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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,776 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,776
Reviews: 1,302
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 158
Gots: 264 | 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: 3,776 | Reviews: 1,302 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BabyBastard
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a great deep brown with slight reddish hues. Small tan head leaves nice laces around the glass. Looks delicious. Whiff pre-pour is surprisingly filled with hops, not so much after in the glass. Once in the glass, it's pretty much all sweet brown sugar in the nose. Taste on this is an almost overwhelming sweetness, nice malty backbone that has a slight hop bitterness lingering in the background. Feel is slick and oily. Not heavy at all for such a "big beer". Dangerously drinkable, especially if you happen to have a sweet tooth.

BabyBastard, Mar 30, 2010
Photo of flynnc
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

How come you taste so good. I cannot place why I have not reviewed this beer yet. This must be my fifth sixer in the past year. And by far one of my favorites. I will not lie, the awesomeness by volume is what drew me to this beer the first time. It is by far the taste that kept me coming back. I almost gave a poor review this time, due to the fact that I drank it straight from the fridge, however this beer is certainly served best cool not cold. The sweetness, a factor I typically do not agree with is the factor that makes this beer so intriguing to me. I thoroughly enjoy the heavy mouthfeel, the heavy alcohol and the dirty finish this beer gives me. That damn dog has done it again and I want it to do it again and again. I rate this one the top of my list right next to 1554, but remember to pack a toothbrush if you aren't drinking it at home. The alcohol is too high for you to drive home and the stoutness of the ale will make your teeth feeling like they are wearing sweaters the next morning. Like the bottle says: Life is uncertain: Don't sip!

flynnc, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of rrski198
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber almost red hue. Big off white color head, disapated quickly.

S: Malty, carmel, earthy, wood, pine, Big hops in this beer but they are not overpowering in the nose. Alcohol is hid quite nicely.

T: Big bold beer. All sorts of malty sweetness going on. Balanced nicely by quite a bit of hops. Alcohol bites a little in the finish

M: Very sweet and coats the mouth. Like simple syrup. Hops bite at the back of the tounge and alcohol burns a little.

D: Overall an excellent full bodied beer. Very complex. Big time malty sweetness, balanced by a heafty dose of hops. A quality offering for sure and I will try and pick some up next winter.

rrski198, Mar 25, 2010
Photo of teovaldi
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange-amber with a big off-white head.

Smells of sweetness, toasty malts a hint of hop and some dark fruit as it warms up.

Lots of hops up front followed by a sweet malty middle where you can really start to taste the brown sugar. Nothing over powers anything in the taste and it all comes together to be wonderfully balanced.

Mouthfeel is slick creamy and perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability is way to easy for this monster. Where is the 9%+?

teovaldi, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of IrieJackalope
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass. The beer is a crystal clear dark brown with a light fizzy head that fades away pretty quickly. The aroma is Malay sweet with notes of alcohol. Taste is similar, although the added brown sugar definitely ups the sweetness factor. I was a little disappointed with this one until I realized that it was around 10 percent and the fellows at Lagunitas had done a pretty good job balancing the many aspects of this brew. Overall, the more I drank of this the more I found myself enjoying it...funny how that works.

IrieJackalope, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A - Pours a nice opaque amber with a 1 inch head that fades into nothing. Lacing is minimal.

S - This beer smells like pineapples and toasty caramelized malt.

T - Slightly bitter citrus to start with sweet brown sugar malty finish. Just like the smell, I get a pineapple essence. The hops might play a role in this.

M - Very smooth and creamy. Carbonation seems to be a bit lacking in this bottle.

D - A sweeter and tasty beer that I can see myself purchasing again in the future. I bought this around Christmas time and to me this seems like a good beer for the holidays.

UCLABrewN84, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Caramelly brown tones are smothering an otherwise luscious red colour, giving Brown Shugga' a distinguishing candy apple appearance. Although clear, bits of coagulated protein remain suspended. Its head, a rudely fashioned clump, is hardy only if properly summoned (some swirling is required to keep it roused). Lacing, however, will result.

This beer was born from a botched batch of the brewery's Olde GnarlyWine, a fact that came as no surprise to me because the two smell awfully similar, if not nearly identical. Knowing of its inclusion, I do note some brown sugar on top of the pineapple, coconut and cantaloupe that have festered in a simmer of heated caramel and toasted biscuit.

These style beers are already teeming with notes of sweet toffee and dark fruits, the brown sugar only enhances them. There is a rotating door of flavours; the instant one flavour falls out it is replaced by another. Plums, molasses, dates, cherry, cantaloupe, toffee, chocolate, apple crumble and, naturally, brown sugar. It is like a tootsie-roll doused in some honey-like nectar and then wrapped in a hard candy shell.

This is like a barleywine in all senses but one: drinkability. This beer belongs in a pint glass not a snifter. Go ahead, check with the alcohol, it won't say nothing. It is neither destructively bitter with its hoping nor sickeningly sweet with the malts (and cane sugar). They've really balanced the sweetness (and hidden the alcohol) well.

Brown Shugga' is as sweet and tantalizing as it sounds. Most beers of this style and strength drink with a callousing nerve and stiff backbone; this one melts over the palate with tender pulses and delicate jitter. If only everyone had as much reason to be proud of what they do as the people at Lagunitas Brewing... what a world that would be.

biegaman, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of homebrewhawk
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a Duvel Tulip. Poured a slightly hazy, reddish gold with less than a finger of off white head. Fair amount of hops in the aroma and plenty of malt. Smelled like a cookie. Full bodied and rich. Lots of malt sweetness but also plenty of hop bitterness to round it out. Some mouth pucker in the finish from the hops.

From hearing people talk, I thought this would be super sweet, but I think it had a pretty good balance. Like a malty barleywine.

homebrewhawk, Mar 13, 2010
Photo of popery
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage, Bottle, City Beer Store. Ok, so, this isn't how the beer normally tastes, but I enjoyed it and I'll go back for a normal review sometime. There was no real hop aroma or flavor at this point. The beer is pretty much a sweet malt bomb. It actually reminded me of a doppelbock to some extent. There's a big sugary caramel flavor that dominates. The beer has taken on some light sherry notes. The body is beginning to thin out but it seems to be holding up against time better than the gnarleywine, oddly. The caramel malt and brown sugar sweetness aren't quite as overpowering or simplistic as you might expect. The flavor is round and full without being cloying. Very nice.

popery, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Brown Shugga purchased at Boo's in Columbus Ga.
appearance: Beautiful! orange, brown, amber. Clear with a pretty decent creamy head.
smell: Wow, what a nice balance of malty sweetness and hoppy, citrus accents.
taste: And just as great as the nose advertises. Sort of a barleywine mixed with a DIPA....carefully mixed and well executed.
Creamy and quaffable.
Between Avery, DFH, and Lagunitas...what a great lot.

cindyjeffsmith, Mar 10, 2010
Photo of DoubleJ
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Shipmates. 16 ounces of strong beer, yikes! On to the beer:

Copper colored, has a little bit of head retention and leaves a little lacing. Whoa! Smell that. Humongous caramel glazed pineapples hitting the nose. Sugary like the name, also some toasted sugar. Like the aroma its flavor is a big burst of toasted brown sugar pineapples. The aftertaste leaves a slightly burnt sugar aftertaste. While the beer is intense, the alcohol is buried very well in this beer. At almost 10% ABV, it is very drinkable.

Keep them coming Lagunitas.

DoubleJ, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of Telix
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hey, it's my 50th review!

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

A: Super clean reddish brown, with good levels of carbonation and a fluffy head that quickly fades into a film.

S: Real sugary smell, like candy.... almost like root beer barrels, actually,

T: ROOT BEER BARRELS. Sweet, deep caramel malts, with nice bitterness after the sweetness drops off. A bit syrupy-sweet but not quite cloying.

M: Good. Thick, dense, good levels of carbonation.

D: It's a solid beer, but experimental. Quite sweet, with lots of root beer flavor and a nice thick mouthfeel.

Telix, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of WeezyBoPeep
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Deep orange with a swirling sea of tiny bubbles throughout, like little balloons floating in a whirlwind of love.

S: Big citrus hops (grapefruit) and a perfect balance of caramel malt. Notes of gingerbread and honey with a light, funky schwag weed scent underneath.

T: Big blast of hops on the front followed by a malty middle where the brown sugar really comes through. Finishes dusty and earthy with a trace of fading burnt sugar. Perfectly carbonated mouthfeel.

D: Ultra-smooth...goes down way too easy for a beer of this stamina and oomph.

Value: In my opinion this kicks the sh*t out of other ales that get a ton of attention...beats em in price by a lot too.

What a completely unexpected treat this one was.

WeezyBoPeep, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of rfgetz
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear coppery chestnut color, creamy off-white head, good retention and lacing. Smell is sweet carmel, brown sugar, lightly roasted nuts with a touch of dark fruit and yeast on the nose. Bold sweet carmel and brown sugar flavors with a more pronounced and bitter hop presence then the smell let on. Touches of fruit and yeast on the finish. Full bodied, heavy on the tounge, like melted carmel itself, fairly pronounced sweet and bitter aftertastes. Good beer, stops short of being cloying, but would be hard to have more than one.

rfgetz, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of ibbjamin
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Paid $9.99 for a 6pack of 12oz bottles from Rayley's grocery store in South Lake Tahoe, CA. Poured into my Bruery tulip to review. This is the second serving I've had of this brew and my first impression was mediocre.

An inch of off white head that is relatively frothy. Glowing reddish orange in color, similar to a good DIPA. A thin layer of retention and great lacing.

Hops of citrus and pine in the forefront of the nose with sweet caramel malts adding to balance. Clean and fresh aroma.

Surprisingly hoppy taste. Definite pine and citrus. If this was classed as an IPA, I would not be surprised. Alcohol well hidden.

Medium body and nicely carbonated. Hoppy finish. Some pleasant dryness in the mouth.

A pretty good beer that has a terrible name. To date I've thought it was a brown ale. WRONG - this is quite hoppy and the name deceives.

ibbjamin, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark crimson-mahogany color, with a brownish tower of foam that sticks heartily to the glass.

S - This is way malty, way malty, and sweet, which is usually a problem for me; in this case, the aroma is sublime and reminiscent of maple, molasses, and caramelized sugar with a hint of sweet liqueur.

T - Following up on the smell, the taste is very sweet but expressed in such a way as to avoid being cloying. There is a note of bitter hop that seems to meld with the effervescent effect of carbonation as well. And the alcohol, it is obviously there, it cuts through the malty sweet flavors and leaves a trail of woody esters to add a nice complexity to the finish.

M - Slightly syrupy feel due to the heavy sweetness.

D - Not more than an occasional treat, perhaps. It is the beer equivalent of candy or dessert.

ktrillionaire, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Rich dark red, slowly fading off-white head that leaves a moderate amount of lace, and completely filtered.

S - Lots of malts in the beginning and then the brown sugar aroma kicks in. I also smell a little spiced peach, molasses, and candi sugar.

T - The brown sugar and molasses flavors are most prevalent in this brew with a nice caramelized malt backbone. The hops are spicy with flavors of citrus and fruits, almost an apple cinnamon type flavor, that blend well with the sweetness of all the sugary flavors.

M/D - Medium-heavy body with below-average volumes of carbonation, but works well in this brew. Not harsh on the palate at all and hides it's alcohol quite well. Finishes a little on the dry side due to all the hops.

For the price of this beer (less than $2 for a 12oz bottle locally) it's hard to find another beer this big and full of flavor.

VaTechHopHead, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of billab914
3.38/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Poured a dark brown, slightly red in color with a one finger white fluffy head. As I drank it the head faded but left pretty good lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is very piny with a little citrus and a moderate sweetness to it. it has a very interesting smell to it, I almost seem to get a sweet Worcestershire sauce aroma to it.

The taste is hoppy with a sugary sweet finish. It has some pine present along with some caramel malt, but the brown sugar seems to dominate the taste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is average, it's too sweet for it to be that drinkable. It was a decent tasting beer to have one of but it's a little too sweet and high in alcohol to have much of.

billab914, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of animal69
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a deep brownish-copper color w/ a thick, fluffy slightly off-white cap that sticks around a bit before leaving a nice lace in my ommegang goblet

S- smell starts with a piney citrus hop aroma but quickly fades into something else that challanges my olfactory senses, a sweet fruity caramel apple/cotton candy maybe, with some fresh brewed tea and nuts to boot, hints of bread and spices(?), whatever it is it has no trace of alcohol

T- taste is also a mystery with a def. grapefruit and floral hop to start quickly getting smacked around by an incredibly sweet bready malt with toffee flavor, a bit "tangy" in an artifical orange drink sort of way as it finally rolls off the top of the tongue, nuts and hints of dark fruit swim around with some minerals, licorice and soap before leaving a surprisingly dry and bitter finish

M- don't know that i'd call it "dry" but it's as close as a beer this sweet will get with a med. body and plenty of co2

D- a decent brew but not something i'd drink over & over again, a bit too cloyingly sweet while making you want it more is not a good combo w/ a 9.8% ABV brew IMO

animal69, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of Chronofied
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a pint glass about a half hour after coming out of the fridge.

Appearance - A dark, almost mahogany color, clean and clear, consistent throughout. Head receeded to about a quarter inch, leaving a half inch of nice, off-white lace.

Smell - Sugary, malty hoppiness right away, strong. Grain and yeast push through next. Tail end of the nose has a definite sweetness... molasses? caramel? to it.

Taste - Sweet then hoppy, very polarizing. At first, the sweetness and hoppiness contrast almost painfully. Once the taste buds recover, the taste blends more, moving away from discord towards a place of harmony. Malts come out toasty, full and rich. Strength of the beer doesn't even make it half way through the warring sugar/hops sweet/bitter tastes.

Mouthfeel - Thick and sticky, as might be expected from a brew made with cane sugar. Not so much chewy as creamy, the carbonation enlivens the brew but is fairly moderate. It's easy to tell what parts of the mouth were in contact with the beer once it goes down.

Drinkability - Excellently drinkable, if you find the bittersweet taste to your liking. As previously mentioned, the stength of the beer is hardly noticeable, mostly due to the other striking components. At nearly 10%, this beer is more drinkable than many beers far weaker.

Chronofied, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of goldbot
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful cherry-brown color with a thin off-white head that sticks for a while, with spotty lacing.

Heavy pine hops aroma is the main showcase here, with only hints of a caramel sweetness. The taste of this is very interesting. There is still some pine hoppiness with ample bitterness present, along with a touch of citrus. But there is also a big sweetness like a candy flavor from the sugar. This rounds out the bitterness of the hops really well and also covers up the alcohol, which is only barely noticeable.

A medium-full body, but surprisingly light and clean considering the high ABV and the sweetness. For how sweet this is, I don't find it cloying at all. Rather it is smooth and quite easy drinking.

goldbot, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of Aaron420
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a deep rust orange color with a almost no existing off white head.

Smell was more hoppy than I expected but still had the sweet smell of caramel and brown sugar which you would expect with the name.

The overall taste of the beer was very smooth. It was very drinkable, could easily sit there and before I know need another one. Which is impressive for a 9 plus ABV. It was hoppy but also sweet, the sweetness is probably why this 9 plus beer is so easy to drink.

Aaron420, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of bob3701
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams glass. Great clear copper color with a big off white fluffy head that quickly goes into a thin film with minor lacing. Aroma of cotton candy and caramel malt. The taste took me by surprise, I was expecting a super sweet brew and the first mouthful was sweet like toffee. As I progressed it did not seem as sweet and I was starting to feel the burn of alcohol. It really goes down easy though and that could be dangerous considering the ABV for me.

bob3701, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of alpinebryant
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy brown / amber with a large white head. Exploding with hop aroma, sweet caramel - sugar, malt and citrus notes.

Taste of predominately caramel, strong hop presence with citrus being the strongest. Belgian candy flavor from the brown cane sugar, slight cloying bite. Very flavorful - would be curious to see what this tastes like with some age on it.

Smooth to drink, but a thick body. Drinkable and sippable at the same time. Take your pick, this is good stuff.

alpinebryant, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of mechamifune
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As evidenced by my ratings, almost the definition of a "good" beer. Pours a deep red/light brown color with almost no head and light sense of carbonation. A very sweet smell with a sligh sense of hops.

The taste comes with a initial sense of hoppiness that is then overwhelmed by the sense of sweetness. Alcohol is pretty well hidden by the sweetness, and the mouthfeel straddles a fine line between creaminess, sweetness, and hop bite. All in all pretty pleasant and pretty easy to drink for a 10%er (much like the hopslam I had in the same sitting). Worth checking out and pretty reasonably priced.

mechamifune, Feb 11, 2010
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,776 ratings.