Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
5,967 Ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,967 |  Reviews: 2,147
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally a good use for brown beer. Malty and so I can use this to turn people on to craft beer. The wood worked superb wonders without being overbearing, and balanced not too sweet. Dark brown and rich-looking, above average mouthfeel. Very drinkable for 12%. Roastiness also there and well constrained. Six months later, room temperature, more chocolate, thick and woody.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: two finger milk chocolate head on a jet black body which poured out like oil.

S: vanilla, caramel, toffee, butter, earthy hops and wood all prevail with a boozy undertone.

T: I was expecting the worst but this one was as boozy as I was expecting from the 12% ABV. Starts with vanilla and caramel moving to wood then a chocolate and roasted malt finish with dryness provided by mildly bitter coffee.

M: thick and oily with moderate carbonation.

Overall: the booze are well hidden. This one is actually well balanced. I think the wood cleans this one up and smooths it up.

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Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a $20 12oz bottle from 2008 poured into a huge snifter. almost no head on a melted chocolate velvety sludgy soil colored liquid from the heavens. smells of booze right away, vanilla, and some kind of sappy wood. one of the most alluring aromatic impressions ive ever come across in any beer! taste is magnificent, strong, definitely wood aged, not sweet as i thought it might be, earthy, possibly raisins or even dried black currants in a nonfruity way. so many subtleties here, need more of these to dissect it better. wow. awesome mouthfeel, perfect after a big meal as a slow sipper, warming up to room temperature is a must for this baby. i wonder if the vintage makes much difference here? only one ive ever had, but wow is this good. big alcohol warmth in the finish, and almost caustic if held in the mouth for awhile. 12% all the way. would love to get my hands on some more of this one!!!

edit: drank a 2009 edition last night, almost 6 years old. wow, its maybe only a touch oxidized, but mellow and mature like no other, almost like a liqueur. thats maybe a little too long in the cellar, but this one ages with the best of them. be in no hurry to drink this!!!

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Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque super dark brown (almost black really) with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, caramel, vanilla, slight soy sauce, wood, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has some nice flavors and aromas but it's quite strong and definitely something you have to take your time with.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of Knapp85
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer for the first time at the brewery on tap after the tour several years ago. I remember is being a huge beer, I remember being unsure of whether I liked it a lot or not. Just recently I had it from a bottle be aide I wanted to try it again.

I gave it a pour, comes out as a really thick dark brown color with a thinner light brown head on top. The smell of the beer is full of wood that this beer is aged on. The aroma is also kind of sweet smelling and rich with brown sugar I think. The taste of the beer is a big, it's got some of the biggest flavors I've ever had from a brown ale. There is the wood flavors, some dark fruits and a touch of coffee in there. The mouthfeel is nice and thick, decent carbonation and oily. Overall this beer is really nice, if you like strong ales this one is impressive.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown/black with a nice tan head.

Assertive smell of sweet bitter chocolate malt that actually reminded me of Whopper candy! (I like Whopper candy so this is a good thing).

Taste and flavors are of pure chocolate with a very nice mouthfeel, almost like a cold melted chocolate in your mouth with nice texture, hints of carmel and vanilla flavors with a rich chocolate malty finish.

Very appealing on many levels and very nice. This is a great one to try with some age on it for perhaps some really wonderful nuances. I'll keep coming back for more!

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Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of metter98
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black and poured with a finger high tan head that quickly died down into a thin layer of bubbles. A moderate amount of carbonation is visible.
S: The aroma is very intense, especially as the beer begins to warm up, and smells from the barrel aging stand out in particular. There are some hints of alcohol.
T: Like the smell, the flavors from the barrel aging really dominate the taste, which is complex and also has hints of bittersweet chocolate, raisins, roasted coffee and rum.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and is both smooth and viscous. Not much carbonation is perceptible. There is warming from the alcohol in the finish, which also has some dryness.
D: This beer definitely needs to be sipped because it has an intense flavor and the alcohol will quickly catch up to you (the alcohol is noticeable but fairly well masked from the taste).

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown, almost black color with a thin tannish head. Smell is of vanilla and some slight alcohol can be sensed. Very unusual taste.. bit very good taste as well. Some brown sugar and more vanilla, slight alcohol taste can be tasted but it is quickly subdued by the sweetness of the malt. Nice mouthfeel to it and good finish. You can really feel it warming you up, as it's about 3 x the strength of the average beer. I've been dying to try this beer and a long day of shoveling seemed to be a good opportunity to enjoy one. A great sipper beer that is an enjoyable 12 oz experience.. a little pricey tho ($12-13 a 4 pack)

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Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Both my girlfriend, and a good friend of mine, sent that article about DFH from the New Yorker to me. Of course I had already read it via BeerAdvocate, but appreciated the gestures nonetheless. So when I saw this on the shelf in downtown Vancouver last month, I procured a bottle for each of them (to share with me, of course). The first one vanished none too slowly, so I had better write this one down...

This beer pours a deep, dark black, with reddish tints, and a single finger of tan head, that disappears readily. The smell is prunes, dates, and an intense wood essence, that I admit I cannot identify (beyond the description on the label). The taste is floral hops, heavy black fruit, caramel, vanilla, and an acrid woodiness, again hard to describe. The carbonation is quite low, and the finish carries on the heavy woody sweetness. The body is very thick and viscous, with obvious alcohol warming. It sticks to the palate, making this a slow, if exotically tasty tipple.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Toronado SF on saturday.

Was a little confused at first because I could smell the wood in the beer and the first couple of sips made me think of the stone 11th anniversary. So I almost thought it might be the blended IPA beer that they make with a little roastiness thrown in.

It poured brown/black, murky with a tan head. Good lacing. Smell is woody and caramelly. Taste is roasty, bitter, and brown. Also some moderate alcohol presence but I had no idea it was 12% when I had it. The body was both good and bad so I gave it a 3. The body was real thick and oily but it was very smooth and consistent. Drinkable as a nice sipping drink for sure but not any faster than 45 minutes for the 8 oz pour that I had.

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Photo of oline73
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into my Chimay goblet. This bottle has been in my cellar for a year.

Appearance: Pours almost black with some red at the edges where the light comes through. There is a half finger of tan head that fades quickly.

Smell: Sweet, which isn't surprising. Dark fruit and brown sugar notes. Mild roast and a hint of wood. Some alcohol as well.

Taste: Extremely smooth given the abv. Not very sweet, but there are hints of dark fruit and chocolate. The palo santo wood adds some complexity. The finish is still a bit hot even with a year on it.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side of medium body. The carbonation is fluffy and smooth. The finish is mildly slick.

Overall: The fact that this isn't overly sweet really surprised me. I thought it was complex and very interesting. The year of aging was good for this beer, but it is still a bit hot.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.36/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Dogfish head beer. Hmm. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with botled on date 02/02/2011B. What does the B mean? I don't know. Served into a De Molen beer stemflute in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. I don't know what to expect, but when I think of a brown think nuts. Wood aging isn't anywhere near what I'd expect, and I'm hoping it'll blow me away. Served slightly warmer than refrigerator cold.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of rich light tan colour, good cream, great thickness, and very impressive retention - especially considering the 12.00% ABV. Wow. Colour is a solid black (NOT brown). I'm impressed so far, and excited to try it.

Sm: A moderately strong aroma of cream, wood, nuts, birch, vanilla, caramel, and a hint of alcohol. I wouldn't call it subtle, nor is it particularly inviting. No yeast comes through.

T: The wood comes through, but only on the finish. The warm alcohol is well-restrained and hidden, hardly coming through at all. I get vanilla, light caramel, very buried roasted barley (why this is buried is beyond me), and nuts - but only on the climax. It isn't subtle, but instead feels muted; I find myself straining to taste each note because the holistic flavour doesn't have all that much to offer. I mean it's good, and it's balanced, but it just doesn't bring the depth or boldness I'd expect from a 12% beer. This may be the least flavorful high ABV beer I've had in the last three months.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours and general tone of the beer. Not too thick nor too thin. Actually surprisingly well done.

Dr: Extremely drinkable for the ABV, but where is the flavour? Hit us with the taste if you believe it's a good one! I like this, but I wouldn't have it again because it's kind of a panzy when it comes to delivering on the promise of the aroma. Shame on you Dogfish Head!


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Photo of BEERchitect
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've never had a 4-pack to come wiht a CD before. I thought I was getting a deal with Left Hand 6-packs with the free sticker. Our homebrew club recently brewed an Imperial Brown and aged it in a Four Roses Bourbon Barrel for the '08 NHC. Interesting to compare the differences. This beer surely qualifies for a Double Brown without loosing any balance, falling into Porter or Stout territory. A nice chocolaty, nutty flavor with a hearty helping of malt, sweetness, and berry-like esters. Good hopping rates give the beer a grassy, piney flavor while offsetting the heavy sweetness. The wood gives a well-roundness to the flavors, but don't give a whole lot of wood flavor or astringency. Quite delicate in it's balance, despite a dominant alcohol (ethanol)taste and slightly harsh textures, but does thin the weighted brew a bit. Surprised to see a fizzy head formation that didn't last any time at all, nor did the carbination -- strange for DFH.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 10/22/2012. Pours almost pitch black color with a small foamy dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the small head. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, molasses, raisin, fig, toast, dark bread, roasted malt, light char, wood, light vanilla, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and wood aging notes. Taste of big raisin, fig, molasses, brown sugar, caramel, toast, dark bread, wood, roasted malt, light char, light vanilla, and roasted earthiness. Lingering notes of dark fruits, molasses, brown sugar, toast, dark bread, wood, roasted malt, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice balance and complexity of very robust dark malt flavors with fruitiness; and hardly any cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and thick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent imperial brown ale. Very nice complexity and balance of flavors; and quite smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the first release, found in the back of the fridge.
Less than a finger of head when poured into a Duchesse goblet. Tan foam that recedes slowly, and leaves a ring. Lactic aroma with some banana ester from the yeast, and slightly roasty. Reminds me of a Bells stout. Rich, creamy feel, earthy roast and lactic taste. Not getting much of the advertised wood-aging. Abv is well disguised. Similar to Bells Kalamazoo Stout or Double Cream. Good, but not worth paying a premium for.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 5,967 ratings