Obscura Arborea - Telegraph Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Obscura ArboreaObscura Arborea

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BA SCORE
78
okay

38 Ratings
THE BROS
75
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:
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 nanobrew
1.5/5  rDev -55.6%

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 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 yourefragile
2.83/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

750 mL bottle sent by Bauermj, thanks! Batch 77

Cork nearly explodes from the bottle, but contents don't gush. Poured out into a pitcher regardless since any attempts to pour produce a massive fizzy cream colored head. Pours a clearish amber mahogany color with previously mentioned fluffy head, and abundant lacing. Aroma and taste both carry a surprising lack of anything resembling flavor or alcohol. There is some mild cherry and vanilla hiding behind a predominant oak flavor. Light bodied with a dry finish. This beer is just...

Photo of drabmuh
2.93/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Michael for sharing this, this beer was a mild disaster.

OVERCARBONATED WARNING WARNING GUSHER.

Beer is amber and clear with a huge off white head of small and medium bubbles with annoyingly good retention. Ugh.

Aroma is blank.

Beer has this woody, grassy, cherry, light body, complex weirdness to it. None of hte flavors play together at all. Not a repeat for me, not even very enjoyable.

Photo of guausullivan8
2.93/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I went to the store excited to get a local sour beer on my travels here in southern California, and was excited to try this beer because I will be going to Santa Barbara soon. Unfortunately I was very dissapointed. I may be too harsh of a critic, but it seems too young/commercial - but not so professional. Granted the sour taste is there- it just seems like they are just getting started on this project. It is very cloudy/chill haze. It seems rushed, and is WAY over carbonated in the bottle i got- making for a 1 inch pour into a snifter full of foam. really dissapointed- should have stuck with Russian River, or lost Abbey.

I left it in the fridge over night after that review to see if the rest of the bottle would get better with a little fresh air- Still way over carbonated, but the beer did get better.. still hazy though

Photo of bauermj
3/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of moonknight31
3/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of t0rin0
3/5  rDev -11.2%

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 zestar
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%

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 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 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 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 jpajpajeff
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of stevefinny
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of CelticAleMan
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%

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 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.

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 phichifiji00
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light brown color, tons of thick off-white head that fades slowly. The pressure in the bottle blew the cork out as soon as the cage was removed. Tons of lacing.

Smell: Tart, malty undertones, earthy, dark fruit, sour cherries.

Taste: Tart, sour cherries, dark fruit, earthy, oak, caramel, raisins, plums.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, silky, creamy, somewhat tart.

Overall: Another tasty beer from Telegraph. Not as sour as I'd have liked, but very drinkable.

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.

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