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

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1,576 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: 1,576 | Ratings: 10,114
Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've passed this over several times, even after numerous people telling me how good it was. I'd never had a chance to have Brown Shugga until this year either and after having it and being quite satisfied... I saw the Sucks and decided that it was time.

Pours from the bottle a very nice deep golden straw. A crisp and quickly dissipating white head that hangs around in thin clouds over the top. Doesn't really look spectacular, looks like a nice beer.

Phew! Smell is pretty fabulous, and by fabulous, I mean stanky with hops. And by stanky, I mean great! A great hop smell. Fresh, resinous, piney, citrusy, floral, herbal. Simply bursting at the seams and a tad bit earthy as well. Quite nice indeed.

Taste follows up with the smell, all of mentioned show up in this beer. An attack of fresh, resinous, piney, earthy, citrusy, floral, pineappley, herbal hops. A long bitterness at the end and a bit of a tart, pinching, dryness that makes the mouth water. There is a hint of bubble gum intermingled with the malt that has a touch of vanilla and caramel. The sweetness balances out the bitterness perfectly.

Mouthfeel is a bit tart, a bit tacky, a bit dry. But nothing that is unusual and nothing I wouldn't have expected. It was way I had hoped for. A drinkable medium body.

Altogether, I haven't reviewed Brown Shugga yet, but this does stand up to the bit of Brown Shugga I had in quality. Personally I enjoyed Brown Shugga a bit more but that is just my tastes. This is really fantastic and a very good hoppy ale. I was pleasantly surprised and am glad to say I have one more bottle of it. Don't pass it up! Try it out!

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Photo of Stir-the-pot-guy
4.76/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- golden orange....beware.... Aggressive pour could lead to 3 finger + head

S- Let me take you down to the smells of peach meets grapefruit meets hoppy pine? $&#%¥?! YAH!

T- Classic California IPA with a surprise...WEST SIDE!!!! Peachy notes with tropical fruit goodness...think opening a can of fruit cocktail with a taste of grapefruit pine...say what????

M- My experience is that I was washed over with that tropical fruit goodness mentioned previously and then that beautiful IPA bitterness washes over the sides your pallet to ready your taste buds for the next taste of complex fruitiness

O- Limited addition IPA hype is no joke....hop heads might be pissed because of the lower IBU's around the 60 mark....but if you are about balance, flavor, and getting excited about a beer...and ohh yeah I forgot it has 7.85 abv that can't be explained because it does'nt show up... Be happy you just paid $10 for this six pack

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Photo of jdhops
3.23/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a Lagunitas mason jar.

A: Pours a clear golden with a fluffy white head that thins rapidly. Pretty lacing.

S: Aroma is more malty than hoppy. A little sweet smelling.

T: Smooth entry, then a big dose of Belgian yeast. Hops finally appear at the finish, then seem to leave, then resurface in a pleasant, slightly bitter aftertaste.

M: Light and clean, carbonated just right.

O: Very easy to drink. The 7.85 ABV is hard to believe, it's so smooth. The 63 IBU, however, seems accurate. Almost no bitterness until very late; mostly yeast and a malty sweetness. Doesn't taste like an IPA, much less a DIPA. Reminiscent of Little Sumpin Wild with its Belgian yeast flavor. Not bad, but I much prefer Hop Stoopid.

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Photo of watermelon
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass. According to the bottle it was bottled on November 23rd.

A: Very light amber body the color of honey. Massive 4 finger soapy tannish head Tons of lacing and great retention.

S: Big hop presence lots of grapefruit, pineapple and citrus flavors. Some dank and pine flavors present as well. Some hints of peach and floral hops. Brown sugar and malt flavors let you know this is a derivative of brown shugga.

T: Taste follows the nose there were some more resinous flavors on the back end.

M: Nice full bodied mouthfeel leaves a nice sweeting coating on the teeth and some bitterness on the tongue.

O: Buy this if you can find it. Its one of the best IPAs I've had and its an amazing value.

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Photo of bushwik
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

You can taste the quality of this beer and it drinks pretty damn nice for +7% ABV beer. I could drop a few of these in one session no problem. Its got that real floral Lagunitas hop taste that is present in most of their beers . This beer in my opinion is better then Brown Shugga simply b/c its much easier to enjoy and the alcohol doesn't kill you, but to each his own I guess. I wish I had a Sumthin Sumthin that I should compare side by side b/c I think this is closer to that beer in taste, mouthfeel, and appearance then any of the other Lagunitas brews. If you like D/IPA give it a shot.

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Photo of Roguer
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful, snow-white, 3-finger head with incredible retention and fluffy lacing. Brew is copper and straw, transparent, and incredibly lively and bubbly up the middle.

Light grapefruit and strong floral aroma, with a hint of brown sugar or caramel malt in the background. Some honey, and a faint whiff of that cat pee aroma. Tons, tons of hops.

Hops are a little brighter and greener than the aroma indicates, fairly resinous, somewhat flowery and dank. Most of the sweetness comes across in the malt, a little bit of honey, some brown sugar, rye, pepper, and grain. There's really a wide range to the hop profile, and it's fantastic.

Very lively, a bit of carbonation sting, solid medium bodied beer. Sticky retention. Slightly creamy.

This is a very good and solid DIPA. There's just a slight bite to the taste and the mouthfeel that keeps it from being on the level with Heady. There seems to be some inconsistency as well; the last several times I have had Sucks, it was worlds different - and better - than the first couple times.

I don't know if Sucks is really as worthy as the hype implies, but it's certainly a very, very good beer.

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Photo of ZoomanCru
3.9/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas Sucks – American Imperial IPA (7.85%) - Lagunitas Brewing Co. (California)

App: Rich golden straw color with an OK head that dissipates pretty quickly but leaves a nice ring of lace and some retention. Overall pretty decent looking with an exceptional clarity.

Smell: Bombastic hops nose of tropical fruit such as start fruit and pineapple. Some piney notes. Malty sweetness definitively present but not particularly strong. A little bitter (pleasantly) in the high throat through the nose.

Taste: Sweet malt and hops characteristics combine perfectly to make a heady and deeply hoppy brew that is neither too hoppy nor too alcoholic. Bitterness is pronounced but doesn't overstay it's welcome. Aftertaste is smooth, leaving me wanting another sip. Approaching the sublime and indescribable mythic pale ale of legend. The shadow of a god.

Mouth: Rich body with medium carbonation. Nothing missing, but nothing spectacularly full either.

Home tasting, 12oz bottle into Tulip Glass. 12/18/13.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Retrying this with a bottle I know is fresh. Pours golden and clear with a giant fluffy white head. Off the bat there is significantly more cat pee, pine, lemon peel, and huge florals than last time. Flavor is a mouthfeel of fresh hops, medium bitter, with honey, pine, pineapple, grapefruit, orange peel, and some sweet malts in the background. What a night and day difference! Medium slick mouthfeel with medium or a little less carbonation. A really nice brew that I could have again for sure. Maybe a step or two below my favorites but still very nice. Only complaint is that I would like a bit more carb. Glad I retried this one. Deleted the other rating because I think it might have been a really old bottle. Shit happens. This is good.

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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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Photo of twizzard
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've over looked this Gem on more than one occasion....shame on me! Poured a golden, hazy orange into a tulip glass. Aroma was sweet, floral with some light pine. Taste follows the nose, sweet & floral with a very subtle malt back bone.
An automatic placement in my top 10 IIPA's. Well done Lagunitas!

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Photo of BastardKing24
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Got this from my local brew store, after reading about it, and also loving anything Lagunitas.

Pours a light gold with a huge billowing head that sticks around for a while.
Lacing is thick, very proper looking brew.

Smell is nice with dank hops and citrus, pine, pineapple, clove, malt, not the most overwhelming smell but it hits the spot for IPAs, I'm diggin it.

Taste is a huge hop presence, kinda spicy, very floral, piney, some citrus, reminds me of pliny. Alcohol is well hidden, can't taste it.

Mouthfeel is medium carbonation, with a sticky aftertaste of hops, resin sits on tongue.

Overall a fantastic beer I will seek out in the future. Get ahold of it!

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Photo of blindtiger24
4.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a Lagunitas Mason Jar.

A: Golden yellow or light copper with thin head that lingers with soapy traces left on the side of the glass. Slight haze but a steady stream of carbonation rising.

S: Hugh pine, dank, smoke and even a honey mustard-like aroma on the nose.

T: Clean taste at first, but that huge hop flavor strikes with expressive earthy, piney, juniper flavors. And then amazingly the hop smack backs off, some of the malt sweetness creeps in only for the oily hop resin sensation to sneak back. Not overly bitter.

M: Manages a balance between hop bitterness, malt sweetness, and clean feeling. A little dry feeling but more in your soaking up every last drop because those flavors just keep coming.

O: The first time I had this on tap, I was amazed. Now after having it in the bottle, I think that the people at Lagunitas are dabblers in the black magic of Alchemy. Awesome beer from first sip to last sip. Hug aromas and flavors without wrecking your palate. Among my top 5 beers ever. Believe the hype!

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Pub glass.
Appearance - gold color; thick, white, bubbly head. Lace sheets the glass.
Smell - phenomenal! sweet nectar, citrus and floral hops, some caramel candy.
Taste - follows the nose brilliantly, well balanced and complex flavors!
Feel - this is hop forward, but not overly aggressive. Incredibly easy to drink for the ABV!
Overall - I love the balance and complexity of this beer and the price point makes this one of my favorites!

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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 tastybeerinmybelly
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There are not many beers that I could drink for the rest of my life and not get tired of, but this one would definitely not suck. I didn't even know it was "sucks season" already, and was pleasantly surprised when I walked into my beer store today. Unfortunately, they have a one 6 pack limit, so I am working on a disguise so I can go back tomorrow and get some more.

This one pours a little darker than a lot of IPA's with a nice head on it.

The smell is hard for me to describe, but it makes my mouth water! It has a wonderful citrus hoppy smell, but with a dank undertone to it.

The taste, the taste, the taste... This is how every beer should taste! Hoppy perfection, with each sip tasting better than the last.

This beer is damn near perfection!

I like pretty much every Lagunitas beer, but this is my favorite.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.
7.85% ABV, 1.085 OG, 63.21 IBUs

A - Sucks pours a bright golden color that's clarity is only matched in beauty by it's tall and resilient white head allowing gobs of sticky lace to grab the glass with ease.

S - Tropical fruit driven by hops assaults the nostrils with beautiful layers of mango and passion fruit with an earthy twang of grapefruit rind and grass overlapping the simple pale malt base.

T - Crisp and clean, the base malt's simplicity allows for the hops to continue shining from the aroma to the flavor, vibrant with tropical nuances. Drops of lemon oil citrus and notes of dank resin also join the fun, further adding levels of delicious hop complexity to Sucks.

M - Refreshing. Sucks is ultra-refreshing. This double IPA is bitter but not so bitter it can't be enjoyed; it's achievement is balancing the components for a smooth, crisp body that finishes with a touch of dryness and a, "hell yeah I'll have another."

O - Nothing says Lagunitas like a) making hoppy beers and b) bucking trends. Sucks accomplishes both with it's powerful hop aroma and flavor, straying quite far from the usual winter warmers released around the same time. This tropical, citrusy double IPA is a look forwards to spring and summer as it finishes crisp, clean, and damn drinkable - it's a quenching double IPA, not a barleywine-like monster. I don't think anyone will blame Lagunitas for sucking unless they stop making this delicious beer.

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Photo of South2NW
4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured to goblet

A: golden, translucent with a finger width creamy head that leaves great lacing.

S: lovely aroma of hops, citrus and pine that delight your sense of smell.

T: big bold citrus flavors, with a hint of piney resin. Slight bitter finish.

M: medium body, creamy. Very easy drinking.

O: wow! This is really tasty. I will be stocking up.

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Photo of brurevu
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was big grapefruit hops from the moment I opened the bottle. It had a very strong aroma and the initial taste was all grapefruit. This is what I have come to expect from Lagunitas. As the Holiday Ale warmed I could taste a nice malty backbone that helped balance out the strong hops. The beer leaves a good lingering bitterness on the palate and the flavor kept me coming back. This was another great beer from Lagunitas.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into DFH Signature glass

A - big foamy white head, the beer is clear golden. left some nice lacing on the glass as I drank it down
S - burst of citrus, some resinous pine
T - some malty sweetness is nicely balanced with a hop whollop, flavors include grapefruit and other citrus fruits, bitter finish lingers for a bit just asking me to take another sip
M - medium carb, and slick body, very drinkable
O - This has to be the best value DIPA out there. Insanely good!

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz, bottle into a pint glass. Bottling date of 351 3, so that's the 351st day of 2013. 14 days old, pretty nice!

A- Pours a nice deep gold yellow, the very lightest shade of amber. Nice clarity and a big white head the stuck around and left nice lacing on the glass.

S- Wow! This is the most tropical smell beer I've ever had. Lots of ripe passion fruit, some guava and mango, papaya. Light toasted cracker malt coming through.

T- Nice candy sweetness without being overpowering, again lots of tropical fruits, I almost can't believe it. More toasted cracker malt than in the nose but still very slight and does not take away from the bright juicy hops. Nice medium level of bitterness not as high as other signature ipas but still substantial enough to linger on the palate for a bit after swallowing.

M- A nice medium mouthfeel similar to other ipas of this strength. Pretty easy drinking if your used to hops. The lighter bitterness means I might drink this 6 pack by tomorrow.

O- I had a half pint of this stuff earlier in the year in a flight and it was the only one that stuck out and wowed me. When it came out this time I ran right out and grabbed a 6er to consume as fresh as possible. Holy hell! I love this tropical bomb of a beer. It's almost hard to drink because then it will go away and I won't be able to smell it. An instant favorite and something every type of beer drinker should taste or at least smell!

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

November 14th, 2013

Sucks in a tulip at cellar temperature.

Appearance: A pretty golden honey-amber body and a gorgeous three-finger, puffy white cloud of a head that rises above the rim to make a little mound of foam on top. 4.5

Not an extremely strong aroma here, but there's some pine and orange zest. Also a kind of dank, mellow hoppy scent. 3.75

Tastes of tangy orange upfront, sweet breadiness in the middle, and substantial hops in the finish. As the 63.21 IBUs would indicate, the bitterness level is pretty moderate. It has some nice hop flavor without the punishing bitterness some double IPAs have (although I do sometimes enjoy that type of punishment). 4.25

I'd call it medium-bodied. Feels alright. 4

It doesn't suck. 4.25

May 19th, 2015

So the first time Sucks showed up here two years ago, I believe it was terribly out-of-date (like, more than a year old). I revisited it tonight after finding some that's only about three months old. Most of the descriptors above still hold true for me, but with the volume turned up higher enough for this imperial IPA to impress me a lot more. The aroma is much stronger in this fresher beer, and I get more delightfully dank, astringent hops in both the aroma and flavor. Especially the finish.

So as an update: it REALLY doesn't suck.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was one of my first big DIPAs and now I'm revisiting with a bit more experience under my belt.
Appearance - like a number of great DIPAs, not a terribly appealing to look at. A fine golden hue, but doesn't make you salivate.
Smell - Ridiculous. Explodes with citrus and pine
Taste - Much like the smell, especially piney up front, but sweetens out with a slight maltiness at the end.
Mouthfeel - for a big beer, it's light and bubbly with slightly oily hint.
Overall - pretty amazing still. It blew my mind when I first had it and it was one of those beers that made you go looking for other world-class IPAs. I couldn't imagine, then, anything could be this good. I was wrong, but this is nevertheless one of my all-time favorites.

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Photo of edgeh2o
4.98/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Probably my new favorite from Lagunitas. All of their beers are arguably among the best, but this one is something special. Everything I look for in an IPA, and more. Great smell, equally great taste. I wish this was a regular offering, because I'm craving one right now!

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Photo of TdLJg
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Poured a deep orange with bright white head.

S: Amazing citrus aroma. A treat for the nose.

T: Big wonderful punch of hops and citrus followed by a slight bitter feel in the back of the mouth.

M: Wonderful smooth feel on the mouth with a dry finish.

O: Very drinkable big ass beer. Excellent.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - bright golden, nearly clear, tower of white head retained very well, some random lacing
S - pine, tropical fruit, mild greens and raw grain
T - a mango citrus hop flavour dominates with hints of pine and leafy greens, raw grains and mild buttery bread give it enough malt backbone to keep it just balanced
M - light and well carbonated, somewhat juicy, just a touch of bitter on the finish
O - a mellow and easy drinking DIPA, its hoppy but not really DIPA hoppy, but it has character and great drinkability

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,114 ratings.
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