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

1,605 Reviews
Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

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: 1,605 | Ratings: 10,206
Photo of andylipp
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A – Lovely orange brew, quite clear, with a short-lived 1/2" of head that dissipated quickly in my standard tulip taster.

S – Holy shit this stuff smells great. Pineapple, mango, tropical citrus hop goodness with a hint of pine. Sweet malt is there, but overpowered by the hops.

T – Deliciously hoppy, with that tropical fruit wallop that so many crave in an IPA. The malt hangs in there, though, which keeps this beer from slipping into totally unbalanced territory. Yum.

M – While I did not find this beer to be thin as some other reviewers have said, I did come away wishing for a bit more carbonation.

O – I enjoyed this one immensely, with only the lack of carbonation keeping this one from being among the best IPA/DIPAs I've had.

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Photo of Flipadelphia84
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color. Thick off white 1 finger head with a ton of lacing. Dark fruit, caramel, and raisin on the nose. Flavor is well balanced but on the malty side. A little sweetness at the end from the unfermented complex sugars. Not typical profile for a DIPA as hops are not the star here but very tasty nonetheless. Medium low carbonation with a light medium body. Overall, this is a great IPA that leans to the malty side of the spectrum. I am not sure when this beer was bottled but I assume it had a more present hop character when it was fresh. Love the malt and great story behind the making.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint.

A: Pours a beautiful straw colour with an outrageously fluffy and thick foamy head.

S: Delicious pine tree, grapefruit, pineapple and tropical fruit cornucopia.

T: Pineapple is upfront, there is some grapefruit and fruit smoothie in the middle. Malt sweetness is strong and balancing but not overbearing. Finishes rich and juicy with some bitterness and even more fruit.

D: I regret buying only two sixers. This is really smooth, delicious stuff and I absolutely have to buy more before its gone.

Overall: Wow! This has to be one of the biggest surprises of the year. I love Brown Shugga' and I would love to see it made again, but I'm not going to complain this year. Lagunitas has crafted IMHO a classic no-coast IPA. It doesn't have that dank bitter pop of the West and its not too sweet to be East. Its that super aromatic, tropical fruit blend in the veins of GI, FFF and Bells. I wouldn't be upset if Lagunitas replaced their IPA, PA, Maximus, or even Hop Stoopid with this stuff. Awesome brew!

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another Lagunitas offering and another very good brew. I still can find no real fault with this brewer.

I do have to mention though, there really ain't much special about the coloration, it was your basic amber-colored beer. The head was very white, very fluffy, but the lacing was thick and covered the glass almost all the way down the pint glass - it was actually quite impressive. The scent was a perfect, and I do mean perfect, mixture of citrus and coriander mixed with the strong hoppy smell. The mouthfeel was mostly carbonated, but not so much so to detract from the overall experience. Speaking of overall, this was truly a wonderfully crafted beer. It had the same taste as what I smelled which is a big plus in my book - making the whole beer very flavorful.

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Photo of hoser
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, never have had a beer clear my sinuses before. Another awesome brew from maybe the masters of using the hop oil.
If I could wish for one thing in this brew is a little more of a malt background. Have some Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild in the fridge will make sure to compare the two before they are gone. Once again Wow!

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Photo of RDBJ
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a superb beer, easily my favorite Lagunitas offering. Pours a lovely golden color. Very aggressive piney hop smell. Very gentle smooth flavor, excellent hop/malt balance. Great supportive aftertaste. This is a top tier offering. I can't get Pliny or Heady Topper, so frame of reference is limited, but I love this stuff.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a clean, golden color with a white 1.5 finger head. Fluffy head holds solid throughout the drink and the lacing clings like it has a death grip.

S- Massive amounts of NW hops of grapefruit, pineapples, orange pith, and tangerines. They simply explode out of the glass! I get the sense that strong acidic hops are what's in store for me. Touch of a caramelized candy base. Lagunitas never disappoints on the nose.

T- Hops aren't messing around here. Damn near abrasive, and I like it. They come at your strong with pine and citrus early, then the chewy pale malt of caramel and cotton candy allows this one to settle in soft in the finish.

M- Mid body, bordering on light. Crisp carbonation, but still goes down smooth. Sticky, lingering bitterness.

O- Intense. Maybe my favorite from a fantastic brewery. I've heard the comparison with PtE, and while Sucks may not be quite as balanced, it is a fair assessment.

$8.99 for a 6 pk

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Photo of rmalinowski4
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into my Bell's snifter. received a very fresh bottle in a great box from MiloHop. Thanks Milo

Pours a clear golden yellow with two fingers of white head. Head sticks around for a minute and leaves tons of lacing on the glass.

Smell is glorious, Citra as well as another tropical hop are prominent leaving a slight malt smell in the deep background. Similiar to ZD but slightly different.

Taste is awesome. Citrus hops up front, strong malt backbone, with a slight pine on the finish. very well done.

The mouthfeel is medium with moderate carbination. It could use a little more carbination, but it is not that far off.

overall, this is a very nice beer. Great flavor and aroma, good mouthfeel. Real happy to have tried this one. Thanks Milo

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Photo of avalon07
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had golden yellow color and a clear consistency. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. Excellent lacing.

S: A nice, hoppy aroma, with a lot of citrus thrown in as well.

T: Tasted of a lot of hops, a big shot of grapefruit, and a little bit of malt. It's a vibrant, complex, likeable flavor. This is what a West Coast DIPA should taste like.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a sweet, bitter finish. Medium-bodied.

O: In spite of its facetious name, this is a fantastic, easy to like beer.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange marmalade, tangerine color. Lots of fluffy white head. It recedes to leave nice lacing.

Tangerine and citrus notes. Slight pine. Not much malt on the nose. I have always liked Lagunits IPAs. Great smelling.

Tastes like a great IPA. Orange, citrus, a little dank pine. In the sweet spot for IIPA. Not too much malt. Not too syrupy.

Nice mouthfeel. To me finished fairly dry. quite a bit of carbonation.

Great example for the style. Lagunitas sure does IPAs well. Kinda scary how easy this drinks for nearly 8 percent. Could drink quite a few with very little effort.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Single 12oz bottle purchased at Olive Tree. Snifter.

A: Bright golden orange with great clarity and a big white sea foam head. Nice retention and lots of scattered lacing. The beer looks very inviting.

S: This is really potent, with big guava and papaya notes. Pine is pronounced and there's a decided marijuana note. I get mango and passion fruit as well. Malt imparts some cracker. This smells great like tropical fruit juice with floral aromatics.

T: Upper moderately bitter with big tropical notes. Guava accompanies grapefruit rind, pine resin, mango, and papaya. Malt lends a little sweetness and bread, with just a dash of cracker. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Lower medium in body with upper moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and dry.

Overall: Thanks to Olive Tree for selling singles or I might never have tried this. Now I'll get a 6 pack. This is very good. Perhaps I should try more beer from Lagunitas.

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Photo of leaddog
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours an amber with two fingers of fluffy white head.

Smell - citrus hops, bready caramalts, tropical fruits (mango, passionfruit, pineapple), and orange.

Taste - Pleasant punch from the citrus hops followed by the bready caramalts, tons of tropical fruit notes (mango, passionfruit, pineapple) and the orange.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes dry with a lingering bitterness from the citrus hops.

Overall - A well crafted DIPA from Lagunitas. The citrus hop profile in this one is done very well. I wish the malts were a little more predominate to balance some of the tropical fruit flavours. Other than that, a solid brew.

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Photo of Beerney
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best beer that I've had in a long time. I was expecting something much heavier from Lagunitas at 7.8%. Great hop aros woma and hop burst. Very well balanced. Not overly bitter as you'd expect from 63 IBUs. Great beer. Lagunitas sucks for not making this beer year round.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Back home we would say it's Wicked Good! From the older bottle, it pours a golden amber with a moderate head. Really nice scent tickles the nose (no, I don't feel like describing it) and tastes very nice. Yummy!

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Photo of gford217
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle.

Pours a light, clear golden orange with a fluffy white head that leaves really nice lacing.

Aroma is pungent and in a good way. Tons of juicy citrus with pineapple and grapefruit leading the way. There is some pine resin but much less than the tap version which smelled like an evergreen forest.

Taste is not quite as big on the citrus with a little less grapefruit and a little more floral hops. The finish definitely has some pine and a sticky resinous bitterness that lingers on the palate. The taste also has a bigger bready malt backbone than the aroma.

The mouthfeel is excellent, medium bodied, strong carbonation and really sticky through the finish.

This is undoubtedly one of the best things I've had from Lagunitas. I'm not sure why they're never put something like this out before as it is better than any other IPA they've produced. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased late March, poured vigorously into a Bell's tulip. Based on today's consumption and that of multiple six packs. Surprised I never reviewed this beer despite drinking half a case of it, mainly fresh.

Aroma: By far the best part of this beer. Did a blind tasting of this vs NG IIPA and this definitely smelled better. Lots of sweet sticky honey, toffee and biscuity maltiness. Big bouquet of floral and citrus hops. You're not going to miss smelling this nose when you have this beer. (5)

Colour: Perfectly clear, copper orange body that pours with a big 3cm white head when poured vigorously. It looks great. The collar is substantial but not the biggest I've seen. Tons of lacing on the opposite side of the glass I'm drinking from. Generally a very appealing looking beer and I'm not sure how that could be improved upon. (5)

Flavour: Big floral hop punch up front, some sweet bready maltiness in the middle, punctuated by floral and citrus hop bitterness. Really good standing on its own. Not gonna lie, when I drank this in a blind tasting aside a NG IIPA, this beer tasted like water after I drank some of what turned out to be the NG IIPA. It's entirely possible that its not fair to evaluate this beer next to an hoppier, probably fresher DIPA. But on its own, this definitely stands as a flavourful, delightfully hoppy beer. (4)

Mouthfeel: Nice! Medium-bodied on the thicker side. Resinous beer that coats the heck out of my tongue with the good carbonation making my tongue tingle with the bitter aftertaste. It runs a bit dry, which doesn't really quaff my thirst but makes me want to drink more. The problem is that its a 7.85% ABV brew and there are times when I don't really want to drink more. Nicely done. (4)

Overall: Great beer, great value for what amounts to a DIPA (I don't care what anyone says) at $9/6pk. On its own, it stands up to most of the other excellent DIPAs I've had, but it doesn't quite supplant them. It smells great, looks great and that goes a long way towards making this an enjoyable beer to drink. I'd probably take this over stuff like Hopslam and Double Crooked Tree, but maybe not over something such as Pliny the Elder. (4)

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours orange with yellow highlights. Light and transparent. Has that signature Lagunitas off-white cap. The head retains and leaves great sheets of lacing.

S-Wreaks of super juicy, fruity hops. Christmas tree pine needles. Oily, resiny, and ripe from the fruity hops. One of the best, if not the best smelling Lagunitas beers I have had.

T- Quite like the nose. Pineapple, citrus rind, grapefruit, and other tropical fruits. Nice dose of pine to add bitterness. Very ripe and very juicy. Super fresh taste. Quite like Little Sumpin Sumpin without the wheat.

M-Medium body. Medium carbonation. Resinous and oily from the hops. Moderate bitterness. A bit dry.

O/D-Definitely enjoyed this more than I would have Brown Shugga. Another great Lagunitas IPA. Love the hop bouquet. Will be buying a few more 6 packs of this. Their special/seasonal 6 packs are regularly great.


This year's batch just as delicious. So damn tropical. Heavenly aroma.

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Photo of argock
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap in a Shaker pint at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Dusky amber with 1/2 finger of big-bubbled off-white head with average retention and a few scraps of lacing.

S: Big dry-hop aromas of pine, resin, and tropical fruit with some grapefruit aromas. The maltiness is light and crackery overall but with a bit more caramel than I remember from the bottle.

T: The flavor is big-time hoppy with orange, lemon, grapefruit citrus and a little bit of pineapple and mango also. THe maltiness is not quite enough despite the ABV to stand up in any meaningful way to this hops assault.

M: Slick but almost a little too dry with light-medium body.

O: I enjoyed my bottles last year more than this on-tap presentation. And while this is a solid beer and rightfully highly anticipated, I was a little let down by this on-tap.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip. This one pours a clear golden straw color with about an inch of white head. Little bit of sticky lace.

The aroma starts of with grapefruit and mango. Hints of pine in the background. Mango and pine on the pallet with some hints hints of bready malt in the background.

The body is medium with sharp carbonation. A bit dry on the finish.

Overall this one is great. Easily one of the best IPAs I've had in a while.

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Photo of Overlord
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a splendid holiday ale.

Pours a light orange with some golden highlights. Large white foam head.

Smells like tangerine, some lighter sweet grapefruit, a bit of sugar-y pineapple/mango/tropical notes. Nice fresh cut grass/hay aroma.

Taste is, not surprisingly, quite sweet. Tropical flavors abound. Surprised a bit by how muted the grapefruit was. It's there, and juicy and sweet, but the tropics take over. Not so much malty as just ... sweet.

Very enjoyable. Wish it was year/round. Nice and chewy.

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Photo of barczar
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a chill hazed tangerine copper with a frothy cream head that lingers.

Aromas of peach, nectarines, floral hops, resin, grapefruit, pineapple, and fresh cut grass abound. There's a touch of earthy funk and cannabis. Sweet caramel malt ties it all together.

Flavor reveals similar tropical fruit character, with pineapple and mango at the start. Grapefruit takes over early, riding a wave of slightly sweet, lightly bready caramel malt into the moderately bitter finish. Resin kicks in in the aftertaste.

Body is a touch full, with moderate carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

Great hop aroma and flavoring, with just enough bitterness to counter the malt sweetness. If the hops were just a touch more tart to tame the sweetness a bit!

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Photo of aljskelton
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Was given one bottle as a gift which was extremely tough as I tried to milk the lone soldier. Great taste, not overwhelming with a light golden appearance, along with an interesting story to the name. Smooth IPA (63.21 IBU) with a light piney nose that follows with a citrus taste. Salud!

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Photo of danieelol
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

With great thanks to Wyatt

Think it's about 1.5 months old looking at the bottle date.

Pours a nice filtered looking yellowish kind of chrome. Nice well-retaining head and good lacing.

Nose is white grapey. Also melon and pine and orange-y, slightly boozy malt. Gives an impression of paw paw.

Taste is more grapey. Flavours carry through well to the taste and the flavour is consistent throughout the palate, no watery spots. More melon to be found on the palate and a decent dose of balancing sweetness which renders this tasty and drinkable. Finishes only on a real subtle bitterness which is more than balanced by the sweetness, which lives up to Lagunitas' reputation. I like this actually.

Mouthfeel has the white grape coming in midway through and retaining. Otherwise just a wholesome sort of sweet melon flavour. Hint of bitter booze on the end, which isn't really a drawback.

Only "problem" is a mild booziness throughout which is a little bit surprising for the ABV, but it doesn't particularly bother me and the rest of the elements are exceptional.

Really good beer and firmly in the new school which emphasises aromatics over bitterness. Cheers Wyatt.

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Photo of omnigrits
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a straight pint glass.

A. Pale amber in colour with a white head that goes away pretty fast and leaves not a whole lot of lace.

S. Lots of hops with some sweet grains and even sweeter fruits in the background.

T. A decent hit of sweetness at first before the citrusy, orangey hops take over. Zesty. Lagunitas have piled a lot of flavour into this beer, and done it well.

M. On the full side of medium and with a nice dry finish.

O. A very good IPA and one I could drink at any time of the year, not just at Christmas. I hope they decide to make this 'limited release' again.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice, rich and smooth flowing hoppy offering.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Lagunitas branded label with the image of a Santa star shaped cookie. Title and tongue-in-cheek narrative acknowledges messing up with the regular seasonal offering and pushing this instead. Shows IBUs (63.21), gravity at 1.085, and 7.85% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Clear gold pour with a rich frothy head, sturdy retention, nice surface memory and lacing.

S - Luscious hoppy nose, grapefruit, floral notes, touch of caramel, herbal hint...

T - Nice follow though on the palate with the same floral, grapefruit, tropical, mango and pineapple, slightly grassy range… Remote sweet hint as it folds…

M - Medium to medium-light body with moderate carbonation and a very smooth feel with very subdued bitterness.

O - Delicious hoppy profile… Long complex notes, without much bitterness, very pleasing.

Notes: Nothing wrong with Brown Shugga, that is/was a nice brew. But this is surely much more up my alley. The overblown joke of an apology making it rather memorable around this new offering works pretty well… Very nice holiday offering.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,206 ratings.
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