Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

4,992 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,992
Reviews: 1,512
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 227
Gots: 845 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,992 | Reviews: 1,512
Photo of CaptainHate
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

Photo of lester619
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep orangish bronze/amber. Thick three inch solid white head and big lacing. Very malty and sweet smelling. Caramel, brown sugar and molasses on top of a fresh bread smell. Taste is also malty sweet. Malt, caramel toffee and molasses on top of a thick substantial bicuity body. All this sweetness is cut by a spicy herbal hoppy kick at the finish. It's still more bready and sweet than bitter though. I can feel some alcohol burn on on my lips. The mouthfeel is very satisfying. Thick, creamy and chewy. This is a big beer with good, complex flavors. With the thick sweet bready body combined with the ABV, it doesn't drink very easy. I would have a hard time drinking multiple bottles at the same time. I guess at 10% your not supposed to.

Photo of nova009
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A- pours a dark brown body reminiscent of brown sugar, when held to light there is a red tint, small khaki head appears and dissipates down to a ring, lacing is okay but kind of spotty in areas

S- caramel hits the nose first, dark fruits like figs, toasted malt, vanilla, a slight nutty scent comes to mind, only a very slight brown sugar smell

T- the mouth gets hit hard by caramel and hops, the hops didn't really come out in the smell but it is definitely present in the flavor, piney notes out of the hops, slightly floral as well, an interesting balance of bitter and sweet, it is almost a strong-ale barleywine hybrid

M- medium body, very creamy and coats the palate nicely without the hops overly attacking it, carbonation is a little high but it seems to work

D- this is a sipper, i couldnt drink too many of these, with that being said it was a very intriguing beer, the combination of the strong ale and barleywine flavors is a nice concept, a nice one to grab in singles during the winter months

Photo of ThaneMcC
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery amber with copious white foamy head that resolves to a fine lacing.
Smells of hops (pine/citrus) and a fair amount of malty goodness
Sweet with a nice balance from the hops and clean finish.
Not syrupy despite the sweetness, and easy to drink despite the high ABV.
As commented by previous reviewers, there is a characteristic odor that Lagunita's beers have - and a delicious one at that.

Overall, a very enjoyable beer with a complex flavor profile that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Photo of kruky
4/5  rDev -0.7%

dig this one

Photo of Umbra
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased on tap at Jack's in Bmore. Served in a tulip glass, it was a hazy nut brown with half fingered head, lacing and retention was excellent. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar aromas.
Many of those same aromas came through with a bunch of candied sugars and fruits. Got some cookie dough flavors near the end.
Slightly boozy finish is the only inclination of a heavy hitter. It was not cloying, nor sweet, nor overly bitter, as many American barleywines can be. Perfectly drinkable because of this, though I can't have too many.

Photo of shabbtastic
2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured amber brown with a very weak head that faded into a small white cap. Laced very well for the weak head retention. Just can't understand the twist off cap though.

S - The label says brown sugar and that's exactly what you smell, very sweet indeed. Roasted Carmel malts with molasses tones and maple syrup.

T - Sweet up front which is very nice and balanced, but then WHAM! The rest of the ride is alcohol. I didn't find that very appealing. Overall the taste was very harsh. The sweetness did little to hide the alcohol IMO, very unbalanced.

M - Medium / full bodied and very dry.

D - This is a one and done. The high ABV makes it that way. Not a horrible beer but I would pass on this on in the future.

Photo of Cheesemoose
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz poured into a tulip.

A good finger of pillowy white head. Hazy orange body. Nice solid lacing with a good film that remains throughout.

Sweet on the nose with a good malt base. Caramel, toffee, with a good citrus background.

Strong malt base, with toasted bread and a light caramel flavor to start. Then moves into a rather dry middle taste, but is quickly accentuated by the citrus hop flavors. Hops are rather strong and finish off the flavors. Little sugar in the taste, Could probably use a bit of cellaring to bring out the strong malts and let the hops settle, but that is up to you. As it warms, the sugar comes out a bit more. This is very barleywine-esque.

Thick mouthfeel, almost chewy. No alcohol noticeable, and for 9.99%, that is crazy. Best to stick to one.

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

Served into a Bruery tulip glass at about 45 degrees.

Pours a rich mahogany with a creamy, off-white froth that dissipates somewhat quickly...good lacing. On the nose, I instantly get hop characters of orange, grapefruit, & a touch of pine followed by a toffee, brown sugar, caramel, light cinnamon, grains, & subtle raisin. The beer is rich and creamy (slightly syrupy) on the palate with an uneven balance. For lack of a better term, it's like this beer is bittersweet. What I mean is that there is a definite hop presence and bitterness from beginning to end, but a sweet malt background that doesn't quite fit together. Overall, I really like the beer, but find myself looking for the balance. I think that the problem that I'm having is in the syrupy sweet texture. Oh well....good beer, but nothing to write home about.

definite hop character
sweet malt background

Photo of Roybert
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

no, I would not buy again

Photo of cvaypai
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle to oversized snifter.

Appearance - Pours a coppery, orangey crimson brown and is hazy when looked through. Poured with a thin layer of head that dissipates very quickly clinging just to the sides of the glass. The lacing can be seen down the glass.

Smell - Oranges and cherries right up front, this is a different smelling beer. Other dark fruits can be found. Brown sugar and other sweet malts are detected, caramel. Very floral and fruity smelling and tons of smell coming from the hops. Resinous pine and grapefruit can be smelled on the end. Something just a bit off about the nose, can't put my finger on it.

Taste - Incredibly sweet up front, tastes of pears and apples, the sweet malt is right there with the fruit tang, coming in the like of caramel, brown sugar and other sweetness, possibly honey. Fruity bitterness on the end but not as much as I thought there would be, grapefruit and orange can be found. Just tons of flavors going on here. Very sweet almost like jolly ranchers on the end.

Mouthfeel - Carbonated well for the size. Very full bodied and heavy on the palate, it should be for a strong ale though. The sweetness is there biting the tongue, it feels nice in the mouth, almost cream like and smooth.

Drinkability - Not even a hint of alcohol, I could easily consume a few bottles of this and probably get pretty drunk at the abv. I wouldn't care though, it is almost refreshing for it's abv and style and I would definitely reach for another if I had one. I will be getting more.

Photo of Baileyuk
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Mild brown with a slightly red tint. Head was minimal but lacing was one of the best i have seen.

S - Sweet malts with a definate alocohol note.

T - Again sweet malts, hops were more pronounced than the smell would have suggested, although these were well placed. Alcohol flavor definantly present.

MD Mayve a little zippy from the carbonation (just a fraction). Was a good beer for sure although the sweetness and high alcohol limited my enjoyment a little, and the ability for another a lot.

Photo of ElSid
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Beers of California

#24

Freshness Date: None

A: Copper with a bit of haze. A finger of khaki head springs up and sticks around for a bit finally leaving behind generous lacing on the glass

S: Sugary sweet, caramel, fresh, slightly toasted bread come together and are joined with pine and citrus. Quite aromatic, fresh, and stimulating.

T: Brown sugary sweetness up front wrapped with puffed pastry. Some caramel syrup which builds to earthy pine bitterness in the middle with squirts of citrus finally peaking with a stong but warm, balanced alcohol finish.

M: Smooth and even somewhat chewy with resilient linger and ample carbonation.

O: An interesting brew with loads of brown sugary sweetness and also warming alcohol which is well hidden in the aromatic and fresh hoppiness of this brew. Big yet balanced. The penicillin of the Lagunitas line: greatness birthed by happenstance, which speaks for their ingenuity and adaptability.

Photo of maundythirsty
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber beer. No bubbling. Thin, off-white hea ... Hey, where'd the head go? The smell is a busy combination of dark sugars and malt and delicate floral and citrus hops.

That malt taste is talking to me, but it's hard to hear over a very bitter dose of hops compounded by the nearly 10 percent ABV. It's thick and smooth. Very dry.

Brown Shugga could take some getting used to, but I think I could really like this stuff. The alcohol comes across with such a heavy vodka-esque bite.

Photo of mountsnow1010
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Great Van Morrison brown color with a yellowish head that leaves a nice thick lace.
S - Delicious hop notes - really clean grapefruit smell backed up by a bit of a sweet caramel.
T - Hops up front - distinct lack of bitterness - followed by a sweet rich flavor. A bit of grassy hop flavor as well.
MF - Really nice - smooth and perfect carbonation. I'm not sure one could improve much upon this mouthfeel. Slight warming sensation.
D - 9.99% alcohol? I get a bit in the mouthfeel but otherwise this could be fairly low alcohol. High- dangerously high- drinkability.

Really, really enjoying this beer - I would highly recommend it.

Photo of lokieman
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into glass:

A: Pours caramel brown with a 2 inch off white frothy head that dissipates quickly

S: I'm first hit with Lagunitas' typical hop profile...followed by a sweet, caramel malt aroma. Smells like an extra malty barley wine with a ton of west coast hops. Not bad...

T: Very similar to the nose...hop forward with a malty finish. Hoppier than one would guess from the description but enough sugary malt flavor to balance out the finish. Don't necessarily get the brown sugar but a definite sweetness comes into play. Good...not great.

M: Nice, sticky mouthfeel typical of most barley wines. Viscous enough to layer the mouth with flavor but only slightly cloying.

O: I love Lagunitas and their approach to brewing. They make affordable, tasty beers with a great abv to price ratio. Brown Shugga falls behind Sucks and Stoopid for me but a very good offering that I certainly look forward to. I have a six pack hanging out in my pantry that I'm going to sit on for a while...curious to see if age will mellow this one out.

Photo of Crotor
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, bloody, dark amber, with one of finger tan head with some floaties.

It has an agressive pine-hop nose, and then it smells a bit buttery, with some caramelized malt.

Prominent, candied-caramel malt with an equally agressive pine hop flavor combatting it comprise the major elements of the flavor. At 51.1 IBUs, the bitterness is downright restrained, but the hop flavor remains massive. Pine-resin molassas, that's what it is. There is some alcoholic heat, but it's surprisingly subdued considering the brown sugar in the equation.

Medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation make for a pleasant and appropriate mouthfeel.

Overall, a damn fine little barleywine from a brewery I'd previously written off. Maybe I need to give Lagunita's another chance...

Photo of Big78CJ
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown center witha lighter tan rim gives this beer an interesting appearance. The half-inch head is actually a bit off-white as well. This beer is more dense-looking than I would have expected.

S: The first smell I gleaned off the head was of a citrusy hop origin. There seems to be some sweet mixed aroma (vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, toffee...) whipping the hops into submission.

T: Hops are present in my first sip; this beer did not adequately advertise the hop content of its brown shugga but still quite tasty. Sweet malt, perhaps sweeter from the shugga, is a pleasant backing for this ale.

M: Slightly chewy from the heavy malt yet slightly watery from the bitter hops. There is more complexity here than I intitially thought.

D: This beer definitely surprised me. I exspected this to be a honey brown style of beer with way more sugar than I would like. The name is deceptive of the flavor. This seems to be a case where brewing/fermenting does not add the same flavor as adding after after the fact.

** This beer was an absolutely amazing pairing with norwegian gjetost cheese and soda crackers.

Photo of HOPPYKC
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle in to a pint glass. No bottled on or bb date.

The look of pouring this is great. Orange to a slightly dark copper color. Not a lot of head on this pour. Slightly hard to see through so not completely transparent.

The smell is that of sugar and hops. It smells surprisingly like an IPA which i am very fond of. I i like having the hops character and the malt so balanced but i think the sugar is great. Also a bit of fruit from the zest of lemon.This all goes for the taste as well.

This is a bit thinker than most of the IPA's iv'e had and thats not a bad thing. I definitely have to say that as iv'e had a few drink i begin to taste the alcohol a bit more. I am still surprised by the fact that this is ABV 9.99% and its so easy to drink . Good for Lagunitas.

Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a few for Thanksgiving with the appetizers.

A- Good looking brown ale with a khaki head, not too big but laced a good amount. Visible carbonation.

S- Interesting aroma. The brown sugar is defiantly present and the hops are there. They seem to be on the grape fruit side and complement well.

T- Impressive beer. The flavors all complement each other and nothing really distracts from the overall beer. The first thing that caught me off guard is the hoppieness of this beer. There is a substantial brown sugar /sweet malt backbone which is very tasty. and the hops keep the beer from being too sweet. Very good beer.

M- Its a medium full bodied beer, almost cloying but the hops keep the finish dry enough.

O- Awesome beer, there is almost no hint of the alcohol content. Need to try the oaked version. Only complaint is that the aroma doesn't shine as much as the taste does.

Photo of SaltofOH
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/31/2014; purchased in December 2014.

Appearance: Pours an extremely dark amber/red with 2 fingers of frothy/foamy khaki head. Nice retention of a thin, yellowish sandy cap. Epic lacing.

Aroma: Markedly hoppy. Tropical and resinous. Really great aroma. Love this smell; tropical & malty.

Taste: Sweet arrival, tart & fruity, extremely bitter finish. I'd put this higher than 51 IBUs. Some alcohol on the finish. A little cloying at the end; slightly off-putting.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than expected; somewhat astringent; a little like Mirror Pond in that respect but not as much; relatively little carbonation and somewhat slick.

Overall: I was about to say I really like this, but the bitterness and alcohol combine at the end [as it warms] to make this just a little unpleasant. Somewhat cloying.

Photo of Jemonster
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

Photo of Nick3
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of apbarwood
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
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.

Photo of OldRickSputin
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%

Had low expectations for this one. I like many Lagunitas beers...they're nice. But Brown Shugga is SUPER NICE!

This is damn close to perfection!

Wonderful looking medium amber color with a massive head that never completely disappears. The lacing left behind coats the glass from top to bottom.

The smell is deceiving, very pleasant. It definitely changes with temperature and as the head dissipates. Starts off smelling like cinnamon roll and After a few minutes, it's more like Hop Stoopid, which I really enjoy - Fresh pine & some grapefruit/citrusy notes.

First sip is so sweet and wonderful that it seems like it might actually be tough to drink the entire 12 ounces. But just as the smell changes, so does the taste (same transition).

The people at Lagunitas should be given some awards for this. They crafted a truly unique, enjoyable beer drinking EXPERIENCE and then they went ahead and honored us by putting it out at a reasonable price.

It also has just the right amount of balls at 9.99% ABV.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,992 ratings.