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

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1,562 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 1,562 | Ratings: 10,072
Photo of Steelocation
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 32oz bottle (1 quart) and poured it into a pint shaped 12oz glass (obviously, extra in bottle). Didn't see an expiration date but the bottle number is (printed this way):

191 5 2
0580 1508

Appearance: golden with a hazy color to it. It was lively and very carbonated. As I was finishing the beer from the glass, the foam (head) was easily seen and can be used as markers on how much I drank. It clings to the side of the glass

Smell: toasty, herbal, and citrusy. The odder was strong as when I opened the bottle, you can smell it right away

Taste: very hoppy and furmenty with an after taste. It was not dry so you can still taste the beer in your throat. It's sweet and fruity which causes an after taste

Mouth feel: crisp, carbonated, and heavy. You can taste what you smell and it lingers in your mouth

Overall: a great beer that has real flavor. The high alcohol content can be felt in how heavy the beer taste. There is a lot of foam present on the side of the glass so the beer kept its balance. Could only drink 2-3 at most because it is both heavy with ABV and taste. Went to the brewery site and it's "not" a seasonal beer but is brewed when available. Well worth trying and having around to share.

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Photo of darthvohn
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Glass Used: Tulip

Appearance: A glorious crystal clear orange-yellow body with a fluffy white three finger head. Excellent lacing as the foam quickly disappears leaving a few spots of suds and a ring lingering around the sides of the glass.

Smell: Freaking amazing. Chock-full of citrus: Pineapple, orange, tangerine, lemon - plus blasts of tropical fruits like mango and papaya. I get some malty goodness and some floral scents as well. OUTSTANDING nose on this beauty.

Taste: Floral hops hit you up front along with that lovely bitterness I love in a Imperial IPA. Then comes the assortment of fruits from the nose along with other sweet varieties. Malt closes the palate nicely along with some of the linger of the bitter hops. Freaking fantastic beer.

Mouthfeel: Well carbonated; lip smacking good without being overly heavy, if that makes sense. Dry finish.

Overall: This has everything I love and then some in a Imperial IPA; complex and balanced with all the lovely hoppy fruitiness while being grounded with bready malt. If you haven't tried this and love rich, fruity IPAs, get this. Do not pass it up.

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Photo of patpbr
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear golden with a nice head.
S - Grapefruit, mango lots of citrus and tropical fruit.
T - Lots of hops and very much like the nose. Adding a sweet , papaya and grass flavors.
M - Medium body and a smooth clean finish.
O - I have been waiting for this one, its a spoon full of hops

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Photo of 05Harley
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/16/11

Purchased @ Julio's Liquors, Westborough Ma

Price - $10.99/sixer

From the description on the Lagunitas website:
So this substitute beer for "Brownshugga" 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.

A clear honey orange pour reveals a soapy one inch head with average retention. A steady stream of bubbles rise from the middle of the flared tulip glass and when swirled release another fresh layer of sudsy foam. A beautiful looking double with amazing clarity and big time lacing, very nice.

The nose is a fruit cocktail full of citrus hop aroma. Orange, grapefruit, pineapple and pine scent combine to make a pleasent smell.

The taste pretty much mirrors the nose with an added hop bite that's pleasing. A tropical blast up front followed by orange peel poured over a caramel malt backbone.

Mouthfeel starts out clean and a little syrupy with a medium body. The carbonation is surprisingly low considering the bubbles and the end reveals a pleasent bitter finish.

Overall I really dig this beer fresh. Let's get this one in the line-up please and get it to NH.

***Getting it here in NH (February 2013) @ 11.99/sixer @ Johnsons Market Place***

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Photo of Roland7792
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

How can you go wrong with 32oz bomber? Awesome dank, piney aroma with little bit of floral too. Flavor is similar with the pine coming through the most. It does have a good sweet malt backbone too which goes great together with the mild bitterness. I think this is a very underrated IPA!

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Photo of goochpunch
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours out a hazy brass with a thin head. Smell is redolent of funky, b.o.-y, oniony, citrusy, and piney hops. Flavor is totally hop-forwarded, but not overly bitter. A bit sweet, which slightly turns me off. Tons of sticky hop funk in the flavor throughout. More citrus than in the nose. Mouthfeel is sticky, but the carbonation helps to scrape it off the tongue. Deliciously and massively hoppy. I'd like a little less sweetness, though.

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Photo of largadeer
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle into a tulip. According to the Julian date on the bottle neck, this is about 3 weeks old.

Clear, bright orange with a golden tint. The head is sticky, lasting.

Following the trend of the last few Lagunitas IPAs, this has a big mouthwatering dry hop presence. Heavy on the tropical fruit, it brings to mind guava, pineapple and melon, with faint honeysuckle behind the bold fruit notes. Sweetness is moderate, and integrates nicely with the hops.

The palate is a slight letdown from the great aroma, but that's not to say it isn't good. It's quite subdued and dry; it could actually use a touch more sweetness to highlight the fruitiness of the hops. Citrus is dominant, pineappe in particular with more grapefruit toward the finish. There's a slight chalkiness to the mouthfeel, but it's a minor detraction to an otherwise very clean beer. Remarkably easy to drink, the malt doesn't lend much heft and bitterness is fairy mild.

Overall this doesn't quite live up to some of the draft-only specialties Lagunitas did last year (Waldos, SF Fusion), but it's a damn good beer and an outstanding value.

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Photo of ajramirez1
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting double ipa. Brown sugar sub is a good choice and pleasing.
Lagunitas keeps doing work, pick up this 6pk. Good color, the smell really stands out.
Havent seen this beer on tap yet and looking forward to trying it.

Have to add text to get this rating to 250 characters so this gibberish is just to meet that quote. So if u r reading this...f your couch.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
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 jwc215
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours bright golden with a rich creamy head. Lacing sticks.

Wonderful hop aroma! Citrus - including grapefruit, pineapple, mango - with pine and spicy pepper.

The taste is of juicy, bitter hops - citric/tropical and some pine blending together well. Enough sweet malt backbone to support the hops. It has a boozy, warming finish. Hop taste hangs on through a long finish.

Incredibly chewy and smooth! Dangerously drinkable.

A great example of a hoppy DIPA! Very enjoyable!

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Photo of Tommo
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft in a bar this weekend. Very floral nose, hazy appearance. Taste was very low bitterness, low malt, very fruity. Overall this is fantastic, this is the beginning of the future. Will buy again

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Photo of AleWatcher
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in shaker pint.
Orangey golden color. Nice white head. Great lacing and decent retention.
Smells dry- bready/toast malt, big hop notes.
The hops hit mainly with pine and citrusy notes but there is a little melon I pick up that works well. Luscious and juicy. Dry bitter finish. Well balanced. Great flavor.

Body is medium and has good carbonation.

Overall-- this is a great beer. I hope this becomes a year round brew from Lagunitas! Just delicious.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a Green Flash 16 oz pint glass with a bump like an imperial pint glass. Didn't see a 'drink by' or 'bottled on' date.

Appearance - Pours an orange-tinged golden yellow color with a frothy off-white head of about a finger to a finger and a half. Lacing is slick looking, and doesn't hang around long.

Smell - A fruity melody, with highlights from lots of different citrus fruits. Predominantly grapefruit, but notes of tangerine and orange come through as well. Each time I smell it again, I pick up a few more, maybe even some lemon rind. Only drawback is that I wish it was more forward--it really feels like I have to work to coax out all the elements.

Taste - Unbelievably drinkable for a DIPA. Obviously, it's on the low end of ABV for the style, but it's wonderfully smooth and refreshing. The citrus elements are again present, this time more heavily with grapefruit. Some hop bitterness with hints of caramel in malty sweetness in the background.

Mouthfeel - Silky and a very balanced carbonation feel, but there is none of the lingering resin feel that often comes with DIPAs.

Overall a wonderful beer. The citrus notes are refreshing and mask the alcohol. Not my favorite DIPA, but easily the most drinkable I have had.

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Photo of Docrock
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into Lagunitas glass:

A - poured a orange amberish color with an average head that faded quickly. nice sticky lacing.

S - its all about the grapefruit, its beautiful with just a hint of a pine aromatic. one of the most pleasant smelling IIPA's i've had with the abundant butnot overpowering Grapefruit. after a couple of sips i was catching a whiff of Honey as well.

T - the taste is a bit more balanced than the aroma with the citrus up front and the pine throughout the mouth. the pine lingers just a bit and there is a sense of the malt on the finish.

M - it seemed to be light in body with average carbonation but after about 2/3 of a bottle i could feel the alcohol creeping in.

O - i really enjoyed this beer. the aroma was inviting, little aftertaste, and easily drinkable. It was a bit shy in the maltiness character but I was happy to have scored a six pack yesterday! This will always be on my list of buys when available.

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Photo of Sheils
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
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 LuvLagunitas
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This has always been one of my favorite beers. It's definitely my go-to during the winter when I can get my hands on it.

A: When poured into a glass, it has a glowing orange to yellow color with medium carbonation. Small yet substantial head. Fine lacing on the sides of the glass as the head begins to dissipate and as I drink.

S: The smell is slightly sweet with malts. Very pleasing. Not overbearing in the least. Touch of hops in the end adding a little bitterness, but very nice. Doesn't smell like a DIPA at all. More like a pale ale.

T: A bit of hops up front, but like the smell it is not overwhelming. Still reminds me of a pale ale. The hops subside and move to the mellow malts then comes the citrus accompanied by a slight piney taste on the back end. Maybe some tropical citrus notes? No boozy-ness at all, especially for nearly 8% ABV. Very smooth.

M: Very smooth. Medium-full bodied. Leaves a slickness to the mouth, but not for long. Very small amount of carbonation. Enjoyable.

O: I love this beer for many reasons. Personally, I like IPA's and DIPA's by they can get old and overbearing, often being a little heavy. But Lagunitas Sucks is the quite the opposite. It drinks like a pale ale, making it nice and session-able. The flavor is smooth and enjoyable with the hints of citrus, leading me to think that it may have be hopped/dry-hopped with citra hops. Definitely recommend getting it if you have the chance!

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Photo of twage04
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Lots of bitterness and fruity hop flavor. Everything really comes together well, malt is present but just enough to back up the hops. Great execution of an all around good IPA.

Update: generally fruity and slightly sweet, a little cloyingness? Still pleasant although after having many undercover shutdown ales this tastes extremely similar.

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Photo of ericj551
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lagunitas sucks pours a bright gold with a decent white head. The aroma is herbal, tropical and citrusy hops with no hint of bitterness. Citrus and tropical hops dominate the flavor as well, but there is tons of pale malt sweetness. The bitterness is surprisingly light probably partially due to the sweetness. Overall the hop flavor is hard to beat, and the sweetness and lack of bitterness make it extremely drinkable.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a crowded IPA market, you must find a way to peak your head over the pack. Lagunitas seemed to have found a way by accidentally screwing up their brew schedule and forcing themselves to find an alternative to Brown Shugga. It took me some time, but I put my faith in the community and picked up a six-pack. On to the beer:

Color looks like a light toasted orange, met with a solid job of head retention, and a number of thin rings of lace which wrap around. When I smelled it, I felt that my faith was rewarded. It's tough to deny an aroma that succulent, with pleasurable amounts of tropical fruits, pineapple, melon rind, and passionfruit. Fruit alors!

Similar to the aroma, the taste caps any lingering skepticism that I head towards the beer. It's an attack of the two P's, being passionfruit and pineapple. Not far behind is tangerine in this explosion of hops. There's a milder sweet cantaloupe note too. Although hoppy, it didn't get into any bitterness. This is carried with a medium/full body with the alcohol hidden.

If you have an addiction of hops, then you are probably shouting that Lagunitas sucks with this creation. If you love hops, then you need to find yourself a glass of Lagunitas Sucks!

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Photo of BoldRulerVT
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter.
Pours a clear medium amber with moderate head. The head dissipates but has great lacing.
Smell is sweet, hoppy, almost a touch spicy.
Taste is delicious. Clean, hoppy, floral, spice, sweetness. Perfectly balanced.
Mouthfeel is a touch sticky. Yum!
Overall, I was very impressed with the beer. It's a classic west coast style IPA.

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Photo of pkalix
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

well, we'll see if i have developed that refined taste for that west coast turbo-hopped brew yet. i honestly dont think lagunitas could brew anything without the incredible amount of hops to hide the alcohol but let's try this. i CAN appreciate a hop beer, i just prefer a balance of the other stuff available.
poured a beautiful golden with very little foam on top, although the thin film remaiing on top does cling to the glass quite nicely. i like that.
as it pours, i am inundated with the aroma of what i imagine would be walking through a grapefruit harvest or a hop harvest. i do like the smell of hops; it's just that i feel they add a bitterness which i havent really come to appreciate yet.
the taste is . . . . grapefruit/lemonade. enough said! there is some tingling on the tongue, like some effervescence of the carbonation and i get the distinct image of a kid's lemonade stand selling this. not sweet like i would expect, but not terrible. almost a fusion of lemon and grapefruit (once again). being a city boy, i can also almost imagine a grassy field i'm walking through, wafting in the aroma just before the allergies set in...
overall? decent. seems everyone else is scoring it highly and i can appreciate what i'm drinking. it's a great in-betweener of all the different beers i have lined up for the afternoon but i imagine my tongue would shrivel up and i would lose my appetite (maybe not a bad thing in my case) if i were to drink the entire six pack of this. but i believe it earns the scores i give it... and i like the high abv!

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Photo of GrumpyBeer
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a sucker for citrusy piney IPAs and this was one of the best all around I've had. It was a beautiful orange amber clear pour with a thick white frothy head. Crystal clear with just the slightest sediment. No haze and more Pliny than heady. The aroma was one of the best I've smelled. Pineapple orange citrus with a piney balance that had my nose buried. I crave this beers smell. The taste hit all the citrus and pine. Very good only slightly less refined than say Pliny but better than average no doubt. The bitterness was good not overpowering but late on the palette it was more noticed than others. This beer overall is one of my favorites and was very good. Already craving another.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Uber Tavern. Review from notes.

A: Served in a pint glass, Sucks was a clear golden color with a small white, foamy head on top with great retention and moderate lacing.

S: Extremely tropical, mango, tangerine, orange, lots of citrus in the aroma. Very faint grain malt aroma, but fruit flavors dominate.

T: A great tasting IPA, more tropical fruits - grapefruit, orange, mango, it was great. In the middle there is some fresh grass with minimal bitterness. Overall, extremely juicy. Has a slightly spicy finish.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Extremely drinkable, drinks easier than abv would indicate.

O: Could be the best Lagunitas beer I have had. Would stock this in my fridge all the time.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a light to medium golden amber with a thin white head that has good retention and lacing. Aroma of piney, herbal, lightly floral hops, grapefruit and apple. Nice. Flavor combines piney and citrus hops with an excellent bready malt body with notes of grapefruit, lemon, citrus rind and light fruit. Very nice. Even if this had sucked, you would have to admire a brewery that responded to massive disappointment and anguish for the lack of a beloved beer with a tongue in cheek spoof offering that ended up even more popular than the original. This was a triumph for everyone.

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Photo of tzieser
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint.

a: crystal clear golden color with a thin head that settles into a thin lacing. unassuming.

s: nice hoppy aroma. i can tell this is going to be deliciously citrusy and refreshing.

t: nice hoppy flavor. big citrus notes with a subtle malty sweetness that keeps this beer well balanced.

m: enjoyable mouthfeel.

wow, laguintas really does suck! not because they didn't release brown shugga, but because they have been holding back this beautiful IPA from us! please don't make this a one-off brew. i would not mind seeing Pils or Hairy Eyeball get replaced with this one.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,562 ratings.
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