Dark Swan | Lagunitas Brewing Company

very good
18 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by UCLABrewN84 on 10-29-2016

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Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 110
Photo of colts9016
3.54/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love the name of this beer Dark Swan and it being a wild ale made it an easy choice to try. Poured into a tulip glass around 40 degrees. Ruby red beer with sapphire hues and a 1/2 finger pink head. The head had no retention and was creamy. The clarity of beer was clear with some carbonation bubbles active.
Wine, lemons, crackers, lightly toasted, floral, touch of earth, and some funkiness.
Serious sour grape notes, lemons, crackers, floral, earthy, lightly toasted malt, a touch of funk, and some bready notes.
A little astringency, medium minus body, medium carbonation, and medium plus finish.
I had struggled with this beer, I wanted to love it. I just felt the beer was just one note and lack that something to make it good. I really did not care for it.

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Photo of hiphops
3.71/5  rDev -7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

looks like purple dude. frothy violet head
smells like grape juice minute maid grape icee aged wine red wine vinegar
taste sweet like grape juice maybe too sweet some tannic and aged vinegar and oak notes and str8 blackberry juice all mingle
mouthfeel is juicy and full with just enough bubbles and tannic dryness to keep it from being cloying.
overall should be more sour. 1 isn't bad. wouldn't drink 2

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Photo of citizencane
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours bright purple with solid head and minimal lacing. Smell is of grapes, raspberries, and sour beer. Taste is the former two, and sour takes a back seat but is clear. Sours aren't a style I gravitate toward but this is tasty.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
3.66/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a tulip. Dark purple in color, with a bit of foam in top. Aroma is big on Welch's grape juice. Flavor follows, with a dry red wine like finish tinged with vinegar. Just a bit refreshing, not for me but would recommend to wine lovers (or grape juice aficionados, at that).

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Photo of Sabtos
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark but clear red with minimal pink film.

Smell is grape gummy snacks, red wine, and a hint of vinegar with black pepper.

Taste is actually actually grape Fruit Gushers all the way, with a little red wine and dry oak.

Frothy, soft, and barely sour--Dark Swan is more like a framboise, with less fruit.

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Photo of KP_McPurg
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Lindley Park Filling Station, Greensboro NC
A pretty decent seasonal offering from Lagunitas. Sort of medium on fruitiness & carbonation with a nice mouthfeel without bitterness. First time I've tried this Ale and I'd definitely have another. At 8.7% not a pounder though! All around very good beer!

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Photo of cl3
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap from 7 West Taphouse, Superior WI.

Dark purple pour with a tiny ring of lighter purple form around the lip of the tulip.

Grape juice, lemon, a little citrus in the nose.

Taste is mostly grape juice/red wine. a little sweet, a lot of sour. Not puckering sour but noticable. Well hopped. I think the dry hopping is this beers saving grace.

Easy drinker. Went down quick.

Glad I tried this one. Can't say that I've had another beer like it, but I probably wouldn't order it again.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at BC's Pizza & Beer

A: Pours deep burgundy with a frothy dark pink head that settles to a thin layer and leaves a little spotty lacing.

S: Super fruity, dark grapes and berries, mild tartness, light malt, and a hint of funk.

T: Big time berry show, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, pomegranate, dark grapes, nice lemony lactic tartness, light malt, and a touch of sweetness.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Berry punch with a little bite. Delicious!

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Photo of chimaylvr
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On draft. Appears a red wine translucent dark rose with a pink froth. Esters of sourdough yeast and fruit. Gym bag like but that's normal...some dankness. Feel is dry but slick and full. Not thin or thick and not syrupy either. Nice crisp mouthfeel. Not too puckering either. Tastes raspberry like. Not quite the vinegary Flanders sours so renowned but a pleasant change of pace from the lighter apricot/grapefruit like sours prevalent today. Overall I'm really diggin it but not ranking it incredible.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Regardless of the ale's celebration of sourness, grapiness or earthy, or spicy, or nuanced flavors, it is Lagunitas for crying out loud. It will be hoppy!

Dark Swan's pour is the purplish haze of prune juice. But underneath its veil of pink foam lies a scent of red berry, citrus, verbena, cannabis and fresh cut grass. Its breaming tanginess foreshadows sourness but its taste is juicy with hard candy, dark fruit and those succulent berry-like tendencies.

As the ale develops, its hoppy upstart dissolves and its sour spirit comes out to play. Juiciness of currant, blackberry, plum, grape and pomegranate begins to tighten its grip on the tastebuds until a full-blown lemon, lime, crabapple and gooseberry sourness takes hold. Mostly sour but surprisingly bitter, the late palate is of fruit skins, red wine tannins and the soft nuttiness of weathered oak.

Medium-light on the palate, the beer's creamy carbonation provides a pillowy lift from the tongue and gives the finish a bright after palate although being robust with copious red grape additions. Bitter wine follows along with an echo of hoppy citrus and herb.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Leave it to these folks to make something that's not only unique but also delicious

A- grape juice wine look with bubbles
S- tart hops? Is that possible? That is correct (tommy boy). A blast of hop pellets is coated with delicious grape scent
T- a coated layer of sugar facilitates the entrance of wine flavor and tropical hops. Not extreme but certainly present in those two stages.
M- coating flavor
O- why aren't there more dry hopped sours. Better question..... is this a new concept? Because there is definitely a hop blast. Well done and the concept gets the 4.75

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, but rich plum with a hearty finger and a half of beet-pink foamy head. Head retention is fantastic, with wonderful lacing. Aroma is rich and inviting, with notes of jelly, grapes, wine, and a little lactic sour tinge. Flavor profile is grape dominate with additional notes of cherries, and plum. Incredibly smooth, while striking an even balance between sweet, and sour. Grapes are certainly the story of this beer. Mouth feel is lush, with a filling, smooth, medium-thickness. Overall, a very fine beer that is shear pleasure to sip. The grape notes are fantastic. A good impression formed from the first pour with the lush, foamy beet-pink head. Nicely done.

Served in a 4oz snifter. 4oz pour from the draft.

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Photo of MJSFS
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Draught pour in a snifter. Like someone else said, it has an amazing eggplant color. Thick pinkish head that dissipated quickly and left a spotty lacing. Aroma is faint, but it smells like grape juice. Taste is grape and raspberry jelly. Mouthfeel is super light, highly carbonated, and incredibly dry. Glad to try it, but I wouldn't buy a bottle.

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Photo of AmeriCanadian
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wonderful beer. A bright berry color with heavy carbonation and a thin, pink head. Bright fruit and berries and minerally effervescence in the smell, with grassiness in the background. Taste is fruity, tart, and surprisingly sweet (but not cloyingly so), with notes of raspberries, citrus, grapes, blueberries, and some almost red velvet notes (perhaps I'm being biased by the coloring). Meaningful tannins and minerals that are well-balanced by the mild sour notes, with some grassiness and herbalness lingering in the background. More substantial feel than I expected, I guess because of the heavy but pleasant carbonation. A very bright, fruity, and enjoyable beer that bridges the world of red wine very well. (And anecdotally, if you combine it with Laggie's Imperial Stout, as I was encouraged [dared?] to do by a Laggie rep, you get a truly fascinating concoction that I would recommend trying.)

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Eggplant in color with a modest bright plum head.

S: Some green thrush, evergreen and woodsy tones, but mostly a rich grape and currant scent.

M: Firm beer with medium body and high levels of carb.

T: Lots of fruity esters to start: green-red strawberries and grapes predominantly. Supported by lime, blueberry and pomegranate. Actually quite sweet, and it continues to build until leather tannins come in. They aren't strong, but highlight whatever sour barn funk there is nicely. Overall, clean flavors with smooth transitions.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish amber with a short lived head. No head or lace to speak of.

Winesque aroma with grape juice being strong. The flavor has a nice blend of grape juice, wine and sour yeast flavor. Medium to high tartness level but quite palatable.

Full bodied ale with solid carbonation and a semi-dry finish. Sour and grape notes round out the aftertaste.

Overall, this is a solid example of the style from Lagunitas. It is surprising to see the high ABV and depth of flavor from an ale of this style from a major brewer. Tasty and worth revisiting.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap

Pours deep purple color with a small creamy white head. Smells of red grapes, resinous hops. Tastes of red grapes up front, with an immediate hit of resinous hops following. Tartness kicks in with notes of cranberry & grape jam on the finish, linger of more grape. Medium body and carbonation, foamy
Mouthfeel and finish. Quite unique, clash of hope and sour

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Photo of Nimbus_
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got this on a whim at a local craft bar that I go to often, but I had no idea it was such a new brew!

Look: Pours a dark raspberry red color. There is also a beautiful finger of foamy blush colored head that formed at the top. The bubbles die down pretty quickly though. Definitely a good looking beer.

Smell: Not too intense or strong. I mostly picked up a wine aroma. Lots of grape. A little bit of other mixed berries in there too. Just by the smell, I'd guess this to be a lambic of some sort, but I guess it's hard to tell something is sour just by the aroma. Regardless, it was pleasant to my nose.

Taste: Tastes as expected. Tons of wine flavors. Grape stands out, and there is definitely some other berries filling out the rest of the flavor. There might be a little bit of blueberry, strawberry, and even pomegranate. Really awesome tasting. The sour aspect is there, but it didn't really stand out, which I am fine with. The little bit of sour that was there really helped to balance the sweetness of the berry flavor. I was impressed for sure with how great this brew tasted.

Feel: Medium bodied. Could not feel much carbonation happening. Had sort of a sticky feeling while in my mouth, but after it went down it left my mouth a bit dry. Not bad at all, and if anything it was pretty unique from other sours that I have had.

Overall: I don't drink many sours. I took a chance on this one, and I was pleasantly surprised. If you are a fan of wine-like beers, or grape flavors in general, then I would highly recommend checking Dark Swan out before it's unavailable!

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Dark Swan from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 110 ratings.
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