Dogfish Head – Palo Santo Marron Strong Ale

DEVIOUS, DANGEROUS, DECEPTIVE brown ale between oak and cola in color. Though full in body and decidedly a little slick on the back end, it would still be difficult to fathom that this ale was 12% ABV without reading as much first. Its color, moderately froth, dark tan head, and viscosity suggest a barleywine, but it lacks for the bitterness or carbonation expected from that arena—rather, it has a tremendously smooth mouthfeel and modest dark fruit overtones (raisin, plum) along with a modest dose of dark malts and maybe a bit of sassafras. The eponymous wood used for the aging process is perhaps a bit oversold as marketing fluff, but there is undeniably a little something unique about the warm and soft edges of the finish that sidestep the typical vanilla and oak notes of a bourbon barrel-aged ale. Hops are rated at 50 IBU, but don’t much show up. Pleasurable without being too heavy-handed. Are brown ales ever bold?

Served: 12 oz bottled 8/13/12

Rating: 88

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