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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,204 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,204
Reviews: 1,770
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 87
Gots: 340 | FT: 5
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: 4,204 | Reviews: 1,770 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Nachojon
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Quite the name. I am a fan of Dogfish Head in general and this is a very good, not great beer. Pours a nice brown maple color.

Smooth drinking, I love browns and this is a good one. The taste is a bit too one dimensional for my liking. Missing aroma and spice to put it over the edge.

Mouthfeel was pleasant not too much of the sticky sugar feel that will turn me off of any beer

Photo of mpyle
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Rich amber color, brilliantly clear. Pours a fairly large, tan colored head. Creamy and with good retention.

Bit of a toffee, plum kind of aroma. Sweet, but with a little extra. Liquorice.

Rich tasting and sweet. Big malt with some malt complexity, a bit of spiciness (pepper), turns slightly bitter and much drier in the finish. Flavors of the finish are somewhat unpleasant, with an out of place bitterness

MF - Medium body and carbonation, no astringency. Some alcohol warming. A bit drying on the tongue.

Overall - has some nice elements, but the flavors lingering in the finish detract.

Photo of Phelps
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed from the tap at the Southwest Festival of Beers during the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. Poured into a small tasting glass. Raison d'être is a French phrase meaning "reason for existence."

Perfectly clear honey-orange, with a frothy half-finger head the color of beach sand.

The aroma is pretty light. I get raisins and wheat,mostly.

Nice sugary sweetness in the flavor. Bubblegum, raisins, brown sugar, some lightly toasted bread, marmalade and hints of earthy hops.

Medium carbonation stabs the tongue as the smooth medium body rolls about, creating moderate fizz. I get some alcohol in the nose and throat.

I appreciate how the dark, raisiny sweetness was kept in check here. It’s not complex, but it’s decent.

Photo of dchester
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden mahogany with an off white head that quickly dissipates and has little to no lacing. Smells very lager like with a bit of malt and raisin. Taste is kind of similar. The raisin hits you up front, but then fades off into an off putting bitterness. Not a bad beer, but definitely not one of there better offerings.

Photo of Onibubba
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This review is for a March 06 bottle. Poured a reddish tinted dark brown into a tulip. An inch of frothy head quickly falls back into the glass. Aroma is not so intense. Reminds me a bit of a Chimay Red or a Belgian Dubble. Not picking up any raison at all. Taste is more of the same. That spicey tast of a Dubble or even a Triple. A bit of bitterness hampers the drinkability - it just does not go along with the overall taste to me. Mouthfeel is fine, just the right level of carbonation for my tastes. Alcohol does not seem very assertive. Not bad, but not a first choice beer either.

Just for shits and grins, I followed this with a 2 year old (at least) bottle, notched 6 on the neck. The scores are for the fresh bottle. Appearence is the same as the fresh, but that's it. The smell is much stronger - you pick up the raisons in a bit of a spatlese bouquet. The taste also exhibits more of the raison/spatlese taste, but unfortunately the bitterness has been enhanced to almost an unshakeable sourness that is not at all pleasant. Mouthfeel and drinkability are also different. No trace of carbonation at all - very smooth and more like a port wine or a brandy. This is the second Dogfish I have aged over 2 years, the other being an Immort Ale. Both have taken on this smoother, more brandy like taste and texture. If the sourness were absent, I would say that I prefer this one aged just for the other qualities it seems to bring out.

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What a great tan, two-finger head this beer displayed when I poured it! The same medium size bubbles showed great retention and clung nicely to the glass leaving some nice, albeit broken lacing. Robust mahogany color. Sweet malts like malted milk balls (candy) on the nose. This persists one the tongue but the sugars quash the other flavors. I have trouble getting past the raisins, what else is there? Otherwise a smooth beer with a pleasant mouthfeel. But sadly, the head is the best part (and sometimes head is just a tease)!

Photo of whisperjet
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark caramel color. One finger of well retained head laces the glass nicely.

S: really almost empty in the nose. Not impressed

T: Nice rich flavors here. Very woody and smokey. Sugary sweetness and some biting alcohol

M: Kind of thin with a biting carbonation

D: Has some interesting flavor notes but nothing unbelieveable. Completely underwhelming in the nose after the pour leaves nothing to compare the flavors too

Photo of uustal
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a redish brown. Aroma isn't too pleasant. Dominated by the scent of alcohol with a whiffs of chocolate and sweet candy as well. Low carbonation and medium body. Dark fruits start off the flavor profile. Plums, dates and a bit of raisins shine through. Not enough raisins to justify the name. Sweet chocolate creates an enjoyable finish. Alcohol is a little strong and unpleasant for an 8% ABV, really shines through as the beer warms. I actually prefer this one colder than suggested.

Photo of meatmallet
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Ruby colored with a thick tan head.

Smell: Not very strong and a little stale. Dark fruit, raisin, some malt, and a bit of plum.

Taste: Rasins and plum again and a little alcohol feel. I can also detect a bit of coffee and hopps. There is also a hint of the staleness again.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Feels smooth and creamy in the mouth. Its also sweet and bitter which is interesting. I like it but I dont get this beer.

Photo of riboflavin88
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Overall, a good beer. I think its strong point was its appearance. It had a yellow-reddish tint to it, sort of hazy. Had a good nose, and you can definitely notice the raisins. The taste was citrus based with raisin undertones, and left a smokey after taste. Not a session beer, but worth trying.

Photo of Popsinc
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
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 lordofthewiens
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
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 gopens44
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Ginourmous foamy head that sticks around a little while. Coppery in color with a slight haze happening there.

S - I know it's based on the raisin, but I could smell a sweet cherry thing going on. After I spent a little more time sniffing around, I could sense some raisin, but it may have been the suggestion of the fact that it was a raisin beer doing a mental trick on me?

T - Here, the raisin makes its appearance. Also tasted molasses and roasted malt. Not nearly as complex as I would have hoped, but it seemed very well balanced.

M - Smooth, creamy and not overly carbonated. Mouthfeel reminded of the 90 Minute.

D - I could handle one every now and then as a departure from the IPA's and RIS' that I usually drink.

Photo of arguemaniac
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When I first tried this beer. I hated it, the tastes were too weird and it was simply too thick and rich (mind you, this was a time when I thought Grolsch, Newcastle, and Pete’s Wicked Ale were the World’s best beers). But after months of expanding my palate, I tried this one again and, for a long time, it was my favorite DFH brew.

Now, unfortunately, I’ve sort of gone back to not liking it anymore, but for different reasons; it’s been a while since I last tried it, and I have to say that I find to be thinner than I remember and just not as rich.

Still, it’s a solid brew with a good level of complexity. It features a fruity sweetness that is nicely balanced by some vinous, slightly oaky tartness. The alcohol is well hidden among the fairly thick, syrupy flavors.

Like I said, I don’t like it as much as I once did, but it’s a pretty solid brew from a brewery that is still on the cutting edge (if only because of their other beers). Recommended.

Photo of cbutova
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled 11/29/10.

A- Dark red with an off-white, fizzy cap. Retention is decent. Nice spotty lace as I sip on this.

S- Raisin and cinnamon/spice atop Belgian candy brown sugar and caramel malt. Some sort of fruit presence.

T- Once again raisin and spice saturated with a general strong Belgian yeast-influenced feel. Some alcohol notes, which grow a lot with time. Slight apricot and caramel.

MF- Creamy body with smooth carbonation. Pretty warm from the alcohol.

DB- With warmth, the raisin and alcohol flavors just keep building. I find it to be a bit one dimensional in that sense and a one bottle thing.

Photo of IrishRedRock
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an odd beer. I like Dogfish Head in that they are a somewhat adventurous brewery, but I don't really know whats going on with this brew. It pours a clear tan with no head at all really. Not much of an aroma either, some mild malt, caramel, and alcohol.

Taste has some malt character, but sadly there are not many hops to be found. Smooth mouthfeel backed with a kick of alcohol that is quite warming and pleasant, with a bit of a dry finish. Has kind of a cheap beer flavor to it, and unfortunately it almost tastes like a fine malt liquor. Anyone seen a 40 oz of this around? ;)

Photo of SethB2
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a Chalice.

Pours a deep redish brown with a tiny head that disipates very quickly. Not a whole lot of lacing to speak of. Smells of raisins, plumbs and other dark fruit. Tastes of fruit and berries, though not very complex. More tasting don't offer a different perspective. Mouthfeel and drinkablity are both decent, but not great.

For me this was average for its style. Worth drinking, but not exceptional.

Photo of flagmantho
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a wine goblet.

Appearance: deep tawny color with no head to speak of.

Smell: big malt with a bit toastiness aroma. There's also a hint of chocolate in there.

Taste: some tree fruit, some toastiness. The maltiness is toned back from the aroma, which I appreciate. There is a little more bitterness than I expect with this style, which is not bad, just different. Altogether it's an OK experience.

Mouthfeel: medium with some carbonation but not enough to really entice me. OK.

Drinkability: while this beer is definitely not bad, it just doesn't happen to suit me too well. I'll enjoy this glass, but that will be it for me.

Photo of clayrock81
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this before and decided to try it on draft at the Tap House in Maryland. Mistake, sort of, on my part. Came a tad colder than it should've w/ no real head and no lacings, but I didn't hold it against the beer. Had a nice dark copper/mahogany color but in the smell all I could really pick up was some spices and malts. It almost had a coffeeish or roasted malt taste when it first hit the tongue, and the hops and alcohol aren't hidden to well. On the plus side, however, it is a very smooth, thinish drink w/ mixed tart fruits in there. I just think I'll stay with the bottle over the draft though.

Photo of confer
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just a plain muddy water brown with no head whatsoever.
Smell like a boozy Belgian.
Taste is much better than the smell. Definitely has a dark fruit finish.
Very watery for the style and the abv.
I will have to revisit this later , since I'm not sure I am giving it a fair rating, but I was surely underwhelmed.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The description of this beer has always intrigued me. As a devout 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPA fan, I have been looking forward to trying this unique member of the Dogfish Head line-up.

The beer appeared deep brown with amber highlights and I saw no visible carbonation. There was a thick head that did fade quickly and lots of clumpy lacing when consumed.

Aroma was sweet and reminded me of figs along with the roasted malts. I got a quick sense this was going to be a sweet one.

Taste was an initial sweet punch that then combined with some roasted malt flavors. After this it faded to a smooth (lack of hops) yet grainy finish. Almost a bit dry towards the end.

Mouth feel was almost sticky and a bit viscous due to the sweetness. slightly slick

Drinkability was good, but this is a thick one!

If I'm in a MALT mood then this is a good one.

Photo of ummswimmin
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Happy 4th of July! My first beer to celebrate the American spirit is coming kind of late today.

I poured Raison into a snifter glass to hold in the raisin smell. It looks really good with about two fingers of head and a dark brown/red coloring.

I like the smell coming off the top. You do really easily pick up the raisin smell. I also get that rich dark ale presence. It works well.

The flavor really falls off. I don't get much balance in my glass. The raisin presence drops off unless you pull air across it.

I'm a little disappointed in how this turned out. I am a big DFH fan, and this really missed the target for me.

Photo of JizackFH
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber color with a small head that left a small amount of lacing as it fell. There were also a lot of carbonation bubbles visible. It smelled sweet and of caramel. There were also notes of Raisins and prunes. The taste was pretty sweet and had notes of caramel, prunes, and raisins. Tasted pretty much like the smell. You could also taste the alcohol pretty well. The mouthfeel was good. Medium body with medium carbonation, and it went down smooth. The drinkability was decent on this one. It went down pretty smooth, but I would have liked it more if there was some hop character to cut some of the sweetness and maybe if the alcohol taste was masked a bit. I would try it again though.

Photo of dungaree
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A full inch of head when poured! Beautiful head that sustained for quite a while. Smells of malty sweetness with a bit of hop spice. A musty smell though was prominent- possibly too old? This one was bottled 7-21-06. Taste on the front very nutty- cashews, peanuts. Lots of malt character with a nice splash of hop flavor. Maybe the hops have mellowed a bit. I seem to remember it having more hop bite when I tried this before. Oh, can't forget the caramel sweetness of the malt. Quite good.

Photo of tone77
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is very mild, some notes of fruit. Taste is good, fruits, malts, a touch of alcohol. Feels full bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,204 ratings.