1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

4,156 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,156
Reviews: 1,767
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 77
Gots: 300 | 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:
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Raison D'Être Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,156 | Reviews: 1,767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of swanny28
1.53/5  rDev -58.1%
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.

swanny28, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of alysmith4
1.55/5  rDev -57.5%
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!

alysmith4, Oct 25, 2005
Photo of sstackho
1.58/5  rDev -56.7%
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.

sstackho, Aug 30, 2006
Photo of mdm4584
1.65/5  rDev -54.8%
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.

mdm4584, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of mobius024
1.75/5  rDev -52.1%
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 ...

mobius024, Apr 01, 2007
Photo of abcdefghijkyle
1.75/5  rDev -52.1%

abcdefghijkyle, Oct 24, 2012
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!".

Trappistfan1, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of Arbitrator
1.93/5  rDev -47.1%
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.

Arbitrator, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of Ahhdball
1.98/5  rDev -45.8%
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.

Ahhdball, Aug 01, 2004
Photo of Brunite
1.98/5  rDev -45.8%
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.

Brunite, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of Kidvicious
2/5  rDev -45.2%

Kidvicious, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of JGrummell
2/5  rDev -45.2%

JGrummell, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of TheWillMitch
2/5  rDev -45.2%

TheWillMitch, Aug 01, 2014
Photo of aSASn
2/5  rDev -45.2%

aSASn, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of WritersBlock
2/5  rDev -45.2%

WritersBlock, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of hopsandstouts
2/5  rDev -45.2%

hopsandstouts, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of BGsWo22
2/5  rDev -45.2%

BGsWo22, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of joshtrich
2/5  rDev -45.2%

joshtrich, Feb 17, 2012
Photo of Sergris
2/5  rDev -45.2%

Sergris, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of spoonhawk
2/5  rDev -45.2%

spoonhawk, Jul 13, 2013
Photo of illiniguy1212
2/5  rDev -45.2%

illiniguy1212, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of drewloc
2/5  rDev -45.2%

drewloc, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of DefenCorps
2/5  rDev -45.2%
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.

DefenCorps, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of Klif
2/5  rDev -45.2%

Klif, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of andrewborstein
2/5  rDev -45.2%

andrewborstein, Mar 18, 2012
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,156 ratings.