Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

1,514 Reviews
THE BROS
89
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,514
Hads: 9,825
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 25%
Wants: 619
Gots: 2,343 | FT: 28
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA | 7.85% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jules11788 on 11-07-2011

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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,514 | Hads: 9,825
Photo of rodbeermunch
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light yellow and orange, lots of clarity, super professional appearance even right down to the 1/2" of white head on it. Blast of hops, piney, green, vegetal, proprietary. Wow.

Taste super light dry cracker pale malt body allows for maximum hop penetration, oats for smoothness and knocking down the bitterness. Not gratingly bitter either, lots of citrus fruit and pine dankness like you opened a bottle from the dispensary.

New hop varieties seem to have a short shelf life though, this one gets compromised pretty quick, drink asap is more important with this one than about any other.

 597 characters

Photo of MizzouBrew
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Found 6-pack of this at Total Wine for $8.99 - Score! Pours a cloudy golden with gorgeous lacing. Thick mouth feel with very hoppy pine taste. Exactly what I'm looking for in a IIPA.

 185 characters

Photo of jtwhicker
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

32oz growler fill.
Pour to imperial pint glass. Smell of sugary booze. Pours bright copper color. Thin translucent head. Could be flat from growler. Gotta take with this one. Smells of boozy notes, sweet burnt sugary taste lingers on palate. Very noticeable. Malt and sugar doesn't combat slight bitterness but rather compliments

 331 characters

Photo of gandres
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

32 Fluid ounce poured to wine glass
Today is 1/23/2016
Appearance: Light amber, small head, almost no lacing
Aroma: Strong hoppy smell, slight boozy scent not overpowering
Taste: Slightly bitter, then sweet,
Mouth feel:
Overall: Excellent beer, specially with the price. Definitely something to look forward to.

 313 characters

Photo of GreatStoutman
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From12oz bottle, smells of pungent pine, some citrus notes buried in there.

Thick body for a dipa, strong feel of carbonation. Taste follows with the smell, almost all pine. Bitterness is pretty sharp upfront, with a sweet malty presence that plays second fiddle somewhere in the background. Very hop forward.

Overall, this is a beer you'll remember. I wouldn't call it smooth because the flavor and bitterness are somewhat jarring, but if you need something to wake up your pallet, this will do the trick!

 510 characters

Photo of Tele
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type: Bottle
Consumed: 1.18.15

A: 4.5 Pours a reddish-gold with a large, off-white head. Good retention and leaves lots of lace.

S: 4.25 Lots of fresh, tropical fruit coming from the hops. Plenty of orange and lemon peel, papaya, banana, and a hint of pine in the background.

T: 4.5 Flavors are just right and very balanced. It starts super juicy and fresh with only mild sweetness before a good dose of hop bitterness and pine kick in. The bitterness lingers on the finish with a touch of pepper, but it also has a citrus quality to balance it out.

M: 4.5 Good body with excellent carbonation and quite drinkable. There’s also some dryness on the finish that is really nice.

O: 4.5 Great west coast IPA. Terrific flavors and aromas while being refreshing and satisfying.

 788 characters

Photo of THSdrummer
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This pours an opaque, golden orange with a delightful white and foamy head which leaved behind a good amount of lace. The smell is a healthy blend of brown sugar and hops. Upon taking a drink, sweet, brown sugar notes open up, before giving way to a subtle hoppy finish. Nothing too drastic on either end. It plays quite nice between the subtle sweetness and bitterness. It feels great as well. The beer doesn't feel too harsh on the carbonation side. It's nice and smooth. Very easy to drink. Overall, this is a good beer. Glad I finally found it on the shelf and gave it a try.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

 606 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden color decent white head good lacing head dissipates away
Smell citrus fruity notes sweet slight grapefruit
Taste grapefruit and citrus some orange peel kind of sweet and bitter a little lemon flavor just right amount of hops.
Feel is great light smooth well carbonated clean and crisp
Overall I love this beer and would have more for sure.

 352 characters

Photo of BierRunner
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good looking beer with a nice floral nose. The taste starts well, a citrusy floral experience, but ends with a cherry plasticky taste. I am having this draft and I believe I am tasting whatever beer was on the rap before this. Not Lagunitas' problem, I can sense the underlying intended beer taste and I will try it again to sort it out.

 337 characters

Photo of dgmirelli
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

lots of hype and tradition surrounding this one 12 0z bottle poured into a pint glass no bottle date or enjoy by date that i could see look pours gold to orange with a HUGE white head that stayed with the beer throughout and left lots of lacing on glass smell of hops, malt and yeasty with notes of both fruit beginning and pine ending
taste hoppy with a booze feel not in a good way very bitter finish and aftertaste feel crisp with good carbonation not sure if I would purchase w other options available

 507 characters

Photo of rjd722
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Orange-amber body, slight haze but not completely opaque. Huge, fluffy white foam head which sticks around for a seriously long time and maintains it thickness. Nice lacing as well.

Aroma: Somewhat grassy scent, accompanied by pine and fresh citrus. Sweet malts also dominated the profile, while the hops remain relatively low-key. Interesting tropical/pine medley here.

Taste: Sweet malts and a complex citrus accompaniment (pear, orange, grapefruit, lemon). Towards the end is when you really get the full array of rye, wheat, etc.

Feel: Unbelievably smooth for a DIPA coming in at nearly 8%. Excellent balance of malts and hops, not too bitter. I could drink this one all day, every day.

 699 characters

Photo of gmoneyproductions
3.77/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 0z bottle poured into a pint glass no bottle date or enjoy by date that i could see
pours gold to orange with a HUGE white head
head lasted whole beer and left lots of lacing on glass
smell of hops, malt maybe a little yeasty with notes of both fruit and pine complex nose for sure
taste hoppy boozy and very bitter
feel light and crisp with a slight viscous finish
overall way to bitter for me

 398 characters

Photo of ParnellJoseph1138
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Light golden blonde and clear, poured into a pint glass, it produced a medium size head and had medium to high carbonation.
S: A wonderful citrus aroma with pear, apricot, and other citrus notes
T: A wonderfully pleasing IPA that provides a steady stream of citrus flavor as it rolls across the taste buds and streams down your throat. Orange, grapefruit, lemon flavors deliver a completely satisfying taste experience. The beer has some malt depth as well and it displays some bread flavors.
M: Moderate carbonation and chewy, bready malt provide a definite presence.
O: No doubt that it's a great IPA and it has a lot depth and dimension, but I have to admit, it seems to be closer to a single IPA than a double.

 719 characters

Photo of enrique_m
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

having this with Gouda cheese and Vinta crackers. i poured this brew into Grand Cru glass and it is a golden color and it is clear, it gives about to inches of head with a nice lace at the end. The aromas are of pine cones with mandarines and the taste is delicious and well balanced. it taste earthy and you taste the pines with the rye and it finishes with a nice bittersweet finish. this is now one of my favorites next to Alpine Nelson.

 441 characters

Photo of imstimpy
3.71/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A touch of head, turning to an interesting windblown sand dune look sitting atop a nice orange-amber color. The lacing is nice and lasts through the entire beer.

The smell is a slightly sweet hop scent.

The taste experience is unique- it starts smooth, goes to hops (not hoppy), peaks with bitterness and hops, then tapers into a finish of something like brown sugar.

The feel is relatively smooth, with a hint of bitterness after the swallow that tapers quickly.

Overall, it is a wonderful example of a dry hopped ale. It is exceptionally smooth, hop-balanced, and drinkable, with a punch that sneaks in with the subtle sweetness. The label is interesting, the story behind the beer intriguing, and the brewery not without humility.

 737 characters

Photo of Trevor11
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

fairly high abv, but drinkable. I am glad that Lagunitas expanded to Chicago to make this great beer much more easily accessible. Solid imperial pale ale

 153 characters

Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.18/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a tulip.
The appearance was a hazy bronzed golden to brown color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated at a nice pace. Lightly rimmed lace clings to the glass in a spiderweb sort of way.
The smell has a slight almost "brown sugar" aroma sliding over some caramel malts and backed up by a nice eloquent bitter to grassy and slight lemon sort of hops to blend nicely.
The taste had a forefront of the malt forward sweetness sliding into a delicate bitterness, weaves nicely in and around that "brown sugar"-esque flavor. There's a lingering sweet aftertaste like a normal Lagunitas beer and adds a sly sweet to bitter finish.
In the mouthfeel, there's a sweet sessionable sticky feel rolling over an ever so slight clingy bitterness. I'd say it sits about medium bodied with a fine smoothness to it.
Overall, what's not to love, DIPA done Lagunitas style, of course, I'd have again.

 914 characters

Photo of jimboothdesigns
4.71/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Definitely a first class beer! Pours a amber/straw color with a quickly dissipating head that lingers to a thin lace. Smell is a great sweet hoppy scent. Taste is fantastic, sweet and bitter. Some fruitiness. Feel is thin with a great amount of carbonation (not too much, too little, just right).

 296 characters

Photo of Strat58cat
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

What could be more confident than naming one of you top offerings "Sucks"? Lagunitas backs it up. Sucks kicks ass. Brewers who are foisting upon us some of the overwrought, fishy IPAs should be forced to study Lagunitas. They never set a foot wrong.

The look is very promising - a deep amber with orange. There's some haze to it. It's not perfectly clear like a Boston Lager or another quality craft lager. It's an ale. The head laces up . . . whoa . . . over the glass watch it! Get out your sundial while you wait for it to subside. The foam on Sucks is borderline eternal. Lacing is very showy. Lagunitas has done something special with the malt here.

The aroma of Sucks is what everyone who thinks they are brewing up a West Coast IPA or Double IPA thinks they are doing. It is tropical-citrus-pine, which does not exist, except through carefully crafted hops. They know how to do it. It's a powerful and pleasant aroma that stays solid all the way to the bottom of the glass. It's never catty.

The taste is something special. We get the initial powerful hop bite, but it's backed up splendidly with the malt. The malt is not just thick and rich, and it is, but it is multifaceted. The complexity of Sucks unfolds as you drink it - the tropical-citrus-pine splash, a hint of sweet and a hint of spice.

The feel of Sucks is pretty remarkable. At times, it can seem almost syrup-like. This ale is multi-faceted and it unfolds as you drink it. There is a lot of alchemy happening here.

Overall, this is a wildly enjoyable ale. It's not cheap, but it's excellent.

 1,593 characters

Photo of StoutElk_92
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish-orange. Smells of faint grapefruit, citrus, hops, and molasses. Tastes like bitter grapefruit when it's cold, and starts to meld and become more like brown sugar/molasses as it warms. This is a perfect mix of IPA and Red/Amber flavors. Slightly bitter and hoppy but sweet and malty too. The feel is light with moderate carbonation. A pretty easy to drink bitter, caramelized grapefruit beer, getting sweeter as it warms. One of my favorite Lagunitas offerings.

 476 characters

Photo of youcantmakeme
3.65/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

l: golden brown.
s: tropical fruit and malt with a hint of hops but mostly fruit.
t: fruit, funk, malt with a some bitterness.
f: medium.
o: not bad, coming in at 8% alc. it's fairly smooth, very fruity but does not overwhelm. Pungent with a mild bite and some bitterness. Overall it's a go for me since it seem like the flavors blend fairly well and the price is a plus to.

 375 characters

Photo of DavidS333
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

"Lagunitas Sucks" by Lagunitas Brewing Co. is a great American Double/Imperial. The froth is a little more than light(just slightly) on a light medium thick scale. The smell of the beer is very nice and refreshing. The color is a sort of rich but light translucent amber gold. The body is halfway between light and medium on a light medium thick scale.

Lagunitas Sucks is a great American Double/Imperial. Its hoppyness is initially semi reminiscient of "Dirtwolf Double IPA" in that it has that sort of gamy hop flavor to it that tastes natural if you will. The end notes of the flavor of L.S. however are somewhat more "rounded" if you will than some other Double IPA/Imperials, and hence it has a really smoothe and semi-sweet ending to the sort of initial satisfying natural hoppyness of the flavor. The flavor is also sort of refreshing. The peaked wild-hoppy initial taste is sort of balanced out with the sort of sweet hop peaked ending. Its really a nice transition and makes for a great taste.

Overall I would definitely suggest this beer to anyone who is a fan of the wild-hop flavor, and even if one isn't I would suggest it based on the interesting and good sort of final notes of this beer's taste which are quite good.

 1,243 characters

Photo of jradar
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first review. This was as good of a beer as any to pop my reviewing cherry
Look: Poured into a snifter. Hazy and deep copper, golden and Amber body with a half a finger head that dissipates quickly. Some lacing.
Smell: Light hoppy aroma with a punch of citrus and grapefruit rinds. Not too much of a nose to it considering the ABV, but still a pleasant and well balanced aroma.
Taste: The nose doesn't lie as the citrus and grapefruit aromas are forward on the palate from the beginning. Some pine, bitter oak, resiny as it sits. This is just such a well balanced taste, giving you a nice dose of hops without being too floral and a generous amount of malt on the aftertaste. A little bit bitter, but that's nitpicking considering how smooth this goes down.
Feel: Medium body with some carbonation and creaminess to it. Easy to down a number of these and not lose its flavor.
Overall: An incredibly well balanced and drinkable IPA that satisfies hop-heads without turning off the "IPAs are too bitter crowd". Really special beer that has a high level of re-drinkability.

 1,078 characters

Photo of BeerANDvinyl
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer for the first time about 5 days ago and haven't stopped buying it. This Friday ( pay day ) I will be picking up a case from my local beer store. I am an IPA lover but this beer literally blew me away!! Has everything I look for in a beer ( High Alc % , smooth taste that just flows down your throat! ) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! CHEERS!

 348 characters

Photo of PA-hunter
3.87/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 12oz bottle into glass. 8% abv

Appearance- Pours a dark yellow-orange. Gold tint. Two finger fluffy head that lasts. Cloudy.

Smell- Heavy pine, with a citric grapefruit aroma as well.

Taste- Sweet malt, toasted cracker, bulding to a resinous piney flavor. Quite citric as the bitterness builds to the finish. Finish is sweet and highly bitter, sweet coming from a little bit of brown sugar spiciness.

Mouthfeel- Heavy in body with a creamy well carbonated feel.

Overall- A finely crafted double that works off a good malt/hop profile. Well balanced. Brown sugar was evident in the finish which added some complexity.

 629 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,514 ratings.