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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Educational use only; do not reuse.

4,204 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,204
Reviews: 1,770
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 88
Gots: 343 | FT: 5
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2001

A deep mahogany, Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast.

25 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,204 | Reviews: 1,770 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of b_add
1/5  rDev -72.6%

Photo of CMullaney
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of pstango
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of Jaynstephi
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of BrewerMike
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I typically really enjoy Dogfish Head's brews and am equally as intrigued to learn about their unique creations and efforts to "push the envelope." I've tried this one several times and liked it, but had not made the effort to actually evaluate the different components. So, here goes nothin':

A: The bottle reads, "deep mahogany ale." Well, they got that part right. Pours with a nice tan head that dissipates after a short time and maintains some lacing after each sip. Crystal clear appearance through the rich, mahongany/chestnut color. Does not appear to have much carbonation.

S: Has somewhat of a burnt molasses aroma, as well as some dark, dried fruits. I'm not getting much hop aroma. Perhaps some pepperiness. Does not necessarily make my mouth water, but interesting nonetheless.

T: Moderately malty, with notes of molasses, dried fruits (fig, raisins), slight brown sugar. It goes down with some bitterness on the back of the throat. Tastes much better after it's sat a bit and warms. I initially tasted some metallic flavors up front when I first poured it, but as it warmed those went away, and a richer, more malty flavor took over.

M: Mouthfeel is quite nice. Has good body, even a bit chewy (especially as it warms). A bit sticky on the tongue/throat, which forces you to drink it slowly. Not very carbonated, so it allows you to really enjoy the maltiness and flavors without much distraction. [I'd be curious to taste this one brewed on cask.]

D: Particularly as this sat, I found it very drinkable. It is smooth, well balanced, and nothing about it is overpowering or shocking. The 8% abv is difficult to notice while sipping; I don't taste any heat with the beer. This is a relatively complex beer so I would not choose to drink many at a time, but could definitely enjoy two.

Overall, this is not my favorite from Dogfish Head by far, but it's definitely a really nice, interesting beer to warm you during the chilly winter months. I can imagine drinking this along side a stew, hearty soup, or a rich meal like mac/cheese or even a nice burger or meatloaf!

Photo of muddyriverduck
2.78/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hmmm. I expected more.

First off, it looks more like a pinot noir than it does a beer. No head whatsoever and very little carbonation.

It smelled like sweet rum. Where's the raisons?

Very dry, in taste and mouth feel. Thin and watery.

I'll make it through one, but will not be having another tonight. At $10 a sixer, I will not be purchasing again. Maybe Frazbri and BrotherFraz2 can come over and help me with the other five.

Photo of thepassingofdays
3.22/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a- golden brown, oddly tan head. Totally see-through.

s- like sweet golden raisins, haven't had em for years, but that's my best guess. Didn't smell like a beer at all.

t- woody/heavy front, sweet middle, bitter and kind of gross ending and aftertaste.

m- the aftertaste really turned me off to this one.

d- surprised this won beer of the year, overrated and just plain not that good or complex.

Photo of eggland
4.38/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tops Liquor, Phoenix, AZ

a - nice dark amble look, some head

s - sweet and complex

t - sweet and complex amber, i do taste a light green raisin flavor somewhere.

m - smooth and clean, but also dynamic

d - not too bitter, goes down easy.

The dogfish line is pretty awesome stuff.

Photo of bdake
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of swanny28
1.59/5  rDev -56.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured in a pint glass. Bottle may have been old on shelf to long.

A: Good looking beer with the pour. Too bad this was its best attribute.

S: Smelled of rotten fruit

T: Back the rotten fruit not very good

M: Gritty almost like the california raisons were dancing in your mouth stabbing it with pitch forks.

D: IMO not very drinkable - one of the few beers I have ever poured out.

IMO Dogfish head has too many good beers to spend your money on this one.

Photo of bdo894
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear, pale dark brown. The head was white and about a fourth inch thick.
Smelled of hops and roasted nuts. Some maple notes thrown in as well.
Tasted the raisins, maybe a bit of honey and some hops as well.
Ok mouthfeel, not the best I've had, but decent.
Overall an OK beer. I've never had a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect. After drinking a hell of a lot of this decided that its worth getting again. After all I love Dogfish Head

Photo of doubledteague
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into frosty pint glass.

A- Mahogany brown, head was very slight.

S- Smelled Great! Smells some fruits maybe a slight carmel smell, and by the smell thought it would be delicious.

T- This is where I was let down. Immediate taste of the fruit but that was very brief and faded fast, taste just did not match the smell.

M- Light carbonation, definitely get the 8% abv here.

O- Just about average. Will most likely try this beer again. Feel like I was missin something. Want this beer to be better than what it turned out to be.

Photo of JBDADDY
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of cmhanck
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Grexgorz
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of Jonnyoutlaw
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Mika
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of beefytee
4.24/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a Potrsmouth Brewery snifter.
dark dark amber, beautiful looking beer, a puffy head that receded to reveal little to no lacing.

The first smell was of triamenic which I have to say, made me a little bit nervous. I let it breathe while I ate dinner, I didn't think it would blend well with Subway's Chicken Parm sub.

The first sip was wonderful. Not too much in the hops depertment, but just enough to JUST underbalance the beautiful sweetness of this beer. Any more and this sweetness may have been masked.

The aroma is nice, about what I would expect. The taste is really great. Sweet, reminded of belgium with this one. The alcohol is definitely warming and the finsh is great...like an overcooked, but not burned cookie. A bit of a medicine in the aftertaste, all characteristics I enjoy very much. The rasins are there, but they don't beat you over the head with them.

Great body, soft and almost pillowy in my mouth, the carbonation could not be better, light and tight, it pricks the tongue and soft palatte.

Drinkability? One is very drinkable, maybe two, but at 8% and being that it is, by comparison very sweet, 3 may be pushing it.

5 minutes later, a pleasant bitter feeling (not really aftertaste) still haunts the mouth. Great beer, looking forward to the Raison D'Extra

Photo of thinkfull
4.09/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm writing this as I drink the beer, actually. This one seems quite good. It is a beautiful drink to behold, dark red with a cream- colored head. Decent lacing has been present till now, about two-thirds of the way through. The nose has a lot of figs and pecan pie, but you have to really dig your nose in the glass to find out. Taste starts of with the figs, along with some raisins, leather, and cigars; then moves to a very delicate oaky scotch with a pruney finish. Light carbonation helps this brew out signifigantly. I will be picking this one up again, mostly because I like the flavor combinations, rather than a particular complexity.

Photo of kaboose72
4.7/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dogfish, in my opinion one of the top 3 breweries in the US. Raison D'etre is to me their greatest year round brew. so unique and tasty. Definitley a must try if you have not had one yet. pours well, strong nose and full of flavor. with just the right amount of abv

Photo of blazin5050
3.64/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a good beer, will definitely buy again, unless I find a new Raison ale to try. A reddish amber in color, or mahogany as they call it, with a eggnog colored head. A lot of pit fruit going on as you could imagine. Very malty, a nice well balanced Belgian style ale.

Photo of Teeter
4.48/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 12oz. bottle into a La Fin Du Monde tulip glass.

A-After a brisk pour a small and quick to disapate head apeared. Aside from the lackluster head the color is beautiful amber/ruby.

S-The aroma of seasoned grape and well fermented I might add has my mouth watering.

T-This is in a taste catagory all it's own. Although definately beer it has an almost burgandy or port wine flavor but without that tart dry thing that most wine seems to have.

M-Unexpectedly creamy in spite of the carbonation. It seems to find away of touching every part of my mouth.

D-I find it verry drinkable. Not so much for session.

I've been told this is excellent as a steak marinade. Although I havn't used it myself as of yet I can see how it could work.

My only negative comment on this product would be the lacking head and there is no lacing to speak of.

Photo of slickmick22
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass. Red/copper color with minimal head and lacing.

Smell is faint fruit and malt. Definitely a little raisin as well as alcohol.

Lightly sweet with fruit, raisin and a little alcohol (8%). Very tasty and full bodied with average carbonation.

Alcohol is well hidden.

Enjoyed this beer and will have again.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of sls0210
2.36/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark mahogany color, creamy head. Smell the raisins, brown sugar, molasses, definitely getting the alcohol too. Really sweet, too much so - raisins, caramel, burnt sugar, the alcohol is ever present. Mouthfeel was flat, carbonation not good at all. First DFH beer and none too impressed. Definitely unlike any quality Belgian beer I've ever had, in a bad way. Have some DFH 60 minute and a brown IPA waiting in the fridge, hoping for a better product from this brewery with those.

Photo of philippehb
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My First Saison...

A - Dark brown, with almost a gem-like opacity. The head is medium.

S - A Sweet smell. Brown Candi Sugar? no hops, and there is more I can't identify.

T - Now the Brown sugar flavor really jumps out. An almost wine-like quality too. Dark Fruits? Wow this is complex ! Very interesting !

M - Smooth, in it's own way. Good carbonation

D - So different! Not sure if I like it, But I want another, its so interesting its hard to resist.

Can't wait to brew one and try other brewery's interpretations of this style.

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,204 ratings.