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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,852 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3852
Reviews: 1760
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%

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

25 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2001)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,852 | Reviews: 1,760 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of cjgator3


2.35/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark mahogany brown with an off-white head. The aroma consists of malt, some dark fruits, rum soaked raisens and alcohol. The taste is very imbalanced and is overly boozy which greatly hinders both the taste and drinkability. I definately won't be going back to this one.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2007 05:35:36 | More by cjgator3
Photo of ChainGangGuy


2.35/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$1.99 single at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, red body with a thinning, off-white head.

Smell: While not overly fragrant, there aroma still holds plenty of sweet-smelling candy, dehydrated fruits, and Belgian-ish yeast.

Taste: Starts with a fruity, sweet (even winey) flavor that isn't acutely raisiny, but moreso sugary and vague vegetal with some alcohol notes. The finish is all at once tart, roasty, and syrupy. Did I miss something?

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Velvety mouthfeel. Ample carbonation.

Drinkability: I find it fortuitous that I was allowed to purchase a mere single bottle of this.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2007 01:31:13 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

2.35/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 8/4/08. Bottle. Pours a dark orange/light brown with a thick light tan head. Aroma and flavor are the same and rather odd. Roasted malt, bitter coffee grounds, and an odd sweetness (not quite raisiny, maybe it's the beet sugar?). The odd sweetness and odd bitter coffee grounds do not work well together for me. This beer was downright undrinkable and ended up being a drain pour. Another disappointing beer from DFH.
5/4/5/3/10 (2.7/5)

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2008 15:04:51 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of jujubeast6000


2.35/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 6/13/2007 (12oz bottle):

Pours an amber red colored body, clear, not very fizzy. Has a small tan head, diminishing. An aroma of dark fruit, and raisins maybe. Strong sugary malty. Malty salty taste, dark roasted malt aftertaste. Sweet carmelized taste.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 17:27:31 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of swhite11


2.35/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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

[Appearance] - Pours dark amber with a mahogony hue. Head is bubbly and off white. Pours 1 finger and retains/laces average at best.

[Aroma] - Tons of cloying caramel malt sweetness followed up by slight notes of roast.
sublte notes of rum and dark fruits.

[Taste] - This beer is a mess. Very sweet upfont, cloying. Hop bitterness follows but is weak and grossly insufficient. Fusel alcohol and metallic astringincy follow and linger preventing any other impressions on taste to develop.

[Mouthfeel] - Excessively cloying upfront followed by overly thinning alcohol solvency and metallic astringincy.

[Drinkability] - 1 is more than enough. This beer is a bit chaotic.

[Overall] - Avoid this one. Dogfish stikes again with another overrated, if not, outright bad beer. A Belgain inspired beer that is out of balance.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2010 06:05:23 | More by swhite11
Photo of Boilermaker88


2.33/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Presented in a 12oz. brown bottle as depicted. Poured a very dark brown color with a compact ¼" vanilla hued head that quickly dwindled down to a thin ring and left no lace.
The smell was of brown sugar, bready malts, some dark fruit and an almost overpowering alcohol aroma. The aroma of medicinal alcohol came off the glass in waves and kept interfering with attempts to decipher any other other smells. The taste was quite sweet up front; lots of sugar and raisins with an earthy malt base. The sweetness crowded out any other flavors except for a strong astringent alcohol flavor that just overran the palate like a horde of barbarians laying waste to a medieval village. The feel was medium-bodied, rather crisp and puckering and dry.
Overall, this just wasn't one of Dogfish Head's better brews, IMO. There was no effort to disguise the alcohol content. If anything, it seemed to be amplified. That alone was enough for me to not want to try this brew more than once. A brew that's too off balance to be very appealing.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2004 17:16:52 | More by Boilermaker88
Photo of litheum94


2.33/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Bottled on 6/8/11. Reviewed 9/6/11.

Clear bronze body, light brown head with lots of active bubbles. Fizzes out loudly, leaving a thin cover.

Caramel coated apple. Belgian candi and yeast. Cloves and alcohol bite. Dark, fruits. A touch of floral hops.

Roasted barley husks and caramel malts. Earthy middle with a metallic twinge. Light floral hopping. Slightly vinous.

The metallic taste leaves a horrible feeling in my mouth. I'm sure it's from the alcohol, but it tasted terrible. I couldn't finish this beer. Huge disappointment.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2011 04:05:43 | More by litheum94
Photo of PriorateOden


2.3/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Why did this burn/tickle my tongue? Not at all distasteful, but sorta plain-jane. I thought it was bland on the nose and taste really seemed limited and narrow. No complex aromas no shifting flavors, just mild and... pleasant but weak. It was super tingle-ie and bubbly in the mouth. I love me some Dogfish Head,, but not this one.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2009 17:39:30 | More by PriorateOden
Photo of sls0210


2.3/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark mahogany color, creamy head. Smell the raisins, brown sugar, molasses, definitely getting the alcohol too. Really sweet, too much so - raisins, caramel, burnt sugar, the alcohol is ever present. Mouthfeel was flat, carbonation not good at all. First DFH beer and none too impressed. Definitely unlike any quality Belgian beer I've ever had, in a bad way. Have some DFH 60 minute and a brown IPA waiting in the fridge, hoping for a better product from this brewery with those.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2009 13:30:02 | More by sls0210
Photo of kpoole25


2.3/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I didn't care for this beer, and I like most of what DFH makes. I only drank about 6 oz before pouring the rest out. I'd say this is the first beer where I really tasted the alcohol, and it wasn't the warm, sweet kind, it was the medicine cabinet type. The appearance was fine, a nice dark brown. Aromas had a little zing, almost tangy, I was thinking this might be a bit sour. Then the taste, initally sugary sweet that turned just gross. Pass on this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2009 04:34:48 | More by kpoole25
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

2.28/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

This bottle was produced on 11/06/06, so we've got a fresh example here. Served at a few degrees under cellar tempearture in a Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Gorgeous color... ruby bordering on purple, as crystal clear as any beer I've ever seen. The head barely reaches an inch, then it reduces to a thin outside border along the iinside of the glass. Sporadic spots of lacing here and there. Aside from the nice color, it's just OK.

Smell- The smoky, tinny, metallic, undesirable nose hurts my eyes... it really isn't pleasant at all. I've never smelled Belgian beet sugar, but something about this aroma makes me cough and squint. Burnt insects.

Taste- The same interesting, yet off-putting character is right here on the palate just as it was in the aroma. Not to mention the alcohol... it's starting to become more noticable too. The ingredients used in this brew dominate in a heavy-handed way, with the Belgian sugar content way too much for my personal taste. Alone, this beer is extremely difficult to sit back and even sip.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- In the mouth, the texture is extraordinary. Right away, it rolls and swirls with ease and grace... laughing in the face of everything harsh and undesirable about the beer thus far. I give DFH credit where it's due... always pushing the limits of what's possible, and staying true to its mission and purpose. I just am really having a hard time with this beer. I finished it though...

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2006 03:06:12 | More by yelterdow
Photo of troutmask96


2.25/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

No go here. I was anxious to try this brew after it came highly recommended at my local bottle shop. Poured prettily enough, but as soon as I smelled it I knew I was headed for trouble. Very strong rubbing alcohol, and the taste was no better. Very, very syrupy sweet, and heavy alcohol taste. Bleeeech. I barely finished the bottle...

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2005 20:35:19 | More by troutmask96
Photo of jjanega08


2.25/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A= pours a very dark brown almost black color with a thin head that falls fast leaving no lacing.
S= belgian spice and grape peels. Very plain kinda. Caramel malts are there and sort of smells overly sweet.
T= like I nocticed in the smell it was overly sweet and the belgian yeast doesn't quite fit.
M= lower carbonation and sort of covering
D= not too great. I really don't find this beer to be good. Ill finish it but never think about buying it again for a very long time.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 03:48:15 | More by jjanega08
Photo of WilliamLee


2.23/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A dark tea color. No head.
Aroma: Raisin, chocolate, and malt.
Taste: Green fruit-black pepper-grassy funk-burnt malt. The sweetness up front is blasted away by the green fruit, black pepper, burnt malt taste that dominates the flavor. Fairly complex flavors but there isn't much that I enjoy. If you like these flavors then it could be enjoyable. For me, it could have been worse but this a borderline bad beer. Blech!

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2010 23:34:38 | More by WilliamLee
Photo of Naes

New York

2.2/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours out brown in color with hues of orange and red. It has a tall off-white head that retains and laces well.
The aroma is sugary sweet and has notes of wine grapes and raisins.
The flavor is very fruity with a strong caramel malt presence. The alcohol is noticeable, but the flavor remains dominated by sugary sweet malts.
The mouth feel is thick and becomes a bit syrupy.
Overall, this one is just over sweetened for my likings.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2006 23:59:20 | More by Naes
Photo of tctruffin


2.2/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I was excited to try something from Dogfish that I hadn't had. And I figured that with Dogfish even if I didn't like it, the experience would be interesting. Well, I was dead-on with that expectation.

Overall, let's just say that I think the brew is a mess. There are some very appealing parts, but they just don't ever mesh. It felt like someone was shifting gears in my mouth without the use of a clutch.

The ale pours a beautiful deep amber color with a quickly disappearing head. It looks great. Looks like something I'd love.

I then stuck my nose in it and got...nothing. Nada. Almost no aroma at all. Then I took a sip to find three separate and competing forces. There's the maltiness: roasted. Then there's some kind of hopiness fighting to be heard. But the voice shouting the loudest is the overwhelming alcohol sensation (aroma, flavor?). Of course there was some of that distinct Belgian fruitiness as well.

Overall, the brew is just a mess. A pretty mess. A well-made mess. And I'm glad there's folks out there willing to take the risk. I give Dogfish high marks for aspiration. But on this one attempt, they didn't stick the landing.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2007 14:37:12 | More by tctruffin
Photo of spencerw


2.17/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this to continue my advocacy for Dogfish Head and this particular beer sounded interesting.

A- Poured a nice mahogany, rich looking brew with a 1 inch head that dissipated quickly leaving very little lacing.

S- Raisiny and sweet malty. I also smell alcohol...but not in a good way.

T- Smooth, thick, sweet malty with a shallow hop finish. And again, I'm tasting the alcohol...almost rubbing alcohol taste. Not real impressive for a Dog Fish Head brew.

M- Thick and a little off. Maybe syrupy?

D- It is a good beer to be had if you're in to trying new ones. Every brew deserves a try. It didn't do it for me though. It wasn't bad...just not a real great brew. For me it's like cooked carrots. If you serve then to me, I will eat them and say thank you...I'll never eat them otherwise. The same hold for the Dogfish Head Raison.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 02:13:40 | More by spencerw
Photo of maundythirsty


2.05/5  rDev -44%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz. bottle into a goblet.

It's a beautiful crystal-clear dark mahogany color. That's how they describe it on the label, and they're not screwing around. The head fell in a hurry, but clung to the glass and built little islands here and there. I got excited, because I'd heard good things.

It smells like raisins and Dimetapp. Like malted raisins and Dimetapp. I was surprised at how powerful the raisins were, and maybe thinking that I read the label a little too carefully.

Maybe I wasn't in the mood for what the beer was presenting, but I went right back to the label. This beer tastes like beet sugar, green raisins and medicine. And not in a good way. I hate to be so harsh, but I did not finish it. Mouthfeel was a little syrupy, but not uncomfortable.

After a half-dozen sips I figured I'd wait for some other time to try another bottle before reviewing it, but I'm not sure I want to drink another. I don't know where they're going with this stuff. I was so powerfully repelled that I feel like I have to give it another shot, but it will be a while.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2006 05:10:43 | More by maundythirsty
Photo of Mavajo


2.05/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1

Pours an amber color with a moderate white head. Fades quickly, settling into a thin crown and even thinner film.

The aroma on this...well, is there an aroma? I detected virtually nothing. I then decided to let it warm for a while. At best, perhaps a slightly grainy smell? I'm really confounded by this thing - I can't recall the last time I smelled a beer this devoid of flavor. It's not off-putting, so I won't give it a 1 - but geez, no aroma at all?

The taste isn't much better. There's a raisin character here with maybe a bit of yeastiness. Perhaps the slighest hint of butter as well? Aftertaste is very unpleasant - coats the tongue and causes a bit of a face-scrunching, tongue-smacking reaction afterwards.

Mouthfeel is pretty much spot on. No complaints in the department. Medium to full bodied, with good carbonation.

I don't really know what to say about this beer. It's the damnedest thing - no aroma to speak of, with a fairly mediocre taste and down right unpleasant aftertaste. Will not be trying again.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2009 00:07:41 | More by Mavajo
Photo of TerryW

Ontario (Canada)

2.03/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Well, I'm afraid that this one just didn't work for me. No head, no lace. Nice red leather colour though.

Aroma was malty but dominated by alcohol. I couldn't make out any Belgian beet sugars, green raisins (or sense of purpose). The taste of the beer was also dominated by alcohol. Not particularly flavourful. Came across as quite astringent. Reminded me some of taking a mouthful of cocoa powder. Too dry and too alcohol harsh.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2003 00:10:13 | More by TerryW
Photo of slitherySOB

Ontario (Canada)

2/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

First Rogue, now DFH. I seem to be getting the lower end beers from the breweries I'd like to try. Anyways, Raison D'etre was poured into a goblet. I'm thinking belgian style deserves a belgian glass. Was I wrong? Beer pours a red wine and brown colour. Pretty much no head. Violently poured, it comes with maybe a double fingernail thick that quickly disipates to nothing. Not a very good appearance. Smells of brown sugar, wine, alcohol, caramel and butterscotch. Not too bad, but a bit off with the sugar. Taste is too sweet. It's like red wine. Actually, it reminded me of Jewish wine. Very, very sweet. Raisins, sugar, malt, caramel, sugar and raisins. Mouthfeel is harsh from the alcohol, and actually quite thin for something so syrupy tasting. Drinkability is low. It's just not a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2004 00:39:44 | More by slitherySOB
Photo of TechMyst


2/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

FRESH: 4-3 consumed 10-28
COST: $2
HEAD: none
LACE: none
COLOR:murky brown
AROMA: rich burnt fruit
MOUTHFEEL: med. foamy
PALATE: slick
TASTE: bitter burnt rasin
COMMENTS: Least favorite of DFH

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2006 02:01:19 | More by TechMyst
Photo of DefenCorps


2/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled on the 13th of October 2011, consumed on the 1st of December. I'm making pancakes for breakfast on Saturday, and figured I'd grab something to make a fun syrup with.

Pouring a clear amber with a thin, off-white head that falls off to a ring rather quickly, leaving no lacing. The nose is rather intensely sweet, though the smell is rather unique in that it leans so heavily on the sugar beets, with a mild phenolic note. Spicy alcohol, and a fruity golden raisin character are all noticeable. Mildly hoppy as well, with an earthy bitterness in the back. Intriguing.

The palate, on the other hand, is a bit of a mess. Spicy alcohol and phenols combine to make a rather paint-thinner like beer with a mild raisin sweetness in the mid-palate before a moderately strong bitterness takes over in the finish, completely ruining everything. The sugar beets add plenty of sweetness. Now, the paint thinner dissipates as the beer breathes, making it moderately more palatable and brings to mind cheap rum, but the bitterness on the finish really clashes with the raisins and the fruity yeast. Full in body, mildly soapy and slick, this beer is lightly carbonated and rather disappointing. I can't imagine drinking more than 4oz at a time, let alone a 4 pack.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2011 02:22:49 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of Ahhdball


1.98/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This is from Dogfish Breweries? Somethings wrong. Jeeeez.
Nice beet red in color and when held to the light it produced a good amber reflection. No head and no lace.
Smelled bread and even more yeast, maybe some fruit, but faint. Alcohol was very present.
Alcohol presence came and stayed, raisons and, ready? Feet. Very thick, chewy not good.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2004 23:47:52 | More by Ahhdball
Photo of Brunite


1.98/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance- Decent color. Not much head. Spots of lacing.

Smell- A tinny, metallic, alcoholic aroma.

Taste- This tastes like cheap champagne. There is a green grape flavor that is just done wrong with this brew. Like Welches white grape juice and alcohol. Yuck.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation and alcohol are somewhat overdone. Not smooth.

Overall - DFH continues to underwhelm me. Not sure why their stuff does not seems to resonate with me like it does with others. This ended up as a drain-pour as I could not see forcing this down with 40-50 other good beers on hand, as options.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2011 06:06:40 | More by Brunite
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,852 ratings.