Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

Subscribe now →

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.

1,484 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,484
Hads: 9,540
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 25%
Wants: 572
Gots: 2,096 | FT: 30
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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,484 | Hads: 9,540
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.

 373 characters

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

 516 characters

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.

 1,235 characters

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.

 1,798 characters

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.

 234 characters

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.


 1,915 characters

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.

 461 characters

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.

 285 characters

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.

 800 characters

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.

 161 characters

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.

 246 characters

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.

 378 characters

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.

 192 characters

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

 170 characters

Photo of tbeckett
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Disclaimer: this bottle is a bit older than ideal.

A - Hazy golden pour with a nice thick off white head at one finger. Good carbonation. Good lace with some rings and retention of what was originally there. Lovely.

S - Dank, piney, floral, pineapple, grapefruit.

T - Sweet fruit, candy, dankness, pine, malt backbone is there with a bit of alcohol.

M - Fairly bitter finish, some harsh sugar notes, good full bod and and good carbonation.

O/D - This bottle is a bit old so this review must be taken with a grain of salt. This is a decent DIPA. Lot's of dank, west coast notes, but lacking that punch. Balance is there, making it pretty enjoyable, but the sweetness is a bit much. Body and flavour are still enjoyable though. A good one that would likely be great fresh.

 776 characters

Photo of dikebrewery
4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Packed full of resinous pine flavor and smell. Poured a great orange golden straw color and from a far I might have thought it was a fruit beer based on color alone. Taste of pine with a sweet non forward malt profile. It's a good beer.

 237 characters

Photo of Schimms
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

L: Pours a beautiful yellow/orange with thick yellow head. Great lacing - sticks in rings to the glass.

S: Excellent citrusy/juicy hops

T: Amazing! Very interesting subtle malt aftertaste. Great juicy hop taste. Very drinkable. ABV hidden.

F: Dry and juicy at the same time.

O: Great beer. Not to be missed. I can't believe I've passed this one up so many times.

 377 characters

Photo of Roland7792
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

How can you go wrong with 32oz bomber? Awesome dank, piney aroma with little bit of floral too. Flavor is similar with the pine coming through the most. It does have a good sweet malt backbone too which goes great together with the mild bitterness. I think this is a very underrated IPA!

 290 characters

Photo of twage04
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Lots of bitterness and fruity hop flavor. Everything really comes together well, malt is present but just enough to back up the hops. Great execution of an all around good IPA.

 176 characters

Photo of jhavs
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter tasting glass.

A= Golden, yellow, thin white head that settles quickly.

S= Hops up front with pine/earthy and spiciness.

T= Pine and citrus hops with an underlying malt sweetness, medium level of bitterness, balanced and clean tasting.

M= Medium body with active carbonation.

O= Clean flavors and balance of malt and hop flavor, bitterness, and sweetness.

 397 characters

Photo of DaverCS
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pour golden in color with 1/2 finger of head.

Aroma is very pine-citrus forward. Good amount of dankness.

The beer is very hop forward with only a kiss of malts added to keep it from becoming totally un-balanced. It surprisingly isn't all that bitter (at least to my taste buds). Follows the nose perfectly! This is all about the pine. You get that light and crisp lemon citrus along with it. Not nearly as dank as the aroma would predict though. I love the active carbonation that compels another sip. As the beer warms, the malt begins to sweeten up the finish and a bit more citrus finishes the sip.

Overall, while I am more of a tropical fruit IPA guy, this is an excellent example of the pine-forward IPA's. I would actually buy this again based on the high availability, cheap price, and high drink-ability. I see this pairing well with cheese fries with bacon and a thousand-island drizzle. It gets a 87/100.

 919 characters

Photo of clager
3.82/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Light yellow with off white small head

S: Mostly sweet, reminds me of raisins. Some floral and nut as well.

T: Sweet up front with nice hop finish, primarily citrus and floral but again somewhat nutty. Brown sugar noticeable, raisin present in taste as well. Interesting beer. I wonder what it would taste like a little bit more bitter, move up some of the hops in the boil as it is clearly well dry-hopped.

F: Appropriately carbonated, great mouthfeel.

O: Interesting solid beer. I wouldn't rush out to grab a glass but I'm delighted I tried it. The sweetness is too much for me but I can certainly appreciate the mix of flavors and fairly good balance.

 662 characters

Photo of gamera
4.16/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I picked this up in a six pack at the store and pored into a pint. Overall it's a good beer. Nice balance of sweet and hop, although the hop after taste is better than its nose, which leaves you wanting more.

I saw this on a bucket list from some random rater. While it is good, I would argue that Lil' Sumpin is an even better offering from this excellent brewery, though I am not sad to scratch it off my "to drink" list.

 424 characters

Photo of Lilbeck23
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At first I did not think it was something equivalent to an IPA. However, after smelling it I then got my answer. To my surprise, the smell did no justice to the actual beer. The beer was its own brew from a hoppy IPA original pine smell. I like pine, but flower power (Ithaca) ruined my respect for IPA's. I have always wanted to try lagunitas brand, and for a first brew I am pleasantly satisfied!

 417 characters

Photo of Jeffsta1
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Golden yellow beer, slightly unfiltered looking, pale off white head with fine+mixed foam.

Smells great, like God made apricot beer and added some kind of awesome beer perfume.

Taste is very good but not as good as the smell. Hoppy bitterness, hints of pine, peaches, malty goodness.

Just about the perfect mouthfeel for a 2xIPA. Nice, slightly rich, very fine carbonation.

Finish is very good, though not especially intense or long, just a hint more sweetness than perfect.

 478 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 1,484 ratings.