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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,469 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,469
Hads: 5,135
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 249
Gots: 965 | 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: 1,469 | Hads: 5,135
Photo of genitempo
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours over into a snifter nicely. Heavy blaze in color, trace/vanishing head/steadfast lace.

S - Bitterness felt in the nose from the hops, but brightened up by hints of sugar.

T - This is a beer that needs to sit out before consuming (goes without saying). The taste matures throughout the beer, bringing more complexity with every sip (Lagunitas Staple Move). Well-balanced hops with a bit of a kick 3 quarters through (reminds me of Hop Stoopid a bit, but mounting on more malt)

MF - Almost perfect amount of weight on the palate and tongue. Not overly carbonated.

O - I was glad I grabbed a sixer of Brown Sugga' this year. Last year, I obviously missed it (Hence, the birth of Lagunitas Sucks), but the absence made the palate grow fonder! Zing! But what a great beer. Deserves all the hype behind it.
I wanted to mention that, while this is not my favorite effort by Lagunitas, I do appreciate it more than their other beers. I tend to associate Lagunitas Hop-heavy recipes more appropriate for the warmer Texas weather. But Brown Sugga' still manages to settle perfectly into the Holiday Season. Cheers.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cool beer here, plenty unique. Brown color with reddish hues. Aroma of brown sugar, (duh) and not much else.

Hides alcohol with all that sweetness. Easy drinking, but watch out. Still gives a little hop prick to ya, even through out all that sweetness. Good stuff. Deceptively strong.

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Photo of Telix
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hey, it's my 50th review!

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

A: Super clean reddish brown, with good levels of carbonation and a fluffy head that quickly fades into a film.

S: Real sugary smell, like candy.... almost like root beer barrels, actually,

T: ROOT BEER BARRELS. Sweet, deep caramel malts, with nice bitterness after the sweetness drops off. A bit syrupy-sweet but not quite cloying.

M: Good. Thick, dense, good levels of carbonation.

D: It's a solid beer, but experimental. Quite sweet, with lots of root beer flavor and a nice thick mouthfeel.

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Photo of ChappyCubsFan
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The name, Brown Shugga, is not deceptive at all. It does a good job of characterizing this brew. This was an experience. I didn't drink a whole bottle, but instead shared one with about three guests (actually, I had tried it earlier at the Pizza Port Strong Ale festival in December and rather enjoyed it). Very robust malt blend with a brown sugar taste that gives way to a good hop and malt balance. This is a great desert beer. I think you could probably pour this over vanilla ice cream in a glass and have an interesting beverage.

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Photo of HappyBivouac
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last bottle of a 6 pack I purchased 4 months ago; the first 5 went fast but I sat on this one for whatever reason. Can't find the bottling date. Around the label it reads: "We believe this special ale is something unique. Feeding brown cane sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is a'kin 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 and now it's too late." Possibly my favorite packaging blurb in the history of beer.

a- Pours a slightly cloudy ruby brown and bubbly with a light tan head that recedes to a ring and spotty foam.

s- Heavy, inviting and intimidating caramelized sugar hits up front. There is a very noticeable presence of pine & grapefruit. White bread and a slight tart orange are also detectable.

t- all that caramel/brown sugar is an immediate and relentless assault, and you know what.. it works! Resiny, sappy pine bitterness hits fairly hard in a good way as well. I can feel the citrus zest hop bitterness steadily climb during the sip and in the aftertaste, with bready flavors surfacing as well. This isn't the sort of balance I've come to expect from beer. It's sort of an assault of several unique flavors that work independently but the resulting harmony, while often harsh and dissonant, ends up being very welcome and, at the bottom line, very tasty.

m- medium full-bodied and slick, with only a slight lick of carbonation. Coats the mouth a bit.

d- a wonderfully drinkable and delicious strong ale. the assault of flavor reveals its strength, but there is very little trace of actual heat. The whole thing comes off (in part because of the words on the packaging) as a beautiful accident. Would definitely pick up again.

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Photo of notsoprobeer
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep amber in color with a white head that dissipated quickly. No lacing on the glass. Aroma is brown sugar and and citrus hops. Flavor is brown sugar, caramel malts, and some spices that I can't place. There are some citrus hops in the flavor, but they lurk in the background. Medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation. It has a very sweet finish that isn't cloying and long lingering. This is a good thing, in my opinion, as I've recently had a few beers that left an unpleasant long lasting sweetness. I was very surprised to see that this is 9.9% ABV. The alcohol is very well hidden, so proceed with caution!

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Photo of ditch
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy, dark red copper with a one finger off white head that fades slowly to a light covering of the top of the glass. Lacing is thin all the way down the glass.

Smells of sweet caramel and citrus hops. Way more hoppy than I was expecting from an ale called "Brown Shugga'." Also hints of vanilla and oak?

Taste is sweet caramel malts, and a perfect balance if hops. Near perfect balance here. Vanilla, raisins, a little lemon peel. Alcohol finds you in the finish but is not overpowering, considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel is good. Good carbonation to bring the flavors together. Slightly oily from the hops. Good thickness.

Drinkablility is also good here. Almost too good for this kinda alcohol content. Light enough to go down quick, but enough body to make you remember not to chuck this one.

This is a great Holiday beer. Thanks Lagunitas!

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Photo of dalahodson
4.36/5  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.

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Photo of Weston19
3.39/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a copper color with high carbonation. Starts off with a two finger head that eventually diminishes into a half a pinky. Head looks very creamy.

S: As is the norm with Lagunitas, the beer smell fantastic! It has a sweet smell that expresses brown sugar (obviously), grape fruit, and some pineapple although lightly there.

T: Brown sugar, light hop flavor at the back of the palate, alcohol in the mid palate, there is some grapefruit at first but the taste is overpowered by the alcohol flavor. Honestly I'm kind of disappointed by the taste. Based on the smell of the beer, I expected more hops and a more balanced flavored. The alcohol is a bit overpowering and completely covers up the hops. I've had beers at this ABV before and higher that did a much better job at concealing the alcohol flavor. The only good thing that happens is that as it warms up, the brown sugar taste becomes stronger so it allows you to focus more on that than the alcohol flavor.

MF: Mildly dry and some burn in the back of the throat due to the alcohol.

O: As this warms up it gets sweeter but there isn't much there besides the sweetness and the alcohol taste. You can definitely smell the hops but they're hardly present in the flavor. I've had much better from Lagunitas. At $10.99 for a 6 pack, this is probably the last time I'll buy a pack.

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Photo of ZBerkeleyan
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tall glass. Great appearance, light shone clearly through the copper-amber color of the beer. A thick and frothy head built up after the pour, and lacing remained after each sip: mmmm...

This one smelled to me like brown sugar, with yeasty and malty smells hanging out in the background. Don't know if I would have called the smell brown sugar if it hadn't been for the name, but after being cued by that name I could definitely notice the resemblance...

The taste was complex and balanced; the most noticeable was that dark sweetness up front. But there were definitely perceptible hops and malts in the background. The alcohol, weighing in at a hefty 9.9 %, was also a clear element of the taste here, though not as overwhelming as in some other beers. Even beers with substantially less alcohol have sometimes had that alcohol flavor more up front, but here the alcohol plays second fiddle to that slight sweetness.

The mouthfeel was smooth and light, with minor carbonation. The consistency made this brew surprisingly drinkable. At 9.9% abv, a beer this drinkable is a true test of prudence and self-control!

Overall this is a fun beer: it is slightly but not overbearingly sweet with a smooth and easy mouthfeel. There is enough alcohol in the taste, though, to (hopefully!) remind you not to drink more than a few at 9.9%abv!! Enjoy.

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Photo of myelo
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

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Photo of Jonoesh5
3.64/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of BillH200174
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a clear amber/ dark copper color. Has a thin tan colored head. Left a decent lacing down the sides of the chalice it was served in. Aromas are of sweet burnt sugars, some toffee & caramel notes as well. Slight vanilla in the background. Medium mouthfeel, rich & slick. Slightly oily too.

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Photo of Hamburgers
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours cloudy dark reddish amber with two finger white head. Head quickly dissipates to thin film leaving some nice lacing. Aroma big on malt, some caramel, piney hops, and brown sugar. Flavor is somewhat sweet balanced by a bitter finish. Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation and just a slight oily texture.

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Photo of granite
2.77/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

A---It poured a murky copper with a thin beige head.

S---Maple, molasses, burnt sugar, nutmeg and phenols.

T---Burning hot alcohol shifting to sweet caramelized sugar. It finished dry and salty. Tongue numbing and unpleasant tasting in my opinion.

M---Thin-Medium bodied.

D---A little less then average is the best way I can describe this.

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Photo of Transatlantic
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass at about 45 degrees

A - A clear caramel like brown with a purplish tint to it. Head is quite creamy and sticks around long enough to leave a pretty good lacing.

S - Oh man, first thing I get is a kick of vanilla and followed by a floral yet citrusy hop character. The ending smell seems to be molasses but it's very light.

T - This is very interesting! The first thing I notice is how syrupy sweet and bitter it is. The next thing I notice is how pronounced the molasses taste is right next to the ever strong citrusy hop note. The taste is quite amazingly blended if I do say so myself. I'm wanting to say it's a lemon/orange like citrus that i'm getting, which is quite unusual considering the beer is named "Brown Shugga"

M - Very syrupy and creamy. Quite a strong medium bodied beer.

D - You can drink one of these down no problem, but one is going to do it for you, unless you're aiming to get drunk.

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Photo of ANIMOUL
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of cindiwindi1025
3.31/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Burnt orange color, no head or lacing

S: Nothing on the nose

T: Tastes like a mixture of bitter, burnt molasses and pine needles with astringent. Not diggin this taste at all.

M: Hot on the mouth due to the ABV, not much in the way of carbonation.

D: Not very. The taste in my mouth is bad from this, though the buzz is damn good. I won't ever get this again.

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Photo of Antnego
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fun Fact: Let this one breathe a few minutes before sipping. The bouquet really opens up when you give it a chance.

This one pours with a deep, amber hue with a fizzy, thin head that dissipates quickly. Lacing is medium and sticky. Nose is a mix of piney, grapefruity hops with brown sugar/honeyed malts. Taste is sweet and citrusy up front, followed by notes of brown sugar, molasses and caramel. This is definitely a hop-forward beer, but not so much as Lagunitas' flagship beer. Mouthfeel is very sticky and resiney. Overall, this is superb, complex beer that gives you the best of both worlds - the sweetness of malt and brown sugar adjunct with the bite of an IPA.

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Photo of dbatch
3.64/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dub deuce purchased some time ago, not too long though...

A: Pours a reddish orange color with little head retention and few carbonation bubbles floating. I dont know exactly what I was expecting, but the color was not this. It is clear, I expected it to be a bit cloudier, but c'est la vie.

S: Sweet, malty goodness abounds here. Definitely caramel and brown sugar (NSS) Its not too sweet either, offset by the malt and a faint aroma of citrus in the back.

T: This beer tastes just as it smells - brown sugar sweetness up front is matched by the strong maltiness. A little hop bitterness in the back, but very nice.

M: Very light mouthfeel, smooth, not too carbonated.

D: A little too sweet for an everyday beer, but not bad once in a while.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Knowing the history, I thoroughly expected to hate this beer and I went into this tasting with extreme skepticism. Sometimes you just get surprised. This was one of those times. The appearance was average, the smell was nice, sugary, wheaty, but all that was somewhat average - the taste and drinkability is the compelling factor here. Very unique, highly sessionable "ale" as they call it but I'd not only drink this again, but want to try it fresh from tap. This was a 'sweet' surprise.

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Photo of hoody711
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first Brown Shugga. It will be hard to be unbiased - the hype surrounding this beer as well as my intense love for anything from Petaluma.

A - poured into my tulip. A nice reddish brown with a 3 finger pearl head. Nice lacing, as you would expect. These guys are pros, after all.

S - definitely has that token Lagunitas smell. Citrus hops up front, but there is plenty of sweet malty goodness, and, brace yourself, brown sugar, at the end. Boozy as well. Smells great. (After warming, almost all malts. Citrus is basically gone, just a whiff.)

T - sweet citrus/sugar --> resiny bitterness --> strong bready malts. The alcohol is strong on this one at the end, and leaves behind a decent burn. It's good, but I'm not in love.

M - medium, definitely not heavy. The carbonation is good. See above re: alcohol burn. Despite this, good drinkability.

O - blah, I'm disappointed. I was hoping that this would rank up there with Sucks for me. I have such a soft spot for the citrus IPAs. Obviously, this is not one of those. It is good, complex, and gets better as it warms. Definitely worth trying, especially if you like the strong ales.

Edited after warming to room temp.

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Photo of happilysurly
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper amber brown. Cloudy and many a floater. Very little head. Smells sweet and fruity. Grapefruit and pineapple. The taste is sweet and slightly bitter. This is goood. A delicious mistake by the Lagunitas crew. I'm tasting enough fruit (grapefruit and pineapple) top remind me of Sunday brunch. There is a little bit of toffee or butterscotch taste too. Slightly salty. You really don't catch how much alcohol is in this brew until you get towards the end or you look at the bottle. In other words, it is not at all obvious to me that I am getting drunk right now. THIS STUFF IS GOOOOD!

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Photo of dude
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber orange pour. Slightly hazy. There's a rich malty aroma with citrusy notes as well. Taste is sweet initially with flavors of caramel and molasses, good roasted malt character and some lemony hop bitterness to round out the flavor. This coats the tongue easy and has a hearty mouthfeel. Satisfying without feeling too heavy. For a beer approaching 10% abv this is easy to drink. Lagunitas seems to be an approachable and affordable craft option.

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Photo of dditto2
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,469 ratings.