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Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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2,006 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 2,006
Hads: 5,469
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 6.27%
Wants: 323
Gots: 1,073 | 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: 2,006 | Hads: 5,469
Photo of Coffdaddy
5/5  rDev +20.5%
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. (553 characters)

Photo of mchegash
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (1,596 characters)

Photo of Oldejoe
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
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. (274 characters)

Photo of glass_house
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
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. (1,027 characters)

Photo of IchLiebeBier
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
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 (537 characters)

Photo of StoneTSR
4.64/5  rDev +11.8%
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. (2,099 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
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. (1,108 characters)

Photo of lyonbg
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
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. (552 characters)

Photo of dmgeng
4.85/5  rDev +16.9%
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 (1,568 characters)

Photo of travolta
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
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. (449 characters)

Photo of BWED
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (619 characters)

Photo of Ob1wan
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (239 characters)

Photo of HeadyTheElder
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (249 characters)

Photo of Harvest06
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
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. (923 characters)

Photo of KevChiTown
4.57/5  rDev +10.1%
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! (183 characters)

Photo of akeiii
4.73/5  rDev +14%
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. (308 characters)

Photo of Nevbo
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
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- (244 characters)

Photo of nizzle8287
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Bottled on 7/21/14, served at 55 degrees. Poured almost completely black into a tulip with about an inch of creamy khaki head that dissipates nice and slow to a thick film. Smell is underwhelming, but I pick up fig, raisin, malty sweetness and alcohol. Medium thick and creamy mouth feel with flavors that blend so well it's difficult to single out any one in particular. It tastes like the Philharmonic orchestra sounds. Definitely hides the 12% ABV well, but to me this seems like more of an imperial stout. Someone likened this beer to Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, but this would be like the caramel raisin brother to the chocolate charred coffee that is the Ten Fidy. Overall, this excellent beer has claimed a spot in my top 5 cold weather beers. (751 characters)

Photo of kwmac
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

The best brown ale I've ever had. Very malty, with enough sweetness to satisfy my wife, but still sufficiently bitter for me. Definite vanilla taste. Dark and thick - a very rich brown ale. At 12% ABV, one ten ounce pour is enough for one night. (245 characters)

Photo of Severdali
4.65/5  rDev +12%

It is truly a unique beer and the wood is a flavor of its own. Vanilla and barrel-y boozy flavors follow. The ABV will get you on this one. If I drink one of these other beers become not as necessary. It's worth tasting the difference slightly cold to warm. Holiday dark fruits are there and very nice. I haven't aged this one and I wonder how it would do? (356 characters)

Photo of Jimlikesbeer
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Dog Fish Head's Palo Santo Marron is outstanding. One of my all time favorite beers. So many favors. This brown Ale has an earthy taste that must come from the wooden containers it is aged in The vanilla comes through with just the right amount of sweetness. Very smooth and easy to drink. No bitterness and even though it has a high ABV (12%) it doesn't taste like I'm drinking pure alcohol. If you have never tasted this beer, take my word for it, it's worth a little extra $. (484 characters)

Photo of Roguer
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown, topped with a dark brown head. Decent retention.

Strong aroma, with tons of chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, and wood. I can't tell Palo Santo wood from oak, but it carries a similar aromatic profile - with the vanilla, but without the char. Red wine grapes complement the dark fruit, as do brown sugar and caramel.

The woody quality of the aroma reminds me quite a bit of Burton Baton, actually.

Incredibly full-flavored, complex, and sweet. Chocolate and fruit up front; roasted barley and caramel in the middle; and a marshmallowy vanilla, with a woody earthiness and spices on the back end.

Very thick brew; sticky and cloying.

This is an excellent beer, although it strikes me as a precurser to today's spiced stouts than a brown ale. Really, really excellent brew. (800 characters)

Photo of Bubba569
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Very good tasting beer with strong notes of Coffee, Chocolate and Vanilla It has a pleasantl alcohol burn finish! It'll make you smile coming in at a whopping 12% ABV! (167 characters)

Photo of JDW4195
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Very bold taste, doesn't give me the feel of brown ale. It's more along the lines of barley wine, the flavor is so intense. You can pick out some vanila and coffee flavors. It will knock you on your arrs if you're not carefull (226 characters)

Photo of roubaixnorth
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

I'm a big fan of this beer and can say with the limited beers I've experience this is my favorite. I'm not a huge fan of the IPA's and DIPA's that everyone seems to be raving about lately even though I have had them.

Enjoy this beer at 60 - 65 degrees for the best flavor. I take them from the cellar, put them in the fridge for a little bit and then pour.

Pours very dark in color but I can almost see a little red near the top with limited head. I don't have a snifter, but that is what this should be poured into.

I love the booze smell coming from this beer but the alcohol itself is well hidden. I savor the smell of this beer before every sip and it usually take me hour to drink one. I like to allow the alcohol to start working in my system and at $15.99 a four pack you have to savor the flavors.

I enjoy the sweetness of what I think are plums or figs or something along those lines. Malt, vanilla, and a bit of spice from the Palo wood.

Very creamy mouth feel, almost like syrup. Low carbonation. Great beer to have on a cold evening or special occasion. Not a session beer just a slow sipper. My favorite to date (1,147 characters)

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,006 ratings.