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Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

Not Rated.
Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn StoutMadrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

367 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 367
Hads: 955
Avg: 3.81
pDev: 26.51%
Wants: 70
Gots: 145 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  8.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Shovelbum on 02-12-2006

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (44) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 367 | Hads: 955
Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A sipper,but a good one. Wild yeast aroma and a tad of sour. A stout, a wild, a sour. Very brown to black coloured body and lacey. The sour, or should I better call it tartness, makes it so drinkable.The sourness does build up, so share this with another sour fan.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle I brought to share at Retsinis' tasting.

Blend 3. Bottled 1/14/11.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is slightly sour and tart with dark roasted malt, cocoa, and woody aromas. Taste is much the same with fruity and cocoa flavors on the finish. There are mild amounts of roasty bitterness and acidity on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is a solid sour stout.

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Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high creamy tan head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are strong aromas of dark fruits in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the initial taste has flavors of dark fruits and a bit of sourness; however, these are quickly followed by roasted malts and finishes with a light to moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The combination of fruity and roasted malt flavors is rather interesting yet it also makes this beer one that needs to be sipped slowly.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

hard to put that farmy funk into a darker beer sometimes. it can get crowded out by the roasty malt, but not in this case. here, its exactly dialed, and given BA's penchant for funky brews, im shocked this doesn't have higher scores. it pours an intimidating black color with a creamy thick mocha head with fine retention. the nose is almost sour, bretty maybe, definitely strange on the yeast front. that hits me before its intensely dark roasted malts do, which have a touch of smoke to them and quite a bit of attitude. the flavor is quite the opposite, finishing with that wild ale taste and starting with the bitter barley. there is some vanilla, charred oak, and almost fungusy earthiness to this. its dense in feel, but the carbonation is there to make it a bit more drinkable. still, it leaves a considerable residue in the entire mouth, reminding me of that dark funk that was. you could blindfold me and give me this, and I could tell you it was made by jolly pumpkin. not sure what it is, but they have a distinct character to their beers that is entirely their own. I really enjoyed this, and will anticipate my next bottle with much vigor. super stuff.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.32/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn, this beer poured out as a beer black color, there was a fizzy head that vanished rather quickly. The smell has no hints of sour at all. All roasted and burnt malt wooden aromas. The taste is sour as hell in my opinion, it gets more sour as it warms. The beer also gives off plenty of smokey qualities along with burnt or toasted malts. It has a touch of chocolate in there too. A stunning brew for sure. The mouthfeel was smooth and lightly carbonated. Overall it was a really great pairing with the spicy French toast, chocolate dipping sause and coffee cotton candy.

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Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 360/362

Appearance: Pours a suitably obscure dark color with a magnificent foamy head that leaves an impressive pattern of lace

Smell: Oak and sour cherries dominate the aroma, but underneath one can find, plenty of roast, dark fruit and chocolate

Taste: Opens with a wild and musty flavor of oak, sour cherries and roasted/charred meat; by mid-palate, a hint of sweet chocolate sneaks in underneath; after the swallow, the lactic sour flavors dominate the other subtle aspects into the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body, somewhat creamy, with a lovely delicate foamy carbonation

Overall: Lots of complexity and very interesting; Jolly Pumpkin is a master at presenting lactic sour beers in a range of styles; my first review of this beer had lower scores but re-reviewing Batch 5 (bottled 1/21/11) was an eye-opener that bumped the scores up considerably

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.63/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Shocking the palate with sharp acidity, mouth puckering tartness, and coffee-like bitterness- this takes the taste buds on a journey miles long in a single sip.

The vinous ale pours with a dark barkish brown with the haze of suspended cocoa with the thin off-white head of lattes. Light on structure, the foam falls quickly with minimal lace. A fairly still beer in short order.

Very tart to the nose with acids that range from red wine vinegar to sour grapes, limes, and under ripened cherries; all are backed by a woody and coffee-like scent.

A burst of sourness and fruit tartness invade the palate with the serious flavors of the soured white grapes, tart cherries, and lemon rind have absolutely no mercy on the palate. The odd malt back of charred grains, roast coffee bitterness, and wood never allow any meaningful sweetness or starch to support the sourness- only providing an odd bitter-sour-ashy interplay that disagrees with the palate.

The mouth feel takes the brunt of the unpleasantries. Sour fruits start with a delightful and clean acidity before the ashy roast bitterness and oak derived astringency attack the sides of the tongue, inside jaws, and back of the throat with a powdery pang of saliva sucking needles.

Sourness and stouts are a complicated blend of textures, tastes, and balances- if it's going to work, I hardly believe that it could happen in a dry beer as it would almost have to have much more residual sweetness and body than what's on display here.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up at Connecticut Ave in DC.

Blend 6 -- Bottled February 2, 2011. Served in a Jolly Pumpkin tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with a good tan head and a bit of lacing on the sides of the glass as it goes down. Bubbles and a collar around the edges throughout. The nose brings a bit of roasted malt and chocolate, then comes through with mild acidity, a bit of cherry, and some dark fruits.

The flavor pushes the acidity through a bit more, focusing on the cherry with some dark malt in the background. Very slight roast. Light-medium body with good carbonation, a touch of oak, and dry acidity through the finish. Another very high-quality brew from Jolly Pumpkin.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.73/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry: Poured a deep black color stout with a big light brown foamy head with some good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of roasted malt is mix with some sour bretty notes. Taste is also a mix between some roasted bitter malt notes with some sour and bretty notes which didn't mix very well IMO. Medium body with some good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. I am usually one up for experiment but the mix between stout and bretty Belgian is something I could do without.

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Photo of largadeer
3.71/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Black with brown highlights, totally opaque. The first pour produces a perfect 3 finger head and the retention on this thing was ridiculous, it never came close to receding.

Smell: Typical stout aromas of cocoa and roasted malt are mixed with a big wild bretty aroma, notes of oak and slight sourness. Strange to say the least.

Taste/mouthfeel: Flavors of baker's chocolate, charred malt, woody tannins and tons of brett funk. High carbonation on a medium body. The mouthfeel is bone-dry. The finish is a bizarre mix of roasted malt, funk, sourness and oak.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch 998, bottled 02-15-2012. What is with the Hawaiian references on this brewery's labels?

This beer pours a deep, dark cola brown hue, with highlighted edges, and one finger of thinly creamy chocolate milk head, which leaves some Swiss cheese lace around the glass as it duly abates.

It smells of sour, somewhat musty fruit - cherry, lemon, and red grape, some mildly roasted chocolate malt, earthy yeast, and herbal, grassy hops. The taste is moderately sour black liqorice, nutty roasted malt, dry cocoa, mildly astringent wood chips, fruity plum esters, a wee bit o' musty funk, and persistent herbal, leafy hops.

The bubbles are fairly tame, but do sustain a low-level raspy edginess, the body definitely on the light side for the style, and so-so in its smoothness. It finishes off-dry, I suppose, the sourness of the fruit muffling any lingering malt, with the wood taking up the vacated space.

An interesting big-ass stout, to be sure - light, sour, hoppy, and boozy (thought you can't overtly tell on that last one). Not the norm, but enjoyable enough for its melding of styles.

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Photo of emerge077
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark umber-black in the glass, plently of foam, sticky lace, slowly settling over time.

Roasted malt in the aroma, and some fruity plum. I know the house yeast is in here from the taste, but it doesn't assert much in the aroma.

Roasty chocolate malt, slightly sour brett, tart cherry, leather, almonds. Rough, yet still some degree of complexity. A unique take on a Belgian Stout, hybrid qualities of American/Belgian origin.

Mouthfeel is smooth, dry with tart fruit in the aftertaste. One 750 is ok if you're prepared for a wild ride. Probably best shared, it's still a solid experimental offering.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Burnished mahogany with generous highlights of cherry and gold. The three finger head looks like frappuccino, or one of those other coffee-based beverages that I see people drinking. The foam melts in appealing fashion and is responsible for extensive sheets of Swiss cheese-like lace... that look better on subsequent pours than they do initially.

With a single sniff, I could have identified Jolly Pumpkin as Madrugada Obscura's brewery of origin given three guesses. That's because the funkiness of the Brett overwhelms all else. I didn't say 'obliterates all else' because roasted malt is present in the background. Much less Brettanomyces would have been much better.

I'll be the first to admit that I am not a Jolly Pumpkin fan because I don't think that every(!) single(!) style needs to be injected with bugs. Personally, I love wild ales, bieres de garde, saisons and all the rest. In fact, Russian River is one of my favorite breweries. It's just that there's a limit. And these guys blow right by it.

Having said all that, I'm not surprised that my two favorite JP beers are Oro de Calabaza and Biere de Mars, both bieres de garde. That's because they're *supposed* to be funky. Madrugada Obscura, against all odds, is delicious beer too. That's probably because the roasted malt is able to stand up to the wild yeast (unlike, say, wheat malt), keeping the base style from losing its identity.

It's still a close call and I'm unable to identify any subtleties that might be coming from the roasted and/or chocolate malt. At least the beer has some sweetness and bitterness to go along with the incredible tartness. Just think of MO:DDS as a milk stout brewed with spoiled milk. Mmm...

In order to be considered good, the body/mouthfeel either needed to be full and milkshake creamy (like an American stout) or silky and expansive (like a Belgian ale). The fact that it's neither is why the score is what it is.

Even though the final score won't necessarily reflect it, Madrugada Obscura is one of my favorite Jolly Pumpkin brews, following only the ones mentioned above. While this is an interesting ride, I'm unlikely to fork over $9.99 for another bottle.

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Photo of nickfl
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two and a half fingers of medium-brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The rocky head settles slowly and leaves very nice, thick lace.

S - A deeply funky aroma of oak and balsamic vinegar. Some caramel and just a hint of roasted malt in the background.

T - Black cherries and cola notes up front with a little bit of caramel and tartness. Some roast character begins to show itself in the middle as a bit of nutty coffee and char comes out. The dark cherry character and balsamic vinegar both show back up in the finish along with some caramel and a bit of licorice.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a kind of sweet and sour finish.

D - This is quite an unusual beer and, really a pretty special one as well. The aroma is very reminiscent of a Flemish red with only a hint of the darker malt characteristics that will show up in flavor profile. The malt character turns dark when the beer hits the tongue with lots of caramel and even molasses as well as a bit of licorice that goes quite well with the acid and funky yeast character. Dark sour beer is a really odd combination, but in this case it works really well.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood Brewing

A: The beer pours a very dark brown color with a rather tall off-white head.

S: As with any Jolly Pumpkin beers, this one is quite sour and lactic. There's a nice earthy funk along with sour cherries and lemon zest. A fair amount of grass and straw as well as some light oak.

T: The flavor is pretty heavy on the wood and earth notes; much more so than the nose. A bit of dark chocolate, black pepper, lemon zest, and mild fruits. The tartness and lactic character is not as pronounced on the palate.

M: Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation.

O: There was a slight booziness that came through as I drank a bit more of this. It was still good, but not the best Jolly Pumpkin has to offer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a black body with a medium-sized, short-lived beige head.

Smell: Roasted barley aroma with notes of dark chocolate, plums, toffee chips, and licorise, all with a faroff sourness.

Taste: Roasted barley with a chocolatey bent. Sourness soon follows, never allowing the distant sweetness to advance. Hints of licorice, plums, and herbs. Roast, sourness, and a bright acidity fuse together for the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Fizzy carbonation.

Drinkability: As always, it's another weird, wild ride from Jolly Pumpkin.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at Bad Apple.

Figured this would go well with my awesome burger... It pours a deep dark ruby-brown topped by a short finger of tan foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, light red wine vinegar, light cocoa, and a touch of tart black cherry. The taste brings in more of the same, with the vinegar and cherry evenly matched with the chocolatey roast. At least to begin with: the tide turns in favor of the sour components, but the finish still holds hints of the fallen adversary. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation, a generally smooth feel, and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, the classic sour stout, the best of both worlds. I can't see drinking this all that often, but it is indeed a fine treat on the occasions it's employed.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 360/362

Madrugada obscura pours an opaque black body beneath a massive head of brown foam. The head retention is excellent, and it leaves sheets of interesting lacing about the glass.

The aroma is roasty, coffee-like, and darkly chocolatey with a hint of dark-skinned fruit and a short note of sharp tartness.

Everything in the aroma is present, but it's kind of backwards: the sour twang is fuller, and the roastiness is much more subdued. It's also a bit fruity with notes of apple, white grape, black cherry, and fig. Some cocoa and dark caramel sneak in as well. A solid bitterness backs it, and it finishes dry, no doubt in part due to the acidity and the oak aging. Bittersweet chocolate and a roastiness like ash linger in the finish. Surprisingly, the alcohol is very well cloaked, and doesn't appear until halfway through the glass; and even then, only in the finish. As it warms, a delicate spiciness becomes apparent, and it's a welcome addition to the lingering finish. (You should really let this warm for 10 minutes out of the fridge before opening it).

As to drinkability, it's certainly interesting. It's also really well done, and nicely balanced and rounded. I'm not sure it has a "quantity" appeal to it, but it's very enjoyable.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an EKU 28 snifter in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a one finger head of nice tan colour, great cream, good thickness, and pretty good retention for the ABV. Colour is a nontransparent solid black.

Sm: Bretts and funkiness. Some fruit ester hops. Not at all what I expected from the style. I'm intrigued. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Funky yeast with fruit esters. Very different for an imperial stout, but still good. Not complex, but enjoyable. There's sort of some layering going on. Some wild yeasty sourness.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Not too thick or too thin. Complements the flavour pretty well.

Dr: Very drinkable for the ABV, and unique for the style. I like it, but I find myself wondering why they chose this style for the base. I'd get it again at a good price.


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Photo of Rifugium
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Dark like a stout, but with a big flavor explosion of a sour ale. And I thought it was a pumpkin ale!

Shared a 750ml bottle with a friend. Poured dark brown with a tan head, and appeared a bit hazy. Chocolate malts in the aroma overcome with dried fruits. Blast of unexpected sourness in the taste, with dried cherries and raisins and some semblance of papaya actually. Malty backbone with just a hint of chocolate. Not quite full-bodied for a stout. Very drinkable, but a full bottle for one person might be a bit much.

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Photo of russpowell
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent mahogany/black with 4 fingers of mocha colored head. Insane lacing & head retention was damn good as well

S: Musty & sour with hints of oak & chocolate.

T: Sour & oaky up front. Slight iron & bakers chocolate as this warms up. Chocolate asserts a little more along with warmth, as this gets closer to room temp. Finishes really bone dry with acidic notes, cherry sourness & a hint of coffee & bitter chocolate

MF: Rich & sparkly at the same time, hmmm

Drinks okay for the abv, have to ding this a little taste-wise because I'm not looking puckery sourness in my American Stouts. If they called this a belgian dark/sour I'd give it more, maybe a fullpoint taste wise. I think they were too artisinal with this one, give me a big malt profile in my stout! Only my second Jolly Pumkin beer, niether have really impressed me. Paired well with triple choclate ice cream though.

P.S. Loved the label, very evocative of the mood I think the brewery tried to set with this beer!

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 2/13/2013. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big tart cherry, green apple, lemon, raisin, plum, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, dark bread, licorice, light char, hay, straw, grass, oak, musty funk, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/funky yeast, dark/roasted malt, and oak barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of tart cherry, green apple, lemon, raisin, plum, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, dark bread, licorice, light char, hay, straw, grass, oak, musty funk, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of roasted bitterness and light tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of cherry, green apple, lemon, raisin, plum, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, light char, dark bread, licorice, hay, grass, oak, funk, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and robustness of fruity/funky yeast, dark/roasted malt, and oak barrel flavors; with a great malt/yeast balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, fairly creamy, and lightly acidic/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome Belgian sour stout. All around great complexity and balance of fruity/funky yeast, dark/roasted malt, and oak barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 03/25/11 notes. Thanks to jslot38 for sharing this one; thanks Justin. Be warned, the bottle we opened was the worst gusher I've ever seen by far.

a - Pours a dark brown color with one inch of tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sour fruit, brett, oak, chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Some of that definite JP/brett smell.

t - Tastes of brett, sour fruit, oak, tart fruit, chocolate,and coffee.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - Another nice beer from JP. It has a lot of that JP funk/brett mixing with some classic stout characteristics. Would have again.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, thick brown, large, fluffy brown head.

Nose is sweet and sour, imfused with tart cherries, lambic-like...

Very carbonated, with continuing sour smack on the palate. And there's plentyof cocoa and coffee at play here, ....very interesting. And imagine, here we have an American microbrewery doing their take on the Belgian's take on the Irish take on a British style.

A bit big in the booze, but not deterrent in any way...

Lip-smacking delicious. Good one!

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Photo of jwc215
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle - Blend 1, 2010 - poured into tulip glass:

Pours black as night - large brown head slowly descends to a lasting cover. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of roasted coffee, chocolate and a sour undertone.

The taste is sweet chocolate with a sour undertone that fits the "house character" of the brewery. It has a roasty, semi-sweet, hint of sour, finish.

It is creamy and hits full-bodied - though not thick. Bubbly carbonation isn't quite "effervescent", though close.

An interesting brew - has a "stout" character with the expected sour touch of this brewery. Having had other brews from Jolly Pumpkin, it's about what I expected. A strong stout with a "funky" undertone.

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Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
86 out of 100 based on 367 ratings.