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

1,600 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,600 | Ratings: 10,199
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 J03
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Beautiful color. Love the look of the carbonation and head/lacing.

S - Sweet smelling with a hint of alcohol. Think I might notice something citrusy

T - Full flavored, and nicely balanced.

M - Love the mouth feel.

O - Another great tasting beer from Lagunitas!

Great play on a beer that seems to have a balanced sweet note with the malt and hops. Think it's an easy drinking beer that goes down easily. Big fan!

 423 characters

Photo of kwc017
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a beautiful light coppery yellow.

S - Hop forward, pine, citrus, a little bready, little bit of alcohol.

T - Sweeter than I expected. Again, a little bready, pretty hoppy but not crazy. Sweet pine, citrus, very similar to smell.

M - Pretty carbonated. A little on the thin side. Not heavy at all.

O - A really good DIPA. Alcohol is hidden nicely. Bready pine and citrus. Hard to explain the sweetness but I like it. Not malty but more like freshly baked bread. Very nice.


 496 characters

Photo of mjstacker
4.62/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was skeptical, but i'm sold. This is damn good. The smell is a little weak, nothing pronounced or obvious, subtle hints of fruit maybe a touch of juniper, thankfully no spice. Taste is solid, easy-to-drink double-ish goodness. Can't put a finger on what it reminds me of? Color is surprisingly light, almost domestic-lager kind-of-light. I've heard this is going year round, if so i'm in. Lagunitas has never had a daily-drinker for me, but this is just what i needed. Cheers.

 478 characters

Photo of tmm313
3.58/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear amber body. Poured a thick, creamy 2 finger head. Nice, sticky lacing.
S- Big mango, I think... Topical fruit, grapefruit, pine, caramel, bread, and a pretty big earthy grassiness.
T- Not what I was expecting at all. Light citrus up front followed by pine that shifts into blandish grassy, bread-like bitterness. Grapefruit and rind aftertaste.
M- Very light on the tongue. More slick than creamy. Mildly drying.
O- I'm always guarded when I drink something with a lot of hype. Even so, this threw me for a loop. Its a pretty good beer, but its lighter on the tongue, and in flavor, than most IPAs I can get at my local grocery store. I'll finish off my 32 ounces, but I'm pretty sure I won't be in a hurry to have this again anythime soon.

 753 characters

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

Pours a clean light strawberry blonde with fluffy white head

Nose- herbal hop spices, citrus rind/oil, juicy guava and candied mango, very effervescent

Taste- follows with big floral presence. fresh grapefruit, light tangerine, guava, zesty hop spice, burnt sugar and mango- candy-like- finishes a bit herbal hop bite with more candied tropical fruit

Feel- crisp, clean, a bit sticky, floral, drinkable, smooth

Great beer. Reminds me of Odell IPA. Very effervescent, like hop candy

 487 characters

Photo of titty_mcbitty
4.64/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: (poured into a tall pilsner glass) light-orange with a huge white head. Not sure if it's because of the pilsner glass or not. Lacing is retained.

S: Lemon, pineapple, grass, zest, and hops. Very nice aroma actually.

T: I was not an IPA fan, as stated in some of my other reviews, but this is a fantastic beer. It's not overly hoppy and doesn't assault you with sticky malts either. It has hop resin, pine, grass, lemon, pineapple, brown sugar, sweet fruit, grapefruit, and orange peel in it.

M: Like I like my IPA's- with a lighter body (not too light, though). Just my opinion. And this nails it!

O: Very good brew. This beer has changed my perspective on the IPA style. It seems as though Lagunitas stepped up their game on this one and made a very refreshing, well-balanced, tasty IPA.

 798 characters

Photo of tastybeer
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear gold color, white sticky head. Lace is patchy and stringy. Has that oily hoppy look to it. Aroma is loaded with stinky, dank, fruit. Sweet sugar cookies, mouth watering citrus, pineapple, lemon, all sorts of tropical. Flavor is loaded with sweet, bright, happy citrus, pine, and leaves. Very nice creamy, slick, lightly syrupy texture.This beer is always excellent when i have it.

 386 characters

Photo of rev3rb
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottom Line Up Front: This beer is the opposite end of the spectrum compared to the Brown Shugga. I don't mean that in quality or taste but in style of beer. So don't go into this thinking it'll be similar because it won't. This beer is a wonderful, hoppy, light colored ale that should not be considered a "substitute" as it does pretty well on it's own.

Decanted a 12oz bottle into a DFH goblet.

Appearance: Pours a nice white head that lingers for a little bit. The color of this ale is a darker straw color that is very clear. Leaves a nice sticky lacing around the glass.

Smell: Very strong pine resin and hops

Taste: Very hoppy. Lots of floral and citrus notes.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is average with a lighter body mouthfeel. Hops linger on the palate for a little while.

Overall: Wasn't what I was expecting when I first poured this beer since I was a big Brown Shugga fan. However when this beer came out again last year and this year I made sure to grab a few six packs because honestly I like this beer as well. I don't consider this a "substitute" but was glad that Lagunitas introduced this when Brown Shugga wasn't available. I'm also happy that they continued to make this alongside their winter offering. If you were on the fence about trying this one, don't be. Be bold.

Serving type: bottle

 1,319 characters

Photo of Donco
4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am not an IPA/hoppy kinda guy. Stouts and high ABV beers are my favs. But as I'm drinking this one bottle in my possession I have to admit it's a refreshing and bracing glass of beer.
Smell: It is grapefruit unleashed and really terrific.
Taste is very much grapefruit/citrus with a bit of bitterness at the back end. But it is very nicely carbonated and very refreshing! Even though I love my stouts, I will be looking for a 6 pack when it hits my area. Now I know why everyone is raving for this beer!

Postscript: Bought 2 more 6-packs. Enjoy!

 549 characters

Photo of gratefuld
3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Side by side tasting with Pliny the Elder

A: With a minimally aggressive pour, I get about a 1 finger head that fades rather quickly into a thin layer of small white haze with some large bubbles forming. Beer is a golden orange and is clearly enticing me to drink! Good looking beer.

S: This is a very strong and dank if you will smelling beer. I get a lot of resin and pine with some faint citrus undertones. There is also a strong scent, I just cannot quite place. While not unpleasant, not what I was expecting. (As noted above I was doing this alongside Pliny. Pliny was the clear winner here for me.)

T: Good tasting beer. Obviously very hop forward, but it definitely has a malt kick in the back. Much like the smell I get a piny resiny flavor from Sucks that fades into a bitter (in a good way) aftertaste. There is almost what I would call an earthy flavor mixed in with the pine and resin followed by the malt. I kind of wish I had not reviewed this side by side with Pliny because I clearly like the Pliny better, but I know this is still a great tasting beer.

M: Very sharp and drying with a long lingering aftertaste. This beer is somewhat oily on the tongue after the initial sharp that even possible? Anyhow, not bad on the palate.

O: Overall this is a solid beer. If I hadn't had the Pliny side by side it would probably get a higher rating, but still a good beer. I will probably come back in a few days and maybe update after I've only had this one. Anyhow, I recommend and I will certainly enjoy the rest of my six pack.

 1,557 characters

Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into Stella glass.

A - Pours a slightly hazy golden straw color. One and a half fingers of off white head. It's mostly clear but there is a bit of haze.

S - Very nice tropical fruit medley. I get pineapple, orange, and grapefruit in the aroma.

T - Much like the nose, this is an explosion of juicy tropical fruits. Pineapple is the foremost, followed by mango, orange, and grapefruit. There is a slight caramel sweetness. This helps balance out the bitterness, which seems to come mainly from the grapefruit.

M - Moderate body that tends to be sticky. The carbonation is moderate as well, and there is a lingering oiliness in the mouth after each sip. The alcohol is not noticeable at all, either.

O - I'm glad I finally got to try this beer about which I've heard so much. While it didn't completely live up to its huge amount of hype, it was still fantastic. The tropical fruitiness was superb and it was well balanced.

 946 characters

Photo of larryarms847
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a light rusty golden yellow with a fair amount of pillowy straight white foam.

Citrus, tropical fruit, molasses, caramel, toast, and bready malts.

Molasses, caramel, toffee, citrus, bready, and pine.

Medium-bodied, medium carbonation, slightly chewy, sweet, dry finish.

Overall, a truly great beer.

 308 characters

Photo of Ri0
4.67/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured 12oz bottle into snifter. Bottled on day 351 (Dec 16) makes it 12 days old.

A - Light clear apricot color with a big 2.5 finger white head. Excellent retention and plenty of lacing coat the glass.

S - It is a hoppy delight of tropical and citrus fruit. Pineapple and grapefruit seem to be the dominant notes. Classic Lagunitas malt and yeast give it the signature sweetness.

T - Plenty of hops give it a bitter start and finish. Pineapple, grapefruit, orange, and other citrus notes. Sweet malts come in the middle and give it the flavor I have come to love with Lagunitas beer. Finish has a nice bitter pine punch.

M - Full to medium body with a slick oily feel. Carbonation is fantastic.

O - Yes, this is a fantastic IIPA. Given the price at $9/6 I look forward to this beer in the dead of winter every year. If only this was offered year round and in cans...

 877 characters

Photo of mc4z
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. Pours a medium orange that is pretty transparent. Good head retention. The nose is grapefruit, lemon, mango, pine. This is a pure citrus bomb. The taste is strong citrus fruit with the grapefruit and lemon really shining through. The mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing. Overall this beer is a brilliant citrus IPA that packs a silent punch with the ABV. My favorite Lagunitas IPA.

 405 characters

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).

 716 characters

Photo of aquazr1
4.56/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass from a 12oz bottle. Thanks to my daughter for picking this up while in OC.

A - Pours a clear golden amber with a two finger white head. Lots of residual lacing the entire time.

S - The nose on this beer is amazing. Hits you from six feet away. Loads of citrus going on here.

T - The taste does not disappoint. Citrus up front with some hints if pine on the finish.

M - A medium bodied beer with light carbonation.

O - A really well done DIPA. Well worth the hunt to track down this beer. A must have from now on.

 546 characters

Photo of Gambelli
4.81/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Thanks to Craftshack for expediting this out to the wilds of Nevada.

A- Light gold, mostly clear with a bit of chill haze. A constant 1/8" cap of off-white foam fueled
by a steady stream of medium carbonation arising from the bottom.

S- MMMM! Fantastic juicy, ruby-red grapefruit predominates, along with pineapple, mango
and tropical fruit aromas. Spicy rye malt wafts up into the nose too. This brew really shines in the olfactory category.

T- Starts with sweet malts, quickly followed with citrusy, tropical hops. Medium bitterness
compliments the malt and hop profiles. Awesome west-coast style IPA with "cereal medley"
malts adding a wonderful touch to the mix.

M- Great bitterness. Never over the top or demanding. Spot on body for a nearly 8% brew.
Not too syrupy or heavy like some DIPA's. Medium carbonation level allows all facets of this
to work together for a super balance.

0- I had this beer last spring on the tail end of it's freshness threshold and it was great. I could not wait to try a freshie, and wow, it did not disappoint. IMO one of the top 2X IPA's available,
and at $10 a sixer, easy on the wallet. Sure glad this recipe was used as a "substitute brown
shugga'" batch by Lagunitas. It is one of my favorites. Try this one for sure.

 1,324 characters

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

Poured this baby into a snifter. The honey amber body is slightly cloudy, and gives up a 2 finger head that slowly settles down to a respectable skim.
The aroma is an intense battle between the caramel malt and the piney hops.The pine wins, but just by a smidgen. There is indeed some sugared up red grapefruit in there as well as some burnt toffee. You just know your dealing with a masterpiece before you even take the first pull.
The taste is much like the nose, except I'm picking up a strong brown sugar flavor. Think of eating toasted buttery bread smothered in melted brown sugar and washing it all down with grapefruit juice--and booze.
The mouthfeel is medium bodied and juicy on the back end.
Overall, this brew lives up to the hype. This goes into my top 5 IPA's.

 774 characters

Photo of Bshaw22
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- nice and golden for a double IPA. Poured heavy and ga e it a nice two finger white head.
S- Almost perfect for a west coast IPA. This bottle is only 9 days old and I could tell. Very earthy and citrusy, and almost has a pot type small...perfect!
T- follows the nose. Citrusy and piny on the front end, but not too much pine. A little sweet on the back to balance. Reminds me of fresh Pliny.
M- nothing crazy but good to style.
O- love this beer! For the price point, availability this beer ranks in my top 3 IPA's.

 518 characters

Photo of KTeamLSU
4.84/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Hazy light yellow almost hay color; light fluffy white head that disappeared after a while but left lacing until the end.

S: Great smell, citrus, grapefruit, a little pine and resin, but the fruit was what I noticed

T: WOW... a nice fruit blast with a slight bitterness at the end. This was great. My first sip I had my doubts but as I worked through my glass this left me wanting more and more. Great DIPA.

M: Good carbonation although light

O: I thought it was going to be just another celebration, but this was magnificent. Believe the hype this is a great beer.

 620 characters

Photo of Kevin-Wieken
4.55/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas SUCKS - Brown Shugga Substitute Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company, California
---from bottle to stemmed tulip glass---

Light and clean amber with two fingers of soapy ivory head, excellent lacing.

Bright floral and citrus bouquet, pineapple, mango, red grapefruit, hints of pine. Very pretty.

Grapefruit X 3!!! Orange juice. Pulp like bitter. In my heart I believe that there is a malt aspect to this beer, but it is hardly evident unless you let this beer warm up (you will not be able to drink it that slowly).

Medium body, lingering bitterness with good sweetness to balance. Crisp and refreshing. Wet and delicious.

An excellent beer for hops lovers. Juicy in inviting. A smile in a bottle - with hops.

 761 characters

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

 580 characters

Photo of Jmitchell3
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: great clear deep golden color, maybe a bit of red hue. Ample soapy, off white head.
S: smell is very hoppy, extremely floral.
T: hoppy bitterness abounds! So great. Not overpowering, but very appropriate given the floral aromas. Finish is slightly bitter.
M: medium body, carbonation tingles up front but does not linger.
O: a unique, amazingly hoppy floral IPA. Really enjoyed this one.

 393 characters

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've passed this over several times, even after numerous people telling me how good it was. I'd never had a chance to have Brown Shugga until this year either and after having it and being quite satisfied... I saw the Sucks and decided that it was time.

Pours from the bottle a very nice deep golden straw. A crisp and quickly dissipating white head that hangs around in thin clouds over the top. Doesn't really look spectacular, looks like a nice beer.

Phew! Smell is pretty fabulous, and by fabulous, I mean stanky with hops. And by stanky, I mean great! A great hop smell. Fresh, resinous, piney, citrusy, floral, herbal. Simply bursting at the seams and a tad bit earthy as well. Quite nice indeed.

Taste follows up with the smell, all of mentioned show up in this beer. An attack of fresh, resinous, piney, earthy, citrusy, floral, pineappley, herbal hops. A long bitterness at the end and a bit of a tart, pinching, dryness that makes the mouth water. There is a hint of bubble gum intermingled with the malt that has a touch of vanilla and caramel. The sweetness balances out the bitterness perfectly.

Mouthfeel is a bit tart, a bit tacky, a bit dry. But nothing that is unusual and nothing I wouldn't have expected. It was way I had hoped for. A drinkable medium body.

Altogether, I haven't reviewed Brown Shugga yet, but this does stand up to the bit of Brown Shugga I had in quality. Personally I enjoyed Brown Shugga a bit more but that is just my tastes. This is really fantastic and a very good hoppy ale. I was pleasantly surprised and am glad to say I have one more bottle of it. Don't pass it up! Try it out!

 1,629 characters

Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,199 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.