Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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2,016 Reviews
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Reviews: 2,016
Hads: 5,500
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 19.71%
Wants: 323
Gots: 1,092 | FT: 24
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,016 | Hads: 5,500
Photo of SoupKitchenBeerSnob
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Damn fine brew... I've recently begun to step back back a bit from the big stout/porter beers that beat you about the head and neck regardless of how much I love them (see my review of Avery's Mephistopheles for where I stand)... Nevertheless, this brew is up there on my charts. Thick, big and black; it is a force to be reckoned with (keep your smartass racist/phallic interpretations to yourself!). This is quite a departure from what I've come to expect from the guys at Dogfish, for sure. Definitely worth a try if you're thinking of a brute of a beer on a cold winter night. Not recommended for the hop-friendly types that would be offended by a malt-heavy, sweet and severely alcoholic brew... Cheers!

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Photo of draheim
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Revisiting this one as I last reviewed it more than 3 years ago. 12oz bottle (bottled 10/24/2014) into a tulip. Pours a deep, dark brown w/ minimal head.

Aroma is rich and complex, mostly dark sweet malt and gooey molasses/caramel. A hint of chocolate.

Taste is likewise complex. Dark malt, rum-soaked dark fruit, lots of warming booze, vanilla, subtle coconut. Equal parts bitter and sweet.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich. Good carbonation w/ a surprisingly dry finish for such a high ABV beer.

This is definitely a slow sipper, a dessert beer. A triple imperial brown ale.

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Photo of MisterGone
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The power of suggestion reigns on this label. It is an American Brown Ale, and does indeed pour very brown, with a lovely dark khaki head. We are told that ther will be vanilla and caramel. And there is, certainly present in the nose. But also, a malty note in there as well. Hops are minimally present in the nose. Then the flavor delivers on two of the three promises. There is vanilla. There is caramel (both the candy profile and the malt profile... which was really tasty). There is a nice balance of the sweet with the necessary bitter. I am afraid I cannot detect specifics in the hops as the dominant sweet profiles mask them from my palate.

And then there is the wood. Just don't get it. Wood flavor that is. I understand the concept of practical uses for timber. I just cannot taste much in the way of wood. And I really want to. I want to taste the wood, like oak in a well made white wine (even though I don't like that flavor profile anymore). Or more importantly like wood from an American Bourbon. I know this isn't aged in Bourbon barrels, and I didn't expect that. Just wanted wood flavor period. Didn't get it, so I have no idea what a Palo Santo tree tastes like.

But the beer is damn good.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery. Poured from the bottle into a glass, the head is two fingers thick and tan with solid lacing, and an extremely dark brown body

I smell the vanilla and caramel mentioned on the label, along with hearty grains.

Tastes like caramel and roasted malts, perhaps a copperish note, and bit of alcohol astringency.

Mouthfeel is slightly more viscous than others, but still very smooth and drinkable. This brew is certainly a sipper.

Overall, a 4.75 for Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery. A great savory sipper to reflect on the day with during a nice film. I will probably pick this up again.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours black color, opaque. Finger thick, mocha colored, frothy and creamy head. Moderate lacing on sides of glass. Resembles the appearance of an imperial stout.
Aroma- Toasty caramel malts, vanilla, hints of chocolate, slight butterscotch. Spicy wood notes, earthy fragrance, astringent oakiness balances sweetness.
Taste- Creamy vanilla and caramel sweetness, slightly toasted/roastiness compliments. Spicy, oak notes come through and add earthy bitterness. Booziness lingers into aftertaste.
Feel- Medium to full bodied, very creamy and slightly sticky. Lower amount of carbonation, spot on.
Overall- Wonderful creamy flavors come together nicely, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch give beer a decadent richness and delicacy. Slight roastiness and oakiness come through and balance out sweetness, while also adding a spicy complexity and depth. Alcohol does show, but doesnt detract from the main flavor profile.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle as a gift from Virginia, USA:
A very nice beer from Dogfish Head once again, this one had an enjoyable taste to it and went down a lot easier than I had imagined going in. The nose could have been a little more pronounced with some notes proving a little difficult to detect but once given some time to open up things started to be a little more noticeable. The alcohol was fairly well hidden with only small amount coming through and the sweetness in the taste was very nice. A great beer overall and definitely one that I'd like to try again, hopefully I can get my hands on another bottle somehow.

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Photo of Safa1
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is my god damned go to beer. My regular. It's delicious and different. It's for people who think stone brewing makes weak tasting beers. Propers to dogfish head. This beer is the pinnacle of brown ales. Period.

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Photo of Edgarallenpoor
4.99/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The fact that this particular bottle was aged for six months gave this dogfish " holy tree" beer a full masterful taste of caramel and smooth flavor. I will have this one ranked in top 3 in the dogfish line.

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Photo of Coffdaddy
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is DFH at its finest. Had the good fortune of picking up three bottles of the first batch ever released 2/11/08. This is definitely a fantastic beer to age. I've never had a 12% beer taste so smooth. Hints of toffee, caramel and chocolate all imparted by the Palo Santo wood. It's such a dark beer you forget it's a brown ale and not a stout. A ton of respect for DFH -- it cost them $140,000 to make the vessel made from Palo Santo Wood. Yet, this is the ONLY beer that's made in that vessel and it's nowhere close to being their top selling beer.

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Photo of mchegash
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 12oz bottle with date of 7/21/14 into DFH Signature glass

Appearance - 4.5/5
Pitch black in color, with about a finger of brown head, which dissipates down to a thin layer. This is how I like to see a brown ale. Well, perhaps a dark opaque brown would be better, but I hate when a "brown ale" is a see-through reddish-brown, as is the case most of the time. So a very opaque appearance is a nice change from the typical brown ale.

Smell - 3.75/5
Deep, rich, roasty chocolate malts, sweet alcohol. Perhaps a little fruitiness.

Taste - 4.5/5
Wood flavor which is similar to oak, but a little different (the Palo Santo wood). I'd say the difference is that it's slightly less smoky and bitter, and a little more sweet. I like it better than oak flavor. Vanilla. Slightly fruity alcohol. The taste of this beer is great. It's hard to describe the complexity of the taste fully.

Mouthfeel - 4.5/5
Medium-full bodied. Extremely smooth and creamy. There is a light amount of carbonation. Perhaps a tad more would be nice, but I think it has close to the perfect amount.

Overall - 4.5/5
Overall, this was a great beer. Firstly, I was a big fan of the Palo Santo wood. It basically took oak taste, and removed some of the aspects of that taste which I didn't like, thus making an even better wood taste. I love the dark, opaque appearance, something that most brown ales lack. The feel of this beer in my mouth was incredible as well. So smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of carbonation (almost). Definitely recommended. I will definitely be picking up more of this in the future.

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Photo of Oldejoe
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Looks. Good rich dark engine oil, with a small head.
Smell. Bourbon? Woodsy, alcoholy, dark spices.
Taste. Malty spicy start, cinnamon and allspice, dry finish, alcoholy.
Mouthfeel. Oily with a bit of sparkle, some chew, very full.
Overall. Really good, one of my favorites.

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Photo of glass_house
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

Pours deep, dark, almost completely opaque mahogany with one finger of creamy milk chocolate head. Leave a wispy cap and minimal oily lacing. Aroma is rich and roasty with chocolate notes, dark fruit, charred wood and sweet alcohol. Yum.

Taste is more of the same. Slightly bitter dark chocolate, toffee, a bit of caramel, prunes, vanilla, smoky wood notes, and a sweet warming alcohol finish. SO much going on, but it works in perfect harmony. Mouthfeel is full and viscous. Low carbonation. Coats the palate well, but drinks smoothly without feeling too heavy. Sip carefully, due to the abv, but I find this going down much easier than it should. Alcohol is certianly noticeable, but in a pleasant way that doesn't bother me in the least.

Brown ale....whatever. Drinks more like a stout to me, but they could call this American Brown Dishwater for all I care. Simply one of the best new (to me) beers I've tried in a long time. Would love to age a few...if I can exercise the patience.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: dark brown, mahogany body with medium beige, frothy head; good lacing

Smell: rich, sweet malts with roasted grains; you can detect the wood, which gives it a slight oaky-like smell

Taste: sweet malts with a big hit of roasted grains on the front; the notes of wood show up in the mid and lingers a bit with a bit of dryness; very little hop flavors, but the roasted grain and wood bitterness balance it out very well

Mouthfeel: thick and creamy

Remarks: this is a great beer; I'll definitely have it again, and again

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

APPEARANCE: This beer is a black hole. I always thought of it as more of brown in color than black, but nope. It’s black. Trying to shine my iPhone’s flashlight through it is impossible…even at an angle where there is less beer to travel through; the light just gets completely blocked. There is no red hue, no faint little red bulb on the other side of the glass, just blackness. A coffee-colored head foams up to about a finger, but collapses within ten seconds, leaving a paper-thin cap covering the whole surface of the glass minus a little ring just inside from the edge of the glass.

SMELL: A pleasant smell of wood leads the way with hints of everything else; vanilla, nuts, caramel and roasty coffee beans. There is a lot going on here and it’s really nice.

TASTE: There is even more going on in the taste than there was in the nose. Wow, there is a lot of flavor in here. The wood character is strong, but there is also an enormous vanilla character…and caramel as well. The wood, along with some pleasant roasted malt notes serve to even out the sweetness of the big vanilla and caramel. A touch of nuttiness is there as well. And maybe this is just because I am used to this from dark, Dogfish Head beers, but I am also getting some notes of figs and raisins.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium to big bodied, but mostly big. The balance here is nearly perfect. As mentioned in the Taste section, the wood and light roast do a great job of balancing all the other sweet flavors. The sparkle is a little more impressive than I expected, but this is also a silky, smooth beer that seems to just slide right down.

OVERALL: I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this beer earlier because it has always been one of my favorites from DFH. It surprises and delights me every time I come across this treat. Being unique is great, but to be this different, yet still so well put together is exceptional. It is not every day that a year-round offering from any brewery deserves a 5 in any category, but Palo Santo most certainly does. It is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on-tap at Hop Cat in Detroit, Michigan. $12 for a snifter (10oz pour)... phew.

Most memorable beer of the night, I'd say... man I was impressed with this beer. So unique and memory sticking, it's as if I just finished it. The table didn't seem especially impressed, but I really was... it's bizarre. On my nose, it smells like wet wood chips after a good rain and almost nothing else... really, I relate it to the dry-down that quite a few men's musky colognes have. For the taste? Well, wow. It's a lot of wood flavor, but also an unexpectedly large amount of red and black licorice with a fair smack of heat from the alcohol. The woodiness is there from beginning to end and is readily apparent, but I don't think it ever becomes overwhelming. It is still no doubt the focal point.

This was a stunning beer and a glaring reminder to me as to why I enjoy craft beer. Not only was it super unique, it was very well crafted... what else should I expect from Dogfish Head? I'll be snagging a bottle of this next time I see it so I can try it again -- it is definitely something one-of-a-kind and special.

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Photo of lyonbg
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

As with many brews from Dogfish Head this is a very unique beer with a unique after tasted that is highly impacted, almost dominated, by the high alcohol content (12%). It has an array of flavors and the after taste comes across as almost tart, certainly more than most brown ales. From the look of the beer as you pour it you expect a very full mouth feel as the beer appears very dark and thick, but surprisingly it has a rather light to moderate mouth feel. I personally really like one bottle, but would not enjoy drinking multiples at one sitting.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wanted to start trying some of the bigger DFH offerings and this 12% beer caught my eye.

A - Deep dark brown almost black in the glass with some murkiness. Dark khaki head and nice lacing.

S - Tons of of sweet brown smell with caramel, toffee, vanilla, nut and some soft woody like smells mingling in your nose. Sweet but so much deep and maybe a little alcohol. It was complex and amazing all in one snifter.

T - The flavors culminate on your palate with malt, vanilla, caramel, light chocolate, and light coffee. The alcohol is very smooth and is only noticeable in the warming notes that you feel after the swallow. It is definitely on the sweeter side but with the depth there is something that doesn't really detract. Tastes like an amazing Brown but with so much complexity and richness that it contends for one of the best beers I've had.

M - Very high mouth-feel with moderate carbonation. It pours quite thick and is sweet on the palate but the smooth alcohol and helpful carbonation make it not too cloying

Overall, this is a tremendously delicious beer. If KBS or Bourbon County aren't available this beer maybe able to help sooth the big beer blues. There is a ton of flavor that tends to evolve on your tongue. There is no debating that this beer is on the sweeter side of beers but with so much to offer it is hard to not love it. Though there are a few (KBS) that are better than this brew I would think that this would be my new go to when I'm feeling low and Ten Fidy isn't in stock. I HIGHLY recommend you try this awesome brew.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of travolta
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black, with a dark brown head with reddish hues. Average retention, with nice spotted lacing. Very nice to look at.

Nose: Raisin, vanilla, black cherry and wood.

Taste: Beautiful maltiness. Finishes clean. Carmel, vanilla, toast, wood, with some faint alcohol wafting through the finish.

Notes: Totally worth trying. Have an average brown ale before you try this one, so you can appreciate how special it is. A total winner.

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Photo of BWED
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a DFH shaped pint glass.

A- Near back. Very dark brown with a deep red hue when held to the light. Head is brown, thick and dense. Looks almost like chocolate mousse. Great retention.

S- Caramel, booze, vanilla, a tiny bourbon/woody.

T- So rich. Caramel and vanilla. Roasty, a little boozy. Wood imparts a great depth as well.

M- Full body, of course. Carbonation is light and smooth. Finishes roasty, with a lingering astringency.

O- This one has incredible depth. The wood casks really impart a lot to this one. It should be considered an Imperial Brown Ale, as well. Strong and heavy.

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Photo of Ob1wan
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 bottle (I think)

Poured into a snifter. Barely any head, with a trace of edge bubbles

What stands out most for me is the taste and feel of this brew at the end and how it lingers in my mouth. Need to pick up a new bottle to compare.

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Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Complex with a nice balance of flavors. The wood is very present with toasty, nutty malt notes, a little alcohol burn, and some vanilla sweetness. Very light body and drinkable for 12%. I think the wood gives it a drier finish for a beer this big.

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Photo of Harvest06
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark brown with red highlights, extremely thin head that quickly dissipates.
S: Vanilla out front, subtle camel. Subtle wood. No noticeable hops.
T: Vanilla/wood syrup the same texture as a Cabernet Sauvignon. Mellow - no harsh woods & no bitter hops tastes. Finish is relatively dry.
M: Full bodied syrupy & sticky very thick & not filling, not harsh & don't taste alcohol, perfect low carbonation for sipping or drinking.
O: Complex, aromatic. Satisfying. Laying some down to age.

Note - this is best fresh as the vanilla and other woody characteristics from the Paraguayan Palo Santo fermentation tanks is noticeably faded after 6 months (see bottle date on the neck of the bottle) and the beer becomes unbalanced and overly sweet. Not recommended for cellaring despite the high abv and wine like characteristics unless you want this to become a barley wine after maybe 2 years or so. I'd drink fresh myself.

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Photo of KevChiTown
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Fantastic. Maybe the best brown ale I've ever had. It's a shame I've past this by so many times, thinking I wouldn't enjoy it. Very stupid. Great sipper, gets much deeper as it warms!

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Photo of akeiii
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excellent look with fine head, not much aroma perhaps it's weakest point, smooth feel and smooth taste with hints of vanilla and caramel (which I admit I am partial too). One excellent winter warmer with a good book, salted pretzel and warm blue cheese dip :-). Having on tap at the Malted Barley right now.

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Photo of Nevbo
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Super dark in appearance. Coffee brown head that dissipates fairly quickly. Smells like it tastes: chocolate (slightly tootsie roll-ish), black licorice, fruity and nutty. Unless you like a good buzz, don't drink more than 3! Great beer-

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,016 ratings.