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Raison D'Extra | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 18.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 696 | Ratings: 1,451
Photo of stakem
3.03/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Been holding on to a single old bottle from 2007 and meaning to drink it ever since the new batch came out in 2014. So, here are notes from the side by side comparison of a 3/15/07 bottle verse the 2014.

The old one is hazy brown in color with no head formarion. The freshy is a polished clear amber color with a khaki head that appears and fades quick to a thin film.

The nose on the old one basically smells sugary with booze and a touch of minerals. The new one smells of brown sugar and cider.

The taste is quite alcohol centric on both. Surprisingly, 9 years in the bottle did little to temper how hot tasting the old bottle was. Plenty of fusel alcohol, brown sugar and slight herbal bitterness. The fresher bottle maintains that brown sugary quality but with a strong focus on cider that I really didnt care for.

Both of these brews are full bodied and boozy. Ive been waiting years to drink this and I honestly feel that if you have old bottles, they are still good to hold on to as far as not being oxidized. However, the flavor profile on both the old and new left a lot to be desired. A bit of a let down in my opinion, I dont feel like I need to drink this ever again.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.73/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Sampling '07 and '14 vertical.
look: very clear tawny. not much of a head or lacing.
smell: The '07 smells like a nice sherry, a raisin sherry. Rich as all hell. '14 doesn't rate nearly as high.
taste: Not quite up to the nose but pretty damn good. Rich, dark sugared fruit. Rich and some sweetness.
Quite a creation.

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Photo of MJSFS
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle dated 11/21/14 poured into a DFH chalice L: ice tea appearance with a minimum head with zero retention. alcohol legs on the glass A: raisin and dark fruits with brown sugar overtones T: taste follows the nose M: heavy and syrupy, which is to be expected considering the alcohol content O: just an incredible experience. I paid $20 for this bottle because Sam Calagione was at the beer shop I bought the bottle at and he signed the label. I'm glad I bought it, and I will buy more of these when/if I see them.

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Photo of SABERG
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage bottle poured into a Spaten cylinder.
A - Aged mahogany color, mocha cap is supported by active carbonation.
S - Dark fruit, raisin, caramel, burnt sugar, toffee, remarkable depth.
T - Fig, dark sugar, dark roasted malts, and a touch of autumn.Alcohol is hidden well.
M - Fabulously rich, slick and complete in body. Carbonation cleans things up.
O - A decadent treat, to had. A rich desert with some punch.

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Photo of Lukass
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle, been seeking this one out for a while and finally found one!

Pours a murky amber brown, with some crazy patterns going on the suds rising to the surface. Smells of raisins, Belgian yeast, and fruit cake. Taste is rich - but not in a cloyingly sweet sort of way like some of the other DF high gravity offerings are. This one has a near perfect mouthfeel for being 18%. Smooth carbonation, with a definite flavor of brown sugar coated dark fruits, sherry-like tones, and some warming from the alcohol, but not boozy at all. Just very well-balanced throughout, and probably one of the best 15+ abv beers I've ever had (not that I've had many). Right up there with Olde School. Great beer by these guys - money well spent!

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Photo of dprice
4.74/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours a brown orange color with medium carbonation very nice alcohol lacing on the glass. On the nose you get the boozy in this one right up front. Taste is bold cinnamon, nutmeg and green raisins, figs plums dark fruits. You definitely feel some heat from the booze in this one. Flavors blend together well. Overall a well done beer flavors are big bold and boozy a sipper to enjoy in front of the fire on a cold night.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A long awaited mini vertical of 2007 and 2014 bottles. I wanted to see what a few years would do for this beer, but Dogfish Head waited a long time to brew this again.

2007 Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a medium to dark reddish orange with virtually no head, just a few small patches and a thin ring around the glass. Aroma is deep caramel malt, raisins, dates, plums, brown sugar and alcohol, a hint of oxidation. Flavor is brown sugar, caramel, distilled raisins and plums; starts intensely, like a liqueur and the brown sugar and fruit flavors slowly develop into a mildly oxidized dark fruit and booze finish with a bit of bitterness like in an aged hoppy barleywine, bitterness with little herbal flavor. Medium bodied with mild, but adequate carbonation, surprising after the uneventful pour. This is more like a sweet dark sugar and fruit cordial than a beer, and quite a nice one. There is mild oxidation, but less than expected after 7 years. Alcohol is forward and there are parts of the taste that are nearly medicinal, but in a good way like an herbal liqueur. Interesting.
2014 Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a hazy brownish orange with a fine half finger light tan head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of raisins, plums, dates, caramel malt, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, light alcohol. Flavor is plums, light stone fruit, fresh raisins, hints of tart cherry, caramel malt, brown sugar. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. An extreme Belgian dark. Belgian yeast and fruit flavors intensified by the hefty ABV, which is nicely masked by the fruit. Nicely balanced fruit and malt and although this is warming and the alcohol is not hidden, it is well covered. Very nice lingering aftertaste of dark and fresh dried fruits, toffee and brown sugar. Really takes an effort to sip slowly.
Wow, one of the most difficult side-by-side comparisons I have done. Only a half glass of each of these is an evening of sipping pleasure. The fresh one is hands-down the better, with very nice fruit flavors and a sweet malt body that handles the ABV quite well. The older bottle is not as complex in the fruit components, but still well flavored; as expected everything has mellowed and melded together into a more fruit/brown sugar base. The ABV is more evident here. I liked the older version one enough that I just double checked to see if I might have put a second in the cellar; alas, no. I'll slowly savor it tonight and a corked bottle tomorrow and it will be gone forever. A very pleasant experience from an extreme beer. Dogfish Head usually surprises and often delights. This was a pleasure to drink these together.
My rating here is for the 2014 bottle, since the older one has been resting for a very long time.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A special big and bold and boozy beer . . . I like it. This one pours Brown murky color. Pretty solid appearance for the style. Aromas are definitely raisins along with other dark fruits. Figs, plums and a touch of cherries. Taste is the same but very sweet and tangy. Mouth feel has a nice touch of carbonation. Overall, this is a sipper for sure but surprisingly doesn't taste like an 18% beer.

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Photo of EMV
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass.

L: Pours an opaque cinnamon brown color. 1 finger of tannish head falls quickly.

S: Dark fruits and raisins. Brown sugar and nutmeg.

T/F: This is a malt bomb up front... caramelized malts... brown sugar, raisins and pitted fruits, with old fashioned candies. Strong alcohol presence, warming... and becomes a bit more complex with nutmeg and cloves as it warms to room temperature.

O: A powerhouse of a beer... malty and boozy with lots of flavors going on. A slow sipper... and not one I'd want a steady diet of, but man what an experience. Definitely glad I snagged one, and would love to see what 2 years in the cellar could do for this.

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Opaque brown (30) pour with khaki foam; some clarity under cap; some retention and decent lacing. Sweet raisins and alcohol nose. Flavors of sweet caramel malt, layers of dark fruit - raisins and plums; shortbread sugar cookie middle; brown sugar, caramel malt finish. Moderate carbonation; full mouthfeel; somewhat alcohol bite on tip of my tongue. Overall, the sugar (2014) has caught up to the booze, and the dark fruit is now more present. Outstanding.

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Photo of K-Dog
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'll start by saying I hate rasins. With that said I really enjoyed this. Drank it with a little over a year of aging. Nice thick brownish color with a great aroma of plums and rasins. Taste pretty much the same as the smell. The only negative thing I can says is I wish I aged this another year to mellow out some more, it's still rather boozy. Other than that can complain about this. Enjoyable offering and got me rather drunk fast at 18 percent

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Photo of KYGunner
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This presented a sizable amount of dark fruits; prune, date and raisin. Prune ends up winning out before yielding barley maltiness. I got a lot of booze, which seemed to abate, if you sipped it really slow.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Turbid and hazy brown-orange (can't stand sediment), coarse head barely forms before it quickly to fades to a ring. Smell is mostly comprised of big, big raisin notes with a background of sweet malt and a touch of nutmeg spice. Taste finally reveals the boatload of alcohol in this brew in a combo of fusels and ethyl acetate that results in the flavor of sweet apricot with a touch of outright alcohol, with all that raisin and malt still providing most of the profile. Grapeskin finish. Medium-full body, slightly astringent/tannic, with good prickles of carbonation.
Kudos to one of their crazy brews. I disagree with their assertion that it's a brown ale, it seemed much more quadrupel to me, but whatever. It delivers on its promise to provide big raisin notes, which turns out to be pretty tasty, and integrates the super high ABV very well. Filter out the crud and this would be an all-around fantastic beer.

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Photo of Myotus
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled 21Nov14 (I should of waited 4 more days so that it would of been a year)) into a snifter.
LOOK: A finger's worth of khaki foam is formed after being poured. This takes 35 seconds until its foam head halves itself. Brown in color with a gorgeous ruby tint. Rising bubbles are high in number and are composed of small, medium, and large bubbles. Lacing is thin and moderate.
SMELL: Strong aromas of alcohol, plums, raisins, figs, and molasses are encountered by mild aromas of sweet chocolate, toasted malts, sweet bready malts and vanilla along with subtle clove aromas.
TASTE: Initial taste is of mild sweet chocolate and vanilla flavors that are immediately followed by strong flavors of plums, raisins, and figs. Mild alcohol, sweet bready malt, and toasted malt flavors enter lastly along with subtle clove flavors as all previous flavors persist. As flavors begin to merge into the aftertaste, alcohol flavors grow stronger.
FEEL: Medium-bodied and subtly carbonated. Goes down smooth creamy. Finishes with a moderate dryness. The sheer alcohol presence numbs the tongue (which I find strangely pleasing).
NOTE: This much alcohol in a beer is not a good idea. It nearly ruined the other flavors. Alcohol presence somehow grew even stronger than what it was as the beer warmed. I love DFH, but this was not one of their best brews.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was pretty good. Dark brown color, hints of ruby. Very little head, but what is there stays a while. Smells sweet, little chocolate, dark fruits. Tastes similar. Chocolate a little, burnt sugar, heavy dark fruit. Really quite good. Overall, pick up another one of these sometime and keep it handy. Liked it.

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Photo of mcrawford
4.51/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nearly a year old from bottling. Pours a very dark brown. A lot of alcohol on the nose, brown sugar, and carmel. Boozy raisins and brown sugar on the palate. Mouthfeel is good for the amount of alcohol. Overall some simple flavors but the alcohol really brings them out perfectly. In my opinion this is one of the few American beers that stands up to the best Belgian quads/strong dark ales. Also one of the few cases where the typical American way of "bigger is better" actually works to create a world class beer!

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Photo of Flounder57
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a dark amber crimson color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Tons of raisins, toffee, caramel, dark fruits, roadted coffee, and warm boozy alcohol.

Taste: This beer tastes better with every sip. Awesome raisin and dark fruit flavor, warm boozy alcohol, caramel, toffee, roastiness, and light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium to high carbonation, medium to full bodied, a bit dry, and light bitterness, and warm boozy alcohol.

Overall: I dig it. Might have to get more bottles to store in my beer pantry. Will look forward to more of this in the future.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: murky brown. No head

S: dates. Raisins. Candied dark fruit.

T: candied fruit. Brown sugar. Dates booze

F: smooth and crips.

O: really fantastic. Great booze to bitter to sweet balance

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Photo of cejaev
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Booze soaked raison. This will put you on your butt. Big and boozy aroma with an equally boozy taste. This bottle is just under a year old. The mouth feel is pretty dry, like a real strong wine. Ya it's $10 a bottle but this is the only beer you'll need for the night. I enjoyed it alot.

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.72/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

bottled 3-15-07

Appearance: Murky brown with no head ever asserting itself. A lifeless pour, as expected for the abv.

Smell: Sweet dark fruit galore, rich chocolate and brown sugar.

Taste: It's such a delight when a beer's taste lives up to such a phenomenal aroma. Your mouth is just overcome with rich dark chocolatey fruit and brown sugar. Wow. Hint of booze at the end but nothing that would make you think it was 18% or so...drinks more like half that.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy and heavy, as expected. However, there is subtle but steady carbonation.

Overall: Age has turned this beer into a dark fruit, chocolate masterpiece. There's a sweet brandy element to it as well...just amazing. Wish I had more of these.

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Photo of darktronica
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a moderately dark copper-brown color, with minimal head that dies off quickly. Smells like the brown sugar bomb that it is, with strong malt aromas backing up the caramel and vanilla; delightful, but simple, with little nuance. Tastes much the same when fresh: this is an intense beer, not to be trifled with. The bitterness of the hops is balanced by the sweetness of the malted grain. However, it does not hide its very high ABV nearly as well as many old ales and barleywines; when fresh, it is quite hot and boozy.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pair of Georgetown sampler glasses. 3154 B2 0154 is printed on the side near the bottom. I don't know what it means.

I had this beer once before..long before I started reviewing beers. I hated it. So much I couldn't drink it. I've had significantly more than 1,000 beers since then...so I decided to revisit with a more informed palate. We shall see...

Pours murky brown with a small head and little carbonation. Looks like a lot of Belgian Strong Dark Ales. Smell is dates or raisins, alcohol, wood. Smells too boozy, but otherwise nice.

Taste is not as boozy as I thought it would be -- at least not up front. It has a strong alcohol finish. Up front, however, is sweeter, fruitier. Nearly too sweet. Overripe cherries, and intense raisins is how I would describe the fruity characteristic. A few sips leaves me with a very boozy impression.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly cotton-mouthy dry. Overall...I have a 6 ounce pour of this beer. I like it, but it's too sweet, strong and intense. 3-4 ounces would be plenty.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle dated 11/2014 served in a wine glass.

Appearance: deep brown with hints of red and copper poking out. Clear and pretty with a small tan head that sank to a rim of foam. The bottle had a significant Crack in it that worried me.

Nose: dark fruits, cherries, boozy, very fruit forward and Strong

Taste: follows the nose but amplify the booz 100x. Fruity and complex, thick mouthfeel but has a fair amount of carbonation.

Overall: this needs to age. More bottles please. It is worth the price.

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Photo of pmangold
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is one you probably wont pound down - big beer that doesn't hide it's high ABV. sweet fruits/malt in the nose. the taste follows with raisins, figs, prunes and lots of heat. took me a little while to sip this one down, but I'm glad I did.

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Photo of richj1970
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a rich chestnut brown with one to two finger white head. Decent retention and lacing.

S: Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, raisins, figs, and dates.

T: Bourbon soaked raisins with a nice brown sugar and caramel sweetness. Some other dark fruits including figs and prunes. Alcohol is apparent but appropriate.

M: Full bodied but not overly thick. Finish is a little hot and sweet.

O: An excellent sipper. Hopefully I can find more bottles in the future.

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 696 ratings.