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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

4,234 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,234
Reviews: 1,776
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 93
Gots: 388 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2001

A deep mahogany, Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast.

25 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,234 | Reviews: 1,776
Reviews by tonytuffnuts:
Photo of tonytuffnuts
4.4/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This might be the most underrated beer on the site! This is my second sitting w this same 6er. The first wasn't too earth-shattering, but 6-mos later: wow.
Gorgeous dark amber with red-ish/orange hues. Pours to a modest manila head that fades to a thin ring around the circumference and leaves an island in the middle that looks like a rain cloud on the doppler-forcast.
Brown sugar, dark mahogany, Belgian malt scent. A subtle, floral hop character accents a sweetness that must be the contribution of the raisin. Deep inhalation makes me think of a whiskey with muted alcohol.
Taste is well balanced. Dark brown sugar, rye-like maltiness. The mahogany's contrabution is evident. A little alcohol and a massaging, fine carbonation. The finish leaves a candy sweetness on my tongue like hard caramel.
This beer is a delicacy that for some reason makes me think of a finer wine. Exquisite (with a Creme Brulee) and sophisticated.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep copper color with slight head that was gone quickly,the aroma was complex almost meaty with slight sugary notes.Taste was somewhat fruity,like others i do pick up some grape-like flavors,with some sweet alcohol flavors rounding this one out.A very complex beer kinda hard to rate,I would try again,would love to find on tap.

Photo of Popsinc
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: 12oz bottle. Pours a very dark amber with a small head that fades down to a ring.

Smell: Sweet, malty nose is pretty much all i get here. Hints of brown sugar and molasses with syrupy undertones.

Taste: Nice hoppiness off the top accompanied by a trace of woodiness. The sweetness quickly appears and again is highlighted by brown/raw sugar and probably molasses. There is a hint of dark fruitiness but it is overshadowed by other flavours. Alcohol kick on the finish.

Mouthfeel: A moderatley lively beer with a dry fuzzy mouthfeel. The finish leans towrds the drier side.

Drinkablilty: I found this beer slightly better than average but not great. I think i will try it again down the road and see how my thoughts change.

Photo of RoyalT
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Syrupy orangish-brown in color and very clear with little head. This one looks serious.

Smell – Big, beautiful BSDA aroma here. The dark yeast is very abundant and can be smelled from arm’s length away. The ripened fruits are full and complex. I can easily pick out cherries, apricots, some orange, and a little melon. There’s also a modest warning of alcohol to this one. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ABV was higher than advertised.

Taste – The fruits came out more in the taste. This was very nice but I would have liked to have seen a little more yeast at the tongue. This has an excellent flavor though, and the dark mark is still noticeable.

Mouthfeel – No carbonation and somewhat thin for a BSDA. I would have preferred something a little more lively.

Drinkability – Very drinkable example of the style. The emphasis on fruits and the rather strong alcohol taste didn’t bother me at all, but others may find it a bit too much.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.05/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is another rather strange beer (I’ve had a bit of a run of them lately). It’s not quite dark enough and certainly not lively enough on the carbonation/head end of things for my tastes. I will admit, however, that it is rather drinkable considering the ABV.

The aromas are gummy or syrupy and consist mostly of caramel, raisons, and orange peal. The taste reflects this. It’s also quite sweet giving it a rummy sort of mouth feel. By that I mean that the feel is a rough blend of sugar cane and alcohol.

Not terribly great but not bad either.

One note, I purchased a six pack of this six months ago and at the time, I cared even less for the beer then I do now. My taste buds may be playing a trick on me but the drinkability seems to have gone up considerably with the brief aging period as has the orange in the nose…or maybe I’m just more in the mood for this sort of beer this week. Who knows?

Photo of Fear4Beer
3.36/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

Its too sugary for me and I usually like sweet things. I love me some dogfish head but the taste could have used a little less sugar. The alcohol is pretty well masked by the flavor. You will feel the 8% hit you after you finish your beer. :)

My reviews are more mental notes for me. I don't really care about smells, appearance, etc. Just the overall taste.

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Split a 12 oz. bottle. Reviewed from notes on 3/20/10. Date bottled is 12/4/09.

A: Poured into an oversized wine glass. Had a ruby-mahogany color with a 1 finger head, which retains pretty well. Small, dotty lacing which was accompanied by a viscous film on the glass. I thought this was a very attractive beer.

S: A very interesting combination of scents bombarded my nose. There was a funky-yeasty component, a zesty, coriander, pepper smell, along with some sweeter aromas- raisin, brown sugar, and some plum notes. It actually smells pretty boozy. I would've guessed it was higher than 8%, actually. A bizarre and complex smelling beer, to be sure.

T: Whoa, not really like the smell at all, in a pretty disappointing manner. All of the exciting hints from the aroma are pushed way to the background and the overwhelming flavor is a mineral-wateriness. The coriander and pepper are a relatively prominent player, but that coppery-water taste is just dominating my mouth. The finish is astrigent and coppery.

M: Starts with good carbonation and a decent medium weight, but it ends with a thin, watery feel that is not desirable.

D: No thanks, I will not have another (and I only had half of one). The copper astringency is just too much for my palate to handle. Maybe aging would help this, but I will look elsewhere for examples of this style. I will say this: If the taste had lived up to the smell, I would have given this much higher marks.

Photo of MadScientist
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A medium-dark copper with good clarity. The head is tan and thin, the ring of bubbles around the glass last but the rest dissipates. There is some lacing on the glass that quickly slides down back into the beer.

S: Green raisin and alcohol are the first scents to hit your nose along with a Belgian yeast pepper aroma and malt sweetness. The fruitiness is moderately-strong with moderate alcohol, yeast and malt aromas. There is a little graininess to the malt in the background. no perceived hop aroma.

T: A moderately light malt sweetness and hops bitterness with some of the moderate alcohol balancing the sweetness. The balance ends ups slightly towards the bitter. There is a light raisin and plum flavor with moderately-light peppery notes and a light alcohol sweetness. The finish is medium and the aftertaste is of sweetness and fruity flavors.

M: Medium-full bodied with a moderately-strong carbonation and some alcohol warmth.

O: The fruit component is a bit lighter than you'd expect both from being brewed with raisin and for a Dark Strong although the brew calls it a Belgian Brown. When I think if this as a Dark Strong it seems disappointing thin on the flavors and note fruity enough but when I think of a Brown brewed with Belgian yeast this all makes sense as is fairly enjoyable which is how I scored it.

Photo of brownbeer
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's a deep amber beer with a reluctant off-white head. Minimal bubbles rising up. Sweet raisin, fig, and caramel nose, with a sort of fruitcake belgiany feel going on as well. The body and taste of this beer is quite week. A warmer, creamier body would do worlds of good for this. The finish is pretty good. It's got a toasty caramel and smoke note. I won't be jumping out of any airplanes to try this again.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep rusty brown/orange with little head.
The sweet malt and alcohol are immediately apparent. Sweet dried fruit and yeast notes underly the malt fragrance.

Well balanced, belgian strong, nice hop finishing the sweet crisp malt flavors. The dried fruit and yeastiness are nice and were a little underplayed in the aroma.

Well bodied brew neither thick nor thin, with a clean finish. Very crisp and refresing. A nice represenation of a style that I usually find too sweet and slick on the pallet.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dogfish Raison D'etre... fancy name with 8% alcohol.

A- Pours a brown amber colored fluid with small to none head that leaves a touch of floating froth.

S- Nothing to impressive just a little dark roasted malts, light raisons and alcohol esters. Also sweet brown sugar can be noted.

T-M- First taste to come to mind is a thick metallic flavor that lingers on the tounge. After the harsh metals are gone comes a mild toasted carmel malt flavor followed by a warming alcohol bite. Leaves a herbal tint on the tongue. Mouthfeel is good with little carbonation to even out the heavy flavor this one packs.

D- Not a bad beer overall just not balanced enough to enjoy more than one.

Photo of Chuggnutt
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Deep amber, dark woodgrain red. Not much head. Red edges. Clear.

Smell: Rich and sweet—plummy, fruity—dark fruit (the raisins...). Belgian candy sugar. Maybe cotton candy. Brandy-ish, almost a cognac character.

Taste: Sweet with Belgian candy (sugar) character. Strong alcohol, reminiscent of a barleywine. Definitely a "dark vegetable" character (maybe it's subliminal from the "beet" reference on the label). Rich with dark fruits—plum, date, black cherry. Definitely Belgian. Flossy and candy-ish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little effervescent, a bit of bite from the alcohol. You want to roll it around the tongue, it has that character.

Overall: Very good, a little different. Lots of fruit and candy sugars make this a sipping ale.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Mahogany brown, clear, with a light foaming head. Moderate head retention and no lacing to speak of. The head reduced to an uneven fat ring of bubbles that stayed with the drink.

S: Subtle but complex. Some nice aromas of fruit, perhaps dates or figs, and some malty undertones that matched nicely with it. Nothing overwhelming that stood out on its own, just a light subtle understated aroma.

T: A rather light flavored brew for the weight and color. The tastes mingle well and are very balanced, almost too balanced as nothing stands out to give it a specific character. Like the smell, the flavors are complex but subtle, which makes you keep looking for something in the flavor profile that you just know is there. The finish is quick and clean, with just the slightest linger of malt.

M&D: Looking at this you would think you are about to embark on a rather heavy drink but in reality this comes off rather light. The carbonation is also light, and goes well with the rest of the personality of this brew. It's smooth drinking and sort of easy going in its own way. I liked it, but there isn't anything that jumps out at me and screams "this is great!" I would drink it again though.

Photo of JMD71
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a deep brown, date-like color. No apparent head. Carbonation visible on sides of the glass.

Smell: Earthy, malty, fruity smell with traces of dates, prunes, figs & raisins. Slight mild alcohol aroma detected.

Taste: Wow! This has a deep, rich flavor that is wonderfully sweet, but not overly so. Tons of fruit on the palate - again raisins, dates, & figs. Alcohol apparent in the finish. Very little hop flavor detected.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth in the mouth. Full bodied & rich, but not cloying. Finished clean once swallowed.

Drinkability: This is a wonderful sipping Belgian Strong Dark Ale. A good beer as an apertif perhaps or to accompany a dessert possibly. Not something you'd have more than one of in a sitting due to its rich, strong flavor, but wonderful to enjoy as an occasional selection.

Comments: I thoroughly enjoyed this ale. Really wonderful aroma & flavor. Excellent beer for those times you are looking for something to sip slowly rather than for thirst quenching. The care that went into the presentation of aroma & flavor deserves to be savored....

Photo of Scott414
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer was much darker than I anticipated however, not overwhelming malt characteristics. I could not really detect any of the green raisin flavor. Overall, it was a beer that I tried on a whim and I really enjoyed it. Dogfish always manages to make unique styles that I am always willing to indulge in.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice deep clear bright amber red pour with a small, kinda thin bubbly head on top. Some sticky lacing makes an appearance. Big sweet candied fruit nose with hints of caramel, nutmeg, yeast and raisins. Interesting and a bit confounding.

First sip brings a sweet caramel candy maltiness along with a definite raisin flavor and a good Belgian yeast character. Alcohol makes itself known on the way down. Brown sugar, nutmeg and dark, sugary fruits are noticed. Quite enjoyable with an big flavor profile that keeps things interesting.

Medium bodied with a mellow carbonation and a bit of oily slickness. Goes down easy and I find it to be an enjoyable brew. I could see grabbing a sixer of this again in the future.

Photo of blitz134
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received in 2MBBIF from Vancer...thanks...

Brownish, red body. Perfectly clear. Very light tan head, not much formed on the pour and only left a ring around the glass with a skimming of bubbles on the top.

I think this smells really good although varies a bit from the typical aromas of the style. Sweet and inviting. Tons of complexity at the temperature I have it at. The golden raisins are definately present along with some unripe plums. Sugary sweet but still has an earthy, nutty malt undertone. Sweet alcohol rears its head as well. Unique.

Taste has some darker fruit aspects, raisins again, but more of the dark variety. I think the beet sugar is obvious to, its a more pungent dark brown type sugar as opposed to the sweeter candylike sugar used in most Belgians. A bit of earthiness again comes in with the malts. Finish has a typical Belgian twang, most likely from the yeast. An alcohol twang (sorry for the use of twang more than once) is present as well. Overall a good flavor but has this twangy, funkiness that is a little to forward. I think its a bit unbalance with its sweetness.

Mouthfeel is decent, medium bodied. Not much carbonation. Drinkability suffers from the twang and the hint of alcohol in the flavor, it makes this one a bit rough around the edges. A bit too sweet to have more than one. Good and I'd have another at some point...just not tonight.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm reading the label on this beer and thinking I'm not sure I'm gonna like it, so I was probably prejudiced from the start. It was a nice brown beer with a thick coffee-colored head. It had a fruity molasses smell to it, and a very sweet fruity taste. It looked robust, but was rather bland. Still, fairly pleasant to drink.

Photo of warnerry
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Vigorous pour into Duvel tulip yields 1.5 fingers of head with lacing; beautiful clear reddish brown.

Smell is sweet, green raisins and mild alcohol aroma.

Taste is up front vinous fruit and mild sweetness; dryness on the finish that lingers for awhile; interesting and somewhat enjoyable.

Grabs the tongue and lingers for awhile.

Sweet but not overly so; the sweet/dry combination is very nice; alcohol a little too out front.

Photo of Todd
2.9/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had a big 32oz mug of this last night at Bukowski's (Boston), and wasn't that impressed. A dark beer with a decent head. Aroma was pure grape bubblegum. Flavour also had a dominant bubblegum character with burnt orange and raisin flavour kicking about.

Interesting. Glad I tried it. However, I won't be ordering it again.

Photo of sponberg
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Sample: 12 oz bottle, cooler temperature, in pint glass

Can you say "alcohol?" Some beers keep that warming surge of alcohol for the finish. Raison slaps you upside the head with it from the get go. There are some nice, rather sweet flavors going on in the background - fruity maltiness with some Thompson raisin and figgy/grape-y notes, but it's hard for them to say a lot with the alcohol standing up tall and screaming like that.

Different flavor profile in the bottle than on tap, where the alcohol was much more muted. The tap brew is much more drinkable and enjoyable, IMO.

Photo of marvin213
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A fuzzy fizz quickly fades to laces atop the liquid. I look at this beer and reaffirm my thoughts on DFH making some of the most homogenous beers. It's dark brown throughout the liquid. Without looking into the chemical explanation of why, the really thin layer of microscopic foam bubbles fill me with anticipation about this beer. I've set it before and hope to continue saying it: it looks like another good production from Dogfish Head.

Obviously I've read the label, but the smell is overwhelmingly beets and raisins. It smells like Thanksgiving. I certainly smell the burnt red maltiness characteristic of ambers. I smell a hint of the Belgian yeast, and I prefer its subtlety. Though it's not my favorite smelling beer (-0.5), it's a unique and distinguished aroma (+0.5).

The taste is predominately sugar. The carbonation and 8% ABV make it taste and feel like warm soda. It's like a brandy beer. Have this with an espresso ice cream or something. It's appropriate to serve this in a cognac glass. It's an odd taste. You do get the beets throughout and the sugar/raisins leave you lip-smacking. A fun over-the-top beer gone a wee bit over the top.

I said it's like soda and the mouthfeel is sugary sweet--it's good. That same quality--like soda--hurts drinkability. I know you're out there, but most of us don't like to chug multiple sodas.

Photo of babyhobbes
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This pours a pretty reddish amber with a very small cream colored head. It smells sweet, kind of like cherries and alcohol. The taste is very pleasant..sweet and malty with a small note of alcohol. The is some raisin flavor but not too much. I didn't find this syrupy or too sweet. I really think there's some great mixing of sweet and sour in this brew. The mouthfeel is thicker than expected. It's not cloying and very drinkable.

Personally, I think this is a nice DFH brew. I'm glad I tried it and plan to have some more!

Photo of generallee
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a lovely mahogany, reddish/brown color. On top is a thick white head that faded off quickly to just a thin ring around the glass. The aroma is full of sweet roasted malts and raisins. The flavor is full of roasted malts, caramel, toast and green grapes. A light hop bitterness balances out the sweetness. Its medium to full body and soft carbonation gives it a velvety smooth mouth feel. This is a good Belgian ale that I will be enjoying again real soon.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber brown with a decent head almost woody color 3.5

Sweet aroma almost wine like with a tartness and slight alcohol

The taste is of this is a brow initially sweet crystal malts. Come with the carbonation a sweet berry flavor enter as the carbonation exits and the berry taste remains. A slight alcohol on the palate lingers

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Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,234 ratings.