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: 5,833 |  Reviews: 2,098
Photo of Klym
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date 01/06/11. Poured into a Lost Abbey tulip. Shared with Cavery.

A: Black with a slightly taned two finger head. The head on tis thing is beautiful, parts of it look like cream, others are large bubbled, parts collapse with spotty but major lacing. Head dies down but the beer still looks great.

S: Big time wood with brown sugar, maple syrup, some chocolate, a tad of black licorice, and a little mesquite bbq flavoring. Not as much heat in the nose as I was expecting.

T: Deep wooden notes with a touch of roast to them come through, very unique aspects to the wood, savory, earthy, but even a tad tart. Big sweetness swishes through the mouth-- the maple syrup, chocolate, and black licorice. A nice savory barbecue character but plenty of sweetness that leaves me licking my lips. I really get a lot of nice kicks out of this beer, really delicious.

M: A medium body that can throw you off due to the creaminess of the head and carbonation in this. For the style it has an amazing body. There is a drying, sticky residue-like character to the after feel of the beer and the heat can be a little catching in the back of the throat but they all seem to just testify to the 'bigness' of this beer. Great!

O: I didn't expect such a widely available beer that only gets peripheral attention to have so much unique character and be so bold. I really liked this, and have 3 more from my four pack laid down and aging. I can't wait to see what aging will do to this and can't wait to revisit it. Absolutely worth picking up, as I'm sure it's somewhere around you. Few so widely available beers near as good as this.

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

12oz cellared for half the year, shared with Klym. Bottle date reads 1/06/11.

Poured into Lost Abbey Tulip.

A: A deep rich red/brown/black tree bark body with red/brown bubbles. A very respectable 2 finger head with watermark lacing. A mix of small and microfiber bubbles mesh together like fine pebbles. The body is mostly black with some dark red give to it -- this is about the only thing that could make you believe this is a brown.

S: Deep swirling sweet woods. Notes of alcohol dowsed raspberries, bourbon wood, and sweet chiles in chocolate. A complex nose where alcohol dominates the character. The wood is very complex, and gives strong seasonings of vanilla pods, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks. A soft note of candied bay leaves makes me happy.

T: Sweet alcoholic raspberries and barrel-aged terriyakis. The sweetness comes off like an imperial serving of chai teas, complex but a bit sweet and forward. All of those flavors occur before the alcohol grabs your tongue and submits it with brute force. The wood helps soften the bite of the alcohol, but the heat is alive and well. The alcohol is definitely a bit strong, but it's not keeping me from drinking by any means. Creamy vanilla figs and dates in the end.

M: Fairly creamy with a medium body. The carbonation helps keep this soft, fresh out of the drier blanket soft. The wood is fairly drying, leaving a slightly damp (from the alcohol) velvet glove over the tongue. Perhaps a little bit inconsistent depending on the rip, but promising. The alcohol does give a bit more wetness than I'd like, but not awful.

O: This beer needs more time, but man it's not drinking so bad right now. I remember trying this quite fresh before, and it was a hot mess. This is much better, and progressing at an impressive rate. Right now it's hard for me to assess what the potential cap of this beer could be, and at 12% abv, it could be quite a while. The complexity of the Palo wood is going to take this to new and exciting places; I anticipate that mellowing the alcohol with the wood will take this to incredible heights. This is certainly a beer to revisit every 6 months or so. What a joy it is to be able to get this in 4 packs. I'd give each bottle 6 months more than the last.

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Photo of nandemo1
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So this is a brown ale? Really??? This one is definitely way off the style definition.

Was surprised as I poured my first PSM into the glass and it ended up being almost black. Very low carbonation with a small tan head. Minimal lacing in the glass.

Very complex flavors on the nose and taste. Kinda syrupy sweet cherry with roasted malt and chocolate. A bit hot, alcohol-wise.

Beer has a medium to full body.

Overall, a very good sipping beer (seriously, it's 12%!), but not your stock session brown ale. I am going to age some and see if the heat mellows as well as some of the sweetness.

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

Bottle from December of 09

A: deep and viscous black with a minute tan head.
S: Smells a bit like bourbon with some pronounced woody notes, some caramel and vanilla, very sweet. very faint hints of coffee and roast malt. A touch boozy as well
T: Extremely smooth flavor with a bit of burnt sugar flavor, some hints of vanilla and caramel. Very sweet on the swallow with some alcohol flavor as well. Absolutely delicious and very complex. It reminds me of Ten Fidy in some ways
M: Silky smooth and full bodied
O: an absolute pleasure to drink. The year and a half has done this one well. I have some fresher bottles so it will be nice to see the change.

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Photo of JCaweinstein
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into SA PP glass.

Deep brown colored ale which poured a one finger head that dissipated a little too quickly for my liking. There was no lacing to speak of.

I picked up vanilla, wood, and vanilla notes on the nose.

This is a very bold tasting beer. I first get sweet malts which taste of caramel and vanilla followed by a strong presence of alcohol. As the beer warmed I started picking up some wood notes.

This first coats the mouth, it's nice and smooth until the alcohol punch comes in. It's a strong beer at 12% and it doesn't let you forget that easily.

An interesting beer with an interesting story. There are strong flavors in this beer but I can't get over the taste of alcohol. The alcohol is warming as it goes down. I'm glad I've tried this beer but will probably reach for something else the next time I'm in the mood for a brown ale. I would be very interested in trying this out of the tap however.

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

12 oz bottle.... bottled 120610

A- pours a very dark brown color with cherry hues,,a big head of tan/amber color dissipates rather fast but leaves behind lots of tan lacing

S- smells are cherry,vanilla,roasted malt,coffee,wood and smoke

T- wood and smoke mixed with some vanilla bourbon and roasted coffee and malts

M- resembles a smooth stout,lots of malt/coffee..also a nice touch of woos flavors..12% is not noticed as this is very smooth

O- enjoyed this as it warned lots of barrel aged syout qualities is a very drinkable brew

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

12oz into tulip. Bottled June 6th 2010
A: Pours a deep black body, with a very low formation of tan head. The lacing is full and left in layered patterns.

S: The rich aroma roasted malt, a warm booze note, with hints at licorice.

T/M: the first sip shows warm vinalla note, with a full malt backbone. The hops have well faded, but lending way to many of the woody character. The mouthfeel is full and resembles a stout. The lingering taste is very well balanced with a warm vanilla, licorice flavor.

O: Overall this beer has taken a year of aging very well. This is a very unique beer. Not really your typical brown, but a true stand out in the style.

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Photo of jeremy2027
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into nonic glass

Beautiful dark red mahogany with tan thick head

Smell: Cherry, oak maybe some vanilla. Sooo much going on here its hard to pick it out

Unreal flavor, chocolate cherries, caramel. It would be very easy to get lost in this beer it doesn't drink like it is 12%ABV

Mouthcoating and slightly chewy, compliments this beer extremely well. Exactly what I would expect from a top quality beer.

So worth the 15.00 for the 4 pack. If you want something that is hard to put your finger on in a good way pick this up.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.41/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass

A- Poured a very dark brown (almost black color) with ruby highlights. Nice one finger espresso colored head some nice red tinges in the head. A ring of head stayed for quite a while.

S- Vanilla, English malt load, cherry, chocolate, and lots of alcohol

T- Big vanilla and cherry & dark fruit flavors, some chocolate, and a malty flavor I seem to notice a lot in English beers.

M- Sticky, chewy, pretty good carbonation, big warming and quite a bit of alcohol burn. The alcohol was very prominent in this one.

O- I am not a fan of big boozy beers and this beer was pretty boozy and left a good amount of burn. This beer had some good flavor, but just a little too boozy for me to buy this one again. I think I would have liked this beer a lot more if the booze was turned down some.

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Photo of 1after909
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I agree with BeerGut4Life. I bought it in a store where you can make your own 6 packs and on the wall of bottles I saw this beer out of the corner of my eye. I saw on the description that it was a Brown Ale but even though I've had some of the other DFH brews, the 12% ABV made me just grab 1 bottle. I was prsently surprised that it was syrupy, almost like a porter. Sorry I bought just one. Pricey at about $13 for a 4 pack. Will definitely pick up some more. Good long finish. The ABV had a delayed reaction on me - not something you're going to sit back & knock off afew while watching the game

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Photo of HumanParaquat
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is an American Brown? Could have fooled me...looks like more of a stout. Pours thick and smooth like oil. A charcoal black body with a thin light brown head.

Aroma is earthy, smokey and boozy. Notes of dark chocolate and even a bit herbal in the nose as well; perhaps parsley and thyme?

Tastes of chocolate and coffee with a sweet molasses edge and a hint of vanilla. Smokey throughout with a spicy, bourbon-like finish that lingers. Mouthfeel is very syrupy and thick. The alcohol permeates the palette with every sip, but overall very tasty stuff.

Not quite what I expected for the style, but very interesting and complex. A nice compliment to grilled steak.

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Photo of ExplosivoSR
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to tulip. 2010 vintage.

A – Pours a deep, deep black with a three finger tan head. Lacing sticks around forever.

S – Smells of hickory, smoke, a bit of smoked ham, some sweetness come though on the back end.

T – Coffee-like bitterness shines through first, with a bit some and ham next. I also get some type of fruit, though I can’t quite put my finger on it. A touch of sweetness comes though, with a slightly alcoholic finish.

M – Full bodied, and medium carbonation.

O – Definitely not what I expected from a Brown. It's almost stout like in look and flavor. Nevertheless, it is delicious, and I'll be saving some to review in a few years.

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

An excellent brown ale. Unfortunately the 12% ABV is exceptionally well hidden, only a mild burn in the finish, which makes this a frighteningly easy to drink pint.

Pours a beautiful near-black with amber and brown highlights. Tons of vanilla and caramel in both aroma and flavour, without the "standard" coffee bitterness.

Smooth, well balanced and brilliantly complex. A fantastic beer!

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

Pours nearly black with very little head, the head that is there and lingers along the edges is tan and disipates quickly.
The smell is mostly of bitter chocolate and as it warms up of ripe fruit.
The taste is nicely complicated starting with ripe fruit and finishes with the spicy wood character from fermenting in the wood vessel. The finish is dry with a healthy alcohol warmth.
The mouthfeel is full body, slightly silky, with alcohol warmth and a light carbonation.
This is a well crafted, complicated, sipping beer that is great with a cigar or for a night cap.

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Photo of DavidST
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass, it has a bottled on date of 2/02/11B.

This pours a black color, I did an aggressive pour it ended up with a pretty brown head, it leaves a nice lacing and thick legs. The smell is roasted malts, there are some sweet scents, vanilla, caramel, a the booziness is present also. The mouth feel is thick and creamy, its wonderful, one of the most smooth and creamy beers I've ever had. The taste is great also, caramel and roasted malts, a hint of vanilla and some alcohol burn on the way down. Overall this is one thick creamy tasty boozy beer, very good stuff, one of my favorites and its beers like this which cause me to continue to search out new brews.

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Photo of elizabethfowler
3.67/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Opaque Dark brown/maybe black spectrum.Caramel colored lacing
Aroma: Roasted malts, Vanilla, Red wine (makes sense given the palo santo wood barrels used to age the beer, have, historically, been used in the making of South American wine)
Flavor: Once again, thickness of a red wine. Definite vanilla, caramel against a woodsy malt. Smooth finish.
Mouth feel: Well rounded, full bodied..creamy, but not overwhelming. Not too carbonated.
Drinkability: Smooth. But, honestly, if you don't enjoy a red may not be so keen on this brew. At 12% alcohol (more comparable to wine than beer), there is a relaxing buzz. Good for a mellow afternoon/evening.

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Photo of CwrwAmByth
4.34/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a chimay goblet.

A: Dear lord this stuff is like oil! Pours smoothly without a sound and leaves a thin tan lace covering the top. I have to give it a 5 in this area it looks so beautiful it seems a shame to drink it.

S: It might be me or have something to do with the thickness of the beer but I cannot smell much, just malts with a burnt tinge to it. Still quite pleasant though.

T: It's very hoppy, surprisingly so for a brown ale. There's also a strange taste present which one assumes to be the wood they are so proud of putting in. As the beers warms the malts come out and the hops seem to be balanced alot better, very well in fact, and the vanilla taste from the wood mixes into the blend, leaving you with a very enjoyable experience.

M: What can I say - like oil, such a treat going down, and a light carbonation at that too.

O: Such a pleasure to drink this beer, it's expensive but worth it if you love bold, thick, dark, malty ales. Also it's worth mentioning that I got this from a few weeks before Dogfish Head announced they would be stopping exports so i'm quite lucky I have had a chance at trying this (plus I have one more left which will be saved for a cold winters evening!) Dogfish Head are truly a credit to the US Craft Brewing industry.

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Photo of BillLovesBeer
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This brew was darker than I expected pouring from bottle to pint. The wood notes were strong but also vanilla notes stood out adding a dessert-like feel to the beer. There was a bit of punchy finish with the higher ABV, but I found the beer to be refreshing for the summah times in ME. Although, I have a feeling I would love one, or a few, in the snow!

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

I stored this bottle in the fridge but decided to let it sit out at room temperature for a half hour before serving it in a snifter. It pours out extremely dark brown with a nice chunky tan head that quickly dissipates. The nose offers toast, vanilla, marzipan, and leather.

Very intense sweetish flavors of toasted malt, oaky vanilla, and cocoa with a very, very slight booziness in the background. As the beer moves across your palate, jammy and figgy flavors develop. I didn't detect much of a hop presence here, but the malt is so heavily entrenched I'm not sure a reasonable hop presence would even BE noticeable.

I think we need a new category for this beer. How about we call it an Imperial Brown Ale? The flavor of this beer reminded me a lot of Bourbon County Stout. Even with the faint booziness, it's hard to believe this beer is 12% alcohol. According to the label, this beer should be aged to allow the flavors to round out a bit. I concur. I think I'll go back to the store tomorrow and buy a few more bottles so I can age them.

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Photo of weller1js
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: pours a heavy opaque dark brown, color looks of used motor oil, light does not penetrate; moderate carbonation, but yields only a slight tan foam, leaving a ring of filmy-foam lacing.

smell: roasted malts are predominant, with undertones of dry wood, sweet caramel, coffee, and a slight hint of alcohol.

taste: begins heavy, zing of alcohol presents itself outright, mellowing to the character of the heavy malts with hints of toasted coffee and sweetness; hops are also present, dry and intertwined with the wood undertones, which are also dry, but a stalky taste lingers into the bitter finish, enhanced by the strength of the alcohol.

mouthfeel: I typically do not review mouthfeel, but the consistency is slightly thicker, combined with the stalky taste and the strength of the alcohol, it envelops the feel in the mouth considerably.

overall: very well done, the unique character of the wood enhances the basics in a unique and complex way, abv is high and what you would expect from a barrel aged beer/malt beverage, heavy bodied and wholesome, very pleasant to drink, only reservation would be a bit more carbonation could be desired just to enhance the mouthfeel and liven up the appearance.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.45/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter
Bottle Date: 09/13/10

A- Nice carbonation, one finger beige head dissipates to a nice bubbly ring around the glass, dark dark brown almost black color, nice lacing
S- Vanilla, oak, roasted malts, alcohol is present, dark fruits slight metallic aroma.
T- Big oaky taste, vanilla, some chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, roasty/woody taste to this brew, complex, slight metallic taste as well, bitter, not a bad tasting beer, but still something unusual about it.
M- Big mouthfeel, bitter, sticky, well carbonated
O- It’s a big beer, complex, as it warms up the beer definitely begins to taste better, Im glad I was able to try it, but it’s not a beer I would seek out again.

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Photo of Supes
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours black. Looks like a stout. Very little head and what was there was gone right away.

Smell- Really nice roasted notes come out. Slight wood and sweetness is there. Maybe chocolate. I Check to make sure its not a stout. Nope still a brown ale.

Taste- Smells follow threw on the taste end. Roasted, a bit sweet but not much. After taste is diffenitly wood. Surprised at first. Second sip was still sceptical, buy the third sip it was a welcome treat. Most uniqe Brown Ale I have tasted

Mouthfeel- Comes off a little thinner then the looks would suggest. But not a bad thing. I would say tipical for a Brown.

Overall- I am really pleased with this brew. Wood taste is surprising but in a great way. I am glad I picked up four of these to put a little age on them and see what happens.

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Photo of BBP
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours to look like a stout. The downside being that aside from the darkness, it's somewhat lacking in head and the lacing is slight.

S- Very roasty aromas. Slight notes of sweetness, but mostly from alcohol. Some dark fruit is very subtle as well.

T- Very nice flavor. Coffee and chocolate are plentiful, and in that order. Roasted malt isn't lacking either. I also get a lot of caramel, which is somewhat hidden behind the roastiness.

After the sip is gone, it tastes quite interesting. I think it's the wood I'm tasting. It tastes slightly bitter and slightly sweet.

M- Feels nice on the tongue. I found that it was a bit overcarbonated though. Aside from that, it aces this category.

O- This ale was really surprising to me. First of all, it tasted like a stout and I was expecting a brown ale. Second of all, it had a ton of roasted flavor regardless of style.

I think this is probably one of the best beers DFH makes. For the most part I find their beers to be above average and nothing more, but this one is good and seems less like a rough draft, and more like every detail was how it was supposed to be.

As far as drinkability goes, there's some heat on the tongue, but it's fairly far from the taste buds.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown with nearly no light getting through, the head is dark tan to light brown in color and it recedes fairly quickly. The smell is slightly roasty with hints of vanilla and an interesting woody aroma. the flavor is similar to the smell, the different woody aroma is p front in the flavor with the finish being slightly burnt and malty. the mouthfeel is medium bodied with lower carbonation. overall this is an interesting beer not ad, but would not buy it often

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Photo of GrizzlyBeer1282
4.59/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark for a brown ale but I like that. This is a bold beer that isn't too syrupy like this style usually is.

S: A unique blend of vanilla and chocolate, some cherry, alcohol, slight coffee liquor smell, very rich and enticing smell.

T: Perhaps the most complex beer I've tasted. It somehow tastes of chocolate and vanilla at the same time. Like the exact mix of chocolate of vanilla without either overpowering the other. It also has a Cabernet-like taste to it from the brewing vessels. It tastes as delicate and rich as it smells.

M: A very warm, cold numbing bite to it but the alcohol presence isn't as bold as I thought it would be. It's there, but it simply enhances the other rich flavors. Not too strong for such a strong beer.

O: Easily one of the best year round dogfish head brews. This brewery never seizes to amaze me. What an exquisite beer.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.16 out of 5 based on 5,833 ratings.
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