Raison D'Être | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être
4,302 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,302 |  Reviews: 1,774
Photo of Noelito76
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of david18
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of gonemicrophishing
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of Drecher
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of Slashytits
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of Kempski
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of sjbarleywine
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of Das_Reh
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of Jeremy0682
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of tommyguz
2.25/5  rDev -38.4%

Photo of Naes
2.26/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This beer pours out brown in color with hues of orange and red. It has a tall off-white head that retains and laces well.
The aroma is sugary sweet and has notes of wine grapes and raisins.
The flavor is very fruity with a strong caramel malt presence. The alcohol is noticeable, but the flavor remains dominated by sugary sweet malts.
The mouth feel is thick and becomes a bit syrupy.
Overall, this one is just over sweetened for my likings.

 447 characters

Photo of yelterdow
2.28/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

This bottle was produced on 11/06/06, so we've got a fresh example here. Served at a few degrees under cellar tempearture in a Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Gorgeous color... ruby bordering on purple, as crystal clear as any beer I've ever seen. The head barely reaches an inch, then it reduces to a thin outside border along the iinside of the glass. Sporadic spots of lacing here and there. Aside from the nice color, it's just OK.

Smell- The smoky, tinny, metallic, undesirable nose hurts my eyes... it really isn't pleasant at all. I've never smelled Belgian beet sugar, but something about this aroma makes me cough and squint. Burnt insects.

Taste- The same interesting, yet off-putting character is right here on the palate just as it was in the aroma. Not to mention the alcohol... it's starting to become more noticable too. The ingredients used in this brew dominate in a heavy-handed way, with the Belgian sugar content way too much for my personal taste. Alone, this beer is extremely difficult to sit back and even sip.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- In the mouth, the texture is extraordinary. Right away, it rolls and swirls with ease and grace... laughing in the face of everything harsh and undesirable about the beer thus far. I give DFH credit where it's due... always pushing the limits of what's possible, and staying true to its mission and purpose. I just am really having a hard time with this beer. I finished it though...

 1,449 characters

Photo of jjanega08
2.28/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A= pours a very dark brown almost black color with a thin head that falls fast leaving no lacing.
S= belgian spice and grape peels. Very plain kinda. Caramel malts are there and sort of smells overly sweet.
T= like I nocticed in the smell it was overly sweet and the belgian yeast doesn't quite fit.
M= lower carbonation and sort of covering
D= not too great. I really don't find this beer to be good. Ill finish it but never think about buying it again for a very long time.

 477 characters

Photo of troutmask96
2.28/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

No go here. I was anxious to try this brew after it came highly recommended at my local bottle shop. Poured prettily enough, but as soon as I smelled it I knew I was headed for trouble. Very strong rubbing alcohol, and the taste was no better. Very, very syrupy sweet, and heavy alcohol taste. Bleeeech. I barely finished the bottle...

 335 characters

Photo of PriorateOden
2.32/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Why did this burn/tickle my tongue? Not at all distasteful, but sorta plain-jane. I thought it was bland on the nose and taste really seemed limited and narrow. No complex aromas no shifting flavors, just mild and... pleasant but weak. It was super tingle-ie and bubbly in the mouth. I love me some Dogfish Head,, but not this one.

 331 characters

Photo of WilliamLee
2.34/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A dark tea color. No head.
Aroma: Raisin, chocolate, and malt.
Taste: Green fruit-black pepper-grassy funk-burnt malt. The sweetness up front is blasted away by the green fruit, black pepper, burnt malt taste that dominates the flavor. Fairly complex flavors but there isn't much that I enjoy. If you like these flavors then it could be enjoyable. For me, it could have been worse but this a borderline bad beer. Blech!

 419 characters

Photo of kpoole25
2.35/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I didn't care for this beer, and I like most of what DFH makes. I only drank about 6 oz before pouring the rest out. I'd say this is the first beer where I really tasted the alcohol, and it wasn't the warm, sweet kind, it was the medicine cabinet type. The appearance was fine, a nice dark brown. Aromas had a little zing, almost tangy, I was thinking this might be a bit sour. Then the taste, initally sugary sweet that turned just gross. Pass on this one.

 457 characters

Photo of Boilermaker88
2.36/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Presented in a 12oz. brown bottle as depicted. Poured a very dark brown color with a compact ¼" vanilla hued head that quickly dwindled down to a thin ring and left no lace.
The smell was of brown sugar, bready malts, some dark fruit and an almost overpowering alcohol aroma. The aroma of medicinal alcohol came off the glass in waves and kept interfering with attempts to decipher any other other smells. The taste was quite sweet up front; lots of sugar and raisins with an earthy malt base. The sweetness crowded out any other flavors except for a strong astringent alcohol flavor that just overran the palate like a horde of barbarians laying waste to a medieval village. The feel was medium-bodied, rather crisp and puckering and dry.
Overall, this just wasn't one of Dogfish Head's better brews, IMO. There was no effort to disguise the alcohol content. If anything, it seemed to be amplified. That alone was enough for me to not want to try this brew more than once. A brew that's too off balance to be very appealing.

 1,028 characters

Photo of sls0210
2.36/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark mahogany color, creamy head. Smell the raisins, brown sugar, molasses, definitely getting the alcohol too. Really sweet, too much so - raisins, caramel, burnt sugar, the alcohol is ever present. Mouthfeel was flat, carbonation not good at all. First DFH beer and none too impressed. Definitely unlike any quality Belgian beer I've ever had, in a bad way. Have some DFH 60 minute and a brown IPA waiting in the fridge, hoping for a better product from this brewery with those.

 480 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.36/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 8/4/08. Bottle. Pours a dark orange/light brown with a thick light tan head. Aroma and flavor are the same and rather odd. Roasted malt, bitter coffee grounds, and an odd sweetness (not quite raisiny, maybe it's the beet sugar?). The odd sweetness and odd bitter coffee grounds do not work well together for me. This beer was downright undrinkable and ended up being a drain pour. Another disappointing beer from DFH.
5/4/5/3/10 (2.7/5)

 448 characters

Photo of DogFood11
2.38/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a tulip it forms an off white head that falls to a thin cover in little time. Light brown body with hardly any visisble carbonation. Not all that inviting.

Wow, this is an oddball thats for sure. I really didn't get what they were trying for here as its all over the map. First pull and my initial thoughts were powdered medicine mixed with water. Yes, there is alot more to it than that but that was my first impression. Syrupy and sweet. Slightly woody in the nose but doesn't translate to the palate. The finish is dirty and leaves a thick coating that nevery really leaves until the next pull.

Notes: While not horrible this is a mystery brew of sorts. There was a nice spiced segement but it becomes an afterthought as this medicinal theme and the covered palate that takes over and bungles it up.

 821 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.38/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 6/13/2007 (12oz bottle):

Pours an amber red colored body, clear, not very fizzy. Has a small tan head, diminishing. An aroma of dark fruit, and raisins maybe. Strong sugary malty. Malty salty taste, dark roasted malt aftertaste. Sweet carmelized taste.

 262 characters

Photo of cjgator3
2.39/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a dark mahogany brown with an off-white head. The aroma consists of malt, some dark fruits, rum soaked raisens and alcohol. The taste is very imbalanced and is overly boozy which greatly hinders both the taste and drinkability. I definately won't be going back to this one.

 318 characters

Photo of kurtissellen
2.39/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass which produced a small ½ finger head that immediately disappeared. Nice reddish brown color with some carbonation. It had a strange aroma that smelled a little like bacon not too impressive. The taste was similar with hints of bacon, decomposing leaves, and campfire smoke. I really didn't care for this one at all and came close to just dumping it out. I'm not sure if I just got a bad batch of this or what because I have enjoyed all the other Dogfish Head beers I've tried. I'll have to try this one again in the future to see if something was wrong with the bottle I tried.

 614 characters

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 4,302 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.