Raison D'Extra | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Raison D'ExtraRaison D'Extra

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 18.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A bigger, bolder version of our Raison Raison D'Être.

This is a bulbous, brown ale brewed with a bunch of malt, brown sugar and raisins.

40 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-22-2002

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Reviews: 697 | Ratings: 1,475
Photo of BeTheBall
1.52/5  rDev -62%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Perhaps I bought a bad bottle...
Poured a mahogany color with a nice head rising. Smelled of excessive fruit and alcohol. On my first taste, I found myslef thinking this tastes like cough medicine, not that I've had any lately. For the next few sips, I got huge raisin sweetness with an unpleasant burning, I presume from the ABV. This was very bad, and turned into a very, very rare drain pour with more than half left in my pint glass. Mouthfeel was hot. Drinkability was, well, not drinkable at all I'm afraid. Avoid at all costs.

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Photo of Minkybut
1.68/5  rDev -58%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees then poured it out of my tumbler and into the sink. The bber was a light mahoganny color with a light orangy looking head. The smell was of sour something with a bit of a caralally smell. The taste was sour gross sour Yuk...too me. The sourness was just overpowering of rotten fruit and bout gagged me. I will not buy again.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
1.71/5  rDev -57.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I bought this at monk's and was a little disappointed in the drink and that is over two years old!!! After our trip to the city (Monk's and Noddinghead) I decided to have this late in the night.

Exp. date is 3/15/07. Poured into a goblet a thick cloudy caramel color with an off white colored heading. No real lacing to speak of.

Smell is very malty and just flat out booze. hint's of raisin's a touch of plum and other darker fruit's also a bit of chocolate.

Taste again is ridiculously boozy almost unbearable hint's of the above aroma's but is killed by this unsettling warmth of alcohol. Hops do kick in and leave a slight sting but again is crushed by the warmth in the gullet.

Mouth is full bodied with good carbonation when move it around on the palate. Leaves a kind of spiciness on the tongue as well.

Drinkability is bad this was almost a drainpour for me I will not try this one again.

Just a bit to ridiculous with the heavy ABV. I personally think Dogfish head should do away with this one and stick to the D'etere.

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Photo of ebin
1.77/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Poured this into a Chimay chalice and it looked pretty good, decent head that dissipated fairly quickly. No lacing at all on the glass.

Smelled of alcohol almost exclusively, not good. Very strong aroma.

Taste was beyond sweet, very hard to handle. Alcohol was well hidden for a 20% beer, but I would have rather tasted it.

Mouthfeel was decent. Thick and syrupy.

Drinkability was awful. I could barely finish the bottle. Only reason I didn't pour it out was because it was a $5 bottle. I won't have this again.

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Photo of jpittman80
1.88/5  rDev -53%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

you know what? too many damn raisins. almost made me sick. but you wouldn't know it's as alcoholic as it is, or that it would be hard to drink going in. appearance and aroma aren't that bad, mostly dark fruits (raisins?) and alcohol. i'm beginning to suspect to stick with the hoppy beers from dogfish head.

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Photo of ryane
1.93/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Thought Id give this a shot after hearing about raison d'etre

poured from 12oz bottle a dark color with a small amount of head

first drink i thought, WTF did they brew this in an old stinky rotting boot?

but it grew on me, partly because of how fast I drank it, at 20% it really kicks in, bottle didnt mention how strong it was, I could tasted it but never expected it to be that high

definately not one Ill drink again

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Photo of saccro
1.96/5  rDev -51%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A - poured thick. brown/ruby colored. decent head that fades to a thin layer.

S - strong autolysis aromas. sweet malt. There was a thick slurry of yeast on the bottom of the bottle. This beer is OLD.

T - incredibly sweet. autolyzed flavors. cloying. sweeet. ew. Still some bitterness background, but let's face it, you can't topple this sweetness.

M - uberchewy, sweet. med-light carbonation.

D - not for me.

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Photo of sccala
2.01/5  rDev -49.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

OK, I did review this beer with a large measure of objectivity. "Respect Beer", right? So, Here Goes...Poured out of a brown 12 oz. bottle with a picture of an old western cowboy on it into a 16 oz. pint glass...

A- Weird start...no head at all...almost like pouring juice into a glass. Color is a murky rust brown/dark orange.

S- A slight estery scent. Very sugary sweet fruity smell. The smell almost starts to clean out your nasal passages.

T- Grape cough medicine....then when you swallow, the ethers invade your nasal passages via your esophagus. Am I drinking beer or grain alcohol?

M- Most painful part to rate. I want this beer out of my mouth, so keeping it in there and swashing it around wasn't fun. Again, very artificial grape cough medicine flavor, then the alcohol starts to scrape at your tongue and back of your mouth. When I swallow, I make the same face and head shake that I make when I swallow a shot of tequila.

D- Based on the review...you tell me. Glad I tried it, but I will not buy this beer again, nor drink one for free.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.14/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed on 5/24/08. I will admit that I am not a fan of high alcohol beers nor am I a particular fan of raisins...but my boyfriend got a bottle of this and wanted me to split it with him, so I decided to try it...pours a light brown, cloudy, no head and a rather syrupy texture. Aroma is awful--much too overpowering and so repulsive to me that I actually had to pinch my nose while drinking it. Aroma is strong of alcohol, brown sugar, raisin. Flavor is a little better than the aroma- brown sugar, alcohol, sweetness. Super rich and super sweet. Too one-dimensional for such a high alcohol beer, it is not balanced enough, creating a huge alcohol mess. I just don't think the body of Raison D'Etre is strong enough to handle the 18.5%. I could only take about 10 or so sips. Won't be having this again...
3/3/6/3/10 (2.5/5)

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Photo of putnam
2.17/5  rDev -45.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Grade A maple syrup colored liquid. Possibly reductive nose of peanut butter, corn and American "nougat". Vanilla, stewed tangerine juice and a whallop of buttered burnt sugar. Syrup sweetness covers the alcohol and opens simple fruit candy flavors: tart, peppery. The sugar is oppressive and only crudely balanced with crippled, denatured strands of funky tartness and dirty bitterness.

This is absurd novelty beer. There would be no reason to opt for this drink when a bottle of good PX sherry or tawny port is within reach.

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Photo of alcstradamus
2.24/5  rDev -44%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A--Gorgeous mahogany color that doesn't yield much of a head...what was there dwindled down to almost nothing quickly. No lacing

S--Deep wood and maple tones, raisins, figs, bourbon. Little too boozy on the nose for my liking

T--This one absolutely bites the tongue with a sharp alcohol front and a maple syrup back end. Definitely not my style. It is impressively flavorful though. Wait a minute, I just saw that this is 20% ABV, believe it or not I didn't actually look at that before drinking. No wonder it kicked my ass. I must admit that I am not man enough for this beer!

M--Relatively thin but not too much so

D--I can't even get down half a bottle, not due to the bad taste but just due to the overwhelming nature of the alcohol. Perhaps you are more brave then me. Give it a shot and decide for yourself!

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Photo of Anthony1
2.28/5  rDev -43%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

poured into a perfect pint.

pours a dark brown with a think roasted head that left quickly. unfortunately this thing is just to sweet. very rich aroma with varieties of fruit and sweetness. taste is great at first, and immediately the sweetness kicks in. rough after taste. Tried drinking it with some food and sipping, but just couldn't handle the sweetness. sadly, i couldn't drink it.

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Photo of geexploitation
2.33/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Yet another cute beer from DFH that's more style than substance. Pours a brilliant dark amber that is, when held to the light, just glowingly gorgeous. No head, though, which is a problem appearance-wise and aroma-wise. The aroma is nonetheless pretty strong, with lots of rich burnt sugar smells and some sweet dried fruit and peppery alcohol underneath. The taste is a sugar bomb, unadulterated sweetness with nothing to modify or deepen it. Huge candi sugar up front with some fruit notes behind, underpinned by a big raw alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is quite sumptuous and alcoholic. Drinkability? Not really -- too sweet, too big to be a beer I want a lot of. A novelty and nothing more.

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Photo of Chambic
2.35/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2


A: surprisingly light in color, like a lovely amber. Have yet to taste Raison d'Être, so maybe that's why I didn't know what to expect. Thought it would look more like port.

S: full-on raisin upfront -- no doubt about it. Almost prune-like, something similar to overripe fruit

T: the raisins really enhance the booziness, resulting in a long finish

M: nice and smooth, balancing the intense aroma and taste

D: a little goes a long way; would really like to find a nice dessert pairing. Shared with 2 others, who would probably pass on it next time.

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Photo of kajerm
2.35/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours red, with a semi-filtered appearance and a thin, slightly lacing head.

Smells spicy, with notes of roasted malt, and dark fruit. Alcohol aroma is perceptible; there is a clear, medicinal, phenolic smell.

Sweet zombie Jesus, this a sweet beer. There is a strong background of raisins and figs. A fleeting toasted malt flavor appears mid-palate. The alcohol is barely noticeable in the flavor but has a strong, almost immediate warming effect.

A few sips later, this beer is nauseatingly cloying. It's totally out of balance, like drinking fig newtons soaked in high-fructose corn syrup, and then mainlining Everclear afterward.

Oh yeah, drinkability? Nonexistent.

Sorry DFH, back to the drawing board on this one.

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Photo of ScottUCF84
2.38/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Bottle into a pint.

A-Looks nice. Copper with little floaties dancing around. Slightly cloudy. Little head retention.

S-Strong dried fruits and alcohol.

T- At first some prunes, raisins... but this was quickly blown out of the water by the alcohol. I flat out didn't enjoy the taste. I'm not one to sip on liquor, and that's what this reminded me of. Not my style.

M- Syrupy, but honestly was a bit distracted by the flavor.

D- Couldn't get more than half the glass down. I'm sure if this was up my alley I'd enjoy it more, but overall I just really didn't like this beer.

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Photo of ShadesOfGray
2.39/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

A seriously potent beer! Just like everyone else says though...way too sweet. Definately worth trying...but a little overkill. A lot of expectations on it, which didn't let me down as far as booze. But WOW! the taste and drinkability is a little over the top.
Poured into my Chimay chalice...maroon-ish color with small head that dissapears rather quickly. The booze smell fills the room!

The bottle says brewed with boatloads of raisons...uh...yea. You can say that again. Has a decent first taste but doesn't last long as soon as it hits the back of your tongue. Hard to finish the bottle by yourself...so recommended to share with a friend for the experience.

With that said, I still respect and love DFH beers.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
2.43/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer was an amber color with a very small, almost nonexistent, tan head and a tiny amount of lacing. It had a strong sweet fruit odor. The taste was all fruit, and way, way too sweet. It was fairly smooth, but to me not too drinkable. Maybe it should be a dessert wine??

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Photo of ElizabethCraig
2.45/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Purchased this bottle locally, the batch was from 2007.

Appearance was cloudy with 'floaties' in it, a medium brown.

The scent was pure 'fermented raisins', if you can kind of smell-picture it. Not bad, but not great to my nose either.

Let me digress. I do like raisins. I like them quite a bit. But maybe.. well maybe not this much.

The taste, now, I had to recheck the style on this. It's called a brown ale on the package, but the alcohol burn knocked my knee-hi socks off.

Barleywine alcohol burn, massive alcoholic raisin flavor. Turns into a lingering very boozy burny raisin taste. Very little carbonation, a medium mouthfeel as far as the body of this brew goes.

I appreciate what they did here, but I don't like it. I had around 1/2 an ounce, wandered through Beer Advocate magazine and read some stuff out loud to my husband and tried it again once it came up in temp a bit.

No go. =( I like that they did something different here, but I just don't like the taste of it, even as a 'novelty' beer. =(

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.47/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

2002 750mL. Orangey copper. No head. Sambucca and various herbs hit the nose with an oily alcohol punch. Soaked grapes, sherry and figs, plus an earthy vegetal oil bring on coniferous flavours and a rather complex perfumey profile. Plenty of residual sugar still, makes you wonder how much cane sugar, corn syrup, molasses etc they had to throw into every bottle. Long aggressive palate. It really does remind me or vegetal oil alcohol soaked. Interesting green olives complexities, apples, grapes, apricot lingering sweetness. Overwhelming ethanol finish. Long long aftertaste, hoppy and somehow yeasty. Softly carbonated, rather thin-bodied.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
2.56/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Started reading about this brew a week or so ago. On a sojourn to Town and Country in West Springfield I was very surprised to see it on their shelves. I was even more surprised at the price tag 8.95 for a 12 oz. bottle! This was one beer I couldn’t pass up.

Poured a pale cinnamon hue. I know that term is commonly used, but it applies here. Very little head retention a no lacing. A mildly odorous offering, chocolate and clove dominate here.

“Brewed with raisins”, yeah, they’re there, but they are not its most defining characteristic. Remember those cinnamon toothpicks the some dude used to make when you were in sixth grade!?!?!!?! Tastes just like that.

Within two sips I could feel the alcohol. It’s a hot beer, spicy and warm. An interesting beer that I appreciate for its uniqueness, but not very good.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.57/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a DFH Signature glass on 7/4/12

Bottled on 03/15/07

Pours a medium-light mahogany and settles with a crimson sheen with a rusty twinge. There is a flash of bubbles while the beer is poured that simply doesn't last. Very thin collar retention disappears, too. No lace.

Toasted sugars weigh heavily the aroma - brown sugar and molasses, raisins, sweet baked bread. Overtones of fig and plum intersect with a noticeable booziness. For an overly sweet aroma, this doesn't smell too bad.

Whew, this is a strong critter. I'd go as far as to call it daunting. Sugars and alcohol mix with a light toastiness and some oxidation tones (which don't seem entirely out of place). Some bread tones drift about, offering a dry notion at times, but this is predominantly sugar, raisin and booze.

The feel isn't the most robust or full, but it sure is heavy and quite slick with all the alcohol. Carbonation is on the lower side, but it does give the beer some movement.

As the beer warms, it starts to show some signs of it's age - slightly thin edges in terms of feel and some more appreciable oxidation.

As far as over the top, sugary DFH beers go, this makes for a fairly decent sipper.

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Photo of JDV
2.6/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Smells of brown sugar, caramel, raisin, has a very strong alcohol flavor, and is intensely sweet. Nice color and smell. Smells better than it tastes, and becomes harder and harder to drink. Interesting, and very unique to try, but would not drink regularly nor recommend. (especially at $8.00 a 12 oz. bottle) I don’t understand why this is so highly rated, as I would not enjoy drinking more than a few sips of this beer ever again.

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Photo of Conrad
2.65/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Muddy brown. Thin head that dissipated quickly. Some trace legs followed the drinking.

S: Overly sweet aroma dominated by raisins and others I could not identify. Some high test alcohol smell.

T: This beer's got bite with an uncomfortable alcohol burn. I found the sweetness too cloying and over the top for my taste.

M:The mouthfeel is a bit oily smooth. The finish is sweetness that stays with you for a long time. But I drank the whole thing anyway.

D: I bought this one based on the reputation and recommendations from other BAs. I tried to keep an open mind, but have to say I did not enjoy this one very much. I guess it's an aquired taste. It's just too big and radical for me. For the price, I could have bought a couple of other DFH brews that are more in my comfort zone.

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Photo of barknee
2.7/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pouring this vivid light mahogany brew carefully, kept the well-compacted dregs at the bottom of the bottle. Heavily caramelized malts with a sugary essence emanates from the glass. The taste though is a contradiction of the nose, as the brooding and seriously backward bitterness assault the mouth. Flavors of rum soaked raisons, English toffee and jam packed with bitter hops that is counter weighted with tons of dark caramel malt. This is a very weighted and saturated product that may be more of a showpiece of inventive beer making rather than a true beverage of pleasure.

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Raison D'Extra from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4 out of 5 based on 1,475 ratings.
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