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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Educational use only; do not reuse.

4,218 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,218
Reviews: 1,774
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 91
Gots: 364 | 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: 4,218 | Reviews: 1,774 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of frankbro
4.63/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Exceptional Belgian style ale. I prefer a lot more hops, but this is the style. They use Belgian beet sugar and green raisins (a take off on the French for "reason to be") to raise the ABV to a respectable 8, without a loss of apparent malt intensity.(Unlike AB's rice syrups, that turn Bud into crap.) A beautiful reddish-gold color in the glass, tiny bubbles, but nice carbonation. A must when company comes, if you can part with it. A bargain at $8.99/6pk. Not really my style, but there's a case in my cellar. Excellent!

Photo of unitas3
2.68/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a deep amber body with no surprises. On the nose it was a bit sweet, the beet sugar and the raisin scent was a bit reminiscing yet seemed to be over powered by a pure sugar and alcohol front. The taste was not as pleasing as expected. The alcohol dominated with little or no balance on the finish, after warming up a bit the taste seemed to separate and oil out with a heavy to thick syrup body. Dried fruit was present but the alcohol was still to forward to allow a good harmony. I could see pairing this with a meal, maybe even braising a piece of meat with it furthering its unique crafting. I am glad I tried but probably won't drink again.

Photo of wonderbread23
3.03/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear reddish brown hue. Small head quickly retreated to the rim providing a medium amount of lacing.

Smell: Sweet nose that was a little musty. A little caramel, a little clove and cinnamon. Very understated aroma.

Flavor: Caramel sweetness balanced by a little bitterness. A bit of fruit and raisin with a smidge of alcoholic structure.

Mouthful: Lively carbonation at first. Medium body and finish.

Drinkability: Understated complexity makes this a nice easy drinker.

Photo of stoutmasterjames
2.64/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I am usually a fan of all things Dogfish, but this particular brew just didn't do it for me. I'm not saying it wasn't artfully brewed or put together carefully. To me personally, the taste is what killed it, or to be more precise, the flavor. It is not too strong or overbearing, just unpleasant to my palate. Oh well, I got 4 90 min IPAs in the fridge to help me forget about the gross aftertaste of the Raison D'Etre. Thanks Dogfish! For the 90 min IPA that is...

Photo of Paesly27
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of CanonJohn
4.32/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a cut crystal water glass.

A: This is a beautiful beer. Clear red/amber.

S: Raisins. I smell a handfull of sun-maid raisins. Malty notes, backed by a slightly toasty aroma.

T: Knock out sweet. this could be a beer flavored disert wine. However it is very complex. The balance of flavors is a bit wonky, going back and forth between malty brown ale and out of control sweetness. Strangely it works. I think it is what the brewer was going for and I like it. This is not a bitter beer, though there is a slight bitter grapefruit note in the after taste.

M: Very highly carbonated. It reminded me a lot of diet coke in that respect. Even with the carbonation it came off as smooth and easy to drink.

D: As it stands alone, one bottle, very drinkable. I don't think I could handle more than that in a sitting. It's just to dang sweet and carbonated.

Notes: I would really suggest trying this one after a good meal. It really is a tour de force on its own, and might be a bit much on an empty stomach.

2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of akkohly
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Hunter42
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of jayhiatt
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Bcarzz
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of gussde
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of ArchHobbes
4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of MRclean
4.04/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head
Raison D’Etre

Vessel: 12oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours a reddish brown with one finger of slightly off-white head. The head dissipates slowly and will be gone ½ way through the beer.

S: Not a strong aroma, has slight earthy and bread note.

T: Nice richness with sweet caramel notes. This beer has a medium body and is very drinkable. Frankly, it is a bit difficult to describe, but it is enjoyable for sure.

M: Smooth almost creamy.

I recommend trying this beer.

Photo of b_add
1/5  rDev -72.6%

Photo of CMullaney
3.25/5  rDev -11%

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.

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,218 ratings.