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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.

1,496 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,496
Hads: 9,639
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 25%
Wants: 598
Gots: 2,201 | FT: 31
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,496 | Hads: 9,639
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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Photo of Qwest_35
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sucks! this beer absolutely does not! It only sucks if you have not had this tasty little treat. Bottle date is 2-06-13, pretty fresh if you ask me. The aroma as soon as I popped one of these babies was so juicy and sweet! Up front pineapple, pear, apricot, citrus, pine, you know everything a great DIPA should smell like, well that x10.. This beer pours a pale orange-gold with two fingers of cream colored head. First sip is all hops, taste is just as dynamic as the aroma, but the more this beer warms, the more malt character begins to come through. Extremely drinkable, I am already done with my review sample bottle before I even finished this review. Overall, I gotta put "Sucks" right up there in my top 5 DIPA's of all time. Time for another!

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Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.81/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a goblet wine glass

Great color and clarity with a great head with nice retention to the glass after a couple swirls to open it up and let the aroma off it's leash

Everything about this beer that makes it great is in the nose. It's like a punch in the face with all the aromas. At the forefront are of course pine and resin like every IPA should have. Citrus bouquet with lemon rind, lime juice and grape fruit all at the helm.

The flavor profile is off the hook as well. Nice firm body with the hops doing what they do best in terms of delivering a nice, dry finish. I like how the sweetness does not come in to play until after you swallow, leaving traces of brown sugar and simple syrup on the palate without being too overpowering.

This beer is definitely up there in terms of my favorite IPAs. Thank god my beer store just got in a big shipment. Gotta get more!

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Photo of kvgomps
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours smoothly, 1 inch head with retention after 5 minutes. Never-ending effervescence.

Smell is citrus with grapefruit rind and lemon peel dominating.

The taste is like biting into a grapefruit (without the skin). The body is extremely smooth like a lighter cream ale. Not an overly hoppy beer and despite not being able to find the malt, it is still somehow well balanced. This goes down way too easily. You could finish off a sixer of these in an hour. The lacing on this beer is great even at the end.

I read somewhere that this one starts of great and gets better every bottle. So far this is proving to be true. Great beer.

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Photo of FlyAwayPhil
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Golden with an amber hue and left about a one-finger head that dissipated quickly an left a slight amount of lacing.

S - Hoppy, resinous, some sweetness with a little bit of fruit

T - Very hop-forward and finishes clean with a touch of sweet bitterness. Left a lingering hop taste.

M - Full bodied with a bitterness of the hops coating the mouth well.

0 - A well-done DIPA/IIPA, but differs from other takes on the style not as much bitterness from the hops as others out there. Certainly enjoyable for a Sunday evening. Served in my Teku glass.

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Photo of highdesertdrinker
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Bright copper-gold color with 1 and a half finger head and nice thick lacing all the way down.
S- Grapefruit, pine, hops with slight whiff of malt.
T - The first sip is pine and hops and then the malts and fruit kick in thereafter. Grapfruit, pineapple, orange with a a slight hint of tobacco and a sweet malty backbone.
M - Medium and resiny.
O - I've finished my first sixer now and I am so impressed with the flavor and balance of this magnificent brew. Great value for a beer of this caliber and I hope it goes year round.

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

pours the color of honey one finger head and a ring of light lace with each sip. smells strongly of fruit and alcohol. taste of peach mango and papaya, alcohol hits you right away then the bitter taste of the hops which are strong and ending with a lasting after taste. mouthfeel is light and slightly oily carbonation is tight and crisp. its very different from ipa,s that i have had and i am not a fan of them but i would buy this beer again for a change of the same old.

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Photo of beerbully
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip glass

A-clear, copper beer with thick inch+ head that slowly dissipates leaving thick lacing on the glass

S-big nose on this one. Can smell it from a foot away. sweet and citrus hops dominate. grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango.

T- citrus hops up front followed by slight onion which gives way to some sweetness and then a bitter finish


O-solid IPA as usual by Lagunitas.


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Photo of Moose90
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

20oz Pint on Tap $5

A – Translucent bright yellow with orange hues. Head is 1" and has great retention and lacing.

S – Huge hops up front. Sticky grapefruit notes dominate, but some pine and lime/lemon come through as well.

T – Starts slightly sweet, but has nicely acidic and fruity hops to balance out. Grapefruit is huge again here.

M – Medium body, nicely carbonated and balanced. Refreshing.

O – Good beer here, very nice and unique hop character. Light malt is sweet and balancing. Glad I found it on tap.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gorgeous pour with enormous amounts of white lacing as the pint goes down, and a decent creamy sized head to start the pint. Nose is candied and fresh, doughy almost. Palate has some good flavors of citrus with malt to balance it out, pine too, but oh my goodness the booze is just over the top. With the booziness I would have sworn it is a 10% beer but it's not, as it's barely higher than a normal IPA in the 7% range. So this is a major flaw because so many really good examples and great examples do so much better at integrating flavors that yields a non-boozy result. Just not all that enjoyable to drink this one, though it is great to look at and smell. But I can't get over that with every sip I feel like I'm downing some alcohol bomb... but it's actually not very strong.

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Photo of beagle75
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A: Clear, brassy golden color with over one finger of diminishing white foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Hops are abundant and dynamic up front, with ripe and sticky tropical fruit as well as a complimentary green dankness. Pineapple and guava are particularly pronounced, although fruity hops begin to fade after this beer has been in the glass for 15 minutes. Faintly toasty base malt is revealed then, but remaining balanced.

T: Begins very off-dry, with aggressive acidic hops oils that defy simple flavor classification but integrate well with the aromas from the smell. Potent hops-derived flavors stretch well into the middle, aside developing bitterness, taking on a surprisingly green quality into the finish. Bitterness becomes potent by the finish, balanced in the presence of the pronounced aromatic flavors.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, acidic and slightly sticky on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This big IPA is the hedonist's choice for the style--it presents abundant hops and abundant malt sugar that are surprisingly successful at balancing each other. As a DIPA it is more believable, but here it wins because it retains easily observed defining characteristics that the bigger DIPAs simply lose control over. Flavors may step over a line of appropriateness--if this is a regular IPA--but seem tight and much more modern compared to most DIPAs. Pliny it is not--that beer is an exercise in restraint while this is a projection of excess on a budget. Exact style aside, this beer succeeds resoundingly at delivering some of the most desirable hops qualities available without the burden of a 10% abv investment.

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Photo of Sheils
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow - I was very suprised by this. I got Lagunitas Sucks the same time I picked up Hopslam. I have been so nuts about Hopslam that I under estimated how this beer would compare. It blew me away and I might honestly like it better than Hopslam. Obviously its not quite as hoppy but it is well balanced all around. Seriously one of my favorite beers.

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

Both straight from the bottle and also out of a pint glass

A - the classic golden, honey type color. Quite a bit of white foam, leaves plenty of lacing

S - subtle orange peel, lemon juice, some pine, a little bit of the malt in the background

T - hop forward but not overly bitter. Actually really balanced and drinkable. Easy drinking citrus notes with some tropical flavors in there as well. Not as in your face as hop stoopid or something like that. Could easily session a few, but for the 8% ABV.

M - nice oily hop presentation, not overly dry or quick on the finish.

O - killer smooth IPA. My favorite lagunitas by far. It's not as good as the hype, but its definitely in the neighborhood.

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Photo of ericlawton007
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Typical IPA presence when poured into a glass. Hops aroma is delicious, and the taste is of grapefruit, pine, and orange. I love that a beer this hoppy can be less than 8%abv.
On one other note, after I had a bottle of sucks i split a bittle of arrogant bastard, and it was the first time ive ever called arrogant bastard sweet and brown sugary.

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Photo of Heynow007
2.42/5  rDev -44%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am a stout guy, so maybe I am jaded, but I didn't like it at all. Has an IPA taste, but didn't like the flavor. I expected more from this beer. It was a good balance of Flavors but something was missing and fell flat.

I'll have to try another and see.

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

12oz single bottle poured into a DFH snifter... looking forward to getting one of their new "IPA" glasses - they look pretty cool. Anyhow...

A: Pours a slightly hazed orange gold; a pour down the center yields about a finger of sugary white head that leaves some nice patches of lace.

S: Herbal, sugary hops; there's some tropical citrus and resin in there, too; this one has a little stank on it, plus some light malt aroma - not much... maybe almond skin - kind of interesting... Hops are the primetime players, though.

T: Big resinous hop taste, right off the bat; some mild malt flavor (cracker) sweetens things a touch, but again - this is hophead territory for the most part. There's just a touch of alcohol on the end that takes away from everything, but that's OK.

M: Medium-full body; high carbonation; a touch oily; what every IPA should aspire to be!

O: I'm not sure if I'd put this into DIPA territory or not... It toes the line between big, hoppy American IPA and DIPA - kind of a toss up depending on the scale of your lupulin threshold. Plus, the lower abv at 7.85% leans it slightly toward "single" IPA. Anyway, this is great beer. Quite delicious and drinkable - next time I'll get a sixer.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.89/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A pale golden color with some deeper orange hues. A thin, foamy off-white cap rose about a finger and fell quickly. Some patches of foam with a thin collar around the edges stay behind.

The nose is more subtle than I expected. A fairly subdued nose of oranges, pineapple, mango, apricot, and pine. A slightly biscuity malt backbone holds firm.

Malt hits first with tropical fruits quickly in tow....not in a burst, but rather a subtle slide onto the palate. I get some residual sweetness from the malt that is accentuated by the juicy fruits.

On the lighter side of medium with good carbonation. Light lingering sweetness.

I have to admit that this severly underwhelmed me. I expect my 4.4 rated DIPA's to blast me in the face with hops. This guy is really tame...perhaps too well-balanced...for my true enjoyment. I liked this beer, don't get me wrong, but I kept looking at it, hoping it would grab me and it never did.

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Photo of adjunctjonez
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had this one on draft where freshness always seems assured. It is a hop blast, what can I say. Almost felt like drinking cannabis mixed with OJ. The hoppiness dominates the beer a little too much, but tis all the rage I guess. Good to get it nice and fresh though and it is a fine beer.

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Photo of MNishCT77
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle from six pack purchased in the greater Washington D.C. area, poured into a 16 oz. pint glass, no birth date, drank 2/6-7/13 over several hours.

A: 4.5 - clearer than most for style (no hop haze), straw/yellow-orange color, 1 finger head lingered for >2 hours and remained with rim lacing, slight alcohol legs

S: 4.75 - fantastic flame-out aroma of tropical fruit (pineapple, mango and lychee...reminds me of NZ hops?) with developing pine, resin-y, Simcoe/Columbus/Centennial dankness as warms...definitely my favorite aspect of this beer!

T: 4.5 - quick punch of bitterness on the tip of the tongue that quickly slaps the taste buds into the tropics...take me back to Hawaii, slight booziness

M: 4.5 - bready but not too thick/sticky on the tongue, appropriate for style and allows the hop aroma and flavor to shine

O: 4.5 - probably one of the best bargains on the market for a DIPA (<$10/sixer in the greater Washington D.C. area) , which was only accentuated by comparing it side-by-side with (the ridiculously overpriced) Bell's Hopslam; Sucks clearly won this tropical fruit challenge for me.

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Photo of mpedara429
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber in color with just the slightest haze. Poured out with two fingers of "peaches n' cream" colored head. I could decorate my house with the draping lacing in the glass.

S: Bursting full of pine, apricots, mango, and grapefruit.

T: Heavy on pine, with tart lemon and grapefruit flavors, along with subtle hints of the apricots and mangoes from the nose.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. Nice balance.

O: I didn't know what to think before trying this one. Lagunitas has been a mixed bag for me. As soon as I opened it, I knew this beer was going to be amazing. A good smelling beer is like a pheromone, and the taste matched it's wonderful smell.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Light tangerine gold color. Large, light, foamy, bubbly, sticky, white head. Average retention leaving a slight ring of lace.

S - Nice citrusy orange and tangerine hops. Hints of tropical fruit, especially pineapple. Hints of pine resin. Clean, biscuity/biscotti malt aroma. Slightly sweet and juicy.

T - Very balanced IPA that is similar to the nose. Fresh hoppy flavor to start with a fairly bitter pine and orange rind flavor. Very green and slightly weedy flavor. Nice, clean malt backbone throughout with a slight sweetness. Near the finish there is a nice fruity blast. Finishes clean, bitter, and with a slight tang.

M - Medium body with above average carbonation. Crisp, zesty, and lively.

D - Very balanced IPA. Alcohol is very well hidden. Exceptionally drinkable and quite refreshing with a nice clean finish. Great mix of bitter and sweet and very fresh tasting.

Notes: Really nice IPA (I don't really see it as a double but whatever). Balanced and quite refreshing. Nice mix of different hoppy flavors, but what really made this nice was just how fresh the hop flavors were and how it jumped out at you. Great clean, slightly sweet, malt backbone that allowed that to happen. Worth picking up a sixer.

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Photo of mnphish
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle served into a pint glass

Looks like lagunitas chronic gold

I get whiffs of Pineapple, Citrus, Passion Fruit, Grapefruit hops.

Tastes like a pineapple passion fruit orgasm. Very hop heavy. Slightly bitter. Slight Malt taste. So much fruity flavor, a tropical assault on the palate.

Smooth and medium body. Very drinkable, nice carbonation. A bit sparkly in a good way.

An outstanding DIPA from one of the greatest breweries on the planet. They absolutely crushed this one. This is the perfect IPA imo, fruit & hop heavy - little pine, no floral flavor, minimal malts, yet balanced. At $9.99 a six pack this is my favorite seasonal double IPA. More affordable than HopSlam or Abrasive but it has just as much flavor. I would kill to have this on tap in Cali. Lagunitas Sucks.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head oversized goblet.

Amber liquid with a champagne half-finger of dense foam spread across the wide surface. Good clarity, pasty lacing, good retention.

Herbaceous, floral, fruity, continuously detonating hop bomb of a nose...though never abrasive or over-done. Passion fruit, pink peppercorn, violets, rosewater, along with the more expected citrus (Ugli fruit?) and pine (very light).

Malty palate entry leads with a deceitful honey/nectar sweetness lulling you into an initial calm before the lagging wave of hop flavors arrives all at once, acting in concert, pungent and bewildering, with an unwavering punch of bitterness and resinous soapy goodness. A lovely lively mixture that finishes without any excess (no cat piss, pinesol, etc.) despite the general intensity. Guessing the immense hop additions came late to dial down the IBUs - whatever they did, it works well, achieving balance without much maltiness.

Creamy, oily, medium-full bodied, warming but never solventy...moderately carbonated and soft yet bright from the citrus notes and bitterness.

Particularly for the price, this is a hop-head's delight - complex, flavorful, well crafted, and intense without being overdone or generic. Very satisfying.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,496 ratings.