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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,186 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,186
Reviews: 1,768
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 78
Gots: 311 | 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
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Ratings: 4,186 | Reviews: 1,768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of unitas3
2.65/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a deep amber body with no surprises. On the nose it was a bit sweet, the beet sugar and the raisin scent was a bit reminiscing yet seemed to be over powered by a pure sugar and alcohol front. The taste was not as pleasing as expected. The alcohol dominated with little or no balance on the finish, after warming up a bit the taste seemed to separate and oil out with a heavy to thick syrup body. Dried fruit was present but the alcohol was still to forward to allow a good harmony. I could see pairing this with a meal, maybe even braising a piece of meat with it furthering its unique crafting. I am glad I tried but probably won't drink again.

Photo of fosterific
3.23/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am not terribly familiar with the style, but this one feels a little on the featherweight side of things.
Poured ruby brown with a slight head into a snifter glass. The color is very nice.
The smell is of sweet candi and caramel.
The flavor, to say the least, has variety, depth and complexity. I enjoyed the different parts; the dried fruit - sweet and a little tart.
It felt smooth at first and sticky in the end.
The 4 pack will take me a few weeks I would guess, not something I really am craving after having one. So I gave it kinda a low score on drinkability.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up a few weeks back up in Totowa. This looked interesting and I don't think I've ever had a beer like this before. Even though it's listed as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale and it's at 8.00% ABV, this almost has the feel and taste of a brown ale. It's not heavy, complex, and the alcohol is well-hidden. Needless to say, the sweetness of this beer works pretty well!

I liked the hue of this - a nice deep mahagony just like the bottle said, but not dark enough that I couldn't see through it. There could have been a bit more head and some lacing, but the taste of this is mellow and easygoing. Sweetness dominates with the taste of grape and caramel underneath to tie the maltiness together. This is not bitter or strong by any stretch of the imagination! There's a slight sense of roastiness to this, but not enough to have a warming effect.

As stated above, the ABV% seems to be a bit lower than what's on the bottle. No matter, I don't get the impression that this is a belgian-style beer, but it's a welcome change from Dogfish Head's other peculiar and hoppier offerings. For a late winter night like this, this fits the bill quite nicely!

Photo of Gosox8787
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle in my beer drinking glass. The beer was a dark brown, mahogany color with only a slight beige lacing that had little retention. The aroma is dominated by the smell of the malt. There is also a sweet note that offers a nice contrast. The taste is highlighted by the interplaying flavors of the malt and the sweet notes from the grapes. The moutfeel is average, with only a slight amount of carbonation. The beer is acually drinkable considering the ABV. The alcohol does not overpower the beer at all.

Overall, this is a decent beer to try but is not worh going far out of the way to try. Another good beer from Dogfish Head.

Photo of Florida9
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Red-tinged, medium brown color. Not much head, but what is there is thick with a lot of lacing.

Smells heavily of malt. Also yeast.

Flavor is a sweet maltiness with notes of raisin (imagine that!) and plums. Sweetness is overpowering and, in my opinion, throws the beer out of balance. Relatively quick, clean finish.

Beer has a medium viscosity.

Couldn't see buying this beer again. Admittedly, it's not my preferred style and I think the this is a fine beer, but the sweetness is just too much. I'd have a difficult time drinking more than one of these in a sitting.

Photo of drdr48
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a fairly light head that left a lot of lacing, low carbonation.

On the sweet side but still balanced, nice light bready, yeasty Belgian taste to it with strong notes of raisins and dark fruit.

Belgians are not on the top of my palates desires but I thoroughly enjoyed this beer.

Photo of biggred1
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep red and crystal clear with a slight off white head that leaves fine lace on the glass. Not a lot going on in the nose, faint metallic and bready notes. Tastes unusual, I can taste the raisins and beet sugar along with roasted malts and slight bittering hops in the finish. Sticky medium bodied mouthfeel. Drinkable, but not my favorite from DFH or what I really look for in the style.

Photo of becktone
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes 12-4-08

Eye: Nice looking brew as it is poured into the glass. Color is a rusty brown and the brew is pretty clear. When light passes through it the beer turns a beautiful red tinged with orange and yellow highlights. Head is a creamy looking thing that has real nice formation and retention. Lacing is real nice forming rings round the glass connected by sheets of lacing.

Nose: Dark candied malts, dark fruit-raisins and prunes. Some notes from alcohol also come through, a warm spicy type of aroma from alcohol. No hops present, or at least detectable. Nice aroma overall, but I think that it could be a bit stronger and have a little more depth...it would just make it better.

Tongue: Some toasty flavors and some slight almost coffee/cacao flavors are in here, but I'd describe them as very light and not quite typical of that description. Usually, as in stouts or porters, those flavors are pretty heavy, this is just a hinting at them, just slightly there, accented by some alcohol notes. Overall big malt sweetness in this brew. Raisin character along with other dark fruits are present. Some nuttiness and caramel as well. The beer is balanced and not overly sweet, its the darker malts though that balance it out with their toastiness. Overall the beer tastes good, its just that there really isn't much here in the way of complexity. Alcohol is hidden pretty well, that and what is preceived works well with the rest of the brew to add to its flavor.

Feel and Drinkability: The beer leaves the tongue feeling thick and heavy, almost the way the palate feels when parched. Carbonation is low and suits the beer. Hints at a warming sensation when swallowed. This beer is full bodied and leaning towards thick on the palate, I feel like alot of residual sugar gives it this feeling....it does however work for the beer. This one is easy to drink, however, I'm not sure how readily I'd pick it up again. I'm sure I'll eventually be buying this and drinking it again, but I can't see myself doing it anytime soon. It's a good beer but nothing all that great. Don't get me wrong, its great, but for me it just doesn't have anything that pulls me back tot the beer, nothing that I truely love about it.

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

Had at Porter's in Easton, PA

Poured into oversized wine glass. Poured a dark brown with a big white bubbly head. Smell is mostly dominated by dried fruits and a bit of yeast. Taste mimics the smell, very fruity even for a belgian. Mouthfeel is a bit too light for the style, about medium bodied. I probably wouldn't reach for this again, but I wouldn't complain if it were given to me.

Overall a decent, but not great, example of the style.

Photo of mgp80
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Mahogany (as the bottle suggests), with a fine white head.
S - Sweetness up front, some fruitiness and a wood-like quality. Interesting, but not amazing.
T- Distinctly raisin-like flavor throughout. Very little hop presence until some bitterness at the end. The same wood-like character from the aroma is there in the aftertaste. Sweetness lingers on the tongue.
M - Lively carbonation.
D - The sweetness makes it a little tough to take too many in a row without some kind of break.

It's nice. I like to keep it around. Is it on the same level as the 90 minute? Not for me. Certainly worth a try, though, as it is fairly unique and interesting.

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazy brown. Thin, whispy light tan head that disappears quickly.

Aroma is hint of brown sugar, bready yeast, dark fruits. Hard to pull out.

Taste is sweet, brown sugar and malt up front move to yeasty breadiness and dark fruits, raisins. Finishes with the slight bitterness of dark fruits and a hint of breadcrust.

Mouthfeel is medium body, with crisp but light carbonation. Little bit dry on the finish as a result. A bit heavy on the raisiny-dark fruitiness in the overall balance.

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.35/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 6/13/2007 (12oz bottle):

Pours an amber red colored body, clear, not very fizzy. Has a small tan head, diminishing. An aroma of dark fruit, and raisins maybe. Strong sugary malty. Malty salty taste, dark roasted malt aftertaste. Sweet carmelized taste.

Photo of gonzo46and2
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a medium brown with a small head. Laces the glass nicely.

Aroma is of figs, raisins, bread, and spice. The smell could have been more pronounced in my opinion. It was very hard to get any aromas at first when the beer was very cold.

Taste was ok but nothing spectacular.

Mouthfeel was fine.

Drinkability is so/so. I'd much rather have other offerings from DFH and a true Belgian when craving Belgian.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, opaque brown. Not a lot of carbonation, but a lot of lacing.

Smells mostly of fruit and sweetness. A little spice can be found if sought after.

Tastes really sweet with an apple, raisin, and fig flavor really coming through. A little spice thrown in there and the alcohol comes through a little in the end.

Mouthfeel is a little lighter than I would expect, more creamy.

This very drinkable for the style.

Photo of meatmallet
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Ruby colored with a thick tan head.

Smell: Not very strong and a little stale. Dark fruit, raisin, some malt, and a bit of plum.

Taste: Rasins and plum again and a little alcohol feel. I can also detect a bit of coffee and hopps. There is also a hint of the staleness again.

Mouthfeel/drinkability: Feels smooth and creamy in the mouth. Its also sweet and bitter which is interesting. I like it but I dont get this beer.

Photo of TMB0424
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an amber/mahogany body with a somewhat small tan-ish head that receded pretty quickly. Scattered, minimal lacing throughout. Pretty good carbonation rising up.

Smells of sweet toffee and ripe, darker fruits, sugar. Little bit of yeast in there as well. Not a strong aroma by any means, but it's very pleasing.

Tastes of sugar dipped raisins (and other dark fruits) with toffee and candy sugar. Definitely a sweet beer. The Belgian yeast appears somewhere in the middle, adding a nice element to it. Finishes with a nice little spice.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, somewhat light for this style. Has a good crispness to it though. I enjoyed this bottle but the sweetness would definitely stop me from having more than one serving. Good, though.

Photo of Atricapilla
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Beer had a light to medium mahogany color, with a white head that slowly left...light to medium carbonation persisted.

Smelled of raisins and malt.

Tasted a little sweet, again heavily with fruit, particularly raisins, malt and light yeast.

Photo of cvfish
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Poured a reddish brown color that produced a white head that retained and left some lace

S - Bready malts, raisins

T - Malty, with strong flavor of raisins, along with some brown sugar

M - Medium bodied, light carbonation

D - Not the best DFH that I have had, but still an interesting beer to go along with their others

Photo of rye726
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice mahogany color with a tan head. Nose has sweet malts, and spicy Belgian yeasts. The taste also has a nice malt profile, but is not super complex. A good beer, but I'd like to see more Belgian characteristics. Medium body is well carbonated and drinks well.

Photo of DmanGTR
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My third of the beers had earlier this evening at Monk's Cafe in Philly.

A - poured a clear mahogany red with a very slight ring of bubbles in a pilsener glass. No lace, very short lived head.

S - caramel, light carob, raisiny fruitiness, a light waft of alcohol. Interesting.

T - molasses, lightly roasted malts, quite sweet in terms of malts and fruits. This reminded me strongly of a doppelbock. The sweetness was almost cloying but not quite. Light alcoholic tones in the finish. Pleasant yet strange.

M - medium bodied, smooth and creamy. Carbonation complemented it nicely. A bit chewy too.

D - very good. No complaints here.

Overall - I thought this was some sort of dark amber ale with a lot of malts and raisins. The balance seemed a little off centered, but then again, this is made by an off centered brewery for off centered people. Then I found out that it's a Belgian strong dark ale... hmm, I don't think this one fits the bill. Sorry DFH, although this was tasty, I really can't see this fitting into the category. A good beer, nonetheless. Enough with the labeling. This is one I shall revisit in the future.

Photo of u2carew
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(A) Amber colored with light carbonation. Minimal head foam collects around the edge of the glass.
(S) Notes of malt and dark fruit sweetness
(T) Sweet foretaste, slight bitterness on the back side and in the aftertaste. Just a bit of smokiness to the overall flavor.
(M) Mild fizziness on the tongue. A full body brew with light syrupy characteristics.
(D) This took a few swigs to get use to, but then I was into it. This brew has some interesting flavorings going on.

Photo of tigg924
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark amber/caramel in color--no head, minimal carbonation

Smell: raisin, cinnamon, alcohol, and sugar

Taste: raisin, cinnamon, caramel, alcohol-especially towards the end, and sugar

Mouthfeel: medium body, smooth and sweet, then a harder alcohol tasting finish

Drinkability: This is a another unique tasting beer that needs to be drunk slow because of its high alcohol content. I would be excited to pick this one up again, although I think two is my limit per sitting due to ABV...This one won me over

Photo of TehAnkh
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm drinking this beer as I'm writing this review.
I bought a sixer and I'm about 3 beers in (obviously it's drinkable enough).

A: Pours with a 2 finger medium tan head that recedes quickly to fine layer of bubbles. Dark red/amber color, very woody-brown/red and crystal clear. A few stray bubbles rise from the bottom. Leaves a nice lacing that seems to cling to the glass nicely.

S: The alcohol really comes through on the nose, but there are lots of nice subtle hints of fruits, brown sugar, a little pear and raisin, and perhaps a bit of a woody scent coming through. Lovely, but mild.

T: Woah! The alcohol bites you in the boo-boo on the first sip! But I'm not entirely sure if this is a bad thing, as it seems to work very well with the brown sugar coated raisin taste on the back end. Lots of fruity and malty notes. I like it.

M: Nice, medium body. Definitely not too thin or too thick for my tastes. Just a touch of bitterness, mild carbonation, pretty refreshing, albeit a "sipper". Glides right over my tongue with absolute ease, quite enjoyable.

D: I'm on my 3rd one of these as we speak, and I would not be surprised if I moved on to a 4th. Quite drinkable, and although the alcohol stands out it doesn't seem to deter me from wanting to crack another one open.

Overall a pretty good brew, I've had several of DFH's other offerings and don't think I'll be shelling out 12 bucks for a 6 pack of this ever again, but I'm not disappointed in my purchase. I will be gladly finishing off the 6 pack tonight. Pretty average, while the belgian sugars are obvious in the flavor, it just is not what I would expect from a belgian style ale.
Delicious in it's own way, but nowhere near similar to any others in it's class.

Photo of superdedooperboy
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz. brown bottle with a "Bottled On" date clearly printed on the glass.

Pours a nice ruby-mahogany with a full two fingers of tan foam. Head retention is so-so, and lacing is scattered and light.

A malty, slightly fruity aroma lightly brushes the nose, with some notes of raisins pushing through.

The medium-full, minimally-carbonated body washes caramel malt flavor across the front of the tongue, with waves of sugary sweetness in tow, filling itself out with raisin and fig notes and a foundation of roasty chocolate. Drains away with an excessively sweet flavor that coats the back of the tongue and lingers for a long while after the finish. A bit of herbaceousness appears somewhere in the middle and keeps the brew from being overly cloying, but the finish is perhaps a bit too much.

This one drinks rather easily, and is really quite tasty, but the 8% ABV sneaks up and sets heavy on the head without much warning. Alcohol presence is very well-hidden.

Perhaps not quite the Raison d'Etre, but a Raison de boire? I'll buy that one.

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

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

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, chocolate, raisins and some hops.

T: The taste is malty up front with sweet flavors of raisins, chocolate and caramel. There's a mild background of Belgian yeast and spices. The malt character is hearty and there's a decent hops presence all creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style but like most DFH beers, it's not your typical beer in its style. This is a good beer to drink for a long time if you're in the mood for some thing with a little strength and a lot of substance.

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,186 ratings.