Raison D'Être | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être
4,301 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: 4,301 |  Reviews: 1,773
Photo of mmthompson33
4.94/5  rDev +35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! This 8% alcohol beer is quite a treat. I couldn't tell it from a beer straight out of Belgium. It has so much complexity that it could be integrated into a fancy meal, yet it's cheap price and sweet taste make it an ideal beer to drink for a night of interesting conversation. A superb brew. NOTE: I just had another of these beers in March, and it was not near as good as the batch last November - too flat and sweet. There seems to be some inconsistency in their brews at Dogfishead.

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Photo of Foxxypants
4.92/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I love this beer. I mostly grabbed a 6-pack of it because It was another Dogfish Head to add to the collection, but it ended up being my current favorite of their lineup.

A: Nothing too special. Dark amber/brown in color, decent head, looks nice in a pub glass.

S: Loved the smell. I tend to love beers that have a fruity or strong alcohol aroma, and this one has a good combination of both. You can definitely smell raisin.

T: Pretty much exactly how it smelled. Definite raisin tones, dark fruits, great sweetness in the mouth, and strong but smooth alcohol finish.

M: Thick enough to have good character, but still easy to handle. Not much carbonation at all.

D: Incredibly smooth for 8%. Sweet and strong and smooth, this beer is excellent to sit down and enjoy almost anywhere.

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Photo of comat0se
4.92/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked this one up in the bargain bin at Corral Liquors in Illinois. The bottle says bottled in April, but I'm not sure what year that it was. There is an 02 on the glass itself, so I'm guessing April 2002.

Unlike some other reviewers of this beer, this beer poured with a massive 1 inch, small bubbled, frothy head. This head had some of the best retention I've ever seen. The last sip still had at least a half inch of foam left. Amazing.

The first aroma I picked up coming out of the bottle was a winey, champagne-like aroma. Closer examination of the aroma from the glass reveals heavy malt and fruits. The appearance of this beer is outstanding: a deep, crystal-clear, ruby/mahogany color. I was expecting a lighter colored beer, and lighter in body (not sure why). This is not what this beer is about. It's a bright, and bold beer. Some might not agree with the beers sweetness, and think it diverges too much from "what beer should be." But I think not... I'm continually amazed by what beer can be. This beer has all sorts of things going on. You taste dark fruits, black cherries, chocolate, maybe even cherry coke, followed by a hint of roasted and a bit of pencil flavor (yes, wood pencil) and wisps of hot alcohol. The drinkability is almost soda-like, and it goes down fast, easy and refreshingly so. But this isn't any soda... and the mouthfeel immediately gives that away. It is moderately thick and luxurious, not impeded by a heavy carbonation, but yet having the perfect balance of carbonation. This hides its alcohol very well, only traces emerging from time to time remind you that this is no 3.2% beer. There are very little hops present in this beer. I couldn't detect any hop flavor, but yet the finish of the otherwise sweet beer was dry.

A very nice beer... I want another! Hope I can find it again.

 1,833 characters

Photo of Mmouse18
4.9/5  rDev +34.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Photo of putnam
4.89/5  rDev +34%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Aromas of molasses, brown sugar, rum and whipped cream. As I rock it back toward my mouth my sinuses are filled with an impression of smoky hard wood.
The texture is fluffy and creamy...nearly Rochefort-like...with Superb balance of chewy, cocoa-dusted candied fruit, vanilla, brazil nuts, steel shavings and pepper.

One of the best damn Belgian...er...American beers I've ever had!

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Photo of nortmand
4.87/5  rDev +33.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark rudy cherry red, with a nice, bit of beech foam and minimal lacing.
Smell is chocolate, currants and sweet cinnamon-clove.
Rich chocolate flavor, with a supporting fruity, raisiny soft flavor. Intensely complex and hard to describe, but somehow right on.
Rich, bubbly carbonation coats the tongue and reminds you that you are indeed drinking beer and not some divine creation.
This beer is absolutely great by any definition. A nearly perfect beer in every respect.

 480 characters

Photo of maddamish
4.85/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this at the Winking Lizard in Fairlawn Ohio.

After having two mediocre beers I had to find something that I knew to be good. What better way to break up a losing streak than to look to Dogfish?

This BSD Ale was just what the doctor ordered.

When pouring this ale I noticed a syrup consistancy to it. I knew right then that this was going to be something special. There was a slight alcohol smell to it but it was accompanied by raisin and sugar notes.

Taste wise there were grape, sugar (brown) and some alcohol notes to the ale. They blended together nicely and seemed to compliment each other well.

If you are looking for a complex and sweet tasting beer that challanges the palate then put this one on for a try. You will be glad you did!

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Photo of Edgarallenpoor
4.83/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Ok ..this beer is complex it has a great smooth taste and for the amount of alcohol in this baby it goes down like butter. Can't rave enough about it You can get this sweet nectar on tap directly at Dogfish Brew Tavern in Gaithersburg Md ..here's the key's ...more Raison Please..

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Photo of SpencerSauce
4.82/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love DFH. Everything they make is gold. So when i heard they made a belgian strong dark i was stoked.

A- Reddish dark clightly clear. Offwhite head that was pretty thick. Deep copper color.

S- fruits like dates or raisons or fig or black cherry. Roasted malts.

T- roasted malts in a belgian! Dried fruit taste.

M- Coats the mouth. Low carbonation in this bottle at least. Medium Light

D- rather easy

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Photo of kevinjosephlee
4.8/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a glass.

A: A very dark red and clear with an off-white, thick, one-finger head with moderate retention.

S: Sweetness apparent in the nose with a syrup-y like scent. Toasty and bread-y notes do come through. Perhaps some spicy phenols.

T: A strong sweetness. The nose predicts the taste very well. Dark fruits: raisin and prune. Unfortunately, it yielded a bit of a metallic off-flavor, but it did fade as the drink progressed.

M: High carbonation tingle on the tongue. Medium to full body. Noticeably alcohol warmth.

Notes: This beer almost perfectly captures the characteristics of the style. Not to mention, I loved it (and the buzz that it brought). Cheers!

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Photo of cinemadust
4.78/5  rDev +31%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite that I've had from Dogfish Head so far. It almost has a taste of tea and beer mixed together. Kind of like a spice and fruit. When I drank this from the bottle I had an almost smokey aftertaste. Drinking it from tap at the Dogfish Head brewery restaurant, was served a beer at the perfect temperature. Which made it very easy to taste all the wonderful flavors of this beer. Had barley any head at all, but that's what I like. Goes well with spicy foods. Just be VERY careful. Don't forget it's a 8% ABV. You can't knock them down like regular beers. But you can't taste the extra ABV so again, be cautious.

 619 characters

Photo of markmo
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of nickmorgan11
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of IrishGermanAmerican
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of DrewBest
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of jmeister
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

expensive taste on a budget.

28 characters

Photo of andypeters
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of Jonbw
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of B00ZER
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of NatsnSkinsDC
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of Dirrk
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of 6demonbag
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of davidwhatshisnam
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of qballz022
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Photo of barbellsNbeers
4.75/5  rDev +30.1%

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 4,301 ratings
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