Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

1,770 Reviews
THE BROS
73
okay

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,770
Hads: 4,241
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 101
Gots: 420 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2001

A deep mahogany, Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast.

25 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,770 | Hads: 4,241
Photo of Drew966
2.86/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dogfish Head Raison D'etre pours a mahogany brown with a fluffy light brown head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The smell is on the sweet side, with alcohol being noticeable. Flavor is estery at first, with alcohol and raisons being next up. The finish is kind of malty. Some burn from the alcohol is noticeable after the finish. Well it's different, not really my thing. Worth a try, but really didn't do it for me. (419 characters)

Photo of CityBoy1986
2.86/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip from a 12 oz. bottle.

The pour is a fairly clear brown with little head and lacing. What little head is there quickly dissipates into just a film.

The nose is mostly of raisin with a hint of nutmeg. The taste adds a bit of wheat with some brown sugar and quite a lot of alcohol, which isn't hidden well at all.

Mouthfeel has a lot of carbonation and some dryness. Drinkability is okay; I wouldn't buy this often even if it were available.

I wouldn't have to be desperate to reach for this, but it wouldn't be a first choice. It's okay, but not great. (574 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
2.86/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Man, this one was way too sweet. I'm not a big Belgian guy anyway but i just thought this one was too sweet.

The beer actually poured a lot darker than most of the style but smelled and tasted very similar. I just can't get into the style. I have a Raison D Extra that I will probably be getting rid of. (305 characters)

Photo of DrinkingDrake
2.85/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a goblet. A brown/ruby red with no head and only a faint amount of lacing across the top. It smells of a heavy amount of caramel malts and some dark fruits. A weird blend of sour fruits, just past fresh. I smelt some dirt in there.

You can taste a twisted grape from the green raisins but it doesn't balance well with the toasted malt flavors. The caramel malt sweetness is overwhelmed by the addition of beet sugar. A dry and stinging aftertaste. The grape flavor sticks around in a sour way.

A medium body. Relatively slick on the palate. I'm struggled to finish this one. (590 characters)

Photo of scotorum
2.85/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a tulip glass from the 12 oz. bottle.

a. Deep translucent amber forms a finger thick head which quickly dissipates to a ring of foam around the edge. Abundant bubbling. Looks more like red wine as it's consumed

s: Mild fruit.

t: Fruity, no doubt the raisins are responsible for some of the dark color and impart a wine-like taste.

m: Moderate bitterness. Rather harsh.

o: Since I prefer beer to wine, and this tastes like some kind of hybrid, it's not a favorite. (481 characters)

Photo of skillerified
2.84/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours almost as dark as soda. Dark red tones poke through when light hits it at certain angles. Very little head, but it lasted a long time.

Smells very sweet. There's a floral fragrance first, followed by a little malt and a little fruit (banana). Maybe just a touch of spice. It could use more of that really.

Taste is heavy on the malt. There seems to be very little hop character at all. Just a dash of hop flavor on the finish. It's a strong and sweet biscuit or bread flavor that dominates. There's a sweet caramel hint in the background too. Doesn't seem to be particularly complex. The flavor is just dominated by the sweet malt. It's not particularly bad, but not really notable by any means. It seems to be getting worse as it warms though

Mouthfeel is fairly creamy. Medium to heavy bodied. There's just no balance though. It's all sweet and all malt flavored. I prefer a good contrast of sweet and bitter and a more complex mix of flavors.

It's not undrinkable, but there doesn't seem to be that sense of purpose that DFH mentions on the label. I suppose if you wanted an all sweet strong dark Belgian, then this fills that purpose, but few others. Grab a Unibroue instead. (1,197 characters)

Photo of grayburn
2.84/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer pours a dark mahogony, nice creamy cap on top that laces very well.

The smell and taste both contain an unpleasant mixture of bell pepper like fresh flavor and dark ripe fruit. They both kind of fight for power, never blending together.

The mouthfeel is nice, medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation.

This beer would be pretty drinkable, the alcohol is hidden well, the mouthfeel is very nice...but the taste and smell really just keep me from enjoying the experience as a whole. Odd, because I love the D'extra. I cannot complain at all though, it's their creativity that keeps me coming back. (623 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Dark brown, hints or amber color underneath. Smells like a mess. Another collection of DFH hodgepodge ingredients. Not really my favorite style, nor brewery, lots of sugar, but at least not overly sweet, just a bunch of strange adjuncts to give the impression of being "complex".

Not a desireable taste left, and a struggle to keep drinking it to the end. Try this one with friends, that way you don't end up drinking all 12 oz. by yourself. (443 characters)

Photo of Jimmys
2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: a slight hazy on this bright red/brown hued body. big fluffy head turns to a slight rim of retention.

S: some sweet candied syrup (im assuming this comes from the beet sugars), a little roast/caramel. hard to identify the raisins.

T: some caramel. soft fruit similar to banana. perhaps some of that raisin in there as well. cant pick up any any hop attributes. a little, tiny bit of alcohol.

M: medium body. moderate carbonation that finishes with some fizz on the tip of my tongue.

D: doesnt taste like an 8%'er. much lighter in my opinion. not really a strong bel. dark. just missing something. not quite enough in the nose or on the palate. (653 characters)

Photo of dontpanic5
2.82/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It pours a muddy amber with barely any head. In the nose it's fruity, bananas are what I immediately thought of, and there's the smell of chewy malts. The taste is dominated by the strange taste of beets. Off the bat I'm not really a fan. The deep malt taste isn't offensive but it can't do much to save this beer from my judgement. It has a nice carbonation and a light body. Overall I can't say I'm really enjoying this beer at all. That's Dogfish Head for you, it can be really hit or miss! (493 characters)

Photo of faernt
2.82/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

07.25.04 was when I bought this beer. I drank much of it then and paired it with an aged goat cheese from Capriole in Indiana. It was called Wabash Cannonball. The pairing is well worth revisiting.

I opened a bottle last night. It was slightly tart. Tonight's bottle is even more tart. It approaches a sour ale. This is not my recollection. This beer is a rich copper color with little head. Sourness is its main voice. It isn't a bad sour but it is a pronounced sour. I wouldn't age it again . I recall it much better fresh. I'll try it again fresh. (554 characters)

Photo of brewmudgeon
2.82/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2.5 A looks like cola after small head gone
3 S sweet malty, molasses, prunes
3 T like a mediocre homebrew resulting from attempt to make something heavy and
alcoholic. too sweet. actually reminds me very much of one of my own homebrewing experiments.
2.5 M like cola with less fizz. sticky.
2.5 D i do not plan on having more, but wouldn't completely dread (358 characters)

Photo of joehiatt
2.82/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pretty color, nice and clear, off-white head that faded fast.

S - Very fruity and estery, stone fruits, candy grape or banana

T - Some spiciness, nice sweet malty backbone. Finishes dry and odd, fairly alcoholic tasting, warmness.

M - Decent carbonation, but lingering phenols are unfortunate

D - Wouldn't have more than one but glad I tried it.

Overall a OK beer, though not particularly balanced. Certainly overrated, its unclear what the brewer's vision was. (469 characters)

Photo of champ103
2.81/5  rDev -23.2%
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. (964 characters)

Photo of jhu1995
2.81/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with reddish tones and tan head. Smell had a faint sweetness and some mild hop character - nothing special. Taste was mostly raisins and plums, slight sweetness and some burnt flavors. Somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. Not that bad to drink but nothing really special about it. Not really worth the effort to seek out. (330 characters)

Photo of Stimack
2.81/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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! (607 characters)

Photo of cmac1705
2.81/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle with visible freshness date.

Appearance is a cloudy light-amber with a thin head that quickly recedes into nothingness.

Not much to be had in the nose here. Hints of bready malt, but that's about it.

Modest milky texture accompanied by a surprising amount of carbonation. Taste is a bit cloying and finishes with a puckering hop bitterness that finally joins the party.

Overall, it shrouds the 8% ABV well, lending to its relative drinkability. None of the flavors seem to come through that well - a disorganized brew.

Chalk up the results of this experiment as "inconclusive". (613 characters)

Photo of veinless
2.81/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a crystal clear, dark amber with a thin, quickly dissipating head that left no lacing at all. Looks borderline watery to me.

Smells of sweet fruit, with dates and raisins coming to mind the most. A sugary note pervades the aroma all the way through. Almost like a fruit-jam type smell.

Taste is thankfully not as pungently sweet at the front, with the raisins a nice, semi-sweet flavor. Malts come out after initial taste to sweeten the deal, though not in a way I like. Tiny bit of date character that resembles a sweet rind of a citrus fruit (very strange, but think about it). Alcohol offers its own flavor as well with a bit of warmth. Sourness arrives as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is quite thin and bubbly, with a corrosive element to it. Feels a little bit too much like pop. Drinkability saved from disaster by the late-arriving sourness, but still isn't great. Overall it's an interesting beer, but not one I particularly enjoy. (945 characters)

Photo of obywan59
2.8/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep mahogany like the bottle says. 1 1/2 finger head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of sweet raisins. Distinctive Belgian aroma as well. A bit of coffee.

Burnt, sweet, and burn (from the alcohol). Not much subtlety here. A little tartness. Did I mention burnt?

Moderate mouthfeel. It helps keep that burnt flavor on the tongue.

A bit tough to drink until the 8.0 ABV kicks in. I'd have been upset if this had been a only a 4.0.

In the end, it's the ABV that saves this beer. By the end of the first glass, your'e only just a bit wistful that there isn't more flavor.

This knocks off Delirium Noel as the least favorite of the BSDAs that I've sampled this season, but I still enjoyed it in the end. It's way better than Guiness Draught in a can. (761 characters)

Photo of Sixpack595
2.8/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a very good beer. Harsh and astringant taste with a syrupy feel. Sweet and malty with a carmel taste and a touch of diacetyl. Low carbonation with minimal head and a muted aroma. Not very Belgian flavor, not very tasty either. I had to force this one down, now what am I going to do with the other 5? (304 characters)

Photo of IPAescotch
2.8/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Nice amber color, a weird smell from the beets. Really hesitant to try this only my second beet beer and i hated the first. However this is much darker and has a much more complicated scent than magic hats wacko.

This is a tasty sour beer. not bad (at least this one time) but i wouldnt buy a sixer. more than acceptable for a beet beer if wacko was anything to judge by. tolerable (382 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
2.79/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a dark red amber. An off-white head sinks quickly

S - Woody roasted malt, toasted toffee, earthy bark.

T - Super sweet candy malt, dark fruit preserves, spice towards the middle. I keep getting NyQuil. The alcohol is there and doesn't play well with the rest of the components.

M - Low carbonation, thin watered down syrupy feel.

I wanted to like this more than I did. It is an interesting beer but I couldn't help thinking of NyQuil the whole time. The syrupy malt drowned out everything except the alcohol. (522 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
2.78/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Almost mohogany colored beer. Brown with some red hues and just a touch of orange. Yellows on the edges. Off-white head faded to a tight ring and partial cap.

S - Dark frui, bit of booze, some yeast, phenols, ethers. Smells a touch harsh, and sweet.

T - Taste is more harsh than the nose. A little boozy. Some harsh phenols and yeast. It's kind of sour and rough tasting. Really just kind of hard to drink. A bit boozy. You do get some raisins and a little burnt sugar. Wow, I really don't like this.

M - Kind of a lingering bitter finish. Fairly full bodied with moderate carbonation.

O - Yeah, didn't care much for this. Not really a winner here. Hard to drink. It's a bit rich, maybe some will ike this, but this one isn't for me. (741 characters)

Photo of BigMike
2.78/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on date of 12/31/08

I just recently tried my first offering from DFH (90 minute ale)
so i figured i'd sample another.
Unfortunately this one doesn't hold a candle to 90minute.

Pours a golden red color with a one finger head.
I can almost smell a grape popsicle.
Theres little to no carbonation in this one.
I'm having trouble pinpointing the flavors here. I can taste a grape flavor like it smells but after that nothing really stands out.
Not much sweetness and not much bitterness.
This is a pretty uneventful one in my book.
On a positive note, the 8% abv is well hidden and the beer is actually pretty easy to drink.

Overall, not one i would recommend or even try again myself.
I was slightly disappointed. I should have gone with the 60 minute from DFH. (769 characters)

Photo of muddyriverduck
2.78/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hmmm. I expected more.

First off, it looks more like a pinot noir than it does a beer. No head whatsoever and very little carbonation.

It smelled like sweet rum. Where's the raisons?

Very dry, in taste and mouth feel. Thin and watery.

I'll make it through one, but will not be having another tonight. At $10 a sixer, I will not be purchasing again. Maybe Frazbri and BrotherFraz2 can come over and help me with the other five. (438 characters)

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,770 ratings.