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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,471 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,471
Hads: 5,147
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 251
Gots: 974 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.99% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 12-13-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,471 | Hads: 5,147
Photo of ndekke39
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: A 12 oz. bottle, decanted into a tulip glass.

A: It's a clear, tawny-leaning-toward-ruby color. A tiny bit of foam from the pour that quickly forms into a thin ring of white lace. Some consistent columns of carbonation keep some active foam on the surface as well.

S: Rich breadiness, brown sugar, toasted malts, caramel, warm spices, alcohol.

T: Really malt heaviness at the beginning: bready, a touch of sugar. Nice bitterness at the back of the tongue. Balances out the malty sugar. Warming alcohol.

M: Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. I love this type of beer: good malty backbone supported by a chewier mouthfeel.

D: I'm a big fan of this beer. It's definitely meant for maltheads, but it's pretty well balanced and is nice and drinkable.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First every Brown Shugga. Didn't get exposed to Lagunitas until last year and loved Lagunitas Sucks. Now it's time to find out why they sucked.

A: Golden brown pour with an active culture of rising bubbles. The head builds up a substantial amount, lasts a decently long time, and is white in color. The head completely coats the insides of my Lagunitas mason jar, much like an IPA. 4.5

S: The aroma is very sweet, with a grassy, earthy hoppiness providing some balance. Booze, caramel malt, and hops all come together in a distinctly Lagunitas way. I can tell by the aroma that this is going to be as good as everything I've had some this brewery. 4

T: The sweetness and hoppiness collide in just a wonderful way on the taste. Things start of with caramel and citrus, giving way quickly to bitter hops and some booze. The finish is very dry and hoppy, making the mouth water a ridiculous amount. You crave the sweetness at the beginning so much that you forget this monster is nearly 10% ABV...until you stand up! 4.5

MF: Medium body with a great amount of carbonation. The booze is noticeable, but not in a bad way. It's very drinkable for the style. 4.5

O: Lagunitas, you do suck for not making this last year! It's amazing! Although, I'm glad Lagunitas Sucks was the result. I'm torn there, but not on whether or not I like this beer. True winner, yet again. 4.5

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Hermthegerm for the bottle!

Appearance: Pours amber with an insane amount of carbonation and ginormous 2 finger head that's got some staying power.

Smell: Dark fruit, (sure enough)brown sugar, sweet malt, and some hoppiness. Delicious.

Taste: A fight between hops and malt that malt wins, handily, though that isn't a bad thing. This does kinda taste like brown sugar, bottled. Malt backbone lets the hops bite through for a second, but then they sing backing vox to the malt's double tracked chorus that screams into the finish.

Mouthfeel: Ample carbonation lends itself to the nice mouthfeel of this beer, despite it being a big one.

Overall: Definitely glad I got to try this one. It's a big malty beer, but I definitely like it. Not sessionable by any means, but I'd gladly drink again.

*Revisit: Had this fresh for the first time and the hops balance out the malt much better. Bumped up the taste a tick.

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Photo of freed
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It was supposed to be a Barleywine, but it turned out wrong? I believe the story because I believe some of the greatest things are mistakes. Like Post-it notes.

The amber color is great. A noble dark red. The head retention is great, and the aroma, as you lift the pint to you face, it very inviting. A sweet and suble hop aroma. Tasting it is a wonderful celebration in maltiness. After all, beer hasn't always included hops. The strong malt body is very satisfying. This beer, sold in 22oz bottles, is the perfect beer as for a session. Its sweet and spicy, and seems like it might compliment german food and maybe thai food, though the thai food may wrangle with the beer for spicyness.

If you're lucky enough to find this, or any Lagunita's beer, grab it.

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Photo of chilidog
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas, Wow, not what I expected, this is a very good, well enjoyed beer!

It poured a nice dark copper, rich clear color. Nice full head, slight tan with a good lace path left glass-side. (I was expecting, well something brown)

The aroma was sweet toasted malts, an aroma of good crusty bread.

The taste says it all. Toasted malts with a good sweet layer of well carmalized brown sugar. Kinda like brown-sugar cinnamon toast.
This full bodied beer is thick but a great blended hop does'nt allow it to get to sweet. The 9.9% stay's in check as well. Only a slight alcohol hint is noticed in the taste. This allows this beer to be very drinkable. Caution; that also allows that 9.9% to sneak up on ya.

Overall; very drinkable with a good, clean mouthfeel. The mouth is left with a slight oil feel but with a sugar sweet finish.

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Photo of theHoff77
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pokal glass.

A - A rusty or copper red in color. Foamy white head with great retention and lacing.

S - Surprisingly hoppy in smell with the malt coming through too.

T - It wasn't until after I finished my first bottle that I knew this had 9.9% abv and that blew me away. The booze is almost not existent. Has the tasty sweet malt from the sugar as advertised and the hops really come through. Although not overly complex this is tremendously balanced.

M - Smooth as can be considering the higher abv and the bitterness is right on the money. I like that the sugar in this beer doesn't leave my mouth feeling dry like I had a pop.

O - I loved this simply put. Great flavor and balance. Still can't believe it has almost 10% abv. Going to buy as much of this as I can before it's gone.

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Photo of brewdude1982
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this from a 12 oz bottle and poured into a snifter.

This pours a rich brown color and has a slight head And good lacing. It has a sweet smell with a little spice. Wonderfully brilliant malt character that keeps giving after its gone. The body of this beer is perfect and it has a higher viscosity than I expected and i was not disappointed. This is a great beer and coming in at 10% makes it an amazing beer.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant coppery color, with a nice head and really pretty lacing. Basically translucent, but I do have some thin chunky sediment floating around in here.

Smells of smokey caramel and toffee. Taste is dominated by sweetness with a strong smokey bitterness background to support it.

Feels thick but not sticky. Although this monster is nearly 10%, it's easily drinkable.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to andrenaline to sharing a 6er with me
A - clear copper, one finger of white head, respectable lacing
S - sweet brown sugar and caramel, grassy hops and light lemon zest
T - very much like the nose with a stronger hop presence and a light sweet alcohol touch
M - light carbonation, smooth and somewhat creamy, hop bitter finish
D - you would never guess this was a high octane beer, very sweet tastiness with a strong hop balance, i'm convinced that Lagunitas only brew home runs

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Photo of fps_dean
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear brown with moderate head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving a solid ring of lacing around my glass.

Spells of caramel, brown sugar and molasses with a hint of piney hops. Not unpleasant, but doesn't smell like anything to get excited about as the smell itself is rather mild.

Tastes much like it smells, but the hops are much more prominent. There's also a hint of citrus and pine as well. The taste is much, much bolder than the smell and in a good way too.

Medium bodied, and moderate to heavily carbonated.

Overall, a very solid brew and the best seasonal brew I've had this year, and may just be the best winter brew I've had to date. Would definitely buy again.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautifully clear amber, with a light tan head that hangs around for the duration and leaves a lovely trail of lace.

Smells of brown sugar, tropical fruit, floral bouquet, and some slight malt notes.

Full round mouth with a sweet start and a bitter dry finish. Brown sugar and mango followed by bitter citrus and herbal notes. Beautifully balanced, crisp, sweet, bitter, and damn delicious. You can hardly notice the alcohol in this one.

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Photo of HappyBivouac
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last bottle of a 6 pack I purchased 4 months ago; the first 5 went fast but I sat on this one for whatever reason. Can't find the bottling date. Around the label it reads: "We believe this special ale is something unique. Feeding brown cane sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is a'kin 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 and now it's too late." Possibly my favorite packaging blurb in the history of beer.

a- Pours a slightly cloudy ruby brown and bubbly with a light tan head that recedes to a ring and spotty foam.

s- Heavy, inviting and intimidating caramelized sugar hits up front. There is a very noticeable presence of pine & grapefruit. White bread and a slight tart orange are also detectable.

t- all that caramel/brown sugar is an immediate and relentless assault, and you know what.. it works! Resiny, sappy pine bitterness hits fairly hard in a good way as well. I can feel the citrus zest hop bitterness steadily climb during the sip and in the aftertaste, with bready flavors surfacing as well. This isn't the sort of balance I've come to expect from beer. It's sort of an assault of several unique flavors that work independently but the resulting harmony, while often harsh and dissonant, ends up being very welcome and, at the bottom line, very tasty.

m- medium full-bodied and slick, with only a slight lick of carbonation. Coats the mouth a bit.

d- a wonderfully drinkable and delicious strong ale. the assault of flavor reveals its strength, but there is very little trace of actual heat. The whole thing comes off (in part because of the words on the packaging) as a beautiful accident. Would definitely pick up again.

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Photo of dmatsui
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is for the Sweet Release -

Poured from a bottle into a goblet. half-finger off-white soapy head with surprisingly good retention. Not much visible carbonation, but lots of lacing and alcohol legs.

Sweet, trademark Lagunitas hops up front in the nose with biscuity, roasty malts in the background. A lot hoppier than I thought it was going to be.

If there's one thing Lagunitas does right, it's a huge I, II, IIIPA. Sweet Release is perfectly balanced with hops first and foremost with big citrus, fruity and bitter as hell qualities. The malt base is just as beefy with huge amounts of sticky, thick malt. There is a maple quality in the back of the palate. It's just a huge beer with lots of complexities in the hop and malt bill with a booze presence that'll most likely effect this review. It's spicy, savory, thick, stout, sweet and sturdy as hell.

This was my first taste of Brown Shugga and was happy that it was the special release I busted my cherry on. This is a great beer and perfect on a cold night. I plan to pick up a few more cases of this.

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Photo of alaimoa
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle-dangerously delicious.. copper color with a sweetness that hides the higher alcohol content although you get the alcohol in the aftertaste that lingers until the next sip. Tastes like honey molasses malt and hops. A must have in the cellar

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Photo of ianjsullivan
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel glass

Appearance: Nice thick head that sits on top for at least 45 seconds before leaving a slightly cloudy covering. A quick swirl brings that foamy head right back up. The color is rusted red, though, when held to the light it reminds one of a red sunset sky. Little specks of sediment float very still, due to the thickness of the beer.

Smell: This beer has a great aroma. Malt, hops, and without a doubt, brown sugar (smelling kind of like brown syrup) greet the nostrils.

Taste: Malt and brown sugar mix with citrus hops on the finish. It really does remind one of syrup until the generous hops kick in at the finish. The alcohol is present, it leaves a bit of a taste on the tongue, however, it manages not to distract too much from the taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer is heavy, it takes over your whole mouth and sits there. There is some creamy feel at first swirl.

Drinkability: This is not a beer that one would drink a whole six pack in a sitting. Well, you could, I just wouldn't go anywhere afterwards. It's a perfect beer for cold, howling, brittle, winter nights.

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Photo of nobeer4u
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had 2 of these while watching football on Sunday. The first one I thought was kinda sweet, although had a ton of flavor. Great color and mouth feel. I took a brake and had an IPA and then went back for the second one .. still the Eagles game wasn't on .. anyway, after the IPA the Shugga took on a whole new flavor. Great caramel flavor with just the right amount of carbonation. More hoppy than I remembered .. a well balanced brew. One of those brews that one just won't do justice.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 12oz. single for $1.50... seemed like a good deal.

Pours into a globe glass a beautiful bright red color with great clarity and nice thick white head. Good retention and excellent lacing all around.

Aroma is sweet and really hoppy with pine and citrus like many a west coast IPA. Really pleasant in this respect.

Flavor is intense starting sweet with big malt and brown sugar leading gradually towards a hop smack on the tongue. Lots of great hop bitterness makes this beer blur the line between strong ale and double IPA. Maybe not enough IBUs (51) but certainly well balanced for having such a high OG (1.10).

Mouthfeel is very good, full bodied but not too thick or cloying. Good carbonation and smooth on the palate.

Drinkability is also good for the style but high ABV hinders it somewhat.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a glossy burnt candy-apple red color, a stunning looking thing, like a ruby bauble in a glass...with a beige beret sitting on top. This is a beautiful beer.

Aroma is a stunner, and quiet exciting if you already love this sort of thing: big candied, alcohol-soaked fruits (cherries, mostly); prickly, piney hops; cinnamon and brown sugar; subdued alcohol warmth.

It...tastes...so very very good. This is like a livelier, pricklier Arrogant Bastard (I'll leave the Double B alone--that's in a class all by itself). Candy-like sweetness; tart and sweet cherries alke; brown sugar (hence the name); rind-like hops; resiny hops; pineapple; faint tobacco essence; earthy/woody snap to the finish, which gives a kind of dry vibe--and it's not a particularly long finish. Amazingly, the alcohol is dialed down pretty well for almost 10%. Could've gotten away with claiming 8% probably (and could've passed for a barleywine).

Slick and round, big and sticky...but just a step below true creaminess. As with everything else here, it feels just right.

So I guess this beer originated as a barleywine gone wrong. That describes the catch-all "American Strong Ale" designation as well as anything else I've ever heard, and this certainly bounces back and forth like a pinball between the bumpers of barleywine, American strong ale and Double IPA. Whatever it is, it's excellent, and highly recommended to enthusiasts of Stone's Bastard boys.

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Photo of cnbrown313
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release, 12oz bottle poured into a snifter glass

A - Pours a redish copper color with no haze at all. Generous off white head that lingers for a bit.

S - Smells sweet and... well a little bit like brown sugar. Biscuty smell as well

T - The taste up front is sweet and smooth. You can definitely taste the brown sugar and almost a little bit of a graham cracker taste. The 9.9% ABV is almost completely hidden. It warms you a little as you sip it, but it never tastes boozy at all.

M - I would have liked a little thicker mouth feel, as this one was medium bodied and a little thin. But, all in all it has a nice mouth feel.

O - This is how big fall beers should be done! I'm not a huge Lagunitas fan, but I look forward to this release every year.

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Photo of grdahl
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle,

A- Nice white head, pleasant brown orange color

S- sweet brown sugar and camel, very malty with very little hop aroma

T- The emphasis is on malt, pleasantly sweet with lots of camel and molasses present. The sweetness is not overly done however.

M- chewy but not thick

D- Very drinkable for a beer of it's strength.

Overall- Loved it!! Lagunitas brews are an incredible value and represent all that is great about the American Craft Beer industry. Well done!!!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-29-2009

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Photo of samie85
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a very clear, dark copper with two thick fingers of off white head.

S-Smells of sweet pineapple and some light malt notes with some caramel.

T-Big notes of pineapple with some dark fruit and a touch of bitterness and alcohol on the finish.

M-Pretty rich and full bodied for a hoppy beer. Smooth and slick in the mouth with low to medium carbonation.

D-For the ABV on this one, it's incredibly drinkable and and reminds me a lot of DIPA's like The Oracle

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Photo of s_wit
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - clear orange/amber color nice light colored head with a lot of carbonation. Pretty good lacing.

S - light citrus with a crisp smell that comes later. Good smell, not extremely strong.

T - very strong taste, full of citrusy hops of front and finishes sweet but not as sweet as I thought. Nice and complex with lots of favors going on. This is the best thing about this beer. Some booziness or I would have rated it even higher here.

M - boozy, sticky, good carbonation, decent thickness but not great

O - I'm glad I tried this one as it was a really good beer. It was much better than I expected. Will probably have a couple more and cellar a couple.

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Photo of untitledeuphoria
4.4/5  rDev +10%

Fall 2013 batch, drank 9.01.14, poured from a 12oz bottle into a 12oz Stange.

It had been a few years since I last had this beer, and upon coming across it at Good Beer NYC I immediately snatched up whatever I could. Here we go...

A: Pours a clear, glowing red caramel (reminiscent of barleywine coloring), two fingers of light khaki head, excellent head retention, sticky lacing, eventually fades to a moderate cap.

S: Molasses, bitter dark fruits, toasted malt, touch of hop oil, and with all of that sugar I just can't help but smelling some maple syrup too.

T: I swear this beer is a second cousin to a barleywine somewhere... upon first sip I get tastebud deja vu to past nights of drinking big barleys along the Atlantic coast. Anyways... Molasses with a hint of vanilla, caramel, bitter fruit, and fall spicing, most notably clove. Phenomenal taste profile, better than I ever remember it.

M: Smooth, alcohol is completely obscured, light carbonation, thick... leaves a coating well after swallowing, taste lingers well afterwards without any flavor deviation.

O: Absolutely terrific. Big Flavor, super smooth, great mouthfeel, huge ABV. I hate myself for not picking up more than I did.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice bright copper/burgundy pour. Hints of red and brown along the rim. Good head, dense foam with some clumping and lacing as it went down.
Aroma of malt and caramel. Hints of apricot and sugarcane. Hops and some dry pine are faint, towards the back.
Tastes rich in malt, but not overpowering. Some pumpkin pie spices are available but hard to find. Definite maple/brown sugar influence, but only if you think about it.
Smooth. Doesn't stick, seems kinda light. The alcohol sneaks up on you. I was feeling good.
The aftertaste is a bit much for me. Too sweet for my dry tastes.

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Photo of MBPChead
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look: A deep, but transparent amber orange with a thick creamy head. Quite lovely in appearance.

Smell: Thick bready, nut and sugary malt characteristics accompanied by mild spicy floral hops with a hint of apple and pineapple in the nose. Fantastic aroma

Taste: Quite rich in taste, the flavors this beer contains are as such; honey, walnuts, almonds wheat, maple sugar or syrup, fresh bread, hints of apple and pineapple, mild and spicy floral and piney hop characteristics, and a bit of brown sugar. The flavor in this beer is extremely well balanced it has a touch of sweetness that is not overbearing, spicy hops that add a nice kick but are not overpowering, and an excellent malt body that blends with all the other aspects of this brew so well. I honestly wish I could give the flavor of this one a 4.75, but in the interest of my taste buds, it gets a 4.5.

Feel: Thick, viscus, and slightly tingly. Very nice overall

Drinkability: Quite good overall, the thickness and and alcohol are a bit of a deterrent from drinking more than 1 or 2. But, the flavor is wonderful.

I'm definitely going to buy at least another 6 pack of this stuff, its WAY too good not to buy more of.

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