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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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5,239 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,239
Reviews: 1,994
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 11.96%
Wants: 287
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: 5,239 | Reviews: 1,994 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of farrago
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No ignoring the three finger+ head when poured, compresses steadily but the froth can be spooned out by hand before gone. Completely black in color, hard to find any variance in hue. Nose drips black, golden raisins, dates, rum cake, pan-seared molasses, very boozy, malted milk balls, sticks like glue to your nostril pores, some notes of sharper green apple, thick enough texturally that you enjoy it more just getting steamrolled than trying to pick this apart from that. Full-bodied, as in the nose you feel the warmth of the alcohol but no burn nor bite. All about roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, molasses, rum, and French vanilla ice cream flavors. Green grape, fig, raisin, date, plum fruit alternate between freshness and dried fruit sweetness. Carbonation is sneaky strong, anything which can stir this brew has muscles. A touch of orange or grapefruit at the end reminds you that hops must be a component of the finished product. Can't say I could put down more than one bottle at a time, the beer equivalent of vintage port.

Photo of benclimbs
4.39/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a small goblet.

Pours a dark brown with very little head and some lacing in the glass.

Smell is very apparent oak, some vanilla and a really rich malt character.

Taste starts out with chocolate and just a little coffee with a smokyness that is not dominating but really nice. It has a perfumy, very floral finish that I don't think I've had in any other beers. Very unique. Wow, so drinkable for a 12% beer, much like some belgians i've had.

Highly reccomend.

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. "bottled on 07/24/08" printed on the bottleneck.

poured into tulip.

dark and stout-like in color, opaque even under the light. tan head forms on a vigorous pour, but soon fades to wisps, and then just a ring. lacing from each sip quickly slides back down and so never really sticks.

aroma is malty caramel, with molasses and brown sugar. hint of rasins. roasted nuts with some grassy hop in the back. wood note comes with alcohol and mild to moderate phenols and a trace of vanilla.

malty sweetness with whiskey or bourbon quality, with faint raisiny fruit note. a bit boozy hopwever, with sharp phenols and another flash of vanilla and wood. grassy hop with mild to moderate bitterness, partially accentuated by the alcohol and phenols. semi-sweet finish, but still quite boozy.

smooth and syrupy, with astringency in the finish, much of it from the hot, boozy alcohol. mild to moderate carbonation helps with body, but hard to offset the boozy character.

may need some time in the cellar to calm things down.

Photo of SteveO1231
3.67/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an extremely dark brown with the slightest golden highlights around the edges when held to the light. Aroma is interesting, tons of alcohol along with some buttery, milk chocolate, roasted malts aromas as well as hints of banana nut bread and a large woody presence, not musty like oak. The beer is medium/full-bodied with a creamy texture and a slick mouthfeel. he beer has some molasses sweetness up front with some flavors of licorice, some husk and roasted malts makes way for an earthy/nutty bitterness hits halfway and finishes with a smokey-woody-alcoholic combo that leaves with an earthy dryness. The beer is decent but was much more bitter than I would enjoy, and when combined with the roasted malts, large earthy flavor of the wood and high abv made this beer a bit too aggressive for me.


Photo of colts9016
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Traquairlover for this bottle.

Poured into a pint glass at 47 degrees.

Appearance: A dark oily brown color with a thin ivory head. The clarity of the beer is opaque. There is no light getting through this beer.

Nose: A rich toasted malt, a molasses like sweetness, caramel, nuts, alcohol, and wood. In the background of the beer you can smell raisin and a very low fruity esters.

Taste: A very rich toasted malt, alcohol, caramel, molasses, nuts and a wonderful woodiness in the beer. The background of the beer is raisins, toffee, citrus, and there is low fruity esters.

Overall: The beer is super rich dark brown ale. The beer mouth feel is carbonated and warming. The finish is bitter with a full finish. I can taste the hops in the beer but the malt is a bit more powerful. The alcohol is very strong but mellowed out in the beer. The beer is very flavorful very well made and deserving to any beer enthusiast

Photo of orsulacp
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was bottled on 10/23/08, I guess it is the third or forth batch through the tanks. It pours a deep dark brown with a dark tan head that quickly disappeared. The smell is a little boozy with sweet brown sugar dominating and a hint of vanilla. The taste really hides the alcohol, brown sugar then quickly followed by a slightly bitter piney flavor. The bitterness hangs around more than the sweetness, I like the way the taste keeps going even after it is swallowed, normally this is a bad thing but here it is very good. A very good beer, the smell was muted, the taste was awesome, mouth and drinkability very good. I tried it when it first came out and there was more sweetness, now it is on the bitter side.

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

Pours a dark brown/black colour (darker than I expected) with a head that receded rather quickly.

Smell is of licorice, fresh sweets from a bakery--baked bread. Some chocolate and vanilla nose their way in as well. Intriguing scent.

Taste is of sweet malts, rum-soaked cherries. Lots going on-just hard to pick it all out. Sweet vanilla cake frosting--There is definitely a sweet pastry smell just oozing from this one. Some dark fruits as it warms. Ginger. Intense cinnamon roll taste as it warms...delicious.

Mouthfeel is a nice mouthfeel with some syrupy qualities to it.

Drinkability- A flavour intense experience-hides the alcohol very well though.

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

Oooh pitch black looking when the server set it on the table, but holding up to the light (dim light in the Alehouse) I see some nice thin ruby edges. No head, no problem. Nice.

Aroma is big on vanilla, but some deeper dark chocolate notes are there as well as an earthy roasty malt profile. Nothing in the hop department. Tastes of vanilla, sherry-like plum notes, warm with alcohol, chocolate. It sometimes wants to be an RIS, but it's very different at the same time. Just saying it has some similar qualities. Finishes dry, does not linger but does leave you longing for another sip.

Body is not as big as the RIS, but still full and fulfilling. I sipped this throughout my entire dinner and beyond. Not looking for another beer of any kind soon. Great compliment to a hearty meal, and I'm sure great to sip by itself beside a roaring fire.

Drinkable? I drank it!

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

This bad boy poured a extremely dark German chocolate (almost jet black) into my glass with a nice brown/tan head.

Smell was of chocolate and burnt flavors with a nutty twang.

This taste was unlike any brown ale I've ever had. Lots of bitter sweet chocolate flavor, but goes away about a few seconds later leaving you wanting another taste. This beer is a big sipper.

Thick mouthfeel, coats the mouth and is very smooth.

Good drinkability albeit the 12.00% ABV. This beer left me baffled, I don't know if I had a brown ale or a RIS.

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

Good god...
Pours black with a ruby hue and a flat head, no lacing.
Smells surprisingly of strong chocolate and smokey malt.
Smokey malt dominates the front end of this bottle with chocolate and alcohol to follow. In between there is some almost tart flavor I can't identify but I like it. Has a great mouthfeel that is complex but yields to the alcohol. This is one of the few really interesting beers I've had in a while. I'll keep a few in the basement to see how they do over time. Too expensive!

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

Came out much darker than i expected. Black in glass with zero clarity. Tan creamy head. Not much lace. Smell is acidic in a good way. Dark coffee and some fruit with some woodyness showing as it warms. Taste is bitter chocolate up front with some smoother cocoa notes to follow. Some earthyness as it goes to the back of the throat and it finishes slightly bitter. Alcohol is well hidden, I'm guessing that it shows in the some of the dark fruityness. It does have a warming feeling as you drink it down. A real sipper, with one being enough for a night. Well worth a try and I'd have to say that overall it's one of the better brews I've had from dogfish.

Photo of gpogo
4.29/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Jet black with a small brown head. Has alcohol legs.

A- Very full flavored, chocolate, fruits.

T- So many flavors, dark fruits along with a breadiness. Very light chocolate. Roasted malt aftertaste. There is defintely some alcohol, it wasn't especially noticeable though it did numb my tongue a bit. As the beer warms a more woody flavor comes out as does the alcohol taste.

M- Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Had a very smooth velvety mouthfeel.

D- I wish I was more familiar with Palo Santo wood so I would be better at detecting any noticeable flavors. Nice brown ale, with a wonderful taste and aroma. A bit high on the alcohol, but it isn't too noticeable.

Photo of cvfish
4.71/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured a dark brown (more akin to a porter) that produced a tan head that retained well and left a good lace around the glass

S - Slight malty, sweet notes

T - The taste is crazy, I have dark malts, chocolate, vanilla, raisins, and red grapes. This is one interesting to the extreme

M - Thick bodied and creamy mouthful, light carbonation

D - This beer is great, while I don't get the Brown Ale classification, I can't take that away from this great beer

Photo of Pubcrawler
4.57/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I picked this delicious brew up at a liquor store in Wabash, Indiana. Great mix and match section, Palo Santo Marron was a must grab. I first enjoyed this great brew at a beer dinner and decided to pick it out to enjoy without the taste of other beers floating in and out my mouth. Of course, it's still amazing to me.

Tastes of Vanilla and Caramel remind wallowing in my mouth. Finishes very well and is quite a drinkable brew that I know this guy will continue to still enjoy.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a thick black. Very small mocha head dissipates quickly. Some very nice lacing on this one.

Aroma is of wood, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and booze. Alcohol is a little overpowering.

Tastes of chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. Definite wood smokiness in the finish. Alcohol is noticeable, but not as severe as in the nose. This one is tasty.

Wow, the mouthfeel of this one is superb. Very thick, smooth and sticky, coats the mouth. Very nice.

Photo of raoulduke37
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Scott from CO once again for throwing this in as an extra on a trade. Drinking it as we speak, with a big smile on my face.

A - Beautiful black color, pours extremely thick, with a nice khaki head that takes a while to dissipate. Noticeable lacing around the glass improves eye candy factor.

S - Nothing overpowering, but definitely hints of dark, ripe fruit.

T - Adamette got it perfectly - tastes of chocolate-covered fruit, caramel, coffee, god damn this is good.

M - Extremely smooth, coats the inside of the throat, no overabundance of carbonation.

D - Oh I would most definitely order another one of these without the least bit of arm-twisting.

Photo of adamette
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Winking Lizard in Mentor, Ohio. Special keg tapped at 11 am today. I made a special trip to WL specifically for this beer and decided that it would be the only beer that I had tonight. Served in a clean, clear tulip glass. $6.00 on tap, probably a 10 oz. tulip.

A 1 cm almond brown head which dissipated within about a minute. Great lace left in the glass after repeated sips. Body allows absolutely no light to get through. This looks like an imperial stout to me but as they say, DFH beers defy categorization.

S Thin chocolate, dark dark malt but very sweet. Not a strong smell to me but that is appropriate to the style (be it Brown Ale or Stout).

T Chocolate, coffee sweet elixir with a kick of alcohol near the end. Simply divine. This is why I advocate for beer. Really complex with tastes of chocolate covered dark fruits, maybe some strawberries, some coffee and even some black licorice.

M Maybe the best feature. So damn smooth with a great syrupy stickiness that lingers far into the aftertaste. Some carbonation but it is subtle. Simply a great mouthfeel.

D Cannot be improved upon. This is one beer that I could drink many of despite its high ABV but I wanted to try more and more of them.

Notes: My first perfect score, a 5.0 all around and easily my favorite DFH beer.

Photo of TMB0424
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a rich, deep black body with a slight tinge of brown hues around the edges. A creamy, mocha colored head rose up, then fell into a sticky ring. Great retention along the glass.

Aroma just attacks your nose. A tidal wave of molasses, milk chocolate, roasted caramel, brown sugar. Behind these are scents of vanilla, rum, and strawberries. All backed by the clear scent of wood and oak. Hints of cherries, spice... the list goes on and on. Outstanding smelling brew.

Taste is ridiculously complex. Chocolate malts, molasses, rum dipped fruits - raisins, strawberries, cherries - with wisps of purple grapes and vanilla. Red-wine flavor somewhere in the middle. The wood element is noticed during the finish, preceded by a distinct and unique roast-y flavor. Nice alcohol wisp during the finish as well.

Thick, rich, and creamy in the mouth. Definite viscous feel to it. Full bodied. Carbonation is spot on - one aspect I think completes this brew. Alcohol is warming but definitely not anything crazy. A fantastic dessert sipper - it's incredibly complex and enjoyable.

Photo of TexIndy
3.08/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle that I brought back from Indy into a pint glass. Lasered bottled on date of 7/24/08. Was a deep black color even against the light. Lots of carbonation with quick slide lacing. It had an average sized brown head that slowly settled into a thin collar with small wisps of foam. The head was interesting in that it had large bubbles almost like a soda.

The aroma was woody, malty and vanilla. Also lots of dark fruit and alcohol which isn't unexpected since 12% ABV. The taste pretty much followed the aroma. Not a fan of the dark fruits and most wood flavors so this one misses the mark. Also the alcohol was too present. I've had many in this ABV range that hide it better.

Overall, an OK beer from an overrated brewery. While I appreciate their creativity, I find their beers usually aren't for me. Heard really good things about this one so gave them another shot. Don't recommend unless you can "borrow" one from a buddy. One and done.

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

A- Poured in a snifter. Nice, creamy two finger head with an almond hue. Darky and Murky like an imperial stout- obviously another extreme beer from DFH that defies categorization- rather than an imperial brown.

S- Wow, the nose on this is huge. Really jumps out at you. Definitely strongly of molasses and vanilla bean, a bit of scotch earthiness and subtly roasted chocolate malts....no aroma hops to speak of.

T- WOW. This beer is insanely complex, robust, and subtle all at once. There is a big alcohol hit right up front, but not too overpowering. Subsides and gives way to a big, chewy chocolate and crystal malt foundation that plays very nicely off the vanilla and brown sugar flavors. A bit of nuttiness and a hint of caramel. There's definitely a unique flavor imparted by the wood which is hard to describe....an earthy rummy flavor...a palo santo-y flavor?? Just enough bittering hops to balance out the flavors. Very delicious.

M- Medium to full bodied. Certaintly thicker than you'd expect from even an imperial brown ale, a bit chewy but not to the point of being syrupy. Mild carbonation that perfectly envelopes and carries the flavors.

D- Wow, this is some beer. DFH really knows how to make a beer that is completely different, and this one is a raving success. Each swallow is another adventure for your palate. Great stuff. The only thing that would keep me from having too many would be getting very hammered. I'm going to cellar some of these; this is definitely a beer that will grow with age.

Photo of Sycodrummer
4.7/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12oz. bottle into an oversized bulbous snifter the beer struggled to form a head but a sliver of dark tan near brown head formed atop a deep brown, near black beer. The final drops of beer fell from the glass like chocolate syrup drizle on top of the creamy sliver of head. Head was quick to settle but left some traces of lacing along the side of the glass.

The nose hits with alcohol right up front: hints of dark rum. Oaky woodstove buring with tobacco, chocolate, brown sugar and roaster caramel (think carmalized brown sugar on a rack of ribs).

The taste has the alcohol hit right up front but its very smooth and not overpowering. A big malty chewy backbone with brown suggar and mollasses. The taste is sweet but not cloying and does not get to viscous or syrupy. Hints of dark fruit, rum, and chocolate covered raison all come through.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, not asmuch as the sweetness would indicate, never syrupy, but chewy and able to support its ABV.

This is a very nice sipper on a cold day. Not a beer to entertain several of in one sitting, but a perfect nite cap. Sweet like a sherry with a good balance of flavor. A very enjoyable beer. A hefty tag - I paid $12/4 pack but I've seen as high as $18/4 pack. That notwithstanding, worth seeking out and enjoying. This is not what many would consider your typical brown ale, but then, few things from DFH are ever typical, and my taste buds don't seem to mind. The information on the lable and the ABV should dispell the notion this one would be "normal."

Photo of mcarroll10177
2.93/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- as dark as a milk stout almost black with a tan head

S-maltly goodness

T- overdone some roasted malt some sweet herbs huge alcohol in the throat

M- thicker than expected but consistant with its other characteristics

D- not an easy drinker and not a beer i would buy again

I love brown ales this is much more like a stout. A good effort, but not my favorite form DFH

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

Palo Santo Marron
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz tulip glass

* Superbowl XLIII *

Pours a super dark shade of brown. Opaque body with a great head on top. Significant trails of sticky lacings all over the glassware.

Rich nose - notes of dark malts and berries.

A syrupy backbone with an intense amount of malt flavors. Dark fruit mixed in there too, perhaps prunes or raisins with light chocolate. A complex beer for sure with some alcohol heat. A tad unbalanced, but interesting nevertheless.

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

Bottle at the Dilly Deli.

Poured clear brown color with an average frothy off-white head that was mostly diminished with good lacing.

Moderate toasted malt and citrus hoppy aroma.

Medium to full body with a smooth texture.

Medium to heavy toasted bittersweet flavor with a medium sweet finish of moderate to long duration.

My expectations where met.

Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed: 1-16-2009

12% ABV
Bottled On: 7-24-2008

A: Pours deep brown (borderline black) with a light brown head. I'm shocked by the head retention of this beer. I've never seen a 12% ale that could produce such a head. It sits opaque in the pint glass.

S: This beer is impressively aromatic. Roast barley, toast, caramel, vanilla, and many more flavors come through in this amazingly complex bouquet.

T: Amazing. Deep maltiness in the front, followed by chocolate, smoke, and what I beleive is the Palo Santo wood. The flavors come at you in waves.

M: Very full body with a chewy character.

D: Amust have for any extreme beer fan. Though the gravity is high, the alcohol doesn't interfere with the deliciousness of this brew.

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,239 ratings.