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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

3,670 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,670
Reviews: 1,297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 141
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
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Ratings: 3,670 | Reviews: 1,297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JDV
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%

Rich reddish maroon pour with a nice and big lasting beige head in a snifter. Smell is light, bright and balanced maltiness with just enough balancing hops. Taste is pretty mild, slightly thin and balanced again, with lemony and slightly acidic tart malt. Very smooth and drinkable for 10%. Slightly hoppy on the backend but overall its flavor was too mild to be really great, and it doesn't get any better as it warms...Still worth trying.

JDV, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of PhageLab
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Rusted copper coloration, nice huge head of brown froth, excellent retention and lacing.

S - Mmmm, hops. Yeah, molasses and hops, that's about it but damn it's nice.

T - Sweet maple syrup body, but it's okay because the massive amount of hops balances it out rather well. Pretty tasty I must say.

M - Medium to full body, mild carbonation level, spicy aftertaste.

D - Very good, this is an all around nicely constructed brew, and one I'd revisit any time. Definitely worth a try.

PhageLab, Mar 22, 2008
Photo of tpd975
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Appearance: Brillant amberish brown color, with a huge fluffy head

Smell: Sweet brown sugar aromas with hints of wonderful smelling dark fruits. A hint of alcohol can be detected as well.

Taste: Big bold crystalized brown sugar, with hints of spice, and darks fruits. This on is hopped no doubt about it and it has a bit of a booze bite.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with ample carbonation.

Drinkability: Pretty darn drinkable, one of Lagunitas best.

Overall: I enjoyed it. I had this one after the hopslam and I asked for a glass of water because I thought I kept tasting the hops from the hopslam. I was happy to realize this one had a wonderful hop character of its own. Blended with the nice sweet brown sugar and a hint of booze makes this a wonderful drinking brew.

tpd975, Mar 17, 2008
Photo of dreadnatty08
3.98/5  rDev -1%

Celebrating the beginning of brew day!
Pours a gorgeous clear, copper and ruby color with a well supported tan head. Aromas are quite hoppy, plenty of grapefruit, orange, along with a slight spicy phenolic character with some spicy twang. Very little in the way of malt aroma, just a sweet note, but a good bit of alcohol. On the palate, it just sits on your tongue, one of the heaviest feeling beers I've had in a while. Sitting only at 51 IBUs, it isn't overly bitter, quite balanced actually; but, there's just a ton of hop flavor. Still, the malt character is lacking, just a touch of bready toastiness, crystal sweetness, finishing dry with lots of lingering hops. Overall, it's an interesting ASA (DIPA), though I think the undercarbonation and mouthfeel bring down the drinkability a bit.

dreadnatty08, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of Umbra
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

Purchased on tap at Jack's in Bmore. Served in a tulip glass, it was a hazy nut brown with half fingered head, lacing and retention was excellent. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar aromas.
Many of those same aromas came through with a bunch of candied sugars and fruits. Got some cookie dough flavors near the end.
Slightly boozy finish is the only inclination of a heavy hitter. It was not cloying, nor sweet, nor overly bitter, as many American barleywines can be. Perfectly drinkable because of this, though I can't have too many.

Umbra, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of pershan
4.38/5  rDev +9%

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured an orangish-brown with very little head into a chalice. I detected alcoholic esters with a slight citrusy hop aroma. The taste was an enormous explosion of hop flavor and alcoholic esters, blending nicely with a distinct citrusy sweetness. The initial taste dissipated into a long-lasting hop bitterness. A very tasty and drinkable beer - it is definitely one of my favorites from Lagunitas. Nice carbonation and lacing too.

pershan, Mar 12, 2008
Photo of rebel1771
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

Pours a reddish brown color with a decent of white head that disappears quickly.

Definite hoppy aroma with sweet malts mixed in. Candied fruit aroma shows up in the end.

Sweet malts dominate the flavor with a nice oily hop bite along with it. Nothing overly complex but very tasty.

I was suprised the brew tasted like it did, from the name I thought it would be a much sweeter brew. That being said this is a really good brew that I enjoyed quite a bit.

rebel1771, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany-hued body with a small beige head.

Smell: Earthy, sweet-smelling caramel maltiness with bright citrus, maple, and spruce notes.

Taste: Caramel malts with a hard candy sweetness. A drizzle of maple syrup. A nice mergence of citrusy grapefruit and Valencia oranges. Spicy spruce component. Lightly acidic. Moderate, resinous hop bitterness. A bit of hot alcohol warmth around the bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit beyond medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not nearly as graceful and seamless as some of the great barleywines, but decent enough for the price, I suppose.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of JamesS
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%

Poured a rich dark copper with good head, little lacing, and a lot of sediment. Very ruch and malty scent, extremely sweet. A wonderful taste, very reminiscent of a scotch ale/wee heavy without the peat. It's fantastically smooth for a 9.9% ABV beer. A wonderful brew.

JamesS, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of erosier
3.78/5  rDev -6%

Pours a nice amber/copper with a tall and thick tan colored head that laces the glass all the way down. The aroma is of some sweet malts followed by a hint of alcohol, then a big boppy bitterness followed by a very sweet brown sugar aroma to finish it off. The taste is the same as well. It has a strong sweet malt base with a very nice hoppy bitter with very little hint of the amount of alcohol that is in this beer. It then follows up with an overly sweet aftertaste of brown sugar. It tastes like a strong ale that was fermented with brown sugar in the end. The mouthfeel is good - very warming, fresh, and smooth. The drinkability is high especially for a beer of this gravity.

erosier, Mar 06, 2008
Photo of FenwaySquid
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%

Presentation: 12 oz. short brown bottle, no dating of any kind, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear amber color, carbonation bubbles rising inside. The head formed about 1 finger thick and retained nicely.

Aroma: Caramel and brown sugar. Very sweet.

Taste: As was the aroma, it's very sweet. I mainly got caramel malts, some toasted malts come through as well, and the two mix nicely. I also noticed some hops in the background, nice bittering effect. The finish was mainly the toasted malts, turning slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, yet extremely smooth and creamy. The carbonation was light, which balanced quite well.

Overall: Wow, is this good. Pretty easy to forget that it's almost 10% abv. Highly recommended to anyone and everyone.

FenwaySquid, Mar 06, 2008
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

Appearance - deep orange color, a finger of creamy suds on top. They cling to the sides and leave a solid wall of shiny lace as the head falls back.

Aroma - smells like orange juice concentrate, kind of barleywine-ish.

Taste - big malty front, kinda chewy, sweet like cookie dough. Big flavor, met mid-stream by sharp zesty hops. A grapefruit twist, though not as citrusy as I expected. More grapefruit flavor on the aftertaste, closer to what I expected now, and a certain wave of warm alcohol to finish things off. Close to a barleywine in overall feel. The sixer went amazingly fast.

Mouthfeel - thick, smooth, a little heavy, I enjoyed all that. Carbonation is fairly zippy.

Drinkability - I'd grab another sixer of these for sure. They are a joy to drink one at a time, or three in an evening.

brewdlyhooked13, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of dsa7783
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%

22 oz "Sweet Release" bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield for $3.99...
"Ale fermented with fresh brown sugar" on the front logo sticker...
Pours a very hazy, cloudy, and murky, brown appearance with a decent-sized frothy head that left a lot of lacing around the glass...
Smell was certainly on-point - very barleywine-like with tremendous aromas of caramel, vanilla, toffee, and brown sugar....
Taste strongly complemented the aroma, with powerful suggestions of a nice balance of malts and hops, toffee, caramel, candied sugars, dehydrated fruits, figs, and plums...
One of the best American barleywines I have sampled in a long time... Forget about labeling this as an American Strong Ale - this has barleywine written all over it, from the nose to the mouth...
Very creamy, rich, and thick mouthfeel, bursting with wonderful, sugar-laden, sweet flavors without being too cloying or over-bearing...
Excellent drinkability, too, without the slightest hint of the hefty 9.9% ABV...
Lagunitas did extremely well with this one, and one thing I really like about this brewery, is that they make their great beers available without the hefty, ridiculous prices often seen in other American breweries...
Definitely recommended...

dsa7783, Mar 01, 2008
Photo of markaberrant
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

A - brilliant clarity, light copper/orange colour, moussy light tan head, lots of lacing down the glass.

S - malty nose, toffee, nuts, and just a hint of sweet grapefruit

T - the grapefruit comes through a lot more in the taste, but there is still no forgetting that this is a sweet malty beer. Overall clean flavours are quite enjoyable. Long satisfying aftertaste.

M - mild carbonation, but it is not syrupy. Medium body carries the flavours long into the finish. Noticable alcohol warmth, but quite comforting.

D - One heck of a brew, definitely one of Lagunitas' best

I suppose this takes an English approach to a barleywine with the lower hopping rates, but I really enjoy the american hops and clean yeast character. It is "relatively" sweet by US standards, but it is not thick and syrupy like a doppelbock, nor is it anywhere close to cloying.

I'm glad I went out of my way to track this down at Kensington Wine Market in Calgary, currently the only store in Alberta to carry it (maybe even Canada?). The Bushwakker used to carry it a year or two ago.

markaberrant, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of zeff80
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%

A - Poured out a cloudy copper color with a small, tan, creamy head that left sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled floral. There was also a malty, sweet aroma. I also picked up an oaky smell.

T - It tasted bittersweet and very malty. It was quite spicy, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth with a warm alcohol presence. A medium to heavy-bodied beer.

D - This is a very good Strong Ale. It just tastes great.

zeff80, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%

Lagunitas Brown Shugga'
12oz. brown bottle

Poured into a snifter. Brown Shugga pours a light mahogany with a slightly off-white head that drops kind of quickly and leaves a halo around the edge of the glass, which leads to thin lacing. Aromas of fig, prunes and molasses are immediately present, with a hint of strong alcohol. Strong malty sweetness in the first sip, and the high alcohol lingers for awhile. Sweet malts are balanced nicely with the hops that finish the taste. Its actually hoppy-er than I thought at first, epecially for a 51 IBU Strong Ale. Solid mouthfeel, with a complex palate and perfect carbonation. Delicious and definitely worth getting.

paulthebeerguru, Feb 19, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

On-tap 2/17/08 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malt, brown sugar, dark fruits and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste is sweet and malty up front, with flavors of caramel, brown sugar and dark fruit, but quickly becomes very well-balanced as a strong hops presence comes in with a slight alcohol bite. The after-taste is hoppy and sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, strong kick, this is a very good beer to drink over the course of an evening until the ABV catches up with you.

TheManiacalOne, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of oakbluff
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%

Pours a ruby chestnutt. Excellent clariy with a foamy white head. Smell- fruity sweetness. Taste- initial flavours are hops and fruit. Sweet malts come through in the middle and finish is bitter and dry. The extra sugar has fermented down nicely. Not cloying but you definitely know its there. Like liquid caramel. Good sipper on a winter night.

oakbluff, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of AgingWarrior
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%

I poured this brew into a frosted mug. It poured a nice dark amber color with about a one finger light brown head. Plenty of lacing throughout the drink.

The smell was great! You can smell the sweet malts and the extra alcohol content with each whiff. I knew I was going to like the drink from the first whiff.

The taste is very smooth for the 9.9% ABV, a little on the sweet side which was unexpected, but still nice and smooth.

Mouth feel is great! A nice full feel and a great finish.

Due to the higher alcohol content the drinkability of Brown Shugga is a little limited. Maybe three or four at the max for me.
I'm looking forward to the next five in my six pack.

AgingWarrior, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of Lothar666
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%

A- Poured an opaque dark brown amber body with hints of orange around the edges of the glass. Head was bone white and very creamy, a full two fingers thick and displayed excellent retention. Lacing was thick, sticky and white and just as creamy as the head.

S- Candy and brown sugar with a bit of strong alcohol and something quite tart in the background... Caramel Apples perhaps?

T- Raw fermented brown sugars and strong alcohol dominate the pallet, over a backbone of sweet dark malts and dark bread. A bit more of the caramel apple in the background but quite muted compared to the odor- hops make their presence felt a bit in the finish but even they are subdued by the overwhelming sugar flavor. Drinking this reminds me of drinking chinese tea the way I used to as a kid- with half the glass filled with honey and brown sugar.

M- Thick, viscous and a bit sticky and chewy... The burn in the back of the throat is a cross between what one would expect from a strong barleywine and from drinking a straight glass of high fructose corn syrup. For some this would be unpleasant, but I am a sweets junkie as well as a beer geek so the two go together surprisingly well.

D- Surprisingly drinkable for such a sweet, sticky and strong brew, but my opinion may be a bit biased due to my predilection for sweets. Still, I think that this one would get tiring after the first was done and I would probably move on to something a but more tame. However, this one definitely succeeds at being a unique beer.

Lothar666, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of ndekke39
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

Presentation: A 12 oz. bottle, decanted into a tulip glass.

A: It's a clear, tawny-leaning-toward-ruby color. A tiny bit of foam from the pour that quickly forms into a thin ring of white lace. Some consistent columns of carbonation keep some active foam on the surface as well.

S: Rich breadiness, brown sugar, toasted malts, caramel, warm spices, alcohol.

T: Really malt heaviness at the beginning: bready, a touch of sugar. Nice bitterness at the back of the tongue. Balances out the malty sugar. Warming alcohol.

M: Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. I love this type of beer: good malty backbone supported by a chewier mouthfeel.

D: I'm a big fan of this beer. It's definitely meant for maltheads, but it's pretty well balanced and is nice and drinkable.

ndekke39, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
5/5  rDev +24.4%

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!

Gehrig, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

Phyl21ca, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of shabbtastic
2.88/5  rDev -28.4%

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.

shabbtastic, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of Bassetdawg
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%

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

Bassetdawg, Feb 03, 2008
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,670 ratings.