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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,517 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,517
Hads: 9,831
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 25%
Wants: 617
Gots: 2,349 | FT: 28
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA | 7.85% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jules11788 on 11-07-2011

This sad holiday season we didn’t have the brewing capacity to make our favorite seasonal brew, the widely feared BrownShugga’ Ale. You see we had a couple of really good years (thank you very much) and so heading into this season while we are awaiting the January delivery of a new brewhouse we are jammin’ along brewing 80 barrels of IPA and PILS and such every 3 hours. A couple of months back we realized that since we can only brew a mere 60 barrels of Shugga’ every 5 hours, that we were seriously screwed. For every case of Shugga’ brewed, we’d short 3 cases of our favorite daily beers. It’s a drag. This year, we brewed something that we think is also cool and brews more like our daily brews. The new brewhouse will help insure this kind of failure never happens again. It’s a mess that we can not brew our BrownShugga’ this year and we suck for not doing it. There is nothing cool about screwing this up this badly and we know it. Maybe we can sue our own sorry selves. There is no joy in our hearts this holiday and the best we can hope for is a quick and merciful end. F*@& us. This totally blows. Whatever. We freaking munch moldy donkey butt and we just want it to be all over...
So this substitute beer is a ‘Cereal Medley’ of Barley, Rye, Wheat, and Oats…. Full of complexishness from the 4 grains, and weighing in at 7.85% abv, Then joyously dry-hopped for that big aroma and resinous hop flavor.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,517 | Hads: 9,831
Photo of jesterdeal
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aroma of nice hoppy goodness. Rye, grapefruit zest, apricot, and honey. Pours bronze with a smal healthy head. Taste is marvelously hoppy with dried apricot, grapefruit and brown sugar. Finishes nice and sticky. Gotta love the humility of Lagunitas considering this is one of the finest IPA's out there.

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Photo of TheCondor
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a transparent copper with a towering, fluffy white two finger head that has good retention qualities (about half the beer) as well as leaving excellent lacing. I like the back story on this brew.

Smell - The hops smell very earthy to me: floral, pine, etc. Outstanding nose on this beer, one of the better I have smelled. There is certainly a sweet smell in the background as well, assuming that to be the sugar substitute or whatever they used. Smells of caramel to me.

Taste - The piney and floral hops are the main events, backed by a malty foundation with a semi-sweet middle. The hops are very good in this brew, smell great and taste great. Not too much to overwhelm, very balanced brew.

Mouthfeel - The sweetness makes its real appearance in the finish, with that caramel flavor. A sticky finish because of that, a little bit of bitterness, but overall very well done.

Overall - Unfortunately, I think for me this is another case of a supremely hyped up brew that had no chance to live up to the billing. It is an excellent beer, and I would certainly recommend it, but don't get swept up in the fever. I said the same thing about Hopslam, and I drank them one day apart. I'd take Myrcenary over either of them. But this is a very good brew.

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Photo of anjah
3.96/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

You can really taste the unique brown sugar, yet it's not too sweet that it over powers. The color was a bit more burnt golden than most beers. Lagunita's has always been one of my favorite breweries and I believe this has taken place for my number one Lagunita's. The name definitely speaks irony.

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Photo of Roose13
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Transparent gold, one finger of off-white head. Bubbles rising throughout which is pretty neat to watch.

S: Citrus, papaya or mango, pine.

T: Pine, hops, a little malty. I can taste citrus fruits as well such as the papaya and a hint of pineapple. The pine really kicks in during the aftertaste. It tastes incredibly fresh with the hops.

M: Chewy, crisp, smooth.

Overall: This is a very good DIPA. It's not overpowering and it tastes incredible. I love all the subtleties that lie in the aftertaste and nose. Great beer that certainly doesn't "suck."

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Photo of Amalak
4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had at Boulevard Tavern in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

A. It is a dark goldish, light brown color. It has a good deal of bubbles and a big foamy white head that leaves behind a good deal of lacing.

S. Very hoppy and spicy.

T/M. It is quite hoppy with a kind of pine spiciness underneath. Some citrus flavor. It is quite carbonated. Medium bodied. A milt malt taste.

O. To be honest, I found it to be very similar to the Lagunitas IPA, with a hint more of spice. And that's a good thing, because I love that brew. Very good.

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Photo of ElSid
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California


Bottled Date: None

A: Golden orange with amber highlights and an off white head which towers after a moderate pour into my glass. The pillow of foam lasts leaving a bubble cling on the glass.

S: Fresh and aromatic with hops coming though strong as pine, citrus, and tropical on a soft cracker-caramel malt base. The malt is soft and sugar with and edge of burned grain.

T: The freshness of the hops hit the tip of the tongue as pine, citrus rind and faint pineapple with a nugget of dank which quickly transitions to a warming, earthy bitterness and biting coriander spiciness. The malt foundation is of crackers, burnt hay, and grain topped with caramel and honey which is stressed to the brink of collapse.

M: The feel is moderate and chewy with a nice hop oil linger which coats the mouth. The carbonation is supportive adding interest while not being overbearing.

O: It's all about the hops here but Lagunitas' "cereal medley" adds subtlety and complexity which elevates the palate. The unique personality of Sucks is intriguing but ultimately I need more fruit to balance the earthiness and bitterness in this brew. Sucks finally hit stores in the Los Angeles area and I am both grateful and honored to finally experience this Imperial IPA.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/19/2012. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a nice 2 finger dense and fluffy white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, orange rind, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, floral, grass, light pine, and earthy hops. Fantastic aromas with great hop complexity, balance, and strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange zest, orange rind, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, pine, floral, honey, grass, and herbal hop earthiness. Good amount of piney citrus bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus zests, citrus rind, pineapple, floral, pine, grass, honey, and herbal hop earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic hop complexity, with a nice malt balance supporting the big hops; and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and very smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic IPA. Great hop complexity with nice malt balance; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering as expected.

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Photo of mooseo
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into tulip.

A - Clear brilliant copper with a large dense white head.

S - Pungent grapefruit, pine, and earthy hops - exactly what I would expect from an awesome DIPA. Just a tad of caramel malt sweetness.

T - Intense waves of grapefruit and piney hops throughout, supported by a light caramel malt backbone. Light citrus notes and fresh mango evident. Finishes bitter with strong earthy hops and a lingering subtle breadiness.

M - Smooth, crisp, a bit sticky. Medium bodied. Dry finish.

O - A superb IPA. Glorious hops dominate from start to finish. A light caramel sweetness lends a little balance. Alcohol is masked well. I appreciate the low price point, considering the high quality. This is up there with the best of em.

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Photo of smekermann
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I've finally gotten familiar enough with this beer to the point where I'm comfortable writing a review for it. For the attention-challenged readers on this site, I'll just say that this is kind of an amazing IPA. If you're a fan of hoppy beers, go forth and purchase in large quantities.

I got acquainted with this beer during my roadtrip to California. I had it fresh and it was pretty amazing back then. It was one of the most unique IPAs I'd had in a long time. The hop profile essentially consisted of ripe tropical fruits with a certain bit of "zing" to it, mango especially. The malt profile is... there, I guess, but it's almost unnoticeable, due to it being a perfectly balanced beer. It's not too astringent and it's never too malty, regardless of temperature.

I think what gave me a new appreciation for this beer, however, was when I had it after a Ninkasi Tricerahops Double IPA. I'd already had two bottles of Sucks prior to opening the Tricerahops (I was getting re-acquainted ok) and after that bomber was done, I decided it'd be a great idea to open another bottle of Sucks. To my amazement, Sucks not only held up to the Tricerahops, it actually overpowered it. It tasted exactly the same as it had prior to having the Ninkasi. That's the mark of an amazing beer, especially since Tricerahops had the upper hand in ABV and IBUs (supposedly -- definitely didn't taste like 100 of 'em).

Basically, friends, this is a beer that needs to be enjoyed as often as possible and as fresh as possible. I only hope that BC breweries make something of this caliber in the next five years. That'd be fairly desirable.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A golden beer with good clarity. A good head stand of mostly creamy, compact bubbles with a few big ones as well. The head is persistent

S: The huge citrus hops aroma ranks right up there with some of the best that I've had like Heady Topper, Ithaca IPA and Hoptimum. The hops aroma is strongly of citrus, pineapple and some mango along with a moderate herbaceous note from the dry hopping. There is a moderately light malt sweetness and a light alcohol aroma.

T: A very strong hops bitterness with a whole lot of hop flavor that reflects the aroma with strong citrus and pineapple moderate mango and grassy notes. The malt gives a clean, moderately-light sweetness. The balance is very bitter but not aggressively so. The finish is dry and the aftertaste is of a lingering hops bitterness.

M Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a bit of creaminess.

O: One heck of Double IPA, just a work of art. A happy, hoppy accident for certain!

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Photo of WSGosset
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: This is a good looking beer. Deep translucent gold with about a finger's worth of head. Tight bubbles, nice lacing.

S: It has a nice floral nose, though perhaps a little bit more subdued than I might expect from a West Coast DIPA of this caliber. I am definitely getting a nice whiff of grapefruit here.

T: Standard DIPA-style bitterness. Not too overwhelming, but definitely noticeable right away. Not too much going on in the way of aftertaste. I feel like this has all the right ingredients, but the composition is slightly muddled.

M: This is probably my least favorite part of this beer. A little too much weight and a little too much viscosity (not words you typically think for this type of beer). It just doesn't go down as smoothly as one might hope.

O: It might not be mind-blowing, but it is a high-end DIPA for sure. This is a beer which has grown on me---each has been better than the last. Definitely worth going out of your way for, though you might not have to now that it is going to be year round.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. This one pours a clear golden straw color with about an inch of white head. Little bit of sticky lace.

The aroma starts of with grapefruit and mango. Hints of pine in the background. Mango and pine on the pallet with some hints hints of bready malt in the background.

The body is medium with sharp carbonation. A bit dry on the finish.

Overall this one is great. Easily one of the best IPAs I've had in a while.

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Photo of kell50
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Snagged a fresh (1/10/2013) 12 oz. from a local bottle shop in Charlotte, NC. Poured into my OMB goblet.

A: It poured a beautiful golden amber color with a nice, fluffy white head. The 1" head receded down a bit as I finished pouring the bottle.

S: Huge dank hop frangrance; mango, pineapple, orange/citrus notes hit like a punch in the face. I'm also getting a little onion/garlic in the mix too. You know almost instantly that you've dealing with a Lagunitas IPA.

T: The citrusy/tropical hops attack (in a good way) your taste buds with the addition of some sticky malt. It's honestly so hop forward, but so incredibly balanced. Delicious is a true understatement. Awesome representation of a west coast style IPA.

M: Fairly light mouthfeel without a crazy amount of carbonation. It's sticky yes, but goes down quite easily. It's the kind of IPA you could literally gulp down.

O: A remarkably delicious, full flavored balanced west coast IPA that blew me away in all aspects. At $9.99 (found it for $8.99 on sale) a six pack it's a no-brainer.

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Photo of jtierney89
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Clear bright golden hue with an orange tinge with a finger of bright white sticky head. Sweet tropical fruits on the nose, juicy pineapple, summer fruit bowl, grapefruit, raw hop leaf, touches of papaya.

Incredibly fruit and incredibly balanced. Sweet juicy hop profile upfront complimented by a faint malt body letting the hops shine. Raw hop oil slick over the back of the tongue, medium body lets a touch of bitterness climb up the back of the tongue and the right amount of malt balances the bitterness. Very faint alcohol heat on the finish with gum sticking hop flavor. Tropical hop balance, incredibly smooth with great drink ability, I like it.

Food and warming brings out piney and herbal earthy hop flavors in this beer.

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Photo of Rion
4.96/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

By far probably my favorite beer that I have tried! Poor's a beautiful golden color with a really nice head that settles well. Holy Shit the smell is absolutely fantastic. Pineapple, grapefruit, orange just an amazing smell that takes my breath away. Taste just as good if not better then it smells. The carbonation is very well balanced and the sucks is a very easy beer to drink. But WOW just a fantastic beer!!

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tulip glass.

A: Pours a light golden color, brilliant clarity but only a ring of white head.

S: Beautiful tropical and some grapefruit hops, mild caramel, a little sugar coated lemon.

T: Orange and white grapefruit, sliver of bitterness and mild caramel backbone on the midpalate for structure which carries through the entire sip, some floral hoppy notes.

M: Soft, medium-light carbonation and body.

O: Very drinkable, solid and attractive flavors. It's great to see the legacy California breweries, like Lagunitas and Stone, stepping up their IPA offerings over the past year or so.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

The pour is a mostly transparent, full golden yellow color with straw edges. A regal off white froth bellows up from the beer upon pouring. Levels of lace remain where the beer rested during my glass.

The biggest compliment I can pay to the complexity of this beer is that it seems nearly impossible to identify all of the aromas and flavors, so I am reduced to using general descriptors to do the best I can. The aroma has a spicy pine hop base, with a nice amount of grapefruit, apricot, and tangerine as well. As the sweetness comes through, I get some light pale malts, honey, and some caramel.

The flavor blend nicely together and roll in complexity. Up front, biscuity bread and honey, some light caramel notes, and then a nice wave of hops that never goes off the bitter end. Spicy pine, grapefruit, lemon zest, apricot, and assorted other citrus notes roll on the tongue as the sip concludes.

The hops are strong, but not totally overwhelming. The oil residue mostly clears away from the mouth after each sip, and the hoppy flavor and crisp carbonation mean it scrubs the tongue clean after sip. The overall feel is simple, clean, crisp, and refreshing.

Not an absolute hop bomb, but this was quite enjoyable.

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Photo of danfisher1
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip

Appearance: Poured vigorously into a tulip. Beer is Amber with a four finger head. Head is slowly dissipating with patchy lacing. Microbubbles with a slight off-White hue. There is a presence of alcohol legs. The beer is slightly hazy but mostly clear.

Smell: on the inhale piney citrus lemon zest grapefruit papaya unripened mangoes. Exhale his fruit punch can almost taste the fruity characteristics of tropical fruits.

Taste: Prost ! Grapefruit right upfront and all around. This is simply delicious! No sense of the grain bill only in the sweet juicy back. I almost wish there was more of an aftertaste. Almost taste like fresh squeezed lemon/grapefruit juice. Bitter yet juicy. Does leave mouth dry and enticing you To feebly quench your thirst in futility. Really good!

Mouthfeel: Slightly acidic no sense of the alcohol content. Silky juicy semi sweet with dry aftertaste

Overall: This grain bill simply acts as a canvas for the beautiful expressive colors of the hops. While not balanced in terms of maltiness and hop character the hops are celebrated appropriately. Seek this beer out!

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a great clear orange, really a treat to look at.

The smell is very tropical, almost like sticking your nose in a plate of mango, orange, pinapple and grapefruit with a shot of vodka poured over it all. So basically it is very fruity but you do get a hint of alcohol.

Taste follows the nose, starts off with a little sweet malt then moves into the tropical fruit, mango, pinapple and orange, it finishes with a bittering dryness that is just top notch... I gave the taste a 5 because it is pretty near perfect for my preferance in the style big and fruit filled.

Mouthfeel is a solid medium with a dry bite of carbonation that takes shape in the end nicely.

I love this beer as I am now on my 4th 6 pack of it, that being said I do prefer Maximus slightly because of the stronger malt bill but the margain is so small that it is basically a tie. Man Lagunitas knows how to work the hops that is for sure!

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Photo of arfenhouse
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Golden orange with off white head. Good retention.

S: Pine and resin dominate. Ripe sweet tangerines and some grapefruit peel. Some sort of sweet bread in the background. A bit of spicy hops.

T: Good dose of grapefruit and pine. Tropical fruit, mainly pineapple. Some sweetness comes into play. Spicy hop and some orange in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Slightly dry.

O: Tasty DIPA. Very good for the price. Pick it up if you can.

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Photo of ThePaleRider
4.89/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A - Bright amber/orange in color with a thick 3 finger head. Never seen a beer put off this much carbonation, pretty amazing as the thick head never recedes.

S - Lots of pine. Very dank marijuana type of smell. Smells very oily and thick. Mostly pine with a little orange peel in the back end.

T - Like a shot of pine and bitter citrus peels to the tongue. Very bitter, but remains smooth at the same time. Is my mind playing tricks on me? Simply an amazing IPA. They threw the malts into hiding just like a good IPA should. Hops right up front and a very smooth after taste. Bravo!!!

M - Very bitter up front with no alcohol to speak of. Lots and lots of carbonation keep this thing fresh to the end. Not as oily as I expected. Leaves your mouth dry and crazing more.

O - Amazing beer that needs to be available year round!

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Photo of rangerred
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear medium gold with a fluffy one finger white head. Really great head retention and awesome lacing leaving a nearly unbroken wall down the side of the glass.

Aroma is full of tropical fruit as is typical with Lagunitas. Lots of pineapple, tangerine, and mango with just a hint of bready malt and alcohol underneath. Not extremely complex but the citrus is very mouth watering.

A very juicy tropical fruit character on the taste that carries for a very long time. Tons of tangerine, mango, orange, and pineapple all backed up by a little bit of alcohol and bread. Bitterness is fairly mild for a double IPA and is just enough to balance out the sweetness. Mouthfeel is really perfect without any of the residual sugar all too often found in this style.

Overall, a really amazing IIPA. Extremely drinkable it feels more like 5% abv. Love the tropical, almost minty, hop character and the moderate bitterness. Definitely one to stock up on this time of year and one of the best from Lagunitas.

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Photo of kevanb
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Lagunitas Mason Jar.

The beer pours a nice copper color, hues of orange and light amber, very clear complexion with a few bubbles rising to the top of the glass with a nice cloudy white head, just over 2 fingers high that has good retention and leaves behind a great network of lacing. The aroma is pleasant, sticky resinous pine, earthy bitter hop oils with touches of bright floral notes with a healthy amount of sweet caramel malt that lingers nicely. The flavors are right in line with the nose, lots of bitter pine and earthy hop resin that brings out some bright grapefruit flavors and some nice meadowy floral notes before a big sweet malt heavy finish swallows them up providing great balance on the tongue. The body is nice and full, sticky and coats the mouth very well with a nice bitter finish that is moderately dry.

Verdict: A very fine IPA from Lagunitas and the fanfare is justified here. It's crisp, clean, satisfyingly bitter and while not overly complex, the balance is perfect. Definitely worth checking out for any hophead.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle into a Brooklyn Brewery snifter.

Pours a frothy, 1.5 finger white head with great retention. Beer is a crystal clear orange-copper. Lacing is thick and layered with excellent stick. You couldn't ask for more here.

Nose is citrus, pine, grapefruit, and cane sugar. Aromatic and very clean.

Opens crisp citrus, juicy grapefruit, and sappy pine resin hoppiness. Mellows out considerably in the middle with some more citrus and papaya notes and a slight tartness. Finishes cane sugar with a nice hop bite balance. Juicy hop aftertaste. Really solid.

Light bodied with moderate to ample carbonation. Crisp, refreshing, and juicy in the mouth and goes down quenching and smooth with an accented finish and lingering aftertaste. Near perfect.

I thought Brown Shugga was terrible but this DIPA drinks like a dream! I've heard a bit about this beer and its completely deserving of the hype. Usually not a huge fan of anything Lagunitas makes but this beer might just have made me a convert!

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear light golden color with a decent sized bone white head that leaves much stickage on the way down. Smells of hops in spades. Light green onion and garlic grow confidently under a shady pine tree while sipping on a hint of vodka. Light bready malt peaks through but barely musters the courage to stick around. The flavor is light cracker and bready malts with an onslaught of onion garlic and pine. Medium to light body with a moderate level of carbonation and a slick resinous mouthfeel. This is a very nice IPA I'm glad I grabbed the six pack so I can enjoy this again.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,517 ratings.