Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

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

1,558 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,558 | Ratings: 10,054
Photo of jeffjeff1
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My wife picked this up for me the other day and I tried it yesterday for Thanksgiving.

Appearance- copper color, thin head

Smell- floral hops

Taste- floral hops, very nice

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- very good, well balanced, good hop flavor, nice to see another christmas beer that is an IPA

 308 characters

Photo of digitalflood
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Pours a straw yellow with noticeable carbonation. Thick foam head that reduces over several minutes to excellent even lacing. Smells of pine trees and grass. Some lemon. Immediate nose of pine, lemons, and bitters. Mid-palate seamless shift to barley, malt, and sweetness. On the back palate there is great hop notes: lemongrass, wheat, and toasted barley. Settles with bitter and sour notes on the aftertaste. Very complex. A lot going on here. Takes several sips to take it all in. Very good, 4.25 out of 5. Recommended.

 522 characters

Photo of gueuzedreg
3.79/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Golden in color. Thin lacing with very little head. Carbonated just about right though.

S- Pine and hops. Not much citrus going on here. It is a well done Cali DIPA.

T- Hay, piney hops. Pretty dry with the lack of citrus.

M- Pretty thin like the style.

O- A well done Cali DIPA, and at a great price (I think). 6er for $9.99. I bought this 6er at one of the more pricey stores in the area.

 399 characters

Photo of LittleDon
4.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Golden with a fair amount of carbonation. Plentiful white head and loads of sticky lace. Aroma has lots of grapefruit and pineapple. Secondary to this is a bit of malt sweetness and a hint of alcohol in the background. Resinous pine balanced nicely with a slight sweetness. Some of the alcohol is noticeable at the end. Despite the strong hop aroma, it finishes with only a medium amount of bitterness and is somewhat dry. Medium body with a moderate amount of carbonation.

 473 characters

Photo of JamesMN
4.51/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Almost neon yellow in appearance with stunning clarity and clear streams of effervescence cruising upwards to a one finger eggshell-white head. Looks like it'll leave nice lacing.

Aroma: Pineapple, sweet nectarine, grapefruit, and just a hint of onion (though not nearly as bad as that sounds). Some pale or caramel malt but mostly hops.

Taste: A classic West Coast IPA. The brewers at Lagunitas know their hop strains well. Starts with a blast of bitterness with some malt to it and then transitions into hop flavors of sweet grapefruit, pineapple, and some other tropical fruits that are hard to describe. Finishes decently wet which is a nice change of pace from the usual dry DIPA. I'd call this a juicy IPA, which is somewhat rare to find. It's surprisingly balanced given the lack of much malt flavor (besides a bit of caramel toffee taste). The bitterness is exactly what I'm looking for as a hophead but is never overdone. Actually does have a little bit of onion in the flavor but as with the aroma it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body but feels lighter at times. Smooth carbonation and superb drinkability.

Final Thoughts: Lagunitas Sucks does not suck; it's a delicious beer and one that every IPA lover should have on there 'want' list. Would I drink it again? Yes, very glad I have five more in the fridge.

 1,358 characters

Photo of Beerandboards
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Both straight from the bottle and also out of a pint glass

A - the classic golden, honey type color. Quite a bit of white foam, leaves plenty of lacing

S - subtle orange peel, lemon juice, some pine, a little bit of the malt in the background

T - hop forward but not overly bitter. Actually really balanced and drinkable. Easy drinking citrus notes with some tropical flavors in there as well. Not as in your face as hop stoopid or something like that. Could easily session a few, but for the 8% ABV.

M - nice oily hop presentation, not overly dry or quick on the finish.

O - killer smooth IPA. My favorite lagunitas by far. It's not as good as the hype, but its definitely in the neighborhood.

 700 characters

Photo of kbnooshay
4.89/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am so happy to acquired some of this. It is flying off the shelves here in Crotchfester NY.

Poured a clear golden orange color with with a one and a half finger width head that shrunk down within the minute.

The nose is a huge BLAST of tropical sweet fruity hop aromas! There is a dash of pine hop flavor in there too.

Taste is everything I could have hoped from in this beer. Bitterness is relatively low at 63 when you consider how much fresh n' juicy hop flavor is involved. Citrusy and fruity hops dominate with not much detectable malt flavor! That is fine by me. Such an amazing hop profile. This is better than the Pliny I had a month ago!

Feel is moderate to thick because its so sticky! There is a decent amount of carbonation to balance that out.

Theres no way they won't make this again. Amazing.

 816 characters

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.

 736 characters

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

On tap at Stub & Herb's

Clear and almost sparkly amber colored with a small but creamy head. Good retention and lacing. Looks appealing.

Extremely fruity aroma, not exactly my kind, but very very good. I wished it was more dank, but damn! this is very tropical (& good)!

The taste follows the aroma --- tastes more like fruit juice than a DIPA. The malty sweetness gels very very well with the hops. The light body and the right carbonation work wonders; this is truly a great beer.

I thought it would be all hype & fanboy reactions but I was very wrong. With Little Sumpin' Wild and now this, Lagunitas is killing it.

My only complaint is the ABV. Lagunitas is a little too much of a bang for the buck at times.

 717 characters

Photo of Gushue3
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Smaller white head that doesnt have too much retention. Body has a slight haze and the body is a an amber blonde. Carbonation is nice as I swirl it around the glass.

S Piney hops and sweet citrus take over the nose. More fruit than hops and it smells really nice

T Piney bitterness upfront with some slight tropical fruits. Bitterness is very strong and tastes like biting into a tree on the finish which is a good thing. Theres an underlying sweetness that compliments the pine nicely. Its like an IPA on steroids and acid. Really different and nice.

M- Medium feel on the tongue with a lower carbonation. Turns creamy after swishing it around.

O- Definately a different beer here. Hoppy and piney with some fruitiness but not your average IPA.

 754 characters

Photo of NWer
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Lucille pint glass. A very nice substitute. Good hop forward Winter Warmer as opposed to so many brews that get too carried away with spices and other stuff.
Nice flowery balance. For Lagunitas, this is a very balanced beer.
Well done for a substitute.

 267 characters

Photo of aubuc1
4.79/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with no date.

Pours very clear yellow with a big foamy white head.

Huge citrus smell is spilling out. Smell's kind of like hopslam.

Very different taste. It is like pure citrus hops without the bitterness. Unlike anything I have had.

Mouthfeel is very thin, but in a good way.

Overall this is a great beer. Trully a unique beer (to me).

 354 characters

Photo of CraftEyeDoc
4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Nice clear copper with 1 finger head poured into a pint glass.

S: Great aroma. Lots of super amount of pine and citrus. This is the best part of the beer.

T: Not as bitter as I would like for IIPA. But def very smooth. I wish this had as much taste as it does smell. More of an tangerine/melon/lime with a little bit of resinous taste on the backend.

M: Nice feel on the tongue with a good amount of body. Well carbonated.

O: This seems more like an IPA to me than a double. Could have used more hop bitterness up front. I do like the backend a lot. Still a very solid beer. I see how lots of people could enjoy this beer because its mod bitterness and smooth easily drinkability.

 689 characters

Photo of JLaw55
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one is like the more hoppy forward variant of Hop Stoopid. If you prefer a maltier/fruitier DIPA, go with Hop Stoopid. If you prefer a more hop focused DIPA, go with this one.

Would Drink Again: Yes
Would Purchase Again: Yes

 230 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Usual blah bottle art (actually made worse by some deviation- an ugly red splotch), but the beer itself is great. Mostly clear orange-gold body, only whispers of fine cabronation, off-white head, plenty of nets of lace.

S: Orange, pretty assertive. A melange of tropical fruit, but diminished from the orange.
Pretty dank hops, palatable bitter. Pepper? Great fruity character that isn't perverted by the high ABV.

T: Orange, peach, mango, mild pine in finish. So juicy and fruity it almost comes off as sweet.

M: Not flat, but hardly any hints of carbonation. Juicy and wonderful.

O: Really tasty brew. I love the tropical fruit flavors coming out of the hops rather than pine, and they did it right by having virtually zero malt body to interfere/"balance" it. Now if they could just let the diversity show in the nose more, and hire a damn graphic designer...

 869 characters

Photo of glass_house
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a crystal clear, deep orange-gold with two fingers of fluffy white head that settles to a thin cap with plenty of lacing. The aroma is not as pronounced as some DIPAs, but still very pleasant. I'm getting grapefruit in the front, with some pineapple, mango and flowery pine in the back.

Grapefruit is first in the taste as well, but it rides alongside the pungent pine that is fighting for the spotlight. The carbonation seems just right--crisp and lively without being over the top. A little lighter in the body than I prefer, but it still has that slick oily feel that a DIPA should. More citrus, tropical fruit and some sweet bready caramel balance the bitter hops nicely. The pine sticks around to make sure you know who's boss.

Great IPA. The balance and drinkability that Lagunitas has achieved is impressive.

 823 characters

Photo of Lawl3ss
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 1,002 characters

Photo of GregSVT
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a clear golden yellow with a nice white head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is intoxicating. Huge aromas of tropical fruits...mostly mango, piney hops, sweet malt, and touch of carmelized onions in the background.

T: The taste is pretty good as well. There are awesome flavors of mango, pineapple, pine, and a honey sweetness on the finish. The mango is there the whole time though and really sets this apart from others in the style.

M: The feel is crisp yet medium bodied. Maybe a touch too many bubbles but that is a tiny complaint.

O: This is close to Lil Sumpin Sumpin but with a bit more of a hop kick. I'm not sure I'd call it a DIPA but it's one tasty beer. I will definitely be back for more.

 783 characters

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

12oz single bottle poured into a DFH snifter... looking forward to getting one of their new "IPA" glasses - they look pretty cool. Anyhow...

A: Pours a slightly hazed orange gold; a pour down the center yields about a finger of sugary white head that leaves some nice patches of lace.

S: Herbal, sugary hops; there's some tropical citrus and resin in there, too; this one has a little stank on it, plus some light malt aroma - not much... maybe almond skin - kind of interesting... Hops are the primetime players, though.

T: Big resinous hop taste, right off the bat; some mild malt flavor (cracker) sweetens things a touch, but again - this is hophead territory for the most part. There's just a touch of alcohol on the end that takes away from everything, but that's OK.

M: Medium-full body; high carbonation; a touch oily; what every IPA should aspire to be!

O: I'm not sure if I'd put this into DIPA territory or not... It toes the line between big, hoppy American IPA and DIPA - kind of a toss up depending on the scale of your lupulin threshold. Plus, the lower abv at 7.85% leans it slightly toward "single" IPA. Anyway, this is great beer. Quite delicious and drinkable - next time I'll get a sixer.

 1,212 characters

Photo of PatrickCT
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Quart bottle into a tulip glass.

a: A wonderful orange-ish amber. One and a half finger of sticky, soapy head.

s: Pine, stone fruit, doughy bread, citrus.

t: Smooth but with some hoppy bitterness. Doughy bread, citrus, pine and a hoppy finish.

mf: Medium plus body...an almost pine sap stickiness to it which I liked. Medium dry finish.

o: Another hoppy beer that I have found to be very balanced. I don't always enjoy super hoppy beers but I will by this again. Especially for $7.

 487 characters

Photo of Wiffler27
4.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

this is my 2nd 6pack of this. my first was last spring.

pours a gold amber with a thick head.

smell is fantastic, full of fruit and bitterness. great aroma.

taste is amazing, muted sweetness (toned down Brown Shugga) and great bitterness. creamy mouthfeel. very good dIPA.

one of my favorite beers, just a fantastic taste and drinker.

 339 characters

Photo of twizzard
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've over looked this Gem on more than one occasion....shame on me! Poured a golden, hazy orange into a tulip glass. Aroma was sweet, floral with some light pine. Taste follows the nose, sweet & floral with a very subtle malt back bone.
An automatic placement in my top 10 IIPA's. Well done Lagunitas!

 301 characters

Photo of Beric
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: Bottle, from the bottle
Served: 12 June 2015

Appearance: Had this one at a work event, so I wasn't able to get it in a glass. Artwork, like the overwhelming majority of Lagunitas products, sucks.

Smell: Huge citrus hop notes on the nose, along with an underlying sweetness.

Taste: Wait, this is a DIPA? This is probably, along with Torpedo, the most drinkable DIPA I've ever had. Nice hop flavors on the front of the palate- grapefruit, lemon zest, and mandarin orange especially, and then a nice bitterness on the back end that begs you for another sip. No detectable alcohol flavor and minimal malt presence.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall: One of the most drinkable DIPAs I've ever had. A great beer, and a dangerous one at 7.85%! Highly recommended.

 792 characters

Photo of SteveB24
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

appearance; light amber, lots of carbonation, two fingers of off white, sticky head that retains well.

smell; tons of mango, with additional pineapple, grapefruit, and a hint of pine-like grassiness.

tatse; like the smell, but with heavier emphasis on the hop flavors of citrus and pine, the mango is there along with hints of pineapple, followed by strong notes of citirus and piney bitterness.

mouthfeel; light body, slightly crisp, carbonation is strong but not overpoweringly so.

overall; my scoring says it all, to me this is an IPA, so i don't really get how its connected to brown shugga, but with the strong fruit which is so beautifully balanced by hops, this beer is very drinkable, satisfying but not strong, and an overall wonderful experience without making you feel weighed down.

 797 characters

Photo of timtim
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

fairly clear, light amber with a white head that leaves some lace. nose is (kind of standard, but never gets old) grapefruit, orange and lemon rind with a piney character balancing them out, on top of sweet and pale malty notes that also are a hint spicy. taste follows suit. lots of hoppy character to it. drinks a tad hot, but a nice, warming, pleasant kind of hot it is. medium-full body. pleasant, prickly bitterness. apparently lagunitas doesn't suck. mostly everyone so far (including me) likes this one. a lot of reviews in a very short time, and i know it isn't even released in some markets yet. i can sum this one up by stating that it is remarkable how much it reminded me of Sierra Nevada's celebration ale... but on steroids. kind of like an imperial celebration. very good. hoppy holidaze.

 803 characters

Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,558 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.