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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,005 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,005
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 68
Gots: 248 | 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:
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Raison D'Être Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,005 | Reviews: 1,766 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AwYeh


2.43/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz glass into snifter. Bottled April 2012.

A: Pours a foggy ruby red color with half a finger of frothy off-white head. Some lacing remains.

S: Above all, this is SWEET. I'm getting dark fruits, brown sugar, and molasses. Not much of the yeast or other flavors that I would expect from this particular Belgian style.

T: Likewise, the taste is quite sweet. I get a lot of butterscotch, raisan, and plum. Dark, fruity, and sweet. Hints of molasses and spices come through too. A decent amount of alcohol makes it through.

M: Fairly thin-bodied for the ABV, a bit of carbonation lends it a light creaminess. Unfortunately, it does nothing to add to the beer's finish.

O: A very sweet, fruity beer. It hides its alcohol well, but compared to others in the style, doesn't necessarily offer the complexity of flavor that I expected. Not sure that I'll be seeking this one out again.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2012 09:31:50 | More by AwYeh
Photo of WoodBrew


2.48/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I am not a fan of the Raison d'Etre, I should also point out that I am not a fan of Belgium Strong Ales, so please accept my review as more of a personal opinion than as an afficionado of Belgium Strong beers. The appearance is a slightly hazy light brown with a one finger tan head. Some lacing left on the glass. Smell includes alcohol, coffee, fruit, mostly raisins.
Taste includes alcohol, heavy malt, sweet dark fruit. Mouthfeel is tough...lots of alcohol and much flavor to try and mask it. To me the balance is a bit off. Overall I am glad I tried it but I am not a fan.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 13:37:50 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of CBlack85

South Carolina

2.48/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a New Belgium globe glass.

Pours a clear dark mahogany with a more reddish than copper hue. Not much head, even with a fairly aggressive pour. Beer seems very still, and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is of dark fruit and seems overly sweet. The belgian yeast is the only thing that seems pleasing to the nose.

The taste is not much better than the nose. There is something off putting about the raisins (really more like prunes). The alcohol is hot and rubbing alcoholesque. Although its not all bad, there are notes of caramel, toffee, and candy sugar. Finishes dry, and is medium bodied and under carbinated.

The beer seems to get much better as it warms, the alcohol seems to mellow a bit and the off putting raisin/prune seem to meld with the rest of the flavors. Unfortunately they don't meld enough to save this beer for me. I really wanted to like this beer, but it didn't quite get there for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2010 02:21:59 | More by CBlack85
Photo of rtratzlaff

North Carolina

2.48/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Raison d'etre "Reason for being" pours a deep ruby reddish color with a thin white head that sticks around and sticks to the glass here and there. The aromas are sticky sweet maltiness with dark fruit. There's not much spice in the nose. It seems a bit simple for a BSDA in the nose. The flavor is pretty much the same, not bad, but just lacking in complexity. No clove, no spice. Prunes are there in full force. A bittering in the finish with a slight hint at anise but nothing much more than a thought. Green raisins? Yeah.
The mouthfeel is full and fluffy. To style, this beer falls far short; however, as a beer in general, its not bad. I would recommend this for someone with a thing for malt forward beers with a slight Belgian quality.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2009 20:30:54 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of ethosx19


2.48/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I got a six pack and was excited to try this. As much as I wanted to like it, I just can't. It poured a dark rich amber with very little head. The aroma was a mix of raisons and alcohol - they don't mix well. It tasted of malt and raisons with a creamy alcohol finish. I didn't like the raisons and I didn't like the alcohol taste. I'm going to age these a few months and hope they improve. On the plus side, one beer at 8% did give me a buzz on an empty stomach.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2002 19:16:37 | More by ethosx19
Photo of Shakerman


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

02-19-2012 02:20:45 | More by Shakerman

New York

2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

07-04-2012 01:55:11 | More by BYAHHHHHH
Photo of seavercm


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

02-06-2013 16:27:21 | More by seavercm
Photo of chim52chim


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

04-25-2012 12:22:41 | More by chim52chim
Photo of Treb0R


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

12-13-2012 17:19:55 | More by Treb0R
Photo of Jwaks


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Serving 12oz bottle

Shows a wonderful translucent amber color with little to no carbonation and a moderate beige head that totally dissapates leaving nothing behind. Where is the

Roasted malts, sweet vinous fruit, rum soaked raisins and molasses dominate the nose with a bit of brown sugar kicking in the background.

A bit of nutty roasted malts, molasses and sugar makes a graceful entry giving away to a bit of sweet fruit and tons of fusel alcohol. An off-dry finish with more alchol and a bit of astringent off-flavors leave me wanting something else to balance on the aftertaste but only dry tannic fruit, wamring alcohol and a bit of malt answer - that's not what I was hoping for.

A great smooth mouthfeel is thrown out the window with tons of alcohol, odd astringent flavors, total lack of carbonation and a unpleasant dry finish - poor balance and lackluster taste don't provide much motivation to grab my glass for another sip.

This is a belgian strong dark ale? It's a poor one at that, balance is all off, flavors are lacking and artificial and alcohol is overwhelming and highly conspicious. DFH, this deviates from your norm, you let me down this time; if you want a truly good belgian strong dark ale then buy one from belgian, if you want to kick yourself for buying this and not something else then go with this DFH offering. This beer is well suited as curiostiy and a single try but not much else.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2007 00:38:00 | More by Jwaks
Photo of kilobees


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

05-09-2014 01:43:37 | More by kilobees
Photo of JBDADDY

2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

03-16-2012 01:23:17 | More by JBDADDY
Photo of Schumatrix

District of Columbia

2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

06-28-2013 02:07:20 | More by Schumatrix
Photo of Harvey98


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

11-17-2013 14:02:01 | More by Harvey98
Photo of eberkman


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a bottle at Biltmore in Newton Upper Falls, Mass.

Poured, like advertised on the bottle, a deep mahogany red (looks like my desk at work) with about a finger of off-white head with not a lot of volume retention, but at least a film stuck around for the duration.

Smell was pretty much malty notes -- caramel, molasses, darker fruits -- with a little bit of alcohol but not as much as I generally detect in anything billed as a Belgian strong dark ale.

Taste was, to be perfectly frank, disappointing. Just an overbearing, cloying, syrupy sweetness with no dryness or hoppyness to balance it out, other than occasional sour notes. I primarily tasted raisins. It was like someone mashed up my toddler's snack, bottled it and served it. Some traces of alcohol, but primarily just overwhelmingly sticky sweetness.

Mouthfeel was pretty thick with very little carbonation -- certainly not what you get from others filed in this category, like Ommegang or Trois Pistoles.

Drinkability was good for its ABV in the sense that it felt like more than one of these wouldn't totally knock you out. But in terms of taste, I found it way too syrupy sweet to tolerate more than one, if that.

Not representative of the style -- has it been mischaracterized on here? And a disappointing offering from the brewery that has blessed us with the sublime 90-Minute IPA. But everyone has their clunkers.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2007 03:24:17 | More by eberkman
Photo of songoose


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

05-08-2012 00:55:31 | More by songoose
Photo of SirDrinxAlot


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a clear dark amber with 1/2 finger head that disippates quickly and leaves little lace.

Smells like smoked molasses and light raisin brown sugar.

Tastes like malt and molasses, that leaves a sweet smokey flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with pretty high carbonation.

An interesting brew with some different flavors but nothing I really feel like going back for seconds for. Kind of a weird sweetness to the flavor. I guess thats the Belgian beet sugars and green raisins?? Whatdya expect. By the end of the beer the flavor was wearing on me and I had had enough.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2009 02:45:46 | More by SirDrinxAlot
Photo of chrispoint


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

02-18-2012 08:55:12 | More by chrispoint
Photo of DennisDullea

New York

2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

12-31-2013 19:29:43 | More by DennisDullea
Photo of doucmehu


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

01-19-2012 23:45:21 | More by doucmehu
Photo of jk3

New York

2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

01-29-2012 20:06:23 | More by jk3
Photo of BeeGinner

Rhode Island

2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

06-03-2012 19:44:15 | More by BeeGinner
Photo of JmBrkr


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

01-23-2012 04:11:08 | More by JmBrkr
Photo of cincybranr


2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

02-04-2013 00:27:36 | More by cincybranr
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,005 ratings.