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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Ratings: 5,854 |  Reviews: 2,106
Photo of rangerred
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Excited to try this one as it is one of the few DFH beers I have yet to sample.

Bottled on 2/2/11 poured into a pint glass.

A-Pitch black with a small, quarter inch head that fades to a thin covering.

S-smells like dried fruit; raisins and plums. Some wood and maybe a slight bit of alcohol.

T-Definitely a roasted flavor that I did not pick up on in the smell. Also quite a bit of dark fruit and not as much wood as I was expecting. It is there but not to the degree I have tasted in other wood aged beers. Alcohol is fairly well hidden.

M-Mouthfeel is full-bodied and a bit sticky but not to the point of being cloying.

Overall a very good beer and I'm glad I was able to try it. Not sure it is worth the price, though.

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Photo of gtermi
4.61/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: I love how this beer pours just like motor oil. There is hardly any head on the beer and it is black as night.

S: To me it has a lot of wood, also picking up some alcohol and some sweetness. After than I cant sense anything else.

T: I am picking up a lot of chocolate and wood flavors, with a bit of alcohol and coffee.

M: The beer if very thick, but suprisingly smooth. Leaves a weird coating in my mouth.

O: This beer is just amazing. It is really expensive, but well worth the money. This is one of the best beers I have ever had in my life.

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

Bottle poured into New Belgium globe. Bottled 5/21/2010. Found this on the shelves at a local bottle shop. Didn't realize it had a year and a half on it. Awesome.

A- Deep mahogany red. Beautiful thick, reddish head leaves a big coating on the glass.

S- A wonderful woody flavor, unlike any I remember. I've had this multiple times, and it always wows me. A sweetness, and an alcoholic bite that goes with it. A wonderful smelling beer that I don't have the words to fully describe.

T- The woody flavor from the Palo Santo wood again. Accompanied by a good does of sweet, dark fruit and a firm alcohol bite. This is 12%, but the alcohol is very present. That is the one knock on it.

M- Very thick, mouth coating.

O- One of my absolute favorite DFH brews. Amazingly unique, and really, really enjoyable.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler poured into a Stella Artois glass on 8/15/11

I'm rating this as an American Strong Ale; seems more appropriate that way.

Pours so dark a brown, it's nearly black. Settles jet black. One finger head thins to a half covering of bubbles. There are some haphazardly strewn blots of lace.

Deep aromas - damp wood and hints of vanilla sit over top sugary malts: molasses, brown sugar, unsweetened dark chocolate and cocoa. Rich and full without being a sugar bomb. Very smooth. Earthy and nutty. I can tell the abv is high, but it doesn't smell hot, considering. Slightly herbal after a few swirls of the glass. Aromas of natural peanut butter and musty bark as it warms.

Palo Santo Marron tastes as complex as it smells. The alcohol is a bit more apparent and the flavors are far sweeter, too. Roasted dark malts, chocolate and a faint spot of coffee. Lots of near-burnt sugars, especially molasses. Wood tones are mild, seemingly buried in the sugars. Nutty overtones. Nips of spice on the finish. Perhaps some stray dark fruit notions low in the mix.

Full bodied; smooth and viscous enough to be a proper stout. Despite a modest, rolling carbonation there is an overall silky feel. A bit of alcohol slickness on the back end. Flavor residuals are massive and linger long.

I've been a fan of Palo Santo Marron ever since I had it on tap in Portland in 2008. It's easily my favorite DFH beer. I reviewed a bottle in 2009 but at the time I didn't feel I did it justice so I scrapped it. When I came across a growler, I figured I might as well get in a proper tick.

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Photo of jale
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with little head.

S: Deep smoked malt upfront, almost like smoked meat. Some underlying bitter cocoa.

T: Slightly sweet to start with hints of vanilla. Unusual woodiness from the Palo Santo A little alcohol heat. Very earthy at the finish. Aftertaste is stange and somewhat drying.

M: Thick body with very good carbonation.

O: Glad I tried this.

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Photo of Gushue3
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours very dark brown into my snifter and has a 1+ finger head. the retention isnt huge, but isnt too small either. some small islands of foam left around the glass. the body is completely opaque and some nice lacing is left when i swirl around the glass.

alcohol and a roast are the most noticable scents comming out with some wood and dark fruits

slight roast of front that quickly is overcome by a sweet, woody and boozy combination of flavors. molasses and real big sweetness take the forefront and follow til the end. theres a run soaked fig, dark fruit like taste comming at the end. nice stuff.

really heavy and thick feel that follows with some medium amount of carbonation.

nice stuff thats got some nice complex flavors. I'd like to cellar a few and see hoe the age. real nice

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Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in NJ this past weekend…have had it a few times before but not in years. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my DFH tulip. Bottled on 08/11/11.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with one and a half fingers of tan brown head and moderate carbonation evident. An inch of head stays throughout drinking it and no lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of wood/cedar, roasted malts, caramel malts, sweet dark fruits, burnt malts, light chocolate and vanilla, and some alcohol. Good, but alcohol is definitely there.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, wood, caramel malts, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, toasted and burnt malts, and light vanilla. Alcohol is pretty strong in the taste, moreso than the nose.

m - Full bodied beer and moderate carbonation. Some definite alcohol warmth.

o - Overall a good beer, but very strong. Lots of alcohol, especially in the taste. Not my favorite DFH heer, but not bad at all, and I'd be interested to see how this one ages over time. Would give it another shot.

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Photo of nhindian
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head Signature glass.

Bottled on 11/11/09

A - Pours a dark dark, oak brown, almost essentially black. A creamy, mocha-colored, 1.5-fingered head slowly builds and lasts for a good amount of time. Lots of carbonation streaming up the side of the glass and leaving patches. Lacing is fantastic given the size of this beer, with an almost entire coating covering the edges.

S - On first sniff, I'm getting a ton of roast, nearly boardering on smokey, with a hefty amount of caramel, vanilla, and brown sugar. Definitely getting the wood qualities from the Palo Santo tank. Some molasses and sticky tobacco. Quite complex and deep.

T - The flavors deliver a malt profile that is nearly unrivaled in a brown ale. The first time I had this was almost a year ago, and since then I've run the spectrum of different styles and breweries interpretation of them, and this still stands out as very unique and flavorful. There's a bit of soy or smoke, but it's mild and is quickly disposed as the wood and malts take over. Brown sugar, molasses, caramel for sure. Good amount of wood, and lots of vanilla. A slight alcohol heat comes across in the finish.

M - outhfeel is medium-bodied with good carbonation. Full-bodied, smooth, and creamy, with a sweet aftertaste. Long lasting sweetness and roast.

D/O - Drinkability is high. I think this has held up pretty well both in the way it developed in the bottle and my expectations and memory of it. It's a bit sweeter than I remember, I'm not sure if it was like that the first time I had it or if the two years of age brought it out a bit. Still, insanely drinkable for 12%, a bit of alcohol heat but if anything, it's the sweetness that would be the limiting factor for this beer.

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Photo of Radome
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on tap at the DFH Alehouse in Falls Church, VA.

A - Deepest brown just short of black. No light penetrates. Head is brown and creamy and retreats to a ring around the glass. Thick lacing.

S - Not much aroma at all at serving temp--too cold. Some roasted malt and wood notes. Tobacco and alcohol come out and complexity builds as it warms.

T - Alcohol mixed with plums initially, almost like cough syrup but somehow yummy. Tawny port. Tobacco. Smoke. Wood. Hops are there as well.

M - Moderate to heavy body, but lightened by a zing of hops bitterness and tingly carbonation. Very smooth. Alcohol is definitely there but blends with other elements.

D - Drinkability? “Sippability” would be a better way to rate this. It has so much going on, but it's all incredibly tasty. A truly world-class beer, even more so when on tap.

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

Pours pitch black with an espresso head that dissipates to a thing ring. More than I expected from the ABV.

Smells like a coffee stout, with a hint of sweetness that youd expect from a bourbon barrel. a strong alcohol flavor kind of meanders into the party, but not too much.

The taste is something amazing. The initial taste has the multitude of flavors that kind of seems like a blitzkrieg by about 7 different armies. i get hints of vanilla and an oaky smoothness I would associate with bourbon barrel aging. There is a solvent alcohol that somehow actually fits in somehow. It comes along with a bitter coffee/dark chocolate flavor, and my god the go well together. The woody flavors kind of just sit on the sides of your tongue while the black coffee flavors cling to the roof of your mouth.

Holy lord this is one complex beer. Everything is kind of mingling around, and its kind of like a ground war. Sip this thing, and enjoy each flavor, but dont let it get too warm. The solvent alcohol flavor will start to dominate.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There was definitely some luck behind getting this bottle – I feel like I got the last one left in Indianapolis. At any rate, I’m glad to be sampling it now. I love Dogfish Head, so I know I’ll probably enjoy this one, but I’ve also seen a couple behind-the-scenes videos about the brewing of this specific beer. Cracking this one is even more special now that I’ve had the opportunity to see what the brewery went through to get it made (and trust me, it was quite a lot). To passionate brewers!

Brewed more than two years before the date of this tasting (“BOTTLED ON: 05/27/09”).

A: An interesting pour; the body, an incredibly dark brown, flows slowly from the bottle. I’m waiting for a big head to form, but I’m disappointed – there’s hardly any foam appearing. A carefree stream of brownish film floats lazily along the top of the body, never stopping in one place to really expand. Thus, it’s sitting at paper thinness for the duration. As the glass is twirled, a smooth, mild carbonation shows its beautiful self, prompting some lacing after I tip to drink. I wish the fizz showed itself without so much effort on my part – it looks great. Overall, it’s not the usual presence a beer like this puts off, but not bad, either.

S: Caramel malts, chocolate, sticky vanilla marshmallow, and bourbony booze start this nose with lovely depth and delight. New leather, roasted barley, and very light fruits are beneath, as well. The spice of ginger and cinnamon lingers late among the aromas, as does the earthy smoothness of cedar sawdust and tobacco. Very complex, and quite intriguing – the woody scent at the end is especially fascinating (I’m guessing it’s the Palo Santo).

T: Exquisite. Smooth caramel cream and a throwdown from the sugary malts meet your tongue head-on as soon as you take a sip. It’s the nose, amplified: I’m getting lemon zest, vanilla, toffee, a mild coffee/roast flavor, smoky tobacco, white pepper, and even some flowery hops on the back end. Bitter, slightly, but just enough to counteract the sweets. Then, the wood tastes arrive – and boy, are they the highlight of this palate. Earthy, smooth, and incredible, they give you the same warm feeling you get when you walk into a wood shop and get that instantly recognizable bouquet in your nose. This is what so many beers are missing when they go for something barrel-aged; instead of a brandy-infused monster, this beer has that subtle taste of fresh-cut wood, so smooth and satisfying. I love what they’ve done with it. The aftertaste is thick, malty, and a little bit hoppy (though mostly in a bitter grain sense), which, though it sounds nice, strikes me as unfittingly sharp at times. It certainly doesn’t stop me from taking another sip, though – this stuff is delicious!

M: Thickness is appropriate for a dark, woody beer like this. However, this flows rather quickly over the tongue, showcasing a very fluid nature, instead. Still satisfying all around, though. Carb is medium, at most.

O: This is one hell of a beer; it really is. I wasn’t quite expecting it, but the wood aging makes a huge difference. It’s right up there with World Wide Stout and Raison D’extra as my favorite DFH beers. Plus, for some reason, this has given me more motivation to homebrew than I’ve ever had; I guess it’s just because I’ve seen the brewing process for this beer, and tasted how awesome the result was. Great beer, great backstage videos, and now, great inspiration…Dogfish Head, you rock!

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Photo of TappaKeggaBrew
3.66/5  rDev -12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Much darker than I was expecting from a "brown ale," more like a porter. A little dark mahogany can be seen on the edges when held up to a bright light. Even a fairly aggressive pour failed to produce even a full-finger of head, and what I did get dissipated quickly.

S: Not overpowering at all - very mellow, with notes of burnt malt, chocolate, and vanilla.

T: Very sweet malt is the primary thing that hits you, but it's not as harsh to me as some imperial stouts and porters I've had (which it resembles in appearance). There are lingering burnt notes and a background of vanilla, but the finish is somewhat spoiled by the burn and taste of the alcohol.

M: Initially very smooth with a light carbonation. As it moves back toward the gullet, the burn of alcohol becomes quite apparent, even a little unpleasant (this has an ABV of 12%, and it really shows).

O: Other than the rather harsh finish, this is a good beer, although not really what I was expecting from a brown ale. I enjoyed it fairly well, but don't think it was worth what I payed for it.

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Photo of mattboyer182
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - black in color with a thin light brown head.

S - there's a definite chocolate scent and clearly whiskey barrels as well.

T - taste is rich lots of chocolate and wood. Sweeter than I thought that it would be.

M - super heavy body and light carbonation. Very thick.

O - one of my favorites it's so great. And so strong for a brown ale.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours almost sludge like, very dark very syrupy. I forced a small brown head with an aggressive pour. smelled instantly of coffee and as I got closer with my nose, smelt like spiked coffee. Upon a second scent I was able to pick up a slight smell of vanilla.

Wow, (i'm reviewing this as I drink it) this is actually my second bottle of palo santo, and i dont remember it being this good, tastes like dessert! Toffee up front, caramel in the middle and a slight vanilla finish. Slight alcohol presence and no noticeable hops.

Stick a very thick chewy beer, it's a bit too sweet and malty for me but it's an interesting brew, definitely couldn't have more than 1. not bad though.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass

A: pours a deep deep brown that is extremely thick, pours with a finger and a half of mocha brown head that is quite thick and frothy and lingers nicely, leaves spotty lacing on the glass
S: coffee, toffee, and caramel hit first followed by a slight alcohol tinge at the end
T: coffee at the beginning, the middle consists mainly of something earthy like dirt or worms although it is actually a good note, and the end is mainly smoked wood and a slight alcohol burn, overall a good drinker for the alcohol content and is very complex as im used to seeing from DFH
M: gentle carbonation, slides thickly across the palate, slight alcohol burn at the end, leaves a bit of a dark bitterness on the palate
O: a very enjoyable dark, heavy, angry brew, great complexity, taste and smell are really nice, overall a great one from DFH and i can see why it is ranked so highly

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Photo of Heatwave33
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a Dogfish Head Shaped Pint Glass.

Color: Black with a light brown head.

Smell: Malt, wood and some sweet notes.

Taste: Very nice malt and the wood from the barrels taste great. Nice sweetness to the taste but it's not too much either. Nice complexity.

Mouthfeel: Medium coarse and medium dryness. A nice alcohol presence.

Overall: A nice complex and heavy brown ale. the smell is very refreshing. The taste is thick and complex. A great sipping brew. Cheers!

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Photo of Gobigvt7
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into DFH pint

a - pours a gorgeous midnight brown with a fluffy, milk chocolate head. almost syrupy.

s - alcohol fumes and wood.

t - boom. palo santo wood, vanilla, nougat. charred caramel malts, some cocoa. boozy all the way through, leaving the hot breath you might have after a shot of bourbon.

m - chewy, thick and coating. great carbonation, keeping flavors bursting over the entire palate.

o - this one is a keeper, a special occasion beer, a great cellar dwellar (had a two-year old one a few weeks ago that blew my mind), a great gift. Unique and artfully done.

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Photo of busterwhite
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. Dark brown, almost black. Very small head dissipated quickly. Bottled on date on bottle neck.

Very nice aroma of vanilla, dark fruit and wood.

Strong dark fruit, vanilla and wood flavors. Alcohol is noticeable.

Thick, creamy mouthfeel with very little carbonation.

Overall this is a good beer. A different flavor from the Palo Santo wood. A little on the sweet side, but very drinkable for a strong beer.

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Photo of jlenik
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bottled on 07/19/11

poured into Cantillon tulip

a: opaque with a fingers worth of dark tan head.

s: roasty sweetness, raisins and dates, and some alcohol. also picking up some coffee notes as well

t: complex flavors from the dark fruits, coffee, and roasted malt. Some sweetness comes through but it isn't a buzzkill. The alcohol presence comes about real slow, for such a strong beer this has a mellow alcohol feel.

m: perhaps a little thick but the subtle alcohol burn I get from drinking this is sublime.

o: I don't know how this beer isn't considered a stout. Dogfish Head's barrel aged beers are always winners.

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Photo of tdm168
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, dark black with 1/4" of brown head that fades to a thin lacing. Smells of roasted malt, vanilla, licorice, and alcohol. Taste is caramel and roasted malt, licorice, coffee, and chocolate. The alcohol adds warmth but does not detract from the flavor. Mouthfeel is full bodied, moderately carbonated, and smooth.

This is delicious. Noticeably potent, but well balanced and smooth. This drinks more like an Imperial Stout than an American Brown Ale, but that aside it's worth trying!

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black (no light coming thru at all). brown bubbly head forms and reduces to a slight ring. Spotty lace at best.

Dark roasted malt, some molasses, and some spice notes. I expected a bit more, but it is still unique. As it warms, an aroma of cinnamon stick or cedar comes up.

Big dark rich roasted malt flavor. Molasses, some charcoal. Sweetness up front, then bitter, then booze, then spice and definite wood. I want to say cinnamon stick or cedar. As the palate clear, the alcohol re-asserts itself and clears the palate. Lingering flavor is rich malty bitterness.

Full bodied, thick; a sipper for sure.

Wonderful beer. A sipper and something special. You want to linger and enjoy this. I like the fact that they made this much more accessible and put it in a 12 oz. bottle. I'd love to have this again, and it was only about $6. Worth every penny.

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

Picked up a four pack today - $15.00 - bottled on 09/08/11.

Poured a dark black with a one finger head that decended into a thin tan coffee colored lacing, decent carbonation.

S: Roasted barley, toffee, wood, slight hops.

T: Roasted malts and barley, toffee ,dark fruits,slight vanilla hints, wood .

O: Overall a very tasty brown ale , a bit pricey but enjoyable non-the-less, Will have this again.

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Photo of lurpy1
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of many very spendy offerings from DFH. Let's see if the product justifies the cost.

Outstanding smell, very woody with a substantial booze backing. Caramelly smell too, reminiscent of scotch ales. Very unusual and very appealing.

Taste is similar, the wood aging comes at you in droves. So this is what Paraguay smells like. Again, the alcohol is no wallflower here. Really a novel take on the style. A bit of alcohol burn, but still a tremendous drinking experience.

This is a real category-buster, I found this differentiated from other brown ales and superior to most of them. At the price, it will be a while before I try it again, but really, it's worth it.

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Photo of azorie
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Seen these and I thought 12% abv wtf not, I need a nice buzz.

A: I poured at 45f into a mug. With a nice hard pour got about 1/2 inch of foam. Some nice brown lacing than was dark tan. Beer is very dark its like RIS dark. Not sure its too style if you ask me.

S: wow wood, sweet malt very earthy. You get some tannins, maybe vanilla, maybe something fruit like. I cannot tell still weird stuff. No hops detected.

T: ok the rubber meets the road here, while its not to style who cares, this is 1 complex and delightful brew. Strong red wine like, vanilla, oak, burnt dark chocolate, cocoa bean coffee. No booze, its all very balanced. no hops detected, I assume its because its aged ion wood? great beer, rare find, love this beer.

M: thick and rick and all that, smooth, low carb

O: ok the style is BS, but who cares, I love it.

M - It is smooth, so smooth. Probably from sitting on wood. It is slightly viscous, but not too sticky. It is very creamy in the mouth. After swallowing that slight sweet residue left over helps prevent the high alcohol content from drying the palate out too much. Bordering on perfection.

O - One of my favorite beers. Everything about it is near flawless. The only issue I have with it is being labeled a brown ale. I don't think it follows the style. It is more similar to a full bodied barrel aged imperial stout.

silly me why do I care about to style.

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Photo of match1112
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to mjtiernan for sending this bottle. bottle is just over a year old, bottled on 09/13/10.

a: pitch black with a thick khaki head that leaves lacing as it recedes.

t: caramel, chocolate, vanilla, smoke and alochol.

m: so thick, yet so smooth.a little syrupy with a warming boozieness to it.

o: would of sworn this was a stout until i read the side of the bottle and was educated. very smooth for 12%. reallly wish dfh was readily available in my neck of the woods.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 5,854 ratings.
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