Petit Obscura | Telegraph Brewing Company

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Petit ObscuraPetit Obscura
Very Good
44 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 44 |  Reviews: 30
Reviews by Patrick999:
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of mj001jk
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light straw yellow with a fine and rich head.

Aromas are light and refreshing, citrus fruit, green apple and a tiny hint of soap.

Flavors mirror the aromas, lemon peel, green apple and watermelon Jolly Rancher, but without being overly "candy-like".

Mouthfeel is crisp, with a nice sour bite and residual dryness on the finish. The light malts and low alcohol level makes this an easy to drink beer with a great food potential. I'll be trying it out with some Indian food later tonight.

If you are new to Lambic style beers, this is an excellent way to be introduced to a good American version.

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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 GuruDel
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Photo of GRG1313
3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a little hazy medium gold/orange with an initial white head that quickly fades.

Nose is negligible but has hints of white peaches. The faintest of hints of bret and perhaps it's there only because one looks so hard for something and you know that there should be some bret in the nose. Truthfully, for the most past, there is no nose.

Mouthfeel is thin but crisp and really fresh and clean. It is well balanced and very inviting albeit clearly "lighter" brew. This is very much a "quaffing" brew that is extremely drinkable. Low alcohol is evident, although not stated on the bottle that I could see. Mouth is thin but there is something appealing in the crispness and clean bright character.

Flavors are refined and subtle. Light white peaches; light white pepper and a light watered lemon character and flavor. This is actually an appealing drink although very light in all respects.

This is totally not the kind of beer I like and this one is really good; I like it for it's crisp and light charactered simplicity. I hate to say actually tastes a bit like a "shaken up" lemon Perrier with a hit of peach juice. But, it tastes good.

Light white pepper/white peach finish.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours a hazy straw color into my Russian River Tulip. Less than half a finger of slight white head is achieved that dissipates quickly leaving slight lacing.

Smell - Smells of barnyard funk, slight vinegar, peaches and lemon zest. Smells light but pleasant.

Taste - The first thing I think of it is a slightly watered down Temptation. It has a nice tartness up front which is followed by the peach and lemon citrus flavors. Only slight vinegar flavor. Honestly, not bad.

Mouthfeel - Lighter bodied, higher carbonation, damn refreshing.

Drinkability - Extremely so. It is hard not to quaff this. This is labeled a "small beer" and I am curious of the ABV. I have had the entire bottle and don't feel even a remote buzz so I am assuming this is quite low abv. It honestly reminds me of Bam Biere from Jolly Pumpkin (which I rather enjoy). Overall a very enjoyable beer. Would purchase again if looking for a refreshing, easy to drink beer.

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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 WeisGuy
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

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 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 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 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 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 nathanjohnson
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of emile772
3/5  rDev -20%

Photo of tjfinkle
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed from a bottle from batch 68 poured into a tulip glass. This beer poured a orange straw color with minimal carbonation and some slight head that dissipated very quickly. This beer smelled of funky citrus. Very light smelling, but not as sour as I had been lead to believe.

This beer tastes very similarly to how it smells. Some slight citrus and barnyard funk, but not a lot of either. For a wild ale this is a very mellow beer. Label says that it was brewed with brett and lactobacillus, and I was expecting much more sour or funk from this beer. This is a very approachable beer for people interested in trying out wild ales, but for my taste it could have a little more. It could also be a little more carbonated, but I have to admit that it is very refreshing.
Not sure if I would specifically hunt this beer out, but it was a reasonable price for this style which is notoriously expensive. A good approachable beer for someone trying to get into wild beers.

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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 Hanzo
4/5  rDev +6.7%

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 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 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 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 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 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 GClarkage
3.75/5  rDev 0%

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Petit Obscura from Telegraph Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 44 ratings