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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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4,726 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,726
Reviews: 1,923
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 233
Gots: 647 | FT: 23
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: 4,726 | Reviews: 1,923 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Poured into a pint glass and had a very dark appearance, similar to a stout or porter. Had a nice creamy brownish tan head. Plenty of lacing as it was consumed.

Smells of roasted malt and perhaps a bit of vanmilla or even some smokey scent.

It has a bit of a smoky flavor and is similar to an oak barrel stout.

This is a delicious beer, smooth and smokey. Definitely tast the smoked malt flavor.

Not a beer I would drink mor than one of in a sitting. Heavy alcohol and a bit filling, yet I still wanted more.

09-26-2008 21:58:33 | More by
Photo of Brad007


4.88/5  rDev +17%

Pours a very dark brown/pitch black color with a very thin, brown head. Seems more like a stout at first.

Aroma is rich and creamy with a hint of raisin, brown sugar and some alcohol warmth on the nose. Definitely has some roasty character as well.

Taste is strong and malty upfront with the roasted character, followed by raisin, caramel and chocolate notes. Smooth and creamy. Again, more reminiscent of a stout. Some woodiness is in the flavor as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with alcohol warmth, woodiness and raisin/caramel flavors. Very interesting.

Drinkability is pretty high for this one. Could use some mellowing from a cellar but as long as you sip it slowly, it's a nice hybrid of a brown ale and stout in my opinion. I definitely plan on buying more to age.

09-26-2008 02:12:32 | More by Brad007
Photo of tpd975


4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

A: Pours a deep dark hue of black with a solid 1/2 finger head into a small tulip style glass. The retention is better than in the bottle and it did manage a bit of lace.

S: Same unique aromas as you find in the bottle but they are a more forward. Bold roasted malt leads the way followed by a big blast of dark fruit. Hints of chocolate come next along with molasses and brown sugar.

T: The base beer is no doubt a solid brown ale. The molasses really comes out in the taste along with a bit of caramel. Leather and chocolate come next only to be overcome by a bit of smoke and earth.

M: Medium in body with nice carbonation.

D: It's a sipper but, one enjoyable sipper without a single hint of the ABV.

This was the highlight of my trip to the DFH brew pub. Real nice to sip as I sat and watched the world go by.

09-25-2008 23:30:52 | More by tpd975
Photo of CJfromPhilly


4.4/5  rDev +5.5%

Pours from the 12 oz bottle a deep, dark, thick. almost syrupy-looking dark brown (almost black) with a small, light tan colored head that dissipates quickly into patchy lacing. The aroma is smoky, woody, and boozy! 1st sip reveals a LOT going on! Malt, wood, coffee, dark fruit, a tinge of vanilla extract, and yes, alcohol. The mouthfeel is roust, but silky & creamy all at the same time. Overall...WOW!! This isn't a beer, this is a sensory experience!! I got the last 4pak on the shelves and I put one up to age. I'm gonna have to go get more!! I can't wait to see what a year of aging does to this baby!! Note to Anheuser-Busch: forget the Beechwood, start aging Budweiser on some Palo Santo blocks!!

09-25-2008 21:32:53 | More by CJfromPhilly
Photo of doho95fu


3.18/5  rDev -23.7%

This beer could have tricked me as an adventurous imperial stout. Mine poured a dark brown with almost red wine edges. No head, even with a rough pour. The smell was strong of black cherry and alcohol/cough medicine. To be honest, this taste was a little bit like cough medicine as well. Some currant maybe, cherry, little bit of smoke undertones. The mouthfeel was a bit like syrup. A bit of alcohol burn. Not a very drinkable brew.

09-25-2008 19:06:45 | More by doho95fu
Photo of jettjon


4.13/5  rDev -1%

From a 12 oz bottle stamped "bottled 7/24/08" into my Sam Adams glass (thanks, guys!), this one is completely pitch brown opaque and sports a tall, thick light brown head that sits around for awhile before fading to a thick collar and great crackly lacing. Looks more like a great porter than anything. Nose of fermented cherries and dark fruit, sweet malts, hints of chocolate, and boozy alcohol. Smoky notes of charred aromatic wood. Tastes a bit more subdued than the nose advertises with a mellow malty-chocolate flavor with mingled dark fruit rising to a warm alcohol glow toward the back and finishing on dry, powdery chocolate bitter note. Somewhat earthy. On the palate it's rich and syrupy smooth with very light carbonation just enough to keep things interesting. Drinkability is very good: this is one smooth and sleek brew. 12% alcohol definitely demands respect, however.

Overall: An outstanding offering from DFH, really pushing the envelope of the "brown ale" style with lots of complexity, flavor, and plenty of alcohol oomph. Definitely recommended.

09-23-2008 23:56:50 | More by jettjon
Photo of IPAcraig


3.73/5  rDev -10.6%

Pours a almost jet black with a dark brown head.

This brew smells like no other I have had. Like chocolate milk laced with vanilla extract.

This has a dried fig sweetness with the same chocolate and vanilla notes. Somewhat herbal finish. A sizable presence of Robitussin is also apparent. A unique beer, but the score would be much higher if it was less medicinal.

A bit syrupy and lightly carbonated.

I really wanted to like this beer. It is truly unique, but it isnt quite right. A near miss by Dogfish Head, but definitely worth a try.

09-23-2008 01:01:02 | More by IPAcraig
Photo of SixpointJMH

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

Pours a thick, damn near black colour that essentially looks like engine oil coming out of the bottle. Liquid settles into the glass with a very nice, hefty and creamy tan head atop it. Small areas of residue are left on the sides of the glass. This beer really looks awesome overall.

The aroma is also quite nice: cocoa powder and alcohol lead the way and blend with some dark fruit and hints of wood. Perhaps some general burnt/roasted malt as well.

Flavour is quite similar to the aroma: cocoa leads, although it is a bit subdued from the aroma, as is the alcohol, which is present but far less aggressive here. The wood notes certainly stand out a bit more, as does the harshness of darker fruit/raisin notes. There's an earthiness to the flavour as well that just sits right overall. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a bit of slickness and a whole lot of hottness to it, perhaps too much hotness at times. I know this is a "big" beer, but I'd have tried to tone it down a touch.

I liked this one. It's certainly a twist on the traditional brown ale, and a nice one at that. Would I drink it often? No, but I'd definitely revisit it and gladly drink it again. It makes for a very nice sipper on a relaxing evening. An easy recommendation.

09-22-2008 02:32:02 | More by SixpointJMH
Photo of Goliath


3.6/5  rDev -13.7%

Pours black and completely opaque with a large inch and a half brown head. Great retention.

The aroma is really nice. Very malty and spicey, kind of oatmeal raisin cookie like. But some roasted chocolate with caramel, cinnimon and raisins. Some of that barrel shows up in some woody earthy tones.

The taste is pretty good. Plenty of coffee and chocolate with some subdued sweet fruit. A little floral and boozy. Definitely feel the heat on the finish. This is more stout like than Brown Ale, but DFH doesn't really seem to care for style guidelines.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, and lightly carbonated producing more of a still feel.

Drinkability is moderate. Flavors are fine, and although the alcohol is high and apparent, it seems fitting. Not awesome, but not bad either. I dig it. I'd like to rate higher, but it's difficult when viewed in terms of brown ale. There's really no designation for a barrel aged Imp Brown ale, which is basically what this would be.

09-21-2008 21:54:11 | More by Goliath
Photo of williamherbert

New York

4.05/5  rDev -2.9%

Appearance: Thick black tar. Half-finger of light brown head. Not much else to say but it's intimidating. Pours like latex paint.

The first whiff is of a roasted porter. Heavy burst of alcohol singes the nostrils. The oak so heavily advertisted on the label is actually nicely subdued. Any vanilla in the nose is strictly theoretical.

The taste is a heavy blast of alcohol, with some serious oak. This all overshadows the second wave of the burnt porter malt in the aftertaste. As it warms, the caramel and vanilla come out like a nice iced coffee. Toward the end, some raisin and dark tobacco.

The feel thick and chewy -- and outstanding. It's a burn at first, and then a cooldown. I'll tell ya, this is one challenging beer. Really strong and ruthlessly thick, but extremely balanced: brutally burnt and yet smoothly sweet.

09-19-2008 23:26:55 | More by williamherbert
Photo of GClarkage


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

09/16/08- Purchased at City Beer in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info on the label or bottle. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Very syrupy looking deep brown cola colored pour. Starts out with a 1/2 inch head which quickly turns to a light rim. Very light spotty lace remains.

Smell- Deep roasted oaky scented malt with some chocolate undertones and some light hints of vanilla. Not assertive enough for the abv.

Taste- The abv sneaks up late in this beer. At first there is no way this can be 12% you are thinking, but as you consume more, the beer gets thicker. Seems a just a touch watery in the beginning, but quickly rounds out very nicely with sugary vanilla oak flavored malt, light hop oil taste and some creamy cocca powder flavor.

Mouthfeel- Mid range to lighter carbonation level. Mouthfeel is full but not quite as syrupy as expected...which is a good thing.

Drinkability- Easy to drink and flavorful. Went well with the homeade meat loaf I had for dinner.

09-18-2008 17:37:44 | More by GClarkage
Photo of tempest


4.13/5  rDev -1%

Picked up a single at Bocktown Beer in Pittsburgh back in April. Poured into a wide-mouth glass is nearly black with a short tan head that doesn't hang around.

The aroma is full of molasses with a bit of dark chocolate. he flavor has more of the chocolate (reminds me of 65% cocoa) and wood, I guess I can't call it oak, but its kind of like oak but earthier. There's also a little fig and allspice, clove, and pepper. The body is medium thickness, relatively light for a 12% brew, and pretty drinkable, albeit a sipper. And though its not the most complex brew, its something different and certainly worth trying.

09-18-2008 02:38:27 | More by tempest
Photo of abfraser


4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

A: Pitch black with small chestnut brown head that dissipates quickly

S: Vanilla oak, roasted malt, brown sugar

T: Strong vanilla giving way to chocolate roasted malt. Alcohol there but never overpowering. This is simply delicious. Truly tastes like I'm drinking dessert

M: Super creamy; no carbonation

D: I wish this thing wasn't 12% otherwise I'd drink it all the time.

Man, I love this brew. One of my personal favorites for a sipping beer. Wonderful warmer on a chilly night. Well worth the high price tag.

09-17-2008 03:17:21 | More by abfraser
Photo of BWMKappaSig


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

12 oz bottle served in snifter.

Appearance: Viscous black liquid with a finger thick, velvet-like, deep tan head. Held up to the light, the beer shows the vaguest hint of mahogany.

Smell: Roasted, sweet and almost chocolatey malt. There are slight hints of a blended whiskey smell within the beer.

Taste: Excellent taste. Slightly bitter roasted malts, hints of caramel, a little bit of alcohol. This brown ale really rivals the best imperial porters for taste and fullness.

Mouthfeel: Absolutely incredible mouthfeel. Rich, creamy, and smooth. The alcohol is present, but not hot. A slight warming note to the alcohol comes through as it opens up, but the feel is close to perfection.

Drinkability: Entirely doesn't show its 12% despite its monster status. Approach with caution, but this is well worth drinking one or two.

09-16-2008 00:30:30 | More by BWMKappaSig
Photo of Foxman

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -1%

It pours an unexpectedly deep mahogany, or perhaps ebony with ruby slivers, but either way, it's darker than I anticipated. Two fingers of speckled tannish brown head sink slowly. Spikes of lacing lance the inside of the glass.

The aroma is dense and rich with roasted malt, toffee, brown sugar, and molasses. Not to mention dates, caramel, and mildly smoky but notably resinous wood. The alcohol is a tacit twist.

Upon sipping, a wash of roasted malt swarms with sweet brown sugar, dried fruit, and earthy dark molasses. It's the woody character that dominates, though, with a mildly smoky nature that speaks of lightly charred bark. The alcohol pushes hard here and sets up the ensuing progression from burnt biscuit to a very dry, distant spiciness that lingers long in the finish. It's bold, and yet graced with various subtleties as well.

Damned near full bodied, it starts cloying and syrupy but it thins a bit as it flows and finally dries.

True to its name, there's no question this is all about the wood it's aged in. At points, it's almost as though I was chewing on aromatic twigs, and that's in no way a bad thing, at least not in this instance. The ABV and sweetness present a bold face combined, but the uniqueness helps it to flow ably. I'm not sure what Sam has up his sleeve next, but I'm glad I finally got ahold of this one.

09-15-2008 15:16:06 | More by Foxman
Photo of francisweizen


2.65/5  rDev -36.5%

12oz bottle. Reviewed at home. Review from notes. This one is a dark chocolate brown with a small/thin head of tan foam. It looks good. Aromas are all sweet sugary alcohol and sweet candy coated malts. Faint green hop oils are in the back of it all. Taste is sugary candy syrup sweet and extremely one dimensional. Not bad but not impressive. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit cloying with all of the sweetness. It makes me weant to scrape my tongue. Still the drinkability is not bad as it is one dimensional sweet and boozy. Really, not bad at all...just not my bag

09-14-2008 18:26:41 | More by francisweizen
Photo of seanpachefddfa


4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Appearance - Poured a very deep dark brown with no light getting through. One of the darkes brown ales i have ever had. A thick fluffy brown head that hung around for a long time.
Smell - A lot going on in this one i am getting vanilla wood, licorice, cocoa, nuts, dark fruit and bourbon.
Taste - Palo santo wood, followed by dark roasted malts, cocoa, and some sweet dark fruit. Very complex
Mouthfeel - full bodied and creamy medium carbonation
Drinkability - For how high its ABV it is a very easy to drink beer. this is one every one should at least try once.

09-14-2008 03:31:43 | More by seanpachefddfa
Photo of JayQue


4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

This ain't your father's Brown Ale!!!! Sort of an Imperial Stout in disguise. Dense black color, big tan head, strong aroma of malt, dark fruit and chocolate.

Tastes like an imperial stout too, except there is a generous amount of vanilla. It cuts the alcohol taste and minimizes some of the rich stout flavors. The coffee, dark chocolate and malts are all there.

Mouthfeel is rich, but the vanilla cuts it a bit and adds a bit of crispness.

Drinkability is good but this is a sipping beer, not designed for mass quantities!!! Very tasty. I would like some more of this one

09-13-2008 18:38:18 | More by JayQue
Photo of Patrick999


4.53/5  rDev +8.6%

Finally....I didn't think I'd ever find this beer, but here it is. Very excited to try this, even though I'm not a huge fan of imperial stouts and related beers.

A - Poured into a snifter a crazy oily cocoa-black. Thumbnail of creamy looking root-beer type head that dissipated, though a few good swirls of the snifter brings the foam back. What a color - as I hold up to the light, I see no red, just a little brown near the top.

S - Bittersweet cocoa along with a fresh vanilla. Not dissimilar to a good imperial stout, but at once not quite the same. Carob and raisin, a very savory raisin. Like an oaked beer with the big vanilla, but somehow softer and more inviting. I guess I have to attribute that to the Palo Santo wood. It has to be the wood; there's no adjunct in here that would help explain it. Like most of the DFH big beers, really one for the snifter, a fine sniffing beer.

T - Again, similar to a very good imperial stout. You have your dark roasted coffee flavors, your chocolate, vanilla, some earthy bitter hop wrapping it all up. But it's somehow even more lush than an imperial stout. Plus, where is the crazy 12% alcohol? It's not "hot" at all, and this bottle isn't even that old. It tastes similar to an oaked beer, only less tannic. Not that I'm complaining about the use of oak in beer, but this is a little bit different, and a welcome change of pace.

F - Full-bodied, creamy and rich. Hey, it's 12%, and a big time malt bomb.

D - One serving in a night is all you want. Still, pretty special stuff....and take it from me - these massive dark beers aren't even really my thing. It's difficult to not be a big fan of this, though. A 4-pack will set you back some $$$, but it's worth it.

09-10-2008 00:23:41 | More by Patrick999
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into an oversized chalice. The beer pours a dark black with a thin brown head. There are red highlights and there ain't no light getting through this brew. The smell of this is somewhat woody with chocalate and vanilla notes. The taste follows the nose. This beer is wonderfully complex. The body is medium to heavy, mdoerate carbonation. This beer drinks remarkably well considerating its 12% abv. This is a great beer! It is a bit pricey($12 a 4 pack) but it is worth it.

09-09-2008 23:34:54 | More by bonkers
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%

Pours a dark brown, almost black with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly. Looks very stout-like. Aroma is filled with caramel and chocolates, a bit of vanilla and oak-like flavor, some alcohol it there too. Tastes wonderful! Lots of roast and dark fruits, vanilla, more wood flavors and alcohol burn in the finish. Very creamy in the mouth. Thick and full bodied. Light carbonation. This a damn fine brew, but I'm not sure I'd label it a brown. Defiantly not what I was expecting, but great nonetheless.

09-09-2008 23:07:46 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of rtepiak


4.18/5  rDev +0.2%

a murky opaque brown with a small tan head. smell of alcohol, oak, toffee and caramel, a light coffee, and esters. the taste is thick and goes down warm. very woody. dark fruit and alcohol blend to give a port like consistence. caramel, oak, malt, and hop blend well. opens up as it gets warmer. light cocoa and chocolate in malt. one of their best. i couldn't drink more than one if i tried. not made for a hot day. great beer. but not a regular for me.

09-09-2008 21:41:30 | More by rtepiak
Photo of treehugger02010


4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

This beer must cellar with the best of them because I bought this from Fatheads in Pittsburgh, PA over the fourth of July weekend, forgot that it was in the trunk of my car (during all of July and August) until three days ago, refrigerated it, and then last night poured it into a pint glass.
Appearance: A deep purple, almost black body with a one finger tall tan with purple highlights head. Excellent retention but poor lacing.
Smell: Very boozy, roasted malt, mocha and coffee.
Taste: Boozy again, but not as overwhelming as the aroma. Dark fruit make it a bit winy.
Mouthfeel: Silky because of a lack of body.
Drinkability: I need to find myself a body of this fresh and un-tainted because if it was this pleasant after the beating it took, I want it at its peak.
Don't drink and review.

09-09-2008 14:13:54 | More by treehugger02010
Photo of rodrot

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

This is a Brown ale like I've never seen. It pours a very dark brown, almost black color with a 1/4 inch tan head. Aroma is of coffee, roasted malt and charred wood. Taste is exquisite and rich. Lots of coffee flavors, wood, ripe fruit and plum. Alcohol is there, but not overly so. A full bodied mouthfeel along with the rich taste makes me wish I'd held onto this bottle until winter. Very well done beer and one that I'll be seeking out more often.

09-07-2008 21:41:45 | More by rodrot
Photo of andylipp


4.65/5  rDev +11.5%

Appearance - Poured a deep dark unfiltered brown through which no light passed. Poured rather thick, like a RIS. About ¾ of an inch of dense-looking brownish-white head developed in my Corsendonk tulip (my standard taster). Some carbonation clung to the sides of the bottom of the glass. Significant lacing after each swirl of the glass.

Smell - Sticky-sweet dried fruit and vanilla extract with more than a hint of alcohol. Slight floral hop nose. The aging adds a nice woody component to the aroma, too. Some roasty notes that reminded me of the 100% Kona coffee I had for breakfast today.

Taste - Sweet, malty goodness followed by a fruity center with a late roasty, somewhat hoppy finish of vanilla flavors. An even later lingering alcohol note appeared with some noticeable warmth going down. Very complex.

Mouthfeel - Just enough carbonation to get your mouth's attention while remaining restrained. Thick- this beer coated the palate with its smooth sweetness. The body is as close to perfect as I've ever encountered in a beer-viscous and creamy.

Drinkability- Terrific. The abv demands respectful sipping, yet this brew had the potential to go down like a session stout (but don't-if you gulp it you'll miss out on the complexity that slow sipping will reward).

09-07-2008 21:26:08 | More by andylipp
Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 4,726 ratings.