Name: Raison D’Être
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Milton, Delaware
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 8%
First Brewed: 1995
Poured into a tulip glass, it’s dark reddish brown with a tight head, producing an aroma of raisins, caramel, and dark rum. Toffee notes on the first sip, followed by complex flavors of coffee, toffee, raisins, Burgundy, and lightly smoked malt.
This beer has roots in wine. Hey, that’s OK with me. I just started a part-time job at Total Wine, and we don’t carry this… maybe we should! Anyway, the beer has a cool name and I am excited to try it. Just this week I grabbed a bottle of 120 Minute IPA. That beer is so hard to come by, I think I am going to leave that in the cellar for a while. But this one has been in the fridge for quite some time, and I am curious what it tastes like.
In the Glass: It looks like a barleywine in the glass. Speaking of barleywines, the Firestone website lists the Firestone Walker Double DBA as a barleywine. It’s not… the label even says “imperial special bitter”. Anyway, this beer is dark, ruby red and looks like a barleywine. The beer doesn’t have any head at all, and no lace to speak of. Maybe this beer really does taste like a wine.
Nose: Whoa… that beer smells incredible. It’s sweet, and again reminds me as a barleywine. I have never heard of Belgian beet sugar… but whatever it is, it makes this beer smell incredible. I am sure it packs a punch on the palate as well. I wonder if anyone has ever released a beer called the Palate Puncher… a double IPA would make sense!
Flavor: And it tastes like a barleywine. It has a very smooth, almost flat consistency across the palate and packs a punch of flavors. It is somewhat complex, starting smooth and sweet and finishing strong and somewhat malty. The beer is very enjoyable, and for the advanced flavors that I am experiencing, I am shocked at the price. Sipping this makes me wonder what foods would pair well with it.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. It start smooth and flat, and stays that way until the finish. The fact there is no head and basically no lace makes sense with how this beer goes down. I bet this would taste incredible on cask. I did swish it around in my mouth a little bit, and that opened up some new flavors. Nothing crazy. The sweetness really overwhelms the entire palate.
Aftertaste: The aftertaste, for such a powerful beer, isn’t as impressive. It is sort of there and gone again. When I struggle to get some flavors from the swallow, I am tasting fig and some sweet maltiness toward the finish of the swallow. But the aftertaste is nothing to write home about.
I must say, for a beer that I had no idea what to expect… I am pleasantly surprised. The flavors are incredible, and the aroma is wonderful. Look at me… using all these big adjectives. Anyway, I am a big fan of sweet malty beers, and this one fits that realm. I would totally buy this again. I wonder if this tastes better closer to room temperature… yeah, I am sure it does. Bottoms up, people!
Raison D’Être – The bottle says: “A deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins, & a sense of purpose”
Ricky told me tonight’s beer was made with… a bunch of stuff I’ve never heard of. So I have no idea what to expect from it. It reminds me of a barleywine in the glass, kind of a thick reddish-brown color. There wasn’t much head when it was poured out. It smells fruity, and maybe a little bit sour. There’s really not a huge scent to it. Let’s see what it tastes like. Actually, just now when I went to take a sip I got a whiff of what smelled a bit like cinnamon. Anyway…
First sip. I’m not really sure what to say. It’s different, that’s for sure. I’m not sure how to describe it. It’s a tiny bit sour. The mouthfeel, as Ricky talks about, is a bit like a barleywine, but it’s more flat, in my opinion. It leaves you with kind of a carbonated aftertaste. Honestly, to me it really does remind me of a flat barleywine. I like the first taste of it, but the finish and aftertaste kind of ruins it for me. I’m not a huge fan. The beer is ok, maybe even good, but I just don’t care for the finish. Probably not one I would buy again, but I just can’t say that it’s bad.
I don’t know… I’ve been sitting here drinking it for a few minutes, and it’s kind of growing on me. I can see why they compare it to wine; it is definitely fruity. Who knows, maybe I would pick it up again.