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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: 5,029
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 21.05%
Wants: 243
Gots: 884 | 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: 5,029
Photo of Billolick
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on tap at the BTAH in NYC, Poured copper, nose of dried fruit and some caramel. More caramel and sweet notes of brown sugar and cookie dough. Yes, this is a fairly sweet barley wine. Some drying elements come in late and as it warms, Smooth, medium bodied brew. Some warming alcohol also present. Too sweet for me. When I ordered this one somebody asked if I had diabitis

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz fresh bottle into a Stella Artois glass late at night by myself. It's been about two years since i've had this offering.

Deep rich amber with some copper and brown spots throughout. A steep pour yielded a nice somewhat frothy beige head that lasted for a bit before dying a horrible death. It eventually went around the glass but it left some window streak lacing which while not great, at least it's something for this strong ale.

Smelling funky fresh with a deep sweetness, could it be from brown shugga, yeah, i guess so. Big brown sugar with caramel/toffee and a bit of toasted malt. Just smelling this you can tell it's big and might be hiding something. Getting just a outline of dark fruit including some plum. The hops don't show up at least for me, but believe me, they are in there.

And the hops show up in true Lagunitas fashion mixing very well with this sweet brew. The malts win, but the hops make a good citrusy appearance. Shugga is malt forward with the sweetness that goes along with that and a big brown sugar taste. Caramel/toffee and just the faintest hint of roasted coffee in the background. Finishes sweet and somewhat fruity with mo brown shugga...

The body is big malty and sweet. I would say a good step above medium bodied. The alcohol is not present at all and that's a feat considering this is near 10%, Perhaps it's all that sweet sugar. No hotness what so ever. A nice hop feel with some small bitterness enhancing the feel on this. This is a fresh bottle, I believe that if the hops were not so charged, this would taste like shit. The hops are keeping this one together, drink up.

I thought this stuff was seven percent when I had it last. I think ten percent is a bit high for this sweet style of beer but Lagunitas pulls it off making this very easy to drink and not a chore. The sweetness while big is settled nicely by a nice west coast hop blasting. I drank it much faster than I thought I would.

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Photo of Lare453
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz into a dfh glass

A copper, nice 1 inch head,

S pineapple, molasses, brown sugar, coconut, Vanilla, other light tropical fruits, caramel

T surprisingly light for a 10% beer. The beginning is a light and sweet tropical fruits, the middle is heavy in molasses and it fades back to heavy pineapple and light mango with a sharp hoppy bitterness and resin. The aftertaste is a sweet and resinous brown sugar and lasts a long long time.

M little more than thin, sharp, good carbonation.

O fair beer.

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

On-tap at Shipmates. 16 ounces of strong beer, yikes! On to the beer:

Copper colored, has a little bit of head retention and leaves a little lacing. Whoa! Smell that. Humongous caramel glazed pineapples hitting the nose. Sugary like the name, also some toasted sugar. Like the aroma its flavor is a big burst of toasted brown sugar pineapples. The aftertaste leaves a slightly burnt sugar aftertaste. While the beer is intense, the alcohol is buried very well in this beer. At almost 10% ABV, it is very drinkable.

Keep them coming Lagunitas.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice bright copper/burgundy pour. Hints of red and brown along the rim. Good head, dense foam with some clumping and lacing as it went down.
Aroma of malt and caramel. Hints of apricot and sugarcane. Hops and some dry pine are faint, towards the back.
Tastes rich in malt, but not overpowering. Some pumpkin pie spices are available but hard to find. Definite maple/brown sugar influence, but only if you think about it.
Smooth. Doesn't stick, seems kinda light. The alcohol sneaks up on you. I was feeling good.
The aftertaste is a bit much for me. Too sweet for my dry tastes.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hollingshead's,

A: Pours a dark amber, with a medium white head, medium lacing.

S: Light, but I get some molasses and malt.

T: Brown sugar and molasses is clearly evident, very malt, light hop burst at the end.

M: Creamy, medium-bodied, nice full carbonation character.

D: A good beer by Lagunitas, I wasn't wowed by it, but pretty solid.

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Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a bottle that was sitting in the cellar for about 6 months. I was actually surprised by how much I liked this beer. I reminded me more of an old ale or barleywine for the rich malt and biting hops, but it's all good. This beer was tasty. The flavor has a mix of tart cherry, caramel, toffee, and raisins, all with a hint of molasses. The medium body was a little more drinkable than your average 10% American beer, and I wouldn't mind having another. Certainly one of my favorite Lagunitas beers.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunita's Brown Shugga' - Initially the recipe was intended to be a Barleywine, but they failed, and re-labeled the brew as Brown Shugga. It developed a following and is now an annual offering.

Appearance: Brown Shugga appears clear and brownish, with a good sized off white foam and lace work.

Smell: Piney hops and a hint of sweetness. At the onset, I was anticipating the taste. I would go as far to say that the aroma to this beer was excellent.

Taste: Caramelized brown sugar! Hops! Indeed, it falls flat as a Barleywine, but this is a finely crafted Strong American Brown Ale. A nice resinous piney hop presence with a strong malt backbone. Warming.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: A bit chewey in the mouthfeel, alcohol is big but not overstated here. A pretty delicious beer and I do plan to drink more of this.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from Bert's
Pours a crystal clear medium copper color with a huge yellow white head that slowly dissipates to a cap and lots of leggy lace. Earthy and piney hop aromas mixed with a fair amount of caramel light fruit and candy and darker sugar. There's a solid shot of ethanol in the aroma that reminds you this is a big beer, but it never seems harsh. The flavor is big and sweet up front with lots of candied and darker sugars. Solid earth and resinous hop flavors with barely any harsh edges. A bit of warming alcohol lingers long after each sip. Medium body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. This is a really nice big beer, I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange amber with a moderate head that fades quickly. Smell is quite alcoholic and with strong aromas of honey, some apricot, malt, and faint hops. The taste is very warming and with carmelized brown sugar flavors balanced by lots of hops.Its just a little bit sweet, not at all overwhelmingly so. The alcohol is very well hidden. Absolutely delicious balance between sweet and bitter. Mouthfeel is full bodied but not thick. Not sticky. Good carbonation. Very drinkable- perilously so.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a cloudy auburn-brown coloring that is almost opaque, with a slight haze to it. No head on the pour at all. The beer has a bold, round aroma, which is a smooth blend of supersweet sugar and caramel, with a decent balance of hoppiness. Flavors are sharp and heavy, with a good foundation of wet, deep hops riding strong under a boozey highlight and malty sweetness reminiscent of molasses and caramel. There is a sweet theme to this brew. The aftertaste is a slick, rich, almost syrupy sweetness, but refrains from being cloying, with a good hops presence once again. Impressive. The finish is slightly bitter, which keeps it light, and the crispness from the carbonation makes it quick.

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Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: on-tap at Mad 4 Mex in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark copper/ brown color with a thin off white head. Aroma is brown sugar, cinamon, hazelnut and hops. Flavor is similar to aroma with a nice balance of brown sugar, cinamon and a strong hop presence. Finishes sweet and bitter.

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Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick hazy reddish brown ale with barely a hint of a tan head. Looks a LOT like fresh motor oil going in to the glass.

Smell is lots of citrus hops with a hint of wood in the smell. The malt is almost an after thought here very light malt scents mostly honey and flower nectar with a faint scent of molasses. After this warms up the rum scents and flavors come out to be savored.

Taste is very hoppy with a lot of tropical fruit flavor in the first sip. In the first taste I detect pineapple, coconut and mango/pine. Powerful hops here and it really lubes your teeth with the hop oils. After about 3 sips the malts make themselves known, honey and brown sugar and some cookie dough. Very tasty I could see calling this a barley wine.

Mouthfeel is good but not as thick as the pour might have suggested.

A tasty sipper of a beer here which is quite mild to me but I am sure Hop exposure has thrown of my taste a little bit. Probably not the thing to serve a Budweiser drinker. I like it though.

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Photo of weeare138
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appears a dark reddish brown with a solid one finger beige head that sticks around. Very little lacing in this one.
Smell is of caramel malts, brown sugar, molasses, and warming alcohol.
Taste is a bit hard to figure out as this beer wants to be sweet but the balance is a bit wacky. It's a little less than good because there is an odd cough syrup like taste that is standing out in this concoction. Caramel and lots of sugar with an off balance of bitter hops thrown into the mix makes it kind of odd as if it were candied plantains served atop broccoli rabe that is really odd but slightly intriguing.
Mouthfeel, again, is odd. A bit of a rollercoster from sweetness to odd bitterness.
I really took my time with this but I don't know if it was because of the strangeness, the alcohol, or just the way it tasted.

It's ok, dog.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn, seems I missed out by one on being the 1000th review of this beer. Purchased in San Francisco, and brought back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a lovely burnished copper-red hue, surprisingly bright and clear, with a full and solid head of beige foam. Looks gorgeous. Lacing is a little reticent to appear, but otherwise, it looks gorgeous.

Nose is also very special, with a pungent citric crispness blended beautifully on top of a pineapple sweetness. Lashings of pepper and spice add exclamation points. Very nice.

Taste is also extremely good, giving a lovely crisp fruit entry that quickly descends into the "sweet release" promised on the label. Loads of sticky toffee, barley sugar and caramel, that is allways just leavened and supported by enough hops to ensure it doesn't get sickly. It's quite exceptional, and exceptionally good. The lingering, slightly fruity, but toffee-sweet aftertaste is delectable. Mmm, I want more.

Feel is a little light, but this also probably assists in keeping it from heavy, brutish sweetness.

A lovely brew from Lagunitas, and a truly American-styled one—the hops, the body, the sweetness all blending together into a raucous, opinionated and brash whole. Hell yeah.

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramelly brown tones are smothering an otherwise luscious red colour, giving Brown Shugga' a distinguishing candy apple appearance. Although clear, bits of coagulated protein remain suspended. Its head, a rudely fashioned clump, is hardy only if properly summoned (some swirling is required to keep it roused). Lacing, however, will result.

This beer was born from a botched batch of the brewery's Olde GnarlyWine, a fact that came as no surprise to me because the two smell awfully similar, if not nearly identical. Knowing of its inclusion, I do note some brown sugar on top of the pineapple, coconut and cantaloupe that have festered in a simmer of heated caramel and toasted biscuit.

These style beers are already teeming with notes of sweet toffee and dark fruits, the brown sugar only enhances them. There is a rotating door of flavours; the instant one flavour falls out it is replaced by another. Plums, molasses, dates, cherry, cantaloupe, toffee, chocolate, apple crumble and, naturally, brown sugar. It is like a tootsie-roll doused in some honey-like nectar and then wrapped in a hard candy shell.

This is like a barleywine in all senses but one: drinkability. This beer belongs in a pint glass not a snifter. Go ahead, check with the alcohol, it won't say nothing. It is neither destructively bitter with its hoping nor sickeningly sweet with the malts (and cane sugar). They've really balanced the sweetness (and hidden the alcohol) well.

Brown Shugga' is as sweet and tantalizing as it sounds. Most beers of this style and strength drink with a callousing nerve and stiff backbone; this one melts over the palate with tender pulses and delicate jitter. If only everyone had as much reason to be proud of what they do as the people at Lagunitas Brewing... what a world that would be.

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

Listening to Pearl Jam..
Poured a copper color with a nice fluffly white head. Nose has a nice sweet malt with a bit of hops and alcohol. Taste is brown sugar dominance with a bit of molasses. Alcohol is very noticeable after finishing only one. There is a definite presentation of malt and has a sweet finish.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Re-visited 30 Dec 14

Pours a nice clean/clear amber color, very nice carbonation, nice creamy one-finger plus off-white head, which leaves some sticky lacing around. The nose is malty, hoppy, slight spicy. The taste is kinda sweet, malty, some hop notes, slight spice. The ABV is hidden very well. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, this is a good ASA, another great brew from Lagunitas, highly recommended. Glad to see this here in UT!

Thanks goes out to jpm30 for this brew.

Pours a cloudy amber color, nice carbonation, small fizzy off-white head, which leaves some sticky lacing around. The nose is malty, hoppy, slight spicy, and lots of caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, some hops, slight spice, and a good dose of caramel. The alcohol is hidden well. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, this is a good ASA, another great brew from Lagunitas, highly recommended.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to a Duvel snifter

A - A nice deep amber colour with half a finger of white head.

S - Sweet malts; caramel with some citrus in the background.

T - Sweet lightly roasted malts. A caramel and sugary sweetness dominates the profile with a nice citrus hop aftertaste. A nice balanced ale.

M - Medium body with a somewhat creamy/silky mouth feel. A good amount of carbonation.

D - This is a very well balanced and enjoyable ale. Would never guess that the ABV is almost 10%. The sweetness becomes a little too much after getting the bottom of the glass.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Brown sugar nose. Medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Starts sweet but complex flavor, hops are here balancing the brown sugar and malts, the high ABV is not noticeable. Good beer to savor. $5.45 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a warm light brown body with a light tan head that fades to a ring pretty quickly. No sign of carbonation because the body is a bit to dense.

S- This beer has a light toasted malt note with a sweetness and a note of dark sugar and white sugar hint as well.

T- The slight sweet caramel malt flavor has a note of dry spice and dark rum that adds its own sweetness. There is a hint of darker sugar that comes through just a hint as it warms. The finish is a nice herbal citrus hops but the sweetness still lingers after the sip.

M- This beer has a medium light mouthfeel with no real alcohol heat. At the finish when it is really warm there is a slight alcohol heat that is a nice contrast to the sweetness.

D- This beer has an interesting flavor and I can see where it gets its name. It would be nice to have some big flavors that balance with the sweetness.

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Photo of akorsak
3.37/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 650 mL bottle purchased somewhere that I just can't recall.

A: The ale is a lighter than I expected. Rather than a dark brew, the ale is a lighter orange color, reminiscent of an IPA with its lightness. The orange has brown highlights and remains several shades below the amber of the bomber. The head was huge on pour, over three fingers that left thick patches of lace throughout the glass. Only upclose is the incredible amount of sediment visible, to the point that it looks like pulpy orange juice (at least from a pulp perspective).

S: The aroma is heavy on the malts, thick and concentrated like an old ale. There is a definite brown sugar aroma that could easily pass for dark Belgian candi sugars.

T: The ale is all malt and alcohol heat. The malts are as strong as the nose betrayed. The intense flavor dries out the mouth, leaving a scorched earth feeling that normally only comes from a DIPA. The alcohol presence is strong throughout, never afraid to bring the heat. Through the alcohol head, there is some undefined sweetness, but I could not easily tie it back as brown sugar.

M: The mouthfeel is quite intense, making this more of a cold weather beer. I find the alcohol to be a little too much, stripping most of the flavor out of the ale.

D: One bomber is too much. This would be better off in a 12 oz bottle. The brown sugar is a nice touch, lending a hint of Belgian-style to the ale.

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Photo of WoodBrew
2.75/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sure the amber brown color with nice head lures one into a false sense of security...Then BAM you take one to the buds!!!! The strong alcohol detracts from the buzz of this beer. This beer is tough and definitely not a session brew. However, if you can stick through the first half of the bottle the beer smooths out...most likely cuz the taste buds are numb. Certainly worth a try, but a six will do just fine.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at The Ginger Man in NYC

A – Dark maple syrup. Light, off-white dusting of a head.

S – Huge brown sugar note. Light malt. Molasses.

T – Super soft malt ebbs and weaves through brown sugar, molasses and walnuts. Leaves a trace of pine-like bitterness on the back end.

M – Light body. Bitter / sweet finish.

O – Nice malty complexity, but the profile on whole is overly sweet, which overwhelms the relatively light body.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit: I am reviewing the Brown Shugga as a Barleywine.. there is no way this is the same recipe as the last couple years.

Current batch 12oz.. picked up on Friday at Albertsons for $1.29 (they charged me the wrong price for sure).. poured into my Delirium tulip.

Good 2" head that leaves rings of lace atop a very clear cherry wood color brew.

Aroma is waay hoppier than I remember last years Brown Shugga.. piney hops are at the front and leave little room for much else.. but there is a big background of caramel malts ... this really reminds me of a PNW barleywine.

Flavor is an American barleywine.. Deep bitterness and solid caramel/toasted malt backbone with a nice pine hop flavor that melds well with fruity (fresh black cherry) yeasty flavors. Fairly thick body is expected with a nice prickly/yet creamy carbonation... long lingering hop and lite toffee finish.

Brown Shugga is a BW in '07/'08 .. Where's the Gnarleywine? I think I have a little left in my glass.

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