Dark Swan by Lagunitas Brewing Company
American Wild Ale
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 Syrah grapes to munch on. It’s smooth, slightly sour, and superbly strange. Give it a taste, if you dare!
This “sour” beer pours a dark purple color, with a light purple head that had minimal retention and left nice purple lacing. The grape taste is very dominant with a very mildly sour taste with a slight touch of tartness. I would definitely desire more pucker from this sour and less of a grape taste, but the beer was still desirable. Lots of tannin from the red wine.
Poured with a moderate pink flowery foam with medium light retention. Dark, grape and light floral aromas with light malt notes. Full bodied with a a rich, creamy smooth feel. Medium light carbonation and emerging boozy warmth from the middle to the end. Lightly tart grape juice and malt flavors with rich sour cherry notes. Earthy hop flavors from the middle to the end. Finished semi-dryly with tart dark cherry and grape notes. If you’re a big grape juice fan, this is your thing. The flavors are rich, fruity and pleasantly tart.
This is certainly a beer for the wine drinker, featuring grape flavor that eclipses any malty or hoppy flavors. The red grapes start musty and earthy, but grow over time. Grape skin leaves a lasting impression on the finish. Dry-hopping only adds to the earthy spice, but it’s a strange contrast here vice a complementary flavor – not bad, but not great, either. Very little sweetness.
Maybe the weirdest beer I’ve ever had, but if you like both sour and tannin flavors, and the idea of a beer that is strongly both appeals do you, this beer is for you.