs were predominant. Odd, somehow...like a fancy spiked punch. Alcohol was well-covered, but detectable.

It felt a little bland in my mouth, actually...I actually prefer a little bit more carbonation than this, but if I had it, I fear I might just think someone put ginger ale in the punch.

Definitely quaffable...you could down this stuff like punch at a party.

Overall, very interesting. Yummy, but not something that would keep me coming back. Glad I tried it. Likely won't drink it much in the future.

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Photo of PaulietheBrit
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Looks great , a little darker than I would have expected from a pale ale, but beautiful amber with slight haze.
Smells a little boozy and strong fruit, almost no malts, like a Christmas sherry, some spicy notes.
Taste is following the aroma, with a fruity sweet spicy tang.
A good ale with, for me, a bit too much fruity, and not enough malty.

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

A: Dark amber with a two finger white head.
S: Phenols, sweetness, malt, yeast, sour freshness, red berries. winelike.
T: Bitterness, licorice, alcoholic sting (not as bad as the 8 % would suggest), malt, hint of figs. Aftertaste of raisins, bitterness and honey.
M: Medium body, good carboration.

Tried this one a long time ago. Didn't like it. At all. Wich kept me from trying it again, which - I realize now - is a pity. Really a drinkable beer, although it might be a good idea to keep count of the number of glasses, since those 8% ABV could sneak up on you and give you a rather unpleasant headache just a you finish that last glass.

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Photo of twbrewer
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a reddish/copper color with a off white head that fade to small floating chunks of foam.No lacing seen.

S-Smells of Belgian malts and sugars.Hints of sour cherry and raisins.Small but present notes of clove or other type of spice.

T-Wonderful taste,sweet malts and yeast.Honts of cherry again,slight alcohol taste(very smooth) as it warms to room temp.Very well balanced yet very complex.

M-Medium bodied,lower carbonation leaves a smooth,clean mouthfeel over palate.

D-This might be a new favorite,depending on availability and of course price.

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Photo of crisis1290
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A nice coopery orangey color with a fluffy white head on the pour. Bready, fruity notes throughout. Sweet taste that hides the alcohol very well. A very solid amount of carbonation from start to finish. A very nice smooth fruity finish. A very nice balance of fruit versus sweet.
Can't figure out if this goes into my top Belgian Pales. Are there better BP out there ? For sure ! Will this do the job in a pinch ? For sure !

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Photo of Durtdiggler
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into tulip glass. Dark amber copper color poured a massive 3 finger creamy head, strong retention.

Smells like sweet Belgian candi, estery fruit. No funky Belgian yeast just very sweet, subtle.

Tastes like figs and raisins. Starts great but finishes too fast and was hopeing for more complexity that typifies a strong Belgian ale . No signature yeast, little spice. It finished too clean and was waiting for the flavor to linger.

Mouthfeel was ok. Balanced.

This beer started great with the pour, hints of Belgian sugar aroma and the taste had the typical big dark tropical fruit start but didn't follow through and left me wanting more.

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Photo of imstimpy
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Picked up in 2015 and aged for another six months. Poured into a Dogfish Head 120 glass leaving the last 1" of swill in the bottle.

Color is a nice copper with a medium to large head. Scent is subtly malt. Taste is quite simple and clean- Belgian malt, spices, and yeast. It reminds me of a Leffe. Ok, but not nearly as good as I remember. Very subtle compared to the Trappists I've had more recently.

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Photo of GooberMcNutly
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into an (improper) stout glass. Aroma of toasted bread and roasting chestnuts with a strong coppery head. Docked points on appearance due to the large (20 or more per glass) of floaties in the glass, even after a very careful pour. But the flavor and mouthfeel are so much more than the standard belgian golden ales that I don't even care. Strong roast nuts, toasted almonds, caramel and hints of apricot and cherry pull together to give a beer that is a little different with each sip as the palate becomes accustomed.

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

A beer haiku for you:

"Belgian strong pale ale;
Represents the country well.
Bottoms up: one more!"

Not sure why so many other 'advocates' diss this beer: actually, having had this both stateside and at its birthplace it doesn't fail to impress. Perhaps not the standard of the art, but sure knocks over most pretenders to the Belgian throne.


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Photo of sergeantstogie
2.29/5  rDev -38.9%
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.

 509 characters

Photo of oldhippie247
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy burnt orange with fluffy white head that shows decent retention. Nicely carbonated. Haze clears after a couple of minutes.

Aroma is smeet malt and fruity, yeasty esters.

Mouthfeel is full and round, as expected from such a hazy pour. Malt sweetness is again evident on the palate, as well as a little candi sugar.

Overall a pretty good Belgian "amber". I would like to experience it on draft in the proper glassware, but a regular 11.2oz bottle was adequate.

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Pauwel Kwak from Brouwerij Bosteels
3.75 out of 5 based on 1,700 ratings.
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