1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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

3,778 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,778
Reviews: 1,302
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 158
Gots: 265 | FT: 12
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,778 | Reviews: 1,302 | Display Reviews Only:
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 Trashcat
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

Trashcat, Nov 07, 2014
Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

ejimhof, Sep 20, 2013
Photo of mdaschaf
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Mutiny Hall in Seattle.

A: A nice brown/mahogany color with a one finger khaki colored head on top. Nice head retention with solid lacing all around the glass.

S: Brown sugar, caramelized sugar, some light citrus fruit.

T: Similar to the aroma with a lot of brown sugar. The hops were a bit more prominent with some bolder citrus fruit, grapefruit mostly with a nice amount of pine as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Surprisingly smooth and easy to drink for ~10%.

O: Pleasantly surprised, though I shouldn't really be since Lagunitas makes some solid beer. Would drink again.

mdaschaf, Oct 27, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer of this today. This is one of those common brews that I have still yet to try. Poured into a Hair of the Dog tulip because I am not as cool as drabmuh.

The beer has a beautiful appearance. Crystal clear and clean copper, like a brand new penny. The khaki colored head is frothy and dense, coating the glass with lacing.

The aroma bring smalt, alcohol, pine, resin, hops, caramels.

The flavor is big and bold. A strong ale indeed. Nice ratio of hops to malt. Though I know the hop character will fade with age, I am curious to see how well this ale might benefit from some time in the cellar. Sweetness throughout.

Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation. Sticky and resinous on the palate. Alcohol presence is there.

A full flavored beer. One in any given night is plenty for me. Good stuff.

Huhzubendah, Oct 31, 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 Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Gonzoillini, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of DoubleJ
4.18/5  rDev +4%
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.

DoubleJ, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of BARFLYB
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

BARFLYB, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

rhoadsrage, Nov 19, 2006
Photo of Zorro
4.22/5  rDev +5%
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.

Zorro, Nov 19, 2005
Photo of jdhilt
4.58/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

jdhilt, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

afsdan, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.1/5  rDev +2%
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.

Stinkypuss, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
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.

Mebuzzard, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -0.5%

BillRoth, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Brown Shugga has a clear body and lots of carbonation bubbles from the bottom and stuck to the side of the glass upon pour. It is red/brown in color and clear with a creamy head of four fingers. Big stickiness of lacing upon the glass and leaves a good sized puck upon the glass that doesn't go away.

Brown sugar front, light though, just like it says with some hidden malt, but truly a one trick pony on the nose. At least it's a good one! It's a caramelized brown/turbanado style sugar. Some very faint masked hops.

Taste is sugar goodness in a good way. Dominant sugar of brown throughout the palate, but manages to let in a Marzen style Octoberish malt taste as well with banana. A good solid but not too thick mouthfeel also and very hidden abv. Almost a rum character with the sugar upon taste as well.

This is a solid winner but for drinkability it's one of those beers I have to feel to be in the right mood for since it's a little one dimensional. Still a great beer!

smakawhat, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Wasatch, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

brandoman63, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of ppoitras
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained as part of BIF XMas from wezil. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/8" tan head over the cloudy dark amber brew. Head fades to an uneven layer of bubbles pretty quickly, but exhibits average lacing. Aroma is whoa, all about sweetness and powerful alcohol. Taste actually throws me for a loop, showing sweet malts as expected, but then fruitiness, and nary a taste of the distracting ethanol-laden nose. Mouthfeel and drinkability are very nice for the style. For a slow start this one came on as the experience went on. Worth a try, almost too drinkable...

ppoitras, Mar 07, 2005
Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

biegaman, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of rab53
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

rab53, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

KAF, Jul 16, 2014
Photo of tdm168
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark amber with a very large brownish, off white head that is dense and foamy; great retention

S - sugar, floral, citrus, cake batter, bread

T - caramel, sugar, bread, big citrusy hops, bitter finish, big warm alcohol in the finish

M - medium to full bodied, smooth, well carbonated, lots of alcohol

This is complex and delicious. The malt is sweet but approachable. The hops are forward but balanced and citrusy. The booze is there and slows down the drinkability. Overall, this is really a great beer. I'm glad they brought it back.

tdm168, Oct 12, 2012
Photo of chinchill
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

coded but undated 12oz 2012 bottle.
Deep amber color with large and sudsy tan head. The head is moderately durable and leaves lots of sticky lacing.

Aroma: rich and surprisingly hoppy; West Coast IPA hoppy, with mainly piney and earthy/herbal tones. The high ABV is partly apparent but in a rather attractive way suggestive of rum barrel aging.

T: Excellent bitter-sweet flavor with well proportioned sweet malts and aromatic hops, leaving a long lasting aftertaste. This brown "shugga" is not really sweet overall, but seems to have a brown sugar component.

M: Medium-full body with near perfect medium carbonation; a bit syrupy.

O: this exceptional ale should appeal to those would like barleywines, IPAs and brown ales and are willing to try a mix of all three. Good as this is, it is not quite up to the level of the replacement Lagunitas Sucks ale.

chinchill, Jan 10, 2013
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,778 ratings.