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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

3,853 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3853
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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Ratings: 3,853 | Reviews: 1,760 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of SlothB77
SlothB77

Virginia

3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a mug from a 12 oz bottle

A: Amber-brown, almost scarlet, thin light tan head.

S: Very weak smell of raisins and cranberries.

T: A smooth, sweet and sour taste. Not bitter at all. A subtle but distinctive flavor. Maybe a little shoe polish or leather.

M: Light carbonation, light acidity, light-bodied.

O: A very nice beer. Because the flavor is subtle, this is one beer you can have several of in a night and not be overwhelmed. I think this beer gets better as the night goes on (no, that isn't the case with all of them, haha.)

Serving type: nitro-bottle

01-05-2013 23:07:46 | More by SlothB77
Photo of MadCat
MadCat

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Nice reddish amber color, almost no tan head or lacing

Smell: Raisins, sweet malts, caramel

Taste: Raisins are noticeable, but not overwhelming. Sweet malts, caramel, very little bitterness, breadyness on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation

Overall: Pretty good but not outstanding. Gladly would have again, but not going to seek it out

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 01:24:22 | More by MadCat
Photo of Badger6
Badger6

Virginia

3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip.

A: Deep reddish-brown, maybe copper, color. Light tan head, recedes quickly. Some lacing.

S: Sweet smelling, raisins are easily distinguished. Some oaks and malts, too.

T: The taste is sweet, following the nose. Raisins and grapes are easily distinguished in the flavor. Some spice is noted in the flavor as well. Almost no bitterness.

M: Medium mouthfeel with a fair amount of carbonation to lighten the feel. Smooth.

O: Enjoyable beer to drink, but very rich in flavor. This is a nice beer to drink from time to time. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 23:58:05 | More by Badger6
Photo of ThisLadyLovesBeer
ThisLadyLovesBeer

New Hampshire

3.36/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

First time ever trying this ale:

A = it is true to label - deep mahogany (dark orange/brown), no clouding but didn't expect that. The head was short-lived and left lacing on the glass for a very little time.

S = As I held it up to my nose, I thought "sherry" probably due to the beet sugar and raisins and 8% alcohol.

T = It is a good, hearty winter brew. I can t aste the fruit and beet sweetness, but also detect a slight smokey/burnt taste. Sugars?

M = Light carbonation and slightly creamy, but with 8% alcohol, only slightly.

O = This is a good hearty winter brew. I would not accompany this with a grilled steak as is suggested by the brewer, but rather a rich flavored, savory stew with a large chunk of crusty homemade dark bread and butter. You need rich fats to accompany this properly. So, also enjoy this with rich, flavorful artisanal cheeses and crusty breads. If pairing with food, make sure this ale won't overpower!

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 20:08:43 | More by ThisLadyLovesBeer
Photo of KomodoDragon
KomodoDragon

Virginia

3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Yep, as they say, mahogany

S - dark fruits -raisons, sugar, cloves/ginger. Small head which disipates to a thin layer surrounding the top

T - reminiscend of a dry wine, biscuity, plum, figs, dates, and maybe raisons, a bit harsh

M - smooth, clean, soft carbonation

Nice, bit of hybrid brew. If they aimed for craft beer afficionatios alternative to red wine, well done.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 04:14:28 | More by KomodoDragon
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A mini vertical of a properly cellared 2009 and 2013 bottle I got from the east coast. I cellared a lot of beer in 2008/2009 to see what develops and although Dogfish Head is readily available here on the west coast, they stopped distributing Raison D'Être, so I was unable to get another bottle until now. This was not a beer I wanted to put down for more than a year or two, but here goes…..
2013:
Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a medium mahogany amber with a thin, light tan head that dissipates to a thin film and ring around the glass, leaving patchy light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dark dried fruit, lightly nutty and earthy. Flavor follows aroma; caramel and bready malt, nuts, raisins, dates, fresh dark fruit. Finishes with an earthy dark maltiness. Medium bodied. A nice domestic take on a Belgian dark beer, closely in character to a dubbel, but sweeter and maltier. Old ale meets dubbel.
2009:
Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a hazy, medium to dark, red-orange amber with a thin off-white head with good retention and light lacing. Rich aroma of sweet caramel malt, dark dried fruit, light cardboard oxidation, similar in profile to a mild barley wine. I'm surprised to see that the years have been quite nice to this ale! The flavor is moderate, but flavorful caramel and bready malt, mellow dark dried fruit (lots of dates and figs), very well integrated and tasty. Body has turned to the heavy side of medium with light creaminess. This is a very nice, creamy, well melded malty ale that most resembles a light, but well made old ale. I had no great expectations from this, and have found that many ales develop too much oxidation flavors ate this age, but this does not. The oxidation notes in the aroma are not present.
Well, I like Raison D'Être and used to pick it up frequently when it was available, but now I wish I had a few more of these in the cellar. I'm going to try to get my sister to haul back a few more. Rating is an average of the two ales; I liked the aged one quite a bit more than the new one, which was still enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 04:30:31 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of CochonKing
CochonKing

New York

3.04/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Lives up to the description and pours a deep mahogany. Almost no head with a lot of disproportionation. The nose has notes of raisin and malt but doesn't have much to it besides that. It is decent and delivers what the beer is meant to smell like, but no further phenols. Tastes of malt and raisin but the alcohol destroys the balance, overwhelming the beer. The mouthfeel is good, medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall just an ok beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 01:41:39 | More by CochonKing
Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
BeerandWhiskeyHQ

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Wonderfully dark and has a deep copper color. The quickly dissipating head was light tan in color. The color does remind me of a dark rich mahogany which is what Dogfish referred to this ale as.

S: It smells sugary and sweet with a strong scent of raisins or grapes. There is a presence of oak and malt and slightly bitter overall. The presence of alcohol makes itself known.

T: The taste is sugary and sweet much like it smells, there is an underlying taste threaded throughout the complexity of the beer that might be coming from the beet sugars. I get a spice note in there as well. The scent and smell translates nicely to the taste. To me I get more of a grape taste than raisins (yes I realize the correlation between grapes and raisins), but it has the taste of a lot of other Dogfish beers that specifically mention that grapes were included in their ingredient bill.

O: I really enjoy this beer, but isn’t something I see myself enjoying on a very regular basis, it is rich, complex and very enjoyable which makes me want to keep it for an “every once in a while” sort of occasion. This is a beer that is a must try for sure.

-BeerandWhiskeyHQ

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 15:54:56 | More by BeerandWhiskeyHQ
Photo of Juguigo
Juguigo

Florida

3.71/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It is a not pretentious beer. As simple as it is offers amazing and complexes experiences. Poured solidly without excess of carbonating. Dense creamy brownish foam and delicate sweet woody smell. Tasting wise, it give the consistency enough to enjoy every single buds in your mouth some malt and chocolate smooth after taste. Every day beer for everybody. Have annotate that some of my friends (regular ale lovers) find this exemplar very attractive. Making it a nice smooth transition to more mature beers.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 20:55:44 | More by Juguigo
Photo of TheBrouMaster
TheBrouMaster

Mississippi

4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a rich mahogany brown with a dense off white head.

S - Plum, raisin, Belgian candi sugar, roasted malts, molasses.

T - Taste is a blend of dark fruit, molasses, candi sugar, and bready malts. Earthy, mildly bitter hops come out, balancing the sweetness. Finish is nutty with hints of nutmeg and allspice.

M - Smooth, medium bodied, a bit creamy. High carbonation, slightly warming alcohol.

O - Decent brew. While it's not the most complex Belgian strong ale around, it still has great flavor and drinkabilty. Definitely worth my drive over 800 miles.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 20:08:56 | More by TheBrouMaster
Photo of thecheapies
thecheapies

Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 11/16/11. Served in a Westy chalice.

Pours with a beautiful two-finger head of delicate taupe foam. Lacing etches a bit. The body is cloudy red-brown with a warm shade exhibited.

Medicinal phenols and dark fruitiness. Beet-y root vegetable sweetness, fig, dark raisin, toffee, clove, malt creaminess, candi sugar, nutty esters, antiseptic, and dark rum/molasses. Lots of dark fruit with an herbal quality.

Retains subtle sweetness with deep dark fruits and dried fruit/trail mix notes. Beet sugars keep that vegetal note intact, but the boast of fig and raisin flavors have evolved into a complex fruit element that includes plum, date, and dried apricot. More of that intense clove-y phenolic character with a cough medicine vibe. Carbonation is soft-medium and fills out a hefty body mouthfeel. Booze is totally a non-factor. This beer really aged well. I rather enjoy it.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2014 15:50:24 | More by thecheapies
Photo of ThickNStout
ThickNStout

Georgia

3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 2.29. Bottled 11/12/13. Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours a transparent deep mahogany red with a half finger pale head that quickly fades to a thin halo and leaves small splotches of lace.

The advertised beet sugar and raisins seem apparent in the aroma. Sweet sugars, dark fruits and caramel.

A very malt forward beer. Caramel malts, raw natural sugar, dark fruits, toffee, a slightly funky but mellow Belgian yeast element, faint honey and just a trace tickle of alcohol towards the finish. Straight forward but quite approachable.

Medium body with fair carbonation. Toffee, caramel malts and raisins in the aftertaste.

An all around solid brew. It's not the biggest, boldest, most complex or best BSDA but this really is a smooth, tasty and easy drinking beer. Good to know that it's year round, available and affordable.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 19:39:32 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of BethanyB
BethanyB

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: A beautiful beer, indeed. Brilliant in clarity, and dark amber in color. The head is a massive off-white cream puff with magnificent staying power. Fantastic for the style. I can't help but give it a top score. Why not?

Smell: Before I read the bottle, I could smell the green raisins (I call them golden raisins). I was perplexed, as it was not a scent I was used to in a beer. Then I read the bottle and was delighted that my sense of smell was so right on! Bright C-hops were nicely balanced with toffee, dates, and toasted malt. Lovely.

Taste: The long lasting foam has a flavor of brown sugar and prunes. As the head settles and the beer warms, it proves itself to be very malt-forward. The complex toasty, chocolate, and slightly roasted malt is highly drinkable, and does not distract from the flavors mentioned earlier. A mild bitterness is most apparent upfront, then relaxes later on. Less complex than some strong dark ales, but in an impressive way: the balance is impeccable, and the malt complexity stands on its own--it doesn't need big helpings of melanoidins and esters to draw one in. There is, however, a slight medicinal flavor that appears to come from alcohol rather than infection, and is somewhat distracting at times.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel, with medium carbonation. While the body is not thin, there is a watery texture that sneaks in there and detracts from the overall impression. Alcohol warming is light.

Overall: A very well balanced strong dark ale that really showcases malt complexity. There are a few elements that detract from the overall impression, such as the watery texture and the hint of cough syrup in the flavor. Still, a very well done version of the style that doesn't need to try too hard to impress. Would recommend this to someone just starting to get into big beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 21:35:20 | More by BethanyB
Photo of rievelx6
rievelx6

Pennsylvania

3.79/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a glass looks very similar to an amber lager but with a head that has slight yellow to it.

S- Scents of malt, with some darker fruits.

T- Darkly sweet, Cherries, dates, raisins, candi; tastes like the scent.

M- Medium body and medium carbonation

O- Overall this is an okay beer taste like it would be better with more aging.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2013 23:16:18 | More by rievelx6
Photo of NoBeerSnob
NoBeerSnob

Maryland

3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I hate the fru-fru name, but I like the beer. The brew is sweet and heavy with raisins, dried plum and cherry, becoming a little “boozy” with some additional malty breadiness as it warms. It’s not something I’d have every day, but I’d enjoy it as a dessert drink on a cold winter's evening (when I had a designated driver).

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2013 12:03:43 | More by NoBeerSnob
Photo of deadonhisfeet
deadonhisfeet

Kentucky

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Dogfish Head snifter. The pour is a very nice looking clear mahogany with a thin lacing of foam on top. Lots of sweet fruit notes on the nose. Grape juice comes to mind. There is also a nice rich bready component to the aroma as well.

Nice medium body and a deliciously rich, sweet flavor. Lots of fresh bread and sweet fruit up front, most notably grapes, pears, and plums. The flavors dry out a bit at mid-palate and finish mild with just a touch of herbal spice. Very drinkable, but a bit bland on the back of the palate.

I don't know how many times I passed on this one. Finally, it was offered at my weekly beer tasting. I liked it and decided to take some home. Very glad I did. I assumed it was categorized as a fruit/vegetable beer. When I tried it, I thought it's flavor profile reminded me a lot of a dubbel, only lacking some of the rich maltiness. When I saw this was a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, I definitely agreed. It's a very nice beer and I'm glad we have a brewer like DFH who is willing to constantly try new things.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2013 00:07:41 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of zvir21
zvir21

Virginia

3.56/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a really great beer to drink by itself. If I just want to sit down and have a beer this is a goto of mine. The beer is tasty and has a complex flavor to it. It can be enjoyed like you would enjoy a good wine. It pairs will with steak. I haven't had it on tap yet, but look forward to when I will.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2013 13:50:30 | More by zvir21
Photo of polloenfuego
polloenfuego

Ontario (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A: pours a ruby brown with little to no head. All one gets is a small swirl of foam.

S: Cherry and licorice. Malts and some yeast.

T: a distinct cherry licorice taste come forward. Then one gets a warm alcohol flavor.

M: medium body and carbonation but a definite alcohol profile is present.

O: I didn't know what to expect from this beer. This style is not one I would have expected from DFH, but I was intrigued. It seems to miss the mark a little. It is not a beer a beer I will revisit, but I am glad I gave it a try. DFH has almost always been a go to brewery for me, but I will pass on this in the future.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2013 22:12:35 | More by polloenfuego
Photo of jhawth
jhawth

Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a DFH snifter. Pours a murky dark brown with orange-ruby edges, and a finger-and-a-half head of fine bubbles that quickly diminishes to a half-finger cap. Visible carbonation.

Aroma: Sweet, bready malt notes dominate, slight roasty character, sugary and yeasty notes noticeable as well.

Taste: Mostly the same dark, bready, almost puddingy malt notes that were present in the aroma, followed by a slight spiciness. Finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, light but lively carbonation. Dangerously drinkable for 8%.

Overall: An enjoyable if somewhat simple take on the Belgian Strong Dark style.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2013 04:40:12 | More by jhawth
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.11/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard Dogfish Head label and branded copper pry-off pressure cap acquired as part of a 6 pack at me local HEB Grocery and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are below average given the brewery - which tends to disappoint. 8% ABV confirmed per the label. Reviewed as a Belgian style brown ale because it identifies as such on Dogfish Head's website.

Served cold, straight from me fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a one finger wide head of light khaki colour. Okay thickness and creaminess. Lackluster frothiness. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Head retention is average - about two minutes.

Body colour is a clear dark amber of above average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible. Translucent and transparent. By no means brown in colour, nor is it as dark as most Belgian style dark ales. Not sure what to make of that, but it's appealing in a general sense.

Nonstandard for the style. Not unique or special, but there are no obvious flaws here. I'm optimistic.

Sm: Raisin, prune, amber malts, and beets - but I only notice beets because I'm looking for them; if I had this blind I wouldn't have thought to say beets. Caramel. Light floral hop character is present and seems to complement the malts nicely. I do get a clean tannic Belgian yeast. Lots of residual sugars bring this beer to the sweeter end. A buried hint of murky cherry. Toasted sugars. I like the fruity notes. Raisin is dominant. Sugarcane imparts a note redolent of rum.

Overall, it's a pleasantly sweet aroma of mild strength.

No alcohol or other off-notes are detectable.

T: Rum-soaked fruits: prune, dates, raisin. Plenty of sugarcane and other residual toasty sugars. Amber malts, caramalt, and Belgian malts fill out the body nicely. Beet sugar definitely comes through - though I wouldn't have been able to identify quite what that note was blind. Vague burgundy/red wine hints. Clean Belgian yeast. It's definitely sweet, but it never quite becomes cloying. As it warms, I get a buried grape note. It has nice cohesion and decent balance, but it's certainly not gestalt. Overall, it has some limited complexity, but would benefit from more. Not the most subtle flavour profile either.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour for the style.

No alcohol off flavours come through, aside from a vague alcohol presence - which passes the point of being simply a pleasant warmth and does start to annoy.

It's not really a Belgian dark ale, nor is it a Belgian brown. It's sort of a Belgian dark amber, if you please.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Overcarbonated. A bit too thick and full for the flavour profile; it's not an ideal marriage of texture to taste by any stretch. But it's passable and suits the flavour profile passably. Decent body and presence on the palate.

Not oily, harsh, gushed, or hot.

Dr: A drinkable beer, but the alcohol presence does hold it back. I wouldn't have more than one in a night, but I'm enjoying this one for what it is. I will say that while it's not unique, I can't readily think up a beer I've had that is exactly like it. I'd like to see the brewers commit more to the rum aspect of the beer; barrel aging would be an obvious approach, but there are probably more subtle ways of emphasizing the strength of the flavour. The more I drink of this, the more the sweetness annoys me. It's a decently priced beer, but I won't be buying it again, nor would I recommend it to friends. Above average overall; it's got unfulfilled potential.

I'd like to try it with 1-5 years of age on it; it's got plenty of residual sugars that would develop over time - though I'm not sure if it's got active yeast.

C+

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2013 23:47:18 | More by kojevergas
Photo of brurevu
brurevu

Texas

3.96/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Raison D'Etre poured a deep mahogany with a fruity, malty aroma. It tasted like a sweet Belgian Dubbel with a rich and deep flavor that hints at raisins, sweet dark fruits, and a bit of caramel malt. I enjoy a good Belgian Dubbel and the Raison D’Etra hit all the right notes for me. It is a unique and complex brew that I have no trouble enjoying.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2013 16:37:05 | More by brurevu
Photo of Act25
Act25

New Jersey

2.76/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I came back to try this after a year of reading and writing reviews on BA. I dont like it any better now that I have a smarter palette. It's nothing like a true belgian strong ale.

A: Poured bottle into pint glass. Head rose up tan over a brown ale body, didnt last, didnt lace. Not loving the color or the vitality of the pour.

S: Some wrote gum and candy, with solvent. I just dont get any real organic, fruit or grain off this beer. It's a bit industrial. More toward a badly made scotch ale (not my fave style) and nothing like a delicious strong belgian ala Chimay.

T: Follows the smell down the hole. bubble gum, candy rack, spray and wash. (ie a solvent). Industrial more than organic/ natural. Dont even think about it with food. A bit of dark fruit and raisin, prune, spice. No real sense of malt and hops, and syrupy, cloying.

M: sticky, doesnt leave mouth in a great place.

Y! answers wrote: "Golden raisins and green raisins are often bleached with sulfur dioxide Both sulfuric and tartaric acid may induce electrical currents.... A sort of "metal-and-acid battery" effect."

Acid battery - took the words out of my mouth.

This beer should be retired. I havent liked DFH across the board so far. Has a refined, industrial trend with not really inviting aromas that this beer is most guilty of.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2013 03:00:52 | More by Act25
Photo of nsheehan
nsheehan

Texas

4.36/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Raison d’etre
DFH
20130808
12oz to libbey Belgian
8% ABV
Bottled on 05/03/2013

A – Clearish yet dark amber color, not very translucent due to the dark color. Billowy yellowish-khaki head. Bubbles excitedly rising from the tulip’s bottom. The lacing as I drink is thick where it sticks.

S – Belgian candy sugars and some dark fruits, with some earthiness and spices. Very nice. Dark cherry and licorice, perhaps some fig; also a bit of alcohol. The smells mingle together nicely.

T – The Belgian dark ale flavors are all there, and the only thing that’s in excess for me are the spices (at first). It’s quite sweet, this sweetness and the dark fruit being the main flavors. It doesn’t quite taste full Belgian because it doesn’t have the breadiness I associate with Belgian ales, but it’s close. The alcohol doesn’t start biting till it warms a bit more, and it’s like a love nip. As it warms, some breadiness comes out; it had previously been hidden by the sweetness. I can easily see people thinking this is too sweet. While it approaches too sweet, it’s still fine by me. At the end of the glass the alcohol does bite, but if you drink this in its sweet spot (like I mostly did) it’s great.

M – A tingly softness during the sip but sits pretty soft on the palate, though it’s not velvety. Nearly heavy-bodied, I’m guessing from residual sugars. In the cheeks it’s a little pointed, I think from alcohol. Slightly dry finish, more so on the tongue.

D – This is a great substitute for a Trappist beer, and the mouthfeel makes it somewhat refreshing despite being a BSDA. Even though it’s quite sweet, I could see myself having 2 or 3 in a night. It’s a nice break from the hoppier beers I’ve been drinking lately.
Caveat: Once it passes the sweet spot the alcohol come out and alters it quite a bit negatively. Let warm for 13 minutes (from fridge) before opening.
4.5, 4.5, 4.25, 4.25, 4.5; 4.35.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2013 23:22:33 | More by nsheehan
Photo of ale1
ale1

Florida

4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked up a sixer from Moe's on center street ,jupiter ,fla

pours a nice 3-4" head with fine carbonation , belgian candies,cherry, raisin nose
and some hops i can't identify that are very mild
is it a chimay or ommegang ? no but it's right up there with them
the brewmaster knows his stuff at Dogfish head nothing to overwhelming , and as you drink it you'll notice the various barleys and belgian candies /yeast they do took good care in selecting, go on by as one flavor arrives and previous leaves, with a good belgian candy finish.
It has been awhile since i have had a different belgian style ale from another brewer who is what it claims, so many have claimed they are Belgian Ales and they are not, this is,and expensive to make !
This is a very good ale
will i buy another ? yes

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2013 00:43:54 | More by ale1
Photo of mpyle
mpyle

Maryland

3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Rich amber color, brilliantly clear. Pours a fairly large, tan colored head. Creamy and with good retention.

Bit of a toffee, plum kind of aroma. Sweet, but with a little extra. Liquorice.

Rich tasting and sweet. Big malt with some malt complexity, a bit of spiciness (pepper), turns slightly bitter and much drier in the finish. Flavors of the finish are somewhat unpleasant, with an out of place bitterness

MF - Medium body and carbonation, no astringency. Some alcohol warming. A bit drying on the tongue.

Overall - has some nice elements, but the flavors lingering in the finish detract.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 00:17:46 | More by mpyle
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Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,853 ratings.