1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Raftman - Unibroue

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

652 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 652
Reviews: 394
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 45
Gots: 36 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Unibroue visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-06-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Raftman Alström Bros
Ratings: 652 | Reviews: 394 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biegaman
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I used to find this beer rather enjoyable because of the pronounced whiskey in the flavour, but after revisiting recently those setiments were lost. Slightly spicy, malty and you do taste some whiskey malt but not as refined as it should be. In fact, any one who knows their whiskey would be disapointed Im sure. The focus on whiskey also distracts from a weak hop job and overall fuzzy make up of the beers body. Was not impressed

biegaman, Oct 11, 2006
Photo of Mandrake
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy deep copper with a rather small and rather fizzy head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing. Smell is yeasty, with come citrus and light fruits alongside a woody note and some spices that I can't quite put my finger on. Taste is full and robust, with plenty of malts. A bit of pepper and yeast sits next to the bright fruitiness and mild grainy flavour. Finish is dry, and a bit metallic. Mouthfeel is good, abundant carbonation and plenty of body, and drinkability is solid. Another nice belgian offering from Unibroue, I never expected anything less.

Mandrake, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of vanrassel
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This doesn't rank among my top picks from Unibroue, but this brewery's high standards mean it's still better than a great many beers out there.

It poured from a 750 mL bottle amber with golden highlights and a thin bubbly head. The aroma is subtle overall, but still the sum of many parts: most notably, Belgian yeastiness, a whiff of whisky and a bit of vanilla.

The flavour started smoky before turning yeasty and sweet in the middle and finishing woody — think oak. I didn't pick up a ton of complexity, but it was pleasant nevertheless.

vanrassel, Oct 04, 2006
Photo of mynie
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Belgian Pale Ale? Smoked? Sign my ass up!

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a long-stemmed chalice.

Pours great, like the kind of mock Belgian pour that I've come to expect from the fine folks at Unibroue. Gigantic, uncontrolable white head that dies down into a very nice white cap that sits atop a fine rust haze.

Smells much more powerful than it's 5.5% alcohol content had led me to expect. Big Belgian yeast with an exceptional fruit character that leans towards the riper, juicier end of the spectrum (as opposed to the citrus). Here we got forest berries, honey, white pepper, and clove. Wonderful.

Tastes is not quite as complex as the nose, but a joy nonetheless. Starts with the tame berries of the nose which brush against a very light, smoky malt that hangs around for the rest of the sip and manages, somehow, to grant complexity to--not overmask, like most smoke ales--the rest of the flavor. The middle is more spicy, with the fruit reasserting itself at the end, as the smoke dies away. Great.

While the complexity is huge, this certainly isn't the most intense of Belgians (or smoke ales, for that matter). Such a blend of flavor and accessibility makes this a great crossover beer, but even full on beer maniacs should find enough goodness here to keep themselves happy.

mynie, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of JOaikido
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341 ml bottle.

A- Nice head. Beautiful coppery ambre / brown colour. Streams of little bubbles comming up through the beer.

S- Pleasant but mild aroma. caramel, sweet with a touch of yeast and smokiness.

T- Sweet middle of malt and caramel. Bitter on finish. I found it less yeasty than many Belgian style ales on lees. Made me think of a cross between a Belgian and a British ale.

MF- Smooth. Bit of carbonation fiz on the tongue. Pleasant overall.

D- A good ale. Moderate ABV and balanced flavour make this an easy beer to drink. One of the best Unibroue's for everyday drinking.

JOaikido, Sep 29, 2006
Photo of wl0307
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

BB 28/10/2006, served lightly chilled in a large Burgundy bulb wine glass.

A: light copperish hue, semi-murky; the off-white beer comes thin-ish in appearance, staying on top of the beer almost throughout the drink; fizziness turns from lively to moderate.
S: lovely perfumy and deeply fruity yeastiness expand from the glass right from the beginning... a bit of banana and apricot, while a firmly lemony-citric edge of hops, candy-sugar, and the coriander- and white-peppery like spicy hints are firmly at the back--very "Belgian"... Despite an equally rich base of caramel-malts, the so-called "smoked whisky malt" is extremely subdued, if any. Given such claim of using whisky malts on the label, I feel a bit let down by the timid presence of it on the ose. But overall the exotic fruitiness and yeastiness are simply enjoyable, true to the fashion of a Belgian pale ale and making up for the "false claim". (as it warms, a light flow of phenolic peatiness does reveal itself~~)
T: ah... this is where the subtly smoked hints come in!! Lightly sour-sweet yet soft flavours of smoked longan-fruits and plums (and other fruits), semi-chewy grainy and caramely malts with a smoked beech-woodsy tail... soothing, rounded, and light, just about right in balance... light fruitiness as identified on the nose quietly follows, towards a root-spicy+woodsy+licorice-bitter finish with bits of peated malts, smoky aroma and powdery yeastiness lingering there... pleasant~~
M&D: softly-carbonated in texture, the body is just moderate and the flavour definitely evolves with that bit of smokiness melted in the overall flavour just nicely. Intriguingly the smokiness manifests itself more in line with smoked fruits than smoked malts, at least for me. My patience pays off, as the initially timid smokiness gradually tunes up, both on the aroma and the palate, and the finishing touch of smokiness is really rounded and nice, executed in a totally different way than Bamberg's smoked beer. The more I sip it, the more I like it. A little quiet beer worth probing with patience~~

wl0307, Aug 19, 2006
Photo of demcorhip
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Its been obviously been too long since ive had the pleasure of a Unibroue beer. What an enjoyable experience this beer was.

It poured a cloudy golden brown, with a nice head that faded to fine lacings. Near the end of the glass I welcomed a swirly cloud of yeast, and welcomed the sight of the creature that did its part in creating this fine brew.

The characteristic scent of Unibroue yeast was one of the first things that hit my nose. The fruityness with a hint of tang was a refreshing scent. The earthy, peaty and caramel smells from the whiskey malt were also there. The aromas of floral heather and grass were also present.

The flavour was much like the scent. Peaty caramel was quite evident, along with a slightly sweet yet tart lemon flavour. The floral taste of heather was also there to round out this simple yet elegant brew.

Excellent, refreshing and balanced earthy brew. The components were wonderfully balanced, and the malts and yeast as the major contributors shined. The wonderful Unibroue effervescence only enhanced the experience.

An amazingly refreshing, drinkable, simple yet elegant and complex beer. It's hard to stop at just one. This would be a great beer to introduce a scotch drinker to the world of craft beer due to its wonderful whiskey malt character. It would also make a damn fine session brew, or even serve as a good introduction to the realm of craft beer due to its simple elegance. Yes i know im gushing, but i loved this beer.

demcorhip, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A top notch Canadian made Micro. Bravo. Pours out to a hazy pumpkin amber color with a 1/4 inch head of white foam and streams of bubbles racing toward the top. Nice. Aroma is slightly woody and smokey, but notes of fruity esters and grain are present as well. Taste is medium bodied and enjoyable; malt, wood, spicey grains, smoke. Definitive notes of light bready whisky on the finish. Quite nice. Dare I say this could easily be consumed on a cool, foggy morning? Mouthfeel is crisp and zesty, like many of it's brothers in the Unibroue line. Drinkability is above average. Quite nice. Special thanks goes out to Derek for the sample. Recommended.

Frozensoul327, Jul 31, 2006
Photo of fido
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First beer brewed from whisky malt that I try.

Pours a cloudy orange color, large foamy head, no lacing; Smell is sweet and smokey, some fruity aroma; Taste is smokey malt, sweet and yeasty; Mouthfeel is smooth, highly carbonated; Very drinkable and refreshing.

fido, Jun 14, 2006
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle picked up in Quebec City, summer 2005.

Pours a clear deep copper. Huge denxe creamy head, 1/2 inch high and light lacing. Smells spicy and yeasty, imparted from the signature Unibroue yeast. Lightly peppery.

Taste is earthy and grainy. Lightly smoky and woody. Hints of peat. Mouth is incredibly smooth. Lots of woodiness in the mouth and lightly sticky. Good stuff and certainly unique.

ViveLaChouffe, Jun 12, 2006
Photo of allergictomacros
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Was a clear brown with a creamy head... then I added the yeast. Not really pale... kinda halfway between a pale and dark ale. Head could be bigger and longer lasting.

S - Spicy, crisp, citrus and sweet.

T - Big buttery flavour. Hops show up at the very end, and linger for a bit.

M - Slightly dry and refreshing. Reminds me a bit like a hefeweizen. Light, spritzy mouthfeel.

D - Quite warming for some reason. Very drinkable and delicious.

allergictomacros, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of Absumaster
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is brewed with whiskeymalt, interesting....

It pours a nice murky orange color, leaving a very thin layer of foam on top after pouring it into my Duvel glass.
Smell is slightly smoky, don't know if I smell this because I know it has whiskeymalt in it, it is not very upfront. I can taste a phenolic beer, like a wheat ale or witbier, with the typical wheat or grainy taste and yeast profile, fresh and fruity. A medium body and faintly bitter. For me a typical wheat beer, no sign of the special malt in the taste. If you promote a beer to be brewed with whiskeymalt, I think it should at least be more apparent!
So, not a bad beer, but not meeting the expectations.

Absumaster, Apr 01, 2006
Photo of funkengruven
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this out of Unibroue's 2006 Collection. My first from the box.

This poured an almost apple cider color to a very effervescent head that slowly dissipated to a puffy white cloud over the brew. Smell is exquisite, hints of chocolate and caramel which I found to be quite delicious.

Flavors in this beer are interesting. A strong malt character dominates, leaving an aftertaste of a fine whisky. This is an especially smooth brew that is very easy to drink. Delicate yet flavorful, a great beer.

funkengruven, Mar 25, 2006
Photo of paterlodie
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Code E105. White head and amberbrown beer that shows quiet some haze. Nose is ambermaltsweet that shows a slight hint of smokeyness and lots of sweetredapplejuice. Next to that low but strange sournote and gets more obvious in nose too that isn't bad but IMO not fitting the brew. Overall more then just OK but missing smoke as I just got some after quiet some snifs and sips. Taste is quiet dry, malty and moderatly bittered. Balanced mouthfeel and well drinkable but missing that bit extra.

paterlodie, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of canadianbarman
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

--Bought it in a variety pack. Came in a 341 ml brown bottle with silver foil covering the top. No freshness date found.
--Poured an orangey haze, with good cloudiness. A large head that quickly diminished to a thin head, still nice. Very little lacing with nice bubbling.
--Smelled of slight yeast with a fruitiness. Also a slight smokey smell.

This is a great mix of many differant tastes converging into one fine brew. Hard to define but I will try: some fruitiness, some malt, some minor caramel to name a few. I would recomend this beer and look forward to sampling the rest of the variety pack.

canadianbarman, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of yelterdow
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served at just above fridge temperature in a Duvel tulip, for maximum sniffage. No freshness date.

Appearance- Pours a crystal clear pale orange, with a head that grows four fingers tall and quickly becomes the LOUDEST BEER I HAVE EVER HEARD. The large bubbles explode and reduce, popping and fizzing literally as loud as a just-opened bottle of seltzer. After the noise recedes, the head is gone. Even in this tulip glass, it's gone. Two-and-a-half points for you.

Smell- Whoooah, that be whisky malt. My stomach just buckled... in the past, I remember having one too many single malts, and that nose... yep, brought back a memory. Notes of agave nectar, tequila, come to the front as well.

Taste- A boozy (but light) whisky character starts and finishes this beer; I was left standing and waiting for the hop finish but it never came. Straightforward in its delivery, this is a "whisky beer"... and I presume that it has a relatively exclusive audience. After swirling in all sediment (lees), the taste intensified, but never gained complexity.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- I was prepared to award the mouthfeel a perfect "5", because it was... at first. The dynamic energy in the beer waned as the session progressed, and after a while there was barely anything. I consider this to be a "try me once" sort of tasting, but I'm sure an enthusiastic foodie would find a place for this beer with food.

yelterdow, Mar 01, 2006
Photo of Derek
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This Belgian Pale Ale with a hint of smoke use to be a staple of mine.

A: Copper-brown, pours with a nice head, not much retention or lace though.

S: Bready malt and caramel, with a hint of citrous.

T: Bready malt, a little caramel, with only a hint of smoke adding some depth (in a blind tasting, I'm not sure I'd know it was smoke). Slight spicyness. Perfect bittersweet balance. Very malty up front, with a crisp finish. It finishes with a hint of acidic tangyness and a dry, woody flavour that's almost Bret-like (horse-blanket/leathery). A plethora of subtle flavours living in harmony together. Beautiful.

M: Light to moderate body, with a very high carbonation.

D: Exceptional. I've consumed a few cases of this.

Derek, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of Noxious26
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass. 2 bottles came in their Edition 2006, a 12-pack sampler with 6 different beers.

Dark tan to copper colour and cloudy. Great big beige head is 2 inches on the pour and settles down to a nice solid 1/2 inch of foam. Big gobs of sticky lace.

Aroma is sweet and spicy with a faint undertone of smoke. Definitely has a yeasty feel to it.

The belgian style yeast is definitely prominent in the flavour. Something about that clove, banana, spicy character. Sweet and yeasty at the start and through the pin pricks of carbonation. Whisky character and a light smoke flavour fall into place at the finish and bleed into the aftertaste.

Medium bodied and highly carbonated. Carbonation is true to it's belgian roots in that it is like lots of tiny pin pricks of bubbles.

While I like this beer, and it is good, it doesn't reach up over the top. I actually find that the whiskey character detracts a little from the beer, but atleast that distinguishes it from others in the Unibroue line up.

Noxious26, Jan 07, 2006
Photo of Billolick
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The operative word here is mild. Large bottle, caged and corked. Openw with low energy and pours with fairly low carbonation, medium, tiny bubble, light tan head. Next to no lacing. Nose is mildly smokey, with hints of vanilla and oak. Subtle and sublime, more light smoke,mellon and oak picked up. Vanilla notes to smooth things along. Tasty and easy going sipper. Fine choice for light foods and of course, smoked meats/BBQ

Billolick, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy dark orange with a smallish white head that left some webbings of lace on the glass. Sweet fruity aroma with plenty of apples and pears. Very light smokiness with some yeast kicking around. Plenty of sweet fruits up front on the flavor with a light spicy yeast. Pretty simple and enjoyable flavor. Very bubbly with carbonation but smooth going down. Easy drinking stuff.

meathookjones, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of EPseja
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz, silver-foil wrapped (ugh... screw top) bottle in a pint glass at just below cellar temperature.

A - Pours a hazy, dark apricot color with a few flecks of sediment that don't really stay in suspension, but rather slowly sink to the bottom of the glass. There is a very quick 3/4'' head that disappeared in the time it took me to type the sentence above, and left an inconsistent film that didnt cover the entire surface of the beer. No real lacing to speak of. Nothing special.

S - Distinct notes of honey-meade and sweet, medium bodied malts, and golden raisins. A faint whisper of alcohol. Can't really make out any hops -- or anything else for that matter. Very direct and simple -- almost too simple for a smoke beer.

T - Clover honey and plastic (phenolic) notes are the first things in the mouth, followed by a very weak middle without much vibrancy of character at all. The swallow brings in a very pleasant trace of peat-smoke and a refreshing tart yeastiness. The finish is pretty clean and not overly dry. An interesting brew indeed.

M - Initially metallic, bright and watery with a tingly *almost* over-carbonation that's common with Unibroue beers, but not enough to be detrimental in this case. Subtley rises to a micro-bubbled, sudsy consistency, and slides down the throat quite smoothly. Personally, I think this mouthfeel is better than pretty much all of the other Unibroue beers.

D - For a smoke beer, Raftman is much more understated than others in its class, but to it's drinkability credit. Very nicely balanced and intresting without being overly complex.

On a side note, the meade notes that are commonplace in this beer will make it appealing to meade lovers who also like beer (like me).

Lastly, I just noticed that despite a good initial swirling of the bottle, there is still a *huge* amount of sediment still at the bottom of the bottle - so much that the empty bottle is bottom-heavy from it. Just as a goof, I decided to decant about two ounces back into the bottle to re-swirl, dislodge the sediment, and add it to the 4oz remaining in my pint glass.

Adding the massive amount of residual yeast turns the apricot color to that of unfiltered apple cider. The meade notes are also kicked way up in the smell. Surprisingly, the taste doesn't change all too much, nor does the mouthfeel. No real changes to my initial thoughts except a 0.5 bump in the appearance and the thought that at least I'm getting my recommended daily allowance of B-vitamins...

EPseja, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of crwills
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So this weekend I had planned for a "smoked beer taste fest" or some such. Basically, I was going to review three smoked beers (Unibroue Raftman, Bieropholie Calumet, and Aecht Schenkeler Rauchbier Marzen) all in a row. Didn't work out -- partially because, to me, Raftman doesn't taste like a smoked beer at all. Not that it's not good but... anyway...

My 750 mL bottle of Raftman pours a thick-looking honey or maple syrup. Actually quite nice. Nice big head to start with that fades relatively quickly, with very little residue.

Smell is sweet fruits, honey, raw sugar, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste is quite pleasant. Thick enough to coat the mouth, some decent carbonation. The sweet fruits quickly change to sour fruits, plus some yeast and grain flavours showing through. Very little aftertaste to this beer, which appeals to me.

Not one of my favourite Unibroues, but not bad. I have another bottle I'll save for a month or two at least and sample again.

crwills, Oct 31, 2005
Photo of tesguino
2.85/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

carameled like bread crust; one of the unibroue gourmet beers; a canadian brewery it makes the things affluent; this beer is good for cheese, snack, like appetizer, a 750 ml presentation for mexican market, a whisky malt liquor, fruitty and smoked aroma; its high alcohol content is made for the expert drinker.

tesguino, Oct 17, 2005
Photo of Goldorak
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It feels weird to review one of my "classics", but I had a pen and paper and was waitng for my mash liquor to heat up...

Appearance: Almost opaque, caramel like the kraft candies I loved so much when I was a kid. The head was fluffy and off-white.

Smell: Spicy, Unibroue yeast profile but with a side order of smoke, giving it a peaty character that would come into it's own if only the yeast wasn't bullying so hard. Hops are there but they can't stand much of a chance either.

Taste: One of the smoothest brews Unibroue makes, lactic and yeasty. Maybe it's my palate that changed, but I recall it being a lot more malty a few years ago. An enjoyable, any-occasion brew.

Goldorak, Oct 14, 2005
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange/amber, small head, no lacing. Smell is sweet and smokey, some floral and citrus notes. Taste is smokey malt, sweet, yeasty as almost all Unibroues are, some citrus and light fruit in the finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, highly carbonated, medium body, nice and refreshing.

Viggo, Sep 15, 2005
Raftman from Unibroue
87 out of 100 based on 652 ratings.