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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

3,710 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,710
Reviews: 1,298
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 147
Gots: 247 | 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: 3,710 | Reviews: 1,298 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beertunes
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a straight pint glass. Minimal head leaves light but sticky lacing. A very pretty reddish-brown. Sweet aroma with nice hop touches. Flavor matches aroma closely. Smoothly sweet at the front with a balancing hop tang at the finish. Faint alcohol taste, but not in a bothersome way. Body is just a little lighter than full. Very drinkable, but this beer will sneak up on you. Because it's smooth, sweet and easy to drink you might not notice it preparing to pop you. Very enjoyable, becoming a yearly favorite.

beertunes, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of erikm25
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a light crimson with nice amber highlights. The head was two plus fingers of off white fluff. Strong retention and lacing that leaves sticky sheets all around the glass.

S: This does live up to the name but also had some pine hops. Caramelized sugars with rounded sweet candy apple aromas. Gently balanced between heavy sweetness and spiced citrus. Some dark cherries toward the back.

T: Amazingly smooth and rich. Brown sugars with caramel and bready malts add some thickness to each sip. There are some nicely textured spices thrown throughout. Little bit of toffee and butterscotch flavored candy. Even with the high ABV they have done an impressive job hiding it. Finish balances out with just the right amount of bitterness.

M: This is full bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Picked up a six pack of this and the first one was very drinkable. However, I can see how the richness and the alcohol could probably start to sneak up. Regardless, a pretty solid offering.

erikm25, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of olmatty
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Frothy white two finger head with decent retention, light lacing and an amber rust liquid.

Smell- Smells like brown sugar with a strong whiff of brandy

Taste- Brown sugar sweetness layerd over a sharp malt backdrop. Hints of plum, licorice and even peach. Strong brandy alohol accompanied by bitter hopiness.

Mouthfeel- Full mouthfeel and smooth carbonation. A chunky brew.

Drinkability- Most enjoyable brew, yet as much as you'll enjoy it the high alcohol content, 9.5% and super full palate will probably limit this session to one or two. But, you'll definately want to go back for more.

olmatty, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of Riccymon
2.68/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured amber/brown from the bottle with about a finger of off-white head. Aroma was mostly hoppy, similar to a pale ale or IPA, and the taste came off the same way. I didn't notice a lot of balance to the beer--citrus, almost pineapple-like hoppiness accompanied by some sugar sweetness. I almost felt like I was drinking a boozey (the ABV was up-front) pineapple upsidedown cake. Mouthfeel may have been the high point, as Brown Shugga' drank like a nice, full brew. With the ABV as high and noticeable, however, I wouldn't want to drink many of these.

Riccymon, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of jonziefle
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Appearance: Poured a dark red amber, with a khaki colored head. Minimal head rentention. Very clear.

Smell: Smells of damp sticky hope, very sweet and of grapes or raisins. Almost syrupy in fragrance. You can almost smell the alcohol.

Taste: Sweet and dark. Malty and a little hoppy, but not overwhelming. Taste sticks around for a while.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied beer and minimally carbonated. Feels "slick".

Drinkability: A medium bodied beer, with a sweet and heavy feel. It's a little syrupy and the booze may be limiting to drinking a lot. A good one to try though.

jonziefle, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of Proteus93
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of dkachur... thanks, Dan! I can't believe I haven't picked it up myself in all this time.

A: Rather bronzish with a nice two finger creamy foam of head. Retention is pretty good, and it has pretty good lacing.

S + T: Brown shugga is right, both in aroma and flavour. Big caramelized sugar blending in quite nicely with a toasted malt and a little spot of hoppiness. A rather nicely balanced beer.

M + D: A little big, kind of sticky... it leaves a fair bit of residue behind, which has me smacking my lips for a while after each sip. A little rich, perhaps, but a good beer... solid beer. I'd be game for more, though the alcohol makes it a bit of a slower indulgence brew.

Proteus93, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of Lexluthor33
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Amber colored with a decent sized head and a respectable lace.

The aroma of sweet sugar,malts and some fruit.

The taste started off sweet,sugar like but heavy on malts, Some hops in the back and subtle amount of alcohol warmth.

The feel was medium carbonation,smooth and creamy with medium body feel and some oils in the finish.

Notes: A very fine beer and something to savor. I really felt this one was very deceiving. At this ABV it really was easy to drink and while I will not ever session this one I will have at least two.

Lexluthor33, Jan 04, 2009
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
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,710 ratings.