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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,076 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,076
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 71
Gots: 275 | 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: 4,076 | Reviews: 1,766 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biggmike
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%

This wasnt anything like I expected. Poured a brownish/red color with small head that dissipated rather quickly. Aroma is fruity and a bit malty. Flavor is fruity. Mouthfeel is great; this beer is as smooth as it gets. This beer hides it alcohol content very well. Good stuff and very unique.

biggmike, Oct 22, 2007
Photo of Deus1138
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%

Poured into a pint glass. Small amount of head.

Cloudy red color with a fair amount of carbonation.

Smells sweet, but not a very strong smell.

Tastes very good. Sweet, but not too sweet. Very faint hops flavor.

Very smooth, light in the mouth.

I'll definitely buy this again. Last night I enjoyed the Chimay Reserve, which is of the same style. I really enjoyed both brews. The Chimay is sweeter and heavier. It's definitely a sipping beer. The Dogfish Head brew is a little easier to drink.

Deus1138, Oct 19, 2007
Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz English pint glass.

A: Slightly cloudy redish brown, with a small tan head. Good lacing on top, and the sides.

S: Slight fruit on the nose, but mostly sweet, slight alcohol tinge.

T: I get most of the smell, but more complex flavors come through. The sweetness isn't overbearing. I don't find the alcohol noticeable, except a slight warmth in the throat.

M: Mouthfeel is good, if not a little thin I thought.

D: I really like to have many of these, even with the high abv. Nothing deters me from wanting another.

51mmz0rz, Oct 17, 2007
Photo of cetae
3.23/5  rDev -11.7%

A - Poured a nice dark mahogany with a head that settles to around 1/2 inch.

S - Sugary smell, but not a sweet sugary smell. As well as a slight alcohol scent

T - Can immediately taste the green raisin then a slight amount of alcohol, though not over powering at all, followed by a slightly bitter dark chocolate / malty taste. I have never tasted a beer like this before.

M - Medium bodied, airy and very smooth

D - This beer is drinkable, however I wouldn't want to drink more than 1 to 3 in one sitting. When I drank the first one I didn't lik it very much, but that night I had a few various other beers before trying this. I decided to try it again the next night and I had a different opinion. I have a whole case of this stuff (bought in PA) and it will probably last a while. I definitely wouldn't buy an entire case again, but I would pick up six-pack down the road.

cetae, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of BravoTwo
2.68/5  rDev -26.8%

Bought a mixed 6 of Dogfish Head, and selected this item. Poured into a goblet, and was very impresed with the initial apearance.

A - Nice dark brown coloration, with no appreciable head.

S- Smelled slightly of grapes, dark wine. Alcoholic smell, which was not unpleasant.

T - Not impressed here. Way too face forward with the alcohol in this beer, and not really well balanced with any other flavor, taste, or anything else to grab your attention. Could have done with a more balanced taste

M - Too thin, with no real substance here, which suprised me given the punch of the alcohol.

D - split this beer anyway, which was a good thing since I am sure I could have not have finished the whole thing.

I was not impressed with this beer, and would not repurchase it. That being said, this beer may personally satisfy you, if you enjoy a more in-your-face alcoholic tasting Belgian .Try Unibroue's Trois Pistoles, if you are looking for an exceptionally balanced Begian Strong.

BravoTwo, Oct 13, 2007
Photo of Biscuit033
3.88/5  rDev +6%

A: Poured a nice mahogany with very little head.

S: Sweet malty/candi smell that is true to the style.

T: There is a bitterness that hits the back of the tongue. But the main tastes are dried fruit and dark bitter chocolate. There is a pleasing sweet maltiness as well.

M: Light and airy over the tongue.

D: Nice sipper. Alcohol is hidden well for this 8%. The flavors and taste tell you to slow down and enjoy.

Biscuit033, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of BucBasil
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Appearance: A perfectly clear deep red color with a finger of off-white head on top. Poured into a tulip glass from the bottle.

Smell: Raisins are immediately evident, along with a faint sugary smell and some unidentifiable spices.

Taste: This one is off the wall. Soft fruity character with brown sugar in the middle. Syrupy character then comes through, carrying with it a crazy sort of bready malt taste? Finishes with a buttery smooth character that was strangely pleasant.

Notes: Probably won't be picking this one up again, but I guess it was worth it to try to work out the palate a bit.

BucBasil, Oct 09, 2007
Photo of sirpsycho
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%

Bottle poured into a glass. Was sceptical at trying a "flavored" beer, but was pleasantly surprised. Nice dark pour into the glass. Very little head. Nice flavors, detected raisins and carmel / toffee, but not too sweet, could drink more than one without getting sick of it. Will order again.

sirpsycho, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of ruleof72
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%

Beer pours a dark mahogony(sp?) color with a medium head that settles down to a thin ring and stays there. The smell was pine/citrus with a hint of raisin, slightly sweet and toasty. The taste backs up the smell as there is a good amount of sweet fruit and hops. Mouthfeel is good as well as drinkability.

Another good effort and definitely worth drinking.

ruleof72, Oct 03, 2007
Photo of ndekke39
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%

12 oz. bottle with no bottling date.

A: Reddish-amber and clear. Small white head. Decent lacing/retention. Small rising bubbles.

S & T: Burnt caramel. Toffee? Some dark fruit like cherries and raisins (duh). Rich, malty character.

M: Above-average thickness, although nothing near a stout. Great complement to the flavors.

D: A very rich session beer. Nice, bold flavors. Great character. Will definitely return to this one.

ndekke39, Sep 26, 2007
Photo of BigJTrucker
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%

Pours a very deep amber, almost mahogany color, low head retention. Aroma is mainly sugary sweet grape, Taste is also sweet with hints of grape. Solid, but lacks the "punch" i was expecting. Hmm... Mouthfeel is fairly decent, a bit syrupy for my tastes. Drinkability is fairly high, it's really sweet, no bitterness to speak of, drinks like a lower abv beer. If i hadn't seen that it was 8%, i wouldn't have guessed

BigJTrucker, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of pwoods
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%

12oz. bottle(6/13/07) from Party Source poured into a snifter.

A: Dark mahogany pour. About 1 finger cream colored head that vanishes. No lacing =

S: Smells of raisins and plums. Slight floral bits. Sweet, sugary smell. If it weren't for the snifter, I don't think I'd be able to smell much at all.

T/M: Spicy, bitter bite. Taste more like green grapes than raisins. Sweet caramel malts really dominate after the first initial bite. Expected body for the style w/ medium carbonation.

D: Tasty brew that drinks easy enough. Higher alcohol that is hidden nicely; only slightly coming forth with a tinge and warmth if you hold it in your mouth for more than 2-3 seconds. Would I have another? Maybe down the road.

2nd Review:

I liked it much better this time... now that I've opened up to Belgian styles. 1st review is pretty accurate.. I just like it better, now, lol.

pwoods, Sep 18, 2007
Photo of madwoodee
3.15/5  rDev -13.9%

"Vertical tasting" - 1 year later

Found two. Will keep one more for next year for fun!

Appearance is fine, a dark tan, clear. Nice head foamy head.

Aroma, taste all gone. The smell is almost neutral, and the taste is flat. The raisin taste is gone. Only the sugar and malty tastes remains. The beer goes down easy, and the alcohol smell is completely gone. The beer is still very bubbly.

If this was a beer on its own, it would just be "okay" but comparing to what I had one year ago, the fresh beer was much better. Better luck next year.

madwoodee, Sep 17, 2007
Photo of wagenvolks
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%

12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours an attractive, ruby-red/copper/plum body that is clear with little visible carbonation. Head retention is lackluster, and no lacing is left behind.

The aroma is alot like an oatmeal-raisin cookie. Obvious emphasis on the fruity raisins, here, although notes of brown sugar and biscuity malts are present too.

The taste is neither bad, nor phenomenal. Packs a big spicy hop note alongside a fruity/sweet, sugary body. Mouthfeel is sharp and semi-viscous with a bitter brandy aftertaste. Crisp & mildly refreshing, too. This beer isn't great, but it's definately drinkable. Say what you will about Dogfish Head, but they sure do make some interesting (and good) brews.

wagenvolks, Sep 17, 2007
Photo of MrBen
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%

What I wanted here was an interesting beer, sweet with raisins. What I got was a good, drinkable strong ale that only delivered on my expectations in its aftertaste. Color, head, and smell were all very nice, but I really missed the green grape in the foreground. Crisp tang made for a good mouthfeel.

I'll say this much: Raison D'etre had one fo the longest finishes I've found in a long time. The flavor of grapes, like white wine, and sugary sweetness carried on in a really enjoyable aftertaste.

This beer was good, but not great enough to make a must-have,

MrBen, Sep 14, 2007
Photo of mattster
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%

12oz. bottled on 5/15/07 Poured into a Snifter Glass.

Nice brown (mahogany) ale that has an excellent body. Smell is a faint grapey smell, maybe some rye bread.

Excellent taste. Very much like a fine wine. Hints of dried fruit and sweetness that makes for a nice finish. Very clean in glass. I don't think I'd have more than one or two of these in an evening - would be a great beer for a sirloin steak in a Bordelaise sauce. May also hold up to sharp cheeses or even some blue veined cheese.

Raison D'etre’s 8% ABV makes it an excellent candidate for aging. I plan on purchasing a six pack and consuming at 6 month intervals to see the differences in taste. As a red wine drinker, I feel that Dogfish Head was looking out for my interest. This beer is proof that you pay for good Beer – but well worth it.

mattster, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of joeskirkie
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

12oz. bottled on 2/26/07

A mahogany body (just like the label claims) sits in the chalice with a head that diecided not to sitck around very long.

A scent of raisons, bread, and some caramel, it's not very powerful, but it's there and it's nice.

Taste of raisons, bread, and more caramel. It's far stronger than the scent would suggest. Theres more raisons on the finish.

It's sweet, and on the thicker side of medium bodied.

It's good I'm enjoying it. If the mood should strike for a Belgian dark, this is a nice alternative to cracking open an entire 750mL if I don't happen to want that much. That being said, I'll probably have a second one tonight anyway.

joeskirkie, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of ClassicBrad
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%

Bottle reads, "A deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins & and a sense of purpose," complete with stamped 'born on' date.

First and foremost, even before my initial sip, I would have to chalk this up as one of the most unique beers I've ever heard about. Beet sugar and green raisins?

Appearance is a solid deep orange/brown with a brief residual head that left little to no lacing.

Smell was suggestive of fruity candy and dark malts. In the back of the nose, coffee was prominent.

Taste was a little less exotic as I may have guessed. Mostly a sweet fruit meets dark malt that gives in to the darker malty flavor.

Mouthfeel was pretty exceptional. Its consistency gave your mouth a unique chance to take in the entire beer as a whole and I feel it really helped get this beer a positive review.

Drinkability is quite average for this beer. I can't see myself desiring another one anytime too soon.

ClassicBrad, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of saintwarrick
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%

Pours a burnt orange with a lacy head that eventually rings the glass. Aroma is caramel, figs, milk chocolate. Taste is very sweet, bit of chocolate and a slight touch of raisins, but the overwhelming flavor is buttery pancake syrup - very sweet - which is heightened by the syrupy texture of the beer. Faint remnants of hops don’t give this brew much balance.

Really intriguing brew, not like any Belgian Strong Dark Ale I have had before. This needs a new category, like Belgian Brown Ale, since it reminds me of some English brown ales more than any Belgian beer.

saintwarrick, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of schoolboy
4.5/5  rDev +23%

I have also had this bottle and disliked it. On tap it is a totally different drink - lovely. Somehow, what I got a six pack of bottles and it just wasn't very good, but on tap I loved this. And I am not a fan of heavy flavors but I am a fan of Belgians. The raisin taste is all over it.

I can't recommend the bottle, but I do recommend trying a glass of this at the bar. Nice

schoolboy, Sep 09, 2007
Photo of Beerbuddha
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Appearance - Reddish rust color with a thin off white head.

Smell - Very sweet smell. Almost like a brown sugar.

Taste - Again very sweet with hints of raisins and sugar.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with medium carbonation.

Drinkability - This beer was okay. It was way too sweet to me.

Beerbuddha, Sep 08, 2007
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.03/5  rDev -17.2%

I often find DFH to be a hit or miss brew for me. This one was a miss.
A - hazy reddish brown with an off-white head
S - sharp green raisins, toffee brown sugar and abv warmth.
T - similar to the nose but with an almost battle between the raisin and yeast.
M - medium bodied, medium carbonated, strong note of ABV
D - one was enough for me.

I had hoped for a scaled down taste of the D'extra but alas this was not the case.

barleywinebrewer, Sep 07, 2007
Photo of franksnbeans
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%

Pours a deep and clear mohogany with two fingers of cream colored head that dies a little slow and laces. Smells of big malt, alcohol and dried fruit. Taste is very complex. Caramel, sweet malt, a little bakers chocolate, alcohol, raisin. Full in the mouth with nice carbonation. Its half session, half sipper. Another interesting offering from Dogfishead.

franksnbeans, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%

Decanted from the growler which gave a resounding POP! as I opened it. Poured cold into a DFH shaped pint glass.

A - A deep caramel brown w/ a full 2 finger cream head which is very smooth and the bubbles are tightly formed. A goodly amount of lace stays as large gulps are taken.

S - Caramel, brown sugar, bready yeasty aromas and maybe a hint of raisins.

M - Full and malty, yet crisp and sweet. Creamy, dry and roasted all at the same time. A slightly sweet finish as the malted flavors coat the inside of my mouth. A moderate amount of carbonation keeps the taste from getting cloying.

T - Such a complex beer, where to start? Rich and roasted w/ a dark bread flavor. Tastes like a fresh baked whole wheat loaf. A sweetness of overripe apple w/ a doughy belgian yeast seeps into the flavor. Rich sweetness like having a mouthful of raisins overtakes the taste. Much like a desert w/ raisins, the taste of raisins becomes dominant after half of the pint is swallowed. Very well balanced though and the sweetness is kept in check.

D - A full bodied and strong ale w/ great complexity. The best raisin flavored ale I have had and twice as fresh and sweet from the brewpub. I recommend having this on draft, since it seems more dry and less round and malty in the bottle. Not great drinkability, but for the abv, very good.

Slatetank, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.55/5  rDev -3%

Pours a light brown / copper color with an off white head. Aromas of grapes and a sweet malt. In the taste, dry grapes and sweet caramel, weird combo but works well together. A caramel sticky sweet mouthfeel with a dry clean end. It is a big sweetness, personally, I could not have more than one of these, although it is good.

OWSLEY069, Sep 04, 2007
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,076 ratings.