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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.

1,496 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,496
Hads: 9,642
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 25%
Wants: 598
Gots: 2,207 | FT: 31
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: 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
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Reviews: 1,496 | Hads: 9,642
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.

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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).

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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.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Photo of oldn00b
3.54/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Looks like a great balanced IPA. Gold, crystal clear, slight amber hue. Nice foamy white head forms and stays.

Nose is a bit to the pine and onion side with a good amount of the malt coming through.

Flavor is a bit of a letdown. Malt coming through lot more than expected. Hop profile is muted and muddled. Not bad but just tough to pull something distinct like "pine" - really just a decent bit of bitter.

It's been a long time since I've had any Lagunitas but this doesn't have the bright hop profile I always associated with their IPAs.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
4.58/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I’ll tell you what, nice job here by lagunitas. Looks great in glass, lots of bubbles streaming up. Feels good to drink, nice carbonation. Smells the way you like IPAs to smell. And tastes the way you like em to taste. Maybe a bit toned down from some of your fav IPAs. Certainly interchangeable with some other ones you like NYD.

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Photo of martinfletwood
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow. I've had this beer in my fridge for a few weeks now and just wasn't excited about it. Well today I opened it up, and was very surprised. Very nice blend of hops, oats, barley and rye. I'm guessing it's the citra hop, but I'm no pro, so probably wrong. Great beer that deserves the rating it's given. Hopefully the quality won't go away with the Heineken ownership now.

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Photo of katybee
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this on tap at the recommendation of the small bar (Lair Hill Pub here in Portland)...I requested something like a doppelbock...this fit the bill.

Pours dark cola brown with barely any translucence, and a thick creamy brownish tan head spilling over the top...I wouldn't call it thick or creamy to the palate, but definitely hearty, chewy, and medium-bodied. Full flavored... with both citrus hopping and carmel maltiness, slight overtones towards molasses but not overly sweet... Quite a tasty to sip all night

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Photo of Steelocation
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 32oz bottle (1 quart) and poured it into a pint shaped 12oz glass (obviously, extra in bottle). Didn't see an expiration date but the bottle number is (printed this way):

191 5 2
0580 1508

Appearance: golden with a hazy color to it. It was lively and very carbonated. As I was finishing the beer from the glass, the foam (head) was easily seen and can be used as markers on how much I drank. It clings to the side of the glass

Smell: toasty, herbal, and citrusy. The odder was strong as when I opened the bottle, you can smell it right away

Taste: very hoppy and furmenty with an after taste. It was not dry so you can still taste the beer in your throat. It's sweet and fruity which causes an after taste

Mouth feel: crisp, carbonated, and heavy. You can taste what you smell and it lingers in your mouth

Overall: a great beer that has real flavor. The high alcohol content can be felt in how heavy the beer taste. There is a lot of foam present on the side of the glass so the beer kept its balance. Could only drink 2-3 at most because it is both heavy with ABV and taste. Went to the brewery site and it's "not" a seasonal beer but is brewed when available. Well worth trying and having around to share.

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Photo of biegaman
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Lagunitas Sucks apparently doesn't share the same self-esteem issues that its brewers do; it has a confident, resplendently golden hue with far-reaching beams, considerable clarity and a head so bulky it appears to be flexing. It's a good-looking ale with nothing at all to indicate it's remotely inferior...

And the aroma suggests it's actually superior, as this brewery's recipes tend to be. Every bit as generously hopped as you might expect, this smells overwhelmingly of chive blossoms, combining herbal, grassy, and floral components making it at once crudely earthy and pleasantly perfumy.

My best efforts to replicate this at home (not using a brew-kit) would be to hollow out some pineapples, grapefruits and lychees and bake those skins with a dash of pantry spice and then drizzle with melted wildflower honey. I'd also add some green tea to replicate the dry, lightly astringent finish.

Hungover I believe, but what I don't buy is that the folks at Lagunitas were "broke... and ready to take a job at Arby's" when they came up with this recipe. After all, by their own admission, this was only created out of necessity because their year-round offerings were in such high demand. Boo hoo.

That self-loathing is branding, plain and simple. The name "Sucks" is nothing more than salesmanship - and salesmanship is what fetched such a pretty penny from Heineken. To their credit, however, the liquid in the glass is ultimately why Lagunitas has very rightfully enjoyed the success they have...

But make no mistake: they're now a money-making branding machine that can no longer work off of the virtue of being subversive or counter-cultural. Let's be clear: they are now the culture. Given the quality and character of offerings like 'Sucks' that's a very good thing in my books.

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Photo of reds2harleys
4.02/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tried on a recommend and was glad I did. Sweet and creamy just as I expected. Not the best looking brew but a very nice aroma. Tasty but a little too sweet for me. Would I drink it again - sure - would I seek it out - probably not.

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Photo of pinyin
3.02/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served 39F into a 16 ounce goblet from the bottle.

Fairly bland. Well balanced between the hop, malts and carb sucrose, but for the most part no flavor and forgetable.

This 16 ounce bottle tastes much different than the 32 ounce quart that I drank 8 months ago.

I'm guessing that the recipe changed.

Sucks used to have this sugary, hoppy bite to it. The present version has none of that.

While It is well balanced and drinkable, it's just not the same Sucks as we are used to. Weather or not this has to do with the hops receding in the sunlight due to distributor negligence and old age I will never know, because I did not see and bottle dating on the packaging, and as such Lagunitas takes the hit on this particular review.

BTW, this six pack was purchased in PA on 9-18-2015 at a Weis Supermarket. The distributor is Erie, and apparently they are a bunch of slouches who do not care about the products they sell. I have seen Erie Distribution ship Stone Ruination 1.0 from 9-2014 to store locations as late as 6-2015. This is why bottle dating (not drink by dating) is crucial in the present market landscape. Distributors are going to destroy smaller craft brewers reputations with customers because they don't have the marketing resources to properly manage ale shelf life logistics.

This sixer of Sucks was very forgettable and Lagunitas seems to have changed to recipe to compete with Stone Ruination 2.0, but it doesn't quite measure up. Or perhaps I just got an old batch from this backwoods distributor. But again, I have no way of knowing this because I did not see any bottle dating on the packing or bottles.

I got no fruity hopiness on the palette whatsoever, and this isnt a case of lulupin because I drank this side by side with one of my dry hopped extract sculpin clone homebrews, and i got tons of fruity and resinous hop tastes and scents from that, but nothing from Sucks.


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Photo of Foyle
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: pours a 2" sudsy white head that drops slowly with plenty of lacing. Color is golden-yellow with plenty of sediment in suspension and tons of carbonation.

Aroma: citrus, grapefruit and some extra citrus just for good measure.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied and oily with a mostly dry finish.

Flavor: citrus and pine with malt sweetness and white bread dough.

Overall: a nice sipper, appropriate to the style.

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Photo of cheer4beer_
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

The beer has a nice amber color, when I raise my glass I can see a fair amount of carbonation. Good bittersweet hoppy smell. The beer has an alcohol taste up front with a hoppy finish. I can feel the bubbles on my tongue as I sip the beer and it has a smoother mouth feel than most.

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Photo of EagleTalon
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a thick white head that subsides to a permanent layer and ample lacing to the bitter (pun intended) end. Aroma is citrus, tropical and piney hops all the way with a good dose of sweet malts and alcohol. Flavor is hop dominant with tons of late addition and dry hop flavors (tropical juices, pine, spice, grapefruit) blended with malt goodness and alcohol bite. Not as much of a resinous bitterness as others have but still balances . Mouthfeel is medium-full and slightly sugary and tingly from the ethanol. Overall, I would say this is one of the best crafted double IPAs out there and I'm glad that Lagunitas has made it to the Sooner State. I thoroughly enjoyed it-- and this is coming from a critic of overly hoppy beers. Sometimes it just plain works. Lagunitas has its shite together.

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Photo of L0ne
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From backlog. 32oz bottle, May 2015.

Solid, reliable IPA, especially when fresh. Very balanced. Piney/citrus hops with a solid malt backbone of malty sweetness.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Clear golden pour with thin, clingy white foam. Amazing aroma of pine and grapefruit. Good bitter hop hits mid-sip, while ever smooth throughout with some malt sweetness. Finishes a little dry, but otherwise another excellent one from these guys.

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Photo of LAp
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a honey hue with a nearly white head. Smells of hops and pine. Taste initially hits with a strong citrus flavor, which gives way to pine and hops. Mouthfeel is neither too thick nor too thin. Overall an outstanding beer, that leans more towards balance and complexity than big hop or big malt. As an aside, it's one of the best value beers (at $10 a 6-pack) I've had.

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

Not doing the traditional review but this tastes like their Equinox brew. Excellent beer, very hoppy with a sweet syrupy undertone. Smells great, tastes great, isn't heavy, I really like it.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich golden honey color. Has aroma of citrus a sweet malts. Flavor is citrus, pine and a sweet malty Backbone. Smooth finish and overall delicious. Very enjoyable

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,496 ratings.