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Raftman | Unibroue

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Very Good
787 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 787 |  Reviews: 419
Photo of tmoneyba
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle at Longnecks, KY.

Poured dark hazy brown color with a large off-white fizzy head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Moderate roasted, yeasty and small smoke aroma. Medium body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium smokey bittersweet flavor with a medium roasted smoke finish of moderate duration.

Solid drinkable brew and standout for smoked style.

Very interesting brew.

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Photo of drperm
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz poured into my trusty Unibroue tulip. This is a new one for me; I'm always intrigued by what this brewery has to offer.

Appearance: dull, cloudy tan or light-brown hue (the brewery calls it a "coral sheen") with a generous but delicate white sea-foam head.

Aroma: Definitely Unibroue with that yeasty, wheaty nose. Rustic yet subtle, with hints of grass, hay, wheat, a faint mild whisky (not Scotch!) note, bubblegum, and wet rhododendron blossoms. Nice one.

Taste: Slightly watery at first, but it warms the gullet as it goes and it fills out as it flows. Ever-so-slight pleasantly sour hint, flowing into a nice subtle bitterness. Some black pepper on the finish with a dry snap. I give it a 3.5 on its own but a solid 4 with food.

Palate: Slightly thin (for a Unibroue) but not at all unpleasant.

Overall: To me this is more of a quaffer than a sipper (as I think of most UB's as being) so I'm really having to restrain myself with this one-offer. In all, I'm really not quite sure what to do with it (well, other than - duh - drink it!) since it's so different from the rest of their lineup. Something about it almost drinks like a rye ale (but when I ponder the Canadian --> whisky --> rye connexion, it almost makes sense). It really perks up with food! Try a good fresh fish or smoked/smoky meat. This would be a great counterfoil to smoked sausages when you don't want a Rauchbier. It also sits up and converses with roasted asparagus, and even spaghetti and meatballs isn't out of the question.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really glad to see this one back on the shelves here in PA. I remember seeing this a few years ago at a bottle shop, but passed it up since the bottle was covered in dust and the best by date had been blatantly scratched off. A 12 ounce bottle purchased at the Craft Ale House to-go for around $3. Poured into my nonic pint glass and after stirring up the yummies on the bottom of the bottle, appears a rather cloudy and murky honeyed apricot color with about two fingers of quickly fading, off white head. Nose consists of lightly smoked grains and is sweet and fruity. Flavor is of smoked green apples, spicy yeast, a touch of cracked pepper at the end. This Belgian pale is at the very least, medium bodied with and very well carbonated. Super dry going into the finish. Nice!

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Photo of OldSchoolGamer
2.95/5  rDev -23.6%
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 NightINgale
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy orange/amber colour. One should see the bubbles rising in the glass. The head is rich, of off-white colour, has good retention.

S - Some whisky malts, some serious citrus fruitiness, as well as that Unibroue wheaty, yeasty kind of smell.

T - First you taste the malts, which indeed taste somewhat whisky-ish. Then the flavour goes into the fruity side, with citrus and apple notes. The finish is yeasty and not too bitter. Overall, the balance is there. Raftman is crisp and refreshing.

M - Light-to-medium bodied. Medium, pleasant carbonation adds to the crispness of the beer.

D - Has decent drinkability. Being one of the lighter Unibroue beers, Raftman certainly stands well for its ABV.

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Photo of mhatters
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass from a 22oz cork finished bottle in my house

Pours an orangerown iith a small head that dissipates quickly.

Lots of apple in the nose, along with a lovely Belgian yeast note, some spices in the back.

The yeast is definitely Belgian, and it is powerful. Apple, smoke, Very soft and velvety.

Well carbonated, lively - a crisp and refrshing beer

Easy to drink - this is no monster ABV which restricts the drinkability, a fine beer from one of the worlds great beer makers.

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Photo of adamette
4.73/5  rDev +22.5%
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 Martin2D
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A - Cloudy amber with a huge white head that faded

S - Cloves and spices

T - Light, but rich in malt. Subtle hints of spices

M - Medium-low in carbonation, light in body

D - The light, yet rich flavor makes this a must drink. The whiskey malt gives it such a unique flavor. Must try, will definitely drink again!

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Photo of tim9887
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into goblet.

Pours a cloudy bronze with white foam. I immediately noticed smoky and woody aromas, not surprised though given it is brewed with whiskey malt.

The whiskey malt is ever-present in the taste as well, yet it is not overdone. Very slight lingering bitterness as well.

A very smooth-drinking beer altogether. I'd like to review it again and take better notes as there was some stuff I wasn't recognizing in the aroma & taste.

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Photo of bushbeer75
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle poured into a challis

Unibroue Raftman Ale poured a "dirty" gold peach color with a 1-finger cream colored foam. The head held well as I consumed the ale. Raftman exhibited the typical Unibroue fizzy carbonation that bounced around in the mouth.

Aroma is a little smoky, light yeast spices and mildly woody. Taste is of toasted malt and a little "whiskyish" with a lingering after taste. Raftman has a light medium body smooth mouth feel with a crisp clean dry finish.

Raftman Ale is much less robust and thinner than other Unibroue beers I have had - very east to drink ale.

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

Lumberjack beer.

Translucent, murky, amber color. Large, white head composed of tiny bubbles. No lace but good retention.

Smells of Unibroue yeast for the majority of the beer until apricot, spice, and peat come through.

Tastes of some dried apricot and grainy, toasty malt. Mild smoke. Mouthfeel is super fizzy and grainy.

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Photo of JayNH
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a hazy deep golden color with a large frothy head. Decent head retention and lacing.

S- Sweet and slightly fruity. Yeasty and spicy.

T-Sweet,peppery and yeasty. Notes of bubblegum and banana, orange peel.

M-Light bodied, smooth, carbonation is just right. Just a bit more body and this brew would be perfect.

D- An excellent easy drinking ale, I could drink quite a few of these.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice orangey amber with a great initial head, about 3 fingers worth after an easy pour that settles down to a medium cap. No lacing. Very light aromas of some pale malt, a touch of sweet banana from some yeast esters, a bit of wood, and the tiniest bit of whiskey. The whiskey taste very slowly comes out in the flavor on the back end, after some more sweet banana and fairly firm, cookie-like malt. Somewhat thin like many of the Unibroue beers, and quite carbonated. The light sweetness, firm malt, soem minerality, and hint of whiskey blend well. This is pleasant and a nice sipper for the porch in early spring.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Saw this at the beverage store. Never heard of this one, but I pretty much like everything I like from Unibroue so I had to try it. Split a 12 oz bottle with my friend. Poured into my tulip glass. Pours a cloudy, murky, fairly light orange/copper color. White head a good 2/3 inches when poured. Settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass with a decent surface coating. Decent lace. Aromas of caramel malt with some smoky spiciness, rounded out with some yeast.and a bit of dark fruit. Has a sweet caramel malt taste, followed by the aforementioned fruit and yeast, followed by a nice subtle smoky spice flavor. Rounded out with a bit of a nice grassy, citrus hop flavor. Has a crisp, smooth, frothy medium to full bodied mouthfeel with fairly heavy carbonation. Easy to drink in a good way. In some ways a bit different from most beers by Unibroue I have had, but this was still damn good!


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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Pale white head, effervescent and large-bubbled, it receded as quickly as it rose, retaining as a thin bubble layer. Slighly hazy/murky brown amber beer.

S-Lots of ripe fruit, some clovey character, alongside a yeasty spiciness.

T-Spices, cloves, and a slight fruitiness. Malt character is close to sweet, with a slight earthiness in there somewhere. Bitterness is absent. Aftertaste is earthy, semi-sweet.

M-High carbonation, at times it seemed to overwhelm the medium body of this brew.

D-Moderate drinkabiltiy. It's an enjoyable beer, but not all that remarkable, especially when compared to the other offerings I've had from Unibroue.

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Photo of DoctorDog
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A- Murky amber/ copper appearance. Pours with ~1/2 finger of white head, which fades rapidly, leaving a thin incomplete cap. Ample lacing.

S- Belgian yeastiness and sour apples, and other less discernible fruity and spicy notes.

T- Smokey fruitiness with the expected "Belgian yeast" tinge. Green apple is the best I can do to pin down the leading "fruity" flavor sensation. Bitterness is minimal.

M- Moderately high and lively carbonation, which seems to be somewhat thematic with the various Unibroue offerings. Crisp, and surprisingly coating/somewhat viscous feel.

D- Pretty good. Quite tasty, with a nice moderately low ABV. Would be a nice beer to toss back a few of

Future outlook: This was part of a mini-mix pack from Unibroue. As all of their offerings seem to be quite good, I can easily see getting this again in a similar package purchase.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A= a very interesting color out of this one. Its like a brown gray color with a small head rising from it bit the head lasts until about halfway through the drink when it turns to just a ring.
S= an interesting smell comes from it as well. The yeast spice is there but subdued. I would describe it as maybe a fruity melon sort of odor.
T= yeast spice is the first thing I notice but that seems to fall on my tounge to reveal the fruity taste. Apple is there for sure and maybe melon? Hard to figure out this one.
M= not too light but not heavy this one is just right
D= very high. I don't usually like belgians but this one was very nice maybe I'm learnig to respect the style more or maybe this one was just good.

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Photo of BeerManDan
2.73/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I don't know where to start. The color was a hazy medium to dark yellow, with an orange hue. Not much foam and no lace what so ever. The smell had a hint of spice carbination and no much else. The taste had way to much carbination, so much that it kind of masked any spice or fruit taste that might have been. So, to much sour carbination, not a pleasant after taste. This has to be the worst of all the Unibroue Ale I've tasted (12 in all).

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Photo of farrago
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fast moving foam in the head, big on the pour, then recedes across the surface like waves on the shore, more yellow-brown in color than orange, just about the level of murkiness you'd expect from the beer style. Unpretentious nose of caramel/chocolate swirls, cinnamon buns and apricot, peach fruit and suggestion of banana, the lemon citrus semi-confectionary, gains steam with clove and allspice scents. Medium-bodied, while predictably smooth and creamy there's not much verve nor intensity to it. The clove, cinnamon spice is there, the banana, apricot, apple fruit same, there's even more thrust to the lemon, orange citrus. But it doesn't come together into a meaningful whole. The carbonation dulls it as well. Light white pepper and tea leaf flavors help. Unfortunately average.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Lancaster pint glass. Not sure of the date as it has no best by date.

A- Raftman pours out a semi thick looking dark brown to mahogany color. A decent creamy frothy head came up before saying goodbye leaving minimal lace. One of the darker Belgian pales that i've had.

S- The first thing that comes to my senses is the whiskey malt used in this, it is very strong smelling. Under that is a good amount of caramel malt with some smokiness apparent. Some dark fruit in the distance. Some yeast and hops round this one out nicely.

T- The whiskey malt takes charge and is trailed by the roasted malts. Raftman has a somewhat smokey flavor which was unexpected with some grassy hops to balance it out. Some fruity smells and some yeast come out with warming but barely. Some tartness on the finish which was nice.

M- A very drinkable pale ale at only 5.5%. I would drink a few of these and not get bored with it. This is quite crisp with a nice amount of carbonation present. The flavors do not linger around at all and no trace of alcohol which is pretty low to begin with.

D- I actually found this on a whim and picked it up without ever seeing this brand in all my years of drinking good beer. I'm glad i picked it up and will again in the future. A great take on the Belgian Pale Ale style. Good job Unibroue.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at C'est What in Toronto, served in a pint glass. The beer was dark orange and murky with a thick white frothy head. The smell was easy to peg as Unibroue with the characteristic yeasty esters, but a grassy or musky peatiness was there as well, unique to the other Unibroue beers. I got these flavors in the taste as well, a little mysterious but very tasty. The body is thick and full, very filling. I looked for a long time before finding this, and while the hunt was more fun than the kill this is still a worthwhile beer.

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Photo of hughesm4
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a bottled beer poured into a glass. The only negative came as I was pouring the beer out of the bottle and the head errupted to the top of the glass. The color was a very good amber while the smell wasn't really distinct. The beer was very drinkable with a slight but pleasant spiced and smoky taste. One of the best BPA I've had in a while and would definately drink again.

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Photo of illidurit
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour: 12 oz bottle to pint glass. Hazy bronze color with a big white head that unfortunately fizzles to nothing leaves no lace.

Nose: Belgian pale ale esters, banana and apple, maybe just a hint of the whiskey malt. Fairly standard so far.

Mouth: Tastes like a regular BPA with a subtle smokiness. Same esters as in the aroma, with some coriander and a wisp of smoke. Mouthfeel is overly carbonated. Needs to breathe and effervesce for a while before it achieves any sort of drinkability. Decently dry.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Twelve-ounce bottle copped as part of an Unibroue gift-pack...
Dark-amber hue, with a creamy, fluffy head...
"Brewed with whiskey malts" on the front logo sticker...
Smokey, malty aroma rendolent of biscuits...
Taste: Belgian Pale Ale flavor with hints of smoked whiskey malts, bread, butter, and biscuits...
Great, medium-bodied mouthfeel...
Very easily drinkable...
Another winner from Unibroue...

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip, a voluptuous bright cream colored head erupts atop a hazy burnt orange murky sea. The head slowly fades away to a collar fueled by constant effervescence that deposits amoeba-like lacing sporadically down the glass.

aroma is spicy, with a good amount of belgian yeastiness and a healthy dosing of citrus. Orange and lemon zest intermingle with a subtle yet ever present smoky whiskey-like aroma.

The taste is exceptional. Belgian all the way, with some orange, some oak, and definite hints of smoke. An dried herbal nutty flavor is in there as well. A citrusy finish with just a hint of pine nicely rounds the brew out.

Mouthfeel is light with some ample carbonation, enough to lightly sting the tongue with the citrus finish. Pleasant and the lightness makes this one a bit more session worthy than some of the other Unibroue offerings.

All in all, a pleasant drink. I would have welcomed a bit more of the smokey character, but it's definitely well executed and deliciously interesting. I could drink a few more, had I any more left. Definitely worth a try. Maybe underrated among the Unibroue brews, but this one ranks pretty high on my list.

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Raftman from Unibroue
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 787 ratings
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