Normally Lagunitas brews their Strong ale Brown Shugga’ for the holiday season, but this year that wasn’t a possibility. Instead of just letting the holidays slip by without being celebrated via beer, they decided to brew a slightly, but still quite good APA/XPA/DIPA .
LAGUNITAS SUCKS HOLIDAY ALE is a one-off winter seasonal with 63% IBUs and a 7.85% ABV.
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.
Right off the bat I knew this wasn’t gonna be your typical winter seasonal. Sucks pours a peach color with no visible carbonation. The foamy head starts off as a half-inch, but fades instantaneously. It kinda reminded me of ice on a frozen pond. Lacing splashes up when you swirl and drink, but doesn’t stick around for long.
If you took a glass of Hawaiian Punch and threw in some grassy hops, then you would get the nose on this beer. Once the beer is poured out and allowed to open up the hops become more pronounced and fir tree-like. Very faint hints of orange and doughnut dough are present.
This is not your daddy’s winter seasonal and if it is, then your father has good taste. The flavor is big on hops, both grass and pine. Even though the fruit isn’t as big in the taste as it is in the nose I still picked up both orange and tangerine. Cracker-like malts can be picked up towards the end, but only if you’re paying attention.
Mouthfeel is light-to-medium and a bit scratchy. However, it evaporates quickly and leaves just a lit warmth behind.
I realize that Lagunitas was just trying to make the most out of a bad situation, but this really wasn’t what I was expecting when I picked up a holiday ale. Other than my disappointment over that, Sucks is a pretty darn good beer. I just wish the fruit that was in the nose was more forward in the taste.
Overall: 7.5 out of 10
As an IMPERIAL IPA: 7 out of 10
FOR FANS OF: Sierra Nevada CELEBRATION ALE, Newcastle WINTER IPA, Geary’s HOLIDAY IPA,