Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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very good

1,446 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,446
Hads: 5,028
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 21.05%
Wants: 243
Gots: 884 | 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
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Reviews: 1,446 | Hads: 5,028
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottled poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Kind of an orange copper color, almost hazy, when held up to the light you can see small particles. Speaking of held up to the light, it just glows. I guess a more simple way to put it is that it doesn't quite look like any American Strong Ale that I've had (even though it varies so much), it seems lighter. There's a good sized head that's an orange color, decent lacing.

Smell is good, hoppier than I expected, but based on all the beer I've had from Laguniatas, that's how they role. There is certainly a big malt presence, smells very sweet, brown sugar detected, hence the name. Hops smell like citrus. Overall kind of a sweet boozy smell.

Tastes very good, loving it. A unique, but good blend of both sweet and bitter. Sweetness right off the bat, call it power of suggestion but brown sugar detected, overall a good malt presence. Very Hoppy, citrus zest, and a little bit of pine. Very good tasting overall.

Full bodied, as mentioned a good, unique balance of bitter and sweet. Good carbonation level and a strong bitter finish. Very drinkable. Had it in the past, my buddy and I killed a growler in a short evening, so I'd say dangerously drinkable, really enjoyed this bottle this time.

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Photo of mountsnow1010
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Great Van Morrison brown color with a yellowish head that leaves a nice thick lace.
S - Delicious hop notes - really clean grapefruit smell backed up by a bit of a sweet caramel.
T - Hops up front - distinct lack of bitterness - followed by a sweet rich flavor. A bit of grassy hop flavor as well.
MF - Really nice - smooth and perfect carbonation. I'm not sure one could improve much upon this mouthfeel. Slight warming sensation.
D - 9.99% alcohol? I get a bit in the mouthfeel but otherwise this could be fairly low alcohol. High- dangerously high- drinkability.

Really, really enjoying this beer - I would highly recommend it.

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Photo of ShamasUVA
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, reading "Feeding brown sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is akin to feeding raw shark to your gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without human intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it has happened now, and it is too late." No date, but I suspect this is fresh.

Color: 4. Deep red, slightest tinge of brown. off white head, decent retention.

Smell: 4 Cherry, Candy, Leather and Beer. A little bit of spice or licorice.

Taste: 4.5 Extremely assertive, and I don't trust the 51.1 IBU on the label, this seems much more bitter than that. I would guess Chinook hops since it lingers. Some alcohol heat. Great sweet rich fruity flavor. Not a complex maltiness but a powerful one.

Mouthfeel 4.5 Rich but not thick. This is one area where "American Strong Ale" can really run the gamut. Good.

Drinkability: 4 It's so dang tasty, you keep wanting more. .Overall a very good beer but the bitterness lingers for a solid 60 seconds so it is hard to call this "drinkable." I think this is still a little young. I would like to give it 6-12 months to see how the bitterness gets sanded down and the alcohol heat mellows. Will probably be exceptional.

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Photo of WesWes
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber/red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice balanced aroma of malts and hops. It's warming to the nose, but also enticing with loads of hop smells. The malt aroma is composed of lots of pale malts and a wonderful array of specialty malts, which provide the "Brown Shugga" element. The taste is great. It has an incredibly smooth malty taste that weighs heavy on burnt toffee flavors. It goes down easy and finishes silky smooth with a nice hop blast that lingers. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It packs a bundle of flavor; a fine drinker.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Eli Cannon's a while back. Taken from notes scribbled on the back of a "beer tastin's" flyer.
Served in a snifter glass, at the perfect temperature. 55 degrees or so. Color is hazy, orangey and toffee-like. Very bright and interesting. Whispy white head. The head dies out about halfway through. Minimal lacing. Big, sweet, caramel laden aroma. Hops are definitely present, in a piney, citrusy sort of way. Very barleywine like. Is that what this is supposed to be? Somehow strong ale doesn't seem to fit. This is much closer to Bigfoot, Old Crustacean and the like than it is to UBU ale or Double Bag, to name a couple strong ales. Some alcohol and heady, estery fruit. Prune and apples. Slight vinous notes. I'm not really getting much in the way of brown sugar, unless that's some of that odd caramel sweetness. The flavor opens with big, bold sweetness. Huge amounts of caramel malt, the brown sugar much more present than in the scent. The sweetness rides all the way through the finish, though its well tempered with plenty of hops. Balanced, I'd say. Plenty fruity and "bigbeer-ish". Some red grape and sherry, with healthy doses of apple, pear and plum. Assertive piney hop flavor. Minimal booze, though you don't forget its there. A little bit of a saccharine bite in the end. Huge, syrupy body with modest carbonation levels. All around a pretty hefty feeling brew. One hell of a snifter sipper.
I bet bottles of this would age very well. I'll have to pick a few up next time I see it. I assume the keg on hand was fresh, and its already got a bit of that sherry agedness to it. Very nice. I'd like to buy this by the gallon and watch my entire saturday slip into hazy orange oblivion.

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Photo of BurpingtonDC
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into an imperial pint glass. It's no secret that Laguinitas makes a mighty fine ale, so without further adieu...

A - This is a beautiful brew indeed. Deep copper color with a three fingered head and ample lacing.

S - great smell, hints 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 interplay--sweet at the fore then finishes with a 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.

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 on a cold winter night.

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Photo of kbnooshay
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear orange amber color with a very thin off white head. Smells like a hopped cough syrup. Weird. Well this tastes like a barelywine with brown sugar in it! A LOT of brown sugar. This is citric and super sweet. The hop flavor is definitely grapefuity. Hints of molasses and dark fruit really make this interesting. Feel is super slick and oil with slight tingling from the carbonation. I could drink a few of these but the result would be drunkedness.


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Photo of mattjv
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark translucent copper color, coaxed about a finger of head out which didn't stay long, not surprising given 9.99%. Lots of lacing.

Heavy sweetness on the aroma, with strong hoppy notes. Orange citrus and resinous pine. Alcohol fumes notable on the aroma, becoming more prominent as it warms.

The taste is dominated up front by a huge, rich, thick caramel malt presence. Loads of sweetness here, although it's balanced by the hops and alcohol. Brown sugar nicely complements the malt with slightly burnt notes. Big time hop presence makes for a strong finish. Lots of orange citrus and thick, resinous pine that coats the tongue. Bitterness is present but not high. Assertive alcohol stings the back of the throat on finish and pleasantly warms. Sweet, sticky aftertaste.

Full bodied, thick and chewy on the mouthfeel. Carbonation is not high but sufficient to keep the alcohol in check.

Overall: A very unique brew, and one that I thoroughly enjoy. Pity that I'm reviewing the last one I'll get till next fall. Definitely not for everyone, this is a thick, rich, boozy beer that is best enjoyed sipping over an hour or more. If you like big beers, give this one a try.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 11/2/12 Tasting Notes. Poured fom 12oz bottle into pint glass. Served chilled...

A) Nice looking bronze brew with good clarity. There was 2 fingers of creamy looking light tan head. Good retention, as this slowly settled to a dusting. Ample lacing...

S) Graham cracker crust and fresh juicy grapefruit with a sprinkling of sugar.

T) Quite malty and very hoppy... What a nice balance we have here. Sweet caramel and melting brown sugar, in perfect harmony with light pine, grapefruit and champagne mango. The alcohol on this was very well hidden. I picked it up just a little as this warmed up.

M) Full body with moderate carbonation, which kept this easy on the palate. It is slightly syrupy, but really very smooth. Nice aftertaste...

O) Thanks Lagunitas, what an excellent beer. Reminded me a bit of a few barleywines I've had recently. This was a pleasure to drink, and really hard to believe the ABV is nearly 10%. Glad to recommend this beer...

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Photo of WheelsPSU
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased a bottle a forgot I had it in the fridge. Glad I found it.

Orangey amber pour with a decent amount of sticky lacing being left on the glass. Head stuck around for a while and was thick and foamy.

Floral and hoppy in the aroma. Like a barleywine and IPA. Resin, pine, citrus, and brown sugar. Don't get much of the malt though.

Malt sweetness and a ton of hops are first on the taste. Pine, citrus and sticky blast of malt come next. The best part of the beer is the finish which produces the huge amount of brown sugar, caramel, and gingerbread. Its like Christmas for your palate.

This is a very hoppy and all together sweet (from the malt sweetness and brown sugar) brew. Recommended for the winter and holiday season, or if you forget you have it and drink it in April!

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Photo of northaustin
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a schnifter. pours a very nice red with a finger of even off white head which has long retention and a good amount of spotty stringy lacing.

smell is awesome. has alot of that same old lagunitas hop extract smell goin on but backed by a strong very sweet malt bill. alot of fruity type smells and an almost dessert like quality

taste is very powerful with the hops and some caramely type flavor goin on. very nicely masked high abv. i wont lie. theres alot of things in this beer i just cant put my finger on as i have not studied the style enough. fairly complex and enjoyable nonetheless.

mouthfeel: doesnt leave anything behind in a good way. no over syrupy sweetness or hop oilyness as is the problem with a few other lagunitas.

drinkability: very flavorful and a well masked high abv. this one is very sessionable for 10 bucks a six pack.

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Photo of busterwhite
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark golden/amber color with a 2 finger head. Nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma of pine, citrus and some sweetness.

Nice full flavor with citrus and pine up front followed by a good balanced sweetness. Finished with mix of bitter and sweet in the aftertaste.

Medium to full body, a little slick with good carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of RCStout
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Appearance is appreciated as every time it appears I want it. Gold to Amber Orange.

Smell- Gloriously Sweet to a Southerners Nose. (NC loves Brown Sugar.)

Feel- Nice body, it could be one of those thick leggy models.

Taste- Sweet right off with a midtaste of citrus. Some say Grapefruit I says Pumelo. Warm in the tummy.

Drinkability- Highly drinkable despite high ABV. I have never had more than 6 in a row, seemed like 2 too many.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - deep orange color, a finger of creamy suds on top. They cling to the sides and leave a solid wall of shiny lace as the head falls back.

Aroma - smells like orange juice concentrate, kind of barleywine-ish.

Taste - big malty front, kinda chewy, sweet like cookie dough. Big flavor, met mid-stream by sharp zesty hops. A grapefruit twist, though not as citrusy as I expected. More grapefruit flavor on the aftertaste, closer to what I expected now, and a certain wave of warm alcohol to finish things off. Close to a barleywine in overall feel. The sixer went amazingly fast.

Mouthfeel - thick, smooth, a little heavy, I enjoyed all that. Carbonation is fairly zippy.

Drinkability - I'd grab another sixer of these for sure. They are a joy to drink one at a time, or three in an evening.

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Photo of dalahodson
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In the glass this was a very nice looking brew. A dark amber color with a nice full head the color of dirty straw. The lacing on the glass was very solid. A very strong smell of Carmel and malt hints of pine and herbs. The mouth feel was very creamy and sweet with a nice bitter on the back. The flavors are of carmel pine and dark fruits, the brown sugar is by far the most noticeable of the flavors but very well balanced. Even with an ABV of 9 this is a very easy drinkable brew. Went well with my lamb stew.

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Photo of dar482
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes a deep red ruby color with a huge fluffy tight off white head.

The aroma has super sweet caramel, candy sugar, toffee. It has a slight citrus along with deep pine and some of that garlic/onion. Good amount of heavy breadiness as well as some booze and yeast.

The flavor follows with a citrus and floral hint and onto tons of heavy caramel and sugary sweetness. Later into the beer, it actually causes you to smack your lips as the sugary just coats and coats your lips. The middle hints of some garlic and onion notes and then moves onto an extremely hoppy and bitter piney, resinous finish.

The beer dances that beautiful line between sweetness and bitterness. It really attacks hard on both sides. A really exceptional example of an American Barleywine.

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Photo of LairdChisholm
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear copper color with a less than one finger, off white head very little lacing to speak of. There are many small streams of carbonation bubbles going to the top.

S - Strong smells of sweet malts with brown sugar and molasses and citrus malts. Good balance.

T - Incredible balance here. There is a mixture of brown sugar/caramel malts with citrus/grapefruit hops. There is a semi sweet after taste that makes you want to take another sip.

M - Good amount of carbaonation with medium to light mouthfeel.

D - Considering the ABV, this drinkability is dangerous.

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Photo of BBP
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- A bit lacking appearance wise. Not much head to speak of, and what there is dissolves into a film. No real lacing either. Nice dark amber color though.

S- Caramel, toffee, some slight alcohol aroma, and more sweetness, only to be matched by a piney hop aroma.

T- From the name brown shugga, you'd expect this one to be sweet and then some, but it's actually quite balance. Caramel and sugar are countered very nicely by the hops. If anything, I think this drink leans towards the hops.

When really looking at the aftertaste, you can definitely taste hops coating your mouth, while the sugary flavor is only in the intro of the drink. I think this one has the kick of a barleywine with the elegance of an old ale. Aside from that, it's a pretty simple drink.

M- Creamy smooth, nice carbonation, medium/light body, and a sticky finish.

O- The drinkability in this is astounding. I found myself drinking it and drinking it without fully embracing the idea that it's 10%. That said, the alcohol isn't hidden, but it blends pretty seamlessly.

Lagunitas impresses me yet again. These people love hops and so do I.

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Photo of eclaycamp
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours a very clear amber with minimal head and no lacing, though the beer is so syrupy it sticks to the sides of the glass. Has a barleywine style smell, with dark fruits like raisins, to begin with. This aroma is chased by loads of brown sugar notes. Tasting the beer for the first time you immediately notice the thick mouthfeel, though it's not unpleasant. Brown Shugga is full bodied with minimal carbonation. Alcohol is cleverly hidden, save for a little bit of a burn down in your chest after you drink it. The taste has a lot of different things going on. There are some minor fruit notes, but for me this is a lot like waffles and maple syrup. Mild citrus hops help lend balance to the beer. Oddly enough, even with all of the sugary notes this finishes quite dry, which leaves you wanting more. Despite the heavy body, it's really easy drinking. Call it the perfect fall beer.

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Photo of BB1313
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. I've always been a big fan of this one. Pours a nice hazy copper w/ light fluffy head and decent lacing. This beer smells so good! The hops are fruity and balanced perfectly w/ the sweetness from the sugars; slightly malty w/ bread notes. This one gets better as it warms up a little.. the flavors are more pronounced that way. Mouthfeel is superb.. carbonated and creamy.. goes down great. Drinkabilty is dangerously good.. makes a great sipper.. savor this beer!

This is a great, unique, hoppy beer that really doesn't know what style it wants to be, but it's awesome. Lagunitas says it's a "Barleywine gone wrong".. works for me!

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Photo of Lexluthor33
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Amber colored with a decent sized head and a respectable lace.

The aroma of sweet sugar,malts and some fruit.

The taste started off sweet,sugar like but heavy on malts, Some hops in the back and subtle amount of alcohol warmth.

The feel was medium carbonation,smooth and creamy with medium body feel and some oils in the finish.

Notes: A very fine beer and something to savor. I really felt this one was very deceiving. At this ABV it really was easy to drink and while I will not ever session this one I will have at least two.

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Photo of Tone
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark amber color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of hops first, then sweet malt, alcohol, brown sugar, and finally some slight banana aromas. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is very smooth and thick with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops up front, then sweet malt, then brown sugar, strong alcohol throughout, and finally some slight fruit/belgian yeast flavors. Overall, a really smooth brew that packs a punch - good palate and nice blend of flavors.

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Photo of Aiptasia
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. longneck into an absinthe glass.

A: Pours a rich amber color with a great 1" head. Excellent long retention with a brown cotton candy color with excellent cling on the lacing. Color is a rich, clear frosty rootbeer.

S: Amazing florals immediately eminate when uncapped. Cloves, anise and lime citrus on the nose.

T: Sugar malts with hints of liquorice and plum. The lime carries over into the flavor in the middle with a grapefruit rind and pine hops finish.

M: Full bodied and delicious with sugar sweetness. Heavy micro carbonation. Well balanced alcohols almost undetectable until the warming kicks in the belly.

D: An excellent assertive beer. Very drinkable with a food pairing due to the alcohol content. Chicago style pizza and most Mexican food comes to mind.

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Photo of mr-jj
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz bottle.

Color is clear amber with a two-finger white head. Retention and lacing are very good. Smell is candied grapefruit and orange. Very juicy. Flavor is excellent - a big bite of citrus hops with a sweet malt backbone. The sweetness is there, but the hops are the star, as it should be. Finish is crisp with grapefruit rind bitterness. Body is medium, moderate carbonation. The carbonation and hops really hide the big alcohol, although you can feel a bit of the bite.

Overall, it's a great beer. Not sure what style it best fits - probably more of a DIPA than anything else.

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Photo of Fanhitter
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft Pint @ Ashley's Westland 11-7-2012

In the pint glass, this beer holds a deep burnt auburn hue, with impeccable transparency. Even with a broken surface of microscopic bubbles instead of any sort of head, this looks like a serious brew.

Smells mildly sweet at the top of the glass, a bit grapey even. A good hop presence is notable with a nose in the glass.

Tastes surprisingly mild for a sugared up barley wine or whatever this claims to be. You'd never know it was 10 percent based on the malt to hop flavors. An apricot flavor drifts faintly in after swallowing, and a burnt prune flavor unexpectedly follows on the finish.

On the sip, its got a mild bite to it, not unlike a strong Canadian beer. A bit boozy, but nothing outrageous. For a strong beer it's silky and easy to gulp or sip despite being a bit syrupy.

Overall, this beer is great. Halfway through drinking a nice wine texture comes out in it, that some might find unpleasant, but I find it very enjoyable. For a malt and hop lover it may disappoint, but for the whole package, it's pretty solid. In all honesty I wasn't expecting this beer to be as mellow as it is compared to other Lagunitas offerings, but for a strong beer it stands out. I could easily be overserved with this one.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,446 ratings.