Beer Wednesday: Palo Santo Marron by Dogfish Head

I like Dogfish Head because they are not afraid to take chances and brew interesting, unique beers. Their Palo Santo Marron is a great example. This beer is very strong (12% ABV) and is described as a "malt beverage" on the bottle. It was apparently brewed in tanks made out of South American Palo santo wood, which I had never heard of before. Regardless of the wood type, using wood barrels to add flavor to fermented drinks is a time-tested tradition in wine making (oak is popular) and has caught on in brewing also.

I couldn't tell you if it's the Palo santo wood tanks that make the beer taste good, but I am a fan of the end product. In reading what other beer review blogs like Bottle and Cellar are saying, I am relieved to know that I'm not the only person who has trouble describing the Palo Santo Marron. I guess Dogfish Head used the phrase "malt beverage" for a reason - it's not quite like most beers.

For the 12% ABV strength, this beer is VERY smooth. It has a slight spiciness that melts into a vanilla character as the flavor transitions across your tongue. There's a roasted, malty flavor that is typical of strong brown ales. While the beer is slightly hoppy and has a full body, neither of those characteristics stand out to me. Most of all I can't get over how many flavors there are and how smooth the whole beer is to drink. It's definitely one of the best combinations of complex and delicious I've ever had in a beer. Keep in mind that my palate loves a smooth, rich beer. Aaron and other IPA lovers might not be as enamored as I am, but I would be very interested to hear their take on this beer.

The ratebeer and Beer Advocate reviewers seem to have a similarly difficult time categorizing this beer. Regardless, I recommend picking up a 4-pack of 12oz bottles for $15. It's pricey, but you can share this with any beer lovers you know and have a unique beer drinking experience.

1 comment:

  1. Great descriptor for this beer: sneaky strong. Similar to Scott's take on the Affligem Noel, in that regard.