Dogfish Head Raison D’être: Good Idea, But a Little Too Much Like Michael Bay


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Dogfish Head Raison D’être from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Serving style: Bottle, poured into glass

Location: My apartment

Cost: $12 six pack

ABV: 8.0 %

Appearance: Well, I picked this brew up while at the grocery story getting ingredients to make the boozy edition of the now-infamous Sriracha Ice Cream Shake. I saw the French phrase “raison d’être” on the label of the six pack, sitting on a shelf, tucked away behind some a standard Dogfish Head IPA, and finally, the four years of French I took in high school seemed worth it. I actually understood this pun! Anyway, as a big fan of raisins (and Dogfish Head beers in general), I naturally grabbed it immediately, went home, and tried it. The pour is beautiful, deep, and amber. It’s a bit frothy, which holds for about 30 seconds. But damn, what a beautiful beer. If the light hits it right, the subtle reds really come out. This beer would be Rothko’s choice, no doubt.

Aroma: It smells like raisins! Not really a surprise, I guess, but I never thought I’d use “raisiny” to describe a beer. Hints of figs, vanilla, and even some banana come out, too. The fruity scent does a nice job hiding the potent alcohol, too. There’s really quite a bit going on inside this brew, at least that’s what the nose says…

Taste:…but the mouth doesn’t feel the same way. Surprisingly, even though there were roughly 17 different delicious scents pushing their way into my nostrils, the taste didn’t match. Dogfish Head probably uses all the flavor to hide the high ABV, but to be frank, it just doesn’t work. The beer has too much going on, like my mouth was experiencing its own version of a Michael Bay movie.

Mouthfeel: I expected it to have more body. The Raison D’être is a bit thin, almost wimpy, which I don’t understand because the brew is 8 percent alcohol! However, it does finish cleanly. The crispness doesn’t offer much of an aftertaste, but let’s be real, that’s probably a good thing.

Overall Experience: Eh, I’m disappointed. The concept definitely had promise, especially in the hands of a usually stellar brewery like Dogfish Head. But it just didn’t really pan out. Raisin beer might just be one of those ideas that sound SO AWESOME in your head, but then turns out to be kind of lame. Apparently, a raisin’s raison d’être is found elsewhere.