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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Educational use only; do not reuse.

4,229 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,229
Reviews: 1,775
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 93
Gots: 379 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2001

A deep mahogany, Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast.

25 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,229 | Reviews: 1,775
Photo of zacky_U
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of hckyfn9999
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a fairly clear amber color with a one finger white head that disappears quickly and leaves a little lacing. Aroma is of brown sugar, sweet malt, and fruit. Not a very strong smell. Taste is fruity with some brown sugar notes and the alcohol is noticeable. It tastes good but it is hard to pickup exact flavors. Mouthfeel is a little more thin than I would care for. I am indifferent towards this beer. Its not bad but I do not think I will buy this again.

Photo of SkunkWorks
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tuliped pint glass. Beautiful red color. Light head formation. The aroma is very pleasant and the raisins are very pronounced here. The front end of the taste is good but after a few seconds in my mouth, the overpowering taste of raisins really made it very difficult to drink. The after taste is also very overpowering and really ruins the beer. I had a hard time finishing the glass. I would recommend against.

EDIT. Updating my review. Previous score was 4.5/4.0/1.0/1.0/1.0

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Look: crimson, mahogany colored beer with a single finger tan head that doesn't have the best retention. Some lacing is left but not much.

Smell: dark caramel and dark fruit like raisin. There's some alcohol smell. Surprisingly, its lacking any kind of yeast smell or spice smell to it. Aren't Belgian Dark Strong Ales supposed to have those characters? I won't count that against it because I don't know if Belgian Dark Strong Ale is the category for this one.

Taste: alcohol is obvious. I think that might be why I originally did not like it. There's toasted malt flavors with dark fruits intermingled. The raisins are also fairly front and center. Very strange but interesting all at once. Like the nose, I can't taste any spices or things that would make me think "Gee, this is a Belgian beer."

Feel: very dry, carbonation is light and not incredibly noticeable, and medium bodied. Its a little sticky.

Drink: probably the low point. Though its an enjoyable beer to drink, I would not want to drink more than one in a sitting. The dryness is what would keep me away.

Overall, I'm glad I gave this one a second try and its fair shake. I think its interesting to revisit certain beers and see how your perception of them have changed over time. This beer went from being utterly undrinkable to being somewhat decent, albeit not exceptional.

Photo of DaveBlack
2.98/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap about a year ago, and wasn't a huge fan but it was recommended to me by a friend, so I figured I'd pick up a six pack and give it another shot (and a formal review)

A: Orangish red, crystal clear with maybe a finger's width of slightly off-white head. Retention is pretty long and it leaves a fair amount of lacing.

S: Light malts with a fair amount of sweetness and a dark fruit aroma. Slight cereal grain smell. Not too much going on, but not bad.

T: Sweet sugars underlaid by what what I can only describe as bitter malts. The bitterness follows the beer through to the end. Tastes like burnt marshmallow.

M: Heavy and sticky and sticky with a moderately high amount of carbonation.

O: About what I remembered. The beer is overly heavy, overly sweet and wickedly out of balance. Really not a whole lot to recommend this beer. At least it hides the 8% pretty well.

Photo of allboutbierge
2.89/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A relatively attractive beer--Rich light brown with copper hue. Quick disapating off white head is poured. Very light carbonation and slightly gummy body. Aroma is very musty and not very alluring. Flavor is disapointing too. No balance of flavors or much a direction to style either. What style is this? Dogfish has successfully pushed the limits of a beer style before but alas, they failed here. Rough malt flavors and some flavor reminscent of a bad cheap white wine in there, but nothing to make the drinker want another. With that in mind Im gonna have a Bigfoot to cap off my evening...

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

bought a bottle at world market in lansing, michigan. ($1.49 for 12 oz)
pours a light mohogany hue some burnt hues, very slight head.
the aroma is very malty hint of alcohol.
the flavor is malty, little rasiony, some candy sugar.
mouthfeel is a littel thick

Photo of mooseo
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into tulip.

A - Pours a rich mahogany brown with a dense off white head.

S - Plum, raisin, Belgian candi sugar, roasted malts, molasses.

T - Taste is a blend of dark fruit, molasses, candi sugar, and bready malts. Earthy, mildly bitter hops come out, balancing the sweetness. Finish is nutty with hints of nutmeg and allspice.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, a bit creamy. High carbonation, slightly warming alcohol.

O - Decent brew. While it's not the most complex Belgian strong ale around, it still has great flavor and drinkabilty. Definitely worth a try.

Photo of Heretic42
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of brett606
5/5  rDev +36.6%

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Mahogany brown, clear, with a light foaming head. Moderate head retention and no lacing to speak of. The head reduced to an uneven fat ring of bubbles that stayed with the drink.

S: Subtle but complex. Some nice aromas of fruit, perhaps dates or figs, and some malty undertones that matched nicely with it. Nothing overwhelming that stood out on its own, just a light subtle understated aroma.

T: A rather light flavored brew for the weight and color. The tastes mingle well and are very balanced, almost too balanced as nothing stands out to give it a specific character. Like the smell, the flavors are complex but subtle, which makes you keep looking for something in the flavor profile that you just know is there. The finish is quick and clean, with just the slightest linger of malt.

M&D: Looking at this you would think you are about to embark on a rather heavy drink but in reality this comes off rather light. The carbonation is also light, and goes well with the rest of the personality of this brew. It's smooth drinking and sort of easy going in its own way. I liked it, but there isn't anything that jumps out at me and screams "this is great!" I would drink it again though.

Photo of Honus1
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of gatorlove
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of robotiks
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of CortexBomb
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep, ruddy brown and amber into my goblet with a slight, white head on top. Smell is mainly fruit esters, lighter fruit scents...then almost raisin effects.

Taste, starts out sweet and then turns into a full tongue dark fruit caress. The raisins from the smell seem to be heading up the dark fruit flavour. There are also sugary tones in evidence and the lightest hint of spice lingering in the background. The finish is the only place the alcohol is really evident, as a minor burn is in evidence. Not bad.

Mouth is decent, not a lot of tingly action, but this is pretty full bodied in the mouth. Drinkability, solid as well. Belgian style beer is usually easy to put down, and this is no exception.

Overall a solid Belgian style beer from Dogfish. It's not as complex as some of my favourites, but it is an easy drinking, smooth flavoured beer that is enjoyable in the mouth.

Photo of dfried
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep toffee in color, not much of a head, mainly a cream colored ring. The aroma is of raisins, molasses, grapes, and other fruits. The flavor is exceptionally fruity, but it takes a while for this to be completely apparent. At first is seems like a brown sugar/molasses, with dark fruits type beer, and it is. But as it warms, and as you have more than one or two, more and more flavors become noticeable, red and white grapes, plums, dates, figs. This beer remains sweet with the Belgian beet suger always there, but the darker fruit flavors, and some hops keep it pretty balanced as well. It's kind of a sugary sweet dry mouthfeel, but not quite cloying. This beer is really easy to drink, it does not seem like it is 8% what so ever.

Photo of Arenbeer
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of CSQ1111
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of aepb1
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Reddish brown, semi-opaque but not cloudy, with an off-white head

S- Rum, raisins, boozy

T- Again rum, raisins, caramel, alcohol is a little much

M- Medium-bodied, syrupy, coupled with the alcohol bite is off-putting

D- The syrup and alcohol burn are a bit much, just making it so-so

Photo of BugTownPub
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of myuncle
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of jbdpsu82
2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

Photo of sponberg
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Sample: 12 oz bottle, cooler temperature, in pint glass

Can you say "alcohol?" Some beers keep that warming surge of alcohol for the finish. Raison slaps you upside the head with it from the get go. There are some nice, rather sweet flavors going on in the background - fruity maltiness with some Thompson raisin and figgy/grape-y notes, but it's hard for them to say a lot with the alcohol standing up tall and screaming like that.

Different flavor profile in the bottle than on tap, where the alcohol was much more muted. The tap brew is much more drinkable and enjoyable, IMO.

Photo of xungmound98
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of benito
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A light brown brew with a beautiful white head, Raison de'Etre's best asset may be its bouquet--a heady mix of (at different moments and in different combos) cinnamon, ginger, brown sugar, alcohol, glue, red wine, and raisin. Compared to the aromas, the flavor is rather straightforward and plain jane. There's a strong sweetness throughout with interesting hints of fruit and dark rum. The drawback is that it's almost too smooth--the sweetness needs a greater dryness, spiciness, or bitterness to match it and add less cloying length to the beer.

This is a interesting and easy-to-drink brew for something so strong. I'm going to try and cellar a bottle or two to see what happens in the next few months. Perhaps age will impart the dryer body that this beer needs to go from good to great.

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Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,229 ratings.