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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,435 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3435
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: 3,435 | Reviews: 1,291 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

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

On tap in a shaker pint, an unfortunate vessel for a fairly badass brew. A generous off-white head sticks around impressively, leaving sticky rings and streaks of lace all around. Body is a deep amber.

Loads of malt and brown sugar in the nose, but also a heaping helping of fresh grapefruit. I'm surprised by the intensity of the hops; it smells rather like a big malty DIPA.

The body is thick and viscous with very modest carbonation, but a ton of juicy grapefruit a substantial bitter streak make a valiant effort to cut through it. Loads of caramel and toffee turn creamy in the warming finish. This is certainly a different animal fresh, but it's quite enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

03-03-2011 00:00:27 | More by PDXHops
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

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

Aromas are not surprisingly barley wine oriented with some, no surprise, brown sugar, molasses, vinous apple, dark caramels. Once you get past the sweetness you get the hop end with citrus and lemon and a little earthiness.

The taste is extremely well balanced with waves of dark caramel malts and brown sugar with dark vinous fruit notes again. The aroma and taste complement each other very well. The hop bitterness helps to balance out the sweet nature of the brew preventing it from being cloying.

The mouthfeel if full and thick, deserves to be sipped and savored. Balanced carbonation also helps to keep the higher ABV and sweetness in check. Overall a great full flavored unique offering from the brewery I usually pass on because of their aggressive Pacific hop tendencies but this is perfectly balanced and delicious.

Serving type: on-tap

02-20-2011 02:32:10 | More by claspada
Photo of Lillenk


4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was a little lacking. Light brown in color with a creamy head, but a little foggy.

Smell was nice. Lots of sweet smells like you would expect from the name but also lots of other things going on as well.

Taste was fantastic. So much happening with layers of sweetness and hops and a huge lasting stay with you for a while finish.

Mouthfeel was huge but in a good way with all the layers of flavors. The higher ABV would make it hard to drink a bunch, but the taste makes you want to.

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2011 02:14:54 | More by Lillenk
Photo of haazer


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Blue Dog in lansdale.

A- darkest cherry color in center of glass, see through ruby stone on top and bottom of brew. 1/2" eggshell head forms, fades slowly. The space where the head was has foam stuck to the sides of the tulip.

S- So I'm reviewing this from my iPhone, the bartender places it down, I'm writin up the beers look and it's about 18" from me and I already smell this thing! Wow, candy apple, sugar, citrus, lemon, strawberry and hops. This smells very much like an IPA, and a damn good one.

T- It says 'sweet release' on the tap, they're not kidding. Very sweet candy flavor in this. On the brink of cloying but just under. Actual flavor is cherry, apple, light bit of brown sugar, floral hops, pomegranate, and booze. The booze gives some heat to this.

M- Medium bodied ale. Very sweet, induces lip smacking. Heat from the abv also.

D- High abv and strong flavors make this a sipper. A lot going on in this beer, but it's named improperly. Yes it fits the style but brown sugar is almost non-existent. I guess the name suggests sweetness, which this has plenty of.

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2011 23:05:35 | More by haazer
Photo of travelfrog

New York

4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this fascinating ale hand-pulled into a large tulip glass at a Bronx pub.

Appearance was magnificent. Rich brown with a fine crown.

The aroma was also very much something to savor. Rich, nutty, and sweet, with subtle notes of Calvados.

Taste was very good, though maybe a letdown from the initial impression. It tasted quite a bit like a fine Doppelbock sweetened with, interestingly enough, brown sugar. A bit of a boozy finish.

This brew is quite complex, but I found a cloying sweetness and booziness sticking to the roof of my mouth.

As for drinkability -- while this ale is delicious, it left a very sweet and alcoholic taste in my mouth that left me clamoring for a glass of water.

Serving type: on-tap

02-10-2011 00:48:38 | More by travelfrog
Photo of begforme4484


4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice brown coloring. Smells great. The taste was what got me on this beer. Mouthfeel was right on par.

Not much needs to be said for this beer except, if you see it on tap, TRY IT.

I've had it before and knew it was good. But I had a friend with me who liked to dabble a bit in craft beer. So he had me suggest a drink for him, and he loved it.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2011 15:24:52 | More by begforme4484
Photo of Tifore


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

On tap at Tremont Tap House. Poured into a small tasteing glass.

A - Light brown in color, almost maple syrupy looking. Clear with no haze at all. Looks refreshing. Has a small one finger head on it that has pretty good retention. Small lacing on the glass after I finish.

S - Smells of sweet malts and molasses with loads of citrusy hops backing it up. Some smokey and roasted malts are also present. A nice balance of hops and malts. The IBU's definitely suprise me here because at 50 or so, it smells like theres way more.

T - Taste is very hop forward. Loads of piney and citrusy hops with some spicey and sweet tones as well. A all around great ale, the 10% alcohol isn't present in the mouth at all.

M - Mouthfeel is medium with a big bitter finish due to the hops.

D - A nice all around great ale from Lagunitas. Very balance and tasty. I'd get this again for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2011 22:27:08 | More by Tifore
Photo of YouSkeete


4.8/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

From notes; had at Cambridge Common

A: Red/Mahogany. Clear and bubbly with a small tan head.

S: Heavy notes of brown sugar and thick malts. Complex dark fruit, FRESH hops.

T: Extra thick malt, loads of hops, dark wine-like sugared fruits (figs, apples, grapes). BIG brown sugar flavor. Amazing malt/hop character. Aged oak and wood make their way to the tongue. Nutty aftertaste.

M: Carbonation and body both on the high side. Fantastically well-balanced.

D: I tend to stay away from comparing beer-to-beer, but think Arrogant Bastard with brown sugar. Yes. Yes yes yes.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2011 22:43:45 | More by YouSkeete
Photo of Kexx


3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, rich copper color. The head is light and fairly small and seemed to dissapear pretty fast.

Smell: The hop aromas are citrusy and floral and they are nicely mingled in with caramel malt that is very sweet on the nose. Reminds me of cotton candy, or brown sugar.

Taste: Starts out with a caramel malt backbone with some nice hints of brown sugar and toffee. A bitter hoppiness is in the background below the malt at first, but the bitterness lingers on the tongue in the aftertaste. A slight alcohol burn is present and seems to build as I work through the pint. A little hard to finish by the end.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full bodied with light carbonation. The finish is a slow building bitter hop character that begins to saturate the tongue after drinking about half a pint. The sweetness fades away to leave behind a lingering dry bitterness.

Drinkability: I really liked this one after the first few sips, it seemed to be very smooth and balanced. But it became increasingly hard to drink the more I had. Just a little too harsh with the bitterness and alcoholic burn.

Serving type: on-tap

01-11-2011 16:48:15 | More by Kexx
Photo of Beerisheaven


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

I have long seen this and long passed over it. Consumed at The Flying Pig in Malvern, PA on Friday night past.

Poured from tap with a beautiful amber, ruby color. Nice white head sitting on top which made it look very appealing and enticing. A real good looking beer in a glass.

The aroma and taste were very enjoyable. Hard to not say the word sugar in the description but the beer melds the malt and hops in fine fashion with a nice sweet candy taste lurking in there as well. I really enjoyed it.

The mouthfeel was clean, crisp, and enjoying while this is one that you enjoy so much you would consider staying with this one all night long.

I really enjoyed this beer and will have to try it again on a more regular basis. I really think that they did a nice job here.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2011 17:06:56 | More by Beerisheaven
Photo of drtth


3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear, rich copper color with a ¼" light tan color. The head looks like it could be much fuller and richer with a pour designed to enhance the head as well as fill the glass.

Smell: The hop aromas are primarily citric and floral and they are nicely mingled in with the caramel malt (that does indeed seem to have a definite brown sugar character).

Taste: The flavors include a nice caramel malt backbone with some nice hints of brown sugar and toffee. However, the purpose of the flavors from the malt and added sugar is clearly to support the hops and to compliment them. The hops are predominantly citric and piney in character but also seem to have a nice floral component as well.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full bodied with light, creamy smooth carbonation. The finish is reasonably long and has a nice hop character showing as the sweetness fades away to leave behind a nice lingering dry bitterness.

Drinkability: This is one of those beers that falls into the "dangerously drinkable" category. It sips so easily that it would quite possible to forget the high ABV until it sneaks up on you. So I put it in the category of a one a night beer. That said, I did enjoy this beer and have added it to my shopping list for the future.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2011 11:38:53 | More by drtth
Photo of champ103


3.1/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear dark ruby/brown color. A two finger white head forms, and recedes after a minute. Tons of sticky lace is left behind.
S: Sweet malt, yeast, some spice as well. Plenty of alcohol.
T: Follows the nose with lots of sweet malt. Dark fruits of raisins and plums. A big, kind of Belgian yeast flavor as well. Lots of alcohol.
M/D: A medium to full body. Syrupy and sticky. Lots of alcohol makes this hard to finish.

Not bad, but the alcohol really shows here. Other than that, just some sweetness, and not a lot of depth. Another overly alcoholic beer with no nuance. Not something I would recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2011 04:46:37 | More by champ103
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, sweet hops, and brown sugar. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus/bitter hops, alcohol, and brown sugar. It had a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I was definitely liking the hoppiness that this one brought to the table. Pretty well balanced as well. Good aroma going on that wasn't too sharp as to scare you away. This is a must try at least once.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2011 19:07:49 | More by thagr81us
Photo of brendanbeer

New York

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at barcade in brooklyn.

a. rich amber brown with a nice light head that lasts and laces.

s. really oaky, woody, and sweet.

t. lovely sweet notes up front, hoppy and fresh. blends into a really nice rich bitter alcoholic sweetness.

m. silky, low carbonation adds to the smooth feel. real nice.

d. 3.5.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2011 04:14:50 | More by brendanbeer
Photo of Axic10

New Jersey

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

On-tap at U Pick 6 in Erie, PA.

Appearance: Brownish with a thin layer of of white head.

Smell: Malty, brown sugar and sweet caramel.

Taste: Sweet caramel malt, brown sugar with some hoppy bite mixed in.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and creamy.

Drinkability: Enjoyable beer by a top notch brewery that I will be drinking again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2010 23:14:40 | More by Axic10
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

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

On Tap at Sharp Edge Bistro On Penn, Pittsburgh.
Served in a Lagunitas glass, first time I have seen it on draft. Brownish orange color, big fluffy off-white head, long lasting foam and lace trails. Smells of malty sweetness, caramelized or burnt sugar, slightly fruity as well. I was expecting a very sugary sweet taste, but was really suprised by the balance. Lots of toasted, caramel malt. The brown sugar is in there, but with enough hops to keep the sweetness in check. Thick but not sticky or cloying mouthfeel, very smooth and creamy, good carbonation. Very drinkable, can not feel the high (9.9%) alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

12-31-2010 02:52:58 | More by BigBry
Photo of Duttonic


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

From notes 12/21/10. Had on-tap at the Dancing Bear. Served in a Victory Golden Monkey snifter.

A- Brownish-red/amber, hazy, one finger off-white head, nice lacing.

S- Cherries, cranberries, faint brown sugar.

T/M- Silky, carbonated tinge(like champagne), slightly bitter finish.

D- Awesome. I could drink a lot of this. The alcohol is integrated very well. Great texture, nice finish, extremely well balanced from start to finish.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2010 04:51:09 | More by Duttonic
Photo of lstokes


4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at the U of C pub, it came to me reddish-orange with an off-white head that left acceptable lacing.

I loved the brown sugary smell with some spicy hops and the equivalent taste--caramel coats your mouth, brown sugar leaps out at you, there's just enough citrus hop to keep things bitterly interesting. Alcohol is very well masked, although it does creep in at the end of the swallow. I thought the mouthfeel was not really full-bodied enough to hold up the taste, which is why I've marked it down, but it was still a delicious beer, sweet and boozy like the most deliciously alcoholic coffee cake you've ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2010 16:34:07 | More by lstokes
Photo of jbriggs7036


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Again, on tap at Racer's cafe, can't say enough good things about that place.

A- Deep brown, head is gone in a hurry, but still a tad of lacing around the glass

S- Shugga....brown shugga

T- Interesting, like a dark chocolate covered bing-cherry. and a lot of sweetness

M- Good carbonation, not too much though. Goes down easy, but drink it too fast and you'd catch dem bubble guts.

D- About right for a dark beer with 9% ABV

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2010 12:07:49 | More by jbriggs7036
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunita's Brown Shugga' - Initially the recipe was intended to be a Barleywine, but they failed, and re-labeled the brew as Brown Shugga. It developed a following and is now an annual offering.

Appearance: Brown Shugga appears clear and brownish, with a good sized off white foam and lace work.

Smell: Piney hops and a hint of sweetness. At the onset, I was anticipating the taste. I would go as far to say that the aroma to this beer was excellent.

Taste: Caramelized brown sugar! Hops! Indeed, it falls flat as a Barleywine, but this is a finely crafted Strong American Brown Ale. A nice resinous piney hop presence with a strong malt backbone. Warming.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: A bit chewey in the mouthfeel, alcohol is big but not overstated here. A pretty delicious beer and I do plan to drink more of this.

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2010 02:46:38 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the beautiful farmer's market in Los Angeles. Pours a copper brown colour with a finger of thick white head, leaving lacing down the glass. Smells of brown sugar (no surprise) with a lot of nuttiness and mild hops (I typed in "mold hops" in my iPhone, but I'm pretty sure I meant "mild"). Quite a refreshing beer, which is surprising when I came on here and saw this is listed as 10%!

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2010 22:09:24 | More by kwjd
Photo of fourplayed


4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap into 16oz beer glass. Clear dark amber color with 1 finger head.

Pine and floral Hops are up front, sweet notes of caramel.

Taste of Hops up first -pine and citrus, mild sweet sugga', malt backbone.

Medium body, med carbonation, Bold Hop bite and dry finish, medium alcohol warmth 10% abv very well hidden.

Overall this is a very nicely balanced brew, though the Hops are bid and up front, the malts and sweet sugga' are present and make this a nice flavorful brew. Lagunita's continues to amaze me. Several bar patrons told me this is the best version over the last several years. not as sweet and hops tones down from years past.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2010 21:18:34 | More by fourplayed
Photo of Bfarr


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown shugga is a hazy red tinted amber with a thin head. A sweet malty aroma leads right into a sugar fest. A very sweet flavor is surprisingly offset by a fuzzy and lightly hoppy feel. It's highly carbonated so there's no syrupy mouthfeel.

I love this beer partially because I love a sweet beer from time to time. It's really easy to drink despite the ABV, which I think is a little more masked on-tap.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2010 23:58:54 | More by Bfarr
Photo of DoubleJ


4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Shipmates. 16 ounces of strong beer, yikes! On to the beer:

Copper colored, has a little bit of head retention and leaves a little lacing. Whoa! Smell that. Humongous caramel glazed pineapples hitting the nose. Sugary like the name, also some toasted sugar. Like the aroma its flavor is a big burst of toasted brown sugar pineapples. The aftertaste leaves a slightly burnt sugar aftertaste. While the beer is intense, the alcohol is buried very well in this beer. At almost 10% ABV, it is very drinkable.

Keep them coming Lagunitas.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2010 02:51:59 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of gatornation


3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this on tap at old chicago in uptown..and also have had it from bottle reviews is from tap serving which i preferred ..it came a beautiful auburn brown color with a minimal head and a beige ring with some sticky lacing..i had to let this ale warm as it was served to cold..as it warmed i could smell molasses and caramel and hops some brown sugar of course..the taste was not as good as the smell ..i got to much of an alcohol hit first then the citrus and molasses and all the b4 mentioned taste played to much of a secondary role..the ale was still solid ..maybe i drank it to cold to get all the layers of flavor ..again still a solid offering from langunitas.i just like maximus and hop stoopid better

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2010 23:58:42 | More by gatornation
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,435 ratings.