Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,504 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,504
Hads: 5,303
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 269
Gots: 1,091 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,504 | Hads: 5,303
Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a light brown with red highlights. It looks very similar to a glass of sun tea as far as color. It had a very aggressive head. It was well over an inch worth of frothy off white bubbles. Quite a but of lacing and pretty good head retention.

S: The name definitely describes the smell. Caramel and brown sugar tones come through in the aroma. There is also a malty smell as well.

T: It definitely has a sweet brown sugar flavor. However, it is extremely well balanced with the hops. It is extremely smooth with no after taste whatsoever. You really can not tell that the ABV is pushing 10% at all.

M: A medium bodied beer. The carbonation is not aggressive in the mouth but makes some frothy bubbles. It makes the feel very creamy.

D: This one is very drinkable. In fact, its one of those that could get scary since it is high ABV but goes down so smoothly.

 869 characters

Photo of Slynger
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga: a deep, clear, reddish orange with some small, dirty white bubbles that leave lasting lace.

The nose is sweet malty caramel, toffee, and brown sugar with fruity cherries and citrus, and earthy-spicy hops. Deliciously intriguing.

Full bodied with a lightly sharp, soft, and creamy-curvy carbonation. Flavors of sweet brown sugar and burnt toffee; fruity cherries and apricot citrusy hops. Grassy, spicy, earthy hops linger in the finish.

Wow! A really tasty and unique brew that I enjoyed way too quickly. Awesome.

 530 characters

Photo of Portertime
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a sweet offering considering the mighty ABV for this ale. Enjoyed chilled in a pint glass. Poured a brownish amber with a creamy head. Smelled of subtle caramel and brown sugar with some faint floral hop undertones. Taste was sweet and sugary with a good hop balance and a smooth palate. I would say mix this bad boy with some maple syrup, pour it on your pancakes and munch away.

 389 characters

Photo of donteatpoop
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice amber color with a thick two finger white head that clung to the glass and lasted throughout the drink.

The nose picked up some nice earthy tones, caramel malts, and a vauge scent of licorice - I don't know, maybe it's the brown sugar that I'm tasting.

Tastes hoppy, very sweet, the caramel malts and sugar crystals were almost too sweet; especially as the beer warmed.

The mouthfeel was pretty well balanced, a good carbonation level; the aftertaste was slightly unpleasant, like too much sugar in the Kool-Aid.

Certainly drinkable, it didn't taste like it was 9%+ alcohol.

 593 characters

Photo of Overlord
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is 9.9% alcohol? Wow.

Pours a reddish orange. Bit white foam off white head. It lingered, which was nice. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, but refreshing and crisp.

Taste was on the sweet side, but there was a lot more hop content than I expected. Grapefruit rather than pine, it integrated very nice with the warming sweet caramel malt. The aroma was also noticeably sweet and caramelly.

Not the most complex of beers, but very well put together.

 455 characters

Photo of SMark
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 52° from a 12 ounce bottle with some sort of coding but I am unsure if it is date related. There were approximately three fingers of head from the pour down the middle of the glass with slight lacing. The beer was reddish orange in color

There was a definite aroma of hops. Label says 51.1 IBU's.

The beer was surprisingly smooth with some bitterness from the hops followed by a nice sweet finish.

There was fullness in the mouth while holding this brew before swallowing.

This beer seemed to get sweeter as it warmed. It was very easy to drink and tremendously dangerous at 9.9% alcohol.

 645 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark orange-copper color, looks really nice. The head is a slightly darker than tan color, the lacing is impeccable.

Aromas of brown sugar and a decent amount of American citric hops jump out of the glass. I don't get a huge amount of complexity but plenty of power.

I found the flavor to be similar to the nose but a little surprising nonetheless. This is a sweet beer, a little different kind of sweet than a big-ass English Barley Wine malt blast though. Very smooth caramel malts, a sprinkle of a toffee flavor, and some dark fruit-cake spicing, like dates. The hops are still present and pungent; leaving a pleasant bitterness at the finish.

Not sure what to say editorially. I thought it came out a little thinner and lighter than an American barleywine; that Old ale might be a good handle for it. I could see age being a factor here, but I will definitely look to try it again.

 891 characters

Photo of Pencible
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a hazy reddish orange with no head. It smelled like brown sugar (surprise!) and some malt. Its flavor had a sharp bitterness up front followed by some sugar sweetness. It was oily and thick with no carbonation, and it had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a very unique ale, with a name and scent that didn't match up to the flavor (but was still pretty good).

 376 characters

Photo of happygnome
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pours a nice deep orange copper color with about a quarter inch of head that dissapears fast leacing a ring of lace around the edge of the glass as well as on the top of the beer
s: caramely malts a little sweet light piny hop aroma
t: caramel, malts, a brown sugar flavor hints of the alcohol little bitterness
m: medium bodied beer with little carbonation

overall, this is really good i will buy more

 406 characters

Photo of JDV
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Rich reddish maroon pour with a nice and big lasting beige head in a snifter. Smell is light, bright and balanced maltiness with just enough balancing hops. Taste is pretty mild, slightly thin and balanced again, with lemony and slightly acidic tart malt. Very smooth and drinkable for 10%. Slightly hoppy on the backend but overall its flavor was too mild to be really great, and it doesn't get any better as it warms...Still worth trying.

 440 characters

Photo of PhageLab
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Rusted copper coloration, nice huge head of brown froth, excellent retention and lacing.

S - Mmmm, hops. Yeah, molasses and hops, that's about it but damn it's nice.

T - Sweet maple syrup body, but it's okay because the massive amount of hops balances it out rather well. Pretty tasty I must say.

M - Medium to full body, mild carbonation level, spicy aftertaste.

D - Very good, this is an all around nicely constructed brew, and one I'd revisit any time. Definitely worth a try.

 523 characters

Photo of tpd975
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brillant amberish brown color, with a huge fluffy head

Smell: Sweet brown sugar aromas with hints of wonderful smelling dark fruits. A hint of alcohol can be detected as well.

Taste: Big bold crystalized brown sugar, with hints of spice, and darks fruits. This on is hopped no doubt about it and it has a bit of a booze bite.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with ample carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty darn drinkable, one of Lagunitas best.

Overall: I enjoyed it. I had this one after the hopslam and I asked for a glass of water because I thought I kept tasting the hops from the hopslam. I was happy to realize this one had a wonderful hop character of its own. Blended with the nice sweet brown sugar and a hint of booze makes this a wonderful drinking brew.

 773 characters

Photo of dreadnatty08
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Celebrating the beginning of brew day!
Pours a gorgeous clear, copper and ruby color with a well supported tan head. Aromas are quite hoppy, plenty of grapefruit, orange, along with a slight spicy phenolic character with some spicy twang. Very little in the way of malt aroma, just a sweet note, but a good bit of alcohol. On the palate, it just sits on your tongue, one of the heaviest feeling beers I've had in a while. Sitting only at 51 IBUs, it isn't overly bitter, quite balanced actually; but, there's just a ton of hop flavor. Still, the malt character is lacking, just a touch of bready toastiness, crystal sweetness, finishing dry with lots of lingering hops. Overall, it's an interesting ASA (DIPA), though I think the undercarbonation and mouthfeel bring down the drinkability a bit.

 795 characters

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

Purchased on tap at Jack's in Bmore. Served in a tulip glass, it was a hazy nut brown with half fingered head, lacing and retention was excellent. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar aromas.
Many of those same aromas came through with a bunch of candied sugars and fruits. Got some cookie dough flavors near the end.
Slightly boozy finish is the only inclination of a heavy hitter. It was not cloying, nor sweet, nor overly bitter, as many American barleywines can be. Perfectly drinkable because of this, though I can't have too many.

 532 characters

Photo of pershan
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured an orangish-brown with very little head into a chalice. I detected alcoholic esters with a slight citrusy hop aroma. The taste was an enormous explosion of hop flavor and alcoholic esters, blending nicely with a distinct citrusy sweetness. The initial taste dissipated into a long-lasting hop bitterness. A very tasty and drinkable beer - it is definitely one of my favorites from Lagunitas. Nice carbonation and lacing too.

 491 characters

Photo of rebel1771
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish brown color with a decent of white head that disappears quickly.

Definite hoppy aroma with sweet malts mixed in. Candied fruit aroma shows up in the end.

Sweet malts dominate the flavor with a nice oily hop bite along with it. Nothing overly complex but very tasty.

I was suprised the brew tasted like it did, from the name I thought it would be a much sweeter brew. That being said this is a really good brew that I enjoyed quite a bit.

 458 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany-hued body with a small beige head.

Smell: Earthy, sweet-smelling caramel maltiness with bright citrus, maple, and spruce notes.

Taste: Caramel malts with a hard candy sweetness. A drizzle of maple syrup. A nice mergence of citrusy grapefruit and Valencia oranges. Spicy spruce component. Lightly acidic. Moderate, resinous hop bitterness. A bit of hot alcohol warmth around the bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit beyond medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not nearly as graceful and seamless as some of the great barleywines, but decent enough for the price, I suppose.

 622 characters

Photo of JamesS
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a rich dark copper with good head, little lacing, and a lot of sediment. Very ruch and malty scent, extremely sweet. A wonderful taste, very reminiscent of a scotch ale/wee heavy without the peat. It's fantastically smooth for a 9.9% ABV beer. A wonderful brew.

 268 characters

Photo of erosier
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber/copper with a tall and thick tan colored head that laces the glass all the way down. The aroma is of some sweet malts followed by a hint of alcohol, then a big boppy bitterness followed by a very sweet brown sugar aroma to finish it off. The taste is the same as well. It has a strong sweet malt base with a very nice hoppy bitter with very little hint of the amount of alcohol that is in this beer. It then follows up with an overly sweet aftertaste of brown sugar. It tastes like a strong ale that was fermented with brown sugar in the end. The mouthfeel is good - very warming, fresh, and smooth. The drinkability is high especially for a beer of this gravity.

 682 characters

Photo of FenwaySquid
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz. short brown bottle, no dating of any kind, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear amber color, carbonation bubbles rising inside. The head formed about 1 finger thick and retained nicely.

Aroma: Caramel and brown sugar. Very sweet.

Taste: As was the aroma, it's very sweet. I mainly got caramel malts, some toasted malts come through as well, and the two mix nicely. I also noticed some hops in the background, nice bittering effect. The finish was mainly the toasted malts, turning slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, yet extremely smooth and creamy. The carbonation was light, which balanced quite well.

Overall: Wow, is this good. Pretty easy to forget that it's almost 10% abv. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone.

 780 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.36/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - deep orange color, a finger of creamy suds on top. They cling to the sides and leave a solid wall of shiny lace as the head falls back.

Aroma - smells like orange juice concentrate, kind of barleywine-ish.

Taste - big malty front, kinda chewy, sweet like cookie dough. Big flavor, met mid-stream by sharp zesty hops. A grapefruit twist, though not as citrusy as I expected. More grapefruit flavor on the aftertaste, closer to what I expected now, and a certain wave of warm alcohol to finish things off. Close to a barleywine in overall feel. The sixer went amazingly fast.

Mouthfeel - thick, smooth, a little heavy, I enjoyed all that. Carbonation is fairly zippy.

Drinkability - I'd grab another sixer of these for sure. They are a joy to drink one at a time, or three in an evening.

 802 characters

Photo of dsa7783
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz "Sweet Release" bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $3.99...
"Ale fermented with fresh brown sugar" on the front logo sticker...
Pours a very hazy, cloudy, and murky, brown appearance with a decent-sized frothy head that left a lot of lacing around the glass...
Smell was certainly on-point - very barleywine-like with tremendous aromas of caramel, vanilla, toffee, and brown sugar....
Taste strongly complemented the aroma, with powerful suggestions of a nice balance of malts and hops, toffee, caramel, candied sugars, dehydrated fruits, figs, and plums...
One of the best American barleywines I have sampled in a long time... Forget about labeling this as an American Strong Ale - this has barleywine written all over it, from the nose to the mouth...
Very creamy, rich, and thick mouthfeel, bursting with wonderful, sugar-laden, sweet flavors without being too cloying or over-bearing...
Excellent drinkability, too, without the slightest hint of the hefty 9.9% ABV...
Lagunitas did extremely well with this one, and one thing I really like about this brewery, is that they make their great beers available without the hefty, ridiculous prices often seen in other American breweries...
Definitely recommended...

 1,254 characters

Photo of markaberrant
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - brilliant clarity, light copper/orange colour, moussy light tan head, lots of lacing down the glass.

S - malty nose, toffee, nuts, and just a hint of sweet grapefruit

T - the grapefruit comes through a lot more in the taste, but there is still no forgetting that this is a sweet malty beer. Overall clean flavours are quite enjoyable. Long satisfying aftertaste.

M - mild carbonation, but it is not syrupy. Medium body carries the flavours long into the finish. Noticable alcohol warmth, but quite comforting.

D - One heck of a brew, definitely one of Lagunitas' best

I suppose this takes an English approach to a barleywine with the lower hopping rates, but I really enjoy the american hops and clean yeast character. It is "relatively" sweet by US standards, but it is not thick and syrupy like a doppelbock, nor is it anywhere close to cloying.

I'm glad I went out of my way to track this down at Kensington Wine Market in Calgary, currently the only store in Alberta to carry it (maybe even Canada?). The Bushwakker used to carry it a year or two ago.

 1,065 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy copper color with a small, tan, creamy head that left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled floral. There was also a malty, sweet aroma. I also picked up an oaky smell.

T - It tasted bittersweet and very malty. It was quite spicy, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth with a warm alcohol presence. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good Strong Ale. It just tastes great.

 417 characters

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas Brown Shugga'
12oz. brown bottle

Poured into a snifter. Brown Shugga pours a light mahogany with a slightly off-white head that drops kind of quickly and leaves a halo around the edge of the glass, which leads to thin lacing. Aromas of fig, prunes and molasses are immediately present, with a hint of strong alcohol. Strong malty sweetness in the first sip, and the high alcohol lingers for awhile. Sweet malts are balanced nicely with the hops that finish the taste. Its actually hoppy-er than I thought at first, epecially for a 51 IBU Strong Ale. Solid mouthfeel, with a complex palate and perfect carbonation. Delicious and definitely worth getting.

 664 characters

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,504 ratings.