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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

3,691 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,691
Reviews: 1,298
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 146
Gots: 236 | 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
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Ratings: 3,691 | Reviews: 1,298 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Stoneman78
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear orange hue, tan foamy head that is mostly sustained, moderate lacing
S- Boozey aroma, tones of molasses and brown "shugga", some fruity sweetness too
T- Sweet roast and caramel malts, sugary molasses, bitter coffee, finishes bitter with a stiff alcohol warming
M- Full-bodied, oily texture, mild carbonation
D- A unique brown/strong ale with flashes of flavor, a bit too cloying and boozey for my tastes, I would probably not go out of my way for a second tasting

Stoneman78, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer several times before and did a review, but I am doing another review because I feel the previous one was way too shallow.

Pours a clear but darker amber brown. Nice sized crème head. Nose is a nice slightly sweet toned hoppy thing. I feel like I am getting a whiff of sugar cane on there too. Flavor is a combination of firm ale qualities with an amount of brown sugar mixed in that takes it to the side a little bit to an interesting place. The ale tones here are so well done. A nice thick and meaty offering. Feel has a great carbonation to it and a good body as well. Very drinkable. I don't get any of that 9.9% alcohol as it goes down. Smooth and even. Another very good brew by Lagunitas.

RblWthACoz, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of jkdrummer
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant red amber hue. Firm head at first but fades. Steady carb. Initial taste is sweet sweet sweet, some malty-ness in the background. Gave me sticky lips. Bitterness follows but not that pleasant. After a few sips the obvious alcoholiness takes over, they aren't kidding with the 9% ABV either. A strange brew but a unique taste of sweet brown sugar that isn't found in any other ale that I know of . . . Try it.

jkdrummer, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of ccrida
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Appearance is a hazy, brownish amber, with a large, long lasting off-white head that leaves clingy lace, an obvious benefactor of the sugar and hop content.

Smell is fruity and malty, with a nice west coast hop backbone.

Taste is also really assertive on the hops of the PNW variety, but plenty of assertion from the malt and sugar. Fruity apricot and grape esters really come out as it warms, but it keeps from thickening too much. Sweet of course, but there's more to it that, with only a hint to the high ABV, this is ones probably my favorite of the winter big hoppy reds.

Mouthfeel is a bit oily, medium bodied.

Drinkability is very good for me...I rarely have more then 2 or 3 in a sitting due to the high ABV and robust taste, but I enjoy them fresh all winter. Another tasty, cheap big brew from Lagunitas, very cool!

ccrida, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of tayner
1.7/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

poured a dark amber with a good head.

Smelled like perfume, floral hops

tasted like sugar dissolved in lighter fluid and then sprayed with perfume

couldnt keep it in my mouth long enough to comment on mouthfeel

I couldnt drink this.. my second official drainpoor.

tayner, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of hellcatsjg
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown ale with a slight tan head that has good staying power.

Smell: Light sweetness with some citrusy hops. Not much from the nose here.

Taste: Once you get acclimated to the too powerful citrus hops, this beer has a nice sweet flavor. This beer, like all the Lagunitas brews I have tried, relies too much on the hops. The sweet nutty flavor and the added brown sugar sweetness would be better served up front more. Decent flavor, but not what I had hoped for.

Mouthfeel: Good thickness and good smoothness. Also, a nice warmth as you go. The hops linger a bit too long in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Easy to drink if you are looking for hops. Decent enough beer and hides its ABV well.

hellcatsjg, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of gkatsoris
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice amber brown. With a very strong head; 3 fingers high and holding.

S: Nutty! And vanilla, hops, and a little alcoholy. Maybe the slightest hint of citrus (orange) from the hops.

T: Sweet, like powdered sugar sweet. Nutty! Maple syrup and honey and vanilla. Followed by subtle hops (on the tip and edges of the tongue). Very balanced. The sweetness really balances the high alcohol.

M: Nice carbonation. Very balanced. Coats the tongue well, and gives the tongue a nice zip afterwards.

D: Considering the alcohol content, this drink is very smooth. Feels nice, the aroma lingers, and the taste stays. Not bad at all!

gkatsoris, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of Kendo
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got it on tap at Lionheart in Albany on 12/26/07.

A: Clear, dark amber-reddish body with a beige, half-finger head. Leaves good rings of lacing on the way down the glass.

S: Almost all sweet stuff: brown sugar, roasted and caramel malt and molasses. Hint of alcohol -- spiced rum -- as it warms.

T: Malty sweetness dominates, especially early in the sip: roasted and caramel malt (like the nose), brown sugar and molasses. Citrusy hops add bitterness at the finish, however, and do a pretty good job of offsetting the sweetness. Also finishes hot -- more so as it warms. Fruit also becomes evident as it warms.

M: Heavier-than-medium in weight, well carbonated.

D: OK. A little too sweet for my preference and the noticeable booze knocks it down a bit.

Notes: The first time I ever had this was a sample at dba in NYC. I didn't buy a full glass then b/c I thought it was too sweet. I've now come to appreciate that there's more balance here than I originally thought, but still, this beer resides more on the sweet, malty side of the equation rather than on the bitter, hops side. . . . At one point I had the thought "this is like a poor man's Arrogant Bastard" -- a sweeter Strong Ale with more booze in it, leaning a tad towards barleywine territory. Worth checking out.

Kendo, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of SargeC
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber with a minimal, light-tan head.

Smell: Sweet quality, fruit juice with underlying hops.

Taste: powerful sweet character dominates. The hops peek through just enough to be interesting.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a syrupy quality. Leaves a sticky film on everything it touches.

Drinkability: Very flavorful and unique. It reminded me of a light Barley Wine.

SargeC, Dec 26, 2007
Photo of tgbljb
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a crystal clear deep amber color with moderate off-white head.
Smell is a bit sweet, with some subtle tones of caramel present.
Taste is nice. The sweet malt (and brown sugar) combine nicely with a firm hop presence to form a truly enjoyable beer.
The hops show throught more at the finish.
This is the scariest beer I every drank. The alcohol is completely hidden in the taste (but I can feel it). A nice winter beer.

tgbljb, Dec 26, 2007
Photo of kkipple
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga' -- great name. Beer with brown sugar. Sign me up. Just the facts here.

A. clear, polished brown, 3cm tan head comprised of various sized bubbles.

S. Sweet, sweet brown sugar! Alcohol heat, molasses, singed grain, sweet malt and a much needed citrus hop note round things off.

T. Sweet, mostly. Sugar really shines through. Medium malt character, mild bitter hops that attempt to even out the aggressive sweetness. Slightly nutty. Warming. Roasty finish and all around very smooth.

M. Dry. Full. Milky-smooth. Finishes sweet (yup.)

D. A fine malty delight, although the sweetness is a little high for me. Sugary from start to finish, this is a good dessert beer -- would probably go stupid well with creme brulee. Recommended.

kkipple, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from Wine Gallery in Brookline, MA. A: Amber, very clear, moderate amount of tan head that goes down to a caked on layer. Lots of lacing. S: Brown sugar of course, lots of dark fruit and some citrus as well (orange especially). Some boozey spice and roasted malts. T: Syrupy sweet up front with a nice bitter finish. Much more hoppy than I expected, which is very nice. M: Very thick, chewy, moderate to low carbonation. D: I was really surprised by the hop profile on this one--it's sort of like a cross between a barleywine and a DIPA. Really fantastic, unique beer. I'll definitely pick this up again if I see it.

PlaywrightSam, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of xpando420
5/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

very possibly my favorite ale. i waited for 8 months for it to be re-released, this year in 6-packs. Brown shugga is actually a variant of lagunitas Gnarlywine, an aptly named barlywine. the taste of the brown sugar makes it very pleasant to drink, hides the alcohol well. definately best nearly ice-cold in a chilled pint glass.

xpando420, Dec 24, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
3/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I thought this was a brassy big brown ale. I enjoyed the fact that it really wasn’t boring like many brown ales can be, but its very evident alcohol content (9.9% and it shows) and lots of graininess give me some reservations regarding giving it a superior rating.

After pouring, the beer had a moderate amount of head. The body was tan, clear and brilliant. Aroma was grainy, with some cereal-ness, but also with a serious amount of hoppiness. Flavor was bitter and hoppy, with a lot of copper metallic-ness and also with a significant amount of malted-milk-ball cereal flavor. The alcohol presence in this beer is substantial, and definitely not concealed by any of this beers other attributes. Mouthfeel was pretty harsh…between the alcohol presence and cereal-ness.

Still, despite all this, this beer is interesting, and I’d recommend it.
I got this 12 oz bottle from 3 Cellars in Franklin, WI.

BeerBelcher, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of AylwinForbes
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dulcie picked this up at Wholefoods. Being big fans of the Lagunitas we are interested in trying new things. That said, I was a little circumspect about drinking a beer that seemed to speak of sweetness in the name. The 10% alcohol level was certainly a compensating factor; but actually it was a revelation in the glass. It poured a clear coppery teak colour with very little carbonation; the nose was redolent of molasses, but in the mouth you have an interesting tension between the bitterness of hop and the residual sugar. The key is, it wasn't sweet at all, but beguilingly smooth and syrupy with some caramel butterscotch notes. In an inexperienced hand it could be extremely dangerous: hugely drinkable. A top five find for us.

AylwinForbes, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of malty
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliantly clear copper amber with a loose n' fluffy light beige 2" head. A little bit of lacework going on.

The nose on this baby is packed with fresh floral hops and sweet-toasty malty goodness. Faint alcohol in there as well, but nothing's disturbing this sweet and hoppy delight that (hopefully) is about to come.

Uh...the flavor/s I was anticipating never really materialized. There definitely is a good amount of bitterness from the hops, but the flavor comes off as green tea-like. There's almost a vegetal flavor that builds from the hops. The maltiness is sweet and syrupy, but it’s almost like the hops and the malts cancel each other out - weird. No alcohol flavor whatsoever - very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is oily and a bit syrupy. Full bodied with a slight bitter and dry finish.

Drinkability is okay. I'm glad I only bought this single, as I probably won't be purchasing another from the store anytime soon. I'd like to try one on draft though.

Overall a somewhat disappointing brew. I was hoping for a little fireworks but all I got was a little 'pop'. It’s a very smooth strong ale, but no scenery or personality. Well constructed but uneventful.

malty, Dec 16, 2007
Photo of schoolboy
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beauty fits the name. Sweet and nasty, how come you taste so good. Being a Stones fan (and it said "how come you taste so good" on the package) I grabbed a six of these and opened one up while I was cooking lunch. It immediately impressed me with its' fullness. It is sweet, but there is so much going on with it that you wouldn't call it too sweet. After two thirds of a glass I figured I better check the label for alcohol content (for safety's sake).

It's a unique taste and very drinkable, and I will buy again. Yes, it is sure to kick your butt if you drink more than a couple (which I probably will).

It totally fits the song! You shoulda heard him just around midnight!

schoolboy, Dec 15, 2007
Photo of Shaw
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice copper color with a foamy head and a lightly hoppy aroma.

The taste is strong and bitter, with caramel flavors mixing with solvent alcohol and a final bitter aftertaste. Not bad, but nothing great.

Decent body and drinkability.

I'm not as disappointed in this beer as this review appears. This is a fine strong ale, just not one of my favorites. Kudos to Lagunitas for trying something cool: brown sugar in the brew.

Shaw, Dec 13, 2007
Photo of ruckzuck
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - amber, red, bit of a head, bit of lacing

S - brown sugar, some malt

T - brown sugar, some malt, hoppiness comes through, alcohol is also there

M - medium-heavy body, solid, not too much carbonation, bit of alcohol

D - well, this is quite strong and quite sweet. Definitely enjoyable, but I'm not sure I could do more than 2 (and that's pushing it) in a sitting due to the strength and fullness of it. Of course as the alcohol continues to sink in I start to reconsider another. Ha. Either way I like it. Check it out!

ruckzuck, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of jdoncbus
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured bottle into a tulip glass. Heavy lacing with 2-finger head. Pours a dark amber brown. Beer was served around 50'.

Quite malty on the nose and of course, the brown sugar. Can make out some hops but not too much.

The malt sits heavy on the palate and is pretty sweet. Some hops step out which keeps a nice balance along with some sweet caramel & brown sugar. Somewhat chewy mouthfeel which in the usual Lagunitas fashion leaves some bitterness and a slight burn down the back of the throat.

The high alcohol presence is hidden well only really noticable when going down the throat. Snow is on the ground here in Central Ohio and this beer compliments it well, keeps you warm with a nice flavor. Another winner from the brewers in Petaluma.

jdoncbus, Dec 08, 2007
Photo of CortexBomb
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is coppery brown with almost no head. Nose is more subdued than I was expecting, bready, but with a notable pine edge.

The taste starts out sweetly citrus character with noticeable back of the tongue bitters. The hops quickly are buried in an avalanche of malts, though the citrus edge maintains its presence. Hoppy character, yet still well balanced.

The mouthfeel on this is nice, not super thick, but fairly viscous with good hop bitters. The drinkability, decent but not remarkable. It's an average drinking beer with an average price. I might rebuy, I might not.

The bottom line: I didn't know quite what to expect with this beer, but what I got was a well balanced beer with a notable hop presence. I don't think it's particularly amazing, but it succeeds as an enjoyable strong ale.

CortexBomb, Dec 04, 2007
Photo of GRPunk
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- It poured a deep amber color with light-medium carbonation. There was a 1/2" tan head that quickly turned to a lace that left a nice stick on the side of the glass.

S- It had a really nice aroma. It was big in both sweet-bread malt and pine-citrus hop scents. Just a hint of alcohol lets you know this beer means business.

T- A bready malt character is initially balanced with some citrus-like hops. However, there is an overwhelmingly sweet finish that came across and didn't sit well with me. The alcohol became more evident as the beer warmed.

M- The initial mouthfeel was really nice. It was smooth and lightly carbonated. However, there was a lingering thickness that allowed the sweet flavor to hang around.

D- Not great. I saw this beer was a definite sipper near the 10% abv mark, but something about the sweetness is a turnoff for me.

Overall- A great beer if you're into sweet. I'm going through a phase of really enjoying malty beers, but this one seems to go too far in the brown sugar direction. There were good things about this beer, but not enough to compensate for the negative for me.

GRPunk, Dec 03, 2007
Photo of pmcadamis
4.85/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Found this on tap at Old Chicago in Peoria!

A - Clear amber brew topped with a tight one finger white head of really fluffy and crispy-looking foam. The head reminds me of that white stuff that people put underneath their Christmas villages.

S - Wow! Super-hoppy and very sugary too. I can smell the brown sugar for sure, but this is pretty much all about the big Northwestern hops. Cascade maybe?

T - This is really piney, a little bit citrusy, and very solidly malted too. The brown sugar is there, but again...hop city! The malts live up to the very demanding nature of the hops and serve to make this crazy brew balanced....if you can call a nearly 10% abv beer brewed with brown sugar balanced.

M - Full bodied, nicely carbonated...crisp, but never distracting from the flavor. Really sugary and boozy. This is balanced, moderately dry on the finish, and somewhat oily. A very solid and structured brew!

D - Sobriety be damned! I want more of this glorious stuff! This is really an outstanding brew....could take the place of a brandy after dinner, but it's balanced enough to drink a few of if you aren't planning on operating any heavy machinery in the next few hours!

pmcadamis, Dec 03, 2007
Photo of NitroGen
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P: 12 oz. short brown bottle, O.G. 1.100 Alc. 9.99% by Vol.. I.B.U. 51.1

A: Amber pour with a finger of light brown foanm head that slowly fades to a scant cover and lacing.

S: Citrus pith, roasted grains and sight sweetness

T: Burst of bitter hops then a rush of sweet roasted malt and a slight oily tongue with sweetness, roasted and hops fighting it out….all in the blink of an eye.
This is a great exercise for the mouth! No obvious alcohol vapor,fumes lurking in any of the taste.

M: A great treat for the mouth! This one is a keeper and will get more to see how it ages and compare it too next years release.

D: Could drink a number of these but would have to try and keep in mind the ABV level!

NitroGen, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of cjgator3
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brownish red color with an off-white head. The aroma is a lot of sweet malt and piney hops. The taste much like the aroma features a good dose of malt followed by a nice hoppy finish. There is a good dose of hops in the taste, but there is a sufficient amount of malt to make this a well balanced brew. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth. The drinkability is pretty high considering it's high ABV, the full malt and hop flavors mask the alcohol pretty well. Overall, this is a very good beer that is recommended.

cjgator3, Dec 01, 2007
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,691 ratings.