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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,039 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,039
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 70
Gots: 261 | 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: 4,039 | Reviews: 1,766 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BadBadger

New York

4.18/5  rDev +14.2%

Yum. This fine beer lacked a head, even though I poured for affect. A nice deep copper coloring. A slightly sweet smell but definitely not in anyway overwhelming. A wonderful taste-somewhat sweet but very pleasant. No hint of alcohol, although it is certainly there. Give it a go.

04-23-2004 00:08:58 | More by BadBadger
Photo of AbePhroman

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev +4.6%

I do enjoy Dogfish Heads brews and this is no exception. Not much of a head when I poured it. Smelled strong of malts and fruits. An excellent taste. Malty flavors with a hint of wheat maybe? It is very drinkable for an 8%. The alcohol is very subdued.

04-21-2004 02:09:08 | More by AbePhroman
Photo of Bierguy5


3.23/5  rDev -11.7%

Pours a pale golden brown liquid with a white thick creamy/foamy head that was white. The head disappeared quickly which was disappointing. Smells spicy to me, like cinnamon? Hard to pick up anything else. Taste begins with a decent malt sweetness, followed by a fruit flavor like banana. There was a slight spicyness to the finish. It was thin, I thought, but it was pretty smooth. This beer seemed to be drinkable, but it just didn't do it for me. Still, good to see beer like this. Nonetheless, I am glad I gave it a try.

04-18-2004 22:56:30 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of abcsofbeer


3.85/5  rDev +5.2%

Dark amber color with very small head after the pour. Head disappears quickly, but leaves a nice lace 3/4 of the way through the glass. Musty, fruity flavor with a nice, but hard to pinpoint aftertaste. Finishes strong with the taste remaining consistent all the way to the bottom. Highly recommend this one.

04-15-2004 01:42:47 | More by abcsofbeer
Photo of BeerAngel


3.78/5  rDev +3.3%

Pours a clear medium mahogany with a nice smooth cream-colored head that shrinks to a 1/8" long lasting layer. From the foamy head billows a musty fruit aroma with faint spicing in the background. The taste is again a musty fruit, more specifically grapes and raison flavors, with a non-stick yeast in the background and has a unique abrupt halt to the richness that just starts to poke through. It comes up a little short in the wave of flavors as the rug is yanked out from underneath your tastebuds. It still has the making of a good beer in this medium bodied offering that finishes slightly sweet.

Notes: Quite drinkable at 8%, but I think it is lacking in the finish department. Perhaps that's what increases the drinkability because the taste ends too soon. This one is hard to explain, but it's an overall decent offering. Cheers!

04-14-2004 04:52:31 | More by BeerAngel
Photo of rajendra82


3.45/5  rDev -5.7%

When poured into a Pilsner glass, the body was murky reddish brown with almost no head to speak of. The carbonation lasted for all of three seconds and then left the room. Aroma was complex and interesting. There were notes of rum, raisins, licorice, and candied apples on the nose. The taste was similar to the aroma: fruity, peppery, vinous, and dry. The alcohol content is high, but very well hidden. I think they went overboard with the adjuncts and neglected the malt in this beer. The result is a thin, watery, and disappointing mouthfeel. I have had better from Dogfish Head.

04-12-2004 04:23:09 | More by rajendra82
Photo of 99bottles


3.15/5  rDev -13.9%

I've had this before, and I figured why not get one more bottle and give it a review? It's actually not that great, but I'll review it anyway.

Appearance: Pours a reddish-brown body with tons of sediment floating around. Is this an old bottle? Perhaps. Small, thin head due to the super slow pour. I still managed to dump most of the chunks. Poor retention on the lace.

Smell: Hmm. Sugary malts. I can't quite make out the other smell. It's sort of vinous and cherry like, almost like a dopplebock. Now I'm curious.

Taste: Not what I expected. In fact, not much of anything. This beer is seriously bland. There are sweet notes of caramel, raisin (duh) and very small hops at the finish. It's very sugary, like drinking syrup without the consistency.

Mouthfeel: Rather thin given how sweet it is. These go back like nothing, and honestly, there's not a lot there to slow oneself down on. 8% is a mystery and would probably catch up with you.

Drinkability: Easy like pie. But, why bother? I remembered this one being better the first time I had it, but even then, it was nothing to write home about. There are better DFHs out there, and much better Belgian Strong Darks.

04-12-2004 03:03:21 | More by 99bottles
Photo of Mitchster


3.6/5  rDev -1.6%

Pours to a clear dark-auburn with a slight chill-haze, requiring a very vigorous pour to form a tall light-tan latte-type head with a spongy texture. Retention is very good and lacing is average. Carbonation is mild. Aroma is fruity with dark fruit hints, black cherries, slightly vinous, sticky amber malts. The taste is rather mild...raisins, prunes, dust, brown sugar, caramel, port, peppery alcohol...there are fusels and acetaldehyde here, but my nasal congestion prevents it from being a burden. The solvent alcoholic esters are very prominent, like acetone/nail polish remover, as well and a bit stinging, interfering with the malts, though a bit of husky grain comes in towards the end. Bitterness is minimal, just leaving a hint of menthol/pepper sensation on the tongue about 3 minutes after my last sip.

Is this what candy-corn dipped in nail polish tastes like?

The mouthfeel is really smooth with a mellow finish. Brewed with Belgian sugars, but certainly not Belgian-style.

Despite all it's shortcomings, it's actually easy to drink owing to it's smooth mouthfeel and low carbonation. I can't normally stomach beers with this much fusel/acetone/isopropyl/solvent alcohol, but this doesn't seem to bother me. Again, it's my nasal congenstion, but the warming feeling is nice, and hey, it's opening my sinuses. I know, on any other day, the fusels would take off a point on taste, so I'll do that tonight despite the fact that my stuffy nose doesn't care. One bottle gives me a pleasant buzz on an empty stomach.

04-08-2004 01:09:48 | More by Mitchster
Photo of Lupe

New York

4.35/5  rDev +18.9%

Hazy mahogany in color with a creamy off-white head that drops quickly to a thin sheet. Little lace is left behind in the glass. Aroma of caramel and fruit and hints of spice. Sweet malt flavor with caramel, light toast, some fruit, Belgian candy sugar. and a hint of chocolate. Hops are present only to balance the malt, and they do a pretty good job. Other then a hint of rum, I did not notice the alcohol at all. Finishes with some dryness, preparing the palate for another sip. Medium to full in body and super smooth. Very tasty and highly drinkable despite the higher alcohol content.

04-05-2004 13:32:54 | More by Lupe
Photo of Southernbrew


3.4/5  rDev -7.1%

Pours a medium-brown, good bubbly head.

Lots of sweetness in the nose, some sweet raisins and a sharp alcohol are noticable.

Medium mouthfeel, mouth coating sweetness. Raisin-like flavors that are sweet and not sour. Alcohol becomes more noticable and reminds me of a bottle of rubbing alcohol but not as strong. Leaves a sweet-alcoholic aftertaste.

More of a novelty than something I'd drink regularly.

03-31-2004 00:19:08 | More by Southernbrew
Photo of Hefe


4.6/5  rDev +25.7%

Tasted on 3/24/04 at R.F.D.

Appearance: Golden/bronze colour with an off white head that slips away to some sticky lacing.

Smell: Very aromatic with notes of spice, plum, toffee, malt, apricot.

Taste: Fruity esters abound, plum-apricot-peach, with a bit of spice, malt and golden raisin. The initial and mid-palate are relatively sweet though the finish is lasting and on the dryer side.

Mouthfeel: Full and Smooth.

Drinkability: Too drinkable, given the 8.0% abv.

03-28-2004 04:28:54 | More by Hefe
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya


3.2/5  rDev -12.6%

I noticed that some reviewers mentioned that this brew carried a pretty decent head, but mine made a quick and tiny appearance, a left immediately. I guess before I even start to explain my review, I must say that I reviewed it as a strong belgian dark ale, and this does not have the ideal characteristics of one that I have ever come across. It lacks the initial sweetness that I look for in a good belgian. One thing this beer does have on its side is a complexity of flavors hitting the mouth. From start to finish, you pick up many "different" flavors. The finish isn't bad, but not what a good strong belgian normally has. Overall, if this had not been labled a belgian strong dark ale (which happens to be one of my favorite styles), I may have reviewed it differently.

03-28-2004 02:16:54 | More by ALESwhatCURESya
Photo of ViveLaChouffe


3.43/5  rDev -6.3%

Pours a clear mahogany with a dense tan head. Smells of raisin, hops and sweet molasses malt.

Taste is of fruity sweet maltiness. Very sweet. Sticks to your whole mouth. Lightly bitter and raisin flavors. Spicy. Did I mention very sweet? Very still. Long sticky molasses and light bitter aftertaste. This is ambitious to be sure but just too sweet for me. Beyond that, a good beer.

03-26-2004 00:03:26 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of travolta


2.85/5  rDev -22.1%

12 oz bottle

Apperance: The color is nice. It is a golden amber. Not very red, but right in the middle of gold and amber. The head was thick, but not creamy or rocky. The head was mostly flat, but well balanced. A head you would see on a TV commercial for beer. Head retention is acceptable, and lacing is nice.

Nose: Rum, carmel, and alcohol. I dont get any raisins. Alcohol is very present. Actually, maybe a little tiny bit at the end (raisin). Carmel and malt are nice to smell here. A simple, but hard to discover nose.

Taste: Very alcoholic at first. now that I have tasted it fully, it is alcoholic all the way through. i still get some malt and carmel, but the raisin thing is almost non-existant. It is crisp, but not from carbonation. It is crisp from the alcohol on the nose and tounge.

Notes: The apperance of this brew is the best part. To be honest, the head and color and lacing are not all that inpressive either. It's an 8%ABV, so I respect it. Money well spent if your looking for a clean buzz at a decent price from nice beer.

03-24-2004 05:06:30 | More by travolta
Photo of ecoboy

Rhode Island

3.28/5  rDev -10.4%

More interesting than terribly enjoyable. Recommended for the unique sensations than as a belgian strong dark exemplar. Rather rough on the number scale, I'm afraid.

To me, the scents of this ale and its flavor are well partnered: sweet dried fruits anchor the flavor and the aroma is redolent of fig, prune and dried sour cherry. The fruit flavors are complex. But the nature of the beer is all about that flavor, with no grain character prevalent in the flavor, and a bit of heaviness where a dazzling Belgian yeast might make this brew a little lighter on the tongue.

It's a "here, isn't this interesting?" beer.

Enough. This is certainly neither a disappointing, nor indeed any kind of negative experience. Someone with a steamy bowl of indian pudding with hard sauce or a slab of hot gingerbread might reach for this ale with flavors of Thanksgiving. It really seems like an old-fashioned flavor, and as I noted before, pretty darned unique.

03-24-2004 02:14:57 | More by ecoboy
Photo of rdrummer

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -2.2%

I found Raison to be a good beer but not a great beer. The color is a hazy ruby red to brown, which looks good. The head, though, was smaller than expected and disappeared quickly. I loved the way it smelled with the rummy, raisin aroma with a background of alcohol. The taste wasn't quite as good but still okay. Compared to other Belgian Dark Ales, it would not make the list of favorites. As a beer, it feels good in the mouth and was drinkable despite the 8% alcohol content. I know that this was supposed to be a Belgian Dark Ale, but it misses that mark somehow, even though the beer is good.

03-19-2004 00:10:18 | More by rdrummer
Photo of benmiliron


4.97/5  rDev +35.8%

$9.99 for a 6-pack.

Of all the US-made Belgians I've had, this is by far the best. It smells divine, like flowers, raw sugar, and alcohol-soaked fruit. Beautiful fragrance. Taste is spectacular, Belgian-like but more than unique enough for DFH. Having brewed with raisins, I can tell they're in there, but masked behind candied fruit and a nice mild hop.

Simply wonderful beer from DFH, easily a top five beer for me.

03-17-2004 00:14:04 | More by benmiliron
Photo of masterbruewer


2.9/5  rDev -20.8%

Poured a honey-amber color with a thick off-white head that faded fast and left some thin lacing.

The smell was of malt goodness with a little citrus and fruitiness, maybe a little pine flavor?.

The flavor was a blend of fruit flavor and malt with a hop aftertaste. Seems like a bad mix of good flavors found in most belgians.

The mouthfeel was syrupy and astringent.

Drinkability is ok, it gets a little better as it warms up a bit.

03-13-2004 00:43:07 | More by masterbruewer
Photo of IceAce


3.93/5  rDev +7.4%

Appearance: Burnt umber in color and moderately hazy. Surprisingly small collar of foam which was comprised of very tiny bubbles...

Aroma: Slightly acidic and very sweet

Taste: Dazzling fruitiness on the tip of the tongue quickly followed by a very complex malt assortment. After the finish...the sweetness continues to dominate for 12 - 15 seconds.

Mouthfeel: This is a very big beer with effervescent qualities...kind of like a stout and a frambois all rolled into one. Not enough ooo's in smoooth!

Drinkability: Excellent drinkability...but watch the 8.0% ABV!

03-11-2004 01:28:18 | More by IceAce
Photo of BierReise


4.08/5  rDev +11.5%

12oz Bottle packaged in Jan 03. Poured clear brownish orange with a head that thinned out quickly leaving barely a thin film. Aroma is slightly spicy and with sugar and raisins present. Belgian yeast also very evident in aroma. Crisply carbonated mouthfeel that is medium bodied and smooth. Alcohol goes undetected here in both aroma and flavor. Flavor is sugary sweet with notes of dried fruit. Very good flavors. Overall top notch Belgian style. One of the best American brewed in this style.

02-29-2004 19:40:57 | More by BierReise
Photo of Stubbie1


3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Mahogany color with a light white head. The head fades and leaves little lace. The aroma is a bit sweet. Hints of candy come to mind with tones of malt in the background and fruit. The taste is a bit different from the aroma. There are more malt tone with a lightly fruit feel at the end and an ever so small flash of bitter finish. Another enjoyable beer from Dogfish Head.

02-28-2004 01:32:23 | More by Stubbie1
Photo of Stimack

New York

2.83/5  rDev -22.7%

This brew poured to a cloudy red-brown color with a small light tan head that did not have much retention.

The brew smells of rum, very noticeable once poured, fruit (mostly raisins) and caramel. An interesting brew, but not one that smells really great.

The taste is upfront is pretty good, seems to be under carbonated but not bad. The finish reminds me of stronger alcohol as I have a taste in the back of my mouth that reminds me of rum.

Over all not a bad brew, can see why it is 8% ABV. Can’t say that it is one that I would go out of my way to get again. Interesting but not my cup of tea!

02-25-2004 02:35:14 | More by Stimack
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

3.08/5  rDev -15.8%

Took from a tulip. Orange clear to hazy robe with fizzy carbonation. Aroma is fruity (peaches and pears) and flowery hops -> Promising. In mouth, the body is medium, rather tongue cleaning. Respectable complexity, lots of yeasty fruitiness (pears, bananas, oranges) a bit like Dominus Vobiscum Ambrée, bready, malty and big notes of pepper reminiscent of Ambrel. I love most spiced ales I must say, but I didn't appreciate the finish of this one. Dry hoppiness seemed a bit off.

02-20-2004 19:56:55 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of TinusTime


3.88/5  rDev +6%

Pours a dark reddish brown colour with an non-descript off white head that doesnt last but laces well. Smell is off dried fruits ( no surprise since its brewed with raisns) Taste starts off caramel like with notes of sweetness and more dried fruit. Hops arent strong, but slip in at the end to keep the beer from becoming a bit to cloying overall. Mouthfeel is a bit sweet and sticky but not overly so. Would be a really nice post dinner beer. Drinkability is good as the high alcohol never really shows its self. Not DFH best, but a pretty good beer that I had been putting off trying due to the ingredients listed on the bottle. I Hate Raisins.

02-16-2004 20:23:08 | More by TinusTime
Photo of stewart124


3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

As the bottle states this is a deep mahogony brew. The head was there at first but died away after a minute or two. The smell is sweet with a bit of fruity hops. Taste is a bit like syrup and as sweet as it too. Big blend of fruits and dark strong malts. It seems to be a little blander than I was expecting. There is a sweet lingering aftertaste, I think that's just the syrup sticking to my tongue though. Not a bad beer but really nothing spectacular. The alcohol is well hidden so don't be fooled.

02-03-2004 01:32:56 | More by stewart124
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,039 ratings.