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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

3,678 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,678
Reviews: 1,297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 142
Gots: 235 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 12-13-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,678 | Reviews: 1,297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Gueuzedude, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of MarkyMOD
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

MarkyMOD, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

XmnwildX12, Dec 09, 2013
Photo of Halcyondays
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

Halcyondays, Jul 03, 2008
Photo of beernads
4/5  rDev -0.5%

beernads, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of Gavage
3.13/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

Gavage, Feb 15, 2007
Photo of kojevergas
3.25/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | 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.

kojevergas, Nov 11, 2012
Photo of GClarkage
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

GClarkage, Dec 27, 2004
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

oriolesfan4, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -0.5%

InspectorBob, May 21, 2013
Photo of imperialking
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

imperialking, Dec 18, 2012
Photo of woodychandler
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
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 ...

woodychandler, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
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.

corby112, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of weeare138
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

weeare138, Jul 08, 2005
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

lacqueredmouse, May 26, 2011
Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -0.5%

orangesol, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of tempest
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

tempest, May 20, 2009
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

barleywinefiend, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

stakem, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of dbrauneis
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

dbrauneis, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of Billolick
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
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

Billolick, Mar 13, 2005
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

Georgiabeer, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of drewone
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

drewone, Nov 26, 2012
Photo of akorsak
3.38/5  rDev -15.9%
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.

akorsak, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -0.5%

duceswild, Mar 05, 2014
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,678 ratings.