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

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1,570 Reviews
Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale)

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,570 | Ratings: 10,100
Photo of BarberDan329
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drinking one as i type.

A: Beautiful golden, almost orange, gleams

S: wow, i can't wait to sip it, so many notes tingle my nostrils

T: sweet, then citrusy ( grapefruit), a touch of alcohol ,then sweet (brown sugar) again on the finish.. So drinkable and delicious

M: just right... Hits on all points of the palate, clean, refreshing, sweet, tang, crisp

O: a damn good beer, one of my favs, sells out quickly in my area but i try to get a case or so so i can enjoy it for a while, unbelievable value at around 10 bucks a 6 pack, do yourself a favor and get your hands on this

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Photo of jera1350
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours into a tulip a crystal clear golden color. The head is a bit fizzy and thin and clean white. Leaves some fair lacing.

Huge juicy and fresh hop smell. Like a cross between Hopslam and Abrasive. Citrusy, grassy and fruity.

Very tasty indeed. Lots of citrus and tropical fruit from all of the hops. A very nice malt backbone for sweetness and balance. A very long flavor that leaves a hoppy citrus aftertaste.

A mostly smooth feel. The carbonation is a touch sharp. A bit sticky, but finishes dry.

Tough to set this one down. Very drinkable and enjoyable. A poor mans Hopslam dare I say. A solid DIPA that I will have no problem enjoying the rest of my bottles.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love me some Lagunitas and was disappointed to here Brown Shugga (one of my all time fav's) wasn't being released, but a new beer should hold me over. Has the typical Lagunitas "flavor" to it, which isn't bad, you can just tell their beers apart for some reason. For a double IPA, it's quite malty and reminds me a bit of their undercover shutdown moreso than a hop bomb. None the less, it's a delicious beer, super drinkable and smooth for the ABV, and packs plenty of malty goodness. It might not be Brown Shugga, but it does a pretty damn good job in it's place.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours clear yellow with very little head and a significant amount of slow active carbonation. Smell is overwhelmingly hoppy. Smells nice and fresh. Lemony.

Taste is sweet and hoppy. Honey and hops. Love it.

Mouthfeel is medium and pleasant. Overall, very nice.

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Photo of WSGosset
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: This is a good looking beer. Deep translucent gold with about a finger's worth of head. Tight bubbles, nice lacing.

S: It has a nice floral nose, though perhaps a little bit more subdued than I might expect from a West Coast DIPA of this caliber. I am definitely getting a nice whiff of grapefruit here.

T: Standard DIPA-style bitterness. Not too overwhelming, but definitely noticeable right away. Not too much going on in the way of aftertaste. I feel like this has all the right ingredients, but the composition is slightly muddled.

M: This is probably my least favorite part of this beer. A little too much weight and a little too much viscosity (not words you typically think for this type of beer). It just doesn't go down as smoothly as one might hope.

O: It might not be mind-blowing, but it is a high-end DIPA for sure. This is a beer which has grown on me---each has been better than the last. Definitely worth going out of your way for, though you might not have to now that it is going to be year round.

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Photo of jucifer1818
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Extremely pale and clear, with a generous but fast disappearing head. It looks quite nice I suppose, but nothing to write home about (except perhaps, for its brilliant clarity). 4\5

Aroma: Lots and lots of that dank, resinous hoppy smells that I'm seeing in a lot of great brews now a days. That dankness is mixed in with a refreshing citrus aroma, and a bit of pineapple as well. I'm kinda surprised how little (if any) caramel smells this brew has. Overall, really good! 4.5\5

Flavor: All I can say, is that this brew tastes pretty good. A nice, controlled neutral bitterness dominates this brew, and it is extremely drinkable....which is not much of a surprise, considering that it does not have THAT high of a IBU, but you can taste ALL of its 63 IBU's. This might be due to the fact of how clear it is, and a the drying effect of the sugar (which would limit the sweetness and enhance the hops). I really don't see it as ground breaking, but I find it quite nice overall. 4.25\5

feel: It feels heavy on the mouth, but has no feeling of syrup. It in fact, feels rather balanced, a hard thing to do when playing with brewing sugars like the beer is doing (might have something to do with its well leveled carbonation). Overall, Id say I give it a 4.5

overall: This beer really did not deliver what the hype seemed to promise. Its not that its bad. Not at all...but its not that amazing. I kinda peg it on the same level as something like X2IPA. I felt that beers like hop ranch and dirtwolf really blow this one out of the water. Saying that, this is suppose to be different from those two above, and for what it is, its very nice. Drinkable, but still quite resinous\hoppy, I give this one a 4.25\5

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Photo of celticfutblclub
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into hill farmstead glass

A - golden orange body. thin white whisp of a head. fades quickly to a ring with nice lacing.

S - pine, hop resin, orange peel, bread malts.

T - orange peel and bubblegum backed with a grass hop bite. fades into a vanilla flavored middle and then pine hop blast at the end. so good.

M - light bodied with lots and lots of carbonation. good astringency.

O - fantastic brew.

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Photo of mverity
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into a large snifter. Pours a perfect pale gold. Healthy amount of just off-white head that held pretty well, and faded into a medium-thin collar and a thin head that held until the glass emptied. Lacing is spotty, but pretty good. Aroma is a really interesting dance between pine and citrus hops with a nice supporting cast of a medium malt base. Though, the more I sniff, the more I pick up on the citrus over the pine. Taste is surprisingly malt centered. I get some tropical hops character in the front, that moves into more of the grapefruit, then some pine, then back to citrus; all being held up by this really great malt sweetness. Carbonation is a bit high for an IPA, but I'm kinda digging that. Body is medium to full.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%

32 oz Bottle.Poured into a 12 oz chimay goblet.Nice citrus smell.Solid brew from Lagunitas.It has everything you could want from a IPA.Great taste .A 7.8 ABV and a great price at 4.99 for 32 oz.I just wish this was a year round brew.I you find it,buy it.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Incredible lacing. Reminds me of California Steam. Great carbonation and a copper color.

Smell: Orange zest. Some brown sugar and cinnamon. Excellent balance.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Great combination of malty brown sugar sweetness and orange bitterness. Very promising mouthfeel initially...a lot like Zombie Dust. Unfortunately, it's a bit flat in the finish.

Overall Drinkability: Worth the hype.

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Photo of sfprint
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Completely transparent, light orangy brown, mild rising carbonation, not much of a head.
S: Ooooh holy crap. Instant 5! I knew I saved my 5's for something! It's like a japanese candy apple/peach/grapefruit/concord grape. Almost verbatim but way better! F'ing incredible! Pineapple as well.
T: Interesting flavor. It does have the japanese candy element, but it's not so powerful and sweet. The IPAness really comes through and the japanese candy flavor is tastefully tucked under a nice strong IPA. Moderately bitter, but not too bitter. Moderate spiciness sitting under the bitterness. Citrusy honey hops. Really nice balance. But doesn't have that "wowing" effect that the smell has.
M: Very light sting, medium body.
O: Unique, special, very interesting. I don't love it, but it's certainly really great.

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Photo of nc41
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bit thin, not much foam, lacing, but the head dies quick, no big deal really. The SMELL, nice, fruity grapefruit, pineapple, ranks near the top on nose alone. The taste almost follows, but a bit thin compared to what I smell. Decent finish but falls off a little ,no real boom on the backside. Really a well done brew, I hope it goes regular. I've heard comparisons to Pliny, well, no, but don't let that stop you from trying. I also like they didn't go the ultra sweet route and malt this one to death looking for depth.

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Photo of yamar68
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm finally getting around to reviewing this one - not sure what took me so long.

What a pretty beer... a glowing gold body that is stuffed from side to side with constant beading. A creamy finger of off-white head retains well and leaves behind drapes of lace from start to finish.

The aroma reminds me quite a bit of Sculpin or Dreadnaught. Juicy hop character defined by tropical fruits and some heady nugz. Nose-gasm.

Takes a slightly different direction on the palate. A bit more citrus and pine resin. More complex than the nose would suggest. Really tasty stuff.

This beats the piss outta Brown Sugga.

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Photo of Etan
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Last year's version was so good - let's see how this year's stacks up. 12oz into a tulip.

A: Pours a glassy dull orange with a sticky white head.

S: Huge tropical fruits in the nose. Passionfruit, mango, grapefruit, light pine and cracker malt.

T: The taste is less fruity, with some dryish leafiness, melon and slight orange, bready grain, light herbal bitterness.

M: Light-bodied, light carbonation, a bit sticky.

O: Great aroma here, definitely lives up to the first batch.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Orangish yellow in color with a 1/2+ inch head and great retention

Smell: Very strong hop aroma. Lots of floral, pine and resin on the nose

Taste: Based on the nose the flavor is a bit of a let down. Still has the good hop flavor but just a tad bit muted compared to the nose

Mouthfeel: Just under a medium body and mildly carbonated and slightly bitter

Overall: A very good dipa especially for the price and availability to me. This one just lacked just a touch in the flavor department to make it a great dipa. Highly recommended

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Didn't realize it was my 300th review until I started. Oh well, not everything has to be a true milestone. Still, at least Sucks is a semi-rare beer that is worth noting.

12 oz bottle, found it at Julio's, home of many great beers. Served in my Surly Darkness snifter, because it rocks!

A: Head? Yes, please, make it a double! Huge, thick, frothy white head on a golden body with a hint of reddish to it.

S: Nose is ...Simcoe? Sharp, piney, spicy, just really good smelling and nicely complex.

F: Tasty and quaffable. True West Coaster here. Light malt body is only a framework for big, gratuitous hopitude. Waves of citrus and pine. This is really the closest thing to Pliny that I can think of. Heady Topper may have stolen my heart, but I still carry a torch for Pliny, and this could be the kid sister.

M: Stripping and cleansing, done right.

O: Really, really good. I love Hop Stoopid and many of their other brews, but this one is somehow better. Glad to hear that this will be a new product.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Growler poured into a Maudite snifter. Bright gold with a fat, puffy head that immediately starts slinging the sticky lace all over. The nose features a blast of mango and pineapple with pine and floral hoppy notes in the background. Stray whiffs of bready malt and booze. And indeed, it's really the moderate booziness that keeps this stuff from being downright chuggable. Impressive oily hop goodness with a bitterness that makes one contemplate how powerful "only" 60-odd IBUs can be with the right malt backbone, which is very lightly toasty and bready in this case. Massive tropical fruitiness with a generous dose of resinous pine. Hints of fresh leafy flavors almost make me think of tobacco now and then.

Exceedingly tasty (D)IPAs don't typically come with an exceedingly reasonable price point. Lagunitas Sucks does, and is a no-brainer for hopheads to try.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an Olde Hickory glass on 1/16/13

Lazy straw-gold color. It's clear with just a hint of a honey-like appearance. One finger cap of off white foam dissipates slowly as a solid ring of lace clings around the inside of the glass.

Oily, tropical hops dominate the aroma with notes of pineapple, peach, mango and grapefruit. There is a sweetish notion, too; reminds me of sweet crackers and sugar beets. Seems pretty well free of alcohol.

Grapefruit bitterness and juiced tropical citrus rake the palate. Lots of peach and some pineapple. hints of pine here and there. The malts profile leans comfortably toward the neutral bread/cracker variety. Works for me.

The feel is oily and coating which makes for a long lasting medium body. Carbonation is lively, mimicking the cracklin' hop profile. I don't find it taste overly boozy, but there is a distinct alcohol heat that rides on the finish.

This is really good stuff. Highly recommended.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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

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

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Photo of TheSSG
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, soapy white head that has great persistence and laces wonderfully. Citrus and pine hop aroma. Amber-honey-straw color. Starts off bitter with notes of citrus, wells to a surprisingly restrained bitterness that is full of pine hops. Finish is citrus rind and a touch of malt.

I like this one. It's an excellently balanced and restrained hoppy bier. There is all the flavor and brightness of the hops without the crushing, lingering bitterness; all the good and none of the bad!

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Photo of homebrew311
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Digging the label of this beer. Poured into SA sensory glass.

A: brilliant crystal clear gold,foamy white head, tons of lacing, great retention. I rarely rate beers as 5 on appearance, but I think this one looks perfect for an IPA.

S: tons of tropical fruit, mango and peach come through the biggest, toasted malt character comes through on the end along with some more resinous hoppy qualitites

T: lots of fruits again on the front, similar to the aroma, peach is present along with mango and papaya, rich malts come through in them middle, a bit on the sweet side for an IPA, lots of delicious hop qualities. The taste is somewhat similar to Little Sumpin' Sumpin', a little sweeter. ABV is incredibly well hidden.

MF: light body, medium carbonation

O: this is a nice change from the typical winter seasonal, I for one can live with this alternative to Brown Shugga', a nice fruit foward citrusy IPA.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish-orange with a white foam head. Smells of faint grapefruit, citrus, bitter piney grass, and molasses. Tastes like bitter grapefruit when it's cold, and starts to meld and become more like brown sugar/molasses as it warms. This is a perfect mix of IPA and Red/Amber flavors. Slightly bitter and hoppy but sweet and malty too. The feel is light with moderate carbonation. A pretty easy to drink, bitter caramelized grapefruit beer, getting sweeter as it warms. One of my favorite Lagunitas offerings.

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Photo of JackMcAwesome
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Finally found a six pack of this... let's go to work...

Poured from the bottle:

Look: A very nice looking brew. Pours a one finger head that erodes to a thin film by the end. The lacing is incredible and stays throughout, very well done.

Smell: Grapefruit seems the most prominent to me, slight pine but that died away quickly as I drank on. The mixture of hops makes this a bit confusing to me (in a fun way) I kept trying to pick out all the bits as I went through the six pack. Very hard.

Taste: HOPS EVERYWHERE. A bit of pine up front, with a bit of caramel in the back. Again, I'll mention that the mixture of hops they use (I had to look it up just because I was curious) kept me guessing the entire time. I had to just sit back and enjoy.

Feel: A nice bite to it that keeps it light, perfect after a bit of work in the yard. I would like just a tad more carbo I think just to see what would happen. Otherwise, this would have been a fiver.

Overall: I was glad this one lived up to the hype, at least for me. Almost a perfect brew. Maybe it is a perfect brew, I'm just afraid to say so with so little under my belt. I'll keep picking this one up. I also love the balance of hops/sweet. It works very well here. I would like to see a "bottled on" date or something. The sixer I got revealed nothing about when this was bottled, or a freshness date.

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Photo of beerbully
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip glass

A-clear, copper beer with thick inch+ head that slowly dissipates leaving thick lacing on the glass

S-big nose on this one. Can smell it from a foot away. sweet and citrus hops dominate. grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango.

T- citrus hops up front followed by slight onion which gives way to some sweetness and then a bitter finish


O-solid IPA as usual by Lagunitas.


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Photo of walkinginplace
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It pours into a straw/light gold color with as big of a head as I've seen recently and it leaves some definite lacing. Man, that smell is something else though. It smells like grapefruits and pine with some serious citrus mixed in as well. The pine smell is definitely the clearest though and it just smells fresh.

The beer itself is fairly light to medium-bodied with a ton of carbonation. The taste, like the smell, is all grapefruit, pine, and hops. The hops are pretty intense but there is no bitterness until the aftertaste. Lagunitas Sucks is a superior DIPA and it pretty much lives up to the hype (although I still think that their Day Time IPA is slightly better and generally their crowning achievement).

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,100 ratings.
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