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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,588 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,588
Reviews: 1,294
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 121
Gots: 211 | FT: 13
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: 3,588 | Reviews: 1,294 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PintOHops


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

Glass - Tulip

A - Ultra clear amber color with little visible C02. It produced a 1-finger head that dissipated pretty fast to a thin ring. It left nice splotches on my glass.

S - Brown sugar and a nutty notes that get richer as it warms. Lots of leafy hops and bit of orange rind with a bread like quality to it as well.

T - Lots of brown sugar, alcohol but doesn't taste like 10%. Caramel, molasses, nutty flavors. A bit of biscuit and toffee like notes in the middle and it finishes with a bit of lemon citrus and mild bitterness.

M - Mild crispness, smooth and soft with a medium-full body.

D - The drinkability is very good for what it is, I think I could drink it like an 8% beer rather than a 10%. I really do notice the alcohol as it warms but the well blended roasty, nutty and brown sugar notes really keep you interested for 1-2 of em. Pretty damn good to me, I would definitely buy this one again for sure, very enjoyable. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2010 00:55:45 | More by PintOHops
Photo of JosiahS


4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

glass: Tulip

Sort of a dark wood color, very clear. Nice foamy 1-finger head. Looks very appealing.

Out of the fridge the smell is very one-sided, i'm getting fruiting hops, papaya and mango, that's about it. As it warms more malt is present, brown sugar and light caramel.

The taste is a wonderful blend of brown sugar, caramel, papaya, mango and a nice resiny hop flavor. If it wasn't for the light heat down the throat i would never have guessed this is coming in at 10% ABV. Dangerous. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety.

I'm very impressed by how well hidden the alcohol is in this brew. Overall, it's awesome. I'll be sure to take my time with this, even though i feel as though i could drink it within 15 minutes.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2010 00:45:10 | More by JosiahS
Photo of damndirtyape


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

12oz bottle (no date) poured into a milkshake pilsner glass.

Appearance: Bright amber-red clear colored beer with plenty of small bubbles slowly moving up through the beer. Dense light tan 1/8" persistent foam with sheets and strands of lacing all over the place. Nice looking beer.

Smell: Very hoppy. Pine and floral hops dominate, but there is some hint of mango and grapefruit.

Taste: The nickname of "Sweet Release" fits with this beer nicely. The pine and floral hops start off, but then quickly merge into a sweet malt profile with a definite brown sugar flavor to it. This sweetness is released, but then ends with a tart bitter hop finish. It's a sharp finish, but not a lingering one. The alcohol is not at all present, despite the higher ABV. I've had beers with lower ABV where the alcohol was more obvious. Really an impressive beer.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation on the tongue - just on the right side of spicy. Just right level of thickness - smooth and slick but there is some lingering film and sensation on the teeth.

Drinkability: With an ABV this high, this is a sipping and savoring beer for me, but it did go well with a roast beef burrito for dinner. While I can feel the alcohol a bit about halfway down the glass, this beer is so smooth and tasty I could see myself fooled into another one if I didn't know it was this high of an ABV content. A dangerously drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 23:19:14 | More by damndirtyape
Photo of jrsully77


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker than I thought it would be but nice color and head.

Bitter smell that you would exspect from and IPA or Imperial IPA.

Good taste, I was expecting a lot of sweetness with a name like "Brown Shugga" but this beer is very hoppy....hop heads unite!

A nice tardness that makes you toung almost contact.

Good beer to warm you for the winter months. The hops are strong but balanced.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 19:23:58 | More by jrsully77
Photo of jwinship83


4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from 2010. drank my from chimay chalice.

A- this one pours out a translucent ruby red colored body with brownish highlights. the beer looks almost still. very small crown of a head that is khaki colored. little to no lacing left behind.

S- very sweet is my initial reaction. brown sugar and caramel. a little bit of nuttiness in the nose also. at the end im picking up more hops than i was expecting to find.

T- as with the nose, the taste is very sweet. it starts out with a strong brown sugar and caramel like maltiness. in the middle there is a moderate nutty flavor. earthy and piny hops finish this one off. the hops seem too assertive for what i was expecting. the alcohol is well hidden.

M- medium bodied with a low level of carbonation. aside from detracting from the appearance, the light carbonation really works for this one. palate coating and sticky. little to no warming from the alcohol.

D- the large amount of hops in this one seems out of place, but this is a brewery that loves to over-hop things. i bet this one gets even better with a few years on it. a great value at $9.99/sixer on this one. too strong to think about more than one at a time.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2010 15:55:58 | More by jwinship83
Photo of velosuds


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Single purchased at John's Market for $1.69. No bottle dating evident.

A-pours a clear orange-copper hue with a one + finger cream-colored head with good retention and ample lacing.

S-Malts and brown sugar dominate the aroma with citric hops similar to an IPA/DIPA.

T-Malts dominate the flavor profile too. Noted are caramel malts and brown sugar. Reminiscent of maple flavored instant oatmeal. This is a sweet beer that is nicely balance by hop bitterness. It is boozy too, and not unwelcome on a cold winter-like autumn night.

M-Very smooth and creamy, but just a little thin.

D-This is quite drinkable for such a big beer at 9.99% (overly pedantic measures) and a good value. Nice that is bottled in 12 oz. six packs.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2010 07:28:29 | More by velosuds
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

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

Had this on tap at the beautiful farmer's market in Los Angeles. Pours a copper brown colour with a finger of thick white head, leaving lacing down the glass. Smells of brown sugar (no surprise) with a lot of nuttiness and mild hops (I typed in "mold hops" in my iPhone, but I'm pretty sure I meant "mild"). Quite a refreshing beer, which is surprising when I came on here and saw this is listed as 10%!

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2010 22:09:24 | More by kwjd
Photo of OregonPaul


4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I discovered this beer last year at the Portland Holiday Ale festival. Actually it was one of my top picks of the event. I was delighted to discover that Fred Meyer had it in 6 packs.

Appearance: I wish "brown shugga" was a bit more brown. It looks like a simple pale ale. Boring.

Smell: Excellent! You could buy this beer just to smell it! i swear it impossible to smell and not taste. You can smell toasted carmel sugar.

Taste: Fantastic. It goes well with the smell. However I believe it's missing something. Something very small but important. Winter ales need the full package. Overall the "taste" is as advertised.

Mouthfeel: Nothing to complain about. Other than i'm drinking from a bottle not a keg.

Drinkability: Good enough for 3.

Overall... Buy some! It's worth it.

It's really a great beer. Worth $8 a six pack.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 05:33:32 | More by OregonPaul
Photo of JayS2629


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

Being called Brown Shugga this surprised me with the hoppiness.

A- Deep bronze mahogany with a creamy 2 finger head and leaves nice thick rings.

S- Fresh hops and pine up front followed with a toasted malt. Hints of vanilla and grapefruit.

T- Pine and hops up front with a tart grapefruit followed with a sweet malt taste of toffee and caramel. Brown sugar is detected but not dominate as would be expected from the name. The sweetness is all in the aftertaste, though the hops lingers as well. Hints of ginger.

M- Clean....creamy but with a hops and alcohol bite in the moderate level. Nice filmy, sugary feel after. Semi-dry finish. Complex aftertaste.

D- High on alcohol interrupts the complexity a bit. The hops cuts through the flavor profile, however the hops is a nice flavor. Very sweet in the aftertaste. A sipper for sure.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 05:04:42 | More by JayS2629
Photo of OakedCanuck


3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint

Clear copper to bronze pour with nice white head and good retention. This beer has a strong sweet smell and this smell followed through into the taste. Candied sugars, vanilla, toffee and some butterscotch. This is a well balanced beer, medium body and a bit dry. I am not the biggest fan of 'sweet' beers but this one was decent and, as usual, Lagunitas consistently puts out good beers.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 18:25:17 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of angelmonster


3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a small half inch beige head. Body is a clear amber color. Head retention was decent and lacing was above average.

Smell at first kinda reminds me of an english barleywine. Caramel malt and burnt brown sugar dominate. Light pine hops and some alcohol come through. A bit disappointed in the aroma, thought it would be more potent

Taste is similar to smell. Sweet malt is dominant flavor, caramelized sugar and faint butterscotch follow. There is also bits of spice like cinnamon or ginger that come through. Pine hops balance out the sweet malts and leave a light bitter aftertaste. For 10 percent the alcohol is pretty tamed

Mouthfeel is somewhat light for such a strong beer. Carbonation level is also a bit high. Lack of a smooth head doesnt help. Was expecting a richer, fuller body

Drinkability was pretty good. For 10 percent this beer was dangerously smooth. I had really high expectations for this beer which unfortunately werent met. Flavors were good but nothing stood out and made this beer memorable. Reminded me of a less flavorful version of Old Gnarlywine

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 08:09:53 | More by angelmonster
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

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

Am always happy to try something new from Lagunitas, particularly something so high octane and unique looking. Solid amber body with reddish-orange highlights and thick, sticky cream colored head that recedes to a cap after about fifteen minutes. The nose is hoppier than I expected with lemon and pine to match the caramel and vanilla flavors wafting from the malt. Alcohol is in the background too, as might be expected. Looking good.

The strong malt flavor starts in right away but the sweetness is blunted by stellar Pacific northwest hops. Caramel and toasted flavors predominate early but the finish is mostly oily pine. No lack of flavor here and very easy to down despite being a ten percenter. The texture is smooth and supple and very impressive to handle such a plethora of flavors. This one is not for everybody but those that like seriously high octane will like this Shugga'.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 04:40:45 | More by daliandragon
Photo of soze47


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this last year, but this is the first time I've sat down to formally review/drink one. This is a 2010 edition poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Not a whole lot to look at. Very clear body with enough carbonation activity to make you wonder how this beer can be a near 10%. Deep brownish orange in color. Head isn't to substantial, but their is a lot of lacing.

Aroma: Caramel and roast malt are the most prevalent, but as it blooms with some warming, the sweetness starts becoming more pronounced. The smell isn't nearly as balanced as the flavor.

Taste: Curious malt bomb, which it certainly is. Roasted malts balance the caramel malt sweetness well. There is a heavy sweetness, but rather than be too cloying or overbearing, it gets checked nicely by subtle hops. The hops do not add much more than a good bitterness. Considering how many strong flavors are in play here, they are very well balanced.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: High level of carbonations does wonders for the mouthfeel and drinkability of this beer. This is a very sticky, thick looking brew that the bubbles keep light and somewhat clean in your mouth. How can this thing be 9.99%!?! I drank it like an ale of a much lesser ABV, body, and flavor.

Overall: This is a curious brew. So drinkable and deceptive that it should come with a warning sign. I'm going to definitely pick up another 12 or so of these, saving half to enjoy with a little age to see how it changes.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2010 02:30:45 | More by soze47
Photo of SickPythons


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

12oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

Great red-orange color with a small thin head. Not much lacing to be expected per the style.
Semi-strong piney hop aroma.

They've done a good job hiding the 10% ABV in the sweet flavor from the cane sugar and the hop bitterness.

I tried it last year and was happy to see it back on the shelves. I'm sure I'll be happy to see it next year, too.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2010 20:24:28 | More by SickPythons
Photo of matty


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber colored beer with a slow fading huge head.Aroma is green apple and caramel.Taste is caramel,green apple and sugar cane.You don't feel the alcohol on your tongue and it goes down smoothly.Four of these and goodnight!I would buy again and recommend.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2010 12:39:48 | More by matty
Photo of eclaycamp


4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Pours a very clear amber with minimal head and no lacing, though the beer is so syrupy it sticks to the sides of the glass. Has a barleywine style smell, with dark fruits like raisins, to begin with. This aroma is chased by loads of brown sugar notes. Tasting the beer for the first time you immediately notice the thick mouthfeel, though it's not unpleasant. Brown Shugga is full bodied with minimal carbonation. Alcohol is cleverly hidden, save for a little bit of a burn down in your chest after you drink it. The taste has a lot of different things going on. There are some minor fruit notes, but for me this is a lot like waffles and maple syrup. Mild citrus hops help lend balance to the beer. Oddly enough, even with all of the sugary notes this finishes quite dry, which leaves you wanting more. Despite the heavy body, it's really easy drinking. Call it the perfect fall beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2010 04:18:38 | More by eclaycamp
Photo of Morey


4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful reddish brown color when held up to the light. Brilliant clarity. Nice cream colored head that's leaving behind sticky lace all over the glass.

Smells is a bit hop-forward for a Barleywine which is fine by me. I can also detect some caramelized brown sugar. Not as much malts as one expects from the style.

I love the taste! Especially for it basically being 10%. The alcohol is hidden well beneath the sticky hops and caramel sweetness. The hops linger a bit, but not overly so, allowing for one to enjoy the other flavors in the beer.

Medium to full body with a nice hoppy stickiness.

Very drinkable for what this is.

Morey's Bottom Line: Reminds me of Bigfoot a bit. I was not at all let down by this beer. A fantastic Barleywine that is a solid winter seasonal for hopheads to snag a sixer of.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2010 00:59:09 | More by Morey
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in my DT tulip. Pours a beautiful burnt red/copper with a loose half inch, tan-colored head that reduces its volume by half in less than a minute before eventually settling into a swirl and a band. Clarity is translucent. Nose is a little difficult to decipher - sweet malt, a slight vinegary quality and maybe a trace of soy sauce. Taste follows nose - definitely getting that salty, soy sauce flavor following the malty/brown sugar start. There's also a light hops presence that helps balance out the sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium-light, with a slightly oily quality and an easy, even carbonation. Not sure how I feel about this one. It's not bad, and I would certainly try it again, but it's not what I would consider exemplary.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2010 00:00:53 | More by Jwale73
Photo of fourplayed


4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap into 16oz beer glass. Clear dark amber color with 1 finger head.

Pine and floral Hops are up front, sweet notes of caramel.

Taste of Hops up first -pine and citrus, mild sweet sugga', malt backbone.

Medium body, med carbonation, Bold Hop bite and dry finish, medium alcohol warmth 10% abv very well hidden.

Overall this is a very nicely balanced brew, though the Hops are bid and up front, the malts and sweet sugga' are present and make this a nice flavorful brew. Lagunita's continues to amaze me. Several bar patrons told me this is the best version over the last several years. not as sweet and hops tones down from years past.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2010 21:18:34 | More by fourplayed
Photo of rand


4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From bottle to pint glass

A: Pours a clear, dark amber with moderate carbonation. Forms a small but tight head - plenty of sticky lacing as I gently twirl the beer.

S: A surprisingly big rush of citrusy hops dominate the nose. There's some nice caramelly malts in the background, but a lot less than expected given the style. Some apple and honey round things out.

T: Well, the hops definitely meet you right up front with that citrus-apple-tea Lagunitas' hop-thing, but the malty sweetness steps up in full force. Raisin bread and alcohol combine, giving this a holiday sipper-like appeal. Finished sugary sweet and rich.

M: Full bodied and rich, as expected, but not overly so. This is a 10% strong ale that won't weigh you down the whole night. Plenty of carbonation to wash away the sticky residue.

D: The beer has a big and aggressive profile, but it's so candy-sweet I could see a wide demographic taking to this. Or, at least, I'm drinking it fast. So thumbs up to drinkabiltiy.

Notes: There could have been a lot of things that went wrong with this brew, but everything is nicely balanced. I've always liked Lagunitas lineup of big beers, but they've earned my respect with this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 09:05:51 | More by rand
Photo of ryanonline


4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice browish red, verrrry clear though, not something i always like in a strong ale. thin whitish head that quickly dissipates.

smells like slightly aged hops with some citrus, and bran like malt with a big brown sugar presence.

SSSWEEETTt! Brown sugar and nice and crisp citrus hoppy profile. A little bit of roast in the background.

Bubbly and lightly sticky, medium bodied and kind of prickly. dry finish yet the sweet sugar lasts beyond that.

Sweet and delicious and not overly filling, and at nearly 10% this is quite a beer, and i could have a lot of them and have a good evening.

Sweeetttt! Someone talked in a forum post about pumpkin ales about a bartender rimming the glass with brown sugar....i think this one more qualifies. great beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 02:58:54 | More by ryanonline
Photo of Stunner97

New Jersey

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

Appearance- copper to amber brown with nice small bubbles streaming up the glass, decent tan white head of the pour that faded away to lingering white head,

Smell- loads of citrus hops really dominate this nose only really slight hint of malt

Taste- starts off with a bit of that malt and brown shugga flavor, and then the hops really kick in very very strong on this one, the citrus hops that you get on the nose really follow through quite firmly, its definitely alot more hoppy then I would have probably expected but its not bad has decent balance and overall enjoyable taste

Mouthfeel- rather heavy and smooth with decent amount of carbonation, goes down easy

Drinkability- overall this beer is pretty drinkable despite its big 9.9 punch, its got maybe a touch much on the hop end for me and maybe would of like to seen kick more of malt too, but overall its decent beer but falls short of what i would call great, would be interesting to try with a bit of age on this beer, one thing i do start to notice though is alot of the lagunitas beers im starting to feel do taste quite the same not a bash but just hey im starting to see that

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2010 06:37:49 | More by Stunner97
Photo of thekoz


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

The beer has an amazing redish/orange/amber color. Very appealing. The head was creamy white and the carbonation level was tight small bubbles.

There was a nice sweet smell to it.

The taste was amazing. Dangerously smooth for a 10% beer. Very well balance, with a perfect amount of hop flavor for the malt/brown sugar sweetness.

Mouthfeel was great. The small bubbles really made this beer a pleasure to drink.

Would certainly have this beer again, though like I said would need to keep in mind that it is a 10% beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2010 06:13:59 | More by thekoz
Photo of Ohiovania


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

A perfect balance of sweet toasty caramel and ruby red's for the hop character. wonderful. Alcohol is hard to detect but is slightly there but not almost 10%. The taste lingers and finally rolls off your pallet and tongue. Thank goodness for strong ales!

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2010 04:14:51 | More by Ohiovania
Photo of Haybeerman


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

A: Deep, clear caramel color; orange highlights. Poured a 2 finger caramel colored head with good retention to a half finger. Lacing combined rings and sticky webs.

S: Sweet molassas and roasted malt. Plent of floral hols, orange rind, grapefruit an pine.

T: Sweet caramel-flovored bread. Resiny floral and piney hops in the middle. Residual sugar lingers through the bitter. Some warming alcohol. Nicley balanced for the style.

M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Resiny and dry. The abv presents little influence on the feel.

D: Easily drinkable despite the abv; well disguised in the beer. Surprisingly well-balanced and not as one-dimensional as many.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 20:18:58 | More by Haybeerman
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,588 ratings.