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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

4,156 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,156
Reviews: 1,767
rAvg: 3.65
pDev: 15.07%
Wants: 77
Gots: 300 | 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: 4,156 | Reviews: 1,767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of akorsak
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am drinking a cold 12 oz. bottle poured into a Three Philosopher's goblet.

Appearance: Dark brown in color, this beer allows some light to pass through. It poured with little head that is now a fleeting white ring around the top of the beer.

Smell: The aroma of grapes and sugar are evident immediately. The grapes do not have a winey smell to them, making this beer smell unlike most any other beers you may encounter.

Taste: Grapes and malt are the dominant taste here. The sugars added to the ale are noticeable immediately upon sipping. After the sugars, the aforementioned grapes and malts appear and leave a lasting finish.

Mouthfeel: The ale sits very nicely on the palate. The combination of sugars and grapes give a somewhat sweet taste that lingers.

Drinkability: Very drinkable. The 8% abv is a little tough, so beware.

akorsak, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of BARFLYB
2.85/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into a Dogfish pint glass. Pretty fresh at 2 months old.

A- Raison D'Etre pours a medium brown color with red highlights while up towards light. A very clean brew as there is not much, if any sediment. A 1/2 inch head comes through then disappears leaving a slice of off-white head. A whole lot of rising bubbles.

S- A good smell consisting of a lot of sugars (including brown) and caramel. Roasted malts with some syrups maybe. Under that the raisin shows up with a layer of yeast also creating an earthy scent.

T- The raisin is apparent and sugars are up front creating a sweet assault on the mouth before leaving. After that some smoky qualities arise while some dark fruits and a dash of coffee and even less chocolate. The caramel and roasted malt stays throughout each swig with some alcohol presence. Overall, this really isn't my thing with the set of ingredients chosen, leaning towards the yeast.

M- Reminds me of a smooth bock. Not as thick on the mouth as some DFH offerings but leaves it's mark. A nice bit of carb going for this as well. A bit of a hassle to get through. Not a pleasing aftertaste.

D- Not my favorite DFH offering honestly & i love their experimentation but not this one.. I had trouble with even this 12oz serving. Maybe this would be better in a cask, but i don't see myself having that in the future. I will look out for this on tap and compare.

I am going to try the D'Extra but if it's double the taste of this then forget about it.

BARFLYB, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer pours a deep mahogany brown crystal clear body with a thin film of light tan head. The bubbles are very sluggish at rising to the surface.

S- The smell of dark fruit and toasted malt with a hint of sweetness are balanced by a vinous and slightly hoppy nose.

T- This beer has a smooth light malt flavor with finish that is vinous with a hint of hops. There is not much dark toasted malt base or much complexity to the taste. It finishes with a hint of alcohol and a bitterness.

M- Medium-light mouthfeel with a fizziness that makes the mouthfeel appear more full. No astringency but some alcohol warmth.

D- This beer is dry and has some interesting flavors but it is missing a lot of complexity. The raisins and beets just don't have the complexity that are needed in the malt bill to make this a good solid beer in this style.

rhoadsrage, Oct 25, 2005
Photo of Zorro
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed through the miracle of BIF 43 NC Lotto and hoppedup.

Pours a clear brown ale with a very slight head formation. When held up to the light this is bronze colored ale with maybe a little extra red to it.

Smell is sweet malty and bready yeast to the nose. Fair whiff of coffee aroma from dark malt and apple and grape aromas. Toffee, butterscotch and some scorched sugar aromas are also in this. Alcohol is detectable in the smell, but it carries pepper, roses and peach aromas to the nose.

Taste is sweet and a little bready at the start. A mild flavored ale the first thing that gets my attention is a little coriander and coffee and smoke flavor. Fairly malty but this seems a bit under flavored.

Mouthfeel is good.

This is certainly a drinkable beer but I really expected more from DFH. The flavor is just too mild for my tastes.

Zorro, Jun 24, 2006
Photo of jdhilt
4.38/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one-fingered white head leaving a good lace, Nice amber color. Very good carbonation. Sweet raisin nose. Starts sweet - mouthfeel is fizzy and finish is somewhat dry but good. The high ABV is not noticeable so be wary of this. A very good spiced beer.

jdhilt, Nov 17, 2003
Photo of afsdan
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

afsdan, May 21, 2014
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Chimay chalice. A ruby colored beer when held to light. A well constructed pour yeilds a small head that recedes to a ring and leaces spotted lacing.

Smell: Over ripe fruit, malt, alcohol.

Taste: Raisen obviously, but also getting alot of malts. Caramel and roasted malts giving off chocolatey/sugary goodness. Liquid Raisenets. Belgian yeast tries to fight through it all. No real hop presence just enough to keep it from cloying sweetness. As it warms some alcohol makes itself known, but its not detracting from the other flavors.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied yet very carbonated.

Drinkability: Very tasty, somewhat strong. I purchased a whole case of this fine Dogfish Head brew and its nearly gone. Lovely stuff.

Stinkypuss, Jul 24, 2010
Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Mebuzzard, Feb 25, 2012
Photo of BillRoth
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

BillRoth, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of smakawhat
4.4/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It's been a long road. It's time to revist this beer from such a long time ago. Dated October 28th 2011, poured into an official Dogfish Head Raison D'etre goblet. Loved this so much back in the day I bought the glasses for it.

Not much head produced barley a finger through a center punch, what is there is a faint caramel/tan that falls and leaves a good collar and slight puck. What a gorgeous body color this is though, red amber and clear with these brown edges. It really looks like a ruby.

Nose is slighty raisin, but it smells like baked fresh fruitcake. Cherries, carmalized sugars, fresh baked bread. Topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Real impressive.

I am going to knock my taste and mouthfeel score down slightly here. Slightly wetter palate than most Belgian Strong Dark Ales, but misses the viscosity angle. Bready tasty action in the fore front, but not much of the sweetness or fruit character comes through. Finish is a little citrus like, with a little carbonation prickly sting and raisin, it's still quite neat as I remember it.

Overal I still really like this, I think my enthusiasm for this beer though has gone down having tried more of this style from other producers in Belgium. However, I still really enjoy it, strangely I use to be able to get it more often but I rarely see it around as much. Too bad.

Old Review (Feb 6th 2010)

Hands down my go to beer, Raison D'etre is a perfectly bodied, complicated aroma of raisin and somewhat dark bread bouquet. Has a thick mouthfeel and has a wonderful lingering finish as well.

Had on tap and in bottles and both manage to be downright refreshing when well.

I say well, because the beer does have a SHORT shelf life and it's very easy to get a bad one, or have one from a tap that has been sitting too long. When you do, it becomes extremely sour tasting and the bouquet is dead.

Even still I absolutely love this beer. (4,4,5,4.5,4.5)

smakawhat, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of DrBier
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

DrBier, Jul 26, 2014
Photo of Wasatch
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown/copper color, not much carbonation, very small head which dissappeared quickly, not much lacing at all. Scents are sweet, grapes, and caramel. Nice sweet caramel taste with a dry kinda flat finish though, the alcohol is hidden pretty well. Medium body. This brew is very drinkable, another excellent brew from dogfish head.

Wasatch, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of brandoman63
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

brandoman63, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of biegaman
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is my second time re-reviewing this beer and my impressions, notes and appreciation seem to change each time. My initial observation was a dark and flat mahogany coloured beer, something that strongly resembled coca-cola. My second bottle was full of carbonation and boast a thick, fluffy head.

The appearance in this one is somewhat grimy; its body is speckled with a murky toffee colouring and its slushy complexion makes it entirely intransparent. The light sparks small spatters of rose and orange. Its surface is barren, absent of any head.

The aroma is enticing and showcases both of the two ingredients boasted on its label: raisins and sugar. There is a soft but savory note of caramelizing brown sugar. The raisins seem accompanied by other dark fruits. The malt bill is quite befitting to integrate these two.

The mouthfeel and makeup is not all that akin to a Belgian strong dark ale, although its flavour profile is strikingly similar. Whether from the malts, the sugar, the raisins or some combination of the above the taste is chalk full of fruity esters, light phenols, plums, dates, and bready butterscotch. It all tastes pretty darn good.

This bottle, like some I've had previously, is under carbonated and runs a little close to being syrupy and drinks as a sort of phenolic, fruity nectar. Each time I try the beer I seem to enjoy this sugary, phenolic, bready, caramel laced tipple more and more. I've also found aging can have interesting (and beneficial) results.

Like most all of Dogfish Head beers this one is more "off centered" sounding than it is tasting. As far as strong dark ales go this wouldn't hold a candle to Belgium's best but it does make for an enjoyable drink, and I think that's enough 'raison d'etre' to keep buying and drinking it.

biegaman, Aug 26, 2008
Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +9.6%

rab53, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of KAF
3.25/5  rDev -11%

KAF, Jul 05, 2014
Photo of tdm168
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich reddish amber with one finger of head that quickly dissipates to a thin lacing. There are carbonation bubbles rising to the top. Smell is sweet with the beet sugar coming through quite pungently; there is a slight yeastiness to it as well. Taste is rich and sweet. The beet sugar dominates here, I can't really detect the green raisins over the beets' sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied but highly carbonated with bubbles breaking across the palate.

Overall, it's a nice change of pace from your typical Belgian beer, but DFH has better to offer.

tdm168, Jul 23, 2011
Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

undated 12oz bottle served in a pint glass.

I just altered my BA profile last night to conclude that Belgian Strong Dark Ale deserves listing as my favorite style not so much because several of my favorites are this style but because every beer in this style I had reviewed had received a high A- or better) rating. Well, less than 24 hours later I'll need to revise my profile thanks to this Dogfish Head.

The DH gets off to a good start, with a lovely reddish amber color and a lasting, creamy looking light tan head. The liquid is clear and the head is multi-density.

The aroma is pleasant but rather mild and lacks depth and complexity being mainly the aroma of various ripe and dark fruits with some alcohol esters, grape bubblegum and a just hint of hops. The alcohol aromas become more pronounced with warming, leading me to lower my rating of this aspect.

This is an exceptionally fruity beer, with a flavor profile dominated by prunes, plums, raisins and generic sour fruits. The tartness nicely contrasts with the sweetness of the aroma. The ABV is not only apparent, it actually seems higher than 8%, as if someone sprinkles some light rum in my beer (no, I'm home alone at the moment).

M - medium body; smooth, but with a tad too little carbonation.

O - Well, I can still say I haven't had a Belgian Strong Dark Ale I disliked. This one departs from the admittedly highly variable flavor profile of this beer style. Where's the malt? It is still a moderately enjoyable if disappointing offering from DH. I'll buy another bottle but try aging it first.

chinchill, Aug 03, 2011
Photo of dmorgan310
4/5  rDev +9.6%

dmorgan310, Jul 16, 2012
Photo of Kelp
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Kelp, Mar 04, 2013
Photo of billab914
3.48/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a caramel brown color with a slight red tint. Poured with a small white head that disappeared quickly only to leave a little lacing.

Aroma is malty and sweet with some fruit characteristics. Also detect some wood aromas.

Taste is sweet and malty with some fruit flavors. Slightly tangy and bitter with a little spiciness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodies with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is average. I could enjoy one of these but not something I want to have much more of.

billab914, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4/5  rDev +9.6%

iL0VEbeer, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Latarnik, Jun 01, 2014
Photo of sendbeer
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

sendbeer, Oct 30, 2012
Photo of beerthulhu
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark ruby-amber with a slight, foamy beige head that went quickly and quietly.

S: filled with dried fruit (prunes, raisins) and some sweet dried molasses.

T: much the same with a noticeable raisiny essence, prunes and some dark brown sugar sweetness. The palate is overall malty with some dried fruit juice sweetness. There is some alcohol and dates as well detected in the finish.

M: full, thick, syrupy, and viscose with some raisiny grist left behind.

D: A touch sweet with a considerable abv of 8.00% will limit this to a one trick pony drinkability wise, but its not to say you shouldn't try it as it provides an unique flavor and experience.

beerthulhu, Oct 17, 2008
Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 4,156 ratings.