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

1,599 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: 1,599 | Ratings: 10,192
Photo of FreshHawk
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Light tangerine gold color. Large, light, foamy, bubbly, sticky, white head. Average retention leaving a slight ring of lace.

S - Nice citrusy orange and tangerine hops. Hints of tropical fruit, especially pineapple. Hints of pine resin. Clean, biscuity/biscotti malt aroma. Slightly sweet and juicy.

T - Very balanced IPA that is similar to the nose. Fresh hoppy flavor to start with a fairly bitter pine and orange rind flavor. Very green and slightly weedy flavor. Nice, clean malt backbone throughout with a slight sweetness. Near the finish there is a nice fruity blast. Finishes clean, bitter, and with a slight tang.

M - Medium body with above average carbonation. Crisp, zesty, and lively.

D - Very balanced IPA. Alcohol is very well hidden. Exceptionally drinkable and quite refreshing with a nice clean finish. Great mix of bitter and sweet and very fresh tasting.

Notes: Really nice IPA (I don't really see it as a double but whatever). Balanced and quite refreshing. Nice mix of different hoppy flavors, but what really made this nice was just how fresh the hop flavors were and how it jumped out at you. Great clean, slightly sweet, malt backbone that allowed that to happen. Worth picking up a sixer.

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Photo of mnphish
4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle served into a pint glass

Looks like lagunitas chronic gold

I get whiffs of Pineapple, Citrus, Passion Fruit, Grapefruit hops.

Tastes like a pineapple passion fruit orgasm. Very hop heavy. Slightly bitter. Slight Malt taste. So much fruity flavor, a tropical assault on the palate.

Smooth and medium body. Very drinkable, nice carbonation. A bit sparkly in a good way.

An outstanding DIPA from one of the greatest breweries on the planet. They absolutely crushed this one. This is the perfect IPA imo, fruit & hop heavy - little pine, no floral flavor, minimal malts, yet balanced. At $9.99 a six pack this is my favorite seasonal double IPA. More affordable than HopSlam or Abrasive but it has just as much flavor. I would kill to have this on tap in Cali. Lagunitas Sucks.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.44/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head oversized goblet.

Amber liquid with a champagne half-finger of dense foam spread across the wide surface. Good clarity, pasty lacing, good retention.

Herbaceous, floral, fruity, continuously detonating hop bomb of a nose...though never abrasive or over-done. Passion fruit, pink peppercorn, violets, rosewater, along with the more expected citrus (Ugli fruit?) and pine (very light).

Malty palate entry leads with a deceitful honey/nectar sweetness lulling you into an initial calm before the lagging wave of hop flavors arrives all at once, acting in concert, pungent and bewildering, with an unwavering punch of bitterness and resinous soapy goodness. A lovely lively mixture that finishes without any excess (no cat piss, pinesol, etc.) despite the general intensity. Guessing the immense hop additions came late to dial down the IBUs - whatever they did, it works well, achieving balance without much maltiness.

Creamy, oily, medium-full bodied, warming but never solventy...moderately carbonated and soft yet bright from the citrus notes and bitterness.

Particularly for the price, this is a hop-head's delight - complex, flavorful, well crafted, and intense without being overdone or generic. Very satisfying.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.72/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a lovely oranged yellow, almost golden, with a great big slightly cream white head that sits at over two finger widths. The body is light and translucent, with only the faintest mist of haze, and a steady stream of gentle carbonation bubbles working to the top of the glass. The beer’s lacing is droopy and thin, leaving a spatterwork of hanging sheets upon the sides of the glass. On the nose the beer smells big with minty pine, a touch of citrus, and a faint touch of salty onion. The grains are found only as the lightest backdrop for the smell, suggesting slight toasty bread and caramel. On the tongue, the beer tastes bitter with a nice light sweet tinge. The beer begins with sweet bitters before opening into slightly caramelly herbal bitters that lightly suggest mint and onion. The finish runs with a light touch of orange citrus and is strong with pine, which lasts into the finish. The aftertaste is light with medicinal bitters and piney hops. On the mouth, the beer feels medium-light in body, with just the faintest gelling to suggest a heavier beer. The carbonation leaves a decent prickle on the tongue, and after the beer leaves the mouth is left sticky-dry, with a bitter astringency gripping at the tongue, though the mouth is clean. Overall, I’m a little disappointed with Sucks… Lots of people are heralding this beer as an amazing DIPA, but honestly I see it more as a strong IPA, falling just short of the bigger flavors that a DIPA carries. The beer is nicely drinkable, and carries some nice bitters, but the onioniness that this beer has is throwing me off the taste, and other than that I fine the hop profile a little lackluster in terms of complexity. Just to clarify, I have tried a six-pack of these now, and all of them have had the slight onion flavor, which is odd and I suppose I will chalk up to an older pack (though they had spent less than a week on the shelf when I picked them up…). This beer is a mediocre almost-DIPA, in my book, but is not really worthy of hunting down.

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Photo of JohnSnowNW
3.98/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I decided to give this one a go based on several comparisons made to Hopslam. Most of these reviews were of the opinion that Hopslam is overrated and Sucks was superior. My response is that this simply isn't the case. Sucks is far less complex than Hopslam. There is nothing particularly wrong with Sucks for what it's billed as, but it doesn't really stand out either.

I'm not going into any more detail about my ranking, as I won't be describing anything that hasn't already been posted.

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Photo of MCain04
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-reviewing because I find I can't stop drinking this stuff, and it deserves a better rating than I gave it initially.

Poured into a 16 oz Hopleaf Tulip. Unsure of the date of freshness, but drinking it 2 days after buying, and it just showed up in the store.

Appearance: Clear, copper color, and off-white head of about 2 finger thickness. Fantastic retention and lacing.

Smell: Very nice on the nose. Orange peel, mango, citrus, pine, floral, and honey.

Taste: Not sure if the first batch I had was old, but this one is exploding with flavor. Hops galore on the taste. Tropical citrus, mango, and pineapple dominate. The grassy, floral notes are present but take a backseat. Strong malt backbone. This is made with a "cereal" of malts including barley, rye, wheat and oats. Can't understand who would need more malt out of a DIPA. Mild bitterness on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, a touch of acidity. Smooth, sticky on the finish. Not overly dry.

Overall: I've come full circle on this beer now. I loved its first release in 2011. The first time I had this year's batch I was surprised at how malty it was, given how everyone kept calling it a DIPA. That, combined with the fact that I picked up on less hops than I do now, made me think of this as more of a strong ale, so it took away points for the lack of sticking to the style. However, I keep drinking it and now I can't stop. I dont care if I get a heavy malty stickyness from that cereal medley of malt, it tastes really good. Call it what you will, but I'm in favor of a beer that just tastes great, even if it doesn't fit squarely into one style. For $9/6 pack, I can't imagine I will drink much else while this is available.

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Photo of Kisejohn
4.91/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Lagunitas Sucks 12 ounce bottle

Aroma: Huge citrus nose. Grapefruit, lemons, some pine. A slight malty sweetness present.

Appearance: golden, clear with one finger of head.

Flavor: Grapefruit and lemons predominate. Some malty sweetness to balance. Bitter finish that lingers. Exceeded my expectations.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light for a nearly 8 percent ABV beer. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Lagunitas excels at hop forward beers and Sucks is one of the Crown Jewels. I bought two six packs and will be back to get more before its gone. Highly recommended for all hop heads. Buy it while you can!

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

Does Lagunitas brew any IPA that DOESN'T rock??

Another winner out of Petaluma. Bright, flavorful hops up front with a restrained malt body and no alcohol bite whatsoever. The first sip opens up with some tangerine, pineapple, and light lemon flavors. Sweetness from the malts backs up the hops and tones down the bitterness. Just a well-balanced beer overall, perhaps leaning a bit more on the bitter side compared to Brown Shugga. This is something I would expect to be released during the dog days of summer.

A bit more malt backbone and higher ABV and this would be 5's across the board for me. As it is, it's still phenomenal, but not quite 100.

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Photo of pkalix
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

well, we'll see if i have developed that refined taste for that west coast turbo-hopped brew yet. i honestly dont think lagunitas could brew anything without the incredible amount of hops to hide the alcohol but let's try this. i CAN appreciate a hop beer, i just prefer a balance of the other stuff available.
poured a beautiful golden with very little foam on top, although the thin film remaiing on top does cling to the glass quite nicely. i like that.
as it pours, i am inundated with the aroma of what i imagine would be walking through a grapefruit harvest or a hop harvest. i do like the smell of hops; it's just that i feel they add a bitterness which i havent really come to appreciate yet.
the taste is . . . . grapefruit/lemonade. enough said! there is some tingling on the tongue, like some effervescence of the carbonation and i get the distinct image of a kid's lemonade stand selling this. not sweet like i would expect, but not terrible. almost a fusion of lemon and grapefruit (once again). being a city boy, i can also almost imagine a grassy field i'm walking through, wafting in the aroma just before the allergies set in...
overall? decent. seems everyone else is scoring it highly and i can appreciate what i'm drinking. it's a great in-betweener of all the different beers i have lined up for the afternoon but i imagine my tongue would shrivel up and i would lose my appetite (maybe not a bad thing in my case) if i were to drink the entire six pack of this. but i believe it earns the scores i give it... and i like the high abv!

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Photo of kemoarps
3.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

beautiful amber straw. Nice white head, lingers, laces.

The nose holds a citric hop profile with some... round sweet something, almost a bubblegum style aroma. Not actually bubblegum but round like that. Or something?

Hoppy hopperson. Citrus hops.

smoothe enough on the finish, the hops linger linger linger

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Photo of buschbeer
3.85/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle
Served in a tulip glass

A - It is amber in color with about four inches of off-white head.

S - The aroma is citrus with a focus on grapefruit. I get some pine/juniper as well.

T - The taste is not as intense as I expected. The citrus/grapefruit come through but not with the smack in mouth that I was anticipating.

M - Moderate with plenty of carbonation.

O - It is a good beer, but I think the hype kind of raised my expectations. I have enjoyed every Lagunitas beer that I have tried so far, and this is no exception. It is just not the mind blowing beer that I have heard that it was.

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Photo of jondeavers
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Very interesting aroma here. Burley tobacco and super piney hops lead the nose and the taste follows suit. The mouthfeel is medium. The over-the-topness falls short in the finish as the sweet hoppiness thins out. Overall a very good IPA and the aroma alone makes it worth the cost of the six-pack. Will definitely buy again.

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Photo of wiscokid920
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into snifter

A- Clear golden with creamy/sticky two finger head with nice retention and lacing

S- Aromas are FANTASTIC! Huge citrus hop profile featuring grapefruit, pineapple, and mango with some malty biscuit sweetness.

T- Follows the nose to a tee. Grapefruit and piney hop bitterness is complimented by the sweet mango and malty flavors. FANTASTIC!

M- Medium bodied with that excellent oiliness and hop pucker that all the great IIPAs posses.

O- This IIPA is absolutely dialed in. Every aspect of the brew compliments the other. The most balanced take on the style I have had to date!

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Photo of Kinsman
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Crystal clear light copper colored body with a beautiful sticky white head on top. Lots of tropical/citrus fruit and pine notes right up front on the nose. Pretty straight forward all-hop no-malt aroma.

Grapefruit and mango notes in the first few sips. Some resiny flavors as well. Not a whole lot going on elsewhere. Seems to be lacking a certain something that might help round it out a bit more but I'm not quite sure what it is. Lacking a malt-backbone perhaps?

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side for a DIPA. Certainly makes it quite drinkable and refreshing. Overall, this is certainly an excellent DIPA but it falls just short of some of my favorites which seem to have more body to them.

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - orange blossom honey hued, with hald a finger of pure white head fed by plenty of carbonation and even some sediment

S - sweet grapefruit aroma, with hints of pine, but deceptively sweet

T - grapefruit erupts immediately a supreme tart fruit experience that melds nicely into a layered sweet and tart amalgamation,

M&D&O - an improperly named beer, nothing sucks about this brew othere than running out. its simple without being boring, provocative without being complex,a wonderful beer

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Photo of houstoncarl
4.76/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

OK, I LOVE this IPA - I am signing on to this site again for the first time in 3 years only to let folks know TO TRY THIS IPA!!

I've tried it both on tap and in the bottle. I actually use a glass (instead straight out of the bottle to capture more aroma)

It bumped out Sweetwater IPA for my first place brew . It is just loaded down with Simcoe hops. The best nose I've ever smelled on an IPA (frankly, it's nearly identical to the IPA I homebrew but with a bright polish.

OK what is so damn good about this IPA?

1)- the nose is fantastic best I've EVER smelled on an IPA
2) the balance - they absolutely nailed the balance of the IBUs to the alcohol sweetness and nailed the combination of hops to the malt (a bit of biscuit malt in there?)


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Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light straw with orange hues. Thick white head which while isn't dense, is quite persistent. Minimal lacing.

Smell is the highlight of this guy. I just want to swim around in a kiddie pool full of this aroma. Grapefruit, passion fruit, lemon, herbal onions if that's a thing.

The taste smacks you around a bit with a hit of alcohol, but the hop juiciness is righteous. Bitter, citrusy, lemon, and more alcohol punch. Love it.

Mouthfeel is pretty slick. Tight carbonation.

Overall one of my favorite beers at this price point. This and nugget nectar are by far the most aromatically pleasing beers I've ever had the pleasure of sniffing. I want to play in a slip and slide covered in this. Really any water sport with this beer instead of water would do.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: into a pint glass, deep gold ber with a firm 2-finger head of off-white foam, nice laciness

S: pale and sweet malts, some notes of pine and citrus hops

T: light malt backbone, crisp and fresh-tasting, hops come through with resin and grapefruit, some pine and citron

M: light-bodied, particularly for a DIPA, brisk but moderate carbonation, clean finish

O: a very good beer, but less heavy than most of its peers which makes for an almost session-able drink; I'd certainly buy it again, but I think the hype exceeds the beer

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Photo of ChrisL24481
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - Poured a bright, golden- orange color with a one-finger off-white head. The head appears light and soft. The head dissipates at a decent rate with some lacing and retention. A little bit of carbonation with some bubbles rising to the top. This just looks like a great tasting beer.

Smell - As soon as I began pouring this into a pint glass, I could smell the hops from about a foot away. I could still smell the hops even with the glass sitting a few inches away from me. With the first sniff, I can pick up the hops right off the bat with floral, grassy, and piney notes followed by the tropical and citrus flavors of grapefruit and tangerine.

Taste - The taste as exactly as the smell. I can pick up on the the flavors of tropical and citrus fruits with the floral notes following suit. It is a very well balanced beer as well. It is not to bitter, but as the beer warms some bitterness lingers.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation can be felt at first, but that feeling disappears as the beer warms. This is a medium-to-light body beer that is perfectly balanced and smooth.

Overall - Whatever the opposite of Sucks is, that is what you can label this beer. It is simply amazing. A great smell, great taste, and perfectly balanced. This is not overpowering and it is very refreshing. Hopefully, Lagunitas will begin distributing this beer year round because once a year is not enough. I hope to find another sixer of this soon because this is simply delicious!

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Photo of Anker13
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2/1/13- Lagunitas | Lagunitas Sucks | 12oz Bottle

Appearance- brilliantly clear, golden straw in color, wispy white lacy head

Aroma- LOTS of grapefruit hops up front, dank, citrus and topical, slight spice on the end, little malt character

Mouthfeel- moderate-high co2, medium bodied, well balanced, slight drying but not too much at all

Taste- Tastes as it smells, grapefruity bitterness, subtle malty undertones leaning towards bready and grain, really well balanced IPA.

Residual- Great aftertaste, lingering sweetness that dissipates nicely, not sticky either

Overall- Based on the hype, I was expecting a little more, but overall it’s still a truly fantastic Imperial IPA. Very well balanced, not overwhelming in either malt sweetness or hop bitterness. Highly recommended

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Photo of mattbk
4.72/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

A: Clear, slightly darker than golden, not very carbonated, lazy bubbles.
S: Amazing smell. Rich hop oily aromas. Tangerine, mango. Wonderful.
T: Like the smell. Hop oils, tangerine is best food relation I can make. Some pineyness too. Super dank. Some nice maltiness behind the flavor too makes it a bit sticky sweet, in a good way. Not much bitterness out of this beer - the label says "63.21 IBUs" - I don't believe this number - but it is low in bitterness comparitively. This beer is amazing.
M: Not very, very dry - some mouthfeel to this, which I am enjoying.
O: Really, really like this beer. Of IPAs I've tried, I'd put this only below Heady as my favorite.

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

Two finger pillowy white head with good retention. The head on this thing looks so good. Amber to orange in color and crystal clear, showing off just enough carbonation to keep the head on my beer to the bottom of my snifter.
The aromas that I pick up are all fruit related, the most obvious to me being grapefruit. I also smell hints of mango, pineapple and lemon.
It's got that great hop bitterness upfront with some of those fruit flavors showing out, mainly the grapefruit. After the hop blast I get a nice burnt toast, grainy bread taste which follows the hop bitterness nicely. It finishes with the less intense fruit flavors that makes me think of pineapple or even lemon.
This medium bodied, and has that sticky resinous feel to it that I love in my IIPA's. It finishes crisp with malty bitterness and sticks in mouth for a few minutes after every taste so I dont soon forget how good it is.
This is one of my all time favorite IPA style beers. It's crisp, clean and majorly hoppy. I also think I picked this sixer up for like ten bucks! Awesome!

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Photo of Etan
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Last year's version was so good - let's see how this year's stacks up. 12oz into a tulip.

A: Pours a glassy dull orange with a sticky white head.

S: Huge tropical fruits in the nose. Passionfruit, mango, grapefruit, light pine and cracker malt.

T: The taste is less fruity, with some dryish leafiness, melon and slight orange, bready grain, light herbal bitterness.

M: Light-bodied, light carbonation, a bit sticky.

O: Great aroma here, definitely lives up to the first batch.

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Photo of cyclonece09
4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a orangish straw with a one finger white head that dissipates but leaves nice lacing. Smells of citrus hops and slight sweet malt. Tastes of earthy hops and grain, nice bite lingering, and not over the top. Beer is a little heavier carbonated for a DIPA but very dangerous as it is extremely drinkable with its light but not too light body. Overall, a superb beer.

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Photo of CloudStrife
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear light golden amber with a 1 finger white head. Not a lot of visible carbonation in the body.

S: First thing to hit your nose is the hop, a sweet sticky fruity hop aroma. Good floral and earthiness to it. Almost like a biscuity malt.

T: Certainly a hoppy brew. Not super bitter but does have loads of fresh hop taste. Has hints of a sweet malt backbone but it is rather subdued. Booze is pretty well hidden in the bitters.

M: Medium body with low carbonation. Has a good nectar like quality I appreciate in good DIPA's. Isnt too sticky from the hops.

Overall a phenomenal brew. Is easy drinking and will satisfy any hop craving. Would recommend and try again.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,192 ratings.
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