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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,469 | Hads: 5,135
Photo of babaracas
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish orange with one finger thick tan head, settling slowly to a quarter inch and leaving a spray of lace down the glass. Smell: grapefruit, pineapple, tropical fruit, dates, caramelized sugar. Taste: brown sugar, lightly toasted bread, pine cutting through the sweetness, then into sugared grapefruit, dried mango-ish tropical fruit. Body ramps from medium to full, with prickly carbonation into fluffy into a chewy, hops and booze soaked finish. Although pretty big and sweet, it doesn't come off as heavy, at all. It would be interesting to try all of Lagunitas' seasonal 9-ish% ASA/Impy Reds together (how different are they?). In any case, this is a win. Bottled 270/365 2012.

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Photo of steelerguy
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel color with amber hues. Moderate carbonation, smallish head that fades quickly to a covering that leaves some good lacing.

S - Strong hop aroma upon opening the bottle, but pouring seemed to release it a bit. The malt then takes over with sweet caramel notes to go along with the pleasant pine hops aromas.

T - Lots of malt, plenty of dark caramel malts leaving a residual sweetness. A touch of citrus hop flavor to help balance out the sweetness, and a good bit of bitterness on the finish. The brown sugar adds some depth and I think helps thin it out a bit since there is a good deal of caramel malts in here.

M - Moderate body, could feel a bit heavy but it is balanced with moderate carbonation and the high ABV adds a nice warm finish to make the beer not seen too thick.

D - This beer is a mouthful, lots of malt...especially caramel, lots of adjuncts, lots of alcohol, and a good deal of hops. They are all in balance, but quite a bit of complexity, make it fun to drink but a couple in one sitting is plenty.

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Photo of Onemoresolo
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge head, nice balance between pine and molasses-y malt. Fantastic winter brew.

I put a few bottles aside to see how this ages. Hopefully it turns into a brown sugar syrupy mess. Mmm

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Photo of cbarrett4
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at Henry's 12th Street Tavern in Portland. Was the first glass poured from the new keg.

Poured with a great head fading to a pretty persistent lace. Good dark copper hue. The nose is pretty amazing with lots of sweet malts, hops, molasses and hints of brown sugar and banana. Tastes like an unsweetened bananas foster. Lots of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, banana, while the alcohol works well (like the brandy in bananas foster). The hops do come through, especially on the finish, giving it a drier profile. Simply a great beer and one I wish was available year round.

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Photo of Jemonster
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Sexy looking beer from one of my favorite breweries. Redish tan with dense tan head that leaves lacing. Fine carbonation.

S: Smells sweet and rich like a sophisticated dessert. Yeast and light hops, some stone fruit odor comes through as well.

T: Syrupy sweet as expected, but balanced well by the malty malt and bitter hops. Tastes like a little more than the 51.1 IBU as stated on the bottle in my opinion, and less than the 9.99% ABV.

M: Viscous, creamy, and lightly tingly. Has the body of a good shot of espresso. You have to pause to feel the bubbling from the carbonation. About the same mouthfeel as a well made root beer, which is what I really like.

D: Gotta be a 4. Can't rate it any higher because 2 might do you in on an empty stomach. A lightweight might not be able to drive after 1. Very easy to drink though, and tasty enough to make me look for it again.

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Photo of Atlas1
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stopped off at the Brickskeller on my way home from work tonight. I don't stop in there as often as I used to, but it's still a good place for beer. Ah, nostalgia....

The Brown Shugga was poured from the bottle (12 oz.) into a standard pint glass for me. It was a bronze/amber color, with lots of carbonation, and a thin, but firm, creamy head on top. The foam was long-lasting and left an excellent lace in its wake. Really, this was a fine looking beer. The nose was rich and sweet, with a malty spice that dominated, although there were some noticeable hops in the aroma as well. Taste was super sweet in the intake, and that sweetness lasted on through to the finish. It had a nice hop bite to it at the end. An interesting flavor, for sure, but a good balance of super sweet with bitter hops. Also, there were noticeable traces of brown sugar (obviously), vanilla, molasses, and maple. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy.

This is a great beer, in my opinion. I am not want to drink malt-monster all the time, but this appeals to me as much as the Oskar Blues Old Chub, which I love. But the Shugga has more of a hop kick to it, which I think I ultimately prefer. It's boozy, but not over-wrought with alcohol in either the aroma or the taste. Would go well with a hearty beef or game stew as well as a rich dessert, like a cheesecake. Enjoy this beer.

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Photo of Floyd12
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poored from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- Dark but translucent caramel brown. With a large off white fluffy head. The head had excellent retention and left nice lacing all down the side of the glass.

S- Very sweet smelling do to the large ammounts of brown sugar used in the brewing of this beer. But als a warm toasty smell of malt and hops.

T- While there is a lot of sweetness to this beer, it is kept in check by the malts, hops, and toasted aroma of the beer. There is also a faint fruity/floral presence in the aftertaste. But at 9.99% ABV it does posses a taste of alcohol

M- Thick full-bodied beer. But very smooth and very creamy.

D- While there are so many wonderfull atributes to this beer, it still has a somewhat overly "boozy" taste to it. Enjoyed much better with a salty snack to balance out the both the alcohol and sweet tastes

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Photo of danronian
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep amber. Minimal head that dissipates quickly when I poured it into a pint glass. Very few bubbles coming from the bottom of the class.

S - Smells a lot like brown sugar with a little citrus.

T - Tastes of roasted malt with a lot of brown sugar.

M - The abundance of syrupy sugar overwhelms the 9.99 abv. The sweet taste makes the high alcohol content very drinkable and less noticeable.

D - The smell and mouthfeel is sweet and the syrup lingers in your mouth. A good sipping beer though not something to drink quickly due to its extreme syrupy thickness.

Too sweet to drink more than a couple but something good to try. One is enough for me for a while. A bit too much sweetness for it to be a favorite of mine.

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Photo of IronLover
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep caramel in color with hints of amber and perfect clarity. Poured with a rich, foamy off-white head that leaves a well defined ladder of sticky lacings. Citrus orange and grapefruit aromas with an underlying sweet sugary aroma. Smooth, creamy feel with soft, pleasant carbonation.Medium to full bodied. Grapefruit and orange citrus flavors ride a wave of sweetness through the middle. Finishes lazily with sweet caramel flavors that taper to pine hop flavors and the faintest hint of alcoholic heat. The way the flavors come to a slow finish really slows the pace of this to a sipper. A nice combination of sweet caramel flavors and citrus hops.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Copper-red, clear, and off-white head. Very full. Lacing.

S - Pine, with a slight citrus bit, and a honeyed maltiness.

T - Follows the nose, but flips what is out front. The first hit is sweet, the honey-like sugars and a bread flavor like a rich dinner roll, followed quickly with a big punch of pine, a touch of lemon, grapefruit, orange, as well as a bit of floral. The close is pretty bitter, but the malt backbone keeps it rounded.

M - Big time beer, almost no alcohol on the tongue. Slick, full, a touch crunchy with hop oils in the close.

O - This is one of the better strong ales I've enjoyed, handles the combination of bitterness and sweetness well, making it a pleasure to drink. With a 10% ABV, this is one that I'm glad comes as a 12 oz. (wish more beers did). Excellent.

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Photo of JosiahS
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

glass: Tulip

Sort of a dark wood color, very clear. Nice foamy 1-finger head. Looks very appealing.

Out of the fridge the smell is very one-sided, i'm getting fruiting hops, papaya and mango, that's about it. As it warms more malt is present, brown sugar and light caramel.

The taste is a wonderful blend of brown sugar, caramel, papaya, mango and a nice resiny hop flavor. If it wasn't for the light heat down the throat i would never have guessed this is coming in at 10% ABV. Dangerous. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety.

I'm very impressed by how well hidden the alcohol is in this brew. Overall, it's awesome. I'll be sure to take my time with this, even though i feel as though i could drink it within 15 minutes.

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Photo of Thanby
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful clear amber with a bunch of foamy off-white head that sticks like... well, sugar.

Surprisingly hoppy aroma, but the sticky sweet malt balances it nicely. Brown sugar is noticeable behind the hops.

First taste is the nice hop bouquet followed by a wash of sweet caramel malt, and the brown sugar sweetness.

Medium body, smooth and creamy as I've ever tasted, no trace of the ABV. Dangerous.

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Photo of bhyndthebottle
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Always a nice beer from Lagunitas. Taste follows the smell of rich caramel malts and citrus hops. Finish has a nice spicy kick that finishes rather clean and dry. Good n' hoppy!

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Photo of Gajo74
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a combination of amber and copper with a two fingernail length head. This head dissipates into a creamy and sticky lace that retains quite well.
The aroma is intense! As the name suggests, the first thing that hits me is the brown sugar. As I get further along in the drink, other aromas come through strongly such as citric, orange rind and grapefruit, as well as a heavy resiny hops aroma.
The taste is dynamic. It starts off with a strong malty sweetness; again, brown sugar and citric fruits. As with the aroma, the bitter hops becomes more prominent as I get further along with the drink.
Medium to full bodied but very drinkable. Syrupy and chewy but crisp at the same time due to the stinging carbonation.
This is the first American Strong Ale I have rated. I don't know what to make of this style in the sense that it feels like an IPA to me. I would like to rate other examples of this style to compare. Nevertheless, I'm impressed by this one. It is quite intense and the high ABV gives you quite the pleasant buzz!

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle to pint glass. Three fingers of thick, fluffy, off-white head with large bubbles. Settles slowly leaving thick lacing. Produces a steady carbonation stream. Color is a clear copper. The brew is attractively translucent.
Smells like sweet toast, some malt, caramel, a little bit of booze.
Taste is tropical fruit, fruit syrup, a little dry hop, but not bitter. Sweet grapefruit. Sour, but more than balanced by sweet. Really smooth mouthfeel, especially for something that's supposed to be 10% ABV. Although I'm halfway through the bottle and I can feel it.
This one is rich in feel, which is fitting since I've just recently polished off a paczki (a rich, donut-like fruit or cream filled pastry eaten on Fat Tuesday). Sip this one, savor it.

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Photo of Dave1999
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep rich red colour, transparent with the smallest of white head.

The smell is sweet with a citrus hop smell.

The taste is sweet, there is brown sugar and a lot of citrus little hops.

The mouth feel is syrupy with medium carbonation.

This is strong, sweet and very tasty. Hides it's abv well.

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Photo of Natural510
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber-brown color with a faint head, lacing which is slight but residual.
Very unique nose which combines sweet maple syrup with heavy forest-pine hops.
Flavor is also a complex medley of sweet brown-sugar (what else), caramel malt, floral & pine hops, orange rind and grapes with a juicy, bitter finish.
Full in body, and in spirit. What more can you ask?
I like this, a lot. Another winner from Lagunitas, both in originality and in creating a satisfying drink.

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Photo of BeerWizard
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours honey gold with a decent sized head. I'm drinking this out of a Bulleit bourbon glass so we're talking about two inches of ale and an inch and a half of head. Looks pretty stellar. The nose is tangy, barely funky, with pine and candied fruit; while the flavor is sweet up front, with apricot and peach on the tongue, and then bitter in the throat. There's also a spice element to it, and I also get like Pez or Smarties candy in the nose mid-sip. For 9.99% abv, you sure wouldn't know it - I've had 7's and 8's that tasted boozier than this does. Bottle says that it's brewed with brown cane sugar, which, you know, from the name and all I was picturing a molasses-derived brown sugar, but the raw sugar makes more sense. I remember having this at a beer festival a few years ago and being duly corrected after asking for the "brown." "It's not a brown, it's an American strong ale." Indeed. Thumbs up.

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Photo of Dmann
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I loved this beer. It was basically a barleywine with a slight twist. The beer poured a very dark red color with a huge frothy head that lasted till the last sip. The smell was quite sweet with molasses dominating the scent as well as the flavor, but not in a bad way. The flavor was sweet no doubt, but it hd enough bitterness in the finnish to offset the great sweetness. The mouthfeel was quite thick and not balanced out with enough carbonation IMO. But that would be my only complaint. It's a must try.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes labels can be deceiving. I assumed this was an over-alcoholed brown ale, not the case. What it is is an amazingly different strong ale, that tastes like a brown ale...sort of.

What is truly amazing about this beer is how it is able to disguise its characteristics. Is this really a %9.9? Sure it's warming, but not overly offensive with the alcohol. It comes across as very bready, almost like a cinnamon bun, it's that sweet. Hops don't have a place here.

A truly unique offering, glad I bought two bottles.

Drink as quickly as possible. I pulled my cellared version from just about a year ago. Way too sweet, malts have virutally disappeared. Just a sugary mess that is hot to drink.

Consume fresh!

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Photo of iamjuanvaldez
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose - Mulling spices, citrus peel, cedar, raisin, faint alcohol

Color - clean, deep amber

Faint thickhead forming from a quick pour, disappeared quickly.

Heavy, viscous mouth-feel, slightly oily. Very drinkable for a 10% brew.

Carmel, bright citrus, alcohol and a clean hoppy aftertaste to balance out the sweetness.

Picked up a 6 pack at BevMo for $9. Excellent for the price.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz. brown "Sweet Release" bottle, I actually like the little blurb on the side of the bottle this time. This pseudo barleywhine pours out a very appetizing ruddy copper hue, hazed with suspended particles when held up to the light. Thick and creamy off-white head with good retention, and some massive sticky lacing. The nose is sweet with light malt and fruit, with some nut and dried fruit notes in it. And mango. Weird, I smell mango. Nice touch! This is also one very tasty mistake Lagunitas has on their hands. Boozy from the start, but mild, the malt blends very nicely with the hops, dancing cheek to cheek the whole way through. Sweet caramel malt coils itself around a refreshing fruity hop character, and they are both hepped up on a good dose of brown sugar, which helps them tango the whole night long. The sugar makes itself more apparent on the finish where it takes on a nutty flavour, and then recedes into a mild citrusy sunset of an aftertaste. The mouthfeel is light and very drinkable, but not watery, it holds its own over the palate. This Brown Shugga is deceptively drinkable, you have to know where you're going to stop before even going in, or suffer a high abv% brown sugar hangover catastrophe the next day. Not that I know anything about that, some guys told me about it once, no fooling. This Brown Shugga should definitely be chalked up to being what we call in the hot shop one of those "happy accidents", that should henceforth be repeated time and again. A shame that it's only a seasonal, but happy to have it available even as far north as Calgary.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 2/17/08 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, brown sugar, dark fruits and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste is sweet and malty up front, with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit, but quickly becomes very well-balanced as a strong hops presence comes in with a slight alcohol bite. The after-taste is hoppy and sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, this is a very good beer to drink over the course of an evening until the ABV catches up with you.

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Photo of Ghenna
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle, purchased from Total Wines in Roseville, into a DFH pint glass

A: Pours a light brown with a white/cream head ~3 fingers. There is a little of bit of lacing of the head from top to bottom.

S: Brown sugar primarily, with a mild hop aroma and hints of its alcohol content

T: Simply put, a hopped gnarleywine. The heavy sugar/malt taste is evident, though it is balanced with not too subtle (though not too heavy) hops.

M: slightly sticky and a little heavy, though not at all unenjoyable

D: A sipper for sure, it is a regular staple in my fridge door when I can get it.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Pours chestnut amber with 1/2 inch of bubbly light khaki head. Fades slowly, leaving lots of sticky lacing.

S-Sweet, piney hoppiness, tangerines.

T/M-A very well balanced American strong ale, in a similar vein to Double Bastard. I think I prefer this. Piney hops blend exquisitely with well integrated, subtle sweet maltiness. The body is what sells me on this one. The mouthfeel is soft and pleasant for such a full bodied beer. The alcohol is dangerously well disguised.

D-A little lower because of the high ABV, but still delicious. Pick up a 6 pack if you can.

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