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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

2,005 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,005
Hads: 5,462
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 323
Gots: 1,066 | FT: 23
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,005 | Hads: 5,462
Photo of mempath
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured slowly then vigorously....HUGE head that takes forever to settle. interesting splotchy lacing, but even more interesting cola-like bubbles underneath on the side YET the top maintains that buck(whole)wheat pancake batter look full of nano-bubbles. this stuff is one of those dark matter brews thats sucks in all light and reveal only, when held to high noon, post-blizzard snow bright sun, a subliminal red tinge...for all that, yes, an exceptional LOOK to begin with.

aging in giant wood barrels better reveal an interesting nose...and it does. sure, a deep woodiness is infused, but what is revealed is an orchestrated, cacaphonic display of sweet dark chocolate, dried dark (brandied) fruit and an overall floralness i just can't identify (yet).

taste....now that's a mouthful in every sense of the word. this is a liquid meal. all those notes in the nose are translated very well to the taste. woodiness, smokey chocolate dried raspberries...a bit of tanginess, maybe hops, but nothing asserts individually. it's a concerted effort and this is an extreme brown. a piece of art. oh yeah, this is 12% abv....but like everything else in this, it's blended in so you simply FEEL, SENSE it...not taste it. perfection.

drinkable? a brew like this challenges that notion of what makes something 'drinkable'....do you mean QUANTITATIVE? i would be scared to session this beyond two in one sitting....unless done before a fire or fire pit over an 8 hour period...with food. but QUALITATIVELY speaking, this is an incredibly drinkable brew that urges you gently to savor it, make it a SESSION UNTO ITSELF. one bottle is a session...if you do it right. wow.

now for what this is, it is perfection. totally. technically. subjectively. but as far as art and craft brews at DFH, i still prefer the Midas Touch. which might have gotten a 'lower' score from me, but i simply prefer the primal grape-iness of it. i reviewed this before from memory, the draft version, at the DFH brewery. this bottled version 'seems' more intense, more articulated. more 'perfect'

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

p.s. as i stated in my review for the draft version, the brewery's 'sample-meister' gave me a sample of this mixed with the 90 minute IPA....again, i recommend trying this....it somewhat wakes things up by mellowing the ABV factor, but hopping it up a bit. TOO RECOMMENDED... (2,360 characters)

Photo of eyefeelgood
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Almost opaque in color.

You can smell the wooden casks its aged in.

Flavor and feel were superior to any beer not named Rochefort 10 or Chimay Grand Reserve that I've had this year.

I doubt that I'll give very many 5's (especially to domestics) but I wish there was a higher score available for this. (304 characters)

Photo of OutlawJoseyWales
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i havent had this kind of spiritual beer experience since i first tried the rochefort 10...

O how sublime and wonderful...i was moaning...i was whimpering and crying at every sip...this beer...

was SO complex....i got aromas of wood, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, coffee, raspberries, bananas...

every sip was smooth the mouthfeel was outrageous....for a 12% beer....dear god...dogfishhead is amazingly creative. thank god that this beer was made. i was tempted to prance around naked while sipping this beer, my mind was in another dimension.

this is tied with the rochy 10, and the westy 12 as my favorite beer ever. an absolutely timeless creation by the always forward thinking dogfish head brewery. (708 characters)

Photo of Frothboss
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a beautiful dark rich brown/black color with a brown head about an inch high that slowly falls with carbonation bubbles fighting through. Cant see through it looks black in the glass but poured deep dark brown.

S - Alcohol, rich deep smells of sweet and sour. Earthy tones, vanilla, caramel...difficult to pinpoint scent, very complex.

T - Sweet up front, earthy half way through and a little sour on the back end. Caramel, coffee, chocolate a light smokey flavor with hints of flowery grassy background.

M - Very thick and rich. full bodied. Cant take to much of a drink but find myself taking sips instead.

D - Fantastically one of my favorite beers thru and thru. This is a rich complex very creative beer infused with many different complex flavors and smells. The alcohol content is 12% that complements the rich complexity of this brew. A masterpiece...just wish it didnt cost so much o.O (912 characters)

Photo of Seven
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very dark, look's more like an Imperial Stout.
Smell's like Chocolate, Carmel and Vanilla.
Very sweet, Chocolate, Carmel, Vanilla and dark fruit.
Its a sipper, very thick, not to carbonated.
I would say this is probabley one of the best Beer's I have ever had. (261 characters)

Photo of nizzle8287
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Bottled on 7/21/14, served at 55 degrees. Poured almost completely black into a tulip with about an inch of creamy khaki head that dissipates nice and slow to a thick film. Smell is underwhelming, but I pick up fig, raisin, malty sweetness and alcohol. Medium thick and creamy mouth feel with flavors that blend so well it's difficult to single out any one in particular. It tastes like the Philharmonic orchestra sounds. Definitely hides the 12% ABV well, but to me this seems like more of an imperial stout. Someone likened this beer to Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, but this would be like the caramel raisin brother to the chocolate charred coffee that is the Ten Fidy. Overall, this excellent beer has claimed a spot in my top 5 cold weather beers. (751 characters)

Photo of LiveOakMarket
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Live Oak Market. Wow is all I can say about this one. Have been reading about it for a few years and wanted, no, needed to taste it. It was everything I wished it could be. Good ABV. Good IBU. Taste was thick with a bourbon hint to it. The high ABV made for that. So very smooth and has a few similarities to the Life and Limb. (327 characters)

Photo of gonzo46and2
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this bottle at Dunderbaks in the University Mall in Tampa.

Pours a deep and dark black with no light permeating whatsoever. A dark mahogany head sits atop like a thin crown.

The smell is loaded with malt and wood. There's mostly chocolate and molasses.

Taste is very sweet and chocolaty

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Drinkability is very high. This tasted great and went down very smooth. (401 characters)

Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed: 1-16-2009

Bottle:
12% ABV
Bottled On: 7-24-2008

A: Pours deep brown (borderline black) with a light brown head. I'm shocked by the head retention of this beer. I've never seen a 12% ale that could produce such a head. It sits opaque in the pint glass.

S: This beer is impressively aromatic. Roast barley, toast, caramel, vanilla, and many more flavors come through in this amazingly complex bouquet.

T: Amazing. Deep maltiness in the front, followed by chocolate, smoke, and what I beleive is the Palo Santo wood. The flavors come at you in waves.

M: Very full body with a chewy character.

D: Amust have for any extreme beer fan. Though the gravity is high, the alcohol doesn't interfere with the deliciousness of this brew. (740 characters)

Photo of Safa1
5/5  rDev +20.5%
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 Coffdaddy
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is DFH at its finest. Had the good fortune of picking up three bottles of the first batch ever released 2/11/08. This is definitely a fantastic beer to age. I've never had a 12% beer taste so smooth. Hints of toffee, caramel and chocolate all imparted by the Palo Santo wood. It's such a dark beer you forget it's a brown ale and not a stout. A ton of respect for DFH -- it cost them $140,000 to make the vessel made from Palo Santo Wood. Yet, this is the ONLY beer that's made in that vessel and it's nowhere close to being their top selling beer. (553 characters)

Photo of uscgsc22
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am a HOLY CITY guy but they do not bottle. This beer is my second favorite which is saying a lot considering all of the beers I have tasted over all this time.

This beer is a must TRY.

The cons about this beer is that it's around 12 to 14 dollars for a 4 pack. But it is worth it by being so GOOD. (301 characters)

Photo of bball208
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOWOWOW!! This was AWESOME!! smelled a little roast on this one, chocolate, and some wood.
It tasted very similar to bourbon county. It just takes a little bit on the tongue to enjoy the complexity of this beer. You get some awesome dark fruits, a ton of milk chocolate, some bourbon, vanilla, and toffee. You can see how the wood they used adds a great amount of soft sweetness. The flavors goes deep down into your taste buds. I am confused as to why this isn't rated a 100 on here, but it is definitely an easy 10 beers for me. WORLD CLASS BEER. I will cellar this and see how much better it gets a few years down the road. (626 characters)

Photo of adamette
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio. Special keg tapped at 11 am today. I made a special trip to WL specifically for this beer and decided that it would be the only beer that I had tonight. Served in a clean, clear tulip glass. $6.00 on tap, probably a 10 oz. tulip.

A 1 cm almond brown head which dissipated within about a minute. Great lace left in the glass after repeated sips. Body allows absolutely no light to get through. This looks like an imperial stout to me but as they say, DFH beers defy categorization.

S Thin chocolate, dark dark malt but very sweet. Not a strong smell to me but that is appropriate to the style (be it Brown Ale or Stout).

T Chocolate, coffee sweet elixir with a kick of alcohol near the end. Simply divine. This is why I advocate for beer. Really complex with tastes of chocolate covered dark fruits, maybe some strawberries, some coffee and even some black licorice.

M Maybe the best feature. So damn smooth with a great syrupy stickiness that lingers far into the aftertaste. Some carbonation but it is subtle. Simply a great mouthfeel.

D Cannot be improved upon. This is one beer that I could drink many of despite its high ABV but I wanted to try more and more of them.

Notes: My first perfect score, a 5.0 all around and easily my favorite DFH beer. (1,301 characters)

Photo of Edgarallenpoor
4.99/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The fact that this particular bottle was aged for six months gave this dogfish " holy tree" beer a full masterful taste of caramel and smooth flavor. I will have this one ranked in top 3 in the dogfish line. (209 characters)

Photo of NoHorsePiss
4.99/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my second tasting of Palo Santo Marron. My first was last August. It's pretty expensive here, so I waited patiently and tried again. I was NOT disappointed.

Each sip caused me to lean back in my chair and smack my lips and enjoy the fruity aftertaste. There isn't a hint of bitterness anywhere in the tasting and there is such a pleasant fruit smell and clean, smooth taste that I don't feel the need to chase it with chips, but it sure does go well with Pringles.

I probably poured it wrong, but I barely got any head... just 1/8" but it surely didn't dampen the taste.

I'll re-review it if I get a different pour another time. This is my favorite beer. (665 characters)

Photo of Ted437
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is off the charts! and by far the best 'new' beer I've had in the past many months. Almost a dessert beer, this smooth and creamy beer doesn't give away it's high alcohol content via flavour. Smooth and creamy with a caramel-malty character. (251 characters)

Photo of circus_cat
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Completely black, even when held to the light. Starts off with about a finger of mocha-colored soapy head (I used a tulip glass). Dissipates pretty quickly, leaving some, but not much, lacing on the way down.

S: First thing I noticed was coffee, followed by dark fruits and berries. Has a dark chocolate smell to it. Y'all, this beer smells incredible. After a second smell, I'm realllly noticing the dark chocolate.

T: WOW. Really, really good. I got dark fruits up front (and a little booze, but hey it's a 12% ABV beer) followed by toffee, malts, and a coffee/dark chocolate after taste. This is one of the most complex beers I've had.

M: Full-bodied and smooth. You get a little burning booze on the tongue but not much. Very drinkable. Dangerously drinkable.

O: This beer lives up to the hype. Awesome.

Update: I tried a second bottle the day after and this time noted some additional nuttiness. it's possibly that I missed it because of the lower temperature I had it at the first time. This is just an awesome, complex beer. I think I'm going to age the other two and see how they taste several months from now. (1,129 characters)

Photo of BeerManDan
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW! This Brown Ale is by far the best Brown Ale I've ever tasted.

Poured an very dark, thick brown, on the verge of Black. With very little tan foam and no lace retention.

The smell of roasted malts and smokey wood the evident in this pleasant smelling aroma.

The taste of thick roasted malts, smokey oak, vanilla and a hint of coffee was a very pleasant surprise on the flavor. You know that there is a high alcohol content, but, it blended in with the flavor and the balance of all the components in this Brown Ale is just perfect! I will have to buy more of this bottle of gold ale! (589 characters)

Photo of goethean
4.97/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark copper. Strong sandalwood aroma. A very big, sweet, very malty, soft-textured barleywine --- not a brown ale. No discernible hops, but highly complex nonetheless, with maltiness, wood, and alcohol co-mingling. A bit of roasted malt towards the end. Dangerously quaffable. I wonder how they got this beer to be so malty --- decoction mash?

As I continue to drink it, I'm impressed by its substantial body. But it's got no hard malt bite to it. Just a big soft body...okay, that sounds funny. (496 characters)

Photo of prg1976
4.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: pretty much black, or dark, dark brown. Very little head dissipates quickly with very slight lacing.

S: Woody, caramel, a little bit of alcohol.

T: Creamy, toasted caramel, some fruitiness....maybe raisins, plums?

M: Super smooth, not much carbonation.

Overall: very nice, the 12% can catch up to you quick. Very good beer, drink it slow and let it warm a bit it gets even better. (387 characters)

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.95/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

To begin, for me alone, this was a true spectacle of perfection. The beer poured a very dark-brown color almost pitch-black, opaque; into a Smuttynose snifter glass.

No light getting through this dark, thick beer. One finger thick light-brown/ mocha colored head formed then dissipated with streaks of lacing along the edges of the glass.

The body of this brew is almost like that of a stout. Smells of some chocolate, molasses, some sweet dark fruits, roasted malts, nuts, possibly caramel, and of course of vanilla.

Truly divine flavor and taste of coffee, chocolate, caramel, molasses, toffee, wood, dried fruits and vanilla.

Slick, smooth, mouth feel may be quite possibly amazing amongst the subtle carbonation. Warming heat on the back end of the palate when finishing from the 12% ABV that is mostly hidden until the glass is empty.

Overall, this was an awesome concoction that I cannot wait to savor again! Stored a couple away for next time. Highly recommended!!!

6/21/2014 Edit: Just cracked opened this beer again with a brewed on date of 6/19/13. One year later and it's still a wonderful looking dark brew with a nice foamy head. Smells as wonderful as I remember with the vanilla seeming to be more pronounced. The flavor is still so unique with an emphasis on the molasses and the aged wood tones. Very smooth and oh so fantastic. If you can age one, do it!

4/24/15 Savoring a bottle from 12/25/14 and it is probably what I would call my go to everyday beer; if I could drink it everyday. The aroma is quite enticing; more than what I can remember and that flavor is oh so awesome! (1,611 characters)

Photo of LuthersLager
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yum & Wow!

At 12% you aren't going to throw many of these back on a Friday night. But if you need a good sipping beer after dinner, especially with dessert, this beer is an exceptional choice.

There is a warm alcohol sense in the forefront, much like drinking dark rum. The vanilla and caramel scents and tastes are evident, though I wouldn't say they are distinguishable. Rather than vanilla and caramel I would say vanilla/caramel.

I drank in a tulip glass which I think helped the scent before drinking.

Do yourself a favor and savor one. (546 characters)

Photo of dogger6253
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark, completely opaque. Sort of a coffee brown color with a little ring of mocha head on top.

The nose is strong with dark fruit and a molasses-y malt. A tinge of alcohol in the background alongside a lingering smokiness.

Flavor is a real winner. There is a lot of complexity, several pleasant flavors all dancing together. Very earthy, sweetened by tastes of cherries, plums, vanilla and brown sugar. Each flavor holds a bit of smokiness over the top of it. A little bit of tobacco and bourbon in the backdrop ties everything back together in the finish.

A very rich, creamy feel in this beer. The lack of carbonation lets the heavier flavors shine a little more to me. There is a nice warmth in each sip without the usual booziness that comes with that which is surprising considering the alcohol content. This feels like a real home run to me, strongly recommend. (870 characters)

Photo of wilkowski
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head Snifter straight down the middle. Serving temperature: 54F.

A: Deep auburn, opaque body. Thin beige cappuccino-like head which leaves a very light lacing as the minutes go by. This is a brew to savor.

S: One of a kind. Vanilla, Caramel, and other specific woody notes. Touch of bready yeast. Having been to the brewery and smelled a plank of their palo santo, it's clear that the unique qualities of this tree are what come across in the nose. Delightful.

T: Vanilla, caramel, chocolate, coffee, big brown ale malt, milk on the palate. The finish is lingering and equally complex.

M: Ideal. Light, smooth, and creamy. Absolutely hides the 12% abv.

D: Dangerous. This is one of my favorite beers of any style. (759 characters)

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,005 ratings.