1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,671 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,671
Reviews: 1,297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 142
Gots: 235 | FT: 14
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,671 | Reviews: 1,297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cyberkedi
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a beautiful clear dark reddish amber with a yellowish-tan fine-bubbled head. Aroma is hoppy and has a citrus undertone. Mouth-filling hoppy flavor has a firm hint of citrus, mainly lemon and orange, and is not too bitter. Texture is rough, lively and fizzy.

Cyberkedi, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

Had a few for Thanksgiving with the appetizers.

A- Good looking brown ale with a khaki head, not too big but laced a good amount. Visible carbonation.

S- Interesting aroma. The brown sugar is defiantly present and the hops are there. They seem to be on the grape fruit side and complement well.

T- Impressive beer. The flavors all complement each other and nothing really distracts from the overall beer. The first thing that caught me off guard is the hoppieness of this beer. There is a substantial brown sugar /sweet malt backbone which is very tasty. and the hops keep the beer from being too sweet. Very good beer.

M- Its a medium full bodied beer, almost cloying but the hops keep the finish dry enough.

O- Awesome beer, there is almost no hint of the alcohol content. Need to try the oaked version. Only complaint is that the aroma doesn't shine as much as the taste does.

DwnTwnBwn, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of Donerik
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%

I was interested in trying Brown Shugga; I can't help feel a little let down

A- clear redish brown, one finger tan head

S- the best part of the beer was the anticipation of the brown shugga flavor, it had a smell, not too over powering, but sweet.

T- Let down here, it was good, It certainly wasn't a drain pour, It just wasn't the brown sugar flavor I was expecting.

M- Par for the course.

D- High ABV hurt my desire for a second one, I'll drink the other five, maybe as a stand alone one beer night, or first on a long day of drinking.

All in all an okay beer.

Donerik, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of GPHarris
4.38/5  rDev +9%

a - poured a one finger thick tan head into a snifter that left a thin ring and sheet throughout. the body was brown and hazy.
s - brown sugar! some toasted malt and light hop aromas.
t - syrupy and sweet.
m - thick.
d - great and definitely a one of a kind beer.

GPHarris, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%

What a pleasant beer. And talk about unique. . . if BA had a originality category, this would get a 5.

Pours out a reddish brown color. Beige head, about 5/8". Good lace. Aroma is sweet, like brown shugga!

The alcohol is extremely well hidden. You get a hop blast somehow, which I didn't expect in a beer with so much "brown shugga" in it. But it isn't over the top sweet that is a turn off. Had some bitterness to pair with it.

Easily Lagunitas's most original work. A great brewery, a real good beer.

Its not as good as Hop Stoopid or their Pale, but its in good company with all their others. . .

Beerandraiderfan, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of natelocc787
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Nice pour, great tiny little beige-vanilla bubbles to top the ruby crimson head. The smell is all caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and HOPS! I love this beer already and haven't even tasted it. More caramel malt in the taste, big time malt backbone and somehow this beer almost balances the huge malt profile with just as much of a hop kick. Mucho caramel, tangerine from the hops, light almond cherry character and even jammed figs. This beer has a nice, fluffy, delicate mouthfeel while being moderately heavy and very satisfying. Outstanding caramelized, brown shuggary Imperial IPA/strong ale/barleywine/holiday ale/old ale. Another top notch complex offering from a top notch brewery.

natelocc787, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of Sweasty
4.1/5  rDev +2%

Brown Shugga'pours a nice crystal clear dark copper color. Things are topped off by 2 fingers of light khaki head. The head falls to a ring. Adequate lacing is left down the glass.

The aroma is quite nice. Herbal/citrus hop notes make a strong showing upfront. Brown sugar and light molasis notes follow. Some baked sweet cookie notes round things out.

The taste follows the nose. Hops show up first. Herbal/mint hope notes are at the front. Hop quality turns a bit grapefruity. Cutting through the hops are brown sugar and light molasis notes. Baked sweet bread and sugar cookie notes round things. The finish is dryish with a lingering bitter-sweet note.

The beer is fullbodied. The carbonation is adequate and helps give the beer a velvety smooth mouthfeel.

THis is a tasty brew. The alcohol is quite well hidden, offering a smooth sipper. The nice balance between the bitter hops and the sweet brown sugar work well. This is a wonderful cold weather drink.

Sweasty, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of nobeer4u
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

Had 2 of these while watching football on Sunday. The first one I thought was kinda sweet, although had a ton of flavor. Great color and mouth feel. I took a brake and had an IPA and then went back for the second one .. still the Eagles game wasn't on .. anyway, after the IPA the Shugga took on a whole new flavor. Great caramel flavor with just the right amount of carbonation. More hoppy than I remembered .. a well balanced brew. One of those brews that one just won't do justice.

nobeer4u, Nov 23, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

12oz fresh bottle into a Stella Artois glass late at night by myself. It's been about two years since i've had this offering.

Deep rich amber with some copper and brown spots throughout. A steep pour yielded a nice somewhat frothy beige head that lasted for a bit before dying a horrible death. It eventually went around the glass but it left some window streak lacing which while not great, at least it's something for this strong ale.

Smelling funky fresh with a deep sweetness, could it be from brown shugga, yeah, i guess so. Big brown sugar with caramel/toffee and a bit of toasted malt. Just smelling this you can tell it's big and might be hiding something. Getting just a outline of dark fruit including some plum. The hops don't show up at least for me, but believe me, they are in there.

And the hops show up in true Lagunitas fashion mixing very well with this sweet brew. The malts win, but the hops make a good citrusy appearance. Shugga is malt forward with the sweetness that goes along with that and a big brown sugar taste. Caramel/toffee and just the faintest hint of roasted coffee in the background. Finishes sweet and somewhat fruity with mo brown shugga...

The body is big malty and sweet. I would say a good step above medium bodied. The alcohol is not present at all and that's a feat considering this is near 10%, Perhaps it's all that sweet sugar. No hotness what so ever. A nice hop feel with some small bitterness enhancing the feel on this. This is a fresh bottle, I believe that if the hops were not so charged, this would taste like shit. The hops are keeping this one together, drink up.

I thought this stuff was seven percent when I had it last. I think ten percent is a bit high for this sweet style of beer but Lagunitas pulls it off making this very easy to drink and not a chore. The sweetness while big is settled nicely by a nice west coast hop blasting. I drank it much faster than I thought I would.

BARFLYB, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of boogyman
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%

A- Pours a very clear amber color with a thin head that dissipates leaving some bubbles to gaze at. Bubbles coming up from the bottom is cool too. After a few gulps, the lacing shows itself as being quite decent and sticky.

S- Smells pretty sweet and you can tell of the brown sugar to come. Also some dark fruits in there that promise this beer to be pretty tasty.

T- Oh man what a awesome burst of tastes. Starts with some dark fruits and some brown sugar and then a bit of hops and a bitter bite. Boozyness comes on and is not too strong but very warming going down.

M- Very smooth! Its quite nice going down. Even though there is a noticeable boozyness to this brew, it doesn't have any burn going down.

D- Easily able to consume a 12oz bottle and I wouldn't have an issue putting down a 22oz bomber or even 2 or 3 12oz bottles. I can see this going pretty good with the upcoming thanksgiving dinner.

boogyman, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of Tdizzle
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%

Purchased a fresh 6-pack from BevMo Brea. 9.84% ABV. Poured into an Allagash stemmed glass.

A- Brown Shugga' pours a remarkably clear amber color with a sticky head of off-white, almost tan-colored foam that settles to a frothy, silky cap that sticks around for the duration of my review. Each sip leaves a few drapes of lacing behind.

S- Say hello to caramel malts! Notes of brown sugar (shock), toffee and burnt caramel are backed by deliciously resinous tones of hops, particularly pine sap and juicy pineapple. There's a nice presence of boozy heat that's wrapped around the myriad of sweet and hoppy aromas.

T- The sweetness of the smell comes through in the taste. All the sugary and caramely notes of the aroma are present along with a good amount of hop bitterness -- pine and tropical fruits -- that again provides the perfect counterbalance. The finish is mildly dry and a touch watery as it leaves only a trace of hop flavor and passion fruit lingering on the back of the palate. The big alcohol is practically buried within the flavor profile. Great stuff.

M- A full-bodied and slightly viscous feel. Oily and slick with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D- I blasted through a 12oz bottle of this nectar. The massively sweet character of this beer is exceptionally balanced by hops, and the nearly 10% ABV is really well-hidden. This is one of my new favorites from Lagunitas.

Tdizzle, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of Kaiser81
3.25/5  rDev -19.2%

Bought a 6 pack from BevMo today and poured into a pint glass

A - A reddish brown color with about a finger width of head. It leaves some nice lacing on the glass

S - It smells like a typical red with a faint hint of brown sugar after a deep inhale; nothing like I thought it would smell like.

T - Very mild taste; no alcohol bite, no sweetness from the "brown sugar" supposedly put in there. I'm kind of stumped to explain this.

M - Light body with light carbonation.

D - It's drinkable. I just wish I could get more distinct failures.

They say this was a barley wine gone wrong, and so a ton of brown sugar was added to the recipe. I get hints of the barleywine characteristics, but not much of the brown sugar. This beer confuses me.

Kaiser81, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of blackenmn
4.1/5  rDev +2%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into the usual goblet:

Appearance and Smell:Poured a brown copper with a 1/4" head after an aggressive pour which disspipated quickly but yet a nice haze and a bit of the head sticking to the edge of the glass. It smelled alot hoppier than expected a bottle labeled brown shugga. Smelled of strong floral hops, grapefruit, orange peel, and a bit of roasty caramel sweetness hiding in there.

Taste and Mouthfeel:Tasted of pine, grapefruit, caramel and an extremly sweet sugar like note which is probably the name sake flavor of this brew. Felt pretty sticky and oily in the mouth. Much different than expected but really not in a bad way. Sweetness came out quite a bit as it warmed, great finish. A bit more complexity than expected, some definite similarities in this and Lagunitas Maximus brew.

Drinkability:I've been fairly impressed with most Lagunitas brews I've found. The way the hops are delivered through them are right up my alley. I'd probably have another one of these down the road. Pleasantly suprised with this one considering I was expecting some overly sweetened novelty brown sugar loaded brew. I'd definitely like to enjoy a bomber of this thing some time again.

blackenmn, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of Frosty80
4.22/5  rDev +5%

Color: clear, deep copper

Smell: fresh, grapefruity hops, brown sugar, malt sweetness, and a little bit of alcohol

Taste: fresh hop flavor but dominated by the brown sugar and malty sweetness. moderate bitterness. alcohol is pretty well hidden but noticable. finish is slightly bitter with a hint of fresh hops and malt sweetness

Mouthfeel: moderate carbonation. medium body

Notes: sweet copper ale with some great hop flavor

Frosty80, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of whoneeds8
3.98/5  rDev -1%

Poured into a pint glass dark amber with a nice one and a half off white head. Great lacing all the way down the glass. The nose on this is very strong of malted barley, almost compareable to a barley wine in scent. There's also a floral hop scent mixed in with it. The taste is very malt intensive. There's just a slight hint of hops at first but it quickly changes to a very brown sugar and carmel wallop. The mouthfeel is good, no noticable alcohol burn for a 9.8'er. The sugary overload of this beer really does make it's drinkability a little hard to take.

whoneeds8, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of BevMoAndrew
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%

Served into a Bruery tulip glass at about 45 degrees.

Pours a rich mahogany with a creamy, off-white froth that dissipates somewhat quickly...good lacing. On the nose, I instantly get hop characters of orange, grapefruit, & a touch of pine followed by a toffee, brown sugar, caramel, light cinnamon, grains, & subtle raisin. The beer is rich and creamy (slightly syrupy) on the palate with an uneven balance. For lack of a better term, it's like this beer is bittersweet. What I mean is that there is a definite hop presence and bitterness from beginning to end, but a sweet malt background that doesn't quite fit together. Overall, I really like the beer, but find myself looking for the balance. I think that the problem that I'm having is in the syrupy sweet texture. Oh well....good beer, but nothing to write home about.

definite hop character
sweet malt background

BevMoAndrew, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of rtratzlaff
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%

Pours a clear reddish brown with a full thick off white head that leaves tons of lacing.

Aromas of sweet malt, alcohol soaked dark fruit, and pine hop characters.

The flavor is syrupy sweet malt along with a flash of hops that keep the sweetness from being cloying.

Full bodied with just enough carbonation.

With warmth, this drinks almost like a barleywine; rather than a hoppy strong ale/DIPA as it started out.

Drinkability: One a day would do the trick for a happy hop head that also loves sweet malt. Less alcohol would make me go back to this beer more often.

rtratzlaff, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of SpdKilz
3.98/5  rDev -1%

Appearance - Pours a light chocolate brown with about a finger of tan colored head that recedes relatively fast leaving decent looking lacing.

Smell - "Shugga" sweet smell - it honestly smells like the brown sugar my mother use to use to bake growing up. This is followed by a nice hoppy/piney smell.

Taste - A very interesting taste - the brown sugar is prominently present along with caramel and toffee but then melds immediately with an amazing hop/piney profile followed by grapefruit citrus. It is sweet, but honestly not overly sweet. I am really enjoying letting this warm up and allowing other tastes to present themselves.

Mouthfeel - Nice and creamy. Smooth, decently carbonated, and overall a bit oily on the tongue. This mouthfeel is quite nice.

Drinkability - Extremely. I was very surprised this was an almost 10% ABV beer because coming into it I did not look. The taste masks the alcohol extremely well and the only reason I looked was for the fact I felt warming after drinking it but did not taste the actual alcohol. This is a very delicious beer and is not overly sweet and comes together quite nicely. Very balanced. I only bought a single but will for sure be going back and getting a few more.

[edit] Not sure what happened here but after the first beer of this I have not liked the beer since.

SpdKilz, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of BigMike
4.1/5  rDev +2%

"We believe this special ale is something unique. Feeding brown cane sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is a'kin to feeding raw shark to your gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without human intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it has happened and now its too late."

-from the bottle label

"Let me tell you 'bout this girl
Maybe I shouldn't
I met her in Philly and her name was Brown Sugar"


Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a ruby red/brown color. Nice carbonation. A one finger head disappears in a minute or so but leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

Smells like grilled pineapple with caramel sauce. I can pick up the hops in the nose too. Lots of brown sugar also in the nose and tons of sweetness.

WOW! This is a sweet one. After the first sip i'm thinking, This one is TOO sweet. The following 2 sips reveal a slight hoppy bitterness mixed in that tries hard to balance the Shugga and does a nice job of it. Lots of brown sugar and caramel. Also some vanilla and almost an oak like flavor.

Mouthfeel is amazing. So smooth and velvety. Perfect carbonation. This one goes down as smooth as any beer i've ever had. The 9.84% is damn near invisible and this is insanely easy to drink. As this one is warming up the drinkability is even better.

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this one. Some of Lagunitas beers have been hit or miss with me. This one is definitely a hit. Probably not something i would drink very often but it is definitely a nice change of pace. This makes a perfect night cap drink.

Overall this is a great beer. More balanced then i thought it was going to be. This isnt a beer i would like to put much age on. The best part of the beer is the balance and i think with the fresh hops this beer really shines. Without the hop balance, this one would be sweet mess. This sixer is fresh and tremendously good!! I'm glad i have 5....oopss 4 more left!

BigMike, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of ditch
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

Poured a slightly hazy, dark red copper with a one finger off white head that fades slowly to a light covering of the top of the glass. Lacing is thin all the way down the glass.

Smells of sweet caramel and citrus hops. Way more hoppy than I was expecting from an ale called "Brown Shugga'." Also hints of vanilla and oak?

Taste is sweet caramel malts, and a perfect balance if hops. Near perfect balance here. Vanilla, raisins, a little lemon peel. Alcohol finds you in the finish but is not overpowering, considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel is good. Good carbonation to bring the flavors together. Slightly oily from the hops. Good thickness.

Drinkablility is also good here. Almost too good for this kinda alcohol content. Light enough to go down quick, but enough body to make you remember not to chuck this one.

This is a great Holiday beer. Thanks Lagunitas!

ditch, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of naterock
3.98/5  rDev -1%

poured into a pint glass, Reddish brown in color with a rocky head that laces heavily.

Smells of sweet candy sugar, and a piney hop nose. rich smell.

Tastes incredible! Sweet brown sugary/toffee flavor upfront that gives way to a nice hop bitterness and a finish that is slightly dry with a slight alcohol burn. but overall it's really good!

Mouth is medium bodied with a touch too much carbonation. Dry finish and a cloying nature of this beer just leaves the flavor in you mouth. Creates a distinct warming behind your ears. Drinks fairly easy but I couldn't slam more than a few. Would be great around a fireplace, or out on a cold night.

naterock, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of Ghenna
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

12oz Bottle, purchased from Total Wines in Roseville, into a DFH pint glass

A: Pours a light brown with a white/cream head ~3 fingers. There is a little of bit of lacing of the head from top to bottom.

S: Brown sugar primarily, with a mild hop aroma and hints of its alcohol content

T: Simply put, a hopped gnarleywine. The heavy sugar/malt taste is evident, though it is balanced with not too subtle (though not too heavy) hops.

M: slightly sticky and a little heavy, though not at all unenjoyable

D: A sipper for sure, it is a regular staple in my fridge door when I can get it.

Ghenna, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%

My first time trying this fine ale. Poured from a 12 ounce bottle in a tulip shaped fest beer glass. Appears amber copper color very appealing. A slow pour resulted in little head retained. Floral hoppy smell, certainly sweet aroma. Prune like dark candied fruit, molasses, fig like brown sugary flavor are a few flavors I could spot. Some fresh hoppy flavor does exist. Mouthfeel is certainly lighter than I had imagined making this a pretty drinkable ale in my thinking.

mtnbikerpa, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of northaustin
4.38/5  rDev +9%

poured into a schnifter. pours a very nice red with a finger of even off white head which has long retention and a good amount of spotty stringy lacing.

smell is awesome. has alot of that same old lagunitas hop extract smell goin on but backed by a strong very sweet malt bill. alot of fruity type smells and an almost dessert like quality

taste is very powerful with the hops and some caramely type flavor goin on. very nicely masked high abv. i wont lie. theres alot of things in this beer i just cant put my finger on as i have not studied the style enough. fairly complex and enjoyable nonetheless.

mouthfeel: doesnt leave anything behind in a good way. no over syrupy sweetness or hop oilyness as is the problem with a few other lagunitas.

drinkability: very flavorful and a well masked high abv. this one is very sessionable for 10 bucks a six pack.

northaustin, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of armock
4/5  rDev -0.5%

A - Poured a ruby color with an off white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of very sweet malt and a good bit of hops

T - It starts off with hops upfront then the sweet malt comes in to balance things out nicely

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - This stuff is good and for being 9.5% its way too easy to drink most strong ales don't get me excited but I really enjoyed this one worth getting to try

armock, Nov 11, 2009
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,671 ratings.