Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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.

1,523 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,523
Hads: 9,844
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 9.72%
Wants: 619
Gots: 2,355 | 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
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: 1,523 | Hads: 9,844
Photo of Powderhornphil
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange marmalade, tangerine color. Lots of fluffy white head. It recedes to leave nice lacing.

Tangerine and citrus notes. Slight pine. Not much malt on the nose. I have always liked Lagunits IPAs. Great smelling.

Tastes like a great IPA. Orange, citrus, a little dank pine. In the sweet spot for IIPA. Not too much malt. Not too syrupy.

Nice mouthfeel. To me finished fairly dry. quite a bit of carbonation.

Great example for the style. Lagunitas sure does IPAs well. Kinda scary how easy this drinks for nearly 8 percent. Could drink quite a few with very little effort.

 587 characters

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

lagunitas sucks pours a really nice polished gold color. it has a small amount of white head, with a nice looking lace. the smell is heavy with grapefruit and piney citrus, i almost think if you didnt know you were smelling beer you would think this was grapefruit juice. this beer is really hoppy and piney, very bitter. this flavor encompasses your whole mouth. the right amount of carbonation makes this not hard to drink if you can handle a solid ipa like this. honestly this is one of the best ipa's that i think ive ever had.

 531 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Three to four fingers of generous head. The beer is a milky-clear gold.

S: Piney-fresh bitterness. It reminds me most powerfully of Russian River's Happy Hops, which is only a good thing. Touch of lemon zest.

T/M: Very nice! Rich, spicy, and full-bodied. Almost chewy, with excellent malt-hop balance. A hefty dose of the latter drives the IBU up, while still providing excellent fruity, citrusy, slightly herbal flavors. The endtaste is refreshingly not very dry and the aftertaste is lingeringly earthy hops.

O: A very nice IPA. I would have another or three, and recommend it to others. The aftertaste is a bit...off, but everything else is quite nice.

January 2014 edit. After hoarding these last season, and trying it again this year, I'm forced to up my Overall score from 4 to 4.5. Great beer.

 858 characters

Photo of phishsihq
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We thought that Laguintas Sucks would be the perfect brew to review on this fine holiday. The beer pours a hazy, golden color with peachy highlights. A big fluffy white head provides a good amount of sticky lacing. Piney hops, citrus, honey, and caramel blend together to create a solid IIPA nose. Sweet caramel quickly fades into an incredible balance that is rounded out by a citrus hop bitterness in the finish. Crisp and smooth, the brew is medium in both body and carbonation. Don't let the name fool you, this one definitely does not suck.


 554 characters

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Into 10oz snifter at Wild Colonial.

Great clarity, stunning in the glass. Active head spills over, snow white.

Nose is potent dank tank super hops. Smells like a big ol' bag of kind.

Taste matches. Super hop snap. Like diesel fuel, kerosene. Wowza. Little malt- this is total hop resin.

This is like the opposite of Lagunitas- while Maximus is syrupy this one is bone dry. Can't tell which one I like more.

 414 characters

Photo of Lerxst
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a gold/amber with a fluffy two finger white head that has good retention and sheets lace all the way down. Nice looking beer.

S-Smells like a hop bomb. Loads of citrus bombard the nostrils along with whiffs of pine resin. Not picking up any malt to speak of, just a boatload of hoppy goodness here. Smells great.

T-Hops abound with an explosion of juicy citrus, a bit piney. Picking up a slight bready malt backbone that in no way makes a play for dominance, it just acts as a nice complement to the bitter, citrusy hop bonanza going on. Not extremely complex, but very, very delicious and enjoyable. This is an excellent DIPA.

M-Crisp with ample carbonation, yet feels a bit slick and oily mid palate but finishes dry. Medium body.

O-This is the best beer I've had from Lagunitas. An excellent DIPA that I will enjoy again and again. A job well done!

 863 characters

Photo of cquinn17
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- golden orangish with a 1 finger off white head. Good retention. Really pretty looking DIPA

S- big citrusy hops. I get orange,lots of grapefruit and a little lemon. Hardly any malt present I the nose at all.

T- very citrus forward and a little leafy backed up by some really nice sweeter malt. The malt really surprised me after not getting any in the nose. A really well balanced beer.

M- a good crisp mouthfeel with a juicy almost creamy finish. Solid.

O- this is another excellent offering from lagunitas. They can do no wrong in my eyes. Just a really solid, well balanced DIPA. To have this as a seasonal right after brown shugga is a great thing.

 661 characters

Photo of flayedandskinned
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date, but its probably just a week old.
Pour into a standard tulip.

Appearance: Pours an absolutely vibrant yellowish gold with a thick, two finger pure white head. Great head retention and TONS of sticky lacing.

Aroma: HOP NUKE TO THE NOSE! Absolutely gushing with hop aromatics; Extremely ripe cantaloupe, big grapefruit and the usual citrus suspects. some very faint, although complex malt in the background; sweet biscuit and rye seed mostly.

Taste: HUGE hops right up front as expected; Grapefruit and candied oranges, faint honey dew and that amazing "burnt plastic/wet rubber band" taste that only insanely massive amount of hops will give you. Sweet cracker and biscuit-y malt on the back end. A whisper of spicy rye before the very dry, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Crisp, medium to light body with moderate-high carbonation.

Overall: An absolutely fantastic example of a true to form West Coast IPA. Definitely straddles the line between an IPA and a Double IPA. I feel its closer to a well-hopped single IPA than a double, personally. I cannot recommend this beer more highly. I would definitely put this beer next to my other all time favorite single IPAs (Sculpin and Blind Pig). If you see this, buy it immediately. Truly is an amazing beer. Lagunitas desperately needs to make this a year round offering.

 1,334 characters

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bro's, come on! This is only an '88,' but Hercules is a '100?' Raul shakes his head...

Still cruzin SD and Raul just picked up a sixer of this at Crisp. Beautiful BEST Coast IPA with glorious notes of juice and tropical rain forest.

Raul straight doez this!

 259 characters

Photo of OTB
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Having never have had this before I was a bit cautious with all the hype surrounding this release. The first thing I notice is the appearance of this beer, its a beautiful pale orange with a half inch cap that is off white. The nose is great, everything I look for in a well made DIPA, dank, sweet, floral, and fruity. The flavor profile is mango, oranges and molasses with a bitter beam of hops to balance the brew out, very well done, the beer gives up more complexity as it warms in my tulip. The mouth is fine, not to oily and not to dry, the finish though dissipates rather quickly. Overall I think this is a very well made beer from a very well respected producer that I will gladly seek out again.

 704 characters

Photo of RockAZ
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Really like the smell of this beer, fresh and full of that hop aroma that just got harvested. Light mouthfeel, sweet but dry finish. Alcohol level hides well under this incredible smell, one of their best beers and could become one of my favorites of all time IPA's

 265 characters

Photo of SerialHiker
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a classic deep golden color…transparent in nature, tons of bubbles bubbling up from the bottom…luscious white head formed and remained…tons of legs all over the glass…(4/5)

Smell: Tons of citrus hops…grapefruit, orange, mandrin, those little clementines in a bag for $6.99 and pineapple…sweet, pale malt…tons of citrus hops…(4.25/5)

Taste: Wow…I have to say, I expected a way more citrus dominant flavor, but that’s not the case…starts very fresh and very citrusy, much like the nose…flavors of grapefruit, orange and pineapple all apparent…but the sweet, pale malts come through and hold their own against all comers balancing out all those hops and that’s no small feat…this could easily have been over the top hoppy and still good, but the amount of excellent malt flavor here takes this brew to another level…piney resin flavor comes toward the end and lasts throughout the after taste…(4.75/5)

Mouthfeel: Light body, light to medium carbonation…very clean break after swallowing, hints of citrus zest and piney resin linger on the palate…very light…(4/5)

Overall: This is a solid brew…very citrus hops heavy with a solid malt backbone and a piney hops finish…very flavorful…I’m not sure how this is an afterthought brew for lagunitas because it’s better than most others’ IPA attempts…a wonderful surprise I found at my local Dominick’s that I couldn’t pass up, and I’m super glad I didn’t…if you see this brew, buy it and you’ll thank me later...outstanding flavor with a high ABV (that’s only noticeable by the buzz), this is a stand-out beer that I couldn’t recommend more…(4.5/5)

 1,682 characters

Photo of lonewolfcry
4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Re-rating the quick "had" review from earlier.
Not going to go into the details which everyone knows already about (that & I'm lazy)
I just had to give Lagunitas the credit they deserve - especially considering the back story as how it became Sucks in the first place.

This beer is amazing, as we all know, to say the least.
I went through six 6 packs - which is a hell of a lot, considering all the other beer I've been drinking this winter
Personally, I would rather keep this as a seasonal than a year round - simply because I want to be able to look forward to it, and not have to check bottles dates all year (they're hard to see).

But if you must have a traditional review:

A: It's an IPA - what do you want it to look like...OK it looks great!
S: Amazing, and spectacular!
T: Off the charts - fantastic - bravo!
M: About as good as you can get, save only Heady Topper (and I still don't know how they pulled that one off)
O: A+ (Please, please don't go year round with bombers!)

 988 characters

Photo of TWStandley
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into my HF over-sized wine glass.

Appeared a beautiful orange/gold completely translucent color with a two finger hearty white head.

Smell was potent - definite piney scents with some delicious juicy oranges and lemons.

Taste is delicious. You can absolutely punish these because they are that good. Perfectly balanced yet very bold in flavor. Love the citrus fruits present in this one. Perfect amount of sweetness and a nice bitter finish.

Medium mouth feel with solid carbonation.

Overall I absolutely love this beer, and love the fact that it is on the cheaper side. This is definitely going to be one of my go-to beers going forward. YUM.

 671 characters

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

On tap at the Apex in PDX the other day.

The beer pours a golden amber color with good head retention and lacing. I'm a little surprised by what I get on the nose, as I thought I recalled getting more tropical fruit then what i'm getting today. This beer smells like a hop bomb (not that I'm complaining), as I get considerable pine, lemon-lime, and some light dry citrus. On the palate, this beer is very dry and bitter, and I really feel this beer could use a bit more malt to balance all that bitterness. There's a hint of cherry and an intriguing light smoke flavor in the mid palate (I almost got something of a bean with bacon soup flavor, which completely surprised me), but it's really not nearly enough to counter and balance the avalanche of hoppy bitterness I get on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and the alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile.

A really well made beer from Lagunitas, even if a bit more tropical fruit would have been appreciated to better handle the bucketload of hoppy bitterness in this beer. Ultimately, I enjoyed the bottle I had of this beer last year as opposed to the uber fresh draft version I had at Apex.

 1,168 characters

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

A - pours murky light honey, nice white head that stays for a long time, lots of cling lace.

S - very malty and very hoppy. I don't know which one is more dominant. Probably the hops, but it is close.

T - aggressive malt completely squashed by even more aggressive hops.

M - medium body, good carb , balance heavy to the hops and slightly metallic towards the finish.

D - one very tasty beer!

 397 characters

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

Pours a clear orange-amber with a dense soapy head that settles to a thin haze, leaving lots of soapy lacing. Lovely aromas of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, and pine resin. Taste is similarly tropical, with lots of fresh hop flavors and a moderately bitter finish. Mouthfeel is crisp and slightly sticky, with a medium body and ample carbonation. Really excellent DIPA, glad I finally got to try it (missed out all last year).

 426 characters

Photo of HalfFull
3.45/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass, showing a lightly hazed deep straw with a somewhat sticky cap of white foam. Quite light in color and leaving some sticky lace.

Aroma is all about hops with spicy floral notes and a background of fruit. Reminds me of Hop Stoopid in a way yet doesn't really have the same malt depth. Bit more earthy with some exposure and warming. Oddly I sense a minor Belgian influence here, in a supportive way. Hoppy yet not resinous at all, weird and a bit of a mystery.

Flavor is spicy with pepper/clove/tangerine coming forward. Rather subdued relative to the aroma however. Spice notes linger nicely on the finish however initially.

Feel is pleasant and spicy yet a bit brief. Touch of orange oil on the finish creates a slighty sweet note that masks the ABV well yet at the same time quells the bitterness as this beer finishes rather non IPA-like. As much as I don't care for rich crystal malted IPA's, this is the first one I've had that is a bit short on the base malt body. Another mystery is how the beer finished sweet with simple sweetness, must be pasteurized once it hits a certain gravity.

Good aroma but otherwise good but not extraordinary by any means. Cheers...

 1,211 characters

Photo of argock
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap in a Shaker pint at Beer Run (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Dusky amber with 1/2 finger of big-bubbled off-white head with average retention and a few scraps of lacing.

S: Big dry-hop aromas of pine, resin, and tropical fruit with some grapefruit aromas. The maltiness is light and crackery overall but with a bit more caramel than I remember from the bottle.

T: The flavor is big-time hoppy with orange, lemon, grapefruit citrus and a little bit of pineapple and mango also. THe maltiness is not quite enough despite the ABV to stand up in any meaningful way to this hops assault.

M: Slick but almost a little too dry with light-medium body.

O: I enjoyed my bottles last year more than this on-tap presentation. And while this is a solid beer and rightfully highly anticipated, I was a little let down by this on-tap.

 833 characters

Photo of Hatzilla
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Sucks pours a cloudy yellow-amber with a one-finger white head. Scent is tropical: tons of peaches and mangoes, as well as pine and earthy, citrus hops. Taste is lemon and red grapefruit with a cereal malt backbone. Very well balanced. Palate is medium, with a creamy texture and lively carbonation. Overall a great offering from Lagunitas that should be year-round. Bottled 12/17/12. Rated 12/22/12

 409 characters

Photo of tut2528
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this one both on Tap and Bottle (this review is based off the bottle)

A: pours a nice light gold color with moderate transparency. it created a nice finger worth of head formation with nice carbonationa and moderate lacing.

S: just a magnificant grapefruit bomb! i also pick up on lemon zest and orange peel and a nice exlopsion of hops. there is a sweetness of malt backbone and some pine resin as well. but, man that grapefruit is awesome

T: big sweet malt body makes its presence known here. there is a nice pine resin along with the hops to create some bitterness. some bready biscuit and again, grapefruit and lemon zest are here, but they take a back seat when comparing it to the nose. crisp finish

M: slightly oily on the palate, and it leaves a subtle sweet malt and biscuit component on the palate. nice lighter side of medium bodied brew.

O: not much of a fan of Lagunitas, but man did they produce one phenomenal brew here. On tap it was absolutely amazing. just an absolutely terrific representation of the style. and the drinkability is awesome too. could easily kick a 6er of this back in a sitting.

 1,124 characters

Photo of JupiterJesus
3.63/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

December 2012 release, very fresh, purchased in Santa Rosa.
Very aromatic, extremely catty, makes me think lots of Simcoe went into this one. Slightly dank. A bit of sweetness and malt breadiness, but a bit more dry than typical Lagunitas, which is a plus, but still on the heavier side.
I love Simcoe (mmm Pliny), but this one is like sticking your face in a two week old litter box. Still, I can tell there's a good beer under there. Not world class though.

 460 characters

Photo of Zach136
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Original review amended. 12oz bottle poured into IPA glass.

A - Pours light straw with a beautiful 3 finger white head. Moderate carbonation shows throughout, incredible lacing.

S - Dank weed, heavy pine sap with a hint of citrus.

T - Grass clippings and pine with a hint of grapefruit - little to no astringency. Backbone is complex and hard to pin point, turns out its because they use barley, rye, wheat and oats for it. I must say, I'm a fan.

M - Dry and refreshing.

O - Extremely well put together IPA - lagunitas knows how to brew.

 543 characters

Photo of Broden
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a standard pint glass

A- Pours a sparkling golden color that is very clear. A small head that leaves a sticky lacing with every sip. Looks very unassuming.

S- The smell of this brew is something to behold. Just popping the bottle cap off you can smell the pungent, tropical, citrus smell wafting from the bottle. I can smell this beer from 20 feet away...its that amazing. no malt aroma as its hidden under the blanket of hops.

T/M- Body is on the light side of medium. Very little if any heat from the alcohol. The aggressive hop nose makes it very difficult to pick up any other flavors. All i can smell is hops, and I think it kind of throws my palate off. Some definite sweetness, but thats about it.

O- Overall I like this beer, but I do find that it lacks balance which is something I've been finding more and more important in beers that I enjoy. Lagunitas is very skilled at making hoppy beers and they have demonstrated this fact in droves with this one. I just find it so unbalanced I cant have more than one or two before I need to move on.

 1,079 characters

Photo of vfgccp
3.92/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Light bronze gold body with likely carbonation. Fine white head has nice lace and retention.

S - Great, birght woody hop character with sweet melon and white alcohol accents.

T - Deep, round bitterness wraps around light malt and brown sugar. Great integration and balance.

M - Smooth, medium frame.

O - A solid IPA. Nice drinkability.

 344 characters

Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,523 ratings.