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: 2,088 | Ratings: 5,806
Photo of scruffwhor
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

You'd never think this was a brown ale. There is some brown in the appearance, but only as dark brown highlights. Looks more like a double stou of sorts. Good dark brown head after the pour, but it quickly recedes. The aroma is a striking, banana, vanilla, marshmellow, with wood undertones mix. WOW! Thetaste starts with brownies mixed with marshmellows and rice krispie treats. The some hops mix wth a little coffee and bananas with a big dollop of vanilla cream wit some very exotic woody undertones. The palate is a complex, yet silky smooth with a well integrated and balanced alcohol content. The kind of sipping beer you sip and think to yourself, "what and awesomely unique beer."

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

A- Dark dark beer for a brown ale. Little head, and no lacing.

S- Smells of licorice, sweet dry wood, dried fruits, and alcohol.

T- Dry and woody, yet the beer doesn't dry out your mouth like some wood aged beers. Very creamy soft almost oily. The high alcohol adds a bit of spice to the tongue.

M- Smooth, low carbination, and your tongue isn't turned into sawdust.

D- Easy to drink. I have to try and drink it slow as the high abv can come back and get ya.

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Photo of Slynger
4.69/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Palo pours a pitch blackly brown with a slim fuzzy-creamy mocha brown lid that fades to leave a rim around my glass.

The nose is awesomely amazing and complex. It's lightly chocolatey and dark fruity with some bananas (don't know where I'm getting that but I likes it), a strong vanilla-caramel oak character comes in along with darkly roasted malts.

Full bodied and creamy-smooth with a light sharpness to it. All the nose returns in the flavor along with a little bit of dark coffee.

Really a great beer, and has to be my favorite DFH brew thus far. Went down way too quick for that abv though. Whew!!

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Photo of thickerfreakness
3.71/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a stemless red wine glass. It poured with a fizzy, dark brown, cola-like head that faded fast. This looks pretty dark brown with ruby around the edges and a layer of brown foam that stays on top.

Smells very strongly of spiced wood, vanilla, and roasted malts. More like a porter in the nose with all the roasted malts but I guess Dogfish will call it whatever they want haha.

Taste is similar to the smell with a really nice melding of all the flavors. I really enjoyed the taste. A really interesting one from Dogfish Head and its nice to see a new beer in their lineup.

For the nice woody taste and smell, this one is really lacking in the mouthfeel department for me. Its sort of thin and too fizzy (over carbonated) in my opinion.

Overall, a nice new entry from Dogfish Head, but I couldn't see myself drinking it often even if it was available here in Texas. This was my only bottle but I'm interested to read reviews of this with some age on it.

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Photo of grandq
2.94/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Glugs from the bottle a viscous, deep brown with a fluffy and ample dark tan head. Looks rather inviting, but the initial whiff puts me off - initially picking up nothing but alcohol, resembling nail polish remover. This thankfully lets up to reveal some wood and molasses. Tastes a great deal like Raison d'Etre on steroids (haven't tried d'extra, but I reckon they're similar). Still, I'm getting very little but maple syrup and paint thinner with a malty base. The thick and coating mouthfeel means the tongue can't escape the fusal fumes. Can't finish it.

I definitely wouldn't classify this as an American Brown, though my lower points aren't merely an indication of an ill-fitting style. I could hardly make my way through half the bottle but decided to let the rest sit and oxidize for a bit and it really helped settle things down and blend the more welcome flavors. Vanilla along with tannic and roasted notes emerge aplenty and the alcohol becomes more bitter than searing. Much much better, though now the sweetness is off the scales.

I feel like I'm reviewing two different beers. Given my impression of this fresh, I'm only willing to raise my marks to "average." A definite candidate for cellaring - way way too hot for the moment IMO.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.92/5  rDev -5.8%
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 biegaman
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sun dried prune coloured body; despite appearing black head on and rarely giving off highlights, you can manage to detect some plum shade in there still. No head, hardly an outer lacing even, although some bubbles crackled off the pour. It's a damn classy looking beverage, I'll tell you that much ...

The aroma certainly has an obvious nuance to it, but is something akin to what I've come accustomed to with bourbon-barrel stouts; in other words, the wood is noticeable but not distinct. Ashy notes of roasted malts, rich espresso, anise, and dark chocolate are all blended into this wood character. Dried fruit dosed with alcohol is also a fair to say, very similar to port. This is port-meets-porter.

Especially as it warmed the 12% thinned out what could otherwise be a hefty, rich, roasted malt monster. While the brown malts are definitive, I might guess this at more of a porter. It is a touch sweet and fruity, but also a touch chocolaty and plenty roasted. It's smooth on sip yet resounds later with a harsh and long lasting bitterness that erases any memory of sweeter, dried fruits.

Especially given the beer's unique makeup, flavours can be difficult to pin point. Again we have a bit of everything but an abundance of nothing. You can certainly taste a lot, but to say definitively what requires a little imagination.

Coffee grinds and espresso may be slight, perhaps just an association derived from the similarities in bitterness/roast? (although these are the flavours that last longest.) There is a big malty body, to be sure, with some 'wood' character. Certainly dried fruits - raisins, prunes, dates - are by far most conceivable and make this very much port-like.

As usual, this is a fascinating and innovative offering from a brewery that strives on pushing the envelope. I respect them, and for this reason I don't like to say this, but, as usual, this is a DogFish Head beer that turned out considerably more normal than it sounded it would be.

It's a good beer, and while perhaps unique in creation, this is not so "off-centered" tasting. That said, I enjoyed it - make no mistake - and I hope to see similarly creative projects from them in the future...

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Photo of jeffmonarch
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - A deep dark red brown color with a dark brown head that disappears quickly.

S - Really sweet caramel nutty smell.

T - Strong malt flavor. Sweet caramel with an earthy flavor. Definetely taste the smokey woody flavor.

M - Full bodied with light carbonation.

D - This is an awesome beer. I love dogfish and this is yet another great beer from one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of czfreeman
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Palo Santo Marron- This "holy wood" barrel aged brew pours out a deep black, roasted espresso color with a mahagony-tan head. holds a two finger tan head. aromas_ burnt delicious alcohol roasted charcoals,beechwood bitter, cocoa, dark sorghum, toasted malty vanillas, chocolate deep burbons
flavors of chewy caramels, deep dark biting alcohol bitterness. Very complex. molasses, coming through, sweet, yet biting alcohol complexity. Vanilla notes come though throughout the whole experience.
Mouthfeel is very sticky, thick, more of RIS or something along a double american stout rather than a brown ale in my opinion. Highly sippable, but not for huge drinkablility, like a good congac or port. Highly enjoyable.
Dogfish always redefines my definition of what a style could possibly be, and they have acoomplished again. A brown ale could be anything from a Samuel Smith brown to this, Sam Calagione never fails to do something different.

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Photo of nrpellegrini
3.4/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Good beer.

I didn't expect it to be as heavy as it was, but its very drinkable for its thickness.
I poured half of it into a cup and it looked like motor oil, only with a much better smell.

Definitely a brown ale, you can taste how it was kept in wood.
There is a bit of a coffee flavor that comes from the roasted malts, which blends well with the caramel flavor. I didn't pick up any vanilla though.

I'd say try it. I'm glad I did a single, I wont be buying a 4 pack. Too pricey.

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Photo of almychristopher
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a beautiful dark beer with a really deep tan head that fades to lace rather quickly. The smell is a really complex mix of malt and wood, the vanilla is quite aparent, but there's a lot more going on there, as with the smell the taste doesn't dissapoint... malty malty wood, I like it a lot. The chocolate malt provides a bit of dryness in the mouthfeel that's really nice in a beer that has a potential to be overwhelmingly sweet. Once again, I don't think I would have a problem drinking my limit of this beer which would probably be about three.

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Photo of MiScusi
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Yeah that looks probably like what an imperial brown ale should. Actually reminds me very much of what Deschutes Abyss looked like with a dark black body and a generous brown fluffy head.

S- Originally it seemed to have a bit of roasted barley, coming across much like a porter (imperial). But as it warms up there is a fruity sweetness that comes out in the aroma in the forefront of a thick malt backbone.

T- Starts off with molasses, WOOD (one would think oak probably), alcohol. Some of that fruit that seems to come out in the aroma also seems to be here in small amounts at the beginning. Finishes dry and tannic.

M- This is a syrup. That's expected though at 12% ABV. Carbonation plays pretty much no part in this, although the bottle is fairly well carbonated, it just has a hard time peaking out over the massive amounts of malt in here.

D- Interesting beer here that I am enjoying being able to try but I don't think this flavor profile is really my favorite out there. I probably won't buy it again any time soon, but it was fun to try as it definitely is an "off-centered ale"

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Photo of USCTrojanBrian
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle (sent directly from the brewery, thanks!), dated 2/11/08. Simultaneous tasting with fellow BA Mi Scusi. Poured into a snifter.

The overall impression I had of this beer was a sweet but not too sweet brown, richly colored (mostly pitch black, but some wonderful burgundy in the more shallow portions of the glass), complex beer.

At first the wood flavor was like raw oak, fresh and not flavorful the way it would be in a wine barrel or bourbon barrel, etc. Nor should it have been, as this was a different wood and under different conditions. But then later the taste came out a bit more, and unintentional or intentional I don't know, but it sort of acted like wood with wines: mellowing the flavor.

This beer to me, almost would have been like the World Wide Stout from DFH, wayyy sweet and loaded with alcohol flavor, but that wood really helped here. It cut the alcohol flavor and taste considerably, cut the sweetness a bit, boosted the bouquet, just made this beer better. Or maybe I'm hallucinating.

With some steady warming obviously more and more was revealed. It got a bit more watery in taste, but that helped actually. The sweetness went from a non-sticky, sort of molasses-like, or brown sugar like sweetness to more of a fruity, cherry or apple-like sweetness.

I don't think the intent here was to have this be a "regular" beer, but rather a unique sipper for the occasional sitting once or twice a year. As I finish writing this the flavors keep improving and I've definitely bumped my taste grade, if not the mouthfeel.

Complaints? Hmm ... as noted this is more of a one sitting beer, you're there to respect it and pick apart its offerings. It's a bit tart if we're getting picky. Well-crafted without a doubt, its an unreplicated offering and as such has added to the beer world.

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Photo of hdofu
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been wating a long time for this one.

First thing I noticed was the weird bottle cap. I've seen Lincoln cent (1982 onward) for beers 6-8% ABV for Dogfish head, red for 9-11%, and yellow for 18% onward. Is white with orange stripes 12%-17%?

Mahagony coloring, tastes kind of nutty but sweet, also smoky. Very complicated. Also has a bit of a berry taste initially. Also has a very malty taste to it. Has a banana tasting finish to it. For such a high ABV It makses the alcohol well. Feels sudsy on the tongue. As strong as this beer is it is really really drinkable.

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Photo of robrobrob
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured opaque black into a pint glass with a latte-colored head that rose and frothed with the pour, but soon dissipated. Smell is dark roast coffee and wood with some sharp alcohol - should mellow out with aging. Taste is marvelously complex. Vanillas and caramels out front with good bitter roastiness and slight alcohol burn. This is like the Dogfish Indian Brown Ale gone to college. It lost some of that hoppiness and gained a whole lot more depth. Mouthfeel is great, silky smooth and full, none of the thinness that similarly alcoholic beers have. Drinkability suffers from the 12% though, but one of these after a barbeque dinner while everyone is sitting around swatting bugs as the sun goes down sounds alright to me.

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Photo of Riverwarrior
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S = Caramel, dark berries, vanilla, oak, and slight alcohol in background.

T = Semi-sweet chocolate upfront, caramel and vanilla in the middle, with a hint of coffee bitterness in the end. The finish was a nice caramel sweetness. The alcohol was completely hidden and didn't ambush the other flavors at all.

MF = Thick and syrupy (port-like). Low carbonation with a semi-dry finish.

Overall, this is one complex beer with many different flavors coming together for an incredible experience.

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Photo of Rezzin
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep mahogany in color with a tan head.

S - The aroma is interesting - sweet caramel, oak, vanilla, grapes, and a slightly burned toast. Smells like a big beer. The alcohol is well hidden in the aroma however - as it warms it smells a little of spice - cinnamon and maybe pepper.

T - Hello Imperial Brown. This is definitely a sipping beer and something meant to be enjoyed. The flavors are full and rich - slight sweetness from the caramel malts, a little roasted flavor, dark fruits like plums and maybe even black grapes. The alcohol is well hidden and just gives a slight warmth at the end. There is slight tannic bite from the barrel which seems to balance things out nicely. It's a big brown ale with a lot more complexity.

M - Big and chewy. Not like a barleywine chewy but there is definitely a chewy maltiness there. Not cloyingly sweet like you would think at 12% - it actually finishes somewhat sweet/dry. It's the mouthfeel that I'm really enjoying most with this beer.

D - I didn't really know what to expect for sampling this. I don't typically drink a lot of beers in the 10%+ range unless I'm over at my friends house but this one is definitely one I could enjoy as an after dinner drink. One of the better offerings I've had from DFH.

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Photo of OutlawJoseyWales
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i havent had this kind of spiritual beer experience since i first tried the rochefort 10...

O how sublime and wonderful...i was moaning...i was whimpering and crying at every sip...this beer...

was SO complex....i got aromas of wood, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, coffee, raspberries, bananas...

every sip was smooth the mouthfeel was outrageous....for a 12% beer....dear god...dogfishhead is amazingly creative. thank god that this beer was made. i was tempted to prance around naked while sipping this beer, my mind was in another dimension.

this is tied with the rochy 10, and the westy 12 as my favorite beer ever. an absolutely timeless creation by the always forward thinking dogfish head brewery.

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Photo of getalife2k5
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

dark brown, almost black out of the bottle, not unlike coffee. looked thick when pouring, but wasn't really thick to drink. had a cream colored head about 1 cm high. smelled like coffee and cedar chips. tastes of coffee (again), molasses, prune juice and cognac were detected. i also thought i tasted a hint of soy sauce (the light kind). very creamy texture and smooth going down. the carbonation seemed to be just right and lasted the whole glass. not much in terms of a wood taste, but it seemed to have a woody dryness to it that coincided with a little bitterness. the alcohol was detectable but just right. I shared a sip with some Japanese friends who described it as tasting like boiled konbu, which is a thick, dark-green seaweed used for making soup bases and sauces. this is definitely a sipping beer that i think would be nice on a chilly night beside an open fire.

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

The beer pours a dark brown, almost black color with a 1/4" tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome. It has a warm crystal and roasted malt scent along with a nice vanilla aroma laid over a mild woodiness. The taste is just as good. It has a smooth malty flavor that is rich and complex. It's dry and roasted with hints of vanilla and a sweet crystal malt finish. The wood mellows the 12% abv. and adds another layer of compleity. The mouthfeel is perfect. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is one tastey beer. I'm glad Dogfish is back making extreme "beers", not wine/beers; or whatever you call their last few new ones. Cheers!

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Photo of hellcatsjg
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown with a finger of head. Layer of bubbles lasts for about 3/4 of the glass.

Smell: A sweet and alcoholy aroma with vanilla being very strong as well.

Taste: Starts off with vanilla and nuttiness. Woody flavor, not oaky, but woody, kicks in next and mingles nicely. Big alcohol finish along with the sweet caramel flavors associated with a brown. Nice complexity.

Mouthfeel: Thick to medium with medium carbonation. Big ABV tingles the tongue and warms after the swallow. Alcohol and sweet vanilla aftertaste. Nice.

Drinkability: Very tasty beer. The 12% ABV may limit you. Very thick and heavy as well. Your limitations are what would hold you back, not the beers. Very good and very complex. Good job.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Jeez, what a nice beer! I poured this into a goblet. It was a very dark brown, almost black beer with a medium-sized lighter brown head. There was a tiny bit of lacing. It had a fruity, caramel aroma. There was a pronounced vanilla taste, as well as the fruit and caramel. Hops appeared late. The alcohol was very noticeable, but tempered by the vanilla. A rich, rewarding beer. I imagine it would cellar well.

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Photo of Gmann
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a near black oily color with a smaller brown head. Looks very much like a stout. The aroma is of a rich and roasted malt, plums, raisins, with light hints of coffee, wood. The taste is of roasted malt, coffee, sour unrippened fruit, wood, vanilla, some rum booziness. The brew is well bodied with soft carbonation that gives it a silky feel. The finish is a bitter roasted malt and an alcohol belly burn; a bit sticky. The beer definitely improves as it warms, giving rise to the nice malt and dark fruit flavors. The booze is out in the open, no hiding here. 12% is a bit much for a brown ale, so only one. Going to let a couple age for a bit and see what happens.

*On Tap*
Pretty much same experience as out of the bottle, per my review. The ABV seems to be hidden better.

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Photo of Zorro
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super dark brown colored beer on the verge of black, looks like used motor oil. Very slight brown head forms but dies. The only light that passes is at the very edges.

Smell is sweet and boozy with a fig and coffee aroma with some fruit I can't identify at this moment. Little but of plum wine, licorice and mint in this too, a bit spicy.

The taste starts out sweet and strong and ends with a coffee aftertaste. Fruity combined with stout describes this well.

Mouthfeel is good.

Something here doesn't mesh like it is actually two different beers in one. Imperial British Pale Ale and an Imperial Porter mixed. Thing is they don't really mix here so much as they coexist so you don't get the Black & Tan effect. Here you get the fruity and dark show.

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Photo of ERASE21
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Popped a 12 oz bottle with a 4/15/08 born on date. Put my nose to the top - wow - like a sweet imperial licorice stout with your typical dogfish head undertones. Poured like motor oil to spread that sweet imperial licorice and caramel malt scent all over. Sipped it to notice it was roasted and charred around the edges with an alcohol wallop. It's super strong and the 12% alcohol is definitely apparent. If I didn't know it was a nut brown ale of some sort I would think it was a sweetened imperial stout. Very dark. It's almost like the alcohol separates itself from the rest of the ingredients as it swishes around in my mouth. I'd better subtly sip this one or I'll be a goner in no time. It's very complex and compelling and I find myself wanting to figure it out but that'll leave me laid out. Mmm. I like it.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 5,806 ratings.
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