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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

678 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 678
Hads: 1,357
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.05%
Wants: 166
Gots: 522 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 678 | Hads: 1,357
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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Photo of dwagner003
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nose is classic boozy Belgian strong dark ale with an extra touch of sweetness. Flavor is almost too sweet, with a very boozy aftertaste. If I didn't enjoy Belgian styles so much, I may not be into this. Mouthfeel is wonderful. Smooth and hot.

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Photo of BergBeer
3.66/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: A burnt amber brown with a very minimal head that just rims the glass. Mild carbonation and slightly cloudy.

Smell: Big Belgian sweet greets the nose, followed by slightly cinnamon toast, a wallop of raisins, that distinct Belgian yeast sweet and slightly funky, and more Belgian candied sugar. Smells like a big Belgian quad but the booze is very well hidden.

Taste: On the attack the brown ale is very forward with rich roasted malt and unsweetened chocolate. Big chewy raisins follow which steps back a little to let the Belgian sugar and yeast shine through. Booze is very prevalent on the finish as it mingles with big raisin notes as they ride off into the sunset leaving your palate dominated.

Mouthfeel: Big. Chewy. Sticky. This beer is huge and isn't afraid to hide it. Clings to palate and won't let go. Booze is forward but not sharp. Warms somewhat and finishes dry. Winter warmer is putting it lightly.

Overall: I was surprised by this beer. I figured the raisins would make this a soupy sweet mess but it actually balances nicely with the big brown ale and Belgian notes to make a very unique beer. That being said I think if they dialed it back a bit it would be a better beer that could be balanced beautifully and still be unique. Is it somewhat gimmicky? Yes. Would I pick it up again? Probably not. But it's a unique experience and seeing very talented brewers push the limits is always fun. It's definitely worth the experience even if it's not one I would repeat.

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a 12oz. snifter.

Look - As my girlfriend noted, it is almost the exact color of the glass bottle. Looks like a beer you would want to drink.
Smell - Booze; dark fruit, slight malts
Taste - Ridiculously smooth. Scarly drinkable. You hardly taste any of the alcohol that was so pungent in the smell. It tastes mostly of dark fruit, as cliche as it is, plums and figs. Not much more to add, just a nice, balanced, smooth beer.
Feel - Smooth, low carbonation. If your asking how it makes ME feel... I feel excellent.

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Photo of Jonada
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottled 11/21/2014. Poured into a snifter

Appearance: Pours red brown in color with a finger of a tan head that settles to a thick ring. Body is hazy with a good bit of visible sediment.

Smell: Raisins, booze, plums, caramel, cocoa, candi sugar and lots of malt sweetness.

Taste: Mostly the same as the aroma. Lots of dark fruit, with raisins being the most noticeable. Also some slight roasted character, Belgian yeast, chocolate and some fusel alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a thick, viscous, almost syrupy mouthfeel. Finishes sweet with some boozy heat to cut the sweetness a bit. Alcohol is definitely there, but is masked probably as well as possible for a 18-20% beer that's still relatively fresh.

Overall: Good stuff, but it suffers from the same problem a lot of DFH beers seem to suffer from, which is while it's good, I'm not sure that the super high ABV actually makes it better. I'd say it's worth picking up if you're intending on aging it long term, but as far as something to drink now, there are lots of better options out there.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Dogfish Head's Raison D'Extra last week for $10 at The Lager Mill. I've been wanting to try this beer ever since I had the original version and it's nice to see Dogfish Head decide to bring this one back, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, it's a little similar to some of their other labels, but I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a nice brown color that took on a some red hues when held to the light with a little over a fingers worth of slightly darker tan head that died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This was a good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of sweetness that has a nice brown sugar aroma to it with the a nice fruity aromas being the first to show and it's full of some big dark fruit aromas with the raisins obviously sticking out the most and it's followed by a boozy aroma and the combination makes for an aroma that reminds me a little bit of sherry. Up next the malts which impart a caramel, toffee, caramel malt and sweet malt like aroma with the caramel and toffee sticking out the most. This beer had a good aroma that lives up to it's name.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly lower amount of high sweetness that imparts that same brown sugar aspect with the dark fruits still being the first to show up and they still impart a big raisin aroma. Up next comes the alcohol which is noticeable and a little a warming, but it's not nearly as boozy as I thought it would be and it's followed by the malts which impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma with the toffee and caramel still sticking out the most. On the finish there's pretty much no bitterness with some sweetness and alcohol taking it's place with some raisin, sherry, toffee, and caramel flavors showing up in the aftertaste. This is a good tasting beer, it lives up to it's name and the raisins are showcased nicely.

M- Smooth, a little warming, not too crisp, the alcohol was really well hidden, sticky, full bodied with a higher amount of low bitterness. The mouthfeel was really nice and I liked how well the alcohol was hidden.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good example of the style, it had everything that I expected and it lived up to being a bigger and bolder version of the original, it's like they took all the aspects that I liked about the original and made them bigger and bolder and I thought that worked out nicely, especially with the alcohol being really well hidden. This beer had nice drinkability, it was smooth, a little warming, not too crisp, the alcohol was really well hidden, sticky, a little filling and the taste did a good job of holding my attention, I think one is the perfect amount for me, I might be able to drink two since the alcohol is really well hidden, but I know I would regret it. What I like the most about this beer was how well the raisins were showcased and how well the alcohol was hidden, to me those were the highlights of this beer. What I like the least about this beer was nothing, there wasn't anything I disliked or would change, but it would be nice if it was just a a couple dollars cheaper. I would buy this beer when it's released again, I already got two more for the cellar so I can see how they age. I would recommend this beer, especially if you like big bold beers with lots of dark fruit flavors. All in all I was happy with this beer and a little impressed with it, I was pretty sure this was going to be a sweet booze bomb and that just wasn't the case. IT's one of the better Dogfish Head beers I've had and it's my new favorite beer that's brewed with raisins. Good job guys, this was one tasty brew, keep up the hard work.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper orange, rather murky with almost no head to speak of. Looks like bum wine to be honest.

Tons of raisin and grape in the nose, very sweet, caramel, and candy notes.

Oh so much raisin! Very clearly sour grapes were not used in this brew. The raisin sweetness, caramel, and sweet plum-like flavors make this way to sweet for my taste.

Heavy-heavy bodied, low carbonation, ridiculously sweet, thick, oily, noticeable alcohol.

Overall, I am a big fan of Raison D'Etra and this was worth trying, but just way to sweet for my taste.

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Photo of Dirtyhands
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

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

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

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Photo of mchegash
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into DFH signature glass

Appearance - 4/5
Pours a medium-dark red-brown, with about 1 finger of medium tan head upon initial pour. Dissipates down to a thin layer of head.

Smell - 4/5
Deep sweet fruit smell, moderately alcoholic. Smell is not extremely complex, but fairly delicious and enticing.

Taste - 4.25/5
Deep and deliciously sweet dark fruit taste. After contemplating for a moment, can definitely identify the fruit flavor as raisons. The taste is sweet, moderately alcoholic. Fruity, slightly metallic aftertaste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Full bodied, medium-high carbonation level. Crisp yet smooth.

Overall - 4.25/5
This was a good beer. Definitely not worth the price at $11/12oz bottle. But judged on the quality of the beer itself, a great brew. With its dark fruit flavors it is very wine-like, and would make a great wine substitute.

Taste - 4.25/5
Deep and deliciously sweet dark fruit taste. After contemplating for a moment, can definitely identify the fruit flavor as raisons. The taste is sweet, moderately alcoholic. Fruity, slightly metallic aftertaste in the mouth.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Full bodied, medium-high carbonation level. Crisp yet smooth.

Overall - 4.25/5
This was a good beer. Definitely not worth the price at $11/12oz bottle. But judged on the quality of the beer itself, a great brew. With its dark fruit flavors it is very wine-like, and would make a great wine substitute.

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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 JebBeerFish
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I did not know what to expect when I drank this, but the taste is very enjoyable and not as wild and pronounced as I expected. Raisins, apples, dark fruit in the background, sherry flavors? I don't think I can compare this to anything I've ever had. I can tell you that I intend to buy some more and age them. You would never suspect that this was 18%.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Yikes an 18%abv beer. Thanks larryi86. Much appreciated.
Sweet malt, slight spice, not as potent as I expected. Definitely malt forward. A little brown sugar.
Nice tan head that is kinda' loose looking but hangs in there pretty good. Reddish amber and somewhat cloudy.
Whoa, that's a big beer packing a lot of ....flavor, alcohol and finish. Perfumey alcohol, raisin and brown sugar. Really rich and rather sweet. Yet still holds some yeasty spiciness. Well done with the alcohol in that it's not hot or solventy, but it is warm, both in the gut and the mouth. Nice fruit flavors and again, rich.
Moderate feel but sticky on the teeth.
This is the slow sipper I need for the 2nd half of Super Bowl XLIX.

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.