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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,471 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,471
Hads: 5,144
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 250
Gots: 971 | 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: 1,471 | Hads: 5,144
Photo of Onslow
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours from a 12 ounce bottle .. lets go... very silky and mellow beer for having a 9.9% backbone .. tasty and abv very well hidden ... warms u up nicely .. van is the man, sneijder too (2) ... great flavours in this one- brown sugar, rum, figs, plums ... same aroma too ... a very drinkable barleywine!

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Photo of argock
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a goblet. No freshness date.

A: Tangerine-amber hue with respectable off-white head with touches of fine lacing.

S: Dark fruit, molasses, and toffee with a smidge of alcohol and grassy hops in the nose.

T: Sweet but not to an extreme because there are a lot more hops than meets the nose. The malty sweetness takes on a fruity, toffee character with a goodly portion of grassy and light citrus hops to even out the maltiness. While this beer could have easily qualified as a malt-bomb, the good folks at Lagunitas knew just what we wanted and pitched in more hops when it seemed like there were already enough. What they produced was a unique beer with both malt and hops covered.

M: Luscious with a sweet toffee aftertaste. It feels like a mellowed barleywine.

D: An excellent Lagunitas effort (not surprisingly) but the 9.9% might slow you down a little. Definitely worth a try or two, and it probably cellars very well.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle picked up from Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a traditional Blue Mountain Brewery-logoed pint glass.

Appearance: Swiss cheese-esque lacing, big foamy, slightly off-white, uneven head, hazy, ruby body, average retention. Great lacing!

Aroma: Sweet tropical fruits, tons of thick brown sugar and molasses, as well as some other caramelized malts, both darker and lighter. Runs the gamut.

Taste: Tons of malts. Brown sugar is (obviously) prominent, some heavier roasts (coffee) are faintly present, grainy toast. Some fruity esters - cherry - and some sweet citrus - grapefruit, orange - round things off. Verrry sweet.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy, even, fine-bubbled, big-headed and -bodied.

Drinkability: Very sweet, and very high in abv%, but I surprisingly liked this way more than I expected I would. Alcohol is very well-hidden, malts are surprisingly complex (even if they are intense). A pleasant surprise and a very good beer.

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Photo of Deuane
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Deep copper with a medium light tan head, Head holds on and then reduces to a thin cap leaving behind nice lace.

S-Caramelized brown sugar, toasted malt and a nice hop kick,

T-Toasty malt on the palate with present but subduded brown sugar sweetness. Nice hop kick to keep the malt/brown sugar sweetness in check. A tickle of fruitiness in the background.

M-Medium to Medium-heavy body with a wonderful smoothness and pleasant creaminess.

D-Very drinkable. Sweet but not too sweet and just enough hop kick to keep hop heads happy. I struggle to believe that this is 9.9%...a stealthy beer for sure! Brown Shugga....I love you! Thanks Mick!

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a clear ruby-orange with a thin, cinnamon tan foamy layering that didn't stick around long. There was a slight rim lacing at best as it receded.

S: The nose was big and sweet with burnt molasses, maple syrup and sweet toffee which was followed by a lingering dried grapefruit hopping.

T: sweet up front with caramelized malt and dark molasses. There is a noticeable alcohol presence that sneaks in the middle of the palate as well some dried fruit (prunes), sugar plums, and raisins. The beer finishes out bitter with some dried grapefruit compliments of the Chinook hops.

M: sticky, dry, with a nice medium thick viscosity. Sweet, syrupy with a nice feel to it.

D: Very nicely done with a sweet start and bitter finish that compliment each other for a great overall experience. Alcohol was very well hidden for 9.0% and makes for a good drinkable beer, though comes off a tad sweet at times which may limit multiples.

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Photo of oelergud
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stubby 12oz brown glass bottle with a twist-off cap. Large red letters on the label.
Translucent copper mahogany body with low carbonation. Creamy tan head with small bubbles.
Scent of caramel, grassy hops, flower, hay and of course, brown sugar.
Rough hops swirling in caramel and brown sugar with nutskin and vegetable, well balanced. The aftertaste is a hoppy long lived malty rush, quite strong and very tasty.
Medium-full body, some coating and a rough feel.
Highly drinkable, delicious and warming.


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Photo of Halcyondays
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
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 demitriustown
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle: Nice sweet malt aroma, definite big hop characteristic as well, maybe some brown sugar scent but subtle. Appearance is amber/red with a thin tan head. Taste has definitely got some caramel malt in this, citrus hops, sweet, and alcohol is present on the back end. Palate is somewhat sweet on the lips, very tongue coating, and aftertaste has a lingering caramel maltiness and a bit of alcohol. Overall, it's good but not great kind of like most of the Lugunitas that I've had. Maybe it's too young. Will check back on this one in a year.

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

A - Pours a clear copper with an inch of somewhat loose head. Laces well.

S - Very fruity, some dark sugars and molasses come to mind. Slight metallic touch as well.

T - Raisins, booze, quite bitter as well. Some toasty malt and a touch of sweetness, but not overly so. Some grassiness keeps the flavour from being too heavy. Nonetheless, very thick flavours in this.

M - Moderate in body with a nice low carbonation. Slightly chewy.

D - Not as heavy as I initially feared. For some reason I was expecting something in the brown ale category... dunno why. This however is pushing barleywine territory.

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Photo of Damian
4.83/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank from a 12 FLUID OZ bottle purchased at Crazy Bruce's Liquors, West Hartford, CT

Poured a gorgeous, crystal clear, dark crimson-orange with a tight, creamy, two-finger, light saddle head that slowly faded to a thick ring of froth. Lots of spotty lacing stuck all along the glass.

The aroma was intense and enticing. As the name suggests, brown sugar was immediately noticeable. Rich, caramel malts also came through strong along with hints of Christmas cookies and a touch of alcohol. A nice mix of sweet and spicy.

The flavor was full, rich and incredibly well balanced. So smooth and creamy. Tons of bready, rich, sweet malts came through up front. Brown sugar and gingerbread were noticeable in the center. Juicy, ripe fruits (peaches and apricots) came through as well. Sweet, citrusy hops (some orange peel) appeared in the finish along with indications of orange liquor. A sweet, sticky coating of this orange liquor-like flavor lingered in my mouth (as well as on my lips) long after the beer was finished.

Mouthfeel was creamy, smooth and medium-full bodied with a fine, mild carbonation. Silky smooth on the palate. Syrupy and sticky.

Drinkability was simply off the charts. The alcohol in this beer is hitting me hard but where did the liquid go? I simply cannot believe I am almost finished. I have labeled other beers as being "dangerously drinkable" but this one puts them to shame. 9.9% ABV? This certainly must be a typo.

Simply put, this is an exceptionally well-rounded beer. Its sweet, sugary aspect is apparent, yet it never becomes cloying or messy. (This beer borders on being a sweeter version of a barleywine, and a damn fine one at that.) Brown Shugga' actually reminds me a great deal of Lagunitas's own Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale, but slightly better. I advise you to seek out this magical beer at any cost.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle from russpowell. Thanks Russ!

It pours from 12oz bottle a hazy amber colour with a slight tinge of orange and a 1 finger head of off-white foam. Lots of lacing and the head retention is quite good. It's a fine looking brew in the glass.

Taking a few whiffs, I get a lot of sweet caramel and sugar with an almost equal amount of citrus hops. Nice. I'm also getting a touch of fruitiness.

The taste is just as impressive. Super sweet notes of caramel and brown sugar that seem to be heading to beyond what I like but....there's that citrus doing a fine balancing act and bringing the tastes back in order. Very tasty. The finish has just the slightest bitterness to it and that works fine for me.

The body is on the light side and the carbonation is medium light. The alcohol is *very* well hidden and because of that, the contents of my glass are disappearing at an alarming rate. Oh well. That's a problem I'll deal with and I give a salute to Lagunitas for brewing a fine American Strong Ale. I'd drink this again, no problem.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle in to imp pint glass. Pours tea-brown with an offwhite head (my overly aggessive pour). Can definitely smell brown sugar, some sort of fruit that I can't peg, and raisins. Taste is sweet, apricot, with bitterness in the back. The alcohol lingers a little, but doesn't overpower initially. Not overwhelmingly drinkable because of the alcohol, but smoothe nonetheless.

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

Poured from the bottle a bright, clean red amber color with a foamy off-white head.

Beautiful malty aroma with hints of brown sugar and honey.

Big, sweet malty taste with brown sugar, honey, caramel, and citrus hops mixed in. The alcohol is well hidden, even at almost 10%.

Medium mouthfeel, slightly dry, with moderate carbonation.

The taste is sweet but not near as much as I expected. That's good, I don't like really sweet beers. I really enjoyed this one but I guess I am partial to the stuff from Lagunitas. ;)

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Photo of toolbrew
2.93/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours clear brown with almost no head. Some lacing.

Very sweet malty smell.

Very sweet taste - mostly like brown sugar with a hint of alcohol.

The sweetness lingers on my tongue and the roof of my mouth. Medium body.

Too sweet for me. It was nice to try but won't seek out again.

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Photo of Vancer
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ol' Brownie pours a crispy clear amber with copper edges, capped with a frothy dollop of ivory, sticky laces stuck to the side of the Corendonk tuplip.

Sugar cane malty sweetness in the aroma, with caramel mixing in with the quaff. This brew is borderline Barleywine in taste, and I'm impressed how well the alcohol is hidden. Bit thin in the body for such a big beer.

The sixer of this not enough, glad I decided to check if I had reviewed it or not, as I was down to the last bottle. Another fine brew from Lagunitas.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks very pretty, deep amber color with a nice off-white head that leaves excellent lacing. Nose is lots of sweet fruit and malt, and a good bit of alcohol too. Flavor's lots of toffee and caramel malt, very mild hop flavor. Alcohol comes through strong, overwhelming some of the other possible flavors. Some light dried fruit. Mouthfeel is solid, medium to light with good carbonation. Overall, a drinkable beer, although the alcohol flavor and general ABV is just a little too high for more than one or two.

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Photo of Big78CJ
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown center witha lighter tan rim gives this beer an interesting appearance. The half-inch head is actually a bit off-white as well. This beer is more dense-looking than I would have expected.

S: The first smell I gleaned off the head was of a citrusy hop origin. There seems to be some sweet mixed aroma (vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, toffee...) whipping the hops into submission.

T: Hops are present in my first sip; this beer did not adequately advertise the hop content of its brown shugga but still quite tasty. Sweet malt, perhaps sweeter from the shugga, is a pleasant backing for this ale.

M: Slightly chewy from the heavy malt yet slightly watery from the bitter hops. There is more complexity here than I intitially thought.

D: This beer definitely surprised me. I exspected this to be a honey brown style of beer with way more sugar than I would like. The name is deceptive of the flavor. This seems to be a case where brewing/fermenting does not add the same flavor as adding after after the fact.

** This beer was an absolutely amazing pairing with norwegian gjetost cheese and soda crackers.

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

A: Pours a light brown with red highlights. It looks very similar to a glass of sun tea as far as color. It had a very aggressive head. It was well over an inch worth of frothy off white bubbles. Quite a but of lacing and pretty good head retention.

S: The name definitely describes the smell. Caramel and brown sugar tones come through in the aroma. There is also a malty smell as well.

T: It definitely has a sweet brown sugar flavor. However, it is extremely well balanced with the hops. It is extremely smooth with no after taste whatsoever. You really can not tell that the ABV is pushing 10% at all.

M: A medium bodied beer. The carbonation is not aggressive in the mouth but makes some frothy bubbles. It makes the feel very creamy.

D: This one is very drinkable. In fact, its one of those that could get scary since it is high ABV but goes down so smoothly.

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Photo of Slynger
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga: a deep, clear, reddish orange with some small, dirty white bubbles that leave lasting lace.

The nose is sweet malty caramel, toffee, and brown sugar with fruity cherries and citrus, and earthy-spicy hops. Deliciously intriguing.

Full bodied with a lightly sharp, soft, and creamy-curvy carbonation. Flavors of sweet brown sugar and burnt toffee; fruity cherries and apricot citrusy hops. Grassy, spicy, earthy hops linger in the finish.

Wow! A really tasty and unique brew that I enjoyed way too quickly. Awesome.

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

This was a sweet offering considering the mighty ABV for this ale. Enjoyed chilled in a pint glass. Poured a brownish amber with a creamy head. Smelled of subtle caramel and brown sugar with some faint floral hop undertones. Taste was sweet and sugary with a good hop balance and a smooth palate. I would say mix this bad boy with some maple syrup, pour it on your pancakes and munch away.

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice amber color with a thick two finger white head that clung to the glass and lasted throughout the drink.

The nose picked up some nice earthy tones, caramel malts, and a vauge scent of licorice - I don't know, maybe it's the brown sugar that I'm tasting.

Tastes hoppy, very sweet, the caramel malts and sugar crystals were almost too sweet; especially as the beer warmed.

The mouthfeel was pretty well balanced, a good carbonation level; the aftertaste was slightly unpleasant, like too much sugar in the Kool-Aid.

Certainly drinkable, it didn't taste like it was 9%+ alcohol.

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Photo of Overlord
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is 9.9% alcohol? Wow.

Pours a reddish orange. Bit white foam off white head. It lingered, which was nice. Mouthfeel was a bit thin, but refreshing and crisp.

Taste was on the sweet side, but there was a lot more hop content than I expected. Grapefruit rather than pine, it integrated very nice with the warming sweet caramel malt. The aroma was also noticeably sweet and caramelly.

Not the most complex of beers, but very well put together.

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

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 52° from a 12 ounce bottle with some sort of coding but I am unsure if it is date related. There were approximately three fingers of head from the pour down the middle of the glass with slight lacing. The beer was reddish orange in color

There was a definite aroma of hops. Label says 51.1 IBU's.

The beer was surprisingly smooth with some bitterness from the hops followed by a nice sweet finish.

There was fullness in the mouth while holding this brew before swallowing.

This beer seemed to get sweeter as it warmed. It was very easy to drink and tremendously dangerous at 9.9% alcohol.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark orange-copper color, looks really nice. The head is a slightly darker than tan color, the lacing is impeccable.

Aromas of brown sugar and a decent amount of American citric hops jump out of the glass. I don't get a huge amount of complexity but plenty of power.

I found the flavor to be similar to the nose but a little surprising nonetheless. This is a sweet beer, a little different kind of sweet than a big-ass English Barley Wine malt blast though. Very smooth caramel malts, a sprinkle of a toffee flavor, and some dark fruit-cake spicing, like dates. The hops are still present and pungent; leaving a pleasant bitterness at the finish.

Not sure what to say editorially. I thought it came out a little thinner and lighter than an American barleywine; that Old ale might be a good handle for it. I could see age being a factor here, but I will definitely look to try it again.

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Photo of Pencible
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a hazy reddish orange with no head. It smelled like brown sugar (surprise!) and some malt. Its flavor had a sharp bitterness up front followed by some sugar sweetness. It was oily and thick with no carbonation, and it had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a very unique ale, with a name and scent that didn't match up to the flavor (but was still pretty good).

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,471 ratings.