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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

3,706 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,706
Reviews: 1,298
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 147
Gots: 245 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,706 | Reviews: 1,298 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of tjkurz
2.83/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served out of bottle in pint glass. Nice but lighter brown was expecting darker - a few fingers of head that held nicely. Smelled boozey and hoppy for a brown. I was expecting at least a hint of brown sugar and a lot more maltiness. Felt decently carbonated but not too much so, great mouthfeel when warmer. Tasted boozey and hoppy for a brown. Drinkability - I really hadn't read the abv, a little boozey for me.

tjkurz, Nov 30, 2007
Photo of Atron67
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- poured a poured a rubyish tinged light brown that looked pretty damn hazy, I had a medium head build, and left even more on the second pour, up but it did fade pretty quickly down to a thin film with light lacing where the thick head had been. at the end of the 750 ml it left a huge amount of white flaky particulate.

S- pretty damn malty smelling, actually reminds me of Stones old guardian in its first scents, pretty complex, the brown sugar notes are pretty low compared to what i was expecting, and there are slight fruit notes.

T- very smooth for a 10 % 'er, a solid malt body which is smoothened by the brown sugar without making it cidery or light in flavor. the brown sugar gives it some dark fruit notes and gives a solid ale flavor throughout, some nice hoppy backing but not overpowering, more balanced than anything else from the hop role

M- a medium/full body, light for a 10% er but it I would guess there is a lot of brown sugar present

D- a pretty solid ale, better than i was expecting from the reviews, but hey thats the name of the game.

Atron67, Nov 26, 2007
Photo of Floydster
3.15/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle purchased from Beverage Warehouse for about two dollars, split with my dad tonight

Poured into a Stone pint glass with a medium brown color and super small white head. maybe an eighth of an inch, left no real lacing

Smell was strong and some cherries and oranges, could tell this one packed a punch from its aroma

Taste was hoppy, I was expecting lots of sugar and malt based on its name and message on the side of the bottle but I was wrong, as dry as an IPA at times because of the hoppiness, some oranges are also in the taste, sweeter when it gets to room temperature, hint of molasses in the aftertaste

Could not drink much of this at all, the five or six ounces I had wasw enough, strong taste and near ten percent alcohol will keep me away

Not the best from Lagunitas but not bad at the same time, wish this one was a little sweeter which is odd because most of their beers are typically, cool idea for brewing this one though but the sugar cane is barely distinguishable, recommended if curious like I was

Floydster, Nov 23, 2007
Photo of Drew966
3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brown Shugga' pours a light brown with an off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. There is a very mild malty aroma. The flavor is quite strong on hops like an American IPA, bright and floral, but the malt bill is quite different. There is a sweet flavor, but I'm not sure I can attribute it to the brown sugar though. Not bad, but it didn't really do it for me.

Drew966, Nov 21, 2007
Photo of Murchmac
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As sunset approaches this beer blends in with the environment. Pours like the sun going down over the ocean.

Alcohol smell, sweet malts, west coast hops.

Big alcohol taste, dark sugar, molasses, some hops. Delicioso! It slowly coats your tongue and rocks you to sleep.

Aftertaste finishes big, sticky, and long.

Buy this one when you can.

Murchmac, Nov 20, 2007
Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
2.78/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Got word that I was being released at three bars in my area on the same night, some sort of "release party..." Got there right around 8:30, and the bartender said I was the first one to try it. So the ice cold beer went into the shaker...

A - Amber body, decent head, pretty standard.

T - Fruity citrus hops stuck out, with some barleywine-like alcohol notes. Again, not very exciting...

T - Entry seemed to focus on the sweet alcohol. Cherry and orange flavors seemed off in the dry finish.

M - Very full and smooth mouthfeel. First thing about this beer I liked...

D - I don't know what it is about this beer, but it has never seemed to impress me. I love Lagunitas, and I want to like this beer, but no... Also, I get a little tired of bartenders asking me if there is something wrong with my beer when I am just waiting for it to warm up to something other than 38 F....

SammyDavisJrJrJr, Nov 12, 2007
Photo of kajerm
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Map Room, last beer of pretty solid night. Pours translucent red with a finger or so of fine lacing carbonation.

The aroma is piney, West Coast hops. My girlfriend insists they're floral, but I insist she's wrong (she knows her hops; this is a rare occurrence.) Big toffee malts. I definitely know where they're getting the whole brown sugar thing from.

The flavor is very similar with, malt becoming a dominant presence mid-to-late palate. Hops are big throughout.

The mouthfeel is velvety-smooth-- very nice.

Overall, a very strong offering. The fact that this thing is almost 10% ABV and I thought it was a "nice, light, drinkable beer" at the time gives me more perspective on just how thoroughly I have become the stereotypical American craft beer drinker. I really do love those barrel-aged Brett-infected Imperial Double Bourbon Coffee Breakfast Stouts, and I make no apology for it.

But enough with the stupid, pointless stream-of-consciousness BS. I liked this beer, and you should too.

also: what the hell is an American Strong Ale, anyway?

kajerm, Nov 11, 2007
Photo of eatdrinknbmerry
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 12-oz bottle.

Fell in love with this beer when i saw the name of it. Very cool. Of all the x'mas ale labels, this is one of the more appealing ones. Nothing is more ugly than Pizza Port's Santa's Little Helper label. Anyway, to the beer.

Head: About 3/4" thick. Nice, stayed up for quite a long time.

A: caramel color.

S: A nice subtle tone of apricots, which I think smell great in beer. Gets the tongue ready for a deep-tasting ale.

T: A deliberate taste of brown sugar and slight undertone of honey or molasses. Maybe more on the molasses side since it's dark/bitter.

M: Very nice and smooth.

D: This one is much easier to drink than strong-flavored beers like Anderson Valley's Winter Solstice (2007). But I think the heavy molasses taste will make this less appealing to drink through the night.

Good beer overall, would definitely buy another 6er.

eatdrinknbmerry, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of hero27
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle
9.9% abv

Pours a dark amber with an orange tint.
Rich caramel, sweet roasted malts, (the obvious brown sugar) with a slightly hoppy pine finish.. slightly medicinal & peppery as well.
This is a meal in a bottle...very sweet & rich. Plenty of alcohol burn..maybe a little over the top. But overall, a good offering from Lagunitas that does not disappoint.

hero27, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of DIM
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a: Very hazy caramel color. Minimal head which dissipated pretty quickly. The haze cleared up as this beer warmed.

s: Reminded me of simple syrup at first. Candied apples, brown sugar and a bit of citric hops are also noticeable. As is warmed the alcohol emerged and brought with some fig along. Almost barleywine like.

t: Sweetness of brown sugar balanced very nicely by the hop finish. Neither is overwhelming. Reminiscent of a barleywine as I got towards the end and fruit began to assert itself. I served this too cold, I should have treated it like a barleywine.

m: A bit thin, some chalkiness at the end

d: I got this one from brandoman63 via trade. I hope I can find this around here because it is superb. I

DIM, Oct 18, 2007
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,706 ratings.