Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,504 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,504
Hads: 5,303
Avg: 4
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 267
Gots: 1,090 | 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: 5,303
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Listening to Pearl Jam..
Poured a copper color with a nice fluffly white head. Nose has a nice sweet malt with a bit of hops and alcohol. Taste is brown sugar dominance with a bit of molasses. Alcohol is very noticeable after finishing only one. There is a definite presentation of malt and has a sweet finish.

 310 characters

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

Pours a ruby chestnutt. Excellent clariy with a foamy white head. Smell- fruity sweetness. Taste- initial flavours are hops and fruit. Sweet malts come through in the middle and finish is bitter and dry. The extra sugar has fermented down nicely. Not cloying but you definitely know its there. Like liquid caramel. Good sipper on a winter night.

 345 characters

Photo of Donerik
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was interested in trying Brown Shugga; I can't help feel a little let down

A- clear redish brown, one finger tan head

S- the best part of the beer was the anticipation of the brown shugga flavor, it had a smell, not too over powering, but sweet.

T- Let down here, it was good, It certainly wasn't a drain pour, It just wasn't the brown sugar flavor I was expecting.

M- Par for the course.

D- High ABV hurt my desire for a second one, I'll drink the other five, maybe as a stand alone one beer night, or first on a long day of drinking.

All in all an okay beer.

 569 characters

Photo of Franz4
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- a red, dark penny copper colored beer that poured just a thin layer of bubbles on top that disappeared almost immediately.

S- A unique, sweet, dark fruit nose with a pleasant brown sugar note to it.

T- brown sugar sweetness followed by a clove-like finish. Also has a metallic taste to it that's hard to place.

M- Light bodied for the style, nothing that stood out here.

D- A unique take, but not sure that it's making me really want to come back for more, glad I tried it, but that's about as far as it goes.

 516 characters

Photo of Gmann
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep toasted golden color or a light brown. The pale khaki head is fluffy and slowly settles into a solid cap. Nice webby lacing on the glass.

The aroma seems a bit stunted, not very strong. I pick up some deep caramel notes and some toffee. Pineapple notes from the hops. Sweet aroma.

The flavor has more of a malt presence. Toasted grains with caramel sweetness. Toasted brown bread. A spicy herbal hop flavor, perhaps some pineapple. Fusel alcohol pops through in the finish.

The feel is light with prickly carbonation. Sweet on the palate but the carbonations keeps things fairly crisp though a touch sticky in the finish. The ABV is noticable and not all that pleasant.

A strong toasted ale. It has a nice bready flavor but the alcohol presence dampens the beer for me. Solid.

 798 characters

Photo of Mojo
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle -> snifter glass

A - tarnished copper color, with fluffy two finger head, awesome retention, and awesome lacing.
S - Kind of a burnt smell, nutty, and some alcohol
T- complex, malty brown sugar upfront with a dry charred boozy flavor on the finish
M - kind of a bitter aftertaste
O- not my cup of tea, but fairly complex flavor.

 348 characters

Photo of Stoneman78
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear orange hue, tan foamy head that is mostly sustained, moderate lacing
S- Boozey aroma, tones of molasses and brown "shugga", some fruity sweetness too
T- Sweet roast and caramel malts, sugary molasses, bitter coffee, finishes bitter with a stiff alcohol warming
M- Full-bodied, oily texture, mild carbonation
D- A unique brown/strong ale with flashes of flavor, a bit too cloying and boozey for my tastes, I would probably not go out of my way for a second tasting

 472 characters

Photo of Joeyphunk
3.61/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Rubbing alcohol notes In the taste, not sure the malts were balanced correctly. A weird brown to be sure, not sure it represents the style. Did the bartender give me an ipa on accident? I think this is an ok strong beer but not the best example. I am glad i drank it, but i won't seek another.

When I had it the second time ( cause I forgot I tried it) It was a different beer - leading me to believe that Scotty's brew house had a bad keg

 441 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on tap at the BTAH in NYC, Poured copper, nose of dried fruit and some caramel. More caramel and sweet notes of brown sugar and cookie dough. Yes, this is a fairly sweet barley wine. Some drying elements come in late and as it warms, Smooth, medium bodied brew. Some warming alcohol also present. Too sweet for me. When I ordered this one somebody asked if I had diabitis

 371 characters

Photo of prototypic
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: It's a hazy, dark copper color with a one and a half finger head. Nice and creamy, though it vanished pretty quickly and left pretty light lacing down the glass.

Smell: It smells sweet. Definitely a nice blend of malt and hops in the nose. There are some fruity citrus notes to the smell. I'm picking up hints of raisins in there as well.

Taste: Initially it tastes sweet, but not in an overbearing way. The fruit and raisin tastes are apparent. It's got a nice malty body to it which balances out a bit of hop kick at the end. It's definitely more bitter than I was expecting, but in a good way.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's somewhere between light and medium bodied. It has a light syrupy feel to it. At nearly 10% ABV, I probably won't be drinking more than one. But, I'm enjoying it. Overall, it's a good beer. Actually better than I was expecting. Definitely worth checking out.

 904 characters

Photo of Shumista
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into my beer mug.

A- Brown Shugga pours a translucent copper color with a small off white head. A thick looking beer with lots of lacing left on the sides of the glass after each sip.
S- Sweet caramel, molasses and ,surprise, brown sugar. Some hops and alcohol as well.
T- One of the sweetest strong ale/barleywines I have had. I guess I should have expected that from the name, but the sweetness still surprised me. Most of the sweetness comes from a caramel/brown sugar taste. The bitterness is pretty high as well but plays second fiddle to the sweetness.
M- Thick, moderate carbonation. The warmth you would expect from such a high alcohol beer.
D- I think I'll switch to a different beer for the rest of the night. I don't ever see myself drinking more than one or two of these.

 799 characters

Photo of jeffjeff1
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was pretty good.

Appearance- dark reddish color, transparent

Smell- brown sugar, molasses

Taste- brown sugar, molasses

Mouthfeel- medium to full bodied

Drinkability- It was a pretty good beer. Definitely a winter beer , will drink it again most likely in winter

 271 characters

Photo of marc77
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy ruby hue, topped by an off white, thick, creamy well retained head. Mellow, mint laced citrusy hop nose with a dominant note of underripe tangerine. Medium caramel malt aroma with hints of biscuit and butter. Mellow impression of berryish fruitiness rounds the aroma out. Baked biscuit mild sweetness is perceived at first, then is ensued by a pronounced, almost syrupy well caramelized sugar note, which persists throughout. Hop bitterness provides meager contrast, leaving the overall flavor profile quite sweet. Hop flavor manages to eek in, lending a brown sugar smothered grapefruit impression mid palate. A bit lightly bodied, and a touch over attenuated, yet residual sweetness remains assertive. Finishes with a lingering suggestion of warming butterscotch schnapps. Brown Shugga is quite an odd brew. The sweetness is only a hair shy of cloying, and seemingly overshadowed malt nuances. That being said, the sheer uniqueness and dearth of alcohol character (until the finish) warrant a try. With a greater hop presence this could be a fine barleywine. It's quite tasty, nonetheless. This would make a delicious, supremely calorically dense vanilla ice cream float. Thanks to TXhops for sending the bomber.

 1,228 characters

Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear dark amber/mahogany color with puffy, 3 finger head.

S- Smell is sweet and holly. Dark fruits, burnt sugar, and grassy hops.

T- Taste is pretty strong, quite hoppy, but also incredibly malty. Again, some dark fruits and burnt sugar as well.

M- A little on the thin side, but it's also incredibly drinkable.

Overall- Pretty solid brew. I feel it's a Little hot, and so a bit of the taste gets muddled, but still very good.

 443 characters

Photo of shivtim
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clearish brown with a hint of red. A little viscous. Nose is alcohol, some malts, and sweetness. Almost like a malty wine. Taste is like a bitter barley wine. Has hints of smoke, sweetness is there but not too overdone, and hops in the finish. Alcohol is hidden pretty well in the taste (although not in the nose). Not bad.

 323 characters

Photo of AltBock
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I got the 12 oz stubby bottle because I never seen the 22 oz. bottle version of this beer before. It just has a simple yet nice whitish label. The label has to made with some kind of special recycled paper because the label paper feels rough. It's not your regular Average Joe beer paper label. On the label is a red/green square and inside the square is the name of the beer of in big red letters, "Lagunitas" is green letters, the Lagunitas dog that looks oddly familiar like the dog from the Little Rascals in the top right corner, 2 hop plants in the lower right and left hand corner, and the O.G., ABV%, and I.B.U. number at the bottom. If you can see it, outside of the small square is a long sentence about the making of this beer. Don't bother to look for a date or even a batch number on the label because it doesn't exist. If you can find out when they last released their "Sweet Release," then you might be able to determine what month/year it was released. Don't use a bottle opener like I did because it has a twist off cap.

Appearance: When poured into a Snifter, the beer's color almost looked like the color of the big red letters on the label. Except that the color of the beer had a little more orange/amber coloring in it. It had nice white 1 finger head of foam on it. It had good retention that left behind a minimum amount of white rings and white lace around the glass. It was nice that the appearance wasn't like the paper the label was made out of, Rough.

Smell: The beginning of the aroma started off with candy sugar, brown sugar, and even maple sugar. They don't call it a "Sweet Release" for nothing. Behind the different varieties of sugar was some pine, piney hops, sweet citrus fruits, and maybe a flutter of sweet roasted malt and caramel at the end. If I describe the smell in one word, I would have to use the word "Sweet." That's what it is.

Taste: Was the taste the complete opposite of the smell? Hell No! It was almost identical to the aroma, give or take a few items from the aroma. Like the aroma, it stared off with the candy sugar, brown sugar (or should I say Brown Shugga) and maple sugar. I didn't taste much pine, but what did happen was that the hops mixed into the sweet citrus fruits making a nice size taste of super citrus hops! Then when you think you're done with the taste of sugar, it comes back again. But this time it brought it's friend with them, the caramel. I don't think I got any taste of malts, but then again the sweet varieties of sugar could have beat the malt up and dumped it in Lagunitas's sewer. Believe them when they say it's a sweet release!

Mouthfeel: It was medium bodied with nice size amount of carbonation to it. I thought that after the taste of sweet sugars that there would be a strong aftertaste of sweetness. Not this time sugar! This is where the bitter citrus hops shined through the blanket of sugar.

Drinkability: Brown Shugga', how come you taste so sweet? Do that line in the tune of the Rolling Stones classic. This is another one of those beers that would only be good once in a while. It is good, but it's a bit too sweet for my taste buds. It you adore sweet beers, then by all means pick this one up immediately.

 3,224 characters

Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Bubbly off-white head, about 2 fingers, that last throughout the drink and leaves spotty lacing. A redish amber body with a massive amount of visible carbonation.

S: An extremely sweet caramel malt aroma with strong notes of brown sugar, citrus & tropical fruit, and perhaps a hint of coconut. One of the sweetest strong ales I've ever smelled.

T: Not as bozzy as I expected, but very balanced between the citrus & grapefruit hops and the sweet caramel malts. Not too bitter or too sweet, but very tropical with hints of pine. Reminded me very much of an IPA.

M: Mild carbonation, light body, and oily texture.

D: Very good beer, but not my favorite strong ale. Reminded me too much of an IPA, but I still enjoyed it.

 724 characters

Photo of theirishdago
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I am still learning to review so I apologize for any discrepancies.
Heard lots of good things about this one.
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a wine glass.
This has a light ruby color with a nice fluffy white head.
At first smell it smells very hoppy but as it warms up I pick up on some sweet fruity tones (apricot)
It has a very sweet taste, you can definitely pick up on the cane sugar on the tip of your tongue, but the hoppiness keeps it in good balance.
Overall a decent beer, maybe for dessert. A bit too sweet to have more than one.

 541 characters

Photo of KajII
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a clear medium brown with a slight reddish hue and an average (1-2 finger) light cream colored sudsy head that lasted for a good while, finally reducing down to a thin film and large collar with good streaky lacing.

The aroma was boldly sweet upfront with sweet bread malts, light pine and citrus hops and a sweet doughy yeast along with notes of caramel, citrus (grapefruit), a dark fruity ester (figs and dates) and a mild alcohol tinge.

The taste was extremely malty sweet with a big caramel presence from the start to the finish, progressing with a moderate hoppiness, a slight citrus peel bitterness, a mild yeasty appeal and a strong presence of fruit along and ended with overwhelming alcohol taste. The flavor lasted a bit long in duration, with the bitter sweet alcohol taste fading slowly off the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and a bit syrupy in texture with an almost medium carbonation.

Overall this was an impressive Barley Wine, with the fruity sweetness being balanced very well by the somewhat bitter hoppy flavor. This did take a little off the huge alcohol presence, but just a little...


 1,210 characters

Photo of morebeergood
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed a six pack for the Pats - Jax game last Saturday. Pours a brownish orange color with some good head that lasted a good amount of time. The smell was of malt and sugar. This beer has a wonderful brown ale flavor, with an added aspect of (brown) sugar that helps it stand out from others in the style. Very tasty. The one thing I noticed with this beer is the high ABV. The beer has such a nice taste to it, and they go down fairly easily. But if you want a few, be careful. After only three (we split the sixer), I really started to feel it. Make sure you remember this is not your typical brown ale.

 607 characters

Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A sweet Two Hearted? That's what I first thought of while drinking. At first the citrus really threw me off, I was expecting something more Nutty. Halfway through the glass I got more of the sugga' (if that's what they call it) and by the finish I could feel the alcohol and less of the citrus that boned me in the beginning.

 333 characters

Photo of magictrokini
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sweetest ASA in town. Pours clear mahogany with a minimal tan head. Aroma is all brown sugar with some hops. The taste is different from anything I've ever had. Very malty up front, with some hops that moves quickly into the brown sugar finish. Alcohol is completely hidden in the taste. Based upon the taste, you would think this a sweet stout over a barleywine any day.

 371 characters

Photo of PeterParker
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper with a thick white head. Large bubbles throughout.

Smells like an IPA. I thought this was a barley wine, definitely doesn't look or smell like one. Piney hops, malty backbone, and a bit of caramel.

Definitely an IPA. Piney and dank hops. Grapefruit, lots of bitterness, a buttery and sweet malt backbone as well.

Good carbonation and medium body. Aftertaste lingers for a while. Really no alcohol in taste or feel.

Pretty good, not sure what to make of it. Tastes like an IPA, but slightly different. Hard to put my finger on it.

 563 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Pours a clear amber brown with an eggshell head that fades. Decent lacing on the glass.

Aroma of hops, brown sugar, and booze. There's no hiding the ABV in this one.

Nice sweet taste of brown sugar and hops followed by a wave of alcohol. The alcohol taste is not obnoxious, but it is noticable. I suppose that it's hard to avoid with a large quantity of brown sugar. Finishes with a nice sweet hoppiness.

Nice full and creamy body.

This is pretty easy to drink. The only detractions are the alcohol in the flavor and the high ABV. It's a decent brew overall.

 587 characters

Photo of foureyedgeek
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, received in a trade from santoslhalper, I'm assuming this beer has some age on it, because thats what he does with most of his beers.

I let this one warm on the counter for a good ten minutes.

Pours a dark amber brown, with some orange highlights and a slight haze after the pour. A puffy two-finger head rises and falls in short time to a ring of foam, with some small islands within. Soon after, the haze disipates and its quite clear. Nice lacing persists.

Smells s sweet, obviously full of brown sugar and molasses character, a little raisiny, too. This smells like a malt bomb, but the aroma is rather one-sided. No notable hoppiness. Definite hints of alohol

Taste is full of that brown sugar sweetness, with the same fruit notes in the nose, although more plum-like in the mouth. Really though, the dominant flavor is that massive, dying-to-be complex syrupiness. There's a hop presence here, but its quite muted, appearing only as a slight palate smack as I swallow, accompanied by a building flavor of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full and warming, but also somewhat reminiscent of cough syrup. I think thats probably due to the fusion of sweet and ABV.

Drinkabilty is pretty good, but at this ABV, with such an obvious presence, this is a definite sipper.

Overall I found this to be a tasty that creates an _obvious_ warmth when you drink, from mouth the whole way down to stomach, lingering. I can feel it warming my head as well. This is a hefty brew that is somewhat overwhelming, its strength seeming to play out more so than its depth of flavor.

 1,587 characters

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