Raison D'Extra - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,314 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,314
Reviews: 697
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 13.58%
Wants: 165
Gots: 496 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  18.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002

A bigger, bolder version of our Raison Raison D'Être.

This is a bulbous, brown ale brewed with a bunch of malt, brown sugar and raisins.

40 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,314 | Reviews: 697
Reviews by matjack85:
More User Reviews:
Photo of hreb
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The return of Raison D'Extra! I remember loving this beer years ago, and being so disappointed that it was being 'retired' (apparently only for an 8 year hiatus), while the much inferior Raison D'Être lived on. Very excited to see it return.

This 12 oz bottle has no ABV labeling. It pours deep ruby, on the brown side of red, with a thin tan head, and crystal clear. Very striking looking in this Chimay chalice. Aroma is rich and fruity: raisins of course, and plums. But even served cold there is a little bit of ethanol in the nose. The flavors of this beer are immediate, rich, fruity, and pleasant. Slightly tart raisins, treacly malts. But the initial flavors fade, leaving a thin middle, and finish with a serious dose of alcohol. It doesn't taste 18%, but I'd guess at least 12%.

Belgian strong dark ale doesn't describe this accurately. This is barleywine in a more literal than average sense. Sam from DFH described it as intending to bring some qualities from red wine over to beer. I think it succeeds.

In this young, uncellared form I find it not to be particularly complex. The result is merely great, not outstanding. I must buy more to cellar for a couple years while this is still available.

Photo of bubseymour
4.93/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the best made big beers I've ever had. Sampled at DFH Alehouse in Gaithersburg MD on tap. Very sweet and smooth and rich. Minimal boosiness and no burn for an 18% brew. This beer hovers somwehere in a hybrid state between an English Barleywine and Big Belgian Quad/Strong Dark Ale. Lots of dark fruit flavor (raisin/fig etc). Classification is irrelevant. This may be the best DFH beer ever made.

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.74/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had this one on tap at the Dogfish head in Gaithersburg. Blown away. I am a fan of the Strong Dark Belgian to begin with so there was a good chance I would like it. Blew me away, outstanding taste and drinkability and it just did not come across as strong as it is listed. I hope to have this beer again many times, the top 1% of beer.

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a reddish brown color. a finger or so of a tannish head with good retention and a semi-strong lacing left behind. serious alcohol legs as it swirls around. nearly opaque but shows some signs of clarity and brightness.

Smell: raisins, plums, brown sugar and pure ethanol. some hints at belgian aspects but not too much.

Taste: opens with raisins and other dark fruits such as plums, dates and prunes. a strong brown sugar sweetness comes through along with some belgian like dark candi sugar. the back has a burning, intense alcohol.

Mouthfeel: not overly heavy or thick but certainly there. sweet and with huge amounts of alcohol burn and warmth. lingering burning.

Overall: of the big dogfish head beers this is easily the hottest on the alcohol. serious burning. this one has ageable written all over it. with great flavors but so unrounded. can be tasty at times and deadly at others.

Photo of tjmiller718
3.12/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: deep mahogany brown, light carbonation, skimming off white head.
N: syrupy dark fruits – raisin, prune, plum, caramelized brown sugars, marshmallow, faint caramel/toffee, almost medicinal like floral note finishes it up -surprisingly pleasant.
T: wow, really intense- matches nose quite similarly. Intense dark fruits, burnt brown sugars, soft marshmallow, faint toffee/caramel notes, light Belgian yeast presence
B: incredibly warm, boozy, low carbonation, thick/syrupy mouthfeel.

Overall: This is such an intense beer, crazy warm/burning, tons of dark fruits, but a bit too syrupy/medicinal for me. It's an experience to say the least, and I enjoyed it better than 120 Minute. I appreciate the boundaries DFH push, but this isn't something I'd have to consume again. Well worth the try though.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

LOOK: Gorgeous ruby red with pretty good clarity. Head recedes to a ring. No sediment, small ring of head lasting through.

SMELL: Deeply aromatic malt, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, loads of caramel. Even some cocoa and raisin going against a wall of caramel sugars. Alcohol and yeast stank make me just intoxicated by aroma alone.

TASTE: Big dry malt, full malt flavor actually, brown sugar and caramel, some hops are kicking around also. Faint cedar, almost like this beer was "randalled" through a cigar box in a small portion. Toffee, cacao, minty hops, black forest cherry, and caramel creme. Alcohol is there but not as intense as would be expected from roughly 18% abv.

FEEL: Just sits there on the palate permeating and then after the swallow, just disappears off the tongue. Full bodied, smooth for the strength, but definitely a bruiser.

OVERALL: A very tasty, extra special beer from Dogfish Head, and a "Classic Extreme Beer". Very enjoyablle.

Photo of edentonbill
4.62/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

An expensive, rich, and complex brew. At an 18% ABV and a $10.00 a bottle price, you'll want to savor every sip. Enjoyed from the 12 oz. bottle, it is best just slightly warmer than refrigerator temperature to get full benefit. Obviously extraordinary, well worth the investment.

Photo of delta490
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep slightly cloudy brown with a reddish tint to it. The Head was white but gone in a flash. All that remains is a thin ring which leaves small soapy lacing. The aroma is big and rich, malty with deep fruit and brown sugar. The taste is equally robust and actually more-so. A little bit of alcohol adds to its appeal, which is impressive since its 18% ABV. You won't taste it but you will feel it. The body is thick on the palate and smooth throughout. This one probably would be good to age (as recommended) but isn't cheap for a 12oz. bottle.

Photo of Dirtyhands
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Fantastic strong ale, wish it was available more often. The heavy malt bill imparts a lot of character on this one. A nose that reminds me of some sort of unbelievably fruity syrup.

Figs, plums and raison with notes of grape and the faintest hint of something tropical. Thankfully, all of this is balanced very well for such a powerful beer. Seek this out, if only to try once with friends.

Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.93/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Surprised by the head I was able to generate on such a huge beer. The head is khaki and sticks around well. Body is a deep ruby.

Aroma is hugely sweet and raisiny with a tinge of alcohol. Plum, cinnamon, cherry, and a little spice.

Taste is sweet and fruity with raisin and plums. Alcohol hits heavier on the palate. Ends with some spice.

Slightly syrupy with a mild level of carbonation but enough to move the beer along and not feel super heavy.

Surprisingly drinkable for the ABV.

Photo of arizcards
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a single at the Craft Beer Hop Stop after work yesterday for $9.99. Bottled on 11-21-14. This is the first of a two-part review. I plan on trying my 2007 version on Sunday. The overall rating is an average of the two vintages.

Beer poured brown with a little head after an aggressive pour which dissipated quickly. 3.5

Nose is raison city and sugar plums - very sweet. Some notes of sherry too. 4.25

Taste is raisons and plums marinated in sherry. Sweet without being cloying. The biggest surprise is no alcohol burn which I was fully expecting. 4.25

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but not overly smooth as I would expect with a Belgian. 3.5

Overall this is a nicely crafted beer! I cannot imagine how DFH pulled this off. I look forward to trying the 2007 version! 4.0

Sunday 1-11-15 review of the 2007 version. Purchased from the now closed Sportsman's Fine Wines back on Halloween 2007 for $8.99. Bottled on 3-15-2007.

Beer poured brown with very little head after an aggressive pour. 3.0

Nose is very strong of raisons and other dark fruits, very nice. 4.5

Taste has lost all trace off the hops so this is now a full on after dinner aperitif. This is a very nice sipper which is now all raisons and plum. This version seems to have more alcohol warming with each sip. 4.5

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. It seems thicker and drinks more like a barleywine. 4.0

Overall I am very impressed with this older brew. It did spend some time at 55 degrees and did spend time in my regular beer fridge in the door panel which is probably in the low 40's. I would recommend buying 2 of these and approach the try one now and one the next time DFH releases this brew - it was definitely a fun approach!

Photo of LennyBound
5/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Fantastic brew. Definitely worth the $10.

Photo of tkdchampxi
4.28/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 is fantastic and drinking really well right now. No need to cellar

Pour it and let it open up a bit, and it will thank you with a wonderful, thick, dark fruit, raisin, port wine presence and amazing smoothness. Light notes of chocolate with some roasted malt

It's strong, but it doesn't taste anything near 18%.

Loving this beer

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have sampled this a few times in the past this was the first time drinking a whole bottle in itself.Poured a deep chesnut brown with some reddish/orange tint thruout a well formed but quick to fade 1/2 finger head atop.,dark fruit and more dark fruit in the nose hence the name of the beer I suppose,hints of orange essence and warming alcohol.The "big" alcohol is not as "big" as some would think it would be hereit stays underneath the layers of flavors for the most part at least until it becomes room temp.Raisin flavors packed to the hilt along with prune an underlying nutty terrine-like character seems to always be there,notes of brown sugar and caramel round out the flavor profile.A great nightcap brew and it wont bite you to hard,very nicely done by DFH.

Photo of RoyalT
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Brownish-orange in color with a decent head and some tiny carbonation.

Smell – The yeast is very dark, almost coffee-like, and the raisins add to this aroma. The chocolate cookie dough is subtle but laced with alcohol.

Taste – The dark yeast comes out nicely at the tongue, especially as the ale warms. The fruits, laden with raisins as promised on the label, are very well blended. The finish is sweet but light melon with more of the yeast.

Mouthfeel – Surprisingly thin. It may be medium-bodied at best. It’s very smooth though and goes down more like a juice than a BSDA.

Drinkability – This went down well considering the package. It went down much easier than the 120 Minute which has the same ABV. Don’t drink this at a friend’s then try to drive home though. When the chart says that you can have three beers a night and still be legally sober, they’re talking Bud not DFH.

Update – Popped a small bottle 2005 in Jan ’06. This is a real heavy-hitter. I enjoyed the Mouthfeel a little more this time around – big alcohol but not stingy – so upped the rating by 0.5.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.9/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Nice bottle with a freshness date and honest description of the beer.

Pours a beautiful deep brown but with a very disappointing and short-lived head.

The smell and taste are both overwhelmingly dominated by raison, brown sugar, and mahogany (almost hickory like) smoke.

I believe that the brewers of this beer were trying to do something very unique and interesting here but for my tastes they fell short. I usually like smoky beers but this one made me feel like I was chewing on millet rather than sipping a refreshing brew.

The mahogany and raison really covers up any other things that are going on in this beer. It was also a little too sweet and alcoholy making it undrinkable as a session beer.

I am being very critical and I don’t want to sell this beer too short. It’s not all bad but in this style it faces some tough competition and just doesn’t stand up. It lacks the complexity that makes other Belgian strong darks interesting and it’s forward sugary alcohol taste does nothing to contain the high ABV deeming it undrinkable.

I feel fare in my mostly negative review of this beer because I drank it with two other fans of strong Belgians who couldn’t even finish their goblets. They would have rated it much lower.

Photo of ricke
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Reddish amber with a very small head that leaves minimal lacings.

S: A very powerful smell of sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, alcoholic fumes and most of all raisins in abundance. The smell is quite reminiscent of fine spirits.

T: The taste is very sweet with malts, caramel and raisins everywhere. Notes of cocoa, leather and wood. The finish is mildly bitter with more sweetness and more raisins to it. The alcohol is present already in the mouth and becomes really strong in the finish - like a warming sweet liqueur or a cognac.

M: Full-bodied with a gentle carbonation.

D: A strange, yet intriguing beer. The amount of sweetness and raisin flavors in this one are off the chart. I didn't think it was overly complex since the character is so reliant on sweet boozy raisins, but I really enjoyed it nonetheless. Stating that it's a sipper is probably superfluous - this one drinks as a fine cognac. My sample consisted of about a third of a bottle, and that was almost more than enough. I don't think I would want to drink a whole bottle of it on my own.

Photo of kaimcm
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Publik House 9/24/05. Right on for having it guys!

A: Beautiful tawny copper color. No head at all, none, but not a surprise with ABV 20%. Nice and clear.

S: The nose was interesting and complex, but not overwhelming. Notes of raisons and caramel, not really any alcohol.

T: Just delicious. Strong rasin quality, very vinous. Very reminiscent of an Oloross sherry. Sweet but not too much. Big malt profile, the alcohol is almost unnoticeable. A touch of honey. Really a brilliant balance in this beer, everything works together.

M: Quite syrupy, with just a hint of carbonation. Just enough to keep it lively. Great wieght.

D: Very high alcohol, but its balanced very well. Could get you in trouble real fast if you werent careful. As Ive mentioned before, I dont know how to handle this category. It was "exceptionally drinkable" so it gets a 5.

Just awesome. DFH has done it again. I feel like their real genious is evident in the balance of most of their beers, espicially the huge ones like this. Cheers!

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.97/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been looking forward to this one for awhile. 2005 vintage with bright yellow cap. Pours from the 12oz bottle a deep garnet read with only a small ring of bubbles around the the glass. At this ABV I wasn't expecting any lasting head. Aromas of sweet burnt brown sugar colliding with a wall of raisins. Notes of caramel and some spice, slightly vinous. Quite nice overall.

First sip brings a quite sweet caramel/brown sugar maltiness accentuated by a upfront distinct raisin flavor. Slightly syrupy with vanilla, cherry and more dark fruity notes. Maybe a hint of molasses as well. Alcohol is amazingly well hidden, however the warming on the throat reminds me it is there in force. A huge, sweet, rasiny ale that is a tasty sipper and most definetly a unqiue creation.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly syrupy slick. Goes down smooth with very mellow carbonation. A very nice late night sipper for me. The 12oz bottle should do perfectly. I have a few more of these that I plan to sit on for awhile and see where they go. Give it a shot. Thanks to goodbyeohio for tossing this my way.

Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Available now on tap at Max's On Broadway in Fells Point, Baltimore, which is where I tried it.

This beer arrived in a small flute glass - probably only 6 ounces. Possibly less. But then, as this beer was listed on the menu at 21%, 6oz is all you need.

As you already know, everything about this beer is strong, dark, and handsome. The only other beer i've had as strong as this is Samuel Adams Triple Bock. Unlike that beer, though, the Raison D'Extra is palatable. For being so strong in alcohol content, it is really quite smooth in the finish. The alcohol is very present, of course, but it blends well with all the spices in the beer.

The mouthfeel? Its as if you could chew this beer. Very thick and complex.

Unfortunately, or maybe just obviously, this beer has a low drinkability level. I'm surprised it comes in 12oz bottles. That seems like too much at once. 6oz was enough for me, and i split it with 2 friends!

Photo of JasonA
4.72/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks for letting me know it was available Oliver!!

Pours a deep mahogany carmel. It just looks thick with light carbonation, haf finger of weirdly thick white head. Yummy.

oh my. Deep rum-raison. Lightly hopped that is quite nice and subtle at the same time. I could sit and smell this all night.

boom. Smack of sweet, rum soaked raison, medium malt thick and yummy. No bite considering. Right up the nose, barely warming, but you know the ABV is present.

Not very syrupy considering. Sits extremely well considering ABV

I want more. I would love to have a case of this aging.

Photo of lordofthewiens
2.43/5  rDev -40%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer was an amber color with a very small, almost nonexistent, tan head and a tiny amount of lacing. It had a strong sweet fruit odor. The taste was all fruit, and way, way too sweet. It was fairly smooth, but to me not too drinkable. Maybe it should be a dessert wine??

Photo of marvin213
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thick mahogany, this cloudy concoction foams and fizzes beautifully for a three-year-old vintage (3/15/07). The foam cap doesn't linger long, but it dissipates in a swirl. Even after it has seemingly vanished, new bubbles swirl from the depths like a galaxy. It looks as if alive!

Smells like a boatload o' raisins--who knew, right? It's got some alcohol now...and combined with that rich color, I must admit I got a lil' furniture/furniture polish sorta vibe. Not exactly like a candle, but it's gotta bring some heat at 18%!

This is a monster. The initial sip is like wow--delicious, but you have to hold it and feel it because you're scared to swallow. It's like...gulp! Big, bad-ass brew right chere! Like some of the other big-boy, dotted-bottle cap Dogfish Head offerings, it's a novelty. Even three years mellowed, it's on me. Like cognac, it burns.

The initial tongue-touch is misleading--raisiny, almost wine-like, and the feel is surprisingly light. But you know when it heads down you're gonna fill it. It's got that whole "fun to be scared" vibe to it, like as if going to a haunted house to get your socks scared off.

As for drinkability, it's too damn menacing to be "good." You aren't breaking this one out often. It's a tough-guy opportunity in a moonshine sorta way. Some people actually like moonshine--and it's not that tough because it is actually a beer, but sipping thru 12 ounces'll put hair on your nuts. Gotta love DFH for bringin' it.

Photo of Beerswag
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Looks is nice, copper and reddish tones. The smell is not very probounced, yet I do get some dried fruit and sweet malt. I get the raisin on the first sip, dried apricot, red apple, plum, and nice yeast contrast. Malt backbone crmel. Extremely smooth and very light body for the abv. Pair with chutneys, lamb, duck.

Photo of merlin48
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 9/29/06 according to the stamp on the neck of the bottle. Pours a hazy, burnished copper body with a small beige head that quickly falls to a film. Lack of lacing is no surprise given the octane of this puppy. Aroma opens with a fusel bubblegum note I've noticed in some of the other big DFH brews. There's a strong raisin presence, obviously, as well as plum and caramel notes. Mouthfeel is medium full with low carbonation. Taste is very fruity sweet. Raisins, plums, and berries make a strong impression, with some caramel and toffee underneath. It's impossible to cover up the enormous alcohol here, but it's actually not that obtrusive as a slow sipper. Another very interesting big beer from the good folks at DFH.

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 1,314 ratings.