49degrees (49) - British Columbia, - JAN 17, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
(341ml capped bottle) One of the more obscure offerings from Quebec brewery Unibroue, Raftman, a smoked whiskey malt-based Belgian Pale Ale is amongst the lightest and lowest alcohol count ales offered from this brewing giant. Strangely enough, while Unibroue is a Canadian brewery I've yet to see the Raftman sold by single bottles (341ml or 750ml) in British Columbia, but regularly come across this one in several shops in Washington and Oregon.
While Raftman lacks the hearty punch and deep bountiful character that most of the other Unibroue offerings provide, it does have, like all of their other beers, in unique character onto its own right.
It pours similar to that of La Fin du Monde, a medium, slightly cloudy copper tone with decent size, thick foamy head. The glass gathers considerable lacing despite the head giving way to a thin flat foamy, but consistent surface texture with a good size collar.
Aroma wise, it offers up an intriguing balance of hops and malts, a heavy reliance on yeast, with hints similar to that of some Hefeweizens, plus a special touch of pepper, fruit and the slightest hint of smoke. (I had some initial reservations on this beer from reading the label. When it said smoked, it brought back the fear I had when ikes Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen Rauchbier, which unlike most other reviewers, I highly disliked and poured 2 bottles down the drain.) Raftman however was a pleasant surprise and its slightest hints of smokiness in both aroma and taste were an interesting and enjoyable touch.
While most of the Unibroue ales offer up incredibly strong taste, overwhelming characteristics and perfect blends of malt, hops and loving care, this one doesn't have quite the same body. It has a very enjoyable taste that tends to be a little more reliant on yeast, its offers a nice familiar fruity blend, slight bite of hops, and the relaxing malt effect. This is a fairly carbonated beer, but not nearly as fizzy as Unibroue's 1837. The smoked whiskey malt, which is the base of this beer, along with the carbonation does give this a little bit more edge compared to most other ales from Unibroue.
All in all, a very enjoyable beer, that's certainly worth a closer look. And, unlike the heavy alcohol content of all of Unibroue's other offerings, this one at 5.5% is pretty calm, which makes it an enjoyable beer to have more than one of in any single sitting.
BrewGoblin (569) - Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, CANADA - AUG 29, 2015
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Perhaps this is hurt by the category, maybe "Specialty Grain" is more appropriate. From one of the most actively effervescent brews I have ever seen comes only the faintest smoked-wood scent. Instead, this tasty refreshment is dominated by aromas of apple, pear, coriander, light spicy white pepper and a light bubblegum and basement mix reminiscent of Belgian fare. The curtain matches the drapes nicely in this dry amber pour with a bubbly ivory cap. There is nothing quite remarkable about this brew but it is a pleasant sipper.
Kezman07 (11) - Quebec, CANADA - JUN 26, 2015
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bouteille de 341ml achetée à l’épicerie. Couleur brune pâle avec une légère mousse blanche. Au nez, il y a de la levure et du pain. Le goût est centré sur la levure belge, légèrement épicée elle dégage également un coté légèrement sucré. Le corps est moyen avec une texture huileuse et l’effervescance est de faible à moyenne. Pour une bière fumée, elle n’en dégage aucune trace. Il s’agit toutefois d’un produit intéressant disponible dans toute la province.
Meilby (9728) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - JUN 14, 2015
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle 341ml @ Hotel room, Weber’s, Ann Arbor, MI
Pours hazy deep golden with a off-white head. Aroma has notes of malt, caramel, yeast and subtl hint of smoke. Taste is medium sweet and light bitter with a long malty, yeasty and caramel finish. Body is medium, texture is oily, carbonation is soft.
deepeary (305) - Ontario, CANADA - MAY 23, 2015
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Nose is sweet malt, fruity, apples. Taste is dominated by Belgian yeast, herbal, fruity. Wit-like flavours. Definitely not a smokey beer, but a tasty ale no less.
kathouse (1292) - Nevada, USA - MAY 21, 2015
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Cloudy light brown with an acceptable off white foam. Lots of Belgian spiciness in the aroma. Body is malts, light caramel, pepper, and allspice. Nice enough but whiskey and significant? I think not.
guil0000 (312) - New Brunswick, CANADA - MAY 9, 2015
3.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours a hazy golden color with a small sticky white head. Fruity aroma, mostly tropical fruit with some spices and malt. There’s also the typical unibroue yeast. Oily mouthfeel. Sweet on the palate. Missing something. Not too bad but not their best. No hint of smokiness.
mansquito (4208) - Nueva York, New York, USA - APR 11, 2015
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Rosamunde, Brooklyn tap: Wow, so I have never seen this beer for sale until now. Now that I finally tried it, I was disappointed. Not only was it not very smoky, but it was also not very good in general. Kind of sweet and herbal. No smoky character. Nothing really appealing about it. Meh. Maybe I would have liked this more had this not been my last beer of the night.
zach8270 (3882) - Henrietta, New York, USA - APR 1, 2015
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
(bottle - corked & caged 750 ml) Copper pour with a puffy white head. Light malt and spiced aroma with a hint of peat smoke. Flavor is a mild BPA with a bit of peat earthiness and a mildly spiced finish. Not too bad but not world changing.
JK (5045) - St. Louis Park, Minnesota, USA - MAR 30, 2015
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle. Very disappointing for a smoked beer. I can’t say I pick up any smoke at all, in the flavor or aroma. Very much like a simple Belgian ale, with the characteristic Unibroue yeast. Light and well carbonated, lots of bubbles on the palate. Light malt flavor.
Camons (7775) - Hasselager, DENMARK - MAR 8, 2015
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Bottle @ Home. Pours golden with a small offwhite head. Aroma of malt, grain, sweet fruit, light peat. Flavor is malts, grain, yeast, little peat, light sour, fruit. Medium body, average carbonation. 200810