Before we go into this tasting, a bit of a disclaimer: I have a cold. This naturally affects the tastes of the beer and ability to savour the aroma. That said, the more robust the beer the less washed out it would be. The natural remedy for this should be a warm drink – they tell you to drink lots of warm teas and keep away from cold drinks – so it is at this time of year that we should be finding a lot more places selling mulled wine and certainly a few selling mulled beer. Warm beer might sound like a regular pint of Ale in an English pub, but mulled beer is essentially the same as mulled wine except you use beer; I have only ever found this in Germany at the Christmas market in Augsburg, there is no reason to believe that this isn’t available in other Christmas markets throughout Germany, but when you talk with people about it they seem not to have heard about it, let alone taste it. If you do happen to find it I would recommend giving it a go. This, of course, has nothing to do with Raison D’Etre.
The Beer: 8% abv, 36 IBU; Deeply dark brown (it is meant to be Mahogany) in colour, with a robust fluffy head; deep malted aroma, with elements of roasted grains; smooth to taste, not much in the way of gas, bitter with those dark roasted flavours swimming around; a little acidic and leaves a roasted after taste.
I wasn’t getting much more than this, which I will put down to being bunged up. It does seem a little imbalanced in that the complexities that are in there are drowned out by slightly acidic nature of the roastings. It is very similar to the 90-min IPA, and other than colour, I would say these are very close. The website does suggest there is an “D’Extra” version of this that is 18% abv and 41 IBU, I am not sure I would particularly jump at this stronger version since the brewery does have some other attractive beers on offer. Wrong glass again as this should be drunk from a goblet or snifter.
Website: Dogfish Head