Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

4,307 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,307
Reviews: 1,365
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 179
Gots: 472 | FT: 16
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: 4,307 | Reviews: 1,365 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrunkinYogi
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of mdfb79
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - It has a dark amber color, also poured with a lot of carbonation and no head.

s - Smells sweet, almost fruity. Also smells a little like syrup

t - Tastes great; very sweet taste like sugar or molasses, also a little fruity.

m - Medium body, was not as carbonated as it looked.

d - I liked this one a lot. Can't believe it's over 9%. Could definitely drink a few of these taste-wise but might refrain due to the ABV. Definitely think it's worth checking out.

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

The beer pours a dark amber/red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice balanced aroma of malts and hops. It's warming to the nose, but also enticing with loads of hop smells. The malt aroma is composed of lots of pale malts and a wonderful array of specialty malts, which provide the "Brown Shugga" element. The taste is great. It has an incredibly smooth malty taste that weighs heavy on burnt toffee flavors. It goes down easy and finishes silky smooth with a nice hop blast that lingers. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It packs a bundle of flavor; a fine drinker.

Photo of jwc215
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz, bottle

Pours deep reddish copper with a thin, well-retained head.

The smell is of brown sugar with a whiff of citrus.

The taste is of brown sugar. Malty but with a nice citric hop support coming through. At first, it's all about brown sugar and caramel, but the bitter hops emerge, though stay in the background, giving it a nice balance. The brown sugar runs throughout, but never gets too sweet.,Slight peppery alcohol.

The feel is rich and creamy.

The alcohol is well-masked. It's there, but I would have guessed around, or close to, 7%. A unique beer that is rich, well-balanced while remaining appropriately sweet. Nice Job!

Photo of drewone
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light brown color, clear. Long-lasting head that leaves ample amount of lace on the glass.

Very low aromas--some molasses/candy sugar; no discernable hop

Caramel flavors--more sweet than bitter, but the hop is present and balances this beer just enough. Very full bodied. Good carbonation. The aftertaste brings out the hop. Interesting journey through the flavor profile.

Regardless of the complexity, this is an easy to drink beer. It is VERY deceptive given the alcohol content (9.9%!!). I could not note the usual oiliness or aftertaste of alcohol. Drink this one with some caution.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Always wanted to try this beer and finally my package store decided to start carrying it.. hooray beer!

Pours a nice copper color with a small head. Smell is of (surprise) brown sugar! Taste is very sweet upfront but the alcohol taste is present, but only slightly. Finishes clean and smooth with a nice caramel/sugar touch. Although you can taste the alcohol, it still doesn't feel like a 10% ABV beer.. a solid beer, would love to have it again.

Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Heard the hype; grabbed a bottle at Whole Foods. Expectations are high; I like this brewery and some knowledgeable beer folk seem to dig this brew. 9.9% according to my bottle; I don't see 9.99% as currently listed on the site. 51.1 IBU. O.G. 1.100. I always like their labels; they're entertaining and well laid out. So that's a plus on presentation. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Uinta pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a plump five finger khaki colour head of beautiful smooth rolling frothy cream, good thickness, and great retention. Body colour is a rich vibrant copper with an amber hue. Transparent and translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. I'd estimate the retention time at about five minutes. Really looking good so far. A gorgeous brew. I'm very impressed at the retention at this high an ABV. You'd think it was maybe 5% off the retention alone.

Sm: Brown sugar, certainly - but not to the extent I expected. It's actually somewhat understated. Floral hops, toasty caramelized malts, caramel, and biscuit malt. Even a hint of toffee. Slightly musty. A mild strength aroma. It's not real bold or expressive, but I'm excited to try it. Besides, there's a respectability to an understated mellow aroma. I don't detect any yeast or boozy alcohol.

T: Heavy on the brown sugar, indeed. I'm going to have to adjust to its assertive flavour. I do get floral hops - which seem to complement the flavour profile nicely. The sugar mellows on the climax, which is probably my favourite aspect of the brew. Caramel. Some toasty malts. No alcohol or yeast comes through. I do get some biting hop bitterness, especially in the second act. Feels too preserved and over-hopped. The floral hops swallow up the sugary flavour, making it lopsided. It's certainly full bodied. Too bitter on the finish, a stark contrast to the sugary character that precedes it. I find it imbalanced, and it's not getting much better as it warms.

In the final sip, I got a wonderful brown sugar sweetness, and even a hint of ginger spice. I wish the whole beer tasted like that.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with a rounded malty crispness that I really dig. I've noticed this characteristic in many Lagunitas brews; it's inflated and smooth, aiding the drinkability. Somewhat chewy. Good carbonation and thickness. A scratchy hop coarseness emerges on the climax; it's an annoyance. Independent of the frustrating flavours, the mouthfeel is for the most part well executed.

Dr: Drinkable, especially for the ABV, but it falls short of my expectations given what people have said about it. I'd certainly try it on draught, but I think it needs time for the hops to mellow out a bit and for the malts to take the forefront - along with the shockingly understated brown sugar. Needs serious aging. It's tasty but a bit misguided. I'll have to revisit this one, but I'm unimpressed with it currently - and it shouldn't be my job to age it. Well-priced for the quality, and I'm sure most drinkers will be satisfied with it. I find its key flaws (major bitterness in the second half caused by overhopping, and a lack of presence of the titular brown sugar) prevent me from really liking it. That said, it's pretty impressive how little the alcohol comes through.

C+

It does get better as it warms. Be sure to let her rest after you take her out of the fridge.

---
12.20.14: Truncated impressions.

Pours a healthy 7 finger wide head of off-white colour. Retains superbly for its high ABV.

Body colour is a translucent copper.

Aromatics are primarily hoppy, with a pale malt backbone and no traces of obvious brown sugar. Balanced in terms of bitterness/sweetness. The hop profile is attractive.

Taste is off copper malts, a pleasant hop profile inclusive primarily of floral hops, noticeable brown sugar, pale malts, and hints of sweetbread.

Smooth, wet, medium to full-bodied, thick, well-carbonated, unrefreshing, and crisp.

It's drinkable - highly so - for the ABV, but the alcohol isn't unnoticeable. I quite like it - and it's better than I remember, but it remains far from world-class. Worth trying, sure. But not excellent.

Low B-

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a hazy light amber color with orange highlights. It is topped by a thin, wispy light amber tan head that is generated by a quick swirling to actuate this beer's medium carbonation. The aroma is lightly sweet smelling with notes of candied orange peel, pine needles, toffee, alcohol, a hint of molasses and sherry.

The taste is only lightly sweet up front, at least for a beer of 1.100 starting gravity. The beer is quite malty with notes of caramel, a bit of toasty malt notes in the finish. The finish is lightly astringent with notes of fresh hop character as well as a solid bitterness that allows the malt and Brown Shugga to shine through. This beer is certainly on the malty side of the spectrum, but the hops certainly add a discernible character, that though supporting is a nice respite/ counterpoint to what would otherwise be lopsidedly oriented towards the malt. The brown sugar is evident but not overwhelmingly so, its most obvious contribution being a lightening of the body and palate. There is also a sort of twang in the finish of this beer which has a hint of molasses to it.

This beer is pretty enjoyable, and I like that it is not too sticky sweet. It reminds me a lot of the first sample of their IPA that I had, because the IPA tasted like it had lots of unfermented wort in it, and I almost wonder if I had a bottle of the Brown Shugga' that had been mislabeled. Regardless, I do like this beer and I certainly recommend it if you find it.

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of GClarkage
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/26/04- Purchased at Piazza's Market in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12 oz bottle with no date, poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- Orange-amber cloudy pour with many floaters. Nice thick chunky head, but very little lacing to be found.

Smell- Sweet and sticky smell. Lots of sugary scents going on.

Taste- Sugar, sugar and sugar. Brown sugar, molasses, browines, chocolate a bit or raosted taste in the bitter hops.

Mouthfeel- Very chewy and bitter.

Drinkability- A bit too much on the sweetness scale to me. I like my barleywines, and this was decent, but it feels like I need to chase this with some jolly ranchers stix and some fun dip.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

Photo of Gavage
3.13/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a hazy amber color with a 2" head that falls pretty quickly.

Smell: pumpernickel bread, brown sugar and caramel candy sweetness are easy to detect by the nose well outside the glass, but is only partially pleasant.

Taste: sweetness abounds here. Big brown sugar tones, caramel, ripe plums, and a balancing piney bitterness are the up front flavors. Some alcohol and bread-like tones round it out.

Mouthfeel: smooth from start to finish. Medium bodied beer. Long sweet sugary aftertaste.

Drinkability: this beer got a bit annoying as the bottle emptied. The sweetness just got tiring. A 10 oz glass was enjoyable, but goes downhill during the refill.

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of imperialking
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of dbrauneis
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very lightly hazy deep copper to light golden amber in color with some orange highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a couple of spots that are a little thinner and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of caramel malts and caramel sweetness with moderate to strong aromas of citrus and pine hops. There are also some lighter notes of burnt sugar and maple.

T: Moderate to strong flavors of sweet caramel maltiness with a touch of burnt sugar and maple as well. Upfront this beer is quite sweet. That is followed by the aggressive flavors of the hops - citrus/grapefruit/orange and pine. Slightly more than moderate amounts of bitterness which linger but not for too long and some moderate amounts of alcohol taste (especially as the beer warms.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Some dryness and alcohol heat in the finish, especially as the beer warms up.

O: Not the easiest beer that I have ever drank but it is still enjoyable - I wish the alcohol was a little more well hidden and that the sweetness was not so shocking upfront and then fading quickly. Interesting mix of style with elements of a barleywine and a DIPA.

Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -0.7%

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

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a perfectly clear amber color with a finger of yellowish stained head. The cap fades back to just a thin film across the top. Some strings of patchy lace cling to the glass.

This is a malty smelling brew that includes a scent of brown sugar and an overall candied sweetness. Some character of floral hops and alcohol is in the back with a lightly herbal quality.

The taste of this brew is toasted malt with some residual sugar upfront that never gets too sweet because it is countered by herbal hops and alcohol. It leaves a long lingering aftertaste of herbal hops clinging inside the mouth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is well balanced and more enjoyable than I would have believed considering what some others have said about this brew being sickening sweet. For almost 10% abv the alcohol is hidden fairly well but not completely masked.

Photo of woodychandler
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well, if this isn't par for the course these days. I had just opened this bottle and the phone rings and it's my mentor, Lew Bryson, asking me to come over to LNCBC to meet him and his wife for a beer. How could I refuse?

This one, in the menatime, poured with a huge, thick light-tan head with little retention, but plenty of lace. The nose is at once both intensely sweet and intensely hot with alcohol. Oooh. The mouthfeel was really thick and full, not creamy, just thick. A big sugary, alcohol presence on the tongue and on the finish. I really didn't get much out of this, other than alcohol and sweet and given the high alcohol content, I cannot recommend it for drinkability.

Off to meet Lew and his missus ...

Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

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

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/9/2012. Pours slightly hazy reddish orange color with a very nice 2 finger dense cream colored head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big pine, caramel, grapefruit, orange rind, apple, brown sugar, bread, toast, floral, grass, and herbal earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, caramel, pine, apple, brown sugar, toast, bread, citrus rind, floral, grass, and herbal earthiness. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, light fruits, brown sugar, bread, toast, floral, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Great balance and complexity of flavors; with a great hop bitterness/malt balance; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with hardly any warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent "experimental" Barley wine! Great flavor balance and complexity; and dangerously easy to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering as expected.

Photo of weeare138
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

Photo of Billolick
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
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

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,307 ratings.