Michael Heniff's picture

Judge's Review: 90 Rating - Pauwel Kwak by Brouwerij Bosteels

March, 2018
Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
6 / 6
35 / 40
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
19 / 20

Pauwel Kwak by Bosteels Brewery is a Belgian specialty ale and is being judged as a Belgian Specialty Ale (2008 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines category 16E).  The most recent version of the guidelines has eliminated this Belgian "catch-all" category and suggests that it be judged as a Clone Beer (2015 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines category 34A) which is not relevant for evaluating a commercial beer.  Pauwel Kwak is well known for its unique glassware, a vessel with a long, tall flute held in a wooden framework.  It is so unique that some pubs in Belgium hold a deposit of one of your shoes to guarantee its return.

Kwak pours a brown color with amber highlights and is quite clear, with a medium, finely beaded off-white head.  The aroma is of moderate bready malt with hints of caramel, moderate peppery phenolic, and light plum esters.  The flavor similarly displays bready malt and peppery phenolics with just a touch of sweetness, finishing with a light bitterness. This beer has a more complex malt profile than a typical Belgian Golden Strong, higher alcohol than a typical Belgian Dubbel, and better quaffability than a Belgian Dark Strong, which perhaps demonstrates the place for this beer without a style.