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Raison D'Extra - Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

689 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 689
Hads: 1,417
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.3%
Wants: 164
Gots: 540 | FT: 46
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 689 | Hads: 1,417
Photo of Gajo74
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A strong and high ABV brew that offers up a unique beer drinking experience. Very boozy and the high body make it a sipper; more liquor than beer. Loads of raisins and dark fruits make it cloyingly sweet at times. However, over time, it settles in and the hops manage to balance it somewhat. I would have again except at $10 a small bottle it's just not practical.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a very light head that dissipates very, very quickly. What little bubbles occur aare a brown tan. The beer itself is a clear dark brown when held up to the light. The beer has a murky appearance.

The beer has a very nice smell to it. The smell has very strong dark fruit notes that resemble raisins and plums. The smell has very light notes of sugar. Slight boozy notes to it.

The taste resembles the smell with dark fruit notes but with a stronger booze presence.

The beer is fairly heavy bodied with a light carbonation. The beer definitely has body but is feels uneven to an extent.

Overall, a pretty good beer and that would have been better with a bit more age.

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Photo of RexBanner
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This tastes, smells and looks exactly like Weyerbacher's Insanity, albeit a bit more boozier.
Bourbon brown, hazy appearance, sediments swimming along carbonation bubbles, 1/2 finger head with no lasting power.
Aromas of dark fruits; figs, raisons ETC, and maybe molasses. Booze is definitely present.
Taste very similar to the nose.
The fiery alcoholic esters permeate the mouth. Very boozy! Oddly enough the booze calms down as the beer reaches room temperature. Not very sweet but indeed malty. Syrupy and sticky. Finishes semi-dry.
Not bad! However, I can't see myself paying $10 a bottle for another one of these when I can get Insanity for much cheaper.

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Photo of jopezu
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

like 3 d'etre's in 1 glass. grape, sugar and boozy nose with the same dark fruit, fig, brown sugar and bready taste as the raison d'etre. you will exhale fumes on the aftertaste. definitely a 1-and-done, but it is tasty and a very interesting "dark belgian" as it's labeled (although the taste profile makes me think of aged english old ales, a la north coast's "old stock ale"). i'm not sure why guys here are likening it to a porter. wth?

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Photo of MattyG85
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice. Bottled in November of 2014.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles. Slight finger of off white head that quickly fades into a thin patchy layer.

Smell: A fruity, boozy, and fairly sweet malt and yeast driven aroma with hints of dark fruits and bread. Toasted malt with hints of biscuit, toast, toffee, and caramel. Belgian yeast with some hints of funk. Big scent of raisins along with other dark fruit hints of fig, prune, dates, and cherry. Sweet hints of brown sugar and molasses. Noticeable hints of booze as well. A very good complex aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a rich, fruity, and sweet malt and yeast driven taste with big notes of dark fruit and bread. Lots of upfront dark fruit with notes of dried raisins, fig, dates, prune, and cherry. Toasted malt with notes of biscuit, toffee, caramel, toast, and Belgian yeast. Sweet taste of brown sugar as well as molasses. Alcohol taste is actually pretty mild. A really nice fruity and complex taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and somewhat syrupy. Some alcohol heat is felt as expected but considering it’s somewhere around 15-18% it’s actually pretty smooth.

Overall: A great twist on a Belgian style Dark Ale. Big dark fruit and malt flavors with a surprisingly smooth body. Really complex and nice.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled about 4 months ago.

A - Deep amber pour. One finger tan head faded quite fast, but that's to be expected. Good carbonation coming up. Decent lace rings and minimal retention.

S - Booze, port, dark fruit, sweet.

T - Port notes are huge here, lot's of sweetness, some burn, dark fruit, sugar. Really impressive.

M - Nice mild carbonation that just tingles enough, full creamy sorta body and a nice sweet and fruity finish with lot's of dryness and a bit of alcohol burn. Quite pleasant.

O/D - As a port fan, this is pretty fantastic. A nice warming sipper that masks it's strength pretty well. Nothing to complain about here. Well done!

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Photo of ARoman
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Sweet chocolate and cherry aromas come off the beer with a boozy warmth. As it settles out, raisin aromas and a light port wine become prevalent en route to a final note of woody cherry with toffee. The pour is thick, and dark, but an oily clear cola brown hue with a dense brown head that retains a moderate ring, wispy surface, and leaves some runny lace. The taste is a medium high sweet with a supporting medium bitter and secondary notes of light sour and light umami. The texture is thick and chewy with lots of fizzy carbonation and a full body with flavors of dark, dry fruit, wood, light spice, and a roast-like character that develops as the glass warms along with a cooked brown sugar note. The finish is a boozy warmth with wood and clean spice that leaves an aftertaste that’s dry and clean; spicy with a lingering smokey, dark chocolate and a cloying, dark, tart fruit that’s lightly astringent.

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Photo of Mongrel
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I love vinous flavors in my beer and this one has grapes for days. And it's not as dark and figgy of a taste as you would expect - it's actually a pretty bright grape presence. Great depth of flavor and a finish that just goes and goes.

Also hints of bubble gum, brown sugar/molasses, golden raisins, green apple. It's a big, sweet beer, but not cloying. Actually finishes somewhat dry. As another BA has noted, there's some ethanol on the nose, but the booze otherwise hides itself very well. Really nice.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color. The head is two fingers high and khaki in shade. Retention is quite good for 18%, as well. Some lacing sticks to the glass - in other words, it looks like any other beer. Except it's 18%. (4)

Smell: VERY sweet, plain and simple. I get plenty of raisins and brown sugar primarily. As it warms, a touch of booze appears - and I do mean only a touch. I'm let down by the lack of depth (really, it's just raisins and brown sugar), but I'm impressed how well the alcohol is covered up. (3.5)

Taste: It starts off by expressing a powerful dark fruit note. This is a very raisiny brew, just as advertised. Fruits trail off into the finish, this time accompanied by notes of leather, rum, and pumpernickel bread. The Belgian aspect is weak, but this isn't really designed to show off Belgian characteristics (neither is Raison D'Etre). While it's a very sweet brew, it's also fairly balanced for what it is (if rather simple). (3.75)

Mouthfeel: I can definitely taste and feel the alcohol. But you know what? This is really smooth for 18% - and I mean REALLY smooth. It's a very sweet-finishing beer, yet despite the sugary nature, it goes down far easier than it should. Carbonation

Overall: These Dogfish Head monsters are usually pretty good; this being no exception. It's all brute force over delicate complexity, but the drinkability of this is shocking when the alcohol is taken into consideration. Everyone who calls themselves a craft beer fan needs to try this one at least once. (3.75)

3.68/5: Yet another 18% DFH beer that discretely kicks my ass

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Photo of hophugger
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Wow is all I can say about this booze bomb!!. Dogfish has done it again. Thanks to a friend, I got to try this Raison D'Extra...Pours a deep, golden brown, slightly murky looking. No head to speak of, and light spotty lacing. Aroma reaks of alcohol, dried fruits, raisins and overripe dark fruits. Also, getting some molasses-brown sugar hints. Take it easy when you drink this one. Sip, I say.....Sip !! Booziness hits you right up front on the middle of the tonque and then surrounds your whole palate (of course, it's 18%). Flavors of raisin, maybe some fig and some other dark fruits swirl all through the alcohol, just begging to be released. A little brown sugar and molasses at the end, and then some more alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is slightly numbing. For the abv of this beer, I am going to be honest and say that the balance is pretty decent, with lots of dark, sweet, overripe fruit flavors that are able to rise above and be noticed. Overall, not my style, but a great outcome on this one from Dogfish. Definitely a sipper and only one in a sitting, IMHO....

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Photo of edentonbill
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

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Photo of cvm4
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2014 vintage

L - Pours a murky plum/raisin with a light brown one finger head.

S - Just a big whiff of raisins along with some heat, obviously. It's simple and straightforward.

T - Again, just loads of raisins along with a good malt backbone.

F - Full bodied and medium carbonation. Lots of heat, but it hurts so good.

O - Righteous brew here. Just sit back and take it all in.

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Photo of hreb
4.11/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 ounce bottle into a Belgian tulip.

Produces a compact pale white foam that creates an attractive contrast to the dark brown and amber body. Constant carbonation shows and streaky blotchy lace scatters about the glass.

Well, it looked like a dubbel and it smells like a dubbel. Pungent yeast and malt and a touch of pepperiness. Floral with a touch of sweet malt. 3.5

Oh the taste here does some real redeeming. Still get the dubbel-like flavors---albeit with the yeast toned down big time---and a brown sugar and raisin taste. It kind of reminds me of a cinnamon roll for the blend of bread and raisin. A floral flavor and mild caramel carry throughout and the finish hits with a tiny bit of boozy flavor. 4

It's slightly yeasty, a lot sweet and has a burnt sugar feel. Somewhat thick in texture. It drinks a bit boozy but it's plenty enjoyable. 4

Not much to add. Good stuff.

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Photo of rypkr
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle aggressively poured into a pumking snifter

l - very murky, muddy orangish brownish and syrupy with a thick 2 finger frothy head.

S - intensely fruity. It's been a few years since I've had raison d'etre but it smells surprisingly reminiscent of it. I can smell the alcohol just behind the dominant dark fruits and yeasty aromas.

T - Unbelievably sweet, warn, sticky, and creamy. It almost tastes like a brandy. it's delicious.

M - Aside from nitro's, probably the creamiest beer I've ever had. Probably one of the best mouthfeels I've ever experienced. Pretty tough for me to give a 5/5 on this aspect but I am.

overall the look and smell are nothing to write home about but I love the drink of it.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was recommend to me by my bartender sister so I knew it couldn't be bad.

A - Very deep amber color. Clear beer with nice white head and good lacing. Pretty beer

S - Full aroma with malt, vinous, alcohol, ester fruit character and some caramel present. This is a very complex aroma with what seems like a nice red wine and a rich Belgian dark fighting it out for supremacy.

T - Matching the smells, the flavor is very complex like a fine wine. There is a sweet malty character first with the fruitiness of the dark fruits (raisin, plum, grape), Belgian esters, and the heat of the 18% ABV. It blends the rich sweetness of a strong ale with the dry complexities of a red wine.

M - Medium to high mouth-feel with light to moderate carbonation. Really is a blend of wine and beer. Soft on the palate and enough alcohol to feel it.

Overall, a very good beer. It is a unique experience with all the flavors blending together with a sweeter tasting, dryer finishing, and more alcoholic beer. It is thinner than some Belgian strongs, malty, and vinous but overall a great sipper. I would recommend this if you are not afraid of some wine in your beer.

Glass- Tulip

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Photo of SFC21
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 11/21/14. Fantastic. Big, dark fruit flavors with some port notes. A little hot but not so much that it takes away from the beer. This will age nicely

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Photo of Zaktcc
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled one year ago.

A - Pours a dark mahogany color with maybe 1/2 finger head that dissipates quickly. No lacing present. Vague resemblance of wine.

S - It might not come as much of a surprise but right off the bat the aroma of raisins graces the nose. It has a very bitter sweet aroma overall, bitter in a more sout sense but with a central dominance on sweetness. Aside from raisin not much else is present aside from boozy hints.

T - The beer remains on par with the aromas, tasting prominently of raisin and grape; leaning almost towards the flavor of wine. Boozy flavor is present though mild. Overall a very distinct and sweet beer.

M - Full bodied beer. No carbonation present. This is a beer to drink to keep you warm in the winter; very smooth beer with a wine - like consistency, leaving a warm, burning sensation in your nose and mouth after every sip. Definitely a sipping beer.

O - An awesome beer that is very unique compared to every beer I've had. It coats the boozy flavorings quite well to make a very enjoyable beer. DFH has yet to let me down.

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Photo of uvachief
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a brandy sniffer. Minimal head. Pours a raisin colored red (imagine that). Aromas of raison, malts and booze loads of booze. First sip is better than expected. Taste sugar, malts and lots of raisins. Burns going down (18% abv). Not horrible. Surprisingly drinkable. Also a lot more fuller in the mouth than expected. Interesting and different beer. Clearly made to induce a big buzz. One is all I wanted or cared to drink. Definitely worth trying.

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Photo of baconfromwalmart
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wee-oh, this bitch is strong! I agree with what most other reviewers said: interesting bouquet, very warm and extremely strong sweet syrupy taste and feel. Definitely an experience, very cool idea but not something I'd like to drink again.

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Photo of Jjski
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carmel notes in nose
Taste is smooth when sipped slowly, VERY hot with permeating alcohol when drank fast. Belgian yeast, faint caramel, orange peel? It does not taste like raisins to me. Flavors are in the background, sorta like Samael's : they will be revealed later.

Built for some beautiful aging. The malt is there, and without being barreled it will take time. At least 2-3 years before I open the next one. Maybe 5 years. It will be worth it.

The taste grade of 4.5 is not for the present, but for the future. My experience with beers like this (Olde School, Avery products, various old ales) is that it is not fair to grade them fresh, they are meant to sit and develop. No one drinks good wine fresh, and scotch & bourbon are matured before consumption.

Buy now.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of Gregaroo
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sorry, folks, but this was too much for my IBU tastebuds. Aroma was awesome! Too sweet for a second. I'll try again once I've matured. On draft at TRIA Rittenhouse in Philly.

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Photo of guityler83
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A quickly fleeting cream colored head with larger chunky bubbles when poured into a snifter only small ring of bubbles remains after a minute. Medium orange brown color with a ruby red hue. Swirling kicks up nice long lasting legs with a few bubbles kicking up.

S: Deep fig, prune and raisin aroma that blends into a Belgian style yeast aroma - spicey, clove, earthy mushrooms. Alcohol is upfront and burns in the nose a little. Moderate sweetness overall. Strong mellenoidin and toasty malt aromas come through at medium strength.

T: Similar to the aroma the taste follows the dried fruit profile in the beginning with dates, prunes and raisins with a candy sweetness. The melenoidins from the aroma aren’t noticable through the sweetness but I get a slight doughy flavor. dark candi sugar and tobacco also in there. the finish mellows out the sweetness and comes through as more of a dark cherry flavor.

M: Huge alcohol warming in the chest. low to mild carbonation with a sticky sweet fully body. Tingling sensation takes over the tongue and cheeks like drinking bourbon.

O: It reminds me of a Belgian quad on steroids. Tons of dates / figs / raisins with huge alcohol.

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Photo of tjmiller718
3.12/5  rDev -21.8%
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.

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 689 ratings.