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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

5,191 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,191
Reviews: 1,973
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 276
Gots: 855 | FT: 18
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:
Beer added by: Imstillthegman on 11-19-2006

An unfiltered, unfettered, unprecedented brown ale aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels. The caramel and vanilla complexity unique to this beer comes from the exotic Paraguayan Palo Santo wood from which these tanks were crafted. Palo Santo means "holy tree," and its wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.

50 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,191 | Reviews: 1,973 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biophiliadude
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: thick black, darker than most brown ales, but suited with the dogfish unwritten ideology to be different. reddish brown head, slow lacing.

S: the Palo Santo wood (sweet, old) with a hint of rosemary, caramel and bittersweet chocolate.

T: Complex, get ready for it, and take a few sips before you're done judging: chocolate, caramel, coffee, bubble gum, malt!!!, roses, slight bitterness, and, earthly dirt. The Dr. Pepper of beers - each sip is different and newly rewarding.

M: Smooth, and the maltiness holds throughout. Delicious.

D: Four packs are a smart way to package, 12% is the bottom of the serious booze range for me. Grab a single bottle in your local make-your-own-6-pack store instead of your go to brown ale. Your mind will decide if the alternate is worth a recurring role on your palates future events.

Trailblazers, Pathfinders, Malt and Hop soothsayers. DFH or Die.

You are ahead of your time Sam, the early bird may catch the worm, but the second mouse get's the cheese in the trap!

Cheers!

Photo of JTahoe
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass, per Dogfish Head website recommendation. Bottled on date 2/17/09 stamped on bottle.

A - Looks like a stout. Solid deep brown, nearly black with dense caramel color head 1/3" thick of tiny bubbles studded with larger bubbles. Sticky thick lacing slides slowly back down after each tip of the glass. Very fine carbonation rises from the bottom of the glass.

S - Brown sugar with malty and background scent like cold used coffee grounds. Traces of vanilla and hops.

T - Rich and complex, fruity up front gives way to mellow nuttiness and roasted malts, almost stout-like. A subtle sweetness with a trace of woodiness. Not nearly as boozy as I would expect from a 12% ABV brew.

M - Full body. Lingers like a good dark roasted espresso.

D - A sipping beer to be savored. Very enjoyable.

Photo of Anthony1
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown color. A tan head rises to over two fingers. The tan foam recedes to a ring and stays throughout. Some lace is left behind. A surprisingly reserved aroma. Sweet malt, chocolate, coffee, and boozy alcohol. All the good stuff is there, I just wish the aroma was bigger. I have to stick my nose in the snifter and and take a deep breath to get anything. The flavor is huge however. A rich malty flavor. Chocolate, vanilla, creamy espresso, and some rum like alcohol. A full body that is low on the carbonation. Very rich, creamy, and velvety smooth. The alcohol shows, but it is a great beer to sip

Photo of brystmar
3.82/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This was a very interesting drink, to say the least. Purchased this bottle from a large beer/liquor vendor out of state, and only just now noticed its "bottled on" date was 07/24/08, so this beer had a long shelf life.

A: Claims to be a brown beer, but it poured a jet black color into my pint glass. Head was brownish and pretty minimal. Low carbonation, moderate lacing.

S: Smell was the only weak point of this beer. The alcohol bites you (harshly) right off the bat, followed by a very distinct woody cognac smell with hints of vanilla and cocoa. This beer smells nothing like most others, and honestly I didn't find it very pleasant. May have something to do with its nearly 1.5-year shelf life before reaching my glass.

T: Given the smell, I wasn't expecting to enjoy this beer, but I went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. It's surprisingly smooth and hardly bites -- despite its ABV -- but its alcoholic nature becomes more prevalent as it warms. Tons of flavors here: cocoa, smokey wood (I'm assuming Palo Santo wood), and traces of vanilla, among others. Very complex and, again, surprisingly smooth for a 12% beverage.

M: This is a full-bodied beer with good texture overall. Not much else to say here.

D: Dangerous. Very, very dangerous. This beer is deceptively easy to drink; I had NO idea that this was 12% ABV until seeing it at the top of this page to write this review. It's labeled as such at the bottom of the bottle right next to the "12 fluid oz" marking, so I must've lumped the 12s together as standard packaging items to ignore upon reading the label. Otherwise, this beer could be quite sessionable.

A great beer; I'll be buying this again.

Photo of hckyfn9999
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with about a finger of tan colored head. Aroma of vanilla, cocoa powder, there is an oak like smell that I assume is the palo santo wood, caramel, a slight touch of alcohol, and a bit of fruit.

Taste is as complex as the smell. Any hint of booze noticed in the aroma is absent on the palate. Lots of complex malt flavors. Slightly roasted, caramel, vanilla, burnt sugar, a bit of spiciness, bittersweet cocoa, some fruit (kind of berry like), and there is also a very faint, scotch-like, peat smokiness. About as perfect of a mouthfeel as you will find. It is full bodied and creamy with a perfect carbonation level. A very complex and interesting beer. A high price tag will keep me from purchasing this a lot, but I will pick it up again at some point.

Photo of BeanBone
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A thick, inky black body that only lets a trace amount of red-hued light escape. It's capped by a finger of rich tan head that leaves a few patches of lacing. Far from brown, this looks more like an Imperial Stout than a Brown Ale.

Aroma: Boozy, woody and malty; this is complex and inviting.

Taste: I've never heard of Palo Santo wood before, but from what I can tell it has a similar effect on beer that more plebeian woods do, that is to say it lends the brew vanilla and "woody" notes. There's also plenty of character coming from the alcohol, but despite the massive percentage, it never dominates the flavor profile. While this is far from a traditional Brown Ale, I can see this family resemblance. I suppose you could call the beer underlying all of the fireworks a Brown Ale on steroids, or in the parlance of our time, an "Imperial Brown." The aftertaste is a brilliant mix of oaky and boozy notes.

Mouthfeel: A somewhat syrupy, full body with decent carbonation and some good burn coming from the alcohol.

Drinkability: Solidly in sipper territory, this is a beer that demands your attention.

Verdict: I had high hopes for this beer, and they certainly didn't go unfulfilled. Palo Santo Marron is a big, bad brew with plenty of complexity and personality coming from the wood and booze. A twelve percent Brown Ale aged on exotic Paraguayan wood is the kind of madness we've come to expect, and the result is just as good too. I can't wait to see how this ages in the cellar.

Photo of SkunkWorks
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a dark brown with very little head that left no lacing in my glass. The small head, which was a dark brown (what you'd expect from a porter or stout) disappeared very quickly. It seemed hardly carbonated. In the aroma, I mostly got the smell of the alcohol with some woodiness. As for the taste, the alcohol was very apparent as was the taste of the wood. There is also some coffee flavors and roasted malts in there as well. It was a little difficult to drink, as the flavor of the alcohol which is apparent at the start comes forward more as the beer warms up.

This beer reminded me more of a porter than a brown ale. Personally, I think this was a good beer but I probably would not have again.

Photo of Riccymon
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle a deep brown with almost no head surviving the pour. Smell is a little on the dull side, though what is there is sweet and a little caramely, a little peaty. Also present is some cherry, a bit of alcohol, and a flavor that reminds of banana and banana cream pie, more specifically.

Upon sipping, flavors of rye bread, dark fruit, and shelled nuts are most evident. About a quarter into the glass, I figured out that what Palo Santo most reminds me of is a Belgian dubbel. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, almost like syrup or cream on the tongue. Alcohol leaves the mouth tingling, but it's nowhere to be found in the taste, much to my surprise. While it does sip like a bigger beer, I found it extremely drinkable. Nicely done, DFH!

Photo of PretzelsNBeer
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Definitely a unique brew which probably isn't for the average joe beer drinker.

The pour into my pint glass revealed a very dark beer with tan head. As I took a whiff of the beer I noticed a port like smell which lead me to expect a very sweet wine like taste. The first taste that I took, I got the initial kick in the teeth that a 12% beer gives. But after the initial alcoholic burn gave way, I started to taste a depth of flavor...vanilla, woody, slight roasted-ness. It ain't yer average beer. Especially as the temperature of the beer warms do the flavors really start to come out and the initial burn of the 12% starts to mellow greatly. 3/4 thru the pint the flavor of this beer is really popping and there's such an earthiness to it which really masks the potency; hardly any semblence of a high octane beer here. It's a very full bodied beer with layers of flavor profiles. The mouthfeel is obviously on the full bodied side but isn't like syrup. This leads to the drinkability of this bad boy, despite it's high percentage of alcohol, this beer is very drinkable as it warms in temperature. The balanced complex flavors and undaunting mouthfeel make this beer worthy to frequent consumption however moderation should be taken into account. A good beer and a very nice surprise for a beer which on paper seems very eclectic.

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was quite the excellent beer. I picked it up in Clayton while picking up dinner at Johnny's.

Appearance- almost black color, thin head

Smell- wood, brown sugar

Taste- wood, brown sugar, maple, roasted malts

Mouthfeel- full bodied, smooth

Drinkability- excellent, will buy more

Photo of homebrew311
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: appears a dark viscous brown that leaves heavy lacing in the glass. A thin light brown head that persists throughout.

S: notes of wood come first along with roasted barley, maple, brown sugar, and a healthy touch of booziness

T: like the nose, the wood precedes other flavors. This has a very complex flavor and it would be hard to put a finger on every flavor I tasted. I did pick up a good deal of vanilla along with roasted malts and maple. At the end some heat from the high abv comes through, it is balanced quite nicely though.

MF: thick, velvety, almost creamy. This is a very thick bodied beer, the flavors work well.

D: definitely high on the alcohol content, but given the way it tastes i wouldn't have guessed more than 9%. This is a very unique beer that I would like to drink a lot of, but its richness and price make it more of a special occasion beer.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: From the bottle poured a dark prune juice color with radish highlights around the edges. In the glass appeared opaque (black) with a coppery-tan head, 1 finger high that was moderately lasting but lacked any lacing.

S: The nose was spicy dark fruit (fresh prunes, raisins), burnt wood with oaky sherry notes. Hints of burnt chocolate were also evident and prominent.

T: The flavor opens with a burnt woodiness and silky wet ashes (in a very good way) with a vinous dried grape alcohol nature. Juicy plums, vanilla and sherry cask notes along with a scorched offering of roasted barley come through with a very smooth bitterness. Hints of sweetness are supplied by burnt caramel while dark licorice notes compliment nicely here. The finish is smooth and bitter, with an earthy minerality, that was dry and loaded with roasted barley grains and a touch of sweet alcohol and black cherries. Overall a very complex offering that was sweet, bitter, earthy with a spicy alcohol finale that was loaded with dark fruit and a smooth layering of transition from start to finish.

M: a light consistency and a slippery slick texture that rolled around effortlessly on the tongue with little resistance. Very smooth and void of any carbonation gives this a silky smooth feel.

D: Drinks like a fine wine at 12.0%abv you'll feel the dark vinous nature and warmth this has to offer as well a deep layering and complexity. Warm this up in a chalice for best results. A slow sipper that will have you excited with every sip until the last when you realize that you are out.

Photo of jhoban19
4.42/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a chalice.

A: deep, rich dark brown with a small caramel color foam that settles into a cloudy ring. Strong lacing, both above the beer and on the sides of the glass as I tip to take a sip.

S: caramel malt, vanilla and butterscotch, with hints of chocolate and brown sugar. Aromas of warm alcohol- evidence of the wood barrel aging.

T: very much like the aroma- caramel, vanilla, chocolate and butterscotch. No doubt this is a high ABV brew, alcohol announces its presence with authority- maybe not quite as much as Goose Island Bourbon County Stout or DFH World Wide Stout, but there's no doubt this is an alcoholic beverage. No hops detected, though admittedly I have a hard time detecting hops in beers such as Palo Santo (rich, malty beers). I don't get any bitterness on the back end that would suggest a hop presence.

M: full bodied and smooth, with just a tad of dryness at the back end. Perhaps a bit too much tingle of carbonation, but I'm nitpicking at this point as I only noticed that on a few sips throughout. Really kicks the saliva glands into overdrive with each successive sip, very thick and a bit sticky on the lips.

D: wow, this is a good freakin' beer. I can imagine enjoying this brew with some high-end chocolate or some smoked gouda or havarti cheese, maybe a nice aged cheddar. This is very likely to become a fall/winter staple at the jhoban19 household.

Photo of inxy
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark, you can see the brownish transparency in the pour, but by the time the glass starts filling up its as dark as oil. Half an inch of very brown head, clears out very quickly though, and leaves no lacing. When tilting the glass to take a sip, a layer of the beer slowly climbs down the interior wall of the glass, giving evidence to the thickness of the beer. Tints the glass brown.

Smell: There's something I can't put my finger on that is absolutely phenomenal about the smell of this beer. I've had it once before and I don't remember it smelling this good. All I can really say to define it is a very sweet, creamy molasses, vanilla, a bit of spice and smokey wood, but mostly just a milky sweetness to the nose. Mmm. Wonderful.

Taste: Candy corn! This definitely has a bakers rack complexity of sweeter flavors, molasses, vanilla and caramel. I get a fruity apple acidity aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Only thing I really don't like about this beer is the carbonation. Too much prickly carbonated texture for such a creamy smelling beer.

Drinkablity/Overall: I could really get used to having this often. I love the smell so much that I don't want to finish this glass off. I'm smelling it more than my girlfriend smells her hair after she showers with a new shampoo. This is my last one, but I will definitely be picking it up again if I see it.

Photo of JamisonM
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this beer from my local wine and beer shop. the looks were great the beer retained a really nice head in the dogfish head glasses. I think its a mistake to judge a head just in some normal glass the first time you have it. you have to poor it in other glasses too! esp if they have the lazer etched bottom.

smell, I smell wood, vanilla and brown sugar. you can really smell and taste the wood in this if you drink 12+ year scotch.

the wood smell and taste is not that of oak. its of another wood, a wood that is more exotic to my pallet. it lends a strange and wonderful flavor that masks the alcohol taste quite well. I can also taste figs and other dryed fruit. A great taste you would never know its a 12% abv

mouth its really not that heavy more a mediium body with good carbonation and small bubbles of carbonation not big

you know if I was given this in a taste test I would guess its 7 - 10 % abv because of the taste but if this was a 6-8 % abv I could see drinking 2 or 4 of these sinces its 12% you cant drink more then 2 of them.

all and all a great beer I highly reccomend it in dogfish head glasses the wood itself lets it to making the 12% beer more smooth just as in a 12 year old scotch is more smooth.

Photo of Lemon
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Dark black with little head. No light visible when held up to the light.

S- Smells great. Picking up sweetness and a bit of the alcohol. Dark fruits, coffee and vanilla.

T- Dark fruits and coffee roasted flavors are what's most upfront. Vanilla has a nice flavor just behind that. Leaves a very nice flavor in the mouth.

M- Nice thick and smooth, creamy feel. It benefits, from a fairly weak level of carbonation, about the perfect amount for this beer I think.

D- Very enjoyable. I'm glad I bought a 4 pack. Due to it's heavy feel and alcohol content, though, I dont think I'd want more than 1 at a time.

Photo of JISurfer
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up at CBX, had to get a growler of it. DFH has finally arrived in Chucktown! For a beer that's 12%, there's hardly any trace of alcohol in the taste. That has all the makings of a dangerous beer, if your not careful. I do like the taste though. Had a kind of a molasses/mutty/smokey malt taste going on. The smell revealed the alcohol a bit more and also had a nice molasses base to it. Def not a beer for someone who's new to "the scene", but something a geek can appreciate.

Photo of avalon07
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a totally opaque consistency. There was a small amount of tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Not much lacing at all.

S: A big smell of bourbon, vanilla and malt.

T: A lot of flavor here. Malt, vanilla and a big, boozy character, also a slight nuttiness. Complex and flavorful.

M: A decent amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Full-bodied, but not overly heavy or overbearing.

D: A drinkable beer, but slightly different from most American Brown Ales. A well done beer.

Photo of whoneeds8
4.23/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium goblet black with a thin off white head. No lacing. The nose has a strong alcohol burn to it. Once you get past that, there is a grapefruit scent to it. The taste is very complex, so complex I can't really describe it well. There are raisins and grapefruit flavors along with carmel and a touch of liqorich. The mouthfeel gets a cut in score because of the high alcohol burn that you must get over on the first taste. It's very overtaking. I also have to put the drinkability lower because of this same problem.

Photo of Habanero58
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This surprised me! I have to try to buy more of this one!
I did not have any idea what to expect ... yes, it's like an oaked barley wine with plenty of vanilla and chocolate I guess?? but, really, honestly, far too unique a flavour, to just classify it thus!

Hard to pin the flavour, very original, I totally loved it, I let it warm and warm and it was remakable... an immediate addition to my list of favourite beers... it's always great to realise that you have just tasted something that doesn't taste like much else and is wonderful... n'est-ce pas??

I gave the drinkability a maximum of 5, despite the 12%, as I figured this brew would be worth the sore head had I drank more than 1 bottle!

Photo of docfmf
3.02/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Now, I love high octane beer, but this was too strange.

The packaging was great, and the coloring was nice and dark until stained my shirt after a was a slob.

The smell wasn't that appealing. As for drinkability, definately drink cold. There is a bite when drinking, and aftertaste. And its there at 6th one just as 1st one.

Photo of ImusBeer
3.57/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Came to me in a 11oz pour, very dark with a tan head, small but constant thin film on top.

Smelled of chocolate with a slight hint of molassas. The taste of cocoa along with hints of vanilla and the alcohol bite of a barley wine.

The mouthfeel was light with a silky smooth texture. Drinkability was good although the alcohol over powered a lot.

Photo of boogyman
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this at a nearby beer store.

A- Poured into my Tulip. Appears pure black with a thick tan head that slowly dissipates and leaves some frothy goodness around the edge of the liquid.

S- Smell comes out as vanilla and sweet. I also get some caramel in there.

T- WOW!! This is good. The vanilla and caramel are definitely there and it with the woody almost smokey taste make this taste quite awesome.

M- Creamy and smooth. The alcohol is amazingly well hidden but the alcohol burn is actually quite pleasant.

D- Oh man I could have a few of these easy but at 12% I probably would be floored! Overall this is one great beer. All the tastes described in the label are there and with great potency. Go grab this one.

Photo of BevMoAndrew
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served into Belgian Tulip glass at about 50 degrees.
Appearance - Black with a thick, tan froth. Great lacing.
Smell - Black cherry, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, mocha (chocolate/espresso)vanilla oak...wow....i'm kinda getting high off the fumes, but pretty complex. Alcohol detected.
Taste - The molasses, vanilla, & oak are up front with brown sugar, mocha, & alcohol on the back end. Good carbonation/creamy mouth feel. long finish.
Drinkability - Wow...this is a great beer, but I'm seriously sweating due to the alcohol. Definitely a serious brew to sip on over a long period of time....but damn I'm enjoying every second of it!

Photo of velosuds
4.29/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Bottled on 07/30/09.

A-Pours a very dark, almost black, brown with a one and one half finger dark tan head that recedes quickly leaving only scant lacing. Looks more like a porter or stout since it is so dark.

S-Aroma is very pronounced with rich chocolate malts and vanilla, and dark dried fruits. Yum.

T-Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, figs, fruitcake, and a very slight alcohol taste. Quite good.

M-Very smooth and well balanced.

D-Surprisingly drinkable for 12% ABV, but glad this is only a 12 oz. bottle. If they could learn from Samuel Smith's how to get a lot of flavor into lower ABV beers, this would be an amazing beer.

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,191 ratings.