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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,471 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,471
Hads: 5,147
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 251
Gots: 974 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,471 | Hads: 5,147
Photo of jhartley
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip. Julian dating 281 5 (October 8, 2015)
Pours a nice dark amber-red-brwon with a lot of off white head. My glass is full of lacing....ridiculous!
Getting a nice hoppy aroma, not what I was expecting, although I don't really know what I was expecting...Sour lemon and pine dominating.
Taste...Clean hops taste up front with pine and a citrus bite; maltiness comes in at the end to round that out and then leaves a nice bitterness behind on the palate.
Mouth feel is...well I guess medium. Not a hint of the 9.8% abv that's listed on the label. Honestly I had no idea it had that high of an abv, either.
Overall, I never really looked into it or had plans of buying it, so when I had to complete a mix-a-six I saw this on the shelf and grabbed one. I liked it, but not enough to really go and look for it again; just satisfied with it to have had it this one time. Reminds me of Arrogant Bastard a little, just not hoppy enough. This isn't a bad beer by any means; I won't be rating low, it's like I said I won't really be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of SteveO1231
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a six pack a BevMo! Was a spicy meatball at $8.99

Pours A reddish brown with a little tan head on top. Bright orange highlights. Nice slow carbonation. Nice bubbly lacing.

Sweet malt aroma with hints of grapelike fruits. I can smell the alcohol.

Sticky on the palate. Light sweet flavor of caramel, bitter citrus finish that clings to the tongue. The ABV warms my belly.

Very smooth and drinkablr despite giantic ABV, could be trouble.


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Photo of Bitter_Echo
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear, dark, tannic oxidized rust color, very appealing. Smells not very hop forward, but malt, sweet, bread and grain and some caramel, but some noticeable alcohol and pine like hop notes. Tastes very sweet and malty and not at all bitter at first, the bitterness only emerging after a time (like their sumpin') and this tends to modulate the loudness of the bitterness overall. Nice late hop echo coming in later. Mouthfeel and carbonation is moderate fussy and just about right. Overall, another very good Lagunitas offering, although I don't like as much the loud malt notes in the beginning that really mute the effects of the hops...I want the hops right THEIR!

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Photo of hoody711
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first Brown Shugga. It will be hard to be unbiased - the hype surrounding this beer as well as my intense love for anything from Petaluma.

A - poured into my tulip. A nice reddish brown with a 3 finger pearl head. Nice lacing, as you would expect. These guys are pros, after all.

S - definitely has that token Lagunitas smell. Citrus hops up front, but there is plenty of sweet malty goodness, and, brace yourself, brown sugar, at the end. Boozy as well. Smells great. (After warming, almost all malts. Citrus is basically gone, just a whiff.)

T - sweet citrus/sugar --> resiny bitterness --> strong bready malts. The alcohol is strong on this one at the end, and leaves behind a decent burn. It's good, but I'm not in love.

M - medium, definitely not heavy. The carbonation is good. See above re: alcohol burn. Despite this, good drinkability.

O - blah, I'm disappointed. I was hoping that this would rank up there with Sucks for me. I have such a soft spot for the citrus IPAs. Obviously, this is not one of those. It is good, complex, and gets better as it warms. Definitely worth trying, especially if you like the strong ales.

Edited after warming to room temp.

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Photo of lhaqq
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Orange/light copper slightly cloudy body with little white head.
S: Not too much of a smell. Some candy sugar but also some bitterness from the hops.
T: Tastes like a decent IPA meets a triple, sans most of the sweetness of the triple. Has the bitterness of an IPA but just tastes heavier, and more sugary.
M: Compact lively carbonation. Still feels light in the mouth despite the heavy taste.
D: Dangerous, I think. My friend said she could taste the alcohol, but I thought it was pretty well masked. At least according to the server, the abv is actually 12% which, if true, is even more impressive given the lack of alcohol taste and the often overly sweet concomitant flavor.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/26/04- Purchased at Piazza's Market in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12 oz bottle with no date, poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- Orange-amber cloudy pour with many floaters. Nice thick chunky head, but very little lacing to be found.

Smell- Sweet and sticky smell. Lots of sugary scents going on.

Taste- Sugar, sugar and sugar. Brown sugar, molasses, browines, chocolate a bit or raosted taste in the bitter hops.

Mouthfeel- Very chewy and bitter.

Drinkability- A bit too much on the sweetness scale to me. I like my barleywines, and this was decent, but it feels like I need to chase this with some jolly ranchers stix and some fun dip.

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Photo of shippos
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured a hazy deep reddish orangy color witha skim of a head. syrupy and sugary aroma...mmm....brown sugar?!!? with some alcohol in there as well. hoppy bitterness at first in the taste followed by some alcohol hottness. mouthfeel isn't as thick as expected, sugar seems to have left the beer a bit on the dry side in the taste and body and has a dry warming finish.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into my Fat Tire pint

Pours a crystal clear, mahogany color with tiny bubbles. A nice light tan head rose to about a finger and a half and then subsided in time. Little to no lacing.

You can smell the brown sugar as soon as you open the bottle and start the pour. But as soon as I dropped in for a better whiff, my nose fills with pine needles and a citric hoppiness that is a pleasant surprise. Don't get me wrong, the smell of brown sugar and caramel malts fill out the backside of the nose.

It really does have an interesting balance going on, er, lack of balance. But it's really not a bad thing, it works for them. You get slight flavors of hops right off the bat that leads way to a more dominant alcohol warming and a sugar/caramel finish. The warmth lingers with a slight tinge of sweetness. Pretty much same as the nose, but comes at you from different directions.

Medium bodied. Really sticks to the tongue and mouth. Kinda spicy.

It's good, but doesn't do anything great.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint

Clear copper to bronze pour with nice white head and good retention. This beer has a strong sweet smell and this smell followed through into the taste. Candied sugars, vanilla, toffee and some butterscotch. This is a well balanced beer, medium body and a bit dry. I am not the biggest fan of 'sweet' beers but this one was decent and, as usual, Lagunitas consistently puts out good beers.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Lagunitas mason jar
From: Ralph’s in Hillcrest (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $8.39 (w/ Ralph’s card and 30 percent off after buying four 6-packs) for a 6-pack
Purchased: Dec. 5, 2013
Consumed: Dec. 5, 2013
Misc.: N/A

Poured a amber auburn somewhat clear color with four fingers of khaki white head. A light stream of bubbles coming up at various spots of the glass. Tons of thick foamy lacing along the sides, pretty uneven. A very nice amount of layered retention on the top all the way down.

First smell you could tell it was a Lagunitas. Got floral hops, brown sugar, caramel malts, spicy notes, soap, light pine, citrus hops, lime and some toffee.

Tasted the 9.99 percent ABV right from the get-go. No hiding it there. Got caramel, brown sugar, sweet sugary floral hops, faint orange citrus hops, tropical notes and some faint toffee.

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, sugary finish.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed overall. A good beer, but not great. I have may even overrated it a bit.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany-hued body with a small beige head.

Smell: Earthy, sweet-smelling caramel maltiness with bright citrus, maple, and spruce notes.

Taste: Caramel malts with a hard candy sweetness. A drizzle of maple syrup. A nice mergence of citrusy grapefruit and Valencia oranges. Spicy spruce component. Lightly acidic. Moderate, resinous hop bitterness. A bit of hot alcohol warmth around the bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit beyond medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not nearly as graceful and seamless as some of the great barleywines, but decent enough for the price, I suppose.

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Photo of silentjay
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a mahogany brown color gives rise to a two-fingered tan head that doesn't stay around long, but does leave plenty on the glass.

a very sweet and malty aroma hints at brown sugar (which was expected), as well as maple syrup, molasses, toffee, honey, caramel and some fruits: tropical? pineapple maybe, dates, a bit of citrus. some booziness as well.

taste is a bit boozy, but sweet like caramelized sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and light molasses. a good amount of hops balance that out and add a fruity and bitter finish.

medium-heavy on the tongue and leaves an oily feeling on the tongue with a burning in the throat. carbonation is understated and good for the style.

is a sipper due to the detectable and warming booze as well as the almost-overwhelming sweetness. borders on being a mess, but pulls through with some pleasant complexity in a pretty unique beer.

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Photo of Hamburgers
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours cloudy dark reddish amber with two finger white head. Head quickly dissipates to thin film leaving some nice lacing. Aroma big on malt, some caramel, piney hops, and brown sugar. Flavor is somewhat sweet balanced by a bitter finish. Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation and just a slight oily texture.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint.

A: Beautiful rosy amber with a nice head and a ridiculous amount of lacing.

S: Smell's like a sweet IPA. Candied fruits, alcohol and yeast.

T: Follows the smell: hops, brown sugar, and fermented fruit.

D: Drinkability is great! Its a big beer and there's no attempt to cover the nearly 10% ABV, but the alcohol has a refreshing warming feeling.

Overall: This a tasty beer and although its a bit unbalanced, its a must try. Its original and refreshing and a great autumn beer.

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Photo of rpstevens
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another bottle courtesy of maximum12 from secret santa 09, thank you. Poured from a bottle into a smuttynose tulip. I thought this was a brown ale and I popped it open for lunch, oops, now it's open and there's no turning back. The beer has a great syrupy amber color, reminds me of a nice american barleywine. The pour yields a one finger off white head that fades to a tight ring, but leaves a substantial amount of bubbly lacing on the sides of the glass.

The smell is very sweet, brown sugar as expected, dark fruits, sugary syrup, vanilla and toffee. There isn't much to balance out all the sweetness in the nose.

The taste is more sweetness at first, brown sugar, toffee and vanilla but it is followed by a nice dose of citrus hop flavors. There is some definite grapefruit in there that leads to a nice balanced finish.

The beer is surprisingly carbonated for an American Strong Ale, and the hop balance to all the sweetness creates a nice dry finish and interesting flavor combination. This reminds me of an aged big foot, definitely a lot sweeter, but the mouthfeel and body are similar for me. This is a beer I will not turn down in the future.

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice amber color with a thick two finger white head that clung to the glass and lasted throughout the drink.

The nose picked up some nice earthy tones, caramel malts, and a vauge scent of licorice - I don't know, maybe it's the brown sugar that I'm tasting.

Tastes hoppy, very sweet, the caramel malts and sugar crystals were almost too sweet; especially as the beer warmed.

The mouthfeel was pretty well balanced, a good carbonation level; the aftertaste was slightly unpleasant, like too much sugar in the Kool-Aid.

Certainly drinkable, it didn't taste like it was 9%+ alcohol.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2010)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Color is a gorgeous copper and rust. Clear liquid with a thick off-white head that doesn't last for too long. Does not leave much lacing at all on the glass but the pour is beautiful.

An incredibly sweet smell. Smells like caramel candy. I smell caramel and brown sugar and maple syrup; this is just sweet, sweet, sweet! It's certainly unique, and because I knew what I was getting in to when I bought this beer (an American strong ale with a mess of brown sugar added), I'm certainly happy I can smell the sugar!

This beer scores points for being unique and absolutely one-of-a-kind in the taste department. I've had nothing even similar to this. It seems like a sugary sweet barleywine. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden but is present. Tastes likes brown sugar, as I suppose, it should.

The mouthfeel is rich and luscious. It's a treat to enjoy this beer in more ways than one. It makes for a world-class dessert!

A dessert beer at it's finest. Even though I love cheesecake, I would only want one slice, and this beer strikes me in a similar way. One is perfect, two is over-doing it, and three would be unheard of. Not an overly drinkable beer, but a fantastic one!

Lagunitas wins again. They decided to make a brown sugar strong ale, and they have done it perfectly!

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with a tan head. Aroma is hops, resin, dark malts. Taste is sweet with bitterness, and a broe
wn sugar note. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Overall, a pretty good winter beer.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

A- pours a dark copper color with a small creamy light-tan head that reduces to just a bit floating on top.

S- sharp piney hops with some grassiness, sweetness from the malt and brown sugar and some booze.

T- piney hops follows the nose with some oily hop resins, the sweetness kicks in afterword which is complemented my the malt. The finish is sweet with a hop linger. I can't actually point out any brown sugar taste but the sweetness can't be missed. This one is definitely a sipper, but the booze is hidden decently considering the high ABV.

M- thick-heavy body, low carbonation, chewy and velvety mouthfeel with a creamy finish.

O- this one was interesting and worth a try. The mix of piney hops and super sweetness seems a little off a bit for me though. An interesting concept.

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Photo of schad
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Had high expectations via word of mouth, sadly disappointed. Decent malt backbone with tons of hops. Looks like a clear amber. Moderate lacing. Taste is overwhelmingly boozy followed by molasses and a hint of sweetness. Well worth the price.

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Photo of djeffbee
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This pours deep amber with a one finger white head with some lacing.

S: Deep malty aroma with a tad of molasses, caramel - nearly resembling a barleywine or doppelbock.

T: I was expecting sweet, but tasted bitterness. The aroma and taste are almost like two different beers.

M: Nice tingly mouthfeel and medium body.

D: At 9.9% ABV, you don't drink too many of these - but they are quite enjoyable.

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Photo of ryandurka
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i dont like hoppy beers so i drank the wrong stuff here. for what it is its good. its not too strong so you can drink a bit of this before it gangs up on you. the price is nice as it is domestic and it does have a good taste, specially if your into hoppyness

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Photo of techfed87
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a good sized head, quick to settle down. Color is dark brown, clear. Smell is pretty sweet, kind of reminds me of a beer I had once...Raison D'Extra! That had that same kind of caked sugary quality to it. And from the bottles, I'd guess both use quite a bit of brown sugar in them.

First sip is a bit less carbonated than what I was expecting it to be. Big malt presence, quite sweet, and a great hop balance to keep this from diving too far into the sugar wagon. Mouthfeel is also pretty rewarding.

All in all, a pretty good beer!

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Photo of Drk93TT
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep copper color with a good 1 finger head. The lace just screams sugar and sweetness..sticky lace all on the glass.
S: Smells of big pine up front with some sugary sweetness on the nose.
T: Very sweet and sticky on the palate right away... an IPA-like snappy crispness to boot. Can definitely taste the sugar in this one... wow.
M: Well carbonated indeed, the flavors really come out in this one.. citrus, even a peach like crisp bite to it.
O: Solid, the 9.99% will really sneak up on you though! A must try !

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours semiopaque amber with a yellow/tan colored thin head that sticks around for a while.

S - Bitter hops tickle the nose, sweet sugary roasted malts mingle behind, there's a raw alcohol scent too.

T - There is a strong and up front alcohol taste that I don't mind as much as some reviewers. Bitter hops and some, but not quite enough sweetness take a little edge off.

M - Crisp, almost biting, medium carbonation, medium/thin body.

D - Powerful and tasty, but hoppier than the name would, I think, suggest.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,471 ratings.