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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,006 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,006
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 68
Gots: 248 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Raison D'Être Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,006 | Reviews: 1,766 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of champ103


2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: This has a great color. Deep amber/brown with some reddish hints. A small white head forms with poor retention and almost no lace.
S: Malty and earthy with some dark fruits and raisins. Some brown sugar as well. Though, there is also an odd musky and metallic aroma that I do not like.
T: There is a bit more malt flavor than in the nose. I like what the raisin characteristic brings, but that metallic flavor that was in the nose is present and big.
M/D: a very harsh crispness in the mouth and to much carbonation for my tastes. The harshness is not from the alcohol, but rather a rough metal fell on the mouth. This needs to be much creamier and rich. This actually drinks just fine. The high alcohol is not detectable, but the metallic stuff going on does not make this particularly smooth to drink.

I am not a fan of this beer. Some sort of metallic characteristic seems to show up in in very aspect of this beer. This is not something I will try again.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2008 01:04:38 | More by champ103
Photo of keaston

New York

3.1/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: poured a very nice dark amber/ruby color with a cream-tan head that reduced to a thin lace very quickly. Appearance is easily this beer's strong point.

S: sweet and rich. This smells like a dopplebock brewed with raisins... I guess that must be the Belgian beet sugars. Interesting but a little bit overpowering.

T/M: This beer feels very heavy, almost syrupy. Raisins and an unusual sweetness that is not malt are the first and most prominent flavors(once again probably those beet sugars), followed by a harsh alcohol bite. Pleasant warming from the 8% ABV

D: This beer is a unique mishmash of uncommon flavors.... could be really good with some refinement, or possibly toned down a bit, but the heaviness of the mouthfeel is a bit much. For me, this probably works best as a dessert beer after a big meal. One is definitely enough.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2008 19:04:09 | More by keaston
Photo of MiScusi


4.15/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice clear dark red with a really light tan head. The bubbles are pretty tiny and almost form a nice froth.

S- Smell is very malty and sweet, almost sugary.

T- the taste is where I get the biggest variety. It starts very sweet, sugary, and then chocolate malt, spices, and a toasted malt feel all come in for the 2nd half. Finishes sugary sweet as well.

M- Much bigger body and slickness than I thought based on appearance. It's about medium but ultra smooth and slick.

D- While I couldn't drink this beer all the time it's something I would go back to. I expected it to be sweet so it came through in that department and although it might be towards the cloying end if you go in expecting that then I think it can fit in well.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2008 21:32:16 | More by MiScusi
Photo of bearrunner44


2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A deep, dark red, with unusual clarity for an ale. Abundant, somewhat clingy light tan head.

Aroma: Lightly sweet aroma. Smells of rum, sweetish raisins, and a light breadiness reminiscent of sweet rolls.

Taste: Very fruity, tasting strongly of raisins, prunes, and other sublimely sweet fruit products. The light and toasty character of the malt adds some slight balance to the beer, but this is a very sweet drink overall. The alcohol is pretty obvious from start to finish, eventually leaving a somewhat harsh medicinal aftertaste on the tongue. It sort of reminds me of the stiff, fruit juice-based mixed drinks we used to come up with in college; there's no nuance or complexity here. Just alcohol and sweetness.

Verdict: I'm always up for new and interesting takes on a style, but this is a swing-and-a-miss for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2008 07:58:25 | More by bearrunner44
Photo of ClashmoreMike

District of Columbia

2.95/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured aggressively into a pint glass from a bottle marked as "bottled on 11/20/07."

Appearance: Light amber color. Despite aggressive pour, a very thin head.

Smell: Light smell. Sweetness but not from malt. Some alcohol in there.

Taste: Like the smell, there's a marked sweetness but it's not a malt sweetness. It's more like syrup sugar. Some grape fruitiness. The alcohol can definitely be tasted.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body (leaning to light). Very smooth. In terms of carbonation, maybe a little too flat for my taste.

Drinkability: Not a bad beer. It's just that its type of sweetness makes it too much of a soda/beer hybrid for my taste, and there's no complexity in there. The alcohol is too obvious too. Nothing truly special about it.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2008 13:37:15 | More by ClashmoreMike
Photo of spointon


3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First off I should say I am a huge fan of Dogfish Head brews.

A= This beer's weakest point, bar none, is its appearance. It pours a rather clear pale amber color with absolutely no head, even with an aggressive pour.

S= This beer smells clean and sweet. Most of the smells come from the funky combination of the raisins and the yeast.

T= This is by no means a bad beer, but it sort of reminds me, in its appearance and taste, of Newcastle Brown Ale with raisin sweetness added. It sports a modest malt flavor, low hopping, and of course that raisin sweetness.

MF= Some crispness in the mouth, with residual sugars forming a bit of body.

D= While I cannot say that this is my favorite beer in the world, it sure goes down deceptively easy for such a high abv brew (8%). This beer is a good choice for those who don't like to be "challenged" by the taste of other high abv brews such as certain Belgian ales, barley wines, etc.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2008 05:15:00 | More by spointon
Photo of FleeVT


3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. brown bottle born on 1/4/08.

A: Beautiful clear light mahogany, as advertised. It looked like an extended brew iced tea with a tan head.
S: Malty sweetness dominates the nose, what little there is. No alcohol or hops to speak of, the malt reminds me of maple syrup.
T: Yeasty malt flavor fades to a raisin sweetness with a slightly astringent back drop. This beer could use more balance.
M: Smooth with a mild carbonation, great.
D: Worth a try as it is a Dogfish Head, but I probably won't buy another sixer. Went well with my blackened chickend.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2008 01:05:30 | More by FleeVT
Photo of IgotsHops


3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I picked this up expecting one thing, and got something different. But I will try and keep that out of my review.

Appearance: Deep red/mahogany, just a little light comes through clear. Nice thick 2 finger tan head.

Smell: Chicory, roasted barley, some coffee, and some dark fruit like raisin.

Taste: Very sweet, thick malt up front, like a Belgian quad. Once that medicinal sweet backs out, strong roasted barley and chicory coats your mouth. There is also a hint of coffee. I searched for more, wanting more complexity, but there was none to be found. The bottle said white grapes were present, but they were lost in the overpowering malt, alcohol, and roasty flavors.

Mouthfeel: The beer consistancy is great, good texture and coats my mouth well. I wish the roastedness and bitterness would subside quicker and not overpower the beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2008 19:00:03 | More by IgotsHops
Photo of DIM


3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a: As the label clearly indicates this beer is indeed a dark mahogany color. It pours with a big frothy white head; great lace and retention.

s: Aromas of sugary stewed raisins, earthy peats, vanilla, and alcohol.

t: Sweet vanilla and raisin flavors dominate. I also detected brown sugar and a bit of cherry before the mouth drying, perfumed alcohol finish. This is too hot for 8.0 abv.

m: This a decent and a nice foamy texture to it, but the heat at the end is a drawback.

d: This is a pretty good beer, but DFH has some much better brews in their lineup that I'll stick to.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2008 11:47:47 | More by DIM
Photo of CrazyMacHarris99


4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear amber to ruby red with a thin white head that quickly dissolved but left some nice lacing throughout. Smell was of malts with some raisin and molasses. Tasted of sweet malts and fresh raisin. It brought back great memories of a growler of East End Dubbel Trubbel I had last week. There was a spicy finish with some hop bitterness which rounded it out nicely. I could drink this all night and day. I don't know what it is but raisins just do it for me in beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2008 03:51:28 | More by CrazyMacHarris99
Photo of triplecoil


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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam's Perfect Pint glass.

Poured a bright ruby/amber with amber highlights with a centimeter head that faded down to a band around the edge and left a blotchy lace all the way down. Nose is caramel, some brown sugar, and malt. Taste is malt, a little raison, a little hop bitterness, some alcohol. Mouthfeel is clean with bright carbonation.

A lot of people are turned off by this brew, but it's a nice every day beer in my opinion. Very good marks for this one.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2008 00:28:03 | More by triplecoil
Photo of BeerImmediately


4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle to Chimay glass.

Tried this near room temperature, based on another review which recommended this.

Pours a deep mahogany color, as advertised. Very little head, quickly escaping to the edges.

Smelled of dark brown sugar, and weakly brewed coffee.

This has a rich malty flavor: Black molasses sweetness, cut by the ripe raisins --> pretty unique for the style.

Had a creamy smooth mouthfeel, with light smokiness, and slightly syrupy aftertaste.

I enjoyed this one -

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2008 22:50:04 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of buckobrock

North Carolina

3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Bottled on 4 Jan 2008

Consumed on 29 Feb 2008

A - Pours a smooth dark brown with a hint of ruby. Nice color. Single-finger head that grows a bit with a nice swirl in the goblet. Lacing is nonexistent.

S - Molasses is the first thing that hits my nostrils - rich and sweet. Also smell of dark malts. The smell is very similar to other Belgian beer I've sampled. I'm digging for a hint of the raisin smell, and I only catch a note. Not nearly as prominent as I'd expected.

T - The Belgian candi sugar and dark malts are nice and sweet. I get a slight hint of the raisins I've been searching for on the back of the tongue. Overall, I think the sweetness is just about right.

M - The mouthfeel is pretty heavy, which is to be expected when purchasing an 8% abv beer. I feel that the heaviness and the high carbonation balance well with the sweetness of the beer.

D - I'll have to say that I'm glad that I only bought a single rather than a 6 pack. However, I disagree with the way that the drinkability of the beer itself can deduct points. I feel that a beer can be very tasty without being able to drink more than one per sitting, which I think the case is here.

This is a great beer from Dogfish Head, and definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2008 21:10:27 | More by buckobrock
Photo of Mudpuppet


3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to triplecoil for the chance to try this.

A- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Pours a dark mahogany brown with about 1/4" head.

S- Notes of brown sugar molasses and dark malts. A bit of a Belgian-y nose also.

T- This is a decent brew but a bit has a odd aftertaste. This has a very strong molasses and brown sugar flavor. A definite alcohol to this beer too. The aftertaste is somewhat strong and sticks around.

M- Somewhat thick on the tongue. Decent carbonation.

D- I could have some of these but not a huge fan. A strong aftertaste turns me off a bit.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2008 02:39:51 | More by Mudpuppet
Photo of NCSUdo


3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A: Pours a clear mahogany, not quite as deep as the label suggests, under a half inch worth of white head. Little head retention, no lace.

S: Smells of caramel and other sweet malt tones. A bit of dark fruit in the nose as well.

T: Very sweet, some caramel and a bit of raisin, with a bit of bitterness in the end. Alcohol warmth and dryness finish it out, along with some toasted malt tones. Even some chocolate creeps in. A really pleasing taste.

M/D: Full bodied, pretty high on the carbonation, a bit crisp. Drinkability is OK. This beer actually feels like a much bigger beer (although an 8% strong dark ale is no slouch). Still, it lacks some redeeming qualities in both the appearance and nose, which make it a bit underwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2008 00:43:36 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of kaboose72


4.75/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dogfish, in my opinion one of the top 3 breweries in the US. Raison D'etre is to me their greatest year round brew. so unique and tasty. Definitley a must try if you have not had one yet. pours well, strong nose and full of flavor. with just the right amount of abv

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2008 17:54:12 | More by kaboose72
Photo of JDV


3/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A dark maroon pour that still let light through, in a tulip. Uniquely sweet smell of burnt brown sugar, funky yeast, a touch of perhaps raison, and ash or charred spice. Dark flavors, but light body and easy to drink for the most part. Kind of a drying sweetness, and an odd taste, but not too bad. Not quite what I expected.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2008 18:29:41 | More by JDV
Photo of albern


3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The weak point of this beer is the aroma, which is overly metallic and not indicative of some of the complexity you will experience. The beer pours a nice deep amber, or mahogany as it is described on the label. There is a slight head that stick around a little while, not much lacing. The beer is slightly more caronated, slightly less syrupy, and has slightly less candied sugars than you will find in a typical Belgian. What you will get are lots of heavy fruits - figs, rind, raisin -- blended quite nicely. This is a nice, enjoyable, full bodied beer with complexity. I don't know if it's a very good Belgian, per se, but how often are labels misnomers anyway. As the Bros mentioned, the ABV is a bit too pronounced. You don't get a throaty burn, but there is a liquor taste to this one that you'll get start to finish. I knocked some points off drinkability as a result. Worth seeking out. L'Chaim.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2008 01:47:58 | More by albern
Photo of PhageLab


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

Poured into the Duvel Tulip.

A - Glistening yet dark ruby coloration which is fairly transparent. The small bit of head dissipated to a ring of froth around the edge of the glass. Lacing was spotted.

S - Cherries, plums, and the faint aroma of roasted malt.

T - Lots of warming alcohol effects, which was unexpected. Mostly dark fruit flavors with yeast hints. I was anticipating something a bit more complex, but this is still decent.

M - Medium bodied, slick, oily feel, decent carbonation level.

D - A nice sipper overall, but for Dogfish Head, I was expecting something a bit more complex. For a belgian style, this is pretty simplistic. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2008 15:23:22 | More by PhageLab
Photo of GbVDave


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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a DT tulip.

Bottled on: 11/21/07

A: Nice looking, reddish, rusty-brown color that's capped by a very creamy khaki-colored head that has decent retention. Quite effervescent looking.

S: Belgian yeast (bubblegum) right off the bat, with toasted malt, dark fruit, chocolate, caramel, maple syrup, and molassas.

T: Dry, roasted malt, and Belgian yeast providing the fruity esters followed closely by dark chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit, earthy bitterness, and a touch of zingy booziness.

M: Big and full at first that gradually becomes drier and more bitter as the middle and finish emerge. Nice sweet, dry, and bitter effects on the tongue during the finish.

D: Quite good. The alcohol is very apparent for something that is only 8% abv. I like this and will seek it out on draft.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2008 01:12:23 | More by GbVDave
Photo of gkatsoris

2.73/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Brown in color, w/ no murkyness/cloudyness. And a light brown head that fizzled down within thirty seconds.

S: Raisins. little hops. cherries. alcohol.

T: Pretty earthy. Raisins. Sweet. Burnt brown sugar.

M: Way to bubbly and carbonated. Feels like a seltzer water or a diet soda. Blech!

D: I'm a huge DFH guy, but not on this one; sorry.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2008 01:12:12 | More by gkatsoris
Photo of Monkeyknife


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

Poured from a bottle a clear mahogany color with a frothy two-finger beige head.

Aroma of sweet malts, raisins, and white sugar.

My immediate thought from my first sip was peaches. Juicy ripe peaches. Also note some coffee, sugar, raisins, sweet malts, and enough booziness to remind you that it's 8%.

Medium mouthfeel, creamy and lightly carbonated.

A nice Belgian Strong Ale from DFH. Not the best, but a nice example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2008 23:30:36 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of riboflavin88


3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Overall, a good beer. I think its strong point was its appearance. It had a yellow-reddish tint to it, sort of hazy. Had a good nose, and you can definitely notice the raisins. The taste was citrus based with raisin undertones, and left a smokey after taste. Not a session beer, but worth trying.

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2008 21:11:47 | More by riboflavin88
Photo of EliteDigger


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

A-It's a light reddish brown with a pale head rapidly disappearing to a light coating of tight bubbles on top.
S-Sweet malts with a vague smell like when I open a box of frosted mini-wheats.
T-Caramel fig-like sweetness with some toasty wheat, raisins, and buttery dark fruit.
M-Creamy smooth but a tiny bit on the watery side.
D-Alright in my book...goes down smooth with a decent flavor despite the mid-high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2008 05:11:32 | More by EliteDigger
Photo of BMan1113VR


4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Aroma is moderate malts, some light hops, raisins and peaches, pretty good. Appearance consits of a dark red body with some good lacing. Tastes much like it smells and goes down really well with a creamy texture and some lively carbonation playing with your tounge.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2008 21:06:59 | More by BMan1113VR
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,006 ratings.