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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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4,734 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,734
Reviews: 1,923
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 233
Gots: 647 | 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:
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 added by: Imstillthegman on 11-19-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,734 | Reviews: 1,923 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DoubleJ


4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

I have wood....in this bottle of Palo Santo Marron. And now to pour in into a glass...on to the beer:

This is a brown ale? It looks more like a stout to me. The head is a tan coffee colored head, it's super dark leather brown and thick on the pour, but black in my glass. The aroma is very unique. Soft ripe dark fruits, a touch of coffee, licorice, toffee, and a bit of alcohol. It's a very complex nose.

Cara...that alcohol sure makes it presence underneath this full bodied brew. But I can't stop drinking this. Very delicious. Fruit...coffee, hazelnut....toasted grain, caramel....does the wood affect or create any one of these given flavors? I don't know which one, but I like this. And to boot, this is quite drinkable for a beer of this strength.

Once again, Dogfish Head prevails in the category of extreme beer. Well worth the purchase.

11-20-2008 05:24:44 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Damian


4.68/5  rDev +12.2%

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westboro, MA
Bottled on 02/11/08
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a deep, dark brown/black with a tight, frothy, bubbly, coffee-colored head that eventually faded to a thick ring of lace. Blankets of lacing cascaded down the glass.

The aroma was super dark, malty and robust. Chocolatey and smooth. Semi-sweet with notes of brown sugar and vanilla. Slightly boozy (bourbony). As the beer warmed, the aroma intensified and became sweeter. The vanilla notes became much more apparent as well.

The taste was very similar to the aroma. Intensely rich, dark and robust. A nice mix of roasted and caramel malts. Oaky and woody. Bourbon came through strong. Semi-sweet with vanilla notes. Boozy mid-palate. Dark fruit notes (including cherries) were also apparent. A touch of alcohol warmth appeared in the finish.

The mouthfeel was full-bodied. Silky, frothy and creamy with a fine, mild carbonation.

This beer was ridiculously smooth and drinkable for 12% ABV. Had I not known any better, I would have guessed it to be in the 7-9% range.

Palo Santo Maron is truly an outstanding brew. It is definitely a "must try" if you are a fan of sweeter and/or woody/oaky extreme-style beers. Dare I say this is Dogfish Head's most impressive release to date?

11-20-2008 02:13:05 | More by Damian
Photo of benmiliron


3.08/5  rDev -26.1%

this was a gift from my sister in law. damn i love her.

Looks great in a GL christmas ale glass. Head is deep tan, beer is opaque brown. like mud. smell is alcohol, wood, brown sugar. Taste is strong alcohol, sugar, wood. The whole thing is very sugar/lignin centric. (duh). It's way to heavy though. The 12% is really too much. As an american brown it's got a good flavor, but this is more of a shot or a 7 oz beer than a 12 oz.

I look forward to the next offering from DFH.

11-18-2008 01:39:03 | More by benmiliron
Photo of dancinwillie


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

Pouring this, it looked like a dark red, akin to cranberry juice. Once in the glass however, it is dark, I repeat, it is DARK brown. No light gets through. Topped by a creamy looking, dark khaki head.

Smells like cherry and wood. Something in this scent makes me nostalgic, reminds me of some long forgotten part of my childhood, and that makes me happy. My mouth is really watering in anticipation now!

A sweet fruitiness is the first thing I notice. Not overpowering, or cloying, just sweet. Cherry is my initial thought, but perhaps cranberry isn't far off either. A bit of an alcohol bite presents itself, but not unpleasantly, just kind of lets you know not to take it lightly. The wood flavor is pretty strong as well. Hell if I know what Paraguayan Palo Santo wood should taste like, but I do know what it does taste like. Deliciousness. This is the flavor that brought on the nostalgia in the aroma. I'm not picking up any hop flavor, but I'm guessing it's well hopped, as this seems like it would be really sweet, if hops weren't there to do the balancing. Definitely the best Brown Ale I've ever had the pleasure of tasting.

Full bodied beauty. 'Nuff said.

The only thing keeping the drinkability down for me is the ABV. That being said, "drinkability" could mean how often would I drink this beer, as opposed to how many would I drink in a single session. The latter would be low, maybe 1 or 2. But as to how often, well, just as often as I can, so I'm going to rate this a bit higher than I normally would. Semantics maybe, but I'm very impressed by this beer. I have never found a Brown Ale I even kind of liked until today. This is just an amazing beer. I'm going to cellar some, and try to knock of some of that alcohol bite, and enjoy this for a long time. Cheers!

11-15-2008 04:44:17 | More by dancinwillie
Photo of gdfan47


3.55/5  rDev -14.9%

had this last night at Capones( I think i met the owner, a super nice guy named Matt)

anyways it poured and had simular to a stout

lots of head

the smell is all over the place, some ripe fruits, figs.. really hard to pin point

very smooth, im not a big stout guy but this beer reminded me more of a stout than a brown ale

i would try this again,
obv. at 12 abv its hard to drink all day. but ill check it out again... the alcohol is def not too in your face on the tounge
im just kinda branching out to brown ales, and I will check it out another time

11-15-2008 02:23:27 | More by gdfan47
Photo of deereless


4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

A: Dark brown to black, espresso like foam, opaque - 4.50, S: Fusil alcohol that gives it an almost solvent-like smell, sweet and heavy on the grains which is really an afterthought given all the alcohol, as it warms more of the beer-like qualities start to come through - 3.75, T: Reminds me of a sweetened espresso, the wood is noticeable and adds a nice element, some overly ripe heavy fruits, reminds me of prunes in a way - 4.50, M: Exceptionally smooth and quite heavy - 4.50, D: Dogfish Head is almost always a brewery I can count on and this beer fits that mold, extremely flavorful, a standout Brown Ale - 4.50

11-15-2008 02:17:05 | More by deereless
Photo of BucksBrew


4.2/5  rDev +0.7%

A - Great color. Extremely dark and beautiful with a creamy brown head.

S - I picked up all types of cocoa and caramel tones. It really had a great aroma.

T - This had a great thick dark body. Cramy and buttery to the tongue. Just a great full bodied beer. It was amazing.

M - A little watery I am sorry to say. I felt like it was thin. Still very good though.

D - Very Drinkable. This is the type of beer I want to keep and age forever!

11-14-2008 16:50:38 | More by BucksBrew
Photo of hobbes2112


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Pour is dark brown with sizable head. The head goes away quickly though leaving decent lace. Aroma is sweet, dark fruits with a big alcohol presence and a little woodiness. Taste is also sweet and dark fruits with a tangy alcohol punch. The wood is mostly on the rear end of the palate. Caramel and vanilla are present as well, as promised by the label, though the vanilla is a lot more noticeable than the caramel to me. Mouth is smooth and full bodied. This is easy to drink, but I think this hits a niche for me that others might not like as much. The alcohol is too high for a session beer though, unless you don't need to be able to walk.

I'd get it again, it is pricey though (only got one bottle , not the 4 pack)

11-14-2008 02:46:32 | More by hobbes2112
Photo of nrbw23


4.15/5  rDev -0.5%

A- Pours a dark brown color with a nice tan head. Head leaves some nice layered lacing down my glass.

S- Picking up tons of malts here. Mainly roasted malts and a woody smell. I can also pick up a nice alcohol smell as well.
There is a touch of dark fruits and vanilla.

T- A very complex brew here. Every sip has me picking up more and more. I'm getting a nice alcohol burn but not nearly as much since its around 12. Getting alot of roasted malts, nice woody back drop, vanilla and some dark fruits.

M- Medium to full in body and low carbonation.

D- Very drinkable but a sipper for sure. Major complaint is that is rather expensive. Oh well, I'd drink this all day if I could.

11-13-2008 10:32:50 | More by nrbw23
Photo of barefootbrewer


4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

A: This beer poured a deep brown with a reddish hue. It had a thick tan head. Very appealing.

S: The aroma is molasses/brown sugar and spice. Some sherry like smells are picked up as the beer warms.

T: When cold this beer tastes strong of caramel with some malt. There is also a deep fruit flavor (cherries/figs/dates) with some sherry notes. The alcohol is notable but not overpowering or harsh. This beer is complex and comes together well.

M: Th mouthfeel is full and velvety. It leaves a nice slickness down your throat.

D: As this beer warms, it becomes extremely drinkable. I'm not sure that it is representative of an American Brown Ale - could be closer to an English Barleywine....regardless, it is tasty.

11-11-2008 22:06:10 | More by barefootbrewer
Photo of Kendo

New York

4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

A: Poured into my Spirit Haus pint glass. Body is nearly black with shimmers of ruby at the base of the glass. A half-finger, foamy, chocolate-brown head bubbles noisily and settles quickly. No lace.

S: Fifteen to eighteen inches from the glass and I get a strong whiff. Booze, dried fruit (raisins, prunes), port wine, vanilla, and roasted or even smoked malt. Interesting. Like a Brown Ale? Not really. A Brown Ale on steroids, maybe, but I'm thinking more of a cross between an Imperial Porter, a Brown and a hint of Scottish Ale, with a shot of RIS thrown in.

T: There's a lot going on and it melds fairly nicely. Dark dried fruits. Roasted malt. Chocolate. Hint of vanilla. Molasses. Rum-soaked raisins. Even a touch of nuttiness. Hint of astringent wood towards the back of the sip, but I expected more of a woodsy taste, to be honest (and I'm glad it didn't overwhelm the rest of the flavors, to be honest). That, combined with the alcohol, seems to give some counterbalance to the otherwise sweet flavors. Raw heat from the ABV makes its presence known on the way down.

M: Despite the presumably ABV-destroyed head, there is active carbonation here. It prickles the tongue nicely and makes it feel a bit creamy and lighter in feel than you'd expect from all those heavy flavors. Still heavy-bodied, however.

D: Good. A sipper, no doubt, but enjoyable.

Notes: To be honest, there was a time when I thought DFH was absolutely awesome. I still love their 60 and 90 minute IPAs and their Indian Brown Ale, but their experimental stuff I've had in recent years didn't do it for me. This I like, however. I've accidentally aged their Indian Brown Ale and in some ways this reminds me of the result of that -- port-like with dark and dried fruits. But this has even more going on, all in a 12% ale. Worth checking out, even at the advanced prices (I bought a single bottle myself, but in hindsight wouldn't be kicking myself had I shelled out for the 4-pack).

11-11-2008 02:30:16 | More by Kendo
Photo of rustan

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -10.6%

12oz bottle purchased from Hops and Vines in Asheville, NC.

Uncharacteristically dark for a brown ale. Thin vanishing head.

Nose is port, vanilla.

Mouthfeel viscous.

Taste complex: malty sweet with raisin, apple, caramel...wood tones coming out occasionally in after taste.

Dessert beer.

11-10-2008 03:10:14 | More by rustan
Photo of inhoc00


4.03/5  rDev -3.4%

6 month aged Marron poured into a St. Bernadus chalice.

A- This is a dark dark brown ale. My perspective being that I drank a Bourbon County Stout last night. This is dark.

S- Crazy sweet, tootsie roll.

T- Taste is similar to the smell very sweet taffy up front, nutty brown near the end. Heavy heavy alc.

M- High carbonation.

D- Dogfish high alc. pretty drinkable but then my other perspective is that I also had a Surly Bender last night. THAT is a very drinkable brown ale. The marron is of course a different type of brown so I'll give it a pass.

11-09-2008 01:48:35 | More by inhoc00
Photo of ahking


3.23/5  rDev -22.5%

Here's how I imagine the flavors of a beer: I envision a hand crank grinder with a hopper on top and I visualize the ingredients I taste getting all ground up into a paste and added to the beer.

In the beer I taste small amounts of dark rasins, dried cherries, burnt toast, figs, tobacco, nutmeg, black pepper, vanilla bean, and peat moss.

All these flavors and more really hit your nose as well.

Wow. This beer is also boozy. At 12% the alcohol level is noticeable in the flavor, like it would a dessert wine.

Not a beer I would buy often, but I like it as a single in a mix sixer.

11-09-2008 01:21:01 | More by ahking
Photo of sinstaineddemon


3.45/5  rDev -17.3%

A - Wow!is this a stout? it's wicked dark, light is not penetrating it, atop sits a full finger of dark tan/orangish foamy head

S - liquor notes up front, especially rum and bourbon, some spiciness, like a mulled apple cider, maybe nutmeg or cinnamon

T - surprisingly smooth, with a strong alcohol bite at first, which swiftly fades into a chocolatey-ness, strong woodsiness in the aftertaste, some vanilla as well, also a slight medical taste - not detracting though

M&D - as long as you can get past the up front alcohol bite, its pretty smooth and quite refreshing, a nice mix of flavors, and a strange flavor lended by the wood its aged on

11-06-2008 15:09:11 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of macster


4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

First of all I'm not a huge fan of DFH. I've always very much enjoyed many of their beers, especially their 60, 90 120 Minute IPA's and a few others. Otherwise I think they can get way off the beaten path a bit too radically in taste and price for my taste.

This baby is the exception. Just a fantastic, well-crafted and delicious brew. Pours thick and viscous and black like an Impy Stout. Props up a nice thick tan head which fades out to blotches of foam islands. Leaves just a few spots of lacing.

To me the nose is initially all roasted malts and charred wood.The wood aromas hit you as you pour it. Putting your nose to the snifter you pick u whiffs of vanilla, molasses, berries, raisins and toffee. Beautiful bouquet of smells for sure.

Mouthfeel is creamy and velvety. Low carbonation keeps it silky smooth and round.

Flavor profile is of course sweet but never cloying. Tastes of dark malts, burnt caramels, vanilla cream, dark fruits, vanilla and charred oak come to the forefront. Just a touch of the 12% alcohol come through to warm the whole picture up but not a bit hot or overwhelming. Extremely easy to drink and get lost in a few before you relaize what you're dealing with.

Well worth the $15.00/4pack. Great stuff!!

11-06-2008 06:41:06 | More by macster
Photo of number1bum


4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

Pours a thick, very dark brown color, very stoutlike in appearance and density, with a bit more than a finger of light brown head. Head disappears pretty quickly, and only leaves a little bit of stick and a rimjob in the lace department.

Smells of rich, sweet malts and some roasted aromas. I get some chocolate, caramel, and roasted malt, some earthy and nutty aromas, and every now and again a whiff of vanilla and oak.

Taste seems quite a bit different than the smell, as the first blast of flavor is very fruity, with some cherry and dark fruits really exploding on the palate. A hint of red wine sort of flavor is evident now and again, too. Going back to smell again I can pick up a bit of fruit now that I'm looking for it, but nothing along these lines. Sweet, sort of candied fruity flavor follows, with some caramel malt sweetness and some roasted malt, and then a nice oak and vanilla flavor that is also stronger than the smell was. There is some alcohol evident here but overall it's hidden quite well for 12%. This is amazingly complex for a brown ale, and is really tasty.

Mouthfeel is nearly full bodied, quite creamy and smooth. Carbonation is soft enough to allow this to be savored in the mouth.

I'm not sure I'd even call this one a sipper except that it's so strong that sipping is necessary. Really quite drinkable for the strength, and very complex and tasty. I'm glad I finally picked a bottle of this up.

11-06-2008 01:42:31 | More by number1bum
Photo of mnj21655


3.93/5  rDev -5.8%

Pours an impenetrable jet black with about a 1/4" of brown head that lingers briefly, really looks more like a stout than a brown ale. I'm just going to stop reviewing this strictly as a brown ale right now and base my rating of this mostly on my enjoyment of this brew. The aroma is complex, unique and wonderful. A deep, perfumey alcohol character is what I detect first but vanilla and an assortment of spices are very prominent. There is also a distinct caramel sweetness and a heavy dose of vinous fruits. There is also a very unique character that I assume must come from the time spent in the Palo Santo wood vessels. Taste is fairly sweet. Healthy doses of caramel and molasses that dominate throughout are complimented by a more moderate vinous character and relatively restrained spice flavors. Theres lots of booze in the taste too. It's not overwhelming but is noticeable and an important flavor component. Very full bodied, slightly syrupy, quite sweet. Carbonation is moderate and alcohol presence is strong and warming. Drinkability is a bit above average. I don't really know that I need a whole 12 oz.of this brew. That being said this beer was still incredibly complex and enjoyable. The aroma on this brew was unique and enticing. In my opinion this is worth a try and best split with a friend.

11-04-2008 00:51:34 | More by mnj21655
Photo of BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -13.7%

I would venture to say that this is almost an Imperial brown ale.

Very dark appearance with a definitive brown head. This is approaching porter territor in both is colour and even its scent. This is reminscent of an oak aged porter. Slightly vinous and rum-bourbon hints. Sweet malts with some faint hops.

Rich, wood aged taste. Malts, vanilla rum and toffee notes. I can't pick up any hops. The taste comes off more as a rich, bourbon-barrel aged porter or even a barely-win.

Decent mouthfeel, perhaps a little undercarbonated. I didn't realize this was 12% when I started drinking it.

10-31-2008 04:21:08 | More by BDTyre
Photo of Hophead101


3.78/5  rDev -9.4%

drank on 10.29.08 at home.

nice dark brown, almost black, in color. was a bit surprised as to how dark this was for a brown ale (it was a welcome surprise). great thick head, very foamy, nice and tan in color, it dissipated quickly but made up for it via a beautiful lacing left on the glass as it was consumed.

alcoholic smell was the first thing I noticed. dark roasted malt smell, cinnamon, chocolate. a great thick but delicate aroma.

first taste impression was milk chocolate and then the taste of alcohol. you can taste the alcohol but it doesn't at all come close to feeling like 12%.

the alcohol lingers, and it is a bit too much for the mouthfeel - almost the same after effect as if you did a shot. the flavor does a nice job spreading throughout the mouth.

drinkability is low - not gonna pound any of these down at all with the high alcohol content and taste.

was VERY surprised by this beer. although I don't know why, as DFH does that quite often with most of their beers. very nice - almost in the stout category. well done.

10-30-2008 00:27:45 | More by Hophead101
Photo of allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

4.78/5  rDev +14.6%

A - Whoa. Pours an opaque black/brown with a creamy, sticky brown foam.

S - Apples, pears, spicy alcohol, red wine, molasses, coffee, candy sweetness, nutmeg and dried fruit.

T - Sweet and very red wine-y without the astringency. Coffee, molasses, earth and wood in there but smoother than oak. Bitterness is low and the alcohol is sharp on the tongue and warms the tummy. Fruit notes are apple and a bit of cherry.

M - Treacle-y heaviness with a very mild carbonation. Sticks to your ribs some.

D - Very, very smooth, rich beer. No idea what the wood actually contributes, but on the whole a fantastic flavour.

10-29-2008 16:55:50 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of brdc


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Small capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Very dark brown, reddish highlights, but the pour is not as thick or oily as I expected. Thin tan head, but at this ABV it is hard to expect a lot more.
Aroma is nutty, dark malts, caramel, some roasted tones. Mild fruitiness, lots of bourbon-like alcoholic notes. Perhaps some wood.
Medium bodied, to my surprise, lacking a bit of depth for such a high ABV.
Rich flavor, mostly alcohol infused malts, at times feeling a lot more like a bourbon barrel aged stout than a brown, although those caramel and nut notes keep coming back.
Good and enjoyable, if not complex. Quite easy to drink for the ABV.

10-29-2008 01:17:31 | More by brdc
Photo of Goregazm

Rhode Island

3.55/5  rDev -14.9%


Appearance: Pours dark and thick, like black syrup. Has a great brown two-finger head which lasts for a minute or two and leaves some nice lacing behind.

Smell: This beer has a strong coffee and alcohol scent, with a ton of woodsiness. There are some dark chocolate and molasses notes here, and all in all the scents blend together nicely.

Taste: This beer has a strong alcohol bite with a sweet taste beneath it. Has bitterness and unsweetened chocolate at the front, then it gives way to some dark fruits, coffee cream, and the woodsiness.

Mouthfeel: Rich and slightly creamy, but with way too much carbonation. After a second or two, the beer starts to feel slightly acidic on the tongue. Aftertaste is bittersweet with a coffee undertone.

Drinkability: I didn't like this beer as much as a lot of people seem too, but it wasn't bad. I wasn't crazy about the taste, and I hate having a beer in my mouth that starts to burn like I just chugged a glass of ginger ale. Overall its not bad, and if you're into this kind of beer you might want to check it out. Just don't expect anything mellow.

10-28-2008 22:45:03 | More by Goregazm
Photo of Graham5161986

British Columbia (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Had @ home...

A: pours a nearly opaque dar, dark brown with subtle ruby tones. Small ff-white head that quickly reduces to a fil and ring around the glass. Some decent lacing left on the glass.

S: big chocolaty malts balanced with bright fruity undertones

T: rich chocolate up front, giving way to a dark fruit, rasin-y mid palate (with quite a pronounced chipotle pepper spiciness too!). Finish is creamy chocolate with the alcohol being quite up front. Nice choco-coffee linger.

M: Thick, chewy and creamy. Well-carbonated and a very rich, yet, crisp, spicy finish.

D: Well, this beer certainly packs a punch. Lots of depth of flavour and aquite an alcoholic bite. I don't think I would ever want to drink more than one of these. And that's a good thing because this one should be sipped slowly and savoured. Its expensive, yes, but, I plan on working through this 4-pack slowly; only reaching for one on a special occasion. I look forward to sipping on one on a cold Christmas night in front of the fire.

10-25-2008 21:38:45 | More by Graham5161986
Photo of soccerman7


3.4/5  rDev -18.5%

on draft at Holy Smoke.

A - A very nice deep dark brown with a half finger dark tan head.

Smell - A wonderful rum, fruits, wood, malt. Very complex.

Taste - Fruits and malty sweetness. Very bitter and woody. It tasted as though it was a vintage sherry or port. The fruits were there and complex but very difficult with the wood.

Mouth - This was way too dry. The wood dominated the after taste and lingered with no malts.

Drinkability - While it was certainly not the greatest wood aged beer, it is worth trying because it has some interesting characters probably due to the special wood that was used.

10-25-2008 16:15:50 | More by soccerman7
Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 4,734 ratings.