Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,082 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,082 | Ratings: 5,785
Photo of guess98224
1.42/5  rDev -65.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I think we saved this beer too long. This was a 2008 bottle. Despite the ABV the beer was totally skunked. Last year, this was still a great beer. Did not continue to age well. Very disappointing. I wish we had reviewed this earlier, because this was truly a great beer.

 270 characters

Photo of Adikia
1.7/5  rDev -59.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I couldn't stand this beer. Normally I love a strong Dogfish IPA, but this is just too much alcohol which is overbearing. Some how I need to make my way through the last two bottles, bought some blue cheese/crackers to have something equally as sharp to be able to off-set the taste a bit. Tasted to me more like a a whiskey or something.

 338 characters

Photo of Brunite
1.77/5  rDev -57.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12oz bottle served in Duvel tulip glass.

A: Very dark & opaque.Aggressive pour leads to a 3 finger head.

S: Smells of lumber...and something else unique. Palo Santo wood?...Nope "Vicks Formula 44" cough syrup.

T: Tastes like it smells. Wood and "Vicks Formula 44"...yuck! Also notes of burnt licorice. Alcohol is sharp and hot.

M: Coats the mouth with thick sticky sweetness.... too cloying. Then....a long lingering late bitterness....or feeling like I licked an ashtray. Brown ale? I think not.

D: Not very drinkable in my opinion. I shuddered on my first taste...something I never do with beer. As many others have said....I wanted to like this...gave it a lot of sips...but it just was not happening for me. This literally tasted like the vile cough syrup I used to take as a kid. Why would I pay $3.50 a bottle for that sensation? Well....I won't ever again! This dog was a drain pour.

 895 characters

Photo of hoosier3334
1.88/5  rDev -54.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Just did not like this beer at all. Poured a thick, dark, sludgy black color with an off-white head that quickly dissipated. Smells like...wood and alcohol. You can't really get a sense of the malts or hops in my opinion, and I was not impressed by this beer, especially for the style. Tasted like I was licking a piece of freshly cut wood. Not cool. Mouthfeel was thick and unpleasant. DFH has much, much better offerings!

 423 characters

Photo of jthomp000
1.99/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I wasn't sure what to expect from this beer. A few friends had this one prior to me obtaining one and said they were not very impressed. I am an avid fan of DFH beers so I had to make my own decision on this beer when I saw it in the cooler while getting a mix-o-six.

Appearance - Poured dark with a medium/fair amount of head

Smell - Wood and alcohol is the impression that hit me the hardest

Taste - Bitter. Can't really explain it more than that.

Mouthfeel - Reminded me of cough syrup. I like the tast of cough syrup, but did not like this beer.

Overall - Not very pleasing. The pour looked good and smelled ok, but I did not enjoy the taste at all. I had a hard time finishing this one, and poured out the last inch or so of my glass down the drain. I usually like the DFH beers, but this one left me a bad taste in my mouth (pun intended!)

 852 characters

Photo of cratez
2/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pour: dark black, no head at all.
Smell: alcohol, oats, vanilla.
Taste: roasted malt bitterness and red wine aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: like syrup.
Overall: a dud as far as beers go. If I wanted something that can only be described as "Wine Syrup," I wouldn't look for it in a beer. Not sure what the brewer was trying to do with this one.

 335 characters

Photo of Headfirst
2.03/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Love this maker, hate, Hate,HATE this creation. The alcohol burn/taste is up front and quite stunning to the pallet. What other flavors you can discern (molasses and cleaning solution) are underwhelming. Please drop this mess and give us another treat, of which you have many.
All that being said, If you were already tanked and had smoked 3-4 cigars throughout the evening (I'm talking some heavy Ligero bombs here) this MIGHT pair nice with your 5th stick. Then again, if your that deep into it, your better of going to bed than consuming this potent elixir.

 561 characters

Photo of lechroy
2.08/5  rDev -50%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Love the rich deep mahogany color of this brew. A brown top with long legs to match. Awesome. But that's where the goodness ends. A beer that is overpowered and buttered with Palo Santo wood is one that attacks the palette. Not a fan of the hints of sweetness here either. Mouthfeel was average, but feeling over carbonated for this suite of flavors. Overall a disappointment for me. The 12 alcohol on top of all this just makes this whole brew seem like a marketing joke. Sorry, normally enjoy dfhead. Not this time.

 517 characters

Photo of nickspagnolo
2.25/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This is not a beer; it is a beer flavored liquor. The alcohol content is too high for this beer to be enjoyable to drink. Other flavors associated with this beer are syrup.

I was expecting something better from Dogfish Head since I have enjoyed their Indian Brown Ale and Punkin Ale. I was expecting to get punched in the face with flavor - like I was with DFH's IBA and Punkin Ale (both of which have relatively higher alcohol contents than traditional beer) - and instead I got a mild flavored beer that is overpowered by alcohol.

The only saving graces of this beer are its smell and appearance. The beer smelled woody and sweet and it intrigued my nostrils. As for appearance, it is extremely dark in color with a thin foam.

I will not be purchasing this again unless I have had a terrible day and need to get wasted. Actually, the more I think about it, I would rather drink liquor straight than drink this.

 917 characters

Photo of jbase
2.26/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I had some real high hopes for this beer and unfortunately it fell tragically short, but maybe that's my fault...probably not though.

No doubt this is a strong beer. I though the wood aging would balance that out a bit, but the booze was overpowering most of the flavours that were attempting to come through. I detected some raison, plum, and of course delicious malts, and slight wood.

I tried this with some friends and we all used 8 oz sampler glasses so there was no head at all. Perhaps if I had poured into a bigger glass with a little more vigor and got some head then some of the booze taste would have escaped, my bad.

All in all I'm not impressed. I would give this brew another shot, but I won't go out of my way to do it. A bigger glass with a meal (lamb perhaps) and maybe this could have gone a different direction but this beer is overpriced.

For me The Dogfish Indian Brown Ale is a much better beer and a better value as well, but I'm a cheap prick so don't listen to me find out for yourself.

 1,018 characters

Photo of Jeff271828
2.41/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I was so excited to try this beer... but it tastes like paint.

I can't believe I'm the only person on here who got that...

I appreciate what Dogfish Head does with it's experimental beers, but if the beer tastes like paint, then everything else is a waste.

Colors, carbonation, even smell don't matter if the beer tastes bad.

 328 characters

Photo of irishman14
2.42/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Had this while camping. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a plastic cup.

A - motor oil with almost no carbonation and minimal dusty sand head

S - vanilla, raisins, leather, alcohol

T - syrupy coal that turns to a back of the mouth burning sensation from the alcohol

M - oily, thick, like watered-down molasses

D - must be sipped, made the mistake of taking a generous gulp and almost spit it back out. Not my style, but interesting. Don't know how you can call it beer.

 471 characters

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

I'm sorry, but I could NOT drink this beer. I had been looking forward to it so much, too. All I could taste was wood and alcohol, which overpowered the finer flavors. An assault on the tongue. It's just not my type of thing. I don't think the higher ABV helped this beer.

 272 characters

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.

 154 characters

Photo of ryantaussig
2.47/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours dark, almost like a stout. Head is disappointing at best. One finger lasted for about 30 seconds, giving way to a next-to-nothing lacing.

S: Alcohol and wood notes come thorough with slight bits of caramel and vanilla. Plenty of malt in the background. A few toasted notes perhaps, but very vague.

T: Alcohol is quite overpowering in this one and throws off the balance. It really doesn't taste like a brown ale. The malts are there and there is a slight level of hop to "balance," but the alcohol comes in and throws it off. There is certainly a level of woodiness to it, giving slight caramel, and strong vanilla notes, but it's just not quite right.

M: Medium bodied like a brown ale should be. Slightly thin, but that is likely due to the high ABV. The carbonation is also a bit low, which is another likely contributer to the thinness. Has a level of creaminess and gives way to a bone dry finish.

O: Not quite the meal in a bottle that brown ales typically provide, but it's definitely a sipper.

 1,014 characters

Photo of seydou
2.49/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a hugely rich, deep brown, bordering on solid black. Beautiful color -- easily the best part of the beer. Couldn't get much of a scent, though maybe it's the lingering overload of Christmas smells.

Taste is a tough one to pin down. It's complex. Strong high gravity alcohol definitely hits in the mid and aftertaste. It feels syrupy sticky, though I'm not sure I would call this beer sweet? Almost a hit of that Liquid Smoke you use to fake barbecue. I don't like it.

I had trouble finishing a bottle.

 511 characters

Photo of Naugled
2.55/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12oz bottle served in chalis

A: very thin dark brown head diminishing quickly. very dark for a brown.

S: smells of lumber, teak and mahogany and other exotic decking material with some underlying roasty chocolate notes.

T: tastes like it smells, a deck, but sweet and syrupy as well with some chocolate and licorice. I struggled to find any vanilla or caramel notes as described by the brewer. However the black licorice is very apparent.

M: coats the mouth with thick sticky sweetness too cloying, also a bit hotness can be felt. A long lingering late bitterness.

D: not very drinkable in my opinion. Maybe this will get better with age, but it will probably take quite awhile. It did not leave me wanting another.

I want to like this beer, but I just can't bring myself to give credit where none is due. The boys at DFH need to rethink this one.

 855 characters

Photo of righthereisay
2.55/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

OK, after seeing all of the reviews I thought I was ready for a real treat.

I was rather dissappointed. I don't know, maybe it was a bad batch or something. I guess at 12% my expectations should be different than an 8%. I gave it a little higher grades just for the fact that they fit 12% alcohol in there. Otherwise, it would have been much worse.

The beer was really strong. Lots of alcohol taste until I was about 3/4 through the bottle. I enjoy 8%, but this may have just been too much. Not much wood aging taste either. Maybe the plum and raisin, I really don't know.

I had it ice cold, as cold as they come. Although I'm not a huge fan of this brewery, I did enjoy thier pumpkin. Not worth the $3.75 I paid for the bottle, but I guess since it is triple the alcohol, I guess it was a deal.

 798 characters

Photo of sellmeagod
2.56/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The crude label claims all sorts of things about the wonders of this beer, and this draws me in, only to leave me more disappointed.

Smells alright, floral and dark.

A bit raisiny, a boozified raisin. And at 12 abv, you notice this quickly. It becomes quite difficult to drink warm, which perhaps is not the point, but I barely taste all the things I'm supposed to. Just malty alcohol making me wish I had two 6%ers instead.

 426 characters

Photo of ccrida
2.56/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle bottled on 5/28/08, almost exactly 6 months old. Poured into my Delirium snifter, Palo Santo Marron is a dark blackish brown with a very creamy tan head that leaves sheets of foamy lace.

Smell is intense, boozy and sweet, with lots of vanilla. The alcohol vapors actually singe the nostrils, but there's a bit more complexity here then the taste. Unfortunately, letting it warm from cellar to room temp sharpened the vapors to the point of overwhelming.

Taste is intense, bitter sweet. Mostly caramel malt, plasticy phenols and fusel alcohol, a light charit reminds me of a massive bourbon barrel porter, but is to hot right now to really pick up much subtlety. Not sure how long this was on the shelves when I picked it up in Boston, but I clearly should have sat on it longer then 4 months!

Mouthfeel is pretty carbonated, which helps cut the viscosity on a fairly heavy beer, but it's also incredibly tannic, which coupled with the drying burn of the booze, is very aggressive, lingering on the tongue forever.

Drinkability is hurt by the overt booziness and lack of nuance. This was painful for me to finish even a 12 oz bottle, by the last 1/2 it was really burning me up, I could feel it from the tip of my tongue to the bottom of my belly. I'm sure tomorrow morning will be real fun! Maybe I'll get one or two for long term cellar, just to see if it softens up enough after 2-3 years, but I'm unimpressed enough that I'm in no hurry to do so.

 1,470 characters

Photo of KevinBrewer
2.64/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

PSM pours an opaque black with a late-releasing huge brown-sugar head that lasts and sticks to the sides of the glass. Looks more like an imperial stout than a brown ale, but I'll give DFH the benefit of the doubt since this is an unorthodox brew.

The first thing to hit your nostrils is a spicy phenolic, resinous, medicinal character that almost makes you dizzy. If you can get past that, you will smell sweet cherry wood with milk chocolate and toasty, cakey malt.

Tastes of sweet, chocolaty, cakey malt with the same peppery, phenolic, medicinal quality that was in the aroma. Warming alcohol. The medicinal character stays until the end. Slightly fruity woodiness in the middle with a dry chocolate bitterness in the finish. Aftertaste of dry grassy hops and wood.

Heavy, sticky body. It sticks all over the insides of my mouth. Not typical for a brown ale. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt again because it added to the enjoyability. Moderate carbonation.

A little boozy and heavy to be a session beer, although it was an interesting experience.

I was pretty excited about trying this beer, and I'm still unsure what to make of it. For originality and intrigue, I give this beer 10/10, but I wouldn't drink this on a regular basis. I also would not offer it to a friend and expect them to like it. Maybe it was the strange medicinal character of the wood that I'm not used to. I'm definitely going to age the rest of my DFH PSM for a few years and come back to it.

 1,484 characters

Photo of merryjoulton
2.65/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice brown without much head and some fizziness apparent in the body. Smell is basically all booze, and maybe a hint of piny hops if anything. Taste is initially very rich and roasty, but the booze overwhelms the entire brew eventually. It tastes like a brown ale with a few shots of vodka mixed in. Its very hard to drink this beer.

 341 characters

Photo of klewis
2.66/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottled 2/11/08

A: Pours a deep brown with a modest, bubbly head. Moderate lacing.

S: Not much smell coming from this one. Cedar, chocolate, a bit of smoke.

T: Ash, charred wood, burnt chocolate, tar, tobacco, etc. If the so-called "caramel and vanilla compexity" wasn't obliterated by all of the earthy flavors, this one might be a bit more palatable.

M: Full-bodied with moderate-high carbonation. Sticky with a lingering finish and a bit of heat.

D: Obviously, the wood aging is a bit overboard for me. How 'bout some subtlety?

 537 characters

Photo of pants678
2.69/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This does not look like a brown. I pour it into a pint glass and I get a single finger head at best. It's porter thick, a dark brown, almost black, that gives the same idea. The head is beige.

I'm not getting a lot from the nose. A mild cinnamon, the cliche oak and what might be a sharp coffee.

The first thing that hits me is a vanilla that's mixed alcohol that's almost piercing. It's hard to tell the difference between the back and front. Behind that there's fruit, which opens toward the middle. Then, there's the distinct carmel overtones. Roasted malts, but still the alcohol can be overbearing.

This is porter heavy, almost an RIS. I need stronger carbonation for a brown, not to mention nut flavors. Were this a porter, it's overburdened.

This is pretty far from drinkable. The sharpness does help. The alcohol is a beating, not to mention covering and sometimes down right searing. I can't do better than sipping, which is nice if it's due to complexity, but that's not the case. Or my palate is just not sensitive enough. Things seem to even out a bit toward the end, but not nearly enough.

 1,107 characters

Photo of Raime
2.7/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

A - Pours dark black with a three fnger mocha head. Left no lacing.

S - Booze and lots of it. Bubblegum as well.

T - Wood, dark fruit, figs, slight roasted malt.

M - Heavy boozy body with moderate carbonation.

O - Overall, not good at all. I doubt I'd have it again.

 270 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 5,785 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.