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.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

4,225 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,225
Reviews: 1,351
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 178
Gots: 426 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,225 | Reviews: 1,351 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wahhmaster
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear, reddish-brown color. Has a thick, foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: Smells strongly of sweet malts with citrusy hops backing it up.

Taste: Hoppy and mildly spicy up front with citrus and grassy notes. Sweet and slightly boozy towards the back with sugary and spicy notes. All around, very full-flavored and complex.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a nice bite to it.

Drinkability: A solid brew that defies classification. It is well-balanced between sweetness and bitterness and is surprisingly drinkable given its higher-than-average ABV. This is certainly something I highly recommend and something I could see myself drinking again.

Photo of bierguru
2.9/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A -
brown orange body head is foamy and creamy looking stays very well

S -
huge brown sugar smell which you expect do to the name but there are also mild hop fruity esters to it

T -
very malty at the beginning of the taste some hops in the middle and loads of brown sugar on the backend

M -
very light on the tongue kind of a dryness in the mouth

D -
overall worth a try but nothing i would really like often

Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice offering from Lagunitas, undeniable hoppy profile with a sweet malt undercurrent.

Presentation: 12 oz brow capped bottle. Offers a batch code but lacks any legible freshness or bottling date. Simple label with typographic design around the name of the brew and Lagunitas mascot, tongue in cheek framing narrative describing the brew. Notes O.G. (1.100), IBUs (51.1), and Alc. by Vol. (9.99%) Served on a tulip glass.

A - Deep amber pour with a nice 1" frothy head, good retention, fair surface memory and lacing.

S - Hoppy nose, citric and resinous with a good dash of caramel malt.

T - Not so sharp as other offerings but a characteristic Lagunitas hop range, coated with a heftier caramel malt sense, soft sugar in the back end that does not stand much. Citric peel, resinous, lightly syrupy.

M - Medium-full body with medium carbonation, small characteristic sticky finish. While alcohol warmth is noticeable it is well. woven.

D - Pleasing offer from Lagunitas. Flows well, nicely integrated...

Notes: Another nice pick from Lagunitas, another take on their hoppy backbones here with an emphasis on the sugar and malt. Pretty pleasing.

Photo of travelfrog
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I tried this fascinating ale hand-pulled into a large tulip glass at a Bronx pub.

Appearance was magnificent. Rich brown with a fine crown.

The aroma was also very much something to savor. Rich, nutty, and sweet, with subtle notes of Calvados.

Taste was very good, though maybe a letdown from the initial impression. It tasted quite a bit like a fine Doppelbock sweetened with, interestingly enough, brown sugar. A bit of a boozy finish.

This brew is quite complex, but I found a cloying sweetness and booziness sticking to the roof of my mouth.

As for drinkability -- while this ale is delicious, it left a very sweet and alcoholic taste in my mouth that left me clamoring for a glass of water.

Photo of veinless
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish amber with a half-finger white head that was gone before I knew it. At least it left some lacing to let me know it was there at all.

Smell is of clean leafy hops with some generic malty sweetness. If you put a gun to my head telling me to be specific I'd say caramel and brown sugar, but don't hold me to it.

This beer is really REALLY sweet and I love it. TONS of malt at the outset, with a jaggery sweetness I haven't experienced since North Coast's PranQster. I'm getting just the faintest bit of hops at all, barely any really. No balance to this, but as a specialty beer this is great for the price. Tons of different malt sweeteners like the jaggery mentioned earlier, and brown sugar, honey, and regular generic sweetness. That's all there is to it (in my palate's view at least).

Mouthfeel is good due to the unique level of stickiness in the finish, and drinkability is just ok, as I can see the sweetness getting overpowering fast. Good experiment-turned-staple from Lagunitas.

Photo of Brunite
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a pint glass yields a nice amber/caramel colored brew with a nice 2 finger off-white head.

S- Malty heaven. This smells exactly like the aroma that exits via my primary fermentation airlock when homebrewing. I love the sweet malty aroma and will sometimes just sit and enjoy. How cool that a beer smells this strong.

T- Malty sweetness up front with dark sugar notes. Perfectly balanced by bitter hops on the back side. The alcohol is hidden quite well.

M- Medium body....a bit syrupy. A good level of carbonation makes it smooth.

D- Much more drinkable than I thought. Despite the high ABV, this goes down EASY. And this is balanced. Sweet in a very good way...but hops keep things in check. This is far different. Very good!

Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter glass a dark-red/light-brown with no head or lacing, making this apperance wise below average.

Aromas and flavors of sweet caramel,barley, some citrus. Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation.

A little on the sweet side, the sweetness alone restricts the amount to consume, the alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming.

Very nice. Makes an excellent after-dinner brew.I wouldn't have more than two.

Photo of dogfishandi
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

filled a growler of this at clinton road consumers and split with a friend. a little above fridge temp poured into a standard pint glass.

pours out a clear deep amber color with a big fluffy, retentive off white head. lots of sticky lace on the glass.

it smells like a DIPA with a very nice balance. first you get piney and a little bit of citrus hops balanced by a sweet candied caramel, sugary malt.

again, definatly like a big DIPA. resinous pine and citrus hops are met nicely by a sticky candied caramel, brown sugary malt.

heavy mouthfeel, but not nearly as thick and heavy as i might have expected. some lingering bitternes is there.

alcohol was just an after thought, i could not taste it at all which made this pretty drinkable.

Photo of Derranged
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

The appearance is a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head.

The smell might have been one of the best smelling beers I've sampled. Very strong piney/floral hops with molasses and candied sugar are present.

The taste was very hoppy and very sweet, tastes of brown sugar and molasses. Some hops bitterness appeared every now and again.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and had little carbonation.

This beer drank pretty easily, but the sweetness alone limits this to just a few.

This beer was really good.

Photo of begforme4484
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice brown coloring. Smells great. The taste was what got me on this beer. Mouthfeel was right on par.

Not much needs to be said for this beer except, if you see it on tap, TRY IT.

I've had it before and knew it was good. But I had a friend with me who liked to dabble a bit in craft beer. So he had me suggest a drink for him, and he loved it.

Photo of lovindahops
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love anytime I can try a Lagunitas brew. When I think American strong ales, Lagunitas and stone are the one two punch for me. Poured into a pint glass.

A- pours a copper orange color with a good head that resides leaving lacing and a slight head of foam. A hearty looking beer with good carbonation racing to the top

S- sweet sugar, caramel, molasses hops that dance with some piney hops presense. Very sweet and welcoming with the strong scent profile. The brown sugar is very unique in this stong ale presentation. The hop presence compliments it well

T- big time sweet!The malt is very sweet and strong at the same time. The brown sugar is the star of the show, yet there is still a hopped up flavor of pine and a dry finish. Very good taste profile. The strange part is the alcohol is not too crazy either

M- medium bodied and syrupy. Good flavor all over the mouth

D- this is dangerous! The combination of flavor and lack of the 9.999% alcohol presence make this delicious. I do think this is may be a one or two bottle doing the trick. Nevertheless, it's pretty drinkable

Photo of bnes09
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange amber ale. Mostly transparent. Pours a thin head with fairly poor retention and minimal lacing, which is probably pretty common for a beer of this strength.

Huge aroma of pine and citrus hops, nutmeg and caramel.

Taste follows with a surprisingly assertive hop providing flavors of pine and grapefruit. Big caramel malt with a maple sweetness. Lots of spices, nutmeg and a hint of cinammon. Highly complex flavor profile and well balanced.

Medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the lips. Finish is dry due to the hops.

Overall, I was very impressed with this brew not knowing what to expect. Tons of solid flavors and the alcohol is masked very well.

Photo of climax
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep copper/red with real good clarity aside from the tiny bubbles suspended in the rich mass. The head is somewhat modest and fades leaving a bit of a residue, but not full-blown lace wallpaper.

The nose is awesome. Citrus notes of sweet oranges and grapefruit highlight an impressive hop bill. The malt has no problem matching wits. Toasty sweet caramel, clove, and ripened black cherries all make for an interesting situation for my nostrils. The alcohol is hidden pretty well.

The flavor is a bit more on the sweet side of things, however the hops still contribute an herbal dryness. Alcohol comes through a bit more here, rounding out an overall sweet and slightly tart/sour taste.

The carbonation is mild for the most part but still has a light sharpness to it. The body is not quite full, but it is on the heavier side. The feel is somewhat cottony with a dry finish. Bottom line.... interesting.

This is an awesome beer, no question. But, as far as MY tastes go, I would tone down the sweetness in favor of the hops. The Arrogant Bastard trio is pretty hard to compete against. Unfortunately for this beer, that's what I've drank the previous 2 nights.

Photo of ehammond1
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2010)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Color is a gorgeous copper and rust. Clear liquid with a thick off-white head that doesn't last for too long. Does not leave much lacing at all on the glass but the pour is beautiful.

An incredibly sweet smell. Smells like caramel candy. I smell caramel and brown sugar and maple syrup; this is just sweet, sweet, sweet! It's certainly unique, and because I knew what I was getting in to when I bought this beer (an American strong ale with a mess of brown sugar added), I'm certainly happy I can smell the sugar!

This beer scores points for being unique and absolutely one-of-a-kind in the taste department. I've had nothing even similar to this. It seems like a sugary sweet barleywine. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden but is present. Tastes likes brown sugar, as I suppose, it should.

The mouthfeel is rich and luscious. It's a treat to enjoy this beer in more ways than one. It makes for a world-class dessert!

A dessert beer at it's finest. Even though I love cheesecake, I would only want one slice, and this beer strikes me in a similar way. One is perfect, two is over-doing it, and three would be unheard of. Not an overly drinkable beer, but a fantastic one!

Lagunitas wins again. They decided to make a brown sugar strong ale, and they have done it perfectly!

Photo of nova009
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A- pours a dark brown body reminiscent of brown sugar, when held to light there is a red tint, small khaki head appears and dissipates down to a ring, lacing is okay but kind of spotty in areas

S- caramel hits the nose first, dark fruits like figs, toasted malt, vanilla, a slight nutty scent comes to mind, only a very slight brown sugar smell

T- the mouth gets hit hard by caramel and hops, the hops didn't really come out in the smell but it is definitely present in the flavor, piney notes out of the hops, slightly floral as well, an interesting balance of bitter and sweet, it is almost a strong-ale barleywine hybrid

M- medium body, very creamy and coats the palate nicely without the hops overly attacking it, carbonation is a little high but it seems to work

D- this is a sipper, i couldnt drink too many of these, with that being said it was a very intriguing beer, the combination of the strong ale and barleywine flavors is a nice concept, a nice one to grab in singles during the winter months

Photo of TCMike
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Produced a 1/2" beige head when poured in glass. The color was medium amber.
The smell was fairly faint, but was like caramel, with a hint of a woody aroma.
It had medium carbonation. It had an upper medium body.
The taste was smooth, sweet, with a light hop finish. I know this is shocking, but the taste was, brown sugar, with some light citrus, pine thrown in.
Too drinkable for it's ABV, use caution.

Photo of WoodBrew
2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sure the amber brown color with nice head lures one into a false sense of security...Then BAM you take one to the buds!!!! The strong alcohol detracts from the buzz of this beer. This beer is tough and definitely not a session brew. However, if you can stick through the first half of the bottle the beer smooths out...most likely cuz the taste buds are numb. Certainly worth a try, but a six will do just fine.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - clear orange/amber with a khaki colored head that thinned to a layer and left a thin coat of lacing.

S - sweet caramel candy with a hint of citrus hops.

T - starts out sweet with a good bit of citrus thrown in before finishing sticky sweet. Burps are hoppy, nice!

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

D - goes down easy, beware of the abv.

Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Knowing the history, I thoroughly expected to hate this beer and I went into this tasting with extreme skepticism. Sometimes you just get surprised. This was one of those times. The appearance was average, the smell was nice, sugary, wheaty, but all that was somewhat average - the taste and drinkability is the compelling factor here. Very unique, highly sessionable "ale" as they call it but I'd not only drink this again, but want to try it fresh from tap. This was a 'sweet' surprise.

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into dimpled mug. Aroma is sweet, dates, and nutty with alcohol notes present. Picked up more brown sugar this time around (2010 version). Taste is sweet malt with a residual hop bitterness and a hint of alcohol. Malt flavor is long lasting with a heavy mouthfeel. Mild carbonation. Reminds me of a barley wine mixed in a nut brown ale. A nice winter brew IMO.

Photo of cbutova
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Brown body with a small, creamy off-white cap that has decent retention. An impressive coat of thick lace is left by what I thought was a dinky cap.

S- Dark fruit with a nice caramel and toasted nutty malt profile. Just a bit of brown sugar below a deep caramel, almost like an old ale.

T- Big, deep caramel of a Barleywine hits me up front with a strong citrus, pine and floral hop profile. A bit of dark fruit as well as, brown sugar. Sweeter than what I am used to, although the name might suggest that.

MF- Creamy body with nice carbonation to suit the flavors at hand. Hops bring a good amount of bitterness with them.

DB- I remember having this before and being a bit confused. I have come to understand what is going here somewhat but it still feels strange. The multiple style mixture feels somewhat abrasive but I cannot stop taking huge gulps of this. A not so common combination of flavors but a must try for craft beer fans. Brown + Barleywine + IPA + brewing skill = this beer...?

Photo of Shadman
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After nearly 1000 reviews on this beer I'm not sure how much more I'm going to be able to add.

Brilliant clear copper colour. Nice tan head

Sweet caramel malts with a nice combo of citric/pine/spice hop

Caramel malts up front. Slight wave of booziness from the high abv, but its well masked. Hop trio take over the rest of the trip. Nice balance.

Good fullish feel.

I liked this one

Photo of Tifore
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tremont Tap House. Poured into a small tasteing glass.

A - Light brown in color, almost maple syrupy looking. Clear with no haze at all. Looks refreshing. Has a small one finger head on it that has pretty good retention. Small lacing on the glass after I finish.

S - Smells of sweet malts and molasses with loads of citrusy hops backing it up. Some smokey and roasted malts are also present. A nice balance of hops and malts. The IBU's definitely suprise me here because at 50 or so, it smells like theres way more.

T - Taste is very hop forward. Loads of piney and citrusy hops with some spicey and sweet tones as well. A all around great ale, the 10% alcohol isn't present in the mouth at all.

M - Mouthfeel is medium with a big bitter finish due to the hops.

D - A nice all around great ale from Lagunitas. Very balance and tasty. I'd get this again for sure.

Photo of iamjuanvaldez
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose - Mulling spices, citrus peel, cedar, raisin, faint alcohol

Color - clean, deep amber

Faint thickhead forming from a quick pour, disappeared quickly.

Heavy, viscous mouth-feel, slightly oily. Very drinkable for a 10% brew.

Carmel, bright citrus, alcohol and a clean hoppy aftertaste to balance out the sweetness.

Picked up a 6 pack at BevMo for $9. Excellent for the price.

Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear, dark reddish brown from a stubby 12 oz bottle, with ABV on the label.
Head was more like a thin film that vanishes instantly. Good, solid carbonation here.
Aroma is what the name says - brown sugar. It is kind of overpowering, with faint hop aroma coming through intermittently and hint of molasses.
Damn, this is one 'sweet' beer, and I don't mean that figuratively. It is literally a sweet beer with a dry finish. There is no trace of the 51 IBU's in the taste whatsoever.
Alcohol definitely makes its presence felt as it warms you up with every sip. The 9.99% ABV is masked really well and along with the dry finish and mouthfeel, makes for a VERY drinkable beer.
Decent lacing along the glass.
This is a very unique brew. Not one I would go out of my way to try again, but at the same time I am glad I tried it.
In short, worth a try.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 4,225 ratings.