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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,605 | Ratings: 10,208
Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Served at Cellar Temp

A: Deep gold with a slight touch of haze (wheat or hops?) with a frothy white head and excellent lacing. Good retention as well.

S: I would like to describe the aroma as a huge dose of Blueberry, Mango, Melon, Citrus, a touch of pine and onion spice. The hops dominate, but some toasty/sweet malt can be found lingering in the backdrop.

T/M: The bitterness hits right away, and a big full-bodied mouthfeel coats the mouth. The hops are slightly more astringent than the aroma, but they still scream of tropical and berry-like fruits. The malt makes and appearance in the flavor as well, giving an almost candy-like pilsner malt backbone with a slight touch of wheat and a little rye. Very little in the way of yeast character, typical chico ale strain profile.

Overall: A very interesting and very hoppy beer. The complexity of ingredients is astounding, so many hop and malt varieties playing roles in the final product. Also, as many have found, the hop character is intoxicating! I love this beer, would most definitely purchase it frequently if it were year round, few hop-bombs like this make it to my home-state of Montana.

 1,155 characters

Photo of DMXLOX22
4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a single of this brew and now enjoying while waiting for my Valentines day date get ready. Let's see how this stacks up.

Appearance: Pours a nice, dark gold that makes it look lighter than it might be. Tops off with some decent foam action that slowly exhausts away.

Smell: Citrus hops are the first that truly come to light. Reminds me of pineapple and some ruby grapefruit. Minor hint of sugar. Quite delectable.

Taste: Has a great pizazz of lemon citrus, but of course is rounded out by orange and pineapple flavors. It finishes quite nice with slight hints of caramel and a light sugary cranapple-like flavor. Minor maltiness is noticeable, but fits perfect and balances everything out. Bravo to the brewers for this one.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with somewhat moderate carbonation. Starts off and ends quite crisp, as it should. Everything's there in fair balance.

Overall: Upon first sips, this was a special treat. Something that can truly be enjoyed in the spring/summer and even in the winter as I am doing so now. Even my date stated it was good, and also claims not to be a beer drinker. But overall, this beer packed something different and did it well. The citrus and fruit-like hops with a nice balance of malt in the mix that create something I will enjoy again and will recommend to friends. Cheers!

 1,328 characters

Photo of jacksback
3.97/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Looks the part- clear bright golden color with a decent white head. Decent lacing, visible active carbonation. Looks nice. Nothing amazing, but appetizing for sure.

Big nose, showing lots of fruity hops and a fair bit of sweetness. Sweet oranges and tangerines. Full and big aroma, but not much depth or suggestion thereof.

Flavor shows a lot more character than the nose suggested. A moderate kick of bitterness starts things off, fading a bit towards the finish. Hop character shows some depth, though falls back to an extent on the typical C-hop deal. Sharp, aggressive citrus grapefruits, oranges, and so on. Good bit of sweetness, between the fruity hop notes and a little bit of even malt sweetness that barely sneaks through.

Mouthfeel is smooth and even, pretty clean on the finish, with moderate carbonation. easy drinking.

Overall- nothing especially new or adventurous. A rather typical west coast, citric heavy DIPA. But, that said- it is superbly well done for that, with only a bit too much sweetness to complain about.

 1,037 characters

Photo of ajd413
3.27/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Beautiful golden color with nice white head. Smell was big on grapefruit and dank hops. The problem was a noticeable aroma of cat urine. Not a good aroma and I couldn't escape it. Flavor of the beer was nice and very dry and hop forward but the ammonia was overwhelming. I'm not surprised to see this beer rated so highly by the general public (lagunitas has a great following and generally makes top notch brews) but the alstrom bros have a score that is much more accurate.

 475 characters

Photo of Sam21
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Purchased as a single. Brewed in December. 

A- Clear golden amber body with a sticky fluffy white head. The clarity, retention, and appeal is high. 

S- Sugar honeyed grapefruit smacks you in the nose on first sniff. Plenty of citrus rind, some mango, and light caramels. The citrus hop aromas leap out of the glass in an aggressive yet controlled manner. 

T- Taste follows the aromas lead. The grapefruit doesn't bite as much as you would think but is plenty present. The citric acidity is really round and juicy, but does not have complete dominance. Tropical notes of mango and pineapple melt into a caramel backbone that holds the citrus top notes up. This fruity sweetness carries into the finish and marries nicely with an expected dry citrus hop kick. It plays out exactly as expected and I mean that in the best way possible. 

MF- The body is right on that line between medium and full, as it doesn't quite have that oily quality. The carbonation is relatively creamy and carries the resinous sticky quality of the hops with confidence. 

O- It's been about 6 months since I've really sat down with such a big and traditional west coast IPA. Lagunitas did a great job with this beer. Sweet, citrusy, and easy on the palate. The balance adds an element of drinkability that acts as the cherry on top. 

 1,330 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.36/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into one of my tulip glasses, this beer pours a nice clear, medium golden amber color. The white head is initially about 1/2 inch thick when first poured before settling to a good thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with very nice lacing and some spotty surface foam resting on the top of the beer. Aromas of grapefruit/citrus and piney hops upfront followed with some more fruityness with hints of mango, rounded out with a bit of caramel malt. Has a wonderful grapefruit/citrus hop flavor upfront too along with hints of mango and pineapple that is rounded out with some caramel malt. The bready, malty sweetness on the back end certainly comes out more as the beer sits and warms up a bit. Not as bitter in terms of the hops as some other double IPAs I have had are, but that is not necessarily a bad thing here. Actually I am quite enjoying this dynamic here. The different flavor profiles are extremely well balanced. Has a fairly crisp, smooth and somewhat oily, medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. I do wish the mouthfeel was just a little more full bodied, but not a bad beer at all. Very good!


 1,162 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – Served a golden amber color with a one finger white head. The head slowly fades over time to give a light level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is a nice mix of citrus hop and tropical fruit. The tropical fruit is a nice mix of pineapple, mango and tangerine with the hop being mainly of a grapefruit aroma mixed with a hint of pine hop.

Taste – The taste begins with a nice bready and tropical fruit flavor of mango and papaya and some tangerine mixed within. With these flavors is a lighter caramel flavor which grows stronger more toward the middle and end of the taste. Also as the flavor advances, some hop flavors, mainly of a grapefruit nature, come to the tongue. While the hop flavors grow stronger in nature as the taste advances further, they never really drown out the sweeter and malty flavors as they seem to keep pace with the hop. In the end, a sweeter and malty hopped taste is left on the tongue. It is very balanced and very nice.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. The thicker body helps the hop flavors stand out and is great for the bready body of the beer with the lower carbonation accentuating these flavors and helping to create a very soothing mouthfeel.

Overall – This is a fantastic, slightly sweeter but very balanced IPA. A great drinking brew and one I will certainly seek out more often.

 1,462 characters

Photo of mothman
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This has to be one of the best DIPA for the price.

Half finger of off white head. Color is s a clear golden orange.

Taste profile is of big juicy hops. Grapefruit and citrus fruits mixed with some pineapple. Dank hops. A mix of floral and pine. Some bready malts to balance things out.

Mouthfeel is bitter, but not too bitter. Not very sticky which is nice.

Overall, this beer is rock solid. I normally don't like Lagunitas, but this beer will be in my fridge every winter.

 478 characters

Photo of LarryK
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Believe the hype. Sucks is as good as many of the top-rated double IPAs around, and may actually be the very best widely available double IPA on the market (for these purposes, I'd define "widely available" as a Top 10 craft brewer by sales volume per the Brewer's Association), although Ruination may have something to say about that. Still, I'd take Sucks over Hopslam, which I found didn't meet the hype or expectations for me after finally nabbing a six-pack back in January.

Appearance: DIPA orange.

Smell: Not quite the citrus explosion one expects from a premiere west-coast brewer like Lagunitas. A bit subdued, but still plenty aromatic.

Taste: One of the things I find most appealing about this beer is that there are seemingly a number of competing flavors -- citrus, but also a good bit more sweetness than I'm accustomed to in my DIPAs -- and yet it all works together to form an insanely drinkable product. This has to be one of the easiest-drinking 7.9% beers you can buy.

Mouthfeel: Medium, medium-carbonation.

Overall: A superb DIPA from Lagunitas, and, while this statement is subject to change, probably the best beer they make right now. Shame it's not a year-rounder.

 1,193 characters

Photo of jvillefan
4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: A deep golden copper/orange/yellow colored body with an off white three finger head that lingers around for a long time.

S: Citra hops are obviously present. There is pine, citrus, and caramel all present in the aroma of this beer.

T: There is an intense citrus bite in the beginning of this beer. It then fades to pine then to a toffee caramel and then the sharp bitterness comes back at the end and lingers on the palate for a while after the beer is gone.

M: A little thinner then I was expecting but this beer has excellent carbonation.

O: Great beer. If given the opportunity, get this one fresh.

 608 characters

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...

 611 characters

Photo of Qwest_35
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sucks! this beer absolutely does not! It only sucks if you have not had this tasty little treat. Bottle date is 2-06-13, pretty fresh if you ask me. The aroma as soon as I popped one of these babies was so juicy and sweet! Up front pineapple, pear, apricot, citrus, pine, you know everything a great DIPA should smell like, well that x10.. This beer pours a pale orange-gold with two fingers of cream colored head. First sip is all hops, taste is just as dynamic as the aroma, but the more this beer warms, the more malt character begins to come through. Extremely drinkable, I am already done with my review sample bottle before I even finished this review. Overall, I gotta put "Sucks" right up there in my top 5 DIPA's of all time. Time for another!

 752 characters

Photo of ironchefmiyagi13
4.81/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a goblet wine glass

Great color and clarity with a great head with nice retention to the glass after a couple swirls to open it up and let the aroma off it's leash

Everything about this beer that makes it great is in the nose. It's like a punch in the face with all the aromas. At the forefront are of course pine and resin like every IPA should have. Citrus bouquet with lemon rind, lime juice and grape fruit all at the helm.

The flavor profile is off the hook as well. Nice firm body with the hops doing what they do best in terms of delivering a nice, dry finish. I like how the sweetness does not come in to play until after you swallow, leaving traces of brown sugar and simple syrup on the palate without being too overpowering.

This beer is definitely up there in terms of my favorite IPAs. Thank god my beer store just got in a big shipment. Gotta get more!

 897 characters

Photo of kvgomps
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours smoothly, 1 inch head with retention after 5 minutes. Never-ending effervescence.

Smell is citrus with grapefruit rind and lemon peel dominating.

The taste is like biting into a grapefruit (without the skin). The body is extremely smooth like a lighter cream ale. Not an overly hoppy beer and despite not being able to find the malt, it is still somehow well balanced. This goes down way too easily. You could finish off a sixer of these in an hour. The lacing on this beer is great even at the end.

I read somewhere that this one starts of great and gets better every bottle. So far this is proving to be true. Great beer.

 634 characters

Photo of FlyAwayPhil
4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Golden with an amber hue and left about a one-finger head that dissipated quickly an left a slight amount of lacing.

S - Hoppy, resinous, some sweetness with a little bit of fruit

T - Very hop-forward and finishes clean with a touch of sweet bitterness. Left a lingering hop taste.

M - Full bodied with a bitterness of the hops coating the mouth well.

0 - A well-done DIPA/IIPA, but differs from other takes on the style not as much bitterness from the hops as others out there. Certainly enjoyable for a Sunday evening. Served in my Teku glass.

 553 characters

Photo of highdesertdrinker
4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Bright copper-gold color with 1 and a half finger head and nice thick lacing all the way down.
S- Grapefruit, pine, hops with slight whiff of malt.
T - The first sip is pine and hops and then the malts and fruit kick in thereafter. Grapfruit, pineapple, orange with a a slight hint of tobacco and a sweet malty backbone.
M - Medium and resiny.
O - I've finished my first sixer now and I am so impressed with the flavor and balance of this magnificent brew. Great value for a beer of this caliber and I hope it goes year round.

 531 characters

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

pours the color of honey one finger head and a ring of light lace with each sip. smells strongly of fruit and alcohol. taste of peach mango and papaya, alcohol hits you right away then the bitter taste of the hops which are strong and ending with a lasting after taste. mouthfeel is light and slightly oily carbonation is tight and crisp. its very different from ipa,s that i have had and i am not a fan of them but i would buy this beer again for a change of the same old.

 473 characters

Photo of beerbully
4.33/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into tulip glass

A-clear, copper beer with thick inch+ head that slowly dissipates leaving thick lacing on the glass

S-big nose on this one. Can smell it from a foot away. sweet and citrus hops dominate. grapefruit, orange, pineapple, mango.

T- citrus hops up front followed by slight onion which gives way to some sweetness and then a bitter finish


O-solid IPA as usual by Lagunitas.


 416 characters

Photo of Moose90
4.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

20oz Pint on Tap $5

A – Translucent bright yellow with orange hues. Head is 1" and has great retention and lacing.

S – Huge hops up front. Sticky grapefruit notes dominate, but some pine and lime/lemon come through as well.

T – Starts slightly sweet, but has nicely acidic and fruity hops to balance out. Grapefruit is huge again here.

M – Medium body, nicely carbonated and balanced. Refreshing.

O – Good beer here, very nice and unique hop character. Light malt is sweet and balancing. Glad I found it on tap.

 527 characters

Photo of yemenmocha
3.95/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gorgeous pour with enormous amounts of white lacing as the pint goes down, and a decent creamy sized head to start the pint. Nose is candied and fresh, doughy almost. Palate has some good flavors of citrus with malt to balance it out, pine too, but oh my goodness the booze is just over the top. With the booziness I would have sworn it is a 10% beer but it's not, as it's barely higher than a normal IPA in the 7% range. So this is a major flaw because so many really good examples and great examples do so much better at integrating flavors that yields a non-boozy result. Just not all that enjoyable to drink this one, though it is great to look at and smell. But I can't get over that with every sip I feel like I'm downing some alcohol bomb... but it's actually not very strong.

 783 characters

Photo of beagle75
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

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

A: Clear, brassy golden color with over one finger of diminishing white foam head. Heavy lacing remains on the glass.

S: Hops are abundant and dynamic up front, with ripe and sticky tropical fruit as well as a complimentary green dankness. Pineapple and guava are particularly pronounced, although fruity hops begin to fade after this beer has been in the glass for 15 minutes. Faintly toasty base malt is revealed then, but remaining balanced.

T: Begins very off-dry, with aggressive acidic hops oils that defy simple flavor classification but integrate well with the aromas from the smell. Potent hops-derived flavors stretch well into the middle, aside developing bitterness, taking on a surprisingly green quality into the finish. Bitterness becomes potent by the finish, balanced in the presence of the pronounced aromatic flavors.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, acidic and slightly sticky on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This big IPA is the hedonist's choice for the style--it presents abundant hops and abundant malt sugar that are surprisingly successful at balancing each other. As a DIPA it is more believable, but here it wins because it retains easily observed defining characteristics that the bigger DIPAs simply lose control over. Flavors may step over a line of appropriateness--if this is a regular IPA--but seem tight and much more modern compared to most DIPAs. Pliny it is not--that beer is an exercise in restraint while this is a projection of excess on a budget. Exact style aside, this beer succeeds resoundingly at delivering some of the most desirable hops qualities available without the burden of a 10% abv investment.

 1,717 characters

Photo of Sheils
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow - I was very suprised by this. I got Lagunitas Sucks the same time I picked up Hopslam. I have been so nuts about Hopslam that I under estimated how this beer would compare. It blew me away and I might honestly like it better than Hopslam. Obviously its not quite as hoppy but it is well balanced all around. Seriously one of my favorite beers.

 348 characters

Photo of Beerandboards
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Both straight from the bottle and also out of a pint glass

A - the classic golden, honey type color. Quite a bit of white foam, leaves plenty of lacing

S - subtle orange peel, lemon juice, some pine, a little bit of the malt in the background

T - hop forward but not overly bitter. Actually really balanced and drinkable. Easy drinking citrus notes with some tropical flavors in there as well. Not as in your face as hop stoopid or something like that. Could easily session a few, but for the 8% ABV.

M - nice oily hop presentation, not overly dry or quick on the finish.

O - killer smooth IPA. My favorite lagunitas by far. It's not as good as the hype, but its definitely in the neighborhood.

 700 characters

Photo of ericlawton007
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Typical IPA presence when poured into a glass. Hops aroma is delicious, and the taste is of grapefruit, pine, and orange. I love that a beer this hoppy can be less than 8%abv.
On one other note, after I had a bottle of sucks i split a bittle of arrogant bastard, and it was the first time ive ever called arrogant bastard sweet and brown sugary.

 346 characters

Photo of Heynow007
2.42/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am a stout guy, so maybe I am jaded, but I didn't like it at all. Has an IPA taste, but didn't like the flavor. I expected more from this beer. It was a good balance of Flavors but something was missing and fell flat.

I'll have to try another and see.

 255 characters

Lagunitas Sucks (Brown Shugga Substitute Ale) from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.31 out of 5 based on 10,208 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.