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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

5,233 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,233
Reviews: 1,992
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.96%
Wants: 288
Gots: 890 | 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:
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: 5,233 | Reviews: 1,992 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of webbrew
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: The darkness of this beer spilling from the bottle into my chiseled glass mug nearly startled me. Slightly less than one finger tan head. Little lacing.

Smell: Scent of licorice.

Taste: Jaegermeister, anyone?

Mouthfeel: Alcohol and CO2 tingle the tongue.

Drinkability: Sip it slowly. I poured at 46 degrees F. As the glass emptied and the remaining ale warmed, I wished I had savored it even longer.

Photo of dukew456
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Duvel tulip...first review after a short hiatus spurred by poor health and beer burnout.

Pours a viscous, very dark brown with a small, bubbly, tan head. Pretty good looking, but if I saw this sucker sitting in front of somebody I would ask what stout or porter they were drinking.

The smell on this beer is very enjoyable to me. Dark malts blend with a spicy phenolic character that gives way to a dark fruit characteristic. Also lurking is a kind of mesquite-burned characteristic.

This beer doesn't taste like a conventional brown ale. There is that smooth, nutty flavor up front, but the mouthfeel is so heavy that other flavors are imparted onto the palate. Following the sweet malt is a spicy alcoholic burn that pairs very well with the woody/smoky characteristics of this beer

One hell of a slump breaker, this beer reminds me what got me into craft beer in the first place...the beer. DFH has pushed some crazy stuff, and may that always be so.

Photo of LauraAlberts
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 2/17/09 - the day after my birthday!

Appearance: Dark brown - with nice tan head - nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Malt, Banana, Vanilla, Creme.

Taste: Toast, Caramel, White Pepper, Coffee Bean, Tons of Malt, Chocolate, Banana, Vanilla Bean, Ripe Strawberry - The most flavor I've gotten out of a Brown Ale

Mouthfeel: Soft, calming mouthfeel with nice smooth tannins leaving the mouth coated with a slowly vanishing flavor profile that's rather fun to dissect.

Drinkability: Sipper for sure. The 12% ABV pushes this beer into the after dinner drink/night cap category for me. Savor this one. Age it if you have the will. This is a beautiful brown ale - people who love brown ales will really enjoy this one. If you are new to brown ale - don't start with this one - work your way up to this beer and you'll find that you'll appreciate what Dogfish Head has done here.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in Totowa recently. I've never had a bad beer from Dogfish Head and I didn't expect this to be any exception to that. Although this packed quite a punch, I enjoy it's taste and depth. This is not a Newcastle-type Brown Ale that goes right down but rather, this beer deserves to be savored slowly, since it's quite full and has a heavy mouthfeel!

The pour was dark, a bit foamy, but there wasn't any lace to be seen. What was lacking in appearance was more than made up for in the taste and mouthfeel. This is dark, foreboding, and heavy. Lots of oak, sugar, molasses, a bit of rum, a hint of chocolate and licorice, and of course, alcohol! I can't recall ever having a Brown Ale that was this strong and so full. This didn't have a strong warming effect or the stickiness and caramel of Newcastle or Brooklyn Brown. Rather, more of the flavor was in the back and the fullness of the beer pratically begs this to be put into a snifter and savored. Yes, it's that different!

Of course, any beer that 12% ABV is going to pack a wallop and this was no exception. The taste of the alcohol isn't strong, but the presence and mouthfeel of it was there after each sip went down. It didn't detract from the beer at all since everything is very well-crafted here. I'm not sure when this would be good for, as I tend to drink Brown Ales in the fall, but this has to be the best one available in this part of the country. Worth a try if ya like your beers smoky, full-flavored, and solid top to bottom.

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark brown with a 1/4 head

Smell: sugar cane, malt, vanilla, and a touch of caramel

Taste:oak, malt, and coffee dominate. There are also touches of vanilla and sugarcane

Mouthfeel: smooth, medium heavy body, sweet with a sharper end

Drinkability: Another winner from DFH. Probably my third favorite behing 90 minute and Festina peche..Wonderfully complex..everything you would expect from the brewery, I would gladly have this again.

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into SABL Glass.

A. Poured a thick very dark brown. Got almost a 1 finger head when poured. Very little lacing left.

S. Roasted malt, dark fruit, chocolate, alcohol

T. Dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malt with a smokey quality, alcohol.

M. Full bodied rich and creamy.

D. For 12% extremely drinkable. Has a bit of a boozey quality, but it works. This is a very good beer.

Photo of flexinwext
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ive been really waiting to try this one. Finally found it and bought a single, 4 pk was a bit pricey. Pours very dark and thick. Tan head that doesnt stick around long. Very powerful scent of chocolate and some sort of sweet rum. Lots of complex flavor. Supposedly flavored with the palo santo wood. This was a definite sipper for sure but definitely worth the effort. Drinkability is a little low due to heavy mouthfeel and high abv but still a great beer.

Photo of thespaceman
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a DFH pint glass

Appearance: Thick triple black, uncanny color for a brown, huge tan head slowly dissapates, nice creamy lacing

Smell: A raisin dipped in chocolate, bits of dark rum, esters, a huge toffee like exposure. The alcohol is very evident as it blends with a earth like aroma

Taste: Caramel malt blends beautifully with a dark raisin like sweetness, oats, a huge earth backtone from the Palo Santo Wood, lots of malt sweetness and alcohol/ester bite, a bit boozy but balanced through all the way.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation with a slightly bitter finish. Very creamy and bold!

Drinkability: DFH knows what we want, bold ales that can be enjoyed time and time again. This beer is a DFH staple in my book, right behind the 90 Minute its a favorite from my favorite brewery.

Photo of argock
3.62/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. 7/24/08 bottled on date. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $3.80.

A: Very dark brown hue with 1-2 finger beige head with apricot tinge with decent retention and scattered lacing.

S: Hefty amounts of vanilla, cherries, dark berries, and a little zest of licorice. Dark chocolate with woody, herbal hops.

T: The taste is heavy and unique with a great deal of vanilla berry-cherry like sweetness from the prodigious maltload. Chocolate and coffee grounds flavors are there also. Hops are herbal and spicy. The slightly acrid wood barrel edge comes in the aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied and then some with prickly carbonation. Aftertaste is boozy and acrid-burnt.

D: The ABV catched up to you. A very unique, "big beer" approach to a brown ale. Very sweet from huge maltload -- drinks more like a very sweet stout. DFH keeps it fresh no doubt about that.

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

A- Black body with a thin, off-white head that doesn't stick around too long.

S- Woody and roasted smells with some hints of sweet, dark fruity malts.

T- Strong malt base support some very interested flavors: vanilla, smokey/woody, dark fruit and rock sugars stand out to me. Notes of alcohol are definitely present but not overwhelming. Hops are almost not existent. There is a lingering woody/smokey flavor mixed with some sweetness.

M- Silky smooth and full body with the right amount of carbonation to make different flavors dance on the tongue.

D- Definitely not a session beer like some American browns, but definitely a good nightcap.

Photo of chaz410
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle I got at Vitners in Charlotte NC.
Pours a PITCH BLACK body and a dark brown caramel head. Head is not very thick and thins pretty quickly.
Smell is intoxicating. Sweet port-like notes of oak and mahogany. The palo santo wood gives a smokey maple quality to the smell. Little rich roasted barley background.
Taste is sweet and dark. Nice maple and dark fruit notes like raison and prune. There is a small bit of hop on the finish but the majority of the taste is full of robust oaky flavors, a little notes of bourbon and a liiittle bit of vanilla towards the finish. Great taste, and great smell.
Mouthfeel is very smooth and doesn't thin out all that much during the swallow either.
Drinkability is selective to certain crowds and will store well.

Photo of SPRichard
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

bottled on 10/23/08 --- drinking on 5/03/09

this is the blackest brown ale i've ever had....almost stout like apperance

some hints of black cherry-ish red comes out when the light hits it the right way

vanilla and bourbon in the nose

medium mouthfeel and some creamyness

this is a sipper for sure....high ABV and interesting tastes/scents that make you think about what you're drinking makes this one a beer for a special occasion

Photo of SpencerSauce
3.48/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I got this beer because dogfish head has never let me down. And it still hasnt, this was an exceptional brown ale but it was a strange one.

A- black like motor oil. Tan head. Opaque Completely.

S- Roasted or burnt malts. maybe something sweet. Strong booze smell when i swirl the glass around.

T- roasted malts, sweet brown sugar or caramel.

M- coats the mouth nice.

D- Id say a sipper.

Photo of callmescraps
3.77/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Been intrigued for awhile, decided to give it a bid.

Appearance - Very dark, almost black. A thin ring of coffee colored head. It doesn't stick around. If graded as a "brown ale" it wouldn't be very good. But this is a strange one. Looks fine, nothing special.

Smell - Old red wine. Like an old, skunked barrel. Almost vinegar. Deep fruits. Almost like a chocolate covered cherry. Almost a hint of toffee, chocolate. Raisins. Certainly unique.

Taste - Sweet dark fruit. Chocolate covered raisins almost. A hint of booze. It's like a red wine with a full, full body. Not sure what this beast is. It's interesting. If you mixed old viscosity with some red wine, you might get this beer. Definitely some sweet malt. It's unusual, and sort of interesting, but isn't lighting me on fire.

Mouthfeel - Nice and thick. Covers the tongue. Good feel.

Drinkability - Pretty decent considering all the booze. It's pretty nice. I might have another, certainly wouldn't turn one down.

Pretty good beer. I'm not always down w/DFH, but I like this one. It's got some near RIS qualities. Including the appearance, some of the malt, and the mouthfeel. It also has some wine qualities. Reminds me a little bit of a Ten Fidy, actually. It's certainly worth a try. But for the price, I'll probably pass.

Photo of puboflyons
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle with the marker: Bottled on 07/24/8 E. Sampled on April 29, 2009. The pour is dark and slow like molasses. The head is thin and tan but it never completely dissolves. The aroma is of chocolate malts and hops. It is distinctive in that way. Heavier mouthfeel. The taste is very much like cocoa, chocolate, and hops. Ends on the dry side. Quite marvelous.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opaque onyx with a glimmer of reddish orange along the edges. This has to be the darkest American brown ale on planet Earth... and is blacker than most stouts. The golden brown sugar colored head persists nicely, looks good while doing so, and is laying down tattered sheets of lace that are pleasing to the eye.

The nose is exactly what was expected for such a big bruisin' brown ale. Since I have no idea what Palo Santo wood smells or tastes like, I have no idea how it has impacted the aroma. There's nothing especially different or exotic about it, but that's fine by me.

The whole idea of a massively malty brown ale aged in monsterous wooden vats built out of Paraguayan wood is exactly what I would expect from Sam and the boys at Dogfish Head. That said, like the nose, I can't appreciate anything different or unique on the palate. Maybe something will come to the fore once the beer continues to warm.

None of that really matters, because good beer is good beer, no matter the backstory or the inspiration for its creation. Palo Santo Marron is good beer. Actually, it might end up convincing me that it's great beer by the time the twelfth ounce rolls around. It looks like DFH knows their browns, because Indian Brown is damn good stuff too.

The incredibly broad and deep flavor profile includes brown bread (not quite pumpernickel) covered with melted Hershey's kisses, melted caramels, candided cherries, sugared pecans and crushed vanilla beans. According to the label, the wood adds 'caramel and vanilla complexity'. Alright then.

Alcohol? Not a trace. The mouthfeel is superb, as any beer with this much malt is bound to be. However, it still takes talented brewers and perfectly dialed-in carbonation to put it all together.

I'm not sure what Palo Santo Marron (Marron is Portuguese for 'brown') tastes like fresh, but it's simply sublime after almost 15 months in the bottle. Without a doubt, this is one of Dogfish Head's best. If they keep brewing it, I'll keep buying it.

Photo of BierFan
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Bottled on date of 07/24/08.

Appearance: Very thin light brown head on top of a black body.

Smell: The smell is mostly of the palo santo wood. Some of the sweet darker malt aromas let themselves be known, caramel and toffee.

Taste: I'm surprised by how much wood flavor this beer still has even though it's just three months shy of a year. Definitely a robust and flavorful beer.

Photo of ltjska04
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer was bottled in September of 2008, tasted in April 2009. It is very dark... both the look and smell remind me of an imperial stout, nowhere near a brown ale. But who cares? I'm loving it. The taste is delicious; lots of malt, some vanilla, syrup, and smoke. It's way tastier than any ordinary brown I've ever had and every sip reveals more nuances. The alcohol is noticeable but never gets in the way of the enjoyability of this brew. It's very smooth and leaves me wanting more. This is definitely the best beer I've had from Dogfish Head and no other brown ale I've had can touch it.

Photo of SmithwicksNut
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very dark brown beer with no light passing through. A dark, thick, creamy tan head which dissipates quickly. Very thick looking.

S: Sweet molasses, fruity, smokey with slight alcohol.

T: A beer with alot going on. Like the aroma...molasses, fruity, smokey with alcohol warming.

M: A very full bodied beer with medium carbonation. Thick and syrupy.

O: This is a beer for the true beer geek only. The average Joe would pour this out. A very complex beer with alot to appreciate. For anyone who like to drink brown ales, they are in for a big surprise with this one.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very, very dark with a medium brown colored head.

S: Lots going on here. Chocolate comes out as well as a lot of dark malts and their adjoining sweetness. The vanilla-type flavors from the wood definitely come in.

T: Similar to the smell, with hints of some dark fruits coming in here. Very, very complex and interesting.

M: Very full-bodied and creamy.

D: Definitely one to sip. Glad Sam sort of went crazy with this one--it really worked out.

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

On-tap at The Pit in Raleigh served in a Gouden Carolus chalice a nice almost opaque black with a nice tan head that dimininishes to a thin layer. Aroma is a nice amount of brown malts and wood balanced nicely together. The taste is a nice amount of brown malts, caramel, and hints of chocolate dancing nicely with the wonderful wood taste. The beer is medium bodied with a decent alcohol presence that's there, but not too overwhelming. I must say this one is truly amazing on draft.

Photo of shivtim
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this on tap before, but I'm reviewing after a taking better notes on a bottle.

This is a great beer, one of my faves from DFH. I have to tip my hat to the classy bottle design that even has a special "wooden" cap.

This is a rich black/brown beauty with cafe au lait head. Nose is vanilla bourbon, sweet malt, and kind of a unique sawdust/peat smell. Must be from the wood? Some vague Belgian qualities here.

Taste is a great sweet/spicy combo, like cumin and sugar daddies (if that makes sense). White raisins, deep sweet malts, vanilla/caramel liquors. Strong and complex. Nice.

Mouthfeel is quite good. Drinkability is the one weak point here, due to 12%ABV and the strong/sweet flavors. Overall, fantastic unique and original brew.

Photo of Gigantis
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

bought a bottle of this that was bottled on 7-28-08. Would have liked to age it more, actually, but I was too tempted because I had a taste of this once at a party and I remembered it being really good. I wasn't disappointed.

I read on the label that this was a brown ale. This is not a brown ale on many levels. The first of which is the appearance. It is really dark with a light brown head. Not much lacing and the head retention is almost non-existent. I should have probably given this more of an aggressive pour into my snifter. It may not have been as light and fluffy as one expects from a "brown ale" but it still looked viscous and appetizing.

It smells like dark fruit and wood. the wood smell I refer to is smokey and lovely, really. Nothing much else going on here though.

Great taste. Very original. It has a very fig-like taste. Figs and dates... really connects the dots with its scent. It has some nice biscuity malt and alcohol presence with a light smoke taste that I can compare to a smoked porter. Try it. It's quite original.

It is oily and syrupy but not overtly. Some carbonation.... not much though. These are all things I enjoy to some extent. If you don't like a thicker beer, this is probably not for you. It sticks to you lips.... again, something i like.

Drinkability ... err, based on what I have said does this sound like the kind of beer you'd want to drink too many of? Thought not. Interestingly, I would oblige in three or four of these if I didn't care about the fact that I would be really entirely too drunk. really interesting, original beer.

Photo of weasbri
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, I mean really black, can't see through it. Thin head fades quickly and leaves no lacing behind.
Rich aroma is the best way I can describe it. Trying to figure out what it is under the clear malt aroma that I can't quite place. Vanilla maybe? Could be a hint of the wood, if I knew what Palo Santo wood smelled like.
I was really expecting the alcohol content to have more of an effect on the flavor and mouthfeel here, but it's managed to stay relatively subdued. I actually get a candy-like flavor in here, like toffee, but also a roasted taste of coffee, with some smokiness and slight bitterness (from the wood?).
Not really drinkable beyond one at a time, but that's not what it was intended to be. I could definitely see this as an after-dinner drink to linger over.

Photo of jgasparine
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with a beautiful coffee-colored lacy head that quickly dissipates.

S: Roasted and candy malt, dried fruit, slightly smoky, and an extremely faint astringency from the Palo Santo wood.

T: Extremely complex. Sweet candy sugar and molasses mingle with the smoky/spiciness of the Palo Santo wood. Dried dates and raisins mingle with some slight coffee notes in the background. After swallowing, all of these attributes are met with a very slight and non-offensive alcohol burn.

M: Exceptionally creamy, syrupy and slightly grainy. I can roll one sip of this beer around in my mouth for several minutes without losing any of that full-bodiness. The mouth is still pleasantly coated even after swallowing.

D: This is certainly a dessert beer. I personally enjoy having just one at the end of a meal. However, a number of my friends have reported continued enjoyment through a four-pack! Regardless, this could never be a session beer - it's just too rich.

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,233 ratings.