Petit Obscura | Telegraph Brewing Company

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Petit ObscuraPetit Obscura

Brewed by:
Telegraph Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Ale aged with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus. Telegraph Petit Obscura is a "small beer" brewed from the sour-mash second runnings of a batch of our Rhinoceros Rye Wine. Historically, a small beer was brewed as a way of utilizing the remaining sugars that are otherwise lost when making a big high-gravity beer. With a crisp, fruity, white-wine-like character, our little obscure one is a light-bodied "wild ale" with a subtle complexity that transcends its humble origins.

Added by UCLABrewN84 on 02-19-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 44
Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a hazy, golden orange color with a one-finger, head of bubbly off-white foam. It left thin, sticky rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled phenolic and funky with some fruity notes.

T -Fuity and funky with an acidic bite. Fruit flavors are orange, lemon and white grapes. There is a light grain flavor, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

O - This is a nice wild ale. Very unique with some sour and sweet flavors.

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Photo of capra12
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed in a Foothills pint glass shared with RiceCracker

Appearance: Cloudy, straw, with carbonation still pumping from the bottom of the glass. Poured a 1 finger head.

Smell: I get a ton of tart and unripened strawberry nose. Reminds me of a berliner wiesse. There is a hint of sulfur which is hidden behind the mild funk.

Taste: This opens with a mild citrus tart that doesn't develop into much more. Very one dimensional with a mild straw profile on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, a bit puckering.

Overall: A one and done for me. I recommend this to those seeking a wild ale that is sessionable and not overly aggressive on the palate.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a clear light yellow with a big white bubbly head that fades to a ring and leaves no lacing on the glass. It actually looks flat after sitting for a while.

S: The nose is light amounts of lemon zest, orange peel, funky brett, and white grapes. It's got a bit of a wine quality with a funky and acidic element.

T: The beer starts with an acidic sour flavor and progesses to a lemon zest and sweet malt finish. Not much here besides the sour flavor but the stuff that gets through in the finish is good.

M: The feel is extremely dry with big bubbles of carbonation as you swirl it in the mouth.

O: Not the biggest sour beer I've had and I'm sure some people will complain about it not being sour enough. I thought the sour was well done and a bit more balanced than others in the style.

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Photo of CenCalMario
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a bottle, poured into tulip glass. Thanks Ryan (DovaliHops).

Appearance: Golden, hazy, nice head.

Smell: Funky, tart, slight acidic, sourness... horseblanket is a good descriptor.

Taste: Nice, slight sour, not over the top, easy to drink... really nice.

Mouthfeel: light but well carbed. Refreshing and effervescent.

Overall: Really enjoyed, would buy and try again many times over. It's like a smaller, less sour, less complex version of DDG. Those aren't bad things... just a smaller version of DDG I thought which is a great compliment. Well done Telegraph, looking for more of their stuff in the future.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, batch 68.

Pours hazy light gold with a three inch head of dense white froth. A solid skim cap and some elongated dots of lacing throughout the glass.

Aromatics lead off with lemon pith, grapefruit, pineapple, and barnboards. A wine-like vineousity steps forward and offers a tannic, lactic preview.

Light bodied and quite crisp. Snappy and quenching mouthfeel.

The palate starts with a wheaty twang, lemon wedges, and pineapple skin. Hints of Chardonnay, bright acid, and grapefruit pith follow through.

Finishes nicely tart but short of sour, with plenty of lemon-spritzed wheat and mild funk.

Oh, this is a tasty one and I would say the SoCal version of Temptation. Nice.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. Thanks Ryan.

Appearance: golden/straw color, hazy, pours one finger of thick white head that fades slowly. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Funk, orange, vanilla, subtle spices, horeseblanket.

Taste: orange, funk, earthy, grassy, sour orange creamsickle.

Mouthfeel: light bodied, good carbonation.

Overall: Another great, very drinkable beer from Telegraph. Sourt but not overly so. Very refreshing. Great funk.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle shared with my girlfriend, poured into two tulips.

A: Golden yellow clear body with tons of white tight little bubbles. The head looks bubbly and fizzy, but does retain a great cap. Virtually no lace although for the style, this is rather acceptable and expected.

S: Lemon rind, Smarties candy, white grapefruit flesh, faint citrus undertones and a bit of dry grains towards the back end. Certainly an interesting smelling beer with a remarkable amount of flavors for being so low in ABV. To me, this smells more akin to a Gueuze than an American Wild.

T: Again, Smarties candy is up front along with more lemon rind. A tart, funkiness is mid-palate, the obvious by product of the brett and lacto. Hay, grassy notes and somewhat of a chalky flavor is in the finish. As discouraging as that may sound it's actually quite nice.

M: Lots of bubbles, light bodied but very easy drinking. The only downfall is that all the carbonation makes me feel a bit full after a glass. Dry and crisp in the finish.

This was honestly a pleasant surprise for both of us. We agreed it was tasty despite having a deep complexity. But for a 4% ABV beer, this packs a lot of flavor and will definitely satisfy someone who wants a funky beer. Once again, this flavor profile plays out more like a Gueuze than anything.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy straw color with large white head. Scent is Extremely funky with Brett aroma and sweat. A bit of horse blanket and citrus. As disgusting as it may seem, this aroma is pleasantly inviting. Taste is funky barnyard flavors with hay, lemon peel, and a lot of citrus. The Brett also makes its appearance. Mouthfeel is light bodied, somewhat like the Reserve Wheat, but with a creamy finish. Nice and tart bite to it. Drinkability is VERY high, as this low ABV beer quenches the thirst and tickles the taste buds. Overall, this beer was amazing and gives me hope foe this Santa Barbara brewery. Crossing my fingers for great things in the future.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Urge Gastropub

A: Slightly hazy golden color with a pretty thin white head.

S: The smell reminded me a bit of consecration, but a bit lighter. Sour cherries, currants, and a little apple cider vinegar.

T: There's a bit of sourness upfront. Sour cherries and green apples followed by a bit of lemon and white wine. The sourness is nice, but a little too muted and light. The finish brings some malt flavors and some breadiness. Overall, a solid sour, but nowhere near the RR lineup.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glad to have shared this with myself at my nightly tastings in my living room with my wife and my cat.

The small tan head rose up quick, fading into a small, but whisp broken crown that hung out on the top for the remainder of the session. The aroma was intresting. Subtle notes of grapes, hints of light woody and oak notes and a decent, yet subtle touch of sweetness to it. where is my funk??I have to say though I was a little dissapointed as it came across a bit light and not as full as I would have thought. Same could be said for the taste, while nice, decent notes of oak and a touch of even waht seemed like vanilla mixed in with a light funk, I just was not impressed with it. Maybe it needs more time, not sure, but this was not really what I was looking for.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan!

The beer is golden hued and hazy, with a soft white head. The aroma brings a light helping of various fruits with a mild funk. The flavor is decent and enjoyable, but quite conservative. I could use more fruit, more funk, just more in general. The body is on the thin side. Overall, this was OK. It wasn't bad, but has the potential to be much better. I'd have it again

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Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another interesting sour provided by mdfb79, thanks Dan.

Beer looks like a witbier or a wheaty beer due to the white hazy color of the thing. Lazy head, relatively low carbonation, some lacing.

Aroma is fruitier than I expected, the sour funkiness is not as prominent as I had hoped.

The overall beer is thin and highly carbonated on the palate, the fruit, mostly tropical almost seems hoppy in nature but is likely coming from the acids in wheat reacting with the organisms used to make this beer. Overall it is intersting but as far as a wild is concerned I wanted more of something, more sour, more funk, more yeast character. It kind of left me hanging.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

a - Pours a hazy golden color with two inches of white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of wine, brett, oak, peach, and light fruits. Tiny bit funky, pretty nice.

t - Taste is oak, peaches, fruity malts, brett, light white wine and grapes.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation.

o - I kind of liked this one. Light brett and sour fruit in the taste, and pretty easy to drink. Would give another shot.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to mdfb79 for opening up this brew at a recent tasting. Served in a Captain Lawrence tulip.

Pours a clear straw-yellow color with a small white head that diminishes pretty quickly. Sparse lacing. The nose brings a light bit of straw and grain with a very light earthy presence. A bit of cherry and peach there, as well as oak. The flavor hits with some pitted fruits and a bit of oak plus a fairly strong acidic presence. Average duration and moderate acidity. Light body with light carbonation. Dry finish. Pretty good, but nothing mind-blowing.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
2.77/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Big thanks to my brother for bringing this one out. Batch# 68...

A - Poures a deep yellow with a two finger off white head that dissipates very quickly. Nothing in the way of lace to be had here...

S - Smells tart and fruity. Lemon, sour apples, and other various citrus fruits...

T - Wow, this one is really watery. Pick up lots of citrus notes. Lemon and oranges. Peaches come through with a nice tartness, and a touch of vinegar. Abv is well hidden...

M - This is where this beer really lacks in my opionin. It is to light with way to much carbonation. The high amount of carbonation made this hard for me to finish...

O - Won't be drinking this one again. To much carbonation. If you are a fan of champagne, or super carbonated beers, this one might be for your; otherwise, I would stay away...


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Photo of jcartamdg
2.82/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured into my bruery snifter. No head at all, golden in color, looks like wine, low carbonation. Aroma of apple cider and wine, smells like it's gonna be very tart. Taste is disappointing. It tastes watered down. Slight tartness but not what I expected, the brett is there but not showcased. Mouthfeel is rough, it leaves an oily coating in my mouth. Not awful, but not good, I can't really recommend this beer.

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
3.04/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Petit Obscura, American Wild Ale, Telegraph Brewing

A: The appearance looks like a traditional pilsner with a deep gold, foamy thick head with moderate lacing. The middle carbonation lasts throughout and the entire presentation looks very frefreshing. The crisp deep yellow is remniscient of a Kristalweissbier.

S: The brett is very pronounced, you get this musky funk that smells like wet hay that subsides into a strange soap undertone. The entire smell is tart with a wafting odor. The mandarin orange scent comes through

T: There is nice tartness remniscient of geuze at the forefront with lemon and grapefruit notes in the actual taste, not the hops. It literally reminds me of a tart champagne juiciness, without the drying effect. It is very refeshing with exception of this very sugary turbinado finish that takes away from the experience. If it had more bitterness and more of a tart finish above the sweetness, it would be better balanced, as a result it falls into mediocrity with a few noteworthy moments, like basically every single Bad Religion album ever made.

M: The mouthfeel is incredibly thin and light, any lingering taste disappears almost immediately. It is a fun, fleeting affair, albeit imbalanced. You swallow, forget and then try to remember the tartness or the funk, but it is gone, like autumn leaves, you are left ruminating with what could have been. If they added more funk, acidity or malt to leave some lingering, maybe you would have something to hold onto.

D: This is a very drinkable beer, you taste it, it is gone and you feel comfortable drinking more. As a result it loses points for memorability. It feels like a batch of temptation that they overwatered or didn't age long enough. Who knows, maybe Wild Ales are a gimmic like 3d tv and we will laugh upon this style years from now, but this feels like a halfhearted example of the endeavor.

Narrative: The 7th grade dance was going swimmingly, Boyz to men was spinning with lustre and the boys and girls were partitioned with natural precision. It seemed like a traditional affair, girls and boys alike rife with insecurity, until Daniel Chambers entered the mediocre gym with the pre-teen swagger only an awkward lack of pubsecence could produce. He was overly sweet with a miller's outpost shirt that boasted a screen printed witticism that would make Voltaire blush. The Tony Rich project comes on and he walks through a group of knock kneed pre-women a solid 6 inches taller than him. It was not inconsequential that with his overriding sweetness, Daniel delivered backhanded insults to each of the already completely insecure girls, imparting a tart finish that was both forgotten immediately but left them wanting more. He deserved all his misfortunes, for he was a product of a botched marriage and wrought his vengeance upon the student body. As his swan song he slammed into a small filipino girl during basket case and was delivered resounding accords.

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Photo of jminsc76
2.86/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Into a tulip, pours a large white head atop a yellow golden body. The head reemerges quickly, yet dies just the same.

Light aromas of bretty funk and wheat, but truth be told the bouquet is so faint it’s barely worth talking about.

Same thing with the flavors. There is some bretty funk and a dry, crisp yeasty taste that makes this very comparable to drinking a dry white wine. However, where be the intensity? White wines deliver a much bigger punch than this.

Mouthfeel is thin and light, mildly effervescent.

Overall, this is fairly drinkable as a Wild Ale, and the funk is noticeable, though not impactful. As other reviewers have mentioned it is almost like a Wine Spritzer, and I realize the lower ABVs may be responsible for the lack of flavor impact. But isn’t that the point of a good brewery to make the flavors more impactful despite the ABV?

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Photo of womencantsail
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Tim. Thanks!

A: The pour is slightly cloudy, but it's a pale straw color with a nice fluffy white head.

S: An amazing amount of fruitiness on the nose. Lemon, lemon zest, white grapes, apples, and perhaps even strawberries are all there. A sort of grassy funk to it with a little bit of straw in there as well.

T: Very fruity in terms of flavor as well. Lots of citrus notes. I get grapefruit, lemons, and perhaps even some lime. Maybe some more underripe strawberries and a little bit of apricot. Grass and a hint of oak seem to round things out.

M: Quite light in body, but in a good way, with a high level of carbonation.

O: One solid, light, and easy to drink sour. It had the lightness of a Berliner weiss with a lot more complexity. Really awesome.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch No. 68
I picked this one up at Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido, CA last week, after being told that it was a blend of Rhinoceros and gypsy aged with lacto and brett; sadly this was not quite true, and I regret not grabing the gypsy as well. That said, this was a delicious beer none the less. Poured a hazy dark golden color with a very fleeting bubbly white head. Lightly tart and funky aromas, medium bodied and crisp, with flavors of funk, light tartness, lemons and apple peel. Very good, crisp and refreshing.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 68

A: Pours a slightly hazy, orangish yellow with a moderate white head which fades slowly.

S: Brett and Lacto funky yeast yield a promising wildness with a floral and juicy fruit essence.

T: Mildly tart and somewhat sour. Finish is spicy.

M: Dry, but a bit thin.

O: Wishing this was aged in oak. It is kinda like a temptation cousin. Light and refreshing. One dimensional and mostly bland.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

325th review on BA
bottle to wine glass
750 ML C/C Batch #68

App- A beautiful orange with a one finger quick receding head. No cling.

Smell- A bunch of adjectives come to mind but these four stick out: Fruity, sour, yeasty, funky.

Taste- It's a small little beer but nice flavors with some puckering sour and a bit of an acidic citrus. A little bit of orange with some funk is a nice way to describe it.

Mouth- A light beer with a high carbonation. Citrusy with a bit of dank flat funk of the tounge. For some reason I really enjoyed it. Lots of carbonation on the palate as well and leaves a nice tingly sensation.

Mouth- A good little beer as its called. I enjoyed the meshing of the flavors. Some people wont because one isn't dominant. This was a good beer to end the night with.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Poured from a caged-and-corked 750mL bottle into my Drie de Fonteinen tumbler. Batch 68. ABV is 6%. This is a "small beer" made from the second runnings of their rye wine.

Cloudy orange peel body with a head that rapidly dissipates to nothing. No real lacing or legs.

Soft gummy bear and fruit aromatics - no real funk from Brett. or Lacto. really.

Very rich apricot and peach notes - fresh fruit mixed with jolly ranchers oddly. Faint tartness for balance along with a vague earthiness in the finish. Maybe the bacteria will develop more with age, but at present I don't think I would have detected it on my own.

Creamy but light bodied - very light carbonation, not as effervescent as I would expect or prefer, but not terrible.

Simple but very tasty little (small) wild ale - curious to see what some age will do to it...worth revisiting in a year or three maybe.

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Photo of Patrick999
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours pretty still into my tulip. Not flat, but by the same token not a lot of carbonation at all. Some foam can be roused, but this is a very lazy-looking beer. Unfiltered gold color.

Aroma is of lemon zest and some of the sour whear character of a Berliner Weiss - but mostly lemon zest.

Very B.Weiss-like in taste too. Lemon with a light sourness. Most lacto-influenced in taste, I guess the Brett hasn't had a chance to assert itself yet.

Soft light-bodied beer, barely weighs on the palate.

Major warm-weather beer, you could probably go through several 750s of it out by the pool or something.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours a translucent goldenrod with a light fizzy white head, solid retention (for the style), no lace.

S: Yeasty notes, lemons, apples, lactic acid.

T: Delicious fermented lemons and mandarin orange mix with mild notes of yeast. The Brett is noticable offering a light leather component, but as this is so young, the Lacto dominates. Shares a lot of similarities with Berliner Weisse (think Hottenroth more than Kindl), but the flavour is heftier.

M: Light-bodied, direct but easy going lactic acidity, zippy carbonation, very refreshing and clean.

D: A perfect post exercise beer, which is really what small beers were intended to be among other things. The acidity is a real nice aspect and harkens hundreds of years back to when all beers would have some wild character though this is clearly a modern interpretation. Telegraph, along with Reserve Wheat, has been really impressive in their sours, and how often do you see a 750 of sour beer under $10?

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Petit Obscura from Telegraph Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 44 ratings.
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