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: 2,082 | Ratings: 5,786
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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Photo of MSchae1017
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours an opaque brownish-black with a creamy mocha like head (just as the video says). Even with the massive alcohol content, the head lingers and laces well, probably due to the addition of wheat. The aroma is quite potent with caramel and molasses like sweetness dominating rounded off by a bit of chocolate and mysterious spice. Sipping the beer, it rushes forth with a massive sweetness. Again flavors of chocolate, caramel, and brown sugar are present, but the wood has added its own spicy, earthy characteristic unlike any other wood aged beer I have had. Alcohol is present in the finish, but provides more of a warming sensation and does not bring down the drinkability. This may be due to the smoothness that Scotch Ale yeasts tend to impart. The beer displays a full body and smooth carbonation. Amazingly, this beer is easy to drink considering the 12% ABV. While this is massively sweet and malty, it is pleasant and balanced. Oftentimes, Dogfish Head will put out incredibly interesting beers that I feel compelled to try once and then never return to. This beer on the other hand is one I would certainly get again, and considering the alcohol, I just might do that and age it a few years.

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Photo of gmcfarre
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into traditional pint glass
Bottled 4/15/08

A - Pours a nearly black opaqueness with a thin latte colored bubbly head. Lacing is mild when tipped.

S - Strong roasted dryness with a sweet, almost nutty accompaniment. Slight coffee and chocolate notes, but nothing more than background scents. Oak also plays a background role, especially before this brew warms up.

T - Taste is sweet with molasses and nutty, dark fruit flavors. Bitter dark chocolate with coffee accents adds complexity. Finish is incredibly dry with its strong oak flavor that almost leaves me parched and in need of water. Really interesting combination of flavors, with the oak working really nicely in this beer.

M - Starts with a full body and medium yet active carbonation. Gets creamy (almost like a nitro) and oily on the tongue before the very dry, slightly bitter aftertaste kicks in.

D - As others have said, I find it hard to believe this is 12% ABV, which I guess makes it incredibly drinkable. On the other hand, it gets very filling as the beer wears on. Oak works well in this beer, maybe better than most of the oak aged stouts I've had to date. Another interesting and style-defying beer from Dogfish.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, one of four sent by wickedpete a couple months back; 'Bottle On: 02/11/08" still legible on the neck. Poured to a pint glass, after it warmed a good 20 minutes out of the fridge

A: Dark, dark brown, although seeming to have a faint purplish/blueberry hue. Pours with a fizzy, crackling tawny head, rising to just over a finger-high before dropping to an active, sparkling film. Lace is minimal.

S: Big aroma of dark syrupy caramel, spiced fruit (cherries, plums, sweet berries), earthy chocolate shavings, a little rum- or brandy-barrel woodiness.

T: Malty caramel, molasses, ripe fruit (raspberry, cherry or blueberry), bittersweet chocolate. Wood-aging gives some light spice and a subtle vanilla bean. Like a sweetened dessert-coffee spiked with a shot of booze. Deeper smoky-char bittering builds in the finish.

M: Luscious, thick mouthfeel - chewy. Borderline 'sticky'. Carbonation seems mellow, smooth. Bittering creeps up and builds in layers, casting a toasty/husky dryness that lingers. High alcohol reveals through a steady warming; it's not hidden but isn't totally 'in-your-face' either.

D: A hefty beer that deserves bottle is just fine to end the evening on. Lacks some drinkability not because of its alcoholic muscle, but more because the flavors are so heavy without offering a ton of complexity - frankly it grew a little boring towards the end. Still, it's worth picking up a single (or 4-pack) to appreciate on occasion and worth the effort getting this sent from the East Coast. Thanks again, Pete!

Comments: Oh Dogfish Head, the things you guys do to push the boundaries of 'craft beer'. A quick sorting of the BA database for 'American Brown Ale' finds only 3 beers having more than an 8% ABV, none (besides this) above 10%. At a whopping 12%, this leads me to believe PSM in a whole other category. And 'Imperial Brown Ale' doesn't cut it either...

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Photo of eberkman
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque, dark mahogany with a pinkish-brown head -- about a finger's worth that diminished fairly quickly to a ring. Looks like an RIS from my vantage point.

Smells like one too. Creamy vanilla, dark berries, pungent dark chocolate, molasses, and a sherrylike wininess as well. A lot going on in the nose, that's for sure.

Very rich taste -- the dark berries and winey grapes really come out big here with a bitter, dark-roasted coffee finish. Lots of vanilla along the edges.

Oozy, oily mouthfeel with very light carbonation. But surprisingly light and silky at the same time -- not sure if I like it that much. With flavors as big as this one has, it should have more heft to it.

A typical brown ale would be a session beer. This is anything but. It's a nice, relaxing, just-before-bed slow sipper. Would be a great dessert beer too. Big and boozy, though the alcohol doesn't ruin the taste.

I stand by my initial observation that this invokes a RIS much more than a Brown Ale. Interesting, because I believe when I reviewed Indian Brown Ale, I thought it tasted more like a stout than a brown ale. In any event, from a brewery that's always trying to out-extreme itself -- often resulting in a mess -- this is a huge beer that is actually quite sensible and enjoyable.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a 1/2 finger head with decent retention and a rich brown color.

Vanilla is the strongest smell on the nose. Undertones of wood and charcoal come underneath. I also smell some caramel malts and a little bit of chocolate.

Sweet caramel and chocolate malts come through. This is followed with a mild spiciness/smokiness/woodiness from the wood barrels. The finish is of chocolate and vanilla.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The aftertaste of chocolate and vanilla is very nice as well.

Nicely complex beer that is easy to drink. I recommend it. I would have never guessed this beer is 12% abv.

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

Opaque, viscous-looking black liquid with just a thin ring of head around the outside.

The wood delivers and then some; charcoal, vanilla, molasses with a hefty dose of booze on the back end.

Strong roasted malt with semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla undertones. Huge charred flavor on the finish. Charcoal grows more aggressive as the beer warms.

Actually not nearly as thick as the appearance would seem to indicate. All-in-all, it's a good beer but with limited appeal. Still, it's one of the better barrel-aged beers I've had in a while. This was a GREAT partner with some Swiss milk chocolate.

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

a: Pitch black body, thin brown head.

s: Maple syrup, raisins, vanilla, and alcohol.

t: Rich. Dark nutty malt borders on charred. I can definitely notice the vanilla notes that the label mentions. The Palo Santo wood adds a great twist on the typical barrel-aged beer. Notes of brown sugar, molasses and sarsaparilla. Some bitterness from the dark malts. Complex for a brown.

m: Thick, syrupy, lower carbonation.

d: A sipper, no doubt about it. I like the unique flavor imparted from the exotic wood barrels. A rich and boozy beer. Enjoyable, if not quaffable. An extreme brown ale, the best of the style that I have had.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Duh-ark brown pour with a craggy khaki cap, Don't know if there be any bubbles but it's DARK!!!

Scents really light with some pancake waffle grain and buttery goodness.

First swigs: Dark malt like cocoa with a waffle spice wafer grain. Cinnamon meets pancake. Bold balance. Hops are overwhelmed with a touch of molasses. Thick and viscus.

Feel is as thick as can be! Get a fork 'cuz this one is chunky!

Last swigs: Thick syrupy maple syrup brown with enough kick azz to kick Chuck Norris's az!!! ***interesting***

Beer is good. Happy big brown beering.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Jay23: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some nice lacing. Aroma of vanilla and oak is pretty pleasant with some light roasted malt notes. Taste is a mix between some roasted malt notes with a mix of vanilla and oak and some creamy lactose notes. Full creamy body is really enjoyable with some great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well done and probably one of the best new seasonal from Dogfish.

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Photo of jdubjacket
3.98/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a black color into a standard pint glass. Definitely not a "brown ale" by the look of it. Little carbonation - if any. Malty nose with sugar & vanilla undertones. Taste is definitely a sweet surprise. Has a very sweet taste - not at all what I was expecting. Also got some dried fruit in the taste. Mouthfeel is very full-bodied. Drinkability takes a small hit b/c of the 12.0% ABV.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 5,786 ratings.
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