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

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.85%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Jules11788 on 11-07-2011

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,543 | Ratings: 9,975
Photo of Hopswagger
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

P: Orange copper body with a bubbly thin top of off white clouds.

S: Super fruity and sweet. Grapefruit, blood orange, apricots, pomegranate, mango, honey dew and pineapple. Sweet candy malt and very subtle flower aroma.

T/M: Clementine oranges, ruby red grapefruit with sugar sprinkled on top, apricots, and melon. Crystallized sugar accompanied by bitter lemon/line peel and timid spices. Overall palate is big time fruity and sweet, opposed to a harsh bitterness. Sticky medium body with gentle carbonation and a smooth but dry finish.

O: All I can say is "I love this beer!" Hands down one of the best I gave had. Super excited to try the rest of the Lagunitas line up. Cheers!

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Photo of smalenberg
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in standard pub pint.

A - generous pour gives an inch of foamy white head that dissipated slowly leaving a lot of lace on the glass. Orange-amber in color and crystal clear.

S - Big resiny pine notes dominate over an underlying citrus (more lemon than orange). Searching beyond that with my nose in the glass and a really big sniff, they is a slight oniony note, but it is very subtle.

T - Some malty sweetness and a strong tropical fruit note (pineapple, mango) followed by a well-balanced bitterness. A lemony character is found and very late at the back of the tongue, the piney character from the nose comes through in the taste.

M - that resinous note in the smell translates to a slightly oily character in the mouthfeel that isn't unpleasant and doesn't seem out of place. It remains on the tongue long after the swallow complimenting a somewhat dry finish that leaves you wanting more. The body is lighter than you might expect for all of that.

O - I'm not a big hophead, but I enjoyed this beer. Nice to find an American IPA that doesn't overwhelm you with grapefruit rind. Easy drinking for nearly 8% ABV

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Photo of Slatetank
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had this on tap at Federal Taphouse in Harrisburg PA, served in a pint.

Golden shade with orange hues and thick light beige head with tiny bead and good retention. The smell is fruity and dank with hop aroma that brings to mind orange rind and tropical tinges with mild grapefruit ester and juicy element with perhaps a hint of pineapple odors. The feel is very good also with a semi-bitter entry w/ slight malt sweetness up front and juicy resinous hop with moderate acidity and full feel as a result of oils with moderate carbonation and mildly astringent quality with a hoppy bitter finish.

The taste of this is juicy with tropical hop flavors w/ slight herbal component and gentle malt accent in the background which hints at caramel with mild pine element in the hop flavor coming out mid taste with a slight fruity yeast essence in the finish. Overall a very good ale, I actually prefer this to Brown Shugga, a little less dry than some west coast Imperial Ipa's, however it is very fresh and has a full hop taste from beginning to end with emphasis on hop flavor rather than just bitterness which I like compared to others of its ilk.

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Photo of trentbrown89
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- Poured into a new belgium globe, light copper crisp and clear. About an inch of frothy white head fills up the glass. Nice looking brew.

S- Great hop aroma! Citrus and pine! One of my favorite smelling beers.

T- Extremely complex and balanced. Complexity coming from multiple grains underneath amazing hop flavor. Piney and extremely fruity.

M- Very smooth and medium bodied. Soft and velvety on the tongue.

O- One of the most balanced IPA's out there, very drinkable and not too bitter. The hop aroma is really what sets this beer apart for me. It is a must try that I wish was available year round. P.S. I really think that this beer should be classified as a single IPA in my opinion. Cheers!

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Photo of DubbelTrubbel
3.71/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 1-31-12. Poured into Schlafly tulip.

A- Yellow to orange, white foam leaves lots of brief lacing. Nice appearance, some of the heaviness is apparent

S- Primarily pungent and piney aromas, with some leafiness. Hints of sweetness. Good, but a little one-sided. The aroma also reminds me of a good latte, as strange as it sounds.

T- Smooth, with plenty of bitterness at the back of the mouth and sides of the tongue. A little bit of sweet breadiness in the aftertaste, not much in the taste.

M- Medium bodied, a little biting. Moderate carbonation

O- Its good points are the noticeableness of the hops, and that it's very easy drinking. On the other hand, I could use more malt and more fruitiness in the hops. I have also had this same batch when it was several weeks fresher, and my impressions were similar.

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Photo of Dave1999
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a rich transparent orange colour with a white foamy head which quickly died down.

The smell is pine needles and citrus fruits. Smells great and is strong.

The taste is much like the smell, the hops are fresh with a delicious sweetness.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall this ipa is about as great as they get, yet another awesome beer from lagunitas.

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Photo of sommersb
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tasted On: 02-16-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Globe glass
Purchased: Single from The Bottle Shop, Franklin

Pours a dark orange, clear beer, topped by 2 fingers worth of off-white head. Very good lacing and head retention.

Aromas are of strong citrusy hops -- very aromatic and fruity with grapefruit and pine notes.

The taste starts off with a big hop bitterness, but is then offset with some sweet caramel maltiness.

Mouthfeel is highly carbonated on a medium body. Finishes quite bitter but also with a good dose of malt.

Overall an impressive DIPA; I can see why this beer has such a following.

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Photo of Sark
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- golden amber with thin lacing

Smell- floral hops, a cascade attack with light sweet undertones

Taste- mild malt sweetness, hop bitterness well balanced, alcohol warmth well hidden

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, smooth on the palate

Overall- great pizza beer and stands stong on its own. Well worth another 6 pack.

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Photo of NODAK
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Definitely has a "juicy" aroma to it...very citric heavy....just jumps out at the nose. Citra hops?? Simcoe?? Not sure...I'm not very good with that. But I love this.

Taste really is more of the same...nice tropical and citrus hop goodness is very evident in tandem. There isn't a lot of malt to this one, but I do notice a bit of spicy biscuit there as well. Despite how heavy this one is on its hop flavor, it doesn't finish ridiculously bitter with a lot of lingering. Very clean....very nice.

I'm pleased to have finally tried this, and I know now we have a great DIPA here in my own backyard I can buy that I wasn't aware of before.

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Photo of ubenumber2
4.66/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle in to a pint glass , golden colored very clear beer , minimal head with not a lot of lacing. A few carbonation bubbles rising to the top

Smell is very hoppy , not a lot of citrus detected by me , more earthy and piney smells with that deem generic hop smell you get from most pellet hops , not a bad thing , smells wonderful to me

Mouthfull is about right on for the style , not too strong not too weak , just about perfect

The taste is like opening up a fresh bag of hops and taking a pull , hop forward and finishes with the hops for me also , not a lot of malt or alcohol flavor or taste in there , just enough to know its there but the hops prevail here

Over all this is a great beer , well worth the 200 miles I drove round trip to pick it up , will be going back next week to pick up two cases of this stuff

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Photo of pcguitarwzrd
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter.

A: Looks like a DIPA to me. Medium copper--check, hazy--check, off-white head--double-check.

S: Giant grapefruit note right up front, hops all around. Haven't smelled anything this nice in a while.

T: Piney hops front to back, a thin blanket of bready malt underneath. Was hoping for more of the tropical fruit flavors that the aroma promised. Still good though.

M: Creamy and not-too-heavy, not-too-light, as a DIPA should be.

O: Maybe not what it was hyped to be, but a solid DIPA. I'll still be buying my Unearthly and Hopslam.

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Photo of brodericksloth
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

big hit of bitter on first taste; mellows

hop bomb...don't taste something less after this beer; Palate Buster

huge long lasting head

tropical: tangerine, peach, lime, grapefruit

good food beer: burgers, grilled meats,

crisp not malty, clean

alcohol masked well

not your usual piney hopped DIPA; more tropical like Citra or Simcoe hops; hopped late
and dry.

not filling...if not for the alcohol, you could keep drinking more because this beer
does not suck.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

For some reason I was never a big Lagunitas fan, but this beer may have swayed me. A moderate pour from the bottle creates a large, creamy, white head that seems to last forever. Clear and orange in color, it is a fantastic looking beer.

The aroma is fairly heavy on floral and piney hops. There is a noticable amount of alcohol and peach as well. A light biscuity malt background and earthen yeast finishes things off. The alcohol is masked pretty well in the flavor and lets all of the qualities of the aroma come through.

Medium bodied with a thick, almost chewy texture. Soft carbonation and a long bitter finish with a resinous feeling from the hops. A great beer for sure.

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Photo of ktblue22
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Head - white, frothy and smooth - heavy when first poured, settled after about 5 minutes
Smell - Light hops, aromatic - floral
Mouthfeel is incredible - smooth and medium bodied, carries the floral hop over your tongue in a beautiful complex sensuality that is almost bewildering

Beautiful beer - exceptionally drinkable with a lovely complex hoppiness

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Served at Cellar Temp

A: Deep gold with a slight touch of haze (wheat or hops?) with a frothy white head and excellent lacing. Good retention as well.

S: I would like to describe the aroma as a huge dose of Blueberry, Mango, Melon, Citrus, a touch of pine and onion spice. The hops dominate, but some toasty/sweet malt can be found lingering in the backdrop.

T/M: The bitterness hits right away, and a big full-bodied mouthfeel coats the mouth. The hops are slightly more astringent than the aroma, but they still scream of tropical and berry-like fruits. The malt makes and appearance in the flavor as well, giving an almost candy-like pilsner malt backbone with a slight touch of wheat and a little rye. Very little in the way of yeast character, typical chico ale strain profile.

Overall: A very interesting and very hoppy beer. The complexity of ingredients is astounding, so many hop and malt varieties playing roles in the final product. Also, as many have found, the hop character is intoxicating! I love this beer, would most definitely purchase it frequently if it were year round, few hop-bombs like this make it to my home-state of Montana.

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Photo of DMXLOX22
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a single of this brew and now enjoying while waiting for my Valentines day date get ready. Let's see how this stacks up.

Appearance: Pours a nice, dark gold that makes it look lighter than it might be. Tops off with some decent foam action that slowly exhausts away.

Smell: Citrus hops are the first that truly come to light. Reminds me of pineapple and some ruby grapefruit. Minor hint of sugar. Quite delectable.

Taste: Has a great pizazz of lemon citrus, but of course is rounded out by orange and pineapple flavors. It finishes quite nice with slight hints of caramel and a light sugary cranapple-like flavor. Minor maltiness is noticeable, but fits perfect and balances everything out. Bravo to the brewers for this one.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with somewhat moderate carbonation. Starts off and ends quite crisp, as it should. Everything's there in fair balance.

Overall: Upon first sips, this was a special treat. Something that can truly be enjoyed in the spring/summer and even in the winter as I am doing so now. Even my date stated it was good, and also claims not to be a beer drinker. But overall, this beer packed something different and did it well. The citrus and fruit-like hops with a nice balance of malt in the mix that create something I will enjoy again and will recommend to friends. Cheers!

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Photo of jacksback
3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Looks the part- clear bright golden color with a decent white head. Decent lacing, visible active carbonation. Looks nice. Nothing amazing, but appetizing for sure.

Big nose, showing lots of fruity hops and a fair bit of sweetness. Sweet oranges and tangerines. Full and big aroma, but not much depth or suggestion thereof.

Flavor shows a lot more character than the nose suggested. A moderate kick of bitterness starts things off, fading a bit towards the finish. Hop character shows some depth, though falls back to an extent on the typical C-hop deal. Sharp, aggressive citrus grapefruits, oranges, and so on. Good bit of sweetness, between the fruity hop notes and a little bit of even malt sweetness that barely sneaks through.

Mouthfeel is smooth and even, pretty clean on the finish, with moderate carbonation. easy drinking.

Overall- nothing especially new or adventurous. A rather typical west coast, citric heavy DIPA. But, that said- it is superbly well done for that, with only a bit too much sweetness to complain about.

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Photo of ajd413
3.27/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful golden color with nice white head. Smell was big on grapefruit and dank hops. The problem was a noticeable aroma of cat urine. Not a good aroma and I couldn't escape it. Flavor of the beer was nice and very dry and hop forward but the ammonia was overwhelming. I'm not surprised to see this beer rated so highly by the general public (lagunitas has a great following and generally makes top notch brews) but the alstrom bros have a score that is much more accurate.

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Photo of Sam21
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Purchased as a single. Brewed in December. 

A- Clear golden amber body with a sticky fluffy white head. The clarity, retention, and appeal is high. 

S- Sugar honeyed grapefruit smacks you in the nose on first sniff. Plenty of citrus rind, some mango, and light caramels. The citrus hop aromas leap out of the glass in an aggressive yet controlled manner. 

T- Taste follows the aromas lead. The grapefruit doesn't bite as much as you would think but is plenty present. The citric acidity is really round and juicy, but does not have complete dominance. Tropical notes of mango and pineapple melt into a caramel backbone that holds the citrus top notes up. This fruity sweetness carries into the finish and marries nicely with an expected dry citrus hop kick. It plays out exactly as expected and I mean that in the best way possible. 

MF- The body is right on that line between medium and full, as it doesn't quite have that oily quality. The carbonation is relatively creamy and carries the resinous sticky quality of the hops with confidence. 

O- It's been about 6 months since I've really sat down with such a big and traditional west coast IPA. Lagunitas did a great job with this beer. Sweet, citrusy, and easy on the palate. The balance adds an element of drinkability that acts as the cherry on top. 

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Photo of neenerzig
4.36/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into one of my tulip glasses, this beer pours a nice clear, medium golden amber color. The white head is initially about 1/2 inch thick when first poured before settling to a good thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with very nice lacing and some spotty surface foam resting on the top of the beer. Aromas of grapefruit/citrus and piney hops upfront followed with some more fruityness with hints of mango, rounded out with a bit of caramel malt. Has a wonderful grapefruit/citrus hop flavor upfront too along with hints of mango and pineapple that is rounded out with some caramel malt. The bready, malty sweetness on the back end certainly comes out more as the beer sits and warms up a bit. Not as bitter in terms of the hops as some other double IPAs I have had are, but that is not necessarily a bad thing here. Actually I am quite enjoying this dynamic here. The different flavor profiles are extremely well balanced. Has a fairly crisp, smooth and somewhat oily, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. I do wish the mouthfeel was just a little more full bodied, but not a bad beer at all. Very good!


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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – Served a golden amber color with a one finger white head. The head slowly fades over time to give a light level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is a nice mix of citrus hop and tropical fruit. The tropical fruit is a nice mix of pineapple, mango and tangerine with the hop being mainly of a grapefruit aroma mixed with a hint of pine hop.

Taste – The taste begins with a nice bready and tropical fruit flavor of mango and papaya and some tangerine mixed within. With these flavors is a lighter caramel flavor which grows stronger more toward the middle and end of the taste. Also as the flavor advances, some hop flavors, mainly of a grapefruit nature, come to the tongue. While the hop flavors grow stronger in nature as the taste advances further, they never really drown out the sweeter and malty flavors as they seem to keep pace with the hop. In the end, a sweeter and malty hopped taste is left on the tongue. It is very balanced and very nice.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. The thicker body helps the hop flavors stand out and is great for the bready body of the beer with the lower carbonation accentuating these flavors and helping to create a very soothing mouthfeel.

Overall – This is a fantastic, slightly sweeter but very balanced IPA. A great drinking brew and one I will certainly seek out more often.

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Photo of mothman
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This has to be one of the best DIPA for the price.

Half finger of off white head. Color is s a clear golden orange.

Taste profile is of big juicy hops. Grapefruit and citrus fruits mixed with some pineapple. Dank hops. A mix of floral and pine. Some bready malts to balance things out.

Mouthfeel is bitter, but not too bitter. Not very sticky which is nice.

Overall, this beer is rock solid. I normally don't like Lagunitas, but this beer will be in my fridge every winter.

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Photo of LarryK
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Believe the hype. Sucks is as good as many of the top-rated double IPAs around, and may actually be the very best widely available double IPA on the market (for these purposes, I'd define "widely available" as a Top 10 craft brewer by sales volume per the Brewer's Association), although Ruination may have something to say about that. Still, I'd take Sucks over Hopslam, which I found didn't meet the hype or expectations for me after finally nabbing a six-pack back in January.

Appearance: DIPA orange.

Smell: Not quite the citrus explosion one expects from a premiere west-coast brewer like Lagunitas. A bit subdued, but still plenty aromatic.

Taste: One of the things I find most appealing about this beer is that there are seemingly a number of competing flavors -- citrus, but also a good bit more sweetness than I'm accustomed to in my DIPAs -- and yet it all works together to form an insanely drinkable product. This has to be one of the easiest-drinking 7.9% beers you can buy.

Mouthfeel: Medium, medium-carbonation.

Overall: A superb DIPA from Lagunitas, and, while this statement is subject to change, probably the best beer they make right now. Shame it's not a year-rounder.

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Photo of jvillefan
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: A deep golden copper/orange/yellow colored body with an off white three finger head that lingers around for a long time.

S: Citra hops are obviously present. There is pine, citrus, and caramel all present in the aroma of this beer.

T: There is an intense citrus bite in the beginning of this beer. It then fades to pine then to a toffee caramel and then the sharp bitterness comes back at the end and lingers on the palate for a while after the beer is gone.

M: A little thinner then I was expecting but this beer has excellent carbonation.

O: Great beer. If given the opportunity, get this one fresh.

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Photo of PalatePilot
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

After trying this at the Winter brew Fest in Denver a couple weeks ago, I bought a six pack

A- Golden, bright, clean. Head that turns to pretty lace

S- Lemon, Grapefruit, pine, a little alcohol

T- More orange for me then the lemon smell, grapefruit again, a little biscuit or bread, awesome hop and malt mix. hop stays on the tongue.

M- A little chewy, but I like it, allows me to hold on to the flavors for a while longer.

O- I have been drinking Odell Myrcenary as my staple DIPA, but I will definitely throw this in the mix if it stays on the shelf. A great beer with a nice balance.

I like it a lot...

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,543 ratings.