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

1,598 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: 1,598 | Ratings: 10,188
Photo of Nugganooch
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First came across this fantastic brew on tap at Track 84 in Warwick RI (right by the TF Green airport) a few weeks ago. Was on business travel, read some great reviews on the place and man BA’s were spot on. There I was, a Cali native drinking yet another great Cali West Coast IPA for the first time at some New England dive. Hooked off of one sip. Had to track this down upon my return.

Christmas Day Consumption - the last of my 6er
12oz bottle w/ Pint glass

A: Pours a clear golden straw color that looks super light and bubbly leaving a small frothy white topping. Med retention with some specks of lace.

S: Aroma is killer with hops. Uber catty as fresh hop pellets. Spikes of grapefruit and tropicals. Smells so good. Begging me for sips.

T: Taste is crazy fresh hoppiness too. Pungent and catty on the palate. Super fruity with grapefruit zest, bitter melon, and guava. Malt holds a slight sugary sweetness but is practically nonexistent. Definitely not of the maltier Lagunitas standards. So tasty fresh and hoppy!

M: Super light body. A touch creamy with a nice light dry crisp finish.

D: Way too easy to drink. Was a bit better fresh on tap compared to the bottle version but still an awesome IPA either way.

Merry Effen Christmas to me! Actually this one was loved by all I shared with. Definitely looking for more and/or the re-release.

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Photo of jegross2
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Re-reviewing the Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company. Finally got a FRESH bottle.
Score: 92

Bottled 12/30/11 and served in a snifter glass. Enjoyed 01/19/12.

Appearance: Pours a transparent/translucent golden-orange with two fingers of white, soapy-foam head that really sticks around. Excellent lacing that sticks to the side of the glass like glue. A few minutes later, there is still a half finger of head. Excellent lacing. 4.5/5

Smell: Zesty meyer lemons, grapefruit and honey. Floral hops and a little maltiness. Some sweet citrus too. Very fresh and intense if you take deep whiffs. 4.5/5

Taste: Dry, piney and bitter. Zesty oranges and tangerines with a light lemon bite. Lots of tropical fruit -- grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, lemon and pineapple. Some bittersweet hoppy maltiness on the mid-palate. Very dry, slightly bitter finish and lingering orange peel. Very fresh and hoppy. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, medium carbonation. Very dry, bitter finish. 4/5

Overall: A very solid aroma that delivers more in the nose than on the tongue. A bit overhyped in my opinion. Still a very solid brew worth seeking out and trying.

Recommendation: A delicious imperial IPA than can be enjoyed and appreciated by casual beer drinkers and beer geeks alike. If you are on the fence, try a single bottle at Woodmans.

Pairings: Caramelized onions and steak.

Cost: $9.99 for a six pack.

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Photo of ZPB
3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a bottle with brother after a long day of holiday partying (love the brie and pear tarts George).

Poured a golden, VERY clean liquid with hardly any foamy head at all. Very little foam sticking to the glass.

Smell is strongly hoppy - some citrusy and flowal aromas. Mangos and a hint of sweet orange.

Taste matches the smell. Bright hops hit the tongue immediately. A citrusy hoppy bouquet for the mouth.

Mouth is full with a nice dry finish.

Overall this is a delicious beer that I would purchase and drink again.

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Photo of westy66
4.61/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

got this on tap at Deagan's in Lakewood Ohio. pours a nice orange/amber color with a little head. i LOVE me imperial ipa's and this one didnt disappoint. it hits you with hops, but that distinctive taste of an imperial finishes it off. lots of citrus, but not too bitter.

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

From notes, sampled 12/22.

Lagunitas Sucks, on-tap @ Gernikas, Boise ID. Served in a pint glass.

A: Crystal clear golden color, with tons of white lace that recedes slowly and covers the glass. Love the way this beer looks.

S: Awesome hoppy bouquet; grapefruit, mango, tangerine, very, pine sap, bready malt too, but the hops shine

T: Great taste, herbal and piney, pithy, lots of orange, candy sweetness, biscuity malt dryness.

MF: Prickly from the bitterness but smooth in the overall body, light medium feel, lots of hoppy dryness.

O: One of my favorites. Glad I found it on tap. This baby is all about the hops, and is pretty unique in my opinion.

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Photo of HOPPYKC
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really don't think this is an imperial. Just had to get this of the bat. Now on with the review. This is an amazing brew. Nice color and carbonation. Crystal clear. Lots of carbonation. Fresh. Smell is nice; fruit, pineapple, orange, lemon, pine, a little close to most of the little sumpin' ales. Easy drinker. A great seasonal but overall with the release being winter the brown sugga' has a fuller and warmer feel. I would be happy to have this on the line up all year long. Great beer. But brown sugga' is better with the colder weather.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having on draft at the union brewhouse.

Appearance: one inch head reduced to a thin layer and slight lacing. Very clear orange with slight signs of carbonation. More lacing as the beer was drank.

Smell: super citrus and piney notes. Very pungent tangerine and grapefruit. Sweet, sweet caramel and toffee notes.

Taste: citrus way up front, pine and sweet malts in the rear. Malts balance out the hops nicely in this beer.

Mouthfeel: smooth, full bodied, medium carbonation, deliciously smooth.

Overall: a very nice Double IPA. Now I can understand all the good things people were talking about. I will be enjoying more of this in the future.

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

appearance - transparent and golden, exceptional lacing, moderate retention

smell - floral and citrus, tropical hops

taste - floral hops are forward, some bite to it

mouthfeel - medium body, good even carbonation, dryness in the finish

overall - really enjoy this, the hop presence is excellent and the flavor profile shines on this

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

Lagunita Sucks. Bottle into Unibroue glass on Dec 10, 2011.

Appearance: 3.5
Clear golden yellow boady with thin white head, moderate lacing.

Smell: 4.5
Amazing dominate citrus qualities. Oranges, a little bit of lemon in the nose, tons of Grapefruit. Malt provides a slight sweetness to contrast strong aromatic hops.

Taste: 4.5
Starts with a combination of soft tropical flavours similar to the aroma, plus a moderate bitterness. Soft crystal malt adds nice sweetness. Finishes with a mild to moderate lingering bitterness and faint presence of citrus still detectable. Very tasty, but tends to be only citrus elements, but no significant pine in the hop profile. However, this is not a problem as the beer has such a delicious flavour to match its amazing aroma.

Mouthfeel: 4
Mild to moderate carbonation with a soft creaminess. Middle of the road sweetness/dryness with some astringency from the hops.

Overall: 4.5
Lives up to the hype. A great citrus forward IPA. For me, it has a lot of the characteristics I like in an IPA. A touch one dimensional in the hops profil, and the hops aren’t really enamel stripping. That being said, I find it incredibly easy to drink and I wish I could have it year round.
Must try, if fresh!

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

Great beer, had this at my favorite pub a few weeks ago on draft after I graduated college.

Very flowery IPA but still had a nice bitterness to it. I was very pleased. I had read a post on the message board about it and it lived up to hype.

I'm more of a stout/dark ale man, but this was fantastic. Definitely would get again.

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

Been enjoying this one quite a bit these past few weeks..nice Christmas gift from Lagunitas, never a real big fan of Brown Shugga anyway...this was first sampled on tap at the Birdsall House in Peekskill a few weeks ago, during their Lag. event, always good to see Trevor and share a few laughs.

On tap:

Pour lightly hazed yellowy amber, under an off white head, that leaves decent looking tongues of sticky lace. Nose is basted in hops of the minty variety.

Aggressively hopped in a distinctly fresh tasting west coast style. Hops are piney, minty and dare I say it “dank”, with further hoppy flavor waves of citrus shining through..yum

Sticky Icky Cali IPA, complexity added by emerging tropical fruit notes…believe it this is a might tasty and well worth seeking out hoppy brew. Well done

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Photo of Giovacchini
4.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas sucks holiday ale is a great Dipa. It has a beautiful smell of guava and it tastes like it smells. It has a clear amber appearance and has sticky syrupy mouthfeel. I grew up drinking Kerns guava juice and this beer has a very comforting effect on me. I am a big Pliny the Elder fan and Lagunitas does a wonderful job and I decided it is my second favorite DIPA after Pliny. I want Lagunitas to brew this beer year round and I am sure I am not the only person that wants that to happen. Since I have never had brown shugga this beer makes me want to call it Lagunitas rocks brown shugga permanent substitute. ( or at least that's what I am going to call it untill they rename it )

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Photo of Jaycase
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: light golden copper hue. visible carbonation. thin head dissipates quickly

s: citrusy (grapefruit) hops dominate the aroma.

t: Plenty of citrusy hops here as well. Getting some additional piney flavor

m: medium body, good carbonation. finishes slightly dry.

o: glad I was able to get obtain this. Solid 'mistake' by Lagunitas. Not overly hoppy - well balanced this. Very enjoyable. Highly recommended for IPA fans.

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Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, the perfect choice for your holiday six-pack needs (especially since at this time of year, I don't feel too put upon to blow 20 bucks on a half-dozen beer). Recent party leftovers, shared now on Christmas Eve, with my mom...and poured into her 'vintage' 1960s era Hamm's chalice - oh yeah!

This beer pours a clear, bright, yet darkish golden yellow colour, with two fingers of loosely foamy, and mostly bubbly off-white head, which leaves some splendidly grotesque cobwebbed lace around the glass as it slowly abates.

It smells of bitter citrus (orange, pineapple, and lime) cream, caramel malt, a further apricot fruitiness, and a twinge of somewhat dank pine essence slowly on the rise. The taste is fairly bitter pine resin and muddled citrus rind, soft bready caramel malt, fading apricot/peach, a bit of musty weediness, and a distinct lack of any overt booze warming.

The carbonation is moderate, though a tad prickly at times, the body a kind of flaccid medium weight, yet still evenly and pleasantly smooth. It finishes off-dry, the hop fruitiness more up in front with the lingering grainy caramel, than lounging with any attendant dry bitterness.

Hoppy? You bet your mistletoe-adjacent ass it is. Bitter? Hardly at all - Scrooge himself seems to have wielded control over that particular item on this wish list. Anyways, a worthy mea culpa/marketing stunt, whatever, it's good, and way more approachable/poundable than I had been led to believe. Mom (she of the bitter beer face tendencies) said it wasn't bitter at all, and quite nice. Ah, it's a verily wonderful life...that's what's actually on the TV, so, well, that's enough for me right now, sigh.

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Photo of kbnooshay
4.89/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am so happy to acquired some of this. It is flying off the shelves here in Crotchfester NY.

Poured a clear golden orange color with with a one and a half finger width head that shrunk down within the minute.

The nose is a huge BLAST of tropical sweet fruity hop aromas! There is a dash of pine hop flavor in there too.

Taste is everything I could have hoped from in this beer. Bitterness is relatively low at 63 when you consider how much fresh n' juicy hop flavor is involved. Citrusy and fruity hops dominate with not much detectable malt flavor! That is fine by me. Such an amazing hop profile. This is better than the Pliny I had a month ago!

Feel is moderate to thick because its so sticky! There is a decent amount of carbonation to balance that out.

Theres no way they won't make this again. Amazing.

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Photo of dexterk1
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a light amber color. Pours with a nice head that diminishes quickly.
Odor is very good. Smell of hops and slightly sweet. Some citrus as well.
Taste is above average but not much. Tastes of pine and pretty green. Some hops and slight spice notes. Sort of like a IPA, but is not all the way committed.
Mouth feel is good. Is not heavy and does not linger long. Overall a very solid beer.

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Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, heck of a DIPA for being sub-8%—though I tend to like my hop bombs on the lighter side. The aroma is rich with a mix of rye and grassy citrus. The flavor opens with juicy, floral hop notes and progresses back to the spicier, grassy pine of the aroma. The malts, unlike in most DIPAs, provide a distinct, dry bready undertone to amp up the complexity. I gotta say, I really prefer this to BrownShugga'. Grab this up if you can find any more. It's sort of like Southern Tier's 2XIPA, but with an extra kick of malty goodness.

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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 Minkybut
2.62/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured this aptly named beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The first thing of course I noticed was there was no head at all after a few minutes. The beer was a nice golden color and smelled hoppy. But the taste was just over the top hoppy. Like sticking a Christmas tree in your mouth. Turpentine after notes. It really did LIVE UP TO ITS name.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a brilliant bright golden orange color with nice amounts of carbonation and a thin layer of foam that nearly dies completely out and hangs on.

S - Pine and grapefruit dominate most of the nose a mix of light tobacco aroma and some oranges. The aroma is dominated by hops, without a doubt.

T - This is an agressively hopped IPA showing the same character on the tongue as it did in the nose with healthy doses of pine and grapefruit bitterness. Some light malt biscuity sweetness sits underneath and the hop bitterness seems to swirl around on top and ends with some alcohol effervescence and a lingering bitter finish.

M - One of the best qualities of this beer: smooth, creamy, heavy medium body, and somewhat oily.

O - This can replace BrownShugga' any day (IMO). Wonderfully hopped and absolutely opposite of what I expected being it's a "Holiday Ale". Lagunitas, add this one to your regular rotation, it's a keeper.

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

poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance - A one-and-a-half finger, off-white head dissipates into a thin film. The lacing is quite nice on this one. The color is a deep gold with hints of vibrant orange.

Smell - The smell is mostly sweet and full of citrus. I get a lot of grapefruit. There is also a bit of piney hops. This has to be one of the best smelling IPA's I've had.

Taste - This is along the lines of the nose, but I get more of the pine. There is some malt noticeable, but it is dominated by the hops As with many Lagunitas brews, the alcohol is present, and it's warmth is noticeable mid-pint.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and nicely carbonated

Overall - This is a solid brew. If you're a hophead, this seasonal offering is well worth your time.

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Photo of oline73
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really excited to find this in MD. Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear light golden/amber with a finger of thick white head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass and leaves a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: The dominant smell is definitely the hops. I'm picking up citrus and mild pine with some grapefruit rind in there. Mildly sweet malt in the background balances things out a bit.

Taste: Taste a lot like it smells. Really strong citrus peel hop bitterness right off the bat. There are some pine notes as well. The hop profile is fantastic. There is enough malt to balance things out, but the taste from it isn't very strong. The finish is bitter and hoppy.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side and quite sticky. There is a good amount of carbonation with a dry finish.

Overall: I really hope they end up making this one again. The citrus hop taste is fantastic. I will definitely have this again if I have the chance.

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Photo of Damian
4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 12 fluid oz's bottle acquired in a trade with celticfutblclub
Served in a snifer

The liquid poured a slightly hazy amber color and was topped by a small, creamy head of off-white froth. Tiny droplets of lacing trickled down the sides of the glass.

The sweet, hoppy nose was dominated by strong tropical fruit notes. Papaya was was quite prominent. Lots of mango too. A slight mustiness was also detectible. The hops were backed by a moderate, caramel-like sweetness. Orange peel came through as well.

The flavor profile was similar to the nose, though not quite as punchy. Again, tropical fruit notes of papaya and mango came through strong. Lots of citrus. The hops were nicely balanced by a stiff yet unobtrusive malt backbone. A touch of grapefruit pith appeared on the finish.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied. Smooth and slightly creamy with a fine, moderate effervescence.

Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale is rather straight forward in its aroma and flavor profile, yet it is quite impressive nevertheless. Unlike most balanced IPAs that rely on loads of caramel malts to smooth out the hoppy bitterness, Sucks seems to do this by keeping the malts to a minimum and using a hop profile that is both fruity and bright.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.47/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is a super clear, mild copper and hay mix. Mild head, foam, and a little lacing. There's a little sediment suspended in this super clear brew.

Holy citrus and pine! Makes me think of orange and lemon zest dipped in pine needle juice.Is there any malt in this beer? Doesn't smell like it.

Starts with a resiny mouthfeel that goes along with the strong citric zest and pine needle essence. Super astringent and add some carbonation and you have a bitter, zest hop bomb for the Holidays. Very bitterness/hopcentric. I love IPA's and DIPA's, but this almost makes my lips picker with astringent bitterness. I've drank this romm temp. and cold with the same result. I just can't give it high marks for my palate or in respect to the style designation.

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Photo of pixieskid
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Don't think it's as epic as the numerous threads over the last month or so have stated, but a damn good dipa.

Unusually creamy mouthfeel (probably the wheat in the grain bill) with a firm carbonation and hint of slickness from all those dank hops.

Aroma is straight up floral and citrus hops.
Taste mimics the nose but with a distinct earthy/grassy hop finish with a balanced bitterness.

Overall; pretty sure the 6er I just bought won't last long and wish I would have been stateside to try it fresher/be able to purchase more.

Looking forward to the "leftovers" release at the start of the new year!

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,188 ratings.
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