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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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5,273 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,273
Reviews: 2,004
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.96%
Wants: 293
Gots: 932 | FT: 22
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Imstillthegman on 11-19-2006

An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted. Palo Santo means "holy tree," and its wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.

50 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,273 | Reviews: 2,004
Reviews by gottabetweed:
Photo of gottabetweed
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from am12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Poured like motor oil, thick and black with a generous tan head.

Smell is all there. Caramel, molasses, vanilla, wood, alcohol.

Taste is well rounded across the pallet. Bubblegum, molasses, wood, delicious. Alcohol burn at the end, but well disguised for a 12% beer.

Mouthfeel is very thick and substantial with perfect carbonation.

Overall a great offering from Dogfish. Filling, well rounded, delicious.

More User Reviews:
Photo of kkleu357
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%

From notes on 12/10/13

Poured into a snifter. Color is dark black with almost no head. Very boozy smell. Kind of like a woody whiskey smell. Most alcohol I've ever smelt in a beer. Oddly, and delightfully, the taste isn't boozy at all. Nice warm taste of sweet fruits like plum. Raisin and caramel too. Would have given it a 10 for taste if it was a little more carbonated, but I understand high abv beers have less. Nice warm mouth feel. Makes you smile when you sip it. Would be a great sit in front of the fireplace on a cold day kind of beer.

Photo of Safa1
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my god damned go to beer. My regular. It's delicious and different. It's for people who think stone brewing makes weak tasting beers. Propers to dogfish head. This beer is the pinnacle of brown ales. Period.

Photo of mchegash
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 12oz bottle with date of 7/21/14 into DFH Signature glass

Appearance - 4.5/5
Pitch black in color, with about a finger of brown head, which dissipates down to a thin layer. This is how I like to see a brown ale. Well, perhaps a dark opaque brown would be better, but I hate when a "brown ale" is a see-through reddish-brown, as is the case most of the time. So a very opaque appearance is a nice change from the typical brown ale.

Smell - 3.75/5
Deep, rich, roasty chocolate malts, sweet alcohol. Perhaps a little fruitiness.

Taste - 4.5/5
Wood flavor which is similar to oak, but a little different (the Palo Santo wood). I'd say the difference is that it's slightly less smoky and bitter, and a little more sweet. I like it better than oak flavor. Vanilla. Slightly fruity alcohol. The taste of this beer is great. It's hard to describe the complexity of the taste fully.

Mouthfeel - 4.5/5
Medium-full bodied. Extremely smooth and creamy. There is a light amount of carbonation. Perhaps a tad more would be nice, but I think it has close to the perfect amount.

Overall - 4.5/5
Overall, this was a great beer. Firstly, I was a big fan of the Palo Santo wood. It basically took oak taste, and removed some of the aspects of that taste which I didn't like, thus making an even better wood taste. I love the dark, opaque appearance, something that most brown ales lack. The feel of this beer in my mouth was incredible as well. So smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation (almost). Definitely recommended. I will definitely be picking up more of this in the future.

Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass a deep chocolate brown with just a little light showing through a quick to form quick to fade brown head atop.Alot of stuff going on in the nose deep wood and vanilla mixed with dark fruit and chocolate just really appetizing.This brew went down very easy for such a high abv I thought it would be more of a sipping brew (wich it could be)but it glided down quite easily,flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, vanilla-like nuget and caramel mixed with slight wood this would be a fine dessert brew.A great beer almost like a port flavor wise,ejoyable.

Photo of aszatk01
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Jaurora80
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ExtraStout
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint snifter glass. Pours a very, very dark brown, almost black, but not quite. Interesting and beautiful. A perfectly smooth and mildly frothy tan head which quickly goes away, looks just like an espresso topper.

Sweet smelling with plenty of coffeelike caramel notes. Slightly fruity with some raisins and figs thrown in. Alcohol and fusels join the party as well.

Wow. Sweet and alcoholic. Some smoke and hoppiness but the alcohol is a bit overwhelming. A sweet, alcoholic mess. Creamy on the tongue saves this beer a little bit.

I was impressed with the first two categories but the rest was downhill. I keep trying these beers from DFH and am continually let down. Perhaps, I have learned my lesson. At $16 for a 4-pack, I will not be buying this one again.

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes from 3/20/10.

A: Half of a 12 oz. bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. Poured black with a shade of brown and a dark khaki head that disappeared immediately. What stayed on top of my beer left an owl head in my glass. The owls are not what they seem. Lacing was almost negligible.

S: Lumberyard, molasses, and chewy toffee. There is a bit of spice, with some cinnamon and brown sugar notes, as well. Also, some cherry and plum notes are hiding in there. Sawdust.

T: There is a spicy cinnamon hint that supports a deep molasses and brown sugar flavor. The Palo Santo wood really gives a nice depth to the overall flavor. It balances the sweetness with a tannin taste the hits the back and sides of my palate. The dark fruit flavors are present, but not dominant. The alcohol is more detectable as the beer warms.

M: A good full body, but it could be a bit creamier, for my mouth. It is kind of upfront on the palate, instead of washing over the whole structure of my mouth. The alcohol does add a nice, full finish to the swallow.

D: With the high a.b.v. and tannin feel on the palate, this one is just a bit of a challenge to drink. I really enjoyed the beer, but I think it's more of a once in awhile sipper.

Photo of Steve0244
5/5  rDev +19.6%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Palo Santo Marron bottled on 05/27/09B 12% alcohol content.

A- Pour a heavy dark almost pitch black fluid with tight tan quarter inch head that stays on the the beer like a boat floating on water. Leaves heavy tan lacing on the glass.

S- Stong malty scents burn the nose with help of massive alcohol fumes as well. Rich burnt malts, woody scents, and almost wine like notes dominate upfront. Very complex smell.

T-M- All i can say is WOW... First up is the caramel malts followed by heavy hints of wood like flavors that have a lasting effect on the mouth... lasting but not overdone. Semi-sweet brown suger and coffee follow with an alcohol presence but no overwhelming. Fairly smooth feel that leaves a nice sticky presence on the tounge with great aftertaste.

D- Drinkable to the fact that it is a great beer no doubt... but one for me would be more than enough. Would recommend.

Photo of weatherdog
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle dated 11/11/09 poured into a tulip glass

It pours a rich silky looking deep brown with just the smallest of ruby highlights. A small mocha colored head arises and then dies within 15 seconds leaving just a ring of bubbles.

The nose is deep very rich and thick. I'm getting some spicy wood, licorice and vanilla. It reminds me a lot of Bells Batch 9000 with a strong licorice notes. A hint of expected alcohol at the end.

I know the back-story for this beer and sad;y have never smelled or even seen Palo Santo wood so i cannot pinpoint what this wood exactly adds to the beer but i can describe how I'm perceiving how different this wood tastes. The taste starts off with raw wood taste with some very subtle spiciness like black pepper (much different than like a saison pepperyness). The end begins to get pretty vegetative and similar to wet grass which I'm not digging too much. Intervened in what I'm perceiving as wood is a very sweet alcoholic rich beer. The sweetness is right at the border of cloying to me. Once again my mind races to make this beer similar to batch 9000 in richness and sweetness.

This beer just coats my mouth in sticky thick beer. The flavor lasts and lasts in my mouth. Carbonation is on the low side which works well for this beer. For a beer this size it's still only average drinkability. I had some trouble finishing the whole bottle because of the sweetness.

Photo of CBOLAND17
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is yet another one of those extreme brews from DFH. A very heavy dark brown ale with definite potential for aging. Although it is a great beer it is very strong and i wouldnt suggest drinking more than one or two. That being said, it is a very rich and malty brown ale.

Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of sgoodship
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was donated to the cause by my good friend bjones10. Thanks Brian.

This is an interesting brew for sure. Before drinking, I advise reading about it's making because this adds a whole layer of depth to the experience. Check this article out:

A: Poured into a snifter, it is a viscous dark chocolate color. It delivered a small espresso colored head that dissipates to a wisp on the surface and a thin ring. There's a small amount of spotty lacing but it never promises to deliver anything more.

S: Deep roasted malt, dark bitter chocolate, bitter coffee, vanilla and alcohol. The whisky-like alcohol becomes stronger as the drink progresses. I have to be honest that I am just not a fan of beers that scream heavy alcohol. It's just my personal taste.

T: Holy moly. Interesting stuff. It was worth getting that wood from the jungle because I am not quite sure you could produce that flavor easily any other way. First blush was a kinda vanilla and licorice. A deeper tasting revealed a licorice tangy sweetness, a spiciness with a deep, earthy, rich, burned, smokey, roasted malt. It's a hard flavor to put into words. At times, it has the dryness and dark fruit which gives it a dry red wine quality. Are you getting the impression from reading this that I am finding it complex? ☺ There's an alcohol burn there but not too bad. It definitely has that warming effect as you sip. I am not someone who goes wild with flavor descriptions in reviews but I have to admit that I feel like I may not have adequately covered off on all the things going on in this brew. You are just going to have to try it for yourself.

M: Mouthfeel is full, smooth and a little slick. There is a surprising amount of fine carbonation which works for me. I think it could become too heavy without the liveliness that the carbonation brings.

D: This may be classified as a brown ale by DFH but it has no business being called a brown ale. It's more like a strong ale but can come across in some ways like a RIS. I loved having the opportunity of trying it. It is definitely a great beer but it's too sweet and tangy and heavy in alcohol for my personal taste. At 12ABV, the beer is in the drivers seat - not the poor fool who is sipping it. You have to give it a try. It's one of those beers that makes you re-evaluate what beers are and can be. DFH may be surrounded by ridiculous hype but drinking a brew like this reminds me that their brand reputation is built on some real beer making prowess and pioneering spirit.

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of JacobMutberg
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of steelerguy
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This is an American Brown? If someone had just poured this for me and asked me to guess, I would have said Robust Porter. Didn't think it was to style, but attractive none-the-less.

S - Smelled like freshly baked banana bread to me that perhaps had some brandy poured on it, could definitely smell the alcohol. A very unique and good smell.

T - This is one unique beer, and I mean that in a good way. On taste, it was almost like a good Imperial Stout with dark fruit flavors most notably prune/raisin. There is also some black licorice flavor. You will notice the alcohol because it is there in abundance.

M - Black licorice flavor...syrupy mouth feel...am I drink Jager? No! I have to admit, the thought did cross my mind though. Good mouthfeel and really fits this unique beer.

D - I would almost classify this as a dessert beer. Sweet, a lot of complex fruit flavors, perfect after a nice hearty meal. I would not drink more than one at a sitting.

This is simply one of the most unique beers I have ever consumed. I'm honestly still not sure if I think it is really good or merely above average. I am going to give it the benefit of the doubt for now simply because it is so unique and I think must be tried by beer lovers. It give a new meaning to beer!

Photo of Dmann
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's rare to find a truly unique beer these days, and Dogfish Head has come through with a winner. The pour was great with nice lace and a silkiness that lined the glass beautifully. The aroma was quite intense with brown sugar, slight coffee and dark chocolate tones and prune scents all mixed together to form a very inviting scent. Flavors were very intense with slight port wine flavors mixed with bitter dark chocolate and a smoky aftertaste. It was a big surprise that there was not more of an alcohol flavor in there but the 12% blended in perfectly. Highly recommended and definantly let it warm a bit for maximum flavor.

Photo of SuomiHobbit
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big, dark, sweet. Great winter brew.

Photo of stoptime
3.28/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sweet and slightly alcoholic

Dark, deep brown

I was really expecting to get a very strong woody flavor, but was pleasantly surprised to get a nice chocolate creaminess. The alcohol wasn't too present despite being 12% ABV. There's also a subtle hop finish. Overall, it has a very similar flavor to New Holland's Dragon's Milk Ale. (A good thing in my book.)

Medium thickness and viscosity. Coats the mouth nicely, but doesn't leave your chest burning.

Overall, it's a surprisingly drinkable beer: creamy, hoppy, and packs a punch. Palo Santo ranks as one of my favorite Dogfish brews, though I wouldn't quaff it often.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Always good to see new Dogfish brews. Pours into my glass a deep dark brown that's bordering on black with a small tan head that lingers around for a bit. Quite a bit of viscosity in the pour. Aromas begin with deep nutty malts mixing with roasted notes. Hints of vanilla, earthiness and spice move in as well. Caramel and molasses notes are there along with a subtle coffee and fruitiness. Wood afterthoughts. Quite complex!

First sip brings a nice roasted, nutty dark caramelized malt flavor upfront with toast, coffee and molasses accents. As it flows down I get some vanilla, brown sugar and spice along with a distinctive earthy aspect. A bit sweet, but never cloying. There's a woody flavor here but it's well integrated and more on the mellow side. It finishes off with a touch of bitterness on the back of the palate. Fruit suggestions are there as well. No sign of the alcohol anywhere. Damn good brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with a solid medium body. Nice mellow carbonation makes this an easy drinker. The 12% is not at all noticeable, making this one almost too drinkable. A few of the other big abv Dogfish beers have a syrupy sweetness in my opinion, however the Palo Santo does not at all. This is just a damn fine beer with a great flavor. One of my new DFH faves, I hope they keep this around!

Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,273 ratings.