Raison D'Être | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être
BA SCORE
3.66/5
Good
4,305 Ratings
Raison D'ÊtreRaison D'Être
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
dogfish.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#34,728
Reviews:
1,774
Ratings:
4,305
pDev:
15.03%
Bros Score:
3.17
 
 
Wants:
111
Gots:
504
Trade:
4
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,305 |  Reviews: 1,774
Photo of chippo33
2.75/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of thatoneguymike
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.51/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a fairly dark brown, with a small head, and not much lacing.

This smells sweet- with simple syrup, dark fruit, and sweet breadiness.

This is strong and a bit too sweet and boozy- it's slightly solventy. There's a nice malt backbone underneath the sweetness and the high strength, but this isn't exceptionally drinkable.

This is medium bodied, a tad syrupy, with a normal level of carbonation.

This isn't quite up to DFH's usual standards.

 457 characters

Photo of SadMachine
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Billolick
4.29/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer sampled, freshenss dating notched on to the label. Pours clear, almond amber, with a tad of egg shell colored head, limited lacing. nose is alcohol, raisins, rum and candi sugars. Strong flavorful brew, notes of alcohol, figs, rum soaked raisins, apricots. Complex, heady creation. Wrap your tongue around some of this stuff.

 335 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Anytime I see the huge Dogfish Head tap handle, I have to try it. This beer was an inviting amber brown, complemented by a decent white head. The first thing in the aroma that stood out was the fruit aroma (apples and raisins) along with some traces of mellow spice. The taste is the texture of a fine spiced rum, and there are also hints of the flavor in the brew. Very complex, yet utterly enjoyable, and refreshing. The high ABV of course gives the flavor a little bite, and there is also some candi sugar thrown in here for more sweetness. Alot of malt makes this a treat, along with a good medium body and a somewhat chewy texture. Drinkability is good, but it would be better if this weren't so drinkable with 8% abv one is enough. Not quite over the top like some of the Dogfish Head beers, but not a disappointment by any means. I did enjoy her.

 853 characters

Photo of InspectorBob
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of VeganUndead
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of rolltide8425
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of imbibehour
4.4/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

It's been a long road. It's time to revist this beer from such a long time ago. Dated October 28th 2011, poured into an official Dogfish Head Raison D'etre goblet. Loved this so much back in the day I bought the glasses for it.

Not much head produced barley a finger through a center punch, what is there is a faint caramel/tan that falls and leaves a good collar and slight puck. What a gorgeous body color this is though, red amber and clear with these brown edges. It really looks like a ruby.

Nose is slighty raisin, but it smells like baked fresh fruitcake. Cherries, carmalized sugars, fresh baked bread. Topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Real impressive.

I am going to knock my taste and mouthfeel score down slightly here. Slightly wetter palate than most Belgian Strong Dark Ales, but misses the viscosity angle. Bready tasty action in the fore front, but not much of the sweetness or fruit character comes through. Finish is a little citrus like, with a little carbonation prickly sting and raisin, it's still quite neat as I remember it.

Overal I still really like this, I think my enthusiasm for this beer though has gone down having tried more of this style from other producers in Belgium. However, I still really enjoy it, strangely I use to be able to get it more often but I rarely see it around as much. Too bad.

Old Review (Feb 6th 2010)

Hands down my go to beer, Raison D'etre is a perfectly bodied, complicated aroma of raisin and somewhat dark bread bouquet. Has a thick mouthfeel and has a wonderful lingering finish as well.

Had on tap and in bottles and both manage to be downright refreshing when well.

I say well, because the beer does have a SHORT shelf life and it's very easy to get a bad one, or have one from a tap that has been sitting too long. When you do, it becomes extremely sour tasting and the bouquet is dead.

Even still I absolutely love this beer. (4,4,5,4.5,4.5)

 1,922 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of AlexFields
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of smartassboiler
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of malfunxion
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of Tone
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 1/2 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, grain, wood, slight hop, some vanilla, yeast, and slight citrus. Fits the style of a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of smoke, roasted malt, sweet malt, yeast, slight alcohol, slight hop, and some dark sweet citrus. Overall, a good body, complexity, blend, aroma, and mouth feel.

 471 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap into a tulip, the beer is an auburn-brown color with a thin layer of off-white head. There are aromas of grape sweetness, with a sweet malt highlight. Very rich on the nose. The beer's flavor is strong, with a merlot character, and a tangy, sour fruit undertone. The aftertaste is minimal, with a bit of the fruit sweetness again. The finish is dry, and it keeps the flavors from being overpowering or cloying. Deep, dark, and heavy flavors make this one a sipper. Unique and interesting beer.

 507 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark and clear brown with ruby tones. Head is crème colored. Nose is basically nothing. I know I should be getting some raisin there, but I am not getting anything. Flavor is smooth raisins that are not overly powerful. Firm malty tones with what seems like mild hop character. Feel is very smooth on the liquid and with a pretty smooth bubble. Definitely drinkable. Smooth and even, it could easily be a session brew if the sweet tones don't bother you.

 463 characters

Photo of aasher
2.51/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

This beer poured a rich mahogany, very translucent with a light beige colored head that quickly dissipated and laced the glass. This beer didn't smell like any fruit like others have said but kind of has a mild brown sugar, molasses like sweet malt scent to it. It's one of those smells that I just am not a fan of. The taste is of sweet malt and beet sugar. Personally I do not like it, think it's kinda gross, but I get what they were going for. It's just an over malted ale to me. I'm not getting any raisin at all. Like a lot of DFH's beers, this drinks exceptionally smooth. I just can't like this. It's flavors are odd and the 8% is pretty noticeable. The bottle says it was brewed with a sense of purpose. So I ask, what WAS the purpose?

 744 characters

Photo of mklisz
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

06/13/05- Received via trade with Connecticutpoet and Steinlifter.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a born on date of October 2005. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Brandy colored pour with a 1/2 inch head and average lacing.

Smell- Serious malt scents as well as some raisins and alcohol.

Taste- Heavy malt with some brown sugar thrown in. Figs and raisins abound along with a heavy tobacco leaf flavor.

Mouthfeel- Started off very carbonated, but ended on a light note.

Drinkability- Tasty brew, original taste for me with the tobacco leaf added in. I've had many better dark ales, but this one isn't bad at all. Thanks for the sample guys!

 665 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.11/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A mini vertical of a properly cellared 2009 and 2013 bottle I got from the east coast. I cellared a lot of beer in 2008/2009 to see what develops and although Dogfish Head is readily available here on the west coast, they stopped distributing Raison D'Être, so I was unable to get another bottle until now. This was not a beer I wanted to put down for more than a year or two, but here goes…..
2013:
Poured into a Dogfish Head pint glass. Pours a medium mahogany amber with a thin, light tan head that dissipates to a thin film and ring around the glass, leaving patchy light lacing. Aroma of caramel malt, dark dried fruit, lightly nutty and earthy. Flavor follows aroma; caramel and bready malt, nuts, raisins, dates, fresh dark fruit. Finishes with an earthy dark maltiness. Medium bodied. A nice domestic take on a Belgian dark beer, closely in character to a dubbel, but sweeter and maltier. Old ale meets dubbel.
2009:
Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a hazy, medium to dark, red-orange amber with a thin off-white head with good retention and light lacing. Rich aroma of sweet caramel malt, dark dried fruit, light cardboard oxidation, similar in profile to a mild barley wine. I'm surprised to see that the years have been quite nice to this ale! The flavor is moderate, but flavorful caramel and bready malt, mellow dark dried fruit (lots of dates and figs), very well integrated and tasty. Body has turned to the heavy side of medium with light creaminess. This is a very nice, creamy, well melded malty ale that most resembles a light, but well made old ale. I had no great expectations from this, and have found that many ales develop too much oxidation flavors ate this age, but this does not. The oxidation notes in the aroma are not present.
Well, I like Raison D'Être and used to pick it up frequently when it was available, but now I wish I had a few more of these in the cellar. I'm going to try to get my sister to haul back a few more. Rating is an average of the two ales; I liked the aged one quite a bit more than the new one, which was still enjoyable.

 2,093 characters

Photo of jwc215
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled on 04/19/07. Poured into a tulip glass.

Pours mahogany with a one-finger head that descends to a very thin cover.

The smell is of sugar candy, raisins, rum and caramel under a blanket of alcohol.

The taste is of sugar candy, bubblegum, a touch of raisins, and caramel. Raw alcohol partially covers the taste - unfortunate, as it is close to rubbing alcohol - more noticeable than even the abv level should have. Borders on too sweet. There are some fruity hops, but rather muted. Something of a flatness in the finish.

Thinner than expected, but that is not my main complaint about the feel - it's more that the flavors (outside of some alcohol) are quite fleeting and leave a "flat" feeling in the mouth (though the beer was by no means flat).

An "interesting" brew that doesn't live up to the hype. Nothing particularly special, other than unusual combo of flavors. Skeptical that mellowing by aging it would help, as it doesn't seem to be worth it, IMO. One of those to try once to have, I suppose, and certainly a slow "sipper".

 1,055 characters

Photo of Lare453
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Raison D'Être from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 4,305 ratings