Raison D'Être | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être
4,307 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: 4,307 |  Reviews: 1,774
Photo of jgasparine
3.69/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured a pretty red-brown color, but with almost no head at all... certainly no lacing here... although there were some nice bubble trains working their way up the center of the glass...

S- At first I got nothing off the nose... perhaps the beer was poured too cold... as the beer warmed, it opened-up to reveal sweet notes of malt, raisins, some vinous notes and a touch of unidentifiable spiciness.

T- Definite malt bomb. Sweet brown sugar, caramel malt and yellow raisins dominate the palate. Almost seems a touch mapley at times. Almost cloyingly sweet. Finishes with some alcohol booziness and nary a hint of hops.

M- Slightly oily, almost syrupy. I suppose this compliments the smell and taste quite well. Just the right amount of carbonation rounds out the mouthfeel.

D- Drinkable, yes. Could I have several in a session... probably not... the sweetness would get to me and become too much. I would, however, readily reach for the D'etre when I'm in the mood for something sweet and reasonably priced...

 1,017 characters

Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.3/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is another brew I had Sat. at the Manayunk beer festival, this and the Black Radish were the only two none IPA’s or Pale Ale’s that I had, with the exception of one Wit beer. (I actually managed to jot some notes down on the two beers.)

Anyway this brew has very nice deep copper / orange-ish color to it. The aroma is that of sweet malt, raisins and slight alcohol, all the same can be tasted on the palate, but the high alcohol is barely even noticed while drinking, it is so tasty and balanced so well. The mouth feel is creamy and smooth. Overall this brew was excellent!
This may not be a Belgian-style brew per say, but a excellent brew nonetheless!

 666 characters

Photo of Profchaos20
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Gyle41386
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a dark mahogany. Lots of foam during the pour led me to believe a giant head is on the way. Not quite. Small head doesn't retain well. Doesn't look like there's any lacing anywhere on the glass.

The aroma is pretty average. I'm sure there's plenty going on in there, but it's not assertive by any means. After much agitation, it offers up toffee, dark fruit, and booze.

Well, the flavor is of dark fruits (raisins...green raisins according to the label) soaked in rum and caramel. Big malt character. Unmasked alcohol.

Medium body. Very smooth drinker. I'm not really that impressed.

 634 characters

Photo of jonathaniler
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of BeerKangaroo
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass (also had in a chalice later but nothing changed):

A: deep amber, crystal clear colored body with no head, it leaves spotty lacing around the glass

S: raisins, figs and dates

T: previously mentioned flavors combine for a malty yet somewhat earthy flavoring

M: medium to heavy, sessionable, smooth, raisin aftertaste, no finish

O: this is very good for its style and good to me

 399 characters

Photo of Stunner97
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- some small amount of carbonation can be seen streaming slowly in side the glass, thin tan head lingers for a bit, brown in color and see through when held to the light

Smell- brown sugar, malt, raisins, very sweet malty nose,

Taste- malty sweet body, brown sugar and raisin tastes dominates the most for me, very slight drying on the end keeps it in check a bit, but for the most part a mostly sweet driven beer, enjoyable flavor but would say extremely complex, but decently more in balance then you think at start

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with low carbonation, smooth,

Drinkability- very easy drinking beer, good balance and well hidden 8 percent, very easy and dangerously smooth drinking, the beer certainly lacks a little in complexity compared to some other belgian dark ales but its a great value and extremely easy drinking, world class nah but overall a pretty nice beer for the price and value a certain good buy,

 939 characters

Photo of nukem5
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of DWolf
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of aqualung23
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of slowdaddy
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of baos
5/5  rDev +36.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Von den Anmerkungen.

12 oz bottle into favorite Trappist glass.

First let me just say that this was the brew that got me back into drinking craft brews. I was really into this in the early nineties and kind of got burned out and just drank either Pabst in the bottle or High Life in the bottle when i wanted more maybe i would have a Dos Equis amber. This beer took me back to where I belong.

A: Nice copper color with 3 finger tan head.

S: Scorched caramel popcorn.

T: Awesome. A sweet caramel molasses taste, then rum, then a pleasant dry finish. The high alcohol content is masked perfectly. Gives you a nice wine flush in the face.

M: A very good medium body.

D: A one

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Photo of tapman
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Keeping in mind that 3.0 equals a good average beer and not a Macro, we shall proceed.

What an interesting beer! Pours a mahogany body with an off-white head that I found dissipates rather quickly (a couple minutes) while the lacing retains its thin form throughout the experience, so that's good.

The smell is sweet and the abundant carbonation is also apparent in the smell, kinda metalic. Also mild hops give this beer a lager-ish smell. One can definitely smell the larger than average amounts of sugar from fruit (raisons, duh.)

First thing I noticed was that the alcohol taste was a bit strong, not too bad for me, but my less knowledgeable friends had a hard time with this one and its 8%ABV. The flavor imitates raisons in that you get the real taste after its been consumed. During the drinking I taste alcohol, mild hops, and a hint of sugar, but once its down the throat is when the real fun begins. Finishes sweet and dry with a nice snap to it (you know, when you drink something and then make that smacking sound followed by a sigh, "*smack* aahhhh"). Definite raison aftertaste, subtle and dark. Note of beet-root for this drinker in the aftertaste as well...maybe other fibrous fruits as well.

Texture is more than a lager, less than a stout. In other words feels like an ale. Good carbonation adds crispness.

Definetly a strong ale, after 2 of these its pointless to review since the inebriation takes away some of the taste. Cheers to DFH for another unique beer. I'll stick to my stouts, but not a bad departure for those of us looking for flavor and variety.

 1,595 characters

Photo of Blueribbon666
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes.
Pours an amber color into pint glass with a small amount of carbonated head that dissipates quickly.
Smells of piney citrus hops, malt, a bit of raisin and dark fruits.
Taste/mouthfeel, malty offering up front as the alcohol hits on the back end and a fairly good mix of malty, fruit and belgian like yeasty flavors that finishes clean.
Would recommend this to others who enjoy malty or belgian type stronger abv offerings

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Photo of mtnwesdew
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of kobeer
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of MMAJYK
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- In my Chimay chalice, this one pours a mahogony/maroon brown color. It is totally transparent. The head is minimal and left shortly after my semi agressive pour. What head was there was bright white.

S- I catch aromas of, of course, raisins first, followed by plums, brown sugar, and hoppy scents bringing up the rear.

T- First taste is caramelized raisins. Then, I get a molasses taste, but not sweet molasses, it is more bitter. Middle way to finish, I catch a sugary roasty taste and alcohol on the end.

M- Thin to medium in the mouth. Not much on the malt and not creamy for sure. Carbonation is just right to me.

D- Not a very drinkable beer since it is so sweet. However, the first one (and probably the only one for me today) is very nice and quite enjoyable.

I tried this beer a while back before I really got in to beer. I appreciate what DFH has done with this one. They always push the envelope and this one is no different. I like it in moderation, and would advise anyone who likes different beers to definitely try this one.

 1,046 characters

Photo of King_KongDCO93
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of RandyBoBandy
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of hoplover82
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a very complex beer. Very malty and fruit like. The raisins shine thru everything else.

It pours a dark dark brown color with a dark caramel head that sticks around till your ready to retire.

I taste raisins, caramel, alcohol, and something else. The only thing I don't like with this great off-centered beer is the alcohol sting. Too boozy! It's a little harsh on my palate, but hay, it's still one of the greatest dessert beers Iv'e had.

 451 characters

Photo of bbrown12
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of jaywes754
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of fostachild
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of JT99125
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 4,307 ratings