Raison d’Extra (Dogfish Head Brewing Company)

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale with Brown Sugar and Raisins

15% ABV

40 IBU’s

From: Milton, DE

Brewery’s Note: “Our Raison D’Etre, with a little extra. This immodest brew, made with an obscene amount of malt, brown sugar and raisins, takes Belgian-style browns to new heights.

Raison D’Extra’s little brother Raison D’Etre was brewed to be the ultimate beer partner for steak. Plump raisins and beet sugars give the beer a similar DNA and color to red wine./ D’Extra takes this concept to the next level. What 120 Minute IPA is to 60 Minute IPA, D’Extra is the D’Etre. We’re pushing the limits of what a Belgian yeast can do (and we’ve discovered that’s somewhere in the ballpark of 15% to 18% ABV!)/ D’Extra is extremely complex and a great candidate for aging. Sip on one with a loved one now, and stash a few in your beer cellar! As Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione says, “This puppy’s only getting better with age.”

The beer pours out of the bottle a brilliant color, sitting somewhere between ruby, mahogany, and maple-syrup brown, like a good dark liqueur. It pours with a negligible ring/head/scrim of slightly-off-white bubbles, which leave only a scurrying army of tiny, ant-like lacing on the sides of the glass. The beer does, however, leave an oozing pair of legs of alcohol. In body, the beer is brilliantly clear and clean, with a definite translucence, despite its dark coloring and the fact that it is opaque except when held to the light. On the nose, this is a boozy bastard, yet the booze is nicely integrated. On the nose, it comes across almost like ‘whisky junior.’ There is a strong wave of sweet raisin, grape juice, and plum in the initial sniff, along with a hint of spicy alcohol, which slowly welcomes in stale raisins, brown sugar, and booze. The nose is rich and complex, if a little muddled. It smells like a big barleywine with fruit added in. The booze at the finish of the sniff also gives a sense of cinnamon to the whole smell. As it warms, the scent continues to evolve, bringing light nutty scents into play. Let this one open up in the glass and you won’t be upset. On the tongue, the beer tastes sticky sweet initially, moving towards more of a bready sweetness with mellow sides of spicy booze, the barest hint of dark fruit acidity, and a surprising hop bitterness to the finish. The beer is deceptively smooth for its ABV… way to smooth. It’s a touch too sweet, fringing on cloying notes, but I feel like age will actually mellow that. In flavor, the beer begins as sweet brown malts and subtle spice, slowly growing into a smooth, sweet raisin flavor dipped brown sugar, there is a suggestion of bread crust and cinnamon which grows into the finish and aftertaste. The aftertaste is surprisingly spicy, while the finish flourishes in nuances of different breads and maple syrup. In the mouth, the beer feels smooth and silky, with mild tinglings of spice. It feels medium plus bodied, in a very deceptive way, but slowly trickles down the throat, and encourages slow (if still too quick) drinking. The beer leaves the tongue tight along the ridge, with saliva pouring on top, and the rest of the mouth feeling a boozy dryness. Overall, this is a sipper, like many of DFH’s more aggressive brews. Its complex, yet easy drinking, which makes it dangerous… It’s the perfect thing to sip in front of a fire on a cold ass New England night (yes, I understand other parts of the country are worse off, but it is fucking cold for around here…). This is a wonderful sipper, and a great thing to sit in the cellar. Another nice one returned from the DFH vault. Sometimes I forget about them, but I really shouldn’t. I like their beer.

 

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