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: 10,099
Photo of SFNC
4.86/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I have longed to try this one for quite some time. The hype is strong, but as a fan of Lagunitas in general, I'd be surprised if this "Sucks".

Pours honey gold with a creamy white head that slowly deflates to a thin layer of foam and some impressive lacing. The smell is heavenly, a mix of tropical fruit, resins, pine and , uh, cat pee(?).

Taste is very nice, the smells are all transferred into the taste, save the cat pee. The floral hops are strong, but the balance of the malts are a strong ballast. For the upfront impact of the hops, this just has a tingle of biiterness on the backend. It fits the Lagunitas profile, but at a higher level than my other favorites. Yep, very nce.

This one is creamy and perfectly carbonated, Smooth with the alcohal slight considering the stregnth.

Overall, this one is a classic IPA that meets and beats the hype. Very tasty, I'd love to drink this until I got sick of it.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.01/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Crystal clear golden with a tan head.

S: Lots of orange an citrus peel, some pine and tropical fruits like papaya in the nose.

T: Fresh orange, grapefruit peel, pine and sweet malt.

M: Medium bodied and less than smooth.

O: Really good, one of my favorites from the brewery, but way overrated. Still, I'd recommend giving this a try if you like IPAs.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From12oz bottle, smells of pungent pine, some citrus notes buried in there.

Thick body for a dipa, strong feel of carbonation. Taste follows with the smell, almost all pine. Bitterness is pretty sharp upfront, with a sweet malty presence that plays second fiddle somewhere in the background. Very hop forward.

Overall, this is a beer you'll remember. I wouldn't call it smooth because the flavor and bitterness are somewhat jarring, but if you need something to wake up your pallet, this will do the trick!

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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 WhiteHillsStore
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%

Exceptional. Pours a hazy dark yellow/orange with a thin head that trails the glass. The smell is full of hops but also a toasty aroma. The taste was full of different flavors. Started off mellow with a yeasty flavor which then exploded with piney flavors from the hops. The finish had a lot of malt in it making a very refreshing finish. Loved this one.

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Photo of atr2605
4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a golden/soft amber color that is transparent with a white head with short retention that dissolves into a great lace around the glass
S-grapefruit,orange,honey, and pine
T-Nice sweet start with honey and caramel up front that is quickly cut by the hop bitterness with the citrus and pine flavors with a clean finish
M-medium bodied
O-excellent beer with great balance and flavor. This holiday brew did not dissapoint

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Photo of ubenumber2
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle in to a pint glass , golden colored very clear beer , minimal head with not a lot of lacing. A few carbonation bubbles rising to the top

Smell is very hoppy , not a lot of citrus detected by me , more earthy and piney smells with that deem generic hop smell you get from most pellet hops , not a bad thing , smells wonderful to me

Mouthfull is about right on for the style , not too strong not too weak , just about perfect

The taste is like opening up a fresh bag of hops and taking a pull , hop forward and finishes with the hops for me also , not a lot of malt or alcohol flavor or taste in there , just enough to know its there but the hops prevail here

Over all this is a great beer , well worth the 200 miles I drove round trip to pick it up , will be going back next week to pick up two cases of this stuff

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Photo of Premo88
3.83/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

32 oz. bottle poured into tulip
(344 4 date code -- December 10, 2014)

L: gold/light gold, mostly clear with slow little streams of bubbles lifting up the very sides of the glass (way cool!); percolates into big fluffy head of white/offwhite foam that sticks like glue, especially at the top, and last forever ... and the lacing ... wow.

S: candied orange -- there's other things in there, mango, caramel, grapefruit, maybe even bread malt (mixing with everything to form the caramel) ... but super sweet oranges almost covers it all; or pineapple juice ... really sweet, almost a pina colada

T: follows the nose with a bitter bite added in ... very sweet, candied orange but a strong hop bite that gives it some balance

F: full, thick, heavy, almost imperial stout-like, but it isn't overly syrupy; the carbonation is very soft, but it offers just enough of a tingle to keep it drinkable ... a big-feeling brew, bigger even than the 8% ABV

O: considering it's three months old in the bottle, pretty damn good. the malt has overcome some of the hop flavor, and that caramel/mango sweetness isn't my personal favorite, but even that taste note keeps in perfect step with the style ... and there's no mistaking what this is, a pillar of the American double IPA community. it's citrusy, sweet, bitter, big and just lightly crisp enough to stay drinkable. I'd hop at the chance to drink this under a month old. As it is, it's still dang good.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Crystal clear light copper colored body with a beautiful sticky white head on top. Lots of tropical/citrus fruit and pine notes right up front on the nose. Pretty straight forward all-hop no-malt aroma.

Grapefruit and mango notes in the first few sips. Some resiny flavors as well. Not a whole lot going on elsewhere. Seems to be lacking a certain something that might help round it out a bit more but I'm not quite sure what it is. Lacking a malt-backbone perhaps?

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side for a DIPA. Certainly makes it quite drinkable and refreshing. Overall, this is certainly an excellent DIPA but it falls just short of some of my favorites which seem to have more body to them.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear amber with a one finger high, white head.
Lacing stays on the glass.

Nose: Orange, vanilla, sweet malt, pine, pineapple, apple, tropical fruit, resin and a litte bit of grass.
Taste: Citrus, melon, orange, pineapple, a LOT of hops! Butter, herbs, marmelade and caramel malt.
Body: Medium body and carbonation. Full taste with a great, baöanced bitternes.

This is true love!

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Photo of ScotNH
4.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I did a blind review of Lagunita's Sucks, Long Trail Limbo, Victory Dirt Wolf, and Green Flash Green Bullet. These notes and ratings were recorded before I knew which beer I was drinking.

A - Pours a clear, light honey color, with two fingers of fluffy head.

S - Smells wonderful. Fruity and citrusy. Very smooth aroma with a slight hint of caramel.

T - Very smooth and pretty well balanced. Slight citrus and some pine. Light bitter grassy finish.

M - Medium body, decent carbonation. Very easy to drink.

O - This beer lives up to the hype. It's one of the best "shelf" beers out there!

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.62/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pale golden with big frothy head; good lacing

Smell: Sweet malts with citrusy hop backbone; candi sugar notes

Taste: Sweet malts up front; quick hit of grapefruit notes; finishes slightly dry with grapefruit aftertaste lingering

Mouthfeel: medium body overall; pretty nice

Remarks: I like it, but I'm not overly crazy about the hop profile

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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 Naugros
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Frothy off-white head atop a golden amber ale...looks like an American IPA and smells like one too! Wow! Orange and grapefruit burst through immediately...sniff more and get the graham cracker of the malts, trying desperately yo catch up. The pine that is barely evident here comes through in the taste and dominates, but the citrus insists on hanging around in the aftertaste which is resiny and pithy at the same time. I was hoping the taste would copy the smell, but it doesn't...still nice. The mouthfeel could be a bit crisper and refreshing, but perhaps the citrus made me want it do that.

Excellent hop combination going on here and a great example of an American DIPA. Lagunitas are hops magicians.

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Photo of gr0g
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not quite three week old bottle. Has a nice appearance: light amber color, a long-lasting head leaving plenty of lacing behind. The aroma does not disappoint and runs the gamut of citrus and tropical fruit: grapefruit, melon, bitter orange peel, guava, mango. More pine and resin shows up at the end of the sniff. Beautifully aromatic.

The flavor profile is quite hoppy; no surprise there. At only 7.85%, this is sitting right on the cusp of IPA/DIPA. It's got more sweetness than many IPAs I've tried but less than most DIPAs. In terms of hop flavors, there's more citrus rind than grass/pine, but both are present. Well carbonated, oily, smooth.

Just a great all-around IPA with no faults. As a point of reference, I found this to be somewhat similar to Sculpin overall.

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Photo of Big_V
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
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 pnelting
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Excellent DIPA! Clear deep amber, full white head and plenty of lacing. The aroma was wonderful citrus and pine hop goodness! Taste is just as good as the nose.

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Photo of rjd722
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Orange-amber body, slight haze but not completely opaque. Huge, fluffy white foam head which sticks around for a seriously long time and maintains it thickness. Nice lacing as well.

Aroma: Somewhat grassy scent, accompanied by pine and fresh citrus. Sweet malts also dominated the profile, while the hops remain relatively low-key. Interesting tropical/pine medley here.

Taste: Sweet malts and a complex citrus accompaniment (pear, orange, grapefruit, lemon). Towards the end is when you really get the full array of rye, wheat, etc.

Feel: Unbelievably smooth for a DIPA coming in at nearly 8%. Excellent balance of malts and hops, not too bitter. I could drink this one all day, every day.

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Photo of GallowsThief
4.14/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle into my tulip.
A – Slightly hazy, light golden pour with a vivid white head that settles quickly.
S- Hops, piney, floral, light brown sugar
T – Mildly sweet to start with a good bite of piney, resinous flavor. Hoppy bitterness. Tails off with some solid citrus flavors of orange and grapefruit.
M – Medium carbonation. Little slick and smooth.
O – Tasty brew right here. Lot of flavors which are well balanced and play off each other.

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Photo of mlhyatt
4.76/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

A- a beautful deep gold with about a half inch white head which turns into a pretty thick lacing that lasts until the last sip.

S- this is one of my favorite smelling beers. Pine with notes of citrus and grapefruit that just explode into your nose.

T- very similar to the smell. Up front orange, grapefruit, lemon, honey and on the back end a crisp hoppiness that sits on the back of your tongue.

M- slightly carbonated with a nice crispness fron the hop.

O- a very delicious beer. One of my favorite IPAs. Up there with dirtwolf and jai alai in my book.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours bright clear golden color with amber highlights. Thick white head hangs around and leaves trails of lace down the glass.

Big grapefruit smell dominates the nose, backed by orange and tangerine. There is some rye notes in the background and a faint bubble gum/floral aroma.

Intense bittersweet grapefruit upfront followed by sweet orange with some faint bitter floral notes in the background. There is a slight chewy malt sweetness in the middle (caramel).

An excellent beer with intense, complex flavor.

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Photo of Hoagie1973
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours gold with a paper thin fizzy white head that's gone in a flash.

Hop bouquet is amazingly fruity and sweet. Took a minute just to enjoy the smell before taking a sip. Literally never had a beer that smelled this fresh & fruity in the hop department.
Flavor has the same fresh hop taste that's in the nose. Grapefruit, grapefruit, grapefruit. Nothing harsh or bitter about the hops whatsoever, just fruity and flavorful.
Only lacking in the malt department, but it's not really missed.
Body is light and crisp.
Alcohol isn't even noticed. Dangerously drinkable for 7.85%
Great beer.

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Photo of MCain04
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-reviewing because I find I can't stop drinking this stuff, and it deserves a better rating than I gave it initially.

Poured into a 16 oz Hopleaf Tulip. Unsure of the date of freshness, but drinking it 2 days after buying, and it just showed up in the store.

Appearance: Clear, copper color, and off-white head of about 2 finger thickness. Fantastic retention and lacing.

Smell: Very nice on the nose. Orange peel, mango, citrus, pine, floral, and honey.

Taste: Not sure if the first batch I had was old, but this one is exploding with flavor. Hops galore on the taste. Tropical citrus, mango, and pineapple dominate. The grassy, floral notes are present but take a backseat. Strong malt backbone. This is made with a "cereal" of malts including barley, rye, wheat and oats. Can't understand who would need more malt out of a DIPA. Mild bitterness on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, a touch of acidity. Smooth, sticky on the finish. Not overly dry.

Overall: I've come full circle on this beer now. I loved its first release in 2011. The first time I had this year's batch I was surprised at how malty it was, given how everyone kept calling it a DIPA. That, combined with the fact that I picked up on less hops than I do now, made me think of this as more of a strong ale, so it took away points for the lack of sticking to the style. However, I keep drinking it and now I can't stop. I dont care if I get a heavy malty stickyness from that cereal medley of malt, it tastes really good. Call it what you will, but I'm in favor of a beer that just tastes great, even if it doesn't fit squarely into one style. For $9/6 pack, I can't imagine I will drink much else while this is available.

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Photo of obrike
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a sixer at Round Rock Specs for just under 10 bucks.

Light-honey colored pour, thick foamy head that stuck around for a bit before leaving some lacing, not a lot. I was a bit surprised with how light this beer looked. Super clarity though.

Smell?...(insert stoner laugh here)...another great resiny,earthy "weed" scent, mixed with pineapple marinated in grapefruit juice. Quite lovely. One of my favorite smelling beers.

Taste follows, with an addition of sweet bready malt, leaving a great coating on the tongue and back of the throat. This bad boy stays with you. A nice crisp dry followthrough as well on the backend. No hint of booze at all. This one is amazing.

Man, Lagunitas just keeps churning out the goods. Yet another great beer from a great brewery. Probably my #1 from these guys.

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Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
4.42/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a 6pk at Wegmans in Warrington, PA.

6pk - $12.99

Enjoyed in a DFH Signature Glass

A - Pours a fairly translucent golden-yellow color. Little to no head on the initial pour. A small amount of lacing left on the side of the glass.

S - Outstanding! The smell of citrus (grapefruit), hops and pine are fantastic. Easily one of the best smelling beers I've had in quite some time.

T - A fantastic DIPA. A great mix of citrus, hops and pine. Just enough malt to lend a sweetness to the overall taste. The alcohol is present but it never overwhelms the enjoyment of this beer.

M - A thinner consistency with a good amount of carbonation. A slightly bitter aftertaste.

O - A top-notch beer in every facet. Easily, one of the best beers of 2011, in my opinion. Lagunitas may have said they "suck" for not brewing Brown Shugga' this year. This beer more than makes up for their "mistake". I'd love to see this beer as a year round brew. Highly recommended.


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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,099 ratings.
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