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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,446 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,446
Hads: 5,027
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 21.05%
Wants: 242
Gots: 885 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,446 | Hads: 5,027
Photo of Jemonster
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Sexy looking beer from one of my favorite breweries. Redish tan with dense tan head that leaves lacing. Fine carbonation.

S: Smells sweet and rich like a sophisticated dessert. Yeast and light hops, some stone fruit odor comes through as well.

T: Syrupy sweet as expected, but balanced well by the malty malt and bitter hops. Tastes like a little more than the 51.1 IBU as stated on the bottle in my opinion, and less than the 9.99% ABV.

M: Viscous, creamy, and lightly tingly. Has the body of a good shot of espresso. You have to pause to feel the bubbling from the carbonation. About the same mouthfeel as a well made root beer, which is what I really like.

D: Gotta be a 4. Can't rate it any higher because 2 might do you in on an empty stomach. A lightweight might not be able to drive after 1. Very easy to drink though, and tasty enough to make me look for it again.

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Photo of Nick3
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is a great beer. Not what I expected based on the beer name and color. Color is a rich brown. A lot more hops than I expected. I can barely taste the alcohol which was shocking based on the strength. The beer is really well balanced and keeps you guessing, you look at it and think Newcastle, you smell it and the molasses and sugar are there but there is a hop aroma that you don't expect. . . you taste it and, at first, it reconfirms the smell as the hops and flowers pervade, but then the finish is rounded off with some nice malts and sweetness .. .then the hops reappear again a few seconds later. Beer is well carbonated and could use a bit more body. A bit of a schizophrenic beer but one that I would buy again.

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Photo of apbarwood
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a deep amber/brownish with a small cap of sandy-colored foam. Pretty good retention with nice sheets of creamy lacing. The aroma is unsurprisingly sweet with a nice caramel, toffee, brown sugar quality with a subtle citrus note. I'd like to make an air freshener out of this. At any rate, the flavor is superb with a big, thick caramelized sugar note taking the lead. There's a sort of sweet, sticky toffee flavor that blends nicely with caramel, brown sugar and like a bright red fruity center. Not overly hoppy but there is definitely something there. The finish is nicely dry with citrus and pine flavors coming into the mix. The hops do a really good job of keeping the sweet malt flavors from cloying and keeps me wanting more. It's full-bodied with a nice warming quality but never feels overwhelming. I absolutely loved this beer. Probably one of the best experiences I've had with a beer in the past year. People who like big, malty beers should definitely check this one out but I'd recommend it to anybody. This is going to make it into my annual winter seasonal haul.

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Photo of surfmeister
2.25/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Interesting, and yet, undrinkable.
Pretty deep red/brown color, murkiness undercuts the appearance though, thick head with cascades of brown bubbles with an aggressive pour, caramel, sweet, nutty fragrance, taste was a cloying, sick molasses-like sweetness coupled with an overbearing alcohol punch, all other tastes were basically blotted out, mouthfeel was slimy and alcoholic, this beer ended up in the drain half way through, you shouldn't have to try this hard to like a beer

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Photo of NitroGen
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P: 12 oz. short brown bottle, O.G. 1.100 Alc. 9.99% by Vol.. I.B.U. 51.1

A: Amber pour with a finger of light brown foanm head that slowly fades to a scant cover and lacing.

S: Citrus pith, roasted grains and sight sweetness

T: Burst of bitter hops then a rush of sweet roasted malt and a slight oily tongue with sweetness, roasted and hops fighting it out….all in the blink of an eye.
This is a great exercise for the mouth! No obvious alcohol vapor,fumes lurking in any of the taste.

M: A great treat for the mouth! This one is a keeper and will get more to see how it ages and compare it too next years release.

D: Could drink a number of these but would have to try and keep in mind the ABV level!

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Photo of Aiptasia
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. longneck into an absinthe glass.

A: Pours a rich amber color with a great 1" head. Excellent long retention with a brown cotton candy color with excellent cling on the lacing. Color is a rich, clear frosty rootbeer.

S: Amazing florals immediately eminate when uncapped. Cloves, anise and lime citrus on the nose.

T: Sugar malts with hints of liquorice and plum. The lime carries over into the flavor in the middle with a grapefruit rind and pine hops finish.

M: Full bodied and delicious with sugar sweetness. Heavy micro carbonation. Well balanced alcohols almost undetectable until the warming kicks in the belly.

D: An excellent assertive beer. Very drinkable with a food pairing due to the alcohol content. Chicago style pizza and most Mexican food comes to mind.

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Photo of drunkenmess
3.19/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Finally found some of this. Not the Sucks, the original...
Pours very easy n nice, almost a dark golden/amber not hazy look to it, with an all around head that lasts thru out also adequate lacing to boot. Smells of sugar beets, brown sugar, light hops and sweetness. Tastes almost like liquid candy. Tastes of Super sweet and a slight tartness with a bite of hops. Intoxicating yet light on your pallet, besides all the sugar lol. Ummm... alittle too sweet for me but as Lagunitas becoming one of my favourite brewer's I defintley respect what they have done here. Respect ☆☆☆

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Photo of Celt44
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly, the best stong ale I've EVER had. B+ ????

Appearance is a dark amber/copper. Head didn't last exceptionally long. Good lookin' beer

Smell is absolutely beautiful - Hop, Malts, and sweetness...

Taste - utterly unique - Strong hops up front - malty in the middle - and a stong brown sugar ending, hence the name. How'd they do that? Alcohol hidden very well.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, carbonation average.

Overall - As of today - the most tasteful strong ale I'VE EVER HAD. PERIOD. Congrats Lagunitas, Brown Shugga's a work of art.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with a tan head. Aroma is hops, resin, dark malts. Taste is sweet with bitterness, and a broe
wn sugar note. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Overall, a pretty good winter beer.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lagunitas has nailed the whole concept of brand loyalty by making all their beers taste like variations on the same theme, which I think centers around their IPA. No guesswork, no bad experiments. They all have the same dominating hop profile, so if you like one, you'll probably like them all.

Brown Shugga is the richer, maltier variety of their IPA. It pours a clear, burnt red color with some head at the top which forms some neat "crop circles" and yeast rings at the top after a few minutes. The nose has that classic bright, grapefruit hoppy flavor, but with more than a small share of burnt brown sugar, some heavy booziness like a barelywine. A bit of apricot and some nice esters come out after a time.

The taste makes the 9.9% abv quite evident, but it's still fairly relaxed. The texture has a sticky, thick quality to it, and the foam sticks around a bit, so that makes all the flavors last in your throat for quite some time. That said, there's very little bitterness considering all the hops that Lagunitas seems to like to use. I had this beer once when it came out and again now, 6 months later. Some of the fruity crispness has mellowed out and the richer flavors seem stronger now, so you can definitely say it ages in an interesting way, possibly becoming more of the beer I was expecting it to be, and less like a malty IPA as it was fresh.

Overall, one of the more unique and exciting options from one of my favorite breweries who have mastered the art of quality without prolificacy.

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Photo of jbone78
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was found at my local store.

Pours copper to brown in color with light head. Smells of floral hops, tastes starts off the same. Citrus hops that balances well with the "Brown Shugga" and caramel malts. Finishes with a little grapefruit bitterness but not too bad.

I like this beer and I would buy again. But would buy Hop Stoopid over it any other day.


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Photo of bman13
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Such goodness contained in one 12oz bottle, that I can't take it. It looks like a dark double IPA. Dark amber colored pour with a 2 inch head that lingers for a minute or two. First thing I smell when cracking the bottle is.... you guessed it! BROWN SUGAR! not overly sweet knock you out brown sugar aroma, just a nice deep smell that isn't over powering. Also smells of tropical and piney hops, not much of a malt smell. The taste is just awesome, exactly like the aroma. This is so easy to drink it's dangerous. I'd even go to say that it's easier to drink than a pale ale. It's just so smooth being 9.99% ABV. In conclusion, this is one of the best beers I've ever tried. Thanks Lagunitas.

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Photo of auntfloyd
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a US pint glass.

Pours clear amber color with a very small amount of off-white head which dissipates rapidly. The nose is all candy sugar and brown sugar, sort of like a slightly more spicy or American Belgian ale. Not bad. The flavor is very potent brown sugar/candy flavor, with a slightly muted hops presence, all mingled with alcohol, but mostly brown sugar. There are some spicy notes, and the aftertaste is a kind of unpleasant bitter brown sugar/maple taste. The mouthfeel is full, and surprisingly, not very syrupy. Drinkability is decent, but this obviously not something you would ever want more than one of.

Overall, interesting and sweet. Lagunitas never lets me down; that said I don't think I'll be buying it again.

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Photo of optiontwo
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 Oz. poured into generic pint glass

Appearance: Ruby Red/Brown color, decent carbonation and lacing, one inch head.

Smell: Smells like a nut brown to me but I know it's not. Sweet caramel and nuts in the aroma.

Taste: That's more like it. The description of this beer is right on. A good American strong ale with the sweetness of cane sugar. Sweet brown sugar flavor upfront with slight alcohol heat towards the end and finally a nice crisp hop bite. I feel as if the sweetness would be a bit cloying if it weren't for the amount of hops used. Ultimately the taste is quite nice.

Mouthfeel: Thicker than most strong ales I've tried but that's not a bad thing. Carbonation feels right.

Drinkability: Taste is sweet and crisp, mouthfeel is thick so these kind of contradict each other when it comes to drinkability, but with it being 9.5% I'd have to say that it's not very high.

Overall: Another great brew from Lagunitas that I'll definitely be picking up again.

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Photo of LairdChisholm
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear copper color with a less than one finger, off white head very little lacing to speak of. There are many small streams of carbonation bubbles going to the top.

S - Strong smells of sweet malts with brown sugar and molasses and citrus malts. Good balance.

T - Incredible balance here. There is a mixture of brown sugar/caramel malts with citrus/grapefruit hops. There is a semi sweet after taste that makes you want to take another sip.

M - Good amount of carbaonation with medium to light mouthfeel.

D - Considering the ABV, this drinkability is dangerous.

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Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

mmmmmmm, smell that booze.
nice, sweet little ale, warms you up.
not overly hop-y, I think the sweetness takes care of that.
these can sneak up on you quick. drink slow and enjoy the lace.

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Photo of Derranged
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

The appearance is a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head.

The smell might have been one of the best smelling beers I've sampled. Very strong piney/floral hops with molasses and candied sugar are present.

The taste was very hoppy and very sweet, tastes of brown sugar and molasses. Some hops bitterness appeared every now and again.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and had little carbonation.

This beer drank pretty easily, but the sweetness alone limits this to just a few.

This beer was really good.

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

L (4.25) – Very nice amber color. This is honestly my favorite color. Nice little head too.

S (4.5) – Smells great. You really get that piney, bitter smell that you want.

T (4) – Tastes really good. Not quite what I was expecting by the style or name. I do not get much sweet or alcohol, but it is good.

F (4) – Has nice mouthfeel. Goes down well.

O (4.25) – I’m kinda new to Lagunitas stuff, and had heard a lot about this one. I thought it was good, but not top shelf, run all over town to buy, type of beer. Nice beer, and I’d add to my rotation.

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Photo of DrewV
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal-clear golden amber in the glass with a 2-finger foamy head after an aggressive pour.

S: Typical Lagunitas aroma, a bit sweeter perhaps and a bit less citrus. Some caramel malt in the mix. Not bad. By comparison, Maximus and Lucky13 both have shockingly awesome aromas. But all is not in the smell...

T: A bit reserved in the flavor, strangely enough. Some tasty flavors coming through, but nothing prominent. I guess I can detect the brown sugar in there just due to the mild sweetness and hint of molasses, but no real overpowering flavors that I might expect. Similar to Undercover Shutdown, but a bit more relaxed. As the glass warms, however, the flavors really open up and the typical strong ale flavors come through. This brew MUST be allowed to warm up. A bit boozy as it warms, but nothing objectionable.

M: Well carbonated, but not quite the body I would expect from a big ale like this. Again, the carbonation and full-bodied feel tend to improve as the beer warms. Once it gets above 50 degrees, it truly does become a "strong ale."

O: The 9.9% ABV is pretty well hidden, but comes through as the beer is allowed to warm up. Overall this is a significant contender in the strong ale category. Definitely one to wait for year after year.

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Photo of TheDinger
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Growler fill at GBX. Poured into snifter and it's a nice copper/amber pour with a huge 3+ finger pillow head. Smell is unique and a bit unexpected. Getting the hop bomb of citrus and pine mixed with some sweet malts. Not getting much shugga, but it smell quite good. Taste is just as interesting. Part barleywine, part IPA, part SA. Not sure, but it's sweeter that I thought it would be. The hops are actually a great finish and don't overpower it. A quite complex brew that was tough to sit down. Lots of carbonation, perhaps too much as this was quite dry and a bit metalic. Overall- A pretty good effort and a nice blend of sweet malts and american hops. Weird to explain and put into a category, but a must try and one I will hit out of the bottle to see what may be different. Enjoy-

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Photo of Onemoresolo
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge head, nice balance between pine and molasses-y malt. Fantastic winter brew.

I put a few bottles aside to see how this ages. Hopefully it turns into a brown sugar syrupy mess. Mmm

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Photo of brian44556
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this into a Bell's Pint Glass. No date on the bottle.

Pours a dark amber color, with little off white head. Sticky lacing surrounds the pint glass. A fierce race of carbonation bubbles race to the top. Strong smell of piney hops, caramel, and burnt sugar. The smell was very interesting for a Strong Ale, the smell of this one could pass for a DIPA. This one is pretty bitter. The hops are pretty forward, I also taste hints of caramel and molasses. The taste is sweet up front, but has a very bitter backbone. The alcohol is well masked for being 9.99% ABV. Mouthful was pretty heavy and carbonation was moderate. Overall the beer was different in a...different way. Nothing stood on why I loved it or hated it. Pretty average beer, glad I had a chance to try, but wouldn't care if I ever had this one again.

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Photo of jkdrummer
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant red amber hue. Firm head at first but fades. Steady carb. Initial taste is sweet sweet sweet, some malty-ness in the background. Gave me sticky lips. Bitterness follows but not that pleasant. After a few sips the obvious alcoholiness takes over, they aren't kidding with the 9% ABV either. A strange brew but a unique taste of sweet brown sugar that isn't found in any other ale that I know of . . . Try it.

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Photo of mbusster88
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours clean brown/red color with good thick head. No carbonation present on this and a good amount of lacing.

S: Smells very sweet and bold. Good amount of malt profile in the nose and some heavy sugary notes.

T/M: Taste is very sweet up front with a ton of sugar and sugar cane type flavors. Very easy on the palate. Good body to this makes it favorable to drink. However, I was looking for just a bit more flavor than i got.

D: Good beer to try, not my favorite of the style but it does make me want to try more. I would get this one again to try but probably wont make it a staple in the fridge.

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Photo of masikon
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours into a pint glass lighter than expected, transparent "whiskeyish" copper and yellow with a nice barely off-white head which leaves some nice lacing after recession. Nose has clear brown sugar hints as well as hoppy fruity aromas, also slight boozy hint which cleans the sinus'. Taste is smooth and thick with sugary sweet flavors suggesting honey or even maple syrup. Mouthfeel is full with very well hidden alcoholic esters, like many have pointed out, at almost 10 percent this is one easy drinking brew....definitely tread lightly with this one. A very high caliber brew from lagunitas.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,446 ratings.