Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
5,871 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: 5,871 |  Reviews: 2,115
Photo of Frothboss
5/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a beautiful dark rich brown/black color with a brown head about an inch high that slowly falls with carbonation bubbles fighting through. Cant see through it looks black in the glass but poured deep dark brown.

S - Alcohol, rich deep smells of sweet and sour. Earthy tones, vanilla, caramel...difficult to pinpoint scent, very complex.

T - Sweet up front, earthy half way through and a little sour on the back end. Caramel, coffee, chocolate a light smokey flavor with hints of flowery grassy background.

M - Very thick and rich. full bodied. Cant take to much of a drink but find myself taking sips instead.

D - Fantastically one of my favorite beers thru and thru. This is a rich complex very creative beer infused with many different complex flavors and smells. The alcohol content is 12% that complements the rich complexity of this brew. A masterpiece...just wish it didnt cost so much o.O

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Photo of ferrari29
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A classic dark brown, almost black stout color body; creamy beige head; thin lacing; dark appearance hides carbonation

S - Deep oak smell; alcohol smell overwhelms beer due to high ABV; smoky, licorice smell; slight hint of caramel and cherry notes

T - Oak grapefruit taste; not an explosive taste upfront but definitely picks up in the back of the mouth and smooths over leaving behind a tart feel; complex combination of brown nut ale ingredients (borderline stout); high ABV comes back in retro-olfaction; bitter

M - Oily consistency; light creamy and bubbly feel over tongue

D - Good beer; another well-built unique ale from Dogfish Head; this is definitely a sit-down & sip beer; touch of class and distinguished flavor

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Photo of mountsnow1010
4.18/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

A - Basically black with a bit of red while pouring. Mocha head that shrinks pretty fast. Thick lacing - awesome.
S - Woodchips, red mulch, cedar, coffee, chocolates, a bit of alcohol, definitely some sort of dark fruit like prunes
T - Complex. More wood. Sort of tastes like I'm swallowing blended mulch. Really strong wood flavor - impt to note that I don't really drink barrel aged stuff. Alcohol is definitely present. Some bitter that hops or wood? Not sure. Aftertaste is all wood with a bit of malt? This is a pretty big beer. It's really hard to pick out any other flavors, but they are there.
M - Quite creamy with a nice level of carbonation. Coats the mouth.
D - Ha ha ha. Would love to have a lot if I could.

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Photo of benyerd
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(A)- Very dark with almost no head retention. Also did not leave any lacing along the glass.

(S)- Very strong malty aroma. A semi sweet aroma lingers in the finish. Can smell the overwhelming high percentage of alcohol.

(T)- Malty with some nice earthy undertones. I am assuming this is related to the wood in the fermentation vessels. I can also taste the alcohol in the finish.

(M)-Heavy almost to the point of syrup. Exactly what I was expecting from this beer and it fits very very well.

(D)- This beer woud have been perfect for me but ths only thing that stopped it from being a 5 was the high amount of alcohol. All in all, another "Off Centered Ale" from Dogfish Head that does not disappoint!

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Photo of gskitt
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged more than a year.
A- Thick, syrupy and black with only the slightest mahogany tinge. Thin mocha colored head, sticks though.
S- Rich with bourbon soaked raisins, figs and black cherries.
T- Boozy alcohol up front and recedes into some complex char and Christmas fruitcake.
M- Syrupy, chewy and viscous.
D- Not sure, this is so over the top for a brown ale and the 12% can be tasted and felt. You wouldn't want too many of these, its a sipper.

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

Poured dark, syrupy, almost pitch-black from a 12 oz bottle with ABV on the label. Head disappears at the speed of knots, but with the ABV of this beer, it is not surprising. However, it has excellent lacing. The aroma is a mix of cherries, wood, a hint of vanilla and alcohol. The taste is a complex blend of woody, vanilla, cherries, with a finish that leaves a smoked woody taste. The most amazing part of this beer is how well the ABV is masked. This is one potent beer, be warned- try to avoid drinking more than one beer in a sitting. You won't realize when you might end up getting knocked out. This brew definitely packs a punch, and the best or the worst part is, you won't realize when it hits you. Highly recommended, one of those brews that you MUST try at least once, maybe even twice, maybe multiple times, but most certainly once in your life. Highly recommended. A complex, solid brew from Dogfish head, one of my favorite breweries.

Aged this bottle for just over a year prior to opening.
Very viscous and dark as night.
No head whatsoever, but a steady trickle of bubbles surfacing constantly.
Aroma is sweet with intermittent hints of wood and vanilla.
The woody essence is also prominent in the taste with hint of sweetness coming through. Layers of complex tastes/flavors with every sip. Definitely gets more complex with age.
I have a few more bottles that I will crack in due time. I can only imagine this ale will get more and more complex with age.
Would certainly recommend aging the Palo Santo Marron.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.14/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To celebrate my 200th BA review, I'm giving a big middle finger to the Alberta Gaming & Liquor Commission, who have decided to ban beers above 11.9%, which would include this offering.
A - solid black with a thin covering of brown head, small lace ring
S - caramel and brown sugar, vanilla, a woody quality, and alcohol
T - sweet caramel and nutty malt, vanilla and dark chocolate, and alcohol sweetness
M - a syrupy thickness is generally smooth with some alcohol thinning on the finish
D - hiding all 12% of the alcohol would be impossible, but they did a damn good job trying, the vanilla aspect makes this a unique brown ale, very well done. Oh, and the AGLC can kiss my ass!

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Photo of dsc-123
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance--Very dark, nearly black. Nice, thick brown head, dissipates quickly.

Flavor--Starts sweet, vanilla, woody. Alcohol very noticeable throughout and lingers.

Mouthfeel---Very full bodied, low carbonation.

Overall--interesting and enjoyable sipping beer.

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

This beer poured an opaque dark brown color with a light brown head that actually has some raspberry colored tones around the the outer rim. Head settled to a thin lace rather quickly, but still has some nice retention following each sip.

Aroma is filled with earthy, woody, and chocolate smells.

Taste is a nice mixture of the same. You also get a bit of alcohol burn/taste in the middle, but it doesn't linger into the finish. There is also a nice hop bitterness in there as well. Borderline complex and a joy to drink. I personally feel this should be in the "American Strong Ale" category.

Full bodied mouthfeel. You can almost chew on it. Moderate to Soft carbonation which works perfectly here.

I could imagine the possibility of having one more, and that's about it. But for the alcohol and style, this is pretty drinkable.

Morey's Bottom Line: A solid sipper to say the least. Although this is a beer I would probably only want to drink in the fall/winter months. If you're looking for a nice sipper, but are tired of Barleywines and DIPA's...this just might be your huckleberry.

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Photo of jangotaurus
3.36/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark brown almost black. Thin brownish ribbon of head

Smell: Strong aromas of Coffee and Red wine with a slight smell of chocolate. Also an initial smell of vinegar of ammonia that passes once it has had time to breath.

Taste: Syrupy mouth feel with only slight carbonation. The initial taste across the palate is coffee and dark chocolate, there is a lingering sweet flavor. You will also find a woody flavor (a product no doubt of the massive wooden vat this is brewed in) there is also a strong smack of alcohol.

This beer doesn't throw any punches and doesn't hide what it is. It is very robust and strong and is not something to drink every day, this is definitely one to savor and experience. I don't really like the syrupy mouthfeel but it makes up for it with lots of flavor. The one flavor drawback is the strong alcohol aftertaste. Otherwise it is a very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of mbusster88
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle (bottled 10/13/10) into pint.

A: Deep brown color with minimal trace of brown head. Very hard to see anything through this, no apparent carbonation.

S: Get some caramel and toffee in the nose. The booze is very noticeable as well. Some light woody characters as well, but not to much.

T/M: Get the alcohol right up front, however then a nice roasted character is present. There is a certain woody character to the taste, like food cooked on wood planks. However, it is not that dominant. For me to the booze fades as I get further into the glass making it more enjoyable. Covers the mouth and is very much like a syrup.

D: Not meant to be gulped down, however a nice brew non the less. I do not typically go for brown ales, but this one is nice.

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Photo of curly31989
4.05/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottled dated in July of 2010.

A: Dark brown, with a smooth 2 finger brown head.

S: I'm not sure what the wood specifically smells like, but wood is definitely prevalent. Hints of vanilla and mollasses too.

T: Lots of wood, vanilla, and dark sugars.

M: Very very smooth and syrupy.

D: It goes down well and the abv is well masked. I have a hard time drinking multiples of this style, but I do enjoy them from time to time.

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

Was pleasantly surprised with this one. The bottle said it was a Brown Ale. Well this is not your Mother's Brown Ale.

Appearance: Black to dark brown nice head

Smell: Dark molasses and caramel

Taste: Nice sweet/vanilla/coffee/woody flavor

Feel: Smooth

Drink: One of my new favorites. I will drink this again

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Photo of bishopgary
4.67/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark brown/black, thin light head that disappears quickly. The brown color really only comes out if held up to light.

S: Smells of port, probably the alcohol. Earthy dark fruits and woodsy. It seems that no two sniffs from one glass come out the same. Intriguing.

T: Malty. Raisins and molasses as well. It changes on your palate much the smell does. To me it finished with a slight bit of vanilla and atypical wood flavors.

M: Very round, coats the mouth nicely. The right amount of body for this ABV.

D: Would not want to drink to much of this too quickly. Drinkable enough to sit down and split a few bottles with friend now that winter is here.

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

Pours a dark black with a dark brown head. Very little head retention or lacing in my case. You can definitely smell the 12%. The vanilla also comes out in the nose as does the roasted chocolate. Big flavor. A little vanilla and unsweetened chocolate malt to start. Then the big wood flavor takes over. Huge roasted notes as well as some alcohol to finish. Taste reminds me of a camp fire. Well done. Thick mouthfeel and good drinkability for the ABV.

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Photo of depechemode1983
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours in thick. Its black in color like a porter/stout. Has a healthy brown head and there is a lot of lacing going on evenly around the glass. Smell is sweet and alcoholic. There is a lot of vanilla in the nose. The smell of vanilla extract and alcohol come together to create a bourbon scent that is very pleasing. Smells exactly like Jack Daniels oak bbq chips. There is toasted malts, berries and alcohol present in the taste. The sweet malts are right up front hinting to you flavors of berries. Then the alcohol comes in and dominates, then ends with a nice toasted coffee finish. Has a smooth mouthfeel. Its a little thiner than i anticipated but not bad. Carbonation is just right, not too much not too little. I don't think i could drink more than two of these. Its a delicious beer but at 12% wow. This is a big beer. Its a sipper for sure. But a very enjoyable one. That being said I would definitely buy this beer again.

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Photo of Bombers4Benedict
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark dark body. Black. Nice light brown head settles very quickly to nothing. There is little to no lacing on this beer. It has more a wine texture the way it leaves a little film on the glass when swirled.

S - Hints of raisin, vanilla, cofee. Alcohol is even present in the scent.

T - This one is wierd. Although you get hints of everything you smelled ther eis a woodsy oak ages taste to the brew. Very earthy. At one point it tastes like newly laid woodchips smell. Very uniqe progression to this beer from first to last sip. Almost overpowering at times. The hints of burning leaves is present in the taste. Very complex, like nothing i have tried before.

M - Coats mouth like a syrup. Although I didn't enjoy the feel or the aftertaste (woodsy)everything did disapait quickly.

D - Probably have to keep it to one on this guy. Good beer, but very overpowering.

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Photo of pezfiend
4.59/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours into glass dark brown almost black, small light brown head that quickly disperses into a thin lacing around the top.

S - Scent of rasins and grapefruit citrus, molasses and caramel. Smell of alcohol as well

T - Heavy malt taste with a bite. Toasted cedar and vanilla, with some coffee after taste

M - Thick, chewy, and oily. Light carbonation

D - Terrific, but definatly not to be taken for granted. A very high alcohol content makes this a wonderful winter warmer. Drink this first before going towards a session beer, or with a nice dessert.

Serving type - 12oz Bottle to oversized brandy snifter

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Photo of tonymoore
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First, on the show Brew Masters this past week, Sam from DFH basically confirmed what I've been thinking all along about this beer: it is an Imperial Stout and not really a brown ale. (It was the imperial stout they used in creating Bitches Brew.)

That aside, this pours black and heavy with a great and lasting head (although this really seemed to depend on the glass I used; I'll assume the clean glasses are the default and kept the head intact). The alcohol is front and center at first, but it gets forgotten along the way under chocolate and pine and SMOKE.

The smoky flavor is just great and is the long and short of this beer.

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Photo of wedge3d
4.52/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: A deep, deep dark brown almost reddish-black. Third-finger head on the pour that dissipated quickly. The liquid looked thick and sticky as it filled the glass.

S: The first thing that hit me was rich, dark molasses. Then sweet toasted malt and vanilla.

T: From the aroma and appearance, I anticipated a thick, hearty, possibly sweet concoction and was not disappointed. The molasses, roasted malt and vanilla mixed with wood, caramel and chocolate.

M: Very thick and smooth, consistent with the taste and smell. Not particularly carbonated.

D: An incredible beer, definitely making my favorites list. Should be enjoyed slowly and decidedly. The high alcohol content blended so smoothly I didn't even notice until I was nearly finished enjoying.

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

Pours a syrupy and very dark brown, almost black color (this is no Brown Ale). Head is light brown with little retention and lacing.

Smells of dark malts, dark fruits (plums, figs), honey and hints of booze.

Taste is very powerful with roasted malts, coffee, dark fruit, mollasses and some wooden notes. Aftertaste is persistent and sweet.

Mouthfeel is heavy with medium carbonation. This beer is very sticky and syrupy, with nice alcohol warmth.

A great offering from DFH.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured an almost black deep brown or purple with virtually no head or lacing into an oversized snifter.
S - Yep, it's a DFH extreme beer. That unmistakeable mix of alcohol and syrupy hops. Smells thick if that makes sense. More like a SBDA than a Brown Ale. Dark fruits and sweetness.
T - I have the indian brown ale still fresh on my palette. Interesting. Kind of like a nutty milkshake. Nutmeg and plums. Pretty sweet. Not as much of a mess as some of the other extreme DFHs I've had (and I know, some people love em...they are just too heavy and thick for me). This one was a little more tolerable and even enjoyable.
M/D - Wanted to try it since I love the Indian Brown so much. Glad I did. Probably won't come back, but ya never know. I thought I'd never come back to a 120 or WWS and I have. Big beers are fun, but not something you pull out when you are having a session night.

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Photo of ZorPrime
3.92/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to liamt07 for sending me this beer my way. Wasn't requested but he felt I would enjoy it. He wasn't wrong.

The beer sticker says it is a brown ale... wow I'm surprise to find that it is very dark brown. In fact, the color is not brown but black! No head. The aroma is chocolate and roasted malts. I get some alcohol in the nose too with some cherry. I would say this is more imperial stout smell than brown ale. No hazelnut, which I was expecting from a brown ale. Not bad, just surprising.

Taste wise, this beer is intense (like many dogfish head brews). It is warm due to the level of alcohol. Get some faint notes of vanilla with some chocolate. Complex beer, this is. Full bodied and a little bit creamy. This is truly a sipping beer. Light bitterness but it lingers in the mouth.

Would drink only one per session, but goes down quickly.

A very interesting beer that all should try at least one time. I would pick some more for those dark, cold winter days to come.

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Photo of Bisho
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Holy crap... I was not prepared for this!
Not like any Brown Ale I've ever tasted before. Kind of reminded me of a Weihenstephaner Korbinian (one of my all time favourites) amped up to around 12!

Big and slightly chewy, bordering on Imperial stout territory but with a balance that is impeccable! I didn't even notice the 12% ABV until after I had polished my second.

Dark stout like appearance but the nose doesn't give you the whole story of what an amazing beer this is. I really think that I am in love with this beer. Words cannot describe just how gorgeous it is. Go and try it for yourself. If you love Big Dark ales with the slight sweetness of a Russian Imperial then you too will be in for a real treat!

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Photo of FosterJM
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

59th review on BA
bottle to pint

App- Really this is a brown ale? Could've fooled me. This was very dark almost black it was so brown. Poured a one inch mocha colored head. So thick and creamy like a liquid pudding.

Smell- Yep thats a big hint of oaky vanilla to me. I likey. Smells of burnt oaky caramel as well not a candied smell just stronger, more agressive.

Taste- I have been waiting a long time for this beer and well, its damn good. Its complex, upfront, agressive, mild and palatable all at the same time for 12%. Very rich and tasty.

Mouth- Complex, light, heavy, sweet, thick. It drinks a lot different than a lot of other beers. I like it a lot.

Drink- Wasn't too overpowering and if it wasnt the 3rd beer of the night. I'd run to the store for more. But after a combined 28% in 3 beers. Im cool in front of the comp typing my reviews.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 5,871 ratings
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