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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,650 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,650
Reviews: 1,296
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 133
Gots: 230 | 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: 3,650 | Reviews: 1,296 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sjantiflow


4.43/5  rDev +10.2%

Poured into a pint glass...

The smell is fabulous. There's hops, caramel and citrus, accented by a malty sweetness. The use of brown sugar is definitely noticed.

This is my first strong ale, so it's probably obvious that it tastes like an IPA but without the hoppy bitterness (assuming it's cut by the sugar). But it's still a powerful, warming brew. The 10% abv. lends itself to the the rich, smooth and thick mouthfeel.

On a final note, the beer pairs very well with butternut squash soup.

Perfect for the fall season!

12-02-2010 02:36:38 | More by sjantiflow
Photo of Cheesemoose


4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

12oz poured into a tulip.

A good finger of pillowy white head. Hazy orange body. Nice solid lacing with a good film that remains throughout.

Sweet on the nose with a good malt base. Caramel, toffee, with a good citrus background.

Strong malt base, with toasted bread and a light caramel flavor to start. Then moves into a rather dry middle taste, but is quickly accentuated by the citrus hop flavors. Hops are rather strong and finish off the flavors. Little sugar in the taste, Could probably use a bit of cellaring to bring out the strong malts and let the hops settle, but that is up to you. As it warms, the sugar comes out a bit more. This is very barleywine-esque.

Thick mouthfeel, almost chewy. No alcohol noticeable, and for 9.99%, that is crazy. Best to stick to one.

12-02-2010 01:08:37 | More by Cheesemoose
Photo of ChugginOil


4.18/5  rDev +4%

Poured in Delirium snifter

A- Very dark amber in color. When poured aggressively, a couple fingers of off-white head developed atop the brew. The lacing is clinging to every inch of this glass when tilted.

S- Really strong up front with a sweet sugar, hoppy blast. Underneath the hop scent lies the beastly 10% ABV begging for you to sip.

T- Very sweet and hoppy with balance well achieved. Grassy hops mixed with sweet brown sugar bellow throughout each sip. The high potency of this brew is well masked.

M- Full smooth feel that's barely bitter on the end and is rich in flavor. Good carbonation makes for a super smooth flow when sipped. Great balance!

D- Due to it's potency I wouldn't recommend slammin' a sixer in a night's session but it is definitely a great occasion beer that is my favorite from Lagunitas.

Also, I will be cellar-aging a few to look for developments over the next year and a half

12-01-2010 05:31:26 | More by ChugginOil
Photo of FosterJM


4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

75th review on BA
Bottle to pint

App- Deep dark amber with a mild carbonation and a very thin head.

Smell- Very sweet indeed, a nice touch of candied scent with sugar.

Taste- A sweet beer on the first taste with the bulk of the balance being on being a smooth drinking beer. It lends well to the darker sugars well.

Mouth- To me it's a lighter mouthfeel but leaves the palate with a great finish.

Drink- Would be a good session beer on a cold day while camping around the fire.

12-01-2010 01:11:05 | More by FosterJM
Photo of PicoPapa


3.83/5  rDev -4.7%

12oz bottle. Pours a copper color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Small amount of lacing. Aromas of hops, brown sugar, and an overall sweet smell. Taste is hops mixed with brown sugar. Sweet, boozey and somewhat bready. This beer has that nice hoppiness to it you expect from Lagunitas, but the brown sugar sweetness is almost too much. Overall I like it and this is a high octane brew that drinks well but it is very sweet.

11-30-2010 21:35:16 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of mostpoetsdo

Rhode Island

4.8/5  rDev +19.4%

A: Ruby/amber-brown, with light tan, albeit a tad thin, head, leaving behind nice splotchy, circular lacing.

S: Citrus hops shoot up the nostrils, followed by the soothing, delectable scents of brown sugar, reminds me of a DIPA.

T: The "barleywine gone wrong" makes for one of the best beers I've had in a while. There is such a strong presence of citrus hops, that makes me think, "oh, DIPA," but then there is the incredible, yet not overpowering, sweetness of brown sugar that I just haven't experienced with any other beer. This brew walks the tightrope with a near-perfect balance of hoppy bitterness to malty sweetness. The contrast of sharp hops and brown sugar is like no other and works beautifully.

M: Excellently carbonated, medium body, very smooth, near creamy. Faint alcohol burn, but that's to be expected with the style.

D: I have nothing but positive things to say about this beer. It might be among my favorites of all time.

11-29-2010 23:00:44 | More by mostpoetsdo
Photo of hosehead83


4.55/5  rDev +13.2%

Poured from 12oz. "stubby" bottle into a standard pint glass
Copper/amber in color, with a nice, thick head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Citrussy hops, brown sugar-caramel. Very pleasant.
Taste-Brown sugar/maple syrup covered grapefruit.
Excellent balance of sweet and bitter. Easy does it! 9.99ABV not evident, sip slowly and enjoy the great melding of flavor. Tasty, caramel-coated hoppy goodness. Not to be missed. Get some!!

11-29-2010 17:03:55 | More by hosehead83
Photo of aknight


4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

This is a beautiful looking beer, golden red. I want paint my living room this color. It smells of the the brown sugar. There is a very one dimensional smell here, all sugar on the nose, overpowering everything else. This is a very good tasting beer. The dominating taste is sweetness but not without complexity For such a sweet beer there is a decent amount going on beyond just sweetness. This is a very drinkable and pleasant beer. The mouthfeel is pleasant and this is more drinkable than any 9.99% beer has a right to be. Overall, this beer is a little top heavy with the sweetness but I'll be damned if it's not an entirely enjoyable beer.

11-29-2010 00:23:16 | More by aknight
Photo of BeerPhan86

New York

4/5  rDev -0.5%

A - Pours a clear light reddish brown with a minimal tan head. Good retention and lacing on what little head there is, though.

S - Grapefruit hops and sweet malt. Toasted caramel sugar and light spice.

T - Huge amount of grapefruit hops up front followed by a blast of spices (pepper, brown sugar, cinnamon) and a hint of caramel. Finishes dry and boozy. Not as much brown sugar taste as the name implies but it is well balanced and very interesting.

M - Creamy and slightly chewy with minimal carbonation.

D - Very high abv and too much flavor for me to session (although I managed three on Thanksgiving). The flavors open up more as it warms so I would recommend sipping it.

11-28-2010 22:01:50 | More by BeerPhan86
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.55/5  rDev -11.7%

A- Clear Ruby with rust and auhburn colored parts. A small white head caps it with decent retention in the form of a thin skin.

S- Sticky, dank hops. Its that dense, wild onion and fleshy weeds kind of smell with hints of grass stain.

T- Still more of that dense hop character. Brown sugar does little to sweeten it up buy it does manage to come close to balancing things out. There is a rock candy /crystalized sugar kind of taste.

In all this is pretty good. I remember I had this last year at at bodega. I wouldn't have many qualms with drinking this again.

11-28-2010 03:53:24 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.1/5  rDev +2%

Lagunita's Brown Shugga' - Initially the recipe was intended to be a Barleywine, but they failed, and re-labeled the brew as Brown Shugga. It developed a following and is now an annual offering.

Appearance: Brown Shugga appears clear and brownish, with a good sized off white foam and lace work.

Smell: Piney hops and a hint of sweetness. At the onset, I was anticipating the taste. I would go as far to say that the aroma to this beer was excellent.

Taste: Caramelized brown sugar! Hops! Indeed, it falls flat as a Barleywine, but this is a finely crafted Strong American Brown Ale. A nice resinous piney hop presence with a strong malt backbone. Warming.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: A bit chewey in the mouthfeel, alcohol is big but not overstated here. A pretty delicious beer and I do plan to drink more of this.

11-27-2010 02:46:38 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of HiLLWiLLiam


5/5  rDev +24.4%

I can't believe this beer is 9.9% ABV seeing as I sip them like wine coolers on the daily. There is only one store in my set that carries them and I buy him out of stock in singles regularly. Beautiful red tint, smooth going down. High class no matter how you look at it.

11-27-2010 02:32:31 | More by HiLLWiLLiam
Photo of PintOHops


4/5  rDev -0.5%

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!

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


4.3/5  rDev +7%

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.

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


4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

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.

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


4.2/5  rDev +4.5%

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.

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


4.08/5  rDev +1.5%

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.

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


4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

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

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -3.5%

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%!

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


4.1/5  rDev +2%

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.

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


3.85/5  rDev -4.2%

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.

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


3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

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.

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


3.83/5  rDev -4.7%

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

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

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +4%

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'.

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


4.2/5  rDev +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.

11-22-2010 02:30:45 | More by soze47
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,650 ratings.