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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Educational use only; do not reuse.

4,204 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,204
Reviews: 1,770
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.03%
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 mexikrainian
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz poured into a Orval chalice.

Appearance: ruby brown with non-existent head and lacing.

Aroma: raisins, spices, vanilla and cinnamon.

Flavor: sweet maltiness, molasses, plum, caramel and cloves.

Mouthfeel: bland light-medium body and light carbonation.

Overall impression: tasty and alcoholic but lacking in body. great for the price, though.

Photo of jwinship83
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Ruby red with a bone white head.

S- Sweet smell of raisins,

T- Very sweet and syrupy with a strong taste of raisins. different and enjoyable. crisp and clean without much of an aftertaste.

M- Nice and thick, syrupy. highly carbonated.

D- very enjoyable, but also very sweet. almost too sweet to have a couple of. a 6 pack would last me a long time.

Photo of jsdunlop
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one poured a light amber hue with a minimal head that faded fairly quickly. The aroma of alcohol dominated the olfactory passageways and was followed by brown sugar, fruits, and a slight hop aroma. Upon first taste, it was sweet and sugary with a strong malty backbone that intermingled with the high alcohol content very nicely. Slight hints of plums and red grapes made their way into my senses as well. The mouthfeel was balanced well with carbonation and wasn't too thin despite the alcohol present in this one. Overall, it was a tad too sweet, though the underlying flavors were an enjoyment for sure.

Photo of tbeckett
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from a grocery store in Dade City, Florida. From notes.

A - Deep amber pour with a nice two finger fluffy light brown head. Good carbonation, spotty lace anda a film of retention.

S - Lot' sof raisins. Sugar, dark fruit, light yeast, vinous, port. Aroma became quite grapey later.

T - Sugar, raisins, a little yeast, nice dark malty richness. A little port and vinous notes. Sweet. Flavour gets a bit dull with time. It doesn't seem to have much drinkability for the laung haul. Flavour doesn't carry through from the initial sips.

M - Medium carbonation, light-ish body, sweet and dry finish. Body is a bit lacking.

O/D - A nice BSDA. Complex and tasty, but with a weak body. Otherwise a good example of the style, and a good intro to Belgian-styles from North America. A touch too sweet.

Photo of webmanspidey
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into chalice a purplish brown with small amount of tan head. Smell is grape and raisin.. fairly sweet and mellow.

Taste is very sweet and malty.. again grapes, raisins, and nuts. Very limited hop presence. Not overly alcoholic and fairly drinkable.

This isn't bad, but not too interesting or exciting. I really preferred its "big brother", Raison D'extra, which I thought was excellent.

Photo of kbub6f
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The head is small, beige-white and dense, but dies fast. The beer is dark, clear, toffee-brownish. Nuts and sweet fruit in the nose. The front is sweet, rich caramel. Thick and sweet through the middle: toffee, malt and butter. Alcohol in the finish with sweet ripe fruit and more peanuts. Sweet after taste reminds me of baking ingredients... fruitcake? nutbars? Anyway, overall, not bad. I like the nuts. The malt is good and butter, but on the whole it's a little too sweet for me.

Photo of hoplover82
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a very complex beer. Very malty and fruit like. The raisins shine thru everything else.

It pours a dark dark brown color with a dark caramel head that sticks around till your ready to retire.

I taste raisins, caramel, alcohol, and something else. The only thing I don't like with this great off-centered beer is the alcohol sting. Too boozy! It's a little harsh on my palate, but hay, it's still one of the greatest dessert beers Iv'e had.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a 12 ounce bottle and into my basic snifter glass. The ale appears a clear medium chestnut color with about two inches of light ecru foam. The head lingers for a bit before settling to a thin layer. Aromas and flavors are of brown sugar, caramel, alcohol, nuts, mild hints of dried dark raisins, sweet malt. Maybe a notch better than medium bodied with ample carbonation for the style. Worth trying if you spot it.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A- Dark Bronze, slightly clear, light shines through the bottom, 1 finger head that dissipates quickly, excellent lacing.
S- Dark fruits, raisin, prune, sweet syrupy aroma.
T- Raison, malts, sweet up front with slight bitter after taste, brown sugar, syrupy.
M- Medium mouth feel, nice aftertaste, not the smoothest beer.
O- Easy drinking, hides the alcohol well, it’s an interesting beer, not one I would return to any time soon.

Photo of hckyfn9999
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly clear amber color with a one finger white head that disappears quickly and leaves a little lacing. Aroma is of brown sugar, sweet malt, and fruit. Not a very strong smell. Taste is fruity with some brown sugar notes and the alcohol is noticeable. It tastes good but it is hard to pickup exact flavors. Mouthfeel is a little more thin than I would care for. I am indifferent towards this beer. Its not bad but I do not think I will buy this again.

Photo of gabemasiulis
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden Brown Color with a light tan head. Fine Bubbles with minimal retention
The raisins are very present in the smell, sweet with a bit of malt.
The Raisins hit up front, quickly followed by an underlying bitterness, which serves very well to balance the raisins. Toasted malts throughout.
Crisp and Dry, an interesting counterpoint to the taste.
It is a very simple beer, but has its own layers of complexity to it. All in all a good balanced product from dogfish head

Photo of afksports
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brewery back at the end of August on my Dogfish trip. Reviewing it from notes.

I actually wasn't a huge fan of this one. As much as I loved the trip, this was a bit underwhelming. Overly sweet nose is what you notice. Figgy maybe. Sweet. That smell sits on top of the amber beer, which is good because there's not much head. It's a dark ale that runs smooth through the mouth, but you do notice the alcohol. The mouth does sustain nicely as it goes down though, as there's plenty of carbonation. Overall it was a great first taster, but nothing I'd come back to.

Unless presented with a Miller Lite sans vortex.

Photo of lhaqq
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Can't say too much; had it out of the bottle. Presumably a brown body.
S: Not too much out of the bottle. Some doughy malts and roasted barley.
T: Tastes like a porter. Roasted malts and coffee and some caramel. Pretty good but seemed odd for the style.
M: Same feel as a porter, but a bit lighter.
D: Masks the abv pretty well, would be a good party beer.

Photo of Dan3279
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown amber

S: Dried fruits & raisins

T: Dry & Fruity

M: Crisp

D: Easy to drink but at the same time I don't think I would want to drink more than one in a single sitting.

I had a hard time getting into this one. I didn't think that it was a bad beer at all, it was just something that didn't appeal to me.

Photo of Wonka
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 fl. oz.
8% Alc. by Vol.
Packaged in 1 (Jan)

Appearance – red/slight orange body; minor white head comes and goes; little in the way of lace

Smell – sugary sweet; ‘milked down’ coffee; roasted malt; solvent-like alcohol; some dark chocolate; certainly unique

Taste – unique tinge of alcohol strings on throughout and brings this ship down a notch; hoppy middle; some caramel; molasses-like flavor battles with alcohol and the strongest hops of the experience for an awkward close and aftertaste; the taste is all over the place; it’s a bipolar trip for the tongue

Mouthfeel – nice moderate to light feel with a crisp backend

Drinkability – the flavors didn’t exactly flow too well as a team

This is unlike any ‘Belgian Strong Dark Ale’ that I have imbibed. Strong fits, but Belgian? Strange. Weird. This was a tough review. Raison D’Etre just didn’t taste or feel right. Overall, it’s a bit better than average but not a beer that I’d recommend based on this sample.

Photo of stcules
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Mahogany color. White foam, but scarce, and quickly disappearing.
In the smell, beside the malt, there are vanilla, woody notes, and porto. A touch of rhubarb and red fruit (plum).
In the taste the raisins, already intuible in the smell, it is definite and well present. Again porto and plum.
Full and definite body.
Liqueurous and sweet aftertaste, with dry fruit.
Velveted and smooth.

Photo of Soneast
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, dark copper color, with some reddish hues, forms a small cream colored head, that dissipates quite rapidly.

The aroma consists of burnt caramel and brown sugar notes and a bit-o-nuttiness. There is also an almost smoky quality to it. Overall this smells quite sweet and rather rich.

The flavor, not unlike the aroma, is malt-centric, with those caramel and brown sugar notes coming through and once again I pick up some nuttiness reminiscent of a nut brown, and also an odd roasted quality. There are also some light green fruit flavors, more along the line of green apple than grape, but overall this beer is quite sweet, with little, to no bitterness, finishing rather sweet, never quite gets to the point of being cloyingly sweet.

Raison D'etre is not a beer I could drink more than one or two in a row. It's is quite rich, but feels more sugary sweet than the average BSDA that I am used to, which brings out their character in malt complexity, rather than sweetness.

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep red to, well mahagony in color. Some decent but not to sticky lacing hangs around. The aroma presents cherries, licorice, belgian candy sugar some grapyness as well as a touch of tobacco and this odd raw aroma. The flavor follows from the aroma, however the flavors don't mesh all too well and there is that rawness to this beer. It is also a tad hot and harsh, and again that tobacco flavor is present too. This beer could be a little more full bodied as it presents itself a little thin. I'd think twice before picking up another sixer of these guys.

Photo of peensteen
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very deep copper brown colour, minimal amount of white head, no lace. Smell is pretty malty, sweet caramel and toffee, fruity, grapes, cherry, raisin, candy like at points, light alcohol. Taste is fairly sweet with a big malt bill, fruity yeastiness, grape, cherry berries with caramel notes at times. Light carbonation, silky-sticky texture, med-full body, nice weight. This grew on me as I drank it and by the end it was pretty good, the first few sips were a little off putting. Not my fav DFH brew so far and will probably pass on picking this up again, still pretty drinkable.

Photo of ribby
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It says 'mahogany' on the label, and that is the color that it pours, and relatively clear. The head is small, although the foam is of a good, natural quality. The taste is mostly malty, definitely sweet but not overly so in my opinion, thanks to a minimal amount of hoppiness. The raisin flavor is subtle; I don't think I would have detected it without the label. This beer is quite drinkable, enough so that at 8% you better be careful.

Photo of knowledge
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The ABV on this brew was higher than I normally tolerate, considering my checklist only allows for beers between 4%-6%, this one was 8%. It came out nice brownish hue, beautifully crafted though, the taste was sweet and fruity. A good session once only and no more, in my opinion.

Photo of jonziefle
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a clear dark reddish brown color. 1.5 finger bubbly khaki colored head. Decent retention, with a half finger sticking around for a while. Plenty of visible carbonation. Some lacing.

Smell: An odd canned chicken like nose on the first whiff. Very odd indeed. It seemed to mostly go away after drinking a little. Otherwise, dark fruit and grape flavors, with a moderate molasses like sweetness.

Taste: Carbonation and alcohol bite on the first sip. Mild darker malts, but not overly toasted or roasted tasting. Some grape and dark fruit flavors, but not dominating. Very well balanced. Moderate sweetness. Not much in the way of hops, except the possible dark fruit flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a nice bite. Smooth.

Drinkability: A very easy drinker, with a darker bite up front, but a smooth and more mild finish. Not quite a Belgian strong dark ale, in my opinion. It’s a little too clear, smooth, and not enough booze. But those aren’t bad qualities. A very nice beer to drink. One to try.

Buy Again? Yes, if I’m in the mood.

Photo of FanofHefe
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 1/18/11, poured into a pint glass. Deep amber-colored body with a bit of ruby red tint. Very carbonated, but settles into a two-finger light tan head. The head quickly dissipates, leaving a small amount of sticky lacing.

The aroma begins with simple caramel malt, but adds just a touch of spice from the yeast and a note of light fruitiness.

Sweet flavor overall, with the Belgian beet sugars dominating. The spice and small note of floral hops give a bit of balance.

Medium mouthfeel and very little notice of the alcohol. A little too sweet overall for my liking, but a very interesting and worthy effort overall from DFH.

Photo of ffejherb
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle into Mad Elf challice on 1/9/08.

A - Poured a clear, deep ruby red body with sparse beige head and some cascading bubble of carbonation. Minimal lacing and head retention.

S - Belgian yeast with dried dark fruits, reminiscent of prunes, dates and raisins, as well as sugar cane. Very sweet and fruity aroma. Some bready/doughy malt in the back, as well as a whiff of alcohol as the liquid warmed up. Not much of a hop presence in the nose.

T - This is a sweet brew with lots of fruity and spicy aspects. The dark fruit, especially the raisins, comes out in the finish.

M - Medium to full body with creamy, almost syrupy, texture and pretty lively carbonation. Heavy, sweet finish that almost numbs the tongue.

D - Quite an interesting and unique brew. I wouldn't necessarily drink this in mass quantities. It's definitely an "in the mood for" beer. But leave it to DFH to come up with this one!

Photo of sinistermadman
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear cherry color while producing a decent head. Smell is subdued, I can barely detect some fruit along with some malt.

Taste is different to say the least. A bitter twang resonates throughout the drink making it difficult to pick up on any constituent ingredients. It kind of tastes like water from an old lead pipe, but with chocolatey malt and a residual fruit note. This brew's body is smooth with a low to moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is syrupy and sticky. Not terrible, but not desirable either. Definitely seems like a beer that I would have to try a couple times before I could figure it out.

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