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: 10,209
Photo of Eisen
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass: a light amber with thick white head that fades into fine lacing and a thin top layer. Wonderful hop citric aroma and flavor that is characteristic of Lagunitas brews followed by a slightly syrupy and numbing (from the hops) mouth-feel that compels one to drink more and more. The hops, of course, are the focus, but they are supported and wonderfully balanced by a medium/light malt/sweet backbone that makes the drinkability excellent. It is light, crisp, and perfectly hoppy. In my opinion, far better than brown sugga.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very clear and a golden orange color. Pretty good head that lasts and deposits nice lacing

Reeks of fresh pine hops and slightly citric aroma. Very fresh, very aromatic and ultra pungent. Haven't smelled many beers like it

Tastes very fresh with flavors of line trees, tropical fruit and light sap. Complex hop profile but simple enough to pick out individual flavors

Medium body with above average carbonation, finishes dry and bitter on the palate. Easy to drink and fun to taste the other hop flavors present

A fantastic IPA that makes me almost not miss brown shugga...almost

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Photo of 57md
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Slightly dark straw color. The nose brings the citrus and hops without a doubt. The flavor profile has a nice malt backbone that compliments the fresh citrus notes well. The finish is potently hoppy.

"Sucks" is that last word that I'd use to describe this gem.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apparently this was created due to a shortage in capacity in brewing the Lagunitas Holiday Ale, Brown Shugga. It's said to be 'cereal medley,' of barley, rye, wheat and oats.

Pours like liquid gold into my IPA glass. A rich looking head of pure white foam starts off over an inch tall. Beautiful froth is seen on the sides of the glass as it recedes to about 1/2. It is heavily carbonated and crystal clear - no sediment. Very good-looking indeed.

The aroma is titillating, with lemon and lush tropical fruit esters dazzling my sense of smell. Very resinous hops are clearly the backbone however, and there's a curious peppery spice-like aspect, perhaps cinnamon... hidden vaguely within as well.

The taste begins with a soft and cool feel, sweet and bready, but a moment later the extremely drying hop bitterness bulldozes the palate. Definitely a dry-hopped beer, and there are hardly any malts detected in the flavor at all. Light mouthfeel, despite the sharpness.

Overall, the complexity in the grains and the dry hopped goodness are it's best flavor characteristics. I would suggest this if you like to try different IPAs, or if you are the type that loves the heaviest hop flavors possible!

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Photo of davey101
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Holiday leftovers ale. Bottled on 12/30/2011. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Lighter than most DIPA's. Burnt orange body that looks like apple juice. One finger off-white head that sticks around. Nice lacing on the side of the glass.

S - Reminds me of nugget nectar. Loads of peaches, mango, and grapefruit. Strong on the tropical fruit with a hint of pine and grass towards the end. No malts present.

T - Similar to the nose. Super strong tropical notes that finish slightly earthy and piney. Just a hint of biscuity malts. Long lasting bitter finish. Medium mouth feel, really slick with a nice level of carbonation.

O - I had the original batch back when it came out and thought it was liking drinking orange juice. Maybe its the month that allowed it to smooth out a bit, but this is a damn good DIPA. Really hope Lagunitas brings this back somehow.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

A- Pours a very light golden color with a thin white foam head that leaves a few rings of lace.

S- Holy moly, this baby is dank! Huge rush of tropical fruit and some sticky pine needles in the aroma.

T- A good deal of bitterness upfront with a nice smooth fruity hop flavor present throughout. Pear, pinneapple, lemon, and red grapefruit all make an appearance. The finish is slightly sweet and actually balances this brew quite nicely. The hop flavor isn't as pungent as the nose lead me to believe but I enjoy the complexity more than an all out one dimensional hop bomb. Even at nearly 8% the alcohol doesn't show up much at all in the flavor profile.

M- Light bodied with good carbonation.

O- Quite a surprise. I'm sad to not see Brown Shugga' this year but being the hophead that I am, this made for a very welcome replacement. Lagunitas sure can make IPAs with the best of them!

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 12/19/2012. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a nice 2 finger dense and fluffy white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange zest, orange rind, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, floral, grass, light pine, and earthy hops. Fantastic aromas with great hop complexity, balance, and strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange zest, orange rind, tangerine, pineapple, lemon zest, pine, floral, honey, grass, and herbal hop earthiness. Good amount of piney citrus bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus zests, citrus rind, pineapple, floral, pine, grass, honey, and herbal hop earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic hop complexity, with a nice malt balance supporting the big hops; and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and very smooth mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic IPA. Great hop complexity with nice malt balance; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering as expected.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Portsmouth tulip.

A: Pours a clear bright golden with a large off-white head that faded into a thin collar leaving sticky lace.
S: Bright notes of tropical fruits and fresh citrus hops with a touch of honey or fruit nectar. Very sweet all-around.
T: Follows the nose with sweet flavors of pineapple, mango, papaya and other fresh tropical fruits. Citrus follows up the rear with sweet juices and a bit of bitter rind and pith. The bitterness on this is really low, and this beer finishes pretty sweet. There is just a touch of caramel in the aftertaste, and maybe a bit of honey.
M: Slick body with a good clean mouthfeel. Bitterness is low, and the carbonation is medium.
O: Really solid ipa that is very fruity, hoppy and easy to drink. Another amazing ipa from another amazing brewery!

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color, lighter then what I was expecting. Had a slight hazy. A fairly tall white foamy cap. Good carbonation. Aroma was quite fragrant with a citrus and floral bouquet. Malts have a light sweet aroma. Taste is as one might expect hop forward, citrus and pineapples come through first with a good helping of floral after. Malts are sweet and candy coated. Honey and toast finish it out. I found this beer to be quite smooth, slick and sticky and very drinkable. A desent worthy brew from the folks at Lagunitas.

P.S. could give SN Celebration a run for the money.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours murky light honey, nice white head that stays for a long time, lots of cling lace.

S - very malty and very hoppy. I don't know which one is more dominant. Probably the hops, but it is close.

T - aggressive malt completely squashed by even more aggressive hops.

M - medium body, good carb , balance heavy to the hops and slightly metallic towards the finish.

D - one very tasty beer!

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Photo of cps98
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at the local bottle shop and was really interested in trying it. Enjoyed pretty cold in a fresh pint glass.

A – Deep yellow color, nice and clear no haze at all. Really strong 2 finger white head. Great lacing

S – Lots of pine and lemon citrus.

T – Really nice hop flavor, some pine.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation. The beer was really smooth.

O – I really liked this Holiday offering. If they brewed it again I would definitely try to score some more.

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Photo of diamondc
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden, pale, filtered. Lots of lacing.

S: Big tropical fruits and pine aromas.

T: Fruity, lots of pineapple, pine sap, mango.

M: Can't detect much heat, quaffable for an DIPA.

O: Big complex hop flavors & aroma. Can't really pick up any malt flavors, since the hops are so over the top here. Yet another great IPA from Lagunitas.

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Photo of TechTriumph
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes on 12/17/11:
Bottled: 10/31/11; Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass.

A - One inch of barely off-white fluffy and creamy head; Clear, dark straw colored brew with a slight orange hue; Pretty good lacing left behind

S - Awesome sweet, tropical fruits here with notes of pineapple, apricot, mango, and kiwi; Just a bit of floral and herbal hops as well; No signs of any malts here

T - Quick and sharp carbonation and bitterness comes in the beginning that gives way to sweet, tropical fruit flavors, much like the nose - pineapple, mango, lemon, passionfruit, and a bit of floral, peppery, and herbal hops; The tropical fruit flavor lasts from beginning to finish

M - Moderate carbonation; Light to medium bodied; Fairly dry and crisp finish

O - I'm very glad I had the chance to get a 6-pack of this popular beer. It had a great tropical hop profile, was nice and smooth, and was super drinkable. Because it's pretty light for a DIPA, I had no problem having a few in succession. I think I'm in the majority opinion in that Lagunitas should really think about bringing this beer back for next year.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear brass with a foamy, long lasting head. Tons of lace chunks stick to the glass on the way down. Grapefruit, peach and tropical fruit hop notes abound in the nose, balanced by caramel cookie dough maltiness. The first sip reveals plenty of hop bitterness and fruity, citrusy hop flavors. A hefty malt profile keeps everything in check, and renders this beer less dry than most DIPAs. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a subtle, creamy carbonation. Medium bitterness, grapefruit rind and green tea mix with a bit of alcohol spice and some residual sweetness in the finish.

A very quaffable DIPA with dank, complex hoppiness and a huge malt profile. Balanced and very quaffable for the high abv. A must try.

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours light clear gold into my snifter with just about one finger of white had that decent retention and leaves nice rings of lace on the glass.

S - Big juicy hop aroma, tons of grapefruit, dank and resinous, malts are there to add a little balance, but mostly hop goodness.

T - Like the nose, very juicy and hop forward, lemon and grapefruit peel as well as some mango notes, again dank and resinous for sure, toasted biscuit malts lend some balance to the mix but this is a hop heads delight.

M - Relatively medium body with good carbonation, a little on the syrupy side.

O - Again, if you love hops you will most likely love this beer. Missing brown sugga this year, but thanks for the great DIPA!

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Photo of afdempse
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light yellow color. Could be mistaken for a Budweiser if it weren't for the nice white sticky foam sliding down the glass. Crystal clear.

Tropical fruit aroma, citrus, faint pine/spruce. Very fresh!

Awesome west coast hop flavors here. Juicy fruits, citrus rind, followed by a hint of fresh biscuit, dry grain. Alcohol in the breath.

Super-balanced, refreshing. Mouthfeel is slightly sweet, which is fine for the style, and considering the beer's strength.

Lagunitas should make this a year-round offering. One of the most solid west coast IPAs I've found for purchase in this area, especially considering the price. Will certainly be buying more!

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a La Chouffe tulip.

A- Pours a light caramel color, with 2 finger white head that leaves a thin ring around the glass. Some lacing remains on glass.

S- Sweet, sweet malt. Honey, pineapple, grapefruit

T- Sweet caramel malt, honey, tons of sweet citrus in here! Has a nice citrus bitterness at the finish.

M- Medium body, medium carbonation with a slight dry finish from the bitterness.

O- Amazing beer! I'm not one to compare beers usually, but the first smell and taste of this beer I immediately thought....Hopslam! Lagunitas better make this at least a yearly release or their a retard.

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Photo of jpro
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
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 larryi86
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated Dec. 5th poured into a snifter

A- A clear bright golden copper with a one finger white head.

S- Very hoppy, pine, tropical fruit/mango, citrus, just a lot of hops.

T- Like the nose, lots of hops. Piney finish with some earthy and floral hops, good amount of citrus and tropical hops, not getting too much of a malt backbone, very good.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- This beer does not suck, it is a really nice hoppy IIPA that is easy to drink. Very happy that it finally made its way to Maryland and I was able to get a six pack, definitely will pick up more if it is still around.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: A slightly darker gold, still transparent with heavy bubbles on the body. White head about one finger's length off the body.

Smell: Deep hops scent that is more aroma than scent. It just lingers in the nose.

Taste: Definitely bitter, but a smooth pine feel that comes off incredibly well. Strong grapefruit off set with a incredible potent serving of hops.

Mouth: Medium, slightly heavy carbonation with an after taste that just lingers in the mouth the grapefruit skin is pretty evident.

Overall: Pretty damn good beer. It is not good it is really good, I have a couple of other Imperial IPAs that I would put ahead of the food chain but this one does the job (and some). Salud!

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Photo of Tucquan
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this in a bottle on 2012-01-05 in Columbia, PA, on-tap on 2013-01-12 in Reading, PA at Canal Street Pub, on 2014-01-11 on-tap at The Fridge in Lancaster, PA and on 2014-11-07 in a quart bottle in Columbia, PA (very fresh and enjoyable).

A - Very clear straw-orange with a 2-finger pillowy white head and decent lacing.

S - Equal doses of mango and pine and throw in some oily hop bud fumes and you'll know how good this smells. Not quite in Heady-Topper league but getting there.

T - Hop forward featuring pine first then a touch of pale malt, pineapple, grapefruit flesh, some mint, very ripe melon, and oodles of gooey hop bud oils. It's like you dropped a handful of hop cones in a blender with some water, a piece of bread, a thin slice of honeydew melon and a whole grapfruit and liquified it. Where's the alcohol? It must be hiding behind the hop cones. Lingering flavor of dank hop buds, spice/pepper and grapefruit bitterness. Bold. Reminds me a bit of a Fat Head's Head Hunter in its dankness, barely supported by the malt. I'm glad there is some residual sweetness to support the 63 IBUs.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Smooth, resinous and quite prickly. More substantial than a Head Hunter.

O - see notes below from 2012, 2013, and 2014

From 2012: Looks like we have a winner. I can't think of a reason Lagunitas wouldn't want to keep this in regular rotation. It was interesting to learn in a BA forum post from Lagunitas that their very best crop of hops had been used for this brew and future batches couldn't help but be a bit different and the beer would likely appear under a new name.

From 2013: The hop aroma and flavor dropped off fairly quickly (within 6 weeks) in the first and second releases so it is important to drink this fresh.

From 2014-01-11: This is a very flavorful brew with a bold, dank hop presence. Not as bitter as a Head Hunter and not quite as much caramel. I had them side-by-side and prefer the Head Hunter, which is also a bit brighter and a tad less dank. The sweetness on Sucks comes more from the ripe tropical fruit/melon side. I think the 2014 is just about as good as the original 2012 version although my tastes have shifted in the last couple of years so the amount of dankness exhibited by this brew is less desirable to me than it was 2 years ago. Even so, I'm glad to know this will become a more regular release as the new brewery comes online in Chicago.

From: 2014-11-07 This batch isn't as dank as the batch from last January and I'm enjoying it more. There's still plenty of hop flavor; no doubt. It may be a touch sweeter too, which helps emphasize the fruit flavor. I'm digging the quart bottle for sure! Flashback to a time when it was common to buy beer (70's) in quarts. This is ever-so-much better in the quart format than anything I was having then except; for Ballantine IPA into 1972. That was good stuff too.

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Photo of specksnreds
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh, Lagunitas. I just wanna drive you to a secluded spot, hop in the back seat and make out with you. You look ravishing in your amber-golden hues, but a little more head would be nice. I mean, your bubbles are bueno, but I like a bit more on top. Know what I mean? Your aroma is intoxicating. Just like a Christmas tree should smell, sans the tinsel that the dog swallows and has to be pulled out later. After a few minutes of tongue wrasslin', you're so much more than pine needles. Your sweetness shines through like a bowl of Kaboom. Exploding with color and fractal complexity. A delight of the highest order.

As we ride home (I called us a cab) with your x-mas tree-infused sweetness still on my mind and lips, I realize this: I love you and you might be pregnant.

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Photo of jcartamdg
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at mellow mushroom Tampa. Pale gold in appearance one finger head disapates to a ring of foam, great lacing. Aroma of intense citrus hops. Taste follows the nose, grapefruit, pineapple bitter with decent malt backbone. Really tasty, a great surprise from a brewery that hasn't impressed me in the past.

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Photo of gandres
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

32 Fluid ounce poured to wine glass
Today is 1/23/2016
Appearance: Light amber, small head, almost no lacing
Aroma: Strong hoppy smell, slight boozy scent not overpowering
Taste: Slightly bitter, then sweet,
Mouth feel:
Overall: Excellent beer, specially with the price. Definitely something to look forward to.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: dirty yellow, 2 finger white fluffy head,
gorgeous lacing

S: fresh pine, mango, peach, tobacco

T: same as nose, mild malt middle with
firm bitter finish

M: med body, oily, hint of sticky mouth

O: Lagunitas knows my hop interests;
uses hops that have delightful nose. Alcohol
is subtle. Wish the body was a little heavier for the style.


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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,209 ratings.
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