Raison D'Être | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

4,298 Ratings
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,298 |  Reviews: 1,773
Photo of JohnNasso
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of jazziz216
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of biscuitroller
4.5/5  rDev +23%

Photo of foxyaardvark27
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of
4.75/5  rDev +29.8%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of
4/5  rDev +9.3%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of Jadjunk
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a sixer of this in July after enjoying it on tap. It is one of Dogfish Head's staple year rounds in the lineup. A six pack sets one back roughly $10. The label states that Raison D'Être is "A deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins & a sense of purpose". The beer is brewed in the the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Bottled on 5/03/12, shy of 6 months from date.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to my Dogfish Head Signature glass. Served at 49º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp bronze cream head with an average retention at best and a very fizzy texture. Body color is a deep mahogany red with abundant carbonation. Appearance is decent, although the head quality falls short. 3

(Smell) Tart fruits, belgian sugars, light spicy cinnamon bread and medium potent alcohol tones. Not as enjoyable as the first time I smelled it, it's components are a bit busy but they don't all complement each other. There's some heat from the alcohol and a pleasing belgian syrup background. I'm not sure if the aromas are muddled due to the age of the drink or if it's bottle-pertinent, but the aroma isn't as pleasing this time around. 3

(Taste) Light syrup bready malt front with a faint spice and alcohol on the smoky finish. Fruit tones bring a mild tartness to the beer. There is a bit of heat from the alcohol and not all of the flavors gel well in this beer. With a more flavorful and substantial malt body the end result may round out better. Overall, it's not the shining star of Dogfish's repertoire, but it's drinkable. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is quite light, carbonation is faint with a slick texture. Body is light for Belgian Strong Darks and medium overall. Alcohol presence is medium. The texture is a bit underwhelming. It shouldn't be spritely crisp but a little more air could help shadow some of the alcohol and compliment the delicate fruit tones. 3

(Overall) I found this much less impressive the second time around. It goes a bit too shallow on the body, a little too slick on the texture and a bit too harsh on the alcohol makes the drink less enjoyable than it should be. I'd recommend drinking this as fresh as possible and preferably on tap for the most enjoyable experience. 3

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's
Raison D'Être

 2,293 characters

Photo of veinless
2.81/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a crystal clear, dark amber with a thin, quickly dissipating head that left no lacing at all. Looks borderline watery to me.

Smells of sweet fruit, with dates and raisins coming to mind the most. A sugary note pervades the aroma all the way through. Almost like a fruit-jam type smell.

Taste is thankfully not as pungently sweet at the front, with the raisins a nice, semi-sweet flavor. Malts come out after initial taste to sweeten the deal, though not in a way I like. Tiny bit of date character that resembles a sweet rind of a citrus fruit (very strange, but think about it). Alcohol offers its own flavor as well with a bit of warmth. Sourness arrives as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel is quite thin and bubbly, with a corrosive element to it. Feels a little bit too much like pop. Drinkability saved from disaster by the late-arriving sourness, but still isn't great. Overall it's an interesting beer, but not one I particularly enjoy.

 945 characters

Photo of ilikebeer03
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of ncaudle
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Envelopes
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of CorneliusBunker
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Bloodbuzz99
2.75/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of ReeseMax3
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of bzach
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of gonemicrophishing
2.25/5  rDev -38.5%

Photo of Soomars
4.5/5  rDev +23%

Photo of Scandoppelganger
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of cuy50
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of falconxman
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of BeerHunter76
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of Stevie_Janowski
4.5/5  rDev +23%

Photo of illini4x4
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of Honeycutt
4.25/5  rDev +16.1%

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.66 out of 5 based on 4,298 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.