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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

3,599 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,599
Reviews: 1,294
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 123
Gots: 212 | 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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,599 | Reviews: 1,294 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gehrig
Gehrig

Illinois

5/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brown Shugga reminds me of a Brian Regan sketch, when he is describing how good the food should be at a $1,000/plate political fund raiser: "Oh my God! This is so good!" This is nothing short of outstanding. I'm very reluctant to dole out 5s, but this is gets 5s across the board from me.

A dense, durable finger of slightly tan froth tops a copper-brown body, and the pint glass is decorated with layers of lacing--great presentation. The smell is amazing--full of hops, like a loaded IPA and close to a good DIPA, but there's much more as well. Lots of brown sugar allows this beer to more than live up to its name, but is accompanied by caramel and whiffs of fruit. A terrific nose, and one of the more complex ones I've ever had.

The taste is it, IT, for strong ale. Lots of hops, sugar, and fruit, and amazingly all are held in balance. I can't say how impressed I am with this. Ideally carbonated and smooth like a Larry Bird jump shot, the mouthfeel and drinkability on this are spot-on--not too sweet, not hop-dominated, just right. Upon reflection, I'm doubly amazed that the high ABV (9.9%) is so easily masked. Just superb.

This has officially joined my short list of favorite beers. I tried to think of ways in which to improve this that might result in a slightly lower score in some way, but cannot, and I'm glad for it. Five stars. Amazing beer!

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2008 19:39:57 | More by Gehrig
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Unclemattie: Poured a cloudy medium brown color ale with a good size head with good retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt with some notes of toffee. Taste is a very interesting mix between some toffee, caramel and butterscotch malt with a light hoppy finish that is well balance. Full body with limited filtration and some great carbonation with no apparent alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2008 20:43:54 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of shabbtastic
shabbtastic

New York

2.88/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured amber brown with a very weak head that faded into a small white cap. Laced very well for the weak head retention. Just can't understand the twist off cap though.

S - The label says brown sugar and that's exactly what you smell, very sweet indeed. Roasted Carmel malts with molasses tones and maple syrup.

T - Sweet up front which is very nice and balanced, but then WHAM! The rest of the ride is alcohol. I didn't find that very appealing. Overall the taste was very harsh. The sweetness did little to hide the alcohol IMO, very unbalanced.

M - Medium / full bodied and very dry.

D - This is a one and done. The high ABV makes it that way. Not a horrible beer but I would pass on this on in the future.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2008 13:24:44 | More by shabbtastic
Photo of Bassetdawg
Bassetdawg

Maine

3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle, served in shaker glass

Appearance: amber brown color, with small cream colored head with good retention and lacing.

Aroma: The aroma is dominated by brown sugar malt, though citrus hops are also present.

Taste and Mouthfeel: caramel malt and brown sugar dominate, though there is enough hops in the aftertaste to balance.

Drinkability: This is a solid American strong ale. It warms you up, but you would never guess the ABV

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2008 00:47:39 | More by Bassetdawg
Photo of neenerzig
neenerzig

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had a pint of this on tap recently at La Cav Du Vin. Served to me in a tulip glass. This beer is a clear, medium brown color. Decent sized head probably about 1/2 inch when drawn from the tap before settling to a decent surface cover with nice lace. Smells of brown sugar and malt along with some citrus hops are certainly present. Tastewise this beer is certainly sweet upfront with caramel and brown sugar present before the hoppy bitterness also makes its presence known almost immediately. I would not say the balance is not good, but neither primary flavor (the sweetness nor the bitterness) is stronger than the other. Very interesting indeed. Has a crisp, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Drinkability could be a bit more easy to drink, due to its overall strangeness. I would certainly drink this again.

Eric

Serving type: on-tap

01-30-2008 21:06:31 | More by neenerzig
Photo of ColForbinBC
ColForbinBC

New Jersey

3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into my Fat Tire pint

Pours a crystal clear, mahogany color with tiny bubbles. A nice light tan head rose to about a finger and a half and then subsided in time. Little to no lacing.

You can smell the brown sugar as soon as you open the bottle and start the pour. But as soon as I dropped in for a better whiff, my nose fills with pine needles and a citric hoppiness that is a pleasant surprise. Don't get me wrong, the smell of brown sugar and caramel malts fill out the backside of the nose.

It really does have an interesting balance going on, er, lack of balance. But it's really not a bad thing, it works for them. You get slight flavors of hops right off the bat that leads way to a more dominant alcohol warming and a sugar/caramel finish. The warmth lingers with a slight tinge of sweetness. Pretty much same as the nose, but comes at you from different directions.

Medium bodied. Really sticks to the tongue and mouth. Kinda spicy.

It's good, but doesn't do anything great.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2008 03:11:31 | More by ColForbinBC
Photo of Redwood21
Redwood21

Virginia

3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: I am digging the color of this beer, think liquid brown sugar...go figure. the head is decent, but prevents this beer from being any higher
S: decent sweetness with some citrus like aroma, kinda a weird combo
T: the weird combo gets sidetracked here. the sweetness and hoppyness sorta blend and sorta dont. its not bad but im not sure its as balanced as it could be,

a good beer jury is still out though.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2008 00:18:45 | More by Redwood21
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit: I am reviewing the Brown Shugga as a Barleywine.. there is no way this is the same recipe as the last couple years.

Current batch 12oz.. picked up on Friday at Albertsons for $1.29 (they charged me the wrong price for sure).. poured into my Delirium tulip.

Good 2" head that leaves rings of lace atop a very clear cherry wood color brew.

Aroma is waay hoppier than I remember last years Brown Shugga.. piney hops are at the front and leave little room for much else.. but there is a big background of caramel malts ... this really reminds me of a PNW barleywine.

Flavor is an American barleywine.. Deep bitterness and solid caramel/toasted malt backbone with a nice pine hop flavor that melds well with fruity (fresh black cherry) yeasty flavors. Fairly thick body is expected with a nice prickly/yet creamy carbonation... long lingering hop and lite toffee finish.

Brown Shugga is a BW in '07/'08 .. Where's the Gnarleywine? I think I have a little left in my glass.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2008 08:59:13 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber/red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice balanced aroma of malts and hops. It's warming to the nose, but also enticing with loads of hop smells. The malt aroma is composed of lots of pale malts and a wonderful array of specialty malts, which provide the "Brown Shugga" element. The taste is great. It has an incredibly smooth malty taste that weighs heavy on burnt toffee flavors. It goes down easy and finishes silky smooth with a nice hop blast that lingers. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It packs a bundle of flavor; a fine drinker.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 23:28:54 | More by WesWes
Photo of Hojaminbag
Hojaminbag

Colorado

3.15/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint.

It's a prettydark orange. A little head, no lacing.

Smells of hops and sugar/caramel.

This beer is sweet. Really sweet. After the sugar taste, you notice the bite of hops. Actually for almost 10% ABV it is not bad, but too sweet. however, the more you drink the less you will be bothered by the sweetness.

It is a little syrupy (maybe the sweetness makes me feel liek this?)

Way to sweet to drink too much of, but an interesting beer for sure.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 01:23:02 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of nbrown
nbrown

Oregon

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours a nice dark copper with hints of red and orange. There wasn't much of a head but there was nice lacing. Smells like sweet caramel. There is a good brown sugar taste and it balances nicely with the hops. Good mouthfeel and great drinkability for a 9.9$ ABV beer. This beer is wonderful on a cold rainy day.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2008 19:39:34 | More by nbrown
Photo of nelson4
nelson4

Illinois

3.03/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A- Very deep color, reddish brown. Head disappeared slowly with significant lacing.
S- Not a real impressive smell, caramel with a hint of sweetness
T- Hoppy with a caramel and malty sweetness, slightly bitter after
M- Slightly carbonated with relatively smooth mouthfeel
D- Warm 9.9 only allows for small sips to enjoy

Overall, I was not very impressed with the balance of the hops to the sweetness. Good mouthfeel and appearance still make this beer worth while.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2008 00:34:13 | More by nelson4
Photo of tonistruth
tonistruth

Nevada

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- copper in color, no head produced but a white ring of foams constantly crowns the brew

S- toasted malts, citrus, and toffee

T- brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and toasted malts make up the overall sweetness, while citrus from the hops and subtle alcohol level it off. hops really rock at finish

M- creamy with some alcoholic heat, hops bite hard

D- delicious brew with wonderful complexity and balance, and fantastic mouthfeel. Recommended, I'll be looking forward to this

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 22:06:58 | More by tonistruth
Photo of joeskirkie
joeskirkie

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I went for a snifter and poured a beautiful copper brew with a nice head which developed and laced well.

Smelled sugary sweet, with grassy hop hints and just a touch of citrus.

The taste balances very well, the refreshing citrus hop bite goes hand-in-hand with the sweet sugars. A hop finish has a slight linger to it.

It's not too heavy, I'd ask for another, I definitely dig it.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 22:16:37 | More by joeskirkie
Photo of MarkSCCOT
MarkSCCOT

South Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle purchased at Green's in Atlanta into a pint glass.

A. Rod copper amber with a wispy white head that leaves generous wispy lacing. Good bubbles.

S. A sweet brown sugar smell, almost cloying, but altogethr pleasing. I can sense the malt, it is not overwhelmed but there is still a healthy hoppiness.

T. Oh god! This beer works. The brown sugar compliments the over hop/malt perfectly. I didn't think they could pull it off but they did,

M. A very creamy finish, but sweet to the point where the anv is well hidden. This does not taste like 9.9%!!

D. This is a timebomb!! It drinks like a session beer, but after 2 or 3 of these (and I mean the 12 ouncer's, not a bomber!!) you are hammered! This is a beer that should not be so easy to drink.

Summary: buy a 6 pack of this, hide the keys and enjoy!!

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2008 01:41:46 | More by MarkSCCOT
Photo of thewho
thewho

Washington

4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Where to start with my favorite beer...Great sweetness with a hop finish, all on top of an outrageous 9.9% abv.

A: Gorgeous red copper color, with a white head that quickly settles down.

S: MMmmm...Sweet brown shugga! Nice malty smell to complement the sugary sweetness. Slight hop smell buried under the sweetness.

T: Definately sweet brown sugar flavor upon first hitting the mouth, but that gives way to a great slighty hopped finish. I've found this more noticeable on tap than out of the bottle.

M: Nice syrupy and warming feeling due to the high ABV. The last bit of hop flavor at the end is what keeps me coming back to how much I love this beer.

D: Well, don't have too many (3+) otherwise you will be on your way to drunkenness. More than 5 or 6 makes for a bad, bad night. Good idea to keep tabs on how much you've had, so be forewarned. Although its strong, its very very tasty.

Congratulations Brown Shugga, you are my favorite beer, and have inspired me to write my first BA review!

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2008 02:50:13 | More by thewho
Photo of Atlas1
Atlas1

Texas

4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stopped off at the Brickskeller on my way home from work tonight. I don't stop in there as often as I used to, but it's still a good place for beer. Ah, nostalgia....

The Brown Shugga was poured from the bottle (12 oz.) into a standard pint glass for me. It was a bronze/amber color, with lots of carbonation, and a thin, but firm, creamy head on top. The foam was long-lasting and left an excellent lace in its wake. Really, this was a fine looking beer. The nose was rich and sweet, with a malty spice that dominated, although there were some noticeable hops in the aroma as well. Taste was super sweet in the intake, and that sweetness lasted on through to the finish. It had a nice hop bite to it at the end. An interesting flavor, for sure, but a good balance of super sweet with bitter hops. Also, there were noticeable traces of brown sugar (obviously), vanilla, molasses, and maple. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy.

This is a great beer, in my opinion. I am not want to drink malt-monster all the time, but this appeals to me as much as the Oskar Blues Old Chub, which I love. But the Shugga has more of a hop kick to it, which I think I ultimately prefer. It's boozy, but not over-wrought with alcohol in either the aroma or the taste. Would go well with a hearty beef or game stew as well as a rich dessert, like a cheesecake. Enjoy this beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2008 01:00:09 | More by Atlas1
Photo of morebeergood
morebeergood

Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed a six pack for the Pats - Jax game last Saturday. Pours a brownish orange color with some good head that lasted a good amount of time. The smell was of malt and sugar. This beer has a wonderful brown ale flavor, with an added aspect of (brown) sugar that helps it stand out from others in the style. Very tasty. The one thing I noticed with this beer is the high ABV. The beer has such a nice taste to it, and they go down fairly easily. But if you want a few, be careful. After only three (we split the sixer), I really started to feel it. Make sure you remember this is not your typical brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2008 00:13:35 | More by morebeergood
Photo of irishkyle21
irishkyle21

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Starts off with an eye catching orange/red color. Not the best head retention but it still sticks around and leaves some lacing on the glass.

The hops come in strong on the nose (grapefruit and citrus mostly). Followed by a sweet caramel malt and what seems to be brown sugar (not positive but its something sugary).

Tastes somewhat like Arrogant Bastard but sweeter (IMO of course). Citrus, tropical fruits, caramel, thick sweet malt. I cant really say I noticed the brown sugar but it is sweet.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2008 23:56:27 | More by irishkyle21
Photo of bluegrassbrew
bluegrassbrew

Georgia

3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep copper/bronze with a decent head and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell is some alcohol surrounded by caramel and some toffee notes.

Taste is a bit of caramel on top of a slight fruitiness. Heat from the alcohol is only slightly noticable. I get a touch of brown sugar in the finish.

I feel it is a tad thin as are all the Lagunitas offerings I've tried. Could use a fuller body.

Overall, a tasty treat. Very good, but with some more body could be fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2008 03:09:07 | More by bluegrassbrew
Photo of MisterClean
MisterClean

California

3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Vino's Wine & Cheese in Roseville, CA.

A - Deep tan, heavy/foamy white head.

S - Raisin, cinnamon, w/ light, florar hops.

T - Cardamom, allspice, curry. Yes curry, can't describe the other pungent spice, so it's a curry. Very spicy tasting beer, very unique.

M - Very spicy tasting beer, very unique. No alcohol in taste. Are we sure this is a 9.9% ABV?

D - This is a slow-sipper and would balance best with a bland meal or appetizers.

Serving type: on-tap

01-13-2008 19:59:37 | More by MisterClean
Photo of riversider76
riversider76

New York

3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber brown with a thin tan head.Decent retention,and nice lacing. This beer looks thick.Aroma is sweet,and bready. Body is thick,with a good amount of carbonation. Taste is of malty brown sugar,and spice.Nice bit of hops,and a good burn in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2008 00:14:03 | More by riversider76
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
AKBelgianBeast

Alaska

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown shugga pours a clear brown amber with good fluffy head. head dissipates but lace remains quite thick. The nose has subtle hop notes and some light malt. The taste is predominantly smooth hop flavors with less bitterness than an IPA but it is still there. A wierd sugar malt taste makes up a decent backbone. Hop flavors on the finish leave a slight bitterness in the mouth. A good brew, but nothing particularly special. Mouthfeel is good, chewy but not terribly thick. Drinkability is the highlight of this strong ale as the 9.9 does not show up at all. A great strong ale for session drinking which makes no sense but it is what it is.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2008 08:16:40 | More by AKBelgianBeast
Photo of saintwarrick
saintwarrick

South Carolina

4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On name alone, I had to give this brew a try. This brew pours a light brown/bronze with a nice creamy head that looks like hot cocoa. With brown sugar in the ingredients, that and caramel stand out the most in the aroma, reminds me of this caramel coffee creamer I have had before; also toffee and butter rum candy are very prevalent -- this beer is a damn candy store.

It smells sweeter than it tastes, which isn't bad at all. Subdued caramel and cocoa taste but not super sweet; very chewy and really damn smooth, that's the biggest thing that stands out. Little more nougat-like sweetness at the end with a big creamy rum note that shows through as it goes down. Only the tiniest bit of warming alcohol.

Wow, this is a dangerous, evil brew. That 9.9 abv is nowhere to be found, more like a 4.5. Well balanced and a delight to drink. Go grab some now.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2008 07:43:58 | More by saintwarrick
Photo of IPAcraig
IPAcraig

Tennessee

4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this beer after my last class of my first week of my last semester of law school. Woohoo!

This beer is a bold neon orange with shades of red. After a hefty pour only a minimal head sat atop the body, but surprisingly one quick swirl produced a nice one inch white topping.

A big aroma. A balanced aroma. Malt, caramel and sugar up front followed by a nice dose of hops; both working in harmony.

This reminds me of a barleywine, specifically Bigfoot, with a bit more sweetness and slightly less hops. Yeah, I would say that short description is spot on. A bit of alcohol is present as well.

A light body, yet a slightly syrupy feel on the tounge. Slightly lessthan medium carbonation.

At 9.9% alcohol, this beer drinks very easy. Lots of flavor but good balance. A very fine beer, and a bargain if I do say so.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2008 22:14:55 | More by IPAcraig
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,599 ratings.