Serve in Snifter, Tulip


on tap

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RATINGS: 1561   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.91/5   IBU: 63   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
AKA Holiday Ale
AKA Holiday Leftover Ale
AKA Brown Sugar Substitute

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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
BelgianBeerGal (3838) - Panama City, Florida, USA - JAN 3, 2014
Tops Tempe bottle. Big hoppy, skunky, resinous aroma. Flavor is nicely hopped but not crazy. This is much more balanced than I would have ever guessed. Just the vaguest hint of the almost 8ABV. Enjoyable.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
OldMrCrow (2403) - Seattle, Washington, USA - JAN 3, 2014
Bottle from Prufrockstar.

After reading this thread: http://www.ratebeer.com/forums/sucks-vs-celebratio and recently trying SN celebration head-to-head with the very similar Ballast Point Big Eye PA, I was eager to do the head-to-head between Lagunitas sucks and celebration. I will freely admit that I came into this one with a huge bias: the arrival of celebration on the shelves has been an annual event for a decade now, whereas most of what I’ve had from Lagunitas, well, sucks. So even though I freely concede that this year’s celebration is not the best, I expected it to take an easy victory over sucks.

I poured the two beers out side by side into twin Duvel tulips. The first surprise is that the celebration is the darker, orangier of the two ales --- surprising given that I associate Lagunitas with crystal malt bombs. The real surprise, though, comes in the aroma. The Lagunitas has a big juicy grapefruit and mandarin orange peel thing going on, terrific aroma. The celebration, meanwhile, smells of canned corn and stewed vegetables, and barely that. Not a good year for aroma at all. This is a 6/10, giving an easy win for sucks that deserves an 8. Despite the huge difference in aroma, the quite different flavors of these two beers score relatively close to one another, a high 6 for lagunitas and a low 7 for celebration with the edge going to celebration because of its trademark pine-needle close. The lagunitas, while juicier, is also quite a bit sweeter, with a sort of confectionary-sugar-added taste. This is not a good thing, though I admit that when paired with various too-sweet chocolate christmas cookies, this was not so notable as a flaw. For mouthfeel, lagunitas should be able to take the day with its higher abv base, and does so, with a nice full syrupy mouthfeel that carries almost no heat.

Final scores on this tasting are celebration 6/3/7/3/15=3.4, sucks 8/3/6/4/14=3.5, but the lagunitas victory on points is a bit misleading. While overall I greatly prefer smelling the lagunitas, Isomewhat prefer the celebration for actually drinking. A substantial part of that is that the long end of the finish for celebration is really pleasant, whereas the long finish of sucks is sort of sickly sweet with bitter resins underneath. A fun comparison, and perhaps worth trying again some year when celebration puts up a stronger showing. My overall lifetime experience with Celebration has been much more positive, meriting a 4.something, and I’ll bump that down only a tenth or so unless they have another bad year in 2014.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Ajcanon711 (35) - - JAN 3, 2014
Aroma is sweet and earthy. Delicious. Blah djsjs did gnd Lspdhsb lsjshsh baba an ---AJ's Approval

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Beerathon (1683) - Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 3, 2014
Nose- grapefruit, pine, resin. Taste- citrus, piney, slight spicy tongue tingle. Very good IPA.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
bkurtz (1060) - MOROCCO - JAN 2, 2014
Pours a deep golden with a nice fluffy head. Wonderful aromas of grapefruit, pine, and more citrus. Complex with a great balance of sweet and some bitterness. What a great brew!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Tongan77 (115) - Ventura, California, USA - JAN 1, 2014
On Tap! Pours a orange color with a thick head. Aroma is sweet and musky. Taste is sweet hoppy and malty. ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
robertjm (850) - Albany, California, USA - DEC 31, 2013
New Year’s Eve tasting Flight (3 of 3 11:16p) - bottled. White head. Golden brown body. Unusual hop aroma. Some resin and tar. Flavor of burnt rice. Definitely different.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
vikingguy (1064) - Chaska, Minnesota, USA - DEC 31, 2013
Honey gold color. Wonderful fruity, floral aroma. Taste - also very fruity and floral with pleasant citrus and biscuit flavors. Has a long bitter grapefruity hop finish. Surprised how much I like this. Very good! ---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
jcnielsen (3205) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - DEC 31, 2013
Bottle. Pours a golden color with big white head. Fresh, grassy, spicy, earthy, straw aromas. A nice, fresh hoppy, grassy, citrus flavor, yet balanced by a nice malt backbone. Really fucking nice beer.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
S_Side_Smitty (707) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 30, 2013
Pours hazy gold-orange with a thick white head. Aroma is overripe red grapefruit, mango, & pineapple. Awesome aroma! Taste is all of the above without going overboard - actually, nicely balanced. The bitterness is sharp up front and then mellows for an easy bitter finish. Nice.

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