Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre Review

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery | Beer: Raison D'Etre
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale | ABV: 8.0% | IBUs: 25
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into tulip glass

Dogfish Head Raison D'EtreWay back when I was a tenderfoot first starting my journey into the world of craft beer, I logged many an hour standing in the beer aisle staring blankly at six-pack after six-pack after six-pack. Knowing hardly anything about beer at the time, all I had to go on was packaging and descriptions.

One of the first beers to pique my interest enough to bring it home with me was Dogfish Head's Raison D'Etre. The bottle reads: "A deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins, and a sense of purpose." How could I resist that? It was quite a shock to my innocent palate when I got it home, but I knew that I liked it.

Here's how the great Michael Jackson described the beer:

I could not resist the pun in a beer called Raison d'Etre, based on a brown ale. This contains green raisins and dark candy sugar, and has a primary fermentation with an English ale yeast and a secondary with a Belgian culture. It starts winey, with suggestions of sweet oloroso sherry, developing spicy grain notes in the middle, then finishes with a soft, almondy dryness.
So now that countless new beers have passed over my palate, how will Raison stack up?

Appearance: The body is a rich dark brown, very nearly black outside of direct light, with reddish-brown highlights. On top, a two-finger caramel head that leaves decent lacing. This is a beautiful presentation.

Aroma: Slightly sweet and smoky deep-roasted malt dominates. It's accompanied by whiffs of dark fruit and a nice kick of booze in the back.

Taste: Roasty, smoky, and nutty malt with dark fruit and dark chocolate notes throughout. It's balanced with a good helping of bitterness in the end. Assertive alcohol compliments everything. The aftertaste is intense and roasty.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied with moderately-low carbonation. You can certainly feel the alcohol in your throat a bit. A nice dry finish.

Drinkability: With a good dose of alcohol and a complex profile, this is in the fast part of sipper territory.

Verdict: Another solid and unique offering from Dogfish Head, Raison D'Etre has a complex flavor profile with a hell of a lot going on in just one glass. This is a great beer to sip in the evening and ponder over.

Grade: A-

1 comment:

Jeff said...

I just picked this up the other day as an experiment. Good stuff.