Day #103 – Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

April 14, 2011

Another new style is on the docket for today. This style is actually not a true style in the regular sense, but another one of those “catch-all” categories. Recently many American craft brewers have been experimenting like crazy trying to create the next great beer. Often times what they create cannot fit into the logical, pre-established styles and so we just lump them into a new category of American Strong Ale. These beers are typically high in alcohol and could range in flavors and ingredients on all sides of the beer spectrum. Today’s beer is one of them.

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron


Another Dogfish Head beer is in front of me today. Several readers have sent in requests regarding reviewing specific DFH beers, but due to the success of the show “Brewmasters” their beer has become increasingly harder and harder to find. I will keep an eye out though, and when I happen to find a new DFH bottle, I will snatch it up.

The Palo Santo Marron starts as a Brown Ale, but at 12% alcohol it doesn’t fit into the guidelines for other American Brown Ales, and seeing as there is not an Imperial Brown Ale style, we come to our new style of American Strong Ale. This beer has also been aged on Palo Santo wood from Paraguay to give it some unique characteristics. As this beer is higher in alcohol than most, I wouldn’t recommend drinking more than one in a night, and especially not if you are driving. I will be enjoying this in the safety of my home accompanying my dinner and more than likely a bad movie. Bring it on!

After I let this beer warm on the counter for half an hour or so, I poured it elegantly into my Dogfish Head oversized wine glass. I’m so glad I finally get to use this bad boy! It pours very dark brown with a nice tall tannish-brown head. The head lasts for awhile before finally dropping into the drink.

The aroma is pretty strong. Heavy with dark malts and a spicy wood with some light vanilla and aging raisin. Definitely smells like it will be higher in alcohol.


Flavor is sweet flavorful malts and grains, with a candied sugar type flavor. There is a big tingle/warming sensation on the tongue and in the throat. A wood-like flavor is met near the finish of the drink that has some light chocolate and a gentle toastedness. The finish stays with you though…almost a burn.

All in all it’s a pretty good beer with a punchy finish and some very unique flavors. Not an everyday drink, that’s for sure!



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