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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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5,270 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,270
Reviews: 2,002
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.96%
Wants: 292
Gots: 929 | 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:
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: 5,270 | Reviews: 2,002
Photo of joshkennedy
3.42/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

-A very dark beer with a great smell. Cherry, vanilla, woody.
-Virtually no head.
-Smells sweet.
-Very syrupy and rich.
-Alcohol permeates quickly.
-I'm not huge on dark, thick, syrupy beers, but this one drinks fairly easily. Though, I can bet it's much better with a meal, not alone.

Photo of goldbot
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, bottled on 12/28/2009.

Pours a very dark brown with a somewhat thin tan head and a touch of lacing.

Nice roasted malt aroma; a strong cherry vanilla fruitiness up front. Slight hoppiness as well, characterized by a slight herbal aroma. Very interesting for the style.

Taste of caramel malts and perhaps a touch of chocolate. Very woody and smoky flavor. Backed by a touch of the cherry and vanilla. Any hoppiness is masked by the strong woody flavor. Finishes with a strong ethanol warmth with some solvent taste. As it warms it becomes a lot like a sweet porter with a pretty strong body.

This beer is fairly sweet and quite alcoholic, making for a substantial body. In my opinion the sweet, woody and smoky flavors overpowered this beer. I would like to see this mellow and balance out a bit as it ages in the cellar.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle split and poured into a Nonic. 12% ABV, Bottled on 05/24/09.

Thanks to bnieman and his Dad for sharing this one!

A - Pours almost black with clear mahogany hints and a dense, creamy tan head with good retention and patches of lace.

S - Raspberries and dark cherries come out on the nose with a low woodiness and mild chocolate within the malts. Robust and changing, the aroma is all over the place.

T - Lots of roasted malts with a bold wood flavor and low fruitiness that may come from the alcohol which pokes through just a bit.

M - Very smooth and rich with a full-body and low carbonation finish.

D - Rich and full-bodied, this "brown ale", if you can even call it that, comes across as a stout. A great sipper!

Photo of prg1976
4.95/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: pretty much black, or dark, dark brown. Very little head dissipates quickly with very slight lacing.

S: Woody, caramel, a little bit of alcohol.

T: Creamy, toasted caramel, some fruitiness....maybe raisins, plums?

M: Super smooth, not much carbonation.

Overall: very nice, the 12% can catch up to you quick. Very good beer, drink it slow and let it warm a bit it gets even better.

Photo of snpub540
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, almost black hue. Has a tiny tan head. Leaves some pretty good lacing for a 12% beer.

Smells amazing. Definately more there that your average brown ale. Malty, caramel, and some coffee tone make up the most of this nose. Also some fruity sweetness in there too. Cherry perhaps?

Taste was surprising. Tastes more like a stout than a brown. Alot of roasted malts up front, followed by a slight malty sweetness that I'm used to in browns. Dry woody finish is crisp and makes you want to take another sip.

Mouthfeel is on the syrupy side of medium-bodied. Alcohol is well hidden but comes up a few seconds as a warming sensation in the throat. Definately a good brew that confused me. i was expecting a sweet brown with maybe some wood notes. Another innovative Dogfish Head brew that keep me coming back.

Photo of mothman
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Glad to see a 12% abv american brown ale :) This beer has a year or two of age on it.

Poured into Bud American Ale glass

Pours 1/2 finger of mocha tan head. Fades to a thin olater and leaves some slight splattered lace. Color is black, not brown haha.

Aroma: Huge malt aroma. Lots of oak, vanilla, and caramel. Some raisins and cherries. Damn, this is smelling fine. Very complex.

Taste: This hardly tastes like a brown ale. Lots of oak and vanilla. Some caramel and dark fruits. An amazing brown ale. This is one of the tops in the category for me. Aging it was a good idea.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and simply wonderful. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Hardly any heat with this beer which is great. Only downfall is that it ends fairly dry.

Overall, this beer is great. Tons of flavor. This is a new favorite of mine. I will definitely be getting more to cellar. Pretty drinkable and a fine taste to it. I highly recommend.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.82/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Another weird for the sake of being weird offering from DFH. Pours confidently, good brown lace appearance, even a nice smell, some woody vanilla aspect. Taste though, too much thick syrup like caramel feel to it, and it resonates unpleasantly. Tastes like a worse version of Life & Limb.

Can't call this drinkable, too expensive, not enjoyable. You just want to drink this with as many friends as possible, that way you don't get stuck drinking a whole one.

You really have to like syrup and wood to get into this.

Photo of jbase
2.26/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I had some real high hopes for this beer and unfortunately it fell tragically short, but maybe that's my fault...probably not though.

No doubt this is a strong beer. I though the wood aging would balance that out a bit, but the booze was overpowering most of the flavours that were attempting to come through. I detected some raison, plum, and of course delicious malts, and slight wood.

I tried this with some friends and we all used 8 oz sampler glasses so there was no head at all. Perhaps if I had poured into a bigger glass with a little more vigor and got some head then some of the booze taste would have escaped, my bad.

All in all I'm not impressed. I would give this brew another shot, but I won't go out of my way to do it. A bigger glass with a meal (lamb perhaps) and maybe this could have gone a different direction but this beer is overpriced.

For me The Dogfish Indian Brown Ale is a much better beer and a better value as well, but I'm a cheap prick so don't listen to me find out for yourself.

Photo of Strawbs
4.73/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Having been to Paraguay a couple times, I just had to seek this one out. Poured out as black as night with a moderate head. Aroma was sweet, like caramel. Taste was wonderful- thick, malty, full bodied & with moderate sweetness. The alcohol was fully integrated. This beer can get you into trouble. Really should be sipped, but goes down so easy. a wonderful find.

Photo of BB1313
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is a very nice brown ale. Was bottled in July so had half a year or so to age which is good for this brew. Pours a dark brown w/ great head and lacing. Has a woody scent due to the barrels it's aged in. Lots of molasses and a touch of roasty expresso. Dash of chocolate is present. It has a nutty flavor w/ some vanilla tones. Very creamy! The alcohol is present so this is definitely a sipper. Great beer from DFH.

Photo of travduke
3.37/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Chimay Goblet.

Appearance: Very low carbonation, the little head that formed after the pour quickly dissipated into the black abyss.

Smell: Malts, plum, mild alcohol, caramel.

Taste: Very much the same as the smell, but I taste a bit of coffee. Very malty, but I figured it would be. I don't get too much of the woody taste as I wish I did.

Drinkability: I couldn't see myself drinking a 4pk of these. I'm good after one and don't really desire to have another any time soon.

Side Notes: It's aged in wood, but I don't have wood after drinking this. Its good, but not an amazing beer that others make it out to seem.

Photo of zoso1967
3.7/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark opaque brown, almost like a stout. Light carbonation and no head, though I did start pouring on the side. One sniff and you can tell that there are some crazy notes added by the palo santo. I smell brown sugar, maybe some gingerbread, caramel and also some earthy notes. Also get a whiff of alcohol. Taste is very complex. Lots of brown sugar/molasses with wonderful earthy tones and some toffee caramel notes. Really can't perceive much bitterness. You get the warmth of the alcohol in the finish as well as a very pleasant, slightly roasty and woody aftertaste. I would say this beer is somewhere between medium and full bodied with a fairly smooth mouthfeel, and quite sticky sweet finish. Definitely one to savor. Not my usual cup of tea, but a well made and intriguing beer.

Photo of elricorico
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark in colour, black in the glass and no light passes through. A thick two finger mocha head that seems to last forever.

Aroma is full of dark malt and caramel, but is all set on an acidic edge. Woody I guess, but I may not have said so if it didn't say so on the bottle. Boozy to the nose, but not harshly so.

Malty to taste for sure, but there is a definite acidity all the way through. Almost a peppery taste mixed into the malt. The alcohol is notable and a little hot in the back of the throat and in the belly. Some caramel and coffee flavours. It is pretty good, and gets nicer with each sip.

There is a definite thickness to the body, slick and full. Carbonation is relatively low. Nice.

Pretty drinkable, especially if you consider the strength, but it is still a big beer, and I don't think I'd want more than one at any given time.

Photo of elgiacomo
3.72/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours very dark brown, almost black with a small brown head. Reduces to a whispy covering and leaves a little spotty but short-lived lacing.

Aroma is roasted malts, brown sugar, vanilla, and the wood is big on the nose, also some spice.

Flavor is vanilla, molasses, malty, and spicy. Long spicy finish.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, medium carbonation.

Interesting. Pretty good, but I'm not sure if it's worthy of the high price. However, it's intriguing enough that I think it would be great with a number of years on it, so I'll probably pick some more up to cellar.

Photo of wangbruins
3.52/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Dark evil black with a small tan head that disappeared a little at a time

S- Smoke and chocolate and a sort of sweet plum or dates

T- Chocolate mostly but also something sweeter as well as cherries- it's like maple syrup, really

M- Thick and syrupy but smooth at the end

D- It came in a 4 pack and that would take a lot to handle

Photo of feelmefoam
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a DFH specialty glass.

Palo Santo pours a dark, murky brown with minimal highlights. This isn't your mama's milk chocolate brown, this is deep, dark , opaque, nearly-black brown. Not much carbonation to be seen, but a pretty nice finger of light tan head gets pushed up, then slowly meanders away, leaving thick foamy lacing on the inside of the glass.

Smells of big, dark malts with chocolate and dark fruits. A slight earthiness behind it all as well. Pretty fragrant, but I don't smell anything that suggests being aged in a unique type of wood, like the label suggests.

The flavor is big and beautiful. There is an immediate bready malt flavor mixed with a sweet chocolate icing. Following this is a caramel and vanilla flavor (which the label says is from the wood). Finally, the beer finishes up with just a slight woody, earthy flavor. Very tasty.

The mouthfeel is also great. I like 'em thick, and this does it. For a beer that's 12% abv, you really can't tell because of the thick, creamy mouthfeel and the smoothness of the flavors. Not much carbonation to speak of, but that's fine, it adds to the overall silky characteristic of the beer.

Man, this is only my second beer from Dogfish (because they just recently started distributing to SC and their beers are mostly by the coast), but they did it right again. The label's correct; I now have wood.

Photo of mdwalsh
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Stout black. (WOW). Small, dark brown head of small bubbles, 1 finger, maybe it's 1.5 fingers. A little bit of active carbonation from what I can see.

S: Candi sugar, malt, some toast. No coffee, no hops. Very dark-type smells.

T: Caramel, vanilla, dark fruit (grapes?!) and cherry. Some alcohol hotness, could use some age. A little oaky, I guess that's the palo santo wood.

M: Creamy, with perfect carbonation.

D: Very very good for the ABV, I may up this after I try it with some age on it, see if that mellows it out.

Ok, now May (that was January). Just gonna mention the important notes. I know it's not a lot of age, but a little.

A: Great 2 finger dark brown head with lots of concentrated bubbles.

S: Lot's of sweet molasses aroma here, maybe baked fruit as well.

T: I still get most of the taste from before, particularly actually the grapes, there is definitely a wine like character to this beer, and i think if it were flat I could pass it off as wine. I really want to up this to a 4.5 but I just can't.

M: Holding it's velvety carbonation really nicely.

D: still very much a sipper.

Photo of gthornton
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours out thick... thin head. black, syrupy pour...

S: Smells like a boozey banana bread, or rum cake... also some raisin, plum... and a hint of wood.

T: Very interesting to say the least... the wood aging comes out with the first taste. tastes like dry barley/grain. With chocolate, and burned butterscotch.

M: Good on the thick side of things. Sticky lingering of the malts, and you can feel the sting form the alcohol.

D: Though I find this beer to be a pleasant experience, it does not rank high as a beer that I would want to drink regularly, or in a social setting where I might prefer to have 2-4 beers.

Worth the $14 for a 4 pack, but not something that I intend to always have around.

Photo of DrinkingAleToday
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark mahogany with the smallest trace of tan head.

S: Alcohol and malt very pronounced, black cherries, plum, raisin, slight vanilla, wood is present.

T: Again alcohol and malt sweetness, toffee and dark fruits, some clove and vanilla, wood adds nice complexity and a trace of smokiness, bitterness creeps in.

M: Full bodied, little carbonation, warms the mouth and stomach.

D: One hell of a brown ale, flavors pack a punch especially as this beer warms, would be a great one to lay down for a few years.

Photo of chickenm
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, bottled on 2/17/09. Pours a very dark black with a tan head, it looks like a stout. Has a sweet aroma with vanilla, dark chocolate, spices, and earthy smells. The taste is quite complex with wood flavors, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, and molasses. This is very boozy, but the alcohol doesn't overpower the flavors. Medium-thick body. The alcohol does limit the drinkability a bit. This is a very interesting beer.

Photo of yelterdow
4.64/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 09/09/08. Served in the brewery's own oversize snifter a little over an hour out of the fridge.

Appearance- Dark like the richest of chocolates, this dense brew pours with just a thin, cocoa head that retreats out to the rim within a minute. It's a thick, massive beer without a doubt... the liquid even looks heavy as I swirl it around. The beer does lace in various places in the glass.

Smell- There's an enormous amount of interesting aromas to identify here... I am getting bacon, smoked meat, wood, vanilla, and what seems to be brewer's licorice. The oversize snifter is key here, as its design fits perfectly for the beer's incredible complexity.

Taste- If the nose could unfurl its wondrous bounty over the tongue, the result would be the flavors happening in my mouth right now. A densely packed suitcase of vanilla, roasted malts, wooden barrels, cured meats, and some residual booze rolls over the tongue, leaving behind a lingering hop bitterness that dries things up nicely. Fantastic.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Viscous and sublime, the rich liquid is gently nudged with a rolling, easy carbonation that creates a velvety, almost silky texture. This beer is so huge, so packed with ingredients and flavor that it must be respected and enjoyed properly. I am basking in the joy of each sip, and cannot wait to sample this again with capicola and fennel... ahh, the joys of being a foodie and beer lover.

Photo of 220emaple
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just would like to say that brown ales aren't one of my favorite types but Dogfish nailed this one. At 12% alcohol you can't go wrong. Alot of flavor (mostly that classic Dogfish malty bite with a lot of alcohol). Pretty common among craft beer stores so buy one next time your out, definitely worth it. Cheers!

Photo of tronester
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black, with a dark brown head. Smell is strongly of alcohol and sweet malt. Taste is of cherries up front, smooth malt in the middle, and a woody, smoky, earthy finish. Amazingly smooth considering the ABV. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, low carbonation. Considering how strong it is, this beer is quite drinkable. You can barely taste any alcohol, and that is quite a feat for a beer over 12 percent ABV.

Photo of deruiz10
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out a syrupy pitch black with a thin tan head. Smell is of sweet plums, raisin, and some smokey alcohol. Taste is of dark chocolate and caramel and finishes with a dark chocolate and coffee bitterness with some of the smokey, woody alcohol to boot. It's thick and creamy in the mouth with a slightly oily feel. Though this beer is super strong and heavy, it's a great sipper and worth a try.

Photo of EtOHMD
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Expected a lot from the label and the price and it delivered. Pours a rich, very dark brown to black with a thin brownish / whitish foam. Aroma mainly chocolate with fainter vanilla, cherry, and wood. Great flavor with chocolate, roasted, caramel, toffee, slightly warm and boozy aftertaste. Smooth, creamy feel. Surprisingly drinkable given the ABV. PS -- the label made me laugh.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,270 ratings.