Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,080 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
Reviews: 2,080 | Ratings: 5,771
Photo of Whey2Hoppy
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours more of a deep black color than brown, with a 1.5 finger espresso colored head that makes it look like an imperial coffee stout. Sweet molasses, coffee, woody notes, and caramel in the aroma with hints of vanilla. Taste follows the nose, with that maple syrup style sweetness being followed by a bourbon type alcohol kick in the middle, finishing off with those woody and coffee notes. Medium body and carbonation, slightly thick and syrupy in the best way. Excellent flavor for people who love their beers strong, and this would probably age very well for those who can't quite handle the alcohol bite.

 609 characters

Photo of mfowler314
4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I love this beer! It is darker than you'd expect a brown to be. Good head to start but then settles into a nice ring of foam. Smell is richer than a typical brown ale with hints of vanilla. The flavor imparted by the Palo Santo wood is quite nice - different from other barrel flavors but in a good way. Thick feeling in the mouth. Overall one a great beer and one of my favorites!

 387 characters

Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look (4.25): Not what I expect from the label saying it's a "brown ale". Pours a dark brown color that makes you think porter or stout. Thick brown creamy head.

Smell (4): Chocolate, toasted malt, vanilla wood and a whole bunch of booze. Reminds me of burnt wood and smores. Campfires basically.

Taste (4.5): Is it possible to taste smoke? There also the chocolate and boozey flavors with are definitely at large. This a very big and complex brew. I love it.

Mouthfeel (4): Rich, thick and creamy. I love it. Definitely full bodied with a long smokey aftertaste. Dry and some spice at the end of the palate.

Overall (4.25): An incredibly intense beer. Cheers to Dogfish Head for always finding a way to make me fall in love with their brews!

 745 characters

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

From a 355 ml bottle (no date, but I have been sitting on this bottle for at least two years) into a tulip. Reviewed from notes dated April 16, 2016.

A-The beer is very dark for a brown ale; it looks more like a stout. The pour is heavy and oily coming out of the bottle. A short, tan head fades quickly.

S-The aroma is a very enticing mixture of milk and dark chocolate, dark caramel, a little bit of sour cherry, and this unique herbal, cedar-like woody smell. I'm not sure how it works, but I'm really intrigued. A little alcohol heat is noticeable too.

T-The taste opens with a little wave of fruity sweetness; I think cherries and plum. Then an earthy wave of chocolatey malts kicks in. I taste carob, vanilla, and milk and dark chocolates. The finish dries out a bit with that same intriguing oaky/cedar-like note. Complex and layered. The beer is 12% ABV, and you can taste the alcohol, but the alcohol is integrated well.

M-The body is thick and robust on the palate with a fine persistent carbonation. Like a stout more than a brown.

O-Wow. This beer was a pleasant surprise: complex, unique, and tasty. I know that DFH makes some classic high-ABV beers that have fallen out of favor in recent years, but this beer can keep up with anything the new kids are putting out. I will definitely buy another bottle or two for cellaring when I see it again.

 1,364 characters

Photo of daliandragon
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just an interesting beer I've been meaning to review for a while. Pours a muddy near black color with a cap of dark tan head and no lace. Nose is complex and a little different with each sniff; dark fruit, smoked meat, oak, vanilla, fresh cream, and the whole thing reminds me distantly of Grand Marnier.

Never thought that 50 IBUs could hide so effortlessly. The malt is overpowering, tinged with wood and plum notes. The alcohol is present but not kicking as high as you'd think for a beast of this size. Texture is firm and low in carbonation, which works pretty well. Aftertaste is surprisingly mellow and balanced.

I couldn't see more than one, most likely as a nightcap. Also, to me this is much more in line with an Old Ale than a Brown, but nobody asked me. A really well crafted beer for the initiated. One of my favorite from DFH.

 853 characters

Photo of ajm5108
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown with moderate head. Lots of deep oak and roasted malt on the aroma. Like a lot of Dogfish beers there is a noticeable astringent alchohol flavor, but for the most part it is covered up by the dark malt notes (bitter chocolate, a little coffee) and the oak.

 276 characters

Photo of LooseGasCap
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woody, aged flavor brings vanilla, wood and whiskey to mind. Big caramel nose greets you before the smooth malty, creamy texture coats. Color is really dark, complete and brown, with tan lacing left after each sip. Not for quaffing. This one is savored.

 258 characters

Photo of PA-hunter
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured 12oz bottle into snifter glass. 12%abv

Appearance- Pours a Rich dark brown with a muddy brown head slow to dissipate. Some good lacing.

Smell- Chocolate and vanilla aromas with carmelized sugar.

Taste- Sweet molasses with a distinct woody flavor. Smoky wood, and chocolate round out the middle of the flavors. Becomes dryer, yet still sweet with notes of chocolate. Finishes with mild coffee flavor and leaves the palate with prominent vanilla notes.

Mouthfeel- Heavy in body with low carbonation. Viscous. Boozy burn as well.

Overall- Some great complexity with this burly brown ale by DFH. Many flavors working together to create a fine sipper. The barrel aging is defintely noticeable in this beer and is what makes it unique. Worth the pricey 4 pack.

 766 characters

Photo of TTUCKF
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown coloring, the head consists of a light brown froth that melts down the side of the glass when poured. Smells of a rich coffee, caramel aroma that leaps out of the glass. Taste of coffee, many fruits and caramel. Feel: thick, creamy.

 243 characters

Photo of dee4maine
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

one of my fav off centered Brown Ale (doubt if that title explains what kinda beast this is). Read this awesome article in New Yorker mag about this beer which lead me to craft brews.
Amazing history on Palo santo and the lengths Sam Calagione went through to make this. Hats off to DFH. Am aging a few bottles and will see what happens.

 396 characters

Photo of matcris
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Very dark brown, no light through it. Finger+ of creamy tan head that lingers awhile. No real lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Chocolate, sweet caramel. Lots of coffee, lots of dark dried fruits, slight smokiness, dark bread crust, leather, swirl the glass and the alcohol jumps out.
TASTE: Just like aroma. If I didn't know this was aged in wooden barrels, I doubt I would have guessed that.
FEEL: Lots like an RIS except more creamy, actually...frothy. Low carbonation, but just enough. Sticky.
OVERALL: Very complex, interesting beer. Big dark dried fruit, leathery, chocolate, coffee. Thumbs up! Sip this stuff.

 625 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

pours black with a faint dark cream head.

smell is sweet, almost like root beer! maybe licorice too. slight coffee/vanilla tones as well.

taste is strong, like a barleywine but more dry. finishes bitter and dry. slight notes of alcohol in it. at 12% it is clearly a sipper.

overall it's a good tasting beer but is not exactly for me. i like brown ales but i like more drinkable brown ales (aka lower abv, somewhere in the 6-9%abv range for me). not something i would pick up again but far from a bad beer.

 508 characters

Photo of pbass0
3.3/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The reason for my first hangover. Guess that's what happens when you drink it at midnight right before going to bed. I am not a fan of the style, so this wasn't me

 163 characters

Photo of jzeilinger
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Very dark opaque brown pour with a very, very thick creamy mocha colored head. The creamy layer of head sticks to the sides of the glass like glue, viscous.

S - Wood, light smoky char, vanilla, toasted caramel malt, and cream.

T - Very boozy from start to finish and the very first nuance to pond your palate. Some smoky malt, toasted caramel toffee (but very subdued), wood character all the way through, vanilla, chocolate, a touch of mocha. Finishes with a very slight mocha bitterness but mostly sweet and boozy on the back end.

M - Although very boozy it never gets overly hot, just warm. Very creamy on the tongue,

O - Not a fan of Brown Ales by any means but really enjoyed this one - maybe because it pushes the boundaries and showcases the potential of a Brown Ale.

 787 characters

Photo of puck1225
3.81/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, a beautiful dark brown. Thin head but nice lacing. Smell of cherries and vanilla, woody. Slightly boozy taste with light chocolate and coffee flavors. Good for an occasional treat!

 217 characters

Photo of AmeriCanadian
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Outstanding beer that, when compared against the general American Brown Ale population (how it's categorized here at Beer Advocate), really stands in a league of its own. Pours almost black with a thick, sticky, mocha head that laces well. Smell is molasses, booze, dark fruits, a pleasant oak (or a darker wood?), and appealing vanilla. Taste is baker's chocolate, brown sugar, the perfect amount of oak and darker wood, caramel, and vanilla. Feel is thick, rich, and sticky. Alcohol is definitely there -- pleasant boozy burn -- but not in any way overwhelming. Again, comparing this beer to normal browns is just unfair. But it also stands out among more comparable wood-aged browns that end up over-oaked or lacking in congruity. This beer is fantastic.

 766 characters

Photo of benjamminjones24
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle (bottled 4/21/15) - was able to buy this as a single while visiting family in Washington State; especially nice since she only charged me $3 for the bottle : )
Syrupy pour, jet black color, nice mocha head
smell of licorice, alcohol, malt
sweet taste, malty, very smooth for the abv
thin mouthfeel, dry finish.
Glad I finally got a chance to try this one but not one I would search out again; prefer a heavier mouthfeel on a beer that has this level of alcohol.

 474 characters

Photo of McFlorida85
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent. When poured, it was dark, thick with a slight reddish brown froth. It's taste complex, as the first, second and third sips revealed different tastes. The smell was woody and welcoming, reminding me of drinking beer in an old German bar. Very much a sip and relax beer.

 279 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black good mocha colored head that lasts for awhile excellent lacing head leaves and clings a little to the sides.

Smell big boozy smell right off the bat I get some vanilla some dark fruits as well.

Taste the alcohol is not hidden in this you can taste it I get a little oak flavor some spices a little dark chocolate.

Feel pretty thick and a little like syrup get a little burn from the alcohol.

Overall I really like this beer this is a beer you sip on and enjoy and I will have it again.

 505 characters

Photo of vickersspitfire
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Pours out a black color with only a few hints od red and brown hues if you shine a bright light behind it. The head is thick, dark tan, dense and thick, in fact the beer even pours out thicker than most ales, which helps create the thick dense head. There’s a patch of small fluffy bubbles gathered in the middle, and all of this is rounded up by a nice dense lacing.
Smell: Caramel, apples, toffee, roasted malts, mild fig and grapes and dates. Mild spices can be detected.
Taste: heavy on the roasted malts and the alcohol is up front. As it hits the middle of your mouth, it gets a little nutty and the spices come out just a bit.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, creamy and it just envelopes your entire mouth with nice warming alcohol and finished just a bit dry.
Overall: This is the best brown ale I’ve had so far, if you see it you have to buy, don’t miss out!

 877 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Absolutely loved this! Deep, dark and rich, velvety smooth. Nutty, smoky , woody, some chocolate notes. Warmth without burn. I’d like to get my hands on more of this

 167 characters

Photo of Marraybay
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look: Dark; Basically black. No head at all. Glass soapiness apparent.

Smell: Grape - plain and simple.

Taste: Sweet Red wine and alcohol in front and middle; tart and puckery at the close.

Feel: Syrup warmth.

Overall: Very different. Thick and vinous and lot's of booze. Enjoyed the uniqueness
of it, but wouldn't repeat.

 330 characters

Photo of KevCan
4.96/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

My dad bought me a 4-pack of 12 oz. bottles after our tour at the Dogfish Head brewery. Bottled on 9/1/15. Poured into a tulip glass at just below room temperature.

Look: Very dark reddish brown with dark tan head that quickly dissipates, leaving a bit of lacing around the edges.

Smell: Smells outstanding. Explosion of spices. Dark fruits: plum wine, sour cherry. Similar nose to some bourbon barrel aged beers.

Taste: There's so much flavor and complexity here. Definitely a sipping beer. Pretty hot from the alcohol.

Feel: Coats the mouth. Velvety. Nice carbonation.

Overall: I love it. One of my all-time favorites.

 626 characters

Photo of Ikeithbot
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

A:very dark brown

S: really nice smelling beer, smells more like an american Belgian to me, than a brown.

T: heavy dark, tastes like a dubbel to me, caramel flavored, pretty good

M: carbonation on the tongue when just opened, smooth on the tongue,slightly bitter. Sticky

O: pretty good, it's a real heavy brown, i'd say it is somewhere in between a Belgian dubbel clone and a brown ale that is woody

 403 characters

Photo of GreatStoutman
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Brown ale is probably a little misleading, as I found this to be dark as night. Smells nice and is a very complex flavor. I'll need to come back and re-evaluate this soon, because my casual drinking of it wasn't adequate to evaluate this one.

Briefly, its very complex, great nose and feel.

 291 characters

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 5,771 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.