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Raison D'Extra - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

677 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 677
Hads: 1,354
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.05%
Wants: 166
Gots: 520 | 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: 677 | Hads: 1,354
Photo of spycow
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Raison D'Extra
Poured into a Duvel Tulip. 12oz bottled version that about a year old

A: A light pour that was a orange-brown color with a light head with minimal carbonation.

S: Smelled of raisins, figs and plums could tell that it had a high alcohol content but as overwhelming as I expected.

T: The flavor starts out sweet. You could taste the heavy use of raisins but the flavors of fig and plums were noticeable. Initially, you could taste the strong alcohol taste but quickly subsided after a couple of sips. Stayed sweet throughout but did mellow some as you took in more. Better than what I expected from a beer with such a strong alcoholic content. A little sweet for me on a regular basis but having drank two to three of these it keeps getting better.

M: Feels like a light brandy, a little oily yet pleasant.

D: This is one of those beers you treat yourself to one at a time. Not one to drink multiple in a sitting. Again, the overall sweetness can be overwhelming for some along with the 20% alcoholic content. Great for an apertif and one to be savored.

Recommend trying this especially those who like the sweeter ales and those who are fans of Utopia. Pricey but worth the spend.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This came from a bottle that someone had sitting in their closet for a long time. Not sure exactly how old it was. The beer was a little murky but had a nice brownish color to it. There was a small amount of head but that died off and left no lacing behind. The aroma was sweet and malty and of course a little of raisin. The flavor was similar but very intense. Very sweet, the raisins came out here a lot. I really enjoyed drinking the few ounces that I got to try of this beer. The alcohol is not noticeable in the smell or the taste.

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Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: It pours dark reddish brown in color with minimal head.
S; Aromas of dark fruits (raisins, prunes and plums) and sugars dominate the smell.
T: Flavors of sweet, dark raisins stand out in the taste and the alcohol is barely perceptible. The underlying malt does a nice job at keeping the raisins and sweetness from completely overpowering the taste.
M: The beer feels very strong on the palate and is a bit syrupy.
D: I couldn't believe how well the alcohol is masked, but this is one beer that definitely needs to be sipped.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

this is excellent beer, cant believe i have never had it until now, its so good. color is lighter than expected, deep caramel with some red hues, but not brown, or not as brown as i thought it might be, and it holds a pretty good head, not looking thick at all for a beer thats almost 20% abv. it smells great too, the booze is there for sure, but there is more to it than that for certain. it has dark fruit, dates or figs dried, that has to be the raisin, although i cant place it exactly. the raw sugar unrefined sweetness is there too. the flavor is great, folds and wrinkles of grain and sugar, less chocolate and roast than expected, almost none at all, and the sugar here is more like honey than anything else, really nice as well. the booze is warming, but not caustic like it is in some other huge dogfish brews, its almost complimentary to the sugar, mellowing it, and to the raisins, making it feel more like a rum based desert than a beer, which is cool. nice winter beer, i would be curious to see how it ages. the base beer still stands as one of my favorites, and this one is a nice amplification of all that is good in the original. worth trying, absolutely. i had no problem with a bottle to myself. i was also surprised how well carbonated it was, usually these get pretty still at a certain strength, nice touch.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up at Sal's in Illinois way, way back when. Served in a Russian River "TION" glass with Amyliz4 and Huhzubendah.

Pours a reddish-brown color with no real head, lacing, collar, etc. Cloudy. Nose brings quite a bit of sugar and dark fruits with a bit of alcohol. Cherries stand out. Really good chemistry. Flavor is a bit muddled with some alcohol, though certainly not the level it is really at. Lots of sugar. Brown sugar. Medium body and low carbonation. Good enough, but not something I'd grab another bottle of.

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Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a caramel color with a short-lived head that settles into a film without leaving much of a trace - not unexpected at this ABV level

Smell: Very sweet, rum-soaked raisin bouquet; just a ton of fusel alcohol on the nose

Taste: Sweet rum-roaked raisins, brown sugar and figs assault the tongue only to be supplanted by the tremendous blast of fusel alcohol; a bit of medicinal bitterness complements the sweet finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied; not much carbonation, but plenty of warmth in the gullet

Drinkability: Sipability is more like it; this one will blast you away before you finish your 12 oz. To think they used to sell it in 750ML bottles - unconscionable! I have tasted it young and with a few years of age and it definitely needs time

Thanks to mdaschaf, my Secret Bunny 2012, I had the pleasure of tasting the 3/15/07 bottling with five years of cellaring and it is extraordinary; the fusel alcohol has dissipated and, while the beer still leaves some warmth in the gullet, it explodes with malty dark fruit flavors like a fine brandy - bumping up the smell and taste scores by .5 and the overall by 1.0

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the depths of retirement, Dogfish Head's stronger, darker, raisin-infused ale once again makes a cameo appearance.

Rusty, tawny and with a rudish brown austere, the ale gleams with crimson highlights and a thick lather of foam. Its booze-laden nose screams cognac, yet wrapped with lavish caramel, toffee and pistachio. Though raisin wafts gracefully about, a plethora of fruit and spice alternate on the nose and early palate.

With its candied sweetness softly fading, the fruit begins to stand out- raisin on the precipice, but trailing grape, fig, date, prune and cherry all make appearances. Slowly drying, its spicier edges pronounce with peppercorn, anise and dried citrus peel.

Its pleasant sugars and lightly viscous finish is dissected with strong brandy alcohol and peppery tendencies. The simmering heat gives the ale a long and savory aftertaste, similar to port and sherry. With fruit extending well into the next sip, the ale begs for stilton, honey and cashews.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Adrian910ss: Poured a murky dark brown color ale with a small foamy head with limited retention. Aroma of dry sweet fruits (figs, plums) and some warming alcohol. Taste is also very sweet with load of dry sweet fruits but it never gets overwhelming. Texture is a bit oily with fuller body then expected (probably due to medium filtration) and some warming alcohol but again nothing too invasive. Another interesting experience by the Dogfish brewer and something I wouldn’t mind sampling again.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear auburn hue, with very little thin, wispy off-white head, which leaves no lace in its short existence. It smells of stewed raisins, caramel, and warming alcohol. The taste is strong caramel malt, brown sugar, sweet sultana raisins, and a surprisingly mild alcohol edge, given the ABV specs on this monster. The carbonation is quite low. the body warm, smooth, slick, and oily, and it finishes sweet and boozy, the fruitiness of the raisins backstopping it all.

For its strength, this is a decent mild sipper, but a sipper nonetheless.

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Photo of zeff80
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, dark amber color with a small, foamy, off-white head. Not much for lacing.

S - It smelled of raisin, molasses, bourbon, vanilla and some earthy notes.

T - Tasted of raisin, very sweet malt, black licorice. Very hot spice, too.

M - It was soft and creamy with an alcohol heat. A full-bodied beer.

D - This a powerful beer. One is more than enough.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle a while back and decided to throw it down with a select few DFH beers the other night. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter.

The pour was nice with a rich light brown color coming forward. Decent amount of light tan head rising up from the bottom and coming to a top around one inch in height. The aroma was super sweet, hints of raisins and alcohol were sharp and very well noticeable. Some touches of toffee and caramel coming through as I take the first sip. Remarkably smooth for being soo strong. Rich raisin and spices coming through, with the alcohol prickly on the tongue. Very full with a moderate level of carbonation made this quite enjoyable, though it needed to be shared.

Overall for how strong it was, it was very nicely done. I really did not find this one really overwhleming and I would actually like to try this one again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy dark amber that looks to be flat. No head to speak of. Nose of brown sugar, raisins, plums, red grapes, and cherries. Some caramel malt in there and definitely a fair amount of alcohol. Hints of spice and just a really nice caramelization to it. The taste is certainly a bit cloying. Intense sugar and caramel flavors, overripe dark fruits, tons of raisin, grape, and plum. Moderate alcohol flavor and head. I loved the aroma of this, but it's just too much to drink.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.78/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on: 03/15/07.

Appearance: Pours out a modestly hazed, deep amber-hued body with a very, very thin, near white head.

Smell: This one smells of liberally spiced, fruity-scented raisin puree, bready malts, dark brown sugar, and some nostril-stinging, eye-watering alcohol.

Taste: Distinctly sweet, sugary upfront with an expected follow-through of the fruity raisiny taste, brown sugar, and bready malts yielding some toastiness. But, very soon, that altogether piercing alcohol creeps in, searing the tongue and throat and warming your innards on the way down. Trivial oxidative notes in the background. Sweet breadiness, raisins, and straight-up moonshine on the flat, hot finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Lightly carbonated.

Overall: There's not much going on beyond sugar, raisins, and plenty of alcohol heat. I'm totally fine with this one being put out to pasture.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a DFH Alehouse house snifter.

A 3-year-old bottle from the Falls Church Alehouse. From notes (man, these are my most boring reviews...sorry): Pours an amber ruby/garnet (it's dark red, okay?) with a decided lack of real head. The nose holds bourbon, raisins (I know, surprise surprise on that one, right?), wood, walnuts, and a definitely perceptible amount of alcohol. The taste follows pretty closely, with notes of raisins, figs, oak, whiskey, cran-cherry, and, again, a healthy alcoholic burn. The body is a very heavy medium, with very light carbonation and a rather thick feel, though the coating does fade fairly quickly. A bit much for regular drinking, but tasty nonetheless (especially at this vintage).

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.64/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From the basement of Brian "Little Guy" Selders (well, I don't know he actually had it in the basement.. in fact, I'm not even sure he has a basement!).

750 ml bottle, corked and caged. There's no date on the bottle, but it was packaged in Milton between '01 and '05.

Out of an Imperial pint glass - Hell, yeah!

Any yeast in the bottle has settled, and carefully decanted it pours a clear stream of deep golden-amber liquid that becomes a ruby-accented mahogany in the glass. Gleaming orange highlights at the base give it character and a friendly, approachable appearance. The very tiny bubbles rising slowly to build a head indicate that it's got some viscosity to it. The head forms slowly, requiring a bit of coaxing before it becomes a thin cap of ivory across the top. Almost at the same speed, it drops back to a thin collar... lacing is obviously limited.

The nose, however, is far from limited. It's loaded with lush fruit, caramel, alcohol, cocoa, light spice, herbal hops, and darkly caramelized sugars... plum, raisin, prune, other tropical fruits - even coconut. There's a slight bit of oxidation to it, but it appears as the skin of some dark fruit and herbs, adding depth. It's complex and rich, and the notes come and go as it warms, giving it great depth. More than once or twice I was reminded of the alcohol from some sweet and fruity cordial (Kirsch, Cherry Brandy, Pimm's). There's even a touch of leather to it. It's at least as good as, and possibly better than, some of the world's best barleywines in the nose. I could easily sniff this for hours in front of a soothing, warming fire with a good book (I'm thinking Dumas, but perhaps some Dostoevsky, or even Kafka.... perhaps even Joyce or Hemingway... Paul Bowles?). Absolutely world class!

The flavor is easily as complex and rich as the nose, and perhaps more so. Raisin dominates, followed by dark sugar. A backing of cocoa softens it, and then the alcohol ushers in a crowd of fruits and other flavors with it in the finish... coconut, pineapple, fig, prune, herbs, leather, wood. It finishes spicy and gently woody with a bit of dryness. The alcohol is there, evaporating, but it's not harsh on the palate. For its size, it slouches quite smoothly towards Bethlehem.

This is one of my favorite Dogfish Head beers, and I've never had it aged, so this was a special treat. I've had it on tap, but it wasn't quite as rounded. That was probably the very first batch though, so a bit of refinement has probably helped quite a bit. If you can find this, please do so! At the very least, it's one of the most unique beers on earth!!!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 1/9/2015 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI, served in a flight glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, Belgian yeast, brown sugar, some fruit and some spices.

T: The taste starts out boozy but with an 18% ABV, it is to be expected. Then some sweet flavors of brown sugar, caramel and fruit come in. The malt character is hearty and the hops presence is very mild but there is a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, extremely strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a solid beer but the high ABV makes it nothing more than a decent sipper.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

previsous rating - 4
enjoyed again at Federal Taphouse served chilled in a snifter.

The color is almost black but more burgundy with thin beige head -translucent clarity with fine bead and spots of lace that stick. The smell is full of dried fruit type sweet aromas that invoke fig and some dark sugar with smoky woody vinous and port-like odor with mild alcohol apparent in the nose. The feel is great-very rich with lots of sweet malt textures and medium high carbonation with serious alcohol warmth with dry effect as it finishes warming all the way down.

The taste is good with lots of raisiny(duh)dark fruity fig-like and port-like character with concentrated sugar and alcohol coming through in the taste with woody and dark sugar flavor with a vinous accent and taste of alcohol as it finishes dry. Overall a pretty outstanding beer with wonderful strong ale characte with raisiny goodness.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Gouden Carolus goblet in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are pretty high. Thanks to Adam for the share. We believe this is the 2007 version, but we don't know exactly. Acquired at a bottle shoppe in New York in 2011.

A: Pours a one finer head of fair cream, decent thickness, and bad retention (~ fifteen seconds), though with this high an ABV it's remarkable it has a head at all. Colour is a murky hazy nontransparent caramel butterscotch. Yeasty bits float about.

Sm: Raisin, dark fruit (grape) esters, dark fermented apple juice/cider, yeast, caramelized malt, and maybe molasses. There's certainly a sweetness, but also a funky note I can't quite put my finger on. I can smell it from a distance, but up close it's merely moderately strong. All around it's certainly an intriguing aroma. I'm enticed.

T: Raisiny with grape esters, biscuity yeast (especially strong on the finish), some sort of molasses-esque tone covered up by the caramelized malt, some sort of strange dark grape note, assorted fruit esters I can't quite identify, and no alcohol. It's extraordinary at hiding its ABV. I'm impressed in this regard. Overall, it's certainly a complex beer and while I wouldn't call it subtle, it comes close to being unique. It possesses a sweetness that doesn't seem inherent to any individual note, but is pleasant and helps guide the beer's focus - which itself is scattershot. This is likely my main complaint with it. I do enjoy drinking it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but also fairly thick. Perhaps a touch overcarbonated, evidenced by its sharpness.

Dr: Very drinkable for the ABV, but not unique or special. I wouldn't have it again I don't think. Even aged, it wasn't fantastic. Fans of the style (or the brewery) would do well to give her a spin, but elsewise it isn't horribly impressive.

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

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden (secret stash), Media, PA

This review is for the '07 vintage (first had Oct. '11). Thanks to BrewerDan for the sharing, and to mgp2675 for the trade.

Served in a sampler glass, this beer poured a caramel brown color with just a slight haze, and a filmy layer of tiny bubbles on top. Aroma of booze, figs and raisins. Surprisingly smooth on the tongue, definite alcohol kick up front, but mellowed out to reveal a pleasant nectar of rum raisin, with tones of molasses, pear, and dried apricot. Heavy mouthfeel, syrupy but smooth, very tasty and complex. I'm looking forward to popping open my bottle to relax with on a snowy winter day.

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

Pours a clear, but very dark ruby with a smaller tan head. Nose is heavy with raisins. I can smell them as I open the bottle, let alone taking a serious whiff. Besides that (which seems to calm down as time goes on), you get a slight yeast and a lot of alcohol. But the presence of the raisin skins seems to be sticking around a good bit. Flavor is extremely sweet...I mean way sweet. Too much so I think. Almost tastes like straight sugar water (or simple syrup for the mixologists out there) was mixed in with it. Feel is thick and syrup like. Personally I think it is a bit too far beyond what it should be. This is drinkable, yes. A very nice, different brew. But with the high alcohol combined with the very high price, I doubt I would go for it again.

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

Bottled 09/29/06

Giving this the impulse buy leap of faith. I usually dislike beers with raisins (please prove me wrong!). Poured into a champagne flute. Seems the best way besides brandy snifter shape belgian glasses to enjoy these huge ales

Pours an effervescent caramel/brown with a thick 1" sand colored head. Fair lacing & head (film) retention

S: A little must & that's it. A little caramel & some yeasy notes as this warms. Caramel & more must as this warms

T: Apricot, er raisins, caramel, & dryness up front. A berry/cherry-like fruittyness surfaces as this warms. Oaky dryness, candy sugar, leather & jammyness also surface . Huge warming sensation & hints of fruit & brandy in the finish.

MF: Super slick with a little pricklyness (from alcohol), chewy& warming

Drinks great for the abv, very complex, but not really my cup of tea. Belgian beer freaks will love this. One for sipping by the fire with a friends. At $9 a bottle, a bit pricey imo

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Date bottled on bottle December 19th, 2002 Appearance: Deep brown bulbous as the label states with a nice brown amber state to it leaves some head cream in colore minimal lacing. Aroma: Rich whiskey and rum like tones very vinous with grape and beet juice ties together this beastly high in malt beer wow, just so much robust tones it's hard to comprehend. Taste: Full of flavor rich spiced rum flavors while at the same time very comparable to a plum brandy the nectar of the gods in a glass very rich and wow, puts this face of disbelief after a sip excellent tasting brew this is excellent. Mouthfeel: Full bodied ale all kind texture syrupy as all hell fine brew seems like the Serbian plum brandy I was used to while it high school with my foreign exchange student friend Bogdan from Belgradel. Drinkability: Incredibly smooth for the amount of alcohol in flavor just beware that you will stay where your at for the night after a sampling of this beer.

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Photo of smcolw
3.34/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours the color and cloudiness of apple cider. Nearly no head, absolutely no lace.

Rich port-like raisin aroma with strong alcohol nose. Sweet without being sickly.

Perhaps the strongest beer I've ever had (at 20% abv, I'd be curious to compare it head-to-head with the Sam Adams Millennial beer). This is a six-pack in a bottle, alcohol wise. The flavors are a bit overwhelming with the alcohol level which overwhelms everything.

I'd say that this is a one-time try for me. Wonderful to experience, but too potent and over-the-top to recommend.

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Photo of superspak
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 9/29/2006(almost 6 years old). Pours extremely hazy dark reddish brown color with a small foamy khaki head with poor retention, that reduces to a small patch of foam. Minimal wisps of lacing on the glass. Aromas of huge raisin, caramel, molasses, toffee, prune, tobacco, earth, toast, roast, and yeast spices. Fantastic aromas with awesome complexity and balance. No booze to speak of as well. Taste of big raisin, prune, molasses, caramel, toffee, toast, tobacco, roast, earth, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of dark fruit, molasses, toffee, caramel, tobacco, toast, roast, and earth on the finish for a good bit. Great flavor complexity and balance; with zero cloying sweetness on the finish. Also slightly dry surprisingly. Light carbonation and full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and thick mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is insanely well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Belgian strong ale! Huge complexity and balance of flavors; and surprisingly smooth to sip on slowly for an 18% beer. Highly enjoyable stuff.

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 677 ratings.