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Obscura Arborea - Telegraph Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Obscura ArboreaObscura Arborea

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

38 Ratings
THE BROS
76
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 38
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 19.23%
Wants: 8
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Telegraph Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Flanders Oud Bruin |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: beagle75 on 04-10-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 38 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by beagle75:
Photo of beagle75
3.78/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft service into a tulip glass at Beachwood BBQ.

A: Slightly hazy, dark amber color with a peripheral residue of white bubbles. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Surprisingly focused crystal malt that is accompanied by a lactic bite and a hint of rustic oak. There is a funky thread that comes and goes, sometimes suggesting green plant stems while giving more of an impression of an infected wound at other times.

T: Begins dry, with sourness that predominantly features lactic acidity, but with just enough of an acetic bite. Flavors follow the smell closely, with a definite malt presence of heavy toasted grain as well as more faint caramel. The sourness never steps outside of a restrained level of intensity, and the same can be said about the smoothing wood presence. Fruit is not featured here--if this is a kriek, then they weren't trying very hard. The finish remains malt-forward, leaving a hint of brown sugar to linger in the absence of bitterness.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, balanced and slightly creamy on the palate whereas acidity is more tasted than felt, with moderate carbonation.

D: This is an approachable California-brewed sour that appears to model itself as a Flanders red ale. The detectable presence of wood adds credibility that the palate can sense, but some further transformation of the malt may be required for this to threaten the Rodenbachs of the world.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown bottle, batch #77.

LOOK: Lively carbonation, big head. Hazed brownish amber.

SMELL: Cooked veggies, fallen fruit, nutmeg, candied orange, musty yeast, chalk, toasted grain

TASTE: Smooth, creamy, wood, lemon grass, cellar funk, highly toasted malt, nutty yeast, chicory, sour candy, broth, faint bandaid, nougat, mint, bone dry finish.

Yup, it is a sour beer though not as mellow as what a Oud Bruin should be. I'd love to see another year or two on this bottle to see where it would go.

Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at The Blue Palm. A nice drinker for the style. Sour yes but very well malted backbone. Light brown and very lacy, something fine to look at. Sour and wild. Oaky, why I like these beers. Still decent mouthfeel. Satisfying. Suitably carbonated.

Photo of augustgarage
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 77. 9% ABV. Chilled briefly then poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into my Rodenbach flute.

Opens violently, though it isn't a gusher. Six fingers of beige merengue floats over the surface of not-quite-clear sinopia liquid. Surging liquid settles down slowly. Superior retention, thick heavy lacing. If you allow the bottle to "breath" for a couple hours (chill accordingly), the carbonation level fades to an acceptable level.

Several varieties of tartness in the nose - cherry pits, lemon, along with a vinuous oaky note. Faint caramel assuages the sour notes.

Very malty and dry palate entry with hints of cocoa and old cork. The lacto adds some earthy phenols and a sweaty acidity. Finish brings to mind cherry, black-currant, and orange marmalade spread on toasted black bread. Sweet-ish overall with a few layers of wild notes. Flavors are interesting but fade quickly.

Heavy carbonation, good effervescence, relatively light-bodied, very slightly tannic.

Closer to an Oud Bruin than a Flanders Red, though the potent carbonation is a bit excessive for the style. Sweet and deeply malty for the style, though the sour notes are complex and interesting rather than simply vinuous. An interesting and original experiment worth a try if you have access to it.

Photo of GuruDel
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of HalfFull
2.75/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured as carefully as possible given the foamy nature of prior reviews, this beer pours a hazed and slightly ruddy amber with some caramel copper highlights. An inch of foam soon became two inches however, and then three. A rush to the sink keeps the mess at bay. All the while the bottle keeps its cool and its contents in check. A creamy cap drops off sticky lacing as it settles.

Aroma is pleasant of sorts though rather singular in nature. Not much to be had in a sour sense, nor oak. Slightly tart and with a touch of yeast funkiness through the foam, may brighten up when/if the foam settles out a bit.

Flavor is thin and a bit muddled. Touch of cherry tartness is present but light and rather short on the finish, tending towards the chalky side of things on the close. Feel is decent but the high level of carbonation detracts as for the style. A second pour swells again like Arenal on a bad day, soon towering like a volcanic meringue dessert. A bit much really, and the champagne like carbonation masks the subtleties a bit too much, if they are there at all. Hmmm!

Note: ABV is well masked, not very sweet yet not very sour. Batch 77. Starts to smell like a Unibroue beer when it finally settles down...Not a bad beer yet not as expected/advertised.

Photo of emerge077
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From the Telegraph website: Flanders Oud Bruin, 9%
"Batch No. 77" on the label.

Explosively charged, the cork slides out with a bang. No gush, but a slow creep of rising foam slowly surfaces a minute later. Into a large tulip glass, there's an instant dispersion of foam billowing in the glass, even with the slightest trickle from the bottle. Swirling the glass whips it into a pruneish tan meringue. Color is a murky dark chestnut brown, with reddish hints in the light. Like a cumulonimbus cloud, the foam defies gravity and pushes above the rim, forming irregular peaks and crags. It coats the glass like suds from a bubble bath, sticking in fluffy 3-dimensional shapes all around the edges.

Musty basement aroma, cherry pits, minerals and wet stone.

Dark fruit flavors, tart cherry, currant, dried plum, bitter grape stems, tannic oak and grape skins. Woody and dry aftertaste. Lingering flavors of wine grapes, black cherry, and oak.

Extremely carbonated, and a bit astringent unfortunately. The bitterness of the wood is a little off-kilter, though not a deal breaker here. Reminiscent of La Roja and Haandbakk, though a little rough around the edges.

Photo of jpajpajeff
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of DaveHS
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-As soon as I removed the cage, the cork started sliding out. I managed to grab it before it popped out on its own. It opened with a loud POP and immediately started overflowing. Open this one over the sink and have a glass ready to go. Pours hazy iced tea brown with nearly 4 inches of rocky, foamy light khaki head. Leaves substantial, chunky lacing.

S- The nose is lemony and tart, with aromas of sour cherry, red wine vinegar and musty old wood.

T/M- The lacto sourness has more of a lemon custard tartness than anything resembling the traditional sour cherry flavor attributed to the Flemish Sour/Oud Bruin style. As it gets closer to room temperature a, pleasant biscuity/shortbread malt quality emerges. The bright, initially tart mouthfeel becomes mellow and creamy mid-palate, with a slightly metallic finish that abruptly falls off. The carbonation is chewy and prickly, evenly distributing the sour and sweet flavors. The 9%ABV is well hidden for the most part, exposed only in part through the drier than average finish.

O-Not really a true Flemish Sour/Oud Bruin, but a beer worthy of your attention.

Photo of rand
4.13/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a Mikasa tulip glass

Batch 77

The beer is creamed-copper in appearance (if that's a legitimate color description) with a huge pillow-y head that never recedes. Tones of woodsy dank and unripe berries float about, but in the ether - the nose lingers and takes a few whiffs to pull it in.

The taste is much more pronounced with toffee-like malts playing against tart cherries. There are notes of drying oak that mix well with a subtle hop snap, keeping the sweet aspects in check. Alcohol is apparent but not aggressive. Finishes long, sweet and sour.

I don't get the low (or average) reviews here. My bottle's been aging for a little over a year (maybe longer) so that might be what 'smoothed' it out, but I don't think that's the entire reason. The brew produces a super-sudsy head, almost billowy, but it doesn't FEEL over-carbonated, something I can't stand. Over-carbing wouldn't get better with age. And I'm trying to pinpoint why the consensus feels this has a disjointed flavor profile - I'm getting a pretty smooth play of sweet and sour and bitter washing over the palate. Hmm...maybe I got a good batch? Or there's a bit of group-think here on BA? Well, no need to speculate...I've been drinking a lot of this style lately and this beer, at least my bottle, is a good example.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to yourefragile for sharing this bottle. Served in a SAVOR glass.

Pours a moderate caramel color with a big, fluffy off-white head and a good bit of lacing on the way down. Lots of lacing. Probably because the first few pours were 95% foam and we had to decant.

The nose carries a light bit of cherry and acidity. Some oak as well. Nothing too much. Very light. Flavor is the same. It's impressive that there is this little flavor in a 9% beer. Some light oak and a touch of cherry. Really not all that much going on.

Light body with just a touch of acidity through the finish. Interesting, but quite a bit too tame, even if it were a session beer.

Photo of womencantsail
3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The pour is amber in color with a big white head. Aroma starts off with a mild buttery note. Notes of citrus, light caramel, oak, and vanilla. Maybe a bit of apple and pear on the nose. Sort of has a fruit flavor baby food thing going on on the palate. Lightly tart, maybe some spice, a touch of oak and vanilla. Really a strange beer.

Photo of FosterJM
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

608th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
750 Ml C/C
Batch 77

App- Very murky medium brown mixed with orange to produce a very odd color. It also poured with a nice two and a half finger head to it. No cling at all, just a sliding head with a pond like cover

Smell- Very oaky to me with a bit of dakrer cherries and bananas. A lot of yeasty and wild yeast at that. The Lacto really adds a dimension to it but not the best wild smells.

Taste- Taste somewhat follows the nose in that its a bit oaky and a little funky. Its very soft but not that much a soured beer. The lacto really does add a new dimension of a banana oak flavor.

Mouth- Medium bodied and very high carbed. Bubbles do a dance across your tounge. The oaky, funky character remains.

Drink- I really like what Telegraph does but this one falls just a bit short for me. I should have let it sit for a while but my patience wore down. Ill have this one again for sure.

Photo of Trilogy31
3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a milk chocolate brown with a ridicously foamy head though the bottle wasnt the gusher others said it was. Nose has simple lemony citrus, rhubarb, sour cherry and an earthiness to it. The taste is a bit muddied by old wood that didnt seem to integrate its flavors well, bright tart citrus and rhubarb pie with almost a creaminess to it. Very nice carbonation to balance the sour acidity and the wood actually plays well in the mouthfeel as well as the abv being very hidden. A simple easy drinking 9% beer.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I read elsewhere this was a gusher, so I opened this after it was chilled to about 45 degrees. Cork loosened with a resounding champagne pop, but no gushing. Hard to pour this one without the head expanding voluminously. About a 2 inch head was the best I could do, which was eggshell white, thick and foamy. Has pretty good head retention, and leaves lots of sticky lace on the glass.

Smells of lemon, dark cherries, brown sugar, barnyard funk, and old wood.

I like how this beer tastes, and it is not disappointing, but it doesn't exactly fit the brewer's style objective of a sour cherry Oude Bruin. it is not as sour as Oude Bruins typically are, such as Rodenbach. The lacto takes it in a lemony sour direction, yet it is also characterized by a dark caramel malt sweetness, accompanied by a metallic cola taste and spiciness, reminding me of an abbey ale with a lacto fermentation. It has a husky and spicy dark fruit character in the finish, probably dried dark cherries. The flavor cherry only comes through in the long dry finish. Oak is there to lend some smoothness but it isn't that prominent in the taste. This beer crosses style boundaries, but it ends up being a smooth and balanced beer.

The carbonation is pretty vigorous, much like champagne when the beer is first poured. Together with the sourness, the carbonation gives it a nicely refreshing mouthfeel.

Telegraph has been bending styles for awhile now. This is an interesting dark, slightly sour beer that comes off pretty smooth in the end. I'd definitely have this again.

Photo of jwjon1
2.05/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a styro coffee cup in a hotel room--better than out of the bottle me thinks. Couldn't really tell you the color due to the cup plus 3" foamy head that refused to subside. Wasn't a gusher, but highly carbed and ready to foam at the slightest hint of a nucleation site. You've been warned.

Smells like highly diluted balsamic vinegar. And that's about it. Very one-noted. Just kinda blahhh.

Tastes was a little less blahhh. Maybe more of a blah. With the target being Flanders Oude Bruin, both the sweet and sour were way off the mark. More precise, though there is some sour there, there is really no sweet balance. In fact, this finishes unpleasantly bitter... oddly enough, a coffee bitter, with the coffee likely coming from the roasted malts and the bitter from the oak. It is not very refreshing as a result.

Not my cup o' brew.

Photo of stevefinny
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of marqoid
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle pour at the bottle share held at Chloe's inside Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Batch 77.

Pours a clear honey brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is slightly sour and tart with some fruity and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with a vinegar-like flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a high level of carbonation with a really crisp and prickly mouthfeel. Overall, this is an above average beer that seems somewhat unrefined.

Photo of Arbitrator
1.38/5  rDev -59.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Well-chilled bottle (it had been sitting in the fridge for days) into a glass. Thanks, Adam.

A: This pours literally all beige foam. It instantly converts to pure foam upon exiting the bottle. Retention is outstanding. I have to wait something like 10 minutes for it to calm down enough for me to take a sip.

S: I can't pick up much else beyond lemon, mild cherries, a touch of oak.

T: This is lightly sour, of a lactic variety, with good, undeveloped residual sweetness. There is very little depth here. On a scale of 1 to flavor, I'd give it a 3.

M: Very spritzy, overcarbed. Semi dry in the finish, or at least the carbonation gives that impression.

O: At the time of my review, this beer has a B average; it's a pretty clear demonstration of how overrating and consolation-prize grading plagues BA. Tell it like it is: this beer is awful.

Photo of jmechy
4/5  rDev +18.3%

Photo of CelticAleMan
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of bauermj
3/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle marked Batch 77 into a goblet. Pours a super hazy red/orange with a freakishly huge head. Nice lace.

The smell is pretty light. A touch of sour detected.

The taste is light as well, tastes like an American Amber with a hint of sour fruit. Light medicinal hop presence. Goes down smooth.

This would be a good intro to sour beers, not too tart but still has the basic taste down.

Photo of biegaman
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

The beer poured with an abundance of head that, frankly, made drinking a bit awkward - then again I was forewarned it might explode and overflow, so I suppose I should be thankful it isn't anything more than this thick mound. But it ain't so good looking, a murky prune-brown that allows no highlights. (Edit: the complexion would settle and give way to some clarity.)

My Spidy sense is telling me something’s a miss here. I realize the beer was intentionally soured, injected with a wild yeast strain and barrel aged with bacteria, but this musty scent of mildewed oak and sourness is not exactly delectable and lacks much of the appeal of other American wild ales and Belgian red ales. There's not much fruit, although rotted cherries could be entertained (and there's plenty of raisin-y sugariness).

More fruit is noted in the flavour, where raisins and dried fruits are joined by tastes of figs and tart cherry. Those are overshadowed, however, by tobacco leaf-tinted oakiness and plenty of dark caramel and molasses notes. It benefits from warmth, tasting eventually like a combination of tootsie-roll and cherry cola. Too bad that takes hours to develop...

I'm hardly exaggerating when I say that the carbonation is painful. Like a school of piranha, the bubbles have sharp little teeth that pick apart the palate piece by piece and then disappear into a numbed aftertaste. It almost comes up on you before you can even swallow it. It took me nearly two hours to finish the 750ml bottle because the bubbles and an assertive underlying acidity were too strong to be enjoyed for the first half-hour.

But I did come to enjoy it, eventually. Besides, sometimes it's just as important to investigate unsuccessful cases to see what went wrong and this beer really only has the one flaw; too bad the carbonation in this batch was too strong to allow appreciation of the beer's subtle tartness and sweet malty and fruit flavours. It's otherwise a nice attempt at a classic Flemish style ale.

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Obscura Arborea from Telegraph Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.