Raison D'Être | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être
4,304 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: 4,304 |  Reviews: 1,774
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 mcphish22
4.5/5  rDev +23.3%

Photo of wmobley
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of kshankar
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into my Chimay goblet. Closest thing I have to a tulip.

It pours mahogany as the bottle says, with a tan head and minimal lacing.

Aroma is malty with dark fruits

Taste is of the dark fruits (particularly raisins) and a malty backbone.

Mouthfeel is medium and drinkability is good. Not really my type of beer, but for the style, its definitely one of the better ones.

 387 characters

Photo of EFR94
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of MadCat
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Nice reddish amber color, almost no tan head or lacing

Smell: Raisins, sweet malts, caramel

Taste: Raisins are noticeable, but not overwhelming. Sweet malts, caramel, very little bitterness, breadyness on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation

Overall: Pretty good but not outstanding. Gladly would have again, but not going to seek it out

 367 characters

Photo of SwG237
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of IcemanCometh
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of BrahptimusPrime
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of bmoney
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of bob727
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of BeerAngel
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear medium mahogany with a nice smooth cream-colored head that shrinks to a 1/8" long lasting layer. From the foamy head billows a musty fruit aroma with faint spicing in the background. The taste is again a musty fruit, more specifically grapes and raison flavors, with a non-stick yeast in the background and has a unique abrupt halt to the richness that just starts to poke through. It comes up a little short in the wave of flavors as the rug is yanked out from underneath your tastebuds. It still has the making of a good beer in this medium bodied offering that finishes slightly sweet.

Notes: Quite drinkable at 8%, but I think it is lacking in the finish department. Perhaps that's what increases the drinkability because the taste ends too soon. This one is hard to explain, but it's an overall decent offering. Cheers!

 841 characters

Photo of Arch578
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Quaffer
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The bottle states, "A deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins and a sense of purpose." I'd like to know what that "purpose" is, because I had a hard time telling what they were trying to do with this brew.

Appearance: This was a hazy, amber-orange beer that poured with a coarse, almost white, head. It rose up to just under two fingers and was quick to disappear. A small amount of bubbles remained floating on the surface for awhile, but even this was gone well before the beer was finished. There was no lacing.

Smell: This beer was extremely sweet smelling. There was a combination of many different fruit aromas. I think that I could even smell the raisins, though the background information about the beer might have had me searching for the aroma. A little bit of tart cherry was detected as well, combined with a bready maltiness that helped give some body to the smell. Overall, it didn't smell bad, but it didn't do much for me either.

Mouthfeel: Almost medium-bodied, with a very smooth and coating feeling on the tip of the tongue. As the beer moved back in the mouth, it picked up a lot of carbonation tingle to the point of becoming too rough.

Taste: Whoa, this was not was I was expecting after the syrupy sweetness that dominated the smell of the beer. The first sip was very tart (in a good way), but it became more subdued after my palatte got used to the taste. It still remained rather sour, though, with a strong vinuous component to it. Tart cherry, green apple, red wine, and (yes, there they are again) raisins combined to form the bulk of the flavor. There was also a fairly strong alcohol presence that really came through on the finish. Some very light notes of malt sweetness finally emerged in the aftertaste, but they did nothing to combat the dry, tannic bitterness/sourness that also came through.

Note: After adding the yeast to the glass, the taste did soften up and balance out better, but the negative qualites (tannic and overly strong alcohol flavors) were still there.

This was an interesting beer, but not one that I would want on a regular basis. I'm really not sure what it is that they are going for with this one. The beer did nothing to hide the alcohol, and the astringent quality in the aftertaste was annoying. Maybe some age would help it out.

A big thanks to noclueaboutbeer for hauling this one out to Kansas all the way from Connecticut.

 2,435 characters

Photo of BeerZack
3.84/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 10/8/08
I have tried this beer before in the past and hated it, thought it was way too sweet and uninteresting. Now, I rather enjoy it and am eager to try aging it.

Deep red mahogany color with a very nice frothy head. Extreme lace and multicolored foam swirls; almost root beer float like, nice.

Very roasty aroma. Smells of roasted barley, maple syrup, sugar and raisins.

Sweet syrup, raisin, marzipan with only a hint of the roastiness that dominates the aroma.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel, rich and full feel without being overly sticky or cloying. A bit sweet, would like to see how it ages.

 613 characters

Photo of pentathlete
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a beige head and quite a bit of lacing. Smell is dark fruits and a woody hit that must be from the hops. Taste was rather disappointing, a little hint of Belgian yeast and candi and then a vinous finish that seemed incongruous to my taste buds. Mouthfeel was full enough but I don't think I would want more than one. I've had these before and never have I gotten very excited about them.

 409 characters

Photo of Kips
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Snellgg5
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of theghost3
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, dark brown with ruby highlights. There's a 2-finger head that quickly disappears. Minimal lacing.

The smell is strong of raisins, molasses, & roasted malts. The taste is mainly raisins, cherry, and molasses, but there's also a trace of coffee malts. The mouth feel is fairly smooth, but it's a little flat.

This is a drinkable beer, but I'm not sure it's a Belgian Strong Dark. It has some of that style's qualities, but it also has some qualities of the American craft styles.

 495 characters

Photo of poppyjohn
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of AlMarzo
4/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of Pillowburn
3.25/5  rDev -11%

Photo of Jmbbabson
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 4,304 ratings
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