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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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2,016 Reviews
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Reviews: 2,016
Hads: 5,506
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 19.71%
Wants: 324
Gots: 1,095 | FT: 24
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: 2,016 | Hads: 5,506
Photo of vurt
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Naja's Place in a 33 cL Amstel chalice. I think a wider-mouthed glass would enhance this beer better.

Opaque brown-black, with intense red-orange highlights visible at the bottom of the glass. Dense medium-tan colored head recedes to a persistent collar of foam. Swirling the glass leads to lacing which dissipates rapidly, but the viscosity of this beer is evident.

You can tell the pedigree of some breweries right from the aroma. This beer smells like a Dogfish Head offering right from the get-go. Something in the sweetness and the particular funk of the malt. Under a sweet brown sugar note and an undertow of chocolate malted milk lurk dark stone fruits-- a plum note redolent of bittersweet chocolate and an afterimage of cherry and the skin of nectarines. There is also an aromatic cedar note, along with a prominent alcohol finish.

Yum! Woody milk chocolate backed by rich malt and a rye toast finish. There's an echo of lactic tartness which dissolves into a spicy, woody perfume, which then leads into succulent butterscotch and a light brown sugar note. The beer gets sweeter as the beer warms, but the rye toast character dries the finish. Alcohol and woody notes combine for a mildly numbing aromatic character that lingers.

The size of the carbonation is well matched to the medium-full body of the beer. Mouthfeel is luxurious but not nearly as heavy as you'd expect from a beer of this size.

The sweet malt and spicy aromatics make this a dauntingly more-ish beer. The alcohol quickly encourages you to sip sparingly. An excellent balance.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
3.74/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown with a dense dark tan/chocolate head. Sticky lacing as the head recedes. Sweet alcohol aroma with faint chocolate and roasty malt notes.

Fairly roasty but smooth initial flavor coats the palate without being too thick or viscous. Subtle vanilla notes masked by the roasty/chocolaty and lightly coffee flavor. Not much wood really at first, though seems to surface more as the beer warms. Some faint fruity hop bitterness near the finish.

Very tasty, and while the alcohol is heavy on the nose, it's well hidden in the flavor. Good sipping beer.

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

This is allegedly one of the Dogfish Head beers that will finally be available in the Bay Area starting next week, and many thanks to Imstillthegman for the sneak preview.

Poured into a tulip glass, very dark brown or darker, with a medium sized tan head. Aroma of roasted malt, nuts, bread, hint of fruit and a general earthy woodiness. Rich flavor to match: roasted malt, notes of wood, caramel, coffee,and nuts with a lingering bittersweet molasses finish. That 12% alcohol is well hidden, but warms you up from the inside after you set down the glass. Big smile follows.

A well balanced, full bodied, gently carbonated and very drinkable big strong beverage. Sold.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Moan and Dove. This drink was very dark with a chocolate brown-colored head with eventual lacing. The aromas were strong in the malt department with some vanilla and mocha hints as well. Taste was wicked awesome: sweet chocolate flavors wrapped around smoky malts. Great medium body that added a slight crispness to the beverage. Overall, wicked good.

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Photo of Gavage
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: brown in color with a 1/2" head that breaks apart quickly. Some spots of lace develop during the session.

Smell: caramel, chcocolate, vanilla, and wood tones are pleasant and easy to detect.

Taste: follows the nose as the chocolates, caramels, prunes, vanilla, and an overall woody characteristic makes up a well balanced beer. Softer molasses tones arrive late. Some alcohol is also detectable here, but not overwhelming despite the ABV.

Mouhfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp at the start ad smoother towards the finish. Aftertaste is surprisingly brief.

Drinkability: nice flavor profile has you wanting multiple bottles of this, but the high ABV bringsthe desires back into check. Very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of belgiumking
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an almost opaque brown black into a Belgian style goblet. High pour created a toffee colored tight head that cleared quickly.

Aroma is very complex; coffee, cocoa, dark ripe fruit, licorice,vanilla, oriental spices, oak, dark cherry, port.

Flavor is equally complex full of rich dark malt flavor, great hop offset, rich deep dark fruits, coffee, licorice,Vanilla bean, slight tannins from patent malt; rich alcohol luster with some fusil alcohol in exhale.

While this beer is 12%, it is well hidden in the complex nature of this beer.

This listing states that the beer is 'retired', but this is a new creation for Dogfish and they have invested $150,000 for 2 huge Palo Santo tuns to age this specialty beer in. So, 'retired' it is not.

Sam and his staff have pulled off another exceptional beer.

Note: This beer is not made to sit in the goblet for an extended period of time. It fails rapidly after a time.

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Photo of DavidEddie
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 02/11/08

Appearance - Pours a dark black. Tan head falls quickly to a ring of lacing.

Smell - Dark fruits and chocolate.

Taste - Dark chocolate, dark fruits, mellow piney/citrusy hops, hints of vanilla and wood.

Mouth feel - Thick and chewy. Fair amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - This is a great sipper. Drinks more like an imperial stout. ABV is hidden well. Recommended.

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Photo of Med
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown almost opaque. Mocha colored head dissipates faster than I would prefer but a great color while it lasts. Lacing is off-white and moderate.

S - Very complex. Molasses and brown sugar mingling with a woody (go figure) caramel and some chocolate. Alcohol is noticeable in the aroma.

T - Sweet malts are at the forefront delivering cocoa and brown sugar, developing in to a bitter chocolate and slight sour taste at the sides of the mouth. There's a bit of coffee at the finish and a definite alcohol burn.m I think this will only continue to improve. Would have given it even higher if not for the burn.

M - Thick and oily. Coats the mouth and stays there. A little soft on the carbonation.

D - Bold but not overpowering. Only the alcohol prevents this from scoring higher.

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Photo of malty
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 02-11-08 Served at 50F.

Pours into my tulip style stemmed glass BLACK with no highlighted edges. The head is creamy looking and loose with a khaki colored head. It stands sill and gorgeous with 1 1/2" bragging inches. Smattered and spattered lacework all the way down.

Sweet roasted barley hits my nostrils first. Fresh dark bakers chocolate with a reminiscent whiff of my grandma's holiday candy dish. There's a ghostly sour cherry scent that wants to break through, but it's trying to hide (in vain though). A few more swirls evoke fresh malted milk with just a thin layer of alcohol warmth that tickles my nose.

Dazzling mixtures of sweet dark fruits with dark roasted malts, which comprise the sweet spectrum of this unique ale start the symphony. The chocolate ensemble makes its presence known by providing cocoa delight along with earthy notes just for good measure. Then the dry wood surfaces...A remarkable woody dryness slowly and steadily creeps into the picture and takes matters into its own hands. Sweet, fruity, chocolaty, malty, dry and long lasting.

Mouthfeel is quintessentially English; creamy and a little cask-like; 'flat' (but in a very good way). A little heavier than medium bodied with a flavorful long juicy, yet dry finish.

Drinkability is dangerously high. The 12% ABV is absolutely not at all detectable. This could make for some very interestingly hilarious drinking.

Overall a beer that blows my mind. The flavors are utterly complex but stay in the sweet/malty range. The Santo Palo wood is no gimmick. I admit to never tasting this wood before, but the wood flavor and transmitted texture is very apparent. The creamy, soft and low carbonated body makes it a satisfying and fulfilling ale to quaff (careful!!!). I'm 2/3 the way through my bottle and I can testify to feeling a little chest and (face) cheek warmth. Complex, unique and something to behold. Spectacular job DFH!!!

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Photo of m1ked
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Nated0gg (as usual) for this one. It was my first and only experience with DFH. I am looking forward to more, many more.

A- Pours like a coffee. Once in my glass, black with a coke like rim. Brief appearance of thin tan foamy head.

S- Dark chocolatey, vanilla, caramel notes. Eucalyptus- menthol, candied brown sugar. Rich & complex.

T- Definite rich coffee- chocolate up front with caramel, and snickerdoodle vanilla. A slight woody- eucalyptus flavor that hangs on.

M- Crisp micro bubbles al over my mouth, creamy AND crisp.

D- This is very tasty flavorwise. I am totally impressed with my first DFH experience.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is strong and malty with smoky hints and a streak of molasses. It pours a luscious deep brown with a thick, fluffy, beige head. Flavor is rich and malty with hints of molasses and a burnt undertone. Aftertaste is lively and very enjoyable. If you like stouts and porters, your probably will find this beer to be right up your alley.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.37/5  rDev +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!

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Photo of Lothar666
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Poured a deep extremely dark oak brown to midnight black body with a dark tan coffee colored head. Looks more like an imperial stout than a brown ale.

S- Smells like dark wood chips, bourbon, brown sugar, caramel and vanilla.

T- Dark roasted malts, lots of brown sugar and sweet candy with hints of caramel and vanilla. Very little hops in this one. Reminds me of the Dogfish Indian Brown Ale on steroids. Fantastic.

M- Extremely smooth, silky and creamy. Coats the mouth with a sugary pleasantness.

D- Smooth enough to hide the ultra powerful 12 percent ABV to the point that it is barely noticeable. The flavors make this one a slow sipper, but the smoothness is such that it is easy to forget ones self and gulp it down.

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

This pours almost a pitch black, with a dark tan head on the top of it. Decent lacing is left behind on the glass throughout. This is a brown ale? Seriously? It pours more like a stout than anything.

Smell is rich, with coffee being the dominant aroma, with some hints of chocolate and caramel as well. Flavor is more of the same. Coffee, chocolate, a hint of vanilla, a bit of wood from the vessel it was aged in, and a bit of heat from the alcohol. This is a damn fine brew - more a stout than a brown ale though. Nonetheless, the flavor and balance is outstanding.

Mouthfeel is smooth, not too thick, with a nice finish that lasts for awhile. This is a scarily drinkable brew for 12%. It goes down smooth and easy, and is full of flavor.

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Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours and smells like an Imperial Stout. Good beige head; Black color where no light can shine through LOTS of alcohol warmth in the aroma--almost like a port. Some initial chocolate and black patent malt smell.

Smooth mouthfeel, like cream. Low carbonation. Mocha flavoring initially; taken over by the alcohol levels. Some background blackberry and vanilla. The flavor returns after the swallow where some light hop becomes apparent.

Another extreme beer from Dogfish, although I would categorize this as an Imperial Stout, not a brown ale. Nice complexity. It's too strong for me to detect something as subtle as the wood it was conditioned in.

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Photo of brentk56
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
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

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Photo of SUjunkie
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Town Wine had a tasting of Oaked Ales and this was one of five that I tasted. I purchased a 4-pack of this.

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A. Dark Brown almost black. Looks like a RIS. Good lasting lacing.

S. Caramel, chocolate, hint of fruit and coffee.

T. Caramel malt. Coffee flavor as well. It really hides the high alcohol content. Very good!

M. Thick finish and great carbonation.

D. This is very drinkable. I had two! It is smooth and a new favorite to add to the list of great beers from DFH.

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Photo of TomBottos
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass with tan finger high head. Body color was opaque and black. Taste was sweet with some caramel and some malts. The taste did last in the mouth for sometime. The nose had a hint of chocolate. Very drinkable beer, very scary how good it was.

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Photo of psinderson
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

Appearance: Very dark brown color with a thin caramel head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Quite smoky and woody with some dark fruits and vanilla. Complex.

Taste: Wow! Up front, this unique beer is much like a smoked porter with complex roasty and oak flavors. It ends dry-ish with a long chocolate taste. Hints of dark fruits throughout the taste add to this extremely complex brew. Also, one would never know how strong this beer is. This is one of the most surprising beers I've had in some time.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with lighter carbonation. Lighter than I expected.

Drinkability: Obviously not a session beer, but I found myself wanting to have more.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a deep dark brown with a very thin tan head.

Aroma of sweet malt, caramel, vanilla, and booze.

The taste is roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, raisins, and a clear reminder that this beer is 12% ABV. Finish is surprisingly clean.

Medium mouthfeel, creamy, and lightly carbonated.

This is one heck of a brown ale from DFH. A nice one to sit back, sip, and enjoy.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2/11/08 (glad they don't just give you the year like some DFH bottles)
Pours a dark porter brown color, nearly an opaque stout with a solid quarter inch of dirty tan head. They may call it a brown, but it looks like a stout; still pretty sexy. Aromas are signature DFH, sweet, sticky candy and fusel alcohols! Digging deeper, I can get some slightly roasty malts, chocolate, vanilla, and yes, some oak; but it's not overdone. It's a very fresh cut wood smell like you would get in a carpentry shop, really nice. On the palate, this beer just blooms. Flavors are much more brown like. There's just a touch of roasted malt, not unlike most American Browns, some caramel, fruity esters with a slightly watery finish. Despite the ABV, this beer is quite drinkable. DFH often struggles with these high gravity beers, but this one truly shines. The finish is more roasted bitterness and just shy of being dry. Carbonation is low and mouthfeel is quite heavy. It is really an extreme beer and I can't wait to see what DFH has in store next. I would like to see some more oak character, I felt it was rather lacking for a beer that stakes its name on it.

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Photo of gford217
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a beautiful deep chocolate brown with hints of ruby on the edges. Tan head dissipates quickly leaving no lace and a slight swirl of foam in the middle.

S: Quite a bit going on in the nose, and I can definitely smell a bit of smoked wood. There's also a strong molasses sweetness to the aroma with some chocolate as well.

T: Whoa, this is quite the complex brew. An initial malty sweetness is balanced by the smoked wood flavor. Hints of chocolate, vanilla, dark fruits. The aftertaste has lingering spices, cinnamon and/or nutmeg.

M: Medium body with a bit of carbonation. Syrupy, sugary stickiness.

D: Where is that 12% alcohol? It's quite the sipper, though I find it very hard to stop sipping.

This is one of the more unique beers I have tried in a while and I find it difficult to categorize except that it's damn good. I hope DFH continues to push the envelope. Outstanding beer.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another of the unusual formulations to come out of Dogfish Head, Palo Santo Marron poured out closest in looks to a Porter. The body was dark brown coming out of the bottle, but in the glass, it looked pretty black. The head was quite large and settled down to a three plus finger layer of craggy foam. The smell was quite nondescript for a beer with such a complex origin. All I could smell was a little toffee, chocolate, and chicory. The taste was much more typical of wood barrel aged beers than the smell. I got a dash of vanilla, some sweet gummy flavors, a little chocolate, and a sour finish. I was somewhat disappointed that the alcohol was not hidden at all. I think this has some rough edges still which beg to be smoothed out by more aging. The mouthfeel was creamy and oily and the body was a little thicker than I was anticipating. Not a bad foray into wood aged beers, but more time is needed to mellow this baby out.

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Photo of wheelinshirt
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz longneck bottle, cool label and custom bottle cap. I have been waiting to try this one for a while, cracked it open and poured into a snifter.

Surprised to see how dark this is, looks like an RIS. Very black with a cocoa colored head that disappears very quickly, leaves no lace. Not very brown looking to me.

So the smell is sweet and very boozy, smells good but isn't very unique. Some chocolate and roasted malts coming through, and they come much more to the forefront on the taste. I didn't really get any sense of the woody taste, not really sure what to look for. Enough hops in here to balance out the sweetness. It tasted good, but not really very unique. Mouthfeel was medium, not quite full enough for the beer at hand. Drinkability is good, but not great. Maybe i am just missing this one completely, i don't really get what everybody sees in this one, and I love dogfish head. Its a cool concept, but i think the beer just falls a bit short.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into Cabernet glass...

Big, rye or whole wheat bread-colored head. Oily thick, espresso-colored body. Lacing coats glass nicely

Copious malt and spice (can't place - a little cinnamon - maybe mild clove or allspice?) with chocolate and caramel overtures with some well-placed yeast

Heavy alcohol and espresso in the forefront with grassy hops (chicory tones) and sweet toasted maly

Very pleasant with deep, sweet alcoholic mouthfeel and finish

Extremely drinkable for style. Amazing stuff that I hope to revisit soon.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,016 ratings.