Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
5,917 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:
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Ratings: 5,917 |  Reviews: 2,128
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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Photo of mendonjoebeer
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz glass into 2 snifters to share with a friend- dark,rich syrupy,slight head,slight carbonation

Smells nice- a blend of sugar,caramel,figs,wood,alcohol,coffee?

Nice rich taste- maybe call it a double brown?all the things you smell- and more

Mouth feel is enjoyable, smooth with a final burn from alcohol

For it's high abv it is quite drinkable, but need to be careful. Price will keep me away from it somewhat

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.87/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark dark brown, more black than brown really with a thin cap of vanilla colored head.

Smells of raisins and fig, some molases and wood. Very aeromatic.

The taste is excellent, especially as the beer warms. Tastes of molases and raisins dominate along with brown sugars, caramel malts, and a slight lingering alcohol burn.

Smooth and creamy in the mouth, most peculiar brown ale I've tasted. Still though, well delivered and well done.

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

Thanks to a good bud I got to try this one. Palo Santo pours a deep dark brown with a tan head that dissipates quickly to leace a nice ring. I might be crazy, but I really smell banana right up front. Also smells of vanilla, and a red wine, Very Interesting. Tastes of roasty coffee, molasses and vanilla. Mouthfeel is creamy with a nice nip of carbonation. Im drinking it quite easily now.

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Photo of drewba
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage poured into a snifter.

A - Pours an opaque deep, dark brownish black with a thin ing of khaki head around the rim of the glass. Barely any lacing and carbonation is almost nonexistant after a few minutes.

S - Massive aroma: raisin, fig, grape, wood, molasses, burnt sugar.

T - A fuckton of charred wood - this flavor permeates all stages of the taste. I'm definitely getting the feeling this wood was roasted over an open fire. Raisin, slight vanilla, chocolate, and some residual malt sweetness. The finish ends with plenty of char and dryness from the wood.

M -- Quite viscous with low carbonation (to be expected)

D - At a year+, this has really turned into a nice beer. Mouthfeel is wonderfully thick and satisfying, booze heat is entirely gone, the flavors have really mellowed and melded together. A great sipper which gets better as it warms.

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

appearance - dark brown, almost black appearance with mocha colored head

smell - cocoa, mocha, wood, booze, roasted coffee

taste - this is really good, upfront is coffee, espresso, vanilla, dark chocolate, malts, woodsy kind of flavor

mouthfeel - high carbonation, full bodied, flavors really linger on the palate, slight bitterness, slight sweetness, woody finish. Booze is present but a minimal part of the experience

drinkability - price brings it down a bit as does the ABV, but this is a really great beer that you should try if you get the chance

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Photo of herman77
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

A: Very dark brown, pours and looks like a RIS, but a shade or two lighter. Thicker light brown head. Nice lacing

S: Charred wood, chocolate, molasses, vanilla and sweet dark fruits. Gets better as it warms, but surprised it seems a bit muted.

T: Lots of woody flavors. Huge malt flavors, toasted malted, roasted malt, toffee and carmel malt. A bit of smokiness and charred wood flavors. A little vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Big amount of alcohol heat and woody flavors on the backend, you can feel the hotness going down the throat.

M: Full bodied. Thick and chewy. Lower carbonation. Smooth. Love it.

D: A sipper. Big boozy flavors and some heat, but its really tasty.

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Photo of andrwjedi
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown with a nice creamy brown head. Definitely as a vanilla and malt aroma to it. The taste is malts up front fading to caramel and vanilla and a slight tart aftertaste at the end that's present but pleasing. ABV is 12%, but it doesn't taste that strong. A creamy, velvety mouthfeel.

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

A - Pours pitch black, thin layer of mocha head, decent retention and the odd sticky spot of lacing.

S - Chocolate malts, roasted coffee and some sweet alcohol powers through the finish.

T - Molasses flavours are the most dominant, burnt sugar, dark cocoa, sweet vanilla and caramel. A wooden smokey flavour is also present on the finish. Complex and delicious.

M - This one is pretty thick with only some fine carbonation on the body, it goes down pretty smooth and the higher ABV gives you a tickle of a burn on the finish.

D - High ABV is fairly well masked, though it's tough to really hide 12%. Some very unique and delicious flavours on this one. I could easily drink a couple of these in a sitting, though would not want to get too carried away. Another winner from DFH!

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Photo of GoatmanBrewsMD
3.16/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Great story behind the beer and if you get a chance to go to the brewery you can see the Palo Santo wood tank they use to ferment this beer in. Its made entirely of the wood and cost a lot of money to be built and brought in from South America. A very cool concept. They say they brew this beer just using a standard brown ale recipe and the wood tank provides the rest of the "extra" flavors.

Had this beer at the brewery poured into a 6 oz plastic cup

A- I love dark beers! This one was an interesting dark brown with mild hints of ruby red when held up to the light. The head is tan and looked great in my plastic cup.

S- Good aroma. Hints of chocolate from the roasted malts and caramel and vanilla from the Palo Santo wood. I could also get some whiffs of alcohol not surprising coming from a 12%.

T- Nice initial taste. The vanilla and caramel flavors really come through. The roasted malt flavors kick in a give your mouth the flavor of a stout and then the wood notes are detected. The after taste of the beer is a little more "in your face" than I prefer and is kind of off putting to me.

M- Very chewy is the only way I can describe it. Its not heavy but not light on the palate either.

D- Its something to try. Not a session beer and might take awhile for some individuals to drink. It will not appeal to everyone.

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

Poured from bottle into a DFH signature glass

A- Very dark yet not particularly viscous with a cappuccino creme-colored head. Not the blackest beer ever, but no light getting through, either

S- A little cocoa, maybe whiff of black cherry and anise. Cinnamon-y.

T- There's an unusual flavor somersault in the mouth. The first impression is very stout-like but this quickly gives way to a rolling sting of what I can only describe as a singularly unique wood flavor. It's reminiscent of cedar and charcoal and has a spiciness I can't really put my finger on. Never had anything quite like it. ABV very well hidden.

M- On the lighter side w/o being dry. This beer goes down every smooth.

D- I'm glad this beer comes in four-packs and I look forward to trying another one in a year or so. I can imagine the wood notes putting some drinkers off, however I find the unique flavors in this beer fascinating.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 5,917 ratings
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