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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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5,277 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,277
Reviews: 2,004
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.96%
Wants: 295
Gots: 935 | 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: 5,277 | Reviews: 2,004
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally a good use for brown beer. Malty and so I can use this to turn people on to craft beer. The wood worked superb wonders without being overbearing, and balanced not too sweet. Dark brown and rich-looking, above average mouthfeel. Very drinkable for 12%. Roastiness also there and well constrained. Six months later, room temperature, more chocolate, thick and woody.

Photo of t0rin0
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Toronado SF on saturday.

Was a little confused at first because I could smell the wood in the beer and the first couple of sips made me think of the stone 11th anniversary. So I almost thought it might be the blended IPA beer that they make with a little roastiness thrown in.

It poured brown/black, murky with a tan head. Good lacing. Smell is woody and caramelly. Taste is roasty, bitter, and brown. Also some moderate alcohol presence but I had no idea it was 12% when I had it. The body was both good and bad so I gave it a 3. The body was real thick and oily but it was very smooth and consistent. Drinkable as a nice sipping drink for sure but not any faster than 45 minutes for the 8 oz pour that I had.

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque super dark brown (almost black really) with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, caramel, vanilla, slight soy sauce, wood, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has some nice flavors and aromas but it's quite strong and definitely something you have to take your time with.

Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown/black with a nice tan head.

Assertive smell of sweet bitter chocolate malt that actually reminded me of Whopper candy! (I like Whopper candy so this is a good thing).

Taste and flavors are of pure chocolate with a very nice mouthfeel, almost like a cold melted chocolate in your mouth with nice texture, hints of carmel and vanilla flavors with a rich chocolate malty finish.

Very appealing on many levels and very nice. This is a great one to try with some age on it for perhaps some really wonderful nuances. I'll keep coming back for more!

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very, very dark with a medium brown colored head.

S: Lots going on here. Chocolate comes out as well as a lot of dark malts and their adjoining sweetness. The vanilla-type flavors from the wood definitely come in.

T: Similar to the smell, with hints of some dark fruits coming in here. Very, very complex and interesting.

M: Very full-bodied and creamy.

D: Definitely one to sip. Glad Sam sort of went crazy with this one--it really worked out.

Photo of metter98
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black and poured with a finger high tan head that quickly died down into a thin layer of bubbles. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible.
S: The aroma is very intense, especially as the beer begins to warm up, and smells from the barrel aging stand out in particular. There are some hints of alcohol.
T: Like the smell, the flavors from the barrel aging really dominate the taste, which is complex and also has hints of bittersweet chocolate, raisins, roasted coffee and rum.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and is both smooth and viscous. Not much carbonation is perceptible. There is warming from the alcohol in the finish, which also has some dryness.
D: This beer definitely needs to be sipped because it has an intense flavor and the alcohol will quickly catch up to you (the alcohol is noticeable but fairly well masked from the taste).

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: two finger milk chocolate head on a jet black body which poured out like oil.

S: vanilla, caramel, toffee, butter, earthy hops and wood all prevail with a boozy undertone.

T: I was expecting the worst but this one was as boozy as I was expecting from the 12% ABV. Starts with vanilla and caramel moving to wood then a chocolate and roasted malt finish with dryness provided by mildly bitter coffee.

M: thick and oily with moderate carbonation.

Overall: the booze are well hidden. This one is actually well balanced. I think the wood cleans this one up and smooths it up.

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of brentk56
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Looks almost like a RIS, although the color might be a tone or two lighter as ruby highlights clearly burst through; the head fades quickly to an espresso cap and leaves a few dots and dashes of lace around the glass

Smell: Complex aromas from a variety of sources, including dark fruit, fusel alcohol, molasses and chocolate and, of course, a heavy dose of smokey wood esters

Taste: Opens with a rich black bread and caramel/vanilla flavor that moves in a dark fruit and smokey, woody direction by mid-palate, with a bit a black currant jam providing additional sweetness; after the swallow, the chocolate and coffee flavors enter and provide a roasty bitterness that counters the sweet flavors that dominated earlier in the taste profile; the smokey wood sticks around long after the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; clearly some warmth from the high abv as well

Drinkability: I love Dogfish Head's experimental efforts and this beer is among the best they have released, if not the best

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've never had a 4-pack to come wiht a CD before. I thought I was getting a deal with Left Hand 6-packs with the free sticker. Our homebrew club recently brewed an Imperial Brown and aged it in a Four Roses Bourbon Barrel for the '08 NHC. Interesting to compare the differences. This beer surely qualifies for a Double Brown without loosing any balance, falling into Porter or Stout territory. A nice chocolaty, nutty flavor with a hearty helping of malt, sweetness, and berry-like esters. Good hopping rates give the beer a grassy, piney flavor while offsetting the heavy sweetness. The wood gives a well-roundness to the flavors, but don't give a whole lot of wood flavor or astringency. Quite delicate in it's balance, despite a dominant alcohol (ethanol)taste and slightly harsh textures, but does thin the weighted brew a bit. Surprised to see a fizzy head formation that didn't last any time at all, nor did the carbination -- strange for DFH.

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Jay23: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some nice lacing. Aroma of vanilla and oak is pretty pleasant with some light roasted malt notes. Taste is a mix between some roasted malt notes with a mix of vanilla and oak and some creamy lactose notes. Full creamy body is really enjoyable with some great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well done and probably one of the best new seasonal from Dogfish.

Photo of Knapp85
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer for the first time at the brewery on tap after the tour several years ago. I remember is being a huge beer, I remember being unsure of whether I liked it a lot or not. Just recently I had it from a bottle be aide I wanted to try it again.

I gave it a pour, comes out as a really thick dark brown color with a thinner light brown head on top. The smell of the beer is full of wood that this beer is aged on. The aroma is also kind of sweet smelling and rich with brown sugar I think. The taste of the beer is a big, it's got some of the biggest flavors I've ever had from a brown ale. There is the wood flavors, some dark fruits and a touch of coffee in there. The mouthfeel is nice and thick, decent carbonation and oily. Overall this beer is really nice, if you like strong ales this one is impressive.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque onyx with a glimmer of reddish orange along the edges. This has to be the darkest American brown ale on planet Earth... and is blacker than most stouts. The golden brown sugar colored head persists nicely, looks good while doing so, and is laying down tattered sheets of lace that are pleasing to the eye.

The nose is exactly what was expected for such a big bruisin' brown ale. Since I have no idea what Palo Santo wood smells or tastes like, I have no idea how it has impacted the aroma. There's nothing especially different or exotic about it, but that's fine by me.

The whole idea of a massively malty brown ale aged in monsterous wooden vats built out of Paraguayan wood is exactly what I would expect from Sam and the boys at Dogfish Head. That said, like the nose, I can't appreciate anything different or unique on the palate. Maybe something will come to the fore once the beer continues to warm.

None of that really matters, because good beer is good beer, no matter the backstory or the inspiration for its creation. Palo Santo Marron is good beer. Actually, it might end up convincing me that it's great beer by the time the twelfth ounce rolls around. It looks like DFH knows their browns, because Indian Brown is damn good stuff too.

The incredibly broad and deep flavor profile includes brown bread (not quite pumpernickel) covered with melted Hershey's kisses, melted caramels, candided cherries, sugared pecans and crushed vanilla beans. According to the label, the wood adds 'caramel and vanilla complexity'. Alright then.

Alcohol? Not a trace. The mouthfeel is superb, as any beer with this much malt is bound to be. However, it still takes talented brewers and perfectly dialed-in carbonation to put it all together.

I'm not sure what Palo Santo Marron (Marron is Portuguese for 'brown') tastes like fresh, but it's simply sublime after almost 15 months in the bottle. Without a doubt, this is one of Dogfish Head's best. If they keep brewing it, I'll keep buying it.

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I made up a special trip up to Asheville to pick up this one when it came out as I knew it was going to be one I would like, well at least I hoped it would be. I mean c'mon what is there not to like about barrel aged imperial brown ales, from Dogfish none the less. So anyway, I put one in the fridge
the other day and when I got home last night I decided it was going to be the time to open this as a good night cap. I let it warm up a bit to a comfortable 55 degrees and poured it into my Rodenbach snifter. The pour was very dark, extremely dark brown with a slight burgundy tint to it. Completely opaque, with no light coming through even when held up to the light, remarkable. No head at all, well let me rephrase that, there was a touch of tan colored foam on the top but it quickly faded leaving it wide open, very interesting, and a little different then what I was expecting.

The aroma was very rich and sweet. A mild alcohol warming coming through on it, but not much, which was a touch surprising given the percentages involved here. Lots of weird oak-like, or maple-like, some kind of wood like smell coming of this, but hard to describe. Hints of caramel and earthy malts
permeating down through it really bringing out some depth. Now some really nice dark fruit like tone, not sure what to call it, but really nice, almost like a weird raisin, spice and odd sort of mix. When I took a sip I was amazed at how smooth this was. A rich medium bodied awaited me with tons of creamy
carbonation. This was incredible, as for being so strong, the alcohol was a mere afterthought. Tons of wood flavor were all over this and really quite nicely done to be honest. Really great flavors of light grass in the background mixing around with a good amount of spices. Hints of maple and cinnamon
way in the back and a nice raisin like fruitiness. Very dark and deep. Tons of caramel sweetness and a really great malt profile here. The finish was very strong, with lots of drying. Nice long lasting flavor towards the end as well with a really well balanced profile and a really great bit of balance. For something that was so big it was remarkably drinkable as the alcohol was more of an accent then a hindrance. Very well blended and just a great sipper.

Overall I was more then happy with this release. This has to be one of my favorite of the big Dogfish Head releases. It was really quite mellow and unique with just a great balanced flavor. The wood aging really mellowed this out and it shows. I would love to drink this again, and I plan on going to pick
up more as soon as I can. I would really have to recommend this one to anyone who is a fan of big creations or wood aging. It is tremendously well done and refined, and one of the best things I have scene come out of Dogfish in a long time. Highly recommended.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,277 ratings.