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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.

8,651 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,651
Reviews: 1,389
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.89%
Wants: 495
Gots: 1,446 | FT: 29
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:
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,651 | Reviews: 1,389 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BrausBeforeHaus
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I think this was more marketing ploy than actual genius.

Don't get me wrong, this beer was palatable.
I think I bought into the hype. Some kind of substitute was supposed to be in place of brown sugar. Pardon me for not noticing the subtlety in this west-coast hop party, which still dominates the initial taste. The sweetness, if any comes out later. It is arguable if this be deserves a "premium" rating like it has been given. Lagunitas has superior brews than this if you are willing to look around.

Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is mostly clear orange amber with a fairly tight white head and strong lacing. Nose has a bit of caramel malt and notes of bread. The hops are citrusy and piney. Taste is balanced as well, sweeter caramel malt, bread is a bit lighter. Hops in back, more bright than the nose, lots of grapefruit and pineapple. Lighter body, strong carbonation, dry clean finish.

Photo of guinness_myBoy
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%

Photo of ChicagoBrewRev
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a brandy snifter, appearance is a crystal clear light amber color with very slight white head.

Strong fresh vegetative hop aroma consisting primarily of pine, green onion and very slight garlic.

To say hop forward would be an understatement. Very little malt backbone comes through. Well attenuated giving a clean finish without being dry.

Well rounded mouthfeel. Very little sugar residuals, but not a dry finish.

Overall - this is a very well made beer, though outside of my hop preference.

What would I pay for a bomber - $7.00
(rating based on a $20 max)

Photo of pope66682
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BARFLYB
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

6 pack from Decicco's in Ardsley.

Lagunitas Sucks is a great beer name. The liquid is a pretty bright golden color with a small amount of whitw bubbles, barely a skim, moderate lacing though, squiggly lines. Smell is on the sweet side but hoppy as well, sweet bubblegum scent, weed, juicy citrus and a malt punch, great scent. Taste is enjoyable, alot of different things balancing sweet and hoppy in that order with the above mentioned scents going into the taste without the weed. Feel is on the light side for a double, carb is light in most of the bottles I had. This is good beer but the sweet outguns the hoppy in the end. I could do a bottle of this in a sitting but nothing more, just too much. Lagunitas continues to up their anne. They don't go the hype, massive inperial 18% stout route, they just do them, who can fault that.

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A pale golden color with some deeper orange hues. A thin, foamy off-white cap rose about a finger and fell quickly. Some patches of foam with a thin collar around the edges stay behind.

The nose is more subtle than I expected. A fairly subdued nose of oranges, pineapple, mango, apricot, and pine. A slightly biscuity malt backbone holds firm.

Malt hits first with tropical fruits quickly in tow....not in a burst, but rather a subtle slide onto the palate. I get some residual sweetness from the malt that is accentuated by the juicy fruits.

On the lighter side of medium with good carbonation. Light lingering sweetness.

I have to admit that this severly underwhelmed me. I expect my 4.4 rated DIPA's to blast me in the face with hops. This guy is really tame...perhaps too well-balanced...for my true enjoyment. I liked this beer, don't get me wrong, but I kept looking at it, hoping it would grab me and it never did.

Photo of jaasen64
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle purchased for $2. Poured into Founders snifter.

A- Pours a translucent slightly brownish golden with a fairly thin white head that leaves spotty lacing, nice consistent carbonation.

S- Earthy hops, some pine, light sweet malts that are well balanced with the hops.

T- Earthy hops, oranges, light sap, finishes fairly bitter earthy hop taste and a slightly fruity aftertaste of earthy hops, oranges, and light presence of bananas. Nice balance, personally prefer a bit more citrus though.

M- Medium bodied, decent carbonation, easy drinking.

O- This was a decent IPA, but with so many good IPAs out there it is hard to rate this one that highly. Overall I think it is definitely overrated, but very good for the price. Personally I think there are a few better IPAs you can pick up a four pack or six pack of, but not many that you can get for $2/bottle.

Photo of ksimons
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-pours a clear golden color with a few visible carbonation bubbles. Just a light layer of white lace on the top.

S-smell is full of citrus and pine notes with a light breadlike quality underneath

T-taste is even stronger than the smell, this is one bitter beer. Hops are a combination of citrus and pine and light pale malts. Finishes with an grapefruit bitterness. Alcohol is well hidden.

M-light to medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall I don't usually pick IPA's to drink but this is pretty good even for someone who doesn't like very hoppy beers.

Photo of GAMB1T
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%

Photo of CWVegas
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of scootpolute
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This one is great!! I’m impressed indeed, YUM!!! The last couple of Lagunitas I’ve had have been less than desirable compared the NW rivals, espacially the growing WA beers!!! Appearance is OK, pretty clean, good lacing... Much lighter than the typical DIPA... I think what make this beer so good is the fine line of not over-doing ’it’ in any particular area (hops, fruity-flavor, pine/spice, carbonation, and last but not least, alcohol level). VERY refreshing and will get again and...…Goin’ to look for a tap ASAP!!!

Photo of brewjockey
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of ZoomanCru
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas Sucks – American Imperial IPA (7.85%) - Lagunitas Brewing Co. (California)

App: Rich golden straw color with an OK head that dissipates pretty quickly but leaves a nice ring of lace and some retention. Overall pretty decent looking with an exceptional clarity.

Smell: Bombastic hops nose of tropical fruit such as start fruit and pineapple. Some piney notes. Malty sweetness definitively present but not particularly strong. A little bitter (pleasantly) in the high throat through the nose.

Taste: Sweet malt and hops characteristics combine perfectly to make a heady and deeply hoppy brew that is neither too hoppy nor too alcoholic. Bitterness is pronounced but doesn't overstay it's welcome. Aftertaste is smooth, leaving me wanting another sip. Approaching the sublime and indescribable mythic pale ale of legend. The shadow of a god.

Mouth: Rich body with medium carbonation. Nothing missing, but nothing spectacularly full either.

Home tasting, 12oz bottle into Tulip Glass. 12/18/13.

Photo of Duhast500
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Dogfish Head pint glass.

The color is a clear orange/gold with a finger or so of foamy white head and some thick lacing left on the glass.

The smell is hops with a backup of sweet malt aroma that sits towards the back but can not be ignored. There is a candy-like aroma there that has a touch of grape Fundip.

The taste is less hoppy then expected, the malt is there first with some sweetness to start things off before going quickly into some flavorful fruity hop bitterness. This beer may have some age on it so it's a little drawn back from what I remember from having a fresh one in the past. This still holds up and in some ways is more flavorful with the bitterness in the back seat and more of fruit flavor is detectable without being over shadowed.

The feel of this beer is medium bodied and is a better drinker then anticipated. It's smooth going down and does not give as much punch to the pallet.

Photo of archyquaffer
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a quart bottle into a sampler. A moderate pour produces about 3/4 inch of white, frothy head which dissipates to lace in about 5 minutes. The good thing about pouring a quart bottle into a sampler though, is you get to pour alot. The beer is a pale golden with moderate to high carbonation.

It has a certain hop profile that I associate with this brewery- it's unique and hard to put your finger one- complex yet curiously balanced with a certain subtlety. I looked up a clone recipe for this beer, and it calls for five different hop varieties. No brown sugar, which strikes me as a bit weird- isn't this supposedly a substitute for a brown sugar ale? Nothing about brown sugar on their website (or this one). Did they run out of brown sugar? Confusing.... Pretty meaty malt bill, with wheat and oats, but no rye (in the clone recipe, that is).

Lots of floral and citrus aroma-flavors, with alcohol undertones, as you might expect- but the latter are quite slight. Some rye spiciness if evident. Backing it all is a pretty light bodied pale malt profile, perhaps lightened somewhat in mouthfeel and perceived body by the wheat and especially the rye (is there brown sugar in this?- inquiring minds want to know, or is this like a Coen brothers film). Anyway, it's definitely well-balanced, and the somewhat light body makes this rather unique to me, and perhaps dangerous. It may be a little oily on the tongue, with lingering but rather mild hop bitterness.

I love the quart bottles- one reason why I bought this beer- to bottle my homebrew. I had fond memories of brown sugga ale, which I haven't reviewed here, because evidently they %O$#@) up royally and stopped making it, or some ridiculous thing. Anyway, this is an intriguing beer, with the hops lingering precariously on the edge of balance with a curiously low bodied beer with a pretty high alcohol content.

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a light golden color with brilliant clarity. Rocky, bubbly white head reaches its apex at about two inches and doesn't even think about budging. Excellent retention. Lacing is clumpy and very sticky.

S: Smells like a Lagunitas beer: bursting with citrusy and tropical hops, with some of those juicy/candied and floral elements as well. Pineapple, mandarin orange, and a dank hop scent are most apparent. Doughy malt base.

T: A quick burst of pineapple, orange, and mango on the attack is quickly snuffed out by a tide of pine resin and grapefruit bitterness. Pithy and dank hop flavors follow, along with fruity and juicy tastes. Malt base is doughy and slightly sweet. Finishes with grapefruit bitterness and some fading tropical fruits.

M: Medium bodied. Full and smooth on the palate. Ample carbonation helps to round it out and add a refreshing aspect.

O: Nothing about this beer is bad. In fact, it's a very good beer, all told. It just feels a little monotonous at this point. It's like listening to a great song over and over again until you get sick of it. This beer just feels like every other beer Lagunitas has done.

Notes: I realize that this is just a stand-in for Brown Shugga', but come on Lagunitas. Get a little creative. Brew me something besides a mash-up of every other IPA you've ever done. Not what I'm looking for in the dead of winter either. Poor choice for a winter seasonal, even if it is temporary. Lagunitas sucks. (insert smiley emoticon here)

Photo of drewba
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours very nicely - super clean & transparent golden orange with a finger white head that is almost entirely small bubbles. Mild lacing, with more tiny bubbles sticking around.

S - Whoa, hops! Reminds me of a fresh dreadnaught - this smells lovely. Very light and floral, lemon zest, grass. Malt profile is minimal, but theres definitely some nut and bread in here.

T - Hops are king, but this is nicely balanced. The hops taste as if they were picked yesterday - tons of subtle lemon, grass, mandarin orange and a little bit of pine bitterness in the end. Nut, bread, some caramel are backing up in the hops here.

M - The carbonation is sharp, lots of bubbles and it cascades in your mouth. Medium mouthfeel that feels a bit sticky in my mouf.

O - Again, this is very balanced, super enjoyable. It reminds me a little bit of Lagunitas Dogtown pale ale, but a little beefier. Dogtown is one of my favorite pale ales, so Sucks could become a staple drinker for me. I thought Brown Shugga was a terrible beer, so I'm loving that they're making this instead.

Photo of adambarrdev
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Preismj
3.91/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber hue with big foamy head which quickly retreats, leaving tons of sticky lace. smell is of citrus, pine, pineapple and hints of earth. taste is hop forward but not overpowering. Extreme bitterness is met with a rush of wet hop flavor (tastes like a harvest hop beer)...floral and orange peel/kumquat. lips pucker, great carb. No dry finish here. Very drinkable. similar to harvest ale, but less hop forward, more bitterness and great west coast citrus style.

Photo of humuloner22
3.91/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You hear about it ad nauseam around the holidays. Every beer store is boasting they have it, the charge an arm and a leg for it and then I found it in a grocery store for a reasonable price and picked it up. I did not go into this one with high hopes. I have not really had a good experience with the other beers I have had from this brewery, maybe I just like East coast breweries, or at least from the Rockies eastward. Anyway, I was actually really impressed with this one. The color and everything was lighter than I had expected it to be. The smell was sweet candy, with some hops present. The taste was where it was at. This beer was very well balanced. A great mixture of hops and sweetness. I have been on a lighter beer trend lately and for some reason I expected this one to be more on the darker side. I was overly surprised with this one and I will have to say they did make a beer that I enjoyed. I will try this one again next year and I hope it remains consistent. I have heard it may become more of a year round thing. Which might lighten its luster a bit, but over all I would try this one from time to time, if I caught it on sale like I did this time.

Photo of mfavoino
3.91/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in my HotD Snifter on 2/26/12.

Appearance: Light straw color with a finger and half head that didn't retain well.

Smell: Some resiny pine hop aroma, yet not as pronounced of a hop as one might expect from a DIPA.

Taste: Pine and citrus hops from the start. Finishes Sweet and reminds me of bubble-gum without a bitter finish. Alcohol more noticeable as it warms. Kind of expected more of a hopbomb.

Mouthfeel: Light and well-carbonated.

Overall: A good value for a DIPA, just not an eye-opener. Worth a try.

Photo of Brenden
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A sort of thick golden-amber in color with plenty of heft and a brightness despite the heaviness, a substantially heavy and resilient off-white head about a finger tall forms from the draught. Lacing is left in heavy spotting and some patchiness well down the glass.
The aroma is brilliant and beautiful, a nice heady hops bouquest. It's West Coast all the way and deep, as a combination of resionous pine, tropical fruits and citrus hops meld together and a bit of caramel malts add some balance. Alcohol just peeks out without making offense and a nice bready contribution from malts adds to the balance and complexity. Really the hops blast from this and it's an excellent aroma altogehter.
The same hops conglomeration is in the flavor, where it dominates the malts a bit more than in the nose. Some tobacco leaf becomes evident as well along with a buttery note to the breadiness. It's nice, but does nobody else notice the faint flavor of onion salt? It doesn't meld as nicely together as the aroma.
The mouthfeel is creamy coming off a bit of crispness in a medium body with moderate carbonation. the body holds it all together well.

Photo of ChopperSmith
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a stubby brown 12 oz. bottle into a standard clear pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a faintly hazy deep golden color with a good two finger white foam head. Left some nice lacing as it receded slowly to a frothy white cap.

Smell: Floral hops and sweet fruits like tangerine and lemon.

Taste: Fantastic floral hops flavor with a good amount of citrus bitterness. Grapefruit and pine flavors that are balanced and smoothed out quickly by some sweet light malts.

Mouth Feel: Light-to-medium body with a good crisp carbonation. Works well for the style.

Overall: A great crisp, hoppy and fruity Double IPA. Great stuff! I haven't had the Lagunitas Brown Shuga Ale that this is a replacement for, but this is one substitute that can fill-in in my 'fridge any time.

Photo of RandyV
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Short and sweet. This is a nice IPA with grapefruit, tangerine and pine on the nose. Citrus and pine dominate in the beginning with enough bready malt coming in to provide sufficient balance. Alcohol is well hidden.

Kinda tastes like a Christmas tree smells, and just in time for the holidays. Oh come all ye faithful!

Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 8,651 ratings.