Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) | Lagunitas Brewing Company

1,605 Reviews
Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.85%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Jules11788 on 11-07-2011

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Reviews: 1,605 | Ratings: 10,208
Photo of Benjolovesbeer
2.28/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

Orange golden look, some piney citrus notes, was hoping for brown color due to name. Good on a rainy day but flavor does not compare to the many amazing IPA beers in existence. Would never but this beer again.

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Photo of SteveJeremy
2.38/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

I never had Lagunitas Brown Shugga, but Lagunitas Sucks - their substitute offering since that beer apparently takes too many resources and is on an indefinite hiatus - tastes like a clone of Hop Stoopid, the first and only offering from the brewery I had and was underwhelmed with. Lagunitas Sucks has the same floral and aromatic hops smell and taste as Hop Stoopid and bears the same kind of fruity, bitter body as that beer did too, almost as if Sucks is an IPA with more fruitier flavors. The anomaly is the fruitiness (which is predominately grapefruit, if anything) is bitter and harsher than one would initially expect.

Appearance - Promising enough in its golden color. Forms a nice head and is a winner in the looker department.

Smell - Immediately raises my senses since it smells mostly of fruit and sour grapefruit, being that the last beers I've had with the same aroma - Abita Grapefruit, Blue Moon, and Lagunitas Hop Stoopid - proved to be disappointing and underwhelming overall.

Taste - Sour, overly-reliant on grapefruit, and extremely unpleasant. I can admire the complexity but I can't appreciate the product. This is going to be a difficult thirty-two ounces to down.

Mouthfeel - Makes it sourness known from the start and compliments the unpleasant effects of its taste.

I can't make a comparison as to how well Sucks holds up to Brown Shugga, but if it's any indication, it means that particular beer is just as mediocre. Disappointed because the first two Lagunitas I've had have done nothing but underwhelm me. Hoping the next couple offerings I'll try before the end of the summer show different results.

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Photo of Finatic
2.38/5  rDev -44.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a chilled Odell's IPA pint glass

A: Pours a golden amber hue with a finger white foam head. Very little lacing.

S: Very hoppy aroma and some tropical notes, especially grapefruit. Small scents of sweetness.

T: Not very balanced as the hops are prevalent but it lacks that sweet malt backbone which makes the DIPA.

M: Light to medium carbonation.

O: I don't understand the hype with this beer. It's not something I would seek out and I love IPAs/DIPAs.

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Photo of Heynow007
2.42/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am a stout guy, so maybe I am jaded, but I didn't like it at all. Has an IPA taste, but didn't like the flavor. I expected more from this beer. It was a good balance of Flavors but something was missing and fell flat.

I'll have to try another and see.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
2.6/5  rDev -39.7%
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 Minkybut
2.62/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured this aptly named beer into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The first thing of course I noticed was there was no head at all after a few minutes. The beer was a nice golden color and smelled hoppy. But the taste was just over the top hoppy. Like sticking a Christmas tree in your mouth. Turpentine after notes. It really did LIVE UP TO ITS name.

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Photo of rwcbeerclub
2.74/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I expected better - C:

A. Surprisingly tepid for a strong ale but a decent copper color. Good lacing. Great label.

S. The hop aroma was robust in both bottle and glass, clean piney notes popped.

T. Mild? Too smooth? Weak? Unbalanced bitterness. Average for sure.

B. Ineffectual, lacked the tongue caressing fullness of strong but not quite barley-wine beers.

Maybe a decent release in another season, as a Holiday Ale, not a winner for me.

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Photo of DKHNOVA
2.78/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Too bitter and acrid a taste for me. Another reviewer mentioned garlic and onions, and I think that's about right. Not exactly the same taste, but a similar harshness. I don't understand the appeal. It reminds of biting into a lemon seed, not something I like at all.

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Photo of Mavajo
2.8/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Passed this one over a number of times, but after seeing all the reviews, I made sure to grab a pack before it disappeared.

Ay yi yi. The hell. I haven't gone and checked, but this thing has got to have Summit in it. Brutal taste of garlic/onion. Perhaps some grapefruit behind it, but I can't get past this garlic/onion taste. I must be uniquely sensitive to it, because if everyone was tasting what I'm tasting, there's no way this thing would be anywhere near an A rating.

Mouthfeel is fine. But that onion/garlic is a deal breaker. Reminds me of Abrasive. Another extremely highly rated beer that was just a pure garlic/onion bomb. Really not enjoying this quirk in my palate that makes those Summit flavors show up so strongly.

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Photo of Savan
2.89/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Got a single of this brew today, and because i work at this store I am pretty sure it was fresh as can be in this town. I have loved the lagunitas I have had in the past, thus I have high standards for what I EXPECTED. It didn't SUCK, but it is ( I feel ) not to caliber with their other FINE brews :/

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Photo of Rifugium
2.94/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Poured a clear golden color with a few stray bubbles wandering on top. Sticky hop aroma, citrus, pine, some oily funk. More of the same in the taste, with a combination of hops being the dominant factor, and a bready, caramel malt base in the background, and the lingering bland cardboard flavor that seems to be present in every Lagunitas beer. A citrus twinge lingers on the palate, and gives way to a sweeter taste of melon and mango, making you almost forget about the unctuous funk quality. Light-medium in the mouthfeel department, and fairly drinkable, but not something I'd revisit. Typical Lagunitas: okay, but nothing special, and always that stale and seemingly inescapable house flavor that continues to make me wonder why people like their beers, and why there's a hype over this one in particular.

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Photo of StuMonkey
2.99/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I was not impressed. There was no balance whatsoever.
To be fair, I am a fan of Stouts and Porters and like the ones with a good finish. This beer reminds me of smelling a bottle Pine-Sol disinfectant, with an aftertaste of what I imagine Pine-Sol tastes like.

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Photo of jethrodium
3/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a clear white amber with a small white head that has alright retention and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is some pine hops, some light grapefruit, and a bit of caramel. The taste is some sweet pine and citrus, and then some light caramel. The finish has a light bitterness. Light bodied. Medium carbonation. Overall, I found this beer to be a bit boring.

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Photo of pinyin
3.02/5  rDev -29.9%
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 Tenessee_Jed1972
3.04/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

2016 batch.

Golden yellow color. Looks like an IPA. Tastes very bitter and has that classic Lagunitas smell that is characteristic of many of their beers, along with a piney hop aroma. Honestly I would not say that this beer "Sucks" but for being brewed by Lagunitas, it isn't that impressive to me. They have way better offerings in my opinion and this is one of the worst ones for me.


This beer is not a pimple on Brown Shugga's ass, and certainly not a worthy substitute. Just my opinion.

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Photo of Philousa
3.04/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Imbibed on 4/24/2012. I mention this because it is a double IPA that could have been fresher, though I don't think it would have changed my review much.

Poured a clear orange color with a light, airy head. Lacing is noticeable. Malt is very prevalent. Cereal, orange blossom sweetness. The hops are subdued for a Lagunitas brew. They're there but it's not a wallop like it could have been. Good malt backbone comes through in the taste. Orange prevalent again, a good amount of citrus with a bit of zest. Little hop flavor, somewhat grassy. Not too bitter for the IBUs. Subtle. I just called a Lagunitas beer subtle. Wow.

This reminded me of Two Hearted a lot. The malt is similar to TH, but it has more meat on its bones. I was expecting the hops to play a bigger role and I feel that the malt was a bit too thick and overpowering for my taste. Good, but I didn't go bananas over it. Also, it doesn't really profile as a DIPA.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.09/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Pretty good. This does not suck, but I don't understand how it has become so beloved. I prefer the original Brown Shugga.

AROMA: Pine, wood, sap.
LOOK: Clear yellow. Small white head.
TASTE: Hoppy, pine, bitter resin. Lots of flavor, but not necessarily good flavor.


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Photo of Dakin
3.13/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Looks: Bright white head leaving thick lacing all the way down the glass. Pours dark orange, clear, steady stream of bubbles throughout the duration of the beer.

Smell: Citrus, hops, very floral heavy with roses, malts on the end with a slight sweetness.

Taste: Floral front, strong taste of roses. Slight bitter hops finish. Personally not a huge fan of heavily floral beers.

Feel: Dry, bitterness.

Overall: Too floral for my liking. Would not buy again. 4/10.

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Photo of jdanyeur
3.17/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

To start, I have not tried Lagunitas' Brown Sugar yet. I picked this up after reading a lot of hype about it. It is definitely an interesting beer; if someone told me it was a grapefruit lambic, I'd have believed it. I can't say it's a bad beer, the carbonation is good as is the color (nice golden yellow). If you haven't tried this yet, be prepared for a citrusy, hoppy, grapefruit flavor. I cannot say that I would try it again, but as it is the only year they will make it (supposedly), it was worth it.

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Photo of champ103
3.18/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Liberty Station in Houston, TX

A: Pours a crystal clear orange/yellow color. A two finger white head forms with good retention. Lots of sticky lace is left behind.
S: Pine resin, almost tree sap like, up front and center. Slick and soapy hops with some light tropical fruits.
T: Soapy, oily, and resinous hops. Piny resiny hops dominate. A lingering bitterness lasts forever. No resemblance of balance at all. Plenty of alcohol is noticeable.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. An overly slick, oily, and soapy feel that I am not a fan of. Lots of alcohol noticeable, along with bitter, resiny, and soapy hops makes this a bit harsh for me to drink.

This is just to much. Though not surprising from this brewery. Is it impossible to make an IPA without the late addition bittering hops? No balance, and nothing I would recommend.

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Photo of singletary
3.2/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The color is a orange hue, the smell is very piney hops. The flavor follows the smell, hoppy but not overpowering. A nice finish with a malt flavor on the backside. Overall a nice beer still a little more hops than I like but one that I did find as a nice alternate to the lagers I usually have.

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Photo of Hophead717
3.21/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle poured into a DFH Signature Glass.

A: Lighter golden brown, with a thin, fizzy head that dissipates quickly. Significant amount of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Juicy, tropical fruits. I'm getting all sorts here: pinnapple, mango, guava, and passion fruits. It's really intense. Some hops noticable too, but the sweet fruit scent dominates. It's nice, but I'd like a bit more hoppiness.

T: Interesting. This beer is definitely driven by the passion fruit sweetness, rather than the hops. It's fine, but definitely not what one would expect from a DIPA. I'm getting the passion fruit and guava most clearly here, with some bitterness in the finish from the hops. The malt is there just enough to remind you that this isn't a bitter fruit juice. Overall, I enjoy the taste, but despite the bitter finish, it's unlike most IPAs I've tried.

M: Nice, crisp, fairly light, well-carbonated. Well done here.

O: I enjoyed it and will buy it again if it is released in the future, but I'd prefer a SN Celebration.

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Photo of beertunes
3.21/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a semi-hazy light gold color with over 1-1/2 inch of off white head that had good retention and light lacing.

The aroma was nice, lots of floral and pine hops, and an almost unnoticeable amount of malt. The flavor was the same, pine hops over most of the tongue, some floral in the middle, just a hint of citrus in the finish, and a very low malt presence.

The body was very much on the thin side of average, if it were any thinner, I would knocked some more points off. Drinkability was OK, fairly typical for style, although at below 8%abv, is this really an Imperial IPA? The low alcohol made drinking easier, but hurt the beers chances of of matching expectations. Overall, a nice enough little beer, one worth trying, but not one that matches the hype that has been thrust upon it.

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Photo of jdhops
3.23/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a Lagunitas mason jar.

A: Pours a clear golden with a fluffy white head that thins rapidly. Pretty lacing.

S: Aroma is more malty than hoppy. A little sweet smelling.

T: Smooth entry, then a big dose of Belgian yeast. Hops finally appear at the finish, then seem to leave, then resurface in a pleasant, slightly bitter aftertaste.

M: Light and clean, carbonated just right.

O: Very easy to drink. The 7.85 ABV is hard to believe, it's so smooth. The 63 IBU, however, seems accurate. Almost no bitterness until very late; mostly yeast and a malty sweetness. Doesn't taste like an IPA, much less a DIPA. Reminiscent of Little Sumpin Wild with its Belgian yeast flavor. Not bad, but I much prefer Hop Stoopid.

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Photo of ajd413
3.27/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful golden color with nice white head. Smell was big on grapefruit and dank hops. The problem was a noticeable aroma of cat urine. Not a good aroma and I couldn't escape it. Flavor of the beer was nice and very dry and hop forward but the ammonia was overwhelming. I'm not surprised to see this beer rated so highly by the general public (lagunitas has a great following and generally makes top notch brews) but the alstrom bros have a score that is much more accurate.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,208 ratings.
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