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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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5,177 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,177
Reviews: 1,969
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 12.2%
Wants: 273
Gots: 845 | FT: 17
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: 5,177 | Reviews: 1,969 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rayjay
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased in CA (whoo hoo!) and poured into my brand-new DFH stemmed goblet thanks to my awesome fiancee!

Looks elegant like a fine glass of red wine but with fizz! One dark brown beer, looks like a dubbel. Some foam but not much, which I've found typical of DFH from day one.

Huge sweet malty nose accented by notes of old dusty wood. Smells a lot like a dubbel too.

Great tasting, well made beer. Main tones come from the malt; sweet, carmel, sticky, deep dark multi grain bread, some dustiness, even a bit of a red wine character. Alcohol? What alcohol? I must force myself to slow down and enjoy the subtleties!

Big time dubbel qualities while maintaining it's own thing, and still more drinkable than most quads! Lots of dark dried fruit esters accent the Belgian appeal.

Chewy mouthfeel, light on carbonation and dense from the big malt body. Refreshing qualities keep it from becoming too thick or syrupy, though both are there and kept in check.

One of my favorite DFH offerings to date. Really good stuff with cellar potential; I think this one is about 6-8 months old in the bottle.

Seek and consume. Bring WWS and 60 Minute to CA please! Cheers!

Photo of lhaqq
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Dark brown/near black translucent body with a dark yellow-tan head that dissipates quickly.
S: Smells really sticky and sweet. Dark malts, milk chocolate mixed with raisins and figs. Also caramelized malts mixed with bitter, almost tasteless green apple. Just off the smell, feel like the taste will be cloying.
T: Not as intense, and pleasantly so, as was expecting from the smell. Alcohol not very noticeable, especially given the 12%. The figs jump out at the beginning, but switch into a smoked woody flavor. Finishes with a bit of pine and butter.
M: Not like any brown ale I've had before. Not too thick but still pretty heavy.
D: Could be dangerous.

Photo of stewart124
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown that is almost black with a thin tan lacing of a head.

Lots of roasted and burnt character in the nose. Some fig and caramel hints.

Very smooth flavor and just the trace of that 12% alcohol in the finish. Very beautifully wound together after a year in the cellar. Nice big malt background with a trace of vanilla and lots of burnt malts. There is an earthy feeling from this that has to be the palo santo wood. The finish really makes me feel like I'm around the camp fire. So smooth with a nice bite at the end.

This is a very good brown ale and it's most certainly off-center.

I think this aged well and rounded some of the edges. This becomes a very drinkable brown ale

Photo of cavedave
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Unlike others here I am a writer who also happens to be an extreme lover of fine beer, not a "pro" reviewer, so take this for what it's worth.

The remarkably fruity esters of this brew are of such a delicious nature, full of strong notes of peach, cherry, vanilla, and grape, framed by sensual under-aromas of oaky herbosity, that the thick fragrances of them literally set my saliva glands into hyperdrive. I long for the first sip, but can not bring my nose away from the rim of my glass. I swirl it. Each inhale is different from its predecessor. The peach is strong, then the cherry, the vanilla fades but does not desist, and as it settles in the glass the caramely goodness of it comes through more strongly, behind it the warmth of alcohol, hidden no more, beckoning. My saliva glands celebrate increasingly with fits of anticipation and joy.

The look of this is remarkable as well. It is astoundingly thick. It is brutally opaque. It is deepest darkest mahogany brown. It lives and breathes like some benevolent and all-knowing alien in my glass. A thin, dark beige head quickly dissipates, but leaves ample clinging waves of lace. It is so thick I can barely see carbonation without looking closely. I have the feeling I could use a spatula and peel the lace like batter.

The first sip. Ahh, the reward for prolonging this. I am greeted by a starburst of fruit and alcohol, a firework of flavor, cherry, peach, watermelon, caramel, vanilla, deep malted darkness, which holds for an impossibly long time. It is almost edible, so thick and rich is this, it could be a bakery item if it were congealed. My mind stimulates through a wonderful registry of these finest tastes, each understanding hits notes of happiness, ones only rarely activated.

The finish eventually comes, the brew is so thick I seem to swallow it in slow motion. This is not beer, it is an epiphany, a poem; a song dedicated to all that is fine in the world. It is an extension of the sip and a crescendo of the same themes, climaxing finally in Miles Davis sharp yet rounded notes of heat, ending in mystery that lingers and becomes lusciously indefinable.

Two more sips. The warmth accentuates the beauty of the flavor, the darker, wine-like notes expand, the fruitiness and vanilla morph into a danker representation . One more sip. I close my eyes. The flavor becomes even more robust and seductive, it is like an acid trip for my tongue and nose.

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

Purchased around a year ago from Leo's in So. Pt. OH; I picked up two and drank the first early last year. Revisiting it.

Bottle to wine glass, deep amber-tinged dark chestnut pour, one finger red-brwon head that quickly thins but doesn't go away. Some globs of foam stick to the glass but no lacing.

Full, malty aroma, sweet and some anise - total effect is similar to Jagermeister

Malty but not overly sweet. vanilla and cantaloupe presence which is odd. Alcohol notes.

Round mouthfeel at times but often a crisper, drier finish than expected.

Good, solid drinkability but I wouldn't want more than one a sitting.

Overall, it's a very good beer even though it's something I'd really only want every few months.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

poured into my BA mug.Poures black with a thick coffee colored heading. Lacing is in full force.

Smell is of chocolate malts,hint's of caramel,no real vanilla aroma's detected.

Taste is of toasted malts,with a nice coffee tingle on the backend.Also kind of syrupy,very heavy booze.A very heavy malt drink.

Mouth is creamy and smooth. Carbonation is awesome. As it tingles on the palate.

Drink is decent at 12% I really couldn't see to many drinking more than the four recommended.

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

This beer pours very dark, near stout territory with a small tan head, a little lacing and low carbonation. The smell is big of chocolate covered raisans and orange zest. The tast is big and bold which I come to expect from DFH, some chocolate notes, definately getting a little raisan flavor as well as caramel and a hint of alcohol... this beer could use some more time to age. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy with a low carbonation level and for 12% this is ver drinkable.

Photo of jsp2
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had a snifter of this on tap at the alehouse in falls church. Dark, dark opaque brown with a slight dark creme head. Smell of liquorice, earth, fig, vanilla, and alcohol. Taste is intensely sweet but balanced with a woody bitterness, skewed by vanilla and other unidentified flavors. Unlike anything else.
This is one I can spend almost an hour enjoying which I routinely do at their pub. There is nothing better than spending an hour watching a game and nursing a glass of this stuff. Best sipping beer of all the DFH in my opinion except maybe the world wide stout. This beer is so good and so expensive it is going to be my ruin.

Photo of CMW
3.63/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost black with a very small tan head. The head was gone almost immediately and there was no lacing left on the glass.

S - Vanilla, wood, and heavy alcohol.

T - Roasted malt flavors come through up front and quickly give way to flavors of vanilla, dark fruit, and spice. The alcohol is very present and is a little heavy.

M - High carbonation provides a nice creaminess.

D - Although this is good, drinkability is low. Much like other DFH beers, the alcohol is very high for the style. This makes it a slow sipper.

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

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, label is wood grained. 12 % abv, bottled on date is ink jetted on the neck but it is smudged.

Appearance: Definitely darker than I would expect from a brown, black with just a bit of ruby around the edges when held to light. Average head with good retention, color is a dark tan.

Smell: Wood, lots of vanilla. Strong alcohol presence, a hint of smoke.

Taste: Big thick mouthfeel, again - lots of wood presence here. There is a caramel sweetness, strong vanilla flavors. The alcohol is actually fairly well hidden.

Overall impression: Interesting example of what wood flavor can impart to beer - this beer has an interesting story behind it, and plenty of flavor to back it up.

Photo of currysage1
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Grille.

Smell is of dried fruit compote, prunes, apricots and such. Liberal amount of scotch in there as well, could really smell a peated malt. Booze.

Taste was strikingly the same as the smell, peat, dark fruits, dry earth.

Feel was big and thick, very coating, took my time with it. Drinkability was good for what it is, I wouldn't want another right away but I will get it again.

Photo of dborginis
4.78/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had it recently on tap and had to get more. Split a 12 oz bottle for the weeknight. Very oily in appearance and feel. A black with a hint of red.

Smell is sweet, caramel. On the first taste, more than the taste, I noticed the beer sticking in my mouth for a while. A rich taste, a bit of chocolate taste, a bit of sweet, dark malts, the alcohol blends in to intensify the taste. I'd really like to smell the palo santo wood to know which part it contributes.

Surprisingly drinkable even given the high alcohol. I have 7 more so curious to see how they are over time. This is what makes me want to be a brewer.

Photo of cdrummer
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Ridiculous thick blackness like motor oil pours out the the 12 oz bottle into my goblet, leaving a fine, fluffy tan head on top. Lacing is very quick and hangs out at the edge.

S: A rush of vanilla and deep, earthy Palo Santo wood hit me in the face followed by maple syrup and what can only be described as blackberry cobbler.

T&M: Right away the molasses and vanilla invade my mouth with a surge of medium carbonation, flanked by unsweetened cocoa, blackberry, and a bit of earthy nuttiness. Overall the feel is thick and velvety, giving the sweetness and extra kick of indulgence. Warming alcohol kicks in as the woodiness lingers on the tongue throughout the finish, which is highlighted by an unexpected spicy hop tartness.

D: The hugeness of this brew and its insane abv make it a definite sipper. But its amazing complexity of rich flavor and aroma, accompanied by warming alcohol, make every swig different and interesting.

Photo of WSB
3.05/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours so dark that light cannot penetrate it. I literally took a flashlight to the glass to see if the lght could me give a glimpse of the beers true color. It is an extremely dark brown/red. Almost no head at all, what did form was very thin and dark. Pours thick. Smell is pleasant,- I detect an undestated smokey malt scent, although not overwhleming. I expected more woody aromas, especially considering the hype around the wood tanks I read so much about. Taste, to this drinker, was very similar to a porter- earthy, malty, but you defnitely get some wood flavoring and a subtle spice on the tongue and throat. Mouthfeel was suprising- very complex- almost oily, with light spice, sort of coats the mouth and hangs around- the taste lingers a long while. Drinkability is not high, at least not for this beer guy. While this is a very well crafted beer, I found it very tough to drink more than 1 in a sitting. It's got a strong personality. A good beer, very well crafted, but not my personal favorite style.

Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is simply amazing. Its is almost totally opaque, which for a brown ale is a little suprising, and has little head. The nose is somewhat subdued, there is a strong woody note there which is interesting but not overly evocative. The real strength here is in the taste. This beer is big, oily, dark, and woody to the extreme. I have never had another beer that covers the mouth in the way that this one does, it literally seems to coat your palate for a good few minutes. An exceptional beer, one of the tastiest I have ever had. Well worth the price and a definite re-buy!

Photo of ritzkiss
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle pours into my chalice a dark dark brown with a finger of stout-like coffee head. No lacing.

Smell is glorious. Black licorice, wooded raisins and cherries, caramel malts, slightly vinous.

Taste is a full on assault. Tons of red and black licorice, bread, lots of malt, cherries, raisins, some brown sugar and molasses. The alcohol burn is right there and demands that you recognize the 12%. Light, but still there, carbonation - not as silky as I would have imagined.

Whoa. This is a sipper of the highest order. Each sip demands your attention as you work through the flavors and the alcohol. This is not a complaint and the beer is quite a good one (and quite unique) but more than one (edit: ok, maybe 2!) of these would have to be quite the night.

Photo of twelvsies
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Like most beginning beer drinkers I was first drawn to Dogfish Head because of the big bold flavors and their reputation for "off-centeredness". I still think they're a great company but over the years I kind of got sick of the 90min, the 120 and WWS and all their zany ingredients in general. I guess I was feeling anti-extreme, and I just wanted a well-crafter beer with 4 ingredients. A friend recently suggested this beer to me again and it's renewed my interest! Pours a thick-looking opaque brown with head of small bubbles. This beer has so much character. Initially sweet and malty with brown sugar and licorice notes. Not much bitterness to this beer at all, but it's rounded out by a very bold and robust woodsy-ness imparted from the Palo Santo barrels built specifically to make this beer. This is the main attraction here. Carmel, nutty, and almost a bit smoky. Lush and smooth on the palate. A really interesting beer that I tend to drink towards the end of the night. Quite relaxing. Also it's worth checking out the video about this beer if you can find it online, pretty cool. Cheers.

Photo of drtth
4.47/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lightly chilled and served in a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. Beer purchased fresh in Sep 08 and bottle aged until tasting.

Appearance: Pours dark brown almost black. The ½" light brown head recedes to a thick rim around the glass with a nice layer of foam on the liquid but minimal lacing. Sipping does leave some spotty lacing on the side of the glass. This could be a stout based on appearance.

Smell: Almost immediately you can smell brown sugar, vanilla and rich dark malt with an undertone of dark fruits but no trace of alcohol or hops.

Taste: The taste reveals some sweetness layered over the bitterness of dark roasted chocolate malt. There is a faint touch of alcohol. Through out the flavors of caramel and vanilla permeate the whole

Mouthfeel: Rich and full with faint, creamy carbonation. The finish is long and dry with traces of bitterness.

Drinkability: Very drinkable but with this ABV I'm not having more than one an evening. This beer should be in a style category by itself.

Photo of jcompton
2.78/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

bottle into a pint glass

appearance: pours an extemely deep brown, possibly black. the foamy head is a chocolate color

smell: wood, toffee, and booze

taste: woody raisins, smoke, and an immediate warmth from the alcohol. the after taste is similar to tobacco

mouthfeel: i find many of DFH's brews to be a bit over carbonated, however this one seems just right. it's a bit syrupy, but that is to be expected with a 12% ABV

drinkability: i realize the palo santo wood is the feature of this brew, unfortunately it's not my thing. i am glad i tried this one, but won't be revisiting it.

Photo of bbothen
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into snifter style glass.

Pours out a thick dark brown, almost black color with a small less than 1 finger deep tan colored head.

Sweet caramel maltiness, wood, booze, vanilla, toffee, dark fruit aroma is nice and inviting. Suggests good things to come.

Big ass and complex, charred malt, toffee, wood, booze thumps you in the face, vanilla, raisin, brandy like, brown sugar, coffee, cocoa. Love it.

Full bodied, thick, chewy, low carbonation, lingering booze warmth.

For a %12 monster....this drinks great, as it's delicious.

Love this beer. Steep price, but have you ever tried to build a barrel out of Palo Santo wood? Pricy endevour right there.

Photo of sacredduck
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

First impressions are huge, and this beer looks gorgeous. Shine a flashlight on the other end of the glass, and I'd bet that you wouldn't get any light on the other side. It pours and looks like a great stout with a dark tan head that stays around. The smell is slightly tinged with alcohol, but that's to be expected from a 12-percenter. Other scents I get include sweetness, almost like an orange, and vanilla. When I taste this, it's very reminiscent of a very strong sweet stout. The sweetness compliments the alcohol very well. Drinkability is slightly low due to the thickness and high alcohol, but this obviously was never intended to be a session brew. Overall, this is an excellent beer among the best I've had from Dogfish.

Photo of HopTroll
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Thick black color, no light getting through the glass. Pretty dark for a brown ale. Pours with no head, just a trace of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Great variety of smells. Strong chocolate with a tiny bit of smoke. Cherry and vanilla both come through. Smell of this beer is great.

Taste: Starts out with a chocolate and slight smoke taste. Sweet fruit almost brandy or bourbon like flavor. Finishes with a nice kick of alcohol that warms the nose.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation. Heavy and rich with sharp end to the swallow

Drinkability: For a brown ale, it's very bold beer with a lot of flavors. I like the flavor but it's strength keeps it to one or two before moving on to something a bit lighter. Definitely a good choice to have with some pub food.

Photo of gayg
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The first time I had this beer I loved it so much more than the second time. Maybe I was just so caught up in the story of the beer, I swore I could taste the wood, which was much less apparent this time. Still liked, just not in love. boy 250 characters is a lot.

Photo of angelmonster
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a 2 finger dark chocolate head. Body is black in color and no light comes through at all. Retention and lacing are good

Smell is of sweet chocolate malt and some dark fruit, maybe raisin. Hops and alcohol are not very present.

First taste is of burnt wood and chocolate malt mixed with alcohol. Wood aging is definitely apparent and there is also a hop bitterness in the after taste. You can really taste the 12 percent alcohol in here but the sweetness of the malt mixed with what im guessing is some fruity yeast strain, mellows it to where its a nice sipping beer.

Head is nice and creamy. Body is rich, thick, and silky smooth. Carbonation isnt too high either. Inside of the mouth is left coated with a warming alcohol and hop bitterness aftertaste.

Pretty bold flavors from this beer, which i like. Definitely could only drink one or two at a time though, but at this high abv, thats prolly all i would need.

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

Served in a tulip glass, poured from a 12 oz. bottle.

A - Thick, oily black with little head that clears quickly, leaving only a thin layer of foam.

S - Oaky, malty, hints of brown sugar and chocolate. Not especially powerful on the nose, but pleasant.

T - Surprisingly light and sweet. Definitely oaky and chocolaty, but very balanced. Also tasting raisins and dark sugar. Little hop bitterness and almost no alcohol taste. I'm quite enjoying it.

M - Wow. Just wow. One of the thickest ales I've had yet. Very heavy on the tongue, but oh so smooth. Less carbonation than the norm, but it's just enough to bring some more lightness of body to this brew.

D - The 12% ABV is very well hidden, so I could probably have more than one of these, but I wouldn't want to. This is definitely one to sip and savor, like a good cognac or brandy. I'd even recommend sharing the bottle with a friend.

Overall - An excellent brew for casual sipping. It's thick yet smooth, dark yet mild, something yet...well, something else. Just try it, dangit.

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,177 ratings.