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Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout - Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

841 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 841
Reviews: 352
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 16.06%
Wants: 71
Gots: 99 | FT: 10
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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Shovelbum on 02-12-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 841 | Reviews: 352 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of philbe311
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm excited to try this one as it seems most either love it or hate it... I'm excited by the thought of a "sour stout..."

Batch #266

A - We have a wee bit of a gusher on our hands... This leads to three fingers worth of airy milk chocolate frothiness that exhibits terrific retention... A dense solid black color... Once the head recedes, the slightest bit of light leaks in through the top... Loads of lace clings to the sides of the glass... A very nice appearance to this one...

S - The funkiness is first and foremost... The chocolate notes are present but take a definite backseat... Cherries... Oak... Perhaps even a hint of vanilla...

T - The roles are slightly reversed... The chocolate notes are first and are of the bitter dark variety but they are quickly replaced by a potent slightly tart yeasty funk that starts slow, crescendos, and then fades into obscurity... Also present are notes of the tartest cherries imaginable... Notes of red wine like tannins increases as the beer warms... Only a very subtle roastiness...

M - Lots of mild carbonation... Dry... A mildly burnt texture... A very delicate stout... Slightly puckering...

D - Kudos to Jolly Pumpkin for creating a brew that is really an all out assault on the senses and keeps you on your toes with every sip... The multitude of complexities makes this one enjoyable, but the aggressiveness weighs on the overall drinkability as does the hefty price tag... A very interesting brew that I suggest BAs try if given the chance, but not one I would necessarily recommend...

Note - I struggled rating this beer more than any other in my 450+ reviews...

philbe311, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of SpdKilz
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The second Jolly Pumpkin beer of the night, shared with my Father and Brother-in-Law.

Appearance - This was one of the only JP beers that was not a gusher. Pours dark reddish/brown, almost black, leaving only about a finger worth of head and minimal lacing. This is not the normal JP "appearance" I am used to, especially after opening the Bam Biere minutes prior and having three inches of fluffy white head. I have another one of these beers and am hoping next time the appearance is more up to JP's standards.

Smell - A bitter coffee and roast smell is at the forefront which is followed by the signature funky, sour smell of JP. This is a quite interesting smelling beer. The sour smells of dark cherries and there is a hint of chocolate in the nose also. This smells so crazy good for the type of beer/style it is suppose to be.

Taste - The taste is the opposite of the smell - as in you immediately taste the funky/sourness which is then followed by the more bitter, coffee notes. At the tail end it finishes up with just a few hints of chocolate. As for the sour, the more sips you take the more you can definitely taste hints of cherry and green apple flavor. This is a very unique imperial stout and I must say I am rather enjoying it with my family.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied (not boozy at all) and lightly carbonated. Again, I feel there was an issue with this beer because the lack of carbonation, but honestly, I liked how it was not super carbonated. It lends to the style well. Finishes with a bit of a bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability - Very drinkable, if you are splitting it three ways. I'm not sure how I'd feel after having one of these by myself. A bit heavy for the JP beers, but such an enjoyable one for the style it is representing. I am glad I have another one and can't wait to have it sometime soon.

SpdKilz, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of BeerImmediately
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber (Batch #266) poured in the 55 degree range into Chimay glass.

Wow, what a gusher... Never had one that shot off like a geyser before, but that was pretty cool (except for losing a few ounces).

Pours with a relatively soft foamy tan head over a black body with cherry cola edges. Good lacing.

Smell is wild and funky - that really threw me off, given that I was expecting your typical imperial stout. Cherries, chocolate, cinnamon, and plenty of twangy farmhouse funk... Wild!

Flavor was every bit Wild Ale, with tart, biting sour qualities. Some cocoa powder tries desperately to break through the powerful funk, but fails. Bitter bark-like hoppy bite in the finish, with some semi-sweet chocolate on the breath.

Mouthfeel was a lot thinner than I would hope for an 8% "stout" (if that's what the kids are calling it these days). Twang and bite dominate.

This is a sipper, no doubt. Worth enjoying slowly due to the complexity.

Phew, that was a hard one (but fun one) to rate given the ambiguous style and true uniqueness.

BeerImmediately, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of ryanonline
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

from bottle to wine glass

pours with a thick dark tan head with compacted bubbles. black as night.

smell of licorice and dark coffee maybe a hint of apples and some tobacco.

taste is more of the same with a much stronger tart apple flavor up front and the coffee on the end but licorice and tobacco throughout

mouthfeel is very spritzy especially for a stout. but very clean

this beer, for as much as is going on with it, is surprisingly drinkable.

I am convinced after drinking this beer, having tried maracaibo especial and calbaza de oro, that jolly pumpkins beers have sort of an apple flavor to all of them. I'm sure there is a reason for this. i also think that, since most of them are bottle conditioned, they may be best when cellared.

ryanonline, Oct 28, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
2.4/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Black with a huge billowing 4 finger head that takes forever to recede. Smell is pungeant hops and belgian yeast. A decent amount of spices are present as well.

The taste is rather odd. Seems that the roasted malt character is just begging to burst out but is being held back by an odd hops character and a light sour/sweet/tart combination that just doesn't work too well. I thought this one might be a little more similar to Black Albert, but alas it ends up just being a mess. A bit gross and completely undrinkable. Not sure what they were really going for here, but it just doesn't work. I see why this beer has such polarizing reviews.

alcstradamus, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of nickd717
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by mfielden - thanks, Mark!

A - Black in color with nice creamy head that settles to a film, with a little lacing.

S - Aroma is tart and somewhat lactic with roast, caramel, and some hops.

T - Flavor is roasty and tart (seems lactic) with chocolate and some hops. Pretty good and interesting overall.

M - Nice sharp but smooth palate with medium body and no booziness to speak of.

D - Good. The tartness doesn't really ever overwhelm, nor does the base stout.

nickd717, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml single from Wilbur's in Ft. Collins, around $9. Edit: Batch 360/362.

A: Inky dark brown, verging on black with an enormous brown head that will not stop growing out of my glass, insane! I've never seen a beer do this before. Excellent lacing, awesome color. Nice looking beer.

S: Has some definite funk to it, big time horseblanket/medicinal flavor, citrus, as well as roasted coffee and dark chocolates, has a sort of Hershey's chocolate syrup note to it as well. Really pulls the nose in a lot of directions. As for style, its there, but hidden under the funk. Very interesting.

T: Fairly bitter, lots of hops in this one as well as dark roasted malts, not incredibly tart, but still has a little bit of a funky sourness, enough to notice. Slightly medicinal. Roasted coffee and a hint of chocolate as well. Spicy alcohol in the end. Has some lingering notes, and the roasted profile lingers longest. Very, very interesting.

M: Mouthfeel is all wrong in this, this is incredibly thin and highly carbonated, definitely loses points here. Slightly warm alcohol though, and a dry finish.

D: One bottle is more than enough to split with someone, lots of different flavors going on here, but they don't play all that nicely with each other. Glad to have tried it, and definitely the most interesting take on an imperial stout I've ever tried. Would recommend to try it, but probably wouldn't buy it again.

pokesbeerdude, Oct 17, 2009
Photo of kegger22
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark brown with a huge head that just stayed and stayed. The aroma was mildewy to me. The taste was bitter and sour, not at all what I was expecting from an imperial stout. The feel was medium bodied, but thin for a stout, with moderate carbonation. Drinkability was average. This really wasn't that good. I guess the lesson is if you want funk, buy funk. The reviews were not that helpful, they were all over the place, but now I know which ones were on the mark.

kegger22, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of berkey
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first Jolly Pumpkin brew. I've been hearing good things about these guys for awhile so I was excited to see their beers start showing up around here in recent months. 750ml bottle poured into a tulip.

Dense coal black body, forms a very large light brown head with just the slightest hint of red. Retention is above average and leaves a very good amount of stringy lacing.

Initial aromas are roasty and coffee-like followed by an understated malt sweetness. The most interesting thing is an almost tart fruity aroma. Tart and coffee may sound like strange bedfellows but it seems to be working well so far. Dry bitter hops are there if you search for them but they're kind of married to a dry oaky character and are kind of lost in the shuffle.

Coffee still right out front on first sip. Really teams up with the oaky tannins for a very interesting earthy dry roasted character. Tartness is even more prominent on the palate, almost approaching sour. Oak reasserts itself on the aftertaste. Lingers for a very long time on the palate. Takes several seconds for all the flavors to come through. Very unique.

Drinkability is pretty average. As much as I enjoyed the big, unique, flavors even with the medium for the style ABV the 750 was more than I was looking for. I'll probably buy again to share with a friend.

Overall a very interesting and enjoyable brew. One of the more unique that I've tried in the style. I'm glad Jolly Pumpkin is becoming more available in my area and I'll definitely be giving more of their brews a try as I see them.

berkey, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of gabrielsyme
4.58/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Taste (and smell) are what you would expect from a high-quality stout: roasty, chocolate (specifically dark chocolate bitterness), coffee. The aftertaste on this though is the characteristic JP flavor the slightly tart yeast taste. It makes for a wonderful combination.

gabrielsyme, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of DeathbySexyBT
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: "Darker than a moonless night." Ominous thick brown head that remains throughout the enjoyment of this masterpiece. Lacing unlike that which I have ever seen. The lacing, and this may be by sheer coincidence, looked more akin to stained glass. Very cool.

S: Coffee is the first aroma on the nose. This is followed up and complemented by almost a coal smell. In the back of the nose you will enjoy a tart hint that reminds me of plums that were picked too early.

T: Heaping notes of coffee and cocoa. The roasty goodness is cut by a sour/tangy sharpness buried in the recesses of this evil-looking brew. Black cherries and dates are seemingly present, but this beer is by no means fruity. This beer is a roasty coffee with bitter chocolates. The alcohol provides spice and warmth as the temperature of the brew rises.

M: Big carbonation and medium bodied.

D: The odd thing about this beer is that, as good as it is, I could only see myself having two at the most in one sitting. It is not overly boozy and it is certainly delicious enough. Hmmm???

Batch 360/362

DeathbySexyBT, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of heliosphann
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml. Batch #266. Served in an oversized tulip and split with BA Infestaxion.

A: Pours jet black, with a nice coffee tint. This one was a gusher! Leaves some crazy lacing on my Duvel Tulip. Looks very enticing.

S: Heavy funk of Belgian yeast and a some tart cherries/dark fruit. A little bit of oak is in there as well.

T: Slight roasty malts up front, with some dark fruity funk. Finish is highlighted by Belgian yeast and a slight sourness. Complexity grew significantly as the beer warmed up.

M: Very carbonated, probably a little too much. Could be a thicker.

D: The ABV is very well hidden, and it goes down very smoothly. The beer opened up more to my liking as it warmed up. The high carbonation does makes it easy to drink, but the sour finish prevents you from drinking it too much.

Probably my least favorite offering from Jolly Pumpkin. Of course even their "worst", is a very solid beer. I believe the bottle we tried has a little more than a year on it, so I'm thinking this doesn't age that well. I'll have to try a fresh bottle down the road and compare it. Mahalo!

heliosphann, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of ClevoPiwo
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured an opaque black with lots of visible carbonation. Huge head that took up nearly half the glass despite being poured gently. Had to drink through the head as it showed no sign of dissipation.

The smell is great. Very nice aroma of fruit, coffee, chocolate, perhaps some hints of caramel or vanilla. Some alcohol comes through, but overall the smell is a combination of fruit, coffee and chocolate.

Woah! The taste is bizarre. Definitely not what I expected from the smell. Lots of malt, a hint of hops and a ton of sour fruit! The tip of the tongue tickles and front of the mouth almost puckers from the sour fruit flavor. The finish is a bit dry and bitter with an alcohol presence. Very strange, although enjoyable once the initial shock passes. The sour fruit and dry coffee bitterness actually compliments well toward the end of the experience.

ClevoPiwo, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of TheViolator666
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into stout glass.

Batch 360/362

A: Poured a deep brown, nearly opaque. This one's got a huge light brown fluffy head, at least four fingers that took a considerable amount of time to settle down to two fingers. Head had exceptional retention and left some nice lacing.

S: Smelled of sour chocolate. Roasted malt as well as bit tart.

T: I was not expecting this. Taste is very tart and sharp, leaves a bizarre sour taste on the very tip of the tongue and front of the lips. Dark roasted malt gives it a nice coffee flavor and the earthy hops give it a nice muskyness. Slight alcohol presence, hidden well. There is also a drying effect brought on by the yeast. I didn't like this one at first, but as it went on, I kind of warmed up to the sour effect.

M/D: Body was medium, not quite full. Extreme amount of carbonation due to bottle conditioning.

TheViolator666, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of cvfish
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer poured a dark brown color with red highlights which produced a huge, fluffy tan head which had great retention and laced the side of the glass nicely

S - The aromas produced by this beer were overwhelmed by the funkiness of the beer, I was able to get some of the roasted malts from the nose, however

T - The taste of this beer was a highlight for me, being a huge fan of Bell's Cherry Stout, the roasted malts clash with the funk in a very delicious way, and the combination of tart and sour fruit hits the button for me

M - The mouthfeel of this beer is a little bit of a miss for me, it didn't have the body that I like in my Imperial Stouts, but the carbonation was right on the money

D - While I thought this was a wonderful beer, this is a once in a while choice for me, for my Sour Stout fix I would probably turn to Bell's Cherry Stout first, but only because of the price

cvfish, Aug 11, 2009
Photo of BigAl723
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor.

A: It's not nicknamed the Dark Dawn Stout for nothing. It's about as dark as before the dawn with a nice dark brown head.

S: Smokey sourness. You can definitely tell it's a stout but on the other hand you can definitely tell it's brewed by Jolly Pumpkin. What a great/funky combination!

T: When it hits your mouth it's real sour but as you drink it, a nice smokey stout flavor roars in with a fine Belgian influence. It's a little bitter but the roasted malt evens it out.

M: Highly carbonated. Not terrible though.

D: Very drinkable. I could drink this stuff all night.

Overall, I love this offering from Jolly Pumpkin. It's very experimental but they pull it off quite nicely. On my list it's second to only the Noel!

BigAl723, Aug 07, 2009
Photo of BMoney575
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 7-31-09
Batch 359/363

Pours pitch black, not light whatsoever. A sizable tan head sits on top, and lasts the whole time, leaving thick, glass-covering lacing.

Smell is thick and malty, with a distinct sour quality. A little young, but quite complex, with subtle aromas of smoke and anise. The alcohol is there, but fits well.

Taste is a sharp sour bite, with lots of sweet malt to back it up. Not as complex as the smell, with a pleasant bitter and sour finish.

Mouthfeel is perfect, thick to go with the maltiness, and great carbonation to help the sourness.

Drinkability is good, if you're in the mood for sweet, earthy, and sour.

Overall, the most interesting Jolly Pumpkin I've had. A great choice for something different.

BMoney575, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of rhinos00
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass. Batch 266.

A- Pours a dark, chocolate brown with a massive tan colored head.

S- The aroma consists of roasted coffee beans, chocolate malts and bit of funk.

T- This was definitely out there. Upfront a surprisingly sour taste takes over the palate. Combine this with ripe cherry skins and you got one hell of a mix. Following is the robust flavor of roasted malts with a bit of hops. This one was blended perfectly.

M- Medium bodied. WAY too much carbonation. I definitely think this batch may have had issues with this.

D- Highly drinkable. The sourness was by no means overpowering and actually created an interesting blend.

Overall, really like where JP is going with this one. It is definitely outside the box, but they definitely pulled this one off. The only negative I have is that there was definitely issues with the carbonation.

rhinos00, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of tavernjef
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick and lush and settles matte black in the glass with nary a highlight to be found. Capped by a massive amount of fluffy thick dark tanned foam that remains there without much movement. It just sits there like melting ice cream. Very impressive! Oh, and lacing sticks around like tiny caves and caverns in hugely thick shelves.

Upon the first waft it becomes evident this isn't your average Impy stout. This speaks up of lambic-like soured creamed coffee, sour dark cherries, tartly bitter Belgian chocolate, and yeasty funkyness that is quite Brett-like.

Taste has far more funk to it then the aroma leads you to believe. Squeezingly soured, lip smackingly tart and dry with quite the yeasty supply of Brett-like flowery bitterness and high ended tartness of dark cherry skins, orangey pith, white and pink grapefruit pulp with a moderate stroke of tender sweetness underneath of burntish coffee, toast, Belgian bittered chocolate, and char that quickly slips into drier deeds done dirt cheap. And I mean dirt. It has a remarkable way of creating a dirt-like earthy dryness of say what its like after licking a rock or eating fresh daisy petals. Way out there with unique character for an Impy stout and definately not out of the realm of what Jolly Pumpkin is capable of pulling off.

Mouthfeel is all funky tartened and dry within a fairly smooth and airy medium body. It starts with a huge spark of the funk then gradually softens its hold into all sorts of earthy drying things.

Due to its more funky side of being what any normal take on a Impy stout would be this stuff is not as drinkable as I would like nor can handle. It's a little much for me and is one for sippin' and taking your time with. Get down and get funky with one.

tavernjef, Jul 22, 2009
Photo of champ103
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a pitch black color. At first a one finger beige head forms, and recedes to a ring. Some nice spiderweb lace is left behind.
S: Sour fruits and funky barnyard aromas up front. Some vinegar as well. Roasted chocolate and coffee as the aroma lingers. Interesting, but it does not really mesh well for me.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of sour fruits and barnyard flavors. Vinegar and tannin flavors. Lightly roasted chocolate and coffee. Again, interesting but not the best combination in my opinion.
M/D: A medium body that is a little over carbonated for my tastes. The alcohol shows along with the prickly carbonation makes this a little harder to drink that I would like. Though, a good beer to sip on.

I do enjoy this beer. Though, like I said above the sourness and roasted character does not mesh all that well for me. Without a doubt it is worth a try, but more out of interest than anything.

champ103, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. batch 359/363. tasted in early/mid may 2009. poured into tulip.

very dark brown, almost black, pretty much opaque. huge brown/beige head is foamy, and slowly fades to thin wispy layer. thin lacing at first, then a great webby lattice later down the glass.

roasty stout aroma, hint of coffee, then into leathery brett and oaky wood, with sour cherry (and blueberry!?!) note, melding into cabernet wine character, esp. in back, but then back to more coffee.

taste: very interesting mix of roasty, coffee-ish stout and sour/wild ale. oak and wine with fruit hint. hay. vinegar notes. really, it's simply just unique and good. coffee in the finish. nice.

medium to viscous body. acidity and tannins from the middle onwards. mild to moderate carbonation is prickly upfront, quickly backs off, and is creamy and fluffy otherwise.

perhaps i just found my go-to "steak beer", ready to go toe-to-toe with some of the best red wines for beef-matching potential...?

tai4ji2x, Jul 12, 2009
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I didn't like La Roja, but decided to give this a try. I've had a couple of Belgian stouts over the years, and it's an interesting combo. Unfortunately, this was more of a Bier De Garde/Stout combo. I don't particularly care for sour beers, so this was an expensive beer that I really didn't enjoy. The initial pour was great, with a dark stout appearance, and a large frothy head. I could smell the sourness right away, however, and the taste was the same. Not bad at all, but with so many great stouts and Belgian ales, this just doesn't appeal to me.

JohnnyDuvel, Jul 11, 2009
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

NeroFiddled, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of peabody
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a dark reddish black with two hands worth of suds. Suds are creamy and off-white and stay with the pour for a very long time.
Can't get to the drink!
Smell is sour charred wood with a yeasty aroma. This is a very odd stout. A little dirtyness and some alcohol are also present.
Taste is a sour medicine flavor with a slight coffee/burnt toast aftertaste. Definatly a sour beer here.
Drinkability is only OK. Nothing I would want to session. Very interesting take on a stout.

peabody, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of biegaman
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Madrugada doesn't depict day-break, it relates the dead of night. 'Dark Dawn' at least is an appropriate moniker; 'abysmally black dawn' or 'nebulously opaque dawn' would have also made suitable handles. Its head is shaped and coloured like Sahara Desert sand dunes; my sipping has simulated the Aeolian process in transporting and depositing the foamy materials to shape the surface of the glass with lacing of different forms and sizes.

Its bouquet is exceptionally fragrant for a stout. It is underlined by a very fiery and savory scent that must certainly be the perspiration of a well seasoned yeast. It is a sort of spicing you'd gladly welcome into your coffee or hot chocolate - it resembles ginger and cinnamon with a smack of vanilla. The roasty malts beneath that are nearly overlooked but if you manage to sniff past the yeasty perfume you're likely to note cocoa.

If not, you'll surely taste it. Where as the yeasty spice is heavy for a stout, the malt bill is relatively light. As noted, there is the taste of cocoa (and a light caramel drizzle as well) but there is not the intense flavours of espresso or heavy dark chocolate. Although, like the aforementioned, the beer does finish and linger on a similarly roasty and harshly bitter note. But again the spiciness seems most prominent, cinnamon and clove in particular.

I was alarmed by the visual of over-carbonation but it turns out this mouthfeel couldn't be much creamier. Its flavours are delicately subtle, the carbonation soft and many sips are feather light. The alcohol content turns out inconsequential. Despite all these positives, however, I didn't meet the second half of this bottle with as much keenness as I was expecting to - it turns out this lactic tartness really becomes a little much after awhile.

The more I think about it, I'm not so sure funky bacteria and wild yeasts are the best combinations for a stout (granted they make a good combination, just look at my score, and whether you love or hate it, it is an undeniably interesting combination). This bottle had a couple years in the cellar and it's turned pretty sour - the taste of oak has overpowered the malt, the bacteria have championed and it's extremely bretty/leathery as result.

We could almost consider it a big, bold American stout but we'd be just as right saying it shares the dark fruits and woody spices of a Belgian Strong Dark ale. If anything, it is a sort of hybrid between the two styles but comparisons are useless because this really is like few other beers out there. Besides, to chain the beer to regimental and banal guidelines of style is silly; this should be appreciated for the unique and artisanal creation it is.

biegaman, Jun 23, 2009
Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
87 out of 100 based on 841 ratings.