Raftman | Unibroue

very good
778 Ratings

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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Ratings: 778 |  Reviews: 414
Photo of Swedes21
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
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 johnwarne
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A beer haiku for you:

"Canadian ale;
It's really not your fault that...
"Brewed with whisky malt"

Sometimes these things work out well, sometimes they are a little 'flat'. This is not a bad beer at all--quite respectable--but it falls short of some other representatives of the Belgian Pale family. Good ale, but not the best in the Unibroue stable.


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Photo of wvsabbath
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - CLoudy dark tan, 1/2 creamy head that faded really fast

Smell - Dark fruits, grapes, prunes. Pale ale stench to it, floral, slight hop smell

Taste - Bitter floral yeasty kick at first. Lots of fruit taste to go with the yeast and malts. Its actually a little stronger then i figured it would be. I really dont get any whiskey flavor since it says brewed from whiskey malts

Mouthfeel - Its bitter, and dry, Buts it thin and doesnt last long. Not much of a aftertaste to speak of. Would have no issues drinking something else after this.

Drinkabilty - Its decent and not that strong so you could enjoy 3-4 of these. It could use some more hops i feel but all in all its good for soemone that cant take la fin or trois for there strength.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a murky brown colour with an average size fizzy white head. I can't make out much carbonation due to the darkness of the beer. There isn't a whole lot of carbonation and the head didn't last very long.

Smell - wheat, lemon juice, a rustiness, malts

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a fantastic mouthfeel, lots of flavour and lots of carbonation. There are tons of bubbles on the tongue and a bitter lemon juice flavour. Other flavours include malts, faint banana, wheat, and a brown sugar sweetness. The beer finishes with a bittersweet lemony/brown sugar sweetness.

Drink - The beer kind of reminded me of a glass of ice tea; lots of sweetness and citrus bitterness. A nice beer that would happy to drink again.

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Photo of kwjd
4/5  rDev +3.4%
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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Photo of eric5bellies
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Drank from my Duvel Tulip.

A - Pours a golden colour with a large white head that reatins well.

S - Plenty of honey wheat and malt.

T - Plenty of bread and some spice on the finish with some pineapple in the middle.

M - Heaps of carbonation for a light body.

D - Not the best beer for Unibroue, but worth a punt.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this 750ml bottle at a store in the western suburbs of Chicago - apparently it hasn't been available in the US for a while. Served in a Cantillon tumbler. The bottle said best before 10-04-02 - not sure what style dating this is, but either the beer just expired in April or it's over nine years old!

A - Pours with a few fingers of off-white foam that dissipates to a thin cap leaving behind a few splotches of lace. Transparent golden body.

S - Initially I pick up a touch of zest form the whiskey malt, as well as light clove. As it warms I get more pale malts, honey, and fruity esters.

T - Again, it's honey and fruit, with little of the signature Unibroue yeast. Not much overt oxidation, so it's hard to believe this is really almost ten years old. However, it is a bit bland.

M - Nice zesty carbonation, and a surprisingly big body for 5.5%. Smooth, clean finish.

D - If this is really nearly ten years old, it's one of the best aging examples I've encountered. I'd be confident in aging other higher gravity Unibroue beers. Would like to try it fresh to compare next time I'm in Quebec.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.24/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smaller bottle picked up today at Brewforia on the way home from work.... poured into my Old Guardian goblet.2 finger foamy off white head dies back extremely fast... the brew is a orange amber with an only slight haziness.

Nose is surprising for a 5.5% brew.. tons of apples and bits of pear combine with some spicy clove phenols... Getting something that reminds me of orange juice as it warms up.

thin flavor mirrors the nose with some background bubblegum and banana on the finish (the aroma was much more pronounced) ... the smoke really doesn't show except as hints of what I think of Peat smoked malt... again pretty thin flavors and on the palate... carbonation seems to high given the lower body.... Gonna have a hard time finishing this one.

I guess it is okay, but only okay... Glad I got a chance to try it, but I will never buy again.


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Photo of Offa
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This is a good light, but firm, crisp and refreshing Belgian ale with light but firm character.

Pale-brown amber, it has a medium off-white head steadily shrinking to lasting thin foamy top. It has a little weak foamy lace.

Aroma is a lot of pear, along with hints of banana, spiced baked apples, dough, and metal.

Taste is dryish with light sweet tinge but lightly tart finish. It has light, spritzy winey plum and hint of peach with light woody and spiced baked apple elements and light yeastiness. It is crisp, zesty, a bit fizzy, very refreshing. The character is light but has a little sublte complexity and is firm and enjoyable. A light caramelly fruit-grain aftertaste lingers.

Feel is light and fizzy, faintly on the soda-watery side, but for this taste it's pretty good. This is a very lightly characterful beer with gentle flavour, light feel, and outwardly is a bit thin in character and feel, but it's firm and highly enjoyable with some hints of complexity lurking there. It's also a very quenching light beer with a different character from most light, quenching beers.

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Photo of billab914
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Flying Bison tulip glass. Poured a brown, slightly orange color with a modest white frothy head to it. A nice white layer of foam lasted well into drinking the beer.

The aroma has a Belgian yeast spiciness to it with clove and nutmeg spices coming through. Just a hint of some caramel like sweetness comes through but the spices are pretty dominating.

The taste shows more of the sweet, bready malt with some hints of caramel and toffee. The spices are there but thankfully more subdued.

The mouthfeel is a bit above medium bodied and carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is decent, I thought the aroma was too spice dominated but the taste had some nice malty flavors to it. Enjoyable beer overall.

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

Well this was a nice surprise. Not an outstanding beer, but a good, representative Belgian.

Poured into a narrow glass against the wishes of the label maker. Nice cap of foam on top of a golden brew. Faded to nothingness with no lacing.

Classic Belgian yeast aromas, some banana, spices. Probably this is the best part of the beer.

Good flavor, malt, some bitterness up front, bready backing.

Slightly thin mouthfeel but I have no complaints about the carbonation which is done well. The thinness of the beer does give it an insubstantial feeling which actually negatively impacts the taste. Given more body, I think the breadiness would stand out more, in a positive way.

Decently drinkable, especially given the low ABV %.

This is a great intro Belgian.

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Photo of largadeer
2.79/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A solid white cap tops a hazy amber-blond body. Intensely spicy and sweet aroma. Clove, dark sugar, bubblegum, toast - very cloying. Similar on the palate, fruity and spicy, bubblegum and clove. Thin body, a little smokey and toasty toward the finish. The smell is off-putting, but it's decent otherwise.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very large head, im talking like 90% of the glass, off of a what i thought was a soft pour. Hopefully nothings wrong with it. After it cools its jets, you're left with a still sizeable head sitting on a hazy darker copper brew. Scent is sweet malt with a big dose of that belgian candy. Lots of different elements to the taste. Sweet malt, candy, spice, and a kind of "musty," if thats even a word, taste. Theres a hint of whisky but nothing major. Its still a really good beer, so i cant tell if something is up with this bottle or not. If this is how its supposed to be, its good, not great.

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Photo of StephenRich
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really consider Unibroue to be one of Canada's best breweries, and one of the best in the world. Unibroue produces 16 different beers right now ranging from classic Belgian Styles, to simple blonds and reds, to unique and exciting beers like the Quelque Chose. I've ready discussed the Chambly Noire, Maudite, and Ephemere Cassis, but on yesterdays hot and Sunny Sunday afternoon I went back to one of the first that ever hooked me; the Unibroue Raftman.

Raftman was brought to the market in 1995 to commemorate the courage of the lumberjacks and log drivers of yesteryear. It is brewed with peat smoked barley and is bottle conditioned with delicate ale yeast. It has all the classic Unibroue characteristics, and is 5.5% abv, making it a delicious session beer, and perfect for the heat. It is unfortunately not available at the LCBO, and is only sold in Canada, so you will have to make the trek to Quebec to find this treat.

The Raftman, like many Unibroue beers comes in both a foil wrapped 355ml capped bottle, and in corked 750ml bottles. I brought the Raftman out cold around 5C (40F) and poured it into two Unibroue tulips. It was a classic Unibroue pour with lots of life and excitement building a frothy and lush head right from the start. It produced a transparaent golden amber beer with bronze and orange streaking through it. Carbonation was visibly apparent holding up a one and a half to two inch white pillowy head which did fade quickly to a shadow on the beer.

The Raftman is not heavy or powerful like the Maudite or Don de Dieu, so you shouldn't be expecting anything like that. As I mentioned earlier, it is a great session beer. The nose is soft with sweet malts and fruit. Pale malt floats into the air with touches of caramel and apples. Hints of yeast and earth show themselves, as does notes of lemon peel and orange. It is soft and delicate, and also hides a bit of alcohol which shows through a touch.

The beer enters your mouth still with classic Uniboue character. Light and delicate carbonation tickles your palate lifting flavors of lightly sweet malt, tart apple, soft caramel and inches of toffee from front to back. When still cold it is exceptionally refreshing and shows much spice, citrus and touches of hop crispness. But slowly as it warms more malt comes through with the slightest amount of peat and smoke.

This once was one of my most favorite beers, but I think as my palate has matured and become more accustomed to enjoying more full bodied and richer beers, great session beers like this have fallen off my top list. I was enjoying the Raftman, but I did want the malt and the whisky to be more prominent and more powerful.

More into the beer and the malt warms a touch with added smoothness and greater notes of the yeast and vanilla. This beer is bottle conditioned, but shows no signs of sediment or sever funk. It is lightly earthy, but citrus and hops are sure to wash that out. The finish is clean and dry with a hint of sweetness and perfect balance. This is a great session beer, but I think my tastes have moved on to heavier beers.

Nonetheless, the Raftman is thus an excellent beer if you are just introducing yourself to a new world of flavor, and it is also amazing for anyone looking for a great session beer. It would pair nicely with a wide range of foods from grilled or smoked meat, to earthy cheeses, spinach salads, nuts or even light vanilla cakes.

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Photo of floraday
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle best before 02-26-11 into snifter

A: Maple brown with two finger foamy head that dissipates quickly into a gentle foam crown. Light carbonation.

S: Nice crystallized malts upfront. Lots of gingerbread. Light banana yeast towards the end. Awesome smelling brew!

T: Earthy and rather smokey upfront. Lots of nutmeg which seems rather tannic on the palate. Slight banana on the back.

M: Lots of carbonation! Tannins come across the palate which is rather interesting! Slight metallic.

D: Very nice brew! Great in the nose. Fades slightly on the palate. Lots of tannins on this brew. A perfect food beer.

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

12oz into a tulip. Pours a hazy orange amber.

Aroma is spiced smooth mellow nectarines, not striking.

A simple mellow belgian pale ale. No part projects itself while all the parts are competent.

A witbier is often a gateway into belgians as it's not too surprising to the uninitiated as many of the bigger belgian brews sometimes are. This too is an exceptional gateway brew as it is inexpensive, has many basic restrained belgian notes competently performed, no surprises but a lure perhaps for a stronger version of a particular note they may like.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before February 26, 2011 - poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip.

Upon pouring, I wonder if this classification isn't wrong - as this appears to be somewhere betwen a Belgian Amber and a Scotch Ale:

Redwood body with a hefty dense finger of beige supported by an uproar of carbonation. Cloudy with burnt sienna highlights. Average sandy lacing, slight legs.

Melanoidin and caramel enriched malt, faint almost peaty smoke, barley and wheat, and a hint of pale malt comprise the nose.

Biscuity, English-like malt, faint whisky notes, and pleasing winter fruit esters on the palate. Tart carmelized grain in the finish - an interesting blend with a yeasty spine. Vague butterscotch element (not necessarily diacetyl) as well...

Medium to medium-light bodied with a creamy effervescence.

An unusual brew, rustic and not made to a particular style per se - reminds me of a superior home-brew really...

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: robust, overflowing head; semicloudy copper color
S: wheaty, sweet; the fragrance is nice
T: peppery and musky overtones enhance the overall presentation of a classic Unibroue and its signature, the tang behind their double fermentation.
M: watery, but offset by good carbonation
D: the pungency of the beer makes it an unlikely return for me.

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Photo of Snamnoum
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - dull hazy honey amber with one finger of off white head. Some stick lace clung to my tulip.

Smell - Smokey dried fruit and esters, alcohol, wheat, floral yeast

Taste - much like it smells, smokey dried fruit and esters upfront. Then sweet crackerish malt and interestingly metallic charcoal-like phenols. Love 95% of this beer but just don't like the metallic tart finish. It just doesn't seem to mesh with the rest of this beer and ultimately holds it back from a much better score.

Mouthfeel - on the heavier end of medium bodied, aggressive carbonation, bready/ chewy feel.

Drinkability - not a style I partake in often but this is a very good one. I particularily enjoyed its rich feel and robust toasty malt.

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Photo of aubuc1
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated best before 2-26-11

Pours a dark amber with an off white head

Sweetunibroue smell of yeast and grapes

Taste is crisp, dry and lightly smokey

Good mouthfeel but very good drinkability. Similarities to other unibroue offerings butstill very different.

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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 1759Girl
2.82/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Judging from the other reviews, I have to question whether I may have gotten a bad bottle... or if perhaps everyone else is on crack... which I suppose is the likeliest scenario.

Appearance> Pretty much exactly like SF Bay Delta water... hazy warm yellow/brown. lively. Small head dissipates quickly and leaves a whole lot less lacing than I expected.

Smell> more sour than I expected... where is the smokiness and malt?

Taste> Slightly metallic to start, grows into something interesting but quickly moves to being a bit sour and just "meh"

Mouf> Good

Drinkability> Really didn't care for this one.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Ruddy copper/amber color. Poured a 1 finger fizzy white head that dissipated to a broken skim. Lazily decanted. No lacing. Small amount of sediment.

S: Light fruit and spices; pear, apple, clove and pepper. Caramel malt and candi sugar. Earth and smokey peat in the foiundation.

T: Mild flavors consistent with aroma, but in a different order. Spice was up front; clove, pepper, earth and smokey peat. Light fruits; pear, apple and grapes. Lightly bitter in the finish. I liked the light smoke (not over-bearing.

M: Light body. Ample carbonation. Zesty and crisp; almost sharp from the carbonation. It does a lot to clean the finish.

D: Tasty and, though mild, pretty complex. Very easy to drink except the carbonations makes it a bit filling.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on on 12/28/09

Murky, medium-hued brown; akin to pond water. Highlights of pale orange. Yeast sediment drifting about. Poured a fluffy two finger head that holds up nicely. Impressive retention, though it does thin. Lacing isn't too great though.

The nose offers a decent amount of spiciness & light fruits: clove; apple; pear & a touch of orange peel. Swaths of vanilla throughout. Hints of sugars & candied malts. Yeasty aroma. Overtones of smoked malt & peat.

Quite a bit of spiciness upfront with a touch of bitterness. Clove & earthy flavors. Light fruits - apple, pear & maybe grapes. Possibly coriander, too. Yeast & dry, toasted malt. Peat notes throughout with a hint of smokiness; not as much as I'd expect (more apparent as it warms).

Medium body. Ample carbonation is rather sharp. Crisp, overall. Hints of peat, yeast & spices on the finish but it's mostly clean.

Pretty good, though not as complex as I had hoped for. Tasty enough, it's undeniably Unibroue. I'm glad I tried it, but it isn't a beer I would drink regularly.

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Photo of climax
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Raftman pours a a solid walnut brown with 2 fingers of foamy off-white head. It left some slight recession marks on the snifter as it receded.

The nose was nice and balanced, heavy and light. Brighter hints of peach, and coriander were meet with maltier cocoa, brown sugar and ripe cherries.

The flavor kept with the same bloodline as the smell. More bitter notes from the hops were evident. The alcohol was well-masked but still distinguishable. Wine-like grape qualities as well as ripe cherries, was the initial taste. A splash of the peat moss and whiskey, as the beer suggests, were all evident as it warmed.

The body was bright yet robust and the feel was very interesting. Heavy carbonation kept a sharp bite throughout, while the finish was numbingly dry with a wine-like tannin feel.

Very good offering from a very good brewery.

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Raftman from Unibroue
3.87 out of 5 based on 778 ratings.
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