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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 Steamer


4.54/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A reddish brown, golden amber color - very nice; cream head that has good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet apple cider, or could be apple pie with a hint of cinnamon. Malty, with just a bit of hops bitterness. No standout indications that it is a high ABV brew. Just a little alcohol burn in the throat, but not until after a few sips... very smooth. Medium bodied with some nice sugar stickiness. This ale could be dangerous, but in a very good way! So good I had to force myself to sip and enjoy rather than gulp it down.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2014 02:07:09 | More by Steamer
Photo of FLima


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

Beautiful amber copper color with a beige thick head with good retention and leaving some laces.
Aroma of red fruits, American yeast, caramelized pineapple, pine, molasses and toasted malt.
Strong flavor of caramel and toasted malts, peppery yeast, pine resin, lots of mango, pineapple, grapefruit and maple syrup. Very dry and bitter aftertaste.
Full body with low carbonation. Alcohol of 9.9% abv is incredibly well hidden as very few beers can be such master of disguise.
Bold beer in all aspects, malty, hoppy and yeasty. I usually don’t like sugar bombs, but this one is rather an interesting brew. It transitions between a DIPA and a Barley Wine.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2014 03:04:28 | More by FLima
Photo of johnchen1229


3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a brown, clear liquid. A thin head gives way to occasional lacing along the sides. Good lace retention.

Smell: I accidentally snorted a small amount of beer trying to write this section. Wheaty, malty, sweet tones dominate the somewhat subdued smell. Very little hoppiness or bitterness.

T: Chemicals and sweet malt, boozy finish. A sweet beer with a hoppy, boozy aftertaste.

M: Creamy, slightly fizzy but not much carbonation. Sweetness and alcoholic flavors wrap around the tongue and cover the mouth, leaving a bitter aftertaste.

O: Not a huge fan of the way the hops showed up at the end, giving a bitter aftertaste. Very pleasant beer that is very nice to drink. Not much weaknesses, but could be better.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 05:43:06 | More by johnchen1229
Photo of Act25

New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I tried this at Christmas, and came back to it on 1-19-14 with a fresher bottle and wow! I UPPED my review.

A: Pours a darker, sap-colored amber than some ales, because it's a strong ale! Thick, dense, lasting head and moderate lace. Body!

S: Smells amazingly like early spring in the north east. Pleasing malt, hops aplenty and sugar aroma. Maple sugar shack boiling and steaming in wet woods! Pine and pineapple, would be great at pig roast and with salty ham/ dishes. Slightly burnt and smokey back of maple syrup or candy kitchen kind of a smell.

T: Can drink too sweet and alcoholic, but no so when Fresh! Good sipping beer. Despite both, finishes clean, not cloying, but still with that candy-store smoke stove kind of a finish. Smokey. Pineapple roasted over a fire, pine needles abound

F: Great body and finish. Wintery beer for sure. Candy cane.

If you seek a winter warmer, xmas special, this should be high on Santa's list.
More than a 4 for me. Must try!

Better as it warms. Leaves you in a really good place. Sip slowly.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 01:11:48 | More by Act25
Photo of RaulMondesi


4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ok, so the Raul man has seen Brown Shugga' categorized as many things - brown ale, Barelywine, American strong ale... Whatever it is, it's off the hook! Juice, caramel, malt... Raul is feeling it like a K-town rub down. Clean, svelte...

Like Tinker, to Evers, to Chance...


Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2014 05:00:25 | More by RaulMondesi
Photo of jbaker67


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

Pours an opaque, dark ruby/copper with a half finger of frothy white head that dissipates quickly. A lot of sticky lacing. Nose is very hop forward with a mix of floral and pine hops. There are a lot of sweet, dark fruits mainly plum and cherry. A smooth balance of caramel and roasted malts. Mouth is very bitter and hoppy up front. A surprising amount of citrus is present with a strong grapefruit presence. That blends perfectly with the dark fruits. Very roasty with some booze, but it’s very well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 13:17:14 | More by jbaker67
Photo of D-No


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

Appearance- deep amber with some light sediment
Smell- very strong hop aroma with Caramel and sugar
Taste- sweet brown sugar flavor leads to a strong boozy and slightly bitter hop finish.
Mouthfeel - For such a high ABV this beer has a surprising mouthfeel. Strong carbonation, and a medium body, contribute to a clean finish.
Overall - This beer will defiantly be a regular for me every year, whenever I can find it.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 04:49:09 | More by D-No
Photo of cyclonece09


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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours cloudy reddish amber with a small white head. Smells of grassy and citrus hops with slight grain. Tastes of citrus and earthy hops with nice malt, sweet but not too sweet. Beer is full bodied with great bite and good level of carbonation, not overly boozy. Overall a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 00:46:47 | More by cyclonece09
Photo of Franziskaner


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

Amber hued with a slight reddish tint. Minimal thin layer of minuscule white foam on top. Nice Brussels lacing. Oddly I sniff and sniff but I don't get a ton of aroma. I know there's some brown sugar and maybe that's what has eliminated most of the smell? Taste is initially sweet,but generous hopping gives it a nice bitterness and then a sweetness returns in the fade. Mouthfeel seems a bit carbonated and that bitterness pricks the tongue.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 04:41:12 | More by Franziskaner
Photo of JMScowcroft


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas Brewing Company - Brown Shugga', poured into a Craftgeer snifter.

Look - Pours copper ruby amber with a good sized soapy head that retains quite well. Glorious lacing.

Smell - Hoppy, red malts, and some booze.

Taste - Hoppy citrus orange and resiny with a blast of hot booze.

Mouthfeel - Almost heavy bodied with medium carbonation. Hot and boozy. Drinkable and quite dangerous haha.

Overall - Solid brew, a kick in the face. Strong ale with a nice juicy hoppy blast. Recommend.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 20:13:46 | More by JMScowcroft
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 reebtaerG


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

Poured into a 16oz pint glass at Lures

A-deep amber color with a one finger tan white head

S-aromas of citrus caramel brown sugar toasted grain and orange with hops

T-taste similar to the aroma with the addition of sweet malt

M-medium body with medium carbonation silky to the tongue

O-great strong ale perfect for the winter months to warm you up with the 10 ABV

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2013 01:00:00 | More by reebtaerG
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
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,439 ratings.