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

1,558 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,558 | Ratings: 10,053
Photo of sfprint
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Completely transparent, light orangy brown, mild rising carbonation, not much of a head.
S: Ooooh holy crap. Instant 5! I knew I saved my 5's for something! It's like a japanese candy apple/peach/grapefruit/concord grape. Almost verbatim but way better! F'ing incredible! Pineapple as well.
T: Interesting flavor. It does have the japanese candy element, but it's not so powerful and sweet. The IPAness really comes through and the japanese candy flavor is tastefully tucked under a nice strong IPA. Moderately bitter, but not too bitter. Moderate spiciness sitting under the bitterness. Citrusy honey hops. Really nice balance. But doesn't have that "wowing" effect that the smell has.
M: Very light sting, medium body.
O: Unique, special, very interesting. I don't love it, but it's certainly really great.

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Photo of chinchill
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

appearance - orange-amber color; crystal clear with no sediment in the bottle; small head despite a rather vigorous pour, yet loads of lacing.

Smell - Vaguely remembering an enthusiastic review of "Lagunitas sucks", I grabbed a 6 pk of this over the weekend. Without referencing anything else or even reading all of the label, I decanted the beer and was immediately surprised by the powerful smell of hops. This is no typical "winter ale". Instead, the aroma clearly indicates IPA or DIPA; and that,, of course, is what we have. Even so, the high level of pine-tinged, citrusy hop aroma is striking, and a bit formidable. As expected, the higher ABV shows through after some warming.

Taste - The flavor is compatible with the aroma, but much smoother and sweeter than might be expected. This is not to say that this beer lacks a good hop wallop, but it does lack the bite or the challenging bitterness one might expect to find. Clearly, Lagunitas did a great job of selecting the quantity and variety of malts to go with the hops. And there are no dank or off tastes despite some earthiness in the aromatics. Higher ABV is very well hidden.

mouthfeel - very good (Medium-light) carbonation; medium body.

overall - superb DIPA. Powerful yet very pleasant and easy to drink. Excellent aftertaste. Well worth seeking out ... no apologies (even tongue in cheek) needed, Lagunitas!

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Photo of WankelEngine
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a beautiful clear golden color with a huge foamy white head. The head retention is pretty good, slowly dissipating over the course of a few minutes leaving a lot of lacing.

S: The smell is light and fruity. I can smell grapefruit and orange. There is also a strong note of pine and some warm caramel.

T: This is a sweet beer. It starts very fruity, tasting like pineapple and grapefruit. It opens up a little as I savor, the caramel and resinous pine. The pine becomes more prominent in the finish and the aftertaste is surprisingly dry given the relative sweetness of this beer.

M: This is medium bodied and just a little sticky.syrupy. Mild carbonation gives a nice effect.

O: I haven't had the Brown Shugga this was brewed to replace, but this is a good offering. Complex, sweet and drinkable with a dry finish. I had three last night and couldn't have been happier.

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Photo of gatorbreath
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

wish this wasnt a seasonal job...

appearance is more straw colored and transp. than orange like i'da guessed... head is minimal, lacing is considerable, nose is abound with floral hops even a sweetness about it possibly some citrus smell but not dominant.. taste is crispy, lightly carbonated on the mouthfeel, floral hoppy prescense with some light citrus notes.. again, much like the smell, overall, this brew is something special, comparable to a few of my favorites, going to try and track down some more before it disappears

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Photo of whitefire
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beer pours a clear dark yellow to light orange with a nice finger size head that remains for minutes.

S: This is absolutely one of my favorite smelling beers. Citrus, sweet pineapple and pine.

T: Great balance, nice carbonation, a lot of complexity that spreads nicely from front through the rear of the palate.

Overall: I could drink this all day. A very enjoyable beer from an amazing brewery! I love visiting this place, they have a long list of GREAT brews that never make it to retail shelves. It would be great if they produced this one year round.

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Photo of nataku00
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from a Leftovers six pack poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a clear dark orange or copper, with two fingers of snow white foamy head. Head retention was decent for a few minutes before it dissipated to a half a finger collar of foam along the edge of the glass and a few foamy bubbles along the surface, leaving a bit of sticky lacing. Moderate amount of carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

Nose is resinous pine, grapefruit peel, caramel malt. Pretty nice balance of bitter and sweet aroma, decently aromatic.

Nice bitterness up front, fresh pine needles, resinous pine, cannabis, grapefruit peel and pith. Sweeter citrus flavors follow along with a good malt presence, caramel and toasted bread. Finishes moderately dry, with lingering pine and citrus hop flavors on the tongue.

Low to medium body with soft carbonation, slick and oily on the tongue. Pretty easy to drink for a bitter hop bomb on the tongue, though a little more aroma would make this even better. But for the price, it cannot be beat.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is gold to light amber. A down-the-center pour yields a tiny head, and with no lacing, appearance is average at best. The wonderful citrus scents of mango and pear raise expectations of a big hop taste. And expectations are met with tasty, juicy, and citrusy hop flavors. Not a trace of malt to be found here. Mouthfeel seemed a bit thin. A nice beer for a hop lover like me.

Update March 2013...raised appearance score. This time the head was plentiful with great retention and lots of lacing. Taste was still a huge citrus hop bomb - bitter but still very drinkable. Also raised overall score.

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Photo of StateMech
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

served slightly chilled from bottle to snifter

appearance - organge-gold color, solid head that keeps, glass cling from the tip of the glass

smell - can smell the hops as I pour two feet from my nose! citrus with some earthy tones

taste - very pleasant orange peel, rounded bitterness, earthy base, awesome taste

mouthfeel - just the right amount of carbonation, a good sip fills the mouth and hangs out for a little while

overall - amazing double IPA, very pleasant, very easy to drink, would love to sip on it all day if it weren't nearly 8%

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Photo of challenja
4.81/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served On Tap at Jack Rose in Adams Morgan DC

A: The only boo part to this amazing beer. Light for an Imperial IPA. Very light orange lemon zesty haze. Frothy two finger full carbo head on this badboy.

S: This is the most tropical smelling IPA of all time!!! This a tropical pineapple dipped in grapefruit and smeared on a christmas tree pine cone. AMAZING NOSE! WOW.. Totally award winning!!

T: Tropical pineapple zesty grapefruit lemon rind. Sweet sugar pine sap. Orange rind pops that lingers nicely on the palate under a ripe ruby grapefruit. Subtle light Simone California hops almost cold mountain in hop character.

M: Full carbonation but light bodied which is unheard of in an imperial IPA on this sucker that plays on a nice lightly creamy backdrop to a bottom mouth suck finder leaving your throat lightly puckered but wet.

O: One hell of a unique imperial IPA. The hops don't seem to break 80 but I could be wrong (found it to be under 70). A delicious delicious summer IPA brewed in winter. I have to grab some to safe guard for hot summer nights. Lagunitas impresses once again!

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Photo of adman08
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours clear golden straw color with a lot of fluffy white foam that leaves excellent lacing.
S-Very resiny smelling. Lots of earthy pine hops with some sweetness in the background.
T-Very pronounced earthy and piney hop flavors with a good malt backbone. Very resiny and bitter but there is some malt sweetness in the background.
M-Medium bodied, starts with a slight sweetness and finishes slightly dry. Good carbonation.
Overall, a very good version of the style. Despite the harsh, biting bitterness of the piney hops there is some balance of malt and thats what makes this so good. Not a very heavy beer either so I think I might be able to drink a few at a time when I'm in the mood for something hoppy.

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Photo of JHamm
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer has slight head retention with nice lacing around the glass. The smell however is remarkable - extremely fruity, citrusy with hints of pine and orange. The smell is crisp and extremely clean. The taste mimicks the smell. I enjoy a beer with a clean malt bill that lets the hops dominate. If you're looking for a nutty or malty bill this may disappoint on that front. The hops follow the smell with grapefruit, slight mint, and lemon with a balanced bitter finish. The overall mouthfeel does have a resiny oil like finish but nothing that would be considered offensive. Overall this is an exceptional beer for my style if you enjoy a clean, citrus type beer.

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Photo of Bfarr
4.64/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear golden brown, moderately foamy head with okay retention. Pungent strong hop aroma with pine and citrus. Lightly piney and satsuma and tropical sweetness balanced incredibly well with a short linger. Thin, smooth and very light bite.

Fresh hop aroma, balanced, and very flavorful this beer has it all. Deceptively simple yet it showcases big flavor and is refreshingly addictive. Not a big bold hoppy beer like usual but has wonderful hop elements focusing on flavor rather than bitterness.

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Photo of minterro
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split sixer from Spartan spirits

A&S: The smell is primarily piney, but there is a very noticeable citrusness to it. The citrus really balances the pineyness. Lively transparent orange yellow colored beer. The head is and off white and pours smalls but hangs around at that same level (quarter inch). Decent lacing actually for the head.

T&M: A very drinkable pineyness. There is a curtain citrus tones to it. Its interesting, it’s a hoppy beer, but its present and not overwhelming. There is some sweetness, its not overly sweet like some doubles turn out. Medium bodied (surprising for looking so light) a bit creamy, and the carbonation is pretty high (huge bite)

O: Really good, if this is a substitute for Brown Shugga’ I guess I need to try Brown Shugga. I still don't think this beer is world class, but it's for sure another great Lagunita's brew.

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Photo of GameFreac
5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My 2nd review.

Julian date - 364 and it's my 22nd birthday today so this is only 21 days old. Poured into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a golden color with a small head. It fades but leaves a little lacing in my glass.

Smell: Smell amazing. Tropical fruits, hops, mango, peaches, watermelon, grapefruit. This is my favorite part about this beer.

Taste - follows the nose. Not as good as the nose but very close. Just hoppy with those mango/tropical flavors. Also has a slight malt/bready taste that balances it out and a bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Feels creamy but very drinkable. I don't detect the alcohol at all at 7.85% abv.

Overall: One of the best beers I've ever had - in my top 10. I'm sad that this will only be a seasonal since I got a single, then got a 6 pack, then got another 6 pack (this was part of the Leftovers). I usually always get new beers but I went back to this brew twice. It's that damn good. Here's hoping they make this a year round beer. If not, get it while you can. You won't regret it.


Had this year's batch and it's as good as ever. My favorite IPA.

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Photo of distantmantra
4.82/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Russian River tulip.

A: The beer is gold, pure gold. There is nice head of off-white foam that has very strong lacing.

S: Very strong, tangy tropical fruits along with aromatic pine hops and a hint of malt.

T: The flavor is very similar with tangy/astringent tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango. Pine bitterness also present, but the malt isn't really noticeable.

M: Very easy going medium body with a smooth mouthfeel and fantastic carbonation.

O: Lagunitas needs to screw up more. This is a fantastic Imperial IPA. Need to buy more while I still can.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

at long last i get round to this baby. 12 oz single from Fred Meyer, S.Salem $1.67 Clear orange body to the ale with a nice half inch sized white frothy head. Big strong,dank,heavy resiny hop aromas,herbal Again heavy hop taste but very well matched by the bready,caramel maltiness, but bright citric,lemon zest hops dominate in the end. Good on the palate keeps this heavy brew moving Another Lagunitas classic..to me though this is more a DIPA than an ASA

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Photo of confer
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A- Solid gold with a small amount of white head.
S- I've had beers before that might have had a hint of grapefruit in the smell but this one is the real deal. If I close my eyes it is as if I got my nose right over a fresh cut grapefruit.
T- Again with the slightly bitter grapefruit. It really hits in the back of the mouth. There is faint sweetness in the middle as well. Very interesting.
MO-Low carbonation. Another winner from these guys. There beers are among the most interesting reasonably prices beers around.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-a clear gold color with an off-white head and nice lacing

S-lots of tropical fruit aromas with some citrus and hints of malt

T-loads of tropical fruit and citrus with some pine accents with a nice bitter finish

F-medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a smooth feel

O-an excellent DIPA with great flavor and good balance

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Photo of lurpy1
3.92/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed a bottle of this, poured into a pint. Pours a fairly standard oak furniture stain color with not much head. However, a very nice sticky lacing as the beer goes down. The smell is sort of a candied hops aroma, sticks with you a for a while.

The first taste is a blast of hops, with grapefruit and some pine. Tasty. Unsubtle. Seems to improve as the drink goes on.

This definitely makes for easy drinking, but I would prefer a little more resin and a thicker mouthfeel.

Final verdict - this is a good to very-good beer, but honestly, I don't see what all the nattering is about regarding Sucks. It's a good IPA/DIPA, but there are better ones out there. Not to mention this is like the 758th DIPA Lagunitas has made. That said, the price point on this is outstanding, it's a good value buy.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Sucks, bottle bought as part of a six-pack at Nolita Mart for $13.99.

Appearance: Not too different from the tap or growler versions. One solid finger of snow-capped head that dies fairly soon, leaving a rim and some decent lacing. Good carbonation, you can see the bubbles going up. Transparent amber shiny color.

Smell: Richer than the tap, with sour apple, a bit of fresh warm (but crystal-clear) urine. Fruit cake, sugar and all that delectable citrusness (pineapple, pomelo). No bitterness on the nose. Piney, soapy.

Taste: A bit faded, but carries echoes of beers such as Heady Topper. Ton of hops come through here, after hiding on the nose. Pine, resin, whole-cone hop. That aromatic Christmas-tree forest at Rock Springs in Decatur. Pineapple syrup.

Overall: Rating goes up here because this is SO ridiculously drinkable. If I didn’t hav to worry about a beer belly, I would pound a sixer of this (wait, I did pound a growler!). Refreshing, flavorful, easy-but-complex… very damn nice, and the bottled version is best.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.92/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a mostly clear orange/gold with a small white head fading into a wisp and leaving sticky lacing.

Aroma features loads of dank grapefruit, tropical fruit and just a hint of caramel sweetness.

Flavor starts out with a bright citrus/grapefruit flavor. Also some tropical fruits such as mango. Just at touch of malt before finishing off with a big grapefruit flavor with some underlying pine. Very bitter and dry finish.

Creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Fantastic beer and much better than the seasonals it replaces. As far as Lagunitas beers only Hop Stoopid comes close to matching this. Easy drinking and goes down way too smooth at this ABV.

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Photo of chodinheaven
4.03/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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Photo of Keffa
4.8/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into my D&B thistle/tulip.

Thanks for the bottle, Travis!

Live review.

A: Pours a copperish tinged golden yellow, nice 2 finger head, settles to a small full cap, leaves sticky lacing EVERYWHERE as it settles. Beautiful beer, one of the best I've seen.

S: Pine, pineapple, citrus, floral notes, a tiny bit of alcohol, and a wee bit of caramel covering toast. Herbal and resiny notes come in behind that. Fantastic.

T: Holy shit! Right there with the smell, this one is herbal, resiny, piney, citric, floral, bitter, and smacks the palate around with ease. Alcohol is present, but doesn't detract. The weak malt that does show itself is slightly toasty and caramely sweet. Finishes bitter, lingering, and decently dry, but not overly so. Very, very good. Dare I say one of the best I've had?

M: Oily on the palate, medium carbonation is noticeable but not overwhelming, and the body is on the light side of medium.

O: This was a very welcome surprise. I've heard some talk about this one being sort of an apology for Brown Shugga not being available. Let me be the first (I'm probably not) to say this: BREW THIS YEAR ROUND! I'd buy this by the case. One of the single best hoppy beers I've had to date, and it's from a brewery that makes a hoppy beer I hate (Hop Stoopid). They got this one very, very, very right. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep golden color. Not as much head as I would have liked after the pour, but the carbonation does appear active with bubbly lines throughout. The nose has some serious hop bite. Citrus zest with layers of grapefruit and tangerine are melded with pine freshness in an awesome duo that makes me feel like I'm in San Diego. Wait, this is from Northern CA.

The bready malt flavors are very subtle in the taste, allowing the hops to dominate brightly. It's very clean and nicely bitter at the back. The beer seems light with a touch of syrupy feel. Sharp, but fine carbonation. It could stand to be a little fuller on the palate but overall it works.

Glad I didn't miss out on this excellent IPA. Definitely in the same mold as Hop Stoopid and Lil Sumpin, and this one might even be better as it seems more refined. Drink fresh!

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Photo of Bogforce
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer looks pretty good but smells amazing. The taste doesn't quite live up to the smell but this beer is still amazing. I hop Lagunitas turns this into a year round because it blew me away. The mouthfeel isn't bad leaves some bitterness on the tongue but in a good way. If you see this beer get it now!

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,558 ratings.
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