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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,439 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3439
Reviews: 1291
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.99% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 12-13-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 3,439 | Reviews: 1,291 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle in a tall pint glass.

A- This beer poured a dark amber color, clean and clear. It had a huge 3f head which was the color of light brown sugar, no less. It stayed fluffy and left a big lump in the center along with some lacing on the glass.

S- Floral, citrus, and pine hop aromas. The malty alcohol shows as it warms, replacing the sweetness.

T- Here come the sugary sweet caramel malts. The malt flavor is prominent, the hops dominated the smell.

M- Thick. Sugary malts keep the alcohol from coming on too strong. Smooth dry finish. Lingering malt flavor. All the carbonation must've been in the head.

O- Drinkable 10% abv strong ale. Truth in advertising, it's a sugar bomb like the name suggests.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 01:04:47 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of ISmith87


4.43/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - 4.5 - Perfect copper color. Clear as day. Off white head that leaves great lacing on my BJ's brewhouse glass.
S - 4.25 - Caramel malt, brown sugar, citrusy hops, orange
T - 4.5 - God damn, nice citusy hop taste (orange, citrus zest, bitterness) perfectly balanced by a sweet caramel malt background. You can taste brown sugar in the best possible way. It's good, really good.
M - 4.25 - Bitter, but sweet at the same time. Very well balanced. Light-medium feel. Alc covered. Aftertaste is a nice pleasant hop bitterness.
O - 4.5 - Probably the best american strong ale I've had. I'm definitely going to need a 6 pack of this. So good.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2013 20:02:33 | More by ISmith87
Photo of hagbergl


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Lagunitas' Brown Shugga' is back this year...time to dig in for another beer review. Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter.

Appearance (4.5/5): Burnt orange, reddish and a light tan head--3 fingers and excellent retention. Lots of alcohol legs and sticky lace.

Smell (3.75/5) Smell is piney grapefruity forward but you can tell this packs a massive malt load. Underlying sweetness evokes caramel, brown sugar (go figure), and molasses. There's a subtle alcohol note underneath but it's not very noticeable. Not terribly pungent but still good.

Taste (4.25/5): Brown Shugga' tastes maltier than the smell (and it better, given its name). Lots of caramel and brown sugar sweetness. Hoppiness and malt work together in concert. The hops are sticky sweet, not overly bitter--true to Lagunitas' trademark of a sweeter, floral hop profile. The taste is of candied grapefruit and orange marmalade. I also don't taste much alcohol in the flavor at all.

Mouthfeel (3.75/5): A little lacking in the carbonation department. Body is also a bit lighter than I want it to be. It's medium. Nice stickiness in the mouthfeel. Plenty of hop resin to go around. Like a lighter barleywine style ale.

Overall (4/5): Brown Shugga is Lagunitas doing what Lagunitas does–sweet, hop-forward beer that's unique and affordable. While it's not perfect–it lacks a bit in the smell and mouthfeel categories–Brown Shugga' is still a quality beer. I would say Lagunitas should dial down the alcohol just a tad and try for a better carbonation level. That would help cut the booziness and give the mouthfeel a boost. Overall, definitely worth checking out; it's tasty!

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 19:52:11 | More by hagbergl
Photo of homebrew311


3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear goldish amber with dense white head and tons of lacing. The nose starts with some aromatic hops which is quickly joined by candy like malt notes. Notes of caramel, brown sugar (imagine that), and floral hops are all present. The taste starts with heavy sugar sweetness which is followed by a swift hop bitterness. The hops don't seem to cut the sweetness too much, rather it adds an earthy and floral component to the sweet malts and makes for some similarities to wildflower honey. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated and has a somewhat sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a bit sweet for me and the hop character just isn't my favorite pairing.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 07:43:41 | More by homebrew311
Photo of IchLiebeBier


3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: amber/copper; medium off white frothy head, long lasting

Smell: malty, but dominated by hops; previous review saying piney/pineapple is spot on

Taste: very sweet malt with big dose of alcohol; very resiny hoppy bite; well balanced with the sweetness, but I'm not crazy about the hop choice

Mouthfeel: creamy and chewy

Remarks: good beer overall, but I'm not a huge fan of US hops overall

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2013 00:10:13 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of boilermakerbrew


4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a medium copper brown in color with a lot of red hues mixed in too. A fairly sizable head forms and retains very well with good lacing too. Pretty translucent with just a touch of haze in the body.

S- Some medium hops bitterness right up front before the malts start mixing in. Hops are upfront in the beginning, but take a backseat towards the end, but are very piney in flavor throughout. Malts are somewhat delicate and not as strong as the hops, but caramel and slightly sweet in nature.

T- Once again, moderate to strong hop presence up front, but in the taste, the hops are the dominant flavor throughout. In the middle of the drink, some caramel and pale malt flavors kick in. These are less sweet than in the scent, and display no brown sugar sweetness as the name would suggest. Drink ends with the same hop bitterness it began with, this time lingering a while after the sip ends.

M- Fairly smooth and high in carbonation. Rather easy to drink despite the high alcohol level. This could be dangerous if one were to buy a six pack and was determined to finish it in one go.

Overall, this reminds me a lot of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot with less of a hop presence. The hops are still there and very high in quality flavor-wise. The balance the hops and malts strike in this beer make it one to savor....and then maybe have another.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 00:58:15 | More by boilermakerbrew
Photo of TreyIsWilson


4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pour a dark orange with a one-finger off-white head. Heavy amount of lacing.

S - Citrus hops and caramel malts. Aroma is fairly sweet.

T - Sweet with lots of caramel malts and brown sugar. Good amount of citrus and pine in the finish.

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Very smooth creamy mouthfeel.

O - Another excellent brew from Lagunitas. This is a very drinkable beer for 9.9% ABV. Exactly what an american strong ale should be.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 03:49:38 | More by TreyIsWilson
Photo of kismet


3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pretty good late night winter warmer! this thick. sweet semi syrupy brew is very original in its flavor profile. the booze keeps things warm and sippable throughout the sweet, hoppy experience . i thought this one was way better as it warmed. things were very smooth at slightly cooler than room temp, this is more like sipping brandy or cognac rather than drinking a beer. i am definitely warmed all over after one...it packs a punch.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2013 05:35:52 | More by kismet
Photo of tmm313


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear, dark orange amber color. Poured a nice creamy two finger head. Great lacing.
S- Orange, sweet grapefruit, floral and spicy hops. Toffee in the background. Really inviting.
T- Not quite what I was expecting... Super sweet sitting on the tongue. After swallowing, you're hit with big caramel, booze and tropical fruits. Finish has grapefruit, roasted caramel, citrus rind, and peppery hops. I can't say I pick up any brown sugar. Nicely balanced.
M- Medium body. Creamy, oily, and slick. Lingering citrus rind bitterness and booze.
O- I enjoyed this beer. It got better as it warmed, and the flavors played really well together. Strong flavors. If I could change anything, I would tone the booze back a touch.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 00:06:33 | More by tmm313
Photo of Duane_Opfer


3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with no date. Poured into a pint glass. Consumed on 12/08/13. Review written from notes.

A - Brownish red with a finger of dense small bubble, off-white head. Mostly transparent with moderate carbonation. Head lasts. Distinct bands of carbonation.

S - Not very fragrant. Citrus hops and caramel malts.

T - Clearly a strong ale, but sweet... brown sugar does come through. Almost completely masks ABV. Malt flavors are forward. Some hoppy critrus flavors.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Dry and sticky, likely from the sugars.

O - Despite a lower scoring, very enjoyable and very easy to drink, in fact too easy to drink considering the high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2013 14:06:58 | More by Duane_Opfer
Photo of Tucquan


4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had this on 2013-12-09 in Columbia, PA

A - Clear ruby-brown with a 2-finger light tan head that lasts and lasts. Great lacing.

S - Orange-themed, spicy dank potpourri, brown sugar, caramel, hop buds. Not overly strong but very sweet and pleasant.

T - Much like the smell with an extra dollop of brown sugar, lightly burnt caramel, candied pineapple and orange zest, hop oil, pepper, significant hop bitterness that is well-tempered by the residual sweetness. Alcohol is dangerously subdued.

M - Heavy body and light-medium carbonation. Resinous, thick, milk shake, sticky, gooey, good.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. It's a sweet and bitter holiday-flavored treat that sits well on my palate. I now understand why Lagunitas made fun of themselves for not releasing this and instead, substituted Lagunitas Sucks. It's a good beer at a really good price point for 10% ABV.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 22:57:30 | More by Tucquan
Photo of delta490


4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a nice effervescent amber with a thick creamy off-white head. Head has great retention and leaves big lacing

S- big citrus hops fronts the aroma with some subtle bready sweetness mingling in here and there.

T- the same hops forward flavor with some pine flavors thrown in to the mix. The malt background is not huge, but it does hold its own and support the hops well.

M- full with a slight oily feeling to it from the big hops.

O- a great big flavor IPA-style beer. Not sure the brown sugar/cane sugar made a huge difference flavor-wise when compared to the regular Lagunitas IPA, but it is a good beer all the same. Would be interested to try the two head-to-head for a comparison.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 22:57:23 | More by delta490
Photo of btbryanam

North Carolina

4.48/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Amber color. Nice two finger white head. Decent head retention.

S - Subtle hop notes, slight citrus. Very pronounced molasses and brown sugar aromas.

T - Big spice with slight booze on the front end. Very nice brown sugar and molasses with malt compliments in the middle. Fades into a sweet malt finish with slight hop bitterness.

M - The most perfect part about this beer. You might need a paddle to wade through the unbelievable thickness of this beer. Perfect compliment to the brown sugar that highlights this beer.

O - My favorite beer from Lagunitas at the moment. This is a perfect way to escape the endless porters and stouts during the winter. I had to do a double take when I read the ABV at 9.9%. Dangerously drinkable and great for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 00:01:56 | More by btbryanam
Photo of Born_Beerknurd


4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Favorite brew from Lagunitas so far. 12oz bottle into pint glass

A - coppery orange/amber color. Fluffy three finger white head.
of spicy yeast notes backed up by molasses/brown sugat sweetness and some subtle citrusy hops.

T - Strong spicy yeast and alcohol flavors up front. Brown sugar and molasses in the middle. Finishes with lot of malty sweetness. Hops are present but hidden well behind the alcohol and matlyness

M - What makes this brew for me. Warming alcohol, smooth sweetness that is just crisp enough to remain highly drinkable but still malty and warming true to style.

O - An excellect strong ale. Another excellent brew from Lagunitas. Extremely drinkable for such high ABV at 9.9%. My new template for what an american strong ale should be. Well balanced, strong, smooth and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 20:49:14 | More by Born_Beerknurd
Photo of magictacosinus


4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours an dark amber color, complete with a lovely cascade of about 2 fingers of an off-white head. Tons of lacing stick to the glass as with all of this brewery's beers, but the high ABV on this makes this all the more eye-popping. The head lasts around a good long while, but it eventually dissipates fully. Looks viscous and intense.

Contains vivid sweetened, caramelized flavors from the main adjunct (obviously), but there's far more going on here than a one note scoop of brown sugar. Underneath the well expressed flavors of toffee, caramel, and honey, fruit flavors consisting of raisins, dates, over-ripe peaches, and pears are very vivid, including a brief spiciness and herbal backbone that peppers it up. Pine, cinnamon, cardamom, and light hemp make up the finish, which fully rotates to the sweetened caramel brown sugar flavor at the end - which, is fully enhanced by the relatively hidden alcohol. While there's a brief stinging sensation at the end, it's extremely well restrained in terms of hiding both any excessive malty sweetness, as well as any booziness. Well done once again, Lagunitas.

Yeah, it's clear right at the flavor that this lives up properly to its name. Brown sugar is, without a doubt, the most predominant initial flavor, and the notes of burnt toffee, as well as a nectar-like honey flavor, go down extremely well alongside the adjunct. Raisins, dates, and peaches, as well as yellow apples and pears, are the main fruit flavors, followed by a brief stint of orange peel, pine, and a dried leafy sensation. When I had this super fresh, it ended with extreme notes of cannabis, but at this point the malty profile has taken over a little bit more predominantly. In a sense, however, it's still enormously restrained in the flavor, as the alcohol is so well hidden that this drinks like a beer that's half as strong as this. Silky and creamy, with no cloying sweetness, graininess, or booze, which makes this a conundrum - you want to down it quickly, but it demands to be sipped as any barleywine should. Wholly enjoyable stuff - the way these kinds of beers should be made.

I can't believe I missed out on this last year, but my year of waiting has paid off well. This is fantastic stuff - it is destined to fail in so many respects, but the malt profile, as well as the herbal backbone, meld so well with the addition of brown sugar that it really reveals that the gents over at Lagunitas seem to pretty much know what they're doing when they approach any beer recipe. I feel this would get too sweet if aged, as the hops provide a much needed bitterness to round things out. Recommended for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 06:36:20 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of ANIMOUL


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Along with Anchor's yearly Christmas offering, I look forward to sipping this during the holidays. As the name suggests, brown sugar is the predominant note... along with alcohol. The copper brown color, coupled with the almost gritty-like aftertaste accentuates the brown-sugar sweetness. Probably best that its offered only as seasonal selection; since it screams of yule tide bliss, would seem awkward (i.e. depressing) enjoying this in January.

I tried to session this last year; bad idea. However, something to be slow-sipped and enjoyed during the frigid San Diego winter weather.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 05:46:06 | More by ANIMOUL
Photo of BucannonXC5


3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Lagunitas mason jar
From: Ralph’s in Hillcrest (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $8.39 (w/ Ralph’s card and 30 percent off after buying four 6-packs) for a 6-pack
Purchased: Dec. 5, 2013
Consumed: Dec. 5, 2013
Misc.: N/A

Poured a amber auburn somewhat clear color with four fingers of khaki white head. A light stream of bubbles coming up at various spots of the glass. Tons of thick foamy lacing along the sides, pretty uneven. A very nice amount of layered retention on the top all the way down.

First smell you could tell it was a Lagunitas. Got floral hops, brown sugar, caramel malts, spicy notes, soap, light pine, citrus hops, lime and some toffee.

Tasted the 9.99 percent ABV right from the get-go. No hiding it there. Got caramel, brown sugar, sweet sugary floral hops, faint orange citrus hops, tropical notes and some faint toffee.

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, sugary finish.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed overall. A good beer, but not great. I have may even overrated it a bit.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2013 19:25:14 | More by BucannonXC5
Photo of alexk307


4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A: Brown, almost ruby red with a thin white head.

S: Hops, citrus, and a little boozy. Sort of smells like lemon pledge.

T: First taste was a wall of hops and it finishes off with a super sweet back end. A little bit too sweet for me in combination with the hops.

M: Super sweet and carbonated

O: A good brew, nothing I'm in love with. Would drink again but probably not a future purchase.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2013 04:44:31 | More by alexk307
Photo of JeremyAnaya


4.51/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We all know bittersweet..
But have you met sweetbitter??

Happy holidays you bastard

find it drink it love it

Pop the tops and smell the hops, Lagunitas is the best at it. Here comes the hop but this time she brings a stranger. Nice to meet you brown sugar I think we'll be fast friends.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 04:53:13 | More by JeremyAnaya
Photo of watermelon

North Carolina

4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Clear orange brown color with a thick foamy off white head. Good retention with lots of lacing.

S: Strong grapefruit hops in the nose mixed in with carmel malts.

T: Lots of grapefruit and pine hops as well as strong brown sugar malty flavor as the name would imply. Could use a bit more malt being that its a strong ale. For being 10 percent the alcohol is hidden very well.

M: Nice syrupy mouthfeel, hoppy bitterness lingers on the tongue.

O: This is a great beer at a great price. $10 for a 6pack of 10% beer that taste good is outstanding. This is a must buy.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 02:33:12 | More by watermelon
Photo of zookerman182


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is a clear red orange color with a two f get white head.
Aroma is pine, burnt sugar, sweetness, hoppy.
Flavor is pine, flowers, a hint of sweet malt, well balanced bitterness.
Mouthfeel is semi dry and the flavors slightly linger.
Fantastic beer for being a 9.9% abv.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 23:18:43 | More by zookerman182
Photo of vkv822


3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz : tulip

Clear, burnt orange/amber red color with a foamy, off white head.

Big resiny, juicy hops upfront, really pleasant, as expected from Lagunitas. These blend very well with a strong backing of sweet, caramel malts. Has a faint boozy warming finish.

Medium body, mild carbonation.

A very enjoyable strong/festive/winter ale. Nothing too fancy, just a very tasty hop profile matched well with a solid malt backbone.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 08:52:03 | More by vkv822
Photo of FreshHawk


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Deep, transparent bronze color. Pours with a full, thick, creamy off white head. Good retention leaving a full layer of lace.

S - Big notes of sweet malt, molasses, brown sugar, and toffee. A bit of a boozy aroma. Hop levels are what I expect from a Strong Ale, strong but definitely not dominant. Piney with slight notes of citrus. Balance between the aromas and a very strong aroma at that.

T - Strong toffee, caramel, and light brown sugar flavor upfront. Gives way to a slight citrus flavor along with a breadiness. Hints of earthy and herbal notes in the back that come out on the finish. Finishes with a fruity, citrus flavor on top of a sweet malty flavor. A touch of booze on the finish.

M - Medium body with plenty of carbonation. Slightly sticky.

D - Complex and bold flavors encourage taking another sip. Alcohol is fairly well hidden. Not quite a sipper, but not something to down quick. I'll happily drink one or two over a night.

Notes: A bit of a tweener. Big malt backbone and overall it's fairly sweet, but there is enough hops and alcohol to give it a zing. Pretty balanced between flavors, but bold flavors at the same time. Solid beer, especially at the price, but nothing outstanding. If you want a solid, high ABV at a pretty low price, then go for it.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 04:02:15 | More by FreshHawk
Photo of KingdomBobcat


4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Golden orange-ish color that pours a nice white head that quickly dissipates to a ring around the glass
S-caramel malt, some booze, barely any hops
T-kinda belgian caramel, sweet aftertaste, then booze
M-Nicely carbonated, smoothly flavorful, kinda sweet and then you taste the booze
O-Kinda like Double Bag on steroids, not my favorite Lagunitas, but for a 6 pack it's not a bad deal

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2013 02:50:30 | More by KingdomBobcat
Photo of lsiberian


4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a beautiful clear reddish brown color with a powerful white foamy head that has staying power. The nose is flavor perfection with it's sweet, fruity, hoppy vapors, but the taste doesn't match the smell, appearance or body. It's a sweeter hoppy fest for sure, but comes up short of it's promise though further down the glass it does still make an outstanding beer overall.

This is a great seasonal Christmas beer One that is best for beer lovers especially IPA lovers looking for a sweet fix.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2013 02:59:06 | More by lsiberian
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,439 ratings.