August Beer of the Month- Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

I know this is a bit late, but a brewery was supposed to send some beer to review and it never showed. So I went to Midtown and picked up this beer. Back in November of 2006, I visited the Dogfish Head Eatery in Rehoboth Beach, DE. This beer was a new offering and draft only, listed at 14% and 35 IBUs. I enjoyed the beer, but thought the finish was a tad too heavy on the fusel alcohol. Nearly two years later, I saw that this beer was bottled and available locally. I decided to revisit this one, especially since they have lowered the abv to 12% and they altered the production methods.

Palo Santo Marron (Dogfish Head Brewing, Milton, DE)

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, so it's coming back... into full production!

At 10,000 gallons each, these are the largest wooden brewing vessels built in America since before Prohibition.

Smitty's Review: Sampled at 50 degrees. Pours a deep coffee brown, almost stout like, with a one finger brown head that dissipates to a ring. Very inviting nose of cocoa powder, dark roast, and wood mulch. Short initial flavor of nuts, molasses, and roasted malts that quickly transitions to aggressive plummy and red wine flavors. Semi-dry and oaky finish is warming with a strong vodka like alcohol presence (not quite as aggressive as the initial draft version). This is a strong beer and not recommended for the pedestrian palate. I think this may be a beer worth cellaring, and could use some time to mellow.
Recommended Food Pairing: I think this would be a good after dinner sipper or night cap beer. This is a tad too strong to pair with a main course in my opinion. This could pair well with a good dark chocolate cake.
Where To Buy: Midtown Wine and Spirits


Steve said...

Smitty, Very nice review. I found it to be much as you discribed but also having a slight dark fruit background, both in the aroma and flavor.

I agree this is a very nice after dinner sipper as it's very smooth and rich. I put a few in the cellar, we'll see what happens....

Troy said...

I would like to point out that Dogfish head has modified the production of this beer. I was at the brewery in June and they had just finished building and priming a full fermentation tank made from the paraguayan wood. It is a site to behold. This is the main reason for expanded availability. After having it at the brewpub in DE, I had been looking forward to this beer coming to Nashville.

In other Dogfish head "news", the Indian Brown Ale is on tap at the midtown Broadway Brewhouse.


Smitty said...

Thanks Troy. I believe it is the largest wood fermentation tank in the US. Did they mention or confirm that? Thanks

Troy said...

It is the largest, yes. Actually, they have three. Two oak and one with this exotic wood. All three are very impressive and all three the largest since before prohibition.

Jacob said...

I was actually really impressed with this beer. I tend to find Dogfish Head Beers worth trying but not buying much of, so I chose the single over the four pack. The guy working in the liquor store in Athens said I should buy the four pack and I said no. Turns out he was right.

Smitty said...

I went ahead and updated the commercial description (Thanks Troy). Speaking of Dogfish Head, I can't wait to try the Theobroma. Gotta love Sam Caglione, always brewing those extreme, historic, or experimental brews.