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Raison D'Être | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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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
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Ratings: 4,302 |  Reviews: 1,774
Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of DWolf
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of aqualung23
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of slowdaddy
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of baos
5/5  rDev +37%
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

 679 characters

Photo of tapman
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
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 +5.5%
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

 445 characters

Photo of kobeer
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of MMAJYK
3.67/5  rDev +0.5%
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 +2.7%

Photo of jadpsu
2.86/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber with an off tan head that has both superiorretention and side lacing.
Aroma is of molasses and raisens and to a lesser extent some mlatiness. Alcohol is definitly present and heavier than I like.
Taste is syrupy and sweet, but too sweet and any malts are lost in the sweet syrup.
Finishes dry but too sweet for me.

 326 characters

Photo of Profchaos20
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of hoplover82
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
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 mtnwesdew
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of bbrown12
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of mpyle
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Rich amber color, brilliantly clear. Pours a fairly large, tan colored head. Creamy and with good retention.

Bit of a toffee, plum kind of aroma. Sweet, but with a little extra. Liquorice.

Rich tasting and sweet. Big malt with some malt complexity, a bit of spiciness (pepper), turns slightly bitter and much drier in the finish. Flavors of the finish are somewhat unpleasant, with an out of place bitterness

MF - Medium body and carbonation, no astringency. Some alcohol warming. A bit drying on the tongue.

Overall - has some nice elements, but the flavors lingering in the finish detract.

 596 characters

Photo of jaywes754
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of fostachild
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JT99125
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of sblanton83
3.25/5  rDev -11%

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 blitz134
3.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Received in 2MBBIF from Vancer...thanks...

Brownish, red body. Perfectly clear. Very light tan head, not much formed on the pour and only left a ring around the glass with a skimming of bubbles on the top.

I think this smells really good although varies a bit from the typical aromas of the style. Sweet and inviting. Tons of complexity at the temperature I have it at. The golden raisins are definately present along with some unripe plums. Sugary sweet but still has an earthy, nutty malt undertone. Sweet alcohol rears its head as well. Unique.

Taste has some darker fruit aspects, raisins again, but more of the dark variety. I think the beet sugar is obvious to, its a more pungent dark brown type sugar as opposed to the sweeter candylike sugar used in most Belgians. A bit of earthiness again comes in with the malts. Finish has a typical Belgian twang, most likely from the yeast. An alcohol twang (sorry for the use of twang more than once) is present as well. Overall a good flavor but has this twangy, funkiness that is a little to forward. I think its a bit unbalance with its sweetness.

Mouthfeel is decent, medium bodied. Not much carbonation. Drinkability suffers from the twang and the hint of alcohol in the flavor, it makes this one a bit rough around the edges. A bit too sweet to have more than one. Good and I'd have another at some point...just not tonight.

 1,391 characters

Photo of kingslotty
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of erushing
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of kds2437
4/5  rDev +9.6%

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