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

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1,562 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

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Reviews: 1,562 | Ratings: 10,072
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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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.51/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale orange with an off-white head. Nice clarity and some bubbles rising. Some lace.
Grapefruit and toasted malt in the nose, with some burnt sugar and buttery notes.

Nice brew. The balance of the malt, the sugars, the bitterness, and all of the characteristics is superb. Nice grapefruit hop profile with bread crust and browned toast. Some burnt sugar, a hint of butter, some herbs, and a nice complex finish showing all of this.

Medium body, good carbonation.

A winner. Great brew. Easy to drink. Enjoyable.

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Photo of LibrariansLoveBEER
4.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle.

Appearance: The color is lovely, midway between amber and pale, not the typical IPA coloring . Tiny bubbles (make me feel happy, make me feel fine) rise to the top of the glass forming a flawless head with a moderate retention.

Smell: This is the hardest category for my novice nose. I’m still trying to discern the different aromas without falling back on “it smells like beer.” I do detect a piney fragrance with a gentle undercurrent of citrus.

Taste: It is hard to find the right words to describe the taste of this beer. The hops are up-front but don’t dictate the flavor, more Abe Lincoln instead of Hugo Chavez. The balance between the hops and malt flavors is near perfect. This could be the beer to convert a beer drinker to a craft beer aficionado. I haven’t had a Lagunitas that I didn’t enjoy, they sure know how to brew beer in Petaluma.

Mouthfeel: I love the way it just lingers around in your mouth, kinda like that brother-in-law who won’t get off the couch, but in a good way.

Overall: A great beer, I can see why so many love it and rate it so highly. It truly deserves the hype. This would be the beer I would want on a deserted island.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pours a mostly clear, light copper color with a firm tan head. Decent retention and excellent lace.

Pineapple weed, papaya and other various tropical hop aromas. Not much else really, there is a fair amount of malt, but it is dominated by the hops.

Taste focuses more on hop flavor than bitterness, which is nice on this beer. Lots of pine and tropical hop flavors with a crushed grain maltiness that is a little heavier than 'biscuit'...maybe 'hint-o-caramel' works better. The components are supremely well integrated, it is so smooth and...well...delicious. While this tastes similar to many of Lagunitas' other offerings, it almost seems like they have perfected it here. At 7.85%, I would argue this fits better in the regular IPA category than DIPA but they seem to have failed to axe my opinion. I might go so far as to say this is Petaluma's best beer, it really is delicious.

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Photo of Droogins
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been drinking this exclusively for a week. Figured I ought to give it its due. Poured into a skinny tulip.

A: Pours copper, clear as day, with two fingers of bone-white head that leaves ample lacing and eventually settles down to a nice uniform film. It even looks sticky.

S: Good Lord! Potent. Dank and piney, herbal and earthy. The citrus is strong too, but I feel like it takes a back seat. Somewhat spicy. There's some sweet malt in there, too, especially toward the end as it warms.

T: The citrusy grapefruit comes through more and it is glorious. The earthy pine is somewhat subdued, but not enough to discourage a fan of the earthy/dank side of hop flavors like myself. There is a suggestion of sticky caramel sweetness, especially upon warming. At room temperature it's almost sweet--It's a beer to be enjoyed chilled for sure. There is a very slight alcohol heat but it's very well hidden indeed. The aftertaste is resiny and very very persistent and I am reminded of my first and (so far) only Heady Topper as far as resiny sticky aftertaste goes. I can't do proper justice to what's being done to my palate and nasal passages. The only things keeping me from rating it a 5 are the facts that there is no such thing as perfection and the fact that I've had Heady.

M: For a DIPA, just what you're looking for. You could come back in a half hour and there'd still be a film of head on this. Medium in body, smooth going down, prickly bubbles, absolutely awesome. You get the idea.

O: I really, really, really like this beer. It was a third hop "eureka" moment for me. This is a serious must-try if you have anything more than a passing interest in hoppy beers! Absolutely excellent.

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Photo of Celtics76
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's Friday, time to party. Poured this beaut into a Sierra Nevada balloon glass. Appearance is splendid - translucent gold with about a quarter inch of head which reduces to some heavy lacing around the glass.

Smells of pine and citrus. Taste Magnificent. Perfectly balanced hops and malts - so easy to drink it's scary. Especially considering the abv of 7.85%. Has a very inviting piney/bitter aftertaste. Crispy finish helped by a perfect (there's that word again) level of carbonation.

This is the '86 Celtics of Double IPAs. Currently my favorite beer - glad it's readily available here in RI.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
4.86/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Lagunitas Sucks - 12fl oz bottle

I had heard good things about Lagunitas, and they were right!

Look - Pours a golden with a tinge of copper. Clear and unfiltered with minimal carbonation. Small, soapy head. This is probably the lightest IPA I have ever seen, I was taken aback.

Smell - Smooth hoppy and malty, mouth watering, slight citrus/fruity scent, my friend and I decided it was similar to mango and grapefruit.

Taste - Hops first, followed by a complex combination of flavors almost malty, sweet, and grapefruity/mango/citrus. Hops rest on the back of the taste buds quite comfortably.

Mouthfeel - Pleasantly lingers on the palette, insanely drinkable.

Overall - I would say that this is one of the most unique brews I have ever had. It is one of those brews where a review simply does not do it justice, you need to try it for yourself.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - Pours a light gold/yellow with a fluffy three-finger head of soapy foam. Nice sticky rings of lacing. MUCH lighter than most strong IPA's I have seen

S - Strong aroma of dank, resinous leafy hops. Hint of fruit. A little candied sugar comes out as it warms.

T - Taste follows the nose, with oily, sticky, floral hops forward. Some underlying honey-ish sweet malt, just enough to keep the abrasive hops from completely peeling away your taste buds and making for an interesting contrast. Slight amount of citrus zest (lemon peel) in the finish. Coats the mouth with hop oil.

M - Here's where this truly excels. A really nice full body helps carry everything, where a lighter body would fail this brew. Prickly carbonation works perfectly with the thick body to keep drinkability solid.

O - One of the more vexing beers I had in age; I wound up not liking it on first taste, and craving more by the time I finished my glass. What do they put in this stuff? In all seriousness, a well-crafted, and slightly unique, DIPA. Will almost certainly buy again.

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Photo of jesterdeal
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aroma of nice hoppy goodness. Rye, grapefruit zest, apricot, and honey. Pours bronze with a smal healthy head. Taste is marvelously hoppy with dried apricot, grapefruit and brown sugar. Finishes nice and sticky. Gotta love the humility of Lagunitas considering this is one of the finest IPA's out there.

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Photo of TheCondor
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a transparent copper with a towering, fluffy white two finger head that has good retention qualities (about half the beer) as well as leaving excellent lacing. I like the back story on this brew.

Smell - The hops smell very earthy to me: floral, pine, etc. Outstanding nose on this beer, one of the better I have smelled. There is certainly a sweet smell in the background as well, assuming that to be the sugar substitute or whatever they used. Smells of caramel to me.

Taste - The piney and floral hops are the main events, backed by a malty foundation with a semi-sweet middle. The hops are very good in this brew, smell great and taste great. Not too much to overwhelm, very balanced brew.

Mouthfeel - The sweetness makes its real appearance in the finish, with that caramel flavor. A sticky finish because of that, a little bit of bitterness, but overall very well done.

Overall - Unfortunately, I think for me this is another case of a supremely hyped up brew that had no chance to live up to the billing. It is an excellent beer, and I would certainly recommend it, but don't get swept up in the fever. I said the same thing about Hopslam, and I drank them one day apart. I'd take Myrcenary over either of them. But this is a very good brew.

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Photo of anjah
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

You can really taste the unique brown sugar, yet it's not too sweet that it over powers. The color was a bit more burnt golden than most beers. Lagunita's has always been one of my favorite breweries and I believe this has taken place for my number one Lagunita's. The name definitely speaks irony.

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Photo of Roose13
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Transparent gold, one finger of off-white head. Bubbles rising throughout which is pretty neat to watch.

S: Citrus, papaya or mango, pine.

T: Pine, hops, a little malty. I can taste citrus fruits as well such as the papaya and a hint of pineapple. The pine really kicks in during the aftertaste. It tastes incredibly fresh with the hops.

M: Chewy, crisp, smooth.

Overall: This is a very good DIPA. It's not overpowering and it tastes incredible. I love all the subtleties that lie in the aftertaste and nose. Great beer that certainly doesn't "suck."

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Photo of Amalak
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had at Boulevard Tavern in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

A. It is a dark goldish, light brown color. It has a good deal of bubbles and a big foamy white head that leaves behind a good deal of lacing.

S. Very hoppy and spicy.

T/M. It is quite hoppy with a kind of pine spiciness underneath. Some citrus flavor. It is quite carbonated. Medium bodied. A milt malt taste.

O. To be honest, I found it to be very similar to the Lagunitas IPA, with a hint more of spice. And that's a good thing, because I love that brew. Very good.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,562 ratings.
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