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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.

1,516 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,516
Hads: 9,830
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 25%
Wants: 618
Gots: 2,347 | 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
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Reviews: 1,516 | Hads: 9,830
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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Photo of YeahRightt
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Was excited to try this even though I had the chance to grab the bomber on multiple occasions and I did not (even though I had heard good things from a multitude of people). What can I say, I'm afraid of that kind of commitment.

Look: Pretty standard, a bit on the light side of things for as malty as it is. Golden.

Smell: Hops are a standout on the nose, the sweetness of the beer isn't as obvious when you sniff as it is on the tongue. Smells more boozy than 8% I would say

Taste: Tastes like a true double on the first sip with booze, hops, and malt all mingling together in a way that is hard to discern at first but then becomes a pattern with continued sippage. Carbonation cascading with the bitterness, sweet malt, and a booze heat aftertaste that is indicative on the nose. The beer didn't blow my hair back, to be honest, but there was no point where I thought it was bad or even close to subpar. I guess I had high expectations. The more I drank the more the malts became pronounced and the sweetness began to dominate the bitterness. I think it tastes a lot like Dogfish 90 Minute on the last few swigs.

Feel: Pretty wet. Slight stickiness from all the hops but not very drying on your palette. Pretty appetizing. It would probably be pretty great with some wings or a burger.

Overall: A good double IPA that I will likely drink again because 1. I trust Lagunitas 2. they are becoming very popular and readily available, and 3. it is in 6ers now and is a good beer to grab for a buddys house for a game or something. Try it if you like solid 2x IPAs without trying too hard.

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

Let me get this out in the open. I hate "cutesy" beers. Sweetwater has a human derriere printed on the bottom of their cases. A waste of printing ink. Don't get me started about Magic Hat. So when I saw this beer's name and read the long, rambling reason they came up with it, I thought, "Ugh. Cutesy beer. Pass." But I was so impressed with Lagunitas' other beers that I had to try this one, especially since it is an IPA.

Appearance 4.25: Pours out a light golden color with a nice 1/2" head and excellent lacing. Some particulates swirling around, which is always a good thing.

Smell 4.25: Wow, gorgeous nose on this beer. Pine hops to the hilt. Also smell some lovely grapefruit hints here along with a certain rye-like spiciness. Promising.

Taste 4.5: Front is slightly sweet with a big hit of alkaline hops. Middle is sweet, but it is perfectly balanced by a huge wave of expertly mixed hops. Levels of pine, citrus rind, chlorophyll...just heavenly. Finish is wet and also sweet, but there is a spiciness here that balances it out and also balances out the heavy onslaught of hops. Aftertaste is long and almost minty, with delicious swirls of hops flavors fading in and out of focus.

Mouthfeel 4.5: Excellent, balanced mouthfeel for a beer this big. No hint of any alcohol and the beer is just expertly balanced on the palate at almost every level.

Overall 4.5: Excellent beer and an outstanding Imperial IPA. A fantastic sessioner and I imagine it would be excellent with food, especially greasy food. Would love to find this on tap somewhere nearby, especially with football season coming up. Lagunitas has yet to let me down with anything, "cutesy" or not. Recommended.

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

L: poured from the generous 1 Quart bomber into a tumbler, pours a murky golden amber with a thin white head, leaves a good amount of lace on the way down. Kinda looks like a glass of piss after drinking one too many Redbull & Vodkas in vegas that one night.

S: Citrus, tropical, spice, its very inviting, floral like an IPA

T: Citrus and Malt do battle across the nose, with a slight presence of oat as well, fades into a biscuit-like flavor, finishes semi-dry

F: Medium bodied, with a high carbonation to boot, has a chewiness to it like a DIPA, and some hop oils as well.

O: While its not a beautiful looking brew, it's sure is tasty. Lagunitas has mastered the balance between hop and malt which makes this brew exceptionally good, a must try for any craft enthusiast.

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

A great Fall beer. Nothing average about it. Beautiful color & aroma, and strong & flavorful, too. Perfect for Thanksgiving--or kicking off that long weekend at the lake. Not so good if you're working tomorrow...

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Photo of squonk45
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

was worried it would be brown sugar sweet but just a faint taste of it.. nice bitter sweet citrus taste , The state of West Virginia has got to let this brewery in . part of my mix and match six pack has Lagunitas somehthin sweet in freezer now be ready to test in 15 minutes or less

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Photo of NolaHopHead
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Light holder orange with slight haze. Smells like an IPA, citrus and sweetness. The flavor of this beer is bold, especially those first few sips that are cold. The piney hops punch you in the face, it's a bit much, with a little astringency. As the beer warms, the hops settle down and there is much more balance, dramatic difference. Mouthfeel is Lagunitas mineraly and slippery. Overall, will drink this again and again, but only if Lil Sumpin isn't available.

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


This is probably one of the best valued beers out there. It has a very malty taste and it is very drinkable.

I very definitely recommend it!

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Photo of lastmango
3.93/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

What a strange brew. Looks like cloudy pee after 4 cups of coffee. Has a great head though . . . the beer! Three fingers and creamy. The initial nose was of Christmas spice. Then came the cereal aroma. Very bold taste . . . heavy malt up front with a nice balanced piney hop taste on the end. The beer has an unusual creamy feel to it. This is good. I think I will have to rate this again and suspect the next rating will be higher. :)

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Photo of jmasher85
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got that classic Lagunitas citrus hop profile with a more interesting combination of flavors. Nose hints most at at tobacco, then pine, and the flavor adds a bit of grapefruit with some sweetness in the front and a little bit of bitterness in the finish. Medium lacing and a soft texture that sticks in the mouth make it a pleasure to drink, though I must admit it's still not dramatically different from the rest of Lagunitas's pale ales (as the brewers themselves imply in the description). Delicious, but not worth going out of the way for.

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.84/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Clear, lucid orange with fine and sparse flecks. Off-white, fluffy, foamy head of medium retention in 20 oz snifter. Pine, resin, caramel, raisin, perfume, faint citrus, dankness, sweat, with alcoholic burn on the nose. Strong resinous and perfumey flavor, touch of mango throughout, a little vegetal and dank, with many of the same characteristics found in the smell. Minute black pepper and other spices in the finish. As much from alcohol and hops as the adjuncts and yeast. All evens out to citrus rind in the aftertaste. There's more going on here than I prefer, reminds me too much of a fragrant soap. Fairly light body for the style with plenty of fine, gently prickling suds, a crisp, not overly dry finish, and warmth to the front and bottom of mouth. Take breathing/eating/water breaks between gulps, or sip it slowly. Palate easily overwhelmed. I was tempted to rate the taste lower. But it doesn't deserve such treatment as long as its enjoyment can be properly paced. Honestly, though, it will be hard for me to slog through two of these (32 ounces each).

EDIT 08/10: Having my second of two glasses from the one 32 ouncer. Still carbonated. Similar taste, but more fruit-forward than before. Also, enjoying with some cheddar. All in all, better experience and more drinkable than the first go around.

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Photo of Prasm
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Smells of the "cereal medley"as advertised - barely, hops, and malt all combine to form an expressive nose on this beer. The taste seems more hop dominated by my palate, though it is balanced somewhat with a slightly creamy mouth-feel with a little citrus in the back-end.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
2.6/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I like all varieties of beers from stouts, belgians, pilseners, ipa, etc. I can tell you right now that this beer leans heavily toward the IPA side of the spectrum. The color and look was average... decent. The smell was hoppy but good...okay. The feel was great, very drinkable. But the taste. It tastes like an IPA with a little maltiness. I'm not going to try to describe hints of this or that because it's just a mess but not in a bad except for one thing. There really is some kind of dank, armpit, wet dog, flavor to this brew. There's no doubt about it. I miss BrownShugga and I gave this one the marks it deserved because it IS just a half-assed attempt at trying to please Brown Shugga lovers' tastebuds. I concur with Lagunitas own review of this swill and look forward to seeing a Brown Shugga case or tap in the near future. Is it drinkable? Of course. Is it "World Class" as says above? A thousand times no. But will I finish it off? You bet.

edit: Hopefully this will help some of you that got that wet dog taste. Pour and let it sit for a while. I discovered this as I noticed that it finished off quite well (I should know better than to give a review before I've finished it off. Let it sit for a bit and much of that flavor seems to off-gas so probably in the carbonation. The other thing I did was add 1/2 tspn of brown sugar to it (about the size of a dime). Gently stir it around. There you go.

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Photo of Thedcake
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L: like deeply dehydrated urine, or Mountain Dew syrup melted, runny, carbonated and golden.
S: I would give this a 5 if I could be sure that the stank here is my own. Like stress sweat t-shirts or golf socks that melted into an apple scented Christmas tree air freshener that was left in your Honda Civic over a July weekend.
T: it's a 3 b/c sometimes it tastes like it smells, Other times I wonder if I'm tasting an entirely new cuisine. If it were food it would be love laced masala. Only sometimes rotten.
F: this beer made me create an account to share my experience, I think it this brew may be a ruse.
O: strong buzz motor, insists on being drunk cold and/or in full lemme freak mode, delicious?

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Photo of Beermanmiles
3.86/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

This is one of the weirdest beers I have ever tasted. When I tried it for the first time I had it out of a growler, I had no idea what color it was. I tasted it and the first vibe I got from it was pale; maybe an IPA. Then I felt an after bite of fruity caramel. It felt like fireworks in my mouth. It is a very powerful mix of tastes. It is definitely one of a kind. No other beer has this sort of pungent flavor. It tastes light though it is fairly high in alcohol content. The beer also has a beautiful light brown hue that is typical of lagers. I drink this beer a lot but it's mostly because a 32oz is 10 dollars. More breweries should make beer in that size. I highly recommend you give it a try, even though many of you may not like it. Some might even find it a monstrosity.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

When it's on its game, this thing is darn near transcendent. Amazing nose combining tropical and pungent hop aromas. Palate follows suit and offers a wonderful bitterness, perfectly weighted within a dry, attenuated body. Tremendous.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.91/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a pretty popular beer around BA. I figured I'd take a swing at it.

A : Very large and insanely tight popcorn colored head, about 3 fingers and sticking around for quite awhile before finally resting at 2 fingers. The lace makes the glass almost solid looking. The body is honey colored and 70% opaque.

S : Practically perfect marriage of orange peel and piney hop. A little bit of body odor/sweat sock but it's muted and distant. It's a solid, no-nonsense nose for an IPA.

T : Here's the downfall. It tastes like arm pit. And sugar. A sugary arm pit? It's got a strange rotting fruity buzz to it, though. I can't explain it. Like the arm pit and a mouthful of mushy cantaloupe. It tastes pretty gross but something keeps bringing me back to it. The Sweetness? Jimmy Eat World might agree. A little bit later the alcohol starts to surface and it takes on a slight warm buzz. I don't even know how to rate this. Am I missing something here that everyone else seems to be raving about? It's both terrible and drinkable at the same time. A 3? (*edit, a 3.5, see below)

F : Smooth, easy drinking, lightly creamy. Buzzing carbonation. Ends a little pasty.

O : Everything was looking pretty "world class" until I got to the taste. Obviously if I can't drink the beer it loses its merit. I'll pass on this next time.

* EDIT : had another, and it was fresher. The taste was much better. I'll adjust the scores accordingly to approximate the median of both trials.

A solid experience with the appearance being the obvious strong suit, still.

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Photo of scottbrew4u
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very appealing from the first sniff of dank hops and citric hops. Malty body gives a solid underlying foundation for this beer. It has a bitter finish but not overly so. Great beer for a hop lover and it has a good following to show for it. I have passed this over many times but glad to have finally reviewed it.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas strikes again!!! The nose on this beer is amazing!!! BIG BIG fruity citrus aroma. And the taste follows w/ an orangy/citrus/ sweet taste. Slight sweet piney finish. This is Lagunitas best tasting beer in my opinion. Can't even taste the almost 8% ABV. One of the top DIPAs out. A must try for any beer lover.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured cold into a tulip glass. Bottled on 4/2/15, consumed on 5/9/15.
Look = 4.25 Pours a clear golden orange color with 3 fingers of thick white head. Great retention and lace.
Aroma = 4.75 Big hoppy aroma, fruity and juicy with pineapple, mango and some orange. Great aroma.
Taste = 4.25 More balanced than the nose but still hop forward. Citrus mostly, orange and lime built on a caramel and toffee malt backbone. Significant bitter finish.
Feel = 4.25 Medium to full bodied, thick and syrupy feel. Resiny, coats the mouth. Medium to high carbonation is fizzy.
Drinkability = 4.25 Easy drinking for a big DIPA.
Overall = 4.375 A terrific DIPA, great aroma and flavors, good feel and easy drinking. $10 for a 6 pack can’t be beat.

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Photo of Elsuperjefe
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Golden Amber w thin lacing. Nose is piney, grassy and floral. Taste follows the nose and adds a delightful bitterness that lingers long enough to enjoy but doesn't kill the buds. Feels smooth and crisp. Doesn't suck. Delicious rescue by Lagunitas.

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Photo of vitALEity
3.66/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

-Somewhat cloudy, light gold color with huge, thick head and good retention.
-Very mild grapefruit, orange and pine with some sweet/bready malt
-Light hop citrus and piney flavor balanced with sweet malt. Very mild, more like a high percentage pale ale. Alcohol is very well hidden
-Medium-full body, smooth
-Overated, but for the price its an outstanding buy.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,516 ratings.