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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

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

4,005 Ratings
THE BROS
73
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,005
Reviews: 1,766
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 68
Gots: 248 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Raison D'Être Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,005 | Reviews: 1,766 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, grain, wood, slight hop, some vanilla, yeast, and slight citrus. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of smoke, roasted malt, sweet malt, yeast, slight alcohol, slight hop, and some dark sweet citrus. Overall, a good body, complexity, blend, aroma, and mouth feel.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2009 04:38:30 | More by Tone
Photo of Zaphog
Zaphog

Michigan

3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

02-19-2012 02:09:41 | More by Zaphog
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

This beer pours a reddish brown color with a nice thick head. Aroma is thick and malty with a few undercurrents of raisin. Flavor is strong and malty with an aftertaste that tastes almost like a rusty pipe. But, that alone does not diminish the character of this beer. It starts out well intentioned but the aftertaste is a turn off. I know personally that this beer would taste better fresh. I had it a few years ago and did not like it but as with other beers, my tastes have improved somewhat.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2007 04:22:54 | More by Brad007
Photo of THECPJ
THECPJ

Delaware

3/5  rDev -18%

11-23-2011 01:39:04 | More by THECPJ
Photo of dirtylou
dirtylou

Washington

3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, obtained from WeymouthMike via NoBSbif

bottled 6/24/05...had many many bottles (and drafts) of this one but apparently never rated

appearance: pours a glowing ruby-mahogany into an unmarked chalice, no head, absolutely no lacing, very calm, has a wine-like appearance from a distance

smell: lightly floral hop presence, raisin, toffee, light alcohol, brown sugar, honey rum, buttery malt, heavy sweetness, light sugar

taste: better than the aroma...very complex, very floral palate, slightly bitter hops, sweet buttery malt, raisin, toffee, honey, brown sugar, rum, candy like sweetness, herbal, fig....ahh quite a tasty brew, not my fav from dfh but an old reliable

mouthfeel: medium body, alcohol warming, slick

drinkability: pretty drinkable

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2006 00:58:40 | More by dirtylou
Photo of rolltide8425
rolltide8425

Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

07-13-2012 15:44:24 | More by rolltide8425
Photo of drummermattie02
drummermattie02

Texas

4/5  rDev +9.3%

12-07-2011 23:17:23 | More by drummermattie02
Photo of harpus
harpus

Alabama

3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

07-10-2013 19:53:38 | More by harpus
Photo of scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The saving grace for this beer's ook is its cool mahagony, merlot highlight, nut brown color. Some small length bubbles about an inch long from start to top. A little alcohol greets the nose with a liquer like raisin and prune aroma. A light gariny malt mixes with the dark yet very sweet fruits and a splash of alcohol for good measure to remind you of the liquer aroma. Clean palate but a little hot.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2006 01:02:09 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of GarthDanielson
GarthDanielson

North Carolina

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

Poured on-tap into a tulip, the beer is an auburn-brown color with a thin layer of off-white head. There are aromas of grape sweetness, with a sweet malt highlight. Very rich on the nose. The beer's flavor is strong, with a merlot character, and a tangy, sour fruit undertone. The aftertaste is minimal, with a bit of the fruit sweetness again. The finish is dry, and it keeps the flavors from being overpowering or cloying. Deep, dark, and heavy flavors make this one a sipper. Unique and interesting beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-08-2011 04:14:13 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of GraduatedCashew
GraduatedCashew

California

3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

09-23-2013 16:30:53 | More by GraduatedCashew
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

3.23/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Deschutes Pint glass.
Bottle 2.10.11D

A - Pours a light brown with a one finger tan head. Some lacing left on the glass.

S - Coffee, fruit, mostly raisins.

T - Malt heavy, sweet fruit mostly.

D - Average body and carbonation all around.

O - A kinda boring beer. A touch sweet, but not overly.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2011 04:44:59 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip. 8% ABV, Bottled on 06/12/09. [Rereviewed 01-19-10. Really minor changes.]

A - The color of this beer is a beautiful amber brown that's totally clear. It's too bad the beautiful beer isn't topped with a good head. A vigorous pour released only half a finger of off-white foam with poor retention and no lace.

S - Toasted and roasted malts make up the majority of this aroma. Hints of chocolate and caramel within. A little bit of candi sugar gives the aroma a sweetness while the hops add a low grassy nose. A bit of black cherry and raisin fruitiness too.

T - Toasted malts give off a bread-like biscuitiness with caramel malts and sweetness. A subtle cocoa neutrality is there with raisins and black cherries. The beet sugar adds both sweetness and earthy flavor that's accented by dry, grassy hops.

M - This is a smooth, rich ale that's near full-bodied but held back by a higher level of carbonation that jumps all over your tongue. The finish is sweet and dry.

D - The alcohol is no where to be found in flavor or nose making it pretty easily drinkable. The flavor and sweetness get slightly cloying though. Great overall. Another DFH success.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2009 14:22:12 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at whole foods, nothing like drinking while pushing the cart. Dare I say I finally a dfh beer that is not gimmicky and actually tasty? I dare! This is a really good beer, listed as a strong dark ale but I think this is a dubbel. Taste and aroma are both lots of raisin, dark caramels, dark fruits prunes, but inverted sugar sweetness. Easy to drink, and great at 8%.

Try this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-28-2010 00:27:06 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

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

From tap to plastic cup at Nationals Park on 5/16/11
*From notes

A BIG thanks go out to the wifey for surprising me with tickets to the game. Cheers, honey!

A: Like fresh apple cider. Dark sepia, with a 1.25 finger head. Some minor lacing, though considering it's a plastic cup I'm not complaining.

S: Hints of sun-dried prunes and figs. A bit of sweet alcohol and and a heavy dose of malt seep into the nostrils. Really different and quite enjoyable.

T: A bit of dark malt hits the tounge first. The mid is a mix of alcohol and raisiny, grapey dates. The finish is fairly dry, as the dark fruits and a pinch of Belgian candy sugar residue carry over and stick to the back of the throat.

M: I felt the carbonation could be toned down a bit, but I wasn't expecting the perfect beer at a ballpark. As I let it sit a while, it mellowed out and became much more inviting.

O: DFH's Raison D'etre is simply an off-the-wall kinda brew. I really love the complexity this one has. The way it balances the dark fruits and the flavor profiles of the Belgian Strong is really well done. Though it's not my favorite in the DFH stable, it's one I'll certainly return to. Thumbs up - well done Señor Calagione!

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2011 16:27:08 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of flagmantho
flagmantho

Washington

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a wine goblet.

Appearance: deep tawny color with no head to speak of.

Smell: big malt with a bit toastiness aroma. There's also a hint of chocolate in there.

Taste: some tree fruit, some toastiness. The maltiness is toned back from the aroma, which I appreciate. There is a little more bitterness than I expect with this style, which is not bad, just different. Altogether it's an OK experience.

Mouthfeel: medium with some carbonation but not enough to really entice me. OK.

Drinkability: while this beer is definitely not bad, it just doesn't happen to suit me too well. I'll enjoy this glass, but that will be it for me.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2009 06:15:26 | More by flagmantho
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

2.73/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I got this bottle in a trade with Wasatch. Thanks John!

The pour reveals a clear reddish amber liquid with a 2 finger head of foam and plenty of lacing. Very good head retention.

The smell has notes of wood, bubblegum, candy sugar, and a fruitiness.

The taste is....different. I get a musky flavour mixed with some caramel malt, along with bubblegum, some candy sugar, but, I can't get over the muskiness, if that is the proper way to describe it. Whole lot of alcohol going on in the taste as well, and too much warming for the abv, imho. I'm drinking this at near room temperature and maybe that isn't the way to go but under these conditions, it's not working for me at all. The body is defintely on the watery side for me..

I'm glad I got to try this brew but it just doesn't do it for me, unlike the majority of DFH's brews. 1 bottle is more than enough and I wouldn't seek this out again, for sure. To me, the flavours are a mess.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2008 23:57:13 | More by Bitterbill
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 thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

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

Bottled on 03/25/10. Served from bottle into a Duck-Rabbit snifter. Poured a deep ruby red with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark fruit, and sugar. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark fruit, brown sugar, and slight alcohol. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. The flavor was very well balanced with no sign of alcohol anywhere to be found. Not sure if it was the ~1 year of age in my cellar or what, but I found this one to be very subtle on alcohol and all of the other flavors were very nice and robust. Never would have guessed at the 8% ABV. This one is definitely worth trying now and putting a few back for a year or so as I did if you have the patience that is.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2011 20:22:21 | More by thagr81us
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

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

Guest tap at Barley's smokehouse, served in a snifter. This is an outstanding beer on draught. My wife ordered it and drank it, instead of just trying my beer as usual and I think that says it all. Pours a ruddy dark amber/copper color with a medium thin and fluffy off-white head. Thin and sticky lacing. The aroma is a complex blend of sweet fruit (raisins), malt, caramel and brown sugar. Medium-bodied and well-nuanced flavors that are alternatingly sweet and tart. It kind of reminds me of a sweeter version of Arrogant Bastard, with the fruit, hops, malt and other underlygin flavors. The finish is sweet, with creeping alcohol. Overall this is a great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2004 15:19:30 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to a Duvel tulip

A - A nice dark brown with a hint of amber. Barely translucent. One finger of white foamy head formed and slowly dissipated.

S - Sweet roasted malts dominate the nose. The sweetness is brown sugar and caramel. No nose of raisins at all.

T - A lot of sweetness up front with a good malt base. The sweetness tastes of brown sugar with some molasses. Some dark fruit in the background as well. Complex.

M - Medium body with the slightest chew. A little more carbonation than I like.

D - This is a good beer - different and interesting with a somewhat complex palate. I would buy this again but I won't seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2010 02:30:17 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of iL0VEbeer
iL0VEbeer

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +9.3%

03-09-2012 04:52:31 | More by iL0VEbeer
Photo of DrDemento456
DrDemento456

Pennsylvania

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

A - Deep amber color with head the quickly disappears.
S - Smells of dark fruit an alcohol
T - Sweet raisin taste followed by bitter raisin taste which may have been from the grapefruit hops. Interesting
M - Really thin for 8 percent and smooth.
D - Man this is weird but I think this is the first dogfish head I actually liked! I had the 90 back in the day and may have it again because it was undrinkable and the peach flavor sour was a drain pour. Really solid beer and was impressed.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2010 07:07:43 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

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 bluejacket74
bluejacket74

Ohio

4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce green bottle, bottled on 6/5/2006. Served in my Dogfish Head snifter, the beer pours a mahogany/red color with an inch white head which went away very quickly. This is a sweet smelling beer. The first aroma that hit me was raisins, there's also some brown sugar, molasses and caramel. The taste is very malty and sweet, like raisins, figs, brown sugar, caramel, butterscotch and an herbal taste that reminds me of Jägermeister. Finishes with a bittersweet aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium, with it being a bit syrupy with just the right amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good, the alcohol isn't too noticable but it does hit you after a while. Aging this beer for a year hasn't hurt it at all, it's pretty tasty! Another good brew from DFH.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2007 01:35:30 | More by bluejacket74
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,005 ratings.