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Raison D'Extra - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

825 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 825
Reviews: 575
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 97
Gots: 154 | FT: 9
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:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 825 | Reviews: 575 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from the Liquor Loft in Tallahassee.

Pours a very cloudy brown color with a one-finger off-white head. Head sticks around for longer than I thought it would, then dissipates into a thin layer of bubbles on top. Lacing is not very sticky at all. There are what look like shredded raisins at the bottom of the glass.

Smells very, very sweet with alcohol notes until it warms up. Then as it warms there's a bit more caramel with some hint of the raisins. The alcohol smell goes away for the most part, but it still remains, as does the sweet malt smell.

Tastes just like it smells, the whole way through. The raisins come through more in the taste than they do in the smell. I would never guess how much alcohol was in this after it's given a chance to warm up.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's pretty thick, and the carbonation is good, but it could be smoother.

Drinkability is very good for a beer with this high of an ABV, but as a normal beer it's just good.

I'm glad I finally tried this beer, but I probably won't buy it again. Definitely worth a try if you've never tasted it.

glid02, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of yelterdow
4.88/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle cellared for about a year. There is a code lasered on the bottom of this bottle; it reads 5231 B-12052. I'll serve this in the brewery's oversize snifter.

Appearance- Like a fine cognac, this beer pours a viscous reddish brown. Due to it's enormous ABV, this looks more like a sherry or tawny port than a brew... the thin head immediately disperses to the sides of the glass and then vanishes in seconds. So no bubbles or signs of carbonation now, just a wall of color.

Smell- This nose is amazing. First, aromas congruent with an old ale (dark fruits, leather, richly mature malts) hit the nostrils. Next comes the raisins, sugar, and even some form of fudge chocolate... like some high-end candy bar from space. I could smell this until the sun comes up...

Taste- This isn't "beer". Every wine lover (especially dessert wine enthusiast) needs to try this and know that it exists... it could *easily* replace a port or sherry as a digestif or nightcap, and next time I'll be sure to have the best English Stilton cheese available by its side.

The smoothness is incredible... huge, sweet malts meld perfectly with the billions of raisins, and the character of dark, almost overripe fruits encompasses the entire mouth. After the swallow, the alcohol heat gingerly wafts through the body and inside of the mouth, but it's not taking anything away from the experience. Incredibly balanced and delectable considering its strength.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Although the beer's head is non-existent out of the gate, its texture in the mouth is beautiful and lush. The most subtle, soft carbonation is the canvas for the decadent flavors described earlier. It starts and finishes the same, never fading out. This is a true masterpiece from DFH, and a complex, elegant sipper to be enjoyed with that wedge of Colston Bassett with your name on it.

yelterdow, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of Shaw
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I couldn't resist buying three bottles of this beer at The Butcher's Block in Sarasota yesterday when I noticed it was marked down to $1.79 a bottle, from $9. What. A. Steal. I don't even need to like 'em at that price.

Bottled on 3/15/07, enjoyed on 8/24/08.

Pours a clear and luminous amber/brown with a head that quickly reduces into a fine layer of foam in my tulip glass.

The smell is very complex: I'm noticing raisins, alcohol, dried fruits and even nuts. It has a powerful alcohol aroma, which isn't a surprise, considering its strength.

The taste is equally complex, with an overall sweetness and big alcohol punch, followed by a warming glow all down to my belly. Very strong and very sweet.

The body is quite slick and light, thanks to the high ABV.

This is a slow-sipping beer. Savor it and give it your time. It's good for special occasions. I must be used to drinking big beers because while this tastes extreme, it's not a bomb. DFH has put subtleties into it. Another winner.

Shaw, Aug 25, 2008
Photo of throwitallaway
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks for this brew thickerfreakness! Decanted from the bottle into a pint glass. Pours an amber color with a small head that recedes quickly. Aroma of apples, raisins, caramel malts, and a hint of alcohol. Taste of brown sugar, raisins, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is about right in the middle and drinkability is hurt by how sweet this beer is. I'm a hop head at heart and even though I love other styles, this one is too far outside my preferences. Objectively this isn't a bad beer, but totally not my thing.

throwitallaway, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of treyrab
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a chalice

A: Raisin brown in color with a beige head that dissipates to a disk very quickly

S: Tons of dark fruits and candi sugar. The yeast also comes through very strong

T: Ouch. The alcohol comes through way too much. It overpowers the other great complex flavors. There is of course the candi sugar and fruits, but the alcohol is way too much.

Overall, very warming...this one needs to age a couple years

treyrab, Aug 17, 2008
Photo of benmiliron
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Paid about $8 for a 12 oz. bottle. I've wanted to try this for years. Finally found it at Merchant's Fine Wine in Dearborn, MI.

Nice pour. Muddy brown maple syrup. Malt and raisins hit you right from the pour. Good head on this one - slightly off white. Lots of alcohol, some fusel but not so hot you can't stand it. Well hidden despite the alcohol content. Taste is strong alcohol though. The alcohol is dominant, but the malt and raisins get in there too. A lot of hops are there, bitterness plays well with the malts. These are straight malts too - not too caramelly, nothing burnt.

This is a nice brew, but the alcohol is just punching me in the face right now.

Mouthfeel is also nice - small bubble, but well carbonated. The gravity is almost silky. Drinkability is tough to say - obviously a sipper, this is not something you want to drink entirely by yourself. As I am doing now.

benmiliron, Aug 10, 2008
Photo of tgbljb
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a deep mahogony-reddish brown color with modest slightly off-white head.

Smell is a truly magnificent combination of molasses, dark fruit (with raisins dominating), and a touch of alcohol.

Taste is superb. There is a massive amount of sweet dark druit (raisins, plums, dates) present.
The sensation is so strong that you know this will be a sipper.

The tastes linger for a long time in the mouth. Subsequent tastes only heighten the experience, which is what this beer really.

A perfect after dinner nightcap.

tgbljb, Aug 09, 2008
Photo of brewjones
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle

This was one of those beers I had been meaning to try for a while...

Poured a nice dark brown with a wonderfully large, rocky, off-white head. The smell was POW! Raisins, prunes, and fusels. I knew this one had to be loaded with alcohol. Although the bottle didn't say, I notice this review does say 20%! The taste was a bit harsh at first as the alcohol was taking over. My palate calmed a bit and the flavors started to come through. Brown sugar, turbinado, and fruit was in the forefront. Hops were very subdued and did not play much of a roll in this beer. The mouthfeel was hot although smoothed out as the beer was able to breathe. Overall, this was a pretty good beer. I am always amazed at the 20% offerings that are easy to drink. Another good one from DFH.

brewjones, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of cuzinpete00
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer is great. was skeptical at first, do to the smell of raisins but the flavors blend well together. when i first drank it i did not know it was 20%., tastes more like a 12%. i think i taste some brown sugar but not sure. even if you don't like raisins u should def try. would buy more even at 8 bucks or so that i paid for the 12 oz bottle

cuzinpete00, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of sevopie
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Brownish-ruby with a cream colored head.

Smell - Heavy champagne smell with a touch of maltiness and some fruits.

Taste - Raisins jump right out at you, its fairly obvious they used a lot when brewing this one. Fairly malty as well, but as it has already been said, I would have no idea this was 20% alcohol if I hadn't been told. I also taste a slight bit of chocolate as well. The champagne theme continues, it has a mild wine taste, but not in a bad way.

Mouthfeel - Fairly heavy on the mouth, oily and smooth. It has a good amount of carbonation that you can obviously see active the whole time.

Drinkability - This is definitely a one-at-a-time brew. I'm 1/3 through it, and I can already start to feel it. Fantastic for a celebration type brew though, I will definitely revisit this one in the future.

sevopie, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of weezyfart
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Burnt orange in color and quite opaque with light to minimal lacing.

The aromas are malty and fruity with little to no hop intrusion. Of course a hand full of raisins comes to mind, but besides some candied orange and a hint of toffee, there's not much else.

On the palate, the toffee definitely rises up and becomes much more noticeable. Toasted malts also make their way forward as well as raisins. After a few sips I also noticed a faint hint of candy cane! I have to say that I'm really surprised how smooth the brew is and how much that whopper of an abv is covered.

I highly recommend you take a few sips of this beer for sure, but take a couple of swigs in between to let this beer fully coat your buds. Then swallow, enjoy, and try not to think too much!

weezyfart, Jul 03, 2008
Photo of joshwlt
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks beautiful... a hazy orangey, amber, almost like a peach ice tea color. has a light tan-brown head on it. Leaves a sticky trace of tiny bubbles on the edge of my goblet. Smells like raisin, dark fruit, ginger and... alcohol, a bevy of alcohol. Wow this is a powerful peppery experience on the tongue. Crazy tingly mouthfeel provdided by spice, hop, and alcohol. I can see how this is considered a belgian style. It has similar characteristics in the flavor as in the smell. This is spicy sweet and has an exceptional alcohol warmth. I'm not really a fan of the high abv. It comes across a little phenolic and astringent on the initial bite on some sips. I don't know... certainly an experience. Drinkable? I suppose... it's definitely a sipper; especially with a couple of wisdom teeth pulled out a week ago. Was it worth 9 dollars? not really.

Edit: If someone could describe to me what this phenomenon is I'd appreciate it. My initial pour, taste, and review was just a few ounces that I poured slowly. The rest I poured in quickly on top and I think it's somehow trapped the sweet flavors with gravity, making it more drinkable not so... phenolic, less alcohol, and the flavors are better. Weird, I know, again if you could tell me what's up with it I'd appreciate it. Maybe stuff settled and the second pour included more ingredients?

joshwlt, Jun 25, 2008
Photo of pinotboy007
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had no idea this sucker was 20% ABV; holy smokes! Purchased on a whim at Total Wine, Chantilly, VA as a single.

A - Mahogany with a modest, mocha-colored head; no lacing.

S - Raisins, pancake syrup, sour cherry (?), bourbon, caramel, wood.

T - I'm a rookie to the style but this is a dense, complex beer. The alcohol is there for sure but in a way that's a tad sinister; there's no sneaking-up on you. I'm tasting bourbon or even a touch of a nice single malt. In fact, this would be good served in single malt glasses given its strength.

M - Heavy creaminess w/a long alcohol-laced aftertaste. This would be nice after a meal around the holidays, not just poured and swirled down. Drizzle over dark cake.

D - Not for regular consumption by any stretch; this is a holiday treat and one I could only stand rarely.

pinotboy007, Jun 16, 2008
Photo of prototypic
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's a dark, chestnut brown color with a somewhat surprising caramel colored, two finger head. Usually these alcohol bombs are head destroyers, but this one weathered the storm. Carbonation is pretty active and it receded quickly. Light lacing covered the glass.

Smell: Whoa! Loads of raisin, prune, and other dark fruit aromas are steaming off of this one. They mix pretty well with a cherry scent, but the dark fruits are so, so dominant. It really blossoms if you stick with it. There's a very sweet caramel and brown sugar aroma. Alcohol is noticeable, but it's not overpowering like you might expect with a 20% abv beer. That aspect of the nose is really impressive. There's a light chocolate aroma lingering toward the end.

Taste: Again, the raisin and dark fruit flavors are easily the primary feature. They permeate the flavor. Caramel and brown sugar flavors add a nice, sweet taste. There are also very light citrus grapefruit and pineapple flavors further sweetening it. Alcohol is more noticeable in taste and has a definite warming effect as it goes down. But, it really is well done considering the extremely high abv. A lesser brewer could easily make a beer this big nearly unpleasant. DFH has pulled it off once again. It finishes sweet and warm.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's full bodied and is a nice sipping beer. Nice, thick, and a little chewy. Carbonation is well done and it's nice and smooth. Drinkability is limited by its strength. Its good flavor keeps it above average. But, honestly, how many of these could one drink? It'd be tough to take down more than one 12 oz. bottle.

DFH has again done a nice job with another 20% abv beer. It's no doubt a tough chore to make such a big beer that works. It's tough to critically evaluate beers as extreme as this. Could it be better? Yeah, but it wouldn't be nearly as extreme and that's most of the fun here. If it were dialed down enough to make it more drinkable, it wouldn't be the fun, extreme beer that it is. I take beers like this for what they are and enjoy the experience. Certainly recommended.

prototypic, Jun 03, 2008
Photo of doubleipa
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a review of an '05 that has been cellared properly. Zero head with some bubbles that quickly vanished. Aroma was heavy malt, toasted, molasses, no hops and moderate yeast. Heavy duty raisin, plum, date, and cherry. Still has that DFH sweetness that's so evident in many of their other beers. Actually has a slight Burton Baton quality to it.

doubleipa, May 20, 2008
Photo of SkinnyElvis
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Purchased about a year ago. Pours with a thick head that settles quickly. Nice lacing. Dark amber in color. Smell is boozy but sweet. Taste is extremely sweet. Mouthfeel is OK but there is a big alcohol burn. A slow sipper due to the booze. I have another bottle which I will put in the hole for a while to see if this calms down.


SkinnyElvis, May 17, 2008
Photo of kinnaird
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jessecarr for a great trade.

The Belgian brewers have been brewing beers in the "extreme" realm before it was vogue, but then, when you take a style that has long since been on the cusp of what can be done with beer and ratchet it up even more, you get something like Raison D'extra. Needless to say, I've really been looking forward to this experience.

After opening the bottle, I immediately smell ethanol. I figured this was a warning of what was to come, but my first impression in not realized once tasted.

Raison D'extra pours like an big beer would. Fairly viscous, but not too syrup like. It takes on a cloudy, rose like appearance. I couldn't quite figure out this color. I think it's best described as having the color of a glass of juice made from Golden Raisins, if such juice could be had. There was a half finger, slightly off-white head that quickly receded into nothing, leaving very little lace.

It does smell of ethanol for sure, but it also smells strongly of raisins, figs, caramel, and dark fruits; the smells you would expect from a Stong, Dark, Belgian Ale. The typical smells associated with this style alternate back and forth with the strong scent of ethanol.

Taste is as it smells; raisins hit you first, followed by other subtle fruits and spices as well as caramel. After I swallow, the taste stays with the sides of my tongue for more than a minute, and as I search for any signs of hop bitterness, there was none to be found. This is a very sweet beer.

While in my mouth, the mouthfeel is right in the middle between medium and heavy. Then once I swallow, the heavy notes show by keeping my mouth coated with a minuscule amount, enough to prolong the taste for quite a while.

This is a one and done beer. Or, if you're feeling like getting the party started, it's time to switch. This beer is very rich, almost to the point of cloying, but before you reach that point, the bottle is gone. I'm very happy I had the chance to try this and I would definitely have it again. This is for those nights when you only want one before going off to bed warm and happy.

kinnaird, May 08, 2008
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - pours a murky iced-tea brown. A thin layer of bubbles is all I get for a few healthy bounces into the glass. A few sprigs of lace, nothing big. Interesting but unassuming.

Aroma - a huge bouquet of raisiny sweetness. I kinda dig it.

Taste - major syrupy sweetness. Wow, you'll experience a sugar rush prior to any buzz. Figs on the swallow, loads of abv heat but amazingly little solvent factor for 20%. Candied fruit at the finish, and some spicy flavors, maybe the hops and raisins finally getting along? This one is for the sweet tooths in the crowd.

Mouthfeel - luciously smooth and velvety on the palate. Low carbonation.

Drinkability - powerful stuff, but a top apertif in my book. Literal beer candy, this disappeared far quicker than any beer of this strength should.

brewdlyhooked13, May 08, 2008
Photo of jmscott
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok, this review comes at the end of a long, tiresome, jet-lagged work week, so my opinion at the moment may be a bit skewed. Heck, even a Heineken would probably taste pretty damn good to me right now. Nonetheless, I'll do my best to give an honest and accurate discription of this fine experience.

It pours with only a slight lacing around the rim and at the center surface. Has a thick, cloudy appearance, dark amber color with orange highlights. Just by looking at it, you know that you're in for something heavy, yet extraordinary. The smell is a bit pungent, almost like ethanol or nail polish remover, but with a definite aroma of hoppy and fruity flavors. The taste far outweighs the smell. It's a delicious blend of raisins, dried apricots, caramel, cedar wood, toasted chestnuts, and some kick-you-in-the-teeth-hops. It has similar flavors to the Raison D'etre, but with the potency of a 120-minute IPA. Totally overwhelms the entire palate, makes your tongue feel as if it's been soaking in marinade for days. Every sip is a lot to handle, and requires about a 45-second recovery time before the next. It's definitely a slow-sipper, and not an every-day kind of beer. You'd better have an appetite, and your taste buds better be prepared for something of this caliber.

jmscott, May 03, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
3/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a ornage-copper color. No head. Alcohol punch on the pour. Soaked grapes, sherry and figs, plus an earthy vegetal oil bring on coniferous flavours and a rather complex perfumey profile. Plenty of residual sugar still, makes you wonder how much cane sugar, corn syrup, molasses etc they had to throw into every bottle. Long aggressive palate. Overwhelming alcohol finish. Would not recommend nor would I drink another.

barleywinefiend, Apr 28, 2008
Photo of charlzm
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Consumed 04/22/08.

Looks cloudy, medium brunished metal. One finger head sticks around a bit, leaves nice lacing to the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is raisins (surprise!).

Almost overwhelmingly sweet. Raisin flavor. A bit yeasty as well. A little spicy heat towards the end. Thick bodied and chewy, dry at the finish.

Did I mention this is a HUGE beer? Made my goosebumps come up on first taste. Interesting sipper, but not something I'm looking forward to again.

charlzm, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of a10t2
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Deep ruby to brown, not brilliantly clear but neither is it cloudy for an unfiltered beer. Pouring produces almost no head, although a smidge of lace got left on the glass. Tilting reveals definite "legs" from the alcohol.

S: Sweet caramel and dark fruity (raisin, plum) aromas, with a faint whiff of alcohol.

T: Rich malty flavor with plenty of sweet fruit notes from the raisins, but alcohol tends to overpower it.

M: Smooth, even slick, with alcohol warmth that persists all the way down.

D: Certainly not a session beer, I would say that the alcohol is overdone. Wonderful in a "look at us" sort of way, but could be better balanced.

a10t2, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of irishkyle21
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a thin off white head, doesn't last long but rims the glass after each sip. Almost the same color as a raisin (coincidence??)

Smells of.... you guessed it.. raisins (soaked in booze), sweet caramel malt and a huge mix of fruits.

Tastes of fruits (raisins are the most obvious), sweet malts, warming alcohol and spice.

irishkyle21, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of Portertime
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another extreme brew from Dogfish Head. I was a little iffy about this ale after having the Raison D'etre but it was alright. Poured a dark burnt orange color. I had it chilled in a lambic glass. Smelled of raisons and sort of a grain alcohol. Tastes of tart green raisons and a hint of peaches. The alcohol kicks your butt.

Portertime, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of PorterLambic
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownishorange/honey color, cloudy with nice floaty bits. A decent head develops then drops to a thin film.
Smell is raisins (duh), malt, with hints of cardboard and lettuce.
Taste is stepped up a notch with oak, alcohol (a lot of it) whiskey-like, hints of raisins and peat.
Full-bodied, rich, smooth, big alcohol bloom. Warms from the teeth to the top of the throat. Light effervescence.
This is like drinking a sipping whiskey in beer form. A good brew with apparently high ABV (per my notes). I would never have guessed it hit 20 %, though.

PorterLambic, Apr 20, 2008
Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 825 ratings.