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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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5,024 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,024
Reviews: 1,941
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 12.23%
Wants: 247
Gots: 749 | FT: 19
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: 5,024 | Reviews: 1,941 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KarlHungus
4.93/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark brown color. The head is a half inch of tan foam that recedes very slowly leaving good lacing. The aroma is of perfumey wood, caramel, toffee, and more perfume. This is a very appealing aroma, and I can't really see how it could possibly be made better. The taste is a little maltier than the aroma, but there is still a large and pleasing perfume presence. There is a significant alcohol presence in both the taste and aftertaste. The finish is all wood, and perfume. Again, like the aroma this I can't find anything here to improve upon. The mouthfeel is full bodied with light carbonation fitting this style, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a great beer. It is utterly and completely unique. Not only is it an extreme beer in that it is twice the strength as other brown ales, it is an extreme beer in that it is aged in Palo Santo wood. I think the later is what makes this beer so enjoyable. I would love to sip away at this on a frequent basis. Very good work Dogfish Head.

KarlHungus, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of scottyshades
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another damn good brew from DFH
A: Pours a syrupy thick black color that has brown highlights when held to light...not sure how its a brown ale, but I dont care! The head is small, dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing

S: The first note I got was lumber...which would be the wood used in the barrel aging process. Alcohol is also present

T: Woody, bourbon, alcohol is stronggg, and pepper. The alcohol is somewhat overwhelming in a brew of this stature, but it is still nicely done.

MF/D: Much heavier than I thought in the beginning. Very chewy, oily, and velvety...very nice mouthfeel. The drinkability is pretty high despite the ABV and body texture

scottyshades, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of OnThenIn
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A beer that appears a dark black which you can not see through. This has a little less than a finger of head and it is a dirty dark brown color. There is even a tiny bit of lacing, but not much.

Smell: Wow the nose on this is unique. A woody smell accompanied by a very heavy aroma of molasses and caramel. Definitely alcohol smell in this beer. There is even some chocolate to this.

Taste: This is definitely the most exotic beer I have ever had and I love it. The taste is similar to the smell, but has an almost biting bitter flavor that I just didn't expect, which was enjoyable. There is some fruit flavor with maybe a little coffee flavor in here. I typically don't enjoy beers with a strong alcohol presents, but this has blown me away. It is almost as if there are some spices in this beer.

Mouthfeel: Is a slight bit cream and definitely has an alcoholic after taste. This is a pretty heavy body and definitely chewy. It is a meal in a bear and man do I like it.

Drinkability: One in a sitting is definitely enough. I love this beer, but man it is a sipper. It is a beer I would definitely buy again, but it would have to be a rarity that I always have stocked in the fridge but rarely break out.

OnThenIn, Jun 27, 2009
Photo of mhatters
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Badger pint glass at my house

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a fluffy coffee color head

Roasted malts, whiskey, some sweetness as well. Big.

Lots of big, big flavors sweet, alcoholic, wood, smoke. The whiskey nose is apparent in the flavor as well. The many flavors are well put together

Crisp, alcoholic, not in a bad way, but big and powerful.

Can a classic beer experience be rated this "low"? A really interesting and rewarding beer, but at this size and ABV, how do I have more than one. Maybe in the winter I will pop the drinkability up to 4

mhatters, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of bum732
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, nice tan head that disappears quickly. Smells of caramel sweetness, nuttiness, vanilla, bourbon, ceder-like, almost a smokiness. Tastes of sweet caramel with some vanilla and ceder accents. Nice alcohol pronounced bitterness with more caramel and ceder near the end. Finishes fairly sweet, nice full bodied beer.

A lot going on in this beer, sip it like a fine scotch, more flavors come out as it warms. There is enough hop bitterness and alcohol to counter the sweetness, a fantastic beer.

bum732, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of sweemzander
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into my Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on 7/24/08.

(A)- Pours a thick, syrupy opaque dark dark brown, almost black color. No head retention because because there never was one, just a light layer of sienna colored bubbles. Some lacing.

(S)- Super rich raisin, brown sugar, and maple syrup aromas. A nice bready yeast component. Even a small cherry hint.

(T)- Freakin rich and sweet roasted malts with chocolate covered cherries! Bready on the finish. A cola essence like Dr. Pepper.

(M)- Its so thick, you could put this on pancakes if you really wanted to perhaps! Its sweet, rich, and has just the tiniest bitterness from the roasted malts. A lower carbonation level that fits well with the overall experience of the beer. It is still slightly hot in the mouth from the massive 12% abv.

(D)- Man, one of these will be making you feel pretty good! Its richness/sweetness lends it to being a great after dinner beverage as dessert. Great flavors and complexities to enjoy via sippage. Also, I am looking forward to see how this turns out after a few years or more of aging!

sweemzander, Jun 21, 2009
Photo of buffettfan
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into large snifter.

Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Just a thin belt of tan head circles the glass.

Smells of a sweet, oaky carmel. You can smell the strength of this beer. One whiff and you know its going to be heavy, but it smells very good.

First sip, has a woody, oaky taste. You can taste the sweet carmelly malts as well. After a few sips, I felt a sort of numbing, alcohol effect in my mouth. The taste seems to change with almost every sip. As it warms, the malt comes out, and almost takes over. There is almost always a hint of oak and wood. A complex beer.

Mouth feel is very heavy. I am not sure I could take more then one at a time. Its almost chewy, heavy, but very good.

It took me a few of these to learn to love them, the more I had of them, the more I liked them. Awesome beer! I love it.

buffettfan, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of SykDoc
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours very dark, almost black. A 1/8 inch mocha colored head is short-lived and leaves a lacing around the edge. Opaque when held to the light.

The aroma is improving nicely as it warms. There is a very heavy dose of oaky wood scent, mixed with a boozy smell and caramel malts, which are all up front. A bakers chocolate component.

The taste is good. There are heavy notes of caramel malts with a bourbon, oaky taste, which I'm guessing is the wood. Some chocolate notes, milk and dark chocolate.

The mouthfeel highlights the flavor nicely as there is not too much carbonation to overwhelm the flavor, yet enough that you notice. A very nice dryness is present at the finish. It initially presents very thick and creamy but lightens towards the finish and leaves a stickiness on the lips. It is full bodied.

Overall, this is a fairly drinkable beer. It is hindered by the intensity of its flavor and the high EtOH content. It is definitely worth it and something I will continue to purchase if/when available.

SykDoc, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of soupyman10
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Man do I love this beer. In the bottle: fantastic. On tap: fantastic. Calling this an American Brown is just mean, cause it puts the entire style at a disadvantage (with a possible exception being the DFH Indian Brown, which is likewise amazing). Huge choclately deliciousness, with caramel, light coffee, dried fruit and roasted malt. Body is thick and delicious, creamy and full. This one slips into RIS territory, in my book. One I could drink for hours (or until I passed out, whatever came first).

soupyman10, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of Fnord
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Extremely dark brown with a small but thick brown head.

Smell - Chocolate, molasses, caramel, vanilla, alcohol, malted milk balls, and what is presumably Palo Santo wood.

Taste - Much like the smell, except without the malted milk balls and with a huge alcohol kick.

Mouthfeel - Very thick, with low carbonation.

Drinkability - The huge alcohol content makes it tough to drink, but it gets easier as your taste buds get numbed.

Notes - I had to special order this one, but it was worth it. I've never had a beer quite like it before.

Fnord, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of BZero007
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle with a brew on date of 4/17/09. Poured in to my Portsmouth Tulip glass, pours an extremly dark brown almost black. Light can not shine threw and the head takes a little bit of work but can form nice. The aroma is very powerfull and full of scents. Firstly a roasty mollasses aroma with a hint of coffee and dark fruits hits your nose. In the background for some reason I get a smell of cherries, though in the background still strong. The taste it's self is very interesting for a brown ale. The brew has that ale taste to it with the dark fruits but the mollasses and others make this brew more of a stout imo. The consistancy is pretty thick also for a brown ale. The mouthfeel is very smooth and welcoming. 12% alcohol is strong and when you finish your first glass you should probably have only one more afterwards. This drink hits you hard after you finish me. Really like this brew and will keep it in the fridge for sure.

BZero007, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of pmcadamis
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep woody brown with a dark beige head. The head isn't a big rolling-over-the top affair, but then again this brew was poured for me at Kelleher's in Peoria, so who knows what it would look like if given my usually "just dump it in the glass" treatment. Lacing is abundant and beautiful. Sappy dewdrop lace shimmers down the glass and leaves sticky residual sugars behind. Looks ominously good.

S - Oh shit. This is crazy. This is like a tawny port. Hints of charcoal, oak, black currant, and loads of cashews, almonds, walnuts, and what almost reminds me of grapes... big fat blue grapes with seeds.

T - Deep wood and earth tones support "higher" notes of boozy port, maraschino cherry, almonds, and grapes. Wow. The alcohol is actually very detectable in this brew, but that only enhances its late evening mystery in my opinion.

M - Rich, thick, velvety, lush, and yet woody, earthy, hearty, and raw. This is the beer that I would imagine Tom Bombadil enjoying by a roaring fire. A refined woodsman's brew.

D - This is a late night fireside brew for a quite time when contemplation and retrospection are in order. Definitely not a summer time fun brew by any means. Buy a case and sit on them until the time is right to break one out and spend some time reflecting on how good life is!

pmcadamis, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 4 pack of this from Wilbur's quite some time ago. This is the last bottle and it's been taunting me ever since. Bottled on 10/23/08, I heard this will only get better with age and 8 months oughta be appropriate.

A: Dark brown, hinting on black, 85% opacity. Caramel colored cap, about half an inch thick or so, and sticking around quite nicely. Not a whole lot moving through the beer, but still a couple of bubbles on the edges. Excellent clingy sticky lacing. Nice looking beer.

S: Brown sugar, fresh cut lumber, roasted malts, vanilla/bourbon as well. Fair amount of booze, I figured that would have toned down, but it is still really present. Not that it is out of place at 12%.

T: A lot more smoky than I remembered, huge woody/charred taste, brown sugar sweetness, and a slightly astringent alcohol kick as well. The Palo Santo wood adds an interesting depth of character, and in some ways really accents the overall boozyness of the beer. Lots of different layers in here, but man I'm picking up a huge bourbon note. I like this a lot more now than when I tried it initially. Doesn't have that common DFH cantaloupe alcohol flavor, which is nice.

M: Medium thickness, with almost no carbonation, very smooth, ridiculously dry as well, both from the wood, and the booze. Fair amount of alcohol heat as well. Pretty hot beer. But it isn't out of place for a high alcohol, wood aged beer. Quite nice really.

D: Eh...this one is tricky, a little too complex, and entirely too boozey to drink a lot of. Good beer, but it's a sipper, and a pleasure at that, but not something to drink more than one of. Just simply too huge. Too many things going on. I'll definitely be seeking this out again, and throwing a four pack away to age indefinitely.

pokesbeerdude, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of woemad
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane back in February. "We have wood. Now you do too" (from the label).

Poured a pitch black color that poured into the glass in a very viscous fashion. Holding it up to the light doesn't make the color seem lighter by even the slightest measurement. Big, mocha colored head that lasted longer than I thought it would considering the high abv percentage. Glorious looking beer.

Caramel, brown sugar, vanilla and booze in the nose. As it warms up, other scents become noticeable, with elements of soy sauce, dark chocolate and, just barely, spicy hops. Smells like a sweet, rich stout.

Taste is much like the smell. Brown sugar hits the tastebuds, followed shortly afterwards by a taste not unlike chocolate covered cherries. There's a bitter, coffee-like taste in the background, along with some mild yet spicy hops and a warming alcohol sensation. Tastes sweet, strong and rich.

I thought this would be a heavy-bodied beer, and was wrong. It's thoroughly medium bodied, but with a sticky, coating mouthfeel. I suppose that's about right for what seems like a brown ale on steroids.

This would make a great nightcap or dessert beer. Not much of a session beer. In fact I'm rather glad it's sold in a 12oz bottle rather than a bomber. That would be too much of a good thing. The last few new DFH beers I've tried have seemed a bit gimicky. This one's not gimicky, it's damn tasty.

woemad, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of BenSelf
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is a deep, almost black mahogany. Head is thin and dissipates quickly, an indication of the amount of alcohol: a considerable 12%. The menu says the beer began as a big brown and that's how I'll judge it, even though I've never had one this robust. The aroma is cocoa and burnt brown sugar and something that reminds me of pecans. The taste is chocolatey malts and some hop bitterness, alcohol (not unpleasant), and coffee. This beer is delicious. The mouthfeel is thick, allowing a light espresso aftertaste to stick around for a bit. I will be buying a pack of this wonderful beer whenever the opportunity presents itself.

BenSelf, Jun 06, 2009
Photo of NorCalYeti
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

taste- like a bourbon barrel aged beer, complex, toast, black licorice, raisins

color- dark, clean, roasted brown

clarity- clear

smell- roasted malt, vanilla

body- full, pretty lean, hop bite mid palate, astringent, soft texture on the outside of the mid palate, resiny

appearance- nice off-white head that quickly disappears

overall impression- interesting complex "brown"

notes and comments- blast of aroma as soon as the cap came off. strong beer that goes down pretty smooth. it wants to be a stout or some hybrid. not sure how to characterize this beer...there are disjointed components at work here.

NorCalYeti, May 30, 2009
Photo of horshack7
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: An extremely dark as night with a caramel colored head that is about two fingers thick. The head thins out a little quick but leaves some nice lacing.

Aroma: Very small hints of molasses. Not any aroma from the hops but decent aroma from the raosted malts. It does have a scent of brown bread or pumpernickle.

Taste: It has a bready texture a little on the dry side but very smooth on the palate. Nice notes of molasses. A little bit of brown bread flavor. With a dark caramle flavor in the background and slight hints of vanilla bean.

Notes: This is the most unique American Brown ale I have ever had which is a good thing. I would highly recomend this brew for any fan of American Brown ales. Cheers

horshack7, May 30, 2009
Photo of redneckchugger
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours inky black with some burgundy highlights as it swirls. Next to no head, but thats ok. No light get through, this beer is dark.
Smells more like a big stout that a brown ale, but what was i expecting, abita turbodog?
the taste is out of this world. NO at all like a stout now, but some of the flovors are the same, big hit of caramel , bit of vanilla, some dark brown bread, maybe even dark fruits, like candied figs or something.
Very thick mouthfeel. Not a beer you drink at the lake with your friends, more like put on some good music ( mozart's Requim atm) crack open a good book ( i recommend atlas shrugged) and take about an hour or more to sip this beer.

redneckchugger, May 27, 2009
Photo of ToasterChef
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is very dark brown, nearly black, with a large, thick brown head. I can detect bitter hops and chocolate scents. There is a coffee bitterness to the taste, along with some alcohol. The mouthfeel is a bit lighter than I expected. My notes on this beer are fairly sparse, but I don't think it is because it is a bad beer, I just don't think it is for me. Personally, I wouldn't seek it out, but I probably wouldn't turn one down if it was offered to me.

ToasterChef, May 26, 2009
Photo of thryn
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Beautiful dark dark brown, no head worth speaking of, but a nice ring of tan lace.

Smells of dark malts, a bit of roasty character, vanilla and what I'd normally think was oak, but I guess it's palo santo. Alcohol is present and along the lines of bourbon.

This beer is simply heavenly. Incredibly well balanced, but full of big flavors -- vanilla, toffee, caramel, some coffee-like roast character, a ton of dark fruit, boozy bourbon. The fruit character is just a bit much toward the end, and that's what's keeping me from giving this a five.

Slightly heavy in the mouth, sticky and thick, with mild but present carbonation. A treat, no question.

Really drinkable for a big, weird beer. Love those casks!

thryn, May 26, 2009
Photo of tedpeer
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer poured into a tulip.

A - Poured dark purple/black with a half inch tan head that quickly disipated to a ring around. No lacing.

S - Coffee, fruit with some alcohol.

T - Roasted flavors, dark fruit, with alcohol warmth in the finish.

M - Medium body, nicely carbonated.

D - Very good and complex beer.

tedpeer, May 25, 2009
Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes. Had in Indianapolis at BW3's downtown benefit for CF high gravity night.

A: Pours an extremely dark cherry color with minimal light tan head on it.
S: Malty, woody, boozy, smoky, vanilla! tremendous nose
T: Heavy wood flavors with notes of vanilla, coffee, caramel.
M: Very smooth with the alcohol present on the nose not really all that present on the mouthfeel
D: I would drink this again for certain, but would probably take it easy. I am sure the liquid baseball bat that is this beer would catch up to you quickly.

TheodorHerzl, May 24, 2009
Photo of beer2day
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark indigo with a gorgeous thin finger of tan head. Retains that thin layer and laces extremely well.

Nose is cherries, dark malt, bitter fruit, slight anise, and a hint of cream.

Hits slightly sweet, but that quickly changes to a robust roast malt flavor. Absurdly good. Tart sweetness as if from cherries is still there, but the roast flavor takes over. A slight creaminess to the finish tops it off. A very warming beer. Hides the 12%, so watch out.

The best beer DFH has made.

beer2day, May 23, 2009
Photo of Gehrig
4.38/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My friend Frank raved about Palo Santo Marron before we vacationed together, saying he would bring some down for us to enjoy some of this unique, finely crafted beverage together. Outstanding call by The Sage, for this is excellent, one of the most unique beers I've ever tried.

A modest tan head rests atop a deep, dark brown body, with moderate lacing on the Ommegang glass. Not much duration to the head, but that doesn't detract much. The smells are good but a little understated, with lots of molasses, caramel, coffee, and some berry peeking through.

What a taste! Unlike oak-aged beers, especially those in whiskey casks, this has a casky taste, but...dare I say...more restrained. I love the bold oak-aged flavors in those beers, so that's less a pejorative toward those and more of a way to describe PSM. The molasses and wood flavors emerge sticky but restrained, permeating the beer but allowing plenty of room for other aspects, especially caramel and coffee, to play prominent if complementary roles. Terrific and smooth.

For being 12%, I expected this to be more of a sipper, but it isn't. PSM is worth sipping or enjoying with restraint to allow it to warm slightly, and to bask in its rich complexity, but it's not hit-one-over-the-head strong. One of my favorites from DFH without question, Palo Santo Marron is well worth the try and will no doubt age well.

Gehrig, May 22, 2009
Photo of anchordrinker
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours purely black, and lets no light through when held to the light. The head is one-finger's worth and tan in color.

S- I get aromas of brown sugar, molasses, sweet raisins, and some booziness.

T- Smokey, earthy, woody, and sweet flavors dominate. I get molasses, just as in the nose, as well as some vanilla-y flavors.

M- A pretty heavy body, which is a bit syrupy, and has pretty low carbonation.

D- Definitely a sipper, though it does hide the alcohol pretty well considering the 12% ABV. That being said, I wouldn't want more than one in a night.

anchordrinker, May 22, 2009
Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,024 ratings.