Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

I'm not usually a huge fan of brown ales that aren't in the stout or porter category. I tend to dislike sweet malty flavors when they aren't balanced with any bitterness or complexity from the rest of the body. This brown doesn't have much of a bitter end, but does have a lot of complex flavors going on that add a lot of enjoyable tastes to the palette. It's an extremely dark beer almost a porter. The first taste has hints of coffee and caramel, which quickly dissipate and are guided by vanilla overtones to a malty sweet finish that collapses into a characteristic brown bitter bite. Overall the experience is much more like drinking wine than beer as the flavors are rich and bold. Part of the way they create this complex flavor is with the largest barrels made since prohibition. They use a palo santo wood from Paraguay, supposedly the hardest in the world. There's a great article about this beer and the brewery in the New Yorker. Lastly, fragile drinkers beware, this beer is a whopping 12% alv.

Palo Santo Marron: ****

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