Raftman | Unibroue

very good
411 Reviews

Brewed by:
Quebec, Canada

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 03-06-2001

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Reviews: 411 | Ratings: 768
Photo of Loki
4.79/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 07/09/03 from a 12oz bottle with a best before date of 11-22-03.

Poured a cloudy clover honey color wiht a huge, froathy white head.

Aromas of very sweet malt with hints of whiskey without the alcohol and wisps of hops.

Tastes of sweet malt with a medium body and high carbonation feel. Tingles on the tongue and finishes with a slight hop taste. Very sweet, yet not overly sweet. A yeasty middle that gives way to the hops. Smooth and goes down very easy. Great, great beer that is different from the norm and the best Unibroue I've had yet.

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
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 adamette
4.73/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Live Review. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle purchased at World Wines and Liquor as a part of a "Unibroue tasters pack" (or something similar) which was only $5.99 (It came with 4 beers...good deal!) into my clean, clear Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass.

A Pours a hazy brown orange yellow (like peach color) under a one inch head that dissipated within a minute. I have to say that the label and the name of the beer is one of my favorites. The name is not cute or a pun or rhyming. It is just great. The label is an authentic raftman depiction that honors that activity, does not make it trite. Really excellent.

S Nice sweet malt (Whiskey malt in fact) with only a hint of hops bitterness. I think that the whiskey smell makes it better than good and also creates a better than good level of intrigue.

T This is a GREAT beer! I love the whiskey malt taste against the minimal hops background. It is reasonably light (managable ABV) and really smooth. This really reminds me of another beer whose name escapes me now...I want to say maybe St. Bernardus?! Call me crazy but this is a great beer.

M A nice smoothness carries this essentially light beer past your taste buds not unlike the river that might carry a raftman down current. Really great.

D Excellent. I only had the one 12 oz. bottle but I could easily have drank more.

Notes: I was told (by an employee at World Wines & Liquor in Mentor) that the only way to get this is in the sampler pack. Well, she said that they do not make the raftman in the 750ML bottles anyway. I would love to find 4 or 6 packs of it. It is at the same time a session beer and a fine craft beer. Everyone reading this should try the Raftman. If not, BM me and I will take it off of your hands. This is my favorite Belgian Pale Ale.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.72/5  rDev +22%
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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Photo of Skidz
4.69/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Best Before 10-02-02, making this about 2 years past due.

Pours out golden yellow and sits light, cloudy copper in the glass with a large white head.

Aroma pour into your nose and throat like you might imagine it would in a Garfield cartoon. Big floating waves of aroma. It is amazing how much this beer puts forth. Apples (cider-like), pears, caramel, peaches, apricots, you name it, it's there. Lightest hints of applewood in a sweet glaze. Delicious. It's like waking up on a cool fall morning and smelling the freshly fallen leaves as the morning sun begins to warm the forest floor.

Tastes delicately sweet up front, caramel, vanilla and sweet cream. Fruitiness extends with a very light apple flavor along with canned pears and faint sweet oranges. Hop bitterness present and accounted for, fading into the light finsh.

I believed I already used the word delicate, so lets call this...petite in the mouth. Ultra-fine carbonation bubble delight the mouth and ease gracefully down its path. Medium bodied, but feels like a newborn. Age has done this beer wonders.

I would drink this as much and as often as I could, were I able to get it anymore. Maybe two bottles left to purchase. Who knows how much longer they will be around for...?

***EDIT: After picking the fairly considerable amount of yeast, a flashlight could barely shine through the bottom of the bottle, up of the bottom and pouring the remnants into the remainder of the beer, I was treated to a much yeastier (duh) version of the beer. Far more dry, but clinging on to its better qualities. Aroma is muted by the fogginess of the yeast. I'd say it's best served w/o the yeast, that aroma was just top notch and made every dive into the beer that much more enjoyable.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hazy golden amber color with super strong activity. Thick foamy beige 4 finger island head, lasting almost forever, with strong legs.

Pleasant floral and fresh apple nose. Well intensified flavors of apples, pears, grapes, and sweet grains with floral and herbal spices. Balanced fruity sweetness with a sharp crispy fresh grassy and slight coriander feel.

Slick full body with champagne like carbonation. Well intensified finish, ending with a fresh fruity feel and a pleasant honey/maple tongue coat.

Overall an excellent craft offerring delicious complex flavors and great freshness. Visually appealing, well intensified, balanced, and accessible. The only flaw is a slightly metallic feel.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Came in a 6 pack (the first I've ever seen Unibroue put out) that I found in Edmonton. Poured from a 341 ml brown bottle, silver foil around neck with a logo, foil becomes purple at the cap. Appearance is that of a chill hazed marmalade hue, decent carbonation, big creamy white head that eventually settles down to a frothy ring. Aroma contains sweet fruity peaches/apricots, some lively spices, the slightest trace of grain. Flavour contains that fruitiness as well, a faint hint of smoke, a bit of grass and flowers. Full refreshing mouthfeel, this goes down smooth and easy, I think I've found a new favorite. Feels like there is a party going on in my mouth and all the cool kids were invited. This malt whiskey ale is the cat's ass, I paid a small fortune for this 6 pack and it was worth every cent. If this was the reward at the end of every day, then I'd be a lumberjack by trade as well. Raftman is where it's at.

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Photo of JMS1512
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured hard into a Duvel tulip, then backed off to avoid yeast base and spillage onto counter.

Sight: Pumpkin-like orange, brown hues toward the top underneath the head. Hazy. Head is light, white, whipped- almost egg-flip foam. Vortex of carbonation from bottom of glass when first poured. Lace left is big and patchy, with no recognizable or cool word to describe it.

Aroma: Bready, yeasty wafting off head. A bit of malt and cracker, but very subtle hop presence.

Taste: Perhaps hay-ish start, light malt and yeasty fruit traces. A touch of spice, perhaps due to the hops… who knows. A tiny dose of caramel from the whisky malt. I could have told you, however, that this was of the Belgian school of brewing.

Mouthfeel: Medium minus, but great bubble. Refreshing, glad I got a 750mL and not a 12 oz.
Overall: Great, refreshing brew from my favorite Canadians, eh.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very hazy copper colour with furious, prolific carbonation throughout the brew. A good bubbly head about 2 fingers thick sits as a crowning touch, leaving some pleasant - but thin - lacing behind.

Smell is gorgeous. Very Belgian in style with a lot of jammy, resiny fruit aromas; raisins, apple and cherry bark, and a good hit of spice as well. Very delicate whisky aroma at the back and a healthy woodiness. It's sweet but rustic, and wonderfully balanced.

Taste is slightly resiny at first, with a nice complex palate profile. Hints of figs, raisins and pine, with a really pleasant whisky character on the middle, along with an obligatory booze hit, which is obviously from the particular malt used rather than the relatively low ABV. It's a very welcome flavour, although not accompanied by a burning sensation. Very grainy flavour throughout but with a refreshingly brusque hop spice towards the back, cleans up the palate superbly and leaves a fresh bitterness as a linger. Doesn't leave much of a smokey character, but just a delicate woody touch towards the back.

Feel is dense and foamy, with a lot of bubbling, just a beautiful texture.

This is a supremely drinkable beer: balanced and complex, a lot of great flavours, very clean finish. In the Unibroue universe this is a dwarf, but it's clearly standing on the shoulders of its gargantuan brethren.

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Photo of dcook11
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- dark amber with a soft white head. looks like a chimay blue. maybe also like dfh 90

s- malt, grape, smells like cimay blue. good

t- grape malt,....maybe whiskey? a little bit of whiskey at the finish


nothing too good, but pleasent

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Photo of far333
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excellent beer from Unibroue. The head is a nice light brown with big bubbles that settle fairly quickly. The beer is a deep golden to beige color in the glass. The mouthfeel is about average, but the smell and the taste just hit you head on. No that they're overly strong, but the whiskey malt adds a flavor and an aroma that are truly unique and very noticeable. Hints of smoke and an apple-like taste, with definite overtones of whiskey. A real pleasure to drink. I wouldn't be able to have too many because the flavor can get a little overwhelming after a few, but this is a very good beer.

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Photo of Todd
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
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 scootny
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A dusky hazed golden orange with a quickly fading white head. Nice lacing as I consume. Smell is super. A melange of light bananas, apricots, pepper, some soap, Belgian yeast, light toasted grains, smoke and earth. Taste follws suit with a lightly soapy front that flashes the fruits and spicy pepper on its way to a dry grainy malt core. It lingers forever with large amounts of toasted whole grains, a light dry sweetness and hint of lemon. More dry than bitter the hops are earthy and mild. Finish is long and complex with notes of cinnamon coming through as weel as more toasted malt, light smoke and earth. Feel is light, dry, and quenching. Mild prickliness is spot on for this beer. A real winner here. I would dare say Unibroue's equivalent to Orval. Dry and super complex, it goes down like a thirst quencher but demands to be savored and appreciated. Great beer. Too bad it is not availible in any quantities here or I would be stocking up.

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Photo of Smault2001
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

People are being real beer snobby with this one. get a grip!! It s amazing beer. It's good for girls!!! Refreshing and spicy! yay! This is a beer guys can introduce to their gfriends! An awsome entry into the world of belgium!!!! Unibroue fin du la monde is next!!!! Apologize for sp errors

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Photo of demcorhip
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color is very cloudy deep yellowy amber, pretty soild and juicy with a two finger high head of a super creamy, whispy light and tight ivory head, very steady and even, leaves some large stringy lace at first but starts to lose its staying power after awhile. Smell is soft, big time soft, sublte, with a deepening character of musty malts, sweetly rich, a tad citrusy, and some faint spice notes and whisky. Intreging mixed tastes of smokey-like malts, very subtle but rich and softly mellowing and warming, some citrusy hops and mild fruit of peach, apricot, and lemony spices fills out through to the finish with a lingering softness that just begs you for another swig. One heck of a interesting brew, put together magnificantly. Feel is pretty full and textured lightly with a small astringency in the middle leading to the soft lingering dryness of warmed ice cream. Pondering this beer is quite fun, it takes more then one glass of it to really appreciate it, one excellent brewed beer, Unibroue never stops the onslaught of interesting beers, and this ranks up there with some of the finest. Magnifique'.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap a few times on my most recent trip to Canada. As you all should know Unibroue is one of my favorite breweries. I find all of their beers to be excellent, although most of them are better in the larger 750ml bottles, as opposed to the smaller 12oz ones. Well, Unibroue beers on tap are quite a revelation for fans of the brewery. This beer was presented to me a nice, clear, golden colour with a big frothy head. The aromas were stronger and more distinguished on tap. The aromas were of smoked whiskey malts, belgian yeasts, and various hops. The taste was more of the same. Smoky, Earthy, Yeasty....simply delicous! The mouthfeel was very full and satisfying and the drinkability was top notch as well.
Unibroue beers on tap are awesome!!!

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Photo of ssmack
4.49/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A golden apricot colour. Half inch of head that quickly became a slick. Great carbonation but no lacing.

Aroma of Belgian yeast. Cloves, earthiness and whisky. Awesome.

Tastes of cloves and medicinal at first. Smokey malt. A tart aftertaste.

A medium feel with lots of tartness.

A full favour Belgian pale ale build on that strong Unibroue yeast.

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Photo of jbonapar
4.48/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Fantastic, Unibroue continues to amaze me with their Beers. I've been waiting to try this for a while now.

Purchased a large bottle under natural carbination.

Smell - sweet and tangy smell with a slight vanilla overtone.
Taste - Cherry vanilla for some reason comes to mind. Tangy, sweet and malty. As it tails off, there is bitterness but very mild and then a crisp finish. Refressing and drinkable. I could buy a six-pack of these and watch the Maple Leafs play on the CBC.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 1" cream coloured head over hazy brownish amber liquid.

S: Yeast, smoke, citrus and malt.

T: Citrus up front with a yeasty and somewhat smoky finish.

M: Medium viscosity and a high level of fine carbonation.

O: Very refreshing and drinkable Belgian Pale Ale.

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Photo of Mavigo
4.46/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a 750ml bottle of this from Discount Drinks in Farmington. Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a a cloudy copper color with a short beige head that lasts for a few minutes before dissipating entirely. Much darker than what I expect for a pale.

S: Smells of grains, wheat, grass, brown sugars, barley, yeast, and hops. A faint aroma.

T: Mellow, smooth flavor, well balanced. Smooth wheat, grains, yeast and malt, followed a slight hint of hops.

M: Well carbonated and medium bodied. Very crisp and refreshing, excellent for a summer day.

O: Probably the best belgian pale ale that I've tried. And since its not imported from overseas, it was much cheaper than the other comparable belgians. Give it a shot.

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Photo of Brenden
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The color is a cloudy burnt orange. A cloudy, thick head retains pretty nicely, leaving some patchy lacing about a quarter of the way down the glass.
There's a spice, some hefeweisen-like banana and clove, a gentle smokiness, some earth and a gentle, non-citrus fruit on the nose. While fairly complex, it also seems somewhat subdued and more spice than anything, not portending the full beauty of this brew.
There's more malt, and much stronger at that, in the flavor. This is the real beauty: smoked whiskey malts. The toasted and smoky flavor added to the rich, bold flavor and complexity of this brew is what makes it. There's a yeast underlying and the gentle fruit flavors linger all the way. Lest I fail to point it out, the balance isn't bad either, with a sharp hops presence rounding this one out.
There's a nice, tingly crispness in this brew, due mostly to an amply moderate carbonation. It does still have a nice smoothness in a gentle but fairly rich body.
This is a deserving brew, and I hope that it doesn't continue to be underrated.

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Photo of cokes
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ho hum...just another great brew from Unibroue.

Pours a nice golden color....then the yeast gets poured in to make it a milky deep peach.

Faint aromas of the typical Unibroue spiciness with just a touch of smokiness.

Flavor is quite nice with a fruitiness up front (pineapple aand peach). Then hit with some slightly sweet smoke flavors (think watery bourbon mixed with scotch.) A lightly herbal hoppiness sew this one up nicely.

A little tamer than other offerings from the brewery, but still very nice, and a quite a bit different. Very recommended.

A great session Unibroue with alot of uniqueness.

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Photo of Fnord
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - Opaque amber with a dense white head that lasts.

Smell and Taste - Apple, alcohol, maple, and a little grapefruit. The characteristic Unibroue yeast taste is in the finish. There is a touch of smoke about it, but I may not have noticed it if it hadn't been mentioned on the bottle.

Mouthfeel - Medium body and high carbonation. Fairly crisp.

Notes - This is a beautifully balanced Belgian Pale Ale, the best I've had. Low ABV yet complex, I wish there were more beers like it. Once again, Unibroue makes a superior product. I just wish it were easier to find.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle pours a hazed copper color with a modest cap of tan head that fades surprisingly fast without leaving much lace.

Nose is estery Unibroue yeast with a smoky, earthy malt aspect. Smoked bananas on some peanut butter slathered toast. Mmmmm.

Taste shows much of the same with a bubble-gum yeast and light smoked flavor. A little reminiscent of some Bamburg hefeweissbier, but a little lighter in smokiness. Just a fantastic drinker though that so going to disappear from my glass all too fast. I cant believe it took me this long to try this beer, but as with almost all Unibroue beers, I find myself wondering why I dont buy them more often.

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Raftman from Unibroue
3.87 out of 5 based on 768 ratings.
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