Palo Santo Marron
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
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Brown Ale - American
Ranked #7
Ranked #1,474
4.22 | pDev: 11.61%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
Notes: 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
Reviews: 2,174 | Ratings: 6,063 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by burnerfinger:
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burnerfinger from Texas

4.16/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

OMG - right off the bat this is a truly BEAUTIFUL beer:

found these selling as singles at my local beer seller: (and at my low budget, bought only one!)

poured from the 12 oz bottle into my new belgium goblet:

A: pours thick and slow, think of root beer syrup. thick, deep caramel colored head and leaves a thick layer of lacing.
this is the most opaque beer I've seen - NO light comes thru held against a light bulb.

S: nice - sweet dark choco- tones. subtle on the nose

T: not too much to the taste either, understated woodsy chocolate with an abv backup.

M: heavy, very lite carbonation, ABV is well hidden but effective nonetheless

D: by no means is this a highly drinkable beer.
but is definitely EXCELLENT regardless.

Jan 18, 2012
More User Reviews:
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michiganmatt from California

4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

Jan 27, 2015
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sgoodship from Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was donated to the cause by my good friend bjones10. Thanks Brian.

This is an interesting brew for sure. Before drinking, I advise reading about it's making because this adds a whole layer of depth to the experience. Check this article out:

A: Poured into a snifter, it is a viscous dark chocolate color. It delivered a small espresso colored head that dissipates to a wisp on the surface and a thin ring. There's a small amount of spotty lacing but it never promises to deliver anything more.

S: Deep roasted malt, dark bitter chocolate, bitter coffee, vanilla and alcohol. The whisky-like alcohol becomes stronger as the drink progresses. I have to be honest that I am just not a fan of beers that scream heavy alcohol. It's just my personal taste.

T: Holy moly. Interesting stuff. It was worth getting that wood from the jungle because I am not quite sure you could produce that flavor easily any other way. First blush was a kinda vanilla and licorice. A deeper tasting revealed a licorice tangy sweetness, a spiciness with a deep, earthy, rich, burned, smokey, roasted malt. It's a hard flavor to put into words. At times, it has the dryness and dark fruit which gives it a dry red wine quality. Are you getting the impression from reading this that I am finding it complex? ☺ There's an alcohol burn there but not too bad. It definitely has that warming effect as you sip. I am not someone who goes wild with flavor descriptions in reviews but I have to admit that I feel like I may not have adequately covered off on all the things going on in this brew. You are just going to have to try it for yourself.

M: Mouthfeel is full, smooth and a little slick. There is a surprising amount of fine carbonation which works for me. I think it could become too heavy without the liveliness that the carbonation brings.

D: This may be classified as a brown ale by DFH but it has no business being called a brown ale. It's more like a strong ale but can come across in some ways like a RIS. I loved having the opportunity of trying it. It is definitely a great beer but it's too sweet and tangy and heavy in alcohol for my personal taste. At 12ABV, the beer is in the drivers seat - not the poor fool who is sipping it. You have to give it a try. It's one of those beers that makes you re-evaluate what beers are and can be. DFH may be surrounded by ridiculous hype but drinking a brew like this reminds me that their brand reputation is built on some real beer making prowess and pioneering spirit.

Apr 09, 2009
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Safa1 from California

5/5  rDev +18.5%
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.

Feb 11, 2015
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Lahey from Michigan

4.58/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle dated october of 2015, so theres a year and a half of age on it.

Beer pours inky black with tan head,
looks more like a stout than a brown. Light lacing

Smells like coffee and maybe light tobacco.

Flavor is what i would call wood aged imperial porter(or stout). Most brown ales dont touch the abv or darkness this beer has. Very enjoyable to me as I love high abv dark beers in general.

Mouthfeel isnt thin, but surprisingly drinkable for a high octane brown. I could see drinking more than one if offered the opportunity.

Next time I buy these, I'll get one 4 pack to drink and one to age. It's that good. If you like high powered stouts, give this a try (even though it's labeled as a brown) At least try a single, dogfish head don't mess around.

Apr 17, 2017
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stevoj from Idaho

4.4/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely loved this! Deep, dark and rich, velvety smooth. Nutty, smoky , woody, some chocolate notes. Warmth without burn. I’d like to get my hands on more of this

Jan 19, 2016
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DrSchnitzengiggle from Illinois

4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 6/3/15, drank today, 6/4/15.
Look: pitch black. no light coming through the beer.
Smell: Chocolate, toffee, vanilla, alcohol.
Taste: Chocolatey, more toffee. A slight coffee like bitterness. Definitely some alcohol, but that comes with the territory; more of a warming alcohol than a harsh alcohol.
Feel: Creamy mouthfeel.
Overall: A stellar beer in my opinion. Definitely a sipper. I would love to see how it changes with another year of aging. Pick up a 4 pack, drink one now and put the others away; visit them every year or so. I'd bet patience will continue to reward you.

Jun 05, 2016
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OldManStanford from California

4.04/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I keep finding myself coming back to this beer time and again. Especially after my local Whole Foods in the Bay Area started carrying it.

The color is dark, maybe even dank, especially for a brown ale. It feels thick as it pours, and ends up with a nice, even layer of foam on the head.

The aroma comes across with caramel and toasted nuts (almonds, perhaps). Of course, those caramel-coated nuts are surrounded by the smell of the wood! Wonderfully deep and complex.

The taste is heavy and warm, filled with notes of caramel and molasses. The high ABV isn't something you notice on the way in, but after one, I'm always thinking why I don't do that more often.

Overall, it's absolutely worth and taste and something I think is worth coming back to.

Mar 29, 2018
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beergoot from Colorado

4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark brown hued body, nearly black; thick, creamy, dense light brown head; lots of clinging sheets of foam on the glass. Chocolate and cocoa aroma; vanilla; a touch of cinnamon. Rich milk chocolate flavor; mocha; roasted grains; boozy with a mellow bitterness. Thick, velvety mouthfeel; oily; and chewy; mostly sweet finish.

Eye-popping lusciousness imbued with mouthwatering chocolate sweetness makes this one incredible beer. The high ABV is hardly noticeable until the finish. Depth, balance and complexity all combine in making a very approachable, heavy hitting beer that is pure liquid wonder.

Jul 25, 2015
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MizzouBrew from Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jul 01, 2017
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m_hall from Virginia

4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip. Deep, dark coffee brown, almost black, completely opaque. Head is thin, chocolate-brown, and falls slowly to a film. Lacing is sparse.

Nose has prominent woody notes, vanilla, toasted malts, and alcohol, with smokey/spicy highlights. A very aromatic beer.

Flavors are very bold... big oak-like woody notes right up front from the aging in exotic Palo Santo wood vats. Beneath that there are deep roasted/bittersweet chocolate malt flavors, molasses, dark fruits and dried berries. Alcohol follows in, but not in an overbearing way. Finish is a lingering mix of spicy tones, almost like some red wines; smoke, blended with subtle earthy hops.

Mouthfeel is very rich, chewy, viscous and mouth-coating. The heaviness in texture combined with the high ABV (12%) places this one firmly into the category of a "sipper." The decent level of carbonation does give it just a touch of tingle on the palate.

A somewhat experimental beer from a company known for such things, this DFH offering was quite a discovery. It's classed as a brown ale here, though that's perhaps a bit misleading... think more along the lines of a Belgian Strong Dark or even an Imperial Stout and you're getting a better idea of what this is like. With the high ABV, this one should age well; I'm planning to put a few up for a while and see how it evolves. As it is, this is already a great beer for people looking for a big ale.

Aug 16, 2015
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MaximalC from Illinois

4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Mar 29, 2015
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JacobusFavier23 from Texas

4.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L- Stouty, dark, dark brown. Almost black.
S- Tobacco, mollasses, sweetness, stone fruit.
T- Roasty, malty and savory flavor. Sweet. Almost an imperial soy sauce flavor. Wonderful
F- Thick, thick thick.
O- Wonderful beer. Thank you to my friend Jack for giving it to me. T

Apr 22, 2017
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mfowler314 from New York

4.74/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I love this beer! It is darker than you'd expect a brown to be. Good head to start but then settles into a nice ring of foam. Smell is richer than a typical brown ale with hints of vanilla. The flavor imparted by the Palo Santo wood is quite nice - different from other barrel flavors but in a good way. Thick feeling in the mouth. Overall one a great beer and one of my favorites!

May 10, 2016
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jjamadorphd from Florida

4.29/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This might be the best DFH I've ever had...Damn is it tasty...

I knew there was something special about this beer when I read it was a brown ale but it poured out more like a liquid, black stout. It had thin foam, light lacing, but the impenetrable blackness of the beer was impressive. The scent was a pleasant blend of caramel, roasted notes, and the distinct booziness that comes with 12% ABV. Mouthfeel was full-bodied, somewhat creamy, and more carbonated than I prefer but not to the point of distraction. The taste was anything like a brown ale - this was more a flavorful stout if anything. Though the booziness was the strong note, there were background flavors of vanilla and caramel, with a touch of roasted malts to round it all up.

What an incredible and unexpected surprise from a brewer I thought I had already pegged. Nice job DFH...

Feb 04, 2018
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nicholas2121 from Ohio

4.65/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Palo Santo Marron brewed by Dogfish Head Brewery, with an ABV of 12.00% This brew pours out a dark brown color, with a nice light brown head. The brew has the look of cola, not saying that is a bad thing. The smell is rich with flavor and sweetness. You also pick up on grain, malts, and a hit of hops in this brew. Now for the taste it is bold with flavor, and sweetness. There is a lot going on in Palo Santo Marron. At first, there is a bold sweetness and it fads to a clean roasted grains after taste. The mouthfeel is full bodied and well balance, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. I like how this brew is different from most brews on the market. Overall I giving Palo Santo Marron a 4.75 out 5. I would buy this brew again.

Apr 10, 2015
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Harrison8 from Missouri

4.51/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black with a finger and half of khaki foam with marvelous head retention. Aroma is toasted, nutted, breaded, and caramel malts with soothing oak. Flavor profile is toasted, roasted, nutted, breaded, and caramel malts. It has a wonderfully diverse quality to it, all the while, remaining balanced. Touches of caramel, oak, and molasses help smooth things out even further burying any sign of the 12% ABV. Mouth feel is velvety, smooth, and creamy with a medium thickness. Overall, a splendid beer that retains a world class balance. It drinks quite a bit like a stout, but a balanced stout at that. Lovely brew.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 12oz bottle.

Mar 23, 2018
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Brenden from Ohio

4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: I've never seen a brown that looked so much like a porter or possibly even a stout. It's very dark brown and just a bit of light adds some color to the body. The head is a smallish, thin one but tightly bubbled, leaving spotting on the glass behind a thin leg.
S: You can smell a bit of alcohol, but the barrel adds a lot of character. Good wood with some caramel and vanilla sweetness over a bit of light roast.
T:This one is balanced, not too sweet, and very tasty. The only thing that detracts is the strength of the raw sort of alcohol, and this might be the perfect brown ale without it. As such, it's excellent, with lots of complexity, bread and just enough of a leafy / earthy / almost nutty hops presence to counter the sweetness. Wood adds a nice dryness that doesn't take it overboard or go astringent.
F: This is one that could be very dry, and overly so, between the alcohol and wood but doesn't. It has a bit more body than the typical brown without being heavy and balances crispness and smoothness very nicely.

May 08, 2018
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Allenjoseph5 from Florida

4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head Goblet

L- dark, dark brown with barely there collection of deep khaki bubbles around the edge of the glass.

S- dark cherries, toffee, hint of vanilla

T- fig or cherries, coffee, alcohol. Bourbon like

F- full bodied for a beer with so much alcohol. Slick.

O- very freaking good. I can't believe it's taken me so long to actually try this. Glad I have 3 more. Will probably age two to see how it matures. This beer is a steal for the price I've seen it at.

Jun 16, 2016
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thepenguin from Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 2/22/12

L: Pours a very dark opaque brown with a dark beige head.

S: In some respects it smells like a cross between a barleywine and an imperial stout. It’s roasty and very malty with hints of prunes, raisons, and coffee. Very rich, with some perceptible alcohol, and just a touch of woodyness. Really interesting, really complex, really different.

T: Very rich and malty upfront, with some roastiness, following the nose. A good deal of hop bitterness with a sweet and somewhat bitter finish. Also fairly woodsy with hints of raisons. Dark malts take dominance in this one.

F: A medium-full mouthfeel (a bit lighter than expected) and moderate-low carbonation. Some warmth from the alcohol, but still surprisingly tame for a 12% abv.

O: Such a cool beer! Complex, delicious, and frankly, different. A cross between a barleywine and imperial stout, this is a real nice sipper with nice woodsy, roasty, and malty character. Probably my favorite year-round DFH brew.

Sep 17, 2015
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ivehadthatbrew from Nevada

4.27/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look (4.25): Not what I expect from the label saying it's a "brown ale". Pours a dark brown color that makes you think porter or stout. Thick brown creamy head.

Smell (4): Chocolate, toasted malt, vanilla wood and a whole bunch of booze. Reminds me of burnt wood and smores. Campfires basically.

Taste (4.5): Is it possible to taste smoke? There also the chocolate and boozey flavors with are definitely at large. This a very big and complex brew. I love it.

Mouthfeel (4): Rich, thick and creamy. I love it. Definitely full bodied with a long smokey aftertaste. Dry and some spice at the end of the palate.

Overall (4.25): An incredibly intense beer. Cheers to Dogfish Head for always finding a way to make me fall in love with their brews!

May 05, 2016
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kkleu357 from Wisconsin

4.1/5  rDev -2.8%

From notes on 12/10/13

Poured into a snifter. Color is dark black with almost no head. Very boozy smell. Kind of like a woody whiskey smell. Most alcohol I've ever smelt in a beer. Oddly, and delightfully, the taste isn't boozy at all. Nice warm taste of sweet fruits like plum. Raisin and caramel too. Would have given it a 10 for taste if it was a little more carbonated, but I understand high abv beers have less. Nice warm mouth feel. Makes you smile when you sip it. Would be a great sit in front of the fireplace on a cold day kind of beer.

Sep 04, 2014
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Whey2Hoppy from New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours more of a deep black color than brown, with a 1.5 finger espresso colored head that makes it look like an imperial coffee stout. Sweet molasses, coffee, woody notes, and caramel in the aroma with hints of vanilla. Taste follows the nose, with that maple syrup style sweetness being followed by a bourbon type alcohol kick in the middle, finishing off with those woody and coffee notes. Medium body and carbonation, slightly thick and syrupy in the best way. Excellent flavor for people who love their beers strong, and this would probably age very well for those who can't quite handle the alcohol bite.

May 12, 2016
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stompilator from Texas

4.8/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep, dark brown, thin cinnamon head.

S - Toasted almonds, peat smoke, figs, charred wood.

T - Extremely complex toasty nut and chocolate notes come out the gate. Roasty, nutty malts are quickly overcome by a huge charred wood flavor. Very rich vanilla bean notes and toasty, dry wood tannins interact with the robust malts beautifully. Tinges of chocolate malt weave in and out, but the Palo Santo wood is at the forefront. A light alcoholic burn develops over the mid-palate, climbing a bit in intensity with the chocolate malts towards the back. Finish is woody, sweet, a bit chocolatey, still bits of toasted almond, and decently boozy.

M - Absolutely nailed the mouthfeel. Full-bodied and sweet without being syrupy or cloying. Just enough carbonation to liven the flavor.

O - What a distinctive beer. Nothing tastes quite like it, and proudly eludes any style distinction. Even "barrel-aged imperial brown ale" is fitting a square peg in a round hole. Amazing.

Jun 06, 2015
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CMEG from Maryland

4.88/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my "trapped on a dessert island beer" ! It is in a class all it's own. The look is rich, dark, sexy; pours with a beautiful carmel-colored head. The smell has hints of vanilla, licorice, and of course Palo Santo wood. It is rich in mouthfeel - smooth, soft, rich, mildly carbonated, almost syrupy, but not. Taste is rich, and complex - hints of vanilla, licorice, nuts. Phenomenal beer with food! Steak or, at Dogfish's restaurant, the Gorgonzola burger!

May 13, 2017
Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 6063 ratings