Dark Swan
Lagunitas Brewing Company

Dark SwanDark Swan
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
Wild Ale
Ranked #722
Ranked #17,740
3.87 | pDev: 10.34%
Thursday at 04:27 AM
Oct 29, 2016
Very Good
Dark SwanDark Swan
Notes: An experimentally hopped sour ale fermented with dark red wine grapes. Observers of yestercentury once doubted the existence of the Dark Swan, stating the fair-feathered fowl was the only color of its kind. Explorers eventually upended that theory, shocking the world and shining light on the Dark. This beer might just do the same. It’s a sour ale fermented with dark red wine grapes, giving it its uniquely deep and rich purple hue. Then it received the signature Lagunitas treatment with a healthy dose of experimental dry hops. This might just shock your taste buds!

There just really isn't anything else like the Dark Swan... it's a dark purple hybrid ale the takes our house yeast and feeds it some Petite Sirah grapes to munch on. It's smooth, slightly sour, and superbly strange. Give it a taste, if you dare!
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of stevoj
Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.49/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
Draft at the Handlebar. Pours out like grape juice, but with more bubbles. Even the smell favors the grapes, without the win-y-ness. Taste is fruity and only minor tartness. Pretty light weight despite the ABV.
Thursday at 04:27 AM
Photo of StonedTrippin
Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
everything about this beer is amazing, unsung as it is, its one of the best of lagunitas all time, weird and unexpected from them, a strong sour ale, more tart than funky, not sure if its wild but i suspect more a kettle sour thing, done with red wine grapes, petite sirah i believe, but then also rather liberally hopped with pekko hops, which were relatively unknown when this dropped the first time, so clever and awesome. stunning high saturation beet root purple color in the glass, real deep but still some shine, looks clear and well refined, and has a belgian looking inch plus of wispy just pink stained head, looks amazing! the aroma is nuts, tannic tart grape skins, weird almost candy sweetness, hints of blackberry and marionberry, lots of minerals, very little grain, and the herbal almost noble hops to me, sour but not over the top acidic, and in the apparent absence of oak, it all seems fresh and poppy, vinous with a little alcohol coming through too, more at temperature, unlike anything else lagunitas has ever done before it. the fruit drives the flavor way more than the ferment does, theres not even all that much taste to the sourness, a little piquant bacterial lemon thing just serves to further highlight the grapes, which seem so bold and so real, jammy but also winey, subtle black currant and black cherry depth to the fruit, a port wine thing even, but the beer overall is crazy light for its abv, which is not really there much in the taste, the malt is super light to me, and the carbonation is uplifting. the hops are not the first thing someone would talk about with this one, but its subtly a very unique facet of it, all on the finish, highly herbal, light lime and grassiness to them, a neat finishing touch. acidity is clean, moderate, and enhancing, maybe ever so slightly medicinal which only adds intrigue, while the beer overall is sort of tannic and even gritty from the fruit. really special stuff, done at a real high level, and something i definitely hope comes back around again. one of the cooler beer/wine hybrid types to have existed. more accessible than the expensive fully wild types, this really carves out a neat niche for itself! love it.
Jan 09, 2023
Photo of tekstr1der
Reviewed by tekstr1der from New Hampshire

3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
This one was a miss for me. Love wine, but imparting wine into beer just too bizarre for me to enjoy. While not indicative of the overall selection from these folks, hopefully the buyout doesn't ruin some of their respected brews.
Feb 24, 2022
Rated: 3.77 by bismarksays from Iowa

Jan 10, 2022
Rated: 3.79 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Nov 27, 2021
Rated: 3.5 by NickMunford from Wyoming

Jul 17, 2021
Rated: 2 by Urk1127 from Pennsylvania

Dec 01, 2020
Photo of sulldaddy
Reviewed by sulldaddy from Connecticut

3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Sampling a cellar temp 2017 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Ive been sitting on this as I honestly wasnt sure what to make of this one. Figured tonight is as good as any to try it.
The beer pours a dark, but clear merlot color with a fluffy and aggressive eggshell white to tinted pink head of 3 cm. This foam fades quickly to a thin edge layer and one surface island.
the aroma is very vinous with dark grapes, some tart berry notes and even a little bit of tannic notes that really push the nose towards a more astringent note. I also get some mild biscuity yeast, but no hop character and the ABV is well hidden too.
First sip, reveals a light to medium body with very fine and tingly yet spacious carbonation. Texture is smooth and a little watery.
Flavor is kind of tart with dark fruit dominating. I get red grape and raspberry, but also acidic red wine notes on the finish. I dont really describe this as sour, but acidity. I dont get any hops and the ABV is well hidden.

I admit that I dont love this beer, but it isnt flawed and it isnt mouth puckering sour either. A cool experimental beer, but not one I would try again. Only on personal preference, I dont think the beer is flawed.
Oct 02, 2020
Rated: 4 by Velivolus1 from Vermont

Aug 02, 2020
Rated: 3.93 by TheCakePounder from Pennsylvania

Jun 28, 2020
Photo of StoutElk_92
Reviewed by StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Pours dark red with a creamy frothy light khaki tan foam head. Notes of lightly tart berries, raspberry, blackberry, mild blueberry and strawberry, cherry, plum, red wine, Petite Sirah grapes, mild tropical fruit, sweet citrus, candied dark fruit, hints of chocolate, toasty caramel malt, with floral earthy herbal grassy pine. Feels medium bodied, creamy and slick with moderate smooth carbonation. Overall a nice sour ale fermented with red wine grapes.
Apr 01, 2020
Rated: 3.79 by jstern from California

Jan 02, 2020
Rated: 3.81 by nruhlig from Minnesota

Dec 22, 2019
Rated: 3.67 by kelvarnsen from Canada (ON)

Dec 09, 2019
Rated: 3.45 by taospowder from New Mexico

Oct 27, 2019
Photo of Bfaucett
Rated by Bfaucett

1.1/5  rDev -71.6%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1
Y'all are nuts. This tastes like cheap whine fermented in a prison toilet.
Oct 17, 2019
Rated: 4.52 by RochefortChris from North Carolina

Oct 09, 2019
Photo of Bouleboubier
Reviewed by Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
(12 oz bottle, 038 9 2 3486 1006, 7.9% abv; purchased single off shelf... poured into fat tulip)

L: crystal-clear, purple-ruby liquid; tall, pink-tinged foam stand... does keep a chunky collar; one long band of crusty lace

S: acidic, vinous fruit on the pour; once in the glass, mushy citrus hops leap out, so much so that the vinous character gets buried or at least neatly woven into the hop blast... takes another moment, but the shrub-y, fruity malt syrup undertones creep back; subdued but pointed beam of booze in the mist

T: good bit of orange and piney hop, but they're shoved to the sides by the vaguely Flemish red-like (tart, malty) base; red grape skins, floral oil, piney aftertaste; relatively dry aftertaste... grape, malt, and fruity/pine hops, with a moderate sour smack; little depth, but lots of volume

F: subtly velvety-smooth body, though its thinned out and/or opened up a bit by the MOR tart tang and rather perfectly-tuned boozy warmth... has some apparent weight to it (alcohol-influenced?), but falls short of rich or viscous; lip-smacky, soothing

O: had eyed this up for awhile now; took a paltry, all-too-familiar singles selection at a store I hadn't been to in quite awhile that resulted in this being 'single'd-out, so to speak... glad I got it and hadn't researched it at all in the past - rare unusual Lagunitas brew (though it does vaguely resemble a sour-ed version of their pointless, off-base take on a Scotch ale)... actually a nice sipper; would buy it again, and could potentially have a few (1515)
Sep 24, 2019
Rated: 4.12 by peachy-tay from California

Sep 19, 2019
Rated: 3.94 by BlueSpader from Washington

Sep 16, 2019
Rated: 3.78 by YeastEnthusiast from New Jersey

Aug 24, 2019
Photo of jwc215
Reviewed by jwc215 from Arizona

3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
22 oz. bottle -

Pours deep red/crimson with a pink head that slowly settles to a wide island. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of sour-ish red berries and dark red wine with a hint of chocolate.

The taste is of sour berries and pinot noir (with a hint of late chocolate). Tart and sweet in the the finish.

It is tart with a mild pucker. Alcohol relatively well-covered.

A unique, interesting brew - Kudos for that. Sour berries and dark red wine meets a strong ale. Certainly not the wildest, sourist wild ale, but enough to fit the style. I like it, but even after the whole bottle, feel like I should like it more than I do.
Aug 22, 2019
Rated: 4.34 by warrenc from Oregon

Aug 18, 2019
Photo of Cvescalante
Reviewed by Cvescalante from Texas

4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
Hats off to Lagunitas for continuing to put out quality beer at an approachable price point! Best bang for your buck. I absolutely love sour beer, but it can be so stinkin expensive. Not this beer.

Smells tart, I pick up berries and a common red wine undertone. It’s what I imagine a sour Pinot Noir would smell like, but I’m no wine connoisseur.

The flavor follows the aroma very well. Tart, berries, wine, delicious.

It feels light, and is carbonated well. Pair that with the taste and smell, and it makes this beer so hard to put down. I could see myself drinking this on any day of the year. Well done.
Aug 16, 2019
Photo of VoodooBear
Reviewed by VoodooBear from Puerto Rico

3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Presentation: Draft, served in a mason jar-type glass.

Appearance: The lilac colored, one finger head stays around for a while but doesn't leave behind any lacing. It's a clear, deep, ruby red color.

Smell: It's a sweet and fruity smell of grapes, cherries, refined sugar and even some bubblegum.

Taste: It's tart, but quite sour; mostly just fruity and juicy grapes with a slight hint of boozy wine as it warms up. Some malt graininess balances things out towards the end.

Mouthfeel: It's smooth and medium bodied with a low carbonation.

Overall: It's not really sour but it's an interesting beer with a fair amount of wine character from the Syrah grapes.
Aug 14, 2019
Photo of twage04
Reviewed by twage04 from North Carolina

4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Pours a dark purple brown with medium to high carbonation. Some fruit/funk on the nose. Complexity, sourness, some fruit and malt. Very fun beer to sip on!
Aug 07, 2019
Rated: 3.8 by Luckydog91 from Texas

Jul 22, 2019
Rated: 4.55 by Jussei from Ohio

Jun 22, 2019
Rated: 3.69 by BeerLover99 from Illinois

May 31, 2019
Rated: 3.92 by beerjerk666 from Florida

May 26, 2019
Rated: 4.34 by forshamegetit from Florida

May 21, 2019
Photo of Act25
Reviewed by Act25 from New Jersey

4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
I'm a rave on Dark Swan, which is much better expression than black swan.
a) Look is surprisingly wine like but it's fully, happily, hoppingly a beer.
s) berry, grape, cut grass, hop.
t) Follows aroma... lots of berry and grapes in the taste, great see-saw complexity.
f) Bright, crisp, like great sours freshens.
o) Love when a brewer does something new.
May 02, 2019
Rated: 3.82 by Thanatosbat777 from Georgia

Apr 29, 2019
Rated: 3.39 by Hooley from Texas

Apr 28, 2019
Rated: 4.58 by SynthetikReality95 from Arkansas

Apr 19, 2019
Rated: 3.78 by jroof1 from Massachusetts

Apr 13, 2019
Photo of ChicagoJ
Reviewed by ChicagoJ from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
4/3/19 (Chicago): $6 12 oz draft pour into snifter. Dark purple pour, light off-white head leaves creamy lacing. Light grape aroma, taste consistent with aroma, somewhat sour taste. Light texture, mouth feel and carbonation, easy light drinking. Crisp and clean, overall solid pour.
Apr 04, 2019
Photo of mikeg67
Reviewed by mikeg67 from New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
12 oz bottle. Pours pink with tall, long-lasting, foamy pink head. Nose is of citrusy hops, plums and barn yard. Body is full and tangy. Taste is sour, bready malt, funky yeast, herbal hops and lemon zest. Finish is long and bitter-sweet. Too sour for me.
Apr 02, 2019
Rated: 3.55 by saraamartin99 from Massachusetts

Mar 30, 2019
Rated: 4 by StevenMilligan from Florida

Mar 26, 2019
Dark Swan from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 489 ratings