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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,113 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,113
Reviews: 1,767
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 72
Gots: 288 | 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
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Ratings: 4,113 | Reviews: 1,767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bbeane
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pretty tasty. Sweet and malty, definately doesn't taste like 8.0% abv.

a- dark reddish in color with little head that quickly disappates

s- very little sweet malty aroma

t- very malty tasting with the slightest bite afterwards

m- good... has a delightful lingering sweet taste

d- very little alcohol detected... this bee could definately get me in trouble

bbeane, May 30, 2009
Photo of freeeekyyy
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is dark amber, a small head, and with moderate carbonation. Looks excellent. Smell is of dark fruits, boozy alcohol, and malt. Taste is all malt, roasted, and slightly sweet. Mouthfeel is thick and smooth. Excellent. Drinkability is very high due to almost undetectable alcohol while drinking.

freeeekyyy, May 29, 2009
Photo of atsprings
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Woody's City Market served in a New Belgium tulip glass a crisp ruby red with a nice frothy khaki head that slowly diminishes to a thin layer and leaves decent great lacing. Aroma is a bit of dried fruit and slight spice. The taste is an interestingly complex blend of dried fruit, dark malt and a hint of spice with a hint of sourness and a touch of dryness. The beer is medium bodied with a refreshing dryness. I've had this one before and remember not liking it, but I guess my palate is much more developed since then.

atsprings, May 26, 2009
Photo of originalsin
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The pour on this one yields an intense mahogany colored brew with little to no head that laces poorly. For what it's worth, there's still some sex appeal here.
Smells like you'd think a Raison x'xxxx might: like dark raisins, some malt, even a rum-like aroma is all up in my nostrils.
This beer feels pretty well carbonated for a strong dark belgian but I'm still having a bit of trouble getting it down. It hits the tongue initially with some raisin and cherry even but the flavor soon dissipates briefly into alcohol tones and then into nothingness.
Certainly not an awful beer or even a bad one. I just expect more from Dogfish Head. I think that's the real issue here.

originalsin, May 19, 2009
Photo of jkbusman
3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - a relatively clear ruddy amber with virtually no head or lacing

S - smells of dark fruit (raisins obviously), brown sugar, malt and hints of citrus with a strong alcohol presence

T - deep sugary malt flavor with an astringent alcohol flavor

M - low carbonation leaves this beer thick and almost syrupy

D - probably my least favorite offering thus far from DFH; if you're looking for a "belgian" beer, this is the wrong place to go for it

jkbusman, May 18, 2009
Photo of Albinoh
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good appearance, good head with some retention. Yeasty malty smell, it hints you that this will be a sugary sweet type of beer. The taste is malty with some dark fruits. I did like the beer and I was inclined to give am higher score, however compared to other beers in the same class this falls a little short. The beer has a smooth mouthfell but...the body is somehow thin and the taste is not as complex as the one you can get by beers in the same style. In some kind of way I would say its a thinner version of a good Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

I did enjoy the beer, and its also priced right. I would definitely recommend it and will probablly buy again.

Albinoh, May 16, 2009
Photo of BDTyre
3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not sure if I'd call this a Belgian or not. It seems like a warped standard brown ale.

Nice copper-brown look with a thick off-white head. Raisin and brown sugar scent, but a pretty noticeable malt smell. There is also a slightly pungent, almost sulfurous smell that I can't quite place.

Raisin-malt taste with a good dose of brown sugar. Bold malt body and a bit of hops. Not nearly the right balance to come off as a proper Belgian dark ale but too much of a raisin and sugar character to be a brown ale. I can even detect a milk chocolate hint.

Carbonation is initially a bit much, but it seems to ease off a bit. Nice, but not something I can get in to.

BDTyre, May 15, 2009
Photo of jbone78
4.5/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of my all time favorites. I drink this beer once a month or so. And every time I buy it makes wonder why I don't buy it more often.

A- Great! Pours just as the label says, Mahogany. Small head that leaves quickly. But the beer is clear.
S- Not alot to smell. You get a whif of hops and some very nice toasty malts, but you really have to try.
T- Very complex, I taste toasted malts, Belgian sugars and the hop flavor is mild. I guess the raisons are in there somewhere? My guess, the raisons are in the malty/sugary flavors? Very complex for me.
M- Mildly carbonated.
D- This is the best part. This beer is very drinkable for me. I am a fan of sweet Belgian beers and this one I could drink several in one sitting.

Great beer, in my book,

jbone78, May 15, 2009
Photo of LyonsHead
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep mahogany with a creamy one finger head. Great lacing all the way through the drink

S: caramel, bready notes mixed with dark fruits; plums, prunes, raisons and an array of spices.

T: Sweet malt hits the palate first then there are multiple common belgian spicy flavors that move across your mouth. Hints of bubble gum. There is a warmth from the stronger alcohol all the way through. The beer has a dry, bready finish.

M: medium body, smooth with a dry finish and warmth from alcohol.

D: The alcohol is very present in this beer. Sometimes it overpowers the other flavors that should be showcased. All in all though I enjoy the flavor and aromas of this beer.

LyonsHead, May 14, 2009
Photo of DiabolikDUB
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from Bottle into Pint glass.

Pours a deep caramel that glows with a thin off-white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma has many earthy notes, maybe some brown sugar and some tart fruit? There is quite a bit going on in the aroma but I can't pin down all of the scents. The flavor upfront is dried fruits with some bitterness immediately. There is a moderate warming that tells you the alcohol is there. There is also some caramel and earthly hops in the flavor that become apparent as it warms up. Its a medium-heavy bodied beer that is a bit syrupy. Overall it really isn't terribly difficult to drink although I probably wouldn't seek it out again.

DiabolikDUB, May 14, 2009
Photo of jjanega08
2.25/5  rDev -38.5%
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.

jjanega08, May 13, 2009
Photo of bunnyhustle
3.08/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into chalice, dark copper in color with thick, creamy head. Good retention and lacing. Smell was of sugar, some dark fruit, and some alochol, a little sweet caramel too. Taste was somewhat muted with a sweet malt, sweet caramel, and some sweet dark fruit (raisin, grapes). Overall...sweet. Mouthfeel was medium with moderate carbonation. Overall a good beer but nothing really jumped out at me.

bunnyhustle, May 11, 2009
Photo of MDekker
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: After pouring into a large, thick walled goblet, I had a murky brown brew. Not much head forms, but it maintains a bit of a layer. Looks decent.

S: An intense, pungent, fruity aroma, specifically of raisins and plums. Maybe some cranberry too. Mostly, just very sweet, with some hints of caramel or molasses too.

T: Much like the smell, it has a strong, faintly sour taste of ripened fruit, but some bitterness at the end to balance it out. The bitterness slowly emerges at the end as the sweetness fades. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

M: Quite good - nice level of carbonation, nice balance of oiliness with some creaminess too.

D: Will I buy another? Maaaybe...but I'm not sure. It's a fine drinking experience, to be sure, but I have other Belgian-type ales I'd run to first. Still, it's very well done.

MDekker, May 11, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark brown color with a small off white head.

Scent of sugars, dark fruits, and some roasted malts. Good balance and strength, but a bit too sweet.

Taste of sugars, roasted malts, and dark fruits. Sweetness is toned down here, but it is a bit watery and a hint of alcohol doesn't help. Even with those problems it is still pretty good.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a biting carbonation.

paco1029384756, May 11, 2009
Photo of nopucophop
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured to a nice deep amber with a average head that quickly dissipated to next to nothing.

The nose was difficult to place for me. It seemed to have a tea like aroma with a kick.

Found the flavor to have notes of brown sugar and caramel, with light hints of fruit. A sweet front followed quickly with a bitter finish. The taste that remains in mouth was worth noting. I also enjoyed it more as it got warmer. The flavor and balance gets easier as it gets warmer.

To be honest I think this a decent beer. I did not really enjoy it all that well. Was considering aging some to compare later but not really that enthused when fresh.

nopucophop, May 10, 2009
Photo of Hojaminbag
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is a rosy brown with a big fluffy head that has some decent staying power, but doesn't leave behind any lacing.

This barely smells like anything, and the aromas I get are metallic and musty...In an unpleasant way.

The taste is much better than the aroma. There is a big malt bill here that include chocolate and caramel. Next comes some dark fruits that include raisins (not surprisingly). The finish tastes a lot like rum, with dark fruits running in and big boozy flavor. I would never have guessed the style of this beer based on the flavor; I would have gone with an English style of some sort, like an old ale.

Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Average drinkability might be generous. I did not dislike this beer, but it certainly takes a while to finish one.

Hojaminbag, May 08, 2009
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

gabemasiulis, May 08, 2009
Photo of siradmiralnelson
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into Globe glass.

A. 1 finger head when poured, gone almost immeadiately. Very little lacing. Dark Ruby Red.

S. Malt, alcohol, some coffee. Not much smell.

T. Roasted malt, toasty taste, raisins, alochol.

M. Medium bodied, fairly dry finish.

D. Not very complex or flavorful. I don't think this should be described as a BSDA.

siradmiralnelson, May 07, 2009
Photo of Gyle41386
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a dark mahogany. Lots of foam during the pour led me to believe a giant head is on the way. Not quite. Small head doesn't retain well. Doesn't look like there's any lacing anywhere on the glass.

The aroma is pretty average. I'm sure there's plenty going on in there, but it's not assertive by any means. After much agitation, it offers up toffee, dark fruit, and booze.

Well, the flavor is of dark fruits (raisins...green raisins according to the label) soaked in rum and caramel. Big malt character. Unmasked alcohol.

Medium body. Very smooth drinker. I'm not really that impressed.

Gyle41386, May 06, 2009
Photo of TommyW
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear, dark-red/brown body with a thin white head.

S- Notes of alcohol and molasses with some very slight biscuity malts.

T- Notes of alcohol seem to be present through most of the taste; though not in an overpowering way but rather no other flavor seems to push it aside. Not much of a malt base detected; hops come in toward the middle and end but very sporadic.

M- Medium body with a rather awkward carbonation; flat upfront with a little bit more towards the back.

D- A very unique brew. One can either like the unique nature or hate it. I enjoyed the six pack I bought, but I'm hesitant to buy anymore soon.

TommyW, May 05, 2009
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.

SirDrinxAlot, May 05, 2009
Photo of goatgoat
2.93/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear dark coppery amber. A fizzy off-white head falls quickly to nothing. Not even ghost of a cap or a ring. Nothing. It's a nice color, but it just sits there like flat soda.

Aroma is at first raisiny sweetness but moves into dark fruits and caramel with a deep whiff. A hint of spice.

Flavor has a deep malt character, a solid blended sweetness. It's not very specific though. A very mild bitterness in the finish doesn't really compete with the malt, but does accent it. A hint of grace in an otherwise monotone malt landscape.

Medium body with a kick of alcoholic heat and dryness which would be more forgivable if it accompanied more flavor.

Sorry Dogfish Head, you disappoint.

goatgoat, May 05, 2009
Photo of selecter70
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I found this to be a lovely session ale, a bit of fruit, a bit of Belgian farmhouse, but not so much a dark ale, as claimed. The pour was not so special, ruby-brown, leading to a solid color with little to no head or lace...a bit sad. A banana-chocolate aroma first was present, but soon a malty fruit one took over. The body was medium with smooth raisin-malts and a hint of lemon. A bit sweet, but with hints of red wine, the raisin taste settled more like rum along with biscuit. Not great, but good as a session.

selecter70, May 04, 2009
Photo of Teeter
4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 12oz. bottle into a La Fin Du Monde tulip glass.

A-After a brisk pour a small and quick to disapate head apeared. Aside from the lackluster head the color is beautiful amber/ruby.

S-The aroma of seasoned grape and well fermented I might add has my mouth watering.

T-This is in a taste catagory all it's own. Although definately beer it has an almost burgandy or port wine flavor but without that tart dry thing that most wine seems to have.

M-Unexpectedly creamy in spite of the carbonation. It seems to find away of touching every part of my mouth.

D-I find it verry drinkable. Not so much for session.

I've been told this is excellent as a steak marinade. Although I havn't used it myself as of yet I can see how it could work.

My only negative comment on this product would be the lacking head and there is no lacing to speak of.

Teeter, May 03, 2009
Photo of peck95
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

this beer is a dark copper color with a very thin head and a little bit of lacing
the aroma is of rum cake/ banana nut bread
has a nice earthy taste raisons, nuts, caramel, and bananas also a strong alcohol note
over carbonated and a big alcohol burn,
a solid beer that i would call a mood beer, good only when im in the mood for something a little bit different.

peck95, May 03, 2009
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,113 ratings.