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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,257 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,257
Reviews: 1,360
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 179
Gots: 443 | 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: 4,257 | Reviews: 1,360 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Daktyls
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a crystal clear, dark amber color with a small white head that dissipates very quickly into a very fine, patchy lacing.

S: Hops are present, but mild with notes of sweet sugars, caramels, and sweet malts.

T: Starts with a sweet maltiness that tastes like a caramelized brown sugar with some bitter hops coming in towards the end. A little bit of alcohol is present as well.

M: Lighter body, medium amount of carbonation, but they go together well. Not a whole lot of alcohol, making this an easier drinker than other American Strong Ales.

D: Quite drinkable, thought with a high ABV, I'd probably be careful with having a lot in one sitting.

Photo of ms11781
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have been told Lagunitas uses a Julian dating code on it's bottles. Assuming that is true this beer was bottled on October 6, 2010. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear orangish copper color with a 1 finger white head that end up leaving just a thin white cap for the duration. Pretty good lacing down the glass.

Nose is hoppy at first, surprisingly so, with citrus, piny and resiny notes, yet it smells just as sweet at the same time. Has a caramel sweetness that seems almost sugary.

Taste is very sweet at first, some caramel malt, toffee and, not surprisingly, brown sugar. Not as hoppy as the nose, but they are definitely there. I got some citrus in the nose but the hops in each sip are of the piny/resiny variety with a hint of bitterness. Also a slight warming of the back of the throat from some alcohol.

Thick, full body. Medium carbonation keeps it from being even thicker and syrup-like. Smooth finish despite the alcohol warmth.

Goes down smooth enough but the sweetness might keep from enjoying more than one in a sitting. Even with the slight warming at the end of each sip the 10%ABV is well hidden.

Photo of Kexx
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, rich copper color. The head is light and fairly small and seemed to dissapear pretty fast.

Smell: The hop aromas are citrusy and floral and they are nicely mingled in with caramel malt that is very sweet on the nose. Reminds me of cotton candy, or brown sugar.

Taste: Starts out with a caramel malt backbone with some nice hints of brown sugar and toffee. A bitter hoppiness is in the background below the malt at first, but the bitterness lingers on the tongue in the aftertaste. A slight alcohol burn is present and seems to build as I work through the pint. A little hard to finish by the end.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full bodied with light carbonation. The finish is a slow building bitter hop character that begins to saturate the tongue after drinking about half a pint. The sweetness fades away to leave behind a lingering dry bitterness.

Drinkability: I really liked this one after the first few sips, it seemed to be very smooth and balanced. But it became increasingly hard to drink the more I had. Just a little too harsh with the bitterness and alcoholic burn.

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

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #36 (Jan 2010):

Lagunitas is not scared of using sugar. A copious amount of brown sugar is used in this brew, hence the name.

Towering off-white head with a sticky lacing all the way down the glass. Orange amber glow is inviting. Aromatic layers of caramelized sugar, hop oil and apricot/pineapple fruiti- ness peel away as the beer warms. Think slightly chewy body. Heavy malt, not too sweet with a very blended, toasty caramel duo of malt flavors ... caramel is stronger though. The brown sugar builds on the maltiness to carry on the sweetness. Hops and alcohol keep an even keel with a sharpness and spicy citric flavor. Fruity esters, malt sweetness and some strong hop oil leave a long trail for the aftertaste to walk down.

The alcohol is there, no denying that, but it does not show its true strength. Dangerously drinkable comes to mind; Lagunitas--making sweet beer taste excellent.

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

12oz bottled October 12, 2010.

Pours lightly hazy red/amber/copper with a large foamy off-white head that maintains a nice cap and leaves a lot of foamy lacing.

Aroma is caramel, toffee, brown sugar, citrus hops, herbal, bread, yeast, grass, floral. Moderate strength.

Flavor is rich caramel, toffee, brown sugar, a hint of chocolate, some molasses, dark fruits, some pine and citrus hops. Moderate sweetness with a bit of bitterness. Lingering finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, very creamy, a bit sticky, low to medium carbonation.

Good stuff. Not the best barleywine out there but still very good. Enjoyed it.

Photo of 4000qtrap
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Source/Serving: 12oz. Bottle (fresh)

Smell: Intense, complex hop character (pine, floral, and citrus) layers over everything and leans this towards an IPA, but there is more than enough sweet brown sugar, dark caramel, toffee, light ripe fruit, red grape to stand up to it. Reminiscent of a great IPA with a solid malt backbone. Tons of intensity and well rounded. A little boozy and slightly metallic at it warms.

Taste: An sweet explosion of syrupy fruit, dark caramel, piney and floral hops. Slick, oily, and irresistible. Followed by a slow, paced crescendo of bitterness that abolishes the prior flavors but still feels restrained and is far from astringent. Tons of citrus/lemon peel and oils with a solid resiny snap. Hides the 10% ABV alcohol very well, but I think it helps to ever so slightly dry the beer out here and add a nice counter-point the sweetness up front. Finish is slightly sweet, reminiscent of dark red fruits and maple syrup, with plenty of complex, oily hop character and a touch of pepper. One of those syrupy, lip-smacking beers.

Notes: Tremendous. Lagunitas really shines on this one, but it's a heavy, thick brew. Modulates the sweet-bitter axis well, has great hop and malt flavors and excellent mouthfeel. What more can you ask for?
cellent mouthfeel. What more can you ask for?

Photo of mjurney
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby red color, clear. Lots of fine bubbles. Head looks small but nice, off white color.

Resiny/piney hops and sweet caramel malts.

Taste & Mouthfeel:
Sweet malts, caramel, hint of maple. Hop character is very present, I get resin-piney, slight spicy. There's some black cherries I could detect. Full bodied, yet pretty syrupy.

Finish & Aftertaste:
Slight peppery finish, dry fruity aftertaste.

Photo of Beerisheaven
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have long seen this and long passed over it. Consumed at The Flying Pig in Malvern, PA on Friday night past.

Poured from tap with a beautiful amber, ruby color. Nice white head sitting on top which made it look very appealing and enticing. A real good looking beer in a glass.

The aroma and taste were very enjoyable. Hard to not say the word sugar in the description but the beer melds the malt and hops in fine fashion with a nice sweet candy taste lurking in there as well. I really enjoyed it.

The mouthfeel was clean, crisp, and enjoying while this is one that you enjoy so much you would consider staying with this one all night long.

I really enjoyed this beer and will have to try it again on a more regular basis. I really think that they did a nice job here.

Photo of drtth
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear, rich copper color with a ¼" light tan color. The head looks like it could be much fuller and richer with a pour designed to enhance the head as well as fill the glass.

Smell: The hop aromas are primarily citric and floral and they are nicely mingled in with the caramel malt (that does indeed seem to have a definite brown sugar character).

Taste: The flavors include a nice caramel malt backbone with some nice hints of brown sugar and toffee. However, the purpose of the flavors from the malt and added sugar is clearly to support the hops and to compliment them. The hops are predominantly citric and piney in character but also seem to have a nice floral component as well.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full bodied with light, creamy smooth carbonation. The finish is reasonably long and has a nice hop character showing as the sweetness fades away to leave behind a nice lingering dry bitterness.

Drinkability: This is one of those beers that falls into the "dangerously drinkable" category. It sips so easily that it would quite possible to forget the high ABV until it sneaks up on you. So I put it in the category of a one a night beer. That said, I did enjoy this beer and have added it to my shopping list for the future.

Photo of zoso1967
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a reddish amber color with a slightly tan head. The head is made up of both very large and very small bubbles and has great retention and lacing.

The aroma of this beer is very hoppy with a nice mix of grapefruit, zesty orange and a bit of pine. It also has a pretty good hit of sweetness that gives the citrus a sort of candied character.

The flavor is also hop forward with more of the grapefruit, orange and pine. It also has a slight dank and minty quality to the hops. The malt presence is evident with plenty of sweet sugary character. Caramel, toffee and brown sugar seem to be the main flavor components of the malt profile. To me this beer seems a bit on the malty sweet side and there is a bit of an unpleasant tug of war between the crazy sweet malts and the dry hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium with a lively amount of carbonation. The beer finishes with quite a lot of stickiness and leaves flavors of sweet citrus fruits on my tongue after swallowing.

Brown Shugga' goes down pretty easily, but the stickiness and maltiness hurt the drinkability of this beer for me. I really dig the hop flavors, but I am not such a fan of the malt profile. This is a very interesting beer none the less, and a nice hopping offering to get me in the mood for some of the crazy DIPAs that will be coming out soon.

Photo of ADZA
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Its a good name for this brew i reckon definately suits it anyway it pours a cherry hue with average carbonation that leaves a one finger head and some sporadic lacing,the aroma is beautiful very wintery with hints of toasted marshmallows,burnt toffee,pancakes cover in maple syrup and pine residue,it has a medium bodied mouthfeel which is perfectly carbonated for the style and almost leaves a sticky feeling on your mouth which really lets the flavour's of marshmallows dipped in hot caramel,pure honeycomb,piney residue laced hops and maple syrup all make themself known and i found all through the drop it had a nice sweet brown sugar background to it and hence i think the name is spot on it really suits it and overall its one of those drops that really does not have a fill in as i have not tasted anything similar and im stoked i bought more than the one of.

Photo of champ103
3.1/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear dark ruby/brown color. A two finger white head forms, and recedes after a minute. Tons of sticky lace is left behind.
S: Sweet malt, yeast, some spice as well. Plenty of alcohol.
T: Follows the nose with lots of sweet malt. Dark fruits of raisins and plums. A big, kind of Belgian yeast flavor as well. Lots of alcohol.
M/D: A medium to full body. Syrupy and sticky. Lots of alcohol makes this hard to finish.

Not bad, but the alcohol really shows here. Other than that, just some sweetness, and not a lot of depth. Another overly alcoholic beer with no nuance. Not something I would recommend.

Photo of Thanby
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful clear amber with a bunch of foamy off-white head that sticks like... well, sugar.

Surprisingly hoppy aroma, but the sticky sweet malt balances it nicely. Brown sugar is noticeable behind the hops.

First taste is the nice hop bouquet followed by a wash of sweet caramel malt, and the brown sugar sweetness.

Medium body, smooth and creamy as I've ever tasted, no trace of the ABV. Dangerous.

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

This is one wild beer. Poured into a Sam Adams 'Guinness-shaped' pint with a brown body and decent tan head, good on the lacing. Smells sweet and spicy a little hops. Oh boy 51 IBUs is perfect for this beer, any less might allow the shugga to be overpowering. The hop-taste is great and refreshing through all the other action in here. It's a very heavy beer, with good carbonation. Had two of these but rather would share with a friend than drink em both.

Photo of trelihan462
3/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a clear, dark-brownish red with a thin, off-white head. Decent amount of lacing sticks around.

Smell - Very hoppy and spicy, but a little sweetness to it as well.

Taste - Super hoppy, but has a really sweet aftertaste. Interesting combo.

Mouthfeel - Pretty spicy right away, burns on the way down.

Drinkability - Overall, it's not a -bad- beer, but I can't say I'm a fan of it. It's a little over-hopped and I don't think brown sugar works very well in an I.P.A., I was expecting a stout or a brown ale for this one.

Photo of BigHeavy
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip. Beer was not allowed to warm before initial consumption, but was enjoyed over the period of about an hour.

A: Beer pours a very dark shade of burnt orange. Pour yields a 1 finger or so head which fades into a very thin cap, which is very splotchy across the top of the beer. Brown Shugga' is fairly clear and allows some light through, and lets you witness some nice bubbles. Minimal lacing. Really is pretty to look at.

S: What a unique smelling beer. Never smelled anything quite like it. Aroma is heavy on sweetness, with some malts (caramel?) and some brown sugar-like notes. Some faint Lagunitas-style hoppiness going on, along with some alcohol.

T: Again, incredibly unique. An almost cloying sweetness pounces on your tongue. Definitely lives up to its name, taste kinda like brown sugar dissolved in booze. It overwhelms whatever hops until the beer warms up a little. Hops are typical Lagunitas. Beer is definitely boozy on the tongue as well. Kind of a different taste I'm still struggling with a bit. Complex, but confusing to my palate right now.

M: Pretty carbonated for a big beer, at least in my experience. A little oily on the palate, as the sweetness coats your mouth.

D: This is one I only have as a night cap before bed, as I could never drink more than one of these at a time due to the initial cloying nature. The 10% ABV is noticed rather quickly, as it goes straight to the dome.

O: Not my favorite offering from Lagunitas, but still "good". Probably won't get another sixer this year, although I am hanging onto the last one from this pack to see how it changes. Interesting and though provoking beer, just not my favorite.

Photo of trevorjn06
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper/brown color with nice amber highlights and a very thin layer of froth on the surface.

Aroma is caramel, brown sugar/molasses and a faint earthy hop smell. Fairly straight forward.

Taste is definitely on the sweet end of the spectrum, though there is just enough hop bitterness to balance it a bit. Flavors of caramel, brown sugar, honey and a bit of hop bitterness wash over my tongue, this beer is not shy. The finish leaves brown sugar and alcohol flavors lingering but is relatively crisp, not too sweet.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium/low carbonation and a nice mouth-coating feeling.

Overall this beer is quite drinkable for it's strength and not cloyingly sweet as I expected. The flavor profile is relatively simple, though satisfying. I would drink this again.

Photo of TexIndy
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on date of 10/28/10. Was a clear, dark amber color with good amount of carbonation. It had an average sized head that quickly settled into a very thin collar. Very slight lacing.

The aroma was heavy on caramel malt, brown sugar and piney hops as well. Good dose of alcohol. The taste follows the aroma with the sweet malt leading the way with some hops to somewhat balance the sweet. Very sweet - not cloying but close. Strong alcohol again. Mouthfeel was medium with good carbonation and sweet aftertaste.

Overall, it was good but just couldn't get into this one too much. Maybe some age would tone down the booziness which would help there but the sweet would stay. Avail here in TX. Rotation - glad I tried it but one is enough for me [N;N]

Photo of samie85
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a very clear, dark copper with two thick fingers of off white head.

S-Smells of sweet pineapple and some light malt notes with some caramel.

T-Big notes of pineapple with some dark fruit and a touch of bitterness and alcohol on the finish.

M-Pretty rich and full bodied for a hoppy beer. Smooth and slick in the mouth with low to medium carbonation.

D-For the ABV on this one, it's incredibly drinkable and and reminds me a lot of DIPA's like The Oracle

Photo of thagr81us
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a sampler shaker. Poured red-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, sweet hops, and brown sugar. The flavor was of sweet malt, citrus/bitter hops, alcohol, and brown sugar. It had a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this was a pretty good brew. I was definitely liking the hoppiness that this one brought to the table. Pretty well balanced as well. Good aroma going on that wasn't too sharp as to scare you away. This is a must try at least once.

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

on tap at barcade in brooklyn.

a. rich amber brown with a nice light head that lasts and laces.

s. really oaky, woody, and sweet.

t. lovely sweet notes up front, hoppy and fresh. blends into a really nice rich bitter alcoholic sweetness.

m. silky, low carbonation adds to the smooth feel. real nice.

d. 3.5.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a ruddy brown with amber highlights and a slim creamy beige head. Lacing is moderate.

Smell -- The hop aroma is classic Lagunitas: bright citrus, tacky pine resin, and dank leafiness. Brown sugar, bread pudding, brioche, and red malt.

Taste -- Sweet and a bit syrupy up front with raw cane sugar, brioche, and toasted red malt. Hopping is, again, typical Lagunitas: bright lemon zest, grapefruit pith, and a dab of pine resin and cannibus. There is a bit of bright and astringent plum skin flavor as well. Lingering flavors of candi sugar, red malt, and grapefruit pith.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body, slightly chewy, with gentler prickly carbonation. Feels pretty good.

Drinkability -- This one grew on me. Didn't care for it upon the first sip, but as the beer warmed I warmed to it. An apt description would be a hopped up imperial red ale paired with delicate baked goods. A bit sweet, yes, but pretty nice. Better than I had anticipated.

Photo of steelerguy
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel color with amber hues. Moderate carbonation, smallish head that fades quickly to a covering that leaves some good lacing.

S - Strong hop aroma upon opening the bottle, but pouring seemed to release it a bit. The malt then takes over with sweet caramel notes to go along with the pleasant pine hops aromas.

T - Lots of malt, plenty of dark caramel malts leaving a residual sweetness. A touch of citrus hop flavor to help balance out the sweetness, and a good bit of bitterness on the finish. The brown sugar adds some depth and I think helps thin it out a bit since there is a good deal of caramel malts in here.

M - Moderate body, could feel a bit heavy but it is balanced with moderate carbonation and the high ABV adds a nice warm finish to make the beer not seen too thick.

D - This beer is a mouthful, lots of malt...especially caramel, lots of adjuncts, lots of alcohol, and a good deal of hops. They are all in balance, but quite a bit of complexity, make it fun to drink but a couple in one sitting is plenty.

Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at U Pick 6 in Erie, PA.

Appearance: Brownish with a thin layer of of white head.

Smell: Malty, brown sugar and sweet caramel.

Taste: Sweet caramel malt, brown sugar with some hoppy bite mixed in.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and creamy.

Drinkability: Enjoyable beer by a top notch brewery that I will be drinking again.

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

On Tap at Sharp Edge Bistro On Penn, Pittsburgh.
Served in a Lagunitas glass, first time I have seen it on draft. Brownish orange color, big fluffy off-white head, long lasting foam and lace trails. Smells of malty sweetness, caramelized or burnt sugar, slightly fruity as well. I was expecting a very sugary sweet taste, but was really suprised by the balance. Lots of toasted, caramel malt. The brown sugar is in there, but with enough hops to keep the sweetness in check. Thick but not sticky or cloying mouthfeel, very smooth and creamy, good carbonation. Very drinkable, can not feel the high (9.9%) alcohol.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 4,257 ratings.