Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn StoutMadrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout

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very good

943 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 943
Reviews: 375
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 16.1%
Wants: 70
Gots: 130 | FT: 9
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.
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Ratings: 943 | Reviews: 375
Photo of tbeckett
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Vermont if I remember correctly. Blend 1. From notes.

A - Poured black with a two and a half finger thick fluffy light brown head. Strong carbonation. Lot's of spotty lace and a full finger of retention that stuck around for a long time.

S - Roasty, coffee, Belgian yeast, leather, very interesting.

T - Tons of funk. Really was really dominant. Dark fruit, dusty.

M - Strong carbonation, full body, tart cherry funk finish.

O/D - Slightly one dimensional. Tasty but lacked complexity. I think it did what it wanted to though and was enjoyable. Just needed to be less dominated by the yeast. Worth checking out.

Photo of Spartan13
4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into tulip glass.

A: Very dark. I was out camping when I had this so it was too dark outside to tell if it was completely black, but it is possible. Very small head that dissipated quickly.

S: I picked up on slight notes of chocolate, java, maybe some oak, and a mixture of light citrus.

T: Wow! This was my first experience with a sour, and it was quite interesting. There's a lot going on in this beer. Too much for me to put my finger on. The first thought I had was the citrus scent translated to a hint of an almost grape-like taste. I think it has to do with the oak barrel aging they use. As it progressed, the chocolate and spices began to come more prevalent.

M: The higher alcohol content seemingly cut down on the heaviness of the beer as it went down. It does leave a lingering taste that coats your entire mouth and back of throat for quite a while. Just enough to keep you thinking between drinks.

O) I'm not that big on stouts yet, but my first experience with a sour was a good one. Highly recommended if you're looking to try something unique.

Photo of shand
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Dawn is a solid sour that doesn't have all that much to do with a stout flavor-profile wise. I would have liked to see a bigger melding of American Wild and Double Stout flavors, but instead this is all acidity, tartness, sweetness, and fruitiness. It's still a very good beer, with plenty of complexity.

Photo of dcs1548
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A small to medium foam head, a smooth jet black color, and a very nice funky smell of chocolate, toasted cocoa, oak, and tart apples. A nice taste of cocoa and sour funk, with a nice finish of pleasant apple sourness and rich out. A very unique beer and a well crafted beer.

Photo of flayedandskinned
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blend No. #3, bottled on 1-11-13
Poured into a standard tulip glass.

Appearance: (4.5)
Pours a thick, impenetrable obsidian with a 3.5 fingers tall, dark khaki head which lasts for quite a while, considering that this is a barrel aged, soured stout. The head even leaves some light lacing behind as it recedes.

Aroma: (4.5)
Some soft lactic acidity greets your nostrils immediately as you bring the glass to your face, taking the form of light lemon juice and fresh cherries. Some traditional Belgian abbey yeast esters are present underneath the tartness; light stone fruit and raisins. Behind the tartness and fruitiness, there is a growing malt presence; roasted coffee, rich milk chocolate and even a slight hint of smokiness. All of these diverse aromatics are encased in a subtle, barnyard funkiness from the wild yeast strains of Jolly Pumpkin. Some whispers of vanilla become apparent as the beer warms. Truly unique smelling beer.

Taste: (4.5)
A soft, lemon forward acidity lands gracefully on your palate as soon as the viscous liquid enters your mouth. This lactic acidity, with some subtle barnyard characteristics, and faint stone fruit notes, slowly transforms into a dry, slightly tart, roasted malt finish. There is a growing toasted nuttiness and creamy chocolate presence on your tongue that is left intermingling with notes of acidic, bitter coffee and vanilla from the oak barrel. A light tannin presence adds some lovely texture to the ale.

Mouthfeel: (4.5)
Robust and creamy with a medium body. Soft, deliberate carbonation.

Overall: (4.5)
An amazing, complex stout that has been very well crafted and artfully blended; There is a tart, lactic presence, but it is very restrained and allows the more refined, traditional characteristics of the stout to breathe. This beer is very complex, but it is blended perfectly to allow the drinker to pick apart and dabble in it's subtle nuances. I do find my wishing that it had a stronger barnyard funkiness, but perhaps that will come with some age on the bottle. Highly recommended.

Final score: 4.5/5

Photo of alysmith4
4.83/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 5

What a pleasant surprise this beer was! Had it on-tap at a butcher shop in Union Market. Was there to pick up some bacon, ended up staying because of the good tap line-up. Picked it on a whim, and have been thinking about it ever since trying.

Was sour and full and toasty and light and refreshing all at the same time. It's the best of both worlds: a sweet desserty stout and a crisp and fresh sour all at the same time. Found a bottle at Whole Foods recently, and am looking forward to having again!

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

A sour stout...well I am not a big sour fan but this beer is interesting. As I was drinking it I was battling myself in a love hate relationship with this beer. It's fairly creamy and has a decent stout background but up front in your face is the sour. I have to give this a 4 across the boards simply because it's a well made beer with a good mesh of flavors. Would I buy again? I am not sure since sours are not my thing.

Bottom Line: Well crafted beer!

Photo of Hopswagger
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 981
Bottled 02-07-2012

P: A pitch black abyss graced by a cappuccino micro bubble head that dissipates to a wake of air bubbles hiding the beast beneath.

S: Typical JP funky yeast backed by rich bakers chocolate and cocoa powder. The aroma reminds me of a caramel Cadbury egg. Sweet prunes, berries and dry white grapes.

T/M: Super sour and acidic start that is flanked by rich cherry brownies, chocolate covered berries, coffee liqueur and cookie wafers. Moderate acidic zesty body that prickles the tongue.

O: An interesting beer that challenges the palate and questions the stout boundaries. I wasn't sure about this at first and it took it a while to sink in. I like this for its complexity but not really something I would drink often.

Photo of macher0
4.62/5  rDev +20%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Draft to a snifter.

A: Very dark brown. Slight head that quickly retreats to a faint amber rim. No lacing. An amber layer when the glass is swirled. Highly viscous.

S: Not fragrant at first, then as the beer opens and head space becomes available in the snifter, the aromas become more apparent. A lot of sour yeast a little oak.

T: This is where this beer takes off. Multiple layers that work very well together. Oak. A little sour. A little bitter. Espresso. The dark roasted malts of a traditional stout are apparent. Boozy.

M: A full bodied beer. Low carbonation . Fairly smooth considering the bitterness. A minor lingering taste from the bitterness.

O: I wanted to try this for a while and I really dig JP. I was lucky and caught this gentle beast on tap at Winos in Bowling Green, KY. A very interesting beer with a lot going on. And it works. Defiantly a sour, defiantly a stout. More stout than sour. Nice oak balance. The booze comes through big time.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of Dope
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Blend 11, 2-17-2011

A: Gusher bottle. Pitch black pour with an enormous foamy, frothing light brown head. Head fades very slowly. Great head retention and thick swathes of lacing.

S: Lots of smoke. Some tart dark fruits to boot along with some char.

T: Lots of tart cherries mixing in with char and smoke. Pure sour dark fruits in the middle. Acrid, burnt wood and smoke in the finish. Lingering, drying campfire aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, very dry.

O: A sour stout. Pretty much tastes like rotten fruit that's been sitting in an ashtray, unfortunately. Not very appetizing if I'm honest.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of Beerlover
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

pours completly black with 1 inch foamy khaki head. aromas are quite different from a normal stout... smells like a sour to me, which is fitting for Jolly Pumpkin, has that sour fruit smell to it. High carbonation (which im not a fan of, in any beer especially a stout.) then sourness hits your palate significantly, making lips pucker a bit, then sourness subsides with hints of roasted malts in the aftertaste, very different for a stout but good if you like sour beers... in notes i wasnt sure what to rate on "style" but overall i gave it a 9 outta 10 which is pretty darn good, get more sour as it warms and less stout like, carbonation subsides as well.

Photo of homebrew311
4.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is an opaque black with thin rim of tan head and decent lacing. Nose features funky oak and vinegar with chocolate and coffee in the background. Taste features acidic notes with chocolate covered cherries, oak, and a bit of wild character. Mouthfeel is moderate with medium to high carbonation. Overall, a nice sour stout and worth a try if you're in the mood for something different.

Photo of Someguy1_8t
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter

Appearance- like the name says, dark dawn. This one is dark as night. Very little to none head or lacing.

Aroma- at first you do pick up some stout characteristics, roasted malt, chocolate, and some of the oak from the barrel aging. Ounce you get your nose closer and smell you pick up the tart, dark fruit, sour notes.

Taste - I picked up some semi sweet malt, dark fruits like raisins, plums, black berries, and raspberries, pretty much giving you that tartness. Almost like a Belgium Quad or double that got some bacteria in it making it sour.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied with hardly any carbonation.

Overall - i thought it was great. Reminded me of Monks Cafe Sour Red ale. I would definitly recommend as long as you know your not getting a stout.

Photo of takemetothelion
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the single beer that got me started in artisan brew. Got a glass of it at the famous Lion's Pride in Brunswick, Maine where I currently live. My first sip of this sour ale was like getting hit by a bus of exotic flavor. I had never dreamed of such a full throttle experience from "just" a beer. This instance completely changed my views of beer. Sure I had special craft and micro brews but this was an introduction into something so much more. A passion had been ignited. So all of that being said, this is a very important beer to me and I finally decided to properly review it. Picked up a bottle for $15 at Bootleggers. Allons-y!

A- I am full aware of the criticism this drink has received as an allegedly calling itself incorrectly an Imperial Stout, when in reality it belongs to a much different class. Although the pitch black with a streak of dark brown suggests a stout I do agree with the misnaming. Mild carbonation with a finger of head leaves barely any lacing.

S-Major tart, sour fruity vinegar, almost grapefruit or sour apple...hard to tell

T-Oh so sour, but such sweet bliss, as a full on assault on your taste buds begins. A blitz of funky lemon, cherry, vinegar possibly grapefruit and apple. Not much yeast detected and the sour overwhelms everything including the alcohol.

MF- Heavier carbonation then it looks, very mysterious and full feel complete with intense puckerage.

Overall, one of those you kinda have to taste to believe. Very intense, quite potent, and a true adventure. I thank god for this beer because it showed me the way of respecting beer.

Photo of hungarianwax
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark black. Moderate brown head.

S: Roasted pumpkin smell.

T: Sour pumpkin dominates malt. Light hop flavor. Near-rotten fruit but pleasant.

M: Light and upfront feel. Thinness made up for slightly by fruit profile.

Overall 4.25
In-style 3.75
Note: This is an interesting and unique beer but is not characteristic for a stout. Was slightly disappointed but should have known.

Photo of Gassygunslinger
1.84/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Note here that I can understand that people enjoy their sours. I cannot attest to being an expert on all styles, or even enjoy all styles enough to judge their worth effectively...

That being said, if you call a beer a Russian Imperial Stout that is "Brimming of roasted malts and bitter hops)", and it turns out it's actually a sour ale (with NO heads-up whatsoever on the bottle giving you a hint that this is actually a sour), I think it's understandable to be irritated after dumping a fair amount of cash into what you thought was a barrel-aged stout.

So, because of the poor labeling, I believe I can rightfully critique this as a Russian Imperial Stout. After all, if I order a cheese burger and you give me a salad, I think I can safely call it a terrible burger on account of the lack of beef and cheese.

The appearance is a 4. Looks like a Russian Imperial Stout. Dark, with a little bit of a head (not that much, but it's understandable being barrel aged). The lack of head is what knocked it down to a 4.

Smell is a 2.5. While not offensive (kind of citrusy), this is where you start to have your doubts about what you're drinking.

For taste, I give it a 1. There is no hint of the dark roasted malt or the heavy hops that characterizes a Russian Imperial Stout. The palate is overwhelmed by sour. Being unaccustomed to sour beer, I honestly couldn't taste the beer over the lemon juice. Again, I'm not judging sour beer as a whole. I don't care for it, but understand that others may be fond of it. That being said, it might be a great sour beer, but it's a god-awful Russian Imperial Stout. The only thing that it has in common with an RIS is the color.

Mouthfeel is a 3. I can't honestly say that the mouthfeel was offensive (the mouth-taste was doing the heavy-lifting there). Nor can I say the mouthfeel was spectacular. It was average.

Overall I give it a 1. It is the absolute worst RIS I've ever had, and had to drain pour. I apologize for the soap box, but I believe Jolly Pumpkin needs to label their product better. Otherwise I might just start selling tap-water and call it Scottish Ale.

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I don't know what to make of this stuff.
It pours as an homage to its moniker.
A dark brown-- maybe even black-- I'd swear it's a stout.
A tip-off of things to come was the head-- frothy, short lived sizzling head ending an a ring in the glass and an atoll floating about.
A bit of lacing covered the walls of my glass.
Maybe it's the shortcomings of my aging nose, but this beer's nose seemed diminutive--
I noted hints of yeast, what I swear is coriander and a distant echo of hops.
And now to the quandary-- the flavor.
This is no stout-- it's a Flemish sour ale!
If I were to adhere to the style-- this ain't no stout!
As a sour-- it's sort of "there"... hard to pin it down exactly.
Throughout the flavor Is the unmistakeable sour flavor and what I might swear is a Belgian style dark ale or even a "dark" Sassion.
But the label with it's "Obscura" and "Dark Dawn Stout"-- prods my imagination to start conjuring up notions of Russian Imperials. or American Imperials.. or some libation with wads of toasted...
If I were to review this beer based on a stout-- it's very light for a stout, thin and perhaps water. The flavor islight dancing-- even whimsical with it's up-front and center "sour" profile.

In the end-- this is an enjoyable beer. Don't look at the label.
If you're expecting "the mother of all beers" don't tread here.
If you're in the mood for a lighter-- but noticeable flavor-- something that you may have to think about-- pop the top!

Photo of Jeffo
3.33/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this one at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam. Put it against a Jester King Black Metal in the Farmhouse Stout Showdown!

From a 750ml into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A black pour yields a two finger, medium looking, fluffy, dark tan head with great retention. Head slowly fades to a thick foam cap. Black body and very high levels of carbonation. Lots of carbonation everywhere. A foamy wisp remains leaving dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Some funky barnyard notes, tart cherry for sure, as well as lemon sourness. Light notes of chocolate in there as well, though the tart and funky notes are more prominent.

TASTE: Funky barnyard flavors up front, with lemon and lactose sourness and tart cherries through the middle into the swallow. More stout like flavors at the finish, with touches of roasted and chocolate notes. Tart cherry, lemon sourness, as well as some light milk chocolate and and bitter coffee flavors linger in the mild aftertaste. A tart, sour beginning, but more of a stout finish here.

PALATE: Medium body and slightly prickly carbonation. Goes down fine with a bit of a scratch and finishes slightly dry and puckering. Not overly creamy, and slightly lambic-like.

OVERALL: This one was more a sour than a stout, but it was interesting and told a story from the beginning to the end. While I wish this had bee more stout infuenced, it was still fun and woth checking out. If you like wild ales and stouts, this will probably be right up your alley. Recommended.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle to tulip.

A - Black with half a finger of medium brown head with good lacing.

S - Roast, Belgian yeast and a fairly noticeable funk aroma that is distracting. Some chocolate in the background.

T - A big tartness up front - sour cherry and some funk. Some roast and chocolate are present as well but the big tart/funk presence really stands out and drowns out the flavours fro the base beer.

M - Medium body. Light carbonation.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - shiny black, half finger of head dissipated to random thin covering
S - coffee and bakers chocolate with candied cherry, bit of a sweet & sour note
T - starts with a sour fruit and sweet cherry thing that is fairly pungent, then gives way to some charcoal and coffee maltiness with faint chocolate, definitely a different approach for a stout
M - a little too light and carbonated for my stout liking, does finish with some chaulky bitterness
O - this is a different cat, has a sour yeasty almost Belgian quality mixed into a stout, the bottle does say 'Belgian inspired stout' so i'm guessing this is intentional, not sure if I would buy another but definitely glad I bought this one

Photo of DoktorZee
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From batch 02-03-2012, poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

A - solid brown beer with the slightest edges of ruby in bright light. Moderately fluffy tan head that leaves behind some thing streaking lacing after dissipating fairly quickly.

S - completely unexpected nose from the appearance (but expected now that I've had a couple Jolly Pumpkin beers), strong sour dark fruit notes backed with a hint of dark chocolate and just a hint of smoke as it warms

T - again, an unexpected set of flavors if you think this is a standard roasty/chocolate stout. It's sour, bitter and only slightly roasty before the enduring sour finish. It's a very funky, overripe sour plum attack and this drives right through some malt softening in the mid-taste and completely sticks at the sides of the tongue and back of the throat. Very acidic.

M - very light on the palate and a touch effervescent; the body is lighter than one would expect by looking at the beer. It would be tough to drink if it was heavier, but the mouthfeel just seems strange given how this beer looks.

Overall this is an amazing funky dark beer. I have trouble seeing it as a stout given just how much sour there is versus stout characteristics. An interesting comparison is Jester King's Funk Metal, which is about 80% and 20% funk/sour, while this one is flipped. That said, if you like sour beers, this is a must try. Very interesting beer.

Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Photo of wordemupg
3.62/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into tulip 15/10/12

A gusher nearly a fountain, big short lived mocha head leaves just a single ring of lace, liquids pretty dark but not quite black and a cola edge

S shes funky, infected alright but is that the Belgian aspect of this stout? intended or not this one has the horse blanket funk that's hard to miss, milk chocolate, sour cherries, nutty toffee and some raisin, happy accident or not this one works

T sour fruity notes and slightly less funk then I could smell but that still leaves a fair bit, some woody earthy notes and a little licorice and some faint booze

M thin and sour with just enough carbonation to give it some live, has a sour chocolate milk finish and well hidden booze

O If the sour funky notes were intended they shouldn't have bothered, if its an infection its sorta works with the beer, this is what I sound like when I talk out of both sides of my mouth, any questions?

I don't like reading reviews or more then whats written on the bottle because I know how it will influence my opinions of the beer. this beers sparked my curiosity and I'll be looking in to the sour notes to see if its intended

Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
87 out of 100 based on 943 ratings.