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

1,547 Reviews
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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: 1,547 | Ratings: 10,007
Photo of Profchaos20
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle in nonic pint glass.

A - Pours a clear golden with a one finger white head and leaves nice lacing.

S - Citrusy hops. Pleasant aroma but lighter than I expected grapefruit, mango, dank hops. A litt bit of malt in there also.

T - Sweet with a little malt upfront, then a strong bit of hops kick in. Citrusy and piney are the prevalent hop flavors. Finishes with a medium to high bitterness. Also got notes of grapefruit.

M - Medium body, light to medium carbonation. Smooth

O - A good beer in it's own right but I'm a bit disappointed with this one. With all the hype it gets I was expecting more. Nothing really stood out to me just a solid all around beer.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Grey Sail pint glass.

Appearance- Nice clear golden color with a light quick head. Nice lacing around the rim.

Smell- Fruity hops. Piney aromas and grassy smells. Slight maltiness. Great smelling IPA.

Taste- Hops. Floral/fruity hops, with some pineiness. Light citrus notes with no alcohol.

Mouthfeel- Perfectly carbonated. Not resinous. Smooth. No ABV detection.

Overall- This is an almost perfect IPA. I'd like it to be a bit more resinous though. Damn good beer from Lagunitas!

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Photo of gpogo
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Clear copper body with small white head that leaves sparse lacing.

A- Wonderful hop aroma. Tropical fruity hops so much. Slight sweet caramel malt.

T- Spicy alcohol hit with a heavy hop flavor. Superbly tropical hop flavor. Nice bitterness throughout. The hop flavors are incredible.

M- Medium body moderate carbonation that is very biting.

D- This shit is the shit.

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Photo of BrewUSA
3.81/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Lagunitas Brown Shugga This winter American strong ale pours a copperish ruby, with a touch of haze~ Solid head and lacing to follow~ Nose is Hops, Booze, Pine and a touch of Citrus~ Palate is just a scotch above medium, very sticky sugary presence~ Taste is Sugar (shocker) HOPS! maybe just didn't expect such a bitter hoppy beer, I expected more of a Warmer/Brown Ale by the name and label~ Also, Citrus, Banana, Pine, and some Earthy Floral ness, a touch of Maple and Peach~ A bitter and boozy brew that is definitely for hop heads~ Im super picky about hoppy brews~ The sugar does a nice job of balancing the bitterness on a bruising 10%ABV~ This is a unique brew~ Finishes a bit too bitter and boozy for my liking, although I could blame that on the season~ Overall: 7.3

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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 thegodfather2701
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A-pours a hazy orange with a bright white head that dissipates quickly and leaves only minimal lacing.

S-Citrussy with grapefruit standing out the most and a hint of some tropical notes such as pineapple.

T-Like the nose-a lot of citrus especially grapefruit. It has a decently big caramel like malt backbone. Not as much flavor or complexity as I expected.

M-Pretty thick and chewy.

D-Very drinkable for the style given its low abv. for the style and its underwhelming flavor.

Overall, I was disappointed in this beer after all of the good things I'd heard about it. For the IIPA category I thought it was just alright at best. There are much flavorful versions of the style out there.
Re-reviewed February 22, 2013 and the scores reflect that tasting

A-Honey/gold with a thick white head that slowly dissipates. Excellent lacing and some cascading as well.

S-Tropical fruits, floral, with a hint of booze.

T-Tropical fruits flavors dominate with notes of citrus playing a role as well. There is a nice malt backbone but the hops control this beer. It tastes fantastic. There is also a hint of alcohol.

M-Fairly syrupy with just the right amount of carbonation.

D-Superb especially given its relatively low abv. for the style and its tremendous flavor.

Overall, this beer is much better than it was the last time I had it. It is absolutely amazing. I love it and will drink as much of it as possible over the next few weeks. Lagunitas is an amazing brewery.

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Photo of JayCheG
4.81/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a nice golden color with a one finger head than dissipates to a nice film. Lots of carbonation.
S: Lots of pine and hints of grapefruit and citrus hops.
T: A lot like the smell with a bit more grapefruit and citrus coming through but still a distinct pine.
M: Very smooth and fulfilling
O: Very good beer. Lots of good hops flavor and very drinkable.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Didn't realize it was my 300th review until I started. Oh well, not everything has to be a true milestone. Still, at least Sucks is a semi-rare beer that is worth noting.

12 oz bottle, found it at Julio's, home of many great beers. Served in my Surly Darkness snifter, because it rocks!

A: Head? Yes, please, make it a double! Huge, thick, frothy white head on a golden body with a hint of reddish to it.

S: Nose is ...Simcoe? Sharp, piney, spicy, just really good smelling and nicely complex.

F: Tasty and quaffable. True West Coaster here. Light malt body is only a framework for big, gratuitous hopitude. Waves of citrus and pine. This is really the closest thing to Pliny that I can think of. Heady Topper may have stolen my heart, but I still carry a torch for Pliny, and this could be the kid sister.

M: Stripping and cleansing, done right.

O: Really, really good. I love Hop Stoopid and many of their other brews, but this one is somehow better. Glad to hear that this will be a new product.

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Photo of MadCat
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice golden color with a fluffy white head, leaves good lacing

Smell: Pine and citrus hops, a little tropical fruit and bread

Taste: More pine, citrus, and tropical fruit. A nice balance malt bill, with biscuit and caramel, a little resin on the finish

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, medium body, good carbonation

Overall: Fantastic brew, I can see why it is highly sought after. Love the 32oz bottle. Doesn't go overboard on the hops, but it is a very nice profile, and has a good balance of malts to compliment the hops. Very well rounded beer.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear, lucid orange with fine and sparse flecks. Off-white, fluffy, foamy head of medium retention in 20 oz snifter. Pine, resin, caramel, raisin, perfume, faint citrus, dankness, sweat, with alcoholic burn on the nose. Strong resinous and perfumey flavor, touch of mango throughout, a little vegetal and dank, with many of the same characteristics found in the smell. Minute black pepper and other spices in the finish. As much from alcohol and hops as the adjuncts and yeast. All evens out to citrus rind in the aftertaste. There's more going on here than I prefer, reminds me too much of a fragrant soap. Fairly light body for the style with plenty of fine, gently prickling suds, a crisp, not overly dry finish, and warmth to the front and bottom of mouth. Take breathing/eating/water breaks between gulps, or sip it slowly. Palate easily overwhelmed. I was tempted to rate the taste lower. But it doesn't deserve such treatment as long as its enjoyment can be properly paced. Honestly, though, it will be hard for me to slog through two of these (32 ounces each).

EDIT 08/10: Having my second of two glasses from the one 32 ouncer. Still carbonated. Similar taste, but more fruit-forward than before. Also, enjoying with some cheddar. All in all, better experience and more drinkable than the first go around.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas strikes again!!! The nose on this beer is amazing!!! BIG BIG fruity citrus aroma. And the taste follows w/ an orangy/citrus/ sweet taste. Slight sweet piney finish. This is Lagunitas best tasting beer in my opinion. Can't even taste the almost 8% ABV. One of the top DIPAs out. A must try for any beer lover.

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Photo of McStagger
4.67/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been hearing about this one for awhile.

A: Medium copper hue with excellent clarity. Two fingers khaki head. Stellar retention. Minimal to moderate carbonation. Definitely a good looking IPA.

S: Dank ass hops. Seriously. Reminds me so much of the Drake Pale Ale (which I love). Huge hits of tropical and stone fruit in this one. Mango, guava and apricot erupt from the glass. Bit of caramel malt in there, but the star of the show is definitely the insanely aromatic hops.

T: Juicy and dank. The malt is there, sure. Splashes of the usual caramel, touch of spice, maybe a bit of cinnamon. But these are secondary to the extremely flavorful hops. Not your usual west coast flair of grapefruit with a touch of pine. These hops are peach, guava, apricot, mango, pineapple. Extremely flavorful. Bright, ripe and juicy with enough chalky/ashy bitterness to remind you that this is indeed a DIPA. Alcohol is extremely well hidden.

M: An excellent balance of carbonation, malt body and alcohol.

O: Lagunitas absolutely killed it with this one. Seriously. Easily the best beer I've had by this accomplished brewery.

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Photo of wiscokid920
4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into snifter

A- Clear golden with creamy/sticky two finger head with nice retention and lacing

S- Aromas are FANTASTIC! Huge citrus hop profile featuring grapefruit, pineapple, and mango with some malty biscuit sweetness.

T- Follows the nose to a tee. Grapefruit and piney hop bitterness is complimented by the sweet mango and malty flavors. FANTASTIC!

M- Medium bodied with that excellent oiliness and hop pucker that all the great IIPAs posses.

O- This IIPA is absolutely dialed in. Every aspect of the brew compliments the other. The most balanced take on the style I have had to date!

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Photo of bulldogg915
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- gold bottle pour with nice head retention and lacing sticks. Smell- sweet pine and hops are very prevalent- slight caramel. Taste- great hops up front- the dry hopping is great. Mouthfeel- lingering and slight carbonation. Overall- one of my fav IPAs. I've tasted literally thousands of beers in the past few years- and this is my first rating as I sit here- so hopefully I get better at this.

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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 johlac66
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a clear light bronze with a thick head that stayed for awhile, leaving dots of lacing.
Sweet citrus caramel on the nose. Hint of rye.
Taste follows with a slight bittersweet finish.
Lightly carbonated with an almost medium mouthfeel.
A well balanced well done DIPA.

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Photo of chodinheaven
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perfectly clear yellow-orange beer with a 1 finger shock white head on top with sticky lacing left behind. Tons of carbonation from the bottom. The head dissapates at a medium pace down to a patchy thin sheet and then holds there. The aroma is a bit dank, tons of earthy citrus, herbal and piney hops. Grapefruit definitely comes to mind and has the qualities to shape up to be a hop bomb. A hint of caramel and bread hold up the malt backbone fairly.

Certainly no shortage of hops in the taste, but the malt backbone definitely holds its on nicely. Plenty of bready grain and a hint of sweet caramel give a steady backbone that lets the hops do their thing without going overboard. The hops are resiny as hell, giving an earthy, almost herbal impression that goes nicely with huge piney and grapefruit notes. The malt bill still manages to smooth out the mouthfeel however, giving it a medium-full body. The hops do come close to being a bit overbearing with the thick, almost chewy resinous taste, but the pine and citrus seem to do a good job in counteracting that actually. Maybe a bit too much in the carbonation department as the mouthfeel tends to get away from the palate in its effervescence, but not too badly. The more I drink it, the more the hops seem to run away with this one, nearly choking out the life of the malt bill. So maybe they are a tad on the overbearing side, but delicious none the less, especially as the hops disguise the nearly 8% ABV fairly well. Only a hint of alcohol is detected on the breath. It finishes juicy at the back, but then moves to dryness in the very end.

Overall, it doesn't completely replace Brown Shugga', but it is a good beer. A little lacking in the balance, but it could definitely be worse; at least its full of delicious hop flavors. I would buy this again if they decide to re-release it.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a brandy snifter

Pours a golden orange with a foamy 1 finger head that disappears to a thin sticky lace around the top of the beer. On the nose, your senses get attacked! Big piny hops, over-ripen citrus fruits, mango, tangerine, grapefruit. Sticky tobacco and marijuana scents in midst of the fruit. Again on the taste, sticky grapefruit, citrus hops, sticky and murky with a feverishly bitter aftertaste that just absolutely hits the spot, wow! Light to medium on the feel and body, bitter, deliciously drinkable, not much malt backbone as noted by other reviewers. This beer is fucking awesome! Make more of this shit and send it my way, im more than fine with having this over BS anyday, superior IPA.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a golden amber color with uncanny clarity. A finger and a half of off white head emerges from an average pour. Good head retention.

S- huge citrusy hops of tangerine and grapefruit peel blend with tropical fruit notes of pineapple an mango. Floral hops on the finish with a whisper of dry biscuity malt.

T- starts off with super juicy tangerine and grapefruity hop flavor with notes of mango and pineapple in the middle. Dry biscuity malt with a chaulky characteristic. Finishes dry with a subtle hop bitterness and floral notes that lingers on the palate. This beer is hops, hops and more hops!

MF- juicy slick mouthfeel with a light medium body and average carbonation.

D- quenching and superbly drinkable.

Overall one hoppy mother that more than makes up for the lack of Brown Shugga'... D-lish!

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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 RAlmeida77
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%

Finally had a chance to try this beer as it's very hard to get in Massachusetts. Picked up a six pack and had one as soon as I got home.

Upon opening and pouring, I found the color to be lighter than I expected. A golden-amber hue with a nice head. The aroma from the glass was outstanding. It was like nothing I've ever smelled in an IPA before. Fruity and pleasant. This was very unique. First sip was everything I'd imagined and then some. This beer tastes as unique as it smells. Fruity, malty, hoppy and delicious. It is so easy to drink. Very easy to drink quite a few of these at once.

Overall, this beer has soared to #1 on my list of favorites. I hope it's easier to find as I'm sure the demand is there.

For any IPA lover, this is a MUST try!!!

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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 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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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,547 ratings.