Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,039 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,039
Hads: 5,605
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 12.02%
Wants: 345
Gots: 1,194 | FT: 24
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 2,039 | Hads: 5,605
Photo of garcia2a
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Once again Sam has painted a masterpiece!

This beer pours a deep brown, clear, very light carbonation and a light off white head.
(Pardon me while I have another)

The bouquet is of roasted chocolate malts, slight hops and I am getting a currant and black cherry tobacco finish. (Gotta run to the fridge and get another, I'll be right back)

The taste is spectacular and quite complex. Warming chocolate, malt, hops, deep fruits and a touch of hazelnuts. A slight alcohol bite. Everything I want in a dark beer. These tastes linger on the taste buds and slowly dissipate. (Crap, I'm out, gotta run to see Capone)

The body is a bit bold, but I believe that only enhances that wonderful, warming mouthfeel. This is a great sipping beer, a great steak beer, a great fire place beer, aw hell, just a great beer!

 809 characters

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why this is showing up as retired. From what I understand, this beer will now be a continuing release, like the 120. Anyways, this is from the first release to hit the Chicagoland area.

A - Nice tan head on a dark, attractive brown body.

S - Undertones of bitter chocolate that one notes under the weight of the port-like alcohol in the nose. I did pick up some light sweet vanilla notes, along with some forest-like sweetness. Very nice.

T - For 12%, this beer is not very hot. The alcohol dominates the entry, contiunes to be somewhat prickly all the way down. Starts out sweet, again port-like, with wood tanins balencing the flavors all the way through. The hops help the wood tannins create a dry finish, which actually seemed to sweeten up in a lingering bitter chocolate flavor. This seems to have great aging potential.

M - More carbonation than I expected for a 12% brown. Still a very creamy mouthfeel, nice and full, a plus.

D - This was a lot better than I expected this beer to be young. Look forward to aging this one, and trying it in 6 months, or a year.

 1,084 characters

Photo of ejquin
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Looks exactly like a good stout. Would never think this was a brown ale. Black as night with thin white head.

S: Smells like a strong porter to me. Heavy coffee and dark chocolate with good dose of vanilla mixed in. Molasses and alochol.

T/M: Mouthfeel is perfect on this beer. Heavy and thick but silky smooth with right amount of carbonation. Start out with with almost a belgian pehnolic prickly taste with some cedar, fading quickly to smooth dark chocolate vanilla comes through at end and then slight alcohol perception with some hop spiciness. Semi-long finish is all chocolate and vanilla with slight alochol sting. Beer is extremely smooth with all flavors nicely in balance.

D: Good for abv.

Ovr: I'm not a huge DFH fan, though I agree most of their beers are solid, some even really good. This is prbably me favorite so far. I think of this as a stout, or robust porter, and the flavros are great and in complete balance. I'll age a few of these, and I can only imagine hwo smooth this will be with a year on it.

 1,030 characters

Photo of pinballwhizard
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this for the first time last weekend at Naja's on the Redondo Beach pier. It was probably the best "new" beer I have had in a long time.

Smooth, creamy and IMO probably the best brown ale produced in the US. If you're in the area and it's still on tap, stop by and get a glass.

 284 characters

Photo of Wildman
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a very dark brown, almost black color and formed a medium tan foamy head that left latticed lace as it subsided. An aroma of malt, caramel and coffee. The flavor was of malt, coffee, chocolate and prunes. The body was medium light and the finish is slightly burnt. The warming aspect of the alcohol comes through in the finish. I am not used to such a high octane brown ale but Dogfish actually pulled it off.

 426 characters

Photo of Redwood21
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: this is like charred brown, with a dark tan head that could last a little longer but is not too bad

S: port wine, with an emphasis on the wood(this becomes a theme)

T: I think this beer could stand to have more of its listed flavor of vanilla and caramel show through. it ends up with a much smokier and woody flavor. i think caramel would be a great balance for this but i think it is a bit overdone. that said it is very complex and rich. This is a fun and different beer. and if you like smoke in your beer, this one will knock your socks off

 550 characters

Photo of BMoney575
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled on 5-2-08
Bottled on 2-11-08

Pours very thick and pitch black, with a foamy tan head that lasts the entire duration.

Smell is clean, thin malt, with a little smoke at the end.

Taste is a very pleasant roasted malt, with an absolutely perfect balance of hops. The alcohol is completely unapparent, which is an amazing feat in such a mildly flavored beer.

Mouthfeel is outstanding, this is the thickest, creamiest brown ale I've ever had.

Drinkability is scary good, the sweet malt is well checked.

Overall, an example of what a skilled brewer can do with a big abv beer. Huge, without being heavy.

 610 characters

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

Pours black with some brown highlights and a thin head that settles to a very thin ring. Smells yeasty and a bit woody, but its definitely not oak, and it is quite subtle. Slightly spicy notes of licorice and cedar, as well as an earthy maltiness. Dry. The taste is remarkably smooth and subtle for the high abv. Very pleasant flavors of vanilla, dry malt, a touch of woody astringency, spice, and some brandied fruit. Very smooth and quite creamy in the mouth. Different and quite tasty, and as is often the case with dfh brews, the backstory is very interesting.

 564 characters

Photo of Traquairlover
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Dark mahogany brown liquid, dark reddish brown head that dissipates quickly leaving thin tracery on about half of the surface.

S = Sharp smells of oak, vanilla, Baker's chocolate, some alcohol burn.

T = Dark chocolate, oak, maple syrup, very light coffee notes. Starts sweet then grows more tart/bitter at mid-palate until resolving with a long bittersweet finish.

M = Medium-heavy body, luscious foamy carbonation, good mouthcoating. Alcohol burn detracts slightly from the score.

D = Good drinkability, very nice taste and well rounded beer that is a good way to end an evening.

 626 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle

Pours a deep, dark mahogany brown with a creamy tan head that thins. Decent lacing on the glass.

Aroma is bready and slightly toasted with a distinct woody smell. A bit of vanilla and a slight hint of hops are also present.

Slightly sweet, bready and toasty upfront, leading into some nice woody tones with a bit of vanilla and a rather aggressive bitterness. Gives way to some herbal hop flavors and slight fruitiness. Finishes slightly sweet and rather clean.

Full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, a rich and enjoyable brew, although a stretch to call this an American brown ale due to the ABV and wide array of flavors. However, it just plain works as most of these "unorthodox" DFH brews do.

 715 characters

Photo of paco1029384756
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, small tan head. Scent of wood, vanilla, caramel, bananas, apples, and alcohol. Woody flavor with some smokey backing, fading wood flavor, with malts, coffee, and slight raisin. Rich mouth feel with a slight pinch.

This is why I love Dogfish Head. They can make a regular brew with excellent results, but they can make one of their trademarked Off-centered ales, and come out with a masterful brew. While this isn't the best beer ever, or the best Dogfish beer, it is a perfect example of the dedication to quality at the Dogfish Head brewery.

 560 characters

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

A - The pour started off thick and dark brown. The end result is a glass of beer that is opaque and very dark brown. Little to no light get through the edges on this one. Head was minimal along with retention. Lacing is good.

S - This one starts out pretty complex. Aromas include molasses, caramel, bread, and yeast. Midway through I picked up some roasted nuts and wood (maybe pine). The tail end is definitely alcohol.

T - Taste follows smell. Molasses kicks in big at first combined with carmel and sugar. Some lighter flavors such as dark bread and wood. The nuttiness is there but very mild. Last in line is some bittering hops and a kick in the face of alcohol.

M - Medium to full bodied. Carbonation was good for this beer. Finish is sweet and warm to hot.

D - Drinkability is better than expected. The 12% is hidden well. It comes across as an 8 - 9% beer. Flavors are balanced and interesting. I would have more of these but the abv means a limit of one per session.

 981 characters

Photo of dalion037
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an interesting beer. I wasn't sure what I was drinking. I had friend give me a bottle and I did not read it just opened and poured. At first sight I was thinking it was a Stout of some sort due to the intense color. The smell and first taste didn't help identify what it was either. There is a strong oak flavor and my only guess was a Oaked RIS but with a twist. I liked everything about it but would have never guess it wasn't a RIS. It should be on your must try list just not on the must have it now list. The 12 percent does sneak up on you so enjoy the ride.

 573 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a thin white head, but I'll give it some slack since it is a 12% wood-aged beer, good retention, limited lacing on the sips.

S: Strong dark wood notes, molasses, sugar.

T: A tannic/herbal, almost alkaloid wood character hits at first, different from any other wood aged beer that I have had, I would say that it's pretty similar to cedar. A light sweet caramel comes out next, with a great, full French vanilla note at the end of the drink. An appetizing herbal bitterness is maintained throughout the beverage in the background.

M: Quite resiny, lighter than I expected a 12% beer to be, though it's definitely a sipper, very smooth going down, no alcohol burn at all.

D: Very easy to drink, such a tasty and complex beer, I'm glad Dogfish decided to send this out to CA.

 820 characters

Photo of StonyB
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to the good peeps at Dogfish Head and Andy's Corner Bar for my getting a try of this limited release...

Appearance - Pours a dark, rich, mahogany brown, almost but not entirely opaque. A sturdy cap of creamy foam, lacing pasted to the glass. Very attractive.

Smell - Interesting. A gentle smoke and peat, hint of whiskey, earthy malt, liquer. I know, it sounds a little confusing, but it works.

Taste - Sweet and warming. Cognac, brown sugar, scotch, fruit - whoa. Just like in the aroma, a variety of sensations coming together into a cohesive whole. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel - Thick, creamy. Slick, followed by a warming puckering dryness from the alcohol.

Drinkability - Scary. 12% ABV? No way. Each sip enjoyable, complex. Savor this one.

Another winner created by Sam Calagione. Find this one (then drink it). Highly recommended.

 849 characters

Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was one of the best beers I have had all year. Talk about beers with a high ABV that is almost completely undetectable...wow. Rich, complex, tasty, easy drinking.

A- Opaque dark liquid. Not black, but more brown than anything. Nice suttle tan head on top, some lace. This looks pretty as hell in my glass.

S- Woody as hell. I detected a huge fruit presence in the nose. Dark and juicy fruits to be exact. No alcohol smell whatsoever.

T- Wow. Flavor galore here, not for the faint. Those fruits showed up again with a nice dose of vanilla, chocolate, and dry figgy notes. The wood comes through here adding to the complexity and one of a kind taste. Malty goodness with a sweet quality but not overwhelming.

M- Sticky and oily with a full bodied presence. Perfect for this beer.

D- At 12% it just does not get any more drinkable than this. A sipper, but an easy and pleasurable one at that. Great job with this one DFH.

This is something to seek out. A special beer brewed by a special brewery. Masterful!

 1,017 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with an espresso-like head that quickly, immediately even, descends to a vanishing patch.

The smell is of char (peat-like), chocolate, toffee, molasses - plenty of complex dark malts - with dark fruits - grows even more complex with subsequent smells - this is a dark malt bomb, for sure, with vanilla added in.

The taste is of complex maltiness - where to begin... Chocolate, molasses, toffee with dark fruits/raisins. A peat/char smokiness balances the sweetness. As much of a malt bomb as this is, there is a balance to it, in a roasty/smoky way. Roasted coffe emerges more predominately as it nears the completion.

Creamy and full-bodied, this reminds me of melted ice cream in a way.

A wonderful - sipper? - 12% abv, would not have known. My guess would have been 6 to 7. Smooth, exciting and creative. This is a well-made "experimental" brew, to say the least.

 889 characters

Photo of Tdizzle
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at BevMo! Brea. Bottled on 2/11/08 and consumed on 4/23/08.

A- Poured into my New Belgium globe glass, this beer pours very dark brown with a light brown head that dissipates quickly, leaving almost no lacing on the glass.

S- A nice woody aroma with tons of dark fruits, dark chocolate, roasted and burnt malts, vanilla, coffee, and very noticeable alcohol. I start to notice some toffee and caramel in the aroma as the beer warms.

T- Flavors of roasted malts and dark fruits up front with vanilla and a mild coffee bitterness on the finish. The finish is dry, leaving no lingering flavors on the palate. There is also a slight woody flavor in the background. The alcohol is masked very well.

M- A thick and rich mouthfeel with mild carbonation.

D- The ABV is 12%, but the alcohol never gets in the way of enjoying this beer.

This is a truly unique and well-crafted Brown Ale. Highly recommended.

 916 characters

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

This beer pours deep brown/black from the fossilized remains of the south american maltasaurus.

Smells a lot like deschutes abyss. It has some cherry and vanilla overtones to it. Alcohol smell present.

Like the NBA, this tastes fantastic! Tastes more like a stout that's not as thick. Vanilla tastes, hoppy tartness, sweet malts....

...finishes with an oak taste.

Palo Santo means Holy tree, When I bought this beer, a burning bush tried to take the beer from me and drink it. It said "give me your beer" I told the bush "no" and ran away. The bush was jenna bush. I wouldnt give her the beer, I like it too much.

 618 characters

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

12 ounce bottle purchased as part of a four pack for $16.19 at Cooke's in El Segundo, poured into an old mug

A-Dark brown that is almost black until you hold it up to the light, 3/4 inch frothy off white head that did not settle for about five minutes, nice retention, lacing only at the beginning

S-Oak and lots of it, roasted nuts including cashews and almonds, burned caramel and toffee, other sweet but subtle maltt, some bready aromas, cinnamon, pears, and a big vanilla scent

T-Started off with a sweet caramel and vanilla taste, slightly chewiness in the middle, finish was fantastic with nuttiness and sweet roasted malt, got even easier to drink as time went by as the malt flavor became more nutty and less sweet, vanilla was more present in the aftertaste by the end which gave this brew a very nice finish that kept coming minutes after each sip, could not believe that I could not taste any booze, one of the smoothest brown ales I have ever had which I find amazing due to its high alcohol content, great balance made this something truly special

M-Roasty, nutty, and chewy mouthfeel, medium to full bodied, just the right level of carbonation, taste lingered for several minutes, wood gave it an interesting sensation on the tongue

D-Way too easy to drink at twelve percent, smooth as can be, alcohol is hidden amazingly, would make a nice session beer if the ABV was not so high, cannot believe how easy this one went down

Surprised to see this in my neck of the woods, so I jumped all over it, had heard a lot of great things about this one and they were all true, would love to drink again, recommended for sure

 1,635 characters

Photo of marcpal
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz poured into a snifter.

A: One fine looking beer. Dark brown, almost a mix of purple and black. Velvet like film of espresso-colored head on top. Lacing is thick at first but drops off fast.

S: Lots going on here. Cant believe Im saying this but you can really smell the wood. Very complex. Chocolate and vanilla, matched really well with the chocolate angel foodcake Im having along side. ABV is there.

T: It taste like some of the top notch dogfish stuff, not the ones that are overbearing. Roasted coffee and chocolate dominate the taste. Extremely sweet and malty and wood comes through here as well. Vanilla infused sugar and the alcohol became more present as it warmed. Interesting and complex, tremendous sipper.

M: Extremely thick and coating. The malts lie in the mouth and leave a dessert like film. No bubbles or fizz.

D: Not overbearing but the alcohol makes itself known. Strong flavors and a must try. One of the best sippers from DFH, did a whole lot but it all mixes together well.

Very highly recommended. Look forward to aging one of these for a bit. Amazed that the wood does make a difference.

 1,125 characters

Photo of merlin48
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pours dark and opaque. Looks like a stout. Sturdy light brown head retains well and leaves some satiny rings and sheets of lacing on the glass.

Aroma is earthy, vanilla, caramel, and prominent dark roasty notes of burnt coffee and char.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick and creamy, with low medium carbonation.

Taste is pleasantly complex. Dark roasted malt bitterness is upfront with notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Pine hops lurk in the background. A spiciness almost like rye bread adds interest. Vanilla notes merge into an earthiness woodiness for additional complexity.

Alcohol is cleverly concealed but for some warming effects. This helps drinkability. I look forward to trying this one again to get a better handle on its many nuances.

 773 characters

Photo of bosco7
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Not brown at all. Pours like a stout.

Cinamon, ripe pear, dark chocolate, roasted malt, raisin, and some cooked banana.

Starts really sweet with lots of dark malty flavors. Molasses, caramel, and bread. Caramelized fruits such as bananas and pear comes to mind as well. Then the spiciness from the wood shines through. Cinnamon, clove, and black pepper flavors are present. The finish is roasty but still sweet. Lingering roasted aftertaste. Still tasty.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. This is a very nice beer drinkability takes a hit from the aftertaste and the ABV. I would recommend trying this very unique beverage.

 623 characters

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.

 1,631 characters

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.

 568 characters

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,039 ratings.