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Raison D'Extra - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

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1,214 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,214
Reviews: 675
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 13.86%
Wants: 154
Gots: 429 | FT: 36
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,214 | Reviews: 675
Photo of emmasdad
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2007 bottle. Pours into the snifter a beautiful dark amber color with absolutely no head to speak of (not surprising considering the alcohol level). Alcohol is evident everywhere here, from the nose to the palate all the way to its lingering aftereffects. Aromas of overripe fruit, some caramel and honey and sweet malt. Very sweet on the palate, very lightly carbonated and still quite hot. The overall effect of this one is still very pleasant however, enough to make me glad I still have a few in the cellar.

Photo of Stacy53
3.67/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dogfish Head- Raison D'Extra- Bottled On: 03/15/07
Aged over 3 years

A- Medium brown or dark amber color

S- I really like the smell of this sweet fruity beer. Smells of brown sugar and sweet raisins

T- Sweet but not totally over taking, slightly bitter after taste

M- Medium bigness, light carbonation

D- Sip this one slow, 18% ABV and mouthy

Photo of jpittman80
1.88/5  rDev -53.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

you know what? too many damn raisins. almost made me sick. but you wouldn't know it's as alcoholic as it is, or that it would be hard to drink going in. appearance and aroma aren't that bad, mostly dark fruits (raisins?) and alcohol. i'm beginning to suspect to stick with the hoppy beers from dogfish head.

Photo of jrish
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle dated 9/29/06, into snifter.

Raison D'extra pours a nice full mahogany color. Minimal head but with the ABV on this beer what else would you expect. Despite the small dome its an awesome looking beer. Raisins are definitely in the building along with a hint of cherry. Not as boozy as i thought the smell would be, but the alcohol is definitely here. Very sweet, thick, sticky taste with hints of toasted marshmallow, and maple syrup. Definitely a unique taste that finishes well. A 12oz is enough for this experience.

Photo of metter98
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: It pours dark reddish brown in color with minimal head.
S; Aromas of dark fruits (raisins, prunes and plums) and sugars dominate the smell.
T: Flavors of sweet, dark raisins stand out in the taste and the alcohol is barely perceptible. The underlying malt does a nice job at keeping the raisins and sweetness from completely overpowering the taste.
M: The beer feels very strong on the palate and is a bit syrupy.
D: I couldn't believe how well the alcohol is masked, but this is one beer that definitely needs to be sipped.

Photo of augustgarage
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Obtained in trade from ShogoKawada (thanks!). Bottled on March 15th, 2007. Poured vigorously from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Carnelian body which glows a bright crimson shot through with ruby highlights. Almost gaudy with a brilliant clarity - until a final pour adds in the sediment rendering the affair a muddy cordovan/bole. A small sudsy buff colored velodrome banks the glass. Lavish legs with thick rows of streaming tears reveal the high ABV. Lacing is unable to adhere for long.

Very rich aromatics of caramel malt, roasted figs, dates, prunes, apricots, and a hint of orange and cognac. Alcohol is hearty but not sharp or solventy.

Incredibly sweet palate entry - the initial wave of sugar is overwhelming, but then it is consumed by the broader flavor profile: a surprising bitterness weds to quite a bit of heat from the alcohol leading into the raisin flavors which blossom outward in magnitude - as if you are tasting the flavor of a raisin cooking from stage to stage.

It starts out like the standard dried fruit but then takes on a rounder and sweeter profile revealing the grape, then continues to take on further hints of carmelization until coupling with malt and leather in the finish, it starts to reveal an increasingly charred quality without ever crossing the line into burnt carbon. The heat pursues the liquid down your throat and leaves a long, slowly evolving aftertaste that mirrors the changes on the palate but at a more languid pace and to a much more subtle degree, even suggesting mirin and shoyu.

Despite this not really being "to style" - and despite the lack of notable yeast contribution and the immense initial sweetness, I think this deserves high marks in the taste category for its originality and complexity.

Very oily, medium-heavy bodied feel - and supremely warming. Pretty good carbonation especially considering the sky high ABV.

Sort of a cross between the listed style and a brandy/cordial of sorts, this is a very interesting and unique drinking experience.

Photo of ekardz
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa. Poured into a pint glass. Bottled on 3/15/07 Over 3 Years aged.

Appearance - very deep dark reddish brown, cannot see through. Heavy carbonation and head on the pour, which quickly disappears. Looks alive and very inviting.

Smell - smells like raisins, some deep muscat grapes, almost like a port wine. Can smell some alcohol.

Taste - malt flavor, raisins, some grapes, sweet pungent taste, definitely taste the alcohol, some oaky notes, definitely aged well.

Mouthfeel - very thick and smooth, light carbonation, but was not flat.

Drinkability - Big beer, this one will take a few hours to finish. Big flavor and big alcohol. One at night every few months would be recommended. Would like to try again in another 3 years.

Photo of mrkrispy
3.06/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a beautiful deep brown/cranberry. Wonderful to look at.
No head to speak of.

Very pungent aroma of raisins, plums, cassis, dark cherry juice. Some sugary aromas. Very interesting, smells unique. Definitely not shy with the raisins!

Thick and syrupy taste, raisins galore. Raisin skins, juice, it's all here. Some brown sugar. Bit sweet with odd aftertaste. Mouthfeel isn't real pleasant, a bit too viscous. Boozy alcohol finish.

A very intriguing beer but not real drinkable, more concept than desirability. One and done.

Photo of techfed87
4.41/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark cloudy rose. Very little head is present, although with the amount of alcohol that's present in the beer it can be pretty much expected.

Smell is strongly of brown sugar and an almost oatmeal like flavor.

First sip adds to the consensus of a brown sugar presence in the beer. It's sweet in a very intense way, while at the same time not being an overly sweet beer.

Big in sweet-malty flavor, rich in texture and feel, and unbelievably alcoholic. A truly awesome beer.

Photo of Daniellobo
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good boozy brew, rich on nice dark fruit notes, and nice to enjoy slowly

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Old fashion design for Dogfish bottles with the image of a sitting country guitar player surrounded by grapes and leaves. One liner description as "ale brewed with raisins" in the front and a repeat on the side adding style and a couple of adjectives, and also how it is fine fresh but how nicely it ages.. Shows date of bottling (03/15/07). Menu notes main characteristic and vintage year. Poured into a snifter.

A - Deep amber reddish brown pour with a brief head that fades in an instant leaving no trace or lacing..

S - Malty-raisiny, with sweet caramel and a boozy rum backbone, a medicinal DFH touch to it too.

T - Sweet and malty with a sticky note and rich hints of dried fruit and that medicinal hint.

M - Minimal carbonation on a relatively medium body over the alcohol base.

D - A slow sipper calling desperately to warm up a bit. Certainly of a warming and boozy profile.

Notes: Overall this has been a bit of an off-day at the ale house. Brews have been nice, and fairly pleasing, but there was an overall line of excessive cold servings. Now in particular this "vintage" serving is way too cold. Unfortunately I did not have time to linger and get to a point in warming where I thought that the brew could really be best enjoyed. I guess that being a DFH locale it is fair to review it the way the chose to serve them. This is still a rather rich brew, boozy and complex in fruity notes but this cold... It sure deserves another try under better conditions.

Photo of asabreed
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a Brooklyn tulip. Bottle date 9/29/06.

Appearance: More copper than amber, and slightly hazy. Weird bubbles on the top of the body, crackling like I'm cooking syrup, if that's possible, on top of the stove. The fact that there are bubbles makes me happy, as I expected little to none. And the color's nice to look at.

Smell: Lots of balanced alcohol, almost like a Scotch, with some raisins, obviously, and vinous pungency. Also some fantastic burnt marshmallow and caramel. Heady, sweet, and nuts (like crazy).

Taste: I love the huge burnt caramel and marshmallow characteristics here. The marshmallow that you leave above the fire too long, that has the blackness around it but you're still going to eat it? Bite into, get the black coating and the gooey inside, and that's close to what I'm saying here. Huge caramel too with the finish, syrupy, sweet, but dare I say balanced enough by some hops? Are hops even in this sucker? A sweet malt bomb, but again, somehow balanced beyond belief, considering the raisins and the strength.

Mouthfeel: For all the syrupy goodness, it's balanced with good carbonation with the heavy body of the brew. Better than I expected, as far as carbonation goes. Way better.

Drinkability: Seriously didn't expect to like this as much as I did. Wow. I imagine age has mellowed it, but I clearly can't confirm that. That said, a wonderful beer, a great experiment, and one of my new favorites from DFH. Wish I had a case sitting somewhere for years and years down the road.

Photo of saccro
1.96/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - poured thick. brown/ruby colored. decent head that fades to a thin layer.

S - strong autolysis aromas. sweet malt. There was a thick slurry of yeast on the bottom of the bottle. This beer is OLD.

T - incredibly sweet. autolyzed flavors. cloying. sweeet. ew. Still some bitterness background, but let's face it, you can't topple this sweetness.

M - uberchewy, sweet. med-light carbonation.

D - not for me.

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a tulip glass from a bottle. Pours opaque moldy pomegranate color. That's not even a real color but that's exactly what the f it looked like. Little to no head, what was there it was peach colored.

S - Like a Belgian strong dark ale with its sweetness factor kicked up a dozen notches.

T - Tastes like smokey dark caramel that's just barely burnt around the edges. Some carnie's lazy day efforts. Faint peanut brittle begins what ends in a strong, long lasting, alcoholic flavor.

M - Sticky, sugary, pretty much what you'd expect from an 18 percenter.

Photo of BS68280
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Popped open a 3/15/07 vintage bottle of this, and poured it into my DFH signature glass.

A: Deep mahogany with deep amber notes as the light goes through it. About 1/4 inch yellowish tan head that dissipates quickly. The head goes away completely expect for around the edges.

S: Raisons and brown sugar. Some malty characteristics, but very subdued.

T: Sweetness from raisons up front, followed by heat from the alcohol and the finish has some nice notes of coffee. After i've finished the sips, i still get the taste of raisons and coffee. Pretty damn tasty.

M: Medium amounts of carbonation, and a medium body. I imagine this beer would have a much fuller body without such a high ABV, but what fun is that ;)

D: Sipped on this one for about 45-60 minutes. I really enjoyed it and i am happy i have one left. The ABV is definitely there, i think a bomber size of this would be on the border of too much and just enough.

Photo of JTahoe
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy golden caramel color with what little head it has receding leaving just some clumped bubbles clinging to the glass for dear life. Viscous and leggy on the glass.

S - Slightly musty and earthy with plum, prune, raisin, with a hint of toffee and brandy.

T - Earthy and rich with a nice spiciness. Rich dark fruits, caramel, white pepper, and a bit of flavor like bourbon crossed with brandy. Raisins come through for sure, but with a nice complexity. Sweetish, but balanced down a bit.

M - Full body with lots of coating quality. Pleasant prickly feel with alcohol warming quality.

D - It goes without saying that this is a sipper. And an enjoyable sipper it is. Dogfish Head has never let me down--I suppose my palate is closely aligned with that of the folks over there.

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.87/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 Bottling. 12 ounce bottle poured into a chalice.

A: Clear mahogany hue with very little head. What is there dissapears very quickly.

S: Smells very sweet, with notes of prune, raisin, caramel and brown sugar. Hops are not well profound in this particular beer.

T: Very much like the smell, but more. Very sweet malt notes and the raisin are very distinguished. Raisin, brown sugar, some maple, and spice flavors coat the palate. The finish also has some spice before drying off, leaving behind a warming booziness.

M&D: Thick and chewy, this beer is a monster to the tastebuds. As strong as this beer is, It is very good. One bottle is enough for a couple of people, though. At three and a half years in the bottle, I would say the flavors are at their peak right now.

Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear auburn hue, with very little thin, wispy off-white head, which leaves no lace in its short existence. It smells of stewed raisins, caramel, and warming alcohol. The taste is strong caramel malt, brown sugar, sweet sultana raisins, and a surprisingly mild alcohol edge, given the ABV specs on this monster. The carbonation is quite low. the body warm, smooth, slick, and oily, and it finishes sweet and boozy, the fruitiness of the raisins backstopping it all.

For its strength, this is a decent mild sipper, but a sipper nonetheless.

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

I bought this beer at the local craft brew pub as a mixed six on my way out the door. Raisons as a flavor element intrigued me. I am familiar with a Mexican alcohol made from raisons called Pasita, so I was please to see the usage in beer. When I finally cracked open the bottle I was surprised by the pronounced alcohol. It had so much alcohol that I had to search the web for the percentage. Though a very strong beer the alcohol content matched the flavor of the raisons. The beer does have a flavor similar to that of a barley wine. The color is dark red and very clear. Its safe to say this beer is for slow drinking like a fine whiskey or scotch.

Photo of thespaceman
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a DFH Signature Glass.

Bottle Date: 3/15/2007 Vintage

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark brown in color. Huge, tan head emerges quickly, and falls into a quick wisp of lacing. Good head retention here. Very lively carbonation for the age.

Smell: Brown sugar and raisin are the head of the pack here, strong and pungent. I get a nice hint of alcohol aroma which is expected, but the nose is just a straight up monster! Sweet, yet the malt spice is evident and not too overpowering. I can already expect a huge beer on the horizon here.

Taste: Those Belgian like sugars are really pungent in the taste, brown sugar, some maple and a touch of raisin is really what this flavor profile is all about. Sweet up front, yet the alcohol and the strong malt profile actually smooth it out to the extent of not throwing this beer overboard. The finish consists of a touch of yeast like flavors and a bit of dark esters and some alcohol. My how this beer has aged!

Mouthfeel: Carbonation has definetley been toned down with age, this one is very viscous on the tongue, thick and syrupy. Big up front in the mouth, this beer has a lasting effect all around in the mouth. Very smooth and robust!

Drinkability: This beer has definetley aged with the best of em! What a unique, exotic offering from my favorite brewery! I had this thing in my closet for 6 months since I visited the brewery and I'm glad I let it sit for a bit longer. An excellent, strong offering that works perfect as a night cap or a one and done beer. I'm hearing DFH won't be brewing this anymore and I hope that's not true. One of Dogfish Head's most unique offerings that I sure will never forget!

Photo of johnnieoz
3.5/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle, dated 3/15/2007.

A: Hazy, medium chestnut hue with an off-white head. Wine-like tears/legs appear do not disappoint, the high ABV is most noticeable here and in the...

S: Alcohol, brown sugar and raisins dominate. Not unpleasant, but not overly memorable.

T: Definitely above average. Nice maltiness, not too much raisin flavor just the residual sweetness. Reminiscent of both Punkin' and Raison d'Etre in its use of brown sugar and raisins. But this goes several steps further. Like 120 Minute IPA, this is a slow sipper with some tasty, unique flavors.

M: Solid. Carbonation is present and just right for the style and ABV. Not a fan of the near-flat high ABV brews, this is more like it.

D: To be honest, there is nothing wrong with the drinkability. I think I rated 120 slightly higher since I craved it just a bit more. Both are very intense and merit sipping.

Sam and DFH are the masters of the unique high ABV brews. They are not always easy to describe, but they are clearly made with, and invoke, real passion. It is always a pleasure to try anything they make, and some of their year round and seasonals (esp. 60 Min, Palo Santo Marron, Punkin and Festina Peche) are sure things.

Photo of Chambic
2.35/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2


A: surprisingly light in color, like a lovely amber. Have yet to taste Raison d'Être, so maybe that's why I didn't know what to expect. Thought it would look more like port.

S: full-on raisin upfront -- no doubt about it. Almost prune-like, something similar to overripe fruit

T: the raisins really enhance the booziness, resulting in a long finish

M: nice and smooth, balancing the intense aroma and taste

D: a little goes a long way; would really like to find a nice dessert pairing. Shared with 2 others, who would probably pass on it next time.

Photo of sidetracked
4.37/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 3/15/07.

Pours a dark amber with a syrupy appearance. A small amount of off-white head disappears almost instantly.

Smells strongly of raisins, molasses, and caramel malts.

Tastes sweetly of brown sugar/molasses and raisins. Finishes with a slight alcohol and fermented grape flavor. The high alcohol content is masked very well and judging by taste alone I would have never guessed it was so high (even after warming up).

Nice medium body--not too heavy, not too watery.

The smell, taste and mouthfeel are great, but the 18% ABV is a bit much. A great beer for special occasions.

Photo of Crittervision
2.74/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance is dense and cloudy, orangey-brown, a nice half-inch head that turns into a ring of bubbles.

Smell is what I imagine a glass of warmed fruit punch flavored juicy juice to be. I remember that flavor to be pretty odd, primarily dark fruits and cherries, and seemingly not very fresh. Underneath this I get just the slightest bit of steamed cabbage.

The fruit punch juicy juice develops into a more natural(?) taste of prune juice, whole fig, and (perhaps I'm obligated to mention this because the bottle leads me to believe) alcohol-soaked raisins. The beer is cloying in a hugely detracting way.

The mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, warm, and somewhere between syrupy and thin. I was expecting very syrupy, but I guess the carbonation combats that and provides a density that I'd describe as much more like a quality juice than, say, honey or syrup.

Edit: forgot to describe drinkability. I cringe at nearly every sip. It's unpleasant, huge amount of alcohol in an unpleasant way. The taste/mouthfeel combination really hurts the drinkability.

Overall, glad to try this beer. With the plethora of more affordable, more drinkable beers out there, I'd hesitate to get this again unless the purpose was explicitly to drink an incredibly boozy beer.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. It appears to be a 2007 vintage, from a trade with MiguelMandingo. Thanks Mike!

A: Pours a hazy maroon body with a finger of big-bubbled tan head. Retention is basically non-existent, as you would expect from an 18%er, but there are a few bubbles on top of the brew that pop and crackle with the aid of some effervescence up the glass. No collar on the brew.

S: Raisins and brown sugar. Caramel, chocolate. Plums. There's a well-worn, polished leather aroma to it. Very rich and deep, and surprisingly not boozy.

T: Raisins up front, as you might expect, with a sudden rush of brown sugar, caramel, and chocolate. Plums and dates are here as well. I taste that leather pretty strongly when I swirl it around the mouth, and it has an herbal quality to it. A presence of spice in the finish that is accentuated by a light booze kick, but again, this is pretty restrained for an 18%er (and moreso, for DFH, which generally produces pretty boozy-tasting big beers, IMO).

M: Full-bodied with low carbonation. Lightly syrupy, and it can get to be sticky after a while. I alternate this with sips of water to prevent myself from getting sick of it (I'm working on the whole thing alone).

D: I'd drink this again, conditionally. I assume it is pretty boozy fresh. I would seek out another aged bottle, but I don't think I'd drink a fresh one. This definitely exceeded my expectations, I have to admit.

Photo of clayrock81
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby brown with a good head that died quickly that left some lace. A herbal, spicy smell along with hints of fruit of yeast layered with a sturdy malt base. A great tasting, medium-bodied beer that is real smooth and the ABV is mostly hidden, just adding some crispness to the finish which complements the beer. A little spicy, sticky, with sweetness and a fruit taste like grape and orange along with a little biscuity vibe. A quality sipper that I will gladly have again.

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Brewery
90 out of 100 based on 1,214 ratings.