Palo Santo Marron - Dogfish Head, Milton
I just got back from a birthday road trip to Denver with a pretty decent haul of beers that I can't get back home. It's been less than 18 hours, I'm good and rested so I figured I'd open up one of my new beers and take it for a spin. I settled on this bottle of Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron because I had a little taste of it on tap while in Denver and wanted to make sure it was really as good as I remembered. Hopefully, it is... because I brought three 4 packs back last night. Anyways, I sampled the Palo Santo at Falling Rock between other, lighter beers and really enjoyed its complexity and smoothness. There was a smooth je ne sais quoi to this beer that I chocked up to the Palo Santo wood. Now that I've got the Palo Santo all to myself, I'm eager to give it a formal review.
The Dogfish Head Palo Santo pours a thick and viscous dark brown color that settles into a thicker, darker black body. There seems to be very little carbonation in this beer as the head never rises more than 1/8th of an inch. What head does develop has a very nitrous looking quality with tiny bubbles that are indistinguishable from one another. The color of the head is a darker tan shade, nearly khaki.
The Palo Santo Marron has a great aroma. It reminds me most of rich caramel and dark chocolate. There's a molasses and vanilla component that reminds me a lot of Bell's Batch 9000. There's a mysterious earthiness to this beer that I attribute to the wood aged nature of this beer. The name of this beer comes from the Palo Santo wood from Paraguay which was used to construct the unique tank this beer was stored in. The wood character isn't a pronounced as in other wood or barrel aged beers. That's something I really appreciate about this beer. It has some of the flavor of a barrel aged beer without the harshness.
Palo Santo Marron is a strong beer. It clocks in at 12% and it definitely tastes every bit of it, at least when it warms up. I poured this beer when it was only slightly chilled, about the same temperature it was when I had it on tap. The first thing you notice when you take a sip is the big chocolate and caramel sweetness. This beer actually tasted a lot more like a sweeter Stout or Porter than a Brown Ale because of the roasted malt and larger quantity of dark flavors. I have to assume this is because of the Palo Santo wood adding a lot of flavor to the beer. If there weren't as much chocolate or roasted malt, the wood aged flavor might be too much. The sweet molasses and vanilla flavors that come in at the end of this beer help to ease in the alcohol flavor that inevitably creeps in to double digit ABV beer.
I'm extremely pleased with the Palo Santo Marron from Dogfish Head. If you live in an area where this beer is readily obtainable, you should go pick one up right now. This is a fantastic dark beer with a lot of bold and delicious flavors.