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 | website

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: 2,067 | Ratings: 5,721
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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Photo of FleeVT
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with "Bottled on" date stamped on neck. The label has a blurb about how the ale is aged in handmade wooden brewing vessels that are the largest built in post-prohibition America.

A: Pour a deep mahogany and is black in the glass. Capped by a light brown head that sticks to the side of the glass.

S: A fantastically complex nose. Caramel, vanilla bean, hints of coffee bean, slightly woody, and smokey. The higher ABV is al

T: Powerful and complex. Again, hints of vanilla, caramel, mild coffee, more wood on the palate, and a smokey finish. Warms the stomach with alcohol.

M: A medium to heavy bodied brew, especially for a brown ale. Moderate carbonation tingles the tongue and lends a creaminess to the texture.

D: A great big beer. Dogfish can be extreme, too extreme at times, but this is not one of those times. Great effort!

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Photo of trpng0bily
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. This doesn't look like any brown ale I've ever seen. This is so dark, almost completely opaque, that you can just barely see that it is brown and not pitch black. This is as dark as brown can possibly get. The head is meak, even with a vigorous pour, and is gone in a flash. The smell is of banana, vanilla and sweet caramel malts. The taste is...huge. There is bitter chocolate, banana, sweet, roasty malt, a vanilla aftertase and, I swear, there is a peaty quality to this beer (could that be the wood?). The mouthfeel is as creamy as any stout, syrupy without being too sweet, and with mild to moderate carbonation. As to the drinkability, I thought would have trouble getting through one bottle, but I find myself getting started on a second - for a brew as rich as this one, that is quite impressive.

Frankly, it is difficult to rate a beer like this. It is unlike any other beer I've ever tasted. I know Dogfish like to push the envelope, but this brew really is remarkable in the extent to which it plays by its own rules, even by Dogfish's standards. If for no other reason, this brew is worth trying (even at $13 for a 4-pack) for its uniqueness.

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

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

One finger head slowly creeps to the top of this used motor oil colored beverage.

Aroma reminds me of mocha coffee, banana, vanilla beans, earth, and caramel.

Heavy body reveals a nice woody flavor surrounded by dark chocolate, coffee, and a sweet caramelly vanilla like finish.
It is not heavily present, but some alcohol can certainly be detected. All this with a nice hop backbone make for a very flavorful brew.

I like the way this beer is crafted, there are so many flavors going on here that it almost seems strange to me. It's not that they are bad, just different. Then again, what can you expect from DFH?

Don't think I could drink more than one of these in a sitting due to the strength of it, but it's something I could sit down every once in a while and have.

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Photo of 1759Girl
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This was a scary subject....

Had this poured for me at Toronado, into a small white wine glass. It looked like a a quadruple shot espresso. The size and the color and I knew I was a goner...

Appearance> Coffee. No head. Black as night.

Smell> Burnt chocolate, coffee. woah.

Taste> Extremely complex. Started out with a distinct taste of bananas, followed by a big punch of mexican chocolate, that flavor dissipates quickly into a full resiny flavor, smoothing out at the finish. Oddly enough, this unique concoction was extremely balanced. It was hard to consider this a brown ale for all of its complexity, but wow. Its nice.

Mouthfeel> Sooo creamy. Like full fat milk.

Drinkability> Minus one point for being so dangerous (strong)

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Photo of cokes
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is imperial black, trimmed with only a gradient of crimson. The head is a short and squat buttery tan, fading quickly, then durable as a collar.
Nose of toffee, fudge, butter, tobacco, espresso, figs, anise, Brandy, lacquer, and vanilla.
Across the mouth, it is full of deep malty fudge and molasses. Anise develops as does a pronounced sense of fig. It turns earthy for a moment, with tree bark, dirt, tobacco, spent coffee grounds, and chicory. Then back to sweet with a jammy concord grape and black cherry slathered in caramel, and toffee, and vanilla butter cream. Booze hits at the close with a like-minded impression of Brandy, complete with a twinge of burn. Woodiness is on the low end, but it accents the caramel and brings some tannins. Hop flavor is almost entirely drowned out, but bitterness is present and semi-balancing (considering).
Full bodied, carbonation is nearly negligible, but a bubble or two gurgles up periodically. Even with the notable ABV and molten thickness, it's readily and enjoyably dispatched. More than one in a sitting might be gluttony, but it nearly begs for it. Still this is better served as a nightcap, one and done.
It's a thoroughly fascinating beer, but not for the reasons I'd have expected. The Palo Santo wood plays a minor role, but a congruent and beneficiary one. This ultimately plays out like a huge malt-bomb English Russian Imperial Stout (think: Sam Smith, but much larger) all full of Fruit Cake, Earth, Booze, and Wood.

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Photo of david131
3.9/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Almost nearly pitch black with a splotchy brown head that swirls about on the surface and eventually works it way down to a ring.

S- Some cherries, oak, coffee, chocolate, and a little earth. There is also some smoke in there as well. Seems to have an English aspect to it.

T- Same as the aroma. Sweet, but not overbearing. The alcohol is noticeable, but only in a warming fashion.

M- Pretty creamy and smooth. The carbonation level is good. The alcohol is really well hidden.

D- The alcohol may not be harsh, but it does make it self known. This is definitely a sipper. A really interesting beer and worth a try.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours Mahogany brown with a small foamy lace. The aroma is of alcohol,coffee and malts.
The taste is a complex blend of roasted malts,light hops,vanilla,caramel and sweet, chocolate hints.
The overall feel is a smooth,sticky sweet,alcohol tingling,full bodied beer.The carbonation is just right and the balance is great.
The beer welcomes you to sip on it as it warms.

Notes: I do believe this beer is a Brown Ale,but a cross breed.
Almost seemed like a Porter and even bordered on Imperial stout ground. I know it is neither,yet it just seemed like no other Brown Ale I have ever had. A bit extreme and I liked it. At 12% ABV it was extremely smooth. Very drinkable,but not session at all.
This beer packs a George Foreman punch in a Bernard Hopkins body.Unbelievable!

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

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

Poured into a DFH glass a nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tannish head, which leaves some nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some nice tones of vanilla, cherries, figs, plums, raisins, and caramel notes. The taste is sweet, malty, nice notes of dark fruit, with some caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty brew, another different take of the style from DFH. Highly recommended, thanks Joe.

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Photo of rye726
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is very dark for a brown ale. The color is a woody brown and looks black in my glass. A nice mocha head settles to a thin cover. This is a bit hot right now with notable alcohol aromas. There are also rich malts, vanilla and caramel. The taste is quite complex and could use a couple years to mellow out. Flavors of roated malts, earthy oak, alcohol, vanilla and rich candy. Full body silks over my palate. Very drinkable considering the strength. Gets better every sip I take.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I owe YonderWanderer for this delicious brew....

Damn, this sure doesn't look like a brown ale...I can't tell if its dark brown or black but I can't see through it at all...light brown foamy head...

Sakes alive, this one smells definitely has the brown ale aspect to it but is loaded with chocolate, vanilla, some smoke, and an earthiness that's really pleasant.... As this warms, it gets deeper and more complex with perhaps even a little vinous quality to it... Awesome!!

Tastes exactly like it smells....deep, dark, and delicious! Chocolate, smoke, coffee, vanilla, toffee, sweet malts, and that earthiness again... I still can't believe this is a brown ale. I know the ABV is significantly higher than a normal brown but I don't really get much booziness in this either... Perhaps a little on the finish but certainly not 12%.

Well, this is certainly the finest brown ale I've ever had and I'll go so far as to say that it is probably one of the finest brews I've ever had.. I wasn't expecting this at all but this stuff was delicious...

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Photo of drunkmonk
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, with bottled on date: 2-11-08

Pours dark brown with slight ruby highlights. Nice two finger tan head really sticks around and firm sheet of lacing clings all the way down. Wood, chocolate, leather, smoke, and some earthy tobacco. Very nice. All the same in the flavor with an herbal tea like component. The wood really shines and blends extremley well with the chocolate malts. Hops keep things in check and add a nice spicy birch beer like quality. Nice creamy feel, with just enough carbonation. Hefty abv is extremely well hidden behind a curtain of complex and enjoyable flavors. This is a great canidate to put in the cellar and see what happens. Really enjoyed this.

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Photo of sml505
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark black with ruby highlights. Dark, tan head that disappears.

S - Complex. Roasted malt, alcohol, dark fruit. Smokey wood.

T - A great combination of caramel and dark fruit. Wood notes. Sweet chocolate and coffee.

O/ M - Full to heavy body. Alcohol intensifies with warmth. Very complex w/ wood notes. Incredible beer.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Very dark brown, almost black. Little to no head. Appears full bodied.

4.0 S: Woody and sappy. Hint of coffee. Smell rather weak, but pleasant.

4.5 T: Extremely malty. Wood really comes through. Toffee to a lesser extent. Liquor aftertaste, though complements woodiness.

4.0 M: A little thinner than I expected. Nonetheless, feels good.

5.0 D: One bottle was plenty, but I wouldn't have wanted any less. Very good sipper.

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

A: Did not expect this beer to pour this color. Fairly black with only hints of brown around the edges. Minimal head with no lacing.

S: Chocolate and coffee up front. Wood next. Smells like the chicory stout on steroids. Slightly earthy smell as well. Hints of vanilla and burnt maple syrup.

T: Basically just like the smell in the same order. Really different. The wood really took this beer someplace totally different. I cant even think of something to compare it to.

M: Even though this is a "brown ale" I want it to be thicker even though it would kill the drinkability. Actually it is a miracle this has this taste without being tar like.

D: Split a 12oz bottle and that suited me just fine. Really nice beer. Hopefully dogfish will keep making this.

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Photo of Avryle
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- incredibly dark brown with purplish highlights. Very, very minimal head. Very thick looking

S- Wood, nuts & sap

T- Its a brown ale on steroids. The characteristics of a regular ole' brown are present, such as the nutiness & brown sugar, but that's where it ends. A slightly tangy-metallic-spicy sap flavor lingers in all stages of tasting. Finishes with strong molasses and tobacco flavors.

M- Syrupy thick. Some boozy vapors. Low carbonation

D- Splitting a 12oz bottle is a good idea.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep espresso color, with a reddish hue. One finger of a strong brown head, very little retention or lacing.

A: Big, big, coffee and roasted malts. Vanilla, caramel, tarragon, and maple syrup present as well. The hops are subtle but present, and balance this one nicely.

T: Almost, and I stress almost stout like. But definately a brown. Roasted malts and earthy flavors dominate, and it finishes with a strong alcohol burn.

M: Full body, very little carbonation, very smooth.

D: Very good brown ale. This is a must try. From start to finish this one does not dissapoint. But at 12% ABV, it's a sipper. Skal.

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Photo of SugarBunny
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at Rustico and I have had it out of the bottle at the South Philly Taproom.

The dark color looks really rich. Not too much of a head.

The nose is amazing. There's hints of caramel, oakiness, as well as some ester.

The mouthfeel is very smooth, not overly carbonated.

While this isn't a beer to session, it is great for sipping. I preferred to let it warm up a little. It is smooth, and chocolately, and rich. It's like drinking dessert.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark, thick, very viscous and pretty much black in color. Reminds me very much of an Imperial stout. At 12% its hard to imagine still having a brown color for this ridiculously strong and complex "brown ale". The head is miniscule and quick to go away. While it does last its a nice coffee color with big loose bubbles. After settling its a very thin lace of off white hugging the top of the glass.

Smells of rich malt, dark roasted coffee, alcohol, and burnt sugar. I really don't know what to look for when it comes to the smell of Palo Santo.

Sooo smooth and instantly warming! I love it. Tastes of dark toasted malt, bitter coffee along with some tangy sweetness. I definitely get the alcohol kick at the back of my tongue. Its got some qualities that are similar to a red wine, its a hearty strong beer with a bit of a dry fruit flavor at the end of each sip (this is definitely one you'll want to sip).

Dark, rich and mysterious. Palo Santo Marron is a hell of a strong and complex beer.

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

a - pours a very dark brown, nearly black, smallish dark brown head with little retention or lacing

s - very strong woody (what I guess is Palo Santo) aroma with significant vanilla and caramel notes, some booziness and a little root beer

t - much like the aroma, wood, sweet caramel, roasted malt, and vanilla on the front and midpalate, some bitter hoppiness and nuttiness in the midpalate as well, the finish has a significant boozy component with wisps of alcohol lingering on the breath along with the wood

m - medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, strong warming from the alcohol, fairly balanced finish on the palate

d - definitely a sipper as the alcohol and other flavors are very intense, not overly harsh on the palate though

Strong, unique effort from DFH...definitely different from anything I've ever tried. Well worth trying at least one bottle. It would be interesting to see how this ages.

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

Pours near black, and opaque, with small brown head that doesn't retain long.

Nose has an herbal tea, Cuisine of India aroma to it, with oaky flavors in the background.

Palate wise it is noticeably syrupy in body, with gooey roasted malt & maple up front, balanced by tartness from wood and hops. Carbonation carries through nicely and somehow the alcohol is entirely disguised.

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

a: fleeting mocha head, light retention, mahogany brown color

s: very interesting, strong woody aromas mesh with a hefty brown, carrying vanilla similar to oak but a touch more complex and spicy I believe, notes of vanilla cola, rich and slightly chocolaty brown malts, sassafras, smooth coffee, earthy hops, hazelnut, sweet, mild ethanol, quite complex

m: medium carbonation on a full bodied beer, smooth

t: starts with chocolaty coffee, very nutty and moderately sweet, turning drier and more roasty in the finish, notes of nuts, wood, mild coffee, and chocolate make up the bulk of the flavor, finishes long with flavors of burnt nuts, bittersweet chocolate, and a moderate bitterness

d: abv very well integrated, exceptionally drinkable and very unique

single from Whole Foods Raleigh, bottled 04/15/08

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 5,721 ratings.
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