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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,847 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3847
Reviews: 1760
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%

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)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 3,847 | Reviews: 1,760 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of UDbeernut

New York

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

Had on Tap at Ballentine Resturant in Willoughby, Oh

a: dark copper color with a milky 3/4" head

s: hint of carmel, to me the acholol can be smelled too.

t: roasted malt flavor with a strong after taste.

m: decent mouthfeel for a beer on dark side

d: definatly not a session beer. Have one with dinner.


Serving type: on-tap

08-29-2008 18:19:05 | More by UDbeernut
Photo of auxiliary

Rhode Island

4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - Brownish color with a small head.

smell - Smells of dark fruits and alcohol here.

taste - Fruits and dark malt taste here.

mouthfeel - Medium body.

drinkability - Very nice sipper for late night. Lots of flavor of malts here. I have had this on tap and in a bottle. Both great everytime.

Serving type: on-tap

07-19-2008 23:47:41 | More by auxiliary
Photo of Reagan1984


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

The description of this beer has always intrigued me. As a devout 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPA fan, I have been looking forward to trying this unique member of the Dogfish Head line-up.

The beer appeared deep brown with amber highlights and I saw no visible carbonation. There was a thick head that did fade quickly and lots of clumpy lacing when consumed.

Aroma was sweet and reminded me of figs along with the roasted malts. I got a quick sense this was going to be a sweet one.

Taste was an initial sweet punch that then combined with some roasted malt flavors. After this it faded to a smooth (lack of hops) yet grainy finish. Almost a bit dry towards the end.

Mouth feel was almost sticky and a bit viscous due to the sweetness. slightly slick

Drinkability was good, but this is a thick one!

If I'm in a MALT mood then this is a good one.

Serving type: on-tap

07-11-2008 13:56:18 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of riboflavin88


3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Overall, a good beer. I think its strong point was its appearance. It had a yellow-reddish tint to it, sort of hazy. Had a good nose, and you can definitely notice the raisins. The taste was citrus based with raisin undertones, and left a smokey after taste. Not a session beer, but worth trying.

Serving type: on-tap

02-09-2008 21:11:47 | More by riboflavin88
Photo of clayrock81


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

Had this before and decided to try it on draft at the Tap House in Maryland. Mistake, sort of, on my part. Came a tad colder than it should've w/ no real head and no lacings, but I didn't hold it against the beer. Had a nice dark copper/mahogany color but in the smell all I could really pick up was some spices and malts. It almost had a coffeeish or roasted malt taste when it first hit the tongue, and the hops and alcohol aren't hidden to well. On the plus side, however, it is a very smooth, thinish drink w/ mixed tart fruits in there. I just think I'll stay with the bottle over the draft though.

Serving type: on-tap

01-28-2008 00:29:26 | More by clayrock81
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark and clear brown with ruby tones. Head is crème colored. Nose is basically nothing. I know I should be getting some raisin there, but I am not getting anything. Flavor is smooth raisins that are not overly powerful. Firm malty tones with what seems like mild hop character. Feel is very smooth on the liquid and with a pretty smooth bubble. Definitely drinkable. Smooth and even, it could easily be a session brew if the sweet tones don't bother you.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2007 09:04:52 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of jjboesen


3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted this beer at the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Gaithersburg, which has no on-site brewing; nevertheless, I have never had a beer here that I did not truly savor.
First of all, it is served in a goblet and begins with a light head that quickly fades. Mouthfeel indicated a sweetish malty taste that improves as it sits. As all BAs know, storage, temperature and proper glassware is vital in manipulating the sensory enjoyment of any good beer - particularly Belgian styles. A premier style from a first-class brewer. Reason to be .... indeed!

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2007 22:58:54 | More by jjboesen
Photo of schoolboy


4.5/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Serving type: on-tap

09-09-2007 19:07:33 | More by schoolboy
Photo of OWSLEY069


3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-04-2007 21:01:49 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of cichief


3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a medium-dark brown, with a thin, off-white head.

S- Fruity, slight spice-yeast aroma.

T- Sweet, ripe fruit, slightly spicy, little dry hops.

M- Not too carbonated, medium body, sweet-dry flavor.

D- Not an especially drinkable beer, but a decent dessert beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-12-2007 03:02:46 | More by cichief
Photo of lehows

New York

3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a wonderful dark amber color with a fine off-white head. Robust aromas of sweet fruit and sweet malt. Flavors are again very sweet upfront with a tangy malt in the background. Fruity with some mild caramel sugar in here as well. Nice mouthfeel and fine carbonation bubbles. Overall, I found this to be an interesting brew but the sweetness got to me after a while, I wouldn't drink many pints of this.

Serving type: on-tap

04-16-2007 15:23:06 | More by lehows
Photo of BBM

New York

3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a deep amber color with an off-white head that sticks around for most of the time. There is a dark fruity smell, combined with big malts and an alcoholic tinge at the back end.

I wasn't sure what type of beer this was when I tried it, but I would not have guessed a Belgian Dark. It doesn't seem to have the Belgian spice character or the earthy hops. That's not to say it's a bad brew though, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a huge malt character up front, with rich, dark sweetness coming through, and a mild hop presence to balance it out. Then there is a big, warming alcoholic finish to prove this beer means business.

Mouthfeel is medium, somewhat creamy and very smooth. However after even one, the sweetness and alcohol start to wear down your tastebuds. Overall this is another winner from DFH, but not quite on par with other Belgian dark ales out there.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2007 18:41:58 | More by BBM
Photo of joeysmokedporter


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

Served in a pint glass on draft at DFH's Gaithersburg restaurant. Appearance was a dark reddish brown with some head. Aroma was complex raisiny/spicy, with Belgian ale yeast evident. Taste reflects the aroma, with the raisin flavor distinctly present along with the Belgian character, balanced toward the sweet side with little hops detectable. Feels a bit heavy on the palate even for a strong Belgian; perhaps an effect of the sweetness. Not a bad beer but not my favorite from this brewer.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2007 20:47:03 | More by joeysmokedporter
Photo of kernalklink


3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this brew on staff recommendation at the brewery- very attractive deep red-amber pour and a malty sweet aroma. Fine carbonation on the tongue, with a very dry, very malty sweetness with just a hint of alcohol. Finishes with a pronounced dried fruit on the back and sides of the tongue. Definately complex in its character, but has its limits with regards to drinkability- stick to this as an after dinner dessert beer and stay happy.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2006 15:21:01 | More by kernalklink
Photo of smcolw


3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"A dark mahogany ale brewed with beet sugar, green raisins and Belgian yeast."

Clear, brown liquid with a thin ring of bubbles as a head--no lace.

The aromas are primarily caramelized sugars...close to a brown sugar smell. It does not have the common earthy/barnyard aromas of a Belgian ale.

The flavor is closer to a brown ale with lots of chocolate/cocoa notes. Very little hop flavor. This is thinner than I expected.

The taste doesn't reflect the creative description above, but still this is an interesting and delicious offering from the Dogfish people.

Serving type: on-tap

08-10-2006 21:10:00 | More by smcolw
Photo of Cresant


4.28/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a goblet from the tap at O'Shea's Irish Pub.

No head when it arrived at the table. Some foam ring remained but eventually disapated. Body was a rich red/brown.

Aroma was mild, pleasant, & sweet.

Taste was of hints of prunes and citrus, the alcohol was well hidden. Not too sweet.

Mouthfeel was incredibly smooth, without feeling thick. Very low carbonation.

Very drinkable! A real surprise. I expected a heavier beer. I ordered it on name alone--Dogfish Head. I'm glad I did. I will go back for more.

Serving type: on-tap

05-24-2006 01:46:43 | More by Cresant
Photo of kdog630


3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a rich dark copper with a half inch head. Left mild lacing throughout.

No hop in the aroma, but you can smell the raisins and the malt. Like others, that first sip caught me off guard. A little harsher than I had hoped. I was looking more at some of the smoother Belgian ales. It did get better as it warmed. I think it may have needed more of a snifter for serving, or a tulip. Probably won't get it again, but the object is to try as many different kinds as possible.

Serving type: on-tap

04-05-2006 20:34:23 | More by kdog630
Photo of dalherring


4.7/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this both on tap and from a bottle, and it far better on tap. It has a rich amber color with a creamy head. You can smell the fruity aroma which is like unto the Corsendonk Abbey Brown Ale and the Chimay Rouge. The alcohol content is high, which can be tasted and felt immediately, but this brew will disarm you with its remarkable smoothness.

I am a huge fan of Dogfish for its fine microbrews, and I dare say that the Raison D'etre is its capstone. I love it's sweet, smooth aftertaste, and regard drinking it on tap as one of my favorites. It is hard to find in bottles, much less on tap. So if you do see it on a menu or in a cooler, indulge yourself.

Serving type: on-tap

01-10-2006 19:55:54 | More by dalherring
Photo of alysmith4

District of Columbia

1.55/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Used to love this beer.. back when I had a raison to drink mediocre beers. I ordered one at a concert recently, and used it to hold down the program while I enjoyed the show. I'm sure the cleaning crew didn't enjoy taking care of the 16oz. (well ok, maybe 15) of liquid that I poured into the trash can. Sorry guys!

Serving type: on-tap

10-25-2005 01:44:55 | More by alysmith4
Photo of kaszeta

New Hampshire

3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the brewery.

This beer pours with a nice copper red body, light haze, and light head. A little darker than I've seen it before, have they tinkered with it? The aroma is primarily that of apricots and alcohol, but there is enough malt and a hint of hops to keep this well-balanced. Taste is very dry, a lot less sweet than you'd expect, but otherwise lightly fruity, some malt, and a bitter finish. Pleasantly drinkable, unlike other apricot beers (like #9), I could perhaps even make this a session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2005 00:02:32 | More by kaszeta
Photo of goodbyeohio


3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap currently at delaney's in new haven

nutty brown color with no visible head or carbonation, dropped hefty into a long, tall, "delaney's" glass. tart brown sugar smell. fresh ground coffee notes, raisins and dates in the aroma. has a real alcohol-laden air about it. spicy with licorice, clove.. black pepper really dominates here. surprisingly drinkable for something so flavorful. can't wait to try the d'extra.. think this profile would kick ass as a bigger beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-21-2005 22:20:32 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of Gaisgeil


3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ The Oak Cafe, what luck I'm having!

Pours a deep mahogany red with a thin head with no retention. Nose is of dark fruits, lots of raisin going on here, no kidding eh? Taste is very similar to the nose, but even louder, the raisins and dark fruits explode in the heat of the alcohol, this is one powerful beer, very overbearing, reminds me of my Aunt Joann, she's a cheek pincher. Regardless this one was difficult to drink very fast, certainly a sipper, a pint was FAR more than enough. Lots of layers going on here, but honestly there was more going on here than I was interested in delving into. So I'd say this one is reaching toward the overdone end of the spectrum. Still, this is a well crafted brew and a decent American attempt at the style, kudos!


Serving type: on-tap

04-24-2005 04:33:21 | More by Gaisgeil
Photo of Truh

New Hampshire

4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found enlightenment with this one on 3/20/2005. 16-oz. pint in a shaker glass at the Blue Mermaid.

Plentiful 1/4 –inch cream of fungal foam that stayed, and stuck, throughout the pour. Light claret hue with some haze, though it could possibly be due to the temperature the pour was served at; fair amount of action. Candy cane crank of sweet ice on nose, with some fruit funk as well, uh, maybe raisin. Alcohol pummeling on mouth; jam of raspberry and a crunch of light willow ghosts. Could use this as a session ale quite easily, almost too easily as it seems that this is what it quickly, and dangerously, turned in to at this stop.

Serving type: on-tap

03-31-2005 12:18:50 | More by Truh
Photo of ski271


3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Medium-dark copper with a small, off-white, fully diminishing head and hardly any lacing.

Smell: Mild and sweet. Lightly nutty, brown sugar and caramel.

Taste: A quick, tiny stab of bitterness early before turning sweet. It is moderately malty, but it’s the underlying fruitiness that gets your attention. More so than raison, I taste prune and apricot. The finish is short-medium in duration, turning dry but remaining sweet.

Mouthfeel: Oily texture, medium body, low carbonation.

Drinkability: The slick mouthfeel is a little odd at first, but does start to become more pleasant toward the end. Drinkability is surprisingly good. It goes down easy and hides its ABV well.

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2005 17:04:57 | More by ski271
Photo of BurghBrewPSU


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

Pours a dark copper color. Smell is sweet, candies and some hints of fruit. Tastes of candies, figs, raisons, and a light hint of molasses. For being 8% abv, this is very drinkable. The sweet taste definatley masks the alcohol. Overall another great beer by Dogfish Head.

Serving type: on-tap

02-27-2005 16:43:05 | More by BurghBrewPSU
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,847 ratings.