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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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3,843 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3843
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)
View: Beers (137) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 3,843 | Reviews: 1,760 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Stopper


3.23/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a relatively clear dark copper color, with a modest head that slowly fades. Aroma is of a chewy sweet maltiness. The taste is initally a bit of a bready malt flavor, with a lighter mouthfeel than expected from the aroma (due to the beet sugars I guess), followed quickly by a strange bitterness that feels a bit more astringent than a well-done hop bitterness. This bitterness slowly fades to the tip of the tongue leaving a slight burnt flavor, and then disappears several seconds into the aftertaste.

Not my favorite Dogfish Head, but I certainly wouldn't kick her out of bed.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2003 23:14:24 | More by Stopper
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

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

Poured a deep copper color with slight head that was gone quickly,the aroma was complex almost meaty with slight sugary notes.Taste was somewhat fruity,like others i do pick up some grape-like flavors,with some sweet alcohol flavors rounding this one out.A very complex beer kinda hard to rate,I would try again,would love to find on tap.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2003 20:32:22 | More by oberon
Photo of TheDM


3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This brew poured a small head of fine to mediumly sized off white bubbles and a transparent brown body. With a very mild malt aroma, the flavors and plalate of this brew are definately its stongest points. The flavor is very complex with notes of spice, roasted caramel, malt, sugar sweetness and a noticeable alcohol content. It has a good mouthfeel with a lingering tongue numing sensation.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2003 09:12:13 | More by TheDM
Photo of SheepNutz


3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this one in a 12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. It pours a deep copper color with 1 finger of head that dies quickly. There is no lacing left on the glass. The smell is a mix of grapes and hops. Without the hops, it would smell just like wine. The taste is a bit of fruit and spice. There is just a little bit of hops. This is a fairly sweet brew. The mouthfeel is very thick. The drinkability is also fair for being 8%.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2003 20:41:22 | More by SheepNutz
Photo of bmills1608


4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12 oz bottle a deep amber brown color with excellent clarity. Head was quite weak, very small and faded to a wispy film in less then a minute.

On the nose was various baking spices (unspecified to me), caramel, cinnamon, cherries and some Belgian yeast.

Taste was clean and a bit tart at first, smooth grains, hard candy and alcohol, some more of the same spice that was on the nose and figs. Overall impression of the flavor was smooth and mildly rich. Finished with some alcohol, drying out with some more hard candy sweetness. Mouthfeel was on the lighter side for what I would consider a fairly "big" beer.

A very enjoyable ale that is interesting enough to keep you on your toes but is not overly complex or earth shattering.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2003 14:14:34 | More by bmills1608
Photo of beergeek279


4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served as a sample at the Penn Festival. The color was dark amber with a bit of head. The smell was sweet, with a hint of malt. The taste was very sweet, with hints of the raisons. The mouthfeel was fairly smooth, and the alcohol wasn't apparent at all. This is definitely a beer I'd have several of.

This is Dogfish Head's attempt to do a Dubbel. I enjoyed this one and think that it's one of the better Belgian-styles produced in America, and hope to see DFH do more!

Serving type: on-tap

06-10-2003 17:41:56 | More by beergeek279
Photo of EmoBeerGuy

New Hampshire

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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2003 21:04:05 | More by EmoBeerGuy
Photo of mjohn27603


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

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?

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2003 22:48:45 | More by mjohn27603
Photo of Elemental


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2003 21:59:43 | More by Elemental
Photo of kmo1030


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2003 10:04:58 | More by kmo1030
Photo of BeerBuilder


4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2003 09:20:06 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of MissOrch

New York

3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2003 17:14:40 | More by MissOrch
Photo of jcalabre


4.58/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2003 08:03:50 | More by jcalabre
Photo of freed


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2003 18:03:07 | More by freed
Photo of pezoids


4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2003 22:10:51 | More by pezoids
Photo of bewareOFpenguin


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-02-2003 06:22:07 | More by bewareOFpenguin
Photo of WaltTrombone

New York

4.38/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2003 06:49:50 | More by WaltTrombone
Photo of dwarbi

New York

3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2003 18:12:45 | More by dwarbi
Photo of Scooter77


4.33/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2003 05:23:40 | More by Scooter77
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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!

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2003 17:07:27 | More by beerluvr
Photo of BeerResearcher


2.58/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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!

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2003 20:21:52 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of GreatPondBrewer


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

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2003 12:53:17 | More by GreatPondBrewer
Photo of Darkale


3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2003 18:29:59 | More by Darkale
Photo of nomad


3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2003 13:47:26 | More by nomad
Photo of budgood1


3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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!

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2003 17:25:20 | More by budgood1
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 3,843 ratings.