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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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3,972 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,972
Reviews: 1,765
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 64
Gots: 236 | 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
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Ratings: 3,972 | Reviews: 1,765 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TLove

District of Columbia

3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was unique and certainly gratifying, though not exceptional. The pour had surprisingly little head. The taste was a sharp mixture of hoppy and sweet, and the green raisins did not compromise the drinkability of the beer. As usual with Dogfish Head, the beer had a higher ABV content. In congruence with the light redness of the beer's color, the spices and woody structure of the beer did not disappoint, however the flavors were particularly abrasive.

This beer was not a classic Belgian Strong Dark Ale by any means, but displayed gestures more prominent in the hoppiness of an IPA or the fruitiness of a cider beer. A solid offering from a fantastic brewery.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 04:58:21 | More by TLove
Photo of morebeergood


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

Had this with dinner at Parrish Cafe. Poured from the bottle into a glass. Brownish orange color with a thin head. Smelled very sugary. Taste was good, but not great. Reminded me a lot like a dubbel, but thinner and much more sweeter. Had a very strong candied sugar or caramel flavor. Very faint flavor of grapes (almost port like) in the background. Should not have ordered with my meal, as it's more of an after dinner drink. Too sweet for a strong dark ale in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2008 01:48:46 | More by morebeergood
Photo of BeerLover729

New York

3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: A dark cloudy translucent brownish brew with minimal head.

S: Roasted malts come through with a coffee like aroma. Sweet malty background rounds out the nose.

T: Nice medley of flavors: espresso and cloves, with malt sweetness pervading in the end.

M: Big malty body but not syrupy or overwhelmingly thick.

D: Well hidden alcohol content. Too sweet for my tastes really. More of a slow drinking beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2008 17:17:24 | More by BeerLover729
Photo of CaptainIPA


3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a dark, ruby amber with a foamy head that falls to a rim of extra sticky lacing.

S: Molasses, raisins, and rum.

T: Opens sweet and fruity with big notes of molasses, raisins, plum, and rum. A lightly hopped middle is quickly overtaken by dark, malt flavors. Suggestions of maple syrup in the background. Finishes cloyingly sweet with sustained notes of sweet raisins. Caution: alcohol is deceptively hidden.

M: Slick and syrupy mouthfeel.

D: Heavy-handed use of Belgian beet sugars make this offering too damn sweet for session drinking. One and you're done.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2008 00:46:35 | More by CaptainIPA
Photo of GilGarp


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

This is one I remember liking quite a bit a few years back. I saw it on sale and just had to revisit.

Bottled 3/21/08.

Pours a beautiful ruby red amber color with good clarity. Almost no head and certainly no lacing.

Aroma is sweet with a slight fruity smell like tart apples and cherries.

Flavor is also sweet and again has those same tart fruits from the aroma. It has a little bit of Belgian quality to it but it seems to lack the all important yeast. Without that, it's almost more like a double bock.

Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, not overly carbonated, medium body, well balanced.

Drinkability is very good for a beer of this strength.

Overall, I would've been happier to say that it's an exceptional brown ale or even a really good bock but as a Belgian strong dark, it falls short. Still a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2008 02:47:28 | More by GilGarp
Photo of Douglas88


3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the Clark Street Ale House in Chicago. Pours a dark brown color with a thin white head. The aroma was mostly roasted notes, and raisins. The taste was full of sweet burnt sugars and malts, some chocolate and a bit of plum. Very nice. An interesting brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2008 00:49:20 | More by Douglas88
Photo of Jyubei

New Mexico

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Amber brown body with a 1/2 in white head, no lacing

S. Hops, toffee, roasted malt and a hint of fruit. Also some bready aroma

T. Toffee, roasted malt and a lambic fruit aftertaste. A bready taste becomes more apparent after a few sips.

M. Sticky and sweet. Just the way a belgian should be.

D. Not a bad belgian, but there are better examples out there.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2008 21:13:08 | More by Jyubei
Photo of Swann

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Red Amber color. 1.5 inch head that held for about 2 minutes and laced around the glass as it came down.

Smell - Started off malty with hints of yeast and some wood. As the beer opened up smells of figs, white grapes, and alcohol over took the smell

Taste - Started off malty then a slight tart and acidity like that of a tart grape. Has a subtle rasin finish. Definate alcohol presence in the beer. The rasin finish seems to fade towards the end of the beer maybe due to the alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Medium carbonation. sticks to your mouth similar to how it laces on the glass. medium body overall.

Drinkability - Nice flavor and goes down smooth. I wouldn't want more than a couple of these though and probably wouldn't want to end a night of drinking to one one these due to the richness of the sugars. Maybe thats because of the belgian beet sugars used in the the beer but I'm not sure.

Overall I liked the beer. I might buy it again in the future but it will be up against the other Dogfish Head beers I'm a fan of and thats a tough line up!

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2008 01:37:42 | More by Swann
Photo of notafood


3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours ruby brown with a solid cream colored head that didn't take long to dissolve.

Malts, raisins, alcohol, sweetness. Something earthy I can't quite finger.

Tartness up front, sweet roasted malts follow. Nutty aftertaste I keep thinking there's a touch of coffee/chocolate.

Medium bodied, slightly sticky.

A good beer, no doubt its enjoyable, but as a caveat, I'm already feeling a buzz halfway through this beer. Honestly, I'm glad I tried it, but there are other labels I would go to before this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2008 22:42:34 | More by notafood
Photo of dakeller80


3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance--nice creamy 1-2 cm head dissipates quickly. Good clarity, ruby-brown color

Smell--sticky sweet plum smell. . .alcohol evident. Let's you know up front the you're in for lots of residual sugars, fruity esters.

Taste--plum and raisins hit you you first and hard. . .very sweet, alcohol is there but warming and smooth. . .not harsh. Fruity maltiness is become even more dominant as it warms. Almost no hop bitterness to speak of which is appropriate, of course.

Mouthfeel--big body. Not very highly carbonated but enough to lighten the mouthfeel in spite of the sweetness so it doesn't get to thick and chewy.

Drinkability--excellent after dinner beer. Or breakfast. I think this would be a better beer with a slightly drier finish, but a good buy if you see it in your beer store.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2008 20:37:29 | More by dakeller80
Photo of BeerZack

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 10/8/08
I have tried this beer before in the past and hated it, thought it was way too sweet and uninteresting. Now, I rather enjoy it and am eager to try aging it.

Deep red mahogany color with a very nice frothy head. Extreme lace and multicolored foam swirls; almost root beer float like, nice.

Very roasty aroma. Smells of roasted barley, maple syrup, sugar and raisins.

Sweet syrup, raisin, marzipan with only a hint of the roastiness that dominates the aroma.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, rich and full feel without being overly sticky or cloying. A bit sweet, would like to see how it ages.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2008 04:27:14 | More by BeerZack
Photo of Doomcifer

Rhode Island

3.08/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a bright amber/brown color with a small head that fades off quickly. Smells of dark fruits, figs, raisins, perhaps some yeast, definitely malty. Taste is very "green" along with ripened fruits like figs and dates. Earthy, some yeast notes, malty sweet. Sort of strange flavor going on, not off taste, just strange. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, slightly dry. I can enjoy one of these but it stops there.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2008 18:22:26 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

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

A: Poured a dark ruby-amber with a slight, foamy beige head that went quickly and quietly.

S: filled with dried fruit (prunes, raisins) and some sweet dried molasses.

T: much the same with a noticeable raisiny essence, prunes and some dark brown sugar sweetness. The palate is overall malty with some dried fruit juice sweetness. There is some alcohol and dates as well detected in the finish.

M: full, thick, syrupy, and viscose with some raisiny grist left behind.

D: A touch sweet with a considerable abv of 8.00% will limit this to a one trick pony drinkability wise, but its not to say you shouldn't try it as it provides an unique flavor and experience.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2008 23:25:25 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of AMoceri7


3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First wall I have hit in Dogfish Tradish.

A: Nothing short of beauty. Great "mahogany" color, carbonation bubbles as much as the eye can count. Great 2 finger head, exceptionally pretty. Expectations are high.

S: Malty, yeasty, almost a bit of skunk. Nothing over the top. Hard to pin point anything.

T: Um...Another sip. Its good, enjoyable, but something about it is just not hitting the DFH spot. Tastes of malt, brown sugars, cant make out the raisins, or "raisons". Slight hop presence in the finish. Im trying real hard here...Really, almost nothing going on. The smoothness of this brew probably comes from the lack of flavor, almost a commercial brown ale on steroids and thats not saying much.

M: Carbonated... Almost too high. Mixture of the hop bitterness and carbonation seems to take a lot away from this already bare brew.

D: Had a few, hoping the second time around would be better. Still, nothing sticks out, very straight forward, nothing special.

O: Its good, but with a standard Sam sets with some of his other brews, this one barely makes the cut. Definetally a lot better paired with some pulled pork sandwiches. Mmhhmmm...

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2008 07:16:01 | More by AMoceri7
Photo of NoahSYGG

New York

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

This is a great regular beer. The color is a light brown with great carbonation. The aroma is sweet, a little spicy, a definate aroma of green raisons. the flavor is sweet, very complex, a little bitter. The mouthfeel is a medium feel and the drinkablity is good. a great beer for malt lovers.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2008 00:58:53 | More by NoahSYGG
Photo of Shumista


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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a clear plastic clup.

A- The beer pours a dark red-brown (mahogany maybe), with a slowly rising 1 inch head, that stuck around for a while.
S- The aroma is not as full as I expected. I noticed dark fruits and sweet malts.
T- Very sweet, too sweet for me actually. Dark fruits are very noticeable in the taste, as well as sweet malt and a little bit of sourness.
M- Not quite as thick as I had expected. Somewhere between medium and full-bodied I would say. The alcohol is unnoticeable except for a slight warming feeling.
D- Goes down easy for 8%.

This is an interesting beer for sure so I am glad that I tried it, but it is probably not something I would buy again.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2008 00:56:18 | More by Shumista
Photo of czfreeman


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

The label alone on this brew inspires thoughtful review before even pouring. Pours out a rich brown-reddish color, capped by a nice two-finger tan head.
Smells of a light tartness, definatley from the green raisins, musky incense-like smokiness, malty sweetness. Not as spicy as a normal BSPA, more along the lines of a nice rich brown ale, or a Old ale-German Altbier if you will. Smells deliciously drinkable, but nothing Belgique really to be found, unless you want to simply consider the ingenuity of brewing with the ingredients used-whatever nature had at hand.
Tastes of a nice spicy clove like peppers up front, tamarind sweet-tartness, raisin sweetness, followed by malts, ends with a long tingling throat-warming finish. Mouthfeel is very palate filling, but has a well balanced finish, I find highly drinkable and enjoyable. Maybe not a quote-on-quote BSPA, but when does Dogfish ever produce industry-standard beers? This is a lighter example of the style, a more drinkable, modified version.Give it a try with an open mind.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2008 00:22:49 | More by czfreeman
Photo of oriolesfan4


3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To me, this is DFH's best beer.. at leas so far anyway. It's a pretty high ABV but you cannot even taste it at all. Smells and tastes of brown sugar and other sweetness and the taste is so smooth and mouthfeel perfect. It's almost like liquid candy, but it's not so overly sweet that it turns you off. I've come back to this one a few times and will continue to do so.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2008 23:57:51 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of mvanaskie13


4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a translucent, deep mahogany brown. Good appearance, light head, dissipated quickly.

Smell is sweet, sugary malts with a hint of spicyness. a little sour.

Taste is earthy, sweet, malts and a sour finish. Kind of complex flavoring, but a great beer. The alcohol content is hid very well.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, smooth sweetness. Very good.

Very drinkable, this beer really hides the alcohol very well. Very tasty, strong beer from Dogfish.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2008 22:24:18 | More by mvanaskie13
Photo of FSUmac


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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a goblet....

Appearance: Pours a nice deep brown with a 1 finger head. Not much retention.

Smell: Malty. I get a hint of fruit (plum, cherries). Reminds me of a dubbel.

Taste: Whoa, very complex, but not overpowering. I get dark fruits with some sourness. A malty back comes in and the finish is pretty clean. I like it.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Mouthfeel is medium. Carbonation is well balanced. This very much reminds me of a belgian dubbel, which I was not expecting. A unique beer for sure that you should try at least once.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2008 00:22:38 | More by FSUmac
Photo of lbkornlb14

New York

4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer is excellent, I love its sweetness and complexity. It pours dark brown, recently Ive been trying to drink this beer from a snifter due to its great nose. I routinely buy 6 packs of this beer as it is pretty drinkable and just overall delicious. great dark ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 00:14:00 | More by lbkornlb14
Photo of katan


4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle - slightly aged and poured into a goblet.

A - Pours a very dark copper color. The carbonation forms a quick head that dissipates even more quickly. Looks very "Belgian".

S - A combination of yeast and sweet background taste. Has a basis in its sweet candi sugar. The raisins are obvious.

T - Front end and mid finish are really fairly flat to me. The front end is sweet. Not much here for bitter balance. Finishes with a roasted finish. Sweet and strong. Surprisingly lacking in the phenolic notes that I would think would normally be associated with a beer like this.

M - Is quite thick with a pile of unfermentables. No carbonation impact on the mouthfeel. Coats nicely.

D - Potent and thick - it is at times swimming upstream to drink this beer. Not a bad thing however, as this beer that lends itself to slow enjoyment. This beer is not as drinkable as others, but I would not find it a chore whatsoever to drink one.

I'm guessing this one is not low on calories. But, with all that - this one is a good beer I'd like to see regularly in my rotation.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2008 01:26:34 | More by katan
Photo of aubuc1


3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle in to a goblet.

Pours clear ruby brown with a thin tan head.

Smell is sort of roast and raisin.

Taste is like a brown ale with a sweet and smoky taste.

Nice carbonation makes it not too syrupy.

Different taste, but pretty good makes this another good dogfish head beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2008 00:14:22 | More by aubuc1
Photo of dedrinker


3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber - kinda brown with a light tan head. Faint aroma of sweet and roasted malts. Tastes first kinda smokey and roasty, then sweet like caramel. A little oxidized too perhaps. Full bodied with soft carbonation. Minimal hops is good to let the malt and "offbeat" ingredients stand out more. Still not quite my thing though.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2008 04:30:59 | More by dedrinker
Photo of claytri


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

The beer poured a rich amber with a tan head. The aroma was of sweet malt and raisans. The taste is rich sweet malt, with hints of raisan. It's even a bit winelike, with no hops to mention. The feel is heavy and a bit wet. This is a very drinkable beer, a rich sweet dark lager with a bit extra.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2008 01:16:46 | More by claytri
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,972 ratings.