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Belgian Pale Ale
Ranked #27
Ranked #14,763
3.89 | pDev: 11.31%
Quebec, Canada
Very Good
Notes: 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
Reviews: 424 | Ratings: 796 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by meathookjones:
Photo of meathookjones
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
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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BEERchitect from Kentucky, Sep 06, 2007
Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
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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JohnnyBarman from Ontario (Canada), Mar 14, 2011
Photo of SupaCelt
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass is this lovely beer from our friends at Unibroue. This beer boasts a beautiful honey colour and a luscious inch of spring fed, long lasting head. A good quarter inch of fluff sustains itself through the entirety of the drinking session. The nose is distinctly house Unibroue with Belgian yeasty undertones and a sweet, somewhat spicy aroma on top. Smells wild and inviting. The taste is fresh and light with spiced caramel apple skin and chalky yeast tones and some crusty breadiness. The use of whiskey malt does not show up as an overtly conspicuous component nor does it create a definite uniqueness beyond the other equally great Unibroue offerings. If it weren't noted upon the bottle, this ingredient would likely not be identified by most palates. "Whiskey flavour" is generally a product of whiskey barrels, and this brew is bottle fermented not barrel aged in whiskey casks. You can imagine it if you like. At any rate, this brew has a great flavour. The mouthfeel ranges in around medium with the ample carbonation lending itself to a great consistency. The drinkability is good as this brew flows smoothly and is without any offensive or overpowing elements in the flavour profile. As well, the alcohol content is within a moderate range that would allow for extended samplings without threat of inebriation. Well crafted.

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SupaCelt from Michigan, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of OldSchoolGamer
2.95/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Okay never seen this beers before in 4 packs or the large bottles. Got this one in a Unibroue sampler. Don't know what to expect. Here goes:

A: Poured a cloudy amber color. Lots of carbonation, huge head that dissipates quickly.

S: Smelled pretty sweet actually. Yeasty and fruity. Maybe some apple or white grapes.

T: Okay, first taste I get is an overpowering metallic flavor. Hints of whisky from the malt they used. Pretty clean finish. Get some Belgian yeast. Light hints of white grape. Kinda sweet. Just not a whole lot going on here.

M: As with most Unibroue beers, very lively carbonation and easy drinking. Medium to light bodied.

D: This is pretty easy drinking. Not highly drinkable, but its okay. The main thing detracting me from this beer is lack of character and taste.

I found this beer very underwhelming. I just didn't get a lot of flavor here. This is probably my least favorite Unibroue beer. You really have to search your palate to get any nice flavors to come out here. I am no expert on Belgian ales, but I have had enough to know that they pack more flavor punch than this. If you see it give it a try, but don't expect it to rock your world.

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Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Boone757 from Virginia, Apr 22, 2014
Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color with a decent head (though a little disappointing for a Belgian style); strands of lacing linger

Smell: Floral and white pepper elements along with a cookie dough aspect

Taste: Opens with a cookie dough flavor that adds an oaky, peppery and floral character by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors dry out considerably, with wheat bread, nutmeg and just a hint of lemon and peat in the finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body; very effervescent

Drinkability: Not as distinctive as I was expecting, this is still a nice lighter Belgian style ale

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brentk56 from North Carolina, Jun 08, 2010
Photo of MattyV
3.5/5  rDev -10%

MattyV from Ontario (Canada), Dec 30, 2011
Photo of KalanM
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

KalanM from British Columbia (Canada), Nov 29, 2012
Photo of kmpitz2
4.72/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer departs the bottle a hazy orange color. The nose is not what I expect, but a great orange, spicey belgian nose. I dig it. What a flavor. The smoke and the orange flavor play a beautiful song together. The smokiness is very subdued, and allows the base beer to come through while still reminding me this is a smoked beer. The feel is moderate to thick. Drinkability is excellent as well. I am so sad that this beer is not sold around here anymore. I would try this one if you can find it.

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kmpitz2 from Tennessee, Nov 02, 2004
Photo of Dawkfan
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Towering white effervescent head atop a nearly clear(second pour was much cloudier) copper orange body. Retention was very good, lacing mediocore.

S- I had to look at the style listing again because upon first whiff I instantly thought this was a Hefe. Further sniffing around reveals some light fruit and the Unibroue yeast strain becomes more prevalent as it warms.

T- Flavors are light but long lasting , which is definitely a changeup considering the brewers other offerings, but somehow seems fitting here. Apples, pears, slightly spicy yet earthy. It's sweet, tart and drying all at the same time.

M- Love the mouthfeel, light with just the right amount of carbonation.

O- The beer itself was good but I'm not really sure what style it fits in. I guess BPA is the most suitable. There's no trace of the smoked malt whiskey. This might be Unibroue's most drinkable beer.

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Dawkfan from Alberta (Canada), Feb 02, 2012
Photo of JimmyFlatRock
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of kayrex
3.5/5  rDev -10%

kayrex from Pennsylvania, Apr 21, 2012
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of DrJay
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy copper/orange colour topped by a thin white head. Nice malt base present in the aroma, with a pleasant crispness and noticeable, but not overpowering, smokiness. The flavour was quite complex, with a ripe fruitiness balancing the smoke character nicely. The finish was slightly phenolic with a light spiciness, complemented by a light bitterness. Medium body and carbonation, with the CO2 contributing to smoothness of texture.

Brown 341 mL bottle with freshness date on rear label.

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DrJay from Texas, Oct 09, 2004
Photo of sweemzander
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into my Unibroue Tulip. No bottle date. The best by date was never printed in the area it is usually in on Unibroue's bottles . . . . .

(A)- Pours a murky medium brown color. Looks kinda like muddy water. Head dissipated in seconds which is kinda strange for a belgian style. No lace present.

(S)- I am definitely getting those whiskey malts. Slight caramel combined with the classic bananna/clay aroma. Nice drying effect in the nose on the finish in kind of a smoky fashion; tobacco?

(T)- Very light bodied. Slight twang of orange/lemon citrus combined with banannas and light caramel. Slightly sweet. Really subdued and light though, was expecting more strength in the taste; feels watered down.

(M)- Light bodied with lots of carbonation. Maybe too much carbonation perhaps. Where is the pale ale in this? Where is the drying effect and slight hopiness?

(D)- These could be put away one after another no problem. Its super light & refreshing and fruity. Its 5.5% is totally tolerable. However, where is the pale ale aspect this claims to be? Its got the Belgian style down fine.

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sweemzander from Illinois, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of KevinGordon
4/5  rDev +2.8%

KevinGordon from North Carolina, Jul 13, 2014
Photo of connecticutpoet
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one was a cloudy amber color that seemed to have small particles floating in it. It had a HUGE head that took a while to dissipate.

The smell was... just smoky. Hard to tell what kind of wood smoke, but that was it. I couldn't pick out any hoppiness or fruitiness. Just the smoke.

The taste was smooth, malty, slightly bitter, not as smoky as the aroma implied, and very restrained. Not too bad. But not spectacular, and not as drinkable as one would hope.

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connecticutpoet from Connecticut, Jun 28, 2004
Photo of Seanstoppable
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm a big, big fan of Unibroue, but their Raftmen has always seemed to be out when I try to pick up a bottle. Until recently that is.

Poured into an oversized wine glass, resulting in a mahogany colored ale with about a finger of head. Steady stream of small bubbles made their way to the surface. Head slowly leveled off to a thin covering on top.

A nice sweet scent is easily detectable, not quite honey, but something similar. Yeast is also detectable.

Initial taste results in an 'ooo' moment. Tiny bubbles provide a nice carbonation. A very pleasant sweetness going on, reminding me of honey and molasses. A little hint of spice and clove. Can't make out the subtle whisky portion, but I do get a hint of smoky character. Yeast lends a slightly bready feel to the end of it. I enjoyed letting it linger in the mouth before each swallow, to take in the various characteristics

Overall this is pretty fantastic. Flavorful, enjoyable,and very light, this is easy to drink over an extended period of time.

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Seanstoppable from Nova Scotia (Canada), Jan 16, 2010
Photo of Jordantb313
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Jordantb313 from Colorado, Jun 11, 2013
Photo of foamyhead
2.65/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Light amber coloured cloudy brew. The foam is relatively firm, although it doesn't stand the test of time.

In the nose I sense a fresh, compact smell of fruit, typical smell of topfermented beer. Maybe a bit of wet, exotic wood?!

The beer has some power in the body, although it is to carbonated for it's style - in my opinion - and after the first impressions of taste it more or less "dissappears" from the palate, leaving a discrete hint of smoke hand in hand with a (very) little hoppiness.

All in all: it promises something, but is not able to live up to it. The body is not harmonic and balanced, and the promised whiskey malt taste is much to discrete, compared to eg French whiskey malt beer 'Adelscott' or the German 'Highlander'.

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foamyhead from Denmark, Jun 12, 2004
Photo of kwjd
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased this bottle yesterday at Peluso in Montreal. Pours a hazy golden orange colour with thick white head. Really nice head retention with some mild lacing. Smells of Belgian yeast, banana and some citrusy hops. Nice bitterness in the taste, some mild sweetness as well. Very classic Belgian ale flavour. Nice full carbonation level. Only 10 more beers to review on the top 50 in Canada now.

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kwjd from Ontario (Canada), Nov 08, 2010
Photo of GoHabsGo
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

GoHabsGo from Ontario (Canada), Dec 25, 2012
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Viggo from Ontario (Canada), Sep 15, 2005
Photo of TMoney2591
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served from tap in a tumbler at Firkin.

I remember buying one of those Unibroue mixed packs a few years ago in order to try this stuff. It's been a while, so let's give it another go, eh? It pours a clear sunset amber topped by a finger of lightly off-cream foam. The nose comprises light Band-Aid, Belgian yeast, a twinge of dry maple syrup, and light biscuit. The taste brings in more of the same, with some light orange zest and a richer, less phenolic smoke (though it's still pretty mild in the grand scheme of this glass's things). The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a solid, lightly-smoked BPA. Good times as usual from Unibroue.

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TMoney2591 from Illinois, Jan 06, 2015
Raftman from Unibroue
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 796 ratings