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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,438 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3438
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: 3,438 | Reviews: 1,291 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Darkmagus82


3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a clear amber color with some hints of ruby red seen shining through. Upon pouring there is a nice one finger of a thick, off white head. The head has a fantastic level of retention, hanging on for quite some time, but eventually fading to leave a bit of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is very sweet with lots of brown sugar and caramel and some big fruit aromas as well. The fruit smells are a mix of light fruit as well as a bit of some darker fruit aromas. The lighter aromas are biggest of a tropical smells with some apple and apricot mixing in, while the darker fruit aromas are mainly a mix of cherry and plum. A hint of a biscuit smell rounds out the aroma, producing an overall sugary and fruity nose to the beer.

Taste – The taste is rather surprising in light of the nose, as it contains a much maltier, slightly less sweet, and more hopped flavor the smells let on. The taste begins with a rather big malty flavor of a bready and doughty nature. There is a good level of sweetness right from the start as well with lots of tropical fruit flavors of tangerine, mango, and papaya as well as tons of caramel flavors. As the taste advances, the tropical fruit flavors lose some potency, being replaced by flavors of brown sugar and a bit of a cherry flavor. As the taste moved on from the middle, some grapefruit and grassy hop tastes come to the tongue. These flavors grow slightly more intense to the end of the taste, where the mix of flavors ends up leaving a moderately hopped, rather fruity and sugary, thick malty flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the average side. A slightly lower carbonation may have been a little better for the big malt and sweeter flavors of the brew, but the thicker feel is very nice for highlighting the hop flavors mixed with the big malty and sweet flavors, really producing a rather nicely blended flavor.

Overall – A good malty and sweet brew with a decent level of hop and a great drinkability even at 9.9 % abv. A rather nice, and easy drinking big brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 01:41:18 | More by Darkmagus82
Photo of theBubba

New York

2.05/5  rDev -49%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nice head that lasts, nice amber color, nice lace afterwards.

Smell? Hops! Anyone who says "Smells like oatmeal with butter" is eating some pretty strange oatmeal or maybe good oatmeal on another planet. Beam me up Scotty.

Taste? Hops.

Mouthfeel? Okay if yer brain can filter out the hops.

Overall this beer doesn't do it for me. I've still got that shitty bitter hop taste in my mouth. Gotta go and brush up. I suppose I was mislead by the label. I expected something more of sweet malts and less hops. But of course I should have known better. West coast beers= HOPS. I guess I slipped up.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2013 02:06:45 | More by theBubba
Photo of apants007

New York

4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

dark orange - amberish color. This head dissipates almost immediately. Nothing too impressive up front.

Smells like oatmeal with butter - i like that smell - that smells good.

Tastes like dried mango with a nice hop bite. Unexpected and appreciated. About halfway down the glass the fruit becomes less noticeable and the hopps really take over.

Lite carbonation just puts a little electricity on your tongue. The higher alcohol content helps with the buzzing feeling you get as you sip.

Nice beer. Will grab one again soon.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 19:13:47 | More by apants007
Photo of screamking


4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into snifter.

Pours burnt orange with a huge three finger khaki head. Lots of grapefruit citrus, orange citrus, and just about any other citrus you can think of. Brown sugar works its way in too, giving it a slight cookie aroma. The taste has much more of that brown sugar their talking about. It also has the typical bitter hop taste of most lagunitas brews. However, the malt really comes forward and demands its on space in this one.

Medium to full bodied mouthfeel with a slight boozy burn. After taste lingers for quite awhile making it a great sipper. One of the best parts of buying a lagunitas beer is not having to break the bank. 10 bucks for a sixer of nearly 10% ABV beer equals one heck of a deal. I'll grab at least one sixer every year.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 03:19:42 | More by screamking
Photo of marv3mania


4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

!2 oz. bottle in a snifter. Pours a clear amber with a moderate off-white head. Aroma is mango, grapefruit, orange, pine, and a bit of sugary sweetness. I don’t think any brewery creates such beautiful smelling beers as Lagunitas. Taste mostly follows the nose, with a slight malty taste at the back of the throat. That aftertaste is about the only thing reminding me that this is a barley wine. As usual, Lagunitas has created a superb brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 02:16:48 | More by marv3mania
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

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

Picked this up in Totowa last week, having not had this before but hearing good things about this. The guys at the store loved this and after having most of what I bought, I have to say that I felt the same way. Even though there's a lot going on here and it didn't quite mesh well 100%, this was easily enjoyable while having an alcohol profile that was well-hidden. Because that was recessed, I could process the Brown Sugar with the hop flavors, while not even realizing that the strength of this beer was creeping up on me. I think that only Lagunitas could pull this off and for that, I give them their props!

The pour to this was great, with a nice pecan hue, frothy head, and lacing that left thick rings on the side of my pint glass after each sip. Lots of brown sugar and hops in the nose, as tropical fruits and metallic notes stood out to me. Those were repeated in the taste, but the burning bitterness was recessed. As a few other reviewers noted, this felt and tasted like a Barleywine since it was so strong but the mango and papaya were offset by the Brown Sugar and caramel that gave this beer a much deeper malt profile. Nice and full, there was just enough carbonation here to take the edge off while allowing the aftertaste to linger for a while, as a grainy consistency gave way to the sweetness that lingered for quite a while.

Strong? Check. Warming? Check. Sweet? Check. This beer had all of those attributes while never feeling sticky, sugary, or chewy. There was a lot to like here, even if it felt like an Ale that wanted to be a dessert beer. There wasn't anything else I could have picked up from the store that was quite like this and because the hop profile was so pronounced here, it kept this from feeling like an Imperial Brown Ale or a Barleywine that was brewed in America. Take this for what it's worth - a Strong Ale with lots of taste and body, even if it doesn't quite know what it wants to be. This one's worth savoring to over a good Rolling Stones anthology, as I'm certain that this will endure just as well as the song it's named after. Highly recommended as an alternative to the seasonal offerings currently on the shelf.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 10:19:42 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of RyanOooh


3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big sticky froth that slowly dissolved into a nice cream colored float. Caramel/medium amber maple syrup/red...really beautiful color.

Brown sugar, bread, greenery, sour.

Hoppy, hoppier, sweet, brown sugar hops.

Dry finish with lingering bitterness.

It's a balance between hops and sugar and I feel the shugga overpowers this balance.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 05:30:55 | More by RyanOooh
Photo of Chickenhawk9932


4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 01:22:16 | More by Chickenhawk9932
Photo of Hammer35


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

Appearance: Beautiful deep amber color, great carbonation and a thick head. Good head retention and lacing as well.

Smell: Pronounced brown sugar aroma. Very malty, almost bready smell with light, citrusy hops.

Taste: Sweet brown sugar is very apparent. Malty and smooth for the amount of alcohol. A slight hint of hops at the finish, but not quite enough to erase the sweet, malty nature of this beer.

Mouthfeel: Definitely full bodied. Thick mouthfeel with good carbonation, but I could have lived with a touch more to tone down the heaviness.

Overall: Great job by Lagunitas again. Not my favorite offering from them, but that's more a fault of my taste rather than the beer itself. Great if you like sweeter beers or need something lighter than a stout to warm up on a cold night. Definitely a complex flavor profile.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2013 05:31:11 | More by Hammer35
Photo of SingularWalker


2.75/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Ok, i LOVE Lagunitas, maybe my favorite brewery. So, i was waiting on finding this to try it out.
Everything else they brew i seem to love, but this, this is just not for me. I am trying to not be too hard on it. Well, first off, i used to have a cat years ago that would piss on the front door if i was sleeping and couldnt let him out, and this beer smells like what that cat was pissing. So right off, i am not too happy, but it could get better...Mouthfeel is ok, but damned if it doesnt taste like it smells, cat piss. I mustve had a funky assed cat cause at 16 when his bladder was iffy and he couldnt wait, he was pissing Brown Shugga. I just cant get over it. Not even sure i can give this a fair review because of it.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 20:43:55 | More by SingularWalker
Photo of Weston19


3.34/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a copper color with high carbonation. Starts off with a two finger head that eventually diminishes into a half a pinky. Head looks very creamy.

S: As is the norm with Lagunitas, the beer smell fantastic! It has a sweet smell that expresses brown sugar (obviously), grape fruit, and some pineapple although lightly there.

T: Brown sugar, light hop flavor at the back of the palate, alcohol in the mid palate, there is some grapefruit at first but the taste is overpowered by the alcohol flavor. Honestly I'm kind of disappointed by the taste. Based on the smell of the beer, I expected more hops and a more balanced flavored. The alcohol is a bit overpowering and completely covers up the hops. I've had beers at this ABV before and higher that did a much better job at concealing the alcohol flavor. The only good thing that happens is that as it warms up, the brown sugar taste becomes stronger so it allows you to focus more on that than the alcohol flavor.

MF: Mildly dry and some burn in the back of the throat due to the alcohol.

O: As this warms up it gets sweeter but there isn't much there besides the sweetness and the alcohol taste. You can definitely smell the hops but they're hardly present in the flavor. I've had much better from Lagunitas. At $10.99 for a 6 pack, this is probably the last time I'll buy a pack.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 18:03:41 | More by Weston19
Photo of JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

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

Single bottle from Premier Gourmet - never had it before, but enjoyed the Shugga substitute last year.

Poured into a tulip. Light caramel amber, half inch of head that yields some solid lace and a thick ring. Nice looking brew.

Nose is quite rich and inviting. Sugar, sweet malt, resin, citrus, good hop presence to it but the malt is definitely dominant here.

Very tasty brew, nice and sweet but with a nice dose of citrus hops. Caramel, candied peach. The brown sugar is quite enjoyable. Good balance of sweet and bitter, citrus and sugar.

Nearing barleywine in terms of feel, alcohol is barely present despite its strength.

Enjoyed this one a great deal, would definitely pick up a few more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 04:44:02 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of richj1970


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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a deep amber almost red color. Very generous 3 finger head with some nice lacing.

S: Nice mix of sweet caramel and hops. A bit of piney resin.

T: Really complex mix of some slight sweetness from the malts with bitterness from the hops. Some roasted grains, caramels, and bold hops.

M: Full bodied and nicely carbonated.

O: Interesting brew. I take one sip and I'm thinking DIPA. The next sip and I'm thinking stronle ale. Nice balance and complexity.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2013 03:02:28 | More by richj1970
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served in a tulip.

Appearance: Deep amber color with thick off-white head rising ridiculously thick...maybe to the very least two finger's length.

Smell: Light scent of honey and hops. it's one of those

Taste: Complex and bitter, you feel hints of caramel and hops. Malty as you want it and seriously addicting.

Mouth: Really sticky with medium to heavy bubbles. The roasted caramel finish is honestly the cherry on top.

Overall: Beautifully well crafted brew that is pretty much a hybrid DIPA. it absolutely dellivers and I will be crazy not to buy this again. This is another reason why I have fallen in love with Lagunita's....just keep them coming. Salud!

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 00:26:23 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of Kuaff


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

Brown Shugga in a snifta... at cellar temperature.

The color's a transparent cross between ruby, mahogany, and copper hues, and the head is a full two fingers of off-white foam.

A sniff of this stuff provides a killer set of scents that work beautifully together. First of all, it has my favorite kind of hops smell: that dank, kinda spicy note that I only get from certain American barleywines and DIPAs. Add to this a mix of lemon, orange, and fresh pine, rounded off with some caramel, and that describes this awesome aroma.

It tastes kind of like the result of someone throwing some hops and pine needles in a vat and stewing them in citrus juices and caramel (or maybe adding brown sugar, hehe). Spicy hop flavor, zesty citrus, bitter and resinous pine, and sweet breadiness deliver some serious goods, in that order.

The feel is full, just like the flavor.

Yeah. Really awesome stuff.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 19:46:57 | More by Kuaff
Photo of itsscience


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a goblet.

Pours a hazy amber color with a half-finger of white head that retains well. The nose has earthy hops, sweet dark malt, honey, and alcohol. The taste is sweet with a strong boozy quality, but it finishes bitter and dry like an IPA. Mouthfeel is a little bit creamy with medium carbonation. It's a unique beer. The definition of a sipper because the alcohol is overwhelming and it seems even higher than its 9.9% ABV.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 08:54:59 | More by itsscience
Photo of silverking


4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- crystal clear amber with a rocky off white head. Good head retention, but lacing is patchy.

S- citrus and resinous hops.

T- probably the purest grapefruit taste I've ever come across in a beer. There is a touch of spiciness in the finish, with a surprisingly low amount of bitterness.

M- medium bodied, rolling carbonation, oily.

O- wow, really really good.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 00:30:25 | More by silverking
Photo of tillmac62

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear medium amber with a full frothy head that laces very well. Full nose of pine and citrus hops against a sweet dark malt background. Medium carbonation and a medium heavy mouthfeel. An excellent taste is achieved with a balance towards the hops against a strong malt bill sweetness. Hop flavor is balanced but tilted slightly to the piney side but finishes with a grapefruit citrus note. Bitterness is noticeable on the clean finish and lingers with that 9.9% alcohol pleasant burn. An outstanding beer that shows what flavor is all about. All are there, but none predominates, making this a complex work of brewer art.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2013 21:18:44 | More by tillmac62
Photo of gr0g

New Jersey

3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 bottle. Reddish-amber appearance with a head that leaves some pretty epic lacing behind. Even after a year, still some strong hop character on the nose, and it combines with a considerable maltiness to yield a ripe pineapple note that I always get with well-hopped strong ales. Considerable toffee presence.

Despite some age, there's a moderate bitterness in the flavor profile. This helps to balance out what would otherwise be a very malty-sweet ale. Thoroughly carbed but pretty delicate. Hint of fusel on the finish. A bit too hop-forward I think. This would be more enjoyable if the scales were tipped a bit toward the malty side of the scale, in which case it would be a pretty nice American Barleywine. Some vanilla and toasted coconut notes struggle to come through amidst the bitterness.

When I first tried Brown Shugga last year, it was a borderline drain pour for me despite the fact that I've enjoyed similar beers (Double Bastard comes to mind). Something about the particular hop/grain bill didn't work for me. With some age, palate adjustment, probably both, it's clear that this is a great beer. Only hopheads need apply, though.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2013 02:46:56 | More by gr0g
Photo of hopflyer


4.46/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep orange with great clarity. Thick frothy head that stays atop the brew the whole time. Certainly not what I was expecting for "brown shugga" but I'm liking it.

Earthy hops and some alcohol in there. Not picking up any malts as I was expecting. Again duped by the name of this one

Hops definitely but now I get the title of this one a little bit. Neither the burnt caramel maltiness or citrus hops overpower one another. Really, really goes nice together. I'm usually looking for hops, hops, and more hops but I'm pleasantly enjoying this one. Was really fooled in many ways with this beer but in no way disappointed. Really no detection of the 9.99% in this one. Scary. Haven't had Sucks yet and looking forward to it if it's the "substitute" for this one.

Again, seemingly perfect carbonation for the combo of these hops and malts. Feels like a cascade of toasted sugar on the back of the palate with tanginess on the tongue.

Have had a few of beers from these guys and liked all of them but never blown away by any of them. This one almost gets there for me but not quite. It was a great small change of pace from the DIPA kick ive been on lately and still gets me my hop fix. Certainly the best lagunitas I've had. Looking fwd to the other 5 I have and will seek out more soon.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2013 02:27:15 | More by hopflyer
Photo of Jekyll


3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Unique beer. Wasn't expecting the amount of hops that came with it. Poured dark copper with a couple inches of head that stayed with me pretty much the entire time. Can't quite pinpoint the smell... Not please to but not repugnant either. Don't taste brown sugar though maybe cause of the amount if hops in it though it does have a sweetness mixed with the hops that makes it quite enjoyable. Alcohol will sneak up on you as it is barely noticeable. Gonna age a few of these and see how they develop.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 19:17:06 | More by Jekyll
Photo of Givemebeer


3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Amber/copper colored pours a nice head and lacing

S: Floral and citrusy

T: Follows the nose but with some toastiness and caramel from the strong malt backbone

M: Medium bodied with a lingering citrus finish

O: Good beer. Happy that I tried it. Packs a punch with the strong hop and malt presence.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 02:54:59 | More by Givemebeer
Photo of Vonerichs


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

Clear amber color with a high and tight tan head. Nice contrast of the amber and tan. Spotty lace drips down the sides.

Resinous pine and grapefruit aromas are backed by candied sugar.

The dichotomy of the brown sugar and hops is fantastic. It's both hoppy and sweet but I won't go as far as calling it balanced. The scales are tipped to hoppy but the brown sugar keeps the bitterness in check. Light toasted malt notes as well.

Mouthfeel is full and chewy. Slightly boozy and warming but smooth for 9.9.

Love this beer. It's put together well and packs a punch. One of the best bangs for the buck available.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 02:54:33 | More by Vonerichs
Photo of dheacck11


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

Pour is a dark amber with some hints of red. Scant lacy head. Nose is full of wet, sweet, sticky hops. Little bit of caramel. Taste is nice and full of creamy malt and caramel to start. Follows with a nice blast of wet hops. not super bitter, but a great contrast to the sweet malts. Feels on the medium thick side of things, and definitely notice the potency of the ABV.

Great beer. Great for the fall. Like Sucks for sweater season. Great.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 00:39:17 | More by dheacck11
Photo of AgentMunky


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

A: Two fingers fluffy head has great retention. The beer is a light golden caramel colour, clear with light effervescence. Nice lacing.

S: Hops are strong and metallic. Sharp; piercing.

T/M: Excellent. Rich, strong, and assertive. The hops are overpowering, with a lightly vegetal very citrusy feel. The base though is rock-solid, with a malty presence, reminiscent of the heavy depth of brown sugar...and the alcohol byproduct of its consumption. I couldn't quite call it balanced because all the flavors are so big.

O: Great beer! Very, very drinkable for such a strong beer. I'm impressed. Will buy (and drink) more of this.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2013 04:30:59 | More by AgentMunky
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,438 ratings.