1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,091 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,091
Reviews: 1,767
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.3%
Wants: 72
Gots: 283 | 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:
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Raison D'Être Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,091 | Reviews: 1,767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopsGirl7
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Raison D'etre is one of my favorite beers.

It is sweet, as it is brewed with raisins, but the sweetness is well balanced and not overwhelming.

The beer pours a nice rich brown color and has a lighter tanish head.

It smells like raisins.

It tastes delicious. You get a malty sweetness at first and then a kick of the raisin notes and then it finishes with a little bitter reminder of the potency.

This beer is great with a peanut butter sandwich.

HopsGirl7, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of cinemadust
4.8/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite that I've had from Dogfish Head so far. It almost has a taste of tea and beer mixed together. Kind of like a spice and fruit. When I drank this from the bottle I had an almost smokey aftertaste. Drinking it from tap at the Dogfish Head brewery restaurant, was served a beer at the perfect temperature. Which made it very easy to taste all the wonderful flavors of this beer. Had barley any head at all, but that's what I like. Goes well with spicy foods. Just be VERY careful. Don't forget it's a 8% ABV. You can't knock them down like regular beers. But you can't taste the extra ABV so again, be cautious.

cinemadust, Sep 28, 2009
Photo of elcapness17
4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a great beer. 8% abv, but it drinks very easily. It has a very unique flavor, and as an earlier person noted, the taste is that of a dark fruit. You can definitely taste the green raisins and beet sugars, but it's rounded off nicely with a bit of astringency. It gets more drinkable as it warms, and although the smell isn't phenomenal it is certainly not bad. I would recommend this if you are looking for something unique. I have a feeling that I could drink a six pack of these in one night, which is foreboding in the best way.

elcapness17, Apr 13, 2010
Photo of Akerris
3.18/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Deep red/brown. Mahogany ale fits. Three fingers of head.

Aroma- Musty, cheesy and a bit vinty.

Taste- Dried fruit, molasses. The presence of added sugar is undeniable. Metallic notes in aftertaste.

Mouthfeel- Syrupy not as effervecent as expected.

Drinkability- Ok I suppose. It has the Belgian essence but it just feels off. It's not a bad beer but I feel like it's missing something. Dogfish Head seems to throw caution to the wind as their modus opperandi. While this can sometimes be rewarding, it also causes them to occasionally miss the mark.

Akerris, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of iamsemigloss
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/21/10, taken from notes.

Appearance: Pour yielded an average head that was creamy in texture. The drink was clear and mahogany in color; lacing was good.

Smell: Deep caramel and toffee notes mixed with a fruity aroma. You can smell the raisins but the "fruit" isn't exactly defined -- it's not citrus but more like a dry fruit. Slight whiff of alcohol. Very sweet smelling.

Taste: Huge toffee and caramel blast with the raisins kicking in on the finish. Sweet and creamy with a nip of bitterness at the end. Nice flavors but not overly complex.

Mouthfeel: You'd think this may be somewhat thick but I found it rather thin to be as creamy as it was.

Easy drinking but it's too sweet to session. Very good but not excellent.

iamsemigloss, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of longliveharvards
5/5  rDev +36.6%

longliveharvards, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of Reynolds
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Reynolds, Jun 29, 2012
Photo of Jryan2004
3/5  rDev -18%

Jryan2004, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of Hefeweizen
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My rose garden (over 265 fragrant varieties) was in need of some TLC, several hours worth so I crank up the CD player drop in some relaxing jazz and venture later onto some Van Halen. During the course of five hours and some intensive work later, I drank the entire six-pack and I was very satisfied. Most likely I will purchase it again and not work as hard as I did in the garden. Later on that week I would enjoy some Bells Two-Hearted Ale as well.

Hefeweizen, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of mattpepin
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

mattpepin, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of rubarb
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

rubarb, Apr 06, 2013
Photo of DrewJS
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

DrewJS, Jun 07, 2013
Photo of BigBuffaloJoe
4/5  rDev +9.3%

BigBuffaloJoe, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of cetae
3.23/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a nice dark mahogany with a head that settles to around 1/2 inch.

S - Sugary smell, but not a sweet sugary smell. As well as a slight alcohol scent

T - Can immediately taste the green raisin then a slight amount of alcohol, though not over powering at all, followed by a slightly bitter dark chocolate / malty taste. I have never tasted a beer like this before.

M - Medium bodied, airy and very smooth

D - This beer is drinkable, however I wouldn't want to drink more than 1 to 3 in one sitting. When I drank the first one I didn't lik it very much, but that night I had a few various other beers before trying this. I decided to try it again the next night and I had a different opinion. I have a whole case of this stuff (bought in PA) and it will probably last a while. I definitely wouldn't buy an entire case again, but I would pick up six-pack down the road.

cetae, Oct 15, 2007
Photo of sloopy
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice amber color with a nice off white head. When held up to the light it reminded me of a dark southern iced tea. In my opinion it resembled the way an ale would look if you told someone to picture an ale in their head.

Smell: Couldn't pick up too much of an odor (anyone who hasn't read my profile, that's more on me than the beer).

Taste: Tasted like your standard ale, but left a sweet raisin after taste.

Mouthfeel: I could tell I was drinking a beer that had a decent ABV, but it went down smooth. The alcohol wasn't over powering and went down as if though I was drinking an ale with less alcohol.

Drinkability: I could drink more of this. It's high in alcohol, but not harsh or terrible tasting.

Bonus: I ate a Hungry Man fried chicken dinner (fried chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and a brownie) and let me say that this beer washed everything down perfectly.

sloopy, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of Brynn
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful color when poured, a wonderful garnet--it immediately filled my room with the scent of delicious beer.

Smell was very interesting; very similar to an Irish Red, but with a hint of something cold and quiet behind it all. The flavor itself mimics the smell, not overpowering, but present and unique. Pleasantly made a path down to the stomach, leaving a nice glow behind. I can't really taste the raisins, but it's more of a feel of raisins than an actual flavor.

Brynn, May 14, 2010
Photo of SeanOswald
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

SeanOswald, Feb 03, 2012
Photo of Kidvicious
2/5  rDev -45.4%

Kidvicious, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of mbiros
4/5  rDev +9.3%

mbiros, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of KKotewicz
4/5  rDev +9.3%

KKotewicz, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of squidsansgoat
4.5/5  rDev +23%

squidsansgoat, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of scott1963
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

scott1963, Sep 08, 2012
Photo of StephN
5/5  rDev +36.6%

StephN, Mar 15, 2013
Photo of neiljude
4/5  rDev +9.3%

neiljude, Mar 16, 2013
Photo of srs232
4/5  rDev +9.3%

srs232, Apr 17, 2014
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,091 ratings.