Dark Swan | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
279 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score
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Dark SwanDark Swan
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
lagunitas.com

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!

Added by UCLABrewN84 on 10-29-2016

BEER STATS
Ratings:
279
Reviews:
69
Avg:
3.87
pDev:
9.3%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
60
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 279 |  Reviews: 69
Photo of AuntBea
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of HawkeyeJosh
4.21/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The appearance of this beer is amazing. The body is purplish red, and the head is a light purple. The aroma is, well, difficult for me to figure out. There is definitely grape there, but there is something else, earthy and hoppy, but not piney hops, more just, resinous. The taste is like a dry red wine, but with more sweetness and funk. The mouthfeel could use a little more carbonation, but it's ok the way it is. Overall, I like this beer. It's unique and definitely worth a try.

 489 characters

Photo of Kyleyhoopster
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Bogdawg
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Tcsox
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: looks like a dark red wine permeated with streams of rapidly rising bubbles and crowned by a 3" pink foam cap with good retention.

S: rich berry and dark grape aromas supported by lemon, bread crumb, citrus, and earthy biscuit notes

T: flavors start with big, slightly sweet grapes and berries that with the biscuit malt backbone suggest jam on a biscuit. Mild tartness builds towards the finish joined by medium bitterness.

F: The body and carbonation are medium. A mild warming gradually creeps up as you drink.

O: This complex beverage maintains its beer character while offering up strong red wine flavors.

 617 characters

Photo of Sir_Goatman
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rolltide8425
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of baklo
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rsquared59
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MeganandDana
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of StoutHunter
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Lagunitas Dark Swan for $1.99 at The Lager Mill. It's been a little while since I've had a beer from Lagunitas and I'm interested to see what this beer is all about, so lets see how it goes. 2017 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a teku.

A- The label looks nice, it's got a nice look to it that goes well with the name and it's a little eye catching. It poured a dark red and purple color that took on more of darker purple and brown color when held to the light with two fingers worth of fluffy and fizzy purple and dark red like head that died down to a thin ring that stated till the end and it left rings of patchy lacing behind. This is a good and unique looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness with a little bit of funky yeast being the first to show up and that goes into a big fruity aromas with a mix of dark fruits and light stone fruits with the grapes easily showing up the most and impart a grape juice like aroma that's followed by a noticeable amount of sourness. Towards the end there's just a little bit of malty aroma and it's followed by the hops which impart a fruity, earthy and light green hop like aromas. This beer has a good aroma, all the aspects seem to work well together.

T- The taste seems to be similar to the aroma, but lighter and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with a light amount of funky yeast being the first to show up and that goes into the fruits which impart pretty much the same aspects with the grape juice still sticking out the most. Up next comes a slight bit of malts which lead into the hops which show up just a little more and they impart pretty much the same aspects without much green hops. On the finish there's hardly any bitterness with a slightly lower amount of medium sourness taking it's place and it lingers into the aftertaste along with some grape juice and light funky yeast flavors. This is a pretty nice tasting beer, the flavors work well together.

M- Fairly smooth, a little refreshing, not overly sour, medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is nice, but it could use some more carbonation.

Overall I thought it was a pretty nice beer and it's a nice example of the style, it lived up to being unique and when it came to the taste and the aroma I thought it was well balanced. This beer had nice drinkability, I think one or two would be the perfect amount for me. What I like the most about this beer is the balance and how unique it is, those two aspects are the highlights to me. What I like the least about this beer is the carbonation, I wish it was higher. I would buy this beer again, but it isn't something I would stock up on and I would recommend giving it a try if your looking for a unique sour that isn't overly sour. All i all I liked this beer, but I didn't love it and I think with a little more work on the carbonation and this could be a pretty good beer. It's not my favorite Lagunitas beer and it's a nice example of the style. Nice job guys, this is a tasty and unique beer, keep it up.

 3,152 characters

Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This was a VERY unusual beer from the appearance to the taste. I am glad I bought a 6-pack of them.

99 characters

Photo of GeoWitt
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this from a growler fill at Pinehurst in Baltimore. A great food beer, with the woody grape-forward flavor, but also hops and malt. It's not fair to compare it to anything else, as the addition of wine grapes for the refermentation is a fairly original and seemingly Californian concept.

 291 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lagunitas Brewing Co. "Dark Swan Sour Ale"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, coded "172 7 2 2044 1611" and sampled on 3 SEPT 2017

Notes via stream of consciousness: Wow, I wasn't expecting it to be pink. A massive head of fluffy pink has risen up as I've poured it and now I have to wait to finish pouring the rest as it won't fit into my Imperial pint glass. The head looks like strawberry ice cream, and the body below is a very, very dark ruby. Wow, it's also hoppy in the nose. I certainly wasn't prepared for this beer. It's resinous (as in hop resins, not pine resins), "dank", and earthy. Ahh, there's some pine in there as well, and just a light touch of fruitiness. Interesting. I have no idea what to expect of the flavor at this point. It looks like a fruit beer, but it's hoppy in the nose, and the label definitely reads "sour". Ah, I also see that the head had dropped by now to an 1/8" plus of creamy pink. There's also some nice streaks and spots of lacing where the heads used to be. OK, flavor... fruity and sour, then sour and fruity, then just tart and fruity as it lingers. I have to check the label again... "...malt, hops, yeast and water". No mention of fruit. So am I going crazy? I can't pinpoint the fruit I'm tasting but I'd go for raspberry, and then maybe blackberry, but I'm sure there's something in there. I've got to look it up... ahhh, dark red wine grapes. Well I certainly get that now. And I can see the connection between the sourness and some wines. The balance actually reminds me of Jaume Serra Cristalino Rosé-brut Cava, except that this has less carbonic bite. Personally I think it's awesome. It's not too tart, not too fruity, and certainly balanced with a dry, vinous and moderately acidic finish. The fruit is wonderful, and the hoppy nose is wonderful, and the two don't seem to detract from each other. Oddly there's not a lot of hop flavor at all. There's a light hint, but that's it. Wonderful! If there's a drawback it it's that it's kind of two-sided, sour and fruit, but then again some of the great beers of the world follow that route as well. Medium bodied and gently crisp. If it had better lacing, and perhaps a little more complexity it might make be in line to become a world-class classic. Worth seeking out!

 2,270 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
2.2/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

This is my second entry into the sour ale arena - I am having a hard time getting into this style...

I am a fan of Lagunitas, no doubt, but I am not a fan of this offering. Right off the bat the beer looks like some sort of cherry soda and then to the nose has a strange moldy, soapy smell that sadly translates to its taste. I'm not sure what else to say about this, simply not the beer style I can enjoy...

 411 characters

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 6/3/2017. Pours fairly hazy/cloudy dark ruby red/purple color with a 1 finger dense pink head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big tart/sour cherry, blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, plum, red grape, fruit skin, lemon, green apple, red wine, peppercorn, wheat, cracker, lightly toasted bread, light funk/vinegar, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy/acidic yeast, red grapes, earthy hops, and moderate bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big tart/sour cherry, blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, plum, red grape, fruit skin, lemon, green apple, red wine, peppercorn, wheat, cracker, lightly toasted bread, light funk/vinegar, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light-moderate fruity/lactic tartness, fruit tang, yeast spiciness, and light herbal/grassy bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of tart cherry, blackberry, cranberry, raspberry, plum, red grape, fruit skin, lemon, green apple, red wine, peppercorn, wheat, cracker, lightly toasted bread, light funk/vinegar, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy/acidic yeast, red grapes, earthy hops, and moderate bready malt flavors; with an awesome malt/tart/spiciness balance, and zero puckering flavors after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from tart/tangy/spiciness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately bready/grainy/acidic/tangy/tannic, and lightly sticky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol for 8.5%. Overall this is an excellent fruited sour ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy/acidic yeast, red grapes, earthy hops, and moderate bready malt flavors; very smooth and pretty refreshing to drink for the ABV, with the mellowly lactic/tannic/drying finish. Really awesome balance between Lacto, fruit, hops, and malt flavors. Solid sourness without being overdone. A very enjoyable offering.

 2,168 characters

Photo of HopsForBrains
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of StormAles
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of heddar33
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Beejay
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A very interesting dark purple color with a large purple/ pink head.

S: Tart with some earthy hop notes, with a nice grape aroma in there.

T: Tart with a pleasant hoppy earthiness combining with some wine flavors, and a long lingering berry tartness.

M: Medium light in body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat dry finish.

O: Interesting.. the finish is a little watery, but a complex flavor profile that keeps you thinking.

 437 characters

Photo of Blackop555
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark red. Foamy, medium, reddish pink had that Fades shortly.

Smells tart cherry, lemon, wine, grape and light earthy hops.

Taste tart cherry, grape, citrus peel, lemon, light earthy Hops, wine and vinegar hints. Dry finished with a very drying grape linger. Medium body and lightly fizzy medium carbonation.

 316 characters

Photo of waddellc2
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Knapp85
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Thecalmdrinker
3.26/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

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Dark Swan from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 279 ratings.
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