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Dark Swan | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Dark SwanDark Swan
Very Good
303 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 303 |  Reviews: 72
Reviews by Guinnsslvr:
Photo of Guinnsslvr
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of ocelot2500
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep purple color with a tight, faded purple head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells of berries and grapes.

Tastes of the berries layered over some yeast. Fruits lead off with notes of raspberry, grape, blackberry, plum, and some pomegranate. Fairly tart overall. A bit of syrupy sweetness lies underneath the fruits. A touch of earthy bitterness comes through along with a touch of tannins. Finishes with a lingering tart berry note.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a nicely done wild ale, if you are craving some berries.

 589 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
2.99/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Dark purple/red/brown hue with a distinctively purple coarse head that fades to a veneer and leaves wisps of lace. The nose offers cherry, grape, orange citrus hops, 'classic' bready-beer and mild sourness. It's a combination that doesn't sound great, but the odder flavors in there are comparatively minor; whether they buoy or detract is up to the drinker. The flavor has an immediate zip of tartness, but that quickly gives way to grape and iron (blech), cherry, bread, faint oak, even butter. The body is slightly sweet, fairly tannic, and a bit prickly with the carbonation.
The taste of iron, plus the tannins, made this beer tough to down. Nevermind the curt appearance of sourness, this was flawed beyond enjoyment. After reading the bold vision the brewer had for this beer, I would say he nailed it on the image and the nose, and then fell flat on his face with the taste and feel. The ABV is also something to appreciate, although it isn't enough to sway me.

 969 characters

Photo of colts9016
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

 769 characters

Photo of DanGeo
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JW_WNC
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In my teku, the beer was the color of a Concord grape. There was a small pink head.
Grape and cherry aroma. A little sour.
The taste was ever so slightly tart grape.
Dry, softly sour.
Not too impressed with this one.

 216 characters

Photo of heddar33
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of TTripp725
3.02/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap. Pours clear, reddish-purple in color with 1/3 inch head. Taste is red grapes, cabernet sauvignon, sour mix, and light oak. Slightly sour with a touch of sweetness, light bodied with moderate carbonation. Makes for a tasty wine/beer hybrid. Wine is front and center but the sour mix adds a nice touch. I prefer how Trillium integrates wine into beer more, but this is right up there.

 400 characters

Photo of PprBurke
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rsquared59
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DavidR_9
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle (no date) into belgian tulip glass. Pours a very dark grape juicy color with a deep red hue infront of good backlighting. Decent fluffy off color head right after the pour, quickly recedes into a thin and light bubbly purple ring of foam. Smells of acidic and slightly sweet grape juice, not too pungent. Red grape fruitiness, hint of unripened blackberry, sour/tart grapey finish with a light cracker-y flavor on the back. Fairly thin mouthfeel with low-med carbonation. There isn't a whole lot of depth and complexity to this beer but it surely packs a punch while hiding any traces of alcohol flavor.

 617 characters

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
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 bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MattyG85
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of HopsForBrains
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excellen flavor imparted due to the red wine barrel aging.

58 characters

Photo of Trenthunt
4.85/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Super good sour with a great red wine grape finish as Smooth going down as it smells it will awaken the senses as you drink it take your time and enjoy.

 152 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
3.49/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Futbolmanby
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of SomethingClever
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of rossracing
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of dertyd
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
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 fthegiants
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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Dark Swan from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 303 ratings
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