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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,435 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3435
Reviews: 1291
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%

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: 3,435 | Reviews: 1,291 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of blackie


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Low, off white head that eventually becomes just a ring around the glass. The beer is a clear, medium amber in color.

smell: Nice, pleasing strong ale aroma. Smells of dried dark tree fruits (prunes), caramelized sugars, and a woody earthiness are found. Alcohol content well hidden. Slight banana bread aroma, which I associate with esters. Gentle, just right English type hop aroma. Malt-balanced.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium, and the body the same.

taste: Pretty good flavor, though not as much as the aroma. Muddy English hops with plenty of malt sweetness. Flavors of brown sugar high on the molasses, dark bread, and a lighter fruitiness. The hop bitterness is moderate, becoming evident after the swallow, and lingering long into the finish. Very little ethanol detectable.

drinkability: Tasty and easy to drink, considering the ABV

12 oz. bottle received in a trade with Zorro, and cellared for a few months

12.08.13 - party favor bottle, a nicely citrus hoppy, brown sugary strong ale, easy to drink, scores left intact

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2006 00:51:19 | More by blackie
Photo of Matthew


4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red with a decent sized white head covering over the top of the beer. Some slight lacing.
Sweetness with citrusy hops blended together. Some sweeter malty aromas, faint caramel is there too.
Alot hoppier than expected, but the hop kick is nicely done. Semi bitter hops balance out the sturdy maltiness that contains some burnt sugar type flavors and the faint caramel that is present in the nose.
Semi sticky and chewey mouthfeel.
Considering how huge this beer is the abv is hidden amazingly well. Need to be careful with this one.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2006 03:18:25 | More by Matthew
Photo of BradBLR


4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a wonderful beer. First was the smell of the beer, it was great smelling a little sweet. The first taste was a little shocking, a lot stronger that I was expecting. But after the intial shock, this beer was great. A very strong taste, with a nice hop flavor. Also the slite sweetness that accompanied was excellent. Try this beer, it's seasonal so keep your eyes open for this one!

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2006 20:56:54 | More by BradBLR
Photo of wingnutter


3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of SethB2

Nice amber color with a thin head. Smells malty and hoppy?!

Taste is dominated by sweetness at first but theres a hop bite in there, too. I cant tell if its floral or citrusy.... Velvety mouthfeel. The alcohol is present but not overpowering. Tart dry finish at first.

As it warms up the alcohol comes through a bit more, and the finish turns sweeter. This is surprisingly balanced for an ale thats touted as "sweet". The brown sugar makes a statement but leaves enough room for the hops. Im not sure what to make of this one....Its like an IPA/ASA hybrid cooked up by some mad scientists at Lagunitas. This is a crafty craft brew.

For a beer thats pretty much 10% ABV, this one goes down real easy. Worth a try if youre a fan of IPAs or ASAs. This is my 1st Lagunitas beer, but it definately wont be my last.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2006 05:57:10 | More by wingnutter
Photo of spazaru


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful hazy amber with almost no head. Smells of a hint of cinnamon and some other spices I can't identify; maybe a little of the brown sugar in there.

Great malty taste with more of the cinnamon, and then some hops kick in! Awesome so far. Very thick mouthfeel, very chewy, and the aftertaste has a hint of brown sugar as advertised. The 9.9% doesn't show up in the taste, but it knocked me flat anyway!

Another great beer from Lagunitas, one of California's more underrated breweries.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2006 13:15:08 | More by spazaru
Photo of BEERchitect


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasty stuff from a Brewery that I am just learning about. Brown Sugga' doesn't have too much actural brown sugar in it, but it does have a serious malt base that hinges on caramel and toffee. An amber / copper color with a fleeting head shows nice lacing. Aromas of nuts, figs, and dates decorate the nose. Similar flavors show more intensely. Lightly licorice-like. Big hop contribution, along with a lighter than usual body, becomes very IPAish. Nevertheless, a tasty brew that's easy on the palate. Thanks Clvand0 for sharing.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2006 18:45:45 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Sephiroth


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Receieved today from Beerbeing. Body is amber, lace clings all around the glass. Smells malty sweet, brown sugar slightly noticeable.

Taste is complex, strong fruity malt, moderately hopped, brown sugar does not overwhelm the rest of the flavors. Mouthfeel is smooth, drinkability good. I will age the rest for a short time.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2006 20:01:39 | More by Sephiroth
Photo of scottoale


3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks to be another beauty from Lagunitas with an O.G. of 1.100 and the bittering of 51.1I.B.U with a fairly hefty 9.9ABV...sweet !! Out pours 12oz. of a deep copper colored, 2 finger of off-white headed ale of beauty, as I thought. Nice sticky lacing...ooh la la!

Smells malty and brown sugary with a hint of hop bringing up the rear. Let's taste it. Sweet and malty with nary a hop finish. A little sweet at first but as it warms just a hair, the hops start to kick in nicely as well as the alcohol starts to warm the finish. Full rich mouthfeel and flavor, this beers got some body and some legs as well.

Very tasty stuff that goes down easy but be warned, this is a truly strong ale, one of a kind in it's style! Try it, you'll never know till you do...I recommend this one.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2006 13:40:52 | More by scottoale
Photo of gbarron


3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. 'bomber.'

A - medium brown, to amber color. Not completely clear - maybe some chill haze. Nice little white head forms and stays around the whole way for me, although retreating to the sides of the glass.

S - malt, sugar, very little hop aroma. But what hops are there smell of noble spiciness - saaz? Nice malty, caramelly aroma.

T - malt is up front in this one. Since the name is 'brown shugga,' I can taste the brown sugariness in this. Malty sweet, but some hop bitterness balances it out pretty well. There is some hop flavor here, but it's hard to pick up. Can definitely taste some hoppy grassy, floral flavors when I burp (sorry to be so crude). Alcohol is well hidden. A little disappointed that the flavor here isn't as big as it could be.

M - medium bodied, standard carbonation.

D - tasty brew, I wouldn't mind having several of these. Alcohol is masked in the flavor pretty well, but will hit you later.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2006 19:40:25 | More by gbarron
Photo of asabreed

New York

4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into my Delirium Tremens glass, so this will take me a while to get through probably, which I'd like to happen since I chose this certain glass.

Appearance: A dark amber with not much lacing and not much head to speak of either, just the bit clinging to the sides of the top of the body. Even with some swirling the head dissipates quickly.

Smell: Lots of spiciness, and sugary spiciness to boot. I like it. Some cinnamon, nutmeg spiciness. Possibly the lots-of-hops and brown sugar, too? And yes, the hops come through also. For its singular nature and balance with the aroma, it deserves a high score, as I've never really encountered anything like this.

Taste: From the aroma, the peppery spice and cinnamon and brown sugar come through. And of course coupled with that is the malt character. Before the finish, though, is where the dark fruit comes through, and fantastically. And though it seems to linger on the tongue well enough with the balanced hops, there's a shot of it that's a flash and quickly dissipates. I have a feeling I'm having this too green, though as it stands it's pretty novel and welcoming. However, I may snag another to cellar.

Mouthfeel: A bit too cloying, though I imagine with the maltiness and brown sugar too it'd be tough to get around it. A lot less carbonation, though, would make this, I think, pretty hard to drink maybe. Again, though, maybe letting it sit would take care of this, or maybe not. Or maybe this is to be expected and I'm judging it too harshly. But alas.

Drinkability: I'm glad I tried this. ASAs are becoming brews that many breweries seem to be experimenting with in fantastic ways (and / or have been for a while). That I like a lot, and this is a great effort, and if I do purchase this again, as I said before, I'm definitely throwing it in the cellar. However, for the price and the experience, it was definitely a great purchase. Looking forward to more Lagunitas brews, as this was my first.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2006 05:32:35 | More by asabreed
Photo of Rezzin


3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a pint glass. Brownish red with not much head to speak of.

S - Sweet, almost smells a little sour too. Malty. You smell the brown sugerness and just a tiny bit of hops.

T - Rich and sweet. Not bitter at all but you can taste the hops. Seemed a little bit sour to me but I drank this one almost at room temperature.

M - Smooth but in a light way. I know this thing is 9.9% ABV but it's masked fairly well. Alcohol kick.

D - This is the 2nd time I've had this from the bottle and it seemed much better the first time I had it. My judgement may be a little skewed since I drank it fairly warm. Not a bad beer. My first barelywine and definitely not the last.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2006 21:50:41 | More by Rezzin
Photo of jmz62565


4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a cloudy dark brownish red amber with a nice lacy head. The smell has a fruity,molasses and alcohol scent to it. The taste is like the smell,but I could taste a very strong alcohol presence. The m/f is heavy with all the flavors being well balanced. This is a damn good beer and I'm really glad I had a chance to have it on tap at Eli Cannon's.

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2006 01:42:51 | More by jmz62565
Photo of steinlifter


3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear caramel color, tannish head with nice spidery lacing that hugged the sides.
smell was brown-sugarish, with ghost hop whiff.
taste was rather sweet and malty, interesting flavor, I can detect the sugar, bit of floral hop, a little spicy as well, alcohol presence. full bodied mouthfeel, with a bit of chewiness, creamy tongue coating.
drinkability is great!...I would'nt recommend having too many of these in one sitting though, it is quite high in abv.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2006 20:56:21 | More by steinlifter
Photo of Hautacam


3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear caramel color.
Nice foamy 1 in. head that reduces to about 1/4in. and lasts.
Not much in the nose...little malt, dried fruit.
Tastes very much like a barleywine..texture wise too.
Very sweet malt, prominent alcohol and hops ...slight bitter-sweet finish.
This reminds me very much of Victory Old Horizontal...a little less hoppy, maybe.
It's very good , but it's almost too sweet to finish the whole 22 oz...but I did.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2006 03:23:27 | More by Hautacam
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tawny kind of color,....a light caramel tone...

Rich, sweet malty nose....sweetness in the nose,

as well...brown sugar dominates anything...malty-riffic....lush brown flavy flavory...yummy, yum, yum...

rich, cocoa-tinged flavors, full, lush, very tasty...

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2006 08:05:12 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of nvsblman


3.23/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep walnut brown with about a finger of brown head. The brown sugar (duh :) ) stands out most in the aroma, but there is also some toffee, some piney hops, and a light fruitiness. Distinct brown sugar flavor along with some fruit and a nice hoppy bite. Just a slight hint of alcohol that comes out a little more as it warms. It's pretty easy to drink given it's strength!

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2006 02:30:24 | More by nvsblman
Photo of Dukeofearl


2.17/5  rDev -46%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Original Review 1/23/05. Bought a six pack at LaBodega in Riverside (price not known) on recommendation of staff.

Pours a clear reddish brown with a small head that quickly goes to nothing. Aroma- duh, brown sugar! Molassas, honey & flowers. Slight date fruit. Flavor rich and full, sweet with a hops bite at the end. But the alcohol presence in this is huge, and it severely overpowers everything else, and ruins what otherwise is fairly nice. I also noted a metallic aftertaste. Because of the alcohol, the drinkability is low. In fact, I bought a sixer of this, and am waiting to give the other 5 away to a friend of mine that might like it better.

UPDATE: 7 months later, I have a few bottles left, and I decided to try another. Did it need to age a bit? Well, it's not as rough as I first noted, but it still has way too strong of an alcohol profile to be something I really like. Sweetness is up there still, but the flavor profile has improved somewhat. Still not something I want to return to.

UPDATE: 1 Year and 1 day from original review. My last bottle from the original six pack; it's aged a year- that should help, right? Still heavy sweetness and alcohol burn. I do not like this, and I don't know why I keep trying. Drain pour. Scores adjusted accordingly.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2006 02:38:31 | More by Dukeofearl
Photo of ybnorml

Rhode Island

3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A hazey dark amber beer with orange highlights. Has a big creamy off white head and a touch of lace. There is a piney hop character to the aroma right up front. Then in the background is a sweet malty note. The flavor starts with a big rush of brown sugar sweetness on the tip of your tongue. Followed by a nice piney hop bite along the sides of your tongue and into the back of your throat. But it is that sweet sugar character that stays with you.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2006 17:06:00 | More by ybnorml
Photo of blitz134


4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade from warriorsoul...thanks man...

Been wanting to try this for a while. I've recently taken highly to strong ales and this one was high on the list to try. Fills my standard pint nicely with a caramel, amber liquid goodness. Topped off with a sticky tan half inch head. Not much lacing though.

Lots of hops in the nose, citrus and fruity aromas dominate, oranges and tangerines, with some floral notes. Some good caramel maltiness comes through too. Alcohol is definately noticable, but not overbearing. Aroma started out strong, but subsided a bit when the head dissipated. After the head left I couldn't pick out anything discernable.

A nice strong flavor profile. Hops really come through again. A nice blend of many hop flavors. Overall sweet with floral hops that finish with some resin. A bit of straw and herbal varieties find there way in as well. Definately has its bitter edge. This beer is nearly balanced with some caramel maltiness, probably from the brown sugar added in, but could offer some more. A nicely balanced flavor. There is also a bit of spiciness as well and some sweet alcohol comes in as well. Very nice. Definately for the hop head.

Mouthfeel is solid. A bit of hop oiliness comes in. Coats the mouth well. Also, there is some good crispness to finish it out. I was afraid the sugar addition would thin this out, but it still comes through with a good body.

Drinkability is really good. A bit high in the alcohol to have too many, but I'd definately pick this up fairly often if it was available to me. A good example of a strong ale, but with extra hops. Aging this could prove interesting to let the hops settle down and some of the malt and brown sugar flavors to come through.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2006 03:43:32 | More by blitz134
Photo of Beaver13


2.17/5  rDev -46%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle. Pours a reddish orange with a thin white head that quickly dissipates to a small collar.

The aroma is sweet brown sugar with pine, fruit and paint thinner-like alcohol.

The flavor is sweet sugary caramel malts initially with a metallic bitter alcoholic finish. Fruit and cola some out as it warms. The mouthfeel is medium and kind of watery.

Overall, I was not too impressed. The flavors did not balance well, rather harsh and raw and too sweet for my tastes. I didn't much enjoy it.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2006 06:00:11 | More by Beaver13
Photo of granger10


3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The last of the Lagunitas bottles I was able to buy while down in Dayton. Pours a semi murky burgundy color, sort of brown in the middle and red along the sides. Smaller but compact off white head sits atop. Good lacing.

Aroma is definitely sugary along with molasses and caramel but there's also a fruitiness I wasn't expecting. Reminiscent of red delicious apples and also maybe tangerines. A bit of alcohol warmth accompanies the fruits.

Taste is similar. Begins really sweet. I knew it had brown sugar in it, obviously, but I think I could tell fairly easily even if I didn't know. Caramel goes away but there's more of a sweet cinnamon roll flavor. Lots of yeasty esters seem to take hand towards the middle but they soon give way to the hops and alcohol. I think these go hand in hand here. Alcohol warmth is noticeable to me even through the thicker body. Finish is residually sweet yet also bitter and I feel this one go all the way down my belly.

As said before, the body is really thick and vicious. The flavors come out but are sometimes dominated by the shear weight of this liquid. This is definitely a sipper. Take time, relax, and enjoy this during the colder times of the year.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 21:19:21 | More by granger10
Photo of goodbyeohio


4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

rereviewing due to the release of the 05/06 batch.. bottle differs by bright red and thicker letters spelling out 'brown shugga'... something tells me this beer is going to be different as it's a recreation of a mistake- and boy was i right!

pours a silky, clear dark amber with a taut ring of creamy foam with empty speckles where bubbles once were. 50% haze on top, swirly and twirly. spotty lacing on the glass.

hoppy nose brings out ripe red plum fruit and slight cough syrup aromatic drafts. orange liqueur dominates the scent here, defining this beer as an apertif more than a beery beer. bigger than i remember, still smelling good.

flavor repeats the aggressive hoppiness, brings the brown sugar in tasty spades. buttery brown sugar with vanilla and cookielike girth. thick and balanced mf/wise with a good level of carbonation. the more i think about it, the more i realize this brings the same flavors and accents with a slightly different twist on the overall recipe still just as good as it was last year.. a little crisper, a little richer. less boozy, and more hoppy. maybe it's just because its so fresh.

aw, who gives a fuck. this still an A+ beer and one i'd be happy to rereview every year until it disappears.. at bare minimum, ill be drinking it annually.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 15:27:29 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of Tupperwolf


3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, no freshness date, but I'm not usually concerned about that (especially with almost 10% abv). Poured into my tulip the color of cranberry-apple juice, a dark red-brown that drifted towards honey-brown as I drank and the light played through the levels of beer.. A thin little head of yellow-tan bubbles rose and fell to a ring around the brew and an island in the middle. Some strings of tiny bubbles, some thin lacing. Pretty good looking...

The scent brings to mind crabapples, cherries, and yes, a molasses-cinnamon-brown-sugar sweetness. Kind of light, airy, and sweet. Not too pungent or cloying.

There's a malty bite, a dance across the tongue of undecidedly sweet flavors; A bit of hop bitters on the back of the tongue and an alcoholic finish that reminds me of whiskey. The aftertaste is really long lasting and carries simultaneously some lingering piney hops and balancing brown sugar slickness. I really only get the distinct flavor of brown sugar after letting the aftertaste linger untouched in my mouth for a few minutes.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy for an ale like this, and damn if it's not filling. I decided to partake of this to tide me over between lunch and dinner and I think I might have to skip dinner. A glass of this really filled me up. The alcohol is just present enough to add its two cents to the flavors, but it's a good contribution. Carbonation is minimal in this brew, but what's there does a good job.

Overall, this is an interesting beer to try. It's so damn filling, and the alcohol is present enough, that I'd say this makes for a good afternoon snack, but this is a really hearty beverage and I'm going to save the rest of the bottle for another time - dessert, maybe.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 23:23:30 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of DeaconBluez


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

thanks to maltygoodness for this one.

appearance: very dark amber. mine poured little head, but from everyone else's reviews this didn't seem to be any sort of problem. maybe i need to learn to poor a better...note to self.

smell: very sweet and caramelly. also tenges of hops and malt

taste: everything seems really well balanced. the sugary effect is still definitely there, but i really like it. you would never really be able to tell that this brew had a abv of 9.9%. it has a very nice hoppy taste tp it, and the malts are mixed in there well.

m: there is strong hoppy oil mouthfeel to it. there is a smoothness that is somewhat strange because this is big bodied beer

Drinkability: like i said ther alcohol is hidden very well, and this a very unique beer that i wish i had readily available to me.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2006 03:23:54 | More by DeaconBluez
Photo of Bighuge


3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear burgandy. Thick, dense off-white head. The froth coats the glass heavily as I drink. Aroma is sweet. Very sweet. Caramel sweet. And there's a whiff of alcohol as well. And some tropical fruits. Rummy alcohol notes are noticed up front on the palate. And the alcoholic bitterness lingers long after the sip. The flavor is pretty sweet, but not quite to the cloying extent. Sweet and alcoholic sum up this beer quite well. And there's some estery goodness in the mix as well. Passion fruit tones and such. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Decent enough, but not really noteworthy.

Here's a shout out to the LBB for the sample. Thanks bud.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2006 03:54:48 | More by Bighuge
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,435 ratings.