Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,187 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,187
Reviews: 1,768
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 81
Gots: 318 | 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: 4,187 | Reviews: 1,768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WholeLottaTricks
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%

Photo of twelvsies
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having only tried one Dogfish Head brew before this one I was anxiously anticipating trying this one. A medium dark amber color, but almost totally transparent. Not much of a head to speak of on this one at all. The smell on this one is very subtle. I almost can't smell a thing, but with a deep whiff I can pick up on a Belgiany maltiness. Smells sweet and nutty. Tastes better than any other American "Belgian Beer" I've had. Sweet, but not too sweet. Fruity characters in there somewhere. Very thick mouthfeel, clings to the tongue. Smooooth. Drinkability... well, I say this in just about every review, but; I could drink this all night. Hmmm. Maybe I just like beer too much. Is that possible? Anyway, a very tasty brew. Go out and get yours.

Photo of wvdfh120fan
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%

Photo of bens0n
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear amber/brown color with a slight amount of creamy off-white head that leaves a substantial amount of lacing on the glass.

On the nose I pick up on the raisins more than anything, they are pretty sweet, but not a sickly sweet. There is a nice balance of malts and dark fruit, smells awesome.

Flavor wise I pick up on caramelly and toffee-like notes followed by the raisins and other dark flavors like licorice. Definitely on the sweeter side.

Has a good amount of carbonation but still has a nice smooth finish. Also has a really interesting aftertaste which I really enjoy, wouldn't say its a dry finish, but has a certain crispness to it.

Had no idea what the ABV was while I was drinking this (intentionally didn't look) and I was really surprised that this is 8% abv, the alcohol is very well masked, I would have assumed this was in the 5-6 range.

Photo of foureyedgeek
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into an OWG.

Pours a brownish red, more translucent than others I've had, including the Bell's Hell Hath I had before this beer. A quick rise and fall on tan head leads to a ring of bubbles.

Smell is sweet, a hint of spice and a note of alcohol.

Taste is also rather sweet. The alcohol is not marked here! Brown suge and molasses, plus the dark fruit flavors of the raisins come through. Also a bit of woodiness or earth.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and quite warming of course.

At this high an ABV, combined with the beer's sweetness, this beer, while tasty is only somewhat drinkable.

Photo of wac9
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

what a wonderful tasting beer it dances on your tongue makes you feel alive but itsa strong beer so be careful fig raisins dark fruit and other wonder things not too dark thats what i think but a beer that you can get lost for a while in enjoy it dont let it destory you happy drinking

Photo of froghop
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a clear brown with a ruby tint, thin white head, good lacing.

smell of caramel, some dark fruit, some spice, roasted nuts, some hops, bit sweet, grain.

taste of caramel, spice, dark fruit, grain, nuts, some sweetness, ends oily with a touch of biter.

Photo of jsprain1
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a beautiful deep amber. The head was thin and disappated quickly.
S- Smells of alcohol, rather sweet, some nutty malt.
T- Dark fruits (dates/plums) alcohol and some nutty flavors.
M- Medium body, though a bit syrupy in the finish. Under carbed.
D- Not a bad beer. It is definitely an experimental beer. While it's not the best beer out there, it is an interesting take on the style.

Photo of EmoBeerGuy
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours darker than I was exspecting almost pitch black. Has a small head that subsided rather quickly. This beer is supposed to be reminicent of a Beligium I have heard but I do not think that is the case. Still, I did not think this beer was as "off" as other reviewers have commented. A rather unique flavor to this one, definately some raison notes as well as some dark malt flavor to this beer. Alcohol is there and this is not a beer that I would session because, unlike many beers even of this abv, it felt heavy to me. A good beer...not a great beer.

Photo of BigTwig
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%

Photo of n00tz
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Mahogany body with a very reactive carbonation. Short tight head that diminishes at a visible rate.

S - Sweet bread with fruit. Slight cinnamon or clove scent.

T - Great fruity and breaded malts. Sweet natural sugar flavor undoubtedly from the Belgian beet sugars they use.

M - Medium bodied ale, with a fruit bread coating for the tongue. Goes down smooth.

D - Finally introduced myself to the Dogfish Head Brewery, with a new style. I'm not sure if I'd know what to pair this with for perfection, but I had a strong urge to eat freshly picked figs and pears afterwards.

Photo of brdc
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks ddddeac for this one. Small capped bottle poured into a goblet.

Starts very nice, golden brown with some red highlights, a dense light brown head. The head, however, lasts less than two minutes, but leaves a decent collar and a small amount of lacing.
The aroma is faint, peculiar but ultimately nice. As it warms in my hands, a somewhat roasted, toffee like aroma slowly makes its way up. However, the dominating fruitiness is quite unusual, mostly bananas, with some other sweetish notes difficult to define.
Taste is much more pronounced than the aroma, but the bananas are still here, sweetish, somewhat toasted.
Reasonably rich, but strange, different. Not bad, but I might need a few more servings over a few weeks to make up my mind.

Photo of ZDub
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

7/21/10 Bottled on date. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - A nice one finger off-white head erupts and then simmers down to thin layer quickly. The color is a medium-brown with a touch of reddish-amber.

S - The smell hit me the second I poured it into the glass. Very sweet. Caramel malts, dark fruits, figs & raisons present.

T - Sweet but not cloyingly. The malt character is slightly overpowered by the belgian sugar and raisons. Essentially no hops are noticeable but that's ok for this style.

M - Light-medium bodied. Very nice.

D - Quite drinkable. The sweetness would keep me from having more than 2 consecutively but I'd be willing to bring a 6-pack of this to a party of non-craft beer drinkers and I think it'd convert some people.

Photo of Jwale73
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 9/17/07. Poured into my Maudite tulip. Beautiful mahogany color (just like the label says ;) Foamy, off-white head dissipated into little more than a ring around the glass within seconds. Thin, inconsistent lacing during the tasting. Nose presented with scents of beglian yeast, malt and dark fruit sugars. Flavors consistent with nose. Lively on the tongue initially, with a nice full-bodied mouthfeel at the finish. Very complex brew, although I can't see myself having more than one or two in a sitting.

Photo of Derranged
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12ounce bottle into a Chimay Chalice.

A- Dark brownish red

S- The smell wasn't too strong. I smelled malt, toffee, candied sugar and raisins.

T- Sweet, as usual, it gets better as it warms up. I tasted mostly malt, candied sugar, dark bread with a raisin and alcohol finish.

M- Very thin with medium carbonation.

D- This drinks very easily for 8.0 abv, almost too easily. Be careful.

Its good. I'd buy it again. Strong Dark Belgian Ale in 6 pack. What more can you want?

Photo of ujsplace
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Hefewiezen glass...I just had it handy...

A: Burnt amber, not much head, but what is there is creamy whitish with ok lacing...

S: Sweet caramel malt, and woody oak, alcohol and some dark, overipened rasin-like fruits.

T: Caramel malt, rasins, burnt woodsy spice and a strong malt finish. Alchohol is definiely there, but not overdone.

M: Medium, mild carbonation dry alcoholic finish.

D: The abv and warming presence limits this to a nice, warmer, spicy drinking brew that can catch up rather quickly. Overall, another good offering from Dogfish Head...

Photo of Vancer
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now this was a drinker, even with the 8% kicker. Just gotta slow down an sip for an afternoon while BBQing.

Nice start, amber oak pour with a clingy tan head – very good looking. Aroma was a tad thin, hints of rich malts with the good ol’ Belgium yeasts. Nice transfer into the tastes, although this was very sweet for the first bottle. The raisons seemed to provide a plum-like base.

Very slick and lingering in the mouth, the Belgium sugar candy turns into maple syrup at times. Again, a slow sipper.

Photo of boudreaux
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Coppery liquid with a slight haze and only a ring of foam on the edge of the glass.
S - strong with molasses and maple; a touch of sherry notes.
T - sweet up front, with a touch of spice on the back end; strong alcohol presence early but softens as beer warms; alcohol up front in the taste; also, caramel, raisins, anise and a little pepper; soft bitterness in the finish.
M - very long finish with a lot of alcohol warmth. Lush body and kind of creamy.
D - not something i could session, but drinking two in a sitting is doable

Not my absolute favorite beer, but definitely good. Can't quite put a finger on what's missing, but it's just not something I couldn't live without. Overall, a very fine brew.

Photo of aforbes10
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bought just a single bottle because i'd heard bad things about this beer and i didn't want to waste my money. but after having tried it, i can say that i thought it was quite tasty and worth my money after all. there's a lot of malty, choco-qualities in it and while i didnt really taste raisens, i did get some sort of sweet fruit taste that was nice. a very hearty, tasty beer that i can't find anything to really complain about.

Photo of erikm25
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a solid crispy brown. Maybe the slightest hint of dark amber tinting but overall mahogany as the bottle states. The head was minimal. Lacing and retention could have been better especially after an aggressive pour.

S: Definitely has some strong caramel hints. Hints of raisin and plums. Brown sugar sweetness in the back. Little tinge of alcohol but nothing overwhelming.

T: Caramel taste at the front though relatively light. Dark ripe raisins and dry roasted malts with a sharpened sugar finish. Pinch of buttery toffee. I picked up on a very subtle coffee taste with hints of chocolate. The nose and the taste almost match up perfectly. Not very complex but still very straight forward and nice.

M: Mouth feel is decent though a little more thin. Low carbonation.

D: Grabbed this on a whim for about $2.50 for a 12oz. I had once before and remember liking it a little more. A solid offering but DFH has many other offerings I would try again over this one. Figured it was a historic day thus making it as good of a day as any to have a beer.

Photo of SchmoTerp
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This staple of DFH pours a deep mahogany (as described on the bottle) with medium to low head. Not surprisingly, it smells and tastes strongly of raisons. It's fairly easy and smooth enough to drink with a good mouthfell, but I think drinking several of these would get old due to the raison taste - towards the end of the drink it started to taste more bitter than sweet.

I'd certainly recommend this one, but not something I'd get everyday.

Photo of clefoodandbrews
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a very dark brown with a thicker creamy head that left significant lacing for the first half of the drink.

The smell was full of sweet scents...Caramel Malt and Yeast mainly dominated the smell. This had me a little worried!

The initial flavors to hit you are sweet too. Dark sweet fruits, toffee and raisins coat your palate at first and continue during the drink. They are well balanced and not too overpowering as the nose might have suggested. The aftertaste is what surprised me. A slight hint of citrus hops came through to add a little bitterness that totally changed my opinion of this beer. Without this ending this beer would have been too sweet from start to finish for my taste, but with the added bitterness it made this a very well balanced and drinkable brew.
Mouthfeel was light as was carbonation.
I found this beer to be quiet drinkable. I could have seen myself easily sitting back and enjoying a few of these!

Photo of JMD
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a crystal clear deep copper color with small white head that fades quickly. Very little lacing.

S: Sweet malty aroma. Brown sugar, molasses and ripe dark fruit.

T: Same as the aroma, big sweet malty flavors. Brown sugar and molasses. Fruity notes as well with hints juicy prunes, raisins, and dark cherries. Very faint hops linger on the back end. Alcohol is well masked.

M: Full bodied and creamy. Robust with ample carbonation.

D: For me, this beer does alot of things right and a few things wrong. It's full bodied, bold flavored, but misses the mark on a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Enjoyable, but not my favorite offering from Dogfish head.

Photo of assurbanipaul
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark amber with a thin off-white head. Nose is fruity and pungent, strange sour musty aromas mixed with the usual malts and hops. No lacing but thick enough to coat the sides.

Taste is like a strong, strong red ale. Caramel malt character dominates but is rounded out with some sweet non-citrus fruity elements like raisins, grapes or figs. Traces of tea, light tobacco or even whiskey-soaked wood, although it doesn't taste of whiskey. In fact, there's not a trace of alcohol in the taste at all.

Medium mouthfeel, smooth and oily with little carbonation. Finishes clean with no unpleasant aftertaste. My palate doesn't quite know what to do with this but it isn't bad. Unsure of how it matches up with the style but impresses me as sort of a hybrid lambic, sitting halfway between a gueuze and a Corsendonk. I would be real curious to see how this ages. Many thanks to spiritdeus for sharing this curious brew.

Photo of burnstar
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber/red with niced thick white head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is very sweet, fruity, and a bit yeasty. Taste is extremely sweet initially with malt and fruit flavors. There is also a distinct tart flavor present and just a bit of bitterness in the finish. It is full bodied and somewhat syrupy. This beer is quite good but it's a bit too sweet for me to drink any more than a single bottle at once.

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,187 ratings.