Raison D'Être | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être
4,304 Ratings
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A deep mahogany, Belgian-style brown ale brewed with beet sugar, raisins and Belgian-style yeast.

We began brewing this one at our pub in 1996 (we began packaging and selling it sometime in 1998) as the answer to the question, "What beer should I enjoy with a wood-grilled steak?" Raison D'Etre fits the bill. It's as tasty and complex as a fine red wine.

In the Quick Sip Clip video, Sam talks about Raison D'Etre inside the new cellars for our 600-bbl fermentation tanks. The cellars were designed specifically to allow sterile yeast management. The system also allows us to automatically dose the yeast into the fermentation tanks. At Dogfish, we use multiple strains of yeast for our different beers, so we are acutely aware of all that can go wrong when you don't love and protect the yeast.

25 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-09-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,304 |  Reviews: 1,774
Photo of litheum94
2.4/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Bottled on 6/8/11. Reviewed 9/6/11.

Clear bronze body, light brown head with lots of active bubbles. Fizzes out loudly, leaving a thin cover.

Caramel coated apple. Belgian candi and yeast. Cloves and alcohol bite. Dark, fruits. A touch of floral hops.

Roasted barley husks and caramel malts. Earthy middle with a metallic twinge. Light floral hopping. Slightly vinous.

The metallic taste leaves a horrible feeling in my mouth. I'm sure it's from the alcohol, but it tasted terrible. I couldn't finish this beer. Huge disappointment.

 551 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.4/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$1.99 single at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, red body with a thinning, off-white head.

Smell: While not overly fragrant, there aroma still holds plenty of sweet-smelling candy, dehydrated fruits, and Belgian-ish yeast.

Taste: Starts with a fruity, sweet (even winey) flavor that isn't acutely raisiny, but moreso sugary and vague vegetal with some alcohol notes. The finish is all at once tart, roasty, and syrupy. Did I miss something?

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Velvety mouthfeel. Ample carbonation.

Drinkability: I find it fortuitous that I was allowed to purchase a mere single bottle of this.

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Photo of TexIndy
2.42/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a deep mahogany from a 12 oz dated bottle. Had a litte bit of head and some carbonation. Didn't have as strong a smell as expected since 8% - actually seemed a little weak. The taste however did have a bit. I'm not real big on the high alcohol beers so this one only gets an OK rating. Good for getting a quick buzz but won't be searching it out. Worth a try just to say you had but buy 1 not a 6-pack. (2, NA, ML, N)

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Photo of swhite11
2.42/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

[Appearance] - Pours dark amber with a mahogony hue. Head is bubbly and off white. Pours 1 finger and retains/laces average at best.

[Aroma] - Tons of cloying caramel malt sweetness followed up by slight notes of roast.
sublte notes of rum and dark fruits.

[Taste] - This beer is a mess. Very sweet upfont, cloying. Hop bitterness follows but is weak and grossly insufficient. Fusel alcohol and metallic astringincy follow and linger preventing any other impressions on taste to develop.

[Mouthfeel] - Excessively cloying upfront followed by overly thinning alcohol solvency and metallic astringincy.

[Drinkability] - 1 is more than enough. This beer is a bit chaotic.

[Overall] - Avoid this one. Dogfish stikes again with another overrated, if not, outright bad beer. A Belgain inspired beer that is out of balance.

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Photo of TCMike
2.44/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass. Only produced a 1/4 inch beige head. The color is mahogany like.

The smell is almost too strong. It smelled of dark fruits, toast, and alcohol.

It had an upper medium body, and fairly high carbonation. The taste was very bold. The alcohol, and raisin taste is done to excess. It was very sweet, and had just a faint hint of bitter on the end.

Not very drinkable in my opinion. If it was toned down a little it would be a decent beer.

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Photo of ethosx19
2.46/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I got a six pack and was excited to try this. As much as I wanted to like it, I just can't. It poured a dark rich amber with very little head. The aroma was a mix of raisons and alcohol - they don't mix well. It tasted of malt and raisons with a creamy alcohol finish. I didn't like the raisons and I didn't like the alcohol taste. I'm going to age these a few months and hope they improve. On the plus side, one beer at 8% did give me a buzz on an empty stomach.

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Photo of jpoder
2.46/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

a: nice dark reddish color and crystal clear. nice tan head dissipated fairly quickly.

s: smelled of roasted malt...and almost nothing else

t: MALTY...sweet, chocolate. strong alcohol bite, and soapy taste (coming from the hops?!). where are the contributions from the raisins? I would expect a dark fruity, rummy flavor that is non-existent in this one.

m: bitter astringency. not really pleasant mouthfeel.

D: if I close my eyes this would be a somewhat nice scoch ale...possibly even a stout, but not a belgian strong dark. Not well balanced,

I had high expectations given other DFH beers I've had. labeled a Belgian Strong Dark and "brewed with Belgian candi sugars and raisins" I thought this should be a good one. Very disappointed that I put back a Saison DuPont to buy a pack of this.

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Photo of WhiteOak
2.47/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- Copper/brown.

S- Dead, hollow nose. Nothing of any interest happening here, just a touch of unpleasant funkiness.

T- Simple malt with a faint note of oxidized currant. Lacks a certain grip on the palate.

M, D- Too monotonous for inspired consumption, much less repeat again, the lack of interest was a surprise with this one.

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Photo of CBlack85
2.48/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a New Belgium globe glass.

Pours a clear dark mahogany with a more reddish than copper hue. Not much head, even with a fairly aggressive pour. Beer seems very still, and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is of dark fruit and seems overly sweet. The belgian yeast is the only thing that seems pleasing to the nose.

The taste is not much better than the nose. There is something off putting about the raisins (really more like prunes). The alcohol is hot and rubbing alcoholesque. Although its not all bad, there are notes of caramel, toffee, and candy sugar. Finishes dry, and is medium bodied and under carbinated.

The beer seems to get much better as it warms, the alcohol seems to mellow a bit and the off putting raisin/prune seem to meld with the rest of the flavors. Unfortunately they don't meld enough to save this beer for me. I really wanted to like this beer, but it didn't quite get there for me.

 939 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
2.49/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I am not a fan of the Raison d'Etre, I should also point out that I am not a fan of Belgium Strong Ales, so please accept my review as more of a personal opinion than as an afficionado of Belgium Strong beers. The appearance is a slightly hazy light brown with a one finger tan head. Some lacing left on the glass. Smell includes alcohol, coffee, fruit, mostly raisins.
Taste includes alcohol, heavy malt, sweet dark fruit. Mouthfeel is tough...lots of alcohol and much flavor to try and mask it. To me the balance is a bit off. Overall I am glad I tried it but I am not a fan.

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Photo of Shakerman
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of seavercm
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of chim52chim
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of Treb0R
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of kilobees
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of JBDADDY
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of Schumatrix
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of Harvey98
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of songoose
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of chrispoint
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of DennisDullea
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of doucmehu
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of jk3
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Photo of BeeGinner
2.5/5  rDev -31.5%

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 4,304 ratings
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