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

Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

6,288 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6288
Reviews: 1232
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 9.38%

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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

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.

(Beer added by: Jules11788 on 11-07-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,288 | Reviews: 1,232 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Finatic


2.35/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a chilled Odell's IPA pint glass

A: Pours a golden amber hue with a finger white foam head. Very little lacing.

S: Very hoppy aroma and some tropical notes, especially grapefruit. Small scents of sweetness.

T: Not very balanced as the hops are prevalent but it lacks that sweet malt backbone which makes the DIPA.

M: Light to medium carbonation.

O: I don't understand the hype with this beer. It's not something I would seek out and I love IPAs/DIPAs.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2011 18:19:57 | More by Finatic
Photo of Heynow007

New Jersey

2.4/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am a stout guy, so maybe I am jaded, but I didn't like it at all. Has an IPA taste, but didn't like the flavor. I expected more from this beer. It was a good balance of Flavors but something was missing and fell flat.

I'll have to try another and see.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2013 03:08:34 | More by Heynow007
Photo of Minkybut


2.6/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured this aptly named beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The first thing of course I noticed was there was no head at all after a few minutes. The beer was a nice golden color and smelled hoppy. But the taste was just over the top hoppy. Like sticking a Christmas tree in your mouth. Turpentine after notes. It really did LIVE UP TO ITS name.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 17:01:11 | More by Minkybut
Photo of rwcbeerclub


2.65/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I expected better - C:

A. Surprisingly tepid for a strong ale but a decent copper color. Good lacing. Great label.

S. The hop aroma was robust in both bottle and glass, clean piney notes popped.

T. Mild? Too smooth? Weak? Unbalanced bitterness. Average for sure.

B. Ineffectual, lacked the tongue caressing fullness of strong but not quite barley-wine beers.

Maybe a decent release in another season, as a Holiday Ale, not a winner for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2011 17:46:11 | More by rwcbeerclub
Photo of Mavajo


2.7/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Passed this one over a number of times, but after seeing all the reviews, I made sure to grab a pack before it disappeared.

Ay yi yi. The hell. I haven't gone and checked, but this thing has got to have Summit in it. Brutal taste of garlic/onion. Perhaps some grapefruit behind it, but I can't get past this garlic/onion taste. I must be uniquely sensitive to it, because if everyone was tasting what I'm tasting, there's no way this thing would be anywhere near an A rating.

Mouthfeel is fine. But that onion/garlic is a deal breaker. Reminds me of Abrasive. Another extremely highly rated beer that was just a pure garlic/onion bomb. Really not enjoying this quirk in my palate that makes those Summit flavors show up so strongly.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2011 14:14:24 | More by Mavajo
Photo of Rifugium


2.95/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Poured a clear golden color with a few stray bubbles wandering on top. Sticky hop aroma, citrus, pine, some oily funk. More of the same in the taste, with a combination of hops being the dominant factor, and a bready, caramel malt base in the background, and the lingering bland cardboard flavor that seems to be present in every Lagunitas beer. A citrus twinge lingers on the palate, and gives way to a sweeter taste of melon and mango, making you almost forget about the unctuous funk quality. Light-medium in the mouthfeel department, and fairly drinkable, but not something I'd revisit. Typical Lagunitas: okay, but nothing special, and always that stale and seemingly inescapable house flavor that continues to make me wonder why people like their beers, and why there's a hype over this one in particular.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2011 02:04:32 | More by Rifugium
Photo of jethrodium


3/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a clear white amber with a small white head that has alright retention and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is some pine hops, some light grapefruit, and a bit of caramel. The taste is some sweet pine and citrus, and then some light caramel. The finish has a light bitterness. Light bodied. Medium carbonation. Overall, I found this beer to be a bit boring.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2011 04:49:34 | More by jethrodium
Photo of Philousa


3.03/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Imbibed on 4/24/2012. I mention this because it is a double IPA that could have been fresher, though I don't think it would have changed my review much.

Poured a clear orange color with a light, airy head. Lacing is noticeable. Malt is very prevalent. Cereal, orange blossom sweetness. The hops are subdued for a Lagunitas brew. They're there but it's not a wallop like it could have been. Good malt backbone comes through in the taste. Orange prevalent again, a good amount of citrus with a bit of zest. Little hop flavor, somewhat grassy. Not too bitter for the IBUs. Subtle. I just called a Lagunitas beer subtle. Wow.

This reminded me of Two Hearted a lot. The malt is similar to TH, but it has more meat on its bones. I was expecting the hops to play a bigger role and I feel that the malt was a bit too thick and overpowering for my taste. Good, but I didn't go bananas over it. Also, it doesn't really profile as a DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2012 04:04:12 | More by Philousa
Photo of champ103


3.15/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Liberty Station in Houston, TX

A: Pours a crystal clear orange/yellow color. A two finger white head forms with good retention. Lots of sticky lace is left behind.
S: Pine resin, almost tree sap like, up front and center. Slick and soapy hops with some light tropical fruits.
T: Soapy, oily, and resinous hops. Piny resiny hops dominate. A lingering bitterness lasts forever. No resemblance of balance at all. Plenty of alcohol is noticeable.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. An overly slick, oily, and soapy feel that I am not a fan of. Lots of alcohol noticeable, along with bitter, resiny, and soapy hops makes this a bit harsh for me to drink.

This is just to much. Though not surprising from this brewery. Is it impossible to make an IPA without the late addition bittering hops? No balance, and nothing I would recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2011 01:44:35 | More by champ103
Photo of jdanyeur


3.15/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

To start, I have not tried Lagunitas' Brown Sugar yet. I picked this up after reading a lot of hype about it. It is definitely an interesting beer; if someone told me it was a grapefruit lambic, I'd have believed it. I can't say it's a bad beer, the carbonation is good as is the color (nice golden yellow). If you haven't tried this yet, be prepared for a citrusy, hoppy, grapefruit flavor. I cannot say that I would try it again, but as it is the only year they will make it (supposedly), it was worth it.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2011 00:03:10 | More by jdanyeur
Photo of Hophead717


3.2/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a DFH Signature Glass.

A: Lighter golden brown, with a thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly. Significant amount of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Juicy, tropical fruits. I'm getting all sorts here: pinnapple, mango, guava, and passion fruits. It's really intense. Some hops noticable too, but the sweet fruit scent dominates. It's nice, but I'd like a bit more hoppiness.

T: Interesting. This beer is definitely driven by the passion fruit sweetness, rather than the hops. It's fine, but definitely not what one would expect from a DIPA. I'm getting the passion fruit and guava most clearly here, with some bitterness in the finish from the hops. The malt is there just enough to remind you that this isn't a bitter fruit juice. Overall, I enjoy the taste, but despite the bitter finish, it's unlike most IPAs I've tried.

M: Nice, crisp, fairly light, well-carbonated. Well done here.

O: I enjoyed it and will buy it again if it is released in the future, but I'd prefer a SN Celebration.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2011 22:21:00 | More by Hophead717
Photo of beertunes


3.21/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a semi-hazy light gold color with over 1-1/2 inch of off white head that had good retention and light lacing.

The aroma was nice, lots of floral and pine hops, and an almost unnoticeable amount of malt. The flavor was the same, pine hops over most of the tongue, some floral in the middle, just a hint of citrus in the finish, and a very low malt presence.

The body was very much on the thin side of average, if it were any thinner, I would knocked some more points off. Drinkability was OK, fairly typical for style, although at below 8%abv, is this really an Imperial IPA? The low alcohol made drinking easier, but hurt the beers chances of of matching expectations. Overall, a nice enough little beer, one worth trying, but not one that matches the hype that has been thrust upon it.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2013 00:45:02 | More by beertunes
Photo of jdhops


3.24/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a Lagunitas mason jar.

A: Pours a clear golden with a fluffy white head that thins rapidly. Pretty lacing.

S: Aroma is more malty than hoppy. A little sweet smelling.

T: Smooth entry, then a big dose of Belgian yeast. Hops finally appear at the finish, then seem to leave, then resurface in a pleasant, slightly bitter aftertaste.

M: Light and clean, carbonated just right.

O: Very easy to drink. The 7.85 ABV is hard to believe, it's so smooth. The 63 IBU, however, seems accurate. Almost no bitterness until very late; mostly yeast and a malty sweetness. Doesn't taste like an IPA, much less a DIPA. Reminiscent of Little Sumpin Wild with its Belgian yeast flavor. Not bad, but I much prefer Hop Stoopid.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 04:48:25 | More by jdhops
Photo of 2xHops


3.25/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

To my surprise, I saw this being stocked at a local grocery store, so I decided to see what the hype is all about.

It looked and smelled good. I can smell the pine and the hops coming alive. The color was pretty good, with orange/amber hue to the body. What else? Let's move on.

Taste was bland for an IPA. I'm not sure how old this six-packer I got was, but I figured it must be relatively new as I didn't see this beer a week ago at the same location.

I can taste that it's an IPA, but it lacked the oomph that you expect out of a fresh IPA. I had expected the flavors to be a bit stronger. The hops is certainly there, and the malts are there as well to balance it out. Wait, did they really use malts?

Overall, it's okay, but I'm unimpressed. I don't know what to think, and whether it's an actual good sample of the beer? That remains to be seen.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2011 02:56:56 | More by 2xHops
Photo of ajd413


3.26/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful golden color with nice white head. Smell was big on grapefruit and dank hops. The problem was a noticeable aroma of cat urine. Not a good aroma and I couldn't escape it. Flavor of the beer was nice and very dry and hop forward but the ammonia was overwhelming. I'm not surprised to see this beer rated so highly by the general public (lagunitas has a great following and generally makes top notch brews) but the alstrom bros have a score that is much more accurate.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2013 01:22:13 | More by ajd413
Photo of Steve_Dave


3.3/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Very light, golden appearance

S - Right off the bat a very floral, clean aroma with some alcohol towards the end.

T - Much more earthy than I would have expected based on the aroma, with a very dry finish and lingering tart flavor that adds to the bitterness. I don't notice much malt sweetness at all that I read others commenting on. Judging by the appearance this seems to make sense with how light it is.

M - Very smooth, light, well carbonated, which only adds to the dryness.

O - For me what really is the showcase of this beer is the aroma. From the very beginning the aroma is very inviting and greatly shows the hops used, but I wasn't too much of a fan of the dryness to this beer. I seem to enjoy IPAs with much more body and a malt backbone to them, and although I see why this beer is thoroughly enjoyed and sought after, I would have enjoyed it more if there was more complex malty flavor that didn't leave such a dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 02:17:35 | More by Steve_Dave
Photo of Ryanm1


3.3/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden color, translucent in the glass. After sitting for a bit there is still a millimeter of head at the top of the halfway drank tuple glass. Completely white top with a small amount active carbonation rising to the top. Grapefuit smell. Devoid of the pine smell that accompanies some hoppy beers. Really bitter pale ale from the initial taste, finishes with a long after taste on the tounge where pineyness appears. Devoid of sweetness. Flavor lingers for too long IMO. I am not a huge fan of this. Can slightly tell the abv is above 5 at 7.85 while the IBU is 63. I'm really not a fan of the taste or shall I say after taste on this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2014 19:04:11 | More by Ryanm1
Photo of RichardMNixon


3.31/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a snifter, about three weeks from bottling date.

Pours a yellowish-gold with a nice, persistent white head. A few bubbles and lots of lacing. Smells of straw, yeast, and a whiff of mango. Aroma is very short-lived though and fades to a very mild straw and honey scent and then to not much of anything. More solvent than hops in the taste with a pleasant tropical uptick at the end. Mouthfeel is wonderfully silky and clean.

I don't get the hype on this one. I like Little Sumpin' Sumpin' much better.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2013 01:52:51 | More by RichardMNixon
Photo of amphion1065


3.33/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A bottle of this was gifted to me by a great, very thoughtful friend. Served in a Cambridge Brewing Co. pint. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very clear, yellow straw. A rather aggressive pour yields a two-finger white head with phenomenal retention.

Wow, this is ripe. Big, classic notes of grapefruit and papaya. Really rich, resiny pine and hops.

The taste is, unfortunately, not quite equal to the aroma. It's very sweet, and far less hoppy than I'd hoped. Floral, but lacking in the essential bitterness that could put this over the top.

The carbonation is on the low side. A little life would go a long way.

Fine, and for the price, great. I'd love to have a super fresh pint on tap.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 15:48:31 | More by amphion1065
Photo of SirWilliam666


3.35/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a beautiful light amber. A little white head(No worries about heading over your glass). Lots of caronation. Good hop nose. Taste is alright. A little piney, but overly not to strong. Leaves a bit of hoppyness in your mouth. Overall, it's not Brown Shugga

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2011 02:55:24 | More by SirWilliam666
Photo of unclejazz

New York

3.38/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Heard a buzz about this stuff, and since some of my favorites of the past year were Lagunitas beers.

A-the head was a light 2 finger head that left some lacing. Bright gold color that seemed low in carbonation.

S-muted but start to catch some resin anf pine notes. A bit of kitty litter

T-very hoppy and no sweetness just that piny flavor that plays over and over

M-oily but crisp, it just hang around, flavor-wise, for a bit too long.

O-glad I only had a 9oz. pour. I don't think I would order this again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2011 22:31:08 | More by unclejazz
Photo of Bowdoinbeerboy


3.4/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured with no head. It is a pale golden color that in all honesty doesn't look a whole lot different from a pale ale. The lack of any discernible head was also disappointing.

The nose is very boozy. I also get a bit of sweet malitness, but mostly its straight booze.

The taste is a bit of hop bitterness up front (not too much though, but enough to know that it is an IPA) and then a lot of malt sweetness. This beer then finishes with a moderate amount of bitterness, but certainly less than expected. I don't get any citrusy hops at all, there is definite bitterness and some definite pinyness to the hops though.

Overrall this beer is ok. I do not think it lives up to the hype in any way shape or form. That said, at $10.99 for a six pack it is easily the most affordable DIPA that I am aware of. It just can't compete in the flavor or nose department with MBC Lunch, Heady Topper, or other great DIPA's.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 23:07:04 | More by Bowdoinbeerboy
Photo of kojevergas


3.41/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I'd reviewed last year's (2011) unfavorably on 12/05/11. I'd given it a 2.53. This year, I decided to revisit it given the hype. My original review is included below, but the rating given here reflects my latest review.

7.85% ABV confirmed. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in Los Feliz, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the hype and more recently the recommendation of a friend, blakelive784.

Served straight from the fridge. Acquired earlier tonight at a local SoCal beer store. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of beige colour, nice cream and thickness, and pretty good retention for the high ABV (~4+ minutes). Body colour is a clear somewhat dull copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Typical for the style. Standard fare so far.

Sm: Grapefruit citrus hop notes, pungent floral hops, that distinctly Lagunitas hop extract/hop oil note, hints of hop nectar, and pale malts. Lightly soapy. An assertive, imbalanced aroma that's pretty strong.

T: Heavy grapefruit. Some soapiness. Pale malts form the foundation. The Lagunitas trademark hop extract core. Hop bitterness does come through but it's well hidden by the abundant floral hop notes. Not particularly complex or subtle, but nicely balanced. No yeast character or alcohol comes through. Well layered and built, if simple. A bit soapy on the climax to its detriment.

Mf: Coarse and wet, bringing the flavours out. Good carbonation. Pretty good palate presence. Refreshing and nectary/oily. Suits the flavour profile decently. Coarser than many beers in the style. Not quite thick enough.

Dr: A very drinkable double IPA from Lagunitas, but it's nowhere near as special as current reviews suggest. I'd certainly try it on-draught, but it's not a world class double IPA. Hides its ABV well. Doesn't live up to the hype, but it's a solid beer in the style and one that I like. I'll be glad to see this year-round. Would pair well with spicy food.


12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into De Molen stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high as I've seen this compared to some pretty high-rep beers.

A: Pours a half-finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, and good retention - especially for the ABV. Colour is a transparent yellow.

Sm: Extremely hoppy. That's all I detect. A moderately strong aroma.

T: Wonderfully hoppy, but lacking in balance. Too bitter. The balance is entirely wrong. Otherwise, the build is decent.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some coarseness on account of the hops. A poor match for the flavour.

Dr: It seems they just dumped hops in without considering balance. I had high hopes for this, but it epitomizes the worst aspects of beers that handle the style in precisely the wrong way.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2011 07:24:22 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Bear1964


3.41/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Pint glass, nice golden peach color with a small half finger head. Aroma was piney with some hints of pit fruit such as apricot, taste followed with a nice hop tang coating the tongue and some pit fruit sweetness. Smooth mouthfeel with some bitter notes and a refreshing finish, overall a very nice brew that I would pick up again

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2013 22:15:12 | More by Bear1964
Photo of k_vancleef

Rhode Island

3.44/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This is a great offering from a great brewery and one that I pick up every year.

Appearance is bright and clear straw with a clean white fluffy head. Lacing is tight and it looks very appealing.

The smell for me is the only thing that turns me off. It's good, but something about it reminds me of body odor... I think it's just me...

Taste is bitter and round. It's a pretty neutral double IPA. Piney, subtly sweet, and leaves me wanting another sip.

Also, a great value at $11.50 for the six pack.
Well done, again.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2014 22:13:59 | More by k_vancleef
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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 6,288 ratings.