Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by Imstillthegman on 11-19-2006

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Reviews: 2,075 | Ratings: 5,755
Photo of Umdrunner
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured 2013 vintage into snifter. Poured very dark brown with khaki head that dissapreared quickly. Scent is sweet and woody. Flavor is quite complex and hot for being 3 years old. Drinks a lot like a RIS.

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Photo of JAck199
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lots of flavor, at 12% yes it drinks a bit hot but balanced with plenty of rich manly flavor of malt and the woody goodness. Unique fora brown, more like a R I S, a great beer!

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Photo of iridius
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

It's a brown ale? God it looks like a stout and feels like a stout to me. Either was it's quite good. Ithe has a little bit of a nonbeer bite like liquor that I am not a fan of, but it is still a nice beer, one bottle would be my limit for a night. Probably because it's 12% that's a good thing. I think it would be great with a cigar.

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

Poured from a bottle dated 8/5/16 into a tall snifter glass. Forms a thick brown head that lingers for a few minutes. Color is dark brown to black. Not completely opaque, but close. Aroma is rich malt sweetness and distinctive wood notes. It's not oak (obviously), but it's difficult to describe the difference. Less tree sap aroma more sweetness maybe; closer to applewood. I do not detect anything I would attribute to hops.

The flavor is rich and smooth. Light roast and dark wood without significant bitterness. Reminds me of a rich mole sauce, minus any heat spiciness. I had expected some sweetness based on the malt and wood aromas, but this is dry. Not bone dry, but drier than other high ABV brown ales I've had. And drier than many of Dogfish's other big beers. Mouthfeel is great. It coats the mouth and tickles the tongue, and it lingers a bit, but not more than I'd want it to.

Overall, I'm not sure I'd call this a brown ale, but I definitely call it a great ale. It does unique things, and it does them well. I don't get to pick this up often, but when I do I kick myself for not buying more. Highly recommended.

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Photo of chinchill
3.79/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap in Greenville, SC.
Opaque dark brown body with a decent beige head.
A generous amount of dark roasted grains helps this achieve partially hidden alcohol.
Alcohol is obvious, but not quite harsh, in the feel, and the flavor is more than a touch boozy: just enough to hur my ratings on both dimensions.

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Photo of spacecake9
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I heard this beer can be hot so I let it sit 1 year.
A - Pours black with a thin head that disappears quickly and leaves a thin ring.
S - Aroma is coffee and vanilla.
T - Flavor is oak, vanilla, a little coffee. A very woody flavor.
M - More carbonation than I expected for this big beer. A little sticky.
O - The more I drink the more I like. Definitely a sipper, and a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of matthiasbrau
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewed 9/25/16, from notes; 12-ounce bottle purchased at Eataly, NYC.

A: brown in color, opaque; 1finger espresso mousse, receding to a thin cap
S: earthy aroma of coffee, chocolate and vanilla, a touch fruity and, oh yeah, boozy
T: flavors of caramel, nut, oak and vanilla, no hops
M: delicate carbonation, medium mouthfeel, spicy and warming as I drank;
O: vanilla, chocolate, oak, this one's got it all; definitely an after-dinner sipper, and be sure to let it warm before pouring; outstanding strong brown ale

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Photo of rodbeermunch
2.97/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I like the pour, brown from the wood, decent lighter brown lace around the glass. Forms a delightful smoky woody and vanilla vibe. At this point, I thought all my DFH jokes were blowing up in my face, this is a nice beer to start out thus far.

The taste though hits like a shot of cheap whiskey. Hot. Like that water sealant you use on your wooden deck. Just really the alcohol cuts through this one hot and heavy, the viscosity of the beer doesn't seem to be enough to hold up. I like the aroma and what it shows you can do with barrel aging, but beyond that its a rough one.

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4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorites from Dogfish Head .
If you love a rich, dark and heavy brew with tons of flavor then this is one of them for sure .
Poured into a chilled snifter with a nice foamy head .
As it warms it's just as tasty as when chilled . At 12% alcohol content it's one of the strongest available and at a reasonable price .
Highly recommended to those who love dark and flavorful brew :)

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Photo of sokol_1993
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: totally black, with a very small amount of head.
Taste: maltiness, with a large presence of hoppiness. However, it's balanced by oak taste, very piney and spicy. Quite well hidden amount of alcohol.

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

This beer is a deep, deep brown color, like a coffee beer, but tastes so much different than one. I give it high marks in smell because its caramel notes are really easy to identify, and its taste is smooth as hell. It's a LITTLE heavy, but nothing that takes you out of it. This beer is very, very good.

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Photo of BCad
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Dark, very dark in fact. Thin white head, decent lacing.

S: Smells phenomenal. Deep woody caramel sweetness with a hint of booziness. Almost characteristic of a light roasted coffee bean. (And i'm usually not the kind of guy that cares about or ever notices smells in a beer, so this is saying something I suppose.)

T: Lots of complexity here. Deffinitely a forward biting chocolate malt flavor, but the first thing you taste really is what I would imagine aged wood would taste like, very similar to how I described the smell. Earthy, deffinitely boozey, and very malt-forward though there is a good amount of bitterness.

F: Thick, rich, and creamy. Plenty of carbonation despite the thin look of the head on the pour.

O: If you like malt-forward dark beer that is boozy and off-character or unique, grab yourself a couple of these and go to town! These guys are deffinitely sipping beers, and the flavor profiles more bordered along the lines of a smooth scotch in complexity. Honestly, brown ales are not my favorite, but I still really enjoyed this beer for the novelty and it really is quite smooth despite the crazy high ABV.

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Photo of 0_0
2.46/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

L- dark brown. like wood, thats my theme of this beer
S- wood, toffee and vanilla

T- Oak-y and tough

F- After I drank this I felt like an actual barrel.

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

Rich dark beer served in a chalice (on draft at Mekong in Richmond, VA, 24 June 2016). Nice tan / khaki head, leaves lacing. If I could change one thing in the taste profile I'd tone down the sweetness. But this is a complex and carefully crafted beer. Chocolate and caramel malts come through big time. Quite boozy for a beer. Though rated at 50 IBUs, did not impress me as being especially hoppy.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours an oily black with a thick tan head. Initial impression is caramel, vanilla, and a touch of spices. Thick, smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is evident but not overwhelming (which it easily could be at 12%). Slightly bitter finish. Really enjoyable sipper.
This is the first of a half case I got for Father's Day :) I'm going to cellar a few and see what I think a year or two from now.
12/23/16: Cellared 6 months. Alcohol has dropped into the background. Finish is sooth and definitely not bitter. Still smooth and easy to drink. Highly recommended.

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Photo of Allenjoseph5
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thoroughly enjoyed from the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This FINE ale pours a deep blackish brown with a nice head of light tan foam that settles to a thick ring, thin layer, and excellent lacing. Nose of vanilla, creme brule, toffee, subtle cocoa, and strong booze. Flavors exceed the nose with toffee and butterscotch on the front and sides, wooded notes from the barrel hit middle of the taste with cocoa and creme brule taking over the rear of the taste with notes of fresh brewed strong coffee. Excellent mouth feel, warming, full, and boozy with a chocolatey, barrel touched, booze characteristic. Excellent!


Thanks to a friend from work for this one which I have had in a growler in the past but not recently. EXTRA enjoyable! Thanks Randy!

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Photo of DrSchnitzengiggle
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
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.

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Photo of 60sFolks
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Smell of dried fruit, dark fruit, figs and raisin. About as dark as a brew could be. Full mouth of burnt coffee and alcohol. This 12 ABV ale is a heavy lifting, but uplifting.

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Photo of brblanch
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle dated 12/29/14 poured into a tulip glass. This was my favorite new beer in 2015 and interested to see what 18 months does to it. Pours dark brown cola color, almost black. Little head but a thin ring of small caramel colored bubbles form around the edge of the glass. Smell of toffee dominates the nose for me and I'm not picking up much else. I get more in the taste, with notes of toffee, roasted malts and burnt coffee bitterness. Start to pick up vanilla as the beer warms. Syrupy mouthfeel that coats the mouth in a pleasant way. Medium carbonation. Alcohol has mellowed out in the cellar but it creeps up on you as you get to the bottom of the glass. Overall - love this beer.

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Photo of Whey2Hoppy
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

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Photo of mfowler314
4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
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!

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
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!

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Photo of spoony
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 355 ml bottle (no date, but I have been sitting on this bottle for at least two years) into a tulip. Reviewed from notes dated April 16, 2016.

A-The beer is very dark for a brown ale; it looks more like a stout. The pour is heavy and oily coming out of the bottle. A short, tan head fades quickly.

S-The aroma is a very enticing mixture of milk and dark chocolate, dark caramel, a little bit of sour cherry, and this unique herbal, cedar-like woody smell. I'm not sure how it works, but I'm really intrigued. A little alcohol heat is noticeable too.

T-The taste opens with a little wave of fruity sweetness; I think cherries and plum. Then an earthy wave of chocolatey malts kicks in. I taste carob, vanilla, and milk and dark chocolates. The finish dries out a bit with that same intriguing oaky/cedar-like note. Complex and layered. The beer is 12% ABV, and you can taste the alcohol, but the alcohol is integrated well.

M-The body is thick and robust on the palate with a fine persistent carbonation. Like a stout more than a brown.

O-Wow. This beer was a pleasant surprise: complex, unique, and tasty. I know that DFH makes some classic high-ABV beers that have fallen out of favor in recent years, but this beer can keep up with anything the new kids are putting out. I will definitely buy another bottle or two for cellaring when I see it again.

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Photo of daliandragon
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just an interesting beer I've been meaning to review for a while. Pours a muddy near black color with a cap of dark tan head and no lace. Nose is complex and a little different with each sniff; dark fruit, smoked meat, oak, vanilla, fresh cream, and the whole thing reminds me distantly of Grand Marnier.

Never thought that 50 IBUs could hide so effortlessly. The malt is overpowering, tinged with wood and plum notes. The alcohol is present but not kicking as high as you'd think for a beast of this size. Texture is firm and low in carbonation, which works pretty well. Aftertaste is surprisingly mellow and balanced.

I couldn't see more than one, most likely as a nightcap. Also, to me this is much more in line with an Old Ale than a Brown, but nobody asked me. A really well crafted beer for the initiated. One of my favorite from DFH.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 5,755 ratings.
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