Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
5,927 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: 5,927 |  Reviews: 2,133
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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Photo of iPaleAle
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into: Dogfish pint glass: Snifter.

A: Very dark. No signs of red. Good head all the way around.

S: Really hoppy, yes. Oak. Oak notes with a earthy smell. Can definably smell the 12%.

T: Dark roast notes along with oak, and yes a vanilla hint flavor. Yes a heavy brown ale.

M: It almost feels like drinking a Stout. Very chocolate mouth feel after opening up. Can be too much for some folks not ready for a rich brown ale.

D: Its better pouring into a snifter O tulip style glass. Enjoyed better in small sips. grows bigger as time goes on.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.89/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark, lacking haze or cloudiness. Head was pretty good, lacing fair

Very nice smell, a sweet, woody, bourbony, fresh fields smelling lovely aroma. Pungent alcohol.

Tastes very strong and heavy, no shortage of alcohol, coffee and chocolate overtones, very dark beautifully woody.

Full bodied and highly carbonated. Wow heavy aftertaste and long lingering dark bitterness.

It's a sensation but I'm not super anxious to have it again.

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Photo of BamaViper1
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The Palo Santo Marron pours black into the glass formin an off-white head. There are small whisps of lacing. This beer is dark for a brown ale, which is unexpected, but it looks great.

This beer smells big. Lots of malt with prominent hints of chocolate and wood. Maybe even a slight hint of sugary fruit.

The beer opens with lots of malt with a soft hint of chocolate. These flavors are encased in a woody and slightly earthy taste profile that even has a slight spicyness. Alcohol rounds out the end of this beer. The finsh is sweet with hints of the wood and mild spice.

The beer is full bodied with a nice carbonation.

The beer is very nice. I like it a lot. I don't know if I can drink a lot of it as the abv is still 12%, but it is definitely tasty. Who knew a brown ale could be this. Dogfish did well with this one; a nice change of pace.

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Photo of ElGallo
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a balloon glass. Bottled 11/11/09.

Pours a deep brown color, almost black, with a fluffy tan head that dissipates but the lacing is decent. Appears viscous and oily like soy sauce, motor oil, or that stuff that turns people into Venom in the Spider-Man comics... which I do not read.

Smells of wood, smoky red wine, dark fruits, maybe some cocoa, and a little charcoal. Also something there I just can't describe, like a boozy perfumy thing that is very inviting. Reminds me of those classy ladies that hang around craps tables... except you can drink them.

Taste is smooth but smoky and woody at the same time. Mouthfeel is soft but has character. A solid beer all around and a very cool take on the style (or any style for that matter).

As I sip this dark concoction I pause to roast the recently departed Brewmasters, a show that had so much potential, if anything from Sam's endearing and likeable personality. But alas the powers that be (i.e., an ice cold bitch in a dark suit) have pulled the plug and moved on to other projects of less moral value and with fewer white rappers. So let us take a moment to bow our heads and remember the show about beer that finally got picked up by cable, only to be tossed around time slots and eventually killed, like our old friend Mr. Belvedere. Fare thee well Brewmasters, and may we perhaps be lucky enough to see your Season 1 DVD set in our Christmas stocking next year... along with some Burton Baton. Amen.

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Photo of Pellinore1
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep, nearly opaque brown into a pint glass. A finger of caramel colored head slowly settles into some lacing and a nice cap.

From the moment you smell this beer, it is clear that this is no ordinary brown ale, not that I have a better category suggestion. Dark, slightly fruity malts lay the base for the aroma, and I seem to pick up some funky sour notes and a whiff of booziness. I am reminded of other wood-aged beers I have had, but not of oak.

After that range of smells, the complexity of the flavor is no surprise. Sweet malts hint of raisin and burnt sugar, but then are overtaken by vanilla, earthiness, and the very interesting wood flavors that make this beer so distinctive. It finishes with some alcohol warmth, and leaves some roasty bitterness on the tongue.

This beer is smooth and a bit thick. The feeling is pleasant, but the drinkability is limited by the booziness and the intensity of the flavor. I enjoyed it a lot, but I'll be waiting quite a while before I crack open another bottle.

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Photo of renniksdb
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is very very dark and has a small, frothy brown head that sticks to the glass for a while. In wine terms, it would have great legs.

The aroma is strong. A sort of sweet vanilla. I know it notes this on the bottle, so I'm not revealing anything groundbreaking in saying so, but its true.

There's a slight bite to the fizz, and the beer is pretty full. The taste is almost too complex to describe, but in a good way. Starts off with a sweet, malty and maybe chocolaty flavor that builds after sipping. The vanilla is also still there. This is the kind of beer where the flavor engulfs your mouth and nose, probably due to the high alcohol content.

The finish is a mix of slight bitter hops and sweeter malt.

This is a very strong beer. It's also a beer that will warm you up considerably, boasting a 12% alcohol content. I'd suggest this with a pretty flavorful dish.

Though this is categorized as an "American Brown Ale," I'd suggest it falls into a type of its own. Very unique. If you're used to drinking American Lager, you should probably try something a little lighter. But if you're seasoned, and if you really want to try a beer that you will remember, then go ahead and grab a Palo Santo.

**As a side note, I'm rating this beers drinkability as a 4.0 because though I surely enjoy one, and maybe two, this is not a beer to drink all night.

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Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.76/5  rDev -10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Incredible. Dark brown and thick. Frothy tan head.

Cocoa, roasted coffee, spices, brown sugar.

Very intense. Chocolate liquor up front with dark fruit, rich caramel and roasted grains. The alcohol is very present, but well blended. Wood aftertaste. Bitterness throughout.

Very creamy, though a bit oily at times.

Maybe I just wasn't ready for this one. Not your typical brown ale. I will revisit it.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled July 14, 2010

A - pours a opaque dark brown. A thick but dissipating and wet-looking brown head forms and clings nicely to the glass.

S - surprisingly hoppy smelling. some wood notes (palo santo, i suppose), and vanilla balance the hops and a sweet licorice smell. There is a strong floral background to this complex smell.

T - The sweet wood and floral aspects dominate the taste. there is some dry roasty flavor on the back of it. haven't really come in to close contact with the alcohol yet, which is certainly surprising, given its abv.

M - an odd floral dryness, but otherwise nicely smooth and creamy.

D - I'd classify this as a sipper. It tastes good, but some of the prominent tastes are kind of strange, and it's a strong beer. Drinkability is ok.

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Photo of cdbooth219
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Pours a murky, almost black with one and a half fingers of reddish-brown head that dissipates slowly leaving nice lacing. Very different from what I expected.

S: Dark fruit, raisins and cherries, smokiness, dark malts, woodiness, a bit of oak sourness, earthiness, and alcohol

T: Starts off woody and malty, followed by oak sourness and earthiness, finishes with a woody, bready sweetness. No real alcohol burn. As it warms, notes of dark fruits start to emerge.

M: Very smooth and full-bodied. No real alcohol burn. Very enjoyable.

D: Easy to drink and the abv is unnoticeable, but definitely a one and done kind of beer.

Overall, I was very impressed by this beer. It is definitely the best brown ale I've had, although it is unlike any other brown I've tried. As usual, Dogfish Head continues to impress me.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, bottle date of 11/10/10, allowed to warm some and poured into my Duvel tulip.

Palo Santo Marron pours like a stout. It's totally black with a milk chocolate crown. It comes to about three fingers in height. Retention is off the charts, the head just won't fade. Lacing is solid, but holding the beer back from true excellence. The nose is good, but could stand to be a bit more punchy. Lots of milk chocolate, and a hint of herb/spice in the background. I find a bit more going on on my palate, most notably some vanilla, though caramel also shows up. The slight warming sensation from thew alcohol folds in very nicely with the notes I'm getting from the herbs and spices from the hops (and possibly the wood). Palo Santo Marron is just as rich as I'd expect a 12%, all malt driven beer to be, which is extremely so. Carbonation is spot on, enough to cut through the heavy body, but still restrained enough to let the malt shine. Dogfish Head's beers are sometimes hit and miss for me, but fresh Palo Santo is in the running for my favorite of their beers.

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

Got this single from once upon a vine in south richmond, va.

A - fantastico! This beer is very very dark with a coffee colored foam.. I loved the foam color and the head built very slow after I poured, almost like I awoke the beer from slumber

S - Very complex, sweet malts def some vanilla

T - Once again DFH impresses me with it's ability to mask ABV, it's quite smooth and very tasty.

M - coats the mouth, the alcohol warms the tongue gently

D - I had one and I was DONE. No way I could have more than two really but it TASTED very drinkable.. my brain knows better though - changed rating to overall instead of drinkability

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Photo of tmcelvain
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Unexpectedly dark for the style
S: Sharp, complex. Hints of Red Wine.
T: Pleasantly complex. Woody with a slight tannin flavor. Some caramel on the finish. Alcohol is present, but I wouldn't have guessed it was as high as it is. Very unique taste, and I would argue that it is almost a style unto itself.
M: Smooth, with a pretty light carbonation. Feel is light, but coats your mouth with a lingering alcoholish weight, which I find fairly appealing.
D: There is too much weight and complexity to this one to drink too much back-to-back, but very tasty and I would not hasitate to have another or reccomend it.

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Photo of tapman
4.16/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with dark ruby around the edges of the glass. Pours a one finger head that stays at a half a finger throughout the rest of the beer. Best lacing I have ever seen. It looks like a giant, delicious espresso beer.

I get... orange zest? Also dark fruits/berries, dark roast, dark chocolate, sweet caramel, a little alcohol (warm).

Light piney/citrus character, dark fruit flavor, like burnt prunes, dark roast, warm, though somewhat astringent alcohol. Also a kinda of sweet earthiness that I would attribute to the wood aging. Solid bitterness at the end that won't blow you out of your pants.

Thick and chewy with enough carbonation to break it up at the beginning of the sip. Very dry in the finish.

One of the better crazy brews by DFH in my opinion. Definitely does not taste 12% and is remarkably balanced. If not for my preference for session beers then this one would rank higher.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.07/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From notes:
Look: 12oz. bottle with the bottling date 5/21/10. Pours dark brown, almost black. Doesn't have much of a head or lace.
Smell: Bananas and wood with an earthy, floral background.
Taste: Much like the smell with the addition of alcohol spice and roasted malts. Very complex, especially as it warms.
Mouth: Smooth, decent carbonation. It leave a coat on the tongue that becomes unpleasant after a while.
Drink: One 12 and I was done. Very big beer. Might try and age a few.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.48/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an extremely deep dark brown with no light penetration. A dark tan head, creamy looking, forms, a full inch thick before receding to a thick film. Decent retention and lace.
Smell is rich with dark fruits and toasted malts. Woody with a faint coffee note.
Taste is thick with flavor. Malt, dark rum, dark fruits. Well-balanced. A smoky note in back.
Rich, warming, full-bodied, this is a serious sipping beer. Lightly effervescent. Extraordinarily good. DFH hits another monster hit for us "off-centered" imbibers with this 12% ABV brew.

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Photo of Natural510
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz, bottled 11/10/10.

Pours a syrupy-thick dark brown color with a hint of brown foam which dissipates into a mere few lonely bubbles.
Scent is heavy with wood and brown-sugar malt with a hint of vanilla.
Caramel and coffee meet a hearty oak flavor, with vanilla and cherry kicking around in the background. Malt-forward, with a hop sting in the finish.
Thick and full in the mouth; this is as hearty as it appears.
Solid wood-aged offering by DFH. A bit on the safer side as far as their experimental brews go, but this one will definitely keep me warm on a winter night.

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Photo of theo871
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 11/10/10

Pours a beautiful dark brown color with a tan head that dissipates but leaves wonderful lacing on the glass.

The smell is intoxicating (literally!) Roasted malt, wood, vanilla. I don't smell any caramel, but the vanilla is definitely there.

First taste is malty, very malty and pleasant. There is definitely an overwhelming alcohol finish, but it is very smooth.

I cant believe this beer is 12%. It is well disguised for such a high ABV. I may go pick up a 4 pack for aging purposes. Would love to try this again in a year.

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

This was a 12oz pour into a tulip.

A: It poured black with 2+ fingers of dark brown head. It left some creamy lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: It smells of dark fruit like cherries and plums. There are definite vanilla, wood, and chocolate notes.

T: The taste is of dark fruit like cherries and plums just as the nose showed. It's got a great taste of creamy vanilla and woodiness, though the wood is not overpowering like some barreled beers can get. Some booze comes through after a few sips, and bitterness hides until the finish.

M: Feels creamy, slightly astringent, and smooth with some evident carbonation.

D: This beer is more for dessert, but pretty easy going down. I felt it more in my gut than any negative feelings on my palate.

I really liked this. I just wish I had it again or had put this review up earlier so the experience was more fresh in my mind. Overall, I want to drink this again, definitely.

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Photo of Lomofo
4.65/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a beer! (Is it a beer?) What an incredible potion, an elixir. Oh, my...

This is my first, and perhaps only review here at BA. I'm the type of individual that sticks with a good thing, for, well for life, even. I really, really liked this beer; and we're bordering on a strange kind of almost love, if you will...

It is everything you have read; it is BIG, even at this alcohol level (which it hides pretty well until you get that warming down the pipe).

It is complex; the malt, wood of some new kind to me, some nuts and maybe who knows. And soon who cares?

Unlike most reviewers, I do the whole four-pack as a personal exercise from time to time. By the third bottle there is a bit of a lift-off to a special place where everything is really pretty O.K.; even really fine, I mean shit, I just don't care anymore about "the little stuff" (or the bigger stuff for that matter!)

It gets a bit spacey around the fourth and final bottle, and I pour and I sip and I thank God for the creative minds and the American spirit of entrepreneurship at Dogfishhead Brewing and I pray to Jesus that I don't have to answer any serious questions...

All I know at that point in time is that this is one hell of a beer, and I am one very satisfied customer. If I thought I could make it, I would. We all know how to make alcohol, or at least where it's available, but not like this...

Once, at the end of one of my earlier sessions I left the property (on foot, thankfully). Now, I have learned to down a big glass of water and lie down to rest; at peace with myself, and the world as it is.

What a beer...

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.85/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very dark, nearly black color with a modest tan head. Leaves some lacing on the glass and a tan ring and bubbles remain on the surface through out.

The aroma is bold and intriguing - malty and woody. There is vanilla and a touch of caramel and a slightly sour, cedary note that I imagine may reflect the exotic wood used in the fermenting tanks. The flavor is even more complex - brown sugar, cloves, cedar, with a good dose of herbal hops and a lingering bitterness to balance the sweetness and cleanse the palate. The spicy wood takes over again at the very end. Lots to contemplate.

Medium to full bodied, smooth and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation to keep things from getting too heavy.

Perhaps this is the beer world's answer to a fine port. One of my favorite late night sippers. I generally don't drink more than 1/2 to 1 bottle, and it lasts for quite a while, but I like to have this on hand for sipping over a long evening. There's not much better. Life is good...

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Photo of Hollybee
3.54/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Palo Santo is a dark brown that pours with a medium thickness. It creates a good head that dissipates not too quickly maintaining a thin cover at the glass surface. The head is a light caramel color, almost cream and leaves a lacey edge.

The nose is not overpowering. It's sweet, and alcoholic but not too much so, with hints of oak and caramel.

The flavor is smokey all the way through with a strong alcohol warmth. Nutty and caramel notes Sweet, clean finish.

Mouthfeel is very thick and full bodied.

This is a big beer that I would enjoy on occasion. Very bold beer.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared on new years day with my sister.
This beer pours a thick dark brown with a generous tan head. The head slowly dissipates but remains to lace the glass.
The aroma is upfront plenty of malt and alcohol. A pleasent woody taste come through.
The taste is smooth upfront full maltyness with chocolaty taste. The wood taste finishes the palate with a bold alcohol.
The feel is very pleasent to start silky with a slight roast and turns to a slight numb on the gums.
For a 12% the goes easy

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Photo of afksports
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head. Wow. Hell of a beer. I had this first back in August on tap at the brewery, loved it, bought two 4-packs, and now I'm enjoying it as one of the first beers I've had in 2011. Sharing the 12oz, because it clocks in at 12% and that's a little heavy for my poor, abused, and hungover stomach.

It pours dark black with minimal head and brilliant lacing that retains throughout the drink. It smells according to the caramel and vanilla description - with vanilla being a little more prevalent. The smell is also definitely of wood, and unfortunately booze. When you sip it, there's definitely more of the caramel and malty sweetness, which helps contain the booze but doesn't rid the taste of it. It finishes crisp and clean, which is refreshing. Big and velvety in the palate, it's got a barrel-aged smoothness.

But still after 4+ months, this beer isn't what I remembered. But then again, that day was full of blissful August vacation excitement near the beach and relaxed. This time I'm in my living room a tad hungover at 6pm.

And maybe that's what these reviews all come down to in the end. Context. Regardless, this A+ has gone to an A- for me. Still - it's a hell of a beer.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 5,927 ratings