Palo Santo Marron | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Palo Santo MarronPalo Santo Marron
5,921 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,921 |  Reviews: 2,130
Photo of alexgash
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. Bottled on 02/11/08. Served at 45 degrees F.

Music: Palo Santo by Shearwater.

Pours a meaty, dense dark brown. Small, ringy, light brown head. Caramelized raisins, brown sugar, smoky woody notes, maple syrup, vanilla, and maybe some sasparilla in there. Interesting. Definitely makes me think of a brown ale, but this is more of a Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds brown ale.

Toasted malts and woodsy bitterness up front. Charred character takes over, backed by brown sugar, maple syrup, molasses, and dates. A little alcohol makes its way through. Accents of vanilla, tobacco, and even some anise. Numbing herbal bitterness in the finish with plenty of leftover dark fruit and molasses sweetness. Medium-full body with a relatively dry finish. Drinks pretty easy for 12%! Glad to see such another interesting, well-made beer added to the DFH line-up.

 865 characters

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

Poured from bottle into a goblet. Dark, syruppy brown with a thin tan head. Head dissapates quickly, leaving thin lacing. Smell is of roasted malts with hints of sugar, vanilla and maybe a slight hint of alcohol. Taste is as I expected- strong malt flavor with a bite. You can taste the alcohol in this beer, but it is balanced with the malts and the smokey aftertaste. I get a nice warming sensation as I drink it. It also gets easier to drink as it warms. (I let it sit in the goblet for about 15 minutes out of the fridge, but it seemed to need more warming- maybe serva at cellar temp) One of the more enjoyable strong beers I have had in some time.

 653 characters

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

Appearance: Pours a dark brown body with a creamy-looking, tan head.

Smell: Rich, blended aroma of cocoa powder, smokey wood, molasses, black currants, and a beefy Argentina red wine.

Taste: Intense, chewy maltiness with flavors of with chocolate, molasses, and light coffee all with a medium sweetness. Black currant jam fruitiness. Subtle, earthy wood component. The palo santo adds to the complexity of the brew, sure, but doesn't really bash you in the head with wood. Hints of vanilla, green peppercorns, and red wine. Light touch of acidity. Rather restrained hop bitterness. Finishes semi-sweet with a touch of spice.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Very enjoyable. The 12% is quite well hidden within this fine beer. The palo santo wood really brings a little some extra to the beer, like when they give you extra peanuts on a flight.

 895 characters

Photo of d0ggnate
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle to pint glass
$14/4pk at Bevmo La Mesa

A: 1 finger head fades to thin layer quickly. A dark brown/black pour with yeasty lava pits spewing from its "depths".

S: Roasted malt, coffee with a slight twang of fine brandy

T: Immediate chocolate with a coffee push down the throat. Hints of caramel.

M: Quite dense in flavor and complexity. Very smooth, but strong body at the same time.

D: To be enjoyed with other admires of beer (m1ked). Age would glorify this brew.

 481 characters

Photo of lightindarkness
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a remarkably dark brown that looks black and murky in the glass. A tan head quickly dissolves down to patchy bubbles.

Nose is very intriguing, with dark grains, roasted nuttiness, caramel, raisin, and wood. Very smooth and round, finished with a light spice and alcohol smell that is blended nicely into the overall aroma.

Taste is an interesting version of roasted malts, with a smooth warm darkness of grains and tobacco along with some dry roasted flavors. Holds a unique spicy smoothness in the middle, sweetened slightly by vanilla. The wood taste is definitely unique as well. Finishes dry with a deep toasted flavor and brighter tannins, slightly bitter.

Feel is medium full with a stickiness to it. Dry at the finish with a lot of body added from the carbonation. Overall mostly smooth.

Drinkability is pretty good. Not perfectly balanced in taste, but unique in subtle character enough to make it appealing. High abv is really well masked in flavor, enhancing rather than detracting from the beer, but definitely warm on the throat and stomach.

 1,063 characters

Photo of Flyer
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

In some ways reminiscent of an imperial stout, but still so different in so many ways. It pours deep, deep brown and viscous-looking, with a butterscotch-colored head. The wood aromas leap out of the glass. Initial taste impressions are suggestions of caramel. licorice, a hint of chocolate and dates. And big roastiness at the core. But the overall impression is more of an "imperial brown ale," with those great, and yet not overpowering, wood flavors. The alcohol makes itself noticed in a lingering dryness at the end. Just when I feared DFH might be running out of creative territories to explore, they come up with this gem. Nice work. Highly recommended.

 661 characters

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

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a dense brown body with a sea of tiny bubbles racing to the surface. There is a thick creamy light tan head that last for the full beer sticking to the glass for a moment only to then slide back into the beer.

S- The smell of smooth brown malt fits softly over a note of chocolate malt with a silky nose. There is a soft eucalyptus and alcohol note that comes through as the beer warms.

T- The taste is a sooth brown malt flavor with a slight sweetness and a note of light cola followed by a soft tangy hint of patchouli or sandalwood.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a full but silky texture and no alcohol heat until the beer warms. Then it gets a bit hot for the last bit of the glass.

D- This beer gets big points on creativity, but it if wasn't for all the hype and DVD I would have assumed it was just a brown ale with a bit of an off flavor. It is still a nice sipping brown ale but I don't think it was worth the deforestation of a region in South America. I'm only kidding but it did cross my mind.

 1,063 characters

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.72/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter. PSM pours a deep rich mahogany, if not almost black. Nice tan head on op, with a decent retention level. Mild lacing. Oaky, very sweet aromas, figs, plums, some dark spices, along with some dark fruits, vanilla, and caramel. Vanilla and caramel tastes up front. Not quite the flavor I expected from a brown ale, which sets this one from the rest. It almost starts like an oak aged imperial stout. Some bourbon as well. Mouthfeel is creamy, with a great carbonation level. Very complex palate. Extremely smooth for 12%. Very nice drinkability and its a sleeper. Absolute greatness which is expected when drinking DFH.

 639 characters

Photo of Bierguy5
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle, 12% ABV. Very dark brown in color, just a few shades short of black. No highlights at all. Thick mocha head trickles to a thin layer very quickly, leaving no lace.

Nice aroma of caramel and vanilla, followed by a bit of ripe fruit. A bit of wood, and a whiff of alcohol. Maybe a bit of earthy hops.

Darker malt flavor, just short of roasty, more toward chocolate and weak coffee. A few ripe fruit flavors, and some dry wood near the end. A bit more wood comes out as it warms.

A bit of warming alcohol, but not what you would expect for a 12% beer. The wood used here gives it a nice flavor, good effect. Medium body, with a fair enough amount of carbonation. Very nice.

 688 characters

Photo of MarkSCCOT
4.68/5  rDev +12%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Received a 4 pack of this beer and the DVD from stopbarking after a trip to Atlanta. I am a big fan of Dogfish Head beers. Were it available here in SC, DFH 60 minute would be a staple in my fridge, right up there with ketchup.

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

A. Wow, if I had to guess by it's appearance, I would think this is an RIS. Deep caramel color with a nice tan head. Good lasting lacing.

S. Wow..caramel, chocolately malt with a hint of vanilla. A hint of expresso.

T. This is a great beer!! Caramel malt. I usually avoid malty beers but this is very pleasing. The vanilla expresso is also present in the finish. Where is the alcohol? For 12 % it is well hidden.

M. Beautiful thick finish and great carbonation.

D. This is a new DFH favorite for me. However, I feel it's drinkability will skyrocket as it ages a little. The rest of my 4 pack went right into the cellar.

THIS IS A GREAT BEER!!! Good job by the guys at DFH.

 957 characters

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

You have to love DFH for pushing the absolute limits of the brown ale style with this. It's more potent than most Imperial Stouts!
Pours a deep dark brown color that reminds me of semisweet chocolate. It's actually still a brown color, rather than the black color you might expect. Carbonation's there and isn't bad for something at 12% ABV.
Smells like a kicked up version of their Indian Brown Ale, but boozier and with a little bit of a smoky flavor in there, too.
It actually tastes like a beer that isn't nearly as strong as it is. Much like the smell, it's like a 2X version of the Indian Brown Ale. I'm not picking up a ton of traditional wood flavors, but more of an earthiness and some nuttiness that's closer to Brazil nuts. Hops are there as expected, but they're there in a support role.
Texture is thick and creamy. Reminds me a little of a nitro texture, just because of the way that everything is sort of fluffy.
Drinkability's higher than you might expect, but there's a little bit of heat in there once you work your way down.

I'm not really getting a lot from the wood, but I love the texture and the concept of a brown ale on steroids.

I might have to get more of this!

 1,190 characters

Photo of Lupe
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with lighter brown hues when held up to light. Huge soapy tan head that lasted for a while before settling down. Loads of sticky lace cling to the sides of the glass. All this head and lace with 12% abv?! A little sediment found it's way into the glass.

Malty aroma with a generous dose of dusty yeast. Molasses, maple syrup, and cocoa, along with roasted malt and faint vanilla. Alcohol is very present in the aroma - this could spell trouble.

Wow - were did the alcohol go. Barely noticeable in the flavor. Surprisingly smooth and mellow and not as sweet as expected. Roasted coffee and chocolate, some nuttiness, caramel and molasses. A touch of vanilla, raisin, and wood. Not to steal from a fellow reviewer, but there is a very pleasant "burnt pizza crust" flavor towards the end. Again there is just barely a hint of alcohol. With all the mellowing and melding of flavors, the wood really must be holy. Most similar to a good aged English Barelywine in flavor.

Medium-full in body. Thinner than expected, but in a good way. Incredibly smooth and creamy, but not thick, syrupy, or cloying. Awesome beer - a sipper that drinks way too easily. Excellent - try if you can.

 1,216 characters

Photo of sfoley333
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle from PP bottle shop. Poured a blackish brown color ( it looks black but when pouring the stream from the bottle to glass was more on the brown color) with a mocha colored head. Smell is mixture of the malt, carmel, yeast, and the wood aroma. Taste is vanilla, carmel, dark fruit, with slight coco flavor. Mouthfeel is great with a fullbody syrup mouthfeel without being to sweet and a nice low carbonation level. This beer is extremely drinkable for 12% with great full flavor. Great job Dogfish head.

 525 characters

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

Well this was expensive, but at least the DVD it came with was fun!

A - very dark, hints of brown when held up to light, started with a nice brown head which quickly subsided

S - maple syrup, alcohol, chocolate, the brown ale comparison I read on this page earlier is a pretty good take as well

T - wow, not as sweet as I thought it would be! Coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, hints of wood, really hides the alcohol well!

M - this feels absolutely amazing! So full bodied and smooth while maintaining a nice carbonation! Really great!

D - wow! Am I glad I bought 2 packs of this! Definitely a beer I will enjoy over the coming months, and one I'd like to "cellar" (I don't actually have a cellar) for next winter. Seriously, this is excellent. If you can get a hold of it, watch the DVD and enjoy one of these. One of the best DFH I've had in a long time for sure. Great work DFH! Totally worth the price.

 910 characters

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

Bottle courtesy of vwcraig. Thanks again!

Beer has a very dark brown, almost black color with a pretty impressive off white head.

Aromas are classic brown ale, but kicked up a bit. Fruity, almost raisin like, dusty, and woody.

This is actually quite smooth and mellow, especially for a beer that checks in at 12%. Subtle wood flavors, classic brown ale flavors, nutty, earthy, creamy, and a tad bit sweet as well. Finish is crisp, with just a hint of the alcohol.

Beer has good mouthfeel and surprising carbonation.

Drinkability is surprisingly very good. This is a very well crafted and interesting beer that is actually VERY easy to sip. Certainly a beer that is worth trying.

 685 characters

Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark reddish brown with a thin mocha head that left an even thinner ring and some spotted lacing. Smells of coffee and chocolate with sweet malts and a little vanilla. Tasted of coffee with some earthy wood tones and a slight bitterness and tart bite. The mouthfeel was a little thick but flowed down silky and smooth. Overall this one is something to come back to on a regular basis and I wouldn't mind putting some down to see how they age.

 456 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours black with a thin brown chocolate head that leaves a thin layer of foam. This one is a lot darker than I was expecting.

S - Sweet caramel malt, molasses, vanilla, chocolate milk and wood chips.

T - Caramel, sweet thick molasses, vanilla, coffee and very woody with some tobacco.

M - On the thick side of medium and slightly creamy. Slight warming feeling but no notice of the 12% abv in the taste.

D - Very interesting. The woody flavor becomes more prominent as it warms.

 486 characters

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

Wow....this is a great we go...
APPEARANCE: Pours a murky/syrupy brownish-black, are we pouring a brown or a stout here??? Whoa...

SMELL: Vanilla, bourbon, coffie, chocolate, its got a great fragrance.

TASTE: mmm...lots of rich/burnt/grainy goodness. Lots of chocolate up front with a little coffie, vanilla and oak round it out for me. The 12% alcohol is totally hidden.

Mouthfeel: By far the best bodied beer I've had in a long time. This thing has the mouthfeel of an oatmeal stout on steroids. Thick, syrupy, creamy, it lingers on your palate.

Drinkability: This stuff is great. Very rich in flavor, definately not a session brew, but I could sip my way through a few on a relaxing evening with good friends. I highly recommend this one... drink it now, and lay one down for a couple years.

 810 characters

Photo of drumrboy22
4.22/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Dogfish Head snifter. Beer was a dark, dark brown, almost black color. Had a small, light brown head that left no lacing around the glass.

Aroma was wood, vanilla, heavy malt, caramel and dark fruits.

Taste was smoked wood, tobacco, vanilla, caramel, molasses and light maple.

Soft, creamy texture. Excellent at cellar or even room temperature.

I had been avoiding this one. I originally thought it was just going to be a standard brown ale. I should have known that Sam and the DFH crew wouldn't brew a traditional brown ale for a special release. I'm glad I was able to track this down. It's an awesome beer. I plan to lay a few down in the cellar to see how they change over time.

I also like the idea of releasing a DVD with the beer. Haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but it's a great idea and will hopefully provide some insight into the idea behind the beer and working with the wood fermentors. Definitely worth tracking down.

 980 characters

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

Poured a deep dark chocolate, almost black, with a tan 1/2 head.
Smells and tastes of roasted malts, raisons and chocolate
Nice carbonation with medium mouthfeel. Couldn't really tell it was 12%, very smooth.
At $14.99 a 4 pack and now knowing that it has been retired,at least try and buy a single if you can find it.
I know they have a few at the local Anderson's Store in lima.

 380 characters

Photo of mithrascruor
4.8/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a snifter at O'Brien's, San Diego.

Pours an inviting dark black color with a deep brown head that disappears rather quickly. Aroma of coffee, chocolate and nuts. Taste is like the aroma, but with some woody notes and dark fruits. Full-bodied and smooth; goes down well. A bit of tingle from the invisible carbonation. No noticeable alcohol in the taste or aroma, which is a big plus. This was a real joy to drink. Highly recommended.

 453 characters

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

Pours on the darker side of a brown ale. Almost opaque. Thin mocha head fizzles quickly leaving little lacing or remnants of its presence.

Large malt dominance in the nose. It's hard to explain the notes that I assume are from the wood. It has similar characteristics to brews aged in oak barrels, although sweeter without the hints of whiskey.

There is a sweet vanilla characteristic on the front of the palate. It gets more prevalent as the beer warms. Slightly bitter on the sides, but smoothed out by a brown sugar aftertaste. The bottle says 12%, but I find no pepper or heat from the alcohol. Everything is just smooth, sweet and malty.

Thick-creamy-rich mouthfeel.

Everything about this one is unique. The wood gives sweet characteristics that complement the roastiness of the malts well in the nose as well as the taste.

 833 characters

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.

 468 characters

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.

 800 characters

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.

 871 characters

Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.18 out of 5 with 5,921 ratings