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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

3,992 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,992
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 66
Gots: 241 | 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: 3,992 | Reviews: 1,766 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

07-08-2013 23:03:22 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark copper color with a surface foam for a head. No lacing develops. The aroma is of strong malt and alcohol. The flavor is dominated by the thick malt tones, as some prunes, green grapes, light bitterness, alcohol, and faint caramel tones round it out.

Medium-heavy in bidy. Mouthfeel was smooth and mildly syrupy at the start and finish. The aftertaste was long lasting on the malt. Drinkability is only average for this brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2005 23:04:57 | More by Gavage
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.11/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard Dogfish Head label and branded copper pry-off pressure cap acquired as part of a 6 pack at me local HEB Grocery and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average given the brewery - which tends to disappoint. 8% ABV confirmed per the label. Reviewed as a Belgian style brown ale because it identifies as such on Dogfish Head's website.

Served cold, straight from me fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a one finger wide head of light khaki colour. Okay thickness and creaminess. Lackluster frothiness. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is average - about two minutes.

Body colour is a clear dark amber of above average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible. Translucent and transparent. By no means brown in colour, nor is it as dark as most Belgian style dark ales. Not sure what to make of that, but it's appealing in a general sense.

Nonstandard for the style. Not unique or special, but there are no obvious flaws here. I'm optimistic.

Sm: Raisin, prune, amber malts, and beets - but I only notice beets because I'm looking for them; if I had this blind I wouldn't have thought to say beets. Caramel. Light floral hop character is present and seems to complement the malts nicely. I do get a clean tannic Belgian yeast. Lots of residual sugars bring this beer to the sweeter end. A buried hint of murky cherry. Toasted sugars. I like the fruity notes. Raisin is dominant. Sugarcane imparts a note redolent of rum.

Overall, it's a pleasantly sweet aroma of mild strength.

No alcohol or other off-notes are detectable.

T: Rum-soaked fruits: prune, dates, raisin. Plenty of sugarcane and other residual toasty sugars. Amber malts, caramalt, and Belgian malts fill out the body nicely. Beet sugar definitely comes through - though I wouldn't have been able to identify quite what that note was blind. Vague burgundy/red wine hints. Clean Belgian yeast. It's definitely sweet, but it never quite becomes cloying. As it warms, I get a buried grape note. It has nice cohesion and decent balance, but it's certainly not gestalt. Overall, it has some limited complexity, but would benefit from more. Not the most subtle flavour profile either.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour for the style.

No alcohol off flavours come through, aside from a vague alcohol presence - which passes the point of being simply a pleasant warmth and does start to annoy.

It's not really a Belgian dark ale, nor is it a Belgian brown. It's sort of a Belgian dark amber, if you please.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Overcarbonated. A bit too thick and full for the flavour profile; it's not an ideal marriage of texture to taste by any stretch. But it's passable and suits the flavour profile passably. Decent body and presence on the palate.

Not oily, harsh, gushed, or hot.

Dr: A drinkable beer, but the alcohol presence does hold it back. I wouldn't have more than one in a night, but I'm enjoying this one for what it is. I will say that while it's not unique, I can't readily think up a beer I've had that is exactly like it. I'd like to see the brewers commit more to the rum aspect of the beer; barrel aging would be an obvious approach, but there are probably more subtle ways of emphasizing the strength of the flavour. The more I drink of this, the more the sweetness annoys me. It's a decently priced beer, but I won't be buying it again, nor would I recommend it to friends. Above average overall; it's got unfulfilled potential.

I'd like to try it with 1-5 years of age on it; it's got plenty of residual sugars that would develop over time - though I'm not sure if it's got active yeast.

C+

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2013 23:47:18 | More by kojevergas
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

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

06/13/05- Received via trade with Connecticutpoet and Steinlifter.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a born on date of October 2005. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Brandy colored pour with a 1/2 inch head and average lacing.

Smell- Serious malt scents as well as some raisins and alcohol.

Taste- Heavy malt with some brown sugar thrown in. Figs and raisins abound along with a heavy tobacco leaf flavor.

Mouthfeel- Started off very carbonated, but ended on a light note.

Drinkability- Tasty brew, original taste for me with the tobacco leaf added in. I've had many better dark ales, but this one isn't bad at all. Thanks for the sample guys!

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2005 23:51:53 | More by GClarkage
Photo of XmnwildX12
XmnwildX12

Minnesota

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

11-25-2013 00:29:22 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On draft at the Perch Pub.

Pours a deep dark brown color that appears dark black in the glass and completely opaque with slight mahogany edges when held to a light source. One finger frothy beige head that has decent retention, slowly fading into a lasting cap. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Roasted malt aroma that's slightly smokey with hints of chocolate, oatmeal, burnt toast and roasted coffee bean as well as slight dark fruit presence. Hints of raisin, plum and fig as well as subtle spice.

Medium bodied and similar in flavor to the aroma with a decent balance of roasted malt, sweet dark fruit and zesty spice. The spice and fruit notes are prominent up front with hints of pepper and vinous dark cherry, grape, plum and raisin. This is countered mid palate by a slightly smokey, roasted malt profile. Hints of chocolate, toffee, oatmeal, roasted coffee bean and burnt toast. Slight alcohol sweetness but no heat or warmth in the finish.

This beer is really unique but the sweet dark fruit notes are a bit too prominent, overpowering the dark malt flavor that I prefer in this style. The ABV is well masked and it's decently drinkable but it's not as well balanced as I would have liked.

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2011 06:43:08 | More by corby112
Photo of MarkyMOD
MarkyMOD

Colorado

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

04-06-2012 23:03:06 | More by MarkyMOD
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

2.58/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Accidentally stole this from the fridge of our landlady's house when we were staying in New York. I realised I hadn't reviewed it, so, the crime being done, I figured I'd give it a shot.

Pours a deep red-hued brown, almost like a light red wine, with a large-bubbled scum on the top as an excuse for a head. The colour of the beer is gorgeous, and it has some heft to the body, but the head is disappointing.

Sigh. Nose is light, but slightly fruity, and with the sweet sense of fermented sugar. Smells too raw and spiritous for its 8% ABV, and like some of DFH's other hybrid beers, it lacks the complexity that is required.

Taste is very similar, or worse, because there's very little here at all. Very light empty feel with a hint of bland spirits and a grainy but weak finish. Little complexity and almost nothing on the palate. Very bland—c'mon, even the overdone spiritous burn would be better than this.

A very lacklustre and very uninspired effort from Dogfish Head. Unfortunately, it falls into their regular trap of having a theoretically interesting idea that turns into a very pedestrian brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 02:46:16 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a nice mahogany with a very disappointing head. Aroma is full of sugar, alcohol, and caramel and dried fruit..myabe raisins. Quite nice. The taste is nice as well, fruity, with roasted malt flavors all thru it. Maybe the sweetness is a little run in it. The mouthfeel is quite different to say the least. The ABV is 8 and it shows. No way I could or would want to drink more than one.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2008 02:37:19 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I can see where some people might not get or enjoy this beer. It's called a belgian but it's different. But this is Dogfish Head we're talkign about here, of course it's different. Call it a belgian with a good american twist.

The flavor is rich and smooth, but a bit dry. There are hints of coffee-like roasted grains and brown sugar with mellow fruit flavors of grape and cherry to name a few. The moderate amount of hops used adds a grassy and earthy taste while expertly balancing the sweetness of the malt, sugar, and raisins.

Overall, if I see this reasonably priced, I will buy again. Really reminded me of red wine and I look forward to pairing this with dinner.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2007 00:52:53 | More by tempest
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

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

I am drinking a cold 12 oz. bottle poured into a Three Philosopher's goblet.

Appearance: Dark brown in color, this beer allows some light to pass through. It poured with little head that is now a fleeting white ring around the top of the beer.

Smell: The aroma of grapes and sugar are evident immediately. The grapes do not have a winey smell to them, making this beer smell unlike most any other beers you may encounter.

Taste: Grapes and malt are the dominant taste here. The sugars added to the ale are noticeable immediately upon sipping. After the sugars, the aforementioned grapes and malts appear and leave a lasting finish.

Mouthfeel: The ale sits very nicely on the palate. The combination of sugars and grapes give a somewhat sweet taste that lingers.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. The 8% abv is a little tough, so beware.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2006 20:55:28 | More by akorsak
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer sampled, freshenss dating notched on to the label. Pours clear, almond amber, with a tad of egg shell colored head, limited lacing. nose is alcohol, raisins, rum and candi sugars. Strong flavorful brew, notes of alcohol, figs, rum soaked raisins, apricots. Complex, heady creation. Wrap your tongue around some of this stuff.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2005 03:03:48 | More by Billolick
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4

Maryland

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 orangesol
orangesol

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

11-15-2011 22:11:28 | More by orangesol
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

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

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer pours a deep mahogany brown crystal clear body with a thin film of light tan head. The bubbles are very sluggish at rising to the surface.

S- The smell of dark fruit and toasted malt with a hint of sweetness are balanced by a vinous and slightly hoppy nose.

T- This beer has a smooth light malt flavor with finish that is vinous with a hint of hops. There is not much dark toasted malt base or much complexity to the taste. It finishes with a hint of alcohol and a bitterness.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel with a fizziness that makes the mouthfeel appear more full. No astringency but some alcohol warmth.

D- This beer is dry and has some interesting flavors but it is missing a lot of complexity. The raisins and beets just don't have the complexity that are needed in the malt bill to make this a good solid beer in this style.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2005 21:37:22 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of InspectorBob
InspectorBob

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

01-02-2012 00:55:58 | More by InspectorBob
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

11-20-2011 15:53:35 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.38/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one-fingered white head leaving a good lace, Nice amber color. Very good carbonation. Sweet raisin nose. Starts sweet - mouthfeel is fizzy and finish is somewhat dry but good. The high ABV is not noticeable so be wary of this. A very good spiced beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2003 00:01:34 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

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

Reviewed through the miracle of BIF 43 NC Lotto and hoppedup.

Pours a clear brown ale with a very slight head formation. When held up to the light this is bronze colored ale with maybe a little extra red to it.

Smell is sweet malty and bready yeast to the nose. Fair whiff of coffee aroma from dark malt and apple and grape aromas. Toffee, butterscotch and some scorched sugar aromas are also in this. Alcohol is detectable in the smell, but it carries pepper, roses and peach aromas to the nose.

Taste is sweet and a little bready at the start. A mild flavored ale the first thing that gets my attention is a little coriander and coffee and smoke flavor. Fairly malty but this seems a bit under flavored.

Mouthfeel is good.

This is certainly a drinkable beer but I really expected more from DFH. The flavor is just too mild for my tastes.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2006 02:29:20 | More by Zorro
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

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

Pours dark orange/amber with a nice lace. Smells of raisins and molasses. Tastes big but smooth with definite flavor of raisins and malt.The combination of flavors is reminiscent of a stone beer with its carmelised tastes. Rich and mouth coating, almost syrupy. Not my favorite in the Dogfish line, but very interesting.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2006 05:43:28 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of DrunkinYogi
DrunkinYogi

Connecticut

4/5  rDev +9.3%

04-12-2013 03:13:55 | More by DrunkinYogi
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

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

Pours a dark brown/copper color, not much carbonation, very small head which dissappeared quickly, not much lacing at all. Scents are sweet, grapes, and caramel. Nice sweet caramel taste with a dry kinda flat finish though, the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body. This brew is very drinkable, another excellent brew from dogfish head.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 01:32:18 | More by Wasatch
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

2.85/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into a Dogfish pint glass. Pretty fresh at 2 months old.

A- Raison D'Etre pours a medium brown color with red highlights while up towards light. A very clean brew as there is not much, if any sediment. A 1/2 inch head comes through then disappears leaving a slice of off-white head. A whole lot of rising bubbles.

S- A good smell consisting of a lot of sugars (including brown) and caramel. Roasted malts with some syrups maybe. Under that the raisin shows up with a layer of yeast also creating an earthy scent.

T- The raisin is apparent and sugars are up front creating a sweet assault on the mouth before leaving. After that some smoky qualities arise while some dark fruits and a dash of coffee and even less chocolate. The caramel and roasted malt stays throughout each swig with some alcohol presence. Overall, this really isn't my thing with the set of ingredients chosen, leaning towards the yeast.

M- Reminds me of a smooth bock. Not as thick on the mouth as some DFH offerings but leaves it's mark. A nice bit of carb going for this as well. A bit of a hassle to get through. Not a pleasing aftertaste.

D- Not my favorite DFH offering honestly & i love their experimentation but not this one.. I had trouble with even this 12oz serving. Maybe this would be better in a cask, but i don't see myself having that in the future. I will look out for this on tap and compare.

I am going to try the D'Extra but if it's double the taste of this then forget about it.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2009 05:59:17 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of ejimhof
ejimhof

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +9.3%

11-26-2011 10:44:58 | More by ejimhof
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

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

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. A ruby colored beer when held to light. A well constructed pour yeilds a small head that recedes to a ring and leaces spotted lacing.

Smell: Over ripe fruit, malt, alcohol.

Taste: Raisen obviously, but also getting alot of malts. Caramel and roasted malts giving off chocolatey/sugary goodness. Liquid Raisenets. Belgian yeast tries to fight through it all. No real hop presence just enough to keep it from cloying sweetness. As it warms some alcohol makes itself known, but its not detracting from the other flavors.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied yet very carbonated.

Drinkability: Very tasty, somewhat strong. I purchased a whole case of this fine Dogfish Head brew and its nearly gone. Lovely stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2010 02:49:35 | More by Stinkypuss
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,992 ratings.