1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Raison D'Extra - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

873 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 873
Reviews: 587
rAvg: 4
pDev: 15.25%
Wants: 110
Gots: 197 | FT: 13
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:
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 873 | Reviews: 587 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spycow
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Raison D'Extra
Poured into a Duvel Tulip. 12oz bottled version that about a year old

A: A light pour that was a orange-brown color with a light head with minimal carbonation.

S: Smelled of raisins, figs and plums could tell that it had a high alcohol content but as overwhelming as I expected.

T: The flavor starts out sweet. You could taste the heavy use of raisins but the flavors of fig and plums were noticeable. Initially, you could taste the strong alcohol taste but quickly subsided after a couple of sips. Stayed sweet throughout but did mellow some as you took in more. Better than what I expected from a beer with such a strong alcoholic content. A little sweet for me on a regular basis but having drank two to three of these it keeps getting better.

M: Feels like a light brandy, a little oily yet pleasant.

D: This is one of those beers you treat yourself to one at a time. Not one to drink multiple in a sitting. Again, the overall sweetness can be overwhelming for some along with the 20% alcoholic content. Great for an apertif and one to be savored.

Recommend trying this especially those who like the sweeter ales and those who are fans of Utopia. Pricey but worth the spend.

Photo of stageseven
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Brewed March 2007

Ap - poured a reddish caramel color, with a slight haze to it from the yeast in the bottle. It had a 1 finger off white head with a nice foamy quality. The head dissipated fiarly quickly, but it still left good lacing on the glass.

Ar - was sweet and malty. Initially it was dominated by a raisin smell. Underneath there's a definite hint of alcohol, but for being the strongest beer I've ever tried, it was well hidden. There was some traces of chocolate and caramel as well, but they were pretty muted.

T - was as sweet as the smell, and likewise the raisin flavor is predominant. The beer definitly had some wine-like aspects to it. There was a definite burn to the beer as well, as expected given the high ABV. It was right in the middle of the throat that the warmth really got me, but it was a nice pleasing type of warmth that would be good on a cold night. There was also a nice light bitterness that finished the beer just in the back of the throat that stayed in the mouth for a while after swallowing. The one thing I noticed was missing from the aftertaste was the metallic "Delaware water" flavor that I normally find with Dogfish beers. I was pretty happy about that fact, as it's usually the one issue I have with the flavor of stuff I've had from them.

M - had a medium-heavy body that was somewhat syrupy in quality. The carbonation was moderate, with a light tingle on the tip of the tongue, and more roundess in the rest of the mouth. There was just a little bit of coating in the mouth, and it had a somewhat wet finish. Overall it was a substantial beer and complimented the warmth and strength of it well.

D - one was plenty to get tipsy, even taking it slow. If I tried for 2, I'd probably end up in a hospital.

Photo of beer2day
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aged 1 year in the beer fridge.

Pours amber with a little more red than normal. 1/2 inch head that recedes quickly. Leaves behind decent lacing. Aroma is fruity, but with a definite bite to it.

This one will definitely warm you. Thick syrupy hit (guess those raisin's have to turn into something). Again, thick on the mouthfeel with the raisin flavor there - but overpowered by the warming alcohol finish.

I'd drink this one again, but the weather has to be right and the drinking should be done outside.

Photo of WickedSluggy
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This ale met my expectations in most respects. Its flavor and smell are both complex and interesting. The flavor, aroma and sweetness hide the high AVB, the one thing I expected might be more noticeable. The alcohol was noticed in a more subtle pleasing manner - warming and fanning the embers in my sinuses.

A - Medium Amber brown, semi-opaque. When poured, very little foam formed and then disapeared quickly.

S - Brandy-like. It is very aromatic - nice malty aroma. Rasins came through especially as warmed.

T - Pleasant sweet wine-like malty ale. Plenty of malt flavor plus something like tangy port or sweetened brandy. Slight tingly sourness, is more the balancer. Not very bitter.

M - Not a light beer. Tingly on tip-of-tongue.

D - I think this is meant to be a sipper, and it is fit for its intended purpose.

Photo of Poser
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like a soda. Fizzy carbonation that bleeds out quickly. Nice color though. Aroma of chocolate, raisins and a noticeable, alcoholic tinge like a rum. Taste is mainly dried vine fruit like raisins and figs. Like the trail packs. Low carbonation and full-bodied, I wish I had someone to share this with. Too rich for anything but sipping.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rare, unique beer. 20% ABV and made with a boatload of raisins. And they don't distribute here in SoCal, but I found a bottle at Lone Hill Liquor. Has a bottled on date of 9/29/06. On to the beer:

I'm surprised to see the head over an inch thick given the alcohol here. Deep crimson color, ruby brown splotches when shined under a light. The aroma is subtle but good. Yep, that raisin aroma alright, and also subtle phenols. I wonder if the age of the bottle killed off some of the aroma. Despite the whiff in the nose, the flavor and mouthfeel have a HUGE body. Well controlled syrupy body, not cloying, with a brush of carbonation. This is very unique, like most of DFH's "extreme" beers. Toasted bread is underneath the massive smackdown of raisins...raisin bread? the alcohol create a peppery kick, though the alcohol itself does not cut into the beer's enjoyment. Not complex, but very very tasty. And deadly drinkable. No, deadly! The aftertaste is pleasantly sweet, like eating raisins.

Running across a two-year old bottle may have helped my cause. There wasn't as much booze as one would suspect, and in the end, I loved it.

Photo of smcolw
3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours the color and cloudiness of apple cider. Nearly no head, absolutely no lace.

Rich port-like raisin aroma with strong alcohol nose. Sweet without being sickly.

Perhaps the strongest beer I've ever had (at 20% abv, I'd be curious to compare it head-to-head with the Sam Adams Millennial beer). This is a six-pack in a bottle, alcohol wise. The flavors are a bit overwhelming with the alcohol level which overwhelms everything.

I'd say that this is a one-time try for me. Wonderful to experience, but too potent and over-the-top to recommend.

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.17/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 5/24/08. I will admit that I am not a fan of high alcohol beers nor am I a particular fan of raisins...but my boyfriend got a bottle of this and wanted me to split it with him, so I decided to try it...pours a light brown, cloudy, no head and a rather syrupy texture. Aroma is awful--much too overpowering and so repulsive to me that I actually had to pinch my nose while drinking it. Aroma is strong of alcohol, brown sugar, raisin. Flavor is a little better than the aroma- brown sugar, alcohol, sweetness. Super rich and super sweet. Too one-dimensional for such a high alcohol beer, it is not balanced enough, creating a huge alcohol mess. I just don't think the body of Raison D'Etre is strong enough to handle the 18.5%. I could only take about 10 or so sips. Won't be having this again...
3/3/6/3/10 (2.5/5)

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up this bottle a while back and decided to throw it down with a select few DFH beers the other night. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter.

The pour was nice with a rich light brown color coming forward. Decent amount of light tan head rising up from the bottom and coming to a top around one inch in height. The aroma was super sweet, hints of raisins and alcohol were sharp and very well noticeable. Some touches of toffee and caramel coming through as I take the first sip. Remarkably smooth for being soo strong. Rich raisin and spices coming through, with the alcohol prickly on the tongue. Very full with a moderate level of carbonation made this quite enjoyable, though it needed to be shared.

Overall for how strong it was, it was very nicely done. I really did not find this one really overwhleming and I would actually like to try this one again.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: An aggressive pour yielded a beautiful amber-orange color with a 1 finger fomay beige head that was littered with macro-bubbles. Visible carbonation was soft.

S: fresh ripe fruit, prunes, raisins and alcohol.

T: The initial flavor starts very spicy, sweet with sugary plums, raisins and some noticeable alcohol. Wow is this ever so sweet, like fermented grape juice. Sugary ripe fruit with an abv of 20.0% that is fairly well hidden behind the huge sweetness up to the pending last seconds of the swallow before it makes its presence known. Overall better the average but hard to justify the flavor as good, just tons of sweet ripe fruit and not much complexity.

M: syrupy sweet with ripe fruit and spicy alcohol fusels.

D: Drinkability is one and done. Overly sweet, and maybe just a tad to much alcohol for repeated use. Don't think my sugar meter goes up that high to have another one.

Photo of Reino
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 03/15/07

Appearance- 12oz bottled poured fairly aggressively, but minding the yeast, into my NB goblet producing a 2 finger khaki head that bubbles and disappears like an aggressively poured Dr. Pepper. The beers body resembles Dr. Pepper with its caramel color that transitions from brown-orange on the bottom to mahogany with purple highlights on top. Pretty much no lacing, but expecting lacing out of a 20% beer is probably like expecting lacing out of a neat bourbon.

Smell- Bizarre in the right way. Reminds me of an Eisbock mixed with vinegar. As expected, raisins are prominent followed by golden apples, apple juice, vinegar, and a faint smell of milk chocolate. Alcohol is definitely there, but not so much that it is unpleasant. It's more of a brandy liqueur heat. I could see how some people would smell this and think, "Jesus! No thanks." For some reason, I like it quite a bit.

Taste- Resembles the smell. Milk chocolate covered rum-soaked raisins with a sour vinegar flavor that clenches to the sides of my tongue. There's a nice fountain soda cola type of caramel syrup flavor. Dark rum lingers along with a tiny bit of a Nyquil taste through and after the finish. Raisin is definitely the main flavor throughout, but each sips pairs it with something different. This is a fun beer to sip and work through over a long period of time. Lots of different flavor combos.

MF- Very full and syrupy without being too cloying and thick. Low carbonation allows the crazy mishmash of flavors to coat the tongue, but does allow for the heat to stick, too. The sour vinegar wears on the tongue, especially mixed with the heat, but the feel is still pleasant considering the abv and sourness.

Drinkability- In general, the drinkability would obviously be low. When I put the abv into consideration, though, this beer drinks pretty damn easy and I could probably put down two and enjoy both. I wouldn't actually do this, but I could, and that's impressive. I'm going to age one of these for a long ass time and see what happens.

Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear copper with a light tan head that quickly turns into a ring of bubbles. Raisins, brown sugar, candy corns, and malt in the nose. Rich flavor of raisins and caramel, highly alcoholic, and that boubon flavor. Could use some hops to take the sweetness down a little.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nose is highly malty, fruity, and alcoholic. Quite sour and sugary. Kind of vinegary. Smells intimidating.

Pours a dirty blond color into a warm burnt sienna body, almost no clarity - quite murky, nice head with quick dissipation. Looks pretty good.

First sip unveils a microcosm of flavor - this beer is all over the place. Raisiny? Yes, and how! Nice vinegar vein running though the middle. Alcohol is just shy of strong. The malt is tripping over itself on the way to my flavor receptors. Roast, nut, and a good dose of chocolate. There's a bunch of sweetness but the overall beer isn't very sweet - caramel and pure malt extract kinds of sweetness are put into check by the vinegar and alcohol. Sour fruit, definitely reminiscent of raisins. Finishes raisiny and vinegary, mildly sweet. Full bodied, mild carbonation. Tastes good, in a masochistic kind of way. Not funky or balanced or extreme enough to be (to me) really good, but it comes close. Feels good.

Each sip is different from the last. I can't drink it at all quickly, but I fear the alcohol is going to run rampant when it warms. Raison D'Extra can be summed up by: (1) part solution of malt extract and water that's thick as rum (extract is mix of minority specialty malts emphasizing chocolate and majority base malt), (1/2) part apple cider vinegar, (1/4) part pure ethyl alcohol, and (1/4) part souring/bittering agent or preferably some sort of big-ol'-raisin liqueor. Drinkability is pretty good. The crazy vinegar and sugar, as well as the alcohol, kick it back a notch (for me), but the amazing malt and all-around funkiness bring it back half a notch.

*20%ABV? Could have fooled me, I know it's strong... but I was thinking like 12% strong or something. This is the best alcohol disguise I've ever seen I think. Crazy.

**Vinegar was the first word that popped into my head upon tasting this beer. I can't find another review that mentions vinegar. I'd worry that my bottle had gone south, but it's only a month old. How curious. Perhaps a revisit is in order... some time down the road.

Photo of corby112
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber/ copper color with a thin off-white foamy head. Has a strong alcohol aroma with a nice touch of sweet raisins and other dark fruit. Has a strong taste of alcohol which is balanced out nicely with the malty presence as well as the sweetness of the raisins.

Photo of abcsofbeer
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This one has a bottle on date of 03/15/2007 and aged a while in my fridge. Poured into a large wine glass, this strong ale comes out a reddish orange color that is fairly opaque. The head is very thin and falls to a thin crown, but sticks around well.

The aroma is plain and simple: strong alcohol. The taste is similar to the aroma: alcohol, cherry cough syrup mixed with caramel malts. The flavor is overwhelming and hard to pinpoint.

The mouthfeel is "wow", bursting with flavor. There is a high amount of carbonation. The flavor is very intense and sour. As this ale warms, the flavor intensifies, becoming difficult to finish. I took my time with this very complex beer.

Photo of scottoale
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recieved this in a generous trade from organicbrewer...thanks Josh! 12oz. brown bottle with a Bottled On: 03/15/07 H stamped on the bottle neck and a code on the bottom: 7063 B-20918.

This big brew pours a thick and murky copper-brown, with a 1/4" off-white cream head. The carbonation is mild, the head settles to a ring around the Chimay chalice.

The smell is sweet of dark fruits and molasses, caramel and raisen puree. The alcohol enters as it warms, adding more depth to the nose.

The taste... Oh the taste, yes indeed. This stuff tastes great, full of alcohol, molasses, caramel, raisen, plum, fig, honey and more alcohol. Sweet? Yes rather sweet, like sipping on a nice sweet sherry. Also reminds me of the Angel's Share from Lost Abbey, one of my favorites. This is a big sweet sipper that should age nicely, thus tone down the alcohol and make this beast as smooth as glass. Complex and amazing flavor.

Big body, big alcohol, yet smooth with just a touch of spark from the carbonation. Going on two years in the bottle, I find this very paletable now, but will get better in the years to come. I had mixed expectations about this brew...this was a most pleasant surprise! Tasty.

Photo of froghop
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours thick and cloudy, dark orange-brown with a thin beige head, not much lacing. looks almost like a barleywine.

smell is of alcohol, prunes, raisins, caramel, barley.

taste is as it smells, thick and oily mouthfeel.

overall pretty good, more of a barleywine than a strong ale.

Photo of kzoobrew
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby color, slightly murky. 1 finger frothy white head. Head diminishes quickly, slight lacing.

Big sweet aroma. Rum raisin pineapple banana. Definite alcohol in the nose.

Very sweet brew. Warming alcohol rum spicy flavors. Big dark fruit flavors, of course some raisin. Lot of alcohol and quite warming.

Mouthfeel is big and thick. Full bodied. Slightly oily.

While you was enjoyable I am sure two just leading to trouble. Drinkability is not the key here.

Photo of czfreeman
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dogfish Head--what can I say, my favorite American Brewery. The conceptual "El Bulli" of brewers.
Pours out a deep golden amber tone, leaves a slight wisp of a head, lots of lacing
Aromas of rum soaked raisins, dried figs, malts, molasses, wheat, almost Pinot like boldness, cocoas,tropical fruits-piney mangoes,pineapples. WoW!
Tastes of spicy rummy warmness, sweet caramels, phenolic touch of alcohols, coconut, piney, touch of burbony spice, oaks,bitter, plummy cocoas a hugely complex brew.
Mouthfeel is complex, long, warming, spicy, exciting. I have not been dissapointed by Dogfish,Nor I think I ever will.Fantastic

Photo of CrellMoset
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A hazy orange sunset-hued beer with a fast-fading, bubbly slightly off-white head. There's a few small patches and streaks of lacing, but methinks it might be largely alcohol-retarded.

Aroma: Sticky sweet brown sugar, saltiness, a definite, heavy fructose note (raisins, perhaps?), and an epic amount of fusel alcohol, high molecular weight, chemically, estery.

Taste: Intense as hell. Brown sugar and dates, an epic amount of raisins, rum raisin, other fruity notes. Rum soaked raisins, fermented raisins - raisin wine? Spicy, biting alcohol, too, warming, borderline hot. Hotter as it warms. There're a ton of unfermented, residual sugars here, which fortunately counter a lot of the alcohol spiciness and warmth.

Mouthfeel: Thick, syrupy, cloying, with mild carbonation, tons of alcohol prickle.

Drinkability: Intensely malty and with a ridiculous amount of alcohol (forgot about hiding it, there's no chance at this level, and it was naturally very, very hot), and I actually found this one a little less complex and interesting than the other extreme DFH beers I've enjoyed (Olde School, 120 Min ... I've yet to try the WWS). It's worth trying at lease once, though more just to say you did than anything.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Sam Adams 6 oz. sampler glass. Bottled on date shows 3/15/2007.

A: Poured a cloudy, dark amber, brown color with tan highlighted edges and a clouded, brownish center. The thin head of carbonation quickly faded to a fine ring of lace around the edge of the glass.

S: Smells faintly sweet and fruity, with lots of dark fruit notes; plums, raisins, berries and a bit of spicy sweetness. The woody alcohol aroma wafts up from this burnt berry concoction.

T: A full onslaught of sweet, coating fruity alcohol and malt. The taste has many a liquor-like quality, with heavily absorbed and refined dark brown sugars, maple and molasses complexes, a sweet, wood-stored and aged texture, and a burning alcoholic raisin flavor. This is a pure sipper.

M: Mouthfeel is slick, full-bodied, sticky and flavorful. The carbonation is there in a swish, which causes some alcoholic sting, but it's very rich and robust.

D: It'll take you quite a time to get through 4 ounces of this one, let alone a whole bottle. It's very deep, lush and fulfilling, so you're better off sharing it.

The over 20% alcohol warms and soothes you as you consume this brew slowly. You'd be wise to lightly chill and serve Raison D'Extra as an aperitif to a red meat meal, perhaps with a chocolate based dessert. However, I'd recommend sipping this one on its own. I'll let my other bottles sit a couple years before savoring this unique flavor again.

Photo of champ103
3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a cloudy and dark amber/brown color. On a heavy pour, a two finger head forms fast, but recedes just as fast. Light lace is left behind.
S: Sweet malt. Honey, raisins and lots of alcohol.
T: Lots of sweet malt. Again, a big honey and raisin flavor. This is a bit too sweet though, almost cloying. Warming alcohol as well.
M/D: Rich, thick, and syrupy. Low on the carbonation end. This has an insane amount of alcohol, which makes for a very slow sipper.

This really seems more like an English Barleywine than a BSDA. Not a lot of Belgian yeast flavors that I can pick out and overpowering alcohol. Though not as bad a some of their other huge alcohol beers (WWS and 120 come to mind).

Photo of Douglas88
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle drank at the Clark Street Ale House in Chicago. Pours a deep amber color with a very small whte head. A very enticing aroma; nuts, raisins, tons of alcohol and sweet fruits. The taste was surprisingly smooth; a very sweet concoction of raisins, brown sugar, some light hops, and a ton of warmth. A sipper for sure. Very enjoyable.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a goblet. This is a beer I've been wanting to try for some time now. I figured what better day to pop it open than when Obama is elected to be the next president.

4.0 A: Hazy amber brown, but very uniform throughout. Half finger of head (which even that impresses me considering the ABV) but does not retain too well. Slim lacings present.

5.0 S: Strong brown sugar and molasses. Raisins and roasted malts. Incredible smell. Strangely, alcohol doesn't poke through much.

3.5 T: Looks like I found that alcohol I've been looking for. Big warming taking place. Dark malts and raisins are main flavors. Next is caramel and molasses (taste just like it smells in this regard). Dark fruits make an apparent with the boozy finish. Very sweet, perhaps too sweet.

3.5 M: Thick and syrupy, like dandylion wine or brandy. Little carbonation. Not the beer's best attribute.

3.5 D: I can deal with the alcohol content just fine, but not the sweetness. If it were less sweet or more hopped, I think I would enjoy it more.

Photo of elniko
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into snifter.

A: Rich deep amber coloring, very little head. Thick looking brew which is to be expected with the ABV.

S: Goodness gracious what a strong smelling brew. The alcohol is highly apparent with a tinge of sweetness as well. Really nice, interesting smelling brew.

T & M: The alcohol is definitely apparent. Smooth tasting, carbonation is nice in the mouthfeel too. Sweet and malty but not to the extent of being cloying.

D: This is a sipping beer. I am glad I had it but wouldn't want to have more than one in a sitting.

Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 873 ratings.