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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 BretSikkink
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%

Deepest of browns, actually opaque so probably rocking awful close to black (20-25 Lovibond). Head jumps up immediately to about a finger and a half, recedes rather quickly to a nice thick film that never really reliquishes. Good initial lacing.

Aromas of strong alcohol-infused woodiness, mild notes of vanilla and sweet dark but not roasted malt. The flavors give back a lot of the same, adding some nice dark fruits and a bit of baker's chocolate dry-bitterness.

There's a ton going on here. It's really terrific in the mouth, initially rushing the palate with the carbonation and multiple flavors, but the longer you sit with it the better things turn out to be. Lots of complexity, lots of alcohol content, lots of good beer.

BretSikkink, Jun 28, 2008
Photo of cvstrickland
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

12-ounce bottle poured into my DFH shaped pint glass yields an opaque brown body capped with an enormous fine-bubbled toffee-colored head that retains well and leaves overlapping rings of sticky lacing.

Smell is sweet and fruity with spicy, savory notes of wood-aged vanilla.

Taste is toasty and earthy with wood, caramel, and a healthy dose of chocolate. The drink is fairly sweet, chocolatey, woody, as noted, and has a nice bitter cocoa powder finish. The drink is softer, richer, and roastier as it warms a bit.

This is no wimpy brown ale; this bastard is big and bold with unusual flavors that really shake up my perceptions of what a 'brown ale' is, and ought to be.

As drinkable as a beer with 12% abv can be, I suppose. Really flavorful and robust.

cvstrickland, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of Stoneman78
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%

Appearance is a dense dark brown/black hue, thin layer of tan foam sustains, moderate lacing

Smell is delicious, big roast malts, hints of nuttiness, coffee, chocolate as well, dark fruits, cedar-like wood, slight tinge of sugary bubblegum, light booze

Taste is mostly roast malts with backbone of nut flavors, dark chocolate and light coffee tones, opens to toffee, dark fruits (raisins, figs), and grassy hops, the wood flavors are subtle in the background, finishes sweet with slight alcohol burn that lingers

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, dense and chewy malt texture, moderate carbonation

Drinkability is fair, this is one tough brown ale at 12%, the specialty wood does a good job of accenting and not dominating the flavor profile, the stiff alcohol presence puts this in the range between traditional strong ale and "sipping" dessert beers, a nice treat for brown ale fans

Stoneman78, Jun 26, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Pours mahogany with 3 fingers of thick & beady parfait-like brown head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Some coffee, roasted malt carob & port notes as this warms

T: A bit of coffee/bitter choclate laced booze, plums & toasted malt up front. Hints of molasses & licorice, oakyness, vanilla, dryness& dark fruit as this warms along with choclate, rum-raisins. Finishes dry, oaky, tanins & with some booze infused brown sugar. Almost pulled a 5.0, maybe with aging?

MF: Medium bodied, a touch thin & hot

Drinks easy for the complexity & ABV, the hotness does detract a bit. One to sip by a fire or enjoy with dessert or meat. This would be one to offer up to wine snobs

russpowell, Jun 26, 2008
Photo of Slatetank
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

I had this on tap at DFH brewings and eats in Rehoboth, DE. Served cold in a snifter.

A - Dark mocha brown w/ an inch of medium tan head that settles fast to a ring w/ an ultra fine bead and streamers of lace are left clinging

S - Aromatic woody aromas similar to cedar w/ a smokey note w/ cocoa and slightly boozy dark roasted grain in the nose w/ an earthy raisin like note.

M - Dry w/ moderate amounts of carbonation. Woody, toasted and dry sweet textures swirl together w/ deep fruity concentrated sugar and honey feel in the finish.

T - The flavor is of dark malt, wood and caramelized brown sugar w/ smoke following in the flavor w/ hints of spice and toffee, candied nuts and ripe fig w/ subtle coffee notes

D - Very rich, but full of Palo Santo Marron wood essence, this has to be one of the best browns Dogfish head makes. I enjoyed this and drank it quickly not realizing the 12% abv it contained, so I consider it drinkable and very well made. I really like the taste the wood gives this with earthy sweet flavors.

Slatetank, Jun 24, 2008
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%

12oz bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester. Pours an opaque dark brown/black body with a quickly dissipating thin head of tan head. Smells chocolaty with woody notes. Tastes like chocolate and coffee, with strong woody notes. Full bodied, bordering on viscous, with ample carbonation to clean the palate. Drier than I expected, though still sweet, and the wood adds an interesting quality to the beer, complimenting the dryness... Having said that, it's a solid tasty strong American brown. Not entirely sure yet whether it was worth the 14$ per four-pack though...

MrHurmateeowish, Jun 23, 2008
Photo of mnapier
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%

Service Temperature, 50 degrees Farenheit, Service Glassware Pike's 12 ounce Tulip.

Appearance: This beer pours a medium to strong medium light brown head with an initial blanket of lace that dissapears with each sip.
Aroma: The nose on this produce alcohol, raisin, some oak character along with some caramel.
Taste: Again the alcohol is present along with some nuttiness, mixed with roasted-ness and some vanilla
Mouthfeel: mild to medium

Overall a nice dessert beer in my opinion.


mnapier, Jun 22, 2008
Photo of gunnerman
3.3/5  rDev -20.9%

Poured into a snifter pours a pitch black with a ring of foam that stays the entire time. Smell has a sweet scent of candy apple, a bit of pine as well. Taste is a bit sweet at first with a strong alcohol burn as it goes down with an aftertaste of roasted coffee and pine, very unusual and nothing like I have tasted before, just a bit of hop character in the mix as well. I had big hopes for this beer, I feel this one probably ages well and will be very good say a year from now, overall has a sweet coffee taste to it.

gunnerman, Jun 22, 2008
Photo of
4/5  rDev -4.1%

12 oz. bottle

Poured a very dark brown, with orange at the edges. Small, light tan head. Lots of leg showing...not much lace.

Scent struck me as cedar-like. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry (kidding on the last one). Alcohol/medicinal. Bourbon characteristics.

Taste was quite complex. More sweet than bitter. Raisins. Alcohol. Toffee. Back to a bourbon comparison. Nice bittering at finish, seems herbal.

Full body. Medium, at best, carbonation. Starts sweet, but ends dry if that makes any sense.

Overall, quite good. Not something I would want more of than 1 at a time, but a nice dessert drink. DFH puts out another very interesting beer, I'm curious as to what a few years of age would do to this.

, Jun 21, 2008
Photo of jjayjaye
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%

Many, many thanks to drunkmonk for flushing this one out and equal gratitude to DavidEddie and ampzilla for hook'n me up with this one. You guys rock! Finally showed up here, too.

Wow! You could tell me that it was brewed in a bathtub and I'd be love'n this. Without a doubt one of the best beers that i've had the pleasure of considering this year. Let's get right on over to the drinkability quotient...because i may have to open a second one to finish this review. The 12% ABV is masterfully integrated. The smell is amazingly complex. The aroma comes across as a silky rich vanilla, deep-dark caramel, "going to loose your mind in this double stout" character. The mouth feel is equally complex. Scoring mega-points for imagination and creativity. It's smooth with an altogether silky coating texture. Full flavored, the taste is a mirror image of the nose. Vanilla and darkened malty caramel that lingers well. "Swing...and a miss!", just not gonna do this one justice. GOING BACK FOR MORE.

jjayjaye, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of phisig137
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%

Bottled 4-16-08

A- Pours a deep dark black, letting in only a tint of light around the edges. Deep rich brown half finger head has half decent retention, but leaves absolutely no lace or bubbles in the glass. Looks like a flat stout, not the brown ale described...

S- Very interesting. Molasses and malt come to the mind first, followed by a tiny hint of plums, and a fair amount of solvent alcohol. not enough to burn your nose, just enough to let you know its there. Smells quite sweet.

F- Not expected at all. Only a touch sweet up front, but with a long lingering dry middle and finish. There still seems to be some semblance of malt sugars in there, but the wood really shines here. This isn't your typical wood aged beer, as this is quite different from oak. More complex, subtle, and well blended. Vanilla type flavors are present, but I can actually taste the wood. It "tastes" light a very tight grain wood, that is hard for its size.... if that makes any sense whatsoever. The flavor is actually similar to anything you may have had smoked over olive wood. Very interesting.

M- Thick, heavy, smooth. Quite nice.

D- the alcohol does begin to warm quite a bit, even after only a couple of sips. A slow sipper to enjoy over a long period of time.

Overall, a very interesting, very very different beer, that I enjoy quite a bit.... just not right now. This would be great in the dead of winter, not June. I'm going to pick up a few more bottles to hold onto for a few years. I think this would age pretty nicely. Well worth picking up and trying for the price.

phisig137, Jun 19, 2008
Photo of Dalem
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%

Damn! This is some thick looking stuff or what? Ain't no light getting through this at all. We're talking the looks of motor oil. Thin head fades pretty quick but a quarter in cap sticks around for quite a bit of the duration. A mellow roasty wood smell with notes of chocolate, coffee and molasses.
For as thick as it looks it's has a nice body. A creamy fluff in the mouth. The alcohol content in this a very deceiving because the brew has such a mellow taste. Slow roasted coffee with a hearty amount of vanilla and a dash of maple syrup. A kiss of hops in the finish and a nice warming in the chest as it goes down. There's quite a few levels of complexities from start to finish so the high end booze content is hardly noticed but watch out cuz it will sneak up behind ya.

Dalem, Jun 19, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%

Pours a dark black with a thin tan head that falls to nothing fairly quickly. Nose is kind of a woody molasses thing. Very slight coffee tone. Flavor is smooth with a nice roasted character. Smooth profile overall. Feel is slick and smooth. Lower carbonation. Overall very easy to drink. Smooth and a nice character to it. Not really overly complex or anything, but it's workin'.

RblWthACoz, Jun 17, 2008
Photo of mentor
3.6/5  rDev -13.7%

Pours a light brown one finger head over a dark brown liquid. Smells like a huge brown ale. Chocolate with fuggles hops and some caramel underneath. Some vanilla, but not really any oak.

Tastes rich chocolatey and nut with malt sweet dominated by a drying roast. Vanilla with some creaminess. Not particularly complex, but enjoyable. Alcohol sting is present at a level much lower than I would expect. Waaay to much carbonation. Md-thick mouthfeel.

mentor, Jun 16, 2008
Photo of joezak5
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter. Brown? The only brown hints I saw was on the literal pour... other than that this was an imperial stout in appearance; deepest darkest brown, overflowing tight brown head that doesn't want to let go; it's losing density before it loses height. Enormous retention, lacing everywhere.

Smell: Deep, dark vanilla malt; yes the woody background is there is full force. This is some fine wood because it's overwhelmingly spicy vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and syrupy with very muted carbonation; very nicely swished and held.

Taste: Deep fruity sugary malt with roasty bitterness to round out the oaky, earthy vanilla feel. Burnt cocoa finish. Really impressive.

Drinkability: Why am I picturing Newman liking is fingers and salivating "It's the wood that makes it good"? This is so mellow and smooth I'm amazed it's a 12% ABV. And this was bottled on 4/15/08... 2 months ago? Amazing. I got this as single for $3.49 in downtown Princeton, NJ where things are overpriced to begin with... a real bargain. I'm surprised DFH doesn't put the exclamation point on this one and charge $8. Kenny... Kenny...

joezak5, Jun 16, 2008
Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev -4.1%

Palo Santo Marron pours a dark brown with a dark brown head from a twelve ounce brown bottle. The aroma is intense and complex, I get vanilla, caramel, dough, wood, alcohol and more. The mouthfeel is medium to thick. At first the flavor strikes me as fruity, hints of vanilla and licorice, wood, caramel and alcohol. The alcohol is fairly well hidden, but it's there and I can feel the warming. Worth a try, especially if you like bigger beers.

Drew966, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%

A - Black brew with a small mocha head that faded quickly. Silky appearance.

S - Bourbon barrel aroma with some chicory and faint dates - a bit of charred malt.

T - Wood, moss, coffee and black patent malt. A bit of a mossy bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - Smooth, thick, creamy texture. Pretty refreshing.

D - Very good. I really enjoyed this one. I am surprised that they labeled this as a malt beverage. It is a pleasant.

mrasskicktastic, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of scruffwhor
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%

You'd never think this was a brown ale. There is some brown in the appearance, but only as dark brown highlights. Looks more like a double stou of sorts. Good dark brown head after the pour, but it quickly recedes. The aroma is a striking, banana, vanilla, marshmellow, with wood undertones mix. WOW! Thetaste starts with brownies mixed with marshmellows and rice krispie treats. The some hops mix wth a little coffee and bananas with a big dollop of vanilla cream wit some very exotic woody undertones. The palate is a complex, yet silky smooth with a well integrated and balanced alcohol content. The kind of sipping beer you sip and think to yourself, "what and awesomely unique beer."

scruffwhor, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of Wetpaperbag
4/5  rDev -4.1%

A- Dark dark beer for a brown ale. Little head, and no lacing.

S- Smells of licorice, sweet dry wood, dried fruits, and alcohol.

T- Dry and woody, yet the beer doesn't dry out your mouth like some wood aged beers. Very creamy soft almost oily. The high alcohol adds a bit of spice to the tongue.

M- Smooth, low carbination, and your tongue isn't turned into sawdust.

D- Easy to drink. I have to try and drink it slow as the high abv can come back and get ya.

Wetpaperbag, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of Slynger
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%

Palo pours a pitch blackly brown with a slim fuzzy-creamy mocha brown lid that fades to leave a rim around my glass.

The nose is awesomely amazing and complex. It's lightly chocolatey and dark fruity with some bananas (don't know where I'm getting that but I likes it), a strong vanilla-caramel oak character comes in along with darkly roasted malts.

Full bodied and creamy-smooth with a light sharpness to it. All the nose returns in the flavor along with a little bit of dark coffee.

Really a great beer, and has to be my favorite DFH brew thus far. Went down way too quick for that abv though. Whew!!

Slynger, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of thickerfreakness
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%

Poured this into a stemless red wine glass. It poured with a fizzy, dark brown, cola-like head that faded fast. This looks pretty dark brown with ruby around the edges and a layer of brown foam that stays on top.

Smells very strongly of spiced wood, vanilla, and roasted malts. More like a porter in the nose with all the roasted malts but I guess Dogfish will call it whatever they want haha.

Taste is similar to the smell with a really nice melding of all the flavors. I really enjoyed the taste. A really interesting one from Dogfish Head and its nice to see a new beer in their lineup.

For the nice woody taste and smell, this one is really lacking in the mouthfeel department for me. Its sort of thin and too fizzy (over carbonated) in my opinion.

Overall, a nice new entry from Dogfish Head, but I couldn't see myself drinking it often even if it was available here in Texas. This was my only bottle but I'm interested to read reviews of this with some age on it.

thickerfreakness, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of grandq
2.95/5  rDev -29.3%

Glugs from the bottle a viscous, deep brown with a fluffy and ample dark tan head. Looks rather inviting, but the initial whiff puts me off - initially picking up nothing but alcohol, resembling nail polish remover. This thankfully lets up to reveal some wood and molasses. Tastes a great deal like Raison d'Etre on steroids (haven't tried d'extra, but I reckon they're similar). Still, I'm getting very little but maple syrup and paint thinner with a malty base. The thick and coating mouthfeel means the tongue can't escape the fusal fumes. Can't finish it.

I definitely wouldn't classify this as an American Brown, though my lower points aren't merely an indication of an ill-fitting style. I could hardly make my way through half the bottle but decided to let the rest sit and oxidize for a bit and it really helped settle things down and blend the more welcome flavors. Vanilla along with tannic and roasted notes emerge aplenty and the alcohol becomes more bitter than searing. Much much better, though now the sweetness is off the scales.

I feel like I'm reviewing two different beers. Given my impression of this fresh, I'm only willing to raise my marks to "average." A definite candidate for cellaring - way way too hot for the moment IMO.

grandq, Jun 10, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%

Had this on tap at Toronado SF on saturday.

Was a little confused at first because I could smell the wood in the beer and the first couple of sips made me think of the stone 11th anniversary. So I almost thought it might be the blended IPA beer that they make with a little roastiness thrown in.

It poured brown/black, murky with a tan head. Good lacing. Smell is woody and caramelly. Taste is roasty, bitter, and brown. Also some moderate alcohol presence but I had no idea it was 12% when I had it. The body was both good and bad so I gave it a 3. The body was real thick and oily but it was very smooth and consistent. Drinkable as a nice sipping drink for sure but not any faster than 45 minutes for the 8 oz pour that I had.

t0rin0, Jun 10, 2008
Photo of biegaman
4.18/5  rDev +0.2%

Sun dried prune coloured body; despite appearing black head on and rarely giving off highlights, you can manage to detect some plum shade in there still. No head, hardly an outer lacing even, although some bubbles crackled off the pour. It's a damn classy looking beverage, I'll tell you that much ...

The aroma certainly has an obvious nuance to it, but is something akin to what I've come accustomed to with bourbon-barrel stouts; in other words, the wood is noticeable but not distinct. Ashy notes of roasted malts, rich espresso, anise, and dark chocolate are all blended into this wood character. Dried fruit dosed with alcohol is also a fair to say, very similar to port. This is port-meets-porter.

Especially as it warmed the 12% thinned out what could otherwise be a hefty, rich, roasted malt monster. While the brown malts are definitive, I might guess this at more of a porter. It is a touch sweet and fruity, but also a touch chocolaty and plenty roasted. It's smooth on sip yet resounds later with a harsh and long lasting bitterness that erases any memory of sweeter, dried fruits.

Especially given the beer's unique makeup, flavours can be difficult to pin point. Again we have a bit of everything but an abundance of nothing. You can certainly taste a lot, but to say definitively what requires a little imagination.

Coffee grinds and espresso may be slight, perhaps just an association derived from the similarities in bitterness/roast? (although these are the flavours that last longest.) There is a big malty body, to be sure, with some 'wood' character. Certainly dried fruits - raisins, prunes, dates - are by far most conceivable and make this very much port-like.

As usual, this is a fascinating and innovative offering from a brewery that strives on pushing the envelope. I respect them, and for this reason I don't like to say this, but, as usual, this is a DogFish Head beer that turned out considerably more normal than it sounded it would be.

It's a good beer, and while perhaps unique in creation, this is not so "off-centered" tasting. That said, I enjoyed it - make no mistake - and I hope to see similarly creative projects from them in the future...

biegaman, Jun 10, 2008
Photo of jeffmonarch
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - A deep dark red brown color with a dark brown head that disappears quickly.

S - Really sweet caramel nutty smell.

T - Strong malt flavor. Sweet caramel with an earthy flavor. Definetely taste the smokey woody flavor.

M - Full bodied with light carbonation.

D - This is an awesome beer. I love dogfish and this is yet another great beer from one of my favorite breweries.

jeffmonarch, Jun 10, 2008
Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 4,806 ratings.