Tasting Notes: Dark Swan from Lagunitas Brewing Company

LagunitasDarkSwanPour_edited_editedFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we enjoy an enchanted moment with the ever-elusive Dark Swan Sour Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Developed to be Lagunitas’ take on the beer-wine hybrid, Dark Swan is a “uniquely deep and rich purple [hued]” American Sour Ale that has been “dry-hopped with some experimental Pekko hops from the Yakima Valley, then fermented with . . . house yeast on some of Sonoma County’s-own Petite Syrah grape juice from . . . Adobe Road Winery.” Swooping in at 7.9% ABV and 25 IBUs, Dark Swan promises to be “smooth, slightly sour, and superbly strange.”

Dark Swan officially released in mid-February, but there is still a good amount of it hanging around out there on shelves and taps.  You can look for this Limited Release offering to be available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.

Now that we are all a bit more familiar with Dark Swan’s background information, it appears that it is finally time to crack open a bottle and plunge into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Dark Swan Sour Ale (2019) from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  A somewhat vigorous pour produces a beer that is a beautiful deep purple in color and wearing nearly two fingers of rose-pink foam.  When held to direct light, red tones push through and blend with the purple to create a color that is similar to pure cranberry juice.  Although dark in color, it still reveals an incredible degree of clarity and a mellow amount of carbonation activity.  Head retention is decent, reducing slowly to a lasting, chunky ring that leaves spotty lacing on the glass at times.

Aroma:  A clean grape presence opens the aromatics with both sweet, fresh grape juice and a complex dark red wine/Shiraz-like character.  The complexity builds as the hops shuffle in to add floral notes, a pop of black currant, and a tinge of spicy herb.  Underneath all of this lies a faint sweetness similar to a hard fruit candy (think grape Jolly Rancher).

Taste:  The vinous qualities lead here as well, playfully weaving in notes of Concord grape juice, lightly tannic red wine, and just straight fresh dark-skinned grapes.  The hops add supporting notes of black currant, assorted berries, a twist of citrus, and soft floral tones.  The profile closes with a gentle dose of sour funk and nondescript malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel:  On the lighter side of medium in body with a medium carbonation, Dark Swan is wonderfully crisp and easy-drinking.  On the palate, it playfully bounces between sour, fruity and sweet. The 7.9% ABV is completely hidden, allowing this beer to drink much lighter than it is.  Aftertaste is all red wine and berries.

Final Thoughts: Dark Swan is a whimsical take on the beer/wine hybrid that somehow boasts both the approachability of the grape juice box and the complexity of a fine red wine.  The hops seem to be dialed back a bit for a Lagunitas offering, sacrificing in-your-face dankness for just the right amount of complementary fruity and floral notes.  This approach allows the grape/wine character to shine, but the beer is still able to assert itself as . . . you know . . . a beer by casually reminding you of the hop qualities and malt sweetness that would clearly be out of place in a wine.  This results in a ridiculously refreshing beer that basically drinks like a slightly less carbonated wine spritzer.  Overall, Dark Swan is wildly unique, a little weird, and extraordinarily tasty.  If you are at all a fan of red wines (or pilfering juice boxes from the children’s stash), be sure to grab some of this year’s batch of Dark Swan before it disappears from shelves.  Prost!

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Lagunitas Dark Swan Sour Ale (2019) Returns for a Limited Time

LagunitasDarkSwanTatLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has officially announced that Dark Swan Sour Ale will return for a limited time in mid-February as a part of the brewery’s OneHitter Series.

Developed to be Lagunitas’ take on the beer-wine hybrid, Dark Swan is a “uniquely deep and rich purple [hued]” American Sour Ale that has been “dry-hopped with some experimental Pekko hops from the Yakima Valley, then fermented with . . . house yeast on some of Sonoma County’s-own Petite Syrah grape juice from . . . Adobe Road Winery.”  Swooping in at 7.9% ABV and 25 IBUs, Dark Swan promises to be “smooth, slightly sour, and superbly strange.”

Dark Swan is scheduled to release in mid-February and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this “HIIIIGHLY limited” brew available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dark Swan Sour Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/OneHitter Series, mid-February 2019
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 7.9%
IBUs – 25
Featured Hops – Pekko 
Added Ingredients – Petite Syrah grape juice
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder

 

 

Dark Swan Makes Limited Return for Lagunitas Brewing Company

Lagunitas_Dark_SwanLagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California) has announced that Dark Swan Sour Ale is officially back on shelves and taps for a limited time.

Sauntering in as the latest release from Lagunitas Brewing Company’s One Hitter Series, Dark Swan is a “deep and rich purple” American Sour Ale that gets its color from Petite Syrah grapes added during fermentation.  Finished off with “the signature Lagunitas treatment with a healthy dose of experimental dry hops”, Dark Swan (8.5% ABV) is released into the wild as a unique hybrid ale that promises to be “smooth, slightly sour, and superbly strange.”

“Observers of yestercentury once denied the existence of the Dark Swan as obstinately as flat-earthers once denied the shape of our spherical home. They insisted the species was confined to a singular snowy hue. But there is a fragile futility to such narrowness of thought. The broader of mind understood that light and dark must forever compliment each other as eternal counterpoints. And just as Aristotle convinced us of our circularity, so adventuring ornithologists eventually contradicted the misconception of the monochrome swan, astonishing the world and casting light upon the Dark. This beer may well do the same…”

Dark Swan is available now and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this “HIIIIGHLY Limited” offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dark Swan Sour Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Release – Limited/One Hitter Series, March – April 2018
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 8.5%
IBUs – 22.6
Featured Hops – Pekko, Centennial & HBC 344

Added Ingredients – Petite Syrah grapes
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://lagunitas.com/beer-finder