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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

683 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 683
Hads: 1,380
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.05%
Wants: 164
Gots: 529 | FT: 47
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: 683 | Hads: 1,380
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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Photo of DrDemento456
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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Photo of VashonGuy
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very sweet and raisiny. High ABV hits you fairly hard. It's been a while since I've had Raison d'Etre, but my memory tells me that beer is a little better for me, maybe because it's got just a bit of subtlety to it, which this beer does not.

For over-the-top fans.

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

Holy crap, this punches you in the face I wasn't expecting... Probably the strongest beer I've ever had!!! Nice smooth start, but gets you in the end with a strong alcohol punch. Limited release beer so worth the effort to try and say you've had it!

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Photo of ZebraCakez
3.81/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours dark brown, slightly murky, with a faint head of tan bubbles that disappear quickly to leave a glassy smooth surface. Basically what you would expect at this kind of ABV.

S: This is Sunday morning right here, banana bread and raisin oatmeal. The alcohol is already making its presence known as well.

T: Strong alcohol warmth, but very fruity and sweet. The raisins (and a nice plum/fig note) come on hard, and a smokey, burnt malt finishes it up. The alcohol is always looming in the back.

F: Medium body with basically no carbonation, but definitely not easy. It's one to sip slowly. 

O: Well, what is to be expected of a caution cap beer, anyway? It's crazy bold and tells no lies. Heavy alcohol is the name of the game here. I have a few more bottles that I will let sit for a while, if it cools down a little it will be much better.


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Photo of antman27
4.64/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Outstanding ..hands down my Fav High ABV beer It did NOT drink like a -18 ABV
SMOOTH and so flavorful wish it was not $12 a bottle this would be my Go to at home beer !

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a reddish brown color. a finger or so of a tannish head with good retention and a semi-strong lacing left behind. serious alcohol legs as it swirls around. nearly opaque but shows some signs of clarity and brightness.

Smell: raisins, plums, brown sugar and pure ethanol. some hints at belgian aspects but not too much.

Taste: opens with raisins and other dark fruits such as plums, dates and prunes. a strong brown sugar sweetness comes through along with some belgian like dark candi sugar. the back has a burning, intense alcohol.

Mouthfeel: not overly heavy or thick but certainly there. sweet and with huge amounts of alcohol burn and warmth. lingering burning.

Overall: of the big dogfish head beers this is easily the hottest on the alcohol. serious burning. this one has ageable written all over it. with great flavors but so unrounded. can be tasty at times and deadly at others.

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Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a rich mahogany body with a one finger white head that fades fast.
It is sweet to the nose; Aroma of dark fruit, raisons.
Taste is alcohol and sweet raisons with a lingering sugary malt juice going down.
Mouthfeel is harsh, it burns. Carbonation doesn’t help here.
Reminds me of a less refined Quad for four times the money. Overall sweet alcoholic raisons Not a bad one but not great either.

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Photo of JRed
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red in body with off-white head. Aroma of raisins, herbal, medicinal, burnt sugar. Tastes of syrupy alcohol, raisins, herbal, medicinal, sweetness, brown sugar. Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

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Photo of beertunes
3.59/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Shroud0fdoom for this one out of the NBS BIF#1 box. Bottled on 11/21/14. Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a lightly hazy reddish-mahogany color with just a thin ring of tan head that had OK retention and no lacing.

The aroma was big, with a lot of sweetness, a discernible alcohol scent, and just a bit of sharp hops floating around. On the tongue, all those aspects were bigger. More hot alcohol, more sweet malts, more tangy hops, and a bit of fruitiness.

The body was noticeable thinner than expected for the style, and had a harsh finish that I suspect would soften over time. Drinkability was decent, although the high, hot alcohol aspect hurt it to a degree. Overall, a solid and enjoyable example of the style. Grab a few and sample them over a period of time.

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Photo of tkdchampxi
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 is fantastic and drinking really well right now. No need to cellar

Pour it and let it open up a bit, and it will thank you with a wonderful, thick, dark fruit, raisin, port wine presence and amazing smoothness. Light notes of chocolate with some roasted malt

It's strong, but it doesn't taste anything near 18%.

Loving this beer

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

LOOK: Gorgeous ruby red with pretty good clarity. Head recedes to a ring. No sediment, small ring of head lasting through.

SMELL: Deeply aromatic malt, brown sugar, Belgian yeast, loads of caramel. Even some cocoa and raisin going against a wall of caramel sugars. Alcohol and yeast stank make me just intoxicated by aroma alone.

TASTE: Big dry malt, full malt flavor actually, brown sugar and caramel, some hops are kicking around also. Faint cedar, almost like this beer was "randalled" through a cigar box in a small portion. Toffee, cacao, minty hops, black forest cherry, and caramel creme. Alcohol is there but not as intense as would be expected from roughly 18% abv.

FEEL: Just sits there on the palate permeating and then after the swallow, just disappears off the tongue. Full bodied, smooth for the strength, but definitely a bruiser.

OVERALL: A very tasty, extra special beer from Dogfish Head, and a "Classic Extreme Beer". Very enjoyablle.

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Photo of Abe_Froman
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When held up to the light it presents a strong ruby red. Pours with very little head, and what there is dissipates quickly to a ring.

Smells a sweet fruits with a hint of spice and alcohol.

Tastes of raisins, other fruits, and hints of brandy. Slides across the pallet with light carbonation. Warm alcohol flavors with out the bite. Lingers sweet and warm on the tongue.

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Photo of SammyJaxxxx
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a 12 oz bottle from November 2014
Pours hazy Deep mahogany purple with a light tan head and a good amount of carbonation. Leaves plenty of lacing and a light layer of foam floating on top. The carbonation exits pretty quickly.
The aroma is dark fruit, prune and plum, that was soaked in rum or sherry.
Flavor is similar to the smells with a combo of dark fruit (plum ,raisin, prune) with plenty of sweetness. It is a fruity sweetness. the alcohol burn is there as it should be in an 18% brew but in a good way. Definitely needs to warm to cellar temperature before it starts to shine. This sips like a sherry or a port.
Mouthfeel is dense, sweet and syrupy. There is an alcohol burn with each sip. The raisin flavor hangs around.
I really enjoyed this as a nice change of pace. It drinks like a port or a sherry. It is a 12 oz bottle but it would be perfect for 2 or even 3 portions.
I am glad I have a few bottles. I plan on opening 1 up every 6 months or so.

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Photo of CHickman
3.69/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours hazy red/purple/mahogany brown color with a foamy 2 finger light tan head that had a lot of bubbles in it and faded slowly, leaving spotty lacing and a layer on top.

Smells of dark fruit, raisin, booze like rum or bourbon, toffee, maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar and more alcohol; there is a sugary sweetness to the nose like fruity candy such as Razzles or Skittles, but the sweetness gets kicked aside by the booze. This is bold and in your face, somewhat one dimensional.

Flavor is similar to the smells with a combo of dark fruit (plum, rotting pear, black cherry), raisin, booze like rum or a sweet bourbon, toffee, thick caramel, maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, herbs or floral spices, toasted grains, metallic yeast and just like the nose more alcohol and the same sugary sweetness like fruity candy such as Razzles or Skittles. The booze is strong and a major aspect of the brew from the first sip, but at 18% it is more manageable than expected. Too sweet overall and lacking any hop presence to add balance, this seems like it was barrel aged or the extra raisins added changed the chemical components so much that the alcohol ate up some of the better flavors and left a yeasty metallic sweet aftertaste. Not too far off for the style, but just a bit extreme for my liking.

Mouthfeel was thick, chewy and heavy with a dense body, mild carbonation and an intense fruity sweetness mixed with a very strong alcohol presence. I've had this beer in the past and always recall it being extreme, so while I love the boundary pushing experiment by DFH, I could wait another few years to have this again since it was very strong and very expensive for such a slow sipper. Good to try, and good to drink to support Dogfish Head as leaders in the craft movement, but not a beer I'd seek out.

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Photo of arizcards
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a single at the Craft Beer Hop Stop after work yesterday for $9.99. Bottled on 11-21-14. This is the first of a two-part review. I plan on trying my 2007 version on Sunday. The overall rating is an average of the two vintages.

Beer poured brown with a little head after an aggressive pour which dissipated quickly. 3.5

Nose is raison city and sugar plums - very sweet. Some notes of sherry too. 4.25

Taste is raisons and plums marinated in sherry. Sweet without being cloying. The biggest surprise is no alcohol burn which I was fully expecting. 4.25

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but not overly smooth as I would expect with a Belgian. 3.5

Overall this is a nicely crafted beer! I cannot imagine how DFH pulled this off. I look forward to trying the 2007 version! 4.0

Sunday 1-11-15 review of the 2007 version. Purchased from the now closed Sportsman's Fine Wines back on Halloween 2007 for $8.99. Bottled on 3-15-2007.

Beer poured brown with very little head after an aggressive pour. 3.0

Nose is very strong of raisons and other dark fruits, very nice. 4.5

Taste has lost all trace off the hops so this is now a full on after dinner aperitif. This is a very nice sipper which is now all raisons and plum. This version seems to have more alcohol warming with each sip. 4.5

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. It seems thicker and drinks more like a barleywine. 4.0

Overall I am very impressed with this older brew. It did spend some time at 55 degrees and did spend time in my regular beer fridge in the door panel which is probably in the low 40's. I would recommend buying 2 of these and approach the try one now and one the next time DFH releases this brew - it was definitely a fun approach!

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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 hdofu
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I finally found my white whale.... well my brother did, and he got this with a bottle of Devil's Due From Duclaw, first off, this has a lot in common with its less intimidating counterpart... the main difference being its just sooo much more of everything flavor wise, especially alcohol. It tastes like plums and orange rinds, sort of bitter sweet it finishes with just an all out burning from the alcohol. I wouldn't recommend this for for a someone trying DFH for the first time unless they are looking for extreme.

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Photo of delta490
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep slightly cloudy brown with a reddish tint to it. The Head was white but gone in a flash. All that remains is a thin ring which leaves small soapy lacing. The aroma is big and rich, malty with deep fruit and brown sugar. The taste is equally robust and actually more-so. A little bit of alcohol adds to its appeal, which is impressive since its 18% ABV. You won't taste it but you will feel it. The body is thick on the palate and smooth throughout. This one probably would be good to age (as recommended) but isn't cheap for a 12oz. bottle.

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Photo of Roguer
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear light brown, settling into a dark, translucent garnet-brown brew in the glass. Topped by a good size cream head with good retention, settling into a foamy topper and thick ring, and leaving behind tiers of lacing.

Strong, fruity, rum-like aroma: a little boozy, with lots of dark fruit and bread, and a noticeable yeast presence. Honestly smells like a fairly traditional BSDA/Quad, with perhaps a bit of extra sweetness (yes raisins, but also prunes and grapes).

Big, big taste; no hiding the 18% ABV at all. Tons of fruit, dark bread, brown sugar, yeast, and booze; raisins are present, but they blend with the BSDA profile quite well.

Mouthfeel suffers a bit from the noticeable alcohol presence, as well; it's a kick in the teeth much more appropriate to a barleywine than a BSDA. Lots of heat, activity, and sting.

For such a high ABV offering, this is a pretty good beer. There's certainly a bit of silliness to it, but it's not bad at all; a 12% version (somewhere below d'Etre and d'Extra) would probably be amazing.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2014 run. drinking one now and putting two in the cellar. after reading reviews below, sounds like I should have put all three down there.

A: slight haze and a deep amber hue. slightly off-white head is miniscule. head lacing as well. however, I think this thing has legs from all the alcohol.

S: a boatload of booze is slightly masked by a boatload of brown sugar. sweet molasses. fruity to boot.

T: uncomfortably sweet. brown sugar for days. boozy for sure. hints of coffee and chocolate in there too. lingering dark fruit sweetness stays for a while into the finish. it kind of reminds me of eating an old banana. pleasant and uncomfortable all at once.

F: moderate amount of carb. a mother fucking full body.

D: the more I sip, the more it reminds me of a rich Belgian quad. and then back to a boozy monster of a mess. cant put my finger on this besides it being very varied sip to sip. which isn't necessarily surprising on something built like this. if aging calms some of this sweetness/booze out, I am all for it. prepared to sit on my extra two for a handful of years.

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 683 ratings.