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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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3,846 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3846
Reviews: 1760
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%

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)
View: Beers (137) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 3,846 | Reviews: 1,760 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of mickeymac


4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Specialty beer, indeed. It's a nice brownish red with a smallish head. The smell is funky-fruit with a trace of hops and definitely unique. Green raisins? It sounds odd, but it works. The fruity flavor dominates, but it doesn't overwhelm the beer. The smell and taste of alcohol are noticeable but appropriate for an 8.0% abv beer. The drinkability is good, although this is certainly not a session beer. It seems to be a love it or hate it beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2002 15:41:30 | More by mickeymac
Photo of IrishRedRock


3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an odd beer. I like Dogfish Head in that they are a somewhat adventurous brewery, but I don't really know whats going on with this brew. It pours a clear tan with no head at all really. Not much of an aroma either, some mild malt, caramel, and alcohol.

Taste has some malt character, but sadly there are not many hops to be found. Smooth mouthfeel backed with a kick of alcohol that is quite warming and pleasant, with a bit of a dry finish. Has kind of a cheap beer flavor to it, and unfortunately it almost tastes like a fine malt liquor. Anyone seen a 40 oz of this around? ;)

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2002 21:58:29 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of MJR


3.23/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, garnet/mahogany color with a small tan head that, like all of Dogfish Head's beers, disappears quickly.

Smell: Brown sugar, caramel, and a wierd sweetness I can't put my finger on.

Taste: A mixture of alcohol, brown sugar, caramel, sweet fruit, and malt. Not much in the way of hops. Finishes with a strong alcoholic bite.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light body with a dry finish. Strong alcohol presence from start to finish.

Drinkability: Well...it's not a bad beer. The flavor is certainly interesting, but I don't see myself coming back to this one. To me, this is one of those 'try it once and move on' beers.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2002 13:13:10 | More by MJR
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.78/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Small head, deep garnet color. Soft aroma, very subtle. "Brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins, and a sense of purpose."
Taste this beer and happiness follows! This is beautiful and unique!
Low carbonation, high hops, little malt that I can detect, but just the right amount of sweetness, and an utterly original flavor. This is a special occasion beer, for when you need a special reward.Light texture, soft and sweet, it's the flavor that makes this a standout brew.
Time and again, I turn folks on to incredible beer like this and they are amazed that there's great beer coming out of Kalamazoo or Pennsylvania or Delaware. Proof again that "you can search the world over and never find a better beer" than those made by craft brewers here in the U.S.A.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2002 15:46:43 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of mrjimcat

New York

2.55/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Tried this brew and was not that impressed. The bouquet was heavy with solvent alcohol. The deep color was attractive but the taste was not that appealing. Interesting but not very appealing. The bitterness was appropriate and was followed by a strong and warm alcohol finish. The sample I tasted had virtually no head. It was not at all reminiscent of Belgians I have tasted which were all lively and bubbly. I would not buy more of this flavor.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2002 17:11:49 | More by mrjimcat
Photo of purplehops


4.43/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This ale pours with a deep mahogany/redwood color and and head that fades quickly. For most beers I would say the quick fading head would be a negative, but I don't think it was a major distraction for this ale. The aroma coming from the glass takes your mind away from the head. The aroma is full of orchard odors, fruity and fresh, like a good Belgian ale. There is also a touch of alcohol in the aroma that hints to what is to come.

The taste and flavor is a complex arrangement of specialty malts followed by fruit and spice and finishing with a warmth of alcohol from the beet sugars. The alcohol stays with you long after the last sip. This makes for a very nice after dinner ale. This is also a nice sitting around the fire after long winter day ale. As the label states this ale has "a sense of purpose".

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2002 13:50:28 | More by purplehops
Photo of QXSTER1


3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I couldn't get excited about this beer. Everything is there but not put together in a sophisticated fashion. Deep copper color, and a non-existent head. Nose is sweet and phenolic with some fruitiness. The taste is one dimensional, a bit grapey but nothing jumps out to grab your attention. A wouldn't call this a Belgian style, the complex yeast notes and intense flavors just aren't there. It didn't improve with warming either.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2002 16:51:17 | More by QXSTER1
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Yeah!!! Very nice stuff. The only downer was it maintained zero head, beautiful mahogany colour. Lots of raisins, caramel, touch of port and some smoke. Palate is complex round, raisiny, port-like, toasty, oaky, spicy, with some peppery alcohol in the finish, very resiny, oily, creamy and round, lots of flavours to describe in this one, excellent stuff

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2002 05:15:25 | More by rastaman
Photo of Wildman


4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a dark reddish color and formed a small bubbly white head that didn't hold and left little lace. Some carbonation present. An aroma of caramel and other candy frangrances. Flavor of caramel and raisins with a slight hint of the alcohol present. A good beer, but not a traditional style belgian. Typical Dogfish experimenting.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2002 17:07:27 | More by Wildman
Photo of jreitman


3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice nearly opaque dark brownin color with a white head that fades fast. The aroma very much reminded me of a less tart Rodenbach as it had a biting, tart smell. Belgian yeast and candy sugars smells were also apparent. As it sits, the raisins really start the show themselves in the nose. Mouthfeel was pretty lacking IMO feeling very oily and without much body. Fairly sweet flavored with some unidentifiable fruit flavors lying underneath. Finishes somewhat dry with a slight hop bite.

Thanks to NeroFiddled for hooking me up

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2002 19:18:36 | More by jreitman
Photo of HopheadEd


4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The last line on the label says "brewed with a sense of purpose." Well the purpose is to make me happy! Pours a dark mahogany color with a limited head that leaves patchy lace. First aroma is of fruits, not sweet, not sour. A taste of Belgian candy, alcohol, and a crisp finish. For an 8% ale, very drinkable. Excellent ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2002 18:11:44 | More by HopheadEd
Photo of Winter


2.7/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I picked up a six-pack of this beer with high hopes, based on a friend's recommendation and the great reviews that it had received. Nice mahogany color. Thin head dissipated quickly. At room temperature aroma has hints of carmel and raisin. Initial bland fruit taste surronds then is swept away by overpowering alcohol flavor. Combination of carbonation and alcohol tingles the tongue. Complex finish gives the ale its "sense of purpose" as the label states. Flavor definitely seems to improve as the beer warms to room temperature. This is the first Dogfish Head brew that I've tried and it has taken 2 separate attempts at drinking it to warm up to it.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2002 20:03:25 | More by Winter
Photo of jmatthew


3.08/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

As the bottle states, this is a deep mahogany beer, to which I cannot disagree. Rather attractive in the glass, the nose is bread-like with hints of caramel and a bit of mustiness, which seems both promising and forboding. As could be expected from a beer of 8% abv, alcohol plays strongly in the flavor. Unfortunately, the alcohol was a bit too strong on the opening of the flavor, rather than rounding it out with some warmth. Once past the alcohol, candy sugars dominate with the green raisins surfacing nicely to give some identifiable flavor to the otherwise anonymous swetnesss. Not quite as much body as anticipated but decent warmth due to the alcohol. Undoubtedly some credit is due for a bit of uniqueness, but I felt the alcohol could stand to be tamed a bit. Didn't find myself longing for another.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2002 07:20:54 | More by jmatthew
Photo of pbrian


3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've never had "rum soaked raisins" but have probably used the description in past reviews. After this beer I can more confidently say that I've actually had them. Other than that, it seemed a little flat and alcohol-laden to me, but it was fun to drink one of them.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2002 07:51:13 | More by pbrian
Photo of marc77


3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Garnet hue w/ good clarity, topped by a quickly dissapating head. No lace is left. Leafy tobacco & raisiny, dark caramel Special B (and / or real raisins?) sweetness in aroma. Light acetaldehyde as well. Deeply caramelized sweetness hits the palette initially, but vinous flavors & mild bubblegum esters quickly follow. A bit cidery from the dark candi sugar in the grist. Hop bitterness is mild, but manages to offset the relatively high residual sweetness. Lightly bodied, w/ a mouthfeel that borderlines on being thin. Finishes clean, dry w/ a fading molasses flavor. Although a tasty brew, I was expecting greater complexity and richness. Raison D'etre is without flaws, however.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2002 00:59:46 | More by marc77
Photo of proc


4.63/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An incredible beer. Pours out to a darker than expected amber with a slight head. Smell is that of fruit. The taste is fantastic. Fruit and licorice seem prevelant and the alcohol is hidden quite well. As it warms up, it gets better.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2002 19:02:48 | More by proc
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An unusual and interesting beer, but then aren't all of the Dogfish Head beers? It took a long time for this beer to grow on me. It pours a deep crimson-mahogany with a creamy light tan head that drops quickly to just a collar (probably from the high alcohol). I like the aroma of dark caramels (toffee) and fruit. The flavor offers up a lot of alcohol, some dark fruity (raisins) maltiness, and some balancing bitterness. The flavor is actually quite toasty with a fig-like fruitiness. The finish is dryish and not nearly as complex as the flavor but does have a lingering sweet raisin-like note that's quite nice. The high level of alcohol is quite hidden. Overall, this is an expansive beer that doesn't reveal itself at first and deserves some extra attention and a few re-visits. It's a beer that I drink when I know I'm not having another but I still want something unusual and rich. Very well done and certainly worth a try. I've also noticed that this ages exceptionally well with bottles that are at least 6 months old becoming much smoother, and bottles that are a year or more old revealing a deeper character.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2002 14:13:19 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Longstaff


2.88/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought a six pack of this due to the high reviews it gets here and other people's recommendations and I have been trying my best to like it. I tried it cold and warm, with food and without, even with a cigar, and it just doesn't seem to cut the mustard for me.

I find it to be overly sweet with brown sugar and raisin flavors that don't blend well with the alcohol flavors. I will say that this is a well crafted and complex beer, but all the different flavors just don't seem to come together. That makes me 0 for 2 with Dogfish Head. BTW, it totally ruined the flavor of the nice Cuban I was smoking.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2002 09:29:54 | More by Longstaff
Photo of Jdiddy

Rhode Island

4.58/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was really blown away by this. I guess it is considered a Belgian Ale, although it does not taste much like Chimay or the others. I actually like this a bit better than the usual Belgians. It is very full, somewhat heavy, and awesome all around! The smell is that of raisins and a touch of alcohol (but not overpowering). The taste is bold and fruitlike (raisins, currants). The alcohol comes through in the taste but in all the right places. Exceptional beer!!!

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2002 16:33:32 | More by Jdiddy
Photo of aracauna


4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this in contrast to the Chimay Red I tried tonight. Less of the Y-grass/raw carrot taste than the chimay, but more of the raisony flavor a lot of belgians have. Perhaps because I also drank the World Wide Stout on the same tasting, I also noticed a lot more caramelly/toffeeish flavors than in a typical belgian. I like the dark malt flavors in this beer. Makes for a nice twist on a Belgian. Palate still heavily carbonated, but less fuzzy than chimay. This beer is also more ruby and less brown than the Chimay.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2002 17:51:23 | More by aracauna
Photo of ADR


4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, deep-brown color, controlled 1/2 inch head. Aroma is a little fruity, touch of sharpness approaching skunk. Dense initial mouthfeel, lower carbonation. Sweet and just a touch of raisin and other dried fruit flavors. Actually, more of a plum taste in some ways. Hops are reserved to my tongue. Nice mixture of robustness and lack of greasy slickness. Sturdy without being heavy or overly fruity. Alcohol content was pretty unnoticed by me until close to the end. Cool brew, quality. Thanks to Bighuge for dropping off a sixer.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2002 07:41:10 | More by ADR
Photo of Bighuge


4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours pretty dark. Dark Ruby. Has a thin laced tan head that laces nicely. Interesting aroma. Like brown sugar and rock candy. Some malt tones too. Nice. This beer has some definite sweet tones mixed in with alcohol. It's a nice taste. Rock candy comes to mind again. An undenying sweet flavor. Some lingering alcohol and bitterness on the tongue. Body is medium to full. Nice brew here.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2002 21:06:01 | More by Bighuge
Photo of Thrasher


3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Something completely different. Poured from the bottle to not much head. Chemical fruit aroma, like cherry cough syrup. You can smell the alcohol. Initially like wine, then chocolatey sweet, fruity but an alarming finish - incredibly bitter. Cleans out the back of the throat as it goes down. I'm getting very medicinal qualities from this. The alcohol is blatant. I like this beer, I admire this beer... True, I wouldn't want to drink more than one at a time, but hey, this is art, right?

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2002 19:44:27 | More by Thrasher
Photo of Andy


4.45/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very different on tap than in the bottle. Here is a bottle review: Pours with a quickly dissipating head. Dark ruby color. Aroma is big alcohol, sweet sugar, and some nutty like cashew with spicy, yeasty hints. Complex flavor, sometimes mellow, with deep peppery hints and some yeast bite. Finish is smoky like true scotch ales.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2002 07:48:48 | More by Andy
Photo of WilliamPhilaPa


4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is another brew I had Sat. at the Manayunk beer festival, this and the Black Radish were the only two none IPA’s or Pale Ale’s that I had, with the exception of one Wit beer. (I actually managed to jot some notes down on the two beers.)

Anyway this brew has very nice deep copper / orange-ish color to it. The aroma is that of sweet malt, raisins and slight alcohol, all the same can be tasted on the palate, but the high alcohol is barely even noticed while drinking, it is so tasty and balanced so well. The mouth feel is creamy and smooth. Overall this brew was excellent!
This may not be a Belgian-style brew per say, but a excellent brew nonetheless!

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2002 11:27:30 | More by WilliamPhilaPa
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,846 ratings.