Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,023 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,023
Hads: 5,546
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 12.02%
Wants: 328
Gots: 1,134 | FT: 23
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 2,023 | Hads: 5,546
Photo of DKMII
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black color. Small light brown foamy head.
Smells like roasted malts.
Taste almost like dusty malts. Like a dark wood attic flavor deliciously captured in a bottle.
Good carbonation on tongue. Starts heavy with light malty finish.

 234 characters

Photo of geodonnokepyo
3.76/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look - Pours a dark brown to black color. No light shines through. Grayish/tan head. Good head retention and nice lacing.

Smell - Roasted malt. Chocolate malt. Small hint of vanilla. No hops noticeable

Taste - Follows the nose. Very dark malt flavor. Dark chocolate with a smoky woodiness to it. Possible hints of dark fruits.

Feel - A little harsh with alcohol burn. Other than that it is pretty creamy.

Overall - I think some aging should serve this beer well (like it says on the bottle) to mellow out the high ABV. Good thing I have two put away for awhile :)

 567 characters

Photo of MaximalC
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours seal brown right out of the bottle, with nothing more than a ring of khaki froth around the surface. If I had a nickel for every brown ale that had such a deep, dark brown color...I’d be broke. This looks straight up nice. Aroma smells of salted caramel and peat, with hints of cherry and booze. Spotty lacing clings to the glass as the beer recedes.

Alcohol wastes no time asserting itself on the front end, but once it subsides, your tastebuds are treated to flavors of smooth, rich molasses accented by butterscotch, brown sugar, and vanilla. It doesn’t take long before your lips are ensconced in a sticky, malty, residue that could nearly glue your mouth shut. Earthy, herbal hops provide a subtle, bitter counterpoint without getting in the way of the malt. While the alcohol felt a little strident at first, some habituation reveals that it’s not nearly as pronounced as you’d expect for its ABV. The delicious aftertaste is a lingering haze of molasses and brown sugar. A hefty body provides plenty of substrate for the luxurious taste, while very fine carbonation lends just the right amount of texture; the mouthfeel is befitting of the taste is accompanies.

After recently trying a series of light, caramel-colored brown ales, this was a revelation. Palo Santo Marron comes across more like an imperial doppelbock than a traditional brown ale. It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say this tastes very much like a barrel-aged Celebrator. It has definitely earned some of my respect for what I’d previously considered an overrated brewery.

 1,572 characters

Photo of ONUMello
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Dark brown, almost black, with a one-finger head
S: Cherry, dark malt, a bit of smoked wood, molasses and honey
T: Largely matches the nose, particularly the cherry and molasses. A bit woody and fairly boozy
M: Full-bodied, somewhat sweet with noticeable alcohol
O: Tasty and I love the unique wood aging though the alcohol is a bit strong

 379 characters

Photo of jellikit
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from Bottle.
Appearance: dark brown. Thin to no head. Clear when held to light.
Smell: smoked wood.
Taste: raisins, dates, figs. Followed by a light liquid smoke.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. Big body. Slightly sweet.
Overall: tasty big, smoked beer. Will buy again.

 285 characters

Photo of Bone53
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark brown pour yet opaque in the glass when put up to the light. Two finger light brown head

Smell: Sweet malt (caramel, toffee), vanilla, light chocolate, dark fruit such as black cherry and figs, wood

Taste: Upfront is that sweet malt (caramel, toffee) character that quickly transitions into vanilla and very light chocolate, perhaps a touch of dark fruits in there, and finishes with all the notes mentioned with a undertone of wood.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body; Goes down just fine considering the abv. with moderate alcohol presence and a dry, slightly bitter finish

Overall: Im admittedly not a big fan of Dogfish, but this one surprised the hell out of me. Every time i take a whiff and sip i pull out different aromas and flavors. Its pretty complex from the sweet malt characters to dark fruits, light chocolate, vanilla, and wood. I like how the finish carries on for a while and the woody character along with the dryness is almost like chewing on wood itself. Along with Indian Brown Ale, this is my favorite beer from DFH. They sure know how to make a brown!

This is easily one of my favorite year-round offerings from any brewery available to me.

 1,176 characters

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!

 708 characters

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

I can't get enough of this brew. The comment that this is a cross between a Barleywine and an imperial stout is right on. It's not a brown... But yet it is. And it just keeps getting better with age. Cheers and thanks for this one, dfh.

 236 characters

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.

 575 characters

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.

 1,212 characters

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.

 653 characters

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.

 924 characters

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.

 613 characters

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.

 215 characters

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.

 209 characters

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.

 553 characters

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.

 1,596 characters

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.

 274 characters

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.

 1,027 characters

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

 537 characters

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.

 2,099 characters

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.

 1,108 characters

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.

 552 characters

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

 1,568 characters

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.

 449 characters

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 2,023 ratings.