Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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BA SCORE
89
very good

1,443 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,443
Hads: 5,003
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 232
Gots: 851 | 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: 1,443 | Hads: 5,003
Photo of myelo
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle

Appearance: Clear orange-copper with enormous off white rocky head and thick lacing. Millions of teeny-tiny bubbles.

Aroma: Prominent caramel malt, earthy, spicy hops

Taste: Moderate to heavy malt sweetness, caramel, and cinnamon followed by piney and floral moderate to high bitterness.

Feel: Moderate to heavy, thick oily body, medium carbonation, moderate ethanol warmth.

Overall: Beautiful appearance, sort of a cross between an imperial IPA and an American barley wine. Unique and wroth trying. (518 characters)

Photo of Jonoesh5
3.64/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful deep orange/amber body with a hefty 2 finger tan head. Nice lacing on the glass as the head dissipates. Smells hoppy like an IPA, but without as much citrus. I'm getting mostly brown sugar and hops. Mouthfeel is bitter and dry. Definite alcohol warmth and a numbing mouthfeel as beer warms. Overall, looks can be deceiving. Expected something more with this one, but certainly worth the $2 from a local Ohio grocer. (427 characters)

Photo of 29mikoyan
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A nice solid ale with flavors of honey, brown sugar, malt, and a beautiful spicy and earthy hop feel. The aroma is that of flowers and sweet caramel candy. (155 characters)

Photo of BeerMasterD
3.49/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a cola color with a small head, leaving minor spotty lace on the glass.
S- Very sweet aromas, some piney and citric hops as well.
T- Hops upfront with a ton of caramel and sugary sweet flavor. Slight bitterness but malt dominates overall.
M- Rough carbonation, medium-full body that had a very bitey feel.
O- Different than what i had expected though i enjoyed it and feel its a good example of an ASA. (413 characters)

Photo of downeyj4
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

It has an good copper color, but seemed to have some haziness about it. There is a large amount of hops, but has an aftertaste of brown sugar. It is a good mix, but not a beer you would want to drink a whole six pack of. This was my first Lagunitas, so I am sure that I will have more. (285 characters)

Photo of gearbike
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy brown pour from tap. Duh. I get the name after drinking this one. Strong sugar taste as in tasting the brown sugar when baking. Has a smooth malty background. A medium to thick body and the high alcohol make this a nice warmer. Even though the flavors are complex the overall result seems a bit flat. So not really exterordanry and at the same time it would not work as a session beer do to the high sugar and alcohol. (423 characters)

Photo of telecomz
2.71/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Beautiful bronze. Modest head.

The aromas provde more than the taste. Toffee, caramel sweetness.

This is a good beer but there is a significant lack of maltiness to this beer. The sweetness is well done. The hops are welcomed but bit heavy handed. Some bready-yeasty support wopuld do this well.

A good beer. I think it will age well. Thbe hops will subside and perhaps reveal other layers and reduce prevalence of the ABV. (426 characters)

Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enough sweetness in one bottle to turn New York into a happy place (just kidding, love NYC).

That's the good and bad. Really enjoy the toasted/burnt malt or whatever is giving this brew that flavor. Kind of like slightly burning your toast then applying a thick layer of brown sugar. After your tongue copes with that first wave of burnt brown sugarness, a nice, not overly bitter, sensation of hops comes in. Seriously high alcohol content is not overly present, but definitely noticeable. Overall, A Wonderful Beer.

The bad: not shocking with a high sugar beer, the 9.99 ABV. It seems quite a bit higher. I can feel the effects from a 12 oz bottle. Two 20 oz tap pours is enough has given me a medium strong buzz, leading to a slight next morning headache. Advise caution when consuming Brown Shugga.

Secondly, they only make it in October, although they obviously started bottling more in 2010 because Brown Shugga went from 'hard to find' in 2009 to being stocked in the local chain supermarket.

I've poured into pint glasses, a Delirium Noel snifter, and, (get ready to shudder BAers) drank it straight from the bottle.

Pretty, dark brown-amber color, medium whitish-brown head. Lacing medium, lasting a minute or two. Scent rises from the glass like lava from a volcano, a sensation only beaten by very, very hopsy beers.

One of my favorites. (1,354 characters)

Photo of Jguthpsu
3.29/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I will give this a higher rating because I can see why people like it. It does have a depth of flavor and is somewhat unique. However, I did not care for it as it was to bitter for me. (184 characters)

Photo of schad
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Had high expectations via word of mouth, sadly disappointed. Decent malt backbone with tons of hops. Looks like a clear amber. Moderate lacing. Taste is overwhelmingly boozy followed by molasses and a hint of sweetness. Well worth the price. (241 characters)

Photo of jmasher85
4.26/5  rDev +7%
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. (1,518 characters)

Photo of timwatson31
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was looking forward to this one, and afterwards I am kind of "meh" about it. I like hop bitterness in my beer, but this has an odd bitter note at the end that I did not like. I tried two and gave the rest of the six pack a good home with a friend who likes this style beer more than me. (288 characters)

Photo of runningjoke
4.59/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this into a pint glass.

A. Orange amber the color of orange tea with a thin head that turned into a spidery cover.
S. Smelled of malt, burnt sugar, orange, and roses(?).
T. Malt, caramelized sugar, hops, chicory, all seem to come together as sweetened grapefruit.
M. Really smooth and mouthwatering.
D. Goes down real easy and begs for the next one.

Great beer! (373 characters)

Photo of tryemdad
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been lusting for this for a while - since last year's fiasco/ marketing ploy. It almost lived up to the hype....

Great color - bright caramel. Not much in the nose....expected more signature Lagunitas scent up front. Once I taste the first sip though, I can see instantly that the lack of a heavy hop nose is indicative of the GREAT balance exhibited in this brew. Just enough hop bite, mellowed by a perfect malt sweetness.

Each sip left a ring of thick lacing. Like a redwood tree, it's easy to count the "sip-age" of this brew. I'm counting thirteen "rings" and I'm almost to the bottom and ready to order another...

Why-oh-why can't I drink this every month of the year?

Overall, this may not be spectacular, or even the best that Lagunitas has to offer...but, I can't imagine a better pour on any given Thursday. (822 characters)

Photo of dditto2
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful amber.Very thick white head. Hoppy smell, sweet and spicy. Taste is sweet with hops and malt balanced very well. Strong: 9.9%abv. It is a very good beer from a mix n match sampler. (190 characters)

Photo of humuluslupulus8
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A: The head was off-white and fairly thick, but no lacing was left on the glass. The beer was a very dark orange color; about as dark orange as you can get before the color would become red.

S: I smelled citrusy hops and a slight sting from the amount of alcohol within the beer. The aroma wasn't too impressive to me as a whole.

T: This beer had strong flavors. There was plenty of malt flavor and lots of hops bitterness. However, these two characteristics were just barely balanced. I could also notice the strength of the alcohol, but did not necessarily taste the alcohol.

M: The beer had a medium-thick mouthfeel. The head was creamy and lasted for a while. There was also an appropriate level of carbonation in the beer. The mouthfeel in Brown Shugga' perfectly complemented the strong flavors and amount of alcohol.

D: The beer was pretty intense for the first few sips, but it became easier to drink as time passed (and as the alcohol took effect I suppose). The beer was so strong and filling that I was content after finishing one bottle; I wouldn't have wanted more. This beer would have been more drinkable to me if it leaned a little to the sweeter side as far as flavor is concerned. The strong bitterness of the hops was equally matched by the malt presence, but there wasn't really any sweetness that I expected in a beer called Brown Shugga'. (1,365 characters)

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

The beer pours a clear, bubbly amber with a nice white head. Laces the glass well. The nose is sweet and sugary, like syrup with a nice malty body underneath. Really inviting. There's a great warmth about this beer. The sweet cane sugar flavors and warmed up by the good alcohol presence. Finishes a little bitter which gives it great balance. A really nice body and finish on the beer. This one is top notch. (409 characters)

Photo of DeaconBluez
4.19/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to maltygoodness for this one.

appearance: very dark amber. mine poured little head, but from everyone else's reviews this didn't seem to be any sort of problem. maybe i need to learn to poor a better...note to self.

smell: very sweet and caramelly. also tenges of hops and malt

taste: everything seems really well balanced. the sugary effect is still definitely there, but i really like it. you would never really be able to tell that this brew had a abv of 9.9%. it has a very nice hoppy taste tp it, and the malts are mixed in there well.

m: there is strong hoppy oil mouthfeel to it. there is a smoothness that is somewhat strange because this is big bodied beer

Drinkability: like i said ther alcohol is hidden very well, and this a very unique beer that i wish i had readily available to me. (819 characters)

Photo of strattor
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served at the Map Room in Chicago in a 10 oz chalice. An opaque golden brown with a very light cream-colored head.

A very rich, malty aroma with some fruity noted coming through, perhaps plum or raisin.

A very full bodied flavor, and not the syrupy sweetness I was expecting from a beer made with such massive amounts of brown sugar. It's a very dense, malt and fruit flavor, with a little warmth but not much spiciness coming from the alcohol.

A reall nice, full mouthfeel. Not chewy, but the beer lets you know it's there.

While strong, I would definietly order this up again. I nice beer to sip after dinner, perhaps. (632 characters)

Photo of TonyT
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into pint glass...

Poured brownish gold, one finger head.

I have to agree with other reviews, that this has a prevalent barley wine taste and feel...

Had a barley wine smell with hops coming through.

Hops hit in the front, a barley wine taste comes through in the middle and the alcohol hits in the back. Sweet taste rides throughout. The malt taste is just a bit more than the hops. But it does not allow you to forget the hops...as you start to feel that Hop dryness.

The malts mask the ABV...classic left hook, which makes this a deceivably drinkable beer..."...Don't get cocky Kid"

I recommend anyone to take this for a spin. (650 characters)

Photo of dmatsui
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is for the Sweet Release -

Poured from a bottle into a goblet. half-finger off-white soapy head with surprisingly good retention. Not much visible carbonation, but lots of lacing and alcohol legs.

Sweet, trademark Lagunitas hops up front in the nose with biscuity, roasty malts in the background. A lot hoppier than I thought it was going to be.

If there's one thing Lagunitas does right, it's a huge I, II, IIIPA. Sweet Release is perfectly balanced with hops first and foremost with big citrus, fruity and bitter as hell qualities. The malt base is just as beefy with huge amounts of sticky, thick malt. There is a maple quality in the back of the palate. It's just a huge beer with lots of complexities in the hop and malt bill with a booze presence that'll most likely effect this review. It's spicy, savory, thick, stout, sweet and sturdy as hell.

This was my first taste of Brown Shugga and was happy that it was the special release I busted my cherry on. This is a great beer and perfect on a cold night. I plan to pick up a few more cases of this. (1,065 characters)

Photo of ANIMOUL
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Along with Anchor's yearly Christmas offering, I look forward to sipping this during the holidays. As the name suggests, brown sugar is the predominant note... along with alcohol. The copper brown color, coupled with the almost gritty-like aftertaste accentuates the brown-sugar sweetness. Probably best that its offered only as seasonal selection; since it screams of yule tide bliss, would seem awkward (i.e. depressing) enjoying this in January.

I tried to session this last year; bad idea. However, something to be slow-sipped and enjoyed during the frigid San Diego winter weather. (588 characters)

Photo of indy169
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lagunitas Brown Sugga' pours a cloudy deep copper, with nice lacing. The initial mouthfeel is rather thick with a peculiar and odd feel. The smell is cleaner than the taste, and there is a melon-like flavor hidden within the heavy alcohol content. There is also a pronounced sticky, sweetness, which is reminded on the lips when dry.
I find this brew pretty decent, but lacking heart. The alcohol is too high for the flavors expressed. (437 characters)

Photo of Mickelswit
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very clear, ruby-amber brew with a thick, sticky, white head that leaves a lot of lacing. Smell is very enticing, with sweet malts (Munich?), sugar, ripe cherries, and assertive hops.

Taste is not what I expected. The initial flavors are caramel, cherry slushie, and a faint earthy/smoky note. Instead of being sickly, though, the warm and spicy hops balance the flavor, creating a slight and lingering sweetness. There is just a bit of alcoholic warmth in the finish, though I would never guess this was 9.9%.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are also surprising. Clearly there are lots of sugars in the brew, because after a few sips my lips were sticking to the pint glass. But the body is not syrupy. It drinks like a lighter Vienna-style lager. It is way too drinkable for being so huge, so definitely nurse this one or split it with a friend. (858 characters)

Photo of aknight
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a beautiful looking beer, golden red. I want paint my living room this color. It smells of the the brown sugar. There is a very one dimensional smell here, all sugar on the nose, overpowering everything else. This is a very good tasting beer. The dominating taste is sweetness but not without complexity For such a sweet beer there is a decent amount going on beyond just sweetness. This is a very drinkable and pleasant beer. The mouthfeel is pleasant and this is more drinkable than any 9.99% beer has a right to be. Overall, this beer is a little top heavy with the sweetness but I'll be damned if it's not an entirely enjoyable beer. (645 characters)

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,443 ratings.