Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,055 Reviews
no score
Send samples
For Trade:
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by Imstillthegman on 11-19-2006

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,055 | Ratings: 5,676
Reviews by jhtipton:
Photo of jhtipton
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Donnie BB on the trade. Pours a gooey thick vicious black into my chalice. Darkest brown ale on earth? Very small head with minor lacing. Smell is not the most prominent feature of this ale but the taste is great. Nice and woody and malty flavor with sweetness like maple or honey smoothing the throat. Very nice mouthfeel. Very thick like eating a meal. Overall a great version of brown ale but don't try to session this. Two beers is like polishing off a bottle of wine on your own. Cheers!

 502 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of Safa1
5/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

 215 characters

Photo of mchegash
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

 1,596 characters

Photo of sgoodship
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

 2,602 characters

Photo of nicholas2121
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Palo Santo Marron brewed by Dogfish Head Brewery, with an ABV of 12.00% This brew pours out a dark brown color, with a nice light brown head. The brew has the look of cola, not saying that is a bad thing. The smell is rich with flavor and sweetness. You also pick up on grain, malts, and a hit of hops in this brew. Now for the taste it is bold with flavor, and sweetness. There is a lot going on in Palo Santo Marron. At first, there is a bold sweetness and it fads to a clean roasted grains after taste. The mouthfeel is full bodied and well balance, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. I like how this brew is different from most brews on the market. Overall I giving Palo Santo Marron a 4.75 out 5. I would buy this brew again.

 749 characters

Photo of Whey2Hoppy
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours more of a deep black color than brown, with a 1.5 finger espresso colored head that makes it look like an imperial coffee stout. Sweet molasses, coffee, woody notes, and caramel in the aroma with hints of vanilla. Taste follows the nose, with that maple syrup style sweetness being followed by a bourbon type alcohol kick in the middle, finishing off with those woody and coffee notes. Medium body and carbonation, slightly thick and syrupy in the best way. Excellent flavor for people who love their beers strong, and this would probably age very well for those who can't quite handle the alcohol bite.

 609 characters

Photo of m_hall
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip. Deep, dark coffee brown, almost black, completely opaque. Head is thin, chocolate-brown, and falls quickly to a film. Lacing is sparse.

Nose has prominent woody notes, vanilla, toasted malts, and alcohol, with smokey/spicy highlights. A very aromatic beer.

Flavors are very bold... big oak-like woody notes right up front from the aging in exotic Palo Santo wood vats. Beneath that there are deep roasted/bittersweet chocolate malt flavors, molasses, dark fruits and dried berries. Alcohol follows in, but not in an overbearing way. Finish is a lingering mix of spicy tones, almost like some red wines; smoke, blended with subtle earthy hops.

Mouthfeel is very rich, chewy, viscous and mouth-coating. The heaviness in texture combined with the high ABV (12%) places this one firmly into the category of a "sipper." The decent level of carbonation does give it just a touch of tingle on the palate.

A somewhat experimental beer from a company known for such things, this DFH offering was quite a discovery. It's classed as a brown ale here, though that's perhaps a bit misleading... think more along the lines of a Belgian Strong Dark or even an Imperial Stout and you're getting a better idea of what this is like. With the high ABV, this one should age well; I'm planning to put a few up for a while and see how it evolves. As it is, this is already a great beer for people looking for a big ale.

 1,449 characters

Photo of beergoot
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark brown hued body, nearly black; thick, creamy, dense light brown head; lots of clinging sheets of foam on the glass. Chocolate and cocoa aroma; vanilla; a touch of cinnamon. Rich milk chocolate flavor; mocha; roasted grains; boozy with a mellow bitterness. Thick, velvety mouthfeel; oily; and chewy; mostly sweet finish.

Eye-popping lusciousness imbued with mouthwatering chocolate sweetness makes this one incredible beer. The high ABV is hardly noticeable until the finish. Depth, balance and complexity all combine in making a very approachable, heavy hitting beer that is pure liquid wonder.

 606 characters

Photo of kkleu357
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%

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.

 547 characters

Photo of MaximalC
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours seal brown right out of the bottle, with nothing more than a ring of khaki froth around the surface. If I had a nickel for every brown ale that had such a deep, dark brown color...I’d be broke. This looks straight up nice. Aroma smells of salted caramel and peat, with hints of cherry and booze. Spotty lacing clings to the glass as the beer recedes.

Alcohol wastes no time asserting itself on the front end, but once it subsides, your tastebuds are treated to flavors of smooth, rich molasses accented by butterscotch, brown sugar, and vanilla. It doesn’t take long before your lips are ensconced in a sticky, malty, residue that could nearly glue your mouth shut. Earthy, herbal hops provide a subtle, bitter counterpoint without getting in the way of the malt. While the alcohol felt a little strident at first, some habituation reveals that it’s not nearly as pronounced as you’d expect for its ABV. The delicious aftertaste is a lingering haze of molasses and brown sugar. A hefty body provides plenty of substrate for the luxurious taste, while very fine carbonation lends just the right amount of texture; the mouthfeel is befitting of the taste is accompanies.

After recently trying a series of light, caramel-colored brown ales, this was a revelation. Palo Santo Marron comes across more like an imperial doppelbock than a traditional brown ale. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say this tastes very much like a barrel-aged Celebrator. It has definitely earned some of my respect for what I’d previously considered an overrated brewery.

 1,572 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely loved this! Deep, dark and rich, velvety smooth. Nutty, smoky , woody, some chocolate notes. Warmth without burn. I’d like to get my hands on more of this

 167 characters

Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look (4.25): Not what I expect from the label saying it's a "brown ale". Pours a dark brown color that makes you think porter or stout. Thick brown creamy head.

Smell (4): Chocolate, toasted malt, vanilla wood and a whole bunch of booze. Reminds me of burnt wood and smores. Campfires basically.

Taste (4.5): Is it possible to taste smoke? There also the chocolate and boozey flavors with are definitely at large. This a very big and complex brew. I love it.

Mouthfeel (4): Rich, thick and creamy. I love it. Definitely full bodied with a long smokey aftertaste. Dry and some spice at the end of the palate.

Overall (4.25): An incredibly intense beer. Cheers to Dogfish Head for always finding a way to make me fall in love with their brews!

 745 characters

Photo of thepenguin
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 2/22/12

L: Pours a very dark opaque brown with a dark beige head.

S: In some respects it smells like a cross between a barleywine and an imperial stout. It’s roasty and very malty with hints of prunes, raisons, and coffee. Very rich, with some perceptible alcohol, and just a touch of woodyness. Really interesting, really complex, really different.

T: Very rich and malty upfront, with some roastiness, following the nose. A good deal of hop bitterness with a sweet and somewhat bitter finish. Also fairly woodsy with hints of raisons. Dark malts take dominance in this one.

F: A medium-full mouthfeel (a bit lighter than expected) and moderate-low carbonation. Some warmth from the alcohol, but still surprisingly tame for a 12% abv.

O: Such a cool beer! Complex, delicious, and frankly, different. A cross between a barleywine and imperial stout, this is a real nice sipper with nice woodsy, roasty, and malty character. Probably my favorite year-round DFH brew.

 990 characters

Photo of oberon
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

 580 characters

Photo of aszatk01
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of DanGeo
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of Jaurora80
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ExtraStout
3.56/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

 800 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 1,244 characters

Photo of Steve0244
5/5  rDev +20.2%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

 887 characters

Photo of weatherdog
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

 1,411 characters

Photo of CBOLAND17
4.16/5  rDev 0%
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.

 274 characters

Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,055 ratings.