Raison D'Extra - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

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BA SCORE
89
very good

669 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 669
Hads: 1,327
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 166
Gots: 506 | FT: 46
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 669 | Hads: 1,327
Photo of psumjl269
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Update: I've been looking for this beer since Dogfish inexplicably stopped brewing it in 08/09. It's back and it is dominating. This is a huge, huge beer, but you can't taste the booze at all. All you taste is rich raisons, dates, figs, and other wonderful flavors. My favorite beer of all time, no doubt.


I had a bottle at the DFH restaurant in Falls Church VA in early 2011 that was from 2008. The bartender told me the fermenting process continued in the bottle, adding an extra 2% ABV per year. Not sure if this was true or just a reason to justify the price ($24 per bottle), but this is a total ass kicker. I couldn't drink two of these and be out in public. Very strong, but very tasty. Suitable for a snifter and probably best shared between two.

The beer pours a reddish brown color, but not as red as the DFH Barley Wine. I don't recall much head associated with this beer. The smell is not completely overpowering. I'd say it is slightly malty with undertones of raisons.

This beer tastes outstanding. I am a huge fan of the raison taste. There is a lot of sugar in this beer also, so much so that it will leave your lips stickey. It's very similar to DFH 120 IPA in that regard. If you are looking for something to chug, this is not for you. You know you are drinking a BIG beer and you can taste the booze. However, I found this to go down just fine in small sips, which is how I think all big beers are intended to be consumed.

I think the best thing about this beer, apart from the taste, is how it feels going down. I love the slight alcohol burn going down my throat when it is associated with a cold beer. It is very smooth and not hugely fizzy.

I like DFH very much and have pounced on this beer the last few times I've seen it (twice at DFH in Falls Church and once at Capital Ale House in Richmond). It is a fantastic beer to get the night started, but beware, this could also finish you off. It is probably the strongest beer I've had, but the strength does not impinge on the taste. I'd get it again in a heartbeat despite the high price (over $20 each time I've gotten it for a 12 oz. bottle). (2,130 characters)

Photo of jlenik
4.97/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottled on: 9/23/06

A: The foam was very short lived after pouring into my Dogfish Head signature glass but what I saw was beautiful. I have never seen a beer with a golden head. Stunning. The look is not completely opaque and has a dark amber color that resonates in the light.

S: Raisins and caramel. Alcohol was barely noticeable.

T: Very sweet and very delicious. Raisiny sweetness is the first thing to strike me followed by a caramel malty spike. I barely taste any alcohol in this.

M: Surprisingly thin for such a huge beer. This is very similar to the World Wide Stout since they both stand out as beers while being so "big".

D: Very high. This was a bottle from 2006 so I think that has something to do with it. My suggestion is to let this one sit for a while if you can find it. I don't know why this is discontinued, I like it just as much as the World Wide Stout and this is much more balanced compared to the 120 Minute.

Summary: Drink it and enjoy. (970 characters)

Photo of InkedinRi
4.96/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tried a 2007 vintage and a 2014 on the same night.. My rating is basically for the 2007 I drank.. This beer ages SO well! Fresh off the shelve its a warm alcohol flavor.. With raisins.. A well aged bottle is almost no trace of the 18% abv! And the taste is out of this world! Age it age it age it!! It will be worth the wait! (327 characters)

Photo of bubseymour
4.93/5  rDev +24.5%
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. (410 characters)

Photo of amusedbum
4.92/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I'm shocked that this beer only gets a 90! I have been waiting for Dogfish to bring it back since I first tried it in 2007. It has a great carmel malty aroma it starts out subtle and finishes strong. The high alcohol content makes this a true sipping beer. A good choice to share with someone at the end of the day. (315 characters)

Photo of beakerboy
4.89/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW this is one great smelling & tasting beer!

It pours with a thin, but solid head which leaves excellent lace on the glass. It's a cloudy caramel color with little carbonation. The aroma has a lot of concord grape. It's quite sweet smelling. The flavor is complex with grape and ripe fruit dominating. There's a bit of bitterness, but I don't know if it's hops of maybe the raison skin. This is one heavy beer with a substantial amount of body. Overall, very drinkable..or I should say sipable. The high body makes it difficult to drink quickly.

I didn't realize how high the ABV was while drinking this. An hour later or so and this beer is hitting my system rather stongly. (683 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
4.89/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 9/29/06

Was fortunate enough to share a bottle of this at the Frisco Grill courtesy of Oliver the amazing bartender there. Good place, good guy.

As shown above the bottle was over three years old and it was simply amazing.

There was little to no head that topped the dark brown leather colored beer.

There was a huge glorious aroma. It just went on and on. Raisins, dark fruit, malty goodness, vanilla, maple and molasses.

The flavor was just totally awesome. Vanilla, raisins, dates. Layers and layers. Sweet yet not too sweet.

Smooth as velvet, thick and bold body.

I'd lose a million on a bet about the abv. From scanning other reviews, I am assuming this was due to the age. Time to cellar a couple of these bottles. Wow, this was great. Quite a treat. (773 characters)

Photo of cbeer88
4.89/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz, bottled on 8/30/05. Huge thanks to the overly generous Plenum for tossing this in as an 'extra'.

Appearance: Strong pour into a Duvel tulip yields absolutely no head. Extremely dark reddish orange, almost to the point of solid brown.

Smell: Alcohol, raisins, sweet fruit, and port. Very enticing, can't wait to sip this guy.

Taste: Sublime. The raisins are heavy as one would expect, but there is also a very sweet caramel flavor to balance it out. The alcohol is absolutely there, and it's still a little hot, but you would never guess this guy to be 18%! Bit of caramelized sugar at the end, much like the tasty top of a creme brulee.

Mouthfeel: Low carb, full bodied, very syrupy. But syrupy in a good way, like a desert wine.

Drinkability: Well, you certainly don't want more than one, but for what it is, the drinkability is extremely high. Shockingly smooth thanks to the age, I happily sipped this guy for over 2 hours. Drinks somewhere between a beer and a liquor, not unlike a port. (Particularly as it warmed up to room temp.)

Overall: Excellent beer that is drinking phenomenally right now. I never had the 2005 fresh, so I can't compare it directly, but this is way better than the other batches that I have tried fresh. Unfortunate that they stopped making this beer - probably the finest thing from DFH that I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. If you've never had it, seek one out before it's all gone, and don't be afraid to let it sit for a while. (1,484 characters)

Photo of bmeehan
4.88/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

If you can imagine a beer that tastes like beer, but also has a grapey/raisin taste while not shoving it in your face, you get this. Absolutely fantastic from a fantastic brewery. (179 characters)

Photo of yelterdow
4.86/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle cellared for about a year. There is a code lasered on the bottom of this bottle; it reads 5231 B-12052. I'll serve this in the brewery's oversize snifter.

Appearance- Like a fine cognac, this beer pours a viscous reddish brown. Due to it's enormous ABV, this looks more like a sherry or tawny port than a brew... the thin head immediately disperses to the sides of the glass and then vanishes in seconds. So no bubbles or signs of carbonation now, just a wall of color.

Smell- This nose is amazing. First, aromas congruent with an old ale (dark fruits, leather, richly mature malts) hit the nostrils. Next comes the raisins, sugar, and even some form of fudge chocolate... like some high-end candy bar from space. I could smell this until the sun comes up...

Taste- This isn't "beer". Every wine lover (especially dessert wine enthusiast) needs to try this and know that it exists... it could *easily* replace a port or sherry as a digestif or nightcap, and next time I'll be sure to have the best English Stilton cheese available by its side.

The smoothness is incredible... huge, sweet malts meld perfectly with the billions of raisins, and the character of dark, almost overripe fruits encompasses the entire mouth. After the swallow, the alcohol heat gingerly wafts through the body and inside of the mouth, but it's not taking anything away from the experience. Incredibly balanced and delectable considering its strength.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Although the beer's head is non-existent out of the gate, its texture in the mouth is beautiful and lush. The most subtle, soft carbonation is the canvas for the decadent flavors described earlier. It starts and finishes the same, never fading out. This is a true masterpiece from DFH, and a complex, elegant sipper to be enjoyed with that wedge of Colston Bassett with your name on it. (1,857 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.85/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Super pumped they released this again since 2007 I haven't seen a single bottle since my journey in Craft. Into a pint glass

A- A hard pour resulted in well over 2 inches of tan head way more than I expected but more surprising is it didn't fade out like acid it took some time to dissipate. Beer color is a hazy amber brown.
S - Smell is sweet much sweeter than I expected for the ABV! Sweet caramel soaked raisins, a touch of brown malts, and some semi bitter raisin skins.
T - Actually the best beer I have ever had for the ABV! Smooth sweet caramel mixed with bitter raisin skins and a touch of brown malt twang that keeps it in check.
M - My Opinion? This is one smooth brew for the high octane! It's like the 120 IPA I had on tap but much sweeter like I enjoy!

Overall not that it was meant to chug but I took some hefty swigs of this and got little to no ethanol burn which is surprising since the Olde School barley wine had Ethanol burn and it was only 13%.

Incredible brew that drinks like a DIPA yet my bottle was only aged just a few months. GET SOME! It's the best high octane beer I ever tasted! (1,115 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.85/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

03/18/09- Received as a gift from former BA member Spinlock.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, no sure what vintage...either 2005 or 2006. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- ruby red colored pour. Quickly fading 1/4 inch head on a hard pour. Looks like cognac after the head fades. Some light watery lace plus a really cool brisk stream up upward carbonation from the bottom of the glass.

Smell- Fairly strong nose of sweet roasted caramel, raisins, other assorted dark fruits and even some orange-like flavors. Minor alcohol notes and maybe even some clove.

Taste- Carmelized raisins is the main flavor here. Alcohol is in effect, but it's very well hidden. Plums and dates and a bit of fig as well. Very flavorful.

Mouthfeel- Light but a full carbonation. Just the right thickness. Smooth as silk. Long lasting sweet goodness.

Drinkability- Light alcohol burn towards the middle to the end of the beer...but besides this, you could never tell this is a 20% beer. Great flavors and texture. Near perfect beer. (1,015 characters)

Photo of jondeelee
4.82/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Raison d'Extra is currently listed as "on hiatus" (in terms of brewing) on Dogfish Head's webpage, so finding a bottle could be a task. I stumbled across mine in an out-of-the-way liquor store, after several weeks of searching. Judging by the aroma wafting from the open mouth, it was worth the search: even from six inches away, the aroma is spilling over with heady caramelized brown sugars, dates and raisins, and cognac. Think of kissing a beautiful girl/guy who's just had a mouthful of cognac after chomping on an extra-gooey raisin/chocolate chip muffin, and you're getting close to the picture.

On the tongue, the brew is so immediately overwhelming with sugars, raisins, and extra-strong cognac that my eyes closed involuntarily. The flavors are massive, as if Dogfish Head had brewed ten beers and boiled them down into one concentrated twelve-ounce powerhouse. Vanilla, orange liqueur, banana, anise, and black pepper crash against the teeth in jaw-shocking waves, and just at the end, a huge roll of chocolate malt breaks over the soft palate. The aftertaste is a slow liturgy of cognac and brown sugar, which does peel back to evidence one of the brew's few weaknesses: a massive vodka-sting alcohol hit--but at 18% ABV, I'm fairly sure this can't be helped.

Overall, I'm of the opinion that this is one of the more incredible beers I've ever tasted, and it only adds to my deepest respect for Dogfish Head's abilities. I can see how some people would be overwhelmed by the brew's potency--after all, there is more flavor in one bottle of this than in an entire Anheuser-Busch brewery--but I'm, quite frankly, in love. (1,635 characters)

Photo of jimbomill
4.78/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The pour yields a vey rich dark and red offering. Little head shows up on this pour. The nose is refined and smacks slightly of fruit. The first taste is ultra smooth and finishes with a raisin-syrupy burst. Wow. This is worth the considerable price of admission. This is special. It has no bite, a mild fuity taste and plenty of "relax-U" (ABV) in it. Follow up tasting validates the smoothness and exception level of this brew - think cherries and carmel are having mind-meld on the smoothest surface in the universe (518 characters)

Photo of mophie
4.78/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a treat. I had this tonight at the source in Rehoboth Beach, served in a brandy snifter (yes, it's OK to be jealous). Deep, deep mahogony color with absolutely no head. Smell of cooked/burnt raisins, currants and dates. The taste is actually a more subtle version of their Raison D'etre, almost like a barleywine (which is how some other, less informed sites are categorizing this brew; I'm calling it an experiment). At 20%, you'd expect the alcohol to be overwhelming. It's not. In fact, on the whole this is an incredibly balanced brew, not nearly as heavy as you might expect. Finishes like a sherry, but I like it much, much more. (640 characters)

Photo of Buebie
4.77/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to JoeCeez for this nice extra!

Poured from a brown 12oz bottle. Into an oversized merlot glass. Hazy ppale brown in color with copper highlights when held to light.
Cola like 1 finger head that quickly disappears. No lace, but some very minimal retention around the edges. Leaving a white film over the top surface.

Smell on this is gorgeous! A red wine character with a hint of chocolate in there. Sweet raisins, plums, strawberries. No alcahol fumes, which I find incredible at 20% abv.
Very rich and malty.

Big sweet thick juicy flavor, wow this is good!
Very sweet up front with a flavor that reminds me alot of chocolate dipped strawberries. Some carbonation up front that quickly melts away leaving a thick creamy mouthfeel.
Through the middle and into the swallow the alcahol is mildly detectable, but again at 20% it is not revealing its true alcahol content at all.
Finish is tangy with citric acids, sweet sweet fruity finish. Lingering with some piney hops and more fruit.

This beer is a must have. Well balanced with all its attributes and ingredients.
Well done DFH!! (1,092 characters)

Photo of Nickfellow007
4.74/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First review ever:

12oz 2005 (not sure of exact date) bottle poured into a "Stone Double Bastard" snifter glass.

Appearance: Very clear but almost maroon colored on initial pour, second half murky and dark red/brownish.

Smell: Dark fruit, apples for sure, heavy amount of raisons, maple syrup....very "fall" type smells going on here.

Taste: SWEETNESS. Heavy amount of raisons, apples, lots of dark fruits. Very rich and full after 7+ years of aging. Perfectly balanced and drinkable while keeping a solid kick of alcohol with every sip.

Mouthfeel: First half; CLEAR: thinner than expected...surprisingly drinkable without the overwhelming feeling of a beer at the end of its prime...BUT amazing nonetheless.
Second half; Murky, full of those rich dark fruits and exceptional with its full body.

Verdict: I've been sitting on this one for a while, and since it is my 26th birthday I decided to crack this one open with my lady. The amazing part is the difference between the first pour and the second. I tried the first "clear" pour and then my second half of the bottle, and for me the second part tasted fuller and richer. This may have something to do with the overwhelming cloudiness and sediment that was lying in this 7+ year old beast. I've heard a lot of rumors about the sediment enhancing the flavors over time, and this one is certainly is an exceptional example of that. Smooth, rich, and an overall winner with this one. Looking forward to the '07 and the other '05 I have waiting in the wings. Thanks for reading my first review while I'm drunk on my birthday BA'S. (1,586 characters)

Photo of JamieDuncan
4.74/5  rDev +19.7%
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. (339 characters)

Photo of magnj
4.74/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage split between 2 snifters

A - Deep copper bordering on brown, transparent on the edges but certainly not clear. No head.

S - The aroma is just pouring out the top of this glass like it's made of helium or something. Huge. Luxurious. Sweet. Dark fruit, deep caramel, slightly alcoholic but not at all hot or boozy. Smells like a liquor.

T - Quite like it smells. Just absolute massive flavor. Deep dark caramel, dark fruits, vaguely charred wood.

M/D - Full oily chewy body, I would expect nothing less from an 18% brew. Taste lingers just about forever, I want to drink more but I know that just a half of the 12oz is the equivalent of 2 Coors lights...so I must pace myself. I'm unsure how much this cost me, it may have been near $10 more than a year back but I don;t care, this is awesome. I will look for more. (830 characters)

Photo of JasonA
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
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. (583 characters)

Photo of duplisea
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

September 2006 release.

Back in Feb. of 2011 a buddy at work told me that the brewery in Lewis, DE was selling off their last cases of this great and rare brew. So I took a trip down to Delaware and behold! They had two case for sale thou we were limited to just two 4-packs. I purchased the limit.

P - Pours a cloudy brown color with a nice tan head that vanishes after a few minutes. Some lacing.

A - Lots of dark fruit here, figs, cherries, raisins, then caramel.

T - Taste like it smells and compares to a nice sherry or port.

M - Low carbonation, full body. Smooth.

O - Very drinkable but a sipper. Don't know the alcohol content due to aging, my guess is 20%. The alcohol is hidden well, not so much for the 2007 release which I had earlier this year. (764 characters)

Photo of guitarmage
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice brown copper, clear, off white foam leaves a ring of lacing.

Smell: Caramel, raisin, a spicy alcoholic character, big round maltiness, faint hoppiness balances it out.

Taste: Very sweet, molasses, raisin, caramel, alcohol warmth in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Nice creamy mouthfeel, full bodied and smooth. Low carbonation.

Drinkability: Delicious to sip like a brandy, but smooth enough to drink several except you'll get drunk. (451 characters)

Photo of tsreynolds
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cracked a bottle dated Sept. 2006 that I've been holding for a while. Didn't realize this is discontinued, should probably see if my shop has any more.

This is one to let sit. The 2006 tasted like a 5% ABV. It was so smooth and easy to drink. Not too much alcohol heat at all. The flavor was very complex and delicious. The other reviews say enough to the flavor. Just wanted to note that it certainly mellows out very well with time. Wish I hadn't opened this one but I am sure there are more to be had. Very very good beer. (526 characters)

Photo of specksnreds
4.72/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a three year-old bottle (03/2007). It's all about the age. A much smoother and complex beer compared to the fresh version. Stunningly complex in the nose and taste. Flan notes in the nose with little apparent alcohol. Taste is of Heath bar, roasted nuts, raisins and again little alcohol. Much less burn than the early ones I had.

I have one left and will try to score another. I wasn't a big fan of this beer early on, but it's morphed into something else entirely....in a good way. (494 characters)

Photo of WOBrewstraveler
4.71/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at DFH brewpub. A really smooth, big beer with a gorgeous carmel color. No mistaking this is a 'big' high-alcohol beer, both in the nose an the low carbonation. Deliciously smooth, without much bite from the 16 ABVs. Sweet and rich tasting. The snifter size is plenty. A real treat, extra happy to have it back and looking forward to forgetting about a few bottles to age in our stash. (402 characters)

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 669 ratings.