Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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BA SCORE
83
good

4,241 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,241
Reviews: 1,775
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 99
Gots: 412 | 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: 4,241 | Reviews: 1,775
Photo of hopmonkey
1.25/5  rDev -65.8%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

An all-around revolting little beer. Oily and thin with strange fruit like it was in an old cheap wine bottle. I guess we have the raisins to thank for that. The first second is the best with this beer, which opens up into a strange, sick-sweet flavor and finishes leaving you wanting no more. I generally love Dogfish Head beers, but c'mon, beer and raisins? This one never had a chance.

Photo of CudOfCow
1.36/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Dogfish makes some great beers. This is not one of them.

It smells like microwave burned sugar with prune juice and bootstrap molasses. Very alcoholicy smell.

Pours a thickly brown it does have a nice foamy head and leaves foam on the inside of the glass. The head goes well with a moustache.

Tastes the same. Sugar, prunes, raisins, molasses, all burned, complicated and powerful. The taste lingers forever and ever.

This is the only beer i've ever had that I couldnt finish. I tried really hard to finish the bottle and man up, but this is now my number 1 least favorite beer. To each their own. I gave the other 5 away for friends to try.

Photo of jtierney89
1.5/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep mahogany with amber highlights and a two finger off white head. Lots of visible carbonation. Lots of raisin and Belgian candied fruit on the nose. A little bit of bready maltiness as well.

Head has now receded to a thick lace. Lots of bready malts up front finishes with a big sugared raisin sweetness. Pretty cloying actually. Alcohol is noticeable as well.

Medium to big in body, some caramel present somewhere in the middle of the beer. Creamy mouthfeel. A strange and dissapointing brew. Not as cloyingly sweet as others I've had though

Photo of sstackho
1.56/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12oz bottled two months previously purchased from Best Cellars in Boston. Pours brown with virtually zero head. Not entirely pleasing scent of molasses. First taste: hmmmm... not entirely pleasing taste of molasses. The flavour is not as complex or interesting as I was hoping. Rather sweet. Getting a bit better as the beer goes on. Long finish. Not one that I'll try again, but not my normal beer style anyway.

Photo of swanny28
1.59/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured in a pint glass. Bottle may have been old on shelf to long.

A: Good looking beer with the pour. Too bad this was its best attribute.

S: Smelled of rotten fruit

T: Back the rotten fruit not very good

M: Gritty almost like the california raisons were dancing in your mouth stabbing it with pitch forks.

D: IMO not very drinkable - one of the few beers I have ever poured out.

IMO Dogfish head has too many good beers to spend your money on this one.

Photo of alysmith4
1.62/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Used to love this beer.. back when I had a raison to drink mediocre beers. I ordered one at a concert recently, and used it to hold down the program while I enjoyed the show. I'm sure the cleaning crew didn't enjoy taking care of the 16oz. (well ok, maybe 15) of liquid that I poured into the trash can. Sorry guys!

Photo of mdm4584
1.67/5  rDev -54.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Got this at AJ's Scottsdale.

Anticipated a completely different brew.

This beer is awful. The style according to BA is off. I don't know what DFH was brewing here. Be prepared to throw away.

Smell was peculiar and taste was disgusting.

Never again.

Photo of tkolterman
1.78/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nasty, dumped have of it out.
I had high expectations, it was a big letdown. Put this on the "no buy list"

Photo of mobius024
1.83/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Raison D'etre seems to be a strange brew. Poured a nice color, amberish, decent head, not much lacing. The taste is oddly astringent, while the mouth feel is cloying. That may be why I find this beer to have an unbalanced, almost creepy quality. Hard to finish a bottle. So many better Belgian strong ales to choose from. Not much I can add ...

Photo of Trappistfan1
1.93/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - Deep amber color with thin head, no retention
S - Not much but alcohol hit my nose; pretty mild, though.
T - Alcohol seemed pronounced, some hops and other flavors that all seem to cancel each other out, but just well...not good.
M - Meh. I didn't leave it in my mouth long, to be fair.
D - slim to none IMO.

OK, I know that Belgian Strong Dark Ale is a broad category with lots of variation, but this seems like a weak entry in the field. Not in any way knocking DFH, most of what I've tried of their stuff is world class, but this was a drain pour for me.

Raison D'etre is, of course, French for "reason for living". To quote Norm McDonald, "Note to self: I don't want to live!".

Photo of Arbitrator
1.94/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Chilled bottle into a glass, courtesy of Uwftke26.

A: Pours a translucent, dark brown / purple color with amber highlights when held to the light. Slow carbonation up the side of the glass. Half an inch of head on the pour recedes to a ring around the glass, with light trails of lacing down as I drink.

S: Some raisin, dark rum, and caramel/biscuit malt notes, but a fairly weak nose. Agitation mostly brings out an alcohol aroma and not a lot of flavor.

T: As the nose suggests, rum, raisin, and caramel and biscuit malt. No hops detected. A fairly sweet taste, with a sweet finish and a little alcohol warming effect.

M: Thin-bodied and watery, which nicely offsets what would be an otherwise too-sweet taste. The booze is noticeable, but not a deal-breaker.

D: Just got the one, and don't want a second. It's an interesting experiment, and my first raisin beer -- although I've seen a couple of Lost Abbey attempts at the store -- and I'm glad I tried it. I just don't think it's worth seeking out again.

Photo of Ahhdball
1.99/5  rDev -45.5%
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.

Photo of TechMyst
2/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

CONTAINER VOLUME: 12 oz
CONTAINER TYPE: bottle
FRESH: 4-3 consumed 10-28
PURCHASED @: Binny
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
CONDITIONS:
MOWING/WORKING ON CAR- n
WITH FRIENDS- n
SIPPING- n
GET MY BUZZ ON-n

Photo of slitherySOB
2.02/5  rDev -44.7%
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.

Photo of Brunite
2.03/5  rDev -44.4%
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.

Photo of TerryW
2.03/5  rDev -44.4%
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.

Photo of Mavajo
2.05/5  rDev -43.8%
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.

Photo of DefenCorps
2.07/5  rDev -43.3%
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.

Photo of maundythirsty
2.14/5  rDev -41.4%
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.

Photo of spencerw
2.18/5  rDev -40.3%
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.

Photo of tctruffin
2.24/5  rDev -38.6%
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.

Photo of Naes
2.26/5  rDev -38.1%
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.

Photo of yelterdow
2.28/5  rDev -37.5%
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...

Photo of jjanega08
2.28/5  rDev -37.5%
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.

Photo of troutmask96
2.28/5  rDev -37.5%
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...

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Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,241 ratings.