Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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

4,992 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,992
Reviews: 1,512
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 227
Gots: 845 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,992 | Reviews: 1,512
Photo of beerwolf77
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass the beer is cloudy brownish amber. A solid two fingers of light beige head fade leaving a thick coating of lace.

The aroma has a huge hop presence. Mixing in with the hops is tons of sweet malt. It has the tartness of a DIPA or Barley wine. I really don't get any brown sugar just hops and malt.

The flavor is rather hoppy as well. I can pick up the brown sugar in the taste for sure. Loads of caramel malt and a sharp bitter finish. The abv is noticeable in every sip.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall I never really know how sum up strong ales. They don't really have a certain criteria to base an opinion on. I love barley wines and this reminds me of one. I gues that means I like it.

Photo of gbarron
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. 'bomber.'

A - medium brown, to amber color. Not completely clear - maybe some chill haze. Nice little white head forms and stays around the whole way for me, although retreating to the sides of the glass.

S - malt, sugar, very little hop aroma. But what hops are there smell of noble spiciness - saaz? Nice malty, caramelly aroma.

T - malt is up front in this one. Since the name is 'brown shugga,' I can taste the brown sugariness in this. Malty sweet, but some hop bitterness balances it out pretty well. There is some hop flavor here, but it's hard to pick up. Can definitely taste some hoppy grassy, floral flavors when I burp (sorry to be so crude). Alcohol is well hidden. A little disappointed that the flavor here isn't as big as it could be.

M - medium bodied, standard carbonation.

D - tasty brew, I wouldn't mind having several of these. Alcohol is masked in the flavor pretty well, but will hit you later.

Photo of angelmonster
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a small half inch beige head. Body is a clear amber color. Head retention was decent and lacing was above average.

Smell at first kinda reminds me of an english barleywine. Caramel malt and burnt brown sugar dominate. Light pine hops and some alcohol come through. A bit disappointed in the aroma, thought it would be more potent

Taste is similar to smell. Sweet malt is dominant flavor, caramelized sugar and faint butterscotch follow. There is also bits of spice like cinnamon or ginger that come through. Pine hops balance out the sweet malts and leave a light bitter aftertaste. For 10 percent the alcohol is pretty tamed

Mouthfeel is somewhat light for such a strong beer. Carbonation level is also a bit high. Lack of a smooth head doesnt help. Was expecting a richer, fuller body

Drinkability was pretty good. For 10 percent this beer was dangerously smooth. I had really high expectations for this beer which unfortunately werent met. Flavors were good but nothing stood out and made this beer memorable. Reminded me of a less flavorful version of Old Gnarlywine

Photo of droomyster
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a short copper colored head that recedes quickly. Body is slightly hazy deep brownish red. Strong aroma of cherries and molasses, grassy/citrus hops, lots of alcohol and red grapes. Big blast of sweetness, brown sugar? Heck yeah, and well supported by a strong bitterness. Light doughy yeastiness. Full body, light carbonation. I consider this the chewiest of the chewy. Goes down slow and sticky, lingering medicinal taste.

Photo of kawilliams81
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a light amber with a 2 finger light beige head. Huge clumps and trails of lacing litter that glass.

S- caramel, dark fruits, biscuit, citrus, and pine.

T- sweet caramel, citrus rind, toasted malts, and bitter pine and citrus at the finish.

M- Medium body and carbonation. Nice and creamy with slightly dry finish from the bitterness.

O- First time trying this beer and a very tasty strong ale. Almost a hoppy imperial red ale that has some dark fruit notes along more sweetness. Glad I picked up a 6 pack.

Photo of drinkiusmaximus
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

A - Deep copper color with a two fingered head nice retention and ample lacing.

S - loads of of sweet malt, clove, vanilla and a little pine. strong hop scent.

T - Sweeter than I normally like, but makes a nice change of pace. Full flavored, brown sugar and hop prominent, bitter hoppiness. Vanilla, a little spiciness and boozy finish.

M - Full bodied with a good degree of carbonation and sticky sweetness left on the tongue slightly cloying.

D- Very tasty strong ale if you're only having one. Otherwise it's on the sweet side and, oddly for a strong ale...strong alcohol. Great to warm on any cold night.

Prost!!!

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Under an intense desk lamp, darkish red-amber body, somewhat hazy. In ordinary room light, brown, almost murky. Either way, alive with carbonation, topped by two fingers plus of dense off-white-with-a-hint-of- yellow foam. Ok lacing seems to be forming.

Certainly smells sweet, a strong candy center, encircled by a mixed fruitiness, including apricots and oranges.

Rich malt start, like good dark chocolate, sweet but not at all cloying. The initial sweetness quickly and effectively balanced and conquered by a sneaky pack of hops which lay a bit of smack to the sweetness and deliver a nice zing at the swallow. Warming but not burning alcohol the belly. Hop tingle actually outlasts the malt in the aftertaste.

Big slick mouthfeel. Good drinkability for the size and style, though the sweetness and the alcohol wears quite a bit as the bomber continues.

Nice nightcapper on a chilly spring evening, even better if shared.

Photo of CrellMoset
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle picked up from Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a traditional Blue Mountain Brewery-logoed pint glass.

Appearance: Swiss cheese-esque lacing, big foamy, slightly off-white, uneven head, hazy, ruby body, average retention. Great lacing!

Aroma: Sweet tropical fruits, tons of thick brown sugar and molasses, as well as some other caramelized malts, both darker and lighter. Runs the gamut.

Taste: Tons of malts. Brown sugar is (obviously) prominent, some heavier roasts (coffee) are faintly present, grainy toast. Some fruity esters - cherry - and some sweet citrus - grapefruit, orange - round things off. Verrry sweet.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy, even, fine-bubbled, big-headed and -bodied.

Drinkability: Very sweet, and very high in abv%, but I surprisingly liked this way more than I expected I would. Alcohol is very well-hidden, malts are surprisingly complex (even if they are intense). A pleasant surprise and a very good beer.

Photo of IAmAPenguin
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma - Fresh hops with a clear brown sugar, cinnamon spice, toffee and molasses.
Appearance - Very reddish, crimson color with almost no foam and standard lacing.
Taste- Very crisp, malty flavors with notes of caramelized sugar, burnt caramel, toffee and thin molasses. Finish is smooth with herby hops. Overall, this is interesting. Its dark and malty flavors but its actually really easy drinking and thin. I don't get any alcohol at all which makes this one really dangerously easy drinking. Not a bad beer at all.

Photo of falloutsnow
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From: Piccadilly on Neil, Champaign, IL
Date: None on bottle, released in early winter 2012
Glass: Tulip

Lagunitas' Brown Shugga' is a strongly hoppy (US west coast style) ale with more caramel flavor than most DIPAs offer. While it could easily qualify as one, it instead lands in the "strong ale" catch-all, equally fine. The beer is quite drinkable, but I found it to be a somewhat generic version of the "highly hopped, high ethanol" west coast style beers I've had in the past. Thus, while tasty, I was never surprised or stricken with the particular character that defines this beer relative to others. Might I try it again when very fresh? Sure.

Pours approximately a 1cm tall head of dirty white bubbles, small in size, with average retention of one to two minutes. The head, as it falls, leaves some thick washes of lace along the innards of the glass, a variety of solid walls of sticky foam to mixed spiderweb-like patterns. The head eventually wastes away to a fine cap of foam atop the body of the beer. The body itself is a strong copper-orange color, with light bringing out brighter orange-yellow hues. The beer is somewhat hazy (perhaps 30% opaque), but carbonation is still readily visible through it, quite actively rising from the center of the glass.

Aroma of fairly substantial caramel and its attendant sweetness, though I wouldn't describe it as reminding me of brown sugar. This is joined to some tropical fruit and mild citrus, from ale yeast or hops, who knows. There's also mild pepperiness and faint ethanol lingering in the background. In general, pleasing and appetizing, if not particularly unique.

In general, this tastes pleasant if you appreciate US west coast-style, well-hopped beers (and I do), with a substantial malt backbone, but it's also not particularly different from many others in the same hop intensity and ethanol content categories. Front of palate is of heavy caramel sweetness with hints of hop or yeast-derived fruit esters and minor bitterness. Mid-palate finds the hops slightly taking the main focus, with bitterness, grapefruit, woodsy/herbal, and mild tropical fruit all being as though filtered through a screen of caramel sweetness and flavor. Back of palate notices sweet, heavy caramel notes, ethanol, and herbal/woodsy/green hop flavors with strong bitterness. Aftertaste focuses on bitterness, mild caramel sweetness, and lingering ethanol.

Beer is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium to medium-low intensity, leading to a beer that is slightly foamy on the palate, but never quite fizzy. Ethanol is felt primarily in the nostrils after each sip, slightly burning the back of the throat as well. Closes out semi-dry, with modest residual stickiness along the palate.

Photo of mattster
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened 12 fl ounce bottle and poured into Snifter glass.

Pours 1" head that dies down to ½" of froth atop a slightly hazy dark Caramel brown brew.

Smells of malts; I almost get a slight hint of gingerbread - but maybe it is imaginary. Taste is sweet and of molasses and vanilla. Hops are pleasant and provide balanced bitterness. I was expecting this brew to be a whopper, it was quite pleasant and very easy to drink. Not something I would drink on a regular basis, but I know lots of people who would really love this stuff.

Photo of ElGordo
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty burnt orange color topped by a half-inch of creamy ecru head that sticks around for the duration. Aroma of crisp floral hops, sweet caramel malt, and a touch of brown sugar. Palate is initially sweet, with caramel malt and a considerable amount of brown sugar intensifying mid-palate. A light spiciness comes through right before the swallow, finishing with a good amount of warming alcohol. Body is smooth and creamy, quite enjoyable. On the whole a good beer, but be careful - the well-masked alcohol can sneak up on you.

Photo of rsyberg01
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S - 12 oz bottle, no freshness date.

A - Pours a deep clear copper with an offwhite sticky head. Looks are inviting and certainly delicious looking

S - Molasses, citrus, pine, malty. Hops are big, not in your face big, but still big. A little bit off balance.

T -Brown sugar, piney notes as well, little bit nutty, fresh citrus, good warming in my chest which is the only alcohol hint.

M - Very smooth with a bite of dryness from the hop. Balance is good.

D - I wouldnt say its a session brew, but its still decent.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got my growler filled up at the Hulmeville inn.

Poured into a snifter. Poured a very cloudy amber color with a thick tightly bubbled off white heading. Amazing leggage that sticks around the edges 'till the last drop.

Smell is hoppy at first. Followed by a crisp sweet caramel sweetness.

Taste is bit bitter at first wave. Second wave is mostly of the heavily caramel and roasted malt taste that just sticks to the palate. Very rich and sweet. There are hints of brown sugar that does compliment the sweetness.

Mouth is medium to full bodied. Chewy feel in the mouth. An all around hop cleanse on the palate.

Drink is good. ABV is very well hidden. The heavily sweetness with the bright background of hops just make this an amazing drink. Drink up folks.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very lightly hazy deep copper to light golden amber in color with some orange highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a couple of spots that are a little thinner and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of caramel malts and caramel sweetness with moderate to strong aromas of citrus and pine hops. There are also some lighter notes of burnt sugar and maple.

T: Moderate to strong flavors of sweet caramel maltiness with a touch of burnt sugar and maple as well. Upfront this beer is quite sweet. That is followed by the aggressive flavors of the hops - citrus/grapefruit/orange and pine. Slightly more than moderate amounts of bitterness which linger but not for too long and some moderate amounts of alcohol taste (especially as the beer warms.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Some dryness and alcohol heat in the finish, especially as the beer warms up.

O: Not the easiest beer that I have ever drank but it is still enjoyable - I wish the alcohol was a little more well hidden and that the sweetness was not so shocking upfront and then fading quickly. Interesting mix of style with elements of a barleywine and a DIPA.

Photo of therobot
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Rich amber color

S: Sharp smell, citrus and sweet with a trace of booziness

T: Has a mild bitterness up-front and a nice sweet after-taste can definitely taste the sugar

M: mildly thick and moderately carbonated

D: I would give it pretty good marks on drink-ability, a little sweet for my taste.

Overall I liked it, as I seem to with all of Lagunitas offerings I have tried. Less than most, but it grew on me as I finished the bottle.

Photo of SteveO1231
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Cheers!

Photo of Bitter_Echo
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
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!

Photo of hoody711
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Photo of lhaqq
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Photo of GClarkage
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of shippos
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,992 ratings.