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Raftman - Unibroue

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

709 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 709
Reviews: 404
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 50
Gots: 52 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Unibroue visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 03-06-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 709 | Reviews: 404
Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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

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.

Photo of EPseja
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
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...

Photo of crwills
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of tesguino
2.9/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of fisherman34
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy yellow, with hints of red. Malts and a particular kind of yeast aroma... an unmistakable Unibroue trait. Tastes of yeast, and toasted malt too, with some sour notes. The finish is a bit unusual, with sour notes intermingled with wet cedar and bran. I don't really detect any smoke, but I still enjoyed it in an odd sort of way.

Photo of ypsifly
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Undated twist top 12oz that has the top of the bottle wrapped in foil, poured into a pint.

Tarnished brass with a small white head that is fizzy but stays around as it is supported by good carbonation.

Smells slightly fruity with some charred wood in the background.

Juicy upfront followed by an acidic twang. Slight smoke follows. Carbonation gives the finish some tingle. Not much else going on, not impressed. The mouthfeel is light, almost watery. Drinkable but boring.

Photo of waughbrew
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light rust with a fizzy foamy top that quickly settles to a cap. Aroma is pleasant because of the smokiness, which seems more hickory than the peat which I assume was used. Signature Unibroue banana-apple-pepper yeast aromas add their thing with caramelly malt wafting around also. Kind of fizzy and definitely dry, this is a decent flavor profile. The smokiness reminds of ham. Sprinkles of lupulin dust the tongue. The real downer here is the malt flavor - that nice smoke needs something to ride upon besides cheezy caramel, and it doesn't find it here. Nice smoke, yeast, and dryness, but lacking in the malt department.

A good beer, but not impressive by Unibroue standards. I have had this twice on draft in the past, once being at Forquet Forchette, and I will say that the bottled version, while not amazing, is definitely better.

Photo of Tim2000
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341 mL brown bottle with Unibroue's usual stylish label and foil.

A slightly hazy burnt orange brew with a thick frothy head.

Aroma is yeasty and spicy. A certain fruitiness is also present - green apple comes to mind. There is also a hint of smoke.

This beer has a rich, malty character that balances the mild phenolic and hop bitterness. Tart apples and citrusy coriander are detectable. The subtle smokiness adds complexity to an already flavourful belgian pale. The body is very creamy and carbonation is moderately high.


Photo of mntlover
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To start bottle says best before 4-4-03 so 2+ years past its prime but have high hopes it is a Unibroue after all. Also want to thank merlin48 for this bottle.

Pours a hazy apple juice color with a small quick fading head that rings the beer.

Aroma is smokey and fruity peach, apples, apricot on light malt background with some of classic Unibroue spicey yeast aroma.

Taste is light malt hints of smoke and whiskey underneath a fruity mixture, lightly earthy and bitter more apricot like. Finishes with linger smoke and spice coriander. Very tastey more so since its an old bottle must be wonderful in its prime.

Mouthfeel is little heavier then light has a nice carbonated feel to it, over all compliments the flavors well. Drinkability is good taste like a belgian pale with some smokiness a thrown in.

Photo of elricorico
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy dark orange with a thick bubbly cream coloured head. Plenty of tiny bubbles can be seen rushing up the sides of my tulip glass. The head retention is excellent.

The smell is full of the classic Unibroue yeast smell, spicy pepper, citrus and a bit of alcohol aroma. I'm digging deep looking for smoke in the smell, but I'm unable to detect any.

The taste is everywhere. Sweet, spicy, bitter, smoky and a touch of alcohol warmth to it. No single taste dominates. The finish is very faintly smoky and lingers with just the right amount of strength.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, though I wouldn't say it is outstanding. Carbonation is sharp and the body is a bit on the lighter side.

This is a beer I could certainly spend some time with. It is subtle. No big single flavour to overpower, no huge alcohol level, no gimmick. All that is here is a well crafted beer. A treat for sure.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of kmpitz2. Thanks bro. After I pop the cap I get a bit of a gusher..easily contained by a quick pour into my SN tulip. A careful pour reveals a dark copper orange brew with a nice 1/2" head on top along with some stringy lacing. Aromas start off with fruits...orange, some apple along with a underlying peaty smokiness. There's a nice dash of spiciness in there as well. Quite an interesting aroma with a subtle smoke.

First sip brings a smooth fruity body upfront along with a ghostly mellow smoke flavor in the background. There's a yeasty spiciness that runs through the middle with a hint of cinammon, clove and pepper. The interplay between the fruity and the smoke is nice but I was hoping for a big more in the smoke department.

Mouthfeel is smooth with a rush of tight carbonation and a soft body...easily flows over the palate. I'm enjoying this bottle and I'd imagine I could drink another if I had it. An interesting brew for sure...hopefully Unibroue brings this back into rotation. Bottle says best by 04-04-03...about 2 years past and still damn tasty!

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Moan and Dove.

Last time I was at this bar I was introduced to this wonderful brewery. When I arrived last night there was no Unibroue selection on the board. Ten minutes later BAM, there it was.

Deep creamy brown hues, with a 1/2 inch head. Being a smoked beer gives away it most outstanding characteristic, but underneath that is a chocolaty sweat libation. As been my experience with Unibroues in the past, this one broke the mold. I could actually see as I was leaving the bar! Not overpowering in the alcohol department.

Very drinkable, very tasty, very good.

Photo of deejaydan
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a head on this one. Pours with a huge frothy head that took a few times to mellow out a bit. Color is a nice orange color with streams of tiny bubbles coming through. Aroma is lightly smoky, I'd go for a bit more here. Flavor is good and approachable for a smoked beer. Not over the top, yet good. Smooth malts and some flavor of ripe plums come to mind. Velvety smooth mouthfeel. For a smoked beer, this is very drinkable. A good one from Unibroue. Not earthshattering, but good.

Photo of Pepeton
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another excellent product from Unibroue.
Tried this one from a 750 ml corked bottle. It's production date stated that it was already 1.5 years old. So I bought an aged beer!
I had it with a 4 course family dinner and enjoyed both wonderfuly.

It poured a great orange, lightly cloudy brew. Good head that quickly vanished into a foamy lacing.

It definitely smells smoky, but not as much as I expected. Lots of maltiness, spices and ripe fruits.

Exceptional and complex taste: The smokiness fades in your mouth and blends with the hop bitterness for a crisp yet fruity aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is silky and smooth, but in no way watery. Carbonation is high, but not unpleasent.

I wish I could find this one more often, but fine imported beers are not easy to find in my town.

Photo of Jacobob10
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy orange color with a nice white head. I loved the aroma. Smoky and I can definitely detect the scotch malts that are described on the label. Very smooth taste. I like how the hops play off of the scotch malt. Great balance. The smokiness dies down when you begin to drink it and it turns into a fairly drinkable beer.

Not being the biggest fan of smoked beers, I poured some of this into a pot of chili I was making. The chili tasted fantastic with it, but I almost wished I had saved some more of it for drinking rather than for the chili. Really surprised by how much I liked this beer. Definitely unique and worth a try.

Photo of hefevice
3.01/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy dark amber with a reasonable large bubble head to start which fairly quickly falls away. Aroma in my case was very attenuated, hard to pick anything in particular out. All I could taste with the first sip was smoke - if you could liquify a bushfire this would be it. Sure there were other flavours present, but I couldn't get past the smoke, which lingered for a long time in the aftertaste. Shouldn't be surprised of a smoky taste in a Smoked Beer style, however this lacked balance. The most disappointing of the Unibroues I have encounted so far. May need to come back and re-rate this as I experience more of this style.

Photo of merlin48
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of fellow Kentucky BAs, clvand0 and kmpitz2. I've never seen Raftman in a store anywhere, so have no clue where this one originated. "Best before 04-04-03", sampled Feb 19, 2005. Pours a hazy, apricot body with a small offwhite head that retains for a few minutes. Sporadic film, patch, and some sheet lace noted. Aroma has tropical fruits, clove, white pepper, and some campfire smoke. Mouthfeel has a light medium body and some subdued effervescent carbonation. Taste is similar to other Unibroue Belgian pale ale stylings. Tropical fruit sweetness, spicy coriander and white pepper, and balancing bitterness from the hops and yeast. There is a noticeable smoked beef jerky component that comes from the use of lightly smoked whisky malts. Finish is clean and evenly balanced. Good drinkability from this Unibroue, even though it is apparently past its prime. The smoked malt character reminds me a bit of Germany's Bamberg smoked beers. Very interesting departure from Unibroue's always interesting line.

Photo of WanderingFool
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This 750ml bottle of Raftman has aged in my cellar for about 1.5 years. It poured a hazy dark straw yellow color with a foamy white head on top. The foam faded quickly to a ring around the surface leave a few spots and lines of lace on the side of the glass.

A spicy aroma filled with clove and pepper with hints of peach and yeast floats above the beer. Each sip of this medium bodied beer is smooth with a mild fizz on the back of the palate and a bit of tartness on the sides of the tongue. The flavor begins with clove and pepper. Some fruity peach notes moves in towards the middle and there's a hint of citrus towards the end. A nice smooth dry malt flavor with a hint of smoke remains in the background.

I've heard unconfirmed rumors Unibroue is no longer producing Raftman. I hope that is not true. This beer reminds me of a Belgian pale, but without the strong spicy kick. It's a well balanced delicious brew.

Photo of SaunaKing
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I read the label to find it was made using malt whiskey but when i poured it, i thought it looked like a wheat beer. This is good since that is my favorite style. A pale amber colour, a little cloudy with a nice head but leaving no lacing. The head is a creamy white. The aroma is cloves and some esters. I can taste a sweet hint of caramel, not very hoppy. Has a light, malty finish and quite smooth and drinkable.

Photo of BigBry
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml brown corked bottle. Huge billowing off white head, that left foam (more than lace) on side of glass. Dirty gold-brown with haziness from sediment left at bottom of bottle. Aroma of yeast and oranges, not really smokey. Taste of fruit, oranges again, trace of hops. Disappointed in the lack of smokey character."

Photo of revdrjbob
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another great brew bought from Thirroul Cellars.
Poured a light brown/amber colour, a white head that dissipated quickly (dirty glasses). Slight haze from the yeast.
The aroma wasn't really there, a slight malt and Unibroue yeast aroma, but not much else. As the beer warmed up, it became more evident that there was a slight smoked malt aroma.
Tasted malty, slightly hoppy, and yeasty. Again, as the beer warmed, the peated smokey malt flavour became evident, not overpowering, but a lingering back palate experience.
A nice beer, could do with a bit more peated malt character, I was expecting a "single malt" kind of thing.

Photo of canucklehead
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mid dark gold with a generous head this beer has a very yeasty nose that sets stage for a full bodied beer with dryish rye ovetones and great drinkabilty. The fact that this Unibroue has less than 6.00% alcohol makes it appealing to have more than one bottle.

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Raftman from Unibroue
87 out of 100 based on 709 ratings.