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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

868 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 868
Reviews: 355
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 16.1%
Wants: 73
Gots: 106 | FT: 8
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: 868 | Reviews: 355 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tai4ji2x
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
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...?

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
3.58/5  rDev -7%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of peabody
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Photo of biegaman
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of JoeMayo
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Starting with the bottle, the image is dark, mysterious, and haunting. It kinda reflects the confusion about the beer's style. It's definately a stout, but it's definately not obvious. After a very slow, careful pour into a wine glass a 3-finger head still formed. The color is very dark brown, almost black with a huge medium-tan head. The head sticks around for quite some time and leaves heavy patches of lacing down the glass.

S- Sour and very funky. Sour cherries and a clear horse blanket aroma. Hints of oak come through as well. A slight smell of alcohol and the slightest hint of roasted barley. I was very surprised by the degree that I had to search for any "stout" characteristics.

T- Malty, roasty, and funky. A confusing, but clearly sequential medley of flavors. The flavor begins with a shock of sour. Sour cherry and horseblanket. A slight bitterness from roasted barley is balanced by a very creamy flavor. The "stout" maltiness comes in the aftertaste, but some of the brett sourness lingers through the nice, dry finish.

M- Clean and dry

D- Very drinkable. Not too sour and not too heavy. Very pleasant, in spite of the confusing nature of the beer.

Photo of bgjohnston
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very interesting beer, indeed. Do note this is made the "Jolly Pumpkin" way, and is a sour ale version of a stout. If you want a sweet, creamy stout, pass on this one. However, if you want to try something new, what you get here is an interesting take on the style.

Pours with a massive dark brown head. Almost equal parts foam and beer in the glass at first. Smell hints that it might not be your typical stout, with a hint of the sour notes to come. Drinks like a sour beer, but with a creamy mouthfeel and dark roasted malt flavor that you would get in a really good, solid stout.

I liked this beer very much, but have to shrug a bit if asked if this beer falls completely within the style. Still, very fun to drink, and will have more next time I can find it.

Photo of CoalCellar
1.46/5  rDev -62.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Poured from a 1.5 year old bottle into my troegs glass...

A: Standard black, builds a thick, unrelenting, microbe fueled chocolate head. Wayyyy too much head for a stout.

S: Sour...microbe...jolly pumpkin funk. No roasted/alcohol smells to be found. Funk is good in certain styles, not what I want to smell when I open a stout.

T: Terrible. This was officially my first drain pour...ever. Lots of jolly pumpkin style funkiness, a flat bitter finish. This was the biggest letdown I've ever had. Perhaps sour stouts just aren't for me. Sour funk isn't what I look for in a stout, and I think the microbes worked on this one a tad too long.

M: Thin and watery.

D: Again, was a drain pour. Not too drinkeable. IMHO the worst offering from Jolly Pumpkin I've had.

Photo of kkipple
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2 year old bottle, cracked after a tasting thanks to the incomparable Wespatrick. Thanks, Wes!

A. Opaque brown, dirty, low lacy head, more than a little sinister...

S. Classic Jolly Pumpkin - sour, complex and unique. Tart cherries blend with woody oak while malty, sugary notes dance in the nose. This is dry and reminds me of cocoa and soured fruits... roasted grains, too... I don't know, it's just good.

T. Sour? Check. Roasty? Yes. Oaky? You bet. Delicately sweet? Better believe it. Slick, well blended, drinkable, workable? Absolutely.

M / D. Creamy on the palate, but also a bit slick... the flavors (sour being the foremost) linger long and keep you coming back for more.

Perhaps not Jolly Pumpkin's finest, this is still a weird delight that begs seeking out if you are at all interested in the wild world of sour ales.

Photo of damienblack
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Great looking in appearance. Bold and dark, fairly thick, absolutely massive tan head with great retention and intricate lacing. Smell leaves a bit to be desired - smells mostly of a big barrel aged beer, which is strange since this was not aged in bourbon or anything like that.

Only way to describe this beer's flavor is Wild Ale meets Stout. It's hardly an Imperial Stout per se, more like a sour stout that happens to have a high ABV. First thing you notice, definitely tastes oak aged. JP, you expect that. But then the funkiness hits you. Woah, sour! Holy sour yeast strains! It basically tastes like a dark wild ale. Not very roasty at all. It's less dry than both most Imperial Stouts and Wild Ales I've tasted, almost like a funky Belgian Dark. I'm really not getting much stout characteristic off this one at all. it's a bit chalky, maybe a tiny bit roasty, but that is it. The lingering flavor on the palate is definitely a slight sourness. While the taste is pretty far out there for me, the mouthfeel gets high ratings because so much is going on, it keeps my palate involved on many different levels. Appropriately carbonated, appropriately complex. Lighter in body than a typical stout, medium-body overall. Drinkability hits because this is a definite sipper. No getting out of control on this one.

Bottom line is, don't go in expecting a typical Imperial Stout. You WILL be disappointed. If you want to try an interesting Wild-Ale hybrid, with some nice complexity and barrel aging, it is definitely worth a taste. But the price combined with the out-thereness of it won't make me a repeat offender.

Photo of froghop
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours black with a small khaki head that goes away quickly, and some lacing.

smell is of bakers chocolate, coffee, some roastiness, some fruit, and alcohol in the back.

taste is not like it smells, tart, dark fruits, some dark chocolate, and roasted malts, ends a little bitter and dry.

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pors out very dark, not quite black, but is opaque in the glass. The head rises up to about 5cms, brown colored, the bubbles start out dense, then grow and pop, maxing it look pillowy and soft, great retention, a bit of lacing. Overall, a very nice looking beer. The smell isn't quite exiting, its full of black malt, slight esters, with a kind of lemony, lactic tartness. Fairly restrained, a bit out of the ordinary, but not bad. The taste comes at you out of control. I get that lactic taste very quickly - tart, sour, but held in control. I get a big taste of estery dark malts, just a bit of roasted chocolate bar, no burntness, not even much in the way of coffee flavors. Very little sweetness, I mean, even using sour yeast, I would guess that one could really strike an incredible balance between sweet and sour with a stout base. Maybe some (more?) wheat, a hotter mash, etc. would make it a bit more complex. But its strange, I get flashes of tart lemon juice, then tastes of a hot stout, and the stoutiness continues growing as I get deeper in. The alcohol can't really be tasted, but its warming in my stomach. The beer tingles on my tongue, and actually feels a bit on the thin side as well. This one is a slow sipper - I couldn't dive right in under any circumstances. And its not the most pleasant to get in to, but I can't say I don't enjoy it. This is almost like a milk stout with some lemon juice (minus the sweetness). I only wonder two things - what this would taste like with only regular yeast (I know, boring, but I'd like to know how this is as just a stout) and I wonder if I'll ever want one again.

Photo of jim102864
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This RIS pours a very dark, black color with a thin pond head, which was served in a tulip glass at Hopcat in Grand Rapids, MI. It was served a tad too cold so I let it sit a spell. A sour RIS? Hmmm. A new funky flavor and one of the few Jolly Pumkin offerings I've had. Sour notes in the nose. Sour moderate bite. A funky brew from a company that only makes funky. Nice mouthfeel. You get a sense for the Brett working in this brew. Not particularly up my ally, but a new fasinating taste.

Photo of shroompod
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 360/362

Pours dark with a large mocha head , lots of lacing.

Aroma of dark malts , undertones of chocolate.

Bitter dark chocolate , malts & coffee are predominate on tasting. A small amount of funk from the oak keeps the bitter finish interesting.

Mouthfeel is kept surprisingly light. The dark malts have a good drying effect. Good carbonation.

Overall a fine beer.

Photo of wheelinshirt
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Duvel tulip. I've been sitting on this one for a couple months and finally had the oppurtunity to split this with a couple friends.

Pours jet black with a dark brown cap of sticky foam that sports good retention and lacing. Very nice.

Smell is immediately tart with nice roasted, coffee and chocolate backbone to keep it stoutish.

Taste is tart, fruity, dark, roasty, and perhaps a little boozy. Very unique and delicious.

Mouthfeel is medium-light, puckering but still smooth.

Drinkability is where this one falters a bit. The combination of the sourness and the bold, dark malt flavors make this one a bit of a bruiser, but it is a great beer to split up amongst 3 or 4 people.

Photo of ikats
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown color with a beautiful brown head that slowly subsides to a solid quarter- to half-inch cover. First thing I notice in the aroma is tartness - sour cherry kind. But there is some dark sweetness as well. Chocolate perhaps. Very inviting aroma actually. This beer taste like some kind of sour coffee drink. You have sour notes on one end, roasted malts on the other. The two never quite blend. Sourness is not overpowering at all (well, comparing to lambics and other sour ales). Alcohol is not apparent. This beer is medium-body. I enjoy sour beers, so I find it very drinkable with a pleasant mouthfeel.

Now, you can probably argue for a long time over a pint or two whether a combination of stout and Belgian sourness works. I don't think it does. However, I appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to try and decide for myself.

Photo of bowersdm
2.63/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

around 12oz of a normal JP bottle poured into a goblet. Batch 360/362.

A - jet black, no hint of light shining through at all. an aggressive pour yielded no head to speak of.

S - roasted barley and roasted barley. a smokiness that suggests charred barley. dark chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and a funky aroma (very subtle) round out the scent. the funkiness came across as very musty, almost like the stale air in an old mildew-infested attic...or because of the brett, a barn, but I think "musty attic" better approximates the scent.

T - roasted and slightly charred barley start the taste out. this is quickly followed by a weird funkiness that I can't describe (it's very grassy, earthy, with a lot of mustiness and something else), but I have come to figure out that it is brett, so I'll go with barn and horse blanket (or musty attic as suggested above.) It's very much like Orval and it's also just as dry. I did not find any fruit flavors at all as others have suggested. The taste was finished off with dark chocolate and near lip-puckering sourness. I didn't really enjoy it.

M - waaaay too much carbonation. the excessive carbon dioxide gave the beer a very tingly sensation that almost seemed to make the beer feel more sour/funky.

D - honestly, the only thing that's stopping me from drain-pouring this beer is the $12 that i paid for it. I understand that Jolly Pumpkin makes a lot of sours, but I don't think that those strains of yeast belong in an Imperial Stout, even if it is a Belgian-inspired IS.

I will say this: It's a beautiful label design, probably my favorite.

Photo of GClarkage
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

02/07/09- Purchased at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle. Did not look for freshness info. Poured into my St. Bernardus chalice.

Appearance- Deep black in color. Looks fairly thick. Nice three fingered dirty white large bubbled head. Leaves behind some small streaks and patchwork.

Smell- Very nice aroma of assorted scents. Milk/bittersweet chocolate forms the base, then a tiny bit of coffee grounds followed by a cola like peppery nose finishes it off.

Taste- Full flavored for only %8. Lots of chocolate flavor, but also a light sour backing to the sweetness of the malt. Almost a light sour cherry flavor. Very Belgian in style. Hops are present and combine nicely with the rest of the flavors.

Mouthfeel- Super intense carbonation. Biting and sharp and a touch foamy on the swallow. Leaves a nice chocolaty flavor in the mouth with a light hoppy aftertaste.

Drinkability- A bit too much carbonation made this a sipper over two hours. Great flavor and nose though...still really liked it and would never turn down a bottle.

Photo of SykDoc
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a flute, courtesy of stoutsnipas, brdc, and others. This beer pours a thick black which is opaque when held to the light. A 3+ inch tan-colored head forms and is short lived but leaves a persistent lacing.

The aroma was very interesting. I picked up a significant sour scent that was similar to apple cider. This is on top of the already present roasted coffee and chocolate. Very unique, but very good.

The taste mimicked the aroma, including the sour, apple cider combo. It is quite well balanced and good.

The mouthfeel seemed quite thin and light bodied to me. There is a reasonable level of carbonation that when mixed with the sour/tart mix is quite good.

This is a very drinkable beer but it has some unusual flavors. I would certainly have it again and would look forward to seeing how the flavors and aroma would change with aging.

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

Large capped bottle, courtesy of stoutsnipas. Poured into a somewhat inappropriate glass.

Pitch black brew, with a very dark brown head, with very good retention and lacing considering my inappropriate glass (a small sampling glass).
Other than a darker head than average, it looks like an imperial stout. Everything traditional ends right there.
Aroma has RIS notes, roasty, coffee, chocolate notes, but the fruitiness is much more tropical than the expected dark fruits, along with an acidity and tartness, as well as some funkiness that makes this a very unusual beer.
Once you get used to the aroma, the taste/palate is dominated by a lighter body than average, lively carbonation, and although it has a malty taste here and there, it is suprisingly well balanced with a tart and sour taste, with more acidity than the average.
It takes a while to get past the shockingly unusual flavors for a supposedly RIS, but this is one tasty beer. Well worthwhile.

Photo of midaszero
4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 265

A - Pitch black body with a huge amount of coffee head that is frothy and sticks around

S - Chocolate cherries with some sour and funk laying around

T - Just like the nose. More sour and funk some then expected from the nose.

M - Thick body with medium carbonation

D - Easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a big, brown, overflowing head. In the aroma, sour white grapes, roasty coffee, touch of caramel, chocolate, and roasty malts. In the taste, tart white grape, roasty malts and a sweet caramel in the end. A sour/ smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry, sour fruit in the aftertaste. A very good stout, with sour and wild yeast. Loved It!!

Photo of magictrokini
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with a huge, cascading brown head. Rich aroma of burnt coffee, chocolate, bourbon, leather, and sour yeast. Once this warmed, it was very good. Tons of roasted malt, with coffee, chocolate, currants, smoke, and oak. I could have done without the sour yeast. It drowns out whatever hop bittenress they intended. It doesn't ruin the beer (like Avery 15) but it also doesn't make it better. All in all, this is still a very good stout.

Photo of beerhappy
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black as night with a huge amount of tan head which dissipates fairly quickly. Smells sour, fruity, vinegary at first (not what I expected... think flanders red) with some subtle smokey chocolaty notes in there also. Most stouts have a somewhat beefy character to them which I enjoy and which this one is missing. Starts out sour and ends up sour with some coffee and fruit in the middle... and then some roasted dark malt in the aftertaste. Not bad! I am a fan of sour beers... but just wasn't in the mood for one. Interesting combination. Have to try this one again now that I know what to expect.

Photo of corby112
4.48/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours pitch black with coffee colored head. Aroma is dominated by oak and whiskey with a nice amount of raosted malts underneath. Oak and whiskey up fron with hints of vanilla and slight sourness followed by rich roasted maltines, chocolate, fig and dark fruit. A very complex amazing beer!

Madrugada Obscura, Dark Dawn Stout from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
87 out of 100 based on 868 ratings.