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KCM Spirit Reviews

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review 109: Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

Review 109
Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron: 12% abv

Here we are with another Dogfish Head. This one may seem a little confusing to you. Dogfish puts on the label that this is a malt beverage. All that this implies is that malted barley is part of the grain they use in manufacturing this beer. This isn’t in any way revolutionary or different from any other beer, ever. The difference is that there can be a malted beverage without hops, which is not a beer. So is this a beer, or a malted beverage? The answer is yes. It is a beer and they are calling this one a brown ale, says their website (making us do extra work to find the answers here). Okay, so then is there anything else interesting to know about this beer? Well it’s called Palo Santo Marron, and to our best translation, a marron is a name given to two closely related crayfish. Yes, that isn’t very exciting, and if you sensed the uncertainty here, its because we don’t know who would name a beer after a crayfish. 

The Palo Santo we can shed some more light on, though. This is a wood, specifically coming from the Bulnesia Sarmientoi tree, or Palo Santo tree, which is commonly used in burning for incense or aging wine, along with having some medicinal qualities. So this is a unique paring with wood we’ve never tasted before. How’s it hold out? On the nose, you can find the obvious malt scent quite easily, but there are some other obvious ones as well. Raisons, dark coffee, milk chocolate, and some large berry flavors of strawberry, raspberry, and unique slight banana, and pear, with smooth rich notes of vanilla and toffee. When you first try this beer, you will realize how dark and rich it is for a “brown” ale. The arrival contains chocolate, blueberry, raspberry, vanilla, banana, cream, and there is even a slight note of light citrus in there. This is a very complex arrival and intrigued us to dig deeper. The body of the taste contains malt, a slight unexpected dryness, ginger, raisons, fruity notes of pears and some creaminess, tobacco and vanilla. The body is sort of empty and disappointing comparatively speaking, but don’t worry. We haven’t yet finished this. 

Because there is still the finish! AH! Get it? The finish contains many complex flavors, the most obvious of which is malt, but giving off chocolate, substantial tobacco flavors, yeast, more malt, wheat, dry barley, dark fruits, coffee-like bitterness, pears, slight woodiness, cream, vanilla, caramel, and even a slight smokiness. This is a fantastic array of flavors, and they do blend well together. The beer is dark and smooth, with bitter coffee and tobacco flavors setting this one apart from other dark beers in its category, but there is hardly any influence of hops in here. We like this one, but it is expensive. Worth at least one try if it sounds good to you. 

Score: 9.25/10

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