Friday, November 12, 2010

Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre

Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Location: Milton, DE
Style: Belgian Strong Ale
Brewery Website
Rating: B+

Up for review today is Dogfish Head's Raison D'Etre. This is a Belgian-style dark ale brewed with raisins. The Raison D'Etre pours dark brown with a hint of ruby. A thick, brownish-tan, foamy head slowly rises. The nose detects juicy and winy notes along with some sweet cereal.

On the palate both wininess and a slightly sweet cereal note come to the forefront. There are notes of brown bread and burnt toast here. The hops take on an herbal character with a touch of bitterness. Oaky/woody notes sit in the background along with raisins. The Raison d'Etre has a moderate-heavy mouthfeel that is nearly syrupy. The finish is off-dry with dark wheat toast being the dominant flavor.

Dogfish Head has a really good beer on their hands with the Raison D'Etre. It drinks similar to an aged barleywine with a bit more burnt/raisin notes and not quite as winy. The raisins here seem to emulate the great raisiny flavor that develops with time on a vintage barleywine (see Thomas Hardy). Similar to aging wine or scotch in small barrels or over oak chips, you get a sneak peek at an aged beverage, but some of the complexity that can only be produced by time is missing. I am very curious to see how this beer ages.

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