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Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
5,899 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: 5,899 |  Reviews: 2,125
Photo of TheBlackMallard
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a 4 pack that sadly had no DVD.

Pours dark black with a small head that disappears leaving a small ring around the glass.

Smells mostly of banana esters from the yeast, not much else going on. Maybe a hint of caramel.

Taste is somewhat sweet. Hints of wood, vanilla, banana, with a dry woody finish.

Well carbonated and very thick.

This is surprisingly smooth and a great beer but I probably won't drink it that often. I'm glad I only bought one 4 pack.

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Photo of peabody
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a rich dark coffee color with one finger of tan suds with large and small bubbles. Lacing can be seen around the glass.
Smell is rich cocao malts with coffee hints and a slight burn from the yeast. No alcohol is detectable by aroma.
Taste is all over the place here. First you get this heavy coffee/cocoa heavy as thick molassass then a fruity flavor hits the tip of the tongue. Then the flavor goes quickly to the mellow malt sweetness of a choclolat bar then the alcohol is at the very end with a mellow warmth in the back of the throat.
Mouthfeel is just a tad oily but very clean otherwise. You really can't feel the alcohol here till the very end of the aftertaste.
Good stuff here. Wish I could afford to drink a case of these and wish I could handle more than two because of the abv.

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

Got this one from South Bay Drugs & Liquor the other day, good to see some Dogfish Head in San Diego now.

Palo Santo Marron pours a dark caramel color, very stout-like, with almost an inch of tanned foam.

I can pick up the wood notes almost immediately; a very soft, earthy and grain-like aroma coming from the wood ageing. There's also hints of chocolate, toffee, roasted malts, a bit of coffee, hazelnut, nutty malts, toasted multi-grain bread, and the slightest touch of spices.

Lots of chocolate, wood and coffee flavors on the first sip, really enjoyable. Then there are some hints of dark fruits like sweet raisins and plums along with the roasted malts and finishes with a little alcohol warmth.

Carbonation could be a little smoother but some ageing might take care of that.

A very interesting brew for sure, would like to age a couple and see what happens.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head- Palo Santo Marron

Thanks to Pimpp for this 1!

A- Deep murky brown with a thin creamy head.
S- Wood chips, molasses, vanilla, and caramel malt.
T- Sweet caramel malt with a equal doses of thick molasses and vanilla extract. Wood chips and pipe flake tobacco.
M- Very creamy and thick with a sweet creamy finish. The 12% alc. is so well hidden you wouldn't think this was over 6%!?!

Overall- Sweet, creamy, and smooth. I could drink several of these!!

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Photo of Jerzdevil1116
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle purchased at Joe Canal's in Egg Harbor Twp., NJ.

A- Very dark, cloudy brown body. No light pnentrating the glass. Small tan head dissipated quickly.

S- Very earthy, sweet smell. Malt and wood. Hints of coffee and caramel. Also has hints of wine and alcohol.

T- Again very earthy. Coffee, wood, tobacco. Not as sweet as I was expecting after the smell.

M- Medium bodied. Although I can't see the carbonation, it had a bit of tingle. Alcohol becoming more present as it warms.

D- This beer seems very complex and full of flavors, none of which I really liked. It's quite different from any other beer I've had. Not sure I'd drink it again. For anyone who lkes a very earthy beer with a prevalent woody character, you may love it.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was expecting something more akin to Jiahu and Fort from this beer, and was grateful not to get it! I thought this beer was excellent. Those others I mentioned...not so much.

Appearance of this was a dark red-black color. Head was tan and interacted strangely with my glass, as if it were trying to eat through it. Aroma was extremely roasty with lots of great "burned pizza crust" character. Flavor was also very roasty, but had an extremely floral note and some red wine grapiness also. Most really roasty beers are just that; it takes a lot of flavor to balance with some fruit. Mouthfeel was quite smooth but not thick...I didn't get the feeling this beer would coat the back of a spoon but it wasn't flat or watery.

I would highly recommend this beer.

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Photo of Ego
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

attained from oak tree buy rite (thanks fellas)
oddly enough I was at the brew pub in rehobeth when the first batch of this beer was being made (it was on the wood aging around halloween a year and a half ago). I remember the wood was strange.. dense.. and "wood" jokes were abounding such as "do you want to hold our wood" etc.. so I am not surprised to see the same joke on the label.

this pours darker brown than.. nah, nevermind, might get in trouble for that one.. anyway this pours like some imp stouts. is opaque brown a color ? it is now... the cocoa head settles down quickly and thins out like male pattern baldness to the edges of the glass, this has legs that coat the sides of the glass when swirled, with a nice gentle swirl the head jumps back into contention. nice.

mild. some coffee (folgers not starbucks), some caramel tone, cocoa covered raisins
not that brown's are usually overwhelming but this one is a little too subtle for me.

taste etc...
nice medium to full body, really fills the mouth nicely, the vanilla tones really smooth out the flavor. did I mention smooth ? this is billy d williams colt 45 smooth.. I'm talking lando calrisian mooching on princess leia smooth... so yeah, it's smooth.
the typical brown flavor asserts itself more on the second sip. alcohol ? This sucker hides the poison well.. you get some burn in the tum tum but that is about all you sense.

an absolutely pleasant beer to drink. worth the price ? er.. I don't know about that. I don't taste this and go "I absolutely have to get this!" or recommend it as such. But, that said, Sam and crew are going out on a limb that isn't covered by 42 hop varieties. I salute the effort and vote with my wallet

"if you have the means, I highly recommend one" - ferris bueller

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, very dark bown in color. Somewhat foamy head. Woody, sweet smelling aroma. Strong, malty flavor with a deep and earthy flavor to it. There is a slight, spicey flavor I cannot pinpoint but I have tasted it before. The lingering sweetness/woody flavor is great. No visible trace of any alcohol. Very full and smooth body. Simply an amazing beer. I was so impressed when I first had this at the brewpub when it was a one off. To me the best beer DFH has done-period.

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Photo of brewjones
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So, it seems as if Sam Calagione is at it again. He really does take the homebrew spirit and throw it into the commercial world with what seems to be an unlimited imagination and budget.

Says it is a Brown Ale. Sure, I would agree. Pours a dark mahogany with a tan head that is creamy and doesn't last very long. There is a huge fruity nose filled with raisins and vanilla. No hop presence yet. At first sip it is very smooth and easy to drink. No hop character, all malt. There is a slight tartness that portrudes and is a bit unpleasant at first but doesn't linger but turns into a warmth in the belly that is right for this time of year (if it wasn't almost 60 today).

I would say this is a good one but not as easy drinking as I had hoped. The wood is present although I am not sure how different it is from any other wooden vessel. Supposedly these are 10,000 (yes ten thousand) gallon wooden vessels made from the Paraguayan wood (Palo Santo). Reported as the largest wooden cask since before prohibition. Ok - I don't know.

Got mine at the Firehouse Liquors (that dude has some good ones) and he is selling 4 packs for $16.99 and singles for $4.95. I bought two so I could try one and cellar one for at least a year to see how they differ. Maybe longer. Supposedly it says you can age this one for up to 8 years. I am not so sure about that but with the dark malts and the 12% abv, I suppose it is possible and maybe worth a shot.

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

Opened 12 oz bottle of Palo Santo and poured into Nonic Glass.

Forms nice creamed coffee head atop a mostly opaque cola brown brew.

Smell is some what woody, some Carmel malts, bits of rich chocolate. Taste is nutty with nice toasty taste, and follows through with the aromas.

Mouth feel is quite pleasant. Bubbles are light and body is filling without being over bearing. Really good finish. I'd never suspect 12% ABV.

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

A - This one comes out of the bottle topped by a one finger thick layer of medium brown foam that settles slowly and leaves nice lace. The body is dark brown with just a hint of light showing through.

S - Aromas of vanilla, sandalwood, clove, and raisins. Significant malt presence with chocolate and caramel notes.

T - Big raisiny malt note up front which transitions into chocolate and banana esters. Subtle hop flavors come out in the middle along with more raisins and and chocolate as well as a bit of alcohol. The finish is spicy, woody and smokey with lingering malt bitterness.

M - Smooth, almost oily, mouthfeel with moderate carbonation and a chalky, dry finish.

D - Reasonably drinkable for such a strong beer, though the flavors are quite heavy and I certainly do not feel like opening another bottle tonight. It is quite complex and well worth trying; one of Dogfish Head's more successful experiments.

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

A 12 oz bottle poured into my pint glass. Beer is a dark brown color that lets in to light at all. The very tan/brown head is about 2/3 inch thick when poured before settling to a nice 1/4 inch with pretty good retention and nice lace. Head eventually settles to a nice thick tan ring lining the inside of my glass. Has a nice malty aromas with a chocolate and vanilla and maybe a bit of apple or plum. Taste is the same, sweet malt with chocolate and vanilla and a bit of fruit. Very nice balance and very little hops too. the taste of alcohol certainly isn't very noticeable. I would never have guessed that this was a 12% ABV beer if it didn't say so on the bottle. Has a crisp and smooth, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Very good drinkability especially considering its ABV content.


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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A: Pours a deep brown, almost black, under a half inch of brown head. No lace, OK retention.

S: Smells of mildly sweet malt, some chocolate, a bit of fruit and vanilla.

T: Sweet notes throughout with some roasted malt and mild bitterness finish. No alcohol save for some warmth. A little bit of chocolate. There is a certain woody character there but it really blends in well. It's not like I'm licking a tree or anything.

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation is about medium on the tongue, slightly creamy and alcohol is nowhere to be found except for slight warming. Drinkability is good. Alcohol is concealed well. Overall a good beer, not blown away by it. Kind of hard for me to pick out in definite wood character, maybe with some cellaring it will come out more.

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

Pours black with a small pumpkin pie tan head that quickly recedes. Malty and sweet cola aroma, bourbony, roasty twang. Vanilla is soft and subtle but is stronger when agitated. Nice vanilla sweetness rolls over the tongue in the taste and mixes with the cola like sweetness. A bourbony warmth of alcohol comes on in the finish and blends nicely with a woody dryness. Mouthfeel is on the full side, thick and malty, slightly prickly carbonation and a good bite of alcohol and dryness at the back of the throat in the finish. A very good beer, definitely look forward to a couple of years on this one.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark brown with a nice dark colored head and decent lacing.
Smell is sweet vanilla followed by oaky notes.
Taste is just too overpowering of wood. Damn, take a fine brown ale, stick a chip of fresh oak in your mouth, then try to drink the beer. The vanilla notes are nice but the wood is just too much. Feels great, thick, dense and rich.
Drinkability is hurt by the massive woody taste, I almost drain poured it but finished it anyway. No way I want another one. I'll be looking to trade the 3 I have left.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle on 03/01/08.

Pours a very dark brown color, almost black. Looks stout-ish in appearance even though this is a brown ale. Little to no head. Smells roasty, woody, and of vanilla.

Taste is pretty good. Nice nutty vanilla flavors, with some sugary molasses in there too. The wood gives this some nice flavors. The relatively high alcohol (12%) is hardly noticeable.

It's medium bodied, with low carbonation. Very easy to drink - it goes down smoothly. A very interesting beer.

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Photo of klewis
2.66/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottled 2/11/08

A: Pours a deep brown with a modest, bubbly head. Moderate lacing.

S: Not much smell coming from this one. Cedar, chocolate, a bit of smoke.

T: Ash, charred wood, burnt chocolate, tar, tobacco, etc. If the so-called "caramel and vanilla compexity" wasn't obliterated by all of the earthy flavors, this one might be a bit more palatable.

M: Full-bodied with moderate-high carbonation. Sticky with a lingering finish and a bit of heat.

D: Obviously, the wood aging is a bit overboard for me. How 'bout some subtlety?

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

12 oz bottle from leftmindedrighty. I can buy it here but he sent one and i was afraid to buy it, so it all worked out good!

Pours black with just a hint of light piercing through around the very edge of the top of the glass. head stayed for a bit but then went away to nearly nothing. no lacing which is expected in a 12% brew.

mellow wood, slight sting of alcohol, vanilla, dark fruit.

taste is like the smell.. the alcohol is very, very subtle, i cant believe how well it is hidden for a 12% brew.

I could suck this one down in minutes, i am trying to restrain myself since i have to drive somewhere after this one beer. I need to seek out more of these.. this is my favorite DFH beer to date.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Date February 2008; Sampled February 2008
Pours with an almost three-finger thick, light brown colored head. The beer is a deep, burnt amber, dark brown colored head. Despite being a clear, rich brown color as I pour this beer, it is completely opaque when held up to the light. Aromas of vanilla, interesting spicy wood that is not the same as from oak (slightly peppery, cinnamon and a touch of fenugreek), candied caramel malt, almost a bit of smoke, . A substantial fruit character provides notes of cherries, raisins and red grapes mixes very well with the wood aromatics. The alcohol is hidden quite well, especially given the 12% abv. Supporting, toasty malt notes, with ample browned bread and biscuit notes and a hint of roast character; really the toasty, browned bread crust like aromas of this beer are quite distinct if you dig around in the aroma for them. This has a very interesting aroma, the use of the Palo Santo wood definitely adds a unique dimension that is a derivative, but still uniquely distinct from, the more typical oak.

Thick and viscous, though not nearly as sweet as I was expecting. A creamy, velvety mouthfeel couples with flavors of vanillin, chewy toffee and dark fruit flavors. This is pretty well carbonated (with a nice prickle to the tongue at the beginning of each sip), but it is thick enough that it is not noticed as much as it would be otherwise. Concentrated fruit forward flavors of cherries, raisins and blackberries couple with a very light alcohol presence to contribute a Brandy like finish. This finishes with a toasted soda cracker note at times, but often this takes the backseat to the sweet, concentrated fruit notes that tend to linger on in the mouth. The wood components are a bit more subdued than in the aroma; it does provide a spicy backbone as well as a bit of tannic astringency, both of which provide a sharp note in the finish that provides balance like hop bitterness would.

As the beer warms up a bit, the aroma really starts to pick up a complex mix of cherry, mace, and distinctly sweet spices. The aroma of this brew is a bit more intriguing and interesting than the flavor, though that is by no means a dud. The malt and brown ale character seems to come through more in the aroma as does the wood. With the added wood component this is one of the more complex, even balanced big beers from Dogfish Head.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of dsa7783
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A single, 12 oz bottle ran me $4.99 from Gary's in Madison...
Despite being labled as an "American Brown Ale", this unique brew pours a jet-black, ebony hue with a giant reddish, tan, frothy and foamy head which exhibited enormous staying power before slowly receding...
Aged on Palo Santo wood from Paraguay, this exquisite brew appears and tastes very stout-like, with a strong suggestion of roasted malts both in the nose and mouth...
Taste was top-notch, bursting with complex, intricate flavors including deep, dark espresso, roasted, crunchy malts, burnt-coffee and chocolate, and a noticeable vanilla and oak taste... Truly unique and wonderful flavors...
Good, creamy, rich, and thick mouthfeel dominate this beer, with a decent drinkability that only took a slight hit due to the very hefty 12% ABV, which was very well masked behind a rich conglomeration of sweet, unique flavors... Very good stuff... Another winner from Dogfish... Definitely recommended...

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

Got my hands on this puppy in Athens, GA and boy am I glad I did. This beer is smooth and seductive yet sporting a viscious kick. The color is more black than most brown ales and sorta resembles cola in the glass. The nose and palate is dominated by roasted malts and woody characteristics, yet there is plenty of hoppy bitterness to make the beer amazingly drinkable, and that's a scary thought due to the 12% abv!

Once again, Dogfish Head has created a beer that wine lovers would turn their heads towards. I would love to cellar this beer for a year just to see what happens. I could just sense that the woody notes of the beer would creep even closer to the top!

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

Brown ale with stout like color profile with very little head and has an amazing taste profile. It's almost like a chocolate stout with it's malt tastes. Medium smoothness and not hoppy at all. A nice sweetness that can be likened to a fine barley wine. Awesome flowery taste and you can definitely taste the cane sugar used to brew. It almost borders on molasses in that respect. I can't wait to age this and see how it tastes!

~Jonathan Passow

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

I've never had a 4-pack to come wiht a CD before. I thought I was getting a deal with Left Hand 6-packs with the free sticker. Our homebrew club recently brewed an Imperial Brown and aged it in a Four Roses Bourbon Barrel for the '08 NHC. Interesting to compare the differences. This beer surely qualifies for a Double Brown without loosing any balance, falling into Porter or Stout territory. A nice chocolaty, nutty flavor with a hearty helping of malt, sweetness, and berry-like esters. Good hopping rates give the beer a grassy, piney flavor while offsetting the heavy sweetness. The wood gives a well-roundness to the flavors, but don't give a whole lot of wood flavor or astringency. Quite delicate in it's balance, despite a dominant alcohol (ethanol)taste and slightly harsh textures, but does thin the weighted brew a bit. Surprised to see a fizzy head formation that didn't last any time at all, nor did the carbination -- strange for DFH.

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

Poured dark brown almost black with a tint of red from a 12oz. bottle. 1/8 inch tan head. Aroma of heavy malt with a scent of wine. Tastes sweet then bitter with a hint of vanilla. Mouthfeel is very creamy. Closer to a Baltic Porter than a Brown Ale. The 12% percent is well hidden. This is a great beer. I'd love to have this on tap!

The four pack came with a DVD glued to the side. I almost didn't see it.

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

12oz. brown bottle, purchased at Dilly Deli, poured into a snifter. Dating is smudged but it looks like 1/12/08.

A: Pours a very deep chocolate brown that's completely opaque. Maybe an inch of head struggles to forms after a semi rough pour and dies within a minute or 2. Some thin lacing rings.

S: Intense aroma. Plenty of woody alcohol and vanilla notes. Super sweet, bready malts that make me think that I'm gonna have to chew through this one :)

T/M: Wow, very tasty. Super beefed up American brown. Sweet caramel malts(though not as sweet as I would have thought they'd be) with a subtly growing malted milk ball flavor that peaks at balancing right at the end. A bit smoky, a bit peaty, and plenty of earthy, woody notes. The alcohol plays very nice around the tongue and warms the throat and belly. Body is nearly full and it has just enough carbonation to add a silkiness.

D: It doesn't get much more drinkable for a 12% brew. If I had much more, I'd have another but I want to save and savor these.

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Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 5,899 ratings
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