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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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5,186 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,186
Reviews: 1,971
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 11.99%
Wants: 275
Gots: 850 | 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: 5,186 | Reviews: 1,971 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JCIV
3.52/5  rDev -15.6%
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
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
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
4.52/5  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 +1.2%
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
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
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
3.82/5  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
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
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
4.32/5  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
3.92/5  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.

Photo of wchesak
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass

A - if no one had told me, I would have guessed this an imperial stout...its ridiculously dark, almost opaque...the half inch head is a nice tan that leaves some good lacing as it settles...lots of tiny bubbles that continue after the pour

S - this is where you pick it up as a brown ale...vanilla and dark fruit hit me at first...a bit of hops or maybe even alcohol smell

T - now the stoutness comes back with lots of caramel and coffee flavor, with the slight alcohol at the end i pick up on some vanilla

M - has the thick smoothness like a stout with a good amount of carbonation

D - for the amount of alcohol, its not too bad at all...don't see myself having more than a few in a night but nonetheless its damn good

Photo of aggiearcher13
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: For a brown ale, this is pretty darn dark. Poured it into a brandy snifter and had about a 1/2" of light brown head that lasted for less than a minute.

S: Plummy malts and alcohol.

T: Alcohol is really well hidden. Molasses and vanilla with an almost coffee finish.

M: Great body, very creamy with enough carbonation that it dances on the tongue a bit.

D: Not really sessionable, but I wanted more after finishing it.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.7/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12/25/2008 (bottle):

Pours an extremely dark black brown colored body, tan colored head, somewhat lasting. Alcoholy aroma, dark fruit like plum and raisin. Very strong aroma. Coffee aroma too, wood and toffee. Sweet spiciness. Coffee taste with a strong roasted coffee aftertaste. A little alcohol, wood and roasted flavor, some chocolately sweetness.

Photo of chaduvel
4.82/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Seriously viscous pour with a think dark tan head that fades quickly. Delicious smell of alcohol, alcohol soaked dates or figs and molasses. Dark malty think mouth feel, yet a clean finish with touch of alcohol. Molasses and chocolate malt flavors with a touch of the alcohol soaked dates or figs. This is an amazing beer. It seems described best as similar to a Russian Imperial Stout but without any of the bitterness or sharpness. Whatever that "4500 on the Janka scale" Palo Santo wood did to this beer, it was well done. I look forward to what those giant beer barrels help produce next.

Photo of Shaw
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in July 2008. I'm reviewing while I drink it.

This is the darkest brown ale I've ever seen. It's as black as a porter, even a stout! A dark brown head reduces quickly to a ring in my glass.

After reading about this beer in The New Yorker, I was expecting its aroma to be different. And how. It has a perfume quality -- in a good way -- which mixes with coffee and other roasted malt notes.

The taste is quite creamy and rich, with those good perfume notes adding a depth I can't describe. The high alcohol content leaves me thinking of Imperial Stouts.

The body is oily slick and creamy.

Overall this is a fine beer. It's very drinkable, considering the 12 percent alcohol level. I bet this could sneak up on you, though. Well worth trying, though a little expensive for regular drinking.

Photo of JoeBloe
4.37/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

i read a good article about extreme beer in the nov24 issue of the new yorker - it covered the discovery/search/acquisition of the palo santo wood used to make the barrels for this beer - i picked up a 4 pack of this today, and was anxious to pour one -
i agree with most of the good reviews here - but in skimming thru the 520 reviews here i don't know if anybody mentioned this point - the first sip reminded me of .... sam adams triple bock! -
my wife even commented on the smell being like 'that stuff i used to drink from those blue bottles" - and hey, i liked sipping the satb- this tastes more like a beer, though-and a tasty beer it is - better warmer than colder - nice flavor complexity - good stuff here.

Photo of dasenebler
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick and opaque. Extremely dark brown, possibly black. Sticky looking tan head, thin layer sticks around on the way down. Aroma of sweet malts and alcohol.

Taste is delicious, pretty intense and full bodied. Lots of sweet malt and molasses, some roastiness and dark fruit on the aftertaste. Heavy yet slippery mouthfeel, if anything it's slightly too soda-like in the carbonation, but that doesn't take much at all away from the overall flavor. Strong at 12%, but pretty well-hidden and smooth. I think the Palo Santo wood aging has something to do with the smoothness of this brew. But as for woody flavors I'm not detecting a whole lot. There's some spiciness though. This beer is really an Imperial Brown Ale, which makes it pretty darn close to an imperial stout, though I guess not as roasty or bitter. All in all a great Dogfish brew.

Photo of JWD
4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a great beer from DFH

A- Black, this looked like an RIS but is acually a brown ale, this looks good.

S- The smell is like nothing i have ever smelled before, Palo Santo wood perhaps?? very interesting, i love it, very sappy smelling.

T- Once again very good, great job of hiding the 12% ABV within this very drinkable brew. The flavor of the palo santo is something i have nerver experianced before.

M- Thick like a stout but very drinkable like the brown that it is intended.

D- Outstanding, this may be next on my home draft list, for the ABV and the intensity this brew is exremely drinkable, this is the best from DFH that i have had to date..

Photo of bahumutx
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark with a small tan head

Smell: Slight Alcohol, Dark Fruit, Dark Chocolate, Slight sweetness

Taste: Starts with a sweet brown sugar flavor. Hints of vanilla in the middle. Ends with a coffee like bitterness. The alcohol is present in the background but not overpowering at all.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: I could have one or two of these in a sitting. Not many more due to the higher ABV.

Another great beer from Dog Fish Head. I look forward to what they come out with next.

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the first release, found in the back of the fridge.
Less than a finger of head when poured into a Duchesse goblet. Tan foam that recedes slowly, and leaves a ring. Lactic aroma with some banana ester from the yeast, and slightly roasty. Reminds me of a Bells stout. Rich, creamy feel, earthy roast and lactic taste. Not getting much of the advertised wood-aging. Abv is well disguised. Similar to Bells Kalamazoo Stout or Double Cream. Good, but not worth paying a premium for.

Photo of TrevorGW
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours jet black with a tan head that retains pretty well.

Smells of raisins and dark chocolate.

Taste is awfully sweet at first, but finishes off pretty well. Coffee, vanilla and cinnamon dominate. Dark flavor, yet very herbal and aromatic at the same time. The brown sugar presence is definitely there as well. Roasty and sweet.

Mouthfeel is creamy. Carbonation is light, giving it a thick motor oil feel that is identical to any decent imperial stout.

The alcohol is a bit much so you have to take this one pretty slow.

Photo of mdcrouser
3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown with a muted chestnut head that dissipates quickly to form only a bubbly ring around the glass, with very little lacing. It has the traditional undertones of a brown ale, but is obviously much bolder and stronger - higher alcohol makes its way to the nose, followed by a complete mouthful of awe-inspiring flavors - from oak to vanilla, cherries and a bit of dark chocolate, escaping to the farthest caverns of the mouth, saturating the entire tongue.

In addition to the vanilla, I would think that the wood imparts a subtle smokiness that really helps to round out the flavors, holding it all together through the drink and then following for a number of minutes. Probably the best brown I've ever had, though not my favorite style.

Photo of glid02
4.32/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single of this at the Market Square Liquors in Tallahassee.

Pours a brown color out of the bottle, but once it settles in the glass it's all black except for a bit of deep ruby at the bottom. Head is almost non-existent - 1/4 finger of brown foam that quickly recedes into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Almost no lacing, but it does have some legs.

Smells of vanilla, light roasted malt, wood, and a bit of alcohol if you sniff hard enough.

Tastes great. If I didn't know what this was I'd call it a stout rather than a brown. Roasted malt is joined by vanilla and light chocolate flavors. The wood has less of a flavor than it does a presence. The alcohol is noticeable, but not as much as it probably should be for a 12% beer.

Mouthfeel is phenomenal. It's very thick and viscous with subdued carbonation. The smoothness really sold this beer for me.

Drinkability is great. Interesting flavors glide down my gullet. I could have a few of these.

Overall I'd heard a lot of good things about this beer, and it certainly did not let me down. Be sure to give this one a shot.

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

Pours a black more then brown nice red highlights with a brown head that falls and leaves some lace behind.

Aroma is nice malt, fruits, alcohol nice wood and vanilla hints. Complex but simple at the same time, nice.

Taste is nice malt sweetness with alcohol playing a part. Fruitiness makes itself known along with woody vanilla. Rich full bodied beer with noted alcohol but it seems to fit right in here, one sipping pleasure this one. I find a lot of DFH brews to be hit and miss, this ones a hit.

Mouthfeel is nice big bodied with mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is good as I will buy again bad as wouldn't have too many at once. Defiantly worth hunting some down to try though.

Photo of coasterfreak75
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour was almost completely black with a slight crimson color, nearly completely opaque. It had a choppy, beige, two finger head that very slowly dissapated and left a very nice lace on the glass throughout the drink.

The smell is heavy in alcohol in the front of the nose with a slight fruity nose. Hidden the the back of the nose is a hint of wood.

The drink starts with a slight alcohol burn quickly followed by a kick of heavy malt, laced with coffee and sweet caramel flavor. Near the end hop spice takes over the palate finishing with an alcohol burn that warms the body.

Quite a complex beer, to be as thick as it is, it's quite drinkable. Still complex is the best way to describe this one, well worth a try.

Photo of AChamberlain
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle form Knightly Spirits in Metro West, Orlando, FL.

A: Black, ruby highlights. Dark brown head that stuck around near the edges. Porterlike.

S: Apples was the first thing I got in the nose. Vanilla. Booze. Yum.

T: Vanilla, sweet malts, roastiness. Very tasty. Maybe some coffee notes.

MF: Slick, zesty, tight carbonation, small bubbles and lots of them.

D: Very good. 12 percent, kind of tough to justify another one, but almost have to. Most definitely an extreme brown ale.

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 5,186 ratings.