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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: 9,647
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 25%
Wants: 599
Gots: 2,210 | 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
Reviews: 1,496 | Hads: 9,647
Photo of VitoFerrante
4.76/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is awesome. It is everything the style should be! If it was only a bit more unfiltered, I would say I like it as much as the monster players in the style: Panzer Wolf, Heady, Dreadnaught, etc. This could very well be my "go to" based on availability, price, and quality.

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Photo of GuitarIPA
3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L - beautiful Amber color, foamy white head and clingy lacing
A - hops, funk, earthy, citrus
T - sweet, piney
F - medium body, good carbonation, extremely drinkable

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Photo of gillagorilla
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle from

A: The lacing from the initial 2 inch head is astounding. One of the best lacing I have seen. The residual head is just a nice solid film with clusters of bigger bubbles. It has a nice cloudy, golden amber color.

S: The smell on this is extremely floral and piney. I'm not getting much citrus. This is one of the few IPAs that I have had that is quite floral. It smells like a well-tended garden that has been freshly mown and has the scent of pre/post rainstorm.

T: The taste is predominately piney with a nice floral hoppy aftertaste. It is hard to get floral flavors due to the strength of pine flavors, but the aftertaste is quite floral, but mild as I would expect from such an aftertaste. It is a very linear and balanced profile throughout its course during the sip/swallow: pine and hops all the way.

M: This is quite crisp with lots of bubbles floating around in there.

O: Contrary to the title of this IPA, it is top-notch and Lagunitas does not suck at all, especially since this has year-round availability. Glad this was my first Lagunitas beer, and it would seem that they know their way around IPAs. I will definitely be getting this again. Sucks is a must try for anyone that says they like IPAs.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a faint hazy hint to the orange body with a thin beige cream on top that last for a good bit but then turns to a sticky ring on the glass. There is a sea of gentle carbonation that pops to the surface.

S- The woody green hops have a bright pineapple weed aroma in the finish.

T- The full green hops has some Muscat grape qualities with a pineapple weed finish. There is a pale malt support to the dry finish and a pungent unripe fruit flavor lingers with just a touch of bitterness.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- This beer has a nice full bright hop flavor but it is very drinkable for such a big flavor. There is a nice depth to the hops that makes each sip interesting.

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Photo of chefhatt
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this into a tulip glass, it has a lite reddish color body with a thin white head that hangs around for a while. The smell has a very appealing nose of piney, and citrus hops. The taste pops of bitter, with some pine and citrus hopness. It has a great mouth feel and leaves a nice hop aftertaste on the tongue. Overall this is a great beer.

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Photo of 80x2HopHead
4.11/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The smell is possibly the strongest asset of this brew, I immediately noted alcoholic piney notes with some citrusy tangerine in the background followed up by musky undertones. The initial taste was quite pleasing, replete with piney, lemon/orangetastes and plenty of well balanced piney and citrusy hops. The first three seconds on the pallet is great, packing great amounts of flavor into a well balanced sweet, resinous, and citrusy punch. The only issue I had with the brew was in the aftertaste- slightly more sweet than I like in my IPAs- maybe amplified by the yeast? Overall mouthfeel was good, fairly crisp and carbonation is there while it finished nicely. Certainly could taste the booze towards the end of the bottle- but I was skiing so WTF it made for a great few runs off of paradise. Overall a well balanced IPA that exemplifies piney resin but a bit too sweet.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Chilled 12 oz stubby into a stemless tulip pint. Bottling date appears to be 2.6.13.

Look- Crystal clear golden hue, straight pour leaves me with a glass full of frothy eggshell foam that settles slowly. Sticky irregular lacing.

Smell- Very sweet, musky undertones. Freshly peeled clementine oranges. Orange blossom, lightly flowery, powdery.

Taste- Lemon, pine, honey, more orange peel. Lots and lots of tropical citrus, alternates between grainier acidic navel and mandarin orange. Biscuit and light treacle are present but vague. Lingering white tea, chives, and cillantro. Straightforward, but packs in a lot of flavor and manages to straddle the line between pithy and resinous and sweet.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full body, crisp carbonation on the sip. Juicy feel, clean finish. Easy drinking.

Overall- Well, it's not what I'd consider a "Brown Shugga Substitute", but it's definitely not bad either. Succeeds at the often attempted but usually missed moderate-IBU citric DIPA a'la Nugget Nectar.

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Photo of dheacck11
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very clear honey orange color with dusting of soft white head.

Nose is sweet with honey, fresh flowers, sticky pine resin.

So big and fresh up front with some dry hoppiness followed by massive resin, pine, and delightful honey and citrus. Finishes with a drier bite again.

Mouth feel is on the heavier side of medium. Leaves a nice thin coating of flavor.

Super hyped. Super good. Even better fresher. Best DIPA? Nah. But really really really good one? yup.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.19/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

one of the most hyped beers on the forums here, and in the top 100, so needless to say, I was stoked to find this on the shelf. the pour is a lovely honey color, pretty much clear, with a lot of rising carbonation and a two inch white head with excellent retention. the nose is that sweeter, more oily hop that lagunitas is so good at getting into their beers. sweeter malt base as well. the flavor is good, fresh hops on the pine end of the spectrum, but the sugar is more than I like in my india pale ales. decent bitterness in the finish, but the residual sugar is close to overwhelming. also, does lagunitas use the same friggen yeast in every one of the beers they make? to me its such a detractor now, it doesn't belong in half the beers, and its boring me here. good feel though, medium body and fine carbonation. its a damn good ipa, but it gets a little alcohol heavy as it warms up, which exacerbates the sugar and the same old yeast they always use. to me, its good, but way overhyped. just my opinion, so don't crucify me, but a new yeast would do this brewery and this beer wonders.

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Photo of SBCBUCA21
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Another amazing creation from Lagunitas. This brewery is another one that can do no wrong. Almost overpowering is the double imperial IPA that also "SUCKS" come winter time. The colder the weather, the better this beer tastes. Pucker up.!

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Photo of katan
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz into a pint

A - Pours a fairly clean golden brown color. Lots of white head formation, frothy, sticks around.

S - A piney resinous hoppy nose, very edgey. A little citrus in the background.

T - Starts off lightly citrusy, then bombed by the huge same resin/pine hop flavors from the aroma. Very balanced, bitterness is present but doesn't overcome the beer completely. Finishes with a decent hop finish and a little bit of dryness.

M - As above, it has a lot of dryness both from the cleanness of the fermentation as well as the oily hops. Alcohol warmth is not present.

O/D - A very good DIPA. If you love the piney resin almost fresh hop style, this is your beer. Not overly filling and a very workable ABV.

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Photo of philbe311
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - A finger and a half worth of delicate fluffy whipped cloud-like egg shell colored head... Solid retention... Once faded their is a thick rich collar and moderate veil of lacing... The color is a light and slightly dull amber... There is a moderate bit of moderate paced carbonation rising throughout... Loads of lacing clings to the glass...

S - Holy hop cones... Piney... Earthy... Slightly pungent (in a good way)... Grapefruit... Orange zest... A limited malt base is detected...

T - A bit more of a citrusy character takes over the palate... Grapefruit... Oranges... Tangerines... A hint of mango... There is still a strong piney component along with grassy and earthy tones... Some light biscuit and crust notes...

M - Medium bodied... Slightly lush... A touch of creaminess... Very smooth... Finishes a bit dry... Lots of textures and character...

D - A rock solid American DIPA... Loaded with depth, complexity and character... It's not the hoppiest, but it's bursting with flavor... There's also something that makes it rather unique in the realm of hyped hop bombs, though I can't quite place my finger on it... I highly recommend and will gladly indulge whenever presented the opportunity...

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

Pours a clear, slightly orange-y straw color, very clear, pretty small head. The smell is classic hoppy American ipa; citrus, a bi of tropical fruit, a bit of pine...it's not overwhelming, but very nice! Taste is excellent, hoppy, a reasonable amount of bitterness. Mouthfeel is very nice. Overall, it's just a really solid American IPA. I'll be having this one again, when I can find it.

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Photo of Bajasith
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

There is nothing like a bright glow of golden honey color as the evening sun peers through the glass. Heavy hints of grapefruit along with freshly soaked pine, creamy feel as it splashes the palate. Very enjoyable brew on a warm sunny day here in the desert. Time to set the carne asada on the grill and quaff a second one.

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Photo of Kerfluffel
3.81/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served in a snifter. 12oz bottle

a: pours golden with a hint orange. clear as day with a white tight head that leaves a considerable amount of lacing

s: strong and forward hop nose with notes of in your face grapefruit, with lemon, pine resin, and hints of grass and soft malt that hides in the background

t: Flavor starts off with strong hop notes, that follows the nose. Malt background is soft that's biscuity and with lightly toasted grain. Alcohol pokes through and a nice bitterness to end the palate.

m: silky smooth mouthfeel that's medium bodied with a bright bitterness that lingers long but not overly so. Not too dry of a finish.

o: great DIPA that's lighter in alcohol than most with an absolutely amazing aroma. Has a grapefruit juice like quality without the acidity.

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Photo of denver10
3.94/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a burnt orange with a frothy white head and nice lacing. Aroma is sweet and juicy; some nice hop resin, citrus, brown sugar and some bread. A sweet and fruity IPA; sweet citric juice, hop resins, and some bread. A crisp, active mouthfeel. Overall, I get the hype for this beer but I am not quite digging this like most. Would drink again, but wont be seeking this out personally. Kinda reminds me a lot of Brown Shugga, just with a different malt base.

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Photo of tastymug
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, medium orange/amber with a nice head and lots of lacing.

Smell: First thought here is that it smells awesome! Hoppy, sweet and citrusy.

Taste: Very complex yet balanced taste that is full of flavor. Sweet, sharp and citrus upfront with some bitter following after. It finishes warm and fruity (like tropical fruits) and the flavor lingers on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with the perfect amount of carbonation.

Overall: A super tasty beer that I would definitely indulge in again. It’s very well-rounded and drinkable. Lagunitas generally produces quality brews so no surprise here!

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Photo of Efay
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- The body of this beer is a light goldenrod color. There is two fingers worth of foam with good head retention. Best of all, there is an extremely high amount of lacing on this bad boy.

S- Initial danky smell, which leads to light pine that actually stings your nose, as well as fresh tangerine. I literally mean fresh tangerine as it smells like someone is cutting one right in front of your nose. It is heavenly. The tangerine is so dominant that I can barely get any malt.

T- Initial dank flavor, but its light and somewhat floral. Tangerine is dominant again, with less amount of pine. This is not really bitter at all and is more fruity than anything, which I love.

M- Light and sticky with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O- I never thought I would enjoy an DIPA this much, especially with the lack of a malt backbone. The hops are not overbearing at all and it's just sweet perfection. This is on a level of heady topper, and is simply phenomenal.

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

Obtained via trade from ThaFATkid. Poured from a bottle into a New Belgium snifter. The pour is clear orange-gold with a nice sudsy white head and some nice bubbles streaming up from the bottom of the glass. Nice nose on this beer. Very fruity without smelling ``sweet''. I get lots of fresh citrus fruit (orange and grapefruit), some dried apricot, and just a hint of pine.

Nice firm feel and medium body. The flavor is a nice combination of fruity and bitter. I get a bit of sweet, mealy, maltiness up front, some butterscotch, and plenty of fruit. The feel is downright creamy and suits the palate well. I do wish that the butterscotch, while not on the forefront, didn't last quite so long across the palate. Just a flash up front would be divine, but too much interferes with the hoppy goodness. Good finish on this one, though not as sustained as I'd like.

I'd definitely buy this one every year if I had access to it. As I have to trade for it, this may be my only encounter with it. I can confirm that it was a delightful one at that.

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

A- Lagunitas Sucks pours a perfect combination of yellow and orange. It meets right in the middle. A booming heads tops the beer which is completely clear with nice bubbly carbonation.

S- Right away I can spot the brewery. There's something about Lagunitas (not unlike Victory) where you can tell the brewery right from the start. I get a lot of bright green hops, with only a slight malt balance. Quite a bit of citrus that really dominates the nose.

T- After a few big sips I'm getting a lot of lip-smacking citrus but also a nice peppery character that I did not expect. The malt is present but definitely not a huge flavor component, which I am okay with given that it is as true West Coast IPA through and through.

M- Medium bodied and very well balanced. It is smooth as can be for the style. Sucks sits well on the tongue. It has a very clean finish but is not particularly dry, which is just fine for me.

O- Loved it. I had heard so much about this beer and it did not disappoint me. This is a great IPA from a great brewery. The only negative I have is that this is not quite a double like it's listed. It a very good IPA, but if it is truly a DIPA, it is a little weak. There's almost TOO MUCH drinkability and too much smoothness for the style... if that makes sense? Still, it's a great beer and you should drink it!

Serving Type- 12oz bottle poured into an IPA glass. Thanks for reading.

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Photo of SaisonRichBiere
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a goblet glass.

Appearance- pours a light, bright orange with one finger of bubbly, frothy head. Lacing all around as the head goes. Stays bubbly on top.

Smell- Bright tangerine sugary notes, candy maltiness, and citrusy, herbal hop finish. Smells very good.

Taste- Begins with sweet tangerines, maraschino cherries and bubblegum. A brief astringence flows into caramel corn malts. Finish is a bold, earthy hop character. Surprisingly dry and blunt for how sweet it started out. Tasty stuff. Tangy apricot aftertaste on the palate.

Mouthfeel- Mineral water micro-bubbles yield to a creamy, sugary smoothness. A bit dense.

Overall- I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. Unique taste. Fruity with a malt and hop afterthought. An appropriately sweet substitute for Brown Shugga. Very likeable and tasty. As much as I hate to say it though, it's much like a Magic Hat #9, but with a bit more bravado. Surprisingly mild for a double IPA, and noticeably lacking a big hop character on the palate akin to the style. All things considered, I've got a few more in the cellar, and look forward to them.


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Photo of bambam2517
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle to a pint glass and served in the backyard, initially at 40F.

A - Pretty standard IPA looks. Dirty golden-brown body, some light carbonation and a small watery head. Does lace nicely down the glass though.

S - Very powerful orange blossom, grapefruit and pineapple. Floral and slightly sweet. A real winner here.

T - Backs up the nose nicely. Really pick up the Grapefruit all the way through. It bounces off the orange and pineapple mostly, but there is a nice backbone of Cascade hops here too. Again, nicely done.

M - It backs up on the palate slightly, but it masks its ABV well and it has a slight sweetness that keeps me sipping it.

O - Its a very nice offering, I do prefer Sumpin Sumpin to this one though.

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Photo of Fusion7777
4.61/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear amber into a tulip with a generous white foamy head. Aroma is absolutely intoxicating citrus and pine and easily one of the best noses on an IPA/IIPA. Taste is tropical fruits, hops, pineapple, mango, passionfruit, lemon zest, and balanced by subtle malt. Sticky, smooth, crisp, and balanced mouthfeel. Quite possibly the best bang for your buck at 9 bucks a sixer; packs a very high flavor to dollar ratio. A great go-to beer, especially now that it figures to be a year round offering. The best of many Lagunitas IPA offerings.

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Photo of Big_V
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Good two finger head. Color was a unique golden brown. Good carbonation.

S - Wow! Sweet brown sugar.

T - I can taste a little something different after every sip. Grapefruit, pine, toffee. To bad my store said they won't be getting any more :(

M - So easy to go down. Just right on the hops.

O - Picked up 2 (6) packs and upon my first taste I didn't think it was worth the hype. After my second beer I'm hooked! Need more.

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Photo of Rukasu
4.81/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Move over Hopslam, ye have been dethroned in my book.

A - Beautiful, clear ruddy-amber, thin white head.

S - Interesting mix of pine, pineapple, straw, orange rind, slightly funky cheese hints linger in the nose on the end, but not at all off-putting.

T - Big hops up front, tastes match the smell fairly well. More of the orange rind, and a mix of savory bitterness and sweet.

M - Fairly heavy, has a chewiness to it, and well carbonated.

O - I found 2013's Hopslam to be off from year's past, and luckily discovered Sucks just in time to fill the gap. One of the best DIPA's I've had in a long time. Haven't had many Lagunitas, but this beer converted me.

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