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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,469 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,469
Hads: 5,135
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 249
Gots: 965 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.99% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 12-13-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,469 | Hads: 5,135
Reviews by Derranged:
Photo of Derranged
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

The appearance is a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head.

The smell might have been one of the best smelling beers I've sampled. Very strong piney/floral hops with molasses and candied sugar are present.

The taste was very hoppy and very sweet, tastes of brown sugar and molasses. Some hops bitterness appeared every now and again.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and had little carbonation.

This beer drank pretty easily, but the sweetness alone limits this to just a few.

This beer was really good.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of OldRickSputin
4.8/5  rDev +20%

Had low expectations for this one. I like many Lagunitas beers...they're nice. But Brown Shugga is SUPER NICE!

This is damn close to perfection!

Wonderful looking medium amber color with a massive head that never completely disappears. The lacing left behind coats the glass from top to bottom.

The smell is deceiving, very pleasant. It definitely changes with temperature and as the head dissipates. Starts off smelling like cinnamon roll and After a few minutes, it's more like Hop Stoopid, which I really enjoy - Fresh pine & some grapefruit/citrusy notes.

First sip is so sweet and wonderful that it seems like it might actually be tough to drink the entire 12 ounces. But just as the smell changes, so does the taste (same transition).

The people at Lagunitas should be given some awards for this. They crafted a truly unique, enjoyable beer drinking EXPERIENCE and then they went ahead and honored us by putting it out at a reasonable price.

It also has just the right amount of balls at 9.99% ABV.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from a 12 oz bottle in a Duinen snifter.
After a long hiatus the wondrous Brown Shugga' is back and brilliant as ever. Pours a thick ruby brown with a great off white head and fantastic lacing from the slowly dissipating foam that dies down to a nice thin layer. Nose of dark sugars, citrus hops, and tons of sweet malts. Flavors are complex and ever changing with warmth. There is the firm malt backbone of brown sugar followed by waves of juicy tropical hops flavors of pineapple and orange layered on even more malt on top of malt while keeping everything in balance. Peaches come through as it warms along with some apple and pear like qualities. GREAT mouth feel with nice carbonation and a coating of citrus hops makes this a unique brew to be had and savored.

Fantastic brew from a world class brewer.


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Photo of plunkinberry
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hoppier than expected for something called Brown Shugga - guess I expected something sweet and maltier. Still good.

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Photo of drunkenmess
3.19/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Finally found some of this. Not the Sucks, the original...
Pours very easy n nice, almost a dark golden/amber not hazy look to it, with an all around head that lasts thru out also adequate lacing to boot. Smells of sugar beets, brown sugar, light hops and sweetness. Tastes almost like liquid candy. Tastes of Super sweet and a slight tartness with a bite of hops. Intoxicating yet light on your pallet, besides all the sugar lol. Ummm... alittle too sweet for me but as Lagunitas becoming one of my favourite brewer's I defintley respect what they have done here. Respect ☆☆☆

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

This beer is a beauty. Deep copper with slowly rising bubbles underneath a thick foamy cream colored head.Thick lines of lacing remain. Cedar fills the nose -- earthy, woody, spicy cedar. Some brown sugar sweetness can be found. There is that trademark Lagunitas aroma in it. The palate is washed with dark brown sugar, cedar, cinnamon spiciness, and a spruce finish. It tastes like a Lagunitas beer, which is a good thing. The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth.

Overall, I was impressed. Scary how easily drinkable this is for the high ABV. Great holiday beer.

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Photo of 57md
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark copper in color. The nose is hoppy. The flavor profile has a blend of subtle malty sweetness and hop bitterness – the hop bitterness comes out on top.

I’m probably giving in to the marketing too much but I swear that I can catch the faint essence of brown sugar. This beer certainly paired well with baked ham and potatoes for a classic Sunday dinner with the family.

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Photo of Damian
4.83/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank from a 12 FLUID OZ bottle purchased at Crazy Bruce's Liquors, West Hartford, CT

Poured a gorgeous, crystal clear, dark crimson-orange with a tight, creamy, two-finger, light saddle head that slowly faded to a thick ring of froth. Lots of spotty lacing stuck all along the glass.

The aroma was intense and enticing. As the name suggests, brown sugar was immediately noticeable. Rich, caramel malts also came through strong along with hints of Christmas cookies and a touch of alcohol. A nice mix of sweet and spicy.

The flavor was full, rich and incredibly well balanced. So smooth and creamy. Tons of bready, rich, sweet malts came through up front. Brown sugar and gingerbread were noticeable in the center. Juicy, ripe fruits (peaches and apricots) came through as well. Sweet, citrusy hops (some orange peel) appeared in the finish along with indications of orange liquor. A sweet, sticky coating of this orange liquor-like flavor lingered in my mouth (as well as on my lips) long after the beer was finished.

Mouthfeel was creamy, smooth and medium-full bodied with a fine, mild carbonation. Silky smooth on the palate. Syrupy and sticky.

Drinkability was simply off the charts. The alcohol in this beer is hitting me hard but where did the liquid go? I simply cannot believe I am almost finished. I have labeled other beers as being "dangerously drinkable" but this one puts them to shame. 9.9% ABV? This certainly must be a typo.

Simply put, this is an exceptionally well-rounded beer. Its sweet, sugary aspect is apparent, yet it never becomes cloying or messy. (This beer borders on being a sweeter version of a barleywine, and a damn fine one at that.) Brown Shugga' actually reminds me a great deal of Lagunitas's own Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale, but slightly better. I advise you to seek out this magical beer at any cost.

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Photo of Bugcatcher
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful beer. Perfect amount of sweetness. I will be buying this again for sure.

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Photo of Davemontion
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of the best tasting beers I've had

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Photo of Boomblaze
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a 2013 so about 18 months on it. This has to be the sweet spot cause I had it after a year and it was messy. Now
that typical Lagunitas sweetness has really mellowed and the balance is perfect. Still getting some of the hops with a perfect mouthfeel and heavenly smoothness. This has given me faith in ageing there beers as the other shugga's and undercovers I aged were not that great.

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Photo of NHJimD
4.73/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sweet smell, crisp, bitter taste. This is a real winner!

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Photo of Jbertelle
4.84/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Strong and super tasty, excellent brew.

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a small tulip glass a clear deep reddish orange with a tight one finger head that stuck nicely to the glass as it settled slowly into a slight off white soapy-like mass.Ahh there are some hops in there and lots of em big and piney in the nose over top ofsweet and caramel and brown sugar with hints of cherry as well.Somewhat sweet at the offset mainly caramel malt and dark fruit with underlying notes of brown sugar these flavors meld very nicely into a viney,sprucey hoppy finish that lingers nicely.A great American strong ale with a nice American hop profile,not as sweet as I had thought it would be and thats ok with me another good one from Lagunitas.

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Photo of Marty
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep amber, with a good-sized, foamy head. Initially, its smell was much more prominent, almost floral. You can smell the brown shugga' in there.

Nice and malty tasting, but not unbalanced. This beer's hoppy, but the hops aren't the main attraction. It's the molasses!

This label declares this ale to be an experiment. As far as I can tell, the data shows that this beer rocks.

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Photo of davemarc87
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of mojohawk21
4.81/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of RoyalT
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – The body was a beautiful slightly-darkened orange and the head was incredible. This was one of the nicest heads that I’ve seen. It rose up mightily, going down slowly as it laced the glass and formed huge volcanic-like pits.

Smell – Classic SOA aroma. The toasted malts are big and well-complimented by a sweet mix of molasses, maple, caramel, toffee, and, yes, lots of brown shugga’. The alcohol comes out in the nose as well, warning the drinker that this one is serious.

Taste – Yeah, baby. This is super sweet with all the afore-mentioned sugars plus a nice malt backbone. I think there may even be some hops to balance out this huge Lagunitas offering but it’s hard to tell. Yes, there is a little piney hop to this one.

Mouthfeel – Sweet and creamy like sugar water with a bit of hop. I literally found myself biting at the ale as I held it in my cheeks.

Drinkability – This went down really fast for an ale on the edge of an ABV double digit midget. I will definitely buy again.

Update – I first tasted this with a 2003 vintage so thought I would re-review with an ’04 just for kicks. It is really a gorgeous all to stare at.

The hops are much bigger at the nose then I remember. Maybe I have a fresher bottle? Anyway, at a dollar to two dollars cheaper than other ABW’s of the same class, this is a steal. I’m upping my Appearance and Smell by half a point and buying a case to cellar.

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Photo of DanGeo
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of tectactoe
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper, orange-amber hybrid color with pretty good clarity that is only compromised by a slight haze that drifts up and down the glass in the very center. A musky, off-white head forms on top of the beer, remains small, and holds fast as a thin ring along the top.

Brown Shugga's aroma is that of a strong, syrupy, peppery hop, right alongside sweet, booze-filled plums and raisins. Heavy, heavy caramel and toffee on the nose, sugary and sweet. Again, lots of hop aromas are coming out of this as well; spicy, herbal, ashy, oily, and pungent. I can't tell if this is an overly-hopped malty ale or an overly-malty IPA of sorts. It's got enough of a hop aroma to smell like a malty DIPA, but it could also pass off as a hopped-up barleywine with a malt structure like it has... I guess we'll see.

Brown Shugga is pretty thick and syrupy on the palate without being overly abrasive, though it is a bit sticky. The flavor profile that hits your tongue is complex and hard to exactly pin down. Heavy caramel and toffee make up the backbone; molasses, syrup, burnt brown sugar, booze, ripe raisins, sweet plums - this beer is a malt bomb, and that's a FACT. Sweet and sugary as they come with lots of residuals that stick to the palate and seem to hang on for dear life...

...BUT WAIT! Here come the hops - pungent, earthy, herbal, ashy, oily, and providing a bitterness that cuts through the sweetness at the last minute to provide a balance that you never thought would be possible after the first moments of the sip. The gradient of flavors across my palate still has me wondering exactly what kind of beer this really is. Talk about smearing style guidelines! Some boozy black cherries and leafy hops fade into the aftertaste with a sweet and sugary decrescendo. Carbonation was medium, maybe on the low side, with a fairly thick body.

Pretty tasty. Almost reminds me of an aged DIPA, but where the hop character is still fairly heavy and robust after the aging. Then again, it could be a malty-ass barleywine with quadruple the amount of hops used. Sweet, but not sickeningly so. Nice balance when all's said and done. Though the booze is noticeable, it's still fairly easy to throw back for being nearly 10% ABV.

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Photo of ExtraStout
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear ruby-brown with gorgeous, jewel-like highlights. Thick but small head that fades to a dusting and collar. Aromas of citrus, pears and yeast, along with a bit of zesty sweetness. On the palate, bitterness and brisk carbonation start things off, followed by thick, sugary sweetness and a touch of bitterness at the back of the tongue.

Not very complex, however -- it's mostly just varying levels and characteristics of sweetness. Mouthfeel is marked by slick malts, alcholic heat, and prickly carbonation, with the alcoholic detracting signficiantly. Overall, this beer is nothing exceptional but it does exude the quality this brewer is known for. It's curious to see what this much brown sugar does to a beer. It needs more balance and a bit more complexity to be truly compelling.

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Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of OhioBobcat
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of MadScientist
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A medium copper with excellent clarity. A persistent, light-tan head made of small, creamy bubbles. Leaves some lacing on the galss.

S: A strong hops aroma with lot citrus, pineapple, some pine and a some tropical fruit. Blindfolded, think I was about to get into a very nice Double IPA. There is a light malt sweetness and a moderately-strong, flowery alcohol aroma.

T: Tastes like hops candy with an aggressive hops bitterness countered by a moderate malt sweetness and a strong citrus hops flavor. The hops have the same citrus, pineapple and resinous pine flavor noted in the aroma. The malt has a little caramel flavor. All of this is blended with a moderate alcohol that is somewhat sweet. The balance is bitter with a big malt support. The finish is somewhat dry and the aftertaste is of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium-full bodied with a moderately-strong level of carbonation.

O: Lagunitas has always been a true and constant friend of the hophead and this is a good example of their generosity. An assertively bitter American Barelywine with a huge hops bill in the nose, flavor and bittering. bit more sweetness than the average American Imperial IPA.

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Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,469 ratings.