Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

4,993 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,993
Reviews: 1,512
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 228
Gots: 846 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,993 | Reviews: 1,512
Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a six-pack at my local Trig's grocer. The fact that I pulled it out of an unopened box on the display floor is probably a good sign that it's relatively fresh. Poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.

L: Pours a burnt sienna with about an inch-and-a-half of billowy tan head that sticks around for a good while and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Just a bit hazy, with plenty of visible carbonation.

S: Caramel malt and molasses notes are quite prominent, with added scents of raisins and dried stone fruit. Some subtle black pepper and clove in the mix, as well. Nice bouquet.

T: Sweet caramel malts at the front, accompanied by notes of molasses and rum raisin. Just a bit of a buttery quality in the middle, along with touches of the aforementioned spices, black pepper and clove. The hop flavor builds in the middle, providing a bit of tart into bitter at the sides and back of the tongue--some grassy and herbal notes. The clear alcohol starts to kick in just before the end and into the aftertaste, but it really is covered up quite well by the molasses/brown sugar sweetness of this brew.

F: Medium-bodied, creamy, and very nicely carbonated. This one has a bit of stick, but I wouldn't classify it as outright syrupy. Leaves a good bit of bitter on the palate at the close.

O: This one certainly packs a punch, and it does so with very little in the way of clear alcohol coming through. The richness of the flavors and the overall sweetness are befitting a holiday brew. Lagunitas has yet to disappoint me--this is another one I highly recommend.

Photo of Un-earthly
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excellent malt with the perfect balance of hops for this strong ale, at 9.9% it knocks you on your behind faster than you'd imagine especially with how smooth, and tasty this beer is. If you haven't tried it you should get your hands on some.

Photo of jackb112
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Sweet Jesus this thing will hit you hard. So ridiculously strong. I like these tough ones in the fall/winter.

Photo of jmasher85
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lagunitas has nailed the whole concept of brand loyalty by making all their beers taste like variations on the same theme, which I think centers around their IPA. No guesswork, no bad experiments. They all have the same dominating hop profile, so if you like one, you'll probably like them all.

Brown Shugga is the richer, maltier variety of their IPA. It pours a clear, burnt red color with some head at the top which forms some neat "crop circles" and yeast rings at the top after a few minutes. The nose has that classic bright, grapefruit hoppy flavor, but with more than a small share of burnt brown sugar, some heavy booziness like a barelywine. A bit of apricot and some nice esters come out after a time.

The taste makes the 9.9% abv quite evident, but it's still fairly relaxed. The texture has a sticky, thick quality to it, and the foam sticks around a bit, so that makes all the flavors last in your throat for quite some time. That said, there's very little bitterness considering all the hops that Lagunitas seems to like to use. I had this beer once when it came out and again now, 6 months later. Some of the fruity crispness has mellowed out and the richer flavors seem stronger now, so you can definitely say it ages in an interesting way, possibly becoming more of the beer I was expecting it to be, and less like a malty IPA as it was fresh.

Overall, one of the more unique and exciting options from one of my favorite breweries who have mastered the art of quality without prolificacy.

Photo of mlockman
2.79/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Far too hoppy for my palate.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant brown to chestnut under a 1” clingy creamy white foam collar.
S: Malt and light fruit aromas with some spice.
T: Big complex sweet malt up front with traces of dark sugar and fruit culminating in a dry finish with a bitter hop accent.
F: Medium body and carbonation, slight warming.
O: A big, satiating, bold beer for after work

Photo of John_Beeryman
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer tastes like brown sugar, but good.

Photo of drunkenmess
3.19/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Finally found some of this. Not the Sucks, the original...
Pours very easy n nice, almost a dark golden/amber not hazy look to it, with an all around head that lasts thru out also adequate lacing to boot. Smells of sugar beets, brown sugar, light hops and sweetness. Tastes almost like liquid candy. Tastes of Super sweet and a slight tartness with a bite of hops. Intoxicating yet light on your pallet, besides all the sugar lol. Ummm... alittle too sweet for me but as Lagunitas becoming one of my favourite brewer's I defintley respect what they have done here. Respect ☆☆☆

Photo of blockdude
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Note to self, avoid any beer with brown sugar in it.

Photo of gregb13
2.53/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks nice in the glass. Well-carbonated for a strong ale. Nose is heavy booze, with a touch of brown sugar sweetness. Taste... wow, booze and more booze. Sweet, bordering on sickeningly so. Nothing else really stands out. Would much rather have their replacement (Sucks) than this.

**Re-review a couple weeks later... Smelled and tasted great, though still a bit boozy. I think maybe my initial review was of a compromised bottle. The place where I bought the 6-pack had been out of Shugga' for several weeks at least, but lo and behold, I spied a sixer in a plain label mixed pack with Lagunitas caps, way behind the other beers. Pulled it out and discovered 6 bottles of Shugga' and was ecstatic! Well, maybe something happened to the previous bottle I reviewed, because I came back and drank two a couple weeks later and it tasted wonderful.

Photo of SaltofOH
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/31/2014; purchased in December 2014.

Appearance: Pours an extremely dark amber/red with 2 fingers of frothy/foamy khaki head. Nice retention of a thin, yellowish sandy cap. Epic lacing.

Aroma: Markedly hoppy. Tropical and resinous. Really great aroma. Love this smell; tropical & malty.

Taste: Sweet arrival, tart & fruity, extremely bitter finish. I'd put this higher than 51 IBUs. Some alcohol on the finish. A little cloying at the end; slightly off-putting.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than expected; somewhat astringent; a little like Mirror Pond in that respect but not as much; relatively little carbonation and somewhat slick.

Overall: I was about to say I really like this, but the bitterness and alcohol combine at the end [as it warms] to make this just a little unpleasant. Somewhat cloying.

Photo of dbl_delta
3.44/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Love reading the label, but didn't really like the beer. Odd chemical aftertaste. I realize I'm in the minority here, but it is what it is....

Photo of classixIII
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Interesting! Clear orange to amber color with a 1" creamy head that hung around for days and left remnants of itself on the side of the glass all the way down. Sweet brown sugar and hops smell. Taste is sweet and malty but crisp and hoppy also if thats even possible. Alcohol kicks in at the end for just the right feel. I'll buy more.

Photo of MaineBrewing
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear dark amber with a little chill haze, slight red hue to the color. Head was thick and frothy a mix of medium bubbles and lots of fine suds.

S - Aroma is a dark complex amalgam of sweet malt. A candied cherry fruitness. tons and tons of molasses, rum like. Burnt sugar.

T - I have had this 6 pack for a few months, upon first release it was very hoppy. Its only probably been 3 months tops? the hops have fallen off completely to let the beautiful malt shine. This is certainly unique from other barleywine style ales as it is very rum like. SO I guess its less of a malt character and more of a candy, sugar. Lots of toffee. Although the aroma hops have faded, the finish is very hoppy, not so much bitter but just a nice bite, very quenching, and balances the malt sweetness well. Without this it would be way too cloying, but that is not the case. This beer is great.

M - Mouthfeel is par for the course, thick, just enough carbonation to keep it lively. finishes sweet but the bitter hops as mentioned above quell the sweetness.

O - This beer is probably my favorite from Lagunitas. If your looking for a traditional barleywine this might be a little too sweet and rummy, but it tastes great to me, just a unique flavor. Also I try not to make a review about price and value as I feel a beer should be judged on what it is over economics... but man, 9.99 for a 6 pack of this??? In a sea of 11.99 4 packs, such a great beer for 9.99 a sixer gets me everytime.

Photo of SSS
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Orange clear color with an off white head
S-Straight up Crystal 70/80, malty goodness
T-Boozy bitter bite at the front and a nice linger at the back end.
M-Peppery over carbonation, but it cleanses the palate
O-I must admit that this is a brew that tastes identical to something I brewed a few years back, it is so odd, so I am partial to enjoying it. That said, the alcohol is somewhat overpowering...

Photo of castelli1981
3.24/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A small hint of brown sugar, this is a smooth beer that prances all over your tongue.

Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

mmmmmmm, smell that booze.
nice, sweet little ale, warms you up.
not overly hop-y, I think the sweetness takes care of that.
these can sneak up on you quick. drink slow and enjoy the lace.

Photo of jayhammed
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful amber color, deliciously sweet and hoppy...different, but good balance. Slightly boozy nose, sweet on the tongue and finishes with just a hint of bitterness.

Photo of fscottkey
3.66/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.50] The beer is a rust to brown color. It pours out with a full finger of dense white head. The head recedes slowly and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. The beer has a date code that says it was born on 12/12/14. The bottle lists the ABV at 9.9%.

S: [3.50] Maybe candied raisins. I am not getting a strong nose on this beer. As it warms I am getting more brown sugar - but I can't tell if that is just the power of suggestion.

T: [3.50] I get a hint of smokiness early. Then there is a flush of sweet caramel flavor.

M: [4.00] The mouthfeel is great. It feels heavy like you might expect at almost 10% but there is no sense of the alcohol. The finish is short and a little dry.

O: [3.75] This beer looks great in a glass. It leaves tremendous lacing as it is enjoyed. The nose is just weak. I can't zero in on anything to hold on to. The flavor is sweet and delicious - not like other beers that I can think of. This might be a nice dessert beer (typically a role filled by stouts). I can't imagine drinking more than 1-2 of these at a time. There is a lot of sweetness happening it might pile up.

Photo of TeamMathis
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful reddish amber. Roasted malt, pepper, and fruit on the news. The taste is much the same with lots of sweetness and alcoholic bite. It's great. I'd get it again.

Photo of founddrama
2.35/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Holy tap-dancing Christ that's sweet. Like almost too sweet.

Yeah. Brown sugar sweet. Like cough syrup or something. Cloying. I can see why some might like it. But not for me. How did this get legendary?

(Retrospect: maybe it's the slightly sweet-cum-boozy undertone that makes people go nuts for it? I don't know; I couldn't get into it.)

Photo of Davemontion
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of the best tasting beers I've had

Photo of mactrail
2.94/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An elegant pile of foam on the coppery orange brew poured in the New Belgium snifter. Interesting woody and herbal aroma.

Flavor is sweet, inappropriately bitter, murky, and sticky. It tastes like an Old Ale with the candied yams, sweet vermouth, and rust, all followed by a crunch of the aspirin tablet. Aside from the flavor, it's a well-made beer like everything from Lagunitas.

This used to be one of my favorite beers. There was the mystery of them stopping production for a few years-- maybe it was just too good. Why anybody stops making a successful beer needs an answer. It's just unfortunate it seems to be lost forever. From the 12 oz bottle in a six pack tha has been tough to get through. But when you need a bedtime beer with the right punch, you can overlook the taste.

Photo of NHJimD
4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sweet smell, crisp, bitter taste. This is a real winner!

Photo of ssuraci
3.06/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Just a touch of mediciney aftertaste deters from an otherwise pretty nice beer.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,993 ratings.