Raftman | Unibroue

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792 Ratings

Brewed by:
Quebec, Canada

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Unibroue introduced Raftman to the Quebec market in March 1995. This coral-hued beer has a unique taste that combines the smooth character of smoked malt whisky with the flavours of fine yeast.

IBU: 15.5

Added by kbub6f on 03-06-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 792 |  Reviews: 420
Reviews by mattmaples:
Photo of mattmaples
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice, lighter beer in the Unibrew lineup. I greatly appriciate the fact the whiskey malt was not over done. Sit back and enjoy one, or two :-)

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More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341mL bottle brought back from a recent trip to Montreal. Always nice to run into a Unibroue offering I haven't tried yet. (For those Canucks in the audience, this label greatly reminded me of the CNFB "Log Driver's Waltz" film from the 70s. How Canadian can you get?)

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Pale amber-copper, slightly opaque with that yeasty sediment. About an inch of fluffy head quickly recedes into a thin, but sturdy ring. Lacing when the glass is tilted.

The nose is that distinctive Unibroue yeast, peach, apple, vanilla, and I guess you could call it smoke, but really it's probably my nose playing off the beer description because it isn't very strong. Still, a nice smell to it.

Tastes like the typically good Unibroue fare, although I was a bit underwhelmed. Nothing really stood out for me in this brew - the smoky, whisky flavors I was anticipating just weren't there, and if they were, they were so well hidden I can't really say I'm being honest about them. Still, a not-so-fantastic Unibroue is still fantastic. Easy to sip on a cold, dreary afternoon.

Slight sediment to the mouth, crisp carbonation, thicker bodied.

This log driver's waltz won't please the beer folks completely, but it still was a decent beer. A low ABV would make for a great session brew. It's of the kind I like to drink so it's hard to knock it, but when I see Unibroue's website describe Raftman as a "a peat smoked whisky malt ale", I was expecting a great deal more than what was there.

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

Enjoyed last night at Pazzo's Pizza Pub, Lexington KY (a Pint Night offering). Don't think this beer is actually Belgian Pale, but it's quite a good beer, no matter the style. A very rusty colored, lightly viscous pour delivers a dainty head retention and light, creamy carbonation, which creame resists fading throughout. Moderate aromas of complex malts, aged hops, fruitiness, spicy esters, and a vineous, peat-ey / light smoke, musky scent sets the tone. A strong scent of metal and rust accompanies over-ripe fruits of peaches, dates, figs, grapes, pears, apricots, and mangos. Flavors hit on these same notes, but apply emphasis to a woodsy / musty character, a yeasty / bready flavor and texture; and strong, spicy / fruity esters. The textue is far lighter than the aroamas and flavors suggest; more Witbier-like than Belgian Pale. Very creamy textured, with light, powdery, cooling sensation. Alcohols remain light throughout. Waters a bit toward the end, but reamins very easy to drink.

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Photo of oberon
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep copper color with medium head that leaves some pretty nice lacing,I really liked the soft malty slightly sweet aroma.The taste is also pretty soft with a light smokiness to it with a good malty backbone and finishes a little fruity.I think this is a highly drinkable beer for the style,pretty well done.

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Photo of Popsinc
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: 341ml bottle. Pours a cloudy orange/brown with a large frothy head.

Smell: Obvious spiciness in the nose. Light fuity hints and a raw honey sweetness.

Taste: Right off the bat there is a woodniess to the beer, oak maybe. I can see where the whisky malt comes into play here. Some smokey hints as well. This lends a dry, almost tartness to the beer. Not as much spice or fuit as was found in the nose. The finish is a little lemony and dry.

Mouthfeel: Very light and smooth. Not as full and bubbly as i would have liked or expected.

Drinkability: I wasn't crazy about this beer. Compared to other Unibroue offerings, this one is not one of their best.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Note – I bought this for tasting a few weeks ago and the brew was spent. It tasted like crap. I figured that I had got a bad bottle and decided to review with another sample, which is recorded below.

Appearance – Nice, thick, cloudy orange color. The head came up nicely but went down kind of quick.

Smell – Light smoke with the malt and some hops. Well balanced.

Taste – There are some very sophisticated malts in here, and a nice sweetness made up of dark, ripe fruits and table sugar. The whiskey flavor claimed on the bottle is very light.

Mouthfeel – A little over-carbonated for my preference, but this beer left a lot of satisfaction on the mouth. It felt great.

Drinkability – This one went down fairly well.

Comments – I don’t know if I would call it a “whiskey malt,” but it was good nevertheless.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been wanting to try this one for a long time so I was thrilled to find it on tap during my most recent visit to the Map Room.

Pours kind of a glowing pale orange color with a healthy white head.

The aroma begins with that wonderful fruity yeastiness found in most Unibroue beers. Then I notice a hint of smoky whisky followed by zesty hops.

The body is light and dry with a variety of light fruit, yeast based flavors. Toasty with some pepper and smoke. Touches of metallic graininess but not much. Peachy esters and lemony finish. Well balanced and quite drinkable.

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Photo of beerhunter13
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Photo of Rijtjeshuis
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

served in tulip...

BA here describes this as a BPA, though I've seen it elsewhere as a rauchbier and the unibroue website describes it as a peat-smoked beer (a seemingly sui generis category). So, it's probably

look -- pours a rich medium amber. The head is a bit of a letdown: white, while it came up to about two fingers, and falling quickly without lacing to a swirling film. Hazy (not truly opaque, nor clear).

smell -- the smell is full of the unibroue ale yeast (maybe a bit more peppery than usual) with some interesting malts in the background. I get the scotch-like peat smoked malt aroma, but it's really quite weak and in the background behind the yeast that comes along with an aroma of rich dark bread. No real hop aroma

taste -- essentially, the same as the aroma, but a the taste is a little better balanced between the yeast and the malt than the nose. The malt character is still similar to rich dark bread with a hint of sweetness in there (which struck me as almost similar to a liquor chocolate). There really isn't all that much in the way of smokiness (at least compared to a rauchbier, which I have seen this brew listed as). Any smokiness there is is carried off with the pepperiness of the yeast and the breadiness of the malt. No real hop flavor, but a bit of bitterness on the finish.

feel -- lighter body than I would have expected, good carbonation. No alcohol warmth. Some spiciness played well with the effervescent finish.

Overall, a decent brew. Pretty tasty, though maybe not the most drinkable (to be frank, I think it could have taken a higher ABV). I like having it with greasy and gravy soaked food.

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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!

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Photo of FadetoBock
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.24/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the bottle poured into a tulip. A hazy amber color with a very large white head. The head dissipated rather quickly.

The aroma was boozy, vanilla. There was a lot of sweet malt.

The taste was very malt-forward. Lots of toffee and caramel. Vanilla still there, with a hint of whiskey.

Nicely carbonated, very pleasant. I had become bored with Unibroue, but this renewed my faith in them.

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Photo of Todd
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750ml corked and wired caged bottle. Freshness date very clearly marked on the back. Label has an image of lumberjacks hard at work.

Appearance: A peach coloured beer, with a slight haze. Head is a snapping thick head of large bubbles that quickly drops to a patchy, thinly ringed white lace. Carbonation bubbles are larger than most beers, like twice as large, with smaller ones mixed in.

Smell: Yeast spice, pepper and fruit of faint apricot.

Taste: Smooth mouthefeel, with a creamy carbonation lift that fills the mouth and then gently pricks the palate with a crisp, quick, sharp hop snap. The malt profile contains whisky malt, and is a well-balanced combination of complex flavours, such as: caramel/toffee, faint fruity apricot, honey and toasted malts. Things thin out towards the end, with a clean finish and slight dryness.

Notes: Oh bliss! A world-class Beglian-style Speciale ale. Much less robust and thinner than the other beers from Unibroue, but this makes it an exceptional beer in which to have many of.

Raftman is brewed in memory of the masters of the forest who were simultaneously lumberjacks, log drivers and raftsmen to commemorate their legendary courage they knew, when it was time, how to settle their differences and share their joie de vivre around a beer or a whisky.

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

Quick foaming head that slowly drops down to an ample lace over a cloudy glowing orange coloured brew.

Woody aroma with hints of yeast and vanilla, a faint smoke is detected also with a fruitiness of peaches and lemon.

Smooth mouth feel with a large crispness from a somewhat aggressive carbonation. Malty upfront with a toasted sweetness, sizeable yeast twang in the middle. A dash of peppery phenols thrown in for good measure. Slight metallic charred grain husk flavour pulls the dryness further in. Swift yet mild fruitiness pops in with an indistinct peach flavour and faded alcoholic esters. Hops are very light with only a fast gracing of bitterness. Toasted grain lingers far into the finish.

I could have one after the other of this brew, I’ll be buying this by the case ASAP.

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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.

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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

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Photo of tigg924
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: big head, murky, a dark orange/yellow with medium carbonation

Smell: I get orange peels and some bourbony smoke

Taste: It tastes almost Belgiany--some bourbon, some earth, some wood

Mouthfeel: light, crisp, with a slightly bitter aftertaste

Drinkability: This is a beer that the more I drink it, the more I like it...It is complex and I could easily drink a six of it

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Photo of aquazr1
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of JC333
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Swedes21
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341 ml served in a chilled glass

Apperance - beer pours with a nice full bodied head, about 2-3 fingers. It lingers around for quite some time. The beer is a dark orange/amber in appearance and its hard to tell the carbonation levels.

Smell - the smell is nice and smooth, i can pick up some hints of orange, lemon and mild hops.

Taste - nice tasting beer! I can actually taste some sweetness along with the citrus tones. The beer is full bodied without an aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Nice mouthfeel, full bodied and lots of carbonation. I can pick up hints of banana as well in the mouthfeel. All the comments in taste remain the same, very nice beer.

Drinkability - I am very happy i was able to try this beer and really enjoyed it. Nice tasting beer that offers the mouth so much, will find and stock again!

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Pours energetic hazy tea under a 2” cream colored foam cap that quickly descends to a thick film while gripping the side of the glass.
S: Toasty malt with a hint of smoke, spice, over ripe fruit, a hint of rye, spice.
T: Faint cola, grain, fruit, dark dried fruit, mellow malt.
F: Very creamy soft, overall sweet but finishes dry with a touch of spice astringency, above average carbonation, medium light body.
O: Rich easy to drink Belgian Pale Ale packed with flavor delivered in an incredible texture.

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Photo of bpfrush
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of ehammond1
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Hazy orange and amber with almost no head. No lacing on the glass. Disappointing. Seems a bit lifeless.

A wonderful fruity and sweet aroma consisting of tangy and spicy Belgian yeast, some lemon character, a touch of other citrus, and some candyish caramel malt.

The flavor follows very closely with the aroma, though the tangy yeast isn't quite as pronounced as I thought it might be. Sweet and citrusy, a touch bready.

Relatively poor mouthfeel. This beer seems to be missing it's punch and appropriate body from the carbonation--with it, I think it might make this beer extraordinarily good.

A decent Belgian pale ale but lacking the right amount of carbonation. A tasty beer, but it could easily be improved.

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

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Raftman from Unibroue
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 792 ratings