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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,504 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,504
Hads: 5,302
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 268
Gots: 1,089 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,504 | Hads: 5,302
Photo of wingnutter
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of SethB2

Nice amber color with a thin head. Smells malty and hoppy?!

Taste is dominated by sweetness at first but theres a hop bite in there, too. I cant tell if its floral or citrusy.... Velvety mouthfeel. The alcohol is present but not overpowering. Tart dry finish at first.

As it warms up the alcohol comes through a bit more, and the finish turns sweeter. This is surprisingly balanced for an ale thats touted as "sweet". The brown sugar makes a statement but leaves enough room for the hops. Im not sure what to make of this one....Its like an IPA/ASA hybrid cooked up by some mad scientists at Lagunitas. This is a crafty craft brew.

For a beer thats pretty much 10% ABV, this one goes down real easy. Worth a try if youre a fan of IPAs or ASAs. This is my 1st Lagunitas beer, but it definately wont be my last.

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Photo of RunDWP
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a golden brown into a tulip with a light orange, fluffy head. Plenty of sheeting on the glass as I sipped. Sweet, molasses aroma. Flavor is dominated by brown sugar (surprise!) and malt, with a tea-like bitternsess at the finish. Thick and rich mouthfeel. It's rather sweet, not that complex, or balanced, but somehow it's a bit addictive, and I couldn't smell or taste the alcohol. Enjoyable, change of pace brew.

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Photo of gcamparone
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Purchased in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

A- Pours a (very fitting) amber-brown clear body with a fluffy off-white head that reduces to some chunky white foam that sticks to the glass.

S- Freshly cut grass, yeast, citrus, caramel, slight booze.

T- This beer starts off with a sweet, brown sugar and caramel flavor and ends bitter and resinous. Some booze on the finish.

M- Medium-heavy body, medium low carbonation.

Overall a decent beer. Good balance, but not as complex as I would have liked. Lacking hop characteristic.

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Photo of TheTrevor
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a purple-ish brown with a very small head and some visible carbonation. The smell is sweetness that seems to be half malt and half brown sugar and a bit of hops. The beer has a sweetness from the sugar and malt that is balanced very well by the ops, with everything hitting at once and a little bit of the brown sugar coming out in backend as well. The high ABV is hidden quite well, I would have guessed it was way less than that. The mouthfeel is slightly thick and slick with a tiny bit of warming from the alcohol. This is a surprisingly drinkable beer for what it is, the surprisingly balanced but aggressive hops and the high ABV should have made for a much heavier-sitting beer. Definitely worth a try, I'm glad I grabbed a bottle.

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Photo of BWED
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into goblet

A- Nice clear copper. Light tan head is dense and retains at 1/4". Good lacing.

S- Booze sting. Brown sugar sweetness, earthy hop.

T- Sweet, and brown sugary. No wonder the name. Hop character comes up faintly in the taste.

M- Hop bitterness is up there, along with booze, but sweetness evens it all out. Great balance.

O- Booze forward, but surprisingly balanced. Depth isn't great, but at least the name rings true to its attributes.

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Photo of Truh
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the neighbor come over to borrow some with this one on 12/29/2004. 16-oz. pour at the Sunset in a pint glass.

1/4-inch creamy, tight head at start. Brown hue, but light, verging on a copper tone with a touch of haze to the whole affair. Candy corn, raspberry jelly roll sweetness on nose with a determined alcohol hot tone. Woody, oak on mouth, with a covering of some fruity esters that consisted of orange, kiwi, and some tart lemon. Finishes with just a flavor of alcohol bite and a faint, mossy remainder.

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Photo of Telix
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hey, it's my 50th review!

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

A: Super clean reddish brown, with good levels of carbonation and a fluffy head that quickly fades into a film.

S: Real sugary smell, like candy.... almost like root beer barrels, actually,

T: ROOT BEER BARRELS. Sweet, deep caramel malts, with nice bitterness after the sweetness drops off. A bit syrupy-sweet but not quite cloying.

M: Good. Thick, dense, good levels of carbonation.

D: It's a solid beer, but experimental. Quite sweet, with lots of root beer flavor and a nice thick mouthfeel.

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Photo of IceEyes
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden brown with a light rim of head. Carbonation seemed appropriate. The smell was a nice mix of resinous hops and sweet malty goodness which I would have enjoyed more if not for the whiff of alcohol that came along with it. Taste was of strong American hops, more citrusy that I would have expected, with gentle brown sugar flavor and a warm flush of alcohol you could feel in the belly. Very nice drinker.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%

Pours translucent copper. The one inch eggshell head fades to a thick cap and ring on top and leaves heavy curtains of lace.

The smell is of pine and faint citrus up front with burnt sugar and biscuit bread on the finish.

The taste follows the smell, with hop bitterness up front. Faint grapefruit, molasses and sweet malt are on the back end.

The texture is approaching heavy bodied with high carbonation.

A solid strong ale that is begins hoppy and finishes malty and sweet.

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Photo of Chuggnutt
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice copper, slightly murky. Light tan head falling slowly.

Smell: Hops and sweet malt, sugary (Belgian candy?), probably the brown sugar. Very cloying.

Taste: Sweet bite accented by hops. Alcohol heat, strong character on tongue. Caramelized sugar, spun out and flossy.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium feel, lighter than I'd expect as a barleywine. Dry alcohol rolls around the mouth and leaves that numbing/prickly feeling.

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Photo of aleckpa
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into my Lagunitas mason jar glass.

A- Half a finger's head, brown and some visibility through it. Reminds me of an imperial red ale.

S- Hops, which surprised me. And sugar, of course. It smells sweet.

T- Although the ABV is 9.9%, I don't taste a lot of alcohol. I taste hops, some mild bitterness and then back of the mouth sticky sugar.

M- This is somewhat of a thick beer. But it goes down smooth.

O- This is my first time having it. It's different than my typical IPA's and stouts. At 9.9% ABV, it's really drinkable. I think this is a great fall/winter offering. You can't beat the price of this 6-pack for the amount of alcohol in the beer. Even though I did enjoy this beer, I'm not sure if I'd pick up another 6 pack. But, it's well crafted and something I'd expect from Lagunitas.

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Photo of nickd717
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from BevMo in Mountain View.

A - Clear medium-dark brown in color with a small off-white head.

S - Brown sugar, sweet malt, caramel, and spices.

T - Lots of brown sugar (surprised?), caramel, malt, dark fruit, and spices.

M - Palate smooth and syrupy with low carbonation.

D - Well, it becomes a bit much after awhile, but up to that point it's pretty drinkable. No problem finishing a bottle.

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Photo of dgallina
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pint, 9 fluid ounce brown bottle without clear freshness date.

Pours clear reddish-orange with a quick-to-vanish tan head and thin lacing. The aroma suggests caramel and brown sugar (duh) with and hint of nuts and a dash of nutmeg. Alcohol vapors rise from the glass. In the mouth, the beer displays an artful balance between the combined leafy / piney hops and brown-sugar malts. Finishes quite green and dry with a big pine hop bite. Body is medium-thick and slick; fairly strongly carbonated for something this big. An eclectic take on the american imperial pale ale.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

appearance: a deep ruby red. good clarity and a finger plus of a tannish white head that leaves a bit of a lacing on the sides. looks tasty but I was hoping for a little more brown.

Smell: slightly weak for such a big brew. hops, citrusy and apricoty. good sweetness.

Taste: opens up with a blast of hops. grapefruit and apricot. a brief moment of super sweetness shines through. toasty malts. the malts are quickly taken back over by a lingering hop bitterness

Mouthfeel: slightly creamy. huge hop bitterness lingers. some warmth thats good for a cold night.

Overall: huge battle of bitter and sweet. bitter wins out for now. its good but i want to revisit this one when it is not so fresh

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Photo of beagle75
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.
2010 vintage

A: Hazy, dark amber color with less than one finger of diminishing parchment-tinted foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Intensely malty; treacle, grain, and dark cherry and fig fruit are focused. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins sweet, with simplistic stewed fruit and caramel. Acidity is mild into the middle where malt is intensely toasty--even turning roasty--some dark citrus emerges, and even a whiff of pine is detected. The finish exhibits minor diacetyl and is savory with umami and cumin spice. Mild medicinal bitterness lingers on the palate, with complex spirituousness also hanging around.

M: Medium viscosity, syrupy on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: Perhaps the finest of Lagunitas' high-gravity beers, this appears to be an American take on an old ale or wee heavy. Fruit and umami make for a distinctive combination, reigning over muted hops in this well-aged example. Like most of the beers coming out of Petaluma, this beer's intensity has a tendency to fatigue the palate, but less so due to the focus exhibited by its ingredients.

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Photo of nhindian
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep caramel color, nearing a nice amber color. Crystal clear with a slow, steady stream of carbonation. Only could muster about a finger's worth of head out of this one and it didn't last long. Splattered lacing all around.

S - The smell kind of caught me off guard with this. Given the high abv, style listing, and that it was a failed Gnarleywine, I was expecting high malts and sweetness. I am getting lots of sweetness, but that's only as a result of the large amount of brown sugar in the nose. Outside of that it smells like a really fresh IPA. Lots of pine and citrus smells. The clash between the hops and malts / brown sugar is tantalizing.

T - Given the great smell, this beer had some expectations behind it. The front-end of this is a lot more malt and sweet than the nose, which carries through throughout the rest of the beer. About midway through, the hops shine through, but bring more bitterness than fruity notes. It's only near the end of the beer that this beer gains some floral and citrus notes, but the bitterness and sweetness continues through in the finish. Orange and grapefruit come through strongly at the very end.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with pretty low carbonation. Leaves a nice coating on the mouth, and a relatively long and flavorful finish.

D - Drinkability is moderate. As I get further in the beer, the sweetness and bitterness begins to take its toll and as it warms the alcohol really becomes apparent. Near the beginning, it's a fantastic beer, but it drags on as I drink more.

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Photo of kkipple
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga' -- great name. Beer with brown sugar. Sign me up. Just the facts here.

A. clear, polished brown, 3cm tan head comprised of various sized bubbles.

S. Sweet, sweet brown sugar! Alcohol heat, molasses, singed grain, sweet malt and a much needed citrus hop note round things off.

T. Sweet, mostly. Sugar really shines through. Medium malt character, mild bitter hops that attempt to even out the aggressive sweetness. Slightly nutty. Warming. Roasty finish and all around very smooth.

M. Dry. Full. Milky-smooth. Finishes sweet (yup.)

D. A fine malty delight, although the sweetness is a little high for me. Sugary from start to finish, this is a good dessert beer -- would probably go stupid well with creme brulee. Recommended.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. My bottle reads 9.5% ABV rather than the above-mentioned 9.84%.

Appearance: nice true amber color with a finger of compact tan head. Appetizing.

Smell: bright, tart, hoppy. Hops are citrusy, floral and a little funky. Hints of tart cherry, apple and raspberry. I'm quite intrigued.

Taste: big malt flavor forms a substrate on which the hops play. Some of the nice fruit subtleties are drowned in more staid strong-ale flavors like plum and raisin. Hops provide some bite; overall, a pretty good beer.

Mouthfeel: on the heavy side of medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. I feel like this beer could easily go both ways -- higher carbonation for a creamier Belgian-ey feel, or lower for an old ale/barleywine type situation -- and be better for it. Still not bad.

Drinkability: well, I like it, but with its malt-bombiness and its high ABV, it's definitely not a session one for me. I might split a sixpack three ways, though.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light, coppery color. Nice small head that leaves some great lacing on down the glass. Hoppy aroma, sweet smelling. Big hoppy flavor blended with a bevvy of malt in the backround. Nice sweet flavor to it. Faint, faint alcohol note to it in the finish. Nice body. The whole package comes together quite well. Have wanted to try this for ages. Got a bottle from beerrun13 in a trade and a bottle from my Secret Santa callenak. Well worth trying on a regular basis.

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Photo of Hampton73
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty clear amber with some head.

Smell is brown sugar with American hops. Kind of nice.

The hops really are at the forefront in the flavor, with the brown sugar coming through. Not a lot of malt flavor in there.

Mouthfeel is thin with carbonation.

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Photo of DunkelFester
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 Release - O.G. 1.100, Alcohol 9.9% 51.1 IBU according to the label.

At cellar temp, pours a dull, hazy copper. Shouldn't be 'chill' hazed at this temp, but seems so. Strange, only because I don't remember the beer looking this way when I bought the case last January.

One finger of beige head that dissipated in a couple minutes (before first sip). A mix of slow- and rapid-rising bubbles - more effervescent than when young.

Strong aroma of sugary dried dates, raisin and fresh tobacco. Still a noticeable alcohol presence in the nose, lending an almost rum-soaked note to the fruitiness...although its subdued somewhat by time.

Wow. Totally different mouthfeel after a year of aging! This beer, for me, was the embodyment of "chewy" when it was young. Now, it's *much* thinner, though still not light. Drier. Hops cut through with an awesome, distinctly grapefruit-like, bitter finish. Gone, almost entirely, is the malty sweetness that I remember being so prominent in this one - despite its lingering presence in the aroma.

I'm really enjoying this beer, though I find myself thinking that the malt is almost too far gone, and the hop bitterness is stealing the show. Makes me wish this wasn't the last bottle I'd set aside. More aging would (hopefully) mellow the hops a bit, restoring balance.

Oh well.

This is a really nice brew. Alcohol is well hidden - aside from the aroma while pouring - and the somewhat thinner mouthfeel makes it more drinkable now than it was a year ago.

Not my favorite, but a solid barleywine (or strong ale, whichever it is now) nonetheless and a nice job by the folks at Lagunitas.

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Photo of drseamus
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This pours a very nice red color with a pretty decent off white head. It looks like a barleywine to me, but I have no specific reasons why i think that.

S: Heavy malt is the dominant aroma in this. There are some hints of brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and dark fruits in there as well. It is a good smelling beer and makes me think it will taste awesome.

T: The amount of hoppy bitterness in there is really surprising. From the smell, I expected it to be sweeter and maltier but it is almost a hop dominated flavor initially. After the bitterness some of that sweetness does poke it's head through. I can't specifically taste any brown sugar in there but I can get some of the alcohol it produced.

M: This is a very smooth beer even with the initial bite from the hops. It is medium bodied which is nice given it's ABV.

D: A bit strong in both the alcohol and bitterness department to get a great drinkability rating, but it is good.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Brown Shugga for $1.89 at The Lager Mill. I have liked every single Lagunitas brew I have had so when I saw one I haven't tried yet on the singles shelf I knew I should give it a try. Poured from a stubby 12oz brown bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label on this beer is ok and a little plain, most Lagunitas beer have eye catching labels and this one isn't too eye catching. It poured a clear and clean amber color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy white head that left some nice looking lacing.

S- Wow this is one sweet smelling beer, the aroma reminds me of some of those super sweet doppelbocks. At first I get some nice bready caramel malts, but those are quickly overpowered by what I think is candied sugar and brown sugar. There was also some grassy hops at the end. I have never used this term before but the aroma makes it seem like this might be a "sugar bomb". This one also has a boozey smell to it.

T- First off I got to say I am very glad this isn't as sweet as it smelled, I don't think I have ever had a beer that smelled so sweet but wasn't that sweet in the taste. The caramel malts are nice and grainy and bready. After the malts come the sugar, it leans more towards brown sugar but I also pick up some candied sugar you would expect from a Belgian Dark Ale with some dark fruits like raisins and plums like you would also expect from that style. Like the aroma the finish has medium amount of grassy hops that gives it a subtle bitter aftertaste. The booze is hidden much better then it was in the aroma, but it still lets you know its a bigger beer with some warming at the end.

M- Sticky, medium bodied, and it had a pretty good amount of carbonation.

Overall I though this was a pretty good brew. It is kind of similar to WTF, if you replaced the hops with candied and brown sugar. It isn't the most complex beer but the flavors are pretty nice and everything comes together nicely. Normally I am not a fan of super sweet beers but thankfully the sweetness stayed in the aroma and wasn't that overbearing in the flavor. This beer isn't that drinkable, but if I didn't have shit to do in the morning and had another bottle, I would drink it. I could see this being a good bigger beer for the summer, it could be refreshing and might make a good campfire beer, I may have to verify it this summer. If you like stronger beers with some sweetness to it, this should be up your alley, and if your a fan of Lagunitas then this won't disappoint. This was another solid beer from Lagunitas, everything I have had from them has been good, so far my favorite Cali brewery. 2013 edit, tried the years release and it seemed very off to me, it was full of onion and garlic like hop aromas and flavors, i don't what's up with it.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter glass a dark-red/light-brown with no head or lacing, making this apperance wise below average.

Aromas and flavors of sweet caramel,barley, some citrus. Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation.

A little on the sweet side, the sweetness alone restricts the amount to consume, the alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming.

Very nice. Makes an excellent after-dinner brew.I wouldn't have more than two.

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Photo of smcolw
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light brown color, clear. Long-lasting head that leaves ample amount of lace on the glass.

Very low aromas--some molasses/candy sugar; no discernable hop

Caramel flavors--more sweet than bitter, but the hop is present and balances this beer just enough. Very full bodied. Good carbonation. The aftertaste brings out the hop. Interesting journey through the flavor profile.

Regardless of the complexity, this is an easy to drink beer. It is VERY deceptive given the alcohol content (9.9%!!). I could not note the usual oiliness or aftertaste of alcohol. Drink this one with some caution.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,504 ratings.