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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.
very good

818 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 818
Reviews: 575
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 95
Gots: 151 | FT: 8
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: 818 | Reviews: 575 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Hefe


4.63/5  rDev +16%

Tasted on 7/15/04. Served plastic tasting cup at the DFH - Avery Brewing tasting at R.F.D.
D.A. dug up a 2 1/2 year old keg he had been cellaring. Way to go!

Appearance: Golden/orange in colour with a sticky lace around the edges.

Smell: Sweet malt, candied orange, spice, plum, oloroso sherry, brandy.

Taste: Layered with caramel, orange, plum, yeast, toffee, spice, dried figs/cherries all fighting for center stage. The finish is long and vinous.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with solid carbonation.

Drinkability: Well masked abv that could get you in trouble if you arent careful.

Sam said this is coming back into rotation in 4pks, but not until summer 2005. Woohoo!

07-19-2004 20:17:11 | More by Hefe
Photo of francisweizen


4/5  rDev +0.3%

late Dec, 2002 vintage. Pop the cork, and away we go. A deep russet-like brown colour with ruby/copper edges. Not much of a head forms, but some white bubbles sling to the sides of my glass, leaving a miniscule amount of lace, that is gone shortly. The aromas are heavy and hit hard with anything and everything from leather, alcohol (rum, whiskey, etc), smoke, tobacco, spices, deep roasted malts, various types of belgian yeast and candy sugars, and more. The taste is rugged and strong yet smooth and refined. The malt massacre is heavy up front, with some interesting flavors blending together in the middle before unleashing a very boozy, spicy finish on your throat/stomach. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy, and borders on cloying and the drinkability is good for a 20% brew...another winner from DFH! Bring on the aprihop!

02-09-2004 18:30:46 | More by francisweizen
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.1/5  rDev +2.8%

Date bottled on bottle December 19th, 2002 Appearance: Deep brown bulbous as the label states with a nice brown amber state to it leaves some head cream in colore minimal lacing. Aroma: Rich whiskey and rum like tones very vinous with grape and beet juice ties together this beastly high in malt beer wow, just so much robust tones it's hard to comprehend. Taste: Full of flavor rich spiced rum flavors while at the same time very comparable to a plum brandy the nectar of the gods in a glass very rich and wow, puts this face of disbelief after a sip excellent tasting brew this is excellent. Mouthfeel: Full bodied ale all kind texture syrupy as all hell fine brew seems like the Serbian plum brandy I was used to while it high school with my foreign exchange student friend Bogdan from Belgradel. Drinkability: Incredibly smooth for the amount of alcohol in flavor just beware that you will stay where your at for the night after a sampling of this beer.

01-19-2004 03:00:45 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of beerguy101


4.53/5  rDev +13.5%

Medium orange color. Small head. Aroma is orange and malty. A medium bodied “Brown Ale” (read the label!) Malts are very sweet, touches of orange. Incredibly smooth. Touch of alcohol “oiliness” Lot of sherry like qualities. Oranges, touches of wood, raisins and figs. Smooth, or did I already say that. There is a touch of alcohol bite, but at 20% it’s not really that noticeable. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. VERY nice beer.

01-01-2004 21:24:19 | More by beerguy101
Photo of tavernjef


4.53/5  rDev +13.5%

Bottled date of Dec. 19th 2002 - Color is a lightly hazed brownish copper with a quickly moving bubbley light greyish head that grew to about a finger high and crumpled down laser quick.

Smell is complexly boozy with a brandyish sweetness mixing with a dark fruity port. Quite an intoxicating nose, a very warm alcohol steams off with a great rummy raisin and dark toffee sweetness calmly lurks within.

Taste is more heavenly darkened fruityness and alcohol warming with a rich creamy fullness thats fantasticly thick and mildly sweet. Very smoothly warming with some brandy-like tones, cognac maybe, and closely port-like. Flavors are dark and sweet with a creamy tone and feel thats not overbearing with raisin/dates and more dark fruits liquified and blended with a great dark toffee malted sweetness thats moderately delicate and easy. The sweetness is close to port-like and very nice, good character with lots of subtlities in the dark fruits and there's hints of alcohol laced breads with rum and brandy and even slight charcoal-like burnt woodyness.

A complex cornicopia both in flavor and alcohol, exquisitely smooth with a subdued sharpness and amiable alcoholic kick. Pretty amazing stuff! Dangerously drinkable so watch out.

01-01-2004 20:52:15 | More by tavernjef
Photo of beergeek279


4.33/5  rDev +8.5%

Served in the 750 mL corked bottle, into a goblet. The color is a very dark amber, with a little pattern of head in the middle. The smell is mostly alcohol, though nice raisin sweetness is also present. The taste is a very raisiny/plum sweetness, and the alcohol is certainly present, though not nearly as much as one would expect; surprisingly warming. Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability is deceptively good; I'd probably be flat on the floor, drinking this one like 11% ABV instead of 20.

My brother saved this beer for the special occasion of success on my GRE (which I certainly had, fortunately!), and I'm glad that he did, for this is fantastic! A 20% ABV beer that drinks like half that...very deceptive. I certainly could not drink this one every day, for I would have no liver left, but for another special occasion beer, this is a great choice!

12-20-2003 01:31:50 | More by beergeek279
Photo of RoyalT


4.1/5  rDev +2.8%

Appearance – Brownish-orange in color with a decent head and some tiny carbonation.

Smell – The yeast is very dark, almost coffee-like, and the raisins add to this aroma. The chocolate cookie dough is subtle but laced with alcohol.

Taste – The dark yeast comes out nicely at the tongue, especially as the ale warms. The fruits, laden with raisins as promised on the label, are very well blended. The finish is sweet but light melon with more of the yeast.

Mouthfeel – Surprisingly thin. It may be medium-bodied at best. It’s very smooth though and goes down more like a juice than a BSDA.

Drinkability – This went down well considering the package. It went down much easier than the 120 Minute which has the same ABV. Don’t drink this at a friend’s then try to drive home though. When the chart says that you can have three beers a night and still be legally sober, they’re talking Bud not DFH.

Update – Popped a small bottle 2005 in Jan ’06. This is a real heavy-hitter. I enjoyed the Mouthfeel a little more this time around – big alcohol but not stingy – so upped the rating by 0.5.

12-13-2003 01:52:28 | More by RoyalT
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.43/5  rDev +11%

One of the many things I appreciate about the Dogfish Head Brewery is the air of mystery that sometimes surrounds their brews. For instance, who are those two odd, chimp-faced chaps mugging at us on the label? I like to think that they are manifestations of bottle imps trapped inside that are scheming to escape and bedevil whoever holds the vessel and dares to drink...in fact, after downing a full 750 of this "bulbous brown ale" all on my lonesome, I'm sure of it!
Appearance: dark tawny brown, garnet-tinged edges, head is brown and fluffy white while it lasts, but gone in a quickness.
Aroma: powerful and winey, full of deep, dark, devilish fruity flavors, wicked stuff! Each sniff unturns more sensations, raisins, dates, leather, grapes, cognac, dark rum..."complex" only starts to describe it!
Time to drink...THICK mouthfeel! An 800lb gorilla sitting on the palate! Washes all corners of the mouth with flavor, rich and sharp, yet syrupy, almost treacly, but definitely delicious.
Quickly intoxicating, this, and though the ABV is left off the label, it must assuredly be abominable. Only 1/3 of the way through the bottle now, and I feel totally whipped! Wish I had a secret cache of this to carry me through cold winter nights or to break out in celebration of some personal triumph, and I definitely need more of the latter than the former!
At this point, my notes from this sampling (done in early September) trail off into gibberish and surrealistic non-sequitors, (what else is new?) but I can tie that all off and merely conclude that this was one incredible brew, very much enjoyed!
Hats off to DrewS for getting this big, bad boy into my mitts!

11-03-2003 16:20:18 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Bighuge


3.93/5  rDev -1.5%

This beer has a nice appearance. Caramel colored brown, bordering on mahogany. More head than I expected from such a high octane beverage. It dissipates in a minute to form a thin coating of an island in the middle and a very light edging of light brown color. Some flaming alcohol on the nose. No surprise there. Also deep caramel malt tones, bourbon, oak and tree bark. The body of this beer is about medium. Seems fitting. The mouthfeel is nice overall. A creamy, yet sufficiently carbonated feel. Not creamy like a stout, but it does roll over the tongue nicely with a little added spritz of carbonation. The first thing I notice upon tasting is the flaming sting of the ethanol. To me, it's not covered up quite as nicely as in the WWS. It almost lends too much harshness to the beer. But alas, underneath it all are some pleasant flavor tones: rum cake, wood, light smoke, figs, prunes, dates, raisins, black cherries, plums, bread pudding. Fine flavors, but damn, I also have this lingering propanol aftertaste. It almost ruins the experience, but it doesn't. Forgive me for comparing, but not quite as tasty as the WWS. Pretty good though. I'd like to see what this tastes like after 5 years of proper cellaring.

Thanks cokes for the Extra. The Extra alcohol. The Extra flavor. The Extra big bottle. And the Extra special dose of creativity this brew offers.

06-21-2003 21:28:30 | More by Bighuge
Photo of jcalabre


4.28/5  rDev +7.3%

Origianlly sampled 8 February 2003. An opaque, reddish-brown colored gem that poured w/ virtually no head. Taste is almost syrupy sweet w/ notes of berries in it. It finishes very cleanly. This beer has absolutely nothing to do w/ Raison d'Etre, but what the heck. I'm not sure that 'barleywine' is the correct categorization of the beer, but I don't have a suggestion of what should be.

06-07-2003 20:51:40 | More by jcalabre
Photo of Dogbrick


4/5  rDev +0.3%

Thanks to a local beer buddy for picking one of these up for me. I could feel it after only half a glass. This stuff is the real deal! Pours a dark amber color with a very thin light beige head. No real lacing to speak of. Flavor is huge and promising up front, but something seems to be missing in the end. It's like reading a really good book only to find out the last couple of pages have been torn out. Flavors of malt, raisins, alcohol (rum) and caramel peter out as the alcohol overshadows the flavor by the end of the glass. Finish seems to be lacking the hops necessary to reign in all the brash flavors that are roaming around. A good dessert beer, but I don't see how it is related to Raison D'Etre.

03-31-2003 21:56:34 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of cokes


4.68/5  rDev +17.3%

The uninformed but amiable clerk from whom I purchased this bottle, gazed at it, then said: “The Bulbous Brown Ale, eh? Better strap it in for that one.”

Prophetic words, indeed. Perhaps I underestimated this soothsayer.

The seatbelt is fastened, as I go out for a leisurely drive.
The same color as the wooden panels on the side of the stationwagon, topped with a sizzling, receding bone-colored luggage carrier.
I pull out of the driveway, with the windows rolled down, basking in the glorious malted alcoholic breeze. Caramelized sugar and plums drift in.

It is still cold, as I make my trek Northward into the countryside. Fig trees are noticed and gazed longingly at. Feeling hungry, I open a box of green raisins. In the forest now, driving slowly enough to behold the immense piles of walnuts that have accumulated beneath the undercanopy. The trees are draped in alcoholic moss, and seem impenetrable. It is still too cold to see much, so I return home.

I wait a while, then venture out again. Expecting to witness much more. This voyage does not disappoint.

The wind carries more alcohol now, but has shifted directions and brings forth tropical fruits. Mangoes mostly. There are still a lot of plums hanging in the air, but more heavily than before. Riper, juicier.

Driving south now, the scenery is similar to the forgone North, but much more acute. Much more focused and pronounced. An eerily familiar forest exhibits the same figs, green raisins, walnuts and cloaking alcohol. But there are open oak savannas. Woody and spacious, where the buttery qualities can thrive, mixing symbiotically with the walnuts. My drive continues southward, past the fields of toasted grain, past the mango orchards. A few orange trees are noticed. Now, I venture past the still that Cousin Dano has fashioned for his homemade bourbon.

Clear of the obstructive trees, the true vantage of the towering chain of the Alcoholic Mountains comes into view. As intimidating as they are spectacular. Daunting, yet alluring.
I pull the car over to gaze at the vista. The atmosphere is thick. Not oppressive, just heavy. Wet, mostly. But dry too. It has turned much hotter now, as evidenced by the sweat on my brow.

I snap some photographs and dream of my next visit. Time will surely do this impressive landscape a great deal of good. Amazing, as its current state is awe-inspiring.

03-18-2003 23:02:14 | More by cokes
Photo of Dantes

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev -7.8%

Package: 1 pint, 9.6oz. corked, caged brown bottle. Label stamped, “Dec 19 02.” Picture of two fellows resembling grave-robbers. Labeled “a bulbous brown ale” with directions: “Open bottle. Pour contents into two snifters. Enjoy. OR: Walk hand-in-neck with bottle into the middle of the woods. Use a shovel to dig 2x2 hole three feet deep. Place in hole and pack with dirt. Memorize location and leave. Return exactly one year later. Dig up bottle, open, and enjoy.”

Cost: $15.99 per bottle at Kings.

Served: Snifter at 52º

Appearance: Syrupy pour evinced a small head, which disappeared quickly. Muddy, buckwheat honey colored body.

Smell: Brown sugar, alcohol, and malt aroma, with some hints of currants and damson plums. Lacks the expected complexity found in the World Wide Stout and barley wines like Old Horizontal.

Taste: Began sweetly like the WWS, but did not resolve into the lovely components found there. Instead, this slid right into the alcohol. Where were the woodiness, the dark fruits like plum, currant, raisin? The dark chocolatey notes and the nuts and spice? There were some citrus and estery notes, which had a medicinal quality. To avoid being cloying, it needs a drier, edgier element and more body to balance the alcohol and sweetness. This does exhibit a long warming finish. I bought two bottles and put one away in a dark hole as suggested. Next year will see if this improves.

Mouthfeel: Well-carbonated for a beer of this strength. A full-bodied, warming brew, although it is difficult to ignore the discordant sweetness.

Drinkability: Disappointing. With an eye to similarly strong beers, it's not highly drinkable. Does not seem to warrant the savoring of the WWS, but is too sweet and strong to drink in quantity.

After the WWS grand slam, I expected at least a home run. No such luck. This beer shows that the line between a bold experiment and a brilliant success is fine. I couldn’t become enthused by this beer. I respect Dogfish for exploring the brewing frontier and understand that this does represent an achievement, but it didn’t work for me.

Bottom Line: “To be or to be extra?" That is the question. The reason for being extra? I’m not sure. Buy the World Wide Stout instead.

NB: I only drank half of this at the first sitting. The remainder was stored under vacuum in the refrigerator and didn't deteriorate.

02-28-2003 15:31:48 | More by Dantes
Photo of porter17

New Jersey

3.18/5  rDev -20.3%

At 20% ABV, you'd expect this beer would taste like anitfreeze or paint thinner (no, I've never tried either) but alas there is a pleasant surprise. I am not a big beer drinker, tending to stay in the 5-8% range. I would think (if I didn't know) that this beer was about 10-12% ABV, it's that smooth. The taste was good, not overpowered by the alcohol but the smell was alot like...antifreeze or paint thinner. Fair mouthfeel and good "sippability" since this is not a beer to pound down. If you're a big beer person, you'll enjoy this one.

02-17-2003 09:22:19 | More by porter17
Photo of UncleJimbo


4.03/5  rDev +1%

I sampled this at a beer tasting event. It was served on draught!

Appearance: Nice amber liquid, slightly cloudy (chill haze?), with some white foam that settled quickly.

Smell: A very nice sweet malty aroma.

Taste: Sweet (almost candy sugar) and malty. Tasty.

Mouthfeel: Thick, full bodied, moderate carbonation, very warming.

Drinkability: Very good, but also nice to sip and savor at this alcohol content.

I hope this becomes available in Massachusetts.

01-21-2003 21:05:16 | More by UncleJimbo
Photo of Wildman


4.2/5  rDev +5.3%

Okay, decided to have this one in my Waterford brandy snifter I rarely touch. This beer poured a a very reddish amber color and formed a small bubbly off white head that disipated quickly and left no lace. An aroma of molasses and raisins. A flavor of molasses and raisins with elements of the alcohol. A very warming aspect to the finish reflecting the alcohol. An after dinner or night cap type of drink.

01-10-2003 17:10:44 | More by Wildman
Photo of frank4sail

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +7.8%

Tasted it at the Michael (HeHe) Jackson Tasting University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology March 23rd. They only served it for 15 minutes so you had to fight your way to the tap. This is by no question a snifter beer. This overloads the senses. Smells like sherry. It is sweet, complex, and explosive to the tongue. Raisons, beet sugar, and molassas... yes lots of molasses and lots of yeast. i talked to the boys for quite a while while holding on to their table and was explained too... they add a bunch of molassas and a buch of yeast to punch this thing up to 20%ABV. i rated it high for what it is (push the envelope) but it is not very drinkable. It is Raison D'etre on steroids.

03-26-2002 21:21:55 | More by frank4sail
Photo of mophie


4.8/5  rDev +20.3%

What a treat. I had this tonight at the source in Rehoboth Beach, served in a brandy snifter (yes, it's OK to be jealous). Deep, deep mahogony color with absolutely no head. Smell of cooked/burnt raisins, currants and dates. The taste is actually a more subtle version of their Raison D'etre, almost like a barleywine (which is how some other, less informed sites are categorizing this brew; I'm calling it an experiment). At 20%, you'd expect the alcohol to be overwhelming. It's not. In fact, on the whole this is an incredibly balanced brew, not nearly as heavy as you might expect. Finishes like a sherry, but I like it much, much more.

03-22-2002 22:17:01 | More by mophie
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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 818 ratings.