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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.

1,518 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,518
Hads: 9,837
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 25%
Wants: 618
Gots: 2,353 | 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: 1,518 | Hads: 9,837
Photo of NolaHopHead
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Light holder orange with slight haze. Smells like an IPA, citrus and sweetness. The flavor of this beer is bold, especially those first few sips that are cold. The piney hops punch you in the face, it's a bit much, with a little astringency. As the beer warms, the hops settle down and there is much more balance, dramatic difference. Mouthfeel is Lagunitas mineraly and slippery. Overall, will drink this again and again, but only if Lil Sumpin isn't available.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.96/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Still has that candy wave upfront like brown shugga with some nice, light fruit notes right behind, mostly orange & even a little honey. Finishes with a little hop kick, but not an overly bitter DIPA. Refreshing, festive and smooth, an excellent beer for those who like pales that don't bludgeon you with hops but still have an unique profile.

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

I gave this beer a strong pour and ended up with a finger of off-white head. The body is a very eye-catching golden-amber color. Head dissipates in a few minutes to leave a small but frothy ring around the glass. A steady stream of bubbles rises bottom to top. Nice lacing as well.

Oranges, grapefruits and mangos smack you in the nose when you smell this one. They smell juicy enough to bite into. The smell of fresh cut pine trees is also in there. Upon further inspection, a light malt aroma is noticed that provides a counterpoint to the delicious hoppiness.

The flavor is much more subdued than the nose is. Grapefruit, pineapple and pine are prevalent, this transitions into a malt flavor and finishes off on the piney bitter side.

Medium bodied, moderate carbonation is at the perfect level. Doesn't coat the mouth very much, rather slides over the tongue and down the throat, leaving your mouth very dry, although that only provides motivation for the next sip.

I have to say, this beer surprised me. I have not had the Brown Shugga and do not know how good it is, but after trying it's stand in, I certainly hope they do not permanently shelve this beer after this run. It is much to good for that.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As soon as this is opened, floral hops and citrus explode onto the scene. Dig my nose in and get delicious whafts of papaya and weed mon.

Tastes of grapefruit rind, cracker-crust middle, finishing off with floral hops, bong resin and pine. A lot going on here (wowwy) and yet, maintains its complexity. Extremely well-balanced with the malts--one of the best in it's class.

Mouthfeel is sticky sweet with a dry hop finish on the back of the tongue. You'll want more.

Love this shit!!!! IMO, this hop profile is askew from the rest of their lineup which I think tends to be harsh. What makes this so great is the fact it's in six-packs at an affordable price. I'll stand this right up there with FFF ZD anyday. This is masterfully constructed and super easy to drink. As they say "Doggone good".

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Photo of Philousa
3.04/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Imbibed on 4/24/2012. I mention this because it is a double IPA that could have been fresher, though I don't think it would have changed my review much.

Poured a clear orange color with a light, airy head. Lacing is noticeable. Malt is very prevalent. Cereal, orange blossom sweetness. The hops are subdued for a Lagunitas brew. They're there but it's not a wallop like it could have been. Good malt backbone comes through in the taste. Orange prevalent again, a good amount of citrus with a bit of zest. Little hop flavor, somewhat grassy. Not too bitter for the IBUs. Subtle. I just called a Lagunitas beer subtle. Wow.

This reminded me of Two Hearted a lot. The malt is similar to TH, but it has more meat on its bones. I was expecting the hops to play a bigger role and I feel that the malt was a bit too thick and overpowering for my taste. Good, but I didn't go bananas over it. Also, it doesn't really profile as a DIPA.

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Photo of TheFizzinator
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful light golden color with 2 fingers of head. The smell of very strong citrus fruits hits the nose, smells of lemon peel, oranges, and slight dankness from the hops. The taste is really where this brew shines. Very sweet initially, tastes of pineapples, oranges, and sweet lemons. Very little pine in the aroma and the taste. A slight bit of dryness and just a smidgen of bitterness really pulls this beer together. A light mouthfeel with a moderate amount of carbonation, this stuff is very easily drinkable.

I am surprised, this one lives up to the hype. A really spectacular and superbly drinkable DIPA.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Poured into a Dogfish Head IPA glass

A - 3.00 - Poured a very clean gold, formed a nice two fingers of pearl white, dense creamy head. Great had retention and potential, nice, soapy lacing on the glass. Color looks like a standard domestic brew.
S - 4.50 - Sweet hops, grapefruit, apples, peach, mango, oranges, pineapple, persimmons. Extremely bright, vibrant and tropical.
T - 5.00 - Delicious. Super well balanced, perfect amount of sweet fruits and savory, bitter hops.
F - 4.25 - Decently creamy, good mouthfeel.
O - 5.00 - My idea of a perfect IPA, definitely a must try for fans of the style!!!

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Photo of Luigi
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours our a light amber color slightly hazed with a few carbonation bubbles. Head starts from a three finger head to one finger when resting.

The aroma smells like Christmas because at first the strong pine hop flavor hits the nose. Hops are the dominate aroma.

The taste is strong with pine and citrus hops but sweet malt is present from start to finish.

This Ale is the perfect gift for a hophead. I give a thumbs up~~~

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Photo of MsRif
3.67/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Pinocchio's in Media, PA. Poured a very clear orange color...almost looked watered down. No head to speak of. No lacing. Didn't look too enticing, but the aroma was better...citrus...grapefruit...a touch of sweetness. Taste is definitely complex...a lot of flavor comes through. I swear I tasted mango in there though that might have been the grapefruit flavors mixed with lemon...whatever it was, it was pretty darn good. Unfortunately finishes really dry and bitter...that is always the downfall for me with DIPA's which I rarely enjoy. Though tasty, it's not really sessionable...at least not for me.

Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Pretty dry but still good and worth a taste!

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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 celticfutblclub
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into hill farmstead glass

A - golden orange body. thin white whisp of a head. fades quickly to a ring with nice lacing.

S - pine, hop resin, orange peel, bread malts.

T - orange peel and bubblegum backed with a grass hop bite. fades into a vanilla flavored middle and then pine hop blast at the end. so good.

M - light bodied with lots and lots of carbonation. good astringency.

O - fantastic brew.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.72/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a lovely oranged yellow, almost golden, with a great big slightly cream white head that sits at over two finger widths. The body is light and translucent, with only the faintest mist of haze, and a steady stream of gentle carbonation bubbles working to the top of the glass. The beer’s lacing is droopy and thin, leaving a spatterwork of hanging sheets upon the sides of the glass. On the nose the beer smells big with minty pine, a touch of citrus, and a faint touch of salty onion. The grains are found only as the lightest backdrop for the smell, suggesting slight toasty bread and caramel. On the tongue, the beer tastes bitter with a nice light sweet tinge. The beer begins with sweet bitters before opening into slightly caramelly herbal bitters that lightly suggest mint and onion. The finish runs with a light touch of orange citrus and is strong with pine, which lasts into the finish. The aftertaste is light with medicinal bitters and piney hops. On the mouth, the beer feels medium-light in body, with just the faintest gelling to suggest a heavier beer. The carbonation leaves a decent prickle on the tongue, and after the beer leaves the mouth is left sticky-dry, with a bitter astringency gripping at the tongue, though the mouth is clean. Overall, I’m a little disappointed with Sucks… Lots of people are heralding this beer as an amazing DIPA, but honestly I see it more as a strong IPA, falling just short of the bigger flavors that a DIPA carries. The beer is nicely drinkable, and carries some nice bitters, but the onioniness that this beer has is throwing me off the taste, and other than that I fine the hop profile a little lackluster in terms of complexity. Just to clarify, I have tried a six-pack of these now, and all of them have had the slight onion flavor, which is odd and I suppose I will chalk up to an older pack (though they had spent less than a week on the shelf when I picked them up…). This beer is a mediocre almost-DIPA, in my book, but is not really worthy of hunting down.

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Photo of suspect
4.39/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head Signature Glass.

A: Crystal clear golden color with some amber hues. Relatively aggressive pour leads to a small one-finger pure whit head that retreats slowly leaving behind a whirlpool look of white swirling foam. Lacing is consistent and thick. It's the lack of good head that knocks down the number here.

S: Hoo boy...this was an unexpected punch in the face delivered by a fist full of hops. Piney hops hit first followed closely by grapefruit rind. Malt presence is there but definitely overpowered by the hop goodness. This brew has one hell of a nose.

T: Dee-lish. Extremely hop-forward full of zest and flavor. Grassy bits of lemon and grapefruit zest along with some mango. It's a really wonderfully flavored IIPA. Malt again takes a 7th row seating back seat to the mix of hops that come in this brew. It's there, but a total hindsight, yet it's not unbalanced, quite the opposite.

M: Crisp finish with creamy coating. Perfectly carbonated. Hop oils coat the mouth and make me pucker like the elite IIPAs on the market.

O: I swear that if this beer was brewery release only and didn't have the distribution Lagunitas does, it would be getting oodles more hype than it currently does. This is one of the best IIPAs I've had and I'm excited that they're re-releasing it as Holiday Leftovers. BRAVO Lagunitas. Bravo.

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Photo of Jules11788
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pale golden color; thumb-width head, medium lacing, good retention

S: Smells of sweet, sticky, tropical sugary hops. The aroma just blasts you in the face with delicious fruity hoppiness.

T: Just like the nose: lightly bitter hops with big floral notes of tropical fruit and sweet sticky candy. Delicious!

M: Medium-light viscosity with a good helping of tingly carbonation; no hint of booze at all.

O: Another score for Lagunitas. I was very disappointed when I heard that they weren't releasing Brown Shugga, but this definitely makes up for it. Hop heads rejoice, this brew is brimming with big floral/fruity hops!

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Photo of mnrider
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Brown Bottle.

A: Pours light golden brown with a thick white head. Good retention
with sticky lacing.

S: A strong mixture of Pine, citrus fruits, grapefruit, mango? Some alcohol
and more pine.

T/M: Creamy smooth. Starts off bitter with a strong burst of hop flavors.
A mixture of pine and citrus leads to a somewhat bready taste. More hops.
The finish is pretty clean with only a hint of bitter hop aftertaste. A warm
but not overbearing alcohol kick throughout. Nice balance.

O: An extremely dangerously good beer. Hop heavy, but still well balanced.
Even with the higher ABV, it's smooth and easy to drink. A top rate double


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Photo of whatthehull
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted nov. 20th 2011 (from notes)


A - really nice orange/copper, very small very white head that doesn't last and no lacing

S - weed, pineapple, island fruits, lots of hops, very sweet smelling, yeasty, citrus, earth and more weed

T - resin, weed, pineapple, citrus, alcohol, very hoppy, pine needles, sweet malts, funky yeast, herbs, minerals, soil and fresh cut flowers

M - medium body, medium acidity, medium complexity, decently balanced and long finish

D - this overly hoppy, very tasty and refreshing all is another great beer from a great seasonal brewery. If you like lagunitas, weed and hoppy ale, dive in dude

Final thought - $9 a six and almost 8% and taste like sticky icky

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Photo of leantom
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Four years and still going strong. Here goes:

A: Good. The bear pours a light yellow-orange. The head is moderate, but the beer leaves good lacing. Very little carbonation, though.

S: Lots of tropical fruits in this one. Pineapple, oranges, citrus, and mango. A little bit of cat pee, though.

T: Follows the hoppy nose, except with a healthy helping of sweet caramel malt to alleviate the bitterness. Good mixture of hops and malt.

F: Great mouthfeel despite the limited carbonation. Thick and juicy.

O: A great beer. Maybe a little overrated, but still good nonetheless.

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Photo of humuloner22
3.91/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You hear about it ad nauseam around the holidays. Every beer store is boasting they have it, the charge an arm and a leg for it and then I found it in a grocery store for a reasonable price and picked it up. I did not go into this one with high hopes. I have not really had a good experience with the other beers I have had from this brewery, maybe I just like East coast breweries, or at least from the Rockies eastward. Anyway, I was actually really impressed with this one. The color and everything was lighter than I had expected it to be. The smell was sweet candy, with some hops present. The taste was where it was at. This beer was very well balanced. A great mixture of hops and sweetness. I have been on a lighter beer trend lately and for some reason I expected this one to be more on the darker side. I was overly surprised with this one and I will have to say they did make a beer that I enjoyed. I will try this one again next year and I hope it remains consistent. I have heard it may become more of a year round thing. Which might lighten its luster a bit, but over all I would try this one from time to time, if I caught it on sale like I did this time.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very light, clear goldish color. Almost looks like a light lager it's so clear. Very small head.

S - Big hit of grapefruits and pine in the nose. Decent amount of sweet malt in the background.

T - A little sweet on the start, fades into that citrusy grapefruit, before turning into a good amount of bitter, piney hops. But that wasn't all. It finished with a little kick of tartness--almost lemony at the end. Very impressive.

M - It's smooth while high in carbonation. Alcohol sits back nicely.

Overall - I've been a self-described critic of Lagunitas. This one though, changes my mind. It's a solid IPA and very nice for the Holidays. Flavors present were great. Well done.

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Photo of Big_V
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Good two finger head. Color was a unique golden brown. Good carbonation.

S - Wow! Sweet brown sugar.

T - I can taste a little something different after every sip. Grapefruit, pine, toffee. To bad my store said they won't be getting any more :(

M - So easy to go down. Just right on the hops.

O - Picked up 2 (6) packs and upon my first taste I didn't think it was worth the hype. After my second beer I'm hooked! Need more.

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Photo of midnitesun11
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I've had this beer many times and every time it just gets better! Awesome beer that's now readily available in my area too.

Pours a brilliant golden color with a frothy, white one finger head. Tiny carbonation bubbles rise up from the bottom of my glass.

The aroma is of hops and citrus. Definitely getting a sweet smell also maybe caramel.

Taste of hops and an orange citrus. Has a bit of a spiciness but a really good sweet brown sugar caramel taste!

Mouthfeel is thin but coats your mouth with the nice hoppy sweetness of this beer! Not too much of a lingering bitterness either.

Overall this beer is great, really drinkable and cost friendly! This is one of my "go to" beers for sure. Lagunitas definitely doesn't Suck!

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Photo of JohnG190
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden orange with an average size, bright white head. Good retention and lacing. Lots of tropical fruit on the nose with a hint of grassiness. Juicy tropical fruit hits the tongue first with resinous pine following closely behind. Finishes dry and bitter. Medium bodied with a creamy, foamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is an extremely well crafted DIPA that deserves it's place on the Beers of Fame list!

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Photo of fscottkey
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: [3.50] Pours a apricot color. There is a minimal 1/4 finger head. I am surprised by the amount of carbonation on the side of the tulip glass. It settled but initially the entire glass was coated. The beer lists the IBU (63.21) the ABV (8.0%) and there is a Julian date that works out to (4/22/15).

S: [3.25] I get wet pinapple, there is pine. I get some onion scent. The nose isn't super assertive out of the fridge.

T: [4.00] The taste wraps the tongue. There is a tropical fruit blend on the front. The entire sip sports some medium bitter elements. There is a slight onion flavor in the midpalate. There is an overall sweetness that is much higher than typical IPAs. The sweetness is the distict characteristic.

M: [4.00] The carbonation level is normal. The body has some heft to it. The finish is carried by the sweetness not by the bitterness. This is a really nice feature of this IPA.

O: [3.75] This is a really nice departure from the bitterblast IPAs that I have been having. It has the nice bitter in the front but there is a bunch of malt sweetness on the finish to blanace the beer. My biggest complaint is the weak nose - it is not coming through for me. The taste and mouthfeel are both superb. I am very happy to get this in a 12 oz offering

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Photo of beerman207
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Saw this on the shelf of my local Kroger and had to try it. Been a while since I reviewed something. This is a good one to come back for!

A- doesn't get much better than this. Dark yellow almost orange hue with 1-2 inch head with great lacing left behind

S- could smell this a mile away. Great pine, pungent hops, fabulous

T- all that I could ask for in a dipa is here. Sweet, bitter, slight booze. Yes, yes, yes

M- lightly carbonated. Slightly drying

O- find this beer and drink it. Will be looking for this again.

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Photo of cdizinno
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: poured into a tulip glass from a growler purchased at Green's off Piney Grove in Columbia, SC!!

A: Golden, clear, decent 2+ finger white head after a hard pour that leaves moderate lacing.

S: Pine groves abound! Smells like HOPSLAM and the anticipation of tasting is killing me right now.

T&M: Medium bodied with a slight thickness and resiny feel. Piney, tasty hops from the beginning to the end. Some background fruity tones of pineapple and mango. Finishes with an incredibly tasteful mild sweetness and hop oiliness that is "to die for."

This is so well balanced that I may have to reduce my rating on my Hopslam review. This Lagunitas Sucks is way more drinkable and that really Sucks because I will probably have to finish the growler tonight. This is a must try if you are a fan of IPA's!!! Way to go Lagunitas.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,518 ratings.