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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

672 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 672
Hads: 1,338
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 14.14%
Wants: 165
Gots: 511 | FT: 46
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  18.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002

A bigger, bolder version of our Raison Raison D'Être.

This is a bulbous, brown ale brewed with a bunch of malt, brown sugar and raisins.

40 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 672 | Hads: 1,338
Photo of phisig137
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 9/29/2006... first time I've had a fresh bottle that wasn't aged. Pours a hazy brown/amber color, with bright gold highlights. Tiny head appears and disappears very quickly, leaving nothing behind, aside from a little lace. Has an incredible range of different colors when held in a tulip up to the light... like nothing I've ever seen. Kinda like a tequila sunrise.

Aroma is all sugar and alcohol. obviously, raison are present, but perhaps soaked in rum and everclear. malt, caramel, toffee, figs, and also a prune like aroma are present. Burnt sugar shows up too.

Flavor is oddly much like a standard Raison d'etre, but without the slightly roasted character. All the usual suspects of caramel, raisons, honey, and toffee are present, along with a strong alcohol presence. Incredibly sweet on the finish, and you can almost feel the cavities developing as you drink it. Despite that, this beer is quite complex, and only gets better as it warms up from cellar temp. Mouthfeel is incredibly thick, like drinking warm syrup. Drinkability is a little low due to the alcohol, sweetness,and heaviness. This is a sipper for sure. Then again, you alway want another sip.

Another solid winner from DFH, and well worth the $8.19 I paid for the 12 oz. But I think that I will continue to only drink aged bottles from now on. When fresh, this is quite sweet and alcoholic, but when aged, the flavors blend beautifully. I'll review again in a few months when I pull that 04 bottle from the cellar. (1,509 characters)

Photo of oelergud
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful translucent cloudy copper orange body with low carbonation. Low tan head that collapses without leaving much lace.
Obviously lots of raison in the smell. Strong and sweet without a hint at the high abv. Marzipan, dark sweet bread and vanilla.
Burning sweet raisons at first sip. Slight hint at the abv. Mellow flavors swirling around the raisons. Almonds, strong malt, vanilla and brown sugar. The aftertaste is abit more alcoholic but mostly sweet and very pleasant.
Full body and good coating present. Abit dry in the finish but not much.
Very drinkable and well crafted. I had my reservations at how good this could be due to the high abv but I was pleasantly surprised.

-Oelergud (700 characters)

Photo of terrabyte
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark ruby color with no head.

Smells like port or brandy. Sweet raisons and dark fruits, heavy on the alcohol. Smells just like the St. Bernardus 12 I just had.

Flavor is very sweet with dark fruits, raisons, and liquorish. Crazy thing is, this flavor and the expected burn of alcohol in the aftertaste drops dead on the dry finish. I don't know how they did it.

Mouthful is thick like syrup, and very dry.

Drinkability is lowered due to sweetness. However, for a 20% alcohol content, it's extremely drinkable. (535 characters)

Photo of drotski
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured with almost no head. Deep honey color.

Nice aroma, of raisons, molasses, and syrup. You can definitely smell the high alcohol content.

Very sweet taste, as I had expected. Raisons, apple, cinnamon, and a hint of maple syrup.

Sort of thick and syrupy in the mouth. Somewhat low carbonation.

As far as taste goes, very drinkable. However, the alcohol will catch up really quick, so be careful. (410 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark clear amber with lots of red tones. Practically non-existent head.
Aroma is definately raisins...lots of dark candied raisins and dark candied fruit with just a hint of the alcohol in this brew.
Taste is MASSIVELY sweet raisin and complex candied fruits finishing to an alcohol taste and alcohol warmth going down.
Aftertaste is sweet and again, lots of dark raisin...not really cloying....nice. This is a great lingering desert brew.
I had no idea the ABV was 20% while drinking it...strong?, yes...20%?...no way. It is really well hidden.
I love a beer that takes an hour to finish a glass.
This is one of those.
Ok...beers that take an hour and a half to finish.
Mmmmm.... (729 characters)

Photo of Freshie
3.29/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The appearance is a cloudy burgundy color with little to head. Seems to be very flat in carbonation.

The smell is pleasantly sweet, with rich fruit, caramel malt, and very present phenol alochol aroma. Stings the nostrils.

The taste knocks you in the mouth. The alcohol bites at your palate and then warms slightly. The sweetness is good and not overpowering, but this is absolutely a sipping brew. Very powerful.

Interesting to have, but not something I would have a lot. Wow. My mouth is still catching up. (517 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
2.83/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle, pours a copperish brown color. A lot of alcohol in the nose along with some raisins. Very sweet aroma that is quite rum-like. Taste is dominated by a strong alcohol presence that is sweet with malt and some dark fruit. Overall, I did not find this brew very drinkable at all. It shows off the high ABV far too much. The alcohol seems to dominate both the smell and taste. (384 characters)

Photo of ccs
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This has a good appearance, with a gorgeous amber with absolutely no head on it. The smell is all raisin and alcohol, almost like a very fruity wine. The first thing that struck me wasn't the taste, but the mouthfeel. It's very full, with almost an oatmeal-like texture (as in oatmeal stout). It's pleasant, but then, I'm not sure what I was expecthing out of this beer. The flavor roughly matches the aroma, with an alcohol upfront and then an oak-vanilla-raisin hint under. It's a very clean beer with no lingering aftertaste. I woudn't think that this is 20% alcohol. But, keeping the alcohol content in mind, I'm not sure i this is a real drinker, unless you're planning on calling it an early night. (704 characters)

Photo of hoppymeal
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8/31/05. Pours a dark amber to copper around the edges, slightly hazy, and a very small cream colored head appears and just as quickly fades away. Initial aroma shows a little bit of prunes and raisins along with a big helping of grain alcohol. There is also a red wine like tart cherry sweetness mixed in with the big alcohol aroma. The alcohol in the aroma subsides or I become numb to it further in allowing a floral-perfumy cherry sweetness and more of the rich sugariness but still just a little bit of raisins. Taste is where the raisins come thru, a big, rich sugary raisin flavor along with some caramel. The alcohol is also more evident at first in the taste as a nice spicy burn, but eventually mellows to a warmth in the throat. Not overly thick for its strength. This beer while it may not rate as high for me in aroma or appearance is incredible where taste is concerned. It is like a nice dessert port or sherry, very rich, and very well balanced for its strength, always showing the right amount of alcohol. This is one of my favorites to slowly sip at and savor each of those sips. (1,105 characters)

Photo of murrayswine
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is courtesy of my good friend, and fellow Marine, Troy, the owner of Warehouse Liquor in Madison.

It pours a ruddy amber/brown with no source of head.

The smell is sugar, plum, brandy, caramel, nuts, and grapes. BE WARNED- do not stick oyur nose directly into the glass, the large alcohol content will anestisize your whole olefactory sense system. Hold the glass a few inches away.

The taste is like malty brandy, which, well, I happen to love. It finishes like a congac, strong and sweet with a lot of heat.

The moutfeel is okay, but far too limp, it makes it like grain alcohol.

All in all this is a great beer that I highly recommend, but the alcohol content a limp mouthfeel bring it down a bit as a whole. (737 characters)

Photo of NolateM
4.59/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. I poured it straight down, yet the head dissipated to a small ring, which did linger the whole time. There was no lacing. The beer was completely opaque, with a rich mahogany color.

The aroma was quite impressive. I could smell the alcohol of course, and it also had a sort of fruity, sweet, dessert wine kind of a smell to it.

The alcohol was also detected in the flavor OBVIOUSLY, as well as sweet caramel malts, and a slight Belgian-esque yeastiness to it, but it wasn't overbearing. Raisins and cherries were definitely there in the flavor, as well as other fruit flavors I had trouble identifying. It wasn't too bitter at all.

This was relatively easy to drink despite the alcohol flavor, moreso than the World Wide Stout that I had tried last week. It had a wonderful warming character, and a creamy/syrupy mouthfeel (yet it was still well-carbonated). I definitely recommend this beer - and you may still be wondering why I gave it such high points for drinkability. I believe one must enjoy and review a 'beer' like this as if it were a fine port wine.

$9 per 12 oz. bottle (1,120 characters)

Photo of DogFood11
2.73/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On my wife's latest trip to the east coast I had her stop by a couple beer related stores near copely square and she managed to russle up 9 bottles of stuff I can't get on the west coast. This was on my list although I was thinking can a belgian strong dark get past the 20% abv. Well, in short it does manage but with mixed results.

Poured into a tulip it actually forms a decent head but the alcohol takes care of that quickly and also retention and lace are gonzo. Copper in color, almost like you'd find in darker IPA.

A nice fruitiness stabs its way out front. Body is rather lathering and syrupy. Carbonation rears its head through the body and manages to crispen it up a bit. Don't get me wrong its chewy and malted to the max but the carbonation helps. It has an underlying dark fruitiness for the style and cloying at times but once again its smacked down quickly by the drying alcohol steamer Jones.

Notes: I think its pretty clear that the abv doesn't help this brew and I like beers close to this range sometimes but this is a fricking turbine engine type of heat. Pushing the envelope on categories is great. I applaud dogfish head and look forward to the other products that made their way back in the carry on....whats that no liquid's in the carry on luggage anymore....bummer but neccessary. (1,318 characters)

Photo of cbl2
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11/19/2005 $8.99 12 oz. 20.00% No best by date, but with such a high ABV, the bottle even states that it ages with the best of them.


Pours a still, syrupy thick amber-brown that idles in the glass.


A dab of alcohol, smothered by a heaping dose of raisins, and sweetened condensed milk/caramel.


Viscous in the mouth, flavors are in your face sweetness that is reminiscent of caramel & honey with a touch of bottrysized muscat grapes. As it warms a sherry-like nuttiness creeps into the backgroung. Another superb offering from DFH. 20% ABV is surprisingly well masked. With its subtle chocolate/nut/dark fruit characteristics, this would make an excellent aperitif. (721 characters)

Photo of BeerRun13
3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy reddish brown, Virtually no head at all.
Malty. Strong Raisins and a touch of grapes in the nose. Mucho Alcohol.
Damn fine tasting. Strong on the raisons as well as the alcohol. A touch of bitterness shows.
Full bodied. Low carbonation. Syruppy and a bit chewy.
Good beer. Drinkable to the sipping extent. The raison quality is something I'm really starting to enjoy in a beer. (403 characters)

Photo of expatsteve
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer I've been looking forward to for a while, after having a few happy encounters with DFH's Raison D'Etre - thanks to Golden2wenty1 for sharing. The 20% has me completely intrigued.

Appearance; This thing looks like an ass-kicker. No head, no lacing, and just about no movement on the surface of the beer. Dirty orange brown in color, but not cloudy. Interesting murky tone. Medium/heavy viscosity.

Aroma: Raisins and strawberries. Rich toffee and molasses finish. Despite the heavy nose, there is no apparent booze or metallic bitterness. Fruits keep the nose remarkably fresh and appealing.

Taste: A dangerous fusion of strawberries, honey, raisins, with apple freshness. Booze tingle in the aftertaste is the only warning that this beer gives you. The masking of the alcohol and the rich flavor really is the hallmark of this beer. Maple syrup notes develop over a glass.

Mouthfeel: Rich and heavy, but smooth at the same time. Low carbonation balances a light alcohol tingle and keeps this drinkable. Maybe a little too sweet for such a heavy beer (contrasted with the lighter bodies of bocks, or the astringency of some heavier bodied beers).

Drinkability: Luckily the heavy body militates against drinking too much of this - the taste definitely commends further drinking. Overall, one of the most deft balancing acts I've tasted (and the reason for my high taste score), one that renders this beer a pleasure to drink and a full-palate experience at the same time. (1,498 characters)

Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle enjoyed watching trivial 3rd place World Cup match with expatsteve. Cheers to 20%.

Pours a goopy, gooey, viscous fiery dark amber with no semblance of head or lacing, but leaves a syrupy slick film on the glass...intimidating.

Nose is big and vibrant with sticky notes of brown sugar, loads of "bulbous" raisins, strawberry, caramel and booooze.

Taste is sweet, but not too sweet with brown sugar, raisins, booze (duh), and caramel, husky malt in the finish.

Mouthfeel super syrupy thick, with light, thin carbonation, and lots of boozy vapors wafting through my mouth and sinuses.

This is a beast of a beer, make no mistakes about it. But for as "extreme" as it is, it produces a pretty good level of balance between booze, raisin/fruit and malt. The 20% abv is expertly hidden. At $9 a bottle its a very, VERY infrequent frivolous luxury however. (876 characters)

Photo of Phatz
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

They say it is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, but I think they put brandy in my bottle =) LOL. If you are not a fan of the alcohol burn you feel when drinking liquor then be ware. For a 20% ABV this one is very well masked but I assure you, there is still plenty of spicy alcohol warming the belly singeing the taste buds. As a fan of brandy, Cabernet Sauvignon and Port, I enjoy this Dark Belgian style ale. My friends did not. This is definitely a love it – or – hate it beer.

Appearance: Dark orange copper color with deep purple around the edges. Decent head that fades fast (as expected).

Smell: Heavy port aroma including dark fruits, currants raisons and plum.

Taste: On this one the ethanol does stand out. I like the way the alcohol adds spice to the flavor but don’t expect that it is hidden. This to me drinks very much like a brandy. I say brandy as opposed to bourbon because of how sweet it is. Then there is the dark cherry, cedar, tobacco, black currant flavor that reminds me of a Cabernet. The sweet sugars and raisins hit for round two next to the alcohol bite on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium weight in the mouth but all the flavor certainly made it feel full. It was smooth and easy despite the massive size.

Drinkability: This is surprisingly easy to drink, but then again I did split it three was and had plenty so …

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers! (1,391 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been sampling some eis-bocks recently and this beer is very similar in appearance. A fiery scarlet-orange liquid, very dense to light, with some carbonation bubbles abound. Poured hard to no avail, head was nearly non-existent.

Dark burnt fruits, and caramel malt lead the way in the aroma category. Alcohol nearly burns the nose hairs away but it's not a bad type of burn. Also some toffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the expected raisin.

Well what can I say. Nice syrupy mouthfeel, high in RS but not cloying whatsoever. Some alcohol in the mouth and chest but again the malt, and fruit flavors help tame the beast. Big burnt caramel maltiness. Maple, toffee, cinammon, and brown sugared raisins.

I really like this. Probably can't drink more than one but I think at 20% just the fact that you can drink it is a feat in itself for a beer. Have another one. (869 characters)

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this for somewhere between 9-12 months, as I find the DFH "potent poatables" to be a tad overpowering when fresh, yet absolutely divine with at least a year on them. In an effort to really clean out my cellar (more drinkin'!!) it was time for this. I hadn't ever sampled this beer in the 12 oz. bottle. Last I had it was a few years back, when they still were bottled in the magnums. Here we go.

Pours without much noticeable carbonation, a ruby colored rust body without any head. Smells delicious, yet alarmingly reminds me of how their World Wide Stout smells with a 2-3 years on it: ripe apple and pear, alcohol, and extremely vinuous (spelling?). I pour a little less than half the bottle into a snifter, and a few sips in, I can already feel the alcohol creeping into my brain. Yow.

Flavors have layers of complexity. Initially quite sweet, but thankfully it's all brown sugar sweetness so it's not overpowering. Red grapes and ripe plums form the middle before the dry, lasting mildly bitter alcoholic finish. You can taste the booze. Nearly all carbonation is lost at this point, which is fine of course, though there is the slightest hint in the throat as it goes down. In summary: brown sugar, fruit, booze. And lots of it. This is a serious sippin' beer, and an extremely delicious one at that. Completely reaffirming the fact that DFH's really strong-ass beers are pure magic with just a little age on them. WWS is heavenly with time; so is this. I wish I had more to put away. Whoa, I'm dizzy. (1,535 characters)

Photo of AlexJ
3.77/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Muddled, dark amber with a slight tint of rust and a very thin, sizzling head of eggshell froth.

Aroma is an explosion of sweet caramel and fruity malts with a deeply intense raisin liquor notion. The alcohol is hard to contain and it comes across as more of a liquor than a beer.

Flavor is sweet, brown sugar and buttered rum soaked raisins with just a hint of Belgian sugar and slightly fragrant yeast. It rather a one-note-pony, and it's all about the raisins.

Body is think and syruppy, each sip leaving my lips sticky and sweet. I'm glad I shared this bottle with like 10 other people, it's definately one for sipping. (632 characters)

Photo of Brian700
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was blown away by this beer. I need more of it. I think this one would age great. It pours a nice amber color with a ruby hue. It coats the glass like syrup. Looks inviting.

The aroma is of sweet malt and dark fruit with some pineapple aroma in there as well.

The flavor is huge malty sweetness with dark fruit all over. It is like a nice blend of figs and chocolate. This beer really reminds me of a Thomas Hardy with some more dark fruit in the finish, also a port wine.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth nicely leaving a ton of flavor and satisfaction.

This is a beer I wish I could drink a lot more of. I need to get more of this one to age out and see how it develops. I highly recommend this beer. (753 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Read about this in the cellaring forum. Thusly intrigued I bought a bottle to see what the buzz was all about.

A - Dark golden color with a nice ruddy complection. Just a touch of foam on the pour which quickly dissappears.

S - Sweet malts, ripe fruit and alchohol. This one lets you know it's strong right off the bat.

T - Sweet but not cloying. A nice swirl of ripe fruit and strong sweet malts. Each sip lets you know the alcohol is there. Not punishing, but very strong.

M - full bodied and strong. Warms each corner of your mouth and doesn't pretend to hide the alcohol.

D - sit back and enjoy slowly. Eat dinner first!

I think I'll cellar some of this and enjoy over time! Well done. (707 characters)

Photo of presscaught
3.71/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Purchased at Spirits Unlimited in Redbank, NJ (highly recommended liquor store!). Served from a refrigerated (~50F) 12oz bottle, in a Newcastle pint glass. 1/06 Brwed date.

A: No head on the poor, no retention, no head at any point. Glows beautiful golden when held to the light. Kind of a cloudy unfiltered look initially. Not in the light has a muddy ruby color. Carbonation seems to be small bubbles slowly traveling upwards.

S: Sweet. Alcohol. Over-ripe raisons and fruits.

T: Alcohol burn at the back of mouth on first few sips. Sweet! As with the nose the taste is very sweet over-ripe fruits….the raisons really come through.

M: Mouthfeel is very viscous and sticky.

D: I enjoyed this one but I don’t I could drink more than one in a sitting due to sweetness and ABV! Not to mention the price (6.99 but in my area in MA it usually goes for 8.99 a bottle). (880 characters)

Photo of
3.33/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a light brown with copper, no head to speak of. Smell of grape jelly moving towards raisins (surprise). The taste was more like a port than a beer, with grape/raisin flavor coming through strong, followed by pepper/heat near the end as the ABV hits you. Mouthfeel was very smooth, but drinkability was rough given the ABV. As others have said, one and done. Not sure what to do with this beer given how unique it is, but congrats to Dogfish for pushing the boundaries (474 characters)

Photo of frosty
3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at the Newington CT Bev. Poured from a 12oz bottle this beer pours a very nice color. I is like a dark amber and the smell is very sweet to the nose. The taste is of a lot of raisins and alcohol. Not a beer to have more than 2 of, a sipper. Overall I was impressed but the sweetness and alcohol does make it hard to go down. A very strong complex brew from DFH. (376 characters)

Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 672 ratings.