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Raison D'Être - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,771 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,771
Hads: 4,251
Avg: 3.66
pDev: 23.22%
Wants: 102
Gots: 435 | 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:
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Raison D'Être Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,771 | Hads: 4,251
Photo of tone77
3.39/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a pretty dark amber color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is very mild, some notes of fruit. Taste is good, fruits, malts, a touch of alcohol. Feels full bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

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Photo of DrJay
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, red beer topped by a white head that thinned to lace rather quickly. The bottle claims it's mahogany... I'll buy that.

Smell: A combination of roasted barley and rich fruitiness, almost raisin-like. Light alcohol aroma is also present.

Taste: Starts very sweet with a strong mix of dried fruits (raisin, plum/prune) and a light alcohol taste. A light bitterness appears towards the end, but is still overpowered by the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium/low carbonation that becomes evident on the tongue about halfway through. Medium/full, slightly viscous, syrupy body. Light alcohol warming on the palate.

Drinkability: The sweetness is quite prominent, and without some hop balance I wouldn't want to drink much in a single sitting. Also, the roasted aroma doesn't seem to blend that well with the sweet flavour. However, I'd definitly try it again.

12 oz. brown bottle with packaged on date clearly marked on the label.

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Photo of cjgator3
2.39/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark mahogany brown with an off-white head. The aroma consists of malt, some dark fruits, rum soaked raisens and alcohol. The taste is very imbalanced and is overly boozy which greatly hinders both the taste and drinkability. I definately won't be going back to this one.

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.78/5  rDev -24%
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.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
4.22/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Raison D'Etre is a dark reddish brown with a small, off-white head. Retention is pretty weak. Aroma has plenty of Belgian sugary sweetness with an edge of fruity yeast. A tiny trace of alcohol is also noted. The primary taste is of mild, dark fruit malt meeting Belgian sugar. An earthy, almost burnt malt flavor is also present. A spicy, peppery yeast flavor weaves nicely through the dominate malt. The overall complexity here is quite nice, there is quite alot here to enjoy. This is one of my favorite Belgian-styled beers of the few I've sampled.

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

Poured from the 12 fl. oz. bottle on March 9, 2010. The color is an attractive mahogany amber with about three-quarters of an inch of beige=, foamy head. It never quite goes away. The aroma is a pleasing enough mixture of raisins, malts, and yeast but I also get a bit of alcohol.The taste is bitter and sweet with a thin but noted dry hoppy ending. Not a bad beer altogether except for that bit of alcohol scent.

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Photo of Viggo
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle, a kind of dark orangy red colour with absolutely no head. Smells interesting, caramel and raisin type smells. Has a sweet taste, buttery with some caramel and fruit. Burns a bit on the way down. Mouthfeel is pretty thick and creamy. Decent beer, kind of disappointed by it though, had been waiting a while and it let me down. But give it a try.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.32/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew pours pretty dark. Dark Ruby. Has a thin laced tan head that laces nicely. Interesting aroma. Like brown sugar and rock candy. Some malt tones too. Nice. This beer has some definite sweet tones mixed in with alcohol. It's a nice taste. Rock candy comes to mind again. An undenying sweet flavor. Some lingering alcohol and bitterness on the tongue. Body is medium to full. Nice brew here.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.83/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Dark brown, hints or amber color underneath. Smells like a mess. Another collection of DFH hodgepodge ingredients. Not really my favorite style, nor brewery, lots of sugar, but at least not overly sweet, just a bunch of strange adjuncts to give the impression of being "complex".

Not a desireable taste left, and a struggle to keep drinking it to the end. Try this one with friends, that way you don't end up drinking all 12 oz. by yourself.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of Brad007
3.27/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
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.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy brown colour with an average size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is a decent amount of lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - malts, toffee, dark fruits

Taste & Mouth - There beer has an average amount of carbonation but it feels very velvety on the tongue. It has a very full bodied taste and it is very sweet. Most of the taste is made up of toffee and malts mixed with raisins. The bottle mentions beets - I didn't pick up on that. The beer tasted much better once it got close to room temperature. It finishes with a malty and sweet aftertaste.

Drink - A nice beer that works well as a winter warmer. The alcohol is well hidden and it has a lot of taste. I'm not sure I could handle more than 1 of these in a night, but I'd drink it again for sure.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Brilliant chestnut mahogany, not much head – dissipates to film.
S: Raisins, grapes, caramel, yeast esters.
T: Raisin, dark caramel, hints of chocolate, faint cake, hints of cider.
M: Beet sugar thins down the body somewhat, big carbonation, crisp.
O: A big Belgian dark strong ale.

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Photo of glid02
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Revisited this beer courtesy of daryk77 - much obliged!

Pours a perfectly clear chestnut brown color with a one-finger tan head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer on top leaving almost no lacing.

Smells of caramel malt with hints of brown sugar. The alcohol becomes more noticeable as the beer warms, but it's never overpowering.

Tastes good. More caramel malt kicks things off, then brown sugar and light raisin flavors join in. I'm not 100% sure what green raisins are supposed to taste like, but the raisin flavors I get taste a lot like normal dark raisins. A solid bitter ending sends the sip off.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the thin side, but the carbonation is good and it goes down pretty smoothly.

Drinkability is good. The ABV is well-hidden in my opinion, and the flavors are interesting enough to keep enticing me to take another sip.

Overall this is an interesting beer, but it doesn't do a whole lot to excite me. Still, it's worth a shot.

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

Pours a rich amber-brown with a reddish tint. Higher ABV make the head dissipates shortly; fizzy half-finger width caramel-tinted head.

Weaker smell than I expected. Belgian yeast, malt, vinous chardonnay grapes.

Caramel with a hint of white fruit. Yeast is a predominant factor in the flavor. Some grain and raisin, hop bitterness on the finish with a slight artificial sugar taste. It's too syrupy in the body and it finishes somewhat sour and bitter with a filmy finish with a faint hint of alcohol.

Not a good example of a Belgian strong dark. Innovative, yes, unbalanced, also yes unfortunately. My second least favorite Dogfish Head beer only to the disaster that is Festina Peche.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.45/5  rDev +21.6%
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.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

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Photo of Gusler
4.42/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer after its disinterment from the 12-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass a brilliantly clear burnished copper color with a personable creamy light tan head, that erodes rather quickly, leaving a blanket of lace to obscure the glass. Nose has a nice malt sweetness with under tones of fusel alcohol, raisins and a slight musk smell also present, quite a treat for the old schnozzle, start is somewhat sweet with a big malt presence, the top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is benignly acidic and the hop pertinent in their spicy bite, aftertaste has a wine like dryness, a yummy beer that I finally have available at all times, “Hell Yeah”!

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Photo of clayrock81
3.4/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this before and decided to try it on draft at the Tap House in Maryland. Mistake, sort of, on my part. Came a tad colder than it should've w/ no real head and no lacings, but I didn't hold it against the beer. Had a nice dark copper/mahogany color but in the smell all I could really pick up was some spices and malts. It almost had a coffeeish or roasted malt taste when it first hit the tongue, and the hops and alcohol aren't hidden to well. On the plus side, however, it is a very smooth, thinish drink w/ mixed tart fruits in there. I just think I'll stay with the bottle over the draft though.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
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

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.07/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottled on the 13th of October 2011, consumed on the 1st of December. I'm making pancakes for breakfast on Saturday, and figured I'd grab something to make a fun syrup with.

Pouring a clear amber with a thin, off-white head that falls off to a ring rather quickly, leaving no lacing. The nose is rather intensely sweet, though the smell is rather unique in that it leans so heavily on the sugar beets, with a mild phenolic note. Spicy alcohol, and a fruity golden raisin character are all noticeable. Mildly hoppy as well, with an earthy bitterness in the back. Intriguing.

The palate, on the other hand, is a bit of a mess. Spicy alcohol and phenols combine to make a rather paint-thinner like beer with a mild raisin sweetness in the mid-palate before a moderately strong bitterness takes over in the finish, completely ruining everything. The sugar beets add plenty of sweetness. Now, the paint thinner dissipates as the beer breathes, making it moderately more palatable and brings to mind cheap rum, but the bitterness on the finish really clashes with the raisins and the fruity yeast. Full in body, mildly soapy and slick, this beer is lightly carbonated and rather disappointing. I can't imagine drinking more than 4oz at a time, let alone a 4 pack.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Orange/copper color with a lean head that fades a bit. Leaves minimal lacing.

S-Quite light in the nose. The clearest aroma I detect is brown sugar.

T-Heavier on the tongue than in the nose. I get more fruits here. I don't love raisins so I was a bit nervous of the beer. I am a bit happier with the taste than I had expected to be. Quite sugary.

M-Medium body. Well carbonated. Slick.

D-The %8 is hid quite well. That beings said, I do not consider this to be a beer I would ever purchase (received a sixpack as a gift). Happy to try it for free, other than that, I won't be throwing money towards more of this.

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Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,771 ratings.