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

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

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.85%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
This sad holiday season we didn’t have the brewing capacity to make our favorite seasonal brew, the widely feared BrownShugga’ Ale. You see we had a couple of really good years (thank you very much) and so heading into this season while we are awaiting the January delivery of a new brewhouse we are jammin’ along brewing 80 barrels of IPA and PILS and such every 3 hours. A couple of months back we realized that since we can only brew a mere 60 barrels of Shugga’ every 5 hours, that we were seriously screwed. For every case of Shugga’ brewed, we’d short 3 cases of our favorite daily beers. It’s a drag. This year, we brewed something that we think is also cool and brews more like our daily brews. The new brewhouse will help insure this kind of failure never happens again. It’s a mess that we can not brew our BrownShugga’ this year and we suck for not doing it. There is nothing cool about screwing this up this badly and we know it. Maybe we can sue our own sorry selves. There is no joy in our hearts this holiday and the best we can hope for is a quick and merciful end. F*@& us. This totally blows. Whatever. We freaking munch moldy donkey butt and we just want it to be all over...
So this substitute beer is a ‘Cereal Medley’ of Barley, Rye, Wheat, and Oats…. Full of complexishness from the 4 grains, and weighing in at 7.85% abv, Then joyously dry-hopped for that big aroma and resinous hop flavor.

Added by Jules11788 on 11-07-2011

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Reviews: 1,605 | Ratings: 10,206
Photo of sjdevel
4.61/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Hazy pale gold color. 2-finger head and great head retention. Some bubbles continue to cascade upward, but not that reactive.

Smell: Sweet, buttery, malty, and fruity. Like tart fruit and citrus. Very floral.

Taste: Only a tad bit of hop bitterness at first. You then get a BLAST of malt and caramel sweetness. This has that nice sweet and savory flavor that I can only describe as "buttery". The sweetness hangs on for quite some time before drying out only slightly. As the sweet caramel fades, you have an aftertaste of biscuits, crackers, slightly smoked wood, and flowers.

Feel: Medium bodied beer. Feels fuller than I expected. Stays fairly fizzy the entire journey through.

Overall: Awesome beer. I was not expecting this to be so flavorful. It is right at that fine line between a Pale Ale and an IPA. Tastes like caramel and I occasionally got some chocolate hints, which is uncommon for a pale brew. Bought this as a single, but will be looking a 6-pack next.

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Photo of Cramshawbar
3.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Rushed out like a mad man when I read online that this was available at the LCBO, here in Toronto. Couldn't wait to open it and then....thud. What? I mean this is drinkable....has a nice barley taste, albeit a bit dry, but why on earth is this so highly rated? IPA it is not, the nose is foul and just an overall lack of something(s) make this a beer you know....meh to drink....but definitely not seek out. Someone said the nose was: pine, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple. Here is me telling you that it is NONE of those things.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
2.28/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

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

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Photo of Marius
3.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

35cl bottle at De Paas. Clear pale orange with no head. Pine resin, caramel, grapefruit, citrus hops and subtle tropical fruit. Medium body, low to zero carbonation and a bitter-sweet aftertaste.

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Photo of Mendota
3.44/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Man, I'm a virgin to this sight, being a creeper for some time, but unless I've caught a bad bottle (mixed 6) this beer is a non plus to me. It has a hoppy/malt mix that seems to work against one another, giving it a sort of astringent taste. Again, maybe I caught a bad bottle, but I don't think so. I would not buy this beer again.

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Photo of McDude
4.93/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I made this review only because the last few reviews are so off.

Look: a beautiful thick golden look. It looks like a beer should look.

Smell: pine, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple!

Taste: the taste! It taste like a perfect beer! Tangerine, orange, loafy bread, tangerine, grapefruit, pine, pineapple, floral, awesome happiness, slight alcohol taste.

Mouth feel: a full beer mouthful. Thick goodness.

Overall: this is one of my favorite beers. It looks, taste and feels like a beer. If one beer in the world was made, this just might be it. I hate being pretentious, but my palette is extremely picky. If you don't like this beer, you're just wrong and need to come back once you trained your palette.

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Photo of MikeViall
3.34/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Malt. Bread. Cream sofa. Cat pee. Thin. Alcohol well disguised. This goes down easily but overall is just a bit top sweet for me. Aggressive hops keep sugar from overwhelming the experience.

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

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

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

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

Feel: Dry, bitterness.

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

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Photo of the_awesometeer
3.79/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer is a clear orange/gold color with little carbonation and a thin soapy head that thinned out rather quickly. I get a strong piney scent minor bread like smell. No noticeable fruit or alcohol aromas. Starts with a mild malty sweetness but the citrus and piney hop flavors come through as you drink. Though there didn't appear to be much carbonation you can feel it. There is also a slight stickiness to it as it sticks in the back of your throat and has a drying affect.

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another Lagunitas offering and another very good brew. I still can find no real fault with this brewer.

I do have to mention though, there really ain't much special about the coloration, it was your basic amber-colored beer. The head was very white, very fluffy, but the lacing was thick and covered the glass almost all the way down the pint glass - it was actually quite impressive. The scent was a perfect, and I do mean perfect, mixture of citrus and coriander mixed with the strong hoppy smell. The mouthfeel was mostly carbonated, but not so much so to detract from the overall experience. Speaking of overall, this was truly a wonderfully crafted beer. It had the same taste as what I smelled which is a big plus in my book - making the whole beer very flavorful.

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Photo of HappyGuy12345
3.72/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass
Appearance: Golden/orange with around 1 finger of white head
Smell: Citrus and hops
Taste: The hops overwhelm the flavor, and there is an unpleasant bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium-to-full body with plenty of carbonation.
Overall: Not terrible, but overall this beer was too bitter to be enjoyable (and I am usually a big fan of Imperial IPAs)

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Photo of car2052
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle to snifter.

A: Bright orange
S: Pine, mango, orange, grapefruit, bready malt.
T: Very nice tropical fruit flavors and pine against sweet bready malt.
M: medium.
O: Love the hop flavors, just wish for a bit less sweetness.

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Photo of Squire123
4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful lighter shade of gold with good cap and lacing.

Aroma is like stepping into a dark conifer forest. The hop aroma comes full on in an unobtrusive way, there's a lot of it but it's not pushy. Hints of spice dance about like a sprinkling of sunbeams lightly filtered through the boughs above.

Yes, the flavor is resinous, just like the brewery says, but it's a pleasant bunch of buds. Grains come through in the buttery rich body but it's hops that lead the band. Finish is clean with a pleasantly bitter aftertaste.

Overall this is a complex beer with positive points. It is a broad shoulder, big body, big flavor, big hop brewnput together in a cohesive whole that fulfills and doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of Jeffrey-J10
3.73/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured in Imperial Pint
- Rich golden color, with a drop of copper highlights
- Nearly translucent
- Big foamy head, full 3 fingers - hangs around awhile
- Mild aroma
- Yeasty, like fresh sourdough
- Malty
- A bit of fruit...maybe apple?
- Roasty on the back, almost smoky
- complex flavors
- smooth, surprisingly creamy considering the light appearance
- carbonation on the front
- Interesting and complex
- should be good with bold food flavors
- stands up well as warms to room temperature

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Photo of patre_tim
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden and hazy with a few slow rising bubbles. Topped with a half finger of foamy white head.

Smells of cat pee, cat nip, herbal notes and a hint of lemon and fruitiness, really dank and fried onion like.

Tastes of cat pee, cat nip, herbal notes, a fair amount of what I like to think is brown sugar, and some butter.

Medium somewhat syrupy body, dry finish. Medium level of spicy carbonation.

Got in Petaluma California at the 7-11 just down from Lagunita's Brewing. Drinking in Motel 6, Petaluma. Its been on my wish list and I would have had it at Lagunita's brewhouse, but it was closed when I arrived at 10:30pm. Very hoppy in a catty kind of way, and well done but different.

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Photo of NicolasBird
4.48/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark yellow or light orange with a finger and a half of head. Head goes down but stays covering the top the whole drink through. Smells like grapefruit, hops, and I got a sweet and very slight molasses smell, could just be me. Definitely a lovely smell though. The feel is really nice, thin but slightly sticky feeling, not a whole lot of carbonation. Taste is amazing, very unique. I almost can't describe it other than it tastes just as it smells, like an IPA, but not... A little bit of bitterness and bite, but sweet and citrusy, just beautiful. Super tasty beer, I buy it quite often and always enjoy it. Lagunitas really has some fine beers.

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

From a couple months old bottle, pours orange with a finger or more of foam. Nose is muted fruit mostly. Taste is citrus, pine and some backing malt, with moderate bitterness in the finish. Good substantial feel. Nice beer, probably better when it's fresher.

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Photo of stevoj
3.8/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma comes on like a Belgian tripel, so far so good! Light amber with sparse foamy head. Some spicy nature in the taste, also reminiscent of Belgians, with the ever present NW hops touch. This is a really, really good beer.

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Photo of Turbo
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reading the ratings, it appears you really like it or you really dislike it. I liked it. Lagunitas beers all seem to have a similar citrusy theme. I have not come across a bad Lagunitas brew. I feel this beer is very well balanced for an 8.0 percenter and really enjoyed it. However, I can only have one or two of these and I have to call it a day.

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

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

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Photo of TH28
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is golden with slight haze and thick creamy white foam cap. Intense hop aroma, with strong citrus and hints of pine. Great bready malt flavor up front with a strong but well balanced hop bitterness that doesn’t overpower. Medium creamy mouthfeel, especially for an IPA. Finishes with a clean hop bite and touch of warmth from the alcohol.

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Photo of Dms844
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful in the glass, golden amber color with a fluffy white head and tiny bubbles.
Smells of citrus, grapefruit and lemon, very inviting.
Tastes like it smells citrus fruit up front and leaves a mellow bitterness on the tounge. Has a sticky feel, it coates the mouth with great flavor that leaves you craving the next sip.
One of my favorite IPAs, complex flavors that stay with you long after you finish it and make you want to suck down another one.

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Photo of Rogerlb
3.68/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the way a lot of imperial (double) IPAs tend to taste. They are sweet in a sickly citrus way. I think it's the booze along with the slick malty backbone as well that makes them feel heavier and doesn't feel as clean or snappy. They tend to be overly carbonated, hoppy tastes (bitter, earth) are being leveraged against a stronger sugar content and seems often out of balance. Sometimes they are astringent rather than pleasantly "strong."

Lagunitas consistently makes solid samplings of many styles-- their Hop Stoopid is a reliable DIPA that is more aggressively hop-forward and pine-y than this one. Their Imperial Stout is also one of my favorite go-tos, not least because of the price. $4.99 for a bomber can't be beat (although 2 more bucks usually gets you a better beer). This, a "substitute" to BrownShugga (which I never had), is another generic example, more candied citrus than Hop Stoopid, almost sickly in my opinion and there's little of the nuance a world-class DIPA demonstrates. The BrownShugga in the name must indicate the original intention, a brown-sugar, caramel-y malt base in which bread and some rye/hop character sneak in early and then late.

The 8% listed on the label (the 7.85% here may be a different brewing ago?) can be felt in the taste and may have thrown things off. It didn't really click with me. Not bad but maybe seems to be trying too hard.

EDIT 12/1/16: got myself a Brown Shugga. Damn, that's a good beer. First, it's got a maltier and nevertheless as sweet hoppy flavor as this. Also at 9.8% it's stronger and the alcohol is more prominent. BrownShugga is closer to a brown ale, dark and muddy although still in DIPA territory. This, "sucks", is a pale imitation now I see. A little more sweet, a little less body, a little less alcohol. I was a bit harsh but now I know the truth.

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Photo of Flipadelphia84
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color. Thick off white 1 finger head with a ton of lacing. Dark fruit, caramel, and raisin on the nose. Flavor is well balanced but on the malty side. A little sweetness at the end from the unfermented complex sugars. Not typical profile for a DIPA as hops are not the star here but very tasty nonetheless. Medium low carbonation with a light medium body. Overall, this is a great IPA that leans to the malty side of the spectrum. I am not sure when this beer was bottled but I assume it had a more present hop character when it was fresh. Love the malt and great story behind the making.

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

I love Double IPA's. This one looks perfect, smells great but it's lacking just a little on citrus notes. It's not a terribly bitter beer and the feel is light. I can't say it's my favorite Dbl IPA but it's close.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,206 ratings.
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