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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,207 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,207
Reviews: 1,349
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 178
Gots: 414 | 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: 4,207 | Reviews: 1,349 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kayaeye
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just poured this into my Terminator stout pint glass that is the keeper of all my ales.

A - Great caramel color in the glass, with less than a finger head. Fizzes out quickly.

S - Earthy at times, with a sweet aroma to start. A little sense of citrus tickling the nose hairs.

T - At first it was a bit much. the warmer it got the more I wanted. The high ABV is subtle and unassuming. The sweetness lingers on the lips and back of the tongue. Good balancing with the malts.

M - Very easy on the way down. Carbonation is mild.

D - For me the warmer it got the better it seemed. It seemed to expand in the mouth and the heat of the ABV came through. I could drink this all night!

Photo of industrialswill
4.97/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My Oh My !!!

This is some good stuff!
Dark brown with a thick tan colored head.
Powerfull smell with the promise of a strong beer up ahead.
Tastes exactly like what I had hoped, a full boogey ale full of rich roasted malt and a nice hop balance. The heat from the 10% ABV is so nice. This is practically the perfect beer for me. Hope these are available in Heaven.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.43/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Lagunitas Brown Shugga on cask at mighty Max's in B'more, MD, served in a pint.

Appearance: Huge fluffy head, almost three fingers. Persistent too. Enormous lacing, bigger than in a Guinness or other creamy stouts.

Smell: Pound cake, sugars, some coconut and other sweet tropical fruits. Strawberry and orange juice. Reminds me of a cask IPA, like Lagunitas's own Hop Stoopid. The aroma is a tad too sweet overall, but enticing.

Taste: More of the same. Tropical feel, dessert. Very sweet and juicy (as in juice-like, not full-bodied). Some ice-cream flavors. Vanilla and creme brulee. A pleasant but pungent, lip-smacking bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium body. As expected from a cask. Finishes dry, nice coating, a bit sticky. Incredibly sweet overall.

Drinkability: A sipper. I struggled. Too sweet and nourishing. Feels like a whole meal (dessert, in fact). As it warmed up, it became unbearably hot and sweet. Not like a huge barleywine, but just unpleasant, like hot-and-cooked orange juice. I left one quarter of my pint. Not a big fan of this one...

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

A: Tiny golden head that doesn't stay very long on top of an amber colored beer.

S: The aroma is citrus and grapefruit entangled with some caramel.

T: Nice flavor. Starts with caramel and the citrus notes. A bit of dark fruit flavor as well. The bitterness comes in and rides out the rest of the drink with a grassy, pine flavor along with it. Definitely an inherent sweetness to the beer.

M: Good carbonation and medium body. Pretty smooth.

D: The higher abv is not very upfront at all, which really adds to the drinkability, but the bitterness seems to linger for a bit, hurting drinkability. Overall, it is pretty smooth and definitely tasty. The sweetness does eventually catch up with this beer.

Photo of stimulus
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter (from a 6 pack).

A: Pours a clear amber with a light tan head.
S: VERY sweet and malty.
T: Big brown sugar flavors with some toffee notes on the finish, yet no trace of alcohol and not cloying at all.
M: Smooth, well carbonated, and medium bodied, but a bit sticky on the finish.
D: Easy to drink and quite affordable (10.99/6 pack). Lagunitas, you've done it again! However, if you aren't a fan of sweet beers or barleywines, you may want to avoid this.

Note: this review is from notes from 11/29/10.

Photo of u2carew
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz stubby poured into a chalice.
A) Pours with a finger thick head then settles to some big bubbled lacing on top, and thin, tight, and creamy on the sides of the glass. Some haze. Ruby in color.
S) Caramel. Orange. Floral. A bit earthy.
T) Powerful malt blast up front mixed with some hop bite, but not too intense. Finishes nutty, with some citrus sweet/sour and a slight bitterness.
M) Full body feel. Fizzy. Fairly smooth. A touch of dryness in the finish.
D) A decent brew. I might consider another if it's the first beer of the night - the ABV is up there!

Photo of BB1313
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. I've always been a big fan of this one. Pours a nice hazy copper w/ light fluffy head and decent lacing. This beer smells so good! The hops are fruity and balanced perfectly w/ the sweetness from the sugars; slightly malty w/ bread notes. This one gets better as it warms up a little.. the flavors are more pronounced that way. Mouthfeel is superb.. carbonated and creamy.. goes down great. Drinkabilty is dangerously good.. makes a great sipper.. savor this beer!

This is a great, unique, hoppy beer that really doesn't know what style it wants to be, but it's awesome. Lagunitas says it's a "Barleywine gone wrong".. works for me!

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

Poured into a pint glass...

The smell is fabulous. There's hops, caramel and citrus, accented by a malty sweetness. The use of brown sugar is definitely noticed.

This is my first strong ale, so it's probably obvious that it tastes like an IPA but without the hoppy bitterness (assuming it's cut by the sugar). But it's still a powerful, warming brew. The 10% abv. lends itself to the the rich, smooth and thick mouthfeel.

On a final note, the beer pairs very well with butternut squash soup.

Perfect for the fall season!

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

12oz poured into a tulip.

A good finger of pillowy white head. Hazy orange body. Nice solid lacing with a good film that remains throughout.

Sweet on the nose with a good malt base. Caramel, toffee, with a good citrus background.

Strong malt base, with toasted bread and a light caramel flavor to start. Then moves into a rather dry middle taste, but is quickly accentuated by the citrus hop flavors. Hops are rather strong and finish off the flavors. Little sugar in the taste, Could probably use a bit of cellaring to bring out the strong malts and let the hops settle, but that is up to you. As it warms, the sugar comes out a bit more. This is very barleywine-esque.

Thick mouthfeel, almost chewy. No alcohol noticeable, and for 9.99%, that is crazy. Best to stick to one.

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

Poured in Delirium snifter

A- Very dark amber in color. When poured aggressively, a couple fingers of off-white head developed atop the brew. The lacing is clinging to every inch of this glass when tilted.

S- Really strong up front with a sweet sugar, hoppy blast. Underneath the hop scent lies the beastly 10% ABV begging for you to sip.

T- Very sweet and hoppy with balance well achieved. Grassy hops mixed with sweet brown sugar bellow throughout each sip. The high potency of this brew is well masked.

M- Full smooth feel that's barely bitter on the end and is rich in flavor. Good carbonation makes for a super smooth flow when sipped. Great balance!

D- Due to it's potency I wouldn't recommend slammin' a sixer in a night's session but it is definitely a great occasion beer that is my favorite from Lagunitas.

Also, I will be cellar-aging a few to look for developments over the next year and a half

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

75th review on BA
Bottle to pint

App- Deep dark amber with a mild carbonation and a very thin head.

Smell- Very sweet indeed, a nice touch of candied scent with sugar.

Taste- A sweet beer on the first taste with the bulk of the balance being on being a smooth drinking beer. It lends well to the darker sugars well.

Mouth- To me it's a lighter mouthfeel but leaves the palate with a great finish.

Drink- Would be a good session beer on a cold day while camping around the fire.

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

12oz bottle. Pours a copper color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Small amount of lacing. Aromas of hops, brown sugar, and an overall sweet smell. Taste is hops mixed with brown sugar. Sweet, boozey and somewhat bready. This beer has that nice hoppiness to it you expect from Lagunitas, but the brown sugar sweetness is almost too much. Overall I like it and this is a high octane brew that drinks well but it is very sweet.

Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Ruby/amber-brown, with light tan, albeit a tad thin, head, leaving behind nice splotchy, circular lacing.

S: Citrus hops shoot up the nostrils, followed by the soothing, delectable scents of brown sugar, reminds me of a DIPA.

T: The "barleywine gone wrong" makes for one of the best beers I've had in a while. There is such a strong presence of citrus hops, that makes me think, "oh, DIPA," but then there is the incredible, yet not overpowering, sweetness of brown sugar that I just haven't experienced with any other beer. This brew walks the tightrope with a near-perfect balance of hoppy bitterness to malty sweetness. The contrast of sharp hops and brown sugar is like no other and works beautifully.

M: Excellently carbonated, medium body, very smooth, near creamy. Faint alcohol burn, but that's to be expected with the style.

D: I have nothing but positive things to say about this beer. It might be among my favorites of all time.

Photo of hosehead83
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. "stubby" bottle into a standard pint glass
Copper/amber in color, with a nice, thick head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Citrussy hops, brown sugar-caramel. Very pleasant.
Taste-Brown sugar/maple syrup covered grapefruit.
Excellent balance of sweet and bitter. Easy does it! 9.99ABV not evident, sip slowly and enjoy the great melding of flavor. Tasty, caramel-coated hoppy goodness. Not to be missed. Get some!!

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

This is a beautiful looking beer, golden red. I want paint my living room this color. It smells of the the brown sugar. There is a very one dimensional smell here, all sugar on the nose, overpowering everything else. This is a very good tasting beer. The dominating taste is sweetness but not without complexity For such a sweet beer there is a decent amount going on beyond just sweetness. This is a very drinkable and pleasant beer. The mouthfeel is pleasant and this is more drinkable than any 9.99% beer has a right to be. Overall, this beer is a little top heavy with the sweetness but I'll be damned if it's not an entirely enjoyable beer.

Photo of BeerPhan86
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a clear light reddish brown with a minimal tan head. Good retention and lacing on what little head there is, though.

S - Grapefruit hops and sweet malt. Toasted caramel sugar and light spice.

T - Huge amount of grapefruit hops up front followed by a blast of spices (pepper, brown sugar, cinnamon) and a hint of caramel. Finishes dry and boozy. Not as much brown sugar taste as the name implies but it is well balanced and very interesting.

M - Creamy and slightly chewy with minimal carbonation.

D - Very high abv and too much flavor for me to session (although I managed three on Thanksgiving). The flavors open up more as it warms so I would recommend sipping it.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Clear Ruby with rust and auhburn colored parts. A small white head caps it with decent retention in the form of a thin skin.

S- Sticky, dank hops. Its that dense, wild onion and fleshy weeds kind of smell with hints of grass stain.

T- Still more of that dense hop character. Brown sugar does little to sweeten it up buy it does manage to come close to balancing things out. There is a rock candy /crystalized sugar kind of taste.

In all this is pretty good. I remember I had this last year at at bodega. I wouldn't have many qualms with drinking this again.

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

Lagunita's Brown Shugga' - Initially the recipe was intended to be a Barleywine, but they failed, and re-labeled the brew as Brown Shugga. It developed a following and is now an annual offering.

Appearance: Brown Shugga appears clear and brownish, with a good sized off white foam and lace work.

Smell: Piney hops and a hint of sweetness. At the onset, I was anticipating the taste. I would go as far to say that the aroma to this beer was excellent.

Taste: Caramelized brown sugar! Hops! Indeed, it falls flat as a Barleywine, but this is a finely crafted Strong American Brown Ale. A nice resinous piney hop presence with a strong malt backbone. Warming.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: A bit chewey in the mouthfeel, alcohol is big but not overstated here. A pretty delicious beer and I do plan to drink more of this.

Photo of HiLLWiLLiam
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can't believe this beer is 9.9% ABV seeing as I sip them like wine coolers on the daily. There is only one store in my set that carries them and I buy him out of stock in singles regularly. Beautiful red tint, smooth going down. High class no matter how you look at it.

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

Glass - Tulip

A - Ultra clear amber color with little visible C02. It produced a 1-finger head that dissipated pretty fast to a thin ring. It left nice splotches on my glass.

S - Brown sugar and a nutty notes that get richer as it warms. Lots of leafy hops and bit of orange rind with a bread like quality to it as well.

T - Lots of brown sugar, alcohol but doesn't taste like 10%. Caramel, molasses, nutty flavors. A bit of biscuit and toffee like notes in the middle and it finishes with a bit of lemon citrus and mild bitterness.

M - Mild crispness, smooth and soft with a medium-full body.

D - The drinkability is very good for what it is, I think I could drink it like an 8% beer rather than a 10%. I really do notice the alcohol as it warms but the well blended roasty, nutty and brown sugar notes really keep you interested for 1-2 of em. Pretty damn good to me, I would definitely buy this one again for sure, very enjoyable. Cheers!

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

glass: Tulip

Sort of a dark wood color, very clear. Nice foamy 1-finger head. Looks very appealing.

Out of the fridge the smell is very one-sided, i'm getting fruiting hops, papaya and mango, that's about it. As it warms more malt is present, brown sugar and light caramel.

The taste is a wonderful blend of brown sugar, caramel, papaya, mango and a nice resiny hop flavor. If it wasn't for the light heat down the throat i would never have guessed this is coming in at 10% ABV. Dangerous. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety.

I'm very impressed by how well hidden the alcohol is in this brew. Overall, it's awesome. I'll be sure to take my time with this, even though i feel as though i could drink it within 15 minutes.

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

12oz bottle (no date) poured into a milkshake pilsner glass.

Appearance: Bright amber-red clear colored beer with plenty of small bubbles slowly moving up through the beer. Dense light tan 1/8" persistent foam with sheets and strands of lacing all over the place. Nice looking beer.

Smell: Very hoppy. Pine and floral hops dominate, but there is some hint of mango and grapefruit.

Taste: The nickname of "Sweet Release" fits with this beer nicely. The pine and floral hops start off, but then quickly merge into a sweet malt profile with a definite brown sugar flavor to it. This sweetness is released, but then ends with a tart bitter hop finish. It's a sharp finish, but not a lingering one. The alcohol is not at all present, despite the higher ABV. I've had beers with lower ABV where the alcohol was more obvious. Really an impressive beer.

Mouthfeel: Nice carbonation on the tongue - just on the right side of spicy. Just right level of thickness - smooth and slick but there is some lingering film and sensation on the teeth.

Drinkability: With an ABV this high, this is a sipping and savoring beer for me, but it did go well with a roast beef burrito for dinner. While I can feel the alcohol a bit about halfway down the glass, this beer is so smooth and tasty I could see myself fooled into another one if I didn't know it was this high of an ABV content. A dangerously drinkable beer.

Photo of jrsully77
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Darker than I thought it would be but nice color and head.

Bitter smell that you would exspect from and IPA or Imperial IPA.

Good taste, I was expecting a lot of sweetness with a name like "Brown Shugga" but this beer is very hoppy....hop heads unite!

A nice tardness that makes you toung almost contact.

Good beer to warm you for the winter months. The hops are strong but balanced.

Photo of jwinship83
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from 2010. drank my from chimay chalice.

A- this one pours out a translucent ruby red colored body with brownish highlights. the beer looks almost still. very small crown of a head that is khaki colored. little to no lacing left behind.

S- very sweet is my initial reaction. brown sugar and caramel. a little bit of nuttiness in the nose also. at the end im picking up more hops than i was expecting to find.

T- as with the nose, the taste is very sweet. it starts out with a strong brown sugar and caramel like maltiness. in the middle there is a moderate nutty flavor. earthy and piny hops finish this one off. the hops seem too assertive for what i was expecting. the alcohol is well hidden.

M- medium bodied with a low level of carbonation. aside from detracting from the appearance, the light carbonation really works for this one. palate coating and sticky. little to no warming from the alcohol.

D- the large amount of hops in this one seems out of place, but this is a brewery that loves to over-hop things. i bet this one gets even better with a few years on it. a great value at $9.99/sixer on this one. too strong to think about more than one at a time.

Photo of velosuds
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Single purchased at John's Market for $1.69. No bottle dating evident.

A-pours a clear orange-copper hue with a one + finger cream-colored head with good retention and ample lacing.

S-Malts and brown sugar dominate the aroma with citric hops similar to an IPA/DIPA.

T-Malts dominate the flavor profile too. Noted are caramel malts and brown sugar. Reminiscent of maple flavored instant oatmeal. This is a sweet beer that is nicely balance by hop bitterness. It is boozy too, and not unwelcome on a cold winter-like autumn night.

M-Very smooth and creamy, but just a little thin.

D-This is quite drinkable for such a big beer at 9.99% (overly pedantic measures) and a good value. Nice that is bottled in 12 oz. six packs.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 4,207 ratings.