Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
5,875 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: 5,875 |  Reviews: 2,117
Photo of Thanby
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nearly black garnet, hardly anything brown about it. A finger of smooth brown head that dies quickly and doesn't stick much.

Nose is robust with dark malts, molasses, mulled with black cherry, maybe even some impressions of strawberry, raisin, strong esters and very sweet. It's such a complex mass of malt, this is probably going to kick me in the face. The wood lends a smoky quality that sits on top of everything.

The first taste is wonderfully potent and complex. The smokiness is much more prominent, and it still has a huge malt body. The sweet, stickiness of molasses is prominent, and the dark fruit undertones are more noticeable too. The esters are also in full force, the ABV is felt as the body fades. Just a little spiciness in the beginning to break up the sweet malt. Someone mentioned a similarity to English barleywines, and I completely agree. Just a little tartness, and a huge aged malt body closely resemble that style, probably more-so than a brown ale.

Full body, a little chewy, and a sticky finish with lingering sweetness and alcohol vapor. Incredibly smooth and an absolute pleasure to drink. I wish I could have a constant supply because it is a gem of a beer. Definitely fits Dogfish's "off-centered" idea, because this is nowhere close to a standard beer, let alone a regular brown ale.

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Photo of cpmichael
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark mahogany, with little to no head retention

S: A raisin-like smell accompanied with wood overtones and malts.

T: A dominate raisin flavor shows itself early on, followed by malts and maybe a little chocolate. Very complex. and pretty smooth.

M: There could be more carbonation to this brew, but even still, it's a pretty smooth beer.

D: A smooth and drinkable beer. I could throw a few of these back in a sitting. Not bad in the least.

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

Bottle to an Ale glass

A - Pours an opaque deep black, light tan head and thick lacing, no light gets through this one. More like a stout in appearance

S - Smells toasty and warm with cocoa and coffee strongest. Malty sweetness and charred wood

T - Robust and full flavored, a complex earthy start, sweet the whole way through with chocolate and caramel. A semi-dry finish. Thought it would be alcohol strong in the end but its tastes just like a cook fire smells in the finish

M - Heavy as coffee easily the thickest brown ale I've had. Not overly dry or chalky as is with others this deep

D - sneaky strong, I sip this one slowly though. Reminds me of something I would want to drink warm in a whiskey glass...

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Photo of rlee1390
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Is this a brown ale or a stout? A black color, with a two finger dark head that leaves behind a perfect lacing.

S-Coffee, Roasted Malts (fresh it smelled better, aged it was a little more mellow)

T-Extremely sweet, coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla. Extremly sweet and great for a brown ale. (Fresh the flavors were much more bold, the aged had a better mesh due to the mellowing. However at a year there was a good deal of fading)

M-Medium bodied, some carbonation

O-For a 12%abv brown ale extremly drinkable. I'd say it was better aged although I think something closer to 9 months would be better due to the year old seeming slightly too faded, although the blend was excellent.

EDIT-Did a side by side tasting of this fresh and at a year old.

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Photo of mjsheehan08
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours what looks like a carbonation-less liquid. Black, with almost no light. Really looks like almost a pale stout.

Smells like woody vanilla. I dint know if I am just used to picking up bourbon with these notes, but I detect some bourbon as well, but it might just be the contents of the wood used in this brew.

Booze right up front, this is a hot beer that is most likely pretty fresh. Woody, sweetness with a tinge of vanilla and maybe some toffee. Dark fruit, raisins maybe some plum.

Feel is pretty full, poppy and the mild carbonation is perfectly balanced. Coats the tongue with a warm alcohol burn. Booze is def presence, and while I might not be able to drink a bunch of these, the one is def enjoyable.

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Photo of ejeffer11
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottled 7/24/08 and stored at cellar temp since purchase in fall of 2008. Served in a snifter.

Brew is extremely dark - cream coffee colored head that is gone pretty quickly - very stout like. Can smell the alcohol, but the first sip does not overpower. Certainly some sweetness here, but the taste is extremely pleasant. Caramel, molasses, brown sugar, vanilla goodness all coming through. The wood aging has produced an extremely smooth drinking experience that gets better as the beer warms. Hard to tell this is 12%.

This beer has held up well at about 2 1/2 years old and could probably go another few years. It has rounded out nicely and blended into quite an enjoyable beer. Always fun to see what age does to these quality brews. This is certainly one that I prefer to drink after having been in the cellar for a while.

Well done dogfish head.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at Tiger Qwik Mart in Clemson, SC.

A - Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours dark prune-skin maroon with virtually nonexistent brown highlights just creeping along the edges of my glassware. A thin brown head settles into a slick film atop the burrr.

S - There's an almost musty, slightly earthy wood aroma that blends with notes of raisin, prunes, vanilla, toffee, and just a tinge of hop bite rounding out the aroma.

Hold up, I'm listening to The Band, I just gotta be in the moment for this one song...

...okay I'm back. Man, that was good.

T - The flavor has more of a vanilla-toffee-woody almost bourbony frontend, with some bittersweet chocolate and milder dark toffee taste. The dark fruit is much less evident in the flavor. Alcoholic aftertaste, which I mean seriously, you have to expect.

M - Medium bodied. Sure of itself. Proud of its mouthfeel.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.77/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Bottled 11/10/10 - drank: about 3 days ago - poured into a tulip)

A favorite of mine and mi padre - who doesn't equate ABV with alcohol content, go figure (or else he forgot how to read/understand English) - dude drank this like Ovaltine. Anyhoo - testament to how stupidly drinkable this wondrous concoction is... Drank this in copious amounts during my sister's wedding - Aug '08. Oh, heavens, is this sublime.

...Almost creamy, 1/2", deep chocolate-brown head - fizzed out quick. Thick, impenetrable black. Heavy stance.

Intense stench from the pour - complex, unique. Port mixed with cocoa liqueur - wood and liqueur - chocolate and sherry-fruity, spicy-cinnamon. Something jumps out - must be wood, vaguely vanilla. A booziness - mild.

Eine flavor is malty and boozy - a bitter-choco, wood-ashy, fruit-infused vodka taste - Oh, pancakes! (not the taste - craving powdered-sugary pancakes - whatever!) - OH! - smooth whiskey/bourbon qualities (from wood?) - . - . - . - eine fresh-cut, burnt wood, cordial cherry finish. OH!

A lil' puffiness to the malt - mild viscosity. Thick yet slick - lingering warmth and malt slick - sedative effect, comes on slow. The carb is lowww - but this is best - big carb = bad.

Definitely a different beer. Love the light-burnt wood thing. The chocolate and cherry nuances are very nice. When it's on, I could drink this anytime/anyplace - inviting. like a good wine - fine anytime. Best sipped, though you surely could pound these down - ask Papa.

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Photo of dbmernin83
4.31/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-VERY dark for a "brown" ale. it's black with a khaki head

S-fruits and wood dominate. Booze is present

T-dark fruity sweet malts, wood, light bitter finish. warming alcohol.

M-full and creamy. the chewiest brown i've had. i'm getting a fork and knife to finish this one.

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Photo of Jeff271828
2.41/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I was so excited to try this beer... but it tastes like paint.

I can't believe I'm the only person on here who got that...

I appreciate what Dogfish Head does with it's experimental beers, but if the beer tastes like paint, then everything else is a waste.

Colors, carbonation, even smell don't matter if the beer tastes bad.

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Photo of maltician
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Usualy not especially impressed by DFH, but occasionally something truly special like this comes along..
Color nice n dark, smell not overpowering but something malty/fruity going on..intrigued..
Taste is roasty, and a little smokey, balanced with a spicy fruit trickling underneath. Raspberry? Kumquat? Anyway, quite good, surprisingly drinkable, and not quite like anything I've had before. Will be on the lookout for more.

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Photo of Kakaraht
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Extremely dark upon pouring with an inch of head that subsides quickly and laves a delicate lacing.

S: Chocolate and vanilla are the most dominant smells with a nice oaky toffee like flavor and an alcoholic potency.

T: I used to think this beer was too strong and overpowering but now that my palate is refined I find it to be uber smooth and complex. There are swirls of caramel chocolate swimming with toffee and vanilla. The palo santo wood is clearly present, and an alcoholic after bite burns the taste into my taste buds. It intensifies drastically upon warming.

M: This is smooth and deep. With heavy body and low carbonation. The alcohol is left lingering powerfully in your mouth.

D: Not something I could drink a six pack of but one every now and again is a must.

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

Tasted side by side with the indian brown ale (which was average) - this blows the brown ale out of the water! Much much better!
Smells woody, fruity, delicious, a little bit of booze smell at the end
Taste - fruitiness, hoppiness, maltiness....overall, I'm. Happily surprised with this beer.
Mouthfeel - nice, medium bodied, solid aftertaste
Drinkability - good :), might have to go get some more of it
Appearance - very dark maroon brown color, very pretty but little head retention

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Photo of brew3crew
3.91/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had during a dog fish head tasting. Had next to an indian brown ale.
A-dark brown, almost black with little head
S-grassy, rasberry or blackberry on the nose
T-malty with a fruity (either blackberry or rasberry) after taste. Taste the wood in the aftertaste.
M-medium body
D-i thought it was good but it got worse as it warmed up. Very suprised at the 12% abv.

Thanks cam!

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

Pours a very dark brown with very little head. Smells very spicy and woody. It's a very unique smell. Tastes very strong. Sme bitter herbalness going on. Spices and wood. Very interesting. A bit boozy and sharp but very tasty. A fairly drinkable beer for the percentage but it's potent with the different flavours. Petty unique brew

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Photo of IPA4LIFE
4.82/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pitch black with just about 1 finger of tan head that quickly subsides. This beer is thick and viscous, leaving a nice amount of lacing.

S-Rich chocolate, vanilla, with an astoundingly good oaked scents. Also some toffee, and a decent amount of booze.

T- A whole lot is going on here. The taste is wonderfully complex. A smokey, rich caramel / coffee taste with a solid kick of booze. The flavor reminds me of Irish Coffee. This is truly a remarkably complex and delicious beer.

M- Viscous and soft. This beer rolls off of the tongue oh so nicely.The alcohol is very strong in this one, so don't be shocked if it numbs your throat for a few seconds.

D-Although heavy and strong, each sip of this beer leaves you wanting another. Highly drinkable.

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Photo of mikem0487
3.62/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A-You can tell this beer has a high viscosity(compared to other beers) when poured from the bottle. Head is basically non existent, with a brown foam formed around the glass. This is a very dark brown ale that looks like no light is reflected back to the eye.

S-dark chocolate with vanilla undertones. For 12% abv the alcohol smell is hidden very well.

T-The more I drink it the more it appeals to me. roast dark malt flavor, alcohol taste comes in at the after taste. Good but not great.

M-Smooth, medium body with low carbonation on the tongue, like it!

D-With my preferences it is not the most drinkable brown ale. Nice to have one or two but that's it.

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

Review adapted from notes taken in July, 2009

Poured into a standard pint glass

Appearance: Extremely dark, with hints of red - honestly looks more like some kind of imperial stout than a brown ale

Smell: Dark, roasted malts and hints of wood and vanilla

Taste: Complex and delicious - extremely malty with a unique nearly-funky woodiness, hints of chocolate, caramel - a great deal of dark bread flavor, so powerful that the alcohol is almost entirely hidden - dry yet many sweet notes

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth, medium bodied, and genuinely velvety - above average to say the least

Overall: Very drinkable, the 12% is truly surprising

An excellent beer, my absolute favorite from Dogfish Head

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on 21 May 2010.

A: Easily the darkest brown ale I've seen. A huge two-finger head sits on the top, its constituent bubbles improbably fine. The colour, as far as I can tell, is black. Holding the glass up to a bare bulb only suggests shades of brown, and the beer remains perfectly opaque. Lacing feathers the sides of the glass.

S: Some caramel malts, light vanilla or jasmine, and perhaps a hint of citrus and hops. I'll assume the floral vanilla scents originate in the wood used for aging -- it reminds me of first-fill oak barrels used in whisky-making.

T: Holy cow, 'holy wood' indeed. This is simply marvellous. Wonderfully smooth and creamy, the beer is predominantly sweet -- vanilla beans, salted caramel, milk chocolate, buttered bread. The creaminess is also omnipresent, softening the taste and leaving an aftertaste like that of ice cream or desert cheese (I'm thinking of a certain soft ginger Stilton I once had). Some traces of alcohol, especially on the edges of the flavour or at the tail-end, but these only highlight Palo Santo Marron's virtues -- a little bite helps to even out the sweetness. The aftertaste is similar, but with a measure of nuttiness and trace bitter notes.

M: Creaminess is by far the dominate feel, and it succeeds splendidly. The velvety body slips through the mouth with the greatest of ease, offering only the gentlest caresses to mark its passing. I have to drink carefully, lest I take deceptively large sips. Mmmm.

D: Dangerously drinkable. Pair the surprising 12% with the sheer drinkability and soft mouthfeel of this beer, and I'm not sure I would it ever occur to me to stop drinking. I can't decide whether a 12 ounce bottling is prudent or tragic -- I want more. Absolutely recommended, and I hope to acquire another sooner rather than later.

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Photo of patreely12
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - very dark brownish black. syrupy pour. dark tan head with a ruby tint.

S - cream, a bit of vanilla and cherry. I don't know what palo santo wood smells like, but there's a little something extra in the nose. I'm assuming that's what it is.

T/M - lots of flavor up front, definitely tastes like the nose and then some. syrupy, sweet cherry and vanilla. wood roasted malts. very creamy and smooth. some bitterness on the back end but not much. for 12% ABV the alcohol is well hidden.

D - tasty. an interesting and well put together beer. I wouldn't be drinking very many of these though, as the ABV and sweetness limit the drinkability. but I am glad that I tried it.

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Photo of FRivard
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12 oz. bottle with a bottled on date of 5/21/10 into a brewery goblet.

appearance is black but not opaque oily and thick with alcohol. medium carbonation a deep chestnut brown head that lingered for a moment.

smell is of light raisins vanilla and a strong alchohol presence.

taste of carmel malts a deep raisin and a definite woody character balanced well with the alchol coming in late.

mouthfeel is medium bodied and finishes a bit dry.

a very drinkable complex beer, there is a lot going on here and if it wasn't for the 12%abv. could be enjoyed 3 or 4 at one sitting.

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Photo of gregalobeer
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pitch black, oily, little head, then a modest, cm. thick espresso foam develops but soon diminishes, with little lacing left

S: toffee, caramel, raisins, black cherry, dark chocolate

T: oaky (well, Palo-Santo-y), complex, espresso beans, beautiful balance and lengthy finish, alcohol definitely present but coated with a coffee liqueur texture/flavor

M: very smooth, little carbonation, slightly crisp

D: gosh, I want to drink like a dozen of these, or at least continuously have the sensation that I'm drinking one. But I'm sure I couldn't.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark cola brown with a small tan head that dissipates into a wispy patch of bubbles.

S - Raisins, dark fruits soaked in alcohol, hints of vanilla and flowers as it warms.

T - Charred woody malt, brown sugar, prune juice, dry roasted coffee beans, smokey cocoa, burnt maple, minor hints of vanilla extract. Bittering hops start in the middle and follow through to the finish. A robust woody note coats the entire mouth. Some perfume-like character toward the finish. Finishes slick but quickly dries out.

M - Full bodied, low carbonation, syrupy at times but dry at times as well. Alcohol doesn't show like it does in the aroma.

Very complex. Not as much vanilla as I thought would be there. Aftertaste is a multitude of varying flavors. This is of course a sipper. The drinkability is pretty high for the alcohol. A fun beer to explore.

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Photo of Snamnoum
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - very dark pour looks more like a porter or stout. Two fingers of tan head, incredibly thick and frothy like the cream on the top of an espresso. Excellent retention and lacing.

Smell - roasted coffee beans, smoky wood, brown sugar/molasses, and lots of alcohol

Taste - really quite interesting. I swear if I closed my eyes I would have said this was an imperial stout but hey they're the ones brewing it they can call it what they want. Sweet dark malt, toasted grains, and caramelized sugar up front. Lots of cooked brown sugar and molasses lending both sweetness and a touch of bitterness. A little astringent at the finish but pretty much sweet the whole way through. Fantastic IMHO.

Mouthfeel - Definitely heavy bodied with substantial carbonation for a 12% abv beer. The feel is somewhere between creamy and chewy

Drinkability - awesomely drinkable, dangerously so. While writing this review I've finished mine and it is pretty potent. Very interesting beer from an interesting brewery give it a try.

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Photo of BardofBeer
4.04/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

WOW...Opaque almost black. not sure if it can be described by a style,but I like it. Aroma of vanilla and wood. tastes of cherry, vanilla and wood. The 12% alcahol is very well hidden.Very
dkinkable for a beer this big. 12oz bottle purchesed at BIMART store Portland, for $3.49,
seved in a tulip glass cellar temp.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 5,875 ratings
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