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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,784 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,784
Reviews: 1,305
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 160
Gots: 269 | 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
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Ratings: 3,784 | Reviews: 1,305 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of claspada
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas are not surprisingly barley wine oriented with some, no surprise, brown sugar, molasses, vinous apple, dark caramels. Once you get past the sweetness you get the hop end with citrus and lemon and a little earthiness.

The taste is extremely well balanced with waves of dark caramel malts and brown sugar with dark vinous fruit notes again. The aroma and taste complement each other very well. The hop bitterness helps to balance out the sweet nature of the brew preventing it from being cloying.

The mouthfeel if full and thick, deserves to be sipped and savored. Balanced carbonation also helps to keep the higher ABV and sweetness in check. Overall a great full flavored unique offering from the brewery I usually pass on because of their aggressive Pacific hop tendencies but this is perfectly balanced and delicious.

claspada, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of seand
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark translucent copper with a small amount of light tan head. Just a bit retains around the edge of the glass, leaving small spots of lacing.

S: Boozy caramel sweetness, with notes of brown sugar as you might expect. There's also a floral touch of hops.

T: Just short of cloyingly sweet, with a fairly big hoppy kick towards the finish. There's some slight nuttiness. The alcohol is fairly noticeable as well.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

D: Drinkability isn't bad, but it's a little far on the sweet and boozy side.

seand, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottled poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. Kind of an orange copper color, almost hazy, when held up to the light you can see small particles. Speaking of held up to the light, it just glows. I guess a more simple way to put it is that it doesn't quite look like any American Strong Ale that I've had (even though it varies so much), it seems lighter. There's a good sized head that's an orange color, decent lacing.

Smell is good, hoppier than I expected, but based on all the beer I've had from Laguniatas, that's how they role. There is certainly a big malt presence, smells very sweet, brown sugar detected, hence the name. Hops smell like citrus. Overall kind of a sweet boozy smell.

Tastes very good, loving it. A unique, but good blend of both sweet and bitter. Sweetness right off the bat, call it power of suggestion but brown sugar detected, overall a good malt presence. Very Hoppy, citrus zest, and a little bit of pine. Very good tasting overall.

Full bodied, as mentioned a good, unique balance of bitter and sweet. Good carbonation level and a strong bitter finish. Very drinkable. Had it in the past, my buddy and I killed a growler in a short evening, so I'd say dangerously drinkable, really enjoyed this bottle this time.

AndyAvalanche, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of Rjhami
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 12 oz into NB globe. No freshness date that I could see.

Red-orange amber color with a thin head that leaves spotty lace. Rings within the creamy head simmer around the glass.

Malty sugar balances a hoppy tone that finishes with a little yeast. Can not detect hardly any alcohol in the nose. Big malty flavor with earthy, sweet notes and a touch of peppery spice. The sweetness ensues but not too much at all.

Medium-heavy bodied and slightly chewy. Nice carbonation, not too prickly yet less than syrupy.

This beer is well balanced in every facet. It is hard to believe that this is 9.99%, it could certainly sneak up on you. It really reminds of a Belgian Strong PA. The sugar makes it different but is not overdone. An excellent value here.

Rjhami, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of BlackBearForge
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga' pours a nice deep copery amber, lightly hazy with a small offwhite head leaving modest amounts of lacing. Lovely color to the body.

It smells like freshly baked caramel rolls, a bit sweet and a bit malty with a nice spicy undertone.

This beer has an excellent flavor, strong caramel drenched baked bread, a full malty character and a big underlying spicy hop bitterness that serves to keep things in check. Big notes of brown sugar and toffee pull through on top of the caramel as well. No trace of the substantial alcohol is noted.

Mouthfeel is full and velvety smooth with a nice creaminess.

Very drinkable, dangerously so even, for such a big malty beer. The drinkability is especially surprising given the massive maltiness of this beer.

BlackBearForge, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of jbertsch
3.1/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A solid amber in appearance. Reddish hues. Head is very minor...almost a film from the get go. Decent lacing

Aroma is of faint funky malt up front. Caramel is defintely there. Earthy sugar-in-the-raw type sweetness is there, too. But not as strongly as I expected. The hops, while moderately notceable at first, definitely takeover as this warms. Hops are also present and balance the aroma nicely.

Taste - Sweetness up front transfers to very noticeable caramel malts in the middle. The malt holds ground for a few seconds before the alcohol shows up and makes some noticeable elbow room on the finish, reminding you this is a 9.9% abv offering. slight medicinal notes on the finish. Almost reminds me of a barleywine.

Mouthfeel is carbonated at first, but it thins out quickly. Fairly appropriate for something with this ABV.

Drinkability is ok. The sweetness fades too much when this warms and the hops become king of the mountain. Tough to plow through it, not that your supposed to. But I don't yearn for each sip quickly.

jbertsch, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of Lillenk
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Grill One Eleven.

Appearance was a little lacking. Light brown in color with a creamy head, but a little foggy.

Smell was nice. Lots of sweet smells like you would expect from the name but also lots of other things going on as well.

Taste was fantastic. So much happening with layers of sweetness and hops and a huge lasting stay with you for a while finish.

Mouthfeel was huge but in a good way with all the layers of flavors. The higher ABV would make it hard to drink a bunch, but the taste makes you want to.

Lillenk, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of haazer
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Blue Dog in lansdale.

A- darkest cherry color in center of glass, see through ruby stone on top and bottom of brew. 1/2" eggshell head forms, fades slowly. The space where the head was has foam stuck to the sides of the tulip.

S- So I'm reviewing this from my iPhone, the bartender places it down, I'm writin up the beers look and it's about 18" from me and I already smell this thing! Wow, candy apple, sugar, citrus, lemon, strawberry and hops. This smells very much like an IPA, and a damn good one.

T- It says 'sweet release' on the tap, they're not kidding. Very sweet candy flavor in this. On the brink of cloying but just under. Actual flavor is cherry, apple, light bit of brown sugar, floral hops, pomegranate, and booze. The booze gives some heat to this.

M- Medium bodied ale. Very sweet, induces lip smacking. Heat from the abv also.

D- High abv and strong flavors make this a sipper. A lot going on in this beer, but it's named improperly. Yes it fits the style but brown sugar is almost non-existent. I guess the name suggests sweetness, which this has plenty of.

haazer, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of mbusster88
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours clean brown/red color with good thick head. No carbonation present on this and a good amount of lacing.

S: Smells very sweet and bold. Good amount of malt profile in the nose and some heavy sugary notes.

T/M: Taste is very sweet up front with a ton of sugar and sugar cane type flavors. Very easy on the palate. Good body to this makes it favorable to drink. However, I was looking for just a bit more flavor than i got.

D: Good beer to try, not my favorite of the style but it does make me want to try more. I would get this one again to try but probably wont make it a staple in the fridge.

mbusster88, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of wahhmaster
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-brown color. Has a thick, foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: Smells strongly of sweet malts with citrusy hops backing it up.

Taste: Hoppy and mildly spicy up front with citrus and grassy notes. Sweet and slightly boozy towards the back with sugary and spicy notes. All around, very full-flavored and complex.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a nice bite to it.

Drinkability: A solid brew that defies classification. It is well-balanced between sweetness and bitterness and is surprisingly drinkable given its higher-than-average ABV. This is certainly something I highly recommend and something I could see myself drinking again.

wahhmaster, Feb 13, 2011
Photo of bierguru
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A -
brown orange body head is foamy and creamy looking stays very well

S -
huge brown sugar smell which you expect do to the name but there are also mild hop fruity esters to it

T -
very malty at the beginning of the taste some hops in the middle and loads of brown sugar on the backend

M -
very light on the tongue kind of a dryness in the mouth

D -
overall worth a try but nothing i would really like often

bierguru, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice offering from Lagunitas, undeniable hoppy profile with a sweet malt undercurrent.

Presentation: 12 oz brow capped bottle. Offers a batch code but lacks any legible freshness or bottling date. Simple label with typographic design around the name of the brew and Lagunitas mascot, tongue in cheek framing narrative describing the brew. Notes O.G. (1.100), IBUs (51.1), and Alc. by Vol. (9.99%) Served on a tulip glass.

A - Deep amber pour with a nice 1" frothy head, good retention, fair surface memory and lacing.

S - Hoppy nose, citric and resinous with a good dash of caramel malt.

T - Not so sharp as other offerings but a characteristic Lagunitas hop range, coated with a heftier caramel malt sense, soft sugar in the back end that does not stand much. Citric peel, resinous, lightly syrupy.

M - Medium-full body with medium carbonation, small characteristic sticky finish. While alcohol warmth is noticeable it is well. woven.

D - Pleasing offer from Lagunitas. Flows well, nicely integrated...

Notes: Another nice pick from Lagunitas, another take on their hoppy backbones here with an emphasis on the sugar and malt. Pretty pleasing.

Daniellobo, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of travelfrog
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this fascinating ale hand-pulled into a large tulip glass at a Bronx pub.

Appearance was magnificent. Rich brown with a fine crown.

The aroma was also very much something to savor. Rich, nutty, and sweet, with subtle notes of Calvados.

Taste was very good, though maybe a letdown from the initial impression. It tasted quite a bit like a fine Doppelbock sweetened with, interestingly enough, brown sugar. A bit of a boozy finish.

This brew is quite complex, but I found a cloying sweetness and booziness sticking to the roof of my mouth.

As for drinkability -- while this ale is delicious, it left a very sweet and alcoholic taste in my mouth that left me clamoring for a glass of water.

travelfrog, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of madvermin
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish amber with a half-finger white head that was gone before I knew it. At least it left some lacing to let me know it was there at all.

Smell is of clean leafy hops with some generic malty sweetness. If you put a gun to my head telling me to be specific I'd say caramel and brown sugar, but don't hold me to it.

This beer is really REALLY sweet and I love it. TONS of malt at the outset, with a jaggery sweetness I haven't experienced since North Coast's PranQster. I'm getting just the faintest bit of hops at all, barely any really. No balance to this, but as a specialty beer this is great for the price. Tons of different malt sweeteners like the jaggery mentioned earlier, and brown sugar, honey, and regular generic sweetness. That's all there is to it (in my palate's view at least).

Mouthfeel is good due to the unique level of stickiness in the finish, and drinkability is just ok, as I can see the sweetness getting overpowering fast. Good experiment-turned-staple from Lagunitas.

madvermin, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of Brunite
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a pint glass yields a nice amber/caramel colored brew with a nice 2 finger off-white head.

S- Malty heaven. This smells exactly like the aroma that exits via my primary fermentation airlock when homebrewing. I love the sweet malty aroma and will sometimes just sit and enjoy. How cool that a beer smells this strong.

T- Malty sweetness up front with dark sugar notes. Perfectly balanced by bitter hops on the back side. The alcohol is hidden quite well.

M- Medium body....a bit syrupy. A good level of carbonation makes it smooth.

D- Much more drinkable than I thought. Despite the high ABV, this goes down EASY. And this is balanced. Sweet in a very good way...but hops keep things in check. This is far different. Very good!

Brunite, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter glass a dark-red/light-brown with no head or lacing, making this apperance wise below average.

Aromas and flavors of sweet caramel,barley, some citrus. Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation.

A little on the sweet side, the sweetness alone restricts the amount to consume, the alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming.

Very nice. Makes an excellent after-dinner brew.I wouldn't have more than two.

happy4hoppybeer, Feb 08, 2011
Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

filled a growler of this at clinton road consumers and split with a friend. a little above fridge temp poured into a standard pint glass.

pours out a clear deep amber color with a big fluffy, retentive off white head. lots of sticky lace on the glass.

it smells like a DIPA with a very nice balance. first you get piney and a little bit of citrus hops balanced by a sweet candied caramel, sugary malt.

again, definatly like a big DIPA. resinous pine and citrus hops are met nicely by a sticky candied caramel, brown sugary malt.

heavy mouthfeel, but not nearly as thick and heavy as i might have expected. some lingering bitternes is there.

alcohol was just an after thought, i could not taste it at all which made this pretty drinkable.

dogfishandi, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of Derranged
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

The appearance is a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head.

The smell might have been one of the best smelling beers I've sampled. Very strong piney/floral hops with molasses and candied sugar are present.

The taste was very hoppy and very sweet, tastes of brown sugar and molasses. Some hops bitterness appeared every now and again.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and had little carbonation.

This beer drank pretty easily, but the sweetness alone limits this to just a few.

This beer was really good.

Derranged, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of begforme4484
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice brown coloring. Smells great. The taste was what got me on this beer. Mouthfeel was right on par.

Not much needs to be said for this beer except, if you see it on tap, TRY IT.

I've had it before and knew it was good. But I had a friend with me who liked to dabble a bit in craft beer. So he had me suggest a drink for him, and he loved it.

begforme4484, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of lovindahops
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love anytime I can try a Lagunitas brew. When I think American strong ales, Lagunitas and stone are the one two punch for me. Poured into a pint glass.

A- pours a copper orange color with a good head that resides leaving lacing and a slight head of foam. A hearty looking beer with good carbonation racing to the top

S- sweet sugar, caramel, molasses hops that dance with some piney hops presense. Very sweet and welcoming with the strong scent profile. The brown sugar is very unique in this stong ale presentation. The hop presence compliments it well

T- big time sweet!The malt is very sweet and strong at the same time. The brown sugar is the star of the show, yet there is still a hopped up flavor of pine and a dry finish. Very good taste profile. The strange part is the alcohol is not too crazy either

M- medium bodied and syrupy. Good flavor all over the mouth

D- this is dangerous! The combination of flavor and lack of the 9.999% alcohol presence make this delicious. I do think this is may be a one or two bottle doing the trick. Nevertheless, it's pretty drinkable

lovindahops, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of bnes09
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange amber ale. Mostly transparent. Pours a thin head with fairly poor retention and minimal lacing, which is probably pretty common for a beer of this strength.

Huge aroma of pine and citrus hops, nutmeg and caramel.

Taste follows with a surprisingly assertive hop providing flavors of pine and grapefruit. Big caramel malt with a maple sweetness. Lots of spices, nutmeg and a hint of cinammon. Highly complex flavor profile and well balanced.

Medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the lips. Finish is dry due to the hops.

Overall, I was very impressed with this brew not knowing what to expect. Tons of solid flavors and the alcohol is masked very well.

bnes09, Feb 03, 2011
Photo of climax
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep copper/red with real good clarity aside from the tiny bubbles suspended in the rich mass. The head is somewhat modest and fades leaving a bit of a residue, but not full-blown lace wallpaper.

The nose is awesome. Citrus notes of sweet oranges and grapefruit highlight an impressive hop bill. The malt has no problem matching wits. Toasty sweet caramel, clove, and ripened black cherries all make for an interesting situation for my nostrils. The alcohol is hidden pretty well.

The flavor is a bit more on the sweet side of things, however the hops still contribute an herbal dryness. Alcohol comes through a bit more here, rounding out an overall sweet and slightly tart/sour taste.

The carbonation is mild for the most part but still has a light sharpness to it. The body is not quite full, but it is on the heavier side. The feel is somewhat cottony with a dry finish. Bottom line.... interesting.

This is an awesome beer, no question. But, as far as MY tastes go, I would tone down the sweetness in favor of the hops. The Arrogant Bastard trio is pretty hard to compete against. Unfortunately for this beer, that's what I've drank the previous 2 nights.

climax, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2010)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Color is a gorgeous copper and rust. Clear liquid with a thick off-white head that doesn't last for too long. Does not leave much lacing at all on the glass but the pour is beautiful.

An incredibly sweet smell. Smells like caramel candy. I smell caramel and brown sugar and maple syrup; this is just sweet, sweet, sweet! It's certainly unique, and because I knew what I was getting in to when I bought this beer (an American strong ale with a mess of brown sugar added), I'm certainly happy I can smell the sugar!

This beer scores points for being unique and absolutely one-of-a-kind in the taste department. I've had nothing even similar to this. It seems like a sugary sweet barleywine. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden but is present. Tastes likes brown sugar, as I suppose, it should.

The mouthfeel is rich and luscious. It's a treat to enjoy this beer in more ways than one. It makes for a world-class dessert!

A dessert beer at it's finest. Even though I love cheesecake, I would only want one slice, and this beer strikes me in a similar way. One is perfect, two is over-doing it, and three would be unheard of. Not an overly drinkable beer, but a fantastic one!

Lagunitas wins again. They decided to make a brown sugar strong ale, and they have done it perfectly!

ehammond1, Feb 02, 2011
Photo of nova009
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A- pours a dark brown body reminiscent of brown sugar, when held to light there is a red tint, small khaki head appears and dissipates down to a ring, lacing is okay but kind of spotty in areas

S- caramel hits the nose first, dark fruits like figs, toasted malt, vanilla, a slight nutty scent comes to mind, only a very slight brown sugar smell

T- the mouth gets hit hard by caramel and hops, the hops didn't really come out in the smell but it is definitely present in the flavor, piney notes out of the hops, slightly floral as well, an interesting balance of bitter and sweet, it is almost a strong-ale barleywine hybrid

M- medium body, very creamy and coats the palate nicely without the hops overly attacking it, carbonation is a little high but it seems to work

D- this is a sipper, i couldnt drink too many of these, with that being said it was a very intriguing beer, the combination of the strong ale and barleywine flavors is a nice concept, a nice one to grab in singles during the winter months

nova009, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of TCMike
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Produced a 1/2" beige head when poured in glass. The color was medium amber.
The smell was fairly faint, but was like caramel, with a hint of a woody aroma.
It had medium carbonation. It had an upper medium body.
The taste was smooth, sweet, with a light hop finish. I know this is shocking, but the taste was, brown sugar, with some light citrus, pine thrown in.
Too drinkable for it's ABV, use caution.

TCMike, Feb 01, 2011
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,784 ratings.