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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,446 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3446
Reviews: 1292
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
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Ratings: 3,446 | Reviews: 1,292 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of vfgccp

New York

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at The Ginger Man in NYC

A – Dark maple syrup. Light, off-white dusting of a head.

S – Huge brown sugar note. Light malt. Molasses.

T – Super soft malt ebbs and weaves through brown sugar, molasses and walnuts. Leaves a trace of pine-like bitterness on the back end.

M – Light body. Bitter / sweet finish.

O – Nice malty complexity, but the profile on whole is overly sweet, which overwhelms the relatively light body.

Serving type: cask

05-31-2011 23:18:10 | More by vfgccp
Photo of DoubleSimcoe

New York

3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Lagunitas Brown Shugga on cask at mighty Max's in B'more, MD, served in a pint.

Appearance: Huge fluffy head, almost three fingers. Persistent too. Enormous lacing, bigger than in a Guinness or other creamy stouts.

Smell: Pound cake, sugars, some coconut and other sweet tropical fruits. Strawberry and orange juice. Reminds me of a cask IPA, like Lagunitas's own Hop Stoopid. The aroma is a tad too sweet overall, but enticing.

Taste: More of the same. Tropical feel, dessert. Very sweet and juicy (as in juice-like, not full-bodied). Some ice-cream flavors. Vanilla and creme brulee. A pleasant but pungent, lip-smacking bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium body. As expected from a cask. Finishes dry, nice coating, a bit sticky. Incredibly sweet overall.

Drinkability: A sipper. I struggled. Too sweet and nourishing. Feels like a whole meal (dessert, in fact). As it warmed up, it became unbearably hot and sweet. Not like a huge barleywine, but just unpleasant, like hot-and-cooked orange juice. I left one quarter of my pint. Not a big fan of this one...

Serving type: cask

12-03-2010 06:00:54 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of rootbeerman


4.83/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: arrived in an imperial pint glass, with a finger and a half of light brown head, the body was dark amber brown. with huge chunks of foam lacing.

S: sweet brown sugar, and caramel, very malty a slight floral hop.

T: again very sweet, with brown sugar and caramel. like a liquid sugar cookie. this beer hides its alcohol rather well. there also is a very slight hop citrus. flavor lingers around for a long time!

M: smooth, clean lightly coating, hangs around.
D: perfect between hiding its alcohol and smooth simple yet very good flavors.
have no idea of the age of the cask.

Serving type: cask

06-02-2010 01:03:11 | More by rootbeerman
Photo of younger35


3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank it on tap from the cask at a local bar. Hand pumped from the barrel into a snifter. Served around 50 degrees. Was impressed from the start!

Appearance- Very deep amber/pale brown color. Broke nicely around the edges to a light almost yellowish amber. Great frothy head. Beer looked very inviting.

Smell- Had a sweet almost candy like smell. Subtle floral tones.

Taste- Sweet brown suger, caramely taste. Hints of vanilla undertone the woodsy sweetness. Big burst of alcohol is very pleasant on the back of the tongue. Nice hop characteristics balance the beer very well. The taste sticks with you.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, alcoholy feel. Very mild cask carbonation, perfect for this beer.

Drinkability- Fantastic. The Alcohol is very pronounced but overall a very tasty beer. This is a very unique beer that I would highly recommend if you ever run into it on tap.

Serving type: cask

02-02-2007 16:42:25 | More by younger35
Photo of KajII

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Snifter]

The pour was a clear medium brown with a slight reddish hue and an average (1-2 finger) light cream colored sudsy head that lasted for a good while, finally reducing down to a thin film and large collar with good streaky lacing.

The aroma was boldly sweet upfront with sweet bread malts, light pine and citrus hops and a sweet doughy yeast along with notes of caramel, citrus (grapefruit), a dark fruity ester (figs and dates) and a mild alcohol tinge.

The taste was extremely malty sweet with a big caramel presence from the start to the finish, progressing with a moderate hoppiness, a slight citrus peel bitterness, a mild yeasty appeal and a strong presence of fruit along and ended with overwhelming alcohol taste. The flavor lasted a bit long in duration, with the bitter sweet alcohol taste fading slowly off the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and a bit syrupy in texture with an almost medium carbonation.

Overall this was an impressive Barley Wine, with the fruity sweetness being balanced very well by the somewhat bitter hoppy flavor. This did take a little off the huge alcohol presence, but just a little...


Serving type: bottle

04-22-2014 23:04:25 | More by KajII
Photo of TheBishop


4.94/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This beer is ridiculous. My liver hates it but I love it. Everything about this beer is over the top from the ABV to the taste but not so much that it is off putting. I have had beers in the 10 percent ABV range that taste like, well booze. But this one you can hardly notice it at all which is not entirely a great thing. I drank 4 of these before my wife got home and I was hammered, she was not happy, but I was.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2014 21:49:19 | More by TheBishop
Photo of WheelsPSU

New York

4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased a bottle a forgot I had it in the fridge. Glad I found it.

Orangey amber pour with a decent amount of sticky lacing being left on the glass. Head stuck around for a while and was thick and foamy.

Floral and hoppy in the aroma. Like a barleywine and IPA. Resin, pine, citrus, and brown sugar. Don't get much of the malt though.

Malt sweetness and a ton of hops are first on the taste. Pine, citrus and sticky blast of malt come next. The best part of the beer is the finish which produces the huge amount of brown sugar, caramel, and gingerbread. Its like Christmas for your palate.

This is a very hoppy and all together sweet (from the malt sweetness and brown sugar) brew. Recommended for the winter and holiday season, or if you forget you have it and drink it in April!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 13:39:25 | More by WheelsPSU
Photo of barhoc11


4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great beer with a distinctive taste, I would drink again. It is a nice change on the regular double IPA's. The aroma and taste smell of brown sugar and it goes down 'sweet'. If you can get this, give it a try, it's not something you will dislike.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2014 04:03:27 | More by barhoc11
Photo of drdan21


4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance Hard to tell, it was in a bottle.

Smell Very pleasant, sugar smell definitely present with the background of maple syrup

Taste brown sugar definitely present, a bit of spice and slight burnt flavor

Mouthfeel Very comforting and smooth, creamy like

Overall this is an excellent ale. I enjoy beer in both quantity and quality and this is one for quality. Due to the alcoholic content, one or two is enough

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2014 00:09:52 | More by drdan21
Photo of GOBLIN


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

Lagunitas Brown Shugga'

Just like I knew you would

Poured into pint glass

A: Caramel. Not as dark as other "barley wines" also has a beautiful red glow to it. (advertised as a barleywine but I know it's a strong ale)

S: Yummy, caramel, fruit punch, maple syrup ( Seriously . . . Am I the only one who keeps getting this fruit punch "thing" in beer lately ?

T: Yummy, same as nose. Much, much better as it warms too. Sweet candy in taste . . . I think this is a beer Grandma would bake or brew or whatever

M: Thick. Syrupy but in a good way

O: Maybe not as "big" as other barleywines (strong ale) but very drinkable. Well done Lagunitas

Last thought . . . Rumor has it that Sucks came about because Lagunitas messed up on a batch of Brown Shugga' . . . Is this true ?

Serving type: on-tap

03-17-2014 17:40:28 | More by GOBLIN
Photo of SteveB24

New York

4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

appearance; amber that isn't clear nor opaque, some light bubbles. ridiculously thick head that rises very high and a good finger retains till the very end. the kind of head that a part of you always wants to see when you pour a beer.

smell; between this and lagunitas lil sumpin sumpin ale, lagunitas might deserve the title of brewery that makes the best smelling beers, the aroma is a heavenly blend of caramel, hops and a bit of earthiness.

taste; ltrue to its name, burnt brown sugar is obvious, but smoothly joins together with a touch of earth and mildly bitter hops with a hint of spiciness. the alchohal is there but not overpowering at all.

mouthfeel; a bit creamy, medium carbonation, wet finish, full body. excellent extremely satisfying and unique yet easy to drink and highly pallet able, will buy again and recommend to anyone who appreciates good beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2014 04:18:44 | More by SteveB24
Photo of 312HopBomb


4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep amber color with a slight white cap. This is nice and clear.

The nose is sweet with prominent brown sugar. The hops peak through to mix it up.

The taste is sweet but not too much. A nice malty and brown sugga sweetness with a good dose of hops.

Mouthfeel is medium full with moderate carbonation.

I really liked this one. Had been wanting to try it but hard to find. Thanks to Jose for sharing!

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 02:07:00 | More by 312HopBomb
Photo of HopBomb515

New Jersey

3.66/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Deep copper color, off white to cream head that's 2 fingers, nice lacing on the glass.

S - Burnt caramel, toffee, brown sugar, citrus and pine.

T - Up front a hit of brown sugar sweetness laced with pine. Before it gets out of control a wave of hops cut through bringing citrus and pine notes. All of this plays out on a wave of caramel flavor in the background. Sweet battles bitter and sweet wins out in the end.

M - Surprisingly sharp carbonation with a full body and slightly sticky mouthfeel.

O - Lagunitas makes a sweet beer taste great. Well done and different. This beer has sweetness and bitterness and is in no way balanced, as if both sides are bringing all they have to the ring. Love it.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2014 01:42:55 | More by HopBomb515
Photo of deeznuts420


3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this is a great strong ale. if you get it fresh the hops pop through nicely and it isn't as sweet as the name suggests. it's a a very drinkable brew that definetly caught me off guard. the sweetness hits first but then it seems to turn into an american barley wine. great beer for the money. Lagunitas is the best value out of California out here in PA. A case of stone Ipa costs me 43 bucks while this is about the same price as this brew that is more complex and alcoholic. sucks is good but it's a totally different beer and is probably an easier drinking beer but if these two were side by side for the same price there's no question i'd pick the Brown shugga

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 13:45:41 | More by deeznuts420
Photo of blackcompg


4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours nearly 2 fingers of rich golden yellow foam, body is a gorgeous and bright translucent amber orange, and wonderful lacing that leaves a line after each quaff.

Smell - Rich malts, dark toffee, candied orange peels, there is a nice molasses aroma there for sure - or maybe it's brown sugar, and a faint whiff of piney hops.

Taste - Such a flavorful ale - starts rich malts with orange citrus, pine arrives moments later, with some rich carmels and toffee, also getting some nice lite herbals of basil towards the back, finish is a flavorful pine and rich malt, and a touch of orange peel.

Mouthfeel - Heavier side of medium, somewhat mouthcoating, but I feel this "effect" is mostly from the very bold full mouthed flavors here. Carb is the lower side of medium and adds a few pine needle pricks on the sides of the tongue. Finish is wonderfully hoppy and sweet, some light stickiness on the lips. Just the slightest hint of alcohol after a few good sips.

Overall - I really love this beer, and while it is a sweet beer, it is not overly so at all, as the flavors are all very bold, and very balanced. Love the combination of citrus orange, carmel and brown sugar, pine and basil. I will always get at least a case of this every time it comes around. Must try!

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 05:36:11 | More by blackcompg
Photo of Emnmarko


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Caramel colored brew with loads of sediment. Looks like my kid backwashed in it for an hour. A creamy two finger head forms after a heavy pour.

S- Rich deep malts. Some booze. Almost an aged aroma.

T- Rich roasted malts with caramel sweetness that balances nicely with the bitterness. The flavor is big and bold. A dry milder and warm aftertaste hangs on for a few.

M- Surprisingly easy to drink for an ale with an abv. of 9.9%. The alcohol is there, but more in spirit. Not a session beer by any stretch but not a sipper either.

O- This is a fine brew with an amazing amount of flavor coming at you but in a way that you can enjoy. Lagunitas has continued to impress me with their thoughtful brewing. Having tried the "replacement ale" I had to try this one as well. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 20:33:22 | More by Emnmarko
Photo of ckollias


4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a Belgian tulip glass.

A: Pours a clear copper hue with a thick white head that slowly dissipates leaving a great trail and ends in a wispy lace.

S: Hoppy and malty aroma mix.

T: More hoppy than what I would have figured for a beer named Brown Shugga. Slightly sweet and some fruits mixed in with a sugary malt.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Alcohol sneaks up on you for this for one. Solid brew – lagunitas never disappoints.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 02:10:30 | More by ckollias
Photo of MrPlayboy


4.73/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very interesting beer. It is like an IPA but has that biting bitter hop finish and cloying sweetness of a barleywine. Almost a washed cheese rind flavor like trappist cheese. I can't tell if I really like it or not. Which may be why this beer has captured my attention. Its like stinky cheese; you don't particularly like it but keep coming back because of how different it is. I will be aging some bottles to see what happens. Good stuff but then again I'm not sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 18:33:00 | More by MrPlayboy
Photo of humuloner22

North Carolina

4.56/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I cannot believe that I have struck it lucky twice in a row with this brewery. I have had several from them until recently that have been less than celestial. But the last two have been wonderful, this one even better than the one aforementioned in my reviews. This one had a beautiful burnt sienna color the head was not overly lofty and it settled to a nice, yet carbonated tipple. The taste was sweet yet not overly saccharine. It had a nice malty component but not overly so and the hops, what little that I could detect hit with just the right amount of bite. Overall I would say this is one high quality brew and one I would definitely look for again when it arrives next year.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 01:03:56 | More by humuloner22
Photo of lochef81


3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This ale pours a deep mahogany amber hue with a small cream colored head that is short lived and gives way to a gentle off white lacing and thick alcohol legs. The mouthfeel is somewhat thick and sticky definitely coats every inch of your palate for a long time. The nose is very sweet with some nice hop notes and a definite alcohol vibe. This is not subtle, which is one of my favorite things about Lagunitas beers. The flavor is almost reminiscent of a barley wine. It is deep and malty with a hearty dose of west coast hops and a very strong alcohol bite on the finish. Im a huge fan if lagunitas but this beer is not quite my taste. It is very good just not my style.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 04:58:56 | More by lochef81
Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ


3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with a copper hue
Malty, pine and fruit come off with some gusto
There was a malt/hop presence that came through a lot stronger than I expected- but it was welcome. For some reason I was expecting something different. But the flavor was bold and lingering as I’ve come to expect from Lagunitas
I have to give this one a try again, I may have had something else to clog my senses, but I wasn’t entirely impressed which was disappointing because I was quite looking forward to it. Hold on – I’ll be right back I’m going to go buy some more and re-edit this later icon smile Beer reviews


Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 17:56:43 | More by BeerandWhiskeyHQ
Photo of wethorseblanket


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap.

A: Pours a hazy reddish amber with 1/2" white head which fades slowly and yields splotchy and spotty lace.

S: Citrusy, herbal, fruity, caramel, malts and a slight "old ale" note.

T: Pine and citrus, sweetly malted, caramel, toffee and faint molasses.

M- Semi-full body and medium carbonation. Finishes sweet and malty with a slight syrupy, resiny dankness.

O: Rated as a strong ale, but seems like a hybrid of a malty DIPA, old ale, and BW. A nice sipper for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2014 04:09:28 | More by wethorseblanket
Photo of CaptainHate


4.64/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I had tried a sample of this at the local supermarket and thought it was deserving of a much more in depth exploration. So I had my growler filled (at a very reasonable price) and took it to a meeting of my fellow reprobates who like listening to music and drinking beer.

I was pretty sure that this would be regarded fairly highly by my fellow hop-kissers and was not surprised. The other alternatives were Hopping Frog Christmas Ale (not bad) and Great Lakes Conway Ale (it's ok but I've had it before and wasn't particularly interested in bottles of it). Anyway this was a big hit and we drained the growler with scant regard for the alc content.

Even though Lagunitas dumps enough sugar in this to stimulate a diabetic coma, it really doesn't negatively impact the taste, nor does the fairly high alc content. This is a strong tasting but very balanced tasty ale.

Serving type: growler

02-02-2014 06:17:06 | More by CaptainHate
Photo of JerUrbans


4.56/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours out a nice clear amber color, with light tan head. Smell is hoppy, a little earthy, and some citrus in the nose as well, very nice. Taste is just great! Sweet , with some dark fruit notes, blends well with the citrus and hops. Alcohol is really well hidden. I get a nice warming feeling all over my body as I drink this. Got really good body, and is smooth, yet sticky. Flavor lingers in my mouth a long long time.

Overall this is one of the top 5 beers I have had, would absolutely seek this beer out. We get very limited amount where I'm at, but was lucky enough to secure one case from my local.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 01:24:52 | More by JerUrbans
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
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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,446 ratings.