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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,435 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3435
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
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Ratings: 3,435 | Reviews: 1,291 | Show All Ratings:
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 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 mroberts1204


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


A: Poured into a snifter. Amber in color with an off white head. Good head retention with moderate lacing. Decent clarity. Some floaties made their way into my glass. Really a pretty beer that seems to glow in the light. 4.5

S: Smells like freshly mashed grain. Cereal and brown sugar. Not a great amount of complexity. 3.5

T: The taste follows the nose. Nice sweetness. But really not much complexity. No alcohol detectable. Well crafted. Delicious but nothing ground breaking. 3.5

M: Low carbonation and full bodied. No heat at all. Really they got this just right. 5.0

D: This beer goes down smooth!! I could put back a sixer no problem. Scary drinkability for a beer weighing in at 9.84% ABV. 5.0

A tasty brew that is really enjoyable and doesn't take too much thought because of its simplicity. I'll definitely grab some the next time it comes out.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2010 04:40:55 | More by mroberts1204
Photo of MoorBeerPlz


4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz. bottle into my usual New Belgium globe glass...

A: Poured a clear, bubbly copper/brown with gold tints. Beautiful light brown, foamy, 2 finger head that dropped off to a thin layer on the top and light lacing along the sides of the glass.

S: Bringing the glass close brought the aromas of hops, malt, pine and a sweet smell not unlike brown sugar as it's cooking. Maybe some citrus in there too.

T: Hops, followed by a molasses sweetness and ending with a sweetened hop finish. I detected some warmth at the very end of the swallow from the alcohol but it didn't detract from the overall taste.

M: Smooth, creamy feeling that slowly runs around your mouth. Dry finish but with a little residual on the tongue. I like how another reviewer called it; "stickiness".

O: Overall a solid, very drinkable brew. The anticipated sweetness is not nearly as bad as your mind expects from the name. I didn't really pick up on a brown sugar like flavor but that's beside the point. While the ABV is up there a ways, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this again. Good job Lagunitas.


Serving type: bottle

10-24-2013 02:10:35 | More by MoorBeerPlz
Photo of fosterific


3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a great pour...perhaps it is part the beer too! It has a rosy color with a full head, citrus hop smell is the first thing you catch a whiff of. I was expecting this to smell like booze, but that is well balanced or well hidden. The beer is sticky and think in the mouth but the bitter citrus of the hops makes it a seem fresh.
I was very impressed, even delighted at how drinkable this strong ale was, I would probably drink more than I should if the ABV was not on the side of the bottle.

I also heard that this was a failed barley wine...not positive, but plausible.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 18:46:40 | More by fosterific
Photo of Exiled


4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a caramel/amber color with a good size off white creamy head, and good lacing. Smell is sweet malty brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, oranges & cream, with a some citrusy hops. Taste is sweet with lots of caramel malt, brown sugar, and oranges up front with a slightly citrusy hop bitterness on the end. Kind of leaves of oranges & cream aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel, easy drinker. Overall this is a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2010 21:04:06 | More by Exiled
Photo of Chronofied

North Dakota

4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a pint glass about a half hour after coming out of the fridge.

Appearance - A dark, almost mahogany color, clean and clear, consistent throughout. Head receeded to about a quarter inch, leaving a half inch of nice, off-white lace.

Smell - Sugary, malty hoppiness right away, strong. Grain and yeast push through next. Tail end of the nose has a definite sweetness... molasses? caramel? to it.

Taste - Sweet then hoppy, very polarizing. At first, the sweetness and hoppiness contrast almost painfully. Once the taste buds recover, the taste blends more, moving away from discord towards a place of harmony. Malts come out toasty, full and rich. Strength of the beer doesn't even make it half way through the warring sugar/hops sweet/bitter tastes.

Mouthfeel - Thick and sticky, as might be expected from a brew made with cane sugar. Not so much chewy as creamy, the carbonation enlivens the brew but is fairly moderate. It's easy to tell what parts of the mouth were in contact with the beer once it goes down.

Drinkability - Excellently drinkable, if you find the bittersweet taste to your liking. As previously mentioned, the stength of the beer is hardly noticeable, mostly due to the other striking components. At nearly 10%, this beer is more drinkable than many beers far weaker.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2010 05:27:02 | More by Chronofied
Photo of mgoblue5743

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a really interesting beer...

It is obviously very sweet, but is also quite hoppy/bitter. I am not sure that I would fully classify this as an American Strong Ale, but it was complex enough for me to try again. Especially at the cheap price of <$4 for a pint.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2011 22:30:13 | More by mgoblue5743
Photo of Floyd12


4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poored from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- Dark but translucent caramel brown. With a large off white fluffy head. The head had excellent retention and left nice lacing all down the side of the glass.

S- Very sweet smelling do to the large ammounts of brown sugar used in the brewing of this beer. But als a warm toasty smell of malt and hops.

T- While there is a lot of sweetness to this beer, it is kept in check by the malts, hops, and toasted aroma of the beer. There is also a faint fruity/floral presence in the aftertaste. But at 9.99% ABV it does posses a taste of alcohol

M- Thick full-bodied beer. But very smooth and very creamy.

D- While there are so many wonderfull atributes to this beer, it still has a somewhat overly "boozy" taste to it. Enjoyed much better with a salty snack to balance out the both the alcohol and sweet tastes

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2011 21:01:28 | More by Floyd12
Photo of rasta16ry

New York

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this after work on draft at the Ginger Man in the middle of the week, so I got a table and a waitress. She brought it over in a snifter glass, so I had quite a bit to work with. There wasn't much of a head left but it was a really nice amber color and some white lacing was there on the glass.

I didn't get so much of the hops smell as I did the malt and brown sugar, which made it very sweet.

Personally it seems to me that it tastes much better than it smells. The smell made me a little nervous because of the sweetness, but after tasting it I really had a better feel for the hops, which are there, and how they cooperate with the brown sugar. Ultimately the combination really masks the alcohol content, which I understand is around 10%.

I got two of them, because I liked it so much, but that's really the ceiling for me as it is a deceptively strong beer. Definitely worth the little extra it costs, and a very enjoyable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2009 18:27:43 | More by rasta16ry
Photo of Aaron420

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a deep rust orange color with a almost no existing off white head.

Smell was more hoppy than I expected but still had the sweet smell of caramel and brown sugar which you would expect with the name.

The overall taste of the beer was very smooth. It was very drinkable, could easily sit there and before I know need another one. Which is impressive for a 9 plus ABV. It was hoppy but also sweet, the sweetness is probably why this 9 plus beer is so easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2010 23:07:08 | More by Aaron420
Photo of aleckpa

North Carolina

3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into my Lagunitas mason jar glass.

A- Half a finger's head, brown and some visibility through it. Reminds me of an imperial red ale.

S- Hops, which surprised me. And sugar, of course. It smells sweet.

T- Although the ABV is 9.9%, I don't taste a lot of alcohol. I taste hops, some mild bitterness and then back of the mouth sticky sugar.

M- This is somewhat of a thick beer. But it goes down smooth.

O- This is my first time having it. It's different than my typical IPA's and stouts. At 9.9% ABV, it's really drinkable. I think this is a great fall/winter offering. You can't beat the price of this 6-pack for the amount of alcohol in the beer. Even though I did enjoy this beer, I'm not sure if I'd pick up another 6 pack. But, it's well crafted and something I'd expect from Lagunitas.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2013 21:37:30 | More by aleckpa
Photo of dalahodson


4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In the glass this was a very nice looking brew. A dark amber color with a nice full head the color of dirty straw. The lacing on the glass was very solid. A very strong smell of Carmel and malt hints of pine and herbs. The mouth feel was very creamy and sweet with a nice bitter on the back. The flavors are of carmel pine and dark fruits, the brown sugar is by far the most noticeable of the flavors but very well balanced. Even with an ABV of 9 this is a very easy drinkable brew. Went well with my lamb stew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-08-2013 16:49:07 | More by dalahodson
Photo of Morbo


2.98/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours copper with about an inch of fluffy almost-white head. The head lingers for a while and leaves plenty of lacing behind.

I am shocked and delighted by the hop presence in the nose. Lots of sweet pineapple, and an instant mental association is good pot. ...And I know this sounds crazy, but I get some ketchup from it as well.

Well, it is about as sweet as I had expected, considering the name. Thankfully, the hop bitterness almost balances things out. Not too complex, maple syrup and molasses pitted against citric/piney hops.

It is fairly heavy and lacking in carbonation, so it comes off as pretty syrupy. It's not quite on the level of Super Troopers maple syrup chugging, but I am definitely not running to the fridge to grab another bottle.

Booze isn't present in the flavor, but you definitely get a nice warming sensation from this one. An interesting beer, even if it isn't very complex, but it is too sweet and syrupy to be anywhere near sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2008 07:31:59 | More by Morbo
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 Beertroop

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice big bottle for only $3 good price with an even better taste.

App: Good looking label with its usual saying of todays notes. This one involved the phrase "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Nice Deep red color with a tint of orange. Not a big head but it did leave a nice lasing through the drink. A good looking beer when poured.

smell: Good sugar smell with a certain hop aroma. It really warms your nose. Main notes are hops, then a sweetness of caramel with a floral hint.

Taste: Hops infused with a great balance of Sugar though. I'm not a big hops guy, but this beer is very likable. It has good carbonation, maybe a little too much. It sure leaves an aftertaste of sweet bitterness on your tongue well after you taste it. Delicious beer.

M&D: Good feel to it with the hops and sugars coming out from the first sip. Good semi-dense beer. You sure know time was taken making this beer. Very drinkable if your a hop fan. Overall a Good beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2007 20:44:23 | More by Beertroop
Photo of theHoff77


4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pokal glass.

A - A rusty or copper red in color. Foamy white head with great retention and lacing.

S - Surprisingly hoppy in smell with the malt coming through too.

T - It wasn't until after I finished my first bottle that I knew this had 9.9% abv and that blew me away. The booze is almost not existent. Has the tasty sweet malt from the sugar as advertised and the hops really come through. Although not overly complex this is tremendously balanced.

M - Smooth as can be considering the higher abv and the bitterness is right on the money. I like that the sugar in this beer doesn't leave my mouth feeling dry like I had a pop.

O - I loved this simply put. Great flavor and balance. Still can't believe it has almost 10% abv. Going to buy as much of this as I can before it's gone.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2012 17:14:55 | More by theHoff77
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 WonderfulSam


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

This is a great ale. Strong, complex, interesting, balanced, and overall tasty.

I did the right thing and drank the beer immediately after driving about 20 minutes home from my favorite beer store. This one seemed like a beer that needed to be enjoyed slightly warm. I poured this into a pint glass, getting slightly less than one finger of fairly bubbly tan head that managed to linger quite a while, and which left a moderate to small amount of lacing on the glass as I drank it down. It was a gorgeous beer to behold against the early evening sun. Clear, light copper. Like art, really.

The aroma was fruity, with a strong malt and maybe molasses character, with a somewhat surprising and subtle hint of hops. The flavor matched the aroma almost perfectly. Despite the (fantastically) high alcohol content, the flavor of alcohol on the beer was minimal, and what was there added a nice dimension to the flavor. The flavors were quite strong, but were so well put together that the beer was not overwhelming. It was moderately carbonated and balanced, resulting in a rich, almost sharp mouthfeel. But again, it was so well balanced that it was smooth drinking. And despite the (most wonderfully) high alcohol content, it was very easy to drink.

This is a great ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2007 03:55:01 | More by WonderfulSam
Photo of danronian


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

A - Deep amber. Minimal head that dissipates quickly when I poured it into a pint glass. Very few bubbles coming from the bottom of the class.

S - Smells a lot like brown sugar with a little citrus.

T - Tastes of roasted malt with a lot of brown sugar.

M - The abundance of syrupy sugar overwhelms the 9.99 abv. The sweet taste makes the high alcohol content very drinkable and less noticeable.

D - The smell and mouthfeel is sweet and the syrup lingers in your mouth. A good sipping beer though not something to drink quickly due to its extreme syrupy thickness.

Too sweet to drink more than a couple but something good to try. One is enough for me for a while. A bit too much sweetness for it to be a favorite of mine.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2010 21:26:46 | More by danronian
Photo of Odysseyalien

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The odd thing here is that when I originally tasted this beer, December 2012, I didn't like it. I didn't see what all the fuss was about. Maybe cause I was expecting more of a "brown sugar" taste to the beer.

I cellared the remaining four bottles I had and on a whim, decided to open one about two weeks back. To my surprise, I found the taste phenomenal this time. The quintessential American barley wine, it tastes to me like Anchor Steam's Old Foghorn "should" taste. Really delicious and I really doubt the four months of cellaring made that much of a difference.

Sorry now that I didn't buy more and will certainly get more when it arrives again late this year.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2013 20:08:55 | More by Odysseyalien
Photo of IAmAPenguin


3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma - Fresh hops with a clear brown sugar, cinnamon spice, toffee and molasses.
Appearance - Very reddish, crimson color with almost no foam and standard lacing.
Taste- Very crisp, malty flavors with notes of caramelized sugar, burnt caramel, toffee and thin molasses. Finish is smooth with herby hops. Overall, this is interesting. Its dark and malty flavors but its actually really easy drinking and thin. I don't get any alcohol at all which makes this one really dangerously easy drinking. Not a bad beer at all.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2013 06:43:40 | More by IAmAPenguin
Photo of lsiberian


4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a beautiful clear reddish brown color with a powerful white foamy head that has staying power. The nose is flavor perfection with it's sweet, fruity, hoppy vapors, but the taste doesn't match the smell, appearance or body. It's a sweeter hoppy fest for sure, but comes up short of it's promise though further down the glass it does still make an outstanding beer overall.

This is a great seasonal Christmas beer One that is best for beer lovers especially IPA lovers looking for a sweet fix.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2013 02:59:06 | More by lsiberian
Photo of jclzony


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

Copper color with a nice fluffly white head. Aroma is has a nice sweet malt with a bit of hops and alcohol. Flavor is with brown sugar dominance with a bit of molasses and some citrus tones. Alcohol is very noticeable after finishing only one. There is a definite presentation of malt and has a sweet finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2006 23:47:37 | More by jclzony
Photo of ShamasUVA


4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, reading "Feeding brown sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is akin to feeding raw shark to your gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without human intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it has happened now, and it is too late." No date, but I suspect this is fresh.

Color: 4. Deep red, slightest tinge of brown. off white head, decent retention.

Smell: 4 Cherry, Candy, Leather and Beer. A little bit of spice or licorice.

Taste: 4.5 Extremely assertive, and I don't trust the 51.1 IBU on the label, this seems much more bitter than that. I would guess Chinook hops since it lingers. Some alcohol heat. Great sweet rich fruity flavor. Not a complex maltiness but a powerful one.

Mouthfeel 4.5 Rich but not thick. This is one area where "American Strong Ale" can really run the gamut. Good.

Drinkability: 4 It's so dang tasty, you keep wanting more. .Overall a very good beer but the bitterness lingers for a solid 60 seconds so it is hard to call this "drinkable." I think this is still a little young. I would like to give it 6-12 months to see how the bitterness gets sanded down and the alcohol heat mellows. Will probably be exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2007 01:55:07 | More by ShamasUVA
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,435 ratings.