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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

3,678 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,678
Reviews: 1,297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 142
Gots: 235 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,678 | Reviews: 1,297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mdog
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear dark amber, good head.

Smell: Caramel sweetness and a touch of citrus.

Taste: Follows the smell, caramel and pithy citrus. Surprisingly a little more bitterness than sweetness.

Drinkability: Tasty enough but kind of strong.

I was expecting a little more sweetness and brown sugar flavor in this beer, considering its name. It was still pretty good, maybe with a year or two of age on it to let the hops settle down it would fit its moniker a little better.

Mdog, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of Celt44
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly, the best stong ale I've EVER had. B+ ????

Appearance is a dark amber/copper. Head didn't last exceptionally long. Good lookin' beer

Smell is absolutely beautiful - Hop, Malts, and sweetness...

Taste - utterly unique - Strong hops up front - malty in the middle - and a stong brown sugar ending, hence the name. How'd they do that? Alcohol hidden very well.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, carbonation average.

Overall - As of today - the most tasteful strong ale I'VE EVER HAD. PERIOD. Congrats Lagunitas, Brown Shugga's a work of art.

Celt44, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of HeyItsChili
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours semiopaque amber with a yellow/tan colored thin head that sticks around for a while.

S - Bitter hops tickle the nose, sweet sugary roasted malts mingle behind, there's a raw alcohol scent too.

T - There is a strong and up front alcohol taste that I don't mind as much as some reviewers. Bitter hops and some, but not quite enough sweetness take a little edge off.

M - Crisp, almost biting, medium carbonation, medium/thin body.

D - Powerful and tasty, but hoppier than the name would, I think, suggest.

HeyItsChili, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of BeanBone
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: A crystal clear, rust-colored body with brilliant orange highlights and a finger-and-a-half tall, off-white head that dissipates quickly. What's left leaves passable lacing.

Aroma: As you would expect, the nose is very sweet with a big brown sugar malt body. There's also some dark fruit, maybe cherries. Not much as far as hops go, but there's plenty of booze ready to bite your head off.

Taste: Lots of spices over a very solid brown sugar and caramel malt base. That big 9.5% ABV really makes its presence known, but never steps over the line (given the style). The hops perk up a little in the finish but are soon beaten back by the booze and residual malt.

Mouthfeel: A thick and chewy body that leaves a good coating on your mouth. You can easily feel the booze in your cheeks.

Drinkability: For sure a sipper, based on both the intensity of flavor and alcohol content. If you sessioned this, it would knock you straight on your ass.

Verdict: Brown Shugga' is a decent enough little Winter evening sipper. Having tried it now, if given the choice between picking up a bomber or a six-pack, the bomber would win for sure.

BeanBone, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a one-finger tan head that dies quickly with minor lace sticking to the glass. A very hoppy aroma for a borwn ale with hints of minor fruit and an alright malt base. Smooth and creamy with a great hop bite and malt sweetness. There are plenty of malts in this. I swear I can taste toasted malt, chocolate, toffee, caramel, peppermint, butterscotch, and maybe hints of roasted and/or coffee malts (anything with sugar, and yes, brown sugar). Not thin, not overly thick though, wouldn't necessarily say bready but a little viscous. A good beer that I recommend and look forward to having again.

clayrock81, Jan 02, 2009
Photo of xare
2.05/5  rDev -49%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance was fine - head lasted a bit, brown appearance, nothing really that would distinguish it from another strong ale.

Smell was of alcohol... Nothing else. Maybe some malt.

Taste was of malt and alcohol. No brown sugar whatsoever. What a letdown. I love brown sugar and was hoping that there'd be the taste of brown sugar at least. Instead, I get malt-flavored rubbing alcohol. While a hit on the streets, according to One-Tooth Willie, it isn't a hit in my books.

Mouthfeel had a bit of bitterness from the hops... and a lot of heat. Too much heat. Wasn't crisp and clean.

Hops weren't excessive and in fact, were the only thing that made this brew drinkable. I finished the bottle but after half of it was gone, I was struggling. Glad that I had this at the bar, because there is no way I could've finished a 6 pack of this. Far too hot for my tastes and no brown sugar flavors that I can discern. Mainly, it's just a malty strong ale with nothing that makes it drinkable. Not a drain-pour but it isn't that much better.

xare, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of ryandurka
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i dont like hoppy beers so i drank the wrong stuff here. for what it is its good. its not too strong so you can drink a bit of this before it gangs up on you. the price is nice as it is domestic and it does have a good taste, specially if your into hoppyness

ryandurka, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of Fatduck
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ive been very fond of the Lagunitas brew's that I've had so far, so when I saw the brown shugga I had to try it.

Pours a ruddy copper color with a fluffy tan head. It leaves little lacing. Smells like spicy hops and a bit of sweet malt. Feels good on the way down, refreshing and easy drinking. I think this is one dangerous beer. 9.9% alcohol and goes down fast and easy.

I'll be returning to this brew.

Fatduck, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of nickfl
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Small, light brown head with nice retention and good lace. A slightly hazy, golden brown body.

S - Aromas of brown sugar (surprise) some alcohol, toasted malt and a little bit of clove from the yeast.

T - Sweet and malty up front with lots of toasted malt, caramel and a bit of molasses. Some citrus and spice hops come in toward the finish, with balancing bitterness that fades into faint tobacco.

M - Thick and syrupy body, moderate carbonation, and a surprisingly dry finish.

D - Very nice and drinkable for what it is. This a beer like this, complexity really helps the drinkability and this one is delightfully complex.

nickfl, Dec 25, 2008
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Always wanted to try this beer and finally my package store decided to start carrying it.. hooray beer!

Pours a nice copper color with a small head. Smell is of (surprise) brown sugar! Taste is very sweet upfront but the alcohol taste is present, but only slightly. Finishes clean and smooth with a nice caramel/sugar touch. Although you can taste the alcohol, it still doesn't feel like a 10% ABV beer.. a solid beer, would love to have it again.

oriolesfan4, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of specksnreds
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass which revealed the beer's dark amber color. Not much head, and a velvety carbonation. Malt, malt, malt. Surprisingly little hoppiness, but I don't care. This malt bomb's ABV adds the right counter point. The booze isn't hidden, and it's upfront to say the least. A little sweet and heavy on the mouthfeel, and it lends this beer to sipping. Warms up nicely on the tongue. The malt wallop is quite heavy, but this one may benefit from some shelf time.

specksnreds, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of Baileyuk
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Mild brown with a slightly red tint. Head was minimal but lacing was one of the best i have seen.

S - Sweet malts with a definate alocohol note.

T - Again sweet malts, hops were more pronounced than the smell would have suggested, although these were well placed. Alcohol flavor definantly present.

MD Mayve a little zippy from the carbonation (just a fraction). Was a good beer for sure although the sweetness and high alcohol limited my enjoyment a little, and the ability for another a lot.

Baileyuk, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of rborthwick
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a deep amber with a thick head. Head retention is average with some nice lacing. Aromas of beets, brown sugar and biscuits. Not a whole lot of hoppyness in the nose. Taste has a malty start dominated by brown sugar. The hops enter in mid palate with pine needles and some mild grapefruit. Overall the beer is well balanced and drinkable. At 9.5% alcohol, you should drink with care. I rate this beer high because it is unique and different from any other beer I've had. That can be a blessing and a curse as I know people who really don't like this beer. I love it myself.

rborthwick, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of paco1029384756
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice ruby brown color with very little head and carbonation.

Scent of cherries, sugars, alcohol, and some more sweet fruitiness, damn good.

Taste is slightly sweet with a strong maltiness. Finish is a little weak.

Mouthfeel is full, but the lack or carbonation hurts it.

paco1029384756, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of TheMistler
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fairly clear brown, dark amber in color. Displays some effervescence. Off-white, millet-y, pufft head that displays good retention and leaves a very nice, nearly-solid wall of lace.

The nose was hoppier than expected, with some pine and earthy notes intermingling with some sweet, slightly bready maple and brown sugar.

Malty taste up front, nothing overwhelming, then hops. Caramel, sweet bread, undercurrent of grapefruit and a hint of pine. The taste tends more towards malt than the nose (to me) indicated, but very well balanced.

Slight alcohol warming, and an even slighter alcohol spice and antiseptic quality. I simply cannot believe this beer is 9.9% ABV. Exceptionally well hidden.

A medium to slightly thick brew with some resiny slipperiness. Creamy, but the alcohol and solid carbonation give it a crisp bite. Dangerously drinkable, although it can - probably thankfully, given the ABV - settle heavily enough to curtail any over-indulgence.

TheMistler, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of slawsonator
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: a very good looking beer, with rich, reddish-amber color. very small head, little carbonation.

s: overwhelmingly brown sugar smell, seems to drown out the hops.

t: very sweet and sugary, the aftertaste is a bit hoppy. definitely the sweetest hoppy beer i've tasted.

m: a good bite, but little carbonation.

d: very drinkable for the first, would hesitate to take on more than one during one setting.

all in a very interesting and tasty beer. one I would definitely recommend to friends to try at least once.

slawsonator, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of stumac
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a reddish copper color with a nice off white head with decent lacing. the nose is shugga, sweet malts, caramel, molasses. the taste is sweet malts up front followed directly with bitter hops, shugga, caramel, subtle dark fruits like dark cherries, subtle red apple. Light to medium bodied, medium to low carbo. American Barleywine? I think so...

stumac, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of Shumista
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into my beer mug.

A- Brown Shugga pours a translucent copper color with a small off white head. A thick looking beer with lots of lacing left on the sides of the glass after each sip.
S- Sweet caramel, molasses and ,surprise, brown sugar. Some hops and alcohol as well.
T- One of the sweetest strong ale/barleywines I have had. I guess I should have expected that from the name, but the sweetness still surprised me. Most of the sweetness comes from a caramel/brown sugar taste. The bitterness is pretty high as well but plays second fiddle to the sweetness.
M- Thick, moderate carbonation. The warmth you would expect from such a high alcohol beer.
D- I think I'll switch to a different beer for the rest of the night. I don't ever see myself drinking more than one or two of these.

Shumista, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of itcomesnpints
3.25/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a translucent copper with a medium-sized head of clean white foam. Retention isn't spectacular.

Smell of sweet caramel malt, raisins and alcohol can be detected. You really have to strain your nostrils to find it though.

Sweet malt, then bitterness, then more bitterness, then some alcohol. Nothing complex here.

Mouthfeel is fine. Hides the high abv well.

I had one of these and that was enough. For such a big beer you would like to find comparatively large flavors. Personally they just weren't there for me. It's not likely that I'll come back to this one.

itcomesnpints, Dec 15, 2008
Photo of xpimptastikx
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a coca cola stream with off white head. Smell is pretty strong of hops, with lots of malt, and a sugar sweetness. There is a tinge of alcohol in the smell. Taste is well balanced between hops and malt, with a good aftertaste. Carbonation is high and is highly drinkable for 9.9%abv. I drank the first warm semi warm and it's still delicious.

xpimptastikx, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sweetest ASA in town. Pours clear mahogany with a minimal tan head. Aroma is all brown sugar with some hops. The taste is different from anything I've ever had. Very malty up front, with some hops that moves quickly into the brown sugar finish. Alcohol is completely hidden in the taste. Based upon the taste, you would think this a sweet stout over a barleywine any day.

magictrokini, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of MPLS
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My third Lagunitas brew, decided to buy a 6 pack and give er a shot in this cold December.

A: Hazy orange-brown, carbonation evident, small 1/4 foam.

S: Smells sweet, hint of alcohol and really trying to imagine brown sugar and molasses.

T: I liked pulling out the sweetness, the sugar, but didn't appreciate the alcohol

M: Medium bodied, pleasant, gladly stain my teeth.

D: Drinkable when served cold in cold weather, wouldn't be pleasant warm.

MPLS, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Thinking Man's in Atlanta.

Pours a clear dark amber color with a one-finger off-white head that quickly fades into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Decent lacing.

Smells much hoppier than I'd anticipated. Lots of citrus aromas joined by a mild spicy sweetness.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Again, I wasn't expecting a whole lot of hops here but that's what I got. Large hits of grapefruit joined by sweet caramel malts and a small spice kick at the end. The flavor profile took some getting used to, but I liked it more near the end of the beer than I did in the beginning. I would never have guessed this was almost 10% ABV.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good wet feel with good thickness and carbonation.

Drinkability is good. It's an interesting mash-up of styles that's easy to drink once you get used to it.

Overall this is a very interesting beer that's certainly worth a shot.

glid02, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of TrevorGW
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this the other night. I didn't even realize it was a Holiday beer until I read the ridiculous prose on the bottom of the six pack case. A bit verbose, Lagunitas! But I forgive ye, for ye maketh delicious hoppy beers.

Pours a transparent crimson amber color with a one and a half finger head that is respectably retained. Lacing is sparse.

Smells of bright and fresh Willamette hops with a sharp maple coming through shortly after.

Interesting and entertaining taste. It first hits you with a hop explosion which quickly fades into a splash of bready sweetness (cranberry muffin comes to mind). Yum yum.

Full-bodied all the way, without being syrupy or chewy.

Dangerous at nearly 10% ABV. I drank this down pretty quickly and felt the buzz.

You have got to try this beer. I was happy to find it in a sixer for only $10.

TrevorGW, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of drpimento
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah truly gets a sweet release with this here fine, fine product. Yessir. Ah surely does. Poured only a small sample so didn't get much of a head. But, what's there lasts. No lace. Lovely deep red tinged amber color. Dark ripe fruit, malts, caramels, brandies in flavors. Booze in the mouth with good carbonation. Very good mouth. Quite rich. Maybe a bit heavy for a session beer. Nice finish.

drpimento, Dec 07, 2008
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,678 ratings.