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

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1,575 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: 1,575 | Ratings: 10,111
Photo of South2NW
4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured to goblet

A: golden, translucent with a finger width creamy head that leaves great lacing.

S: lovely aroma of hops, citrus and pine that delight your sense of smell.

T: big bold citrus flavors, with a hint of piney resin. Slight bitter finish.

M: medium body, creamy. Very easy drinking.

O: wow! This is really tasty. I will be stocking up.

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Photo of brurevu
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer was big grapefruit hops from the moment I opened the bottle. It had a very strong aroma and the initial taste was all grapefruit. This is what I have come to expect from Lagunitas. As the Holiday Ale warmed I could taste a nice malty backbone that helped balance out the strong hops. The beer leaves a good lingering bitterness on the palate and the flavor kept me coming back. This was another great beer from Lagunitas.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into DFH Signature glass

A - big foamy white head, the beer is clear golden. left some nice lacing on the glass as I drank it down
S - burst of citrus, some resinous pine
T - some malty sweetness is nicely balanced with a hop whollop, flavors include grapefruit and other citrus fruits, bitter finish lingers for a bit just asking me to take another sip
M - medium carb, and slick body, very drinkable
O - This has to be the best value DIPA out there. Insanely good!

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Photo of PaulyB83
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz, bottle into a pint glass. Bottling date of 351 3, so that's the 351st day of 2013. 14 days old, pretty nice!

A- Pours a nice deep gold yellow, the very lightest shade of amber. Nice clarity and a big white head the stuck around and left nice lacing on the glass.

S- Wow! This is the most tropical smell beer I've ever had. Lots of ripe passion fruit, some guava and mango, papaya. Light toasted cracker malt coming through.

T- Nice candy sweetness without being overpowering, again lots of tropical fruits, I almost can't believe it. More toasted cracker malt than in the nose but still very slight and does not take away from the bright juicy hops. Nice medium level of bitterness not as high as other signature ipas but still substantial enough to linger on the palate for a bit after swallowing.

M- A nice medium mouthfeel similar to other ipas of this strength. Pretty easy drinking if your used to hops. The lighter bitterness means I might drink this 6 pack by tomorrow.

O- I had a half pint of this stuff earlier in the year in a flight and it was the only one that stuck out and wowed me. When it came out this time I ran right out and grabbed a 6er to consume as fresh as possible. Holy hell! I love this tropical bomb of a beer. It's almost hard to drink because then it will go away and I won't be able to smell it. An instant favorite and something every type of beer drinker should taste or at least smell!

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

November 14th, 2013

Sucks in a tulip at cellar temperature.

Appearance: A pretty golden honey-amber body and a gorgeous three-finger, puffy white cloud of a head that rises above the rim to make a little mound of foam on top. 4.5

Not an extremely strong aroma here, but there's some pine and orange zest. Also a kind of dank, mellow hoppy scent. 3.75

Tastes of tangy orange upfront, sweet breadiness in the middle, and substantial hops in the finish. As the 63.21 IBUs would indicate, the bitterness level is pretty moderate. It has some nice hop flavor without the punishing bitterness some double IPAs have (although I do sometimes enjoy that type of punishment). 4.25

I'd call it medium-bodied. Feels alright. 4

It doesn't suck. 4.25

May 19th, 2015

So the first time Sucks showed up here two years ago, I believe it was terribly out-of-date (like, more than a year old). I revisited it tonight after finding some that's only about three months old. Most of the descriptors above still hold true for me, but with the volume turned up higher enough for this imperial IPA to impress me a lot more. The aroma is much stronger in this fresher beer, and I get more delightfully dank, astringent hops in both the aroma and flavor. Especially the finish.

So as an update: it REALLY doesn't suck.

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Photo of Qbdoo
4.58/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was one of my first big DIPAs and now I'm revisiting with a bit more experience under my belt.
Appearance - like a number of great DIPAs, not a terribly appealing to look at. A fine golden hue, but doesn't make you salivate.
Smell - Ridiculous. Explodes with citrus and pine
Taste - Much like the smell, especially piney up front, but sweetens out with a slight maltiness at the end.
Mouthfeel - for a big beer, it's light and bubbly with slightly oily hint.
Overall - pretty amazing still. It blew my mind when I first had it and it was one of those beers that made you go looking for other world-class IPAs. I couldn't imagine, then, anything could be this good. I was wrong, but this is nevertheless one of my all-time favorites.

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Photo of edgeh2o
4.98/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Probably my new favorite from Lagunitas. All of their beers are arguably among the best, but this one is something special. Everything I look for in an IPA, and more. Great smell, equally great taste. I wish this was a regular offering, because I'm craving one right now!

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Photo of TdLJg
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Poured a deep orange with bright white head.

S: Amazing citrus aroma. A treat for the nose.

T: Big wonderful punch of hops and citrus followed by a slight bitter feel in the back of the mouth.

M: Wonderful smooth feel on the mouth with a dry finish.

O: Very drinkable big ass beer. Excellent.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.93/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - bright golden, nearly clear, tower of white head retained very well, some random lacing
S - pine, tropical fruit, mild greens and raw grain
T - a mango citrus hop flavour dominates with hints of pine and leafy greens, raw grains and mild buttery bread give it enough malt backbone to keep it just balanced
M - light and well carbonated, somewhat juicy, just a touch of bitter on the finish
O - a mellow and easy drinking DIPA, its hoppy but not really DIPA hoppy, but it has character and great drinkability

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Photo of tarheels86
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

355mL thanks to tastybeer. A clear golden pour with a larger, off-white rocky head. Nose is just $&@#&# insane! Smells like I was awoken from a stupor in a British Columbia marijuana farm. Dank hops explosion. Holy crap. Mild notes of pale malt, wheat, oatmeal, jackfruit melon, and candied orange peel come through. Insane dry hop character. Taste is not too sticky, fresh, well balanced, mild alcohol spice. Palate is very soft and silky and small saltwater quenching. Mild piney hop character. I can’t believe it- Lagunitas best beer by a mile. Makes Hop Stoopid look a little stoopid. Why this is called a "holiday ale" is beyond me but this is on another level from Brown Shugga. Actually on another level from Lagunitas. How did this happen? I would seriously consider this beer as a DIPA of choice over Pliny the Elder. This is a DIPA masterpiece. 9/4/8/4/17=4.2

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Photo of carmike813
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance - great head, excellent lacing, bright copper hue

Smell- piney resin - dank, aromas have held up nicely as this is way out of season and has been in the fridge for a few months

Taste - hops piney - really held up beautifully - easier to drink with the little age on it - an excellent beer for certain

Mouthfeel-creamy texture with a medium body

This is such a great DIPA, it always holds up to most in the style

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.73/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Lagunitas Sucks Brown Shuggga Substitute Ale pours a dark golden color, with a small lacing head. There is a wet floral aroma, with roasted malts coming through. The taste is rather balanced, with nice floral notes coming through, all mixed in with a roasted malty taste. Nice full flavors, has a "wet" bitterness, and rather balanced. Overall its a balanced and easy drinking double IPA.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz single from Lil Roberts in Concord

A - pours a golden color with a mild haze. Two finger fluffy head that slowly fades to a thin foam.

S - glorious hops, grapefruit, pine

T - mild grapefruit, orange peel, dry spice. I start picking up more syrup and berry notes as it warms.

M - effervescent at the start, followed by a bitter, but creamy finish

O - a very tasty offering from lagunitas.

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Photo of FLima
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I heard this beer done to substitute the Christmas seasonal ale that was not produced given the ship coming from Germany with the due material sunk in the Caribbean, so "it sucks"...
Amber color with a two finger head with average retention and leaving strong laces.
Clear grapefruit and resin aroma.
Sweet taste of slightly toasted malts balanced by a decent (or indecent) amount of citric hops. Hints of resin and pine.
Dry and bitter long lasting aftertaste.
Full body, almost liquorish with medium carbonation and tiny bubbles.
Robust DIPA, balanced on its extremes, good for winter or summer. Sorry, it does not suck.

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

Really didn't get into craft beers until after I had this beast of a brew. I didn't forget though... Nice mouth feel, drank straight out of the bottle. Strong IPA taste. Don't remember much other then that. I got drunk... Yeah... that means it was good.

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Photo of richj1970
4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from cask into a tulip glass.

A: Poured vibrant orange color with nice 2-3 finger head that slowly settles to a thin lacing.

S: Strong hops, mostly pine but also some citrus like grapefruit and orange, mixed with a solid malts

T: Big hops while remaining suprisingly balanced. Blended hops up front but a very smooth full malt underneath, with a hint of sweetness to finish.

M: Medium bodied with fairly light carbonation that I attribute to the cask.

O: Very nice beer. Enjoyable IPA, being both hoppy & big malt but everything is unbelievably well balanced. I liked Dogfish 90 a bit more, but this one is solid nonetheless.

Edit: Found some recently in bottles, and adjusted scores up some. Fantastic tastes and aromas.

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Photo of mdcrouser
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks like a near perfect pour to me, with a finger of head to begin, which is torn down as it sits, leaving a full bracelet of white lace. The beer itself is golden with prisms of amber, lots of floating sediment - looks chewy.

Fresh citrus, some green apple - nicely hoppy on the nose.

Much of the same on the tongue, with a crisp juiciness to it. Bitterness sits heavy on the back of the tongue, but without the expected depth.

Crisp, almost sharp to the tongue, bracing it with a throat-filling hoppiness.

Easy-to-enjoy hop bomp. Good, but nothing exceptional.

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

The beer itself is a clear and pale gold while the head is white and foamy. The head dissipates fairly quickly but leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

The hops have a few different hop notes. The beer smell has a hint of tropical fruits and a little bit of a grapefruit nose mixed with sugary and malty sweetness to balance out the hops. The notes mix very well together and give a very clean nose that smell a little bit like bubblegum.

The taste is similar to aroma. The beer has a more tropical taste with sugar, citrus/grapefruit hops, and a little bit of yeast flavor. The taste also appears to have a slight mineral flavor as well.

Heavy bodied with biting carbonation. The feel is sort of right for a DIPA but to me it feels little heavier, and not as crisp as other DIPAs that I've had.

A pretty good DIPA and well worth getting. I had seen this beer before but I didn't get until this year. I will definitely be picking up a six-pack of this again.

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Photo of CoastMtnBrewer
4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I had not planned on picking this beer but it caught my eye and thought I would give it a try. Been a fan of Lagunitas for years now and when a new one makes its way to Canada I have to give it a try.

It did not disappoint and it surpassed what I had expected. As soon as it was cracked you could smell the floral aroma. It's a smooth, easy to drink Double IPA - Sweet but not to sweet with a strong hop backbone, extremely well balanced. Definitely worth it if you can find it.

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Photo of Rob_pbr81
4.59/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent IPA, Lagunitas rarely fails to impress me. Has that great sweet hops smell and flavor and very sweet cintrus notes. I had it both on tap and in the bottle. I preferred the bottle. Definitely 6pack worthy, pour and enjoy. Great beer, great brewery!

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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 DemoniChris
5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a lovely golden yellow-orange with a pretty impressive head that is long-lasting.

S - Oh man... This is pure bliss. Grapefruit, orange, mango, dank hops that you can smell a yard away from the glass. Arguably the beers best trait followed by the taste.

T - Heaven. Extends from the smell quite well. Fruity tropical dank hops with a tiny bit of malt. Big mango notes with grapefruit rind definitely apparent. The nearly 8% ABV is masked with finesse.

M - Brilliantly balanced between malt and carbonation. Leaves you wanting another sip each time you put it down.

O - I've been trying to get a hold of one of these beers for a while. Do yourself a favor and seek this beer out if you haven't already.

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

Pours from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass

A: A clear orangey, copper color that pours to an off-white head of chalky suds. The head settles down to a thick white color leaving behind some nice lacing.

S: Sucks has a huge nose of ripe tropical fruit (mangos, papaya, pineapple), citrus (oranges, ruby grapefruit, tangerine) and sticky pine residue. A bit of the sweet malt rises up as well.

T: An amazing balance of hops and malt! In addition to all the notes from the nose (tropical and citrus fruits) there is a big punch of American bittering hops drying out flavor a bit. The robust hop profile is balanced by an sweet, bready malt profile. The finish is long and complex, sweet and fruiut at first and drying out in the end.

M: Full and round; medium carbonation and body; creamy

O: A fantastic beer! Sucks has a complex hop nose and taste balancing huge amounts of ripe fruit (mangos, pineapple, oranges, tangerines ruby grapefruit), pine and bittering hops with a sweet malt backbone. The finish is fantastic making this a highly refreshing and drinkable brew!

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

12oz bottle poured into a tulip
A: Rich orange color with a one-finger head that slowly settles to a thin lacing
S: Strong hops, mostly pine but also some grapefruit and orange rind, and a solid malt backbone
T: Wow. Big yet extremely balanced. Again blended hops up front but a very smooth full malt underneath, with a hint of caramel to finish. Very tasty
M: Medium to full bodied, the malts & hops both come through but it's very balanced
O: This is very good. It honestly should please everyone, being both hoppy & big malt but everything is unbelievably well balanced. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: Very cool label with eye-catching graphics and color scheme. Label states Limited Release, gives ABV info, IBU info, a bit of brewery info. Has little sayings all over label. Cap has Lagunitas logo.

Appearance: Poured from 12oz bottle into a 13oz Tulip glass after 10min warming period. Pours out a clear golden yellow with a 3 finger golden crème foam head of medium tightly packed density. Head retention was phenomenal, lasting 6min 12sec before fading to a thick coating and ring. Excellent lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smells of a combination of piney resin hop bitterness with a sweet citrus hop aroma along with slight hints of malt.

Flavor/Taste: Tastes starts of with a bit of sweet grapefruit citrus hops along with a sweet malt essence that quickly turns to a resin piney hop bitterness. Finishes with a bitter hop bite with just a bit of malt detectable.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: Medium bodied with a light amount of carbonation. Very smooth and drinkable.

Overall/Comments: Very solid offering that is true to the style but I expected a bit more from the hype surrounding this. This packs a nice hop punch and an excellent flavor profile. Classified as an American Double/Imperial IPA @ 7.8% ABV. Consumed 4/20/2013.

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Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,111 ratings.
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