Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

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1,997 Reviews
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Reviews: 1,997
Hads: 5,439
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 6.27%
Wants: 317
Gots: 1,056 | 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: 1,997 | Hads: 5,439
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)

Photo of ljbonadonna92
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

Looks: this beer was dark! it had a very thick look with a super dark brown color.
Nose: for the most part i smelt alcohol but later on i found there to be a very fruity smell. almost like wine.
taste: At first i was distracted by the mouth feel being very thick and then by the alcohol. as it warmed up i got notes of a very sweet vanilla and caramel after tones. (365 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a very dark brown, almost black, with a big two finger thick tan head. The aroma is nice, with dark fruit, vanilla, roasted malt, chocolate and lots of booze. The taste is also lots of dark fruit, vanilla, followed by dark chocolate and some coffee. The alcohol is pretty well masked up front, but really stands out in the back end, along with some nice oaky type flavors- very complex, but nicely balanced with no one flavor overpowering the others. The beer has a medium/thick mouthfeel, just enough to linger on the palate nicely. Overall, this is an excellently made beer- very complex, but nicely balanced. (618 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
4.61/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Palo Santo pours a black color with a nice long lasting and lacing tan head. There is a strong okay aroma, with whiskey like notes. The taste is very big and creamy. Big sharp malt backbone, good hints of of the palo wood, vanilla, and a whiskey like after finish. Good strong flavors, nice body. Overall fantastic. (320 characters)

Photo of PvtSnowball
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Ridiculously complex. Coffee beer look. Head is okay, retention and lacing is good.

Really good brew, but way over the top.

Nice. I didn't expect this. (156 characters)

Photo of KarlosT
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

very strong flavors. The high ABV of 12% was noticeable ... almost had a sense of added vodka.

Heavy beer. Slightly different flavors (perhaps due to the Santo Wood). Not bad, but not really to my liking

Had it on tap at Grill Next Door in Haverhill MA (257 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours deep brown – almost black, with 2” foam collar that slowly descends to ½”, lacy and some legs.
S: You can smell the wood and a variety of spice and some rich malt almost a little bourbon, some vanilla and caramel.
T: Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, nutty, spice, long lasting aftertaste with a hint of anise, cardamom, long lingering malt after taste with some alcohol.
M: Very creamy, very full bodied, low to medium low carbonation. Some warming but the alcohol is not hot or solventy.
O: A big bruiser of a brown ale. (539 characters)

Photo of daveruman
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

not to bubbly when poured, but has a bit of carbonation to it.

A:very dark brown

S: really nice smelling beer, smells more like an american Belgian to me, than a brown.

T: heavy dark, tastes like a dubbel to me, caramel flavored, pretty good

M: carbonation on the tongue when just opened, smooth on the tongue,slightly bitter.

O: pretty good, it's a real heavy brown, i'd say it is somewhere in between a Belgian dubbel clone and a brown ale that is woody. (461 characters)

Photo of mthomp081
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Really nice thick, brown creamy head. Super dark, nearly black. The aroma is super complex. Burnt, smokey, roasted malts some sweetness. Can certainly taste the uniqueness of the wood that is used. Lots of smoked malt, mild bitrerness. Really fantastic. (259 characters)

Photo of BethanyB
4.6/5  rDev +10.8%

Appearance: A syrupy, opaque, deep mahogany, with a golden brown head that gives off a bit of a glimmer before disappearing altogether. (But what do you expect of
from a 12% ABV beer?) 3/3

Aroma: A complex aroma indeed! Presents a dastardly boozy mixture of dried dark fruit, butterscotch, and chocolate. Lightly roasted malt holds it all together, giving off a slightly smoky, even meaty secondary scent. 11/12

Taste: Sugary dates, prunes, and dried cherries come close to being cloying before bitter, rauchbier-like flavors smoke out the sweet and bring in the savory. Lightly roasted malt, rich dark coffee, tobacco, and even a bit of bacon create a surprisingly balanced and finish to the indulgent dessert of a beginning. Spicy hops make for a tangy garnish. Absolutely delicious. 18/20

Mouthfeel: Chewy yet silky, with medium carbonation to create a dry finish appropriate for the smokier flavors. Alcohol warming is just noticeable enough to confirm that yes, this beer is big. 5/5

Overall: Couldn't wait to try this one, and my high expectations were blown out of the trub. Gives the best of any big beer a of any type a run for its money without succumbing to that "you either love it or hate it" description most beers of this size and complexity call forth. Just a tiny touch too sweet in my opinion. Otherwise, it's superb. 9/10 (1,344 characters)

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 1,997 ratings.