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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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5,077 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,077
Reviews: 1,947
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 12.2%
Wants: 257
Gots: 770 | FT: 19
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: 5,077 | Reviews: 1,947 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cuzinpete00
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

appearance----this beer has a thick dark, almost stout like color. small but attractive foam on the top. looks very interesting and intriguing, which adds to the experience.

smell--- one of the most intresing smells ive ever had in a beer. the smell is of the hand made wooden brewing vessles they were brewed in. the smell of carmelzed brown sugar lingers in the background, which blends well with the wood smell.

taste and mouth feel--the taste of alcohol is pleasant though not overwhelming. malty. wood flavor is very light in taste and in my opinion well placed in the flavor. this ale seems to have some sort of toasted malt maybe chocolate or black patent, although it is a medium to light taste in the beer. the carbonation tingles the tongue in a pleasing way.

drinkability--- although this is a great tasting beer it is farely thick and malty, but definitely a beer that can be enjoyed in smaller portions such as a 12 ounce bottle or two.

overall another great off centered ale that seems to have no real style but is in its own category of greatness. i really enjoyed this beer and recommend it to anyone who loves beer.

Photo of Amsterdam
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - dark and inky with hints of red and purple. Laces well. Good fine bubbled carbonation

Smell - chocolate raspberry yeasty caramel

Taste - A well built beer with consistent flavors. Strong alcohol, liqueur up front that tapers quickly into a winey almost pungent flavor of the palo santo. Bitter, woody aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Foam is scarce and small bubbles and light caramel that fades quickly. Slightly thin. Smooth.

Drinkability - While the flavors seem to mellow with time, the bitter taste seems to move forward on the palate. While there is a complexity to enjoy, the beer dominates and it is difficult to imagine having two in one sitting.

Photo of Pagzzz
4.88/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What to say ... This is so wonderful!

Aroma: Rich malty aroma, wonderfully complex with dark sugars, caramel and vanilla notes. Alcohol aromatics present, but surisingly not overpowering for a beer of 12% strength. Hops almost undetectable.

Appearance: Inky black, almost like an IRS or porter. Low head, dissapates to a thin ring around the edge. No wonder given the alcohol level.

Flavor: rich maltiness with caramel sweetness, dark fruit and very slight dark roasted character. Hop bitterness background, but balances sweetness very well. No flaws. Vanilla and light wood provide a nice counterpoint.

Mouthfeel: medium mouthfeel, but not heavy at all for a beer of this magnitude. Actually finishes fairly dry which really makes this dangerously drinkable.

This is a fantastic, unusual and unique style. $20 for a four pack is pricey, but you would pay $10 a bottle in the restaurant or bar.

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

A very interesting beer we have here. Very dark in color, almost black but not impenetrable. Medium creamy tan head rises and falls to a ring. Wow, big nose on this one. Woody and soaked in vanilla in a complimenting fashion, not overwhelming by any means. Caramel, chocolate, nice coffee presence that becomes more apparent as you drink. Sweet and lightly tart fruit, cherry being most apparent and possibly even raspberry. Very tasty, here. Surprisingly low level of heat for such a monster of a beer. Wide range of flavors and well balanced. Nothing is distracting or in your face. Woody character becomes a bit more apparent, imparting a slight dryness to the beer. Personally, I'm enjoying it. A moderate sweetness compliments with vanilla, caramel, and coffee most apparent. Fruit here still also. Damn, this is great. Mouthfeel is fairly creamy but again has a dryness to it thanks to the wood. A little tingle on the tongue after each sip. I easily finished a single 12 oz. serving. Might consider two. Intriguing beer, as are many that DFH tends to put out. Thankfully, this one works well. Might be time to pick up a 4-pack and set a few aside. Recommended.

4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- really really dark brown almost reddish...thin caramel colored head.

Smell- smells...mm..good. Nuts, cherries, and maybe some raspberry with some malts

Taste- like its smells to a certain extent. great nuttiness...like a good brown should. Also has the berry quality just like in the smell. There is also a woody type thing happening/earthy. And t 12%...I can taste it but not as much as you would think. Its not a very very complex beer but it taste amazing. One of my favorites from Dogfish. MMM GOOD!

Mouthfeel- Medium. smooth, silky. (I love Brown Ales)

Drinkability- very good considering the 12% goes down easy with a good pinch in the aftertaste.

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A brown ale? I think not. I have no idea what to do with this one. No idea.

This pours what I would call black, but it still looks kind of brown in the glass. There was a thin brown head, but there is actually good lacing. I'm very intrigued by the look of this. The smell is amazing. There's the wood of course. Then there's a kick of sweetness in the nose, and also a kind of spicy earthy smell. Even a flourish of ester in there. Not like a brown ale, but really, really interesting. I really want to drink it. The taste is sort of a letdown I think. Mostly wood, like alcohol soaked wood chips without any splinters. Not bad, very interesting, but this isn't a world-beater. There's also a very odd sweetness that fills your mouth, and kind of clings there, along with the woody taste. Something is almost like eating a bit of dirt, in a good way, in actually the very best way dirt could taste and feel. I'm very intrigued and enjoying it. I feel like everything I'm saying sounds kind of bad, but it's really good. The drinkability, how should I put this? I'll take one. Then maybe 6 months later, I'd be ready for the next. I'd recommend trying it, and you should certainly be able to finish it without any trouble. Doesn't compare at 12% to anything that remotely fits in the Brown Ale category. It's really, really kicks you in the ass after about half a glass.

But really if you read and remember one thing about what I've said in this review, just remember 'I should try this if I've seen it and never had it'.

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

The beer was served lightly chilled in a pint glass. The date on the bottle is 2/11/08.

Appearance: The beer poured a dark ruby brown coloration. The head was a dirty biege coloration. No retention of the head was noted. Specs of foam remain behind on my glass.

Smell: The aroma of the beer is a cleaver blending of caramel, vanilla, suggestions of hot fudge, brown sugar, melons, berries, banana, dark toasted and roasted aromas, spicey earthyness, its boozey but in the way that a nice single malt is boozey.

Taste: This beer taste good but not nearly as good as its smell. The beers flavors bring an undefinable fruityness to my mouth. Sweet honey brown sugar, vanilla, the alcohol comes across as boozey. Perhaps its the alcohol that provides the zing and dries this beer out. Dark roasted malts approach cocoa flavors but go off into a slight acidic flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: The beers body is full and creamy. The alcohol is present and announces itself with authority. I love the experimental beers Dogfishhead makes. This was a very enjoyable beer experience. Thanks!...

Photo of coldmeat23
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Imperial Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

Truly, this is a very, very dark brown liquid, through which no light shall pass. The best you can hope for is a dark ruby tinted brown highlight, at the edges.
Medium pour produces one finger of creamy coffee colored foam. It hangs around for a little bit, but doesn't overstay it's welcome. Lacing is pretty darn good, if only a little spotty.

The smell is, well...different. I don't think that I've smelled another brew quite like this one. All of the charateristic notes are there, they just combine to make a totally unique smell.
Nice maltiness is what got me first. Big notes of caramel and vanilla. Nice big oakiness. Slight booziness. Dark fruits are in abundance. Figs, dates and cherries, mostly. Slight hints of chocolate covered bananas.

Huge malty sweetness. Burnt coffee. Big dark fruits. Brown sugar and molasses. Nice smooth oakiness. Slight hints of smoke and chocolate. Caramel presence is fairly high.
There are so many things going on in this bottle. It's really hard to nail it down.
Very tasty and very well done brew.

Very good medium to full body. Nice and oily, in the mouth. Carbonation is low, but just right for this type of beer. It provides a nice level of creaminess, without getting in the way of the flavors.

Excellent dessert beer, here. You probably won't find yourself with the urge to drink a six-pack of these on Friday night, or anything. It's much too big of a beer for that.
Very, very good beer, but mostly for special occasions.
I want to get a bottle or two of this to cellar for a good length of time, to see how this changes. I imagine that it will become extremely tasty.

Photo of RichT73
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It took me awhile to warm up to this one. The pour offered very little head, which quickly dissipated. The aroma was that of almost a dry wine, with a hint of a woody and fruity smell. After about three or four sips, I came to the conclusion that I DID enjoy its drinkability, but wouldn't rush back to have another. All in all, enjoyable but not worth the hype.

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

ok i was told to try this beer by my cousin and i happened to find it one day when i wasnt even looking for it. aside from choosing the wrong glass and it being too cold the first time..i tried it again at a better temp and in a better glass and it made a huge difference.

appearance is DARK! like a vortex that traps all light with a slim red outline on the bottom of the glass. it has a slight one finger head.

smell is of malt, raisins, ripened banana, and chocolate.

taste is a bitter sweet, fruity, smokey, delight. taste chocolate and raisins and roasty malt. the flavor from the wood is slight but obvious. after swallowing the alcohol can be felt traveling to your nose and warming your throat. carbonation is good.

mouth feel is nice. the bubbles help bring out the flavors. very juicy on the tongue and the alcohol really warms ya up.

well..its drinkable but by no means a session beer...one or two is enough. nice dessert beer. great to share. :)

Photo of midnite2sixman
4.6/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this one at Graydon's Crossing in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Pours a viscous black. Extremely black. Giant thick head that leaves behind blobby lacing.

Smell is oak, chocolate, sweetness, and black cherry.

Tastes smooth and chocolatey with nice hints of black cherry and a bit of oakiness.

Mouthfeel is incredibly good for such a big beer. Aftertaste is smooth and easy.

Drinkability: Yes indeed.

Photo of Beertracker
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron pours up beautifully with an amazingly thick, long lasting lacy tannish-brown head that sits regally above the nearly opaque dark brown-mahogany colored body. The big aromatic nose is fruity (black currants, carmelized raisins, Mission figs, etc...) with a burnt molasses, dark chocolate, nutty coffee maltiness. Hints of licorice, roasted almonds & cherry vanilla. Somewhat vinous with a port-like quality. The flavor starts of bold with plenty of upfront roastiness followed by some sweeter butter toffee-caramel character that gives way to a moderate amount of bitterness that dries out the generous maltiness. The bittersweet chocolate finish is warming, roasty and delivers a plethora of character. This finely crafted specialty is medium-full bodied with a good creaminess, but a touch of woody astringency. PSM seems more akin to a Baltic porter than any brown ale that I've ever tasted, but why try to catergorize a good thing. No matter what you call it, this strongish ale delivers and would be excellent paired with some Crème brûlée or flan after dinner. Holy Tree Brown Sam!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Photo of JAA
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

American Brown Ale? Ok.

Jet black and viscous. Sits in the glass like overused motor oil. No head, not for the lack of trying. I made that pour my bitch.

smells sweet and banana like, with a bit of spice(maybe nutmeg). Tastes complicated. Everything comes and goes so fast. Yes caramel, but then it's gone. Yes, there goes cognac. coffee did sneak in at the end.

Mouthfeel and drinkability would have probably improved over time.

If i had the patience, this would have been aged.

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

Both my girlfriend, and a good friend of mine, sent that article about DFH from the New Yorker to me. Of course I had already read it via BeerAdvocate, but appreciated the gestures nonetheless. So when I saw this on the shelf in downtown Vancouver last month, I procured a bottle for each of them (to share with me, of course). The first one vanished none too slowly, so I had better write this one down...

This beer pours a deep, dark black, with reddish tints, and a single finger of tan head, that disappears readily. The smell is prunes, dates, and an intense wood essence, that I admit I cannot identify (beyond the description on the label). The taste is floral hops, heavy black fruit, caramel, vanilla, and an acrid woodiness, again hard to describe. The carbonation is quite low, and the finish carries on the heavy woody sweetness. The body is very thick and viscous, with obvious alcohol warming. It sticks to the palate, making this a slow, if exotically tasty tipple.

Photo of redmagik99
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this bottle was about 4 months old. stout-dark, small brown head. smells very sweet, some black cherry fruitness, and the palo santo woodiness. Taste teeters on the rim of an imperial stout. Nothing like any other brown ale I've had. sweetness is thankfully much subdued by the hop bitterness, but still finishes nicely sweet. The beer ends very dry with the pleasant taste of the wood. Pretty chewy mouthfeel but not as thick as bells expedition for example. medium carbonation. i used this beer as chaser for some speyside scotch i dont think there could have been a better pairing. one of DFH's best.

Photo of bgjohnston
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this beer both at the the brewery tour and at home from a 12oz bottle. The pour I had at the brewery was very fresh and good enough to persuade me to try more.

At home, the beer poured into a goblet was dark brown and opaque, with a good size, medium brown head. The smell is suggestive of the alcohol content, but otherwise like other brown ales.

However, upon tasting, you know this beer is something special. Having been a wood worker for a number of years, it was really striking how you can taste the wood this beer is aged on. It adds a complexity of flavor that I have not encounted with other brown ales. Each sip conjures up hints of various flavors, resiny, vanilla, sweet, and sharp.

I am very happy they have a lot invested in the regular production of this beer. I will buy it frequently and serve it to others with confidence.

Photo of JCIV
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Smells like twizlers.
The Flavor is hard for me to place, as I do not know what Palo Santo wood tastes, smells, or looks like.
This beer/malt beverage reminds me of a barley wine.
It is very, very strong. I could not emagine having more than one. It was nice to try a creative beer such as this.

Photo of sonicdescent
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured much thicker than expected. Head took a little while to form and left a crown when it died.

Smells of vanilla malt up front, wine when swirled.

Tastes of wood, boozy wine, and sweet fruit.

Mouth is thick bodied with little carbonation.

I would likely not buy this one again, not that it is bad, just not for me.

Photo of Skidz
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark chocolate brown and sits dead black in the glass, thinning to mahogany around the edges, with a thick tan head.

Potent aroma of raisins, brown sugar, toffee and chocolates. Subtle earthy hops in the background and minor nuttiness.

Full-tilt force of roasted malts up front with an immediate blockade of bittering hops; sharp, grassy hops. Alcohol is a formidable contender for attention in this beer. Warming, drying yet well contained by the overall sweetness of the beer. Huge concentrations of dark fruity esters and a sumptuous gathering of hazelnut, espresso, vanilla and pecan. The wood character derived from the Palo Santo is definitely distinguishable and is promoted through the dry, bitter finish.

Slick, silky and smooth in the mouth with a fine tingling carbonation, thick, luscious body and moderately high bitterness.

This is definitely one of the finer wood-aged beers that I've had. I can't help but wonder what other beers could gain from some time against this type of wood. The simplicity of the beer, and complete extravagance of production make this an excellent buy and one to remember.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a large wine glass. Pours black. Not kind of black, not sort of black, not black with red highlights. Just black. And with a mocha head that settles to a cap and throws some sinking lacing.

Chocolate on the nose, touch of vanilla oil and dried plum, alcohol as well. Rich with roasted malts and woody esters. I would say oak, but I guess Palo Santo is the call. A longtime craft woodworker, I've never heard of this tree, alas, it suits the brew well.

Taste reminds me of an is RIS from the get go, guess that's the ABV talking as this is an extreme Brown Ale. Not as sweet or chocolatey as an RIS however, instead offering more subtle flavors of raisin and dried cherry with complex malt undertones. This might be interesting with some Belgian yeast thrown into the mix, hint, hint. Smooth feel and drinks easier than most beers of this weight, yet there are few beers of this weight.

Photo of burnstar
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep brown with a small tan head. Some lacing on the surface. Aroma has notes of chocolate and wood with a hint of alcohol. Taste is very rich and chocolaty. Sweet but not too much so. Again there is a definite wood note- obviously from the aging. Some nice earthy herbal hops in the finish along with a bit of warming alcohol. Tasty, well balanced, smooth and very very good. Full bodied. Very drinkable for the strength. A unique and excellent beer.

Photo of weeare138
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with murky with dark crimson edges when held to the light with a small, light tan head that slowly fades into a mild cap and bubbly collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, brown sugar, molasses, oak, roasted walnuts & chestnuts.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a sugary, prune-like, raisin filled flavor.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sugary, oak filled with tannins, and raisins and prunes clinging to the palate.
Wow. A lot of heat and sugary syrup in this one. One to be re-evaluated in the future after it gains some age.

Photo of SLeffler27
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A thick, velvety, rich, dark brown head blossoms over a mahogany, leather liquid ultimately settling to a thin lace on the walls of my pint glass.

For a simple brown ale, Palo Santo Marron stands out with warm, dark chocolate, fresh-cut wood, vanilla, toffee and wheat bread. This is no Charlie Brown.

Flavors follow the nose and add some fruits. A long bittersweet finish culminates with a strong acidic and alcohol presence. Molasses and roasted malts also carry well into the finish.

Dry and velvety smooth, with a sharp, but pleasant bite of alcohol in the finish, and softly carbonated.

Unique and able to hold its own, this one will easily fit into any regular lineup. Brown ale? Ya, right! Palo Santo Marron is an excellent example of "off-centered" ales. Maybe this will lead the way for less modest browns of the future.

Date consumed: 24 July 2008

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

A - Viscous, very dark pour with little to no head. Slight amber tint when held up in the light.

S - Medium roasted malts, strong alcohol, woodsy.

T - Very clean wood taste hits first along with some smokiness. Not as sweet as I was expecting. Some dark fruit/ raisins in there. Ends kinda tangy and tart. Definitely taste the alcohol.

M - Nicely carbonated, medium to heavy body, chewy, and oily.

D - This is sipper for sure b/c of the high ABV. It is mighty tasty... my ears are strangely warm.

Photo of yourefragile
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, Sept 08 bottling, poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a very dark, opaque near black with ruby highlights and a light brown head that quickly dissipates leaving virtually no lacing. Very imposing and viscous looking for a "brown ale"
S: Takes a couple of whiffs to take everything in, but nothing is as strong or overpowering as I expected. Dominant every time is a potent, slightly bitter, acidic pinch of alcohol. Flavors from the wood like vanilla balance this most of the time along with an occasional light dark fruit aroma.
T/M: Very smooth, thick body with strong carbonation. Strong alcohol presence, but lacks burn, just a warming presence as you finish the bottle. Flavor isn't overly complex, but very rich. Strong alcohol presence and body has prominent flavors from the wood, light dark fruit flavors providing a little bitterness, some vanilla and light roasted malt. When you let it warm up and sit in the mouth a stronger nuttiness and almost spicy, hot peppery flavor starts to come through. Very nicely balanced, and alcohol is certainly present at 12% but not overwhelming. Comparing this to traditional brown ales is kind of pointless. Another interesting, unique beer from DFH, but not one I'm motivated to seek out at this price frequently.

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
94 out of 100 based on 5,077 ratings.