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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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4,806 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,806
Reviews: 1,926
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 12.23%
Wants: 234
Gots: 665 | FT: 21
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: 4,806 | Reviews: 1,926 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SLeffler27
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%

A thick, velvety, rich, dark brown head blossoms over a mahogany, leather liquid ultimately settling to a thin lace on the walls of my pint glass.

For a simple brown ale, Palo Santo Marron stands out with warm, dark chocolate, fresh-cut wood, vanilla, toffee and wheat bread. This is no Charlie Brown.

Flavors follow the nose and add some fruits. A long bittersweet finish culminates with a strong acidic and alcohol presence. Molasses and roasted malts also carry well into the finish.

Dry and velvety smooth, with a sharp, but pleasant bite of alcohol in the finish, and softly carbonated.

Unique and able to hold its own, this one will easily fit into any regular lineup. Brown ale? Ya, right! Palo Santo Marron is an excellent example of "off-centered" ales. Maybe this will lead the way for less modest browns of the future.

Date consumed: 24 July 2008

SLeffler27, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of LilMatrix
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

A - Viscous, very dark pour with little to no head. Slight amber tint when held up in the light.

S - Medium roasted malts, strong alcohol, woodsy.

T - Very clean wood taste hits first along with some smokiness. Not as sweet as I was expecting. Some dark fruit/ raisins in there. Ends kinda tangy and tart. Definitely taste the alcohol.

M - Nicely carbonated, medium to heavy body, chewy, and oily.

D - This is sipper for sure b/c of the high ABV. It is mighty tasty... my ears are strangely warm.

LilMatrix, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of yourefragile
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%

12 oz bottle, Sept 08 bottling, poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a very dark, opaque near black with ruby highlights and a light brown head that quickly dissipates leaving virtually no lacing. Very imposing and viscous looking for a "brown ale"
S: Takes a couple of whiffs to take everything in, but nothing is as strong or overpowering as I expected. Dominant every time is a potent, slightly bitter, acidic pinch of alcohol. Flavors from the wood like vanilla balance this most of the time along with an occasional light dark fruit aroma.
T/M: Very smooth, thick body with strong carbonation. Strong alcohol presence, but lacks burn, just a warming presence as you finish the bottle. Flavor isn't overly complex, but very rich. Strong alcohol presence and body has prominent flavors from the wood, light dark fruit flavors providing a little bitterness, some vanilla and light roasted malt. When you let it warm up and sit in the mouth a stronger nuttiness and almost spicy, hot peppery flavor starts to come through. Very nicely balanced, and alcohol is certainly present at 12% but not overwhelming. Comparing this to traditional brown ales is kind of pointless. Another interesting, unique beer from DFH, but not one I'm motivated to seek out at this price frequently.

yourefragile, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of wchesak
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass

A - if no one had told me, I would have guessed this an imperial stout...its ridiculously dark, almost opaque...the half inch head is a nice tan that leaves some good lacing as it settles...lots of tiny bubbles that continue after the pour

S - this is where you pick it up as a brown ale...vanilla and dark fruit hit me at first...a bit of hops or maybe even alcohol smell

T - now the stoutness comes back with lots of caramel and coffee flavor, with the slight alcohol at the end i pick up on some vanilla

M - has the thick smoothness like a stout with a good amount of carbonation

D - for the amount of alcohol, its not too bad at all...don't see myself having more than a few in a night but nonetheless its damn good

wchesak, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of aggiearcher13
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%

A: For a brown ale, this is pretty darn dark. Poured it into a brandy snifter and had about a 1/2" of light brown head that lasted for less than a minute.

S: Plummy malts and alcohol.

T: Alcohol is really well hidden. Molasses and vanilla with an almost coffee finish.

M: Great body, very creamy with enough carbonation that it dances on the tongue a bit.

D: Not really sessionable, but I wanted more after finishing it.

aggiearcher13, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%

Reviewed 12/25/2008 (bottle):

Pours an extremely dark black brown colored body, tan colored head, somewhat lasting. Alcoholy aroma, dark fruit like plum and raisin. Very strong aroma. Coffee aroma too, wood and toffee. Sweet spiciness. Coffee taste with a strong roasted coffee aftertaste. A little alcohol, wood and roasted flavor, some chocolately sweetness.

jujubeast6000, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of chaduvel
4.83/5  rDev +15.8%

Seriously viscous pour with a think dark tan head that fades quickly. Delicious smell of alcohol, alcohol soaked dates or figs and molasses. Dark malty think mouth feel, yet a clean finish with touch of alcohol. Molasses and chocolate malt flavors with a touch of the alcohol soaked dates or figs. This is an amazing beer. It seems described best as similar to a Russian Imperial Stout but without any of the bitterness or sharpness. Whatever that "4500 on the Janka scale" Palo Santo wood did to this beer, it was well done. I look forward to what those giant beer barrels help produce next.

chaduvel, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of Shaw
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%

Bottled in July 2008. I'm reviewing while I drink it.

This is the darkest brown ale I've ever seen. It's as black as a porter, even a stout! A dark brown head reduces quickly to a ring in my glass.

After reading about this beer in The New Yorker, I was expecting its aroma to be different. And how. It has a perfume quality -- in a good way -- which mixes with coffee and other roasted malt notes.

The taste is quite creamy and rich, with those good perfume notes adding a depth I can't describe. The high alcohol content leaves me thinking of Imperial Stouts.

The body is oily slick and creamy.

Overall this is a fine beer. It's very drinkable, considering the 12 percent alcohol level. I bet this could sneak up on you, though. Well worth trying, though a little expensive for regular drinking.

Shaw, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of JoeBloe
4.38/5  rDev +5%

i read a good article about extreme beer in the nov24 issue of the new yorker - it covered the discovery/search/acquisition of the palo santo wood used to make the barrels for this beer - i picked up a 4 pack of this today, and was anxious to pour one -
i agree with most of the good reviews here - but in skimming thru the 520 reviews here i don't know if anybody mentioned this point - the first sip reminded me of .... sam adams triple bock! -
my wife even commented on the smell being like 'that stuff i used to drink from those blue bottles" - and hey, i liked sipping the satb- this tastes more like a beer, though-and a tasty beer it is - better warmer than colder - nice flavor complexity - good stuff here.

JoeBloe, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of dasenebler
4.38/5  rDev +5%

Pours thick and opaque. Extremely dark brown, possibly black. Sticky looking tan head, thin layer sticks around on the way down. Aroma of sweet malts and alcohol.

Taste is delicious, pretty intense and full bodied. Lots of sweet malt and molasses, some roastiness and dark fruit on the aftertaste. Heavy yet slippery mouthfeel, if anything it's slightly too soda-like in the carbonation, but that doesn't take much at all away from the overall flavor. Strong at 12%, but pretty well-hidden and smooth. I think the Palo Santo wood aging has something to do with the smoothness of this brew. But as for woody flavors I'm not detecting a whole lot. There's some spiciness though. This beer is really an Imperial Brown Ale, which makes it pretty darn close to an imperial stout, though I guess not as roasty or bitter. All in all a great Dogfish brew.

dasenebler, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of JWD
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

This was a great beer from DFH

A- Black, this looked like an RIS but is acually a brown ale, this looks good.

S- The smell is like nothing i have ever smelled before, Palo Santo wood perhaps?? very interesting, i love it, very sappy smelling.

T- Once again very good, great job of hiding the 12% ABV within this very drinkable brew. The flavor of the palo santo is something i have nerver experianced before.

M- Thick like a stout but very drinkable like the brown that it is intended.

D- Outstanding, this may be next on my home draft list, for the ABV and the intensity this brew is exremely drinkable, this is the best from DFH that i have had to date..

JWD, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of bahumutx
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark with a small tan head

Smell: Slight Alcohol, Dark Fruit, Dark Chocolate, Slight sweetness

Taste: Starts with a sweet brown sugar flavor. Hints of vanilla in the middle. Ends with a coffee like bitterness. The alcohol is present in the background but not overpowering at all.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: I could have one or two of these in a sitting. Not many more due to the higher ABV.

Another great beer from Dog Fish Head. I look forward to what they come out with next.

bahumutx, Jan 01, 2009
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Bottle from the first release, found in the back of the fridge.
Less than a finger of head when poured into a Duchesse goblet. Tan foam that recedes slowly, and leaves a ring. Lactic aroma with some banana ester from the yeast, and slightly roasty. Reminds me of a Bells stout. Rich, creamy feel, earthy roast and lactic taste. Not getting much of the advertised wood-aging. Abv is well disguised. Similar to Bells Kalamazoo Stout or Double Cream. Good, but not worth paying a premium for.

emerge077, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of TrevorGW
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Pours jet black with a tan head that retains pretty well.

Smells of raisins and dark chocolate.

Taste is awfully sweet at first, but finishes off pretty well. Coffee, vanilla and cinnamon dominate. Dark flavor, yet very herbal and aromatic at the same time. The brown sugar presence is definitely there as well. Roasty and sweet.

Mouthfeel is creamy. Carbonation is light, giving it a thick motor oil feel that is identical to any decent imperial stout.

The alcohol is a bit much so you have to take this one pretty slow.

TrevorGW, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of mdcrouser
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%

Deep dark brown with a muted chestnut head that dissipates quickly to form only a bubbly ring around the glass, with very little lacing. It has the traditional undertones of a brown ale, but is obviously much bolder and stronger - higher alcohol makes its way to the nose, followed by a complete mouthful of awe-inspiring flavors - from oak to vanilla, cherries and a bit of dark chocolate, escaping to the farthest caverns of the mouth, saturating the entire tongue.

In addition to the vanilla, I would think that the wood imparts a subtle smokiness that really helps to round out the flavors, holding it all together through the drink and then following for a number of minutes. Probably the best brown I've ever had, though not my favorite style.

mdcrouser, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of glid02
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

Picked up a single of this at the Market Square Liquors in Tallahassee.

Pours a brown color out of the bottle, but once it settles in the glass it's all black except for a bit of deep ruby at the bottom. Head is almost non-existent - 1/4 finger of brown foam that quickly recedes into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Almost no lacing, but it does have some legs.

Smells of vanilla, light roasted malt, wood, and a bit of alcohol if you sniff hard enough.

Tastes great. If I didn't know what this was I'd call it a stout rather than a brown. Roasted malt is joined by vanilla and light chocolate flavors. The wood has less of a flavor than it does a presence. The alcohol is noticeable, but not as much as it probably should be for a 12% beer.

Mouthfeel is phenomenal. It's very thick and viscous with subdued carbonation. The smoothness really sold this beer for me.

Drinkability is great. Interesting flavors glide down my gullet. I could have a few of these.

Overall I'd heard a lot of good things about this beer, and it certainly did not let me down. Be sure to give this one a shot.

glid02, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of mntlover
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Pours a black more then brown nice red highlights with a brown head that falls and leaves some lace behind.

Aroma is nice malt, fruits, alcohol nice wood and vanilla hints. Complex but simple at the same time, nice.

Taste is nice malt sweetness with alcohol playing a part. Fruitiness makes itself known along with woody vanilla. Rich full bodied beer with noted alcohol but it seems to fit right in here, one sipping pleasure this one. I find a lot of DFH brews to be hit and miss, this ones a hit.

Mouthfeel is nice big bodied with mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is good as I will buy again bad as wouldn't have too many at once. Defiantly worth hunting some down to try though.

mntlover, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of coasterfreak75
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

The pour was almost completely black with a slight crimson color, nearly completely opaque. It had a choppy, beige, two finger head that very slowly dissapated and left a very nice lace on the glass throughout the drink.

The smell is heavy in alcohol in the front of the nose with a slight fruity nose. Hidden the the back of the nose is a hint of wood.

The drink starts with a slight alcohol burn quickly followed by a kick of heavy malt, laced with coffee and sweet caramel flavor. Near the end hop spice takes over the palate finishing with an alcohol burn that warms the body.

Quite a complex beer, to be as thick as it is, it's quite drinkable. Still complex is the best way to describe this one, well worth a try.

coasterfreak75, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of AChamberlain
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

12oz bottle form Knightly Spirits in Metro West, Orlando, FL.

A: Black, ruby highlights. Dark brown head that stuck around near the edges. Porterlike.

S: Apples was the first thing I got in the nose. Vanilla. Booze. Yum.

T: Vanilla, sweet malts, roastiness. Very tasty. Maybe some coffee notes.

MF: Slick, zesty, tight carbonation, small bubbles and lots of them.

D: Very good. 12 percent, kind of tough to justify another one, but almost have to. Most definitely an extreme brown ale.

AChamberlain, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of hopmonkey
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

Much more a stout than a brown ale. Notes of molasses, wood, caramel, apple, and a bit of heat from the alcohol on the finish. A fine winter beer. Poured black and oily from the bottle. thin head. Finely carbonated. Abundant flavors, with plenty of sweet that is nicely balanced by the hot bitter finish. A very nice beer, but one is enough.

hopmonkey, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of eyefeelgood
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Almost opaque in color.

You can smell the wooden casks its aged in.

Flavor and feel were superior to any beer not named Rochefort 10 or Chimay Grand Reserve that I've had this year.

I doubt that I'll give very many 5's (especially to domestics) but I wish there was a higher score available for this.

eyefeelgood, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of jjboesen
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

Here we have yet another of Sam's "off-centered beers." It is an imperial brown ale. I recently enjoyed a warm goblet of this at Max's Taphouse (see my review) in Fells Point. Palo Santo is incredibly dark with a thin translucent head on top; there is a noticeable consistency in the lacing.

The nose recognizes subtle notes of bubble gum and chocolate; the palate registers an intense and complex collaboration of malts that makes for a heavy, biscuity body. Throw in a little hop and you will be scratching your head at this "off-centered beer."

Of course, we all know about the specialized wooden tanks that are used in the brewing process; certainly much logistics in the process, but worth it. While I would never consider this to be a daily session beer (way too much complexity), it is one I would break out for special occasions.

jjboesen, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of strata39
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

Poured aggressively into a pint glass, very small head and some lacing followed me all the way down. It looked a lot like a Imperial Stout to me, almost black with a cinnamon colored head.

Aroma was vanilla, alcohol, and my wife says roses. Taste is roasted sweetness at first, followed by the nice woodiness, then some alcohol burn going down.

I'm halfway done and my toes are feeling numb!

One is plenty of these, and I doubt I would buy it again, but it is a complex, interesting beer with a good story.

strata39, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of itcomesnpints
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

A dark mahogany pour with a tight tan head. Lacing and retention struggle to survive the high abv. Rich smell of raisins, malts cherries and rum. As the beer begins to warm, caramel, chocolate, rum and raisins come alive in the flavor. Tastes very similar to a RIS, but is lighter and more fruity. The mouthfeel is surprisingly creamy and smooth. For a 12% abv, this feels very tame. A masterpiece from DFH. Could be their best.

itcomesnpints, Dec 22, 2008
Photo of cleeze
2.85/5  rDev -31.7%

After all the hype on this brew I was greatly disappointed...

Poured a very dark almost black color. Unfiltered so you couldn't see through it. It had a tan head with some good lacing. This brew reminded me of a stout not a brown ale.

I deffinalty picked up on the wood and the alcohol most of all. Also some malts up in the mix as well.

Taste was very woody. I was expecting sweet goodness since it's a brown ale but wasn't there. Alcohol was the strongest taste...

Last quater of the brew was a drain pour=(

cleeze, Dec 21, 2008
Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 4,806 ratings.