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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,079 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,079
Reviews: 1,767
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 73
Gots: 276 | 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: 4,079 | Reviews: 1,767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of benclimbs
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

pours a red mahogany with some lacing present and a small head

Nose is Belgian yeast, brown sugar andjust a hint of coffee

Taste is also brown sugar with some walnuts and a little raisins and alcohol...and then, yuck what is that unmistakaly metalic finish? Tastes like sucking on a penny or drinking oxidized wine it mellowed out a bit as it breathed, but still there

Mouthfeel is good, thick with medium carbonation

Notes: probably the worst dogfish I've had, not very interesting and certainly nothing I'd buy again...Some good characteristics, but not well excecuted at all

benclimbs, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of mempath
4.7/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

finally got a bottle of this after having a sample in a plastic cup at the DFH brewery itself (review somewhere here....from april or so 2009?)...

one of the FEW times i disagree with the BROS (!), but i see those tastings were from 2002 or so...i gave the healthy, draft sampling a strong B+ but this bottle version certainly rocks and i am amazed it is so dismissed here as a simple B (at this point).

pours a 'mahogany' but i see a brighter apricot/bourbon appearance with a healthy head that subsides moderately, with minimal lacing and a settled head that isn't flimsy.

smell is quite similar to the Midas Touch (the grape/raisan connection?), sweet, alcohol densities. something ancient here.

simply an exceptional taste compared to last time i had this on draft in a plastic cup. perhaps the vessel makes all the difference. i get fermented raisans and not sure what the belgian beet sugars are up to, but they add something tremendous i am sure. sweet tanginess, alcohol heft (yeah, not hidden at all, but so what....it's part of the profile). as with the MT, the viscosity is perfect, no massive carbonation needed making up for a perfect, silky thick mouthfeel.

at 8% abv, not one to session, but as an introductory sort of 'extreme' ale for adventurous novices, go for it. this will become for me the less expensive version of my favored MTouch...it's rich, thick, a treat, a dessert, it's breakfast.

DOGFISH HEAD! don't let the fact that many can't untangle the mystery and pleasure of this brew make you discontinue it anytime soon. or at all!

i recommend anyone try this. give it time. and focus. not just another brew to slog down and dis...as a hophead, this is far from my favorite style. but it is brews like this that got me back to appreciating (once again) other styles.

mempath, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of Zimbo
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A hissing pour and light copper brown this had a pleasant slightly medicinal malty nose. Soothing mouthfeel though this and the taste in general could do with more depth and development. The head though thin is persistent and leaves many rings of lacing.
Raison d'etre? Yep, I can see this has purpose. It's not bad at all. It just needs some inspiration.

Zimbo, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of cwguy5
4.5/5  rDev +23%

cwguy5, Mar 03, 2012
Photo of ObiWanKushnobi
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

ObiWanKushnobi, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of jmsedgwick
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

jmsedgwick, Jan 24, 2014
Photo of Popsinc
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: 12oz bottle. Pours a very dark amber with a small head that fades down to a ring.

Smell: Sweet, malty nose is pretty much all i get here. Hints of brown sugar and molasses with syrupy undertones.

Taste: Nice hoppiness off the top accompanied by a trace of woodiness. The sweetness quickly appears and again is highlighted by brown/raw sugar and probably molasses. There is a hint of dark fruitiness but it is overshadowed by other flavours. Alcohol kick on the finish.

Mouthfeel: A moderatley lively beer with a dry fuzzy mouthfeel. The finish leans towrds the drier side.

Drinkablilty: I found this beer slightly better than average but not great. I think i will try it again down the road and see how my thoughts change.

Popsinc, Aug 27, 2003
Photo of mobyfann
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid around $1.79 for a single...

Poured into a snifter, appeals a dark brown base, with a medium white head, moderate head retention, and no lacing. The aroma is earthy fruit, like dates and grapes coupled with a mild malt character, nothing fancy yet pleasant.

The taste is a little bitter, but in the good way, followed by a spicy malt character with limited carbonation, medium-bodied and no sign of the fruit like the aroma?!? M&D both fit the bill, the spicy tone was a little harsh on the palette, at 8% its very drinkable, if these spices do it for you and this is what you expect from a Belgian Strong Dark Ale.

Final Thought: Haven't played around too much with the style, but it is a solid offering from a great brewery.

mobyfann, May 10, 2008
Photo of xav33
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre
12 oz bottle
Bottled 10/06, fished out 11/06
Medium pour in a shaker

Poured a clear reddish brown with a large frothy somewhat lasting off white head with good lacing..

Smelt of moderate sweet beets, raisins, sweet malt.

Taste was upfront moderate bitter and sweet rotten raisins followed by a strong toasted malt and moderate funky sweaty yeast on a long finish with sweetness kicking in. Palate was medium bodied, lively carbonated with tiny prickly bubbles, creamy, and strongly astringent.

Overall, I don't know. ABV is well hidden. Unique but off putting, interesting but unpleasant, complex and unfriendly, yet shallow and heart warming.

xav33, Nov 30, 2006
Photo of Mavajo
2.05/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1

Pours an amber color with a moderate white head. Fades quickly, settling into a thin crown and even thinner film.

The aroma on this...well, is there an aroma? I detected virtually nothing. I then decided to let it warm for a while. At best, perhaps a slightly grainy smell? I'm really confounded by this thing - I can't recall the last time I smelled a beer this devoid of flavor. It's not off-putting, so I won't give it a 1 - but geez, no aroma at all?

The taste isn't much better. There's a raisin character here with maybe a bit of yeastiness. Perhaps the slighest hint of butter as well? Aftertaste is very unpleasant - coats the tongue and causes a bit of a face-scrunching, tongue-smacking reaction afterwards.

Mouthfeel is pretty much spot on. No complaints in the department. Medium to full bodied, with good carbonation.

I don't really know what to say about this beer. It's the damnedest thing - no aroma to speak of, with a fairly mediocre taste and down right unpleasant aftertaste. Will not be trying again.

Mavajo, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of wvbrewcrew
4/5  rDev +9.3%

wvbrewcrew, Jun 10, 2014
Photo of kb2250
4/5  rDev +9.3%

kb2250, Jul 14, 2012
Photo of rypkr
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

rypkr, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of Stumpy29er
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Stumpy29er, Jan 08, 2012
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.

CaptainIPA, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of zachattack555
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

zachattack555, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of Brunite
1.98/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance- Decent color. Not much head. Spots of lacing.

Smell- A tinny, metallic, alcoholic aroma.

Taste- This tastes like cheap champagne. There is a green grape flavor that is just done wrong with this brew. Like Welches white grape juice and alcohol. Yuck.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation and alcohol are somewhat overdone. Not smooth.

Overall - DFH continues to underwhelm me. Not sure why their stuff does not seems to resonate with me like it does with others. This ended up as a drain-pour as I could not see forcing this down with 40-50 other good beers on hand, as options.

Brunite, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of ejw127
2/5  rDev -45.4%

ejw127, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of PTEdelman
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

PTEdelman, Jul 05, 2014
Photo of jdubjacket
3.13/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Had over at my parent's house on Thursday night before dinner. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Pours a light brown with moderate head. Nothing in the smell or taste. A relatively mediocre beer that didn't really deliver from Dogfish Head. Probably wouldn't purchase this one at my own will.

jdubjacket, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of RWACKO
4/5  rDev +9.3%

RWACKO, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of LouDogg114
3/5  rDev -18%

LouDogg114, Jun 25, 2012
Photo of AmericanGothic
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a New Belgium globe.

A: Pours a translucent, copper color with 1/2 finger of pale tan head. Some retention and lace.

S: Bubblegum, straw and a little cinnamon.

T: A little hop bite up front leads to bubblegum, brown sugar and cinnamon, with some tea on the finish and light molasses in the aftertaste. As the beer warms, some nutty almond joins in, then later light black pepper.

M: Not too heavy, carbonation is slightly prickly.

O: I really like this beer. While the flavor doesn't quite make it to a 4.5, there is something about it that's really satisfying. Will definitely buy again.

AmericanGothic, Apr 10, 2012
Photo of jbdpsu82
2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

jbdpsu82, Feb 20, 2013
Photo of hsus0225
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

hsus0225, Jun 04, 2013
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,079 ratings.