Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dogfish Palo Santo Marron

I have been wanting to try Dogfish's Palo Santo Marron beer since reading about it last fall in The New Yorker. It is a brown ale aged in a 10,000-gallon barrel made from wood from the Palo Santo tree (Ironwood) from Paraguay. It's one of the two or three hardest woods in the world and is pungent and oily.

The beer pours dark and is a deep maroon. It has minimal foam that quickly goes away. You can smell what I presume is the Palo Santo wood (I've never smelled it before). But it also has a red wine smell and the 12% alcohol is present.

Its taste was rich, but it had an almost medicinal quality to it. You could taste the wood flavor, but the aging in the Palo Santo barrels also gave it a wine-like flavor. It was a sipping beer due to is complexity and wine overlays. It took well over an hour to drink a 12oz bottle. My overall impression was favorable for this beer. I think the after reading the article I may have been expecting more flavor. It reminded me of some of The Lost Abbey's bigger beers - Ten Commandments and Judgment Day - in its rich complexity. I was surprised at the wine flavors, but not unpleasantly surprised. I would try it again.

On my new scoring method, I rated it 16 out of 20. The aroma was the lowest score (2.5 out of 4), which was strange since the Palo Santo tree is known for its scent, as well as being a strong wood.

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