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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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4,078 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,078
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 72
Gots: 276 | 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: 4,078 | Reviews: 1,766 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mjohn27603
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Brought back from Chicago by trbeer. 12 fl. oz. bottle. Pours copper in color with very little head. Aroma smells of pistachios. Taste also reminds me of pistachios and small hops contribution. I just have pistachios on the brain for this review. I won't have a chance to re-review since this isn't sold in Michigan. I do get some some of nutty flavor though. Slight vegetable taste - from beet sugars?

mjohn27603, May 30, 2003
Photo of Elemental
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%

Very raisony and fruity yet spicy with a mild bitterness. This beer pours great with a light head. The aroma is almost overwhelming with a slight bit of hops but mainly a sweet and fruit smell. The raisons and beet sugar really come out in the flavor that is sweet, earthy, spicy and mildly bitter. the first drink is spicy at the begining but this soon dies and you are left with almost a carbonated fruit juice type drink (but in a good way). Overall a really good sipping beer.

Elemental, May 30, 2003
Photo of kmo1030
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%

this is a pretty beer in my opinion. it's got nice brown color with pale quarter inch head. It's smells like no beer i've ever encountered. there is a heavy raisin smell, almost like grape juice. i think there are some other fruity smells in there, but i can't identify them. It's taste is what i would expect from the smell of it. it tastes like a beer/wine hybrid almost. the raisins are again apparent along with some sweet malt flavor. the 8% alcohol is masked well as it does not taste that strong. it has a slight coffee/chocolatey finish. it's mouth feel is nice and pretty thick. overall a decent beer, but nothing i'm going to run out and get again right away.

kmo1030, May 30, 2003
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%

This one poured to a deep copper/rubyish color with a creamy tan head. It left behind a great deal of lace when I sipped it down. I found the smell to be wonderful. It was very raisiny, with hints of chocolate and caramel malts. The flavor was sweet, caramely, and raisiny. It is a smooth beer, medium-full in body with a slight alcoholic warmth. Another great offering from Dogfish Head.

BeerBuilder, May 29, 2003
Photo of MissOrch
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%

This beer has an orangy amber color, with tons of carbonation. It looks like a dark soda, with some tornadoes of bubbles touching down every now and then.

The smell isn't very strong. I wonder if maybe I got a bad bottle because I remember this smelling much better before. Actually, last time I had it was from a cask, so maybe that had something to do with it. When I stick my nose way in there, I smell a little burned caramel, and I like to pretend I smell raisins too... and now my nose is all wet.

The taste is slightly sweet, and has a bitter finish. It leaves my mouth all fizzy and tingly. I can taste the hops, but not as much of the malty sticky sweetness I remember from the cask. Maybe when I went to the bathroom the beer troll came and took a piss in my bottle. Don't get me wrong, it still tastes good, just not nearly as good as I remember. I'll have to try it on tap again next time I see it.

MissOrch, May 27, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
4.58/5  rDev +25.1%

Originally sampled 28 September 2002. Loved it. Beautiful mahogany color w/ a unique taste that I can't quite place. I'm sure glad that I can now get this locally!! In a follow on tasting, I served it in a stemmed, tulip shaped glass rather than a pint glass. Wow, it improved the nose tremendously (OK, I don't have a great sense of smell). Got definite whiffs of baking chocolate w/ a hint of cinnamon. The upfront taste was slightly sweet w/ a smooth finish.

jcalabre, May 20, 2003
Photo of freed
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Tarnished bronze, maybe copper seems to describe the color best. Itt has a nice head with bubbles of various sizes. The smell is sweet and malty with no detectable hop aroma. Almost smells like a fruit wine.

The taste is very pleasant. Fruity, malty, and slightly warm with alcohol. Very similar in many respects to a barleywine, but not quite as spicy. Has a nice amount of chew to it, and becons for another sip.

freed, May 16, 2003
Photo of pezoids
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%

The beer poured out a bright copper-amber color which was very clear and was topped with a thin white head. Strong fruit aroma of fermented raisins, caramel and brown sugar.
Almost cordial-like, this one has a very unique flavor and a pleasant sweetness to it. Could be good if drank warm. A very full flavored beer and is quite drinkable. Beware though: I had this after dinner and went comatose on the couch for about an hour. The alcohol sneakingly crept up on me.
I had the 20 percent Raison D' extra version once and that was one isanely sweet, strong and syrupy concoction. This is like a mini version of that beer.

pezoids, May 15, 2003
Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.5/5  rDev +23%

The ingrediants were a little scary. Green raisons? Was this some kind of "French" comspiracy? I poured the beer and noted it's red amber color. What happened to the green raisons. The taste was indeed bold. Fruity, but not tooty-fruity. Good hops playing out. A definite well rounded beer.

bewareOFpenguin, May 02, 2003
Photo of WaltTrombone
4.38/5  rDev +19.7%

I tried this beer this past weekend, and liked it more than I thought I would. Fellow BA Eckaholic's tip to serve this in a snifter or tulip shaped glass was on the money. I tried it first in a pint glass, and had my second in a big snifter, and the aroma and taste were more focused in the snifter.

Red Mahogany body, with a white head that disappeared straight away. The aroma was sweet, with raisins, grape, and fresh-cut grass.

Tasting it was special, indeed, with sweet malt, raisins, and caramel balanced with just the right amount of tang and bitterness from the hops and carbonation. Creamy smooth mouthfeel. It finished with a caramel sweetness and a nice hops balance. I didn't realize it was an 8% ABV until my ears got warm, and I looked at the bottle. Very smooth and drinkable, not a trace of alcohol harshness.

A pet peeve from reading other reviews- the spelling of raisin... the dried fruit ends with -in. Raison is NOT fruit, it's the French/Freedom word for reason, as in "Raison d'etre" -"Reason for Being" It's fun wordplay on a number of levels, but it's not how to spell the word that describes the fruit.

WaltTrombone, Apr 28, 2003
Photo of dwarbi
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%

Perfect head, but it pops down a little too quickly.... haven't even smelled it yet. Nice medium-colored amber. OK, ready to smell it (head's gone completely except a tiny bit) Smells fruity, but not just of raisons. A nice bouquet, but a little ambiguous and light. very pleasant taste, Can taste the raisons, but it's not too much. Feels very nice on the palate. And it leaves me wanting more... very rich. While the taste is pretty good, as long as you keep drinking more, it's very good!

dwarbi, Apr 16, 2003
Photo of Scooter77
4.33/5  rDev +18.3%

I enjoyed this beer a lot. Pours somewhat of a mahogany color with a fluffy off-white head that dies down, leaving a stick lace. Aromas are sweet with raisins and plums with moderate hoppy undertones. The taste is quite sweet, bursting with the sweetness of raisins and caramel. The taste of alcohol was strong, but not to bad. Finish was light and dry. This is another great beer from the folks at DFH.

Scooter77, Mar 23, 2003
Photo of beerluvr
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%

Ok, here we go...this has a massive long-lasting light beige head upon pouring, settling over clear dark amber fluid w/gold highlights. The nose is grapey and quite fruity...interesting. Tasting reveals lots of sweetness, with a green apple-like note followed by slight slight raisin flavors, then a healthy maltiness picks up. Fruity flavors then become apparent with alcohol esters close behind. Just a minimum of hopping here. Finishes dry and strong/warming. One interesting and funky beer, this one is! Would I purchase a six-pack of this anytime soon? I'd say nyet!

beerluvr, Mar 20, 2003
Photo of BeerResearcher
2.58/5  rDev -29.5%

Sometimes, even great chefs lose or forget the basic principles of blending and pairing ingredients. They get off-track and begin to throw ingredients together with no apparent direction in mind. Such is the case with the brewmaster of Raison D'Etre. While not a bad beer, it's clear that this is an experimental concoction. The deep amber color with red tint would be improved with any sign of a lasting head. The full malt body is sweetened beyond any reasonable expectation. "Oh Boy, Green Raisins! Extra Sugar ("maybe this will help", yum!) "Let's pour some alcohol into the brew to appeal to the street people!" The aroma is sweet and alcoholic. This is an experiment best abandoned!

BeerResearcher, Mar 19, 2003
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%

Strange brew, but none the less a intriguing one to try. Cloudy orange in appearence with some white head and a fair amount of lacing as well. It smelled very deep with hints of currant and rum. The taste was green raisons as the bottle purported, but I think the green I tasted was an unripe one. The beer was also particularly syrupy. Cannot say that this beer is my reason for being, but I think that maybe all beer is.

GreatPondBrewer, Mar 15, 2003
Photo of Darkale
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

What an odd beer. Deep orange-red, with a tan head that comes up dense but not thick and soon becomes a tight rim. Slightly sweet aroma, fresh and fruity with a whiff of hops.

First sip brings out a burst of fruit and heavy sweetness -- raisins and grapes and and a mild hoppy after-bite. Very, very rich. Gritty, with some charcoal after swallowing. Good carbonation.

The kind of beer that one is glad to have tasted; not sure I will stand in line to buy it again. Over the top.

Darkale, Mar 10, 2003
Photo of nomad
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%

A very muddy burnt umber color, not very appealing as it was quite hazy and a strange color between orange, brown, and ruddy red. Poured with little head that was thin and even, consisting of small tight bubbles. Lace was negligible. Nose was slightly fruity, on the side of bananas, cooked apples, and freshly dried raisins. Also had a woody undertone to it.

First taste was quite tart with a fizzy mouthfeel whose activity gives way to a partly yeasty, partly hoppy bitterness. The session showed it to give way to a consistently tart flavor that balances fruity tartness and a woody (like a oak-aged wine) tartness - for me, reminiscent of a oud bruin or red ale. The fruity sweetness is similar to the nose - a roasted apple and grape type. Subtly long finish as the sweet fruit, tart after-punch, and woody bitterness interchange back and forth on my mouth.

In all, like a toned down triple with more hearty ale-like features: same fruity and floral hop characteristics mixed with a strong earthy side peppery yeast and woody malts. Interesting, but I wouldn't get it again until they've mastered how to mix this experiment with the ratio of it many parts.

nomad, Mar 10, 2003
Photo of budgood1
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%

pours out a clear, dark brown head. a surprisingly small and fizzy head that was DOA. sugary, malty and estery aromas....alcohol notes as well. belgian malt notes, sweet and sugary flavors coat the tongue as well. notes of caramel and chocolate. some hopping to balance. alcohol warming effect in the belly. medium to full bodied, smooth and slick down the throat. i'd like to sample this fresh, as i think my bottle might have suffered some damage in its travels. a belgian in style, and pretty damn sticky sweet at that. a unique taste treat.

thanks to frank4sail for the sample!

budgood1, Mar 09, 2003
Photo of IPAlot
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%

12 oz. bottle, 50-55 deg. in a belgian bowler with a finger of head.

A very interesting beer. I am not sure I've ever had green raisins before, which the brew includes. Dogfish is a brewery that might help temper my anathema to straying from Reinheitsgebot. The flavor is only a suggestion, another added layer to the quality of the brew itself.

Appearance: a luscious mahogany-orange, quite clear.

Smell: Not very assertive, but balanced and malty.

Taste. The hops are understated, malts hold the forefront, and a spicy gremlin lurks behind the curtains.

I'd buy it again. Not because it is a beer I love, but because of its innovation and mystery.

IPAlot, Mar 06, 2003
Photo of francisweizen
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%

A very delectable brew and believe it or not, my first from Dogfish Head! This beer pours out a dark brown, murky red colour with a decent head to it that lasts for the life of the beer and leaves a nice belgian lace on the glass as well. This beer has wonderful aromas, of dark fruits, raisons, figs, currants, sugars, maklts, and some earthy flavors as well. This tasted great. Like a cross between a belgian dark a grand cru and perhaps an old ale...very well done combination of flavors and a good balance as well. This beer had a mouthfeel that was a little thin for my tastes but the drinkability is still 'through the roof'

francisweizen, Feb 27, 2003
Photo of avylover
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%

This beer is wierd one, even by dogfish head standards. It truly tastes like "golden delicious" apples. Aroma is nice & malty but a sip reveals the fruitiness of this beer. It's not overbearing by any means but there's not much else going on here so the appple taste stands out. This beer is warm going down....nice. easy to drink but I don't think I'd want more than one of these. A nice novelty but not something i'd get down with.

avylover, Feb 25, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%

Anytime I see the huge Dogfish Head tap handle, I have to try it. This beer was an inviting amber brown, complemented by a decent white head. The first thing in the aroma that stood out was the fruit aroma (apples and raisins) along with some traces of mellow spice. The taste is the texture of a fine spiced rum, and there are also hints of the flavor in the brew. Very complex, yet utterly enjoyable, and refreshing. The high ABV of course gives the flavor a little bite, and there is also some candi sugar thrown in here for more sweetness. Alot of malt makes this a treat, along with a good medium body and a somewhat chewy texture. Drinkability is good, but it would be better if this weren't so drinkable with 8% abv one is enough. Not quite over the top like some of the Dogfish Head beers, but not a disappointment by any means. I did enjoy her.

WVbeergeek, Feb 19, 2003
Photo of doho95fu
4.78/5  rDev +30.6%

I really enjoyed this brew, obviously alot more than some of my fellow BA's. The beer pours reddish copper with a thin off-white head and no lacing. There is little or no visible carbonation. The smell is of some fruit with clear malt flavors. The flavor was malty as well, but with some sweet fruit characteristsics as well. I don't know that I rate malty brews so high, this may be the highest malty brew I have rated. I just found it to be highly drinkable and enjoyable for a high ABV brew with some experimental characteristics.

doho95fu, Feb 07, 2003
Photo of AudioGilz
4.15/5  rDev +13.4%

The aroma of this beer hit my nose even before I poured it out of the bottle; and a pleasant aroma it was. The color is of a darker iced tea and pretty much no head at all.
Initial taste is very sweet and caramelized. Then it's toasty, raisin sweetness of course, and a hint of chocolate as well. Alcohol is noticeable but not bothersome. The finish is dry and just slightly bitter, leading to a long and enjoyable sweet aftertaste. A six pack of this beer could last me a week or longer because I didn't find it too easy to drink one right after the other. The richness is fulfilled in my stomach after one, as well as 8% ABV taking effect. Overall, it's a very tasty beer that I will buy again as a dessert beer.

AudioGilz, Feb 06, 2003
Photo of allboutbierge
2.9/5  rDev -20.8%

A relatively attractive beer--Rich light brown with copper hue. Quick disapating off white head is poured. Very light carbonation and slightly gummy body. Aroma is very musty and not very alluring. Flavor is disapointing too. No balance of flavors or much a direction to style either. What style is this? Dogfish has successfully pushed the limits of a beer style before but alas, they failed here. Rough malt flavors and some flavor reminscent of a bad cheap white wine in there, but nothing to make the drinker want another. With that in mind Im gonna have a Bigfoot to cap off my evening...

allboutbierge, Feb 02, 2003
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,078 ratings.