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 kojevergas
3.12/5  rDev -19.4%

5.50% ABV. 750ml brown glass bottle with appealing albeit cliche label art and a branded silver cap over a cork acquired at H-E-B grocery and served into a snifter in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery - which makes some lovely beers. Reviewed as a Peat-smoked whisky malt ale. 15.5 IBU.

Served cold. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Half a finger of white colour. Okay thickness and creaminess. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is average - about 2 minutes. More if you include the floater ring it leaves.

BODY: Body colour is a murky copper of below average vibrance. Has some rotten orange hues. Maybe a dab of caramel colour too.

No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible. Appears well-carbonated.

Not real appealing, admittedly. Average looking at best.

AROMA: Raw wort-like malts - the kind of sticky almost malt-extract esque aroma you'd expect to find in a new upstart brewery's amber. A hint of tangerine. I don't pick up on any smokiness. Clove. It has surprising warmth for a beer of average ABV, but that may be some of the whisky malt seeming booziness trickling in. I don't pick up on any actual whisky notes. Belgian pale malts.

It's not all that great an aroma. The rawness coupled with the warm fruit. Inoffensive, but unattractive. Average in strength.

No off-notes are detectable per se.

TASTE: Has some pleasant sour apple. Caramel. Belgian pale malt.

I'm not finding any smokiness or whisky notes at all. Maybe a bit of whisky grain on the backend, but only because I'm searching for it. Loads of spicy esters. Ripe.

Has some mild clove and some muted tangerine.

Fairly well balanced, but ultimately rather simple. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Not complex or intricate, but cohesive. There isn't much subtlety to this execution, and it's not a gestalt build, but I do like it in a general sense.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, a bit too aggressively carbonated, and lightly smacky on the palate. A biteen acidic.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, gritty, rough, or scratchy on the palate. Overall presence on the palate is average.

This texture suits the taste decently, but doesn't feel custom-tailored specifically to it.

OVERALL: It's downable, but surprisingly disappointing for a Unibroue brew. The sour apple note is nice, but I'm not sure what it gains from the whisky malt - if anything. Ultimately, this execution doesn't deliver on the promise of the premise. There's no really smokiness here. I wouldn't buy it again. A rare miss from Unibroue.

Where are Unibroue's signature notes of lees? At the very least, I thought I could always count on that.


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Photo of JayQue
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured from a corked and caged bottle into mu Augustijn goblet. First pour was a clear amber color with a small delicately bubbly white head. The head fades fast and there is little to no lacing. Subsequent pours were a hazy amber color, as the yeast gets more stirred up.

Aroma and taste are strong a nd nice. Belgian yeast and light fruit (apples and pears). Good balance between the yeast flavor and the sweetness from the fruit. Mouthfeel is rich for a 5.5 beer. VEry good 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 VashonGuy
3.18/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I'm quite surprised by how underwhelming this beer is. I have a lot of respect for Unibroue, and I usually like those wonderful Belgian yeasty flavors, but somehow this Belgian Pale Ale just doesn't have much going on in the flavor department, or the aroma department. I'd like to describe what I smelled or tasted, but there wasn't much there.

It was on tap, so I don't know how fresh it was.

This beer is inoffensive, but that's no good reason to drink it.

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Photo of Pencible
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best before 03-06-2016, sampled July 2014.

A: This poured a cloudy dark gold with quickly dissipating off white head.
S: It smelled like grassy hops and Belgian yeast, with some earthy nutty malt and smoked barley.
T: It tasted like grassy hops and Belgian yeast, with a little earthy nutty malt and smoked barley. It had a clean sour aftertaste.
M: It was watery with lots of fine natural carbonation. Thin body.
D: This was a decent Belgian ale, but the scent and taste were really simplistic. It didn't have any unique character like I hoped. The body was a little weak too, but the finish was pretty smooth, so it wasn't difficult to drink. Meh.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a tulip glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep hazy orange-amber color with a one finger head of billowy white foam. The head has a fantastic level of retention, slowly fading to leave a moderate level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is quite heavy of a fruity nature consisting mainly of apple and pear as well as a nice banana smell. Along with these aromas are some yeasty smells as well as a nice big and bold smoky smell. A lighter whiskey and roasted bread smell are there as well, overall producing a rather toasty and fruity smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a lightly toasted malt flavor along a hint of the fruitiness of apple and pear that was detected in the nose. A little bit of smoke is present upfront with it growing slightly stronger more toward the middle of the flavor profile. Like the smoke, a yeasty flavor also develops more and more as the flavor advances with it bringing a little bit of banana and orange. The yeast and smoke kick it up more toward the end of the taste, with the fruits that were present initially fading a bit. In the end, with a little bit of grass and hay coming to the tongue, one is left with a semi-sweet but somewhat lighter malted but rather smoked and yeasty flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thinner and lighter side with a carbonation level that is full of tons of little prickly carbonation bubbles. For the lighter fruit and yeasty flavors, the carbonation is fantastic, really nice complementing them. The smoky flavors however, are at a loss to some extent due to the high carbonation and thin body, so overall the feel is just OK.

Overall – Now don’t get me wrong. This is a good brew, but it falls a little short of the other Unibroue beers I have had thus far. Certainly a worthy beer to take down (as it really does out compete most in the class) although I feel my expectations were a bit too high and hence I was slightly disappointed.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - The beer poured a golden yellow color with a big white head.

Smell - The wheat comes through in the aroma with certain dustiness.

Taste - On the initial taste, one detects the sweet wheat and some dry banana notes. It almost reminds me of a less than sweet banana Laffy Taffy. The carbonation brushes the taste away quickly, leaving a dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - A high level of carbonation keeps the taste from lingering. The taste is not overly potent, which makes the taste brief.

Overall - I was looking forward to this one, but was not overly impressed.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

- 5.5% ale brewed with whisky malt.

A: A glass consuming foam visual sits above a dirty, dense orange coloring. Head retention is very well lasting while leaving stratified rings of fancy lacing down the vessel. The crown in barley-beige in color, pitted foamy and cavenous on the surface, solid around the edges. Some quick release carbonation.

S: Wiff of whisky malt, dried cherries and dry grains on the nose. Finishes out with some dry barley.

T: Flavor had a toasted fruitiness, some apple-citrus, fresh barley, cherry-wood and toasted orange peel. Great belgian yeastiness, cantelope, wet pear slices highlighted by a sweet toasted grain juiciness. Soft rye-apple notes, leafy greens and a peppery-cola spicing on the finish.

M: Medium fullness for body, carbonation around the tongue's edges shows a mineral creaminess.

O: A 5.5% full of flavor and as usual , a great belgian yeastiness showing a wide spectrum of flavors. Unibroue never disappoints, they are the western worlds answer to Belgium beer.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
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 superspak
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, best before 3/6/2016. Pours lightly hazy deep orange copper color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big peach, apricot, pear, apple, light banana, clove, caramel, toast, bread, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast and moderate dark/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of apricot, peach, pear, apple, light banana, clove, caramel, toast, bread, light pepper, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of peach, apricot, pear, apple, light banana, clove, caramel, toast, bread, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and complexity of fruity/earthy yeast and moderate dark/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 5.5%. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian pale ale. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/earthy yeast and moderate dark/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.44/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle best by 3/16/16 at 45 degrees into snifter
Aroma of yeast and over-ripe fruit
Head average (2.5 cm), off white, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to 2 mm ring and partial layer
No lacing
Body medium yellow, hazy
Flavor is subtle, with yeast and a hint of smoke, and a slight spiciness. No alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl.
Palate is light to medium, watery, lively carbonation

A complex, light-bodied and low alcohol offering from, IMHO, one of the best breweries in Canada. I can see drinking several of these in a bar or restaurant, without getting drunk.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Newhall Refinery in Newhall, CA.

Pours a hazy orange-brown with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, fruit, and very subtle smoke aromas. Taste is much the same with malt, earth, fruit, and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the smoked malt supposedly used in this one is almost non-existent in the smell or taste.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Duvel tulip. No decipherable freshness date.

A- Pours a dark amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before fading to a thin ring around the edge of a glass and a sheer strip of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing slides quickly down the glass.

S- Classic rich and yeasty Belgian Pale aroma with lots of banana, some bubble gum and plenty of spices.

T- Flavor follows through bringing a lot of earthy flavors from the yeast. Not really bitter, not really sweet. Just right there in the middle. Great flavor as it entices me to take more and more sips.

M- Vibrant and crisp with a milky texture. Medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the fuller side.

O- Been waiting a long time to get a chance to try this and finally it landed on some shelves near me. Great stuff. While Unibroue doesn't have a whole lot of variance in their ales, it can sometimes be a good thing since you know it's going to have delightful Belgian-style flavors every time. I wouldn't really call it being consistent, I would call it being dependable. Oh and, as others have stated in previous reviews, I found absolutely no whiskey or smoke notes in the beer from start to finish which is fine by me.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark orange body with decent head and minor lace. Aroma is spicy with hint of whiskey and bourbon as well as some Belgian yeast and hints of tropical fruits and earthy hops. Beer is light to medium bodied, smooth from yeast as well a little oakiness, there are hints of candi sugar and tropical fruit sweetness and these flavors are balanced for an easy drinking beer. Finish is complemented by slight alcohol bite (the whiskey) and some peppery spices.

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Photo of CincyStar
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750mL bottle with best by date of 3/6/16.
Outstanding Belgian pale ale with smooth but full malt taste and texture and some restrained banana yeast notes. Only disappointment was I was expecting more of the smoked whiskey notes on the malt, but that had more to do with my expectations. The subtlety could easily be viewed as a positive as well.

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Photo of metter98
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is relatively clear yellowish brown in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high off white head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles completely covering the surface.
S: Light- to moderate aromas of Belgian yeast are present in the nose along with notes of pale malts. The yeast tastes a little like bananas.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell, except that the malts also contribute a slight amount of sweetness and bits of earthiness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation.
O: With all of the banana flavors from the yeast, this beer seemed like a cross between a Hefeweizen and a Belgian Pale Ale.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a slightly hazy medium golden peach in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and faint bright yellow highlights. The beer has a half finger tall foamy off-white head that reduces to a large patch of thin film covering about half of the surface of the beer and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of slightly smoky pale malts, light fruits (apple and pear), and banana from the yeast. Hints of spicy/peppery yeast as well.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of slightly smoky pale malts with a hint of light fruit sweetness (apple and pear). Light to moderate flavors of banana from the yeast and just a touch of spiciness as well. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish but it does not linger for too long.

M: Medium bodied with heavy amounts of carbonation. Crisp/slightly prickly.

O: I wish the whiskey-like flavors and aromas were slightly more present than they are in this beer. This is a really nice and enjoyable brew with a very traditional Belgian profile.

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Photo of fourstringer
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a corked & caged 750 mL bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderately gentle hand. Best by 03-06-16. What the hell's a raftman? I guess the guy on the label is a raftman. Rolling down the hole!

A: Hazy, copper-colored body. 2 fingers of dense, off-white head with good retention. Nice lacing. Head is great, the body seems a bit dull to me.

S: Musty yeast notes. I believe I'm picking up some whiskey malt... A little peat. A little wood. Overall, I'm just not getting much in the nose. Smells nice I suppose, but so light! Where's the smoke?

T: Belgian yeast & spice up front, followed by a slightly nutty, lightly roasty malt. There is a fruity kick that I was not expecting. Banana. Very light hopping on a semi-dry finish. No perceivable alcohol.

M: Moderate carbonation with a light creaminess. Light body. Nice feel and drinkability.

O: I was hoping for more malt, earth and smoke in this one. Came across a bit underwhelming. Drinks well and the flavors were good, but awfully restrained.


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Photo of puboflyons
4.41/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the corked, caged bottle marked best By 03-06-16. I am drinking it about two years earlier than that on May 2, 2014.

It pours the amber color of a good Irish (or Canadian) whiskey but it builds up to bold, off-white head that fades down after a few moments.

The aroma is of yeast, toasted biscuit malts, Belgian sugars, but not a lot of whiskey. Still it is highly inviting and I can't wait to sip it.

The body is chewy and bold.

If there's whiskey in this it is well-masked. But I am not complaining because the taste is heavenly with its toasted Belgian maltiness, yeast, brown sugar, honey (maybe), and low bitterness at the end. Delightful all around. It deserves the high ratings it is getting.

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Photo of Haydn-Juby
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A cloudy deep orange color. Almost entirely opaque once the yeast reaches the glass. Two fingers of head , a bit more creamy looking then most other Unibroue beers. Good lacing and great retention.

S: Belgian yeast charachter / the typical unibroue aroma.

T: Clove and spices. Malty as well. Caramel and some slightly tart but sweet fruits come through. I'm feeling pear and apple , both green and red. I'm not really picking up on any of the peat smoke as advertised which I feel would be out of place in this beer anyways. Not overly complex but well balanced. A touch of a sour character come through too, its slight but makes the beer all that more thirst quenching.

M: Crisp and very carbonated. Some what of a thinner body but this aids in the drinkability.

O: A very good beer in my opinion. I paired it with salmon over rice and asparagus, turned out to be absolutely amazing.

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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 CookstLiquor
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 355 ml bottle. Pours a orangish yellow with amber or brown highlights. Nose is dried fruit, smoked meat and spice. Similar notes on the palate, but tastes a bit like a smoked witbier. Hearty and medium bodied with excellent carbonation.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky orange-amber with a small amount of quick-breaking head. Aroma is very malty, like cornbread with hints of caramel and light smoke. Yeasty. Some pear and apple fruity notes as well. Palate is quite similar, with sweet corn and caramel flavors, a tinge of smoke but no scotch ale in this regard, dry husks, pears and apples, maybe a touch of banana. Vanilla and some coriander or other mild citrus spice. All in all a fairly unique Belgian pale with Unibroue character. One of the more difficult Unibroues to track down, at least in these parts. Perhaps a bit undercarbonated. Finish is persistent, sweet and mildly acidic. Worthwhile and I am tempted to provide higher ratings.

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Photo of polloenfuego
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 750 ml bottle into a tulip.

A: amber in color, with almost no head...not sure if this is a good thing.

S: the unibroue yeast is right there.

T: the yeast come forward, as does a grassyness and some smoky whisky hints.

M: wow. Very little carbonation... Worried about this. Otherwise it is good

O: this was the elusive unibroue beer for me...one of only two of their regular brews that I hadn't tried. I have to say I like it pretty well, though I am a little suspicious that I may have a bad bottle on my hands.

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Photo of BobZ
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Amber with a small head that instantly recedes to a cap.

Smell: The distinct aroma of Unibroue yeast (slightly musty & grassy) is dominant, not much else leaps out.

Taste: Nice pale ale with a little pepper like spice, but most a grassy flavored brew. The whisky is subtle against a pretty solid bready malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, could have actually used more carbonation in this bottle.

Overall: A middle of the road BPA, not bad, not great. I'd choose most all other Unibroue beers over this one.

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