Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
5,908 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,908 |  Reviews: 2,125
Photo of notchucknorris
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pretty much black in color. Not much of a head, just a tiny mocha colored ring along the top.

S: A ton going on here: Coffee, golden raisin, some overripe mango and a little smokiness.

T: Very hard to believe that it's so high in alcohol. A bit syrupy, but this is one delicious beer. It shows some nice hints of the aging in a bit of an earthy/smoky flavor. The finish has a bit of espresso and there's a lot of sweetness upfront in the form of molasses/raisin. Tasty.

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Photo of beerman207
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Been eyeing this one up for a while now and finally pulled the trigger. Glad I did.

A: So dark brown that I can't see any light coming through - it's brown and murky. Nice tan coffee colored head - 1 inch head that lingers for a while

S: Woody, nutty, earthy, sugar, malt, nice profile

T: Wow, some smoke, wood, malt, booze, pepper, and some dark fruit

M: Medium-high carbonation. Borders on being overcarbonated imo

O: Great sipper - can't get through it quickly but it's good offering from Dogfish Head.

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Photo of Mississipping
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a 3rd. rev Boulevard Smokestack Series tulip. Batch 2 is hand written on the label. Thanks to a great trading partner in MA for this extra!

A: Pours very dark brown and settles completely black with absolutely no penetration of light. For a brown ale, this is as dark as they come (and for many stouts, for that matter). Topped with a small light mocha head that almost doesn't recede at all. A foamy, stick film remains the entire glass. When rolling the glass, the foam coats the side completely, and long legs slowly fall, leaving an impressive display of lacing behind.

S: Holy aroma Dogfish Head! This smells fantastic! Immediately I am hit with bourbon, dark fruit (black cherries and fig), toffee, and wood (I assume Palo Santo, although I wouldn't be able to pinpoint it otherwise). A bit of dark chocolate and roasted malts as well, but they are subtle.

T: Interestingly, the chocolate that was so subtle in the smell is much more dominant in the flavor. It's rich chocolate, almost like letting a bittersweet morsel melt in your mouth. Behind the chocolate are hints of bourbon, toffee, dark fruit, coffee, and roasted malts. Each sip seems to highlight different characteristics, but overall, they are all there working together to produce a very rich, fairly well balance, delicious taste. It finishes with a chocolate and coffee flavor, with just a bit of booze, leaving a very nice warming effect. (As it warms, it becomes pretty hot ... not completely unpleasant, but the alcohol isn't hidden as well as I'd like it to be).

M: The mouthfeel is medium-full. Not sticky at all, but slightly heavy and sits on the tongue. Carbonation is fairly low, but enough to create a smooth creaminess. Slightly drying, mainly from the coffee and the roasted malts, but also from just a bit of hops.

D: Although delicious, not very drinkable. Between the complexity, medium viscosity, and the alcohol content, this is a sipper. It's one that you will really enjoy sipping on, though. I wish I had a few more of these to enjoy on a cool evening.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was really quite impressed with this, enough to hope others try using this Palo Santo wood too. Poured a slow to emerge 2" head. Looks dark as a black ale. Taste is like an exotic Imperial Stout with vanilla, caramel, coffee, plus what I'd describe as slightly over-ripe canteloupe. Quite rich, and a long finish. I could gladly substitute this for the majority of Imperial Stouts on the market.

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Photo of stercomm
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A - Dark coffee in color, slight head, mild lacing on the sides of the glass.

S - roasty, figgy, malty

T - lots going on here, get a roasted, malty carmel with some figs and raisins, finish is almost chocolate like.

M - Full bodied, medium carbonation.

D - High ABV is hidden well, good brew to sip, would only want one a session as is very rich in taste and at 12% isn't a beverage I'd want to drink a lot of at one sitting. Another interesting creation from the folks at Dogfish Head.

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Photo of imbibehour
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at Church Key DC 10 oz. into a small snifter.

A dark walnut body is presented, with a very soapy loose head that is sort of a cocoa light brown. Leaves minimal lacing on the glass.

Bouquet is at first a faint wood and roast, but then gives way to salty jerky meats. In the back of my sinus (after a few sips) there are hints of dark chocolate. No hint of a high abv beer to come either. Very nice.

Taste is slightly fizzy at first but also a minor silk feel. This is a tad boozy in taste and sensations, but there is a tannic/wood in the front and middle palate. Some faint anisette on the finish and a tongue numbing sensation. Surprisingly not much roast character to this at all.

Overall this is still quite good and really masks the high abv somewhat too.

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Photo of jsanford
3.96/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, bottled on 8/17/10. Poured into a DFH goblet.

A - Pours a dark black with a thick and luscious head of mocha-colored foam that never fully dissipates, leaving behind sticky lacing as it recedes. Beautiful!
S - Huge aromas or dark roasted malt, almost-burnt caramel, vanilla, licorice, and brown sugar. Smells so sweet and rich.
T - Very close to the nose, the flavors of dark malt, caramel, vanilla and brown sugar carry through nicely, along with a bit of dark dried fruits like figs or raisins. There is a slight alcohol burn as it works it's way down, the 12% ABV is pretty apparent.
M - Pretty sticky and syrupy, definitely full-bodied with low carbonation.
D - Not a bad sipper, but this isn't something I can drink much of over a given period. Still, it's nice to keep a sixer around just in case the mood should hit. Finely crafted brew from DFH!

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Photo of Kadonny
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a stemmed wine glass.

A: Brown ale? How about black ale. I got almost no brown color out of this at all, almost a jet black color with a very slight off white head. No glass lacing.

S: Again, brown ale? I got huge roasted notes on the nose with some chocolate and sugar sweetness. A bit of woody notes are detected too with some licorice.

T: Follow the nose. If I didn't know any better I would bet this was a stout. Huge dark roasted flavor with notes of chocolate, licorice, wood and some smoke. The sugar sweetness is more of brown sugar with some caramel sweetness and maybe some sweeter chocolate. Finish remains sweet and roasty with not much hops and a large alcohol flavor. Roasted flavors linger.

M: Alcoholic, sweet, sticky almost cloying.

D: Oooh, not great. One bottle is way plenty.

Overall another different take on a beer, just like DFH likes to do. This is very different that they get props for that, but it just seems like they tried to hard on this. An ok beer, but I won't seek it out much again. Enjoy in small quantities.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black (though almost seems a very dark red) with a full finger of tan head, which settles to a thin but full layer quickly.

Smell strongly contains chocolate and sweet malt. Very pleasant.

Taste is great. Sweet malt and dark chocolate are present, as in the nose, but also hints of dark fruit. Alcohol is present, but in a very pleasant way. Finishes slightly bitter. All of this is accompanied by a fairly unique flavour which I imagine is the result of the palo santo wood itself.

As for mouthfeel, the beer is fairly heavy bodied, very smooth, and carbonation is pleasantly mild.

For a 12% beer, this is very very drinkable. However, make no mistake, the booze does start to become noticeable. I wouldn't go through this too quickly.... but it is tasty enough that I have to be careful to take it slowly.

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Photo of dchester
4.43/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, burnt caramel color with a a dk. cream colored head. When it dissipates, it's hard to tell this beer apart from flat cola in a glass. The smell is great, woody, smoky, pipe smoke. The taste is kind of similar, with a hint of roasted dark fruits (cherries, figs). I also love the sweetness of this beer. It has that "sticky" quality that's great.

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Photo of BMoldy
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a completely opaque deep brown (read: black) with a decent creamy, dark chocolate head. Excellent head retention and good, well-defined lacing all the way down. The aroma is very indicative of what's to come: dark, heavy malts are enriched by a solid earthy/woody scent. The 12% ABV shows through immediately, and hops figure in pretty minimally. Taking a sip, an initial caramel sweetness fades quickly into a powerful chocolate/malt body made all the more robust by the heavy alcohol presence. The mouthfeel is very syrupy, bordering on offensive, with a medium- to low-carbonation. Fortunately, all of this means that you really only need to take a small sip to really get the full experience of this beer.

I guess "epic" isn't a bad word to use to describe this beer, so long as it isn't confused with "excellent." That said, I really do love it, and I'm tempted to buy some from time to time just to have it lying around. Still, it's a little too strong to really be enjoyed to the fullest (in my opinion) and I can't see how aging it even longer would change the flavor/make it better. After the first few sips, the taste gets a little monolithic, but it's still appealing. Kudos to DFH for giving it a shot.

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Photo of lechroy
2.08/5  rDev -50.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Love the rich deep mahogany color of this brew. A brown top with long legs to match. Awesome. But that's where the goodness ends. A beer that is overpowered and buttered with Palo Santo wood is one that attacks the palette. Not a fan of the hints of sweetness here either. Mouthfeel was average, but feeling over carbonated for this suite of flavors. Overall a disappointment for me. The 12 alcohol on top of all this just makes this whole brew seem like a marketing joke. Sorry, normally enjoy dfhead. Not this time.

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Photo of kwjd
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at Beer Bistro in Toronto. Pours a very dark brown colour with creamy tan head. Really nice head retention, lots of lacing down the glass. Smells very woody, I suppose like palo santo wood (though I have no idea what that smells like). There is also a chocolate and fruity aroma. Flavour has more bitterness than I expected, though the wood seems to dominate the aftertaste. Nice thick mouthfeel. I didn't know this was 12% alcohol until I came here to enter my review, so it hides it well.

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Photo of THECPJ
4.02/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: Black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: sweet, booze, wood, malts

taste: sweet malts, coffee,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, full body, sticky

Drinkability: this is a very complex brown ale or should I call it a stout. Full of flavors which makes this beer very enjoyable. So rich almost rather split this bottle with another body.


the CPJ

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Photo of Phocion
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a pint glass dark brown with no transparency. Small but stubborn creamy light brown head that holds good lacing.

Aroma has a healthy malt selection. Chocolate, dark fruit, toffee, and brown sugar. Somewhat doughy yeasts with a definite hint that this thing is 12% ABV. Slightly woody scent when I look for it, but not quite what I had anticipated; however, I have no idea what Palo Santo is supposed to smell like, so maybe I'm confusing it with the malts.

The taste is definitely also full of malts. Nutty and chocolatey, with a strong dose of alcohol and slightly sour yeasts. The woody flavor is a little more prevalent in my mouth than it was in my nose. Sweet but also a bitter dark chocolate/coffee flavor. Nice balance on the malts.

Full-bodied and with decent carbonation as well as a warming sensation from the alcohol. Overall, this is an interesting brown and somewhat enjoyable, but the alcohol flavor gets a bit overwhelming after about half-way through the pint.

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Photo of Durge
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A dark brown brew with a fair light brown cover and modest lacing. The aroma suggests a light citrus hop over malty licorice. Nice. The flavorm comes on with much the same in addition to some very definitive raisin. It's pretty intense with malt and an almost minty licorice idea with a vanilla alcohol edge. It's near full bodied, somewhat cloying in its intense combination of sweetness and tasteful bitterness. Carbonation is mild and drinkability is marginal due to the thick character and alcohol presence. There's a slight peaty, almost seaweed-like base in the malt side of this quality brew. A real tasty treat but not something for the sessioning.

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Photo of Nesued
4.45/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Have enjoyed this beer so many times, it's about time I give it a formal review. Can't get it in Columbia, so whenever I travel to where DFH is available I'm sure to pick up at least one four-pack.

Appearance - Poured a deep onyx. Fine dark tan, almost mocha colored head formed slowly as I poured. Nice 1.5-finger head rounded out my Old Rasputin pint glass. Yes, I should have used my DFH snifter, but that would have been As the head receded, lacing coated the sides of my glass as a flannel blanket would keep your toes warm during a cold winter evening.

Smell - So, this is what Palo Santo wood smells like. Always wondered.... The nose is lively, almost fruity with a melon aroma (about the best I could classify what I'm smelling). Exotic would be another, woody would be too obvious. Some undertones of malt and a sweet component as well. Very inviting.

Taste - Starts with a deep malt presentation as you would expect from a base brown ale. The wood-aging lends a "warming" (best I can describe) contribution that makes the taste richer and fuller. The middle brings some hops to the party but it's not detracting nor acts as a cleansing agent. It's dry, it's roasted, it's dense but not overly complex. You know what you are getting here. Some fruity notes to give some balance. 12% ABV? Not by my reckoning. You get a hint, but not a big boozy presentation. Well done.

Mouthfeel - Smooth would best describe this mouthfeel. Is this an understatement? Sure, but I'm about the beer, not the words. This coats your tongue and gives meaning to the the word "lush". The carbonation is lighter than expected, meaning this is "all beer all the time" giving the body to this offering.

Drinkability - To take a brown ale, age it in wood barrels and have something like this come out is true artistry. This tastes like a bourbon-barrel-aged offering, but it isn't. Drink it close to room temp and you will enjoy it as the flavors further opens up. The presentation, the flavors, the sipping quality of this beer makes me come back to it on both chilly evenings and non-chilly evenings alike. One of my "top 3 beers" from DFH. Well done.

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Photo of bshanly
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep black. Dark tan/caramel head that lingers. Pretty good lacing.

S: Vanilla, coffee, maybe some licorice?

T: BAM! Delicious! Deepest, darkest, "brown" ale I've ever had. Coffee and Vanilla are still present. You can taste the ABV.

M: Smooth but still pretty heavy. Good finish, pretty long though, still getting the alcohol even after awhile.

D: Easy drinking but no more than one. Turn down the heat, start a fire, throw on your favorite sweater and kick back with this. A really great beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Densest black I can imagine in a beer. I got at least a cm of head meaning even at 12% it still is carbonated.

S - I get mostly booze but some slight leather and caramel tones. Maybe chocolate.

T - Wow smoother than expected! Creamy body with a bit of charcoal, coffee, and a bit of cocoa. I am surprised this beer has no burn!

M - Heavy, I found myself gulping though but this beer is dangerously drinkable.

D - I got this back in April of last year dated "July 2010" so after six months this beer is just perfect. Was really avoiding it because of the ABV but it drinks the best I ever seen for the style and volume. Recommended!

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Photo of petacutlasaurus
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So, pretty intense beer. Just finished one with dinner and I'm still enjoying it's aftermath. Pours smoothly with a dark, uniformly dirty coloring. Smells like booze - the alcohol comes through in the smell as much as, if not more than, it does in the taste. Ultra malty beer with maybe a touch of caramel. The label mentions something about vanilla, but I think that gets quickly picked up by the more molasses-y tastes. Sweet leather, that might be a good way to describe it. Maybe not. The paolo santo wood notes come through though, quite strong. Overall I recommend it, but I think the tastes might be more muddled than usual for DFH.

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Photo of bens0n
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an opaque black with a good amount of late-forming creamy tan head that lingers around for a while and leaves some pretty heavy lacing.

On the nose I can pick up on some hops, fig and other dark fruits, plus some sweet vanilla and coffee that comes in at the end. Very complex, overall fairly sweet smelling, not too boozy smelling, I only pick up a tiny bit of alcohol at the end.

Flavor wise this is really complex just like the smell, I feel like the alcohol is really well masked in this. There is a bitter dominance in this brew, but there are some delicate sweet flavors that come and go in the middle. The most prevalent thing to me is a roasted coffee flavor, along with some fig and some sweet sugary hints.

This beer has a really interesting mouthfeel, its slick and oily, and also has a moderate chewyness to it, but finishes on the thin side. It leaves an interesting wet feeling in your mouth aftwards then warms you up from the high abv.

I found this beer very drinkable and easy to sip on without hesitation. Not something I would enjoy more than 1 of at a time though.

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Photo of zhanson88
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got a few bottles of this as extras in a trade with tsblack05. Thanks a lot Tim!

Appearance: Palo Santo Marron pours out a very dark brown; about as dark brown as you can get without moving into the totally black end of the color spectrum. About a finger of light mocha colored head forms. Retention is okay, and lacing is very good.

Smell: Whew, a ton of complexity in this beer. Coffee, light smoke, fig, raisin, wood, and a bunch of vanilla. Great on the nose.

Taste: I must say, I'm a gigantic fan of this beer. A touch of smoke, coffee, caramel, slight dark fruits, woody quality, and a ton of vanilla all combine for a great flavor.

Mouthfeel/Drinkablility: This beer is slightly over medium bodied with incredibly fine carbonation. Super smooth and creamy; I don't think a brown ale gets any better in this category. This is a huge beer for the style at 12% ABV. That being said, I'm a total sucker for it. It combines most of my favorite beer qualities into a somewhat random style, and the ending result is phenomenal.

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Photo of mdr4669
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Jet black with about of finger of head that receades quickly into the abyss.

Smell: Initially there a sweet scent of candied alcohol follow by slight waves of roasted almonds.

Taste: Mirrors the scent it starts sweet with a mild kick of alcohol at the back of the throat and ends with a mellow taste of smoked almonds.

Mouthfeel: High viscosity, rich and creamy, reminds a bit of a milkshake.

Drinkability: Fantastic session beer, best enjoyed in good conversation with good people.

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Photo of Wamesit
4.4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown, almost black, body with ruby edges and base. Tan head that dissipates quickly and gives way to very light lacing.

S - Quick scent of alcohol in the nose followed by deep sweet dark malts. There is a roasted (near burnt) sweetness to it. Not coffee exactly but rumors of coffee. The whole thing, while not fruity, is suggestive of candied fruits; acidic sumatran grounds.

T - Again, alcohol (and its relaxing vapors) up front. Brown sugar or perhaps burnt nun's candy. The dark malts are too roasted to be caramel but the sweetness has a smoothness to it, just under the sharpness of acidic roasts. There are moments of chocolate in here but so indirect that it might be flavor matrixing on my part. Any hops/bitterness is minimal and overshadowed by the acidity of the malts anyway. The finish has a classic wood/nutty brown ale flavor.

M - A robust medium, exceptionally smooth for the ABV %.

D - Highly drinkable for such a powerful flavor and alcohol content.

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Photo of mjtiernan
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is barrel aging done right! It was much darker than I expected and kinda oily on the pour. First sip was love as I felt like I had something truly unique. Wanted to smoke a cigar with this brew. The aroma was dominated by vanilla and wood. Initial taste represented a nutty brown ale relatively faithfully but then it finished with an intense alcohol/wood flavor reminiscent of cedar.

Really like this one!

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 5,908 ratings
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