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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

4,122 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,122
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 74
Gots: 292 | 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
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Ratings: 4,122 | Reviews: 1,766 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice yeast creamy yummy two dimensional Belgian style. Lower than expected aroma but delivered in beverage experience, fullmouth yeast delivery. Beautiful mahagony dark with mocha colored head, much cream that dissipates into lace. Masterfully done, like Ommegang with extra angles. Better than an average Belgian.

Sammy, Oct 15, 2004
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

t0rin0, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark brown with a 1/2 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, brown sugar, and some slight dried fruit aromas. Taste is of roasted and toasted malt, burnt sugar, spice, and some fruity flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty and spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer flavor wise but I think I like the aromas I am getting over the flavors.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 28, 2012
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +9.3%

spycow, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -18%

djrn2, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

zestar, Aug 13, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with a nice head that stays for a while.

S: Dark malt, dark sugars, raisins, and caramel. All very nice.

T: Dark, sweet malts and the dark fruits come in more here. The taste isn't too sweet, but you can definitely tell the fruits are there.

M: Medium-bodied and a good smoothness to it.

D: Pretty drinkable considering the funkiness of it. DFH does it again.

Thorpe429, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +9.3%

nmann08, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured dark mahogany brown with a small head that disappeared quickly, leaving just a few bubbles around the edge of the surface. There's a low- to moderate level of carbonation visible.
S: Dark fruits and sweetness dominate the aroma.
T: Flavors of raisins, dark fruit and brown sugar stand out in the initial taste, followed by the underlying malts and sweetness. The alcohol leaves a bit of heat in the finish, along with a bit of bitterness from the hops.
M: The beer feels medium bodied on the palate and the level of carbonation seems just right and does not make it taste too heavy or syrupy.
D: This is a good beer to sip but I can't see having more than one of these in one session. The alcohol starts hitting you after a while.

metter98, Apr 09, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Texasfan549, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of brentk56
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear, relatively dark amber color with a head that disappears rather quickly; some strands of lacing are left behind

Smell: Caramel, figs and prunes with an edge of cinnamon

Taste: Relatively sweet caramel, up front, with the fig and prune flavors and hot cinnamon developing through mid-palate; after the swallow, just a little too alcoholic, but still shows off the dried dark fruit

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: For a Belgian dark, this lacks the caramel malt and dark fruit complexity that I associate with the style; an interesting experiment, but there are other Belgian darks that I prefer more

brentk56, Jul 03, 2005
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +9.3%

kjkinsey, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brewery is incapable of brewing a bad batch. I passed on this beer for a while because I didn't think that I would fully appreciate it. I was wrong. An extremely complex and fruitful beer. Pours with a medium to high viscocity. Brown with some burgundy and purple violet tones. Tan / burgundy head falls to a trace, laces well, nice oily cling to the glass. Smells of cocoa, deep dark friuts, all hidden behind a malt base. Lightly hopped and tart. Tastes fruity sweet with pruned, dates, raisons, figs. All the goodness that you'd like from these fruits with only a mild tartness. A red wine-like muskiness in the body. Silky smooth rich body that nicely fades into the finish. Very consistant flow down the throat. Mild cherries show up in the finish. Mildly drying and mildly sweet. Dangerously easy to drink. I don't particularly like dark fruits, but I love the beers that exhibit their flavors--go figure.

BEERchitect, Jul 03, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Burnished orange-bronze with a beautiful roseate blush. The pale caramel cap is remarkably tight-bubbled and soft with a blemish-free surface. I didn't see even a hint of deflation for the first several minutes. Unfortunately, it looks like the glass will be left untouched by lace.

Even with my nose in close proximity to the liquid, I'm having difficulty appreciating much. Vague impressions of dark malt, brown sugar and caramel are about it. The beer needs to seriously up the ante on the palate.

The flavor is as bold as the nose is shy. Raison D'Etre doesn't strike me as a BSDA; more like an old ale or even an English barleywine. There's a considerable amount of malt onboard. The flavor profile is made up of caramel-toffee, light molasses, cherries and raisins macerated in dark rum and, unfortunately, unmasked alcohol.

This bottle is at least one year old (bottled in October), but it could be as many as two years old. One would think that over that much time, the alcohol would have been tamed to some extent. It's still a little too raw for my tastes. There's also a metallic character that appears on the finish.

Warming and further inebriation don't bring anything new or interesting to the table. The flavor is still unintegrated, although not totally without merit. The mouthfeel is a bright spot. It's solidly medium and is as smooth as the day is long.

As noted on the label: I can taste the sweetness of the Belgian beet sugar, I can taste the green raisins (they taste like dark raisins to me) and I can taste the 'sense of purpose'. Dogfish Head does not lack vision or audacity, but they too often fail in the execution.

That's too harsh an assessment. Raison D'Etre isn't a failure by any means, but it doesn't hold together well enough to be anything more than a decent, quasi-drinkable curiosity. If the rumors of retirement for this beer are true, I certainly won't lose any sleep over it.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 07, 2005
Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured copper color ale with a very small head that disappeared a tad too fast. Aroma is quite sweet with alcohol soaked raisins being quite noticeable. Body is quite full and carbonation is very low. Taste is very interesting resembling more like a barley wine (sweet raisins, warming alcohol) then anything else. The Belgian yeast must have been covered because I had a hard time detecting it. Overall, this is quite ‘’different’’ but very enjoyable. Wouldn’t mind laying a couple of them down to see the evolution of this beer.

Phyl21ca, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +9.3%

GRG1313, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -18%

ygtbsm94, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.28/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with little head and a tiny bit of lace. Smell is sweet, caramel, and of course the hint of raisen. Taste matches perfectly. Very rich and full flavored. The raisen taste is very nice, but this has a great malty fullness. Not overly carbonated, but it doesn't need to be. Very well rounded and very enjoyable. I am looking forward to more of these.

mikesgroove, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of jaydoc
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

jaydoc, Aug 29, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Dale.

A: The pour is a slightly cloudy amber color with a finger of off-white head.

S: Nice dark sugars to the nose and plenty of dark fruits. Raisins, plums, and black cherries. A moderate yeastiness with a little bit of spice to it. Solid bread and molasses notes, too.

T: Nicely sweet, but not cloying and overly sugary like a lot of Dogfish Head beers. Sweet bread, brown sugar, molasses, and plenty of different dark fruits. Very little spice, but a little bit of nutmeg.

M: Medium to full in body with a medium level of carbonation.

O: I was very impressed by this one. Really nice and pleasant to drink.

womencantsail, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of kylehay2004
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

single finger off white head with good retention on a hazy crimson / amber body. No lacing. Aroma is mostly belgian yeast and esters. Mild overall. Some dark fruit and fig. Not too sweet. Flavor is like a mild belgian with mire sugar, fig and dark fruit. Again this is dogfish head taking a beer style and mellowing it out to appeal to the masses and more typical everyday beer drinker but charging the normal belgian beer price. Not a bad beer but not a good member of its genre.

kylehay2004, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I typically enjoy this beer when I have it at festival and whatnot. This brew poured out as a nice dark shade of brown with a creamy orange tan colored head on top. The smell of the beer is a little boozy but has a nice sweetness to it that gives off a Raisin and brown sugar aroma. The taste of the beer is pretty sweet and has lots of dark fruit and sugars in there. It's more like a dessert beer I feel personally. The mouthfeel is slick and almost oily but has a good carbonation to it still. Overall I like it, I choose it over most of the other DfH beers are festival for some reason... Not really sure why. It's worth trying!

Knapp85, Sep 01, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.35/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$1.99 single at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, red body with a thinning, off-white head.

Smell: While not overly fragrant, there aroma still holds plenty of sweet-smelling candy, dehydrated fruits, and Belgian-ish yeast.

Taste: Starts with a fruity, sweet (even winey) flavor that isn't acutely raisiny, but moreso sugary and vague vegetal with some alcohol notes. The finish is all at once tart, roasty, and syrupy. Did I miss something?

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Velvety mouthfeel. Ample carbonation.

Drinkability: I find it fortuitous that I was allowed to purchase a mere single bottle of this.

ChainGangGuy, Jul 05, 2007
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.25/5  rDev -38.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, Aug 13, 2014
Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep copper color with slight head that was gone quickly,the aroma was complex almost meaty with slight sugary notes.Taste was somewhat fruity,like others i do pick up some grape-like flavors,with some sweet alcohol flavors rounding this one out.A very complex beer kinda hard to rate,I would try again,would love to find on tap.

oberon, Jun 14, 2003
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Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,122 ratings.