Palo Santo Marron is not my first experience with Dogfish Head Brewery, but it will be my first review on the site. This “brown ale” has 50 IBUs and a whopping 12% ABV.
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 it’s wood has been used in South American wine-making communities.
This beer is a 12% abv, highly roasty, and malty brown ale aged on the Palo Santo wood. It was a huge hit at our Rehoboth Beach brewpub when first released in November of 2006, Palo went into full production at the end of 2007.
At 10,000 gallons, our Palo Tank is the largest wooden brewing vessel built in America since before Prohibition (and we have two same-sized Oak tanks right next to it).
Pours a dark black with a grande chocolate malt colored head. The last few drops drip out like a sludge.
This is an enticing nose for a hard to describe beer. Hints of molasses, dark chocolate, wood and bourbon all make appearances at some point. Very intriguing.
First off, I was surprised by the thinness of this beer. Considering how thick it poured, it’s relatively medium bodied.
Tastes like dark chocolate with a teenie bit of bourbon. Obviously, there are also notes of wood in the backend.
Beer clings slightly to the roof of your mouth, but not enough where it would be distracting.
I was also shocked by how little alcohol burn was present in the mouth, especially considering how much bourbon appears in the nose and flavor.
Once it warmed up it became much easier to drink. The alcoholic warmth increased, but overall the beer felt “creamier” and went down much smoother. Kinda like a thicker and much tastier version of Yoohoo!
Palo Santo Marron is another hard-to-describe beer from the inventive folks over at Dogfish Head. However, they claim that this is a brown ale, but I would label it a strong ale or maybe a wee heavy. Every time I try a new DFH beer I don’t know what to expect. And once again, they make something that defies genres. Not their best offering, but worth a taste if you enjoy barrel-aged brews.
Overall: 6 out of 10
As a BROWN ALE: 2.5 out of 10
(Like I said before, this doesn’t taste like a brown ale at all. Palo Santo Marron is a so-so brown ale, but a pretty darn good American strong ale.)