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Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,055 Reviews
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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
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Reviews: 2,055 | Ratings: 5,676
Photo of gregc
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle thanks to gford217.

Poured almost black with a brown head that quickly faded. Thought i was pouring a world wide stout.

Aroma of wood, vanilla , caramel and alcohol. Smelled like a world wide stout.

Taste is vanilla, wet wood, some carame, plums, prunes and malt. The alcohol is well masked, the beer is very drinkable and smooth. Tasted like a weaker world wide stout (i see a theme here).

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Photo of RunawayJim
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a deep brown with a small head that hangs around for a bit. Smells of vanilla and malty sweetness.

Taste is more of that vanilla mixed with caramel and a very slight toasted flavor. It's on the sweet side for a brown ale, but at this ABV and with the barrel aging, it's expected and doesn't actually detract from this beer. Rather, it makes it better. There's a very slight warmness from the alcohol, but it just adds even more to the beer.

The beer is very smooth and easy to drink. It's a little on the heavy side, but again, it was expected. I give this one 2 very enthusiastic thumbs up and strongly recommend it.

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Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's during American Craft Brew week.

The beer pours a dark brown color with decent head retention and lacing. The beer is very sweet and malty on the nose, pretty much exactly what one would expect in an imperial brown ale. The beer smells pretty good actually. On the palate this comes across as a big brown ale with moderate sweetness. At least for me, the beer is a bit too one dimensional, though the flavors are nice. The beer comes across as medium bodied, and it's not too heavy or tiring to drink. Still, the abv. wears me out after a while, and the high abv. hurts this beer's drinkability.

A good solid beer, but not an exceptional one. Given the high abv., I probably will not come back to this one again.

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

Pours with a smallish head , darker than brown , but not pitch black.

Getting hints of smoke , maybe some slight alcohol on the nose.

This beer tastes a bit like a Quad , with some added complexity with the wood giving it the trademark residual woody sweetness. If it weren't for the obvious alcohol taste I'd give it a five. Perhaps some age on this will be nice.

Mouthfeel is thick , with some residual stick sweetness. Good carbonation.

I'll be seeking more of these out.

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Photo of warmstorage
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Four pack of 12 ounce bottles was $14.99 at BevMo Sacramento (Arden Way.) Very dim dating evident: appears to indicate bottling date of 2/11/08.

Appearance: Poured into wide mouthed red wine glass, a medium to deep opaque black with a medium brown head that dissipates rapidly and leaves no lacing. Quite dark given that the bottles describes it as a brown ale.

Aroma: wood molasses and some dark stonefruit. A little yeasty. Somewhat limited given the huge nature of the beer.

Taste: some deep woody vanilla notes, some stonefruit, plums, figs, and a backgrounded sweet cherry note. Finishes with woody vanilla. Nice, interesting, but somewhat mild and understated.

Mouth: Tingly and warm. Somewhat high carbonation on the mouth and throat for such a high ABV beer (which is nice, and makes it more drinkable than many 10%+ ales which are somewhat syrupy due to high finishing gravities.) Perhaps the best part of this beer.

Overall: Fairly drinkable, but somewhat undistinguished. Not something I'd buy again, but I'd drink it again if someone else was buying, and I'll certainly drink the other three.

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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.

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Photo of kasper
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a murky brown raison color with a small chocolate colored head that dissipates quickly, leaving just a faint ring. Only a bit of light passing through the edges of a goblet. Lacing apparent in polka-dot fashion after sipping.

S: Aroma of molasses , raisons, prunes, some smokiness and that trademark dogfish head yeast and alcohol smell. Very similar to a toned down worldwide stout (wws), judging strictly by the nose.

T: Smooth and sweet up front with loads of dark fruit, then a considerable astringent woody, smokiness punch with lingering flavors of figs, maybe currants...Really similar to a toned down wws, imho, but a bit dryer on the finish. Alcohol definitely present but not overwhelming at all.

M: Thick, sticky and chewy. Full bodied, with mild carbonation and that semi-dry woody feel on the swallow.

D: This is a real heavy brew. A sipper for sure. I'd be hard pressed to go through more than one of these. Actually, this is a good brew to share with either your significant other or a friend so you can last the night and taste some others. Strongest brown ale i've ever tasted.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Browny brown, brown. They've taken this to the level of the imperial stouts... almost black, with a creamy brown head.

S: A lot sweeter than I would expect from a brown ale, but I suppose this isn't your typical brown ale, either. A lot of prune and date dark fruit aromas in there, and quite a woody taste... I suppose that was the point here. It's pretty unique. A bit of smokiness.

T + M + D: Smoky and sweet. Dark fruits, a bit of caramel notes... it starts to become a little sweet in the mouth after a while. DFH loves to make these extreme, huge brews, and while I applaud them for trying to go all out, sometimes the result is just alright. I feel this is one of those instances. The mouthfeel gets a little thick and sticky after a glass, though it starts off being pretty rich and creamy. Being such a huge ABV, this is a sipper, and it definitely gets a bit on the sweet side after a while. That said, it's ultimately a pretty good beer, and a decent effort from Dogfish Head... I like many of their offerings much better than this, but it's an interesting brew. Certainly give it a shot.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.93/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dispensed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a very dark brown, almost black, but not quite. Almost a dark purple color. Interesting and beautiful. A perfectly smooth and frothy tan head, 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 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. I will not be having this one again, assuming I can even finish this one.

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

Served on tap @ Barleys and Hop's.

Appeared like a porter, very little head with slight retention. Had a strong roasted coffee nose with a hint of hops. Very tasty brew, lots going on and the wood added a depth of flavor that is almost indescribable. Coats the palate with a rich sweet mocha aftertaste. Not overpowering, but a solid brew that I'm sure I will have again. Very drinkable and delightful. Does well as it approaches room temperature.

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Photo of rallison
3.6/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black/dark brown color with a 1/2 finger light tan head that leaves a ring but nothing else. For a brown (even an imperial brown), this thing pours quite dark.

Smells of molasses and dark fruits. Chocolate-y and roasty qualities are also present. Decent, but slightly overdone in the sugary sweet malts (Surprise, surprise?).

The taste here is growing on me a bit. The dark fruits are definitely showing themselves against a woody body. There is some astringency here (most likely from the wood it would seem) that detracts a bit. Hints of chocolate and roast are back there as well. A hoppy character does seem to be back there but seems a touch overwhelmed by the astringent wood qualities. Overall, this is promising but needs some work to make it world class.

Mouthfeel on this is good. Carbonated, but still letting the richness come through. Initially, a touch syrupy. However, upon warming, for 12%, the mouthfeel is nice. The wood does also dry it out here.

Drinkability, especially given the ABV, is quite solid.

Recommended. Not highly recommended, but given a few tweaks, this could be quite good. A 4.2+ average rating? I will disagree with that.

Edit: Sorry, the astringency and dryness from the wood really hurt this beer. Just not working for me..taste lowered from 3.5 to 3.0.

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3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Nice and dark, deep and mysterious. Darker than I thought it was going to be. Topped with a luscious mocha colored head that never made it to one finger thick. Lacing has stuck around for awhile.

Smell: I smelled it as soon as I cracked the bottle. After pouring it grew wonderfully sweet. Brown sugar, alcohol, figs, wet wood, a little bit of roasted malt.

Taste: Maple syrup, alcohol (but I'm sure the aging in the wood has calmed it down a lot), hints of vanilla, caramel, and there is some fruit in there, figs cherries? I don't know.

Mouthfeel: Oh mouthfeel is right on. Heavy, smooth, sticky. Perfect carbonation.

Overall it's pretty damn good. The alcohol kills the drinkability(sessioness) but I would take this over most Brown Ales out there. I love Wood.

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Photo of LukeD23
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

at first glance this guy looks like hes gonna bite you. Almost like a porter or stout in apperance and pours thick. The smell was good, but not great, hints of vanilla and cinnimin derive from the palo santo wood. Taste was on point, full burst of flavors the slight woody character meshes well with the smoothness of a brown ale. The mouth feel was full bodied thick and well carbonated. I want another as far as drinkablity goes.

I love the adventurous spirit at dogfish, undertakeing a huge project like this, the Palo santo tank that they built for this beer cost $150,000. All for good beer. Palo santo is a cool wood that doesnt sink in water and this is a cool beer that i will have again

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Photo of vtfan77
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Very dark brown, almost black; stout or porter-like in appearance. A nice half inch or so of beige head forms upon pouring.

S- Nice vanilla aroma, with a touch of roasted malt. A butterscotch-like smell is also present.

T- This has a nice vanilla, woodsy flavor, but the alcohol is also quite prominent. That's not surprising for a 12% ABV beer, but it could have been hidden better. It does contribute some raisiny esters, which are nice. Overall, good flavor.

M- Nice, full body; smooth, almost a bit creamy. Carbonation is low, which is good in this case.

D- Thanks to a high alcohol content, one bottle is more than enough at this time.

You can always count on Dogfish for interesting beers, and this one is certainly no exception. It's definitely not your typical brown ale, but it's very good. I wouldn't want to have it every day, but as a change of pace or special occasion beer, it would be great. I definitely recommend giving this one a try.

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

Consumed 09/07/09 at 55 degrees F from a bottle kept between 50 and 60 degrees F since 05/01/08. Served in a Triple Petrus snifter.

Beer pours deep, deep brown. No highlights. A one finger deep tan head forms, then becomes a creamy ring around the glass after a couple of minutes.

Aroma is great: cherry, vanilla, wood, smoke and cocoa.

Mouthfeel is thick and closer to creamy than oily. Slightly astringent. Some alcohol burn on swallow, warming in stomach.

Flavor... smooth with dark, roasted malts. As in nose, some cherry and vanilla on palate, though fleeting. Splits the difference between an imperial brown and a stout: woody, nutty, dark malts. Good balance between bitter and sweet. Subtle alcohol on the tongue.

Unique and easily sippable despite the ABV, some age seems to have done this beer a world of good.

APP - 4
SM - 4
FEEL - 3.5

Consumed 05/06/08.

Pours a very deep brown. Fine tan head.

The aroma is subtle dark malt with a bit of woodiness, even a hint of chicory.

Flavor is dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, nuttiness. A bit like a porter. Decidedly not bitter until the significant woody aftertaste, no doubt from the special aging. Alcohol is present at finish, but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel is thicker than expected, but not amazingly so.

I have had this on draft as well, and I do prefer it that way. The bottled version just seems a little contained and the flavors a little off right out of the bottle; it takes a little time for them to get sorted out and balanced.

A complex and drinkable beer, this ought to go well with steak or other heavy meat dishes.

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Photo of genog
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 4 pack today to see what this one is all about. Pours a very dark, almost stout like color with a thick and creamy dark tan head that billows up through my pint glass and almost spills over. Aroma is very, dare I say it? complex. dried fruits, molasses, cocoa, smokey, wood, vanilla, sugars very full for a brown ale, or any ale out there.
Taste is very rich with caramel, and vanilla pushing through the oaky woody type notes. chocolate and coffee show up right before the smooth bourbon type burning soothes you.
Mouth feel is very full bodied and warming from the high Alcohol content.
Very nice offering from Dogfish head.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,055 ratings.