Dark Swan | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Dark SwanDark Swan
Very Good
437 Ratings
Dark SwanDark Swan

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 437 |  Reviews: 117
Photo of Parmesan
3.09/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Pours a dark purple red color with a small pink red head that dissipates rather quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass.

S: Strong note of grape, notes of the red wine barrel, slightly sour and tart. Smells rather one dimensional.

T: Sweet grape with some acid in the back of the throat, a slight note of raspberry, sweet and tart. Still seems quite one dimensional.

F: Carbonation seems a little off on this beer.

O: This is a vey one dimensional beer.

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

Photo of rodbeermunch
2.88/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Picked up a 6 pack of this. This is the rare occasion where I was disappointed with a Lagunitas beer.

Pours a dark purple and black like Kansas State kind of vibe with a lighter head 1/6". The aroma was red wine like and mildly tart. The dry hopping did not show up in the nose.

Taste was a disappointment. The sour factor wasn't enough, the hopping didn't stand out, the mouthfeel suffered because of what seemed like a lack of carbonation. Also didn't hide the alcohol very well. The grapes came across more in the appearance than anywhere else, it provides a slight dryness with the red wine barrel (?). Seems to be lacking a malt body to carry all these weird combinations of things. Some currant and other dark bitter fruit notes too.

I can't even remember the last time I was this disappointed with a Lagunitas beer. Maybe I never have been this disappointed with them. Who knows. This was a rare swing and a miss for their normally stellar lineup and rotations.

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Photo of dsshuck
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of barnzy78
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle. Purple grape juice colored body with a thin effervescent pinkish layer of foam. Fruity aroma with grape, plum, and berry; but unfortunately reminds me of cough syrup. Tart and sour flavors of grape, berry, peach, plum, and cherry. Medium body, lively carbonation, sour, tart, and dry finish. Pretty good, but a little too much like grape cough syrup for me to buy it again.

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Photo of drtth
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The clear dark reddish purple beer pours out into a Duvel glass with a 1/2” thick pink head that visibly recedes to a ring and an irregular island of foam on the surface. Sipping creates a couple of arches and several small patches of lacing.

The aromas are mostly about the red wine grapes along with some light earthy hop character that blends in nicely. There also seems to be some malt in the background.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with the red wine grapes more up front than the hops. In addition there’s some sour tartness that is tempered by a bit of sweetness. In the background there’s some light earthy bitterness.

The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium bodied and slightly prickly with the finely bubbled light carbonation. The finish begins as the red grape flavors and tartness begin to slowly fade away to a long lightly bitter ending with some background tartness that goes on for a very long time.

Overall this is an interesting hybrid ale in that the red wine grapes are in charge of the show but with the tartness well controlled and a bit of residual bitterness so we’ve got both some wine-like flavors and some beer-like flavors. I’ve enjoyed trying it but probably will not do a repeat.

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Photo of bhawk1
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Franziskaner
3.22/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Ruby to purple in color with a fingernail of pink around the rim and covering the vast majority of the top. The aroma is of tart dark blackberries and grape. I'm tasting very tart blueberries and blackberries. The mouth is very dry and crisp. The alcohol seems to be pretty well hidden.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reddish purple and filtered with some carbonation, and 2 fingers of purple head.

Smells of berries, sour notes, and lilacs.

Tastes of sour and of grapes, and lilacs.

Light body, with moderate carbonation.

Got in Sacramento, drinking in Redding, Oct 19th, 2018. Watery and decent.

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Photo of kkazemi
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Satsuma
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dacrza1
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

DATE: September 27, 2018... OCCASION: watching The Office after a Liberty back-to-school night... GLASSWARE: La Fin du Monde tulip... a dark purple body, intimidatingly dense, but a half-finger of brownish off-white head that resiliently stays creamy and foamy... deep merlot, cranberry, rich dark chocolate, bitter and slightly boozy with a subtle hop fruitiness.... this draws as a medium-bodied live wire, effervescent and bold, with a punchy entrance and a long, dry finish that leaves a smooth, wine-like experience.... the flavor profile is strong, and at 8.5%, a powerful collection of strawberry, cherry, dark red wine, rich lilac, blackberry, and a light hint of oat and malt... a BIG experience from a 12 oz. bottle, this retains that Lagunitas hop thought while slowing the roll on each sip with a buzzing at the teeth and a warmth at the throat... worth sipping, though its profile does muddle at some point, making the experience not as memorable as some others... that said, what doesn't Lagunitas do well....

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Photo of kjkinsey
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Maxms
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ruby wine color, moderately sour but strong by ABV. Smells black currant. A little bit like classic lemonade. But leaves distinctive beer finish. Rare type.

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Photo of kybeerdrinker
4.7/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of maxarvo
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of AgentMunky
3.36/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Teku glass.
A: Pours a stunning purple and expresses in the glass as a wine-dark, clear-deep ruby.
S: Grapico, lactic acid, loads of fruit, kinda of a barnyard Jolly Rancher vibe going on here.
T: Goshdarn. "Barnyard Jolly Rancher" pretty much nailed it. It is somehow less pleasant on the palate. It looks like Welch's and tastes a bit similar, putting me in the mindset of prison wine. Still. Interesting.
M: Zesty enough!
O: Ultimately, I think this is more interesting than good. And you know I'm liable to give points for that, but still. There's a cheesiness here I can't quite place or support. Slightly too sweet.

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Photo of dannycohen62
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of sweetbrew82
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of metter98
3.71/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer appears to be clear and is very dark purple in color. It poured with a quarter finger high pink colored head that quickly died down, leaving a thin collar of medium-sized bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of Concord grape juice are present in the nose along with notes of sourness.
T: The taste follows the smell and is a little sour with flavors of red grape juice. No hops or bitterness are detectable, but any traces of sweetness from the grapes are well masked.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is hardly sour at all, but has subtle yet interesting aromas and flavors of red grapes.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of elglueckert
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mamaraza
3.89/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Tinfang
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not to my personal preference. Neither sour enough nor fruity enough, but someone who isn't familiar with the style might enjoy it as an introduction.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, it's purple, really purple, short pink head that dissipates leaving little lacing, clear, and it's purple

S: dark grape juice, welches to be exact, some fruit hops, wine, slightly sour balsamic vinegar smell

T: there is an extreme bitterness up front that is quite shocking, it's the white part of the grapefruit kind of bitter, that fades into the flavor of red wine mixed with seltzer water, the finish is sour and tart, flavors of grape must linger, also a dry earthy hop finish

M: thin but alcohol is well hidden

O: think heavily hopped very dry sparkling red wine

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Photo of KingTen144
3.99/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A nice sour that hides its ABV very well. A good amount of tartness but not overly fruity. The flavor seems to somehow be lacking something, but I vastly prefer this beer to some other sours that overdo the flavor and turn the beer into cough syrup.

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Dark Swan from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.88 out of 5 with 437 ratings