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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,440 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3440
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: 3,440 | Reviews: 1,291 | Show All Ratings:
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 PieOhMy


3.74/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A. Dark transparent amber. Thick foamy slow fading khaki head.

S. Sweet toffee and malts. Floral and grassy.

T. Caramel. Brown sugar. Burnt sugar. Heavy malt flavor. Tangy weediness.

M. Medium. A bit sticky. Finishes a little hot.

O. This is a Lagunitas brew for s sure. Big backbone and hoppy. This one gets a little too sweet and not quite enough hop punch for me though.

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2013 01:42:56 | More by PieOhMy
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
Photo of Mongrel


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

A - Great looking beer. Pours a slightly hazy honey-amber with a finger of dense, frothy off-white head. Plenty of clingy lace.

S - Smell is intoxicating. Abundant hops - mainly citrus and pine - plus honey, apple and some sort of x-factor, like jasmine.

T - Taste-wise, the first impression is bitterness, like a west coast IPA. This quickly yields to big, rich sweetness, like a barleywine. The whole experience is immensely fruity, bringing apple, grape, grapefruit and raisin. Perfectly balanced and the sweetness is big, but in no way cloying. Brown sugar doesn't come through per se - it's more like a honey sweetness. Aftertaste is cool and dry, with some grapefruit hoppiness.

M - Mouthfeel is big, round and velvety. Pure luxury on the palate with a moderately long finish.

Overall, this is a dangerously delicious brew and one of my favorite seasonals. Luxurious, but approachable and dangerously drinkable. Virtually no perceptible signs of the high ABV, and a damn good value, to boot.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2013 02:11:57 | More by Mongrel
Photo of mfnmbvp


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

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. A new seasonal release to me from Lagunitas, I was unaware this beer had such a high abv. Expectations are moderately high based on the brewery and this beer's high ratings.

Poured into a Lagunitas mason jar.

A - Pours a beautiful semi-clear brassy amber colored body with some sediment floating around. Just under two fingers of fluffy doughy beige head. Very nice head retention for such a high abv. Looks pretty damn nice for what it is.

S - Smell is pretty accurate to what I was expecting. Lots of fresh grapefruit hops, dusty bready malt, brown sugar, some red berry jam type smells, and some alcohol burn.

T - Taste is of bitter resinous grapefruit hops, some pine, hint of soapiness, some rye-esque spiciness, sticky brown sugar, and biscuit malts.

M - Feel ends sticky, sugary, resinous, bitter, and dry. A simple, fitting, classic Lagunitas style ending.

Overall, I'd say this is a fairly typical Lagunitas offering, not too much spectacular than any of their other highly hopped beers. This beer could probably also pass for either a DIPA or an American barleywine, but it's fine where it's at. Definitely a nice slow sipper of a beer, and I am glad I got this while I could. Recommended.

Lagunitas Brown Shugga' ---4/5.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 17:28:05 | More by mfnmbvp
Photo of Fcolle2


4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear amber in color with a big red hue. Head is off white, just over one finger and retains nicely.

Smell has some floral aromas forward along with light herbal and perfume like hop aromas before clean smelling yeast and a good earthy malt come in near the back end.

Taste is great. Lots of rich nutty and and subtle sweet caramel malt flavors are forward. More great herbal and floral hop flavors come in on the back end with very mild amounts of bitterness and a semi-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is great, rich malty body with light hop bitterness. Lots of hoppy oil blend with moderate carbonation to give this a fluffy yet Crisp feel.

Overall this was an awesome beer. Great balance and lots of complexity.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 01:48:32 | More by Fcolle2
Photo of Qbdoo


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

Appearance - light, reddish brown

Smell - piney (I wish I could say more but I just don't have a nose)

Taste - a great balance of hoppiness, sweetness and malt. I was wary of a beer whose name brags about sugar, but they get it just right. I don't really taste the booze.

Mouthfeel - lighter than I expected for such a big beer but very pleasant. Carbonation is rather subdued.

Overall - just what I'd hoped for: bold hoppy flavors softened by a light, sweet touch. A rich beer but not cloying. I'm trying this on a cold November night and this is just what I wanted in my beer today.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2013 01:29:34 | More by Qbdoo
Photo of MasterfulIdiot


3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an Ikea brandy snifter. Appearance is translucent amber with a surprisingly thick brown head - especially for being in a snifter! There's lots of lace for the first few minutes, although that's mostly gone towards the end of it.

Smell is citrusy hops, with some alcohol burn. I was really surprised, since I was expecting more of a toasty brown ale, but this actually smells like it could be an IPA.

Taste hits you up front with lots of citrusy hops. Little bit of resin in there too. Swallow is nice and malty, and that's where the brown sugar taste comes in. Finish is pretty sweet from the brown sugar, with some well-incorporated booziness.

Mouthfeel is moderately thick, with some nice prickly carbonation that does well to cut through some of the maltiness and booziness.

Overall, this is definitely an interesting beer, although I'm really not sure what to make of it. I feel like they could have definitely gotten away with calling this a DIPA, although I guess they did a little better not attributing it to a style at all. I tend to like hoppy beers better when they're a little bit lower-ABV, and the brown sugar mixed with the booziness can make it seem a little sickly sweet occasionally, so I do have some problems with it. But the hop flavors are really nice, and the brown sugar is a nice addition, and it's definitely unusual and interesting, so I did really enjoy it!

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 03:57:08 | More by MasterfulIdiot
Photo of Nugganooch


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

12oz stubby with my Sierra Nevada Balloon glass.
Notes from 11/10/13

A: Dark coppery caramel amber body with some ruddy orange hues and a slight haze effect. Thick finger of egg white suds adorn the glass top never full subsiding. Generous swaths of lace and sticky dots paint the glass all the way down the drink.

S: Gooey caramels and brown sugar over lightly toasted bread. Similar to a light molasses character. Somewhat akin to an American style barley-wine with a firm hop presence of pine resins, earth, spice and dank herbals. Alcohol is slightly evident in the nose. Nice overall with the brown sugar really coming through in the nose.

T: The brown sugar is apparent providing an overall sweetness to the beer add some bready malts and touch of caramelized fig fruitiness to the base. There is a nice punch of moderate hop bitterness to the beer that brings pine, spice, and herbals with some lesser notes of citrus fruit. The alcohol is warming and very present. Almost harsh in a way that too many of these bad boys will leave your head a poundin’. Not entirely balanced but the flavors are great. One bad ass little brew with some big barley-wine tendencies.

M: The mouth feel is moderate leaning towards heavy with a bit of light syrupy thickness. Has a nice frothy texture form the carb with a modest bittering and light drying efforts on the finish. Warming alcohol on exhalation with a slight resinous linger.

D: Brown Shugga is one beer that don’t fuck around. It packs a wallop in both flavor and alcohol. It is a little unbalanced but in a good way like one would expect from a Strong Ale. The malts dominate over a modest hop kick and the brown sugar comes through nicely in both flavor and aroma. Both tasty and robust. I would say one could cellar this but why wait. A great seasonal classic.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 21:06:10 | More by Nugganooch
Photo of ryan1788a5


3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Darker coppery color with burnt sienna hues. Cream colored head holds fast at a quarter inch. A thin broken ring and spotty dots comprise the lacing.

S: Melon and mandarin orange, hints of dank bud, light pine, and sugary ruby red grapefruit. Sweet and substantial malt base of brown bread, caramel, crust, brown cocoa, and brown sugar.

T: Mandarin orange and melon start things off. Some more aggressive hop flavors of pine, resin, and dank weed follow quickly. Heavily toasted crust and brown bread. Dark caramel. Nutty cocoa and brown sugar. Spike of alcohol and hints of tropical ester. Bready and crusty finish with a lingering boozy taste.

M: Medium-thick body. Round, creamy, and chewy. Low scrubbing carbonation. Numbing alcohol.

O: Not bad stuff. Some more aggressive flavors at work in this beer than are found in any other Lagunitas offering. At 9.9% abv this beer means business, and it tastes like it means business too. It's the brawler of the Lagunitas portfolio. Still fun and fairly easy to drink despite its size.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2013 15:40:36 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of ubenumber2


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

Poured from bottle into a tulip , redish brown color with a one finger head and nice sticky lacing

Smells very malty and sweet with some burnt raisin smell to it , very nice

Taste is very malt forward with the sugary sweetness coming on second and a nice bite form the alcohol at the end

Overall a very tasty brew , just wish I could land a few more bottles

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2013 22:25:59 | More by ubenumber2
Photo of bound4er


4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Nice looking orangish amber appearance with an off white head.

S. Notes of sweet cherry, baking spice and caramel malt. Not the most forward smelling beer but nice nonetheless.

T. Nice mix of sweet malt and hop bitterness. Some cherry, spice and bready malt followed with a perfect shot of lingering citrus hop bitterness.

M. Creamy mouthfeel with minimal carbonation.

O. Another great beer from Lagunitas. At almost 10% ABV and priced around $9 per 6-pack this has to be one of the better beer values out there.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2013 03:30:58 | More by bound4er
Photo of MattyBones

New York

4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a pack of this today...couldn't wait to try it out.

appearance: pores a dark copper with a frothy brownish white head.

smell: caramel and hops, mostly hops.

taste: Caramel, citrus from the hops, some brown sugar mixed with a lightly malty/smokey backbone that balances it out nicely. Very well balanced with a slight hint of alcohol. I think I prefer this over SUCKS. I wish I had a bottle to make a full side by side comparison.

Mouthfeel: slick, sticky mouthfeel but doesn't linger for too long.

Overall: I'm highly pleased with this and looking forward to breaking out the next bottle. Another solid brew from Lagunitas.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2013 00:12:16 | More by MattyBones
Photo of JamesMN


3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Crystal clear burgundy/copper color with a ton of thick lacing from a three finger off-white head that has since become about a third of the size. Really doesn't get much better than this in the appearance department.

Aroma: Piney sugar-coated citrus hops and definite caramel malt undertones.

Taste: Damn that's a lot of flavor. Lets talk hop character; immense pine, dankness, bitter grapefruit, and a lot of bitterness packed into 51.1 IBUs. Really wakes up the palate. The malt is noticeably sweet with caramel and just a hint of brown sugar, and helps to support all of the bitter hops without overpowering them. Finish is surprisingly tame given the huge flavor build up but the aftertaste leaves the palate aching with echoing bitterness and burnt caramel. The 9.9% ABV is all but hidden in the flavor but leaves a nice warmth in the throat.

Mouthfeel: Between medium and full in body with too much carbonation and average drinkability.

Final Thoughts: Brown Shugga' is exactly what the style implies. The hop character of an imperial IPA with the malt presence of a barleywine. At $9.99 a sixer it's pretty hard to pass up. Would I drink it again? Yes.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2013 02:34:31 | More by JamesMN
Photo of ksimons

New York

4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-a clear ruby with three fingers worth of bubbly cream colored head

S-caramel malt and piney citrus hops

T-caramel malt, brown sugar, bitterness is more mild than the smell would suggest. Very well hidden alcohol.

M-medium body, good carbonation

Overall sweet and sticky, but not cloying, but still has a very large hop presence. Very well done and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2013 23:05:21 | More by ksimons
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,440 ratings.