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

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1,576 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: 1,576 | Ratings: 10,115
Photo of uwmgdman
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter this beer is a slightly hazy golden color with a medium white head that leaves beautiful lacing. The aroma is intensely hoppy--tropical fruits, some pine and some whiffs of booze and bready malt--very nice. The flavor is balanced toward very fruity, slightly piney hop flavor but malty sweetness and some hints of ABV emerge after the burst of hops. Bitterness is smooth and appropriately high. The mouthfeel is medium-full and carbonation moderate. Overall an incredible beer--wonderful aroma and flavor--really enjoy the tropical fruity hops.

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Photo of spicelab
3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from a sixer purchased at Wholefoods Bend. Reviewed from notes.

Golden apricot, bright and clear, with a hearty two finger head that retains well and laces sporadically on its retreat to a slightly raised ring.

Candied orange, candied pineapple and candied tangerine above a milde oniony, sweatiness with a nice floral perfume twist.

Flavours show greater dankness and vegetal character amidst a chunky savoury malt backbone.

Chewiness on on the front palate is cleared out nicely by a bright and cleansing bitterness. Mildly spritzy carbonation.

Hugely drinkable and well rounded offering that pushes all the right buttons without challenging in any way - which is just fine.

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Photo of BrewUSA
3.81/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Lagunitas Brown Shugga This winter American strong ale pours a copperish ruby, with a touch of haze~ Solid head and lacing to follow~ Nose is Hops, Booze, Pine and a touch of Citrus~ Palate is just a scotch above medium, very sticky sugary presence~ Taste is Sugar (shocker) HOPS! maybe just didn't expect such a bitter hoppy beer, I expected more of a Warmer/Brown Ale by the name and label~ Also, Citrus, Banana, Pine, and some Earthy Floral ness, a touch of Maple and Peach~ A bitter and boozy brew that is definitely for hop heads~ Im super picky about hoppy brews~ The sugar does a nice job of balancing the bitterness on a bruising 10%ABV~ This is a unique brew~ Finishes a bit too bitter and boozy for my liking, although I could blame that on the season~ Overall: 7.3

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

appearance - transparent and golden, exceptional lacing, moderate retention

smell - floral and citrus, tropical hops

taste - floral hops are forward, some bite to it

mouthfeel - medium body, good even carbonation, dryness in the finish

overall - really enjoy this, the hop presence is excellent and the flavor profile shines on this

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Photo of PalatePilot
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

After trying this at the Winter brew Fest in Denver a couple weeks ago, I bought a six pack

A- Golden, bright, clean. Head that turns to pretty lace

S- Lemon, Grapefruit, pine, a little alcohol

T- More orange for me then the lemon smell, grapefruit again, a little biscuit or bread, awesome hop and malt mix. hop stays on the tongue.

M- A little chewy, but I like it, allows me to hold on to the flavors for a while longer.

O- I have been drinking Odell Myrcenary as my staple DIPA, but I will definitely throw this in the mix if it stays on the shelf. A great beer with a nice balance.

I like it a lot...

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Photo of BWED
4.16/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a Spiegelau

A- Light gold. Dash of haze. Thick white head holds really well. Thick rings of lacing.

S- Juicy citrus. Dull citrus rind. Sweetness, maybe some brown sugar? Hint of pine in there as well.

T- Subtle toasted malt. Brown sugar. All chased by that dry citrus peel. Very well balanced.

M- Medium body. Very clean drink. Finish is just barely bitter.

O- This beer has a lot of subtle attributes that blend together really well for a well balanced beer. Not one component stands out alone, however, every component helps out to make the entirety of the beer stand out.

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Photo of mnj21655
3.57/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, vibrant light copper in color with abut under a finger of white head, average retention. Aroma is very subdued and lacks the hop presence if expect from a DIPA. It's skewer towards caramelly malt with a touch of citrus. Taste is an improvement with spiny more citrus and some pine but a substantial malty-ish presence. There is a touch of caramel and a light sweetness that segues to a decent bitterness that balances the beer and lingers a bit in the finish. Decent mouthfeel, medium body and medium-low carbonation. Overall a good beer but not one that I expect to seek out again. I'll give this another shot if I find it again given my affinity for Lagunitas, I'm a big fan of pretty much every other beer I've had from them but I'm disappointed.

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Photo of puck1225
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Deep clear yellow with a nice head and beautiful lacing. It is pleasantly fragrant, citrusy and floral. The taste is great! Very citrusy,smooth, slightly sweet. No overwhelming bitterness. One of the most pleasant IPAs I have had!

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

Big ol' 32 oz into trusty tulip, my wife gets a craft pint. Beautiful in both glasses. Clear amber, really shines in the light. I forgot how carbonated some DIPAs can be. Light, fluffy head on my wife's, mine gets a huge head. Lots of carbonation bubbles in hers, great head retention, no lacing. In my tulip, the head dissipates but tons of lacing to go 'round.
So far, looking good.
Smells of pine and orange, clean. Smell is to expectation. The citrus smell comes to the forefront as it warms.
I'm ready for a hoppy bite and for my wife to pass, since she isn't into bitterness. But this bad boy is totally balanced. Taste is sweet and smooth, with a hop bite on the finish that lingers on the back of the tongue for just a moment. She's actually drinking it without complaint.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Apparently this was created due to a shortage in capacity in brewing the Lagunitas Holiday Ale, Brown Shugga. It's said to be 'cereal medley,' of barley, rye, wheat and oats.

Pours like liquid gold into my IPA glass. A rich looking head of pure white foam starts off over an inch tall. Beautiful froth is seen on the sides of the glass as it recedes to about 1/2. It is heavily carbonated and crystal clear - no sediment. Very good-looking indeed.

The aroma is titillating, with lemon and lush tropical fruit esters dazzling my sense of smell. Very resinous hops are clearly the backbone however, and there's a curious peppery spice-like aspect, perhaps cinnamon... hidden vaguely within as well.

The taste begins with a soft and cool feel, sweet and bready, but a moment later the extremely drying hop bitterness bulldozes the palate. Definitely a dry-hopped beer, and there are hardly any malts detected in the flavor at all. Light mouthfeel, despite the sharpness.

Overall, the complexity in the grains and the dry hopped goodness are it's best flavor characteristics. I would suggest this if you like to try different IPAs, or if you are the type that loves the heaviest hop flavors possible!

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Photo of dseanv
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Light golden color like butterscotch candy. Pleasing to the eye. Poured from bottle with a thin head and minimal lacing. Head dissipates quickly.

S: Solid sweet piney and malty aroma. Light wheat fragrance with a distant hint of fruit.

T: Smooth but slightly tangy flavor with a hint of caramel. Nice flavor on the back end with a little resin trace.

M: Crisp and refreshing to the palette. Rolls over the tongue with a nice light carbonation.

O: A very nice strong ale. Great afternoon beer and good with food. This substitute might be better than the 'teacher'.

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Photo of MNishCT77
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle from six pack purchased in the greater Washington D.C. area, poured into a 16 oz. pint glass, no birth date, drank 2/6-7/13 over several hours.

A: 4.5 - clearer than most for style (no hop haze), straw/yellow-orange color, 1 finger head lingered for >2 hours and remained with rim lacing, slight alcohol legs

S: 4.75 - fantastic flame-out aroma of tropical fruit (pineapple, mango and lychee...reminds me of NZ hops?) with developing pine, resin-y, Simcoe/Columbus/Centennial dankness as warms...definitely my favorite aspect of this beer!

T: 4.5 - quick punch of bitterness on the tip of the tongue that quickly slaps the taste buds into the tropics...take me back to Hawaii, slight booziness

M: 4.5 - bready but not too thick/sticky on the tongue, appropriate for style and allows the hop aroma and flavor to shine

O: 4.5 - probably one of the best bargains on the market for a DIPA (<$10/sixer in the greater Washington D.C. area) , which was only accentuated by comparing it side-by-side with (the ridiculously overpriced) Bell's Hopslam; Sucks clearly won this tropical fruit challenge for me.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.38/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As soon as this is opened, floral hops and citrus explode onto the scene. Dig my nose in and get delicious whafts of papaya and weed mon.

Tastes of grapefruit rind, cracker-crust middle, finishing off with floral hops, bong resin and pine. A lot going on here (wowwy) and yet, maintains its complexity. Extremely well-balanced with the malts--one of the best in it's class.

Mouthfeel is sticky sweet with a dry hop finish on the back of the tongue. You'll want more.

Love this shit!!!! IMO, this hop profile is askew from the rest of their lineup which I think tends to be harsh. What makes this so great is the fact it's in six-packs at an affordable price. I'll stand this right up there with FFF ZD anyday. This is masterfully constructed and super easy to drink. As they say "Doggone good".

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Photo of mobius387
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into my new belgium snifter

appearance: pours a clear rich golden amber with a 2 finger white bubbly head

aroma: great nose of pine and grapefruit

palate: flavor sits well in the mouth, medium bodied

taste: not as strong as the smells, and everything kinda meshes together to just give a nice balanced yet strong ale flavor. i cant pick anything out in particular

overall: a very good balanced ipa with some good kick to it. IBU's say 60 something, but it tastes stronger than that. i dont really get the christmas tie in other than the label, as there is no flavors that bring out that feeling. i could be drinking this in the middle of summer for all i care!

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Photo of mooseo
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into tulip.

A - Clear brilliant copper with a large dense white head.

S - Pungent grapefruit, pine, and earthy hops - exactly what I would expect from an awesome DIPA. Just a tad of caramel malt sweetness.

T - Intense waves of grapefruit and piney hops throughout, supported by a light caramel malt backbone. Light citrus notes and fresh mango evident. Finishes bitter with strong earthy hops and a lingering subtle breadiness.

M - Smooth, crisp, a bit sticky. Medium bodied. Dry finish.

O - A superb IPA. Glorious hops dominate from start to finish. A light caramel sweetness lends a little balance. Alcohol is masked well. I appreciate the low price point, considering the high quality. This is up there with the best of em.

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice transparent copper color, light brown, a nice finger of off white head at the top the stays for a while, and some nice lacing around the glass the whole time you drink this one.

S: Some strong hops up front, grapefruit, and brown sugar are prominent, with slight hints of caramel as well.

T: Almost exactly like the nose, lots of pine and hop up front, strong hint of brown sugar and tropical fruit with a slight caramel taste on the back end, pretty unique taste.

M: Medium bodied, with a good amount of carbonation, nothing crazy though.

O: This beer was perfectly balance, lots of good flavor and a good mixture of things, I thouroughly enjoyed it, Lagunitas is great!

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Photo of Givemebeer
4.89/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Possibly my favorite IPA that I've had during my recent IPA binge.

Tropical citrus smell and taste that is incredibly refreshing. Must say this is the best smelling beer I've ever had. Taste is almost as good as the smell. Being on the east coast I can't find this often, if I do come across it again I will not hesitate to buy it.

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Photo of Dwkasper
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

A: golden, light bronze colored, typical dehydrated urine color of an IPA, nice white foamy lacing on 2 finger head

S: beautiful tropical fruit smell, mangos, passion fruit, pungent and sweet hops up front, citrus, a little piney...this is a really classic IPA with plenty of complexity

T: wow...strong hops that are not overly bitter, well balanced with the sweetness of the malt. Fresh citrus up front with a strong brown sugar taste. Very complex but smooth and easily identify each and every taste.

M: smooth carbonation. Hoppy, brown sugar kick that stays in your mouth.

O: I don't know why it took me so long to finally try this beer but I have it proves how good of a brewery lagunitas is. This is an amazing tasting beer with all my favorite hop flavors without being too bitter. Malts are a nice edition that don't overpower the beer with a syrupy taste. Love!

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Photo of coldriver
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into pint glass. Pours a deep amber, good head and lacing. Very bold piney, citrus hop aroma. Grapefruit, tangerine, and other citrus flavors dominate with floral and pine, but malt backdrop a bit on the sweet side. Finishes dry, with hops hanging on to the tongue. Nice west coast style overhopped IPA much more complex and fruitier than Hop Stoopid.

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Photo of leantom
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Four years and still going strong. Here goes:

A: Good. The bear pours a light yellow-orange. The head is moderate, but the beer leaves good lacing. Very little carbonation, though.

S: Lots of tropical fruits in this one. Pineapple, oranges, citrus, and mango. A little bit of cat pee, though.

T: Follows the hoppy nose, except with a healthy helping of sweet caramel malt to alleviate the bitterness. Good mixture of hops and malt.

F: Great mouthfeel despite the limited carbonation. Thick and juicy.

O: A great beer. Maybe a little overrated, but still good nonetheless.

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Photo of patpbr
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear golden with a nice head.
S - Grapefruit, mango lots of citrus and tropical fruit.
T - Lots of hops and very much like the nose. Adding a sweet , papaya and grass flavors.
M - Medium body and a smooth clean finish.
O - I have been waiting for this one, its a spoon full of hops

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hazy yellow-golden-bodied pour into my pint. Many little bubbles. Head is to the rim and thick, slightly off-white, sticking.
Smell is fantastic, with fresh tropical fruity hops, sweet grapefruit and some dank.
Tastes sweet and citrusy, with orange/ tangerine dominating, followed by a floral bouquet including some red cherry and tropical hints. Bitter bite but finishes nice and juicy with delicious hop bite. not too dry. Malts play their tasty part, and the "cereal medley" works.
Medium-light feeling but creamy and slightly sticky.
Great DIPA edition, and I recall trying this once with last year's version and liking that one even more. More citrus and tropical fruit on the resin than pine. It should be a year-round beer, as it stacks above much of the other countless examples of this style without going far out of bounds in terms of radical ingredients/ taste. Based on the lengthy, self-deprecating description of this release, they really screwed up (their words much harsher), however I disagree that they did (as I suspect even they do). Solid stuff, and in a 1-quart bottle of under $5.00 cost, a huge plus. IPA devotees, try this.

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Photo of McStagger
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Been hearing about this one for awhile.

A: Medium copper hue with excellent clarity. Two fingers khaki head. Stellar retention. Minimal to moderate carbonation. Definitely a good looking IPA.

S: Dank ass hops. Seriously. Reminds me so much of the Drake Pale Ale (which I love). Huge hits of tropical and stone fruit in this one. Mango, guava and apricot erupt from the glass. Bit of caramel malt in there, but the star of the show is definitely the insanely aromatic hops.

T: Juicy and dank. The malt is there, sure. Splashes of the usual caramel, touch of spice, maybe a bit of cinnamon. But these are secondary to the extremely flavorful hops. Not your usual west coast flair of grapefruit with a touch of pine. These hops are peach, guava, apricot, mango, pineapple. Extremely flavorful. Bright, ripe and juicy with enough chalky/ashy bitterness to remind you that this is indeed a DIPA. Alcohol is extremely well hidden.

M: An excellent balance of carbonation, malt body and alcohol.

O: Lagunitas absolutely killed it with this one. Seriously. Easily the best beer I've had by this accomplished brewery.

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Photo of tapman
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light golden/orange body with a thin head that leaves a decent skim of head. YUM; nose is grapefruit and lemon zest, grapefruit juice with sugar, sour orange and some cat piss. Taste is same as the nose, but with a little caramelized toast. Despite the big nose and flavor bitterness is moderate and finishes surprisingly clean. While high in alcohol there is no burn. Mouth is a little chewy, but crisp. I like Brown Sugah, but I LOVE this brew.

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Photo of Sarlacc83
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle from Belmont Station. Purchased good and fresh.

A: Straw coloration drifting into orange. Clear with a good refraction through the glass. Fluffy almost white head. Aces.

N: Fever for the hops. Pine and earth are dominant with the pineapple and mango playing back up. It's a deep full scent with that cracking, sweet nature I always attribute to a well done dry hopping. A deeper inhalation yields some clementine and passionfruit.

T: A taste that can only be referred to as dank. (Need to jazz that description up a bit.) Pine needles and evergreen forest floors. Bites and stings with lupulins. (Lupulins are sedatives. I will sleep well tonight.) Needs more citrus, though.

M: Scraping and filling. Alcohol's second string.

O: This beer makes me verbose and lyrical. (Or pretentious? I don't think Lagunitas has that aim, though.) This is an all star beer that I buy every time it comes out, which, now shouldn't be a problem with the expansion in place. Lagunitas sucks, indeed.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,115 ratings.
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