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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,444 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,444
Hads: 5,015
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 237
Gots: 868 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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
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Reviews: 1,444 | Hads: 5,015
Photo of Sammy
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was OK, nothing special, with an edge of the brown suger in the taste. Initially above average foam, and a bit of colour. Average mouthfeel and drinkability. Of course, on the sweeter side, with sweet characteristics, caramel and the like. A decent beverage, only big in the alcohol.As a barleywine, this is quite smooth. (326 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A - Pours a nice opaque amber with a 1 inch head that fades into nothing. Lacing is minimal.

S - This beer smells like pineapples and toasty caramelized malt.

T - Slightly bitter citrus to start with sweet brown sugar malty finish. Just like the smell, I get a pineapple essence. The hops might play a role in this.

M - Very smooth and creamy. Carbonation seems to be a bit lacking in this bottle.

D - A sweeter and tasty beer that I can see myself purchasing again in the future. I bought this around Christmas time and to me this seems like a good beer for the holidays. (616 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high off white head that gradually died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge, and lots of lacing down the sides.
S: Moderate aromas of citrusy and pine resin hops are present in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of sugary, caramel malts and citrusy hops along with a light amount of bitterness. Notes of pine resin are also noticeable in the finish and aftertaste. No alcohol is perceptible.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. No warming is perceptible.
O: This beer is extremely drinkable for the style, although I would consider this to be more of a hybrid between an IPA and American Strong Ale. In any event, it has a nice balance between malty sweetness and hoppy flavors.

Serving type: bottle (925 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

G: Oversized snifter. No logo.

A: Pours a copperish color that is really more red. Pretty decent head with good retention on the sides of the glass, although the head off of the initial pour recedes quickly. Definite alcohol presence.

S: Sweet and vibrant. The brown sugar really comes through, as do miscellaneous dark fruit vapors. Maybe a hint of molasses.

T: A bit of a letdown after the smell. Only mildly sweet with some alcohol presence. The taste and smell are not corresponding for me.

M: Slight carbonation. Although this is a fairly-high ABV beer, it doesn't hide the alcohol nearly as well as others of its kind. I'm only picking up a slight hint of the fruits that were present in the nose.

D: A pretty decent brew, although I don't know if I'd really go for more than one within a sitting. I keep see picking it from time to time, maybe it'd be better on tap. (881 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a very long time coming... finally! it has a hell of a reputation. it pours a clear dark copper to red color, like an amber, with a two inch off white head that relaxes a little bit in time. the nose is all time, tons of brown sugar and molasses, spice and sweet, but also way more hops than i expected. bitter, a nice contrast to the sweet, nothing offensive here at all. flavor is so complex, nothing like this out there at all. sweet, thick, and boozed out max up front, but it settles into a hoppy, equally boozed, big ipa style. yeast is the same as seemingly all lagunitas beers, which really is my only knock on them, but it works here better than anywhere. feel is full bodied, but not as huge as i thought. its also plenty carbonated, which makes it seem drinkable at a scary rate. excellent beer, worth the hype. it will only get better as the weather gets darker and colder to suit this beer. yum, yum, yum. (918 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear medium amber color with a rocky beige head that leaves plenty of splashy lacing

Smell: Caramelized brown sugar, some piney hops and a touch of fruit; plenty of alcohol in the aroma as well

Taste: Burnt caramel and a distinct fusel alcohol flavor appear as I swirl it around my mouth; after the swallow a good presence of piney hop bitterness makes its presence known; the alcohol reappears on the finish as does the brown sugar sweetness

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and syrupy; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: While the sweetness is not cloying, it does limit the amount of this beer you will want to consume; otherwise, quite intriguing (672 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.03/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This one pours out as an amberish colored brew with a white head on it. The head settles but leaves a nice lacing. The smell of the beer is semi sweet, not as sweet as I expected it to be from the name. There was a little bit of a roasted smell in there and some hops as well. The taste wasn't overly sweet, I guess I took the name of the beer too literally... The flavors were decent in my opinion. After finishing it off I found myself saying that it wasn't the best beer out there but I suppose it'd be worth another try. (524 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasty stuff from a Brewery that I am just learning about. Brown Sugga' doesn't have too much actural brown sugar in it, but it does have a serious malt base that hinges on caramel and toffee. An amber / copper color with a fleeting head shows nice lacing. Aromas of nuts, figs, and dates decorate the nose. Similar flavors show more intensely. Lightly licorice-like. Big hop contribution, along with a lighter than usual body, becomes very IPAish. Nevertheless, a tasty brew that's easy on the palate. Thanks Clvand0 for sharing. (529 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Unclemattie: Poured a cloudy medium brown color ale with a good size head with good retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with some notes of toffee. Taste is a very interesting mix between some toffee, caramel and butterscotch malt with a light hoppy finish that is well balance. Full body with limited filtration and some great carbonation with no apparent alcohol. (410 characters)

Photo of largadeer
2.79/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Clear amber-red in my tulip, nicely colored with an off-white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Rich, sweet and fruity. I suppose there's a trace of brown sugar, but this is more fruity and boozy than anything. Faint sourness as well, along with a bit of leafy hops.

Taste & mouthfeel: As the aroma implies, this borders on being cloyingly sweet. Heavy on the palate but somewhat muddled, the faint fruity sourness doesn't gel right with the spicy sweetness and leafy hop bite. Somewhat thin in body despite the sweetness, with a surprisingly bitter finish. Can't say that I'm a fan of this one. (613 characters)

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

More nonsensical, bottle-tilting label ramblings from the good folks at Lagunitas...gotta love it.

This beer pours a clear dark brassy amber colour, with one finger of thick foamy pale beige head, which leaves a low unstable wall of lace around the glass as it dutifully recedes. It smells strongly of grapefruit hops and caramel cream, full stop, with a wee bit of warming alcohol. The taste is creamy, sugary caramel malt, grapefruit and orange citrus, some inexplicably perceptible leafy hops, and some mild, minding its own business booze. The carbonation is moderate, the body smooth, syrupy, and creamy, like whipped honey. It finishes sweet and sugary, with a rising, but still tempered alcohol edge, as it warms.

A pretty enjoyable DIPA analogue, with the brown sugar just adding to the war effort against the big West Coast hops - attrition we can all appreciate. (874 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.65/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark orange-copper with a faint roseate glow. Brown Shugga' looks like a brighter, sunnier barleywine. The magnificent head is the color of golden brown sugar, is the consistency of whipped butter and leaves a wonderful lace display. There's nothing about the appearance that I don't love.

A sweet, malty sipper would have been fantastic. However, if the nose is any indication, the brewery has seen fit to chuck in a generous load of American hops as well. Brown Shugga' smells like a DIPA that flavors its brown sugary malt side a fraction more than its citric hop side. If it tastes like it smells, I'll be in beer heaven.

The American strong ale, American barleywine and DIPA styles overlap to some extent. This Lagunitas offering could fit comfortably into any of them; maybe not so much the third. For my money, it tastes like a barleywine that's sweeter than it is bitter; like it has been sitting in my cellar for two years and has been smoothed and mellowed to perfection. Actually, that's exactly where it has been and that's exactly what has happened.

The flavor profile consists of wall-to-wall caramel malt coated with brown sugar and toffee pudding, studded with sticky dates and drizzled with caramel syrup. The 'boozy cherries' nature of some barleywines is present as well and comparisons to holiday fruitcake would not be out of line. Even though hops take a backseat to the malt juggernaught, a spicy, Chinook-like pungency is undeniable.

The beer is significantly sweet without crossing the line into cloying. There's enough bitterness present to take what could have been a sticky mess and turn it into pure, liquid poetry. The mouthfeel is everything I'd hoped for and more. Words like viscous, velvety and luxurious come to mind.

I've contemplated cracking this bottle open on many occasions over the past year. I'm glad I waited though. I have no doubt that time has been more than kind and has turned the beer into the glorious exilir that I'm enjoying so much today. I would love to have a case or two sleeping in my cellar right this very moment. Brown Shugga', how come you taste so good? (2,132 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
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 mikesgroove
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep hazy burnt amber with a nice brownish tint, a huge billowing off white head faded albeit reluctantly to leave behind a ton of sticky lace puring down the sides of the glass.

The smell was odd, I had half expected a strong IPA and not a Strong ale, but that was no bother. Lots of hoppy tones, pine and citrus but the biggest players were by far caramel and a burnt sugary almost molasses like aroma.;l, also deppicted some earthy tree bark type aroma. The taste followed suit, earthy caramel tones with a definate hop presence and a sweetness that lay on the palate for a good long while. The feel was a little thin and slick, for the amount of flavor present I would have like to have a bit more thickness to it, but it was nice none the less. Alcohol was definatly not hiding and was a big presence here. (821 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a small tulip glass a clear deep reddish orange with a tight one finger head that stuck nicely to the glass as it settled slowly into a slight off white soapy-like mass.Ahh there are some hops in there and lots of em big and piney in the nose over top ofsweet and caramel and brown sugar with hints of cherry as well.Somewhat sweet at the offset mainly caramel malt and dark fruit with underlying notes of brown sugar these flavors meld very nicely into a viney,sprucey hoppy finish that lingers nicely.A great American strong ale with a nice American hop profile,not as sweet as I had thought it would be and thats ok with me another good one from Lagunitas. (671 characters)

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.06/5  rDev +2%
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. (479 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
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 nickfl
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Small, light brown head with nice retention and good lace. A slightly hazy, golden brown body.

S - Aromas of brown sugar (surprise) some alcohol, toasted malt and a little bit of clove from the yeast.

T - Sweet and malty up front with lots of toasted malt, caramel and a bit of molasses. Some citrus and spice hops come in toward the finish, with balancing bitterness that fades into faint tobacco.

M - Thick and syrupy body, moderate carbonation, and a surprisingly dry finish.

D - Very nice and drinkable for what it is. This a beer like this, complexity really helps the drinkability and this one is delightfully complex. (632 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a (512) anniversary glass.

Finishing my day off with some Rolling Stones tribute beer. It is one, right...? In any case, this stuff pours a clear russet topped by a finger of off-cream foam. The nose comprises brown sugar (no way!), light maple syrup, pine needles, and the essence of grapefruit peel in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, with some brown-sugary maple taking control up front, and some bright grapefruit and mild pine needles getting the back half. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a nice beer, one that marries two distinctive flavor combinations and doesn't try to force them to live dysfunctionally together. (720 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours an amber rose with a slight off white head that left decent lacing. Aroma of malty sweetness, fruits, and spices.

Taste is sweet sugars and malt up front followed by a nice assertive hop presence and alcohol in the finish. That sweet brown sugar taste really hangs onto the palatte in the aftertaste. Provides a nice, solid mouthfull with some nice heat in the finish.

Sweet & warming and surprisingly drinkable, this is a great strong ale to sit down with on a cold, winter's night. (542 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, this is an unusual review for me because I'm not really sure what to say. This is the second bottle that I've had while trying to write a review, and this time, just like last time, it was so good that I was willing to just put the review aside and enjoy the beer. I perservered....

Carefully decanted to leave the yeast behind, it pours a clear reddish-orange-chestnut body (with some visible particulate in suspension) beneath a creamy head of off-white that holds well and leaves some very nice lace throughout the entire glass.

The nose is sweet, lightly nutty, and fruity; with caramel, brown sugar, yeasty fruitiness, a hint of amaretto, and some mild background hops.

The body is full, but not overly dextrinous; and it's creamy smooth with a very fine, restrained, natural carbonation.

The flavor is big and rich and sweet but not really complex. It's a very well-rounded, tight combination of caramelish malt, yeasty fruit, piney/citrusy (tangerine) hops, warming alcohol and solid bitterness. There's alot there, but the flavors don't particularly stand out on their own.

It's unusual, and devilishly enticing. Not to be missed! (1,160 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 2/17/08 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, brown sugar, dark fruits and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste is sweet and malty up front, with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit, but quickly becomes very well-balanced as a strong hops presence comes in with a slight alcohol bite. The after-taste is hoppy and sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, this is a very good beer to drink over the course of an evening until the ABV catches up with you. (785 characters)

Photo of mactrail
2.94/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An elegant pile of foam on the coppery orange brew poured in the New Belgium snifter. Interesting woody and herbal aroma.

Flavor is sweet, inappropriately bitter, murky, and sticky. It tastes like an Old Ale with the candied yams, sweet vermouth, and rust, all followed by a crunch of the aspirin tablet. Aside from the flavor, it's a well-made beer like everything from Lagunitas.

This used to be one of my favorite beers. There was the mystery of them stopping production for a few years-- maybe it was just too good. Why anybody stops making a successful beer needs an answer. It's just unfortunate it seems to be lost forever. From the 12 oz bottle in a six pack tha has been tough to get through. But when you need a bedtime beer with the right punch, you can overlook the taste. (786 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this ale courtesy of shertz, poured chilled into my Great lakes christmas glass.

A - Garnet w/ a good deal of clarity. A thick rocky beige head. The lace is quick to collect and has a fine bead.

S - Like a pine cone with a very sap filled odor-lots of resinous hops. The scent has subtle golden delicious notes w/ a hint of tropical fruits, potent nectar.

The texture is smooth w/ an intense sweetness and full but balanced carbonation w/ the hops acidity trailing.the feel is like candy with a hop filled center. The sweetness lingers long after the ale has been swallowed.

T - almost like a sugar cookie w/ a subtle molasses and brisk balanced hoppy pine flavor which is angular jutting out of the crystal malt and a relatively strong alcohol note parallels this taste. The brown sugar gives the taste an intense caramel flavor like candy corn with a hop bitterness, it is both flavorful and balanced for a strong ale which not an ordinary trait.

D - A great ale- I enjoy it immensely, it was a pleasant nightcap for me. I could possibly handle a couple or a bomber but on this night one was plenty which is my reasoning for only above average here. This is not a boring beer - Brown Shugga: "how come you taste so good?" (1,234 characters)

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Always wanted to try this beer and finally my package store decided to start carrying it.. hooray beer!

Pours a nice copper color with a small head. Smell is of (surprise) brown sugar! Taste is very sweet upfront but the alcohol taste is present, but only slightly. Finishes clean and smooth with a nice caramel/sugar touch. Although you can taste the alcohol, it still doesn't feel like a 10% ABV beer.. a solid beer, would love to have it again. (448 characters)

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,444 ratings.