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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,673 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,673
Reviews: 1,297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 142
Gots: 235 | 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: 3,673 | Reviews: 1,297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of macster
4.18/5  rDev +4%

Although I consider myself a hophead I can be a sucker for a tasty sweet Strong Ale and ths was a good one.

Pours a deep brown color with amber-orange hues. Props up a creamy and thick beige head with superb retention.

As expected the aromas lean toward a sweet molasses and brown sugar presentation with the addition of some subdued notes of dried dark fruits, toffee, caramel and some faint hop spiciness.

Mouthfeel was average with a moderately creamy and chewy body but seems to finish a touch on the thin side.

Flavors were admirably balanced and fairly assertive. Notes of sweet dark sugars, figs, raisins and roasted malts were nicely combined with a slightly tamer hop spice and bitterness. This saves the beer from becoming too cloyingly sweet.

The big alcohol is hardly perceptible and this is easy goin’ down for 9.9%!

macster, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of djeffbee
3.78/5  rDev -6%

A: This pours deep amber with a one finger white head with some lacing.

S: Deep malty aroma with a tad of molasses, caramel - nearly resembling a barleywine or doppelbock.

T: I was expecting sweet, but tasted bitterness. The aroma and taste are almost like two different beers.

M: Nice tingly mouthfeel and medium body.

D: At 9.9% ABV, you don't drink too many of these - but they are quite enjoyable.

djeffbee, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of flexabull
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%

This bottle has been aged for a while... since January 07. I've seen some people mention that this shouldn't be aged, so I figured I'd open this and see what a few months have done to it.

Pours a clear amber color with a nice tall sturdy head. Looks great.

Aromas are muted but still pleasant. Some tea like like aromas, and a bit of sweet hard candies.

Beer follows the aromas. Tastes slightly sweet, tea like, and a bit tart. There is an underlying malty sweetness. While the finish is of cereal grains, and a hop bitterness that mineral like, and still there.

Mouthfeel is good. Very full, and with a nice long finish.

Drinkability is still good. I think I prefer this fresh, but it's still a nice beer and the age has not ruined it in my opinion.

flexabull, Aug 06, 2007
Photo of Dogbrick
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%

Murky brown-amber pour with a thin and foamy off-white head. Thin spotty lacing as well. The aroma is sharply hoppy with sweet fruit and molasses coming through more as it warms. The labeling on this one really threw me off as I was expecting more of a sweet brown ale. Once my taste buds told me it was actually a Barley Wine I was able to recover. Very hoppy on the front end, along with some peppery alcohol. The flavor mellows a bit as malt and fruits start to seep in. The finish is round and fruity with an alcohol burn leftover. Above average, and kind of unique to boot.

Dogbrick, Aug 05, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
2.83/5  rDev -29.6%

Pours a deep orange/ light brownish color, with a light tan head. In the aroma a caramel sweetness and malty. In the taste, caramel, sugary sweet and a dry end. Huge sweetness with a dry end, an aftertaste of brown sugar. It is a bit too sweet for me, but it does hide the alcohol very well.

OWSLEY069, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of beveragecaptain
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%

Lagunitas Brown Shugga' pours out a reddish brown color topped with a small head. The aroma is sweet and malty. The brown sugar is quite noticeable in the nose. The flavor is sweet, but not syrupy. I taste raisins and brown sugar. Emphasis is on the malt, but hops come in at the finish, and the bitter hoppiness seems to build up as I work my way through this 22 ounce bottle. Alcohol is high, and that combined with the large bottle size makes for a beer to sip over several hours, if you're going at it alone.

beveragecaptain, Jul 06, 2007
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.98/5  rDev -1%

A 22oz bomber poured into a pint glass. Amber color with a very small head. Aroma is mostly caramel, with a little bit of citrus. Taste was caramel/brown sugar, with a strong malt presence, and some grapefruit hoppiness. A fairly robust beer, kind of chewy. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will look for it again.

lordofthewiens, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%

Pours an effervescent amber/orange with 2 fingers of sand-colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Slight pine& herbal hops

T: Huge pine hops, cakeyness, & brown suggah up front. Earthy & grapefruit hops & some honey dryness follow as this warms. Finishes with subtle booze warmth, rough grapefruitty hops, a little caramel & yes, brown sugar, works for me!

MF: Chewy with low carbonation, but a little thin for the style

Drinks damn easy for the abv, an almost great take on the style

russpowell, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of Duster72
4.22/5  rDev +5%

Pours a dark ruby/amber color with very little head. Smell is malts, brown sugar, molasses, piney hops, and alcohol. Taste is primarily sweet matls and brown sugar/carmel. Surprisingly not too sweet or cloying. Perfect balance of sweet flavors and alcohol. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side, which is fine for the style. Crazy drinkable at ABV. Another excellent beer from Lagunitas, as I have grown accustomed to.

Duster72, Jun 22, 2007
Photo of Mickelswit
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

This is a very clear, ruby-amber brew with a thick, sticky, white head that leaves a lot of lacing. Smell is very enticing, with sweet malts (Munich?), sugar, ripe cherries, and assertive hops.

Taste is not what I expected. The initial flavors are caramel, cherry slushie, and a faint earthy/smoky note. Instead of being sickly, though, the warm and spicy hops balance the flavor, creating a slight and lingering sweetness. There is just a bit of alcoholic warmth in the finish, though I would never guess this was 9.9%.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are also surprising. Clearly there are lots of sugars in the brew, because after a few sips my lips were sticking to the pint glass. But the body is not syrupy. It drinks like a lighter Vienna-style lager. It is way too drinkable for being so huge, so definitely nurse this one or split it with a friend.

Mickelswit, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of drseamus
3.78/5  rDev -6%

A: This pours a very nice red color with a pretty decent off white head. It looks like a barleywine to me, but I have no specific reasons why i think that.

S: Heavy malt is the dominant aroma in this. There are some hints of brown sugar, molasses, caramel, and dark fruits in there as well. It is a good smelling beer and makes me think it will taste awesome.

T: The amount of hoppy bitterness in there is really surprising. From the smell, I expected it to be sweeter and maltier but it is almost a hop dominated flavor initially. After the bitterness some of that sweetness does poke it's head through. I can't specifically taste any brown sugar in there but I can get some of the alcohol it produced.

M: This is a very smooth beer even with the initial bite from the hops. It is medium bodied which is nice given it's ABV.

D: A bit strong in both the alcohol and bitterness department to get a great drinkability rating, but it is good.

drseamus, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%

A: Hazy brew the color cider. Head is nice, with a good half inch of creamy sourdough colored bubbles.

S: Orangesickle, caramel crème, butterscotch and minty hops.

T: Begins with copius amounts of caramel and brown sugar across the front of the tongue. Condensed and sweetened marmalade with streaks of vanilla and candied orange fold in well against the toffee flavors. Some bitterness takes shape around this point in the process, leaning towards the pine bark side…but less on the pine and more on the earthy side. Butterscotch, marshmallow and applesauce follow suit, allowing all flavors to meld. Finishes a bit alcoholic with musty citrus and lingering bitterness.

M: Medium body, soft with just a touch of a syrupy mouthfeel.

D: Nice flavors going on in here. I think this beer would age well for a couple of years and round out quite nicely. Makes a good after dinner digestif.

Westsidethreat, May 30, 2007
Photo of ncvbc
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

This one pours an amber/ruby color with little carbonation and a thin off white head. Pretty nice lacing as well. Smell is of sweet malts and decent hop scent. Slight bit of alcohol present in the nose. Taste is of sugary sweet malts but a pretty big hop kick also. It's like a weak DIPA or a BHM after a year. Interesting for sure. Mouthfeel is medium. Little alcohol burn. Hop bite and sugary sweet coating of malts on the tongue. Drinkability is a little lower because I can't drink much of this. Maybe two 12 oz. but one was enough I believe.

I do like the creativity of this brew and thanks goes to czoch75 for this extra.

ncvbc, May 28, 2007
Photo of bort11
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Recieved from Marvs in the NABBIF

22 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Tight custard yellow head that leaves a sticky lace. Color is an amber orange with chunks of proteins and sediment floating around.
Smell has a malty sweet presence with a mild hoppy background. Taste seems to switch things up and starts out hoppy and then finishes malty sweet. Additional spices are added to the finish.
Mouthhfeel has a solid medium body. Slightly slick and syrupy, but not cloying. Very nice

bort11, May 27, 2007
Photo of shertz
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Pint glass. No date.

A- Golden orange with little head. Many small bubbles gladly rising to the top. Lacing throughout during drinking.

S- Sweet, umm...let me guess, brown sugar? Hint of alcohol with some hops thrown in.Nice.

T- Surprisingly very hoppy. Not as sweet as I suspected. Alcohol comes out pretty strong after a couple of sips.

M- Thin and carbonated. Again, I thought it would be a little more thicker with the sugar.

D- With the high alcohol, this wouldn't make a very good sessions beer. However, the alcohol isn't as profound as one may suspect for a 9.9. Very decent brew. Would drink again.


shertz, May 21, 2007
Photo of rkuhnel
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%

22 oz bottle. Copper orange with a big tan head. Good lacing. Aroma is lovely g with odors of grapefruit, hops, and some caramel, as well as just a touch of alcohol. Lots of flavors. Somewhat sweet. Slick mouthfeel and oily on the back of the tongue. It goes down like cough syrup. Nice hoppy finish. Yum.

rkuhnel, May 17, 2007
Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a standard pint glass. Appearance is a copper color with a tan/caramel color tin when held to the light. There wasn't much head on this one, possibly less than an inch. Mouthfeel was warm and the alcohol notes were highly detectable. Sugary sweet tastes were prevalent, lots of malts- dessert flavors. This one drank very easily for such a high ABV at 9.9%. I would absolutely buy this one again- enjoyed best on a cold winter night.

DavidSeanNJ, May 14, 2007
Photo of phisig137
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a deep reddish brown, with a two finger creamy head. Good retention leaves behind moderate lacing.

Aroma is malt driven, and dominated by caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Toasted grains pop up towards the rear with some solvent like alcohol.

Flavor is well rounded and fairly mild. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. Brown sugar and burnt caramel flavors blend very nicely with toasted malts and heavy biscuit flavors. No hop flavor, but not cloyingly sweet either. Mouthfeel is sticky and heavy. Drinkability is quite good.... this hides it's almost 10% quite well.

Overall a good beer, but not the best from Lagunitas. I'll definitely buy it again, and it is well worth the $3.99 I paid for the bomber. Definitely worth a try.

phisig137, May 10, 2007
Photo of letsgopens
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%

This American strong ale pours a burnt amber with orange highlights. A tan head that hold well and leaves great lace. A beer than is accentuated greatly by making sure your pour fast and ensure a lot of head.

The aroma is initially sweet that reveals a bit of hops and a bitter pine-like characteristic that compliments the flavor nicely.

The flavor itself is sweet but not obnoxious with subtle hints of brown sugar (obviously), molasses, caramelized malt, toffee, and a refreshing slightly hoppy finish. An alcoholic warmness and smoothness rounds out a sweet and complex flavor; light but decadent.

I expected a dense malty texture but was pleasantly surprised by a bright clean finish. Overall sweet and appetizing but not to heavy to enjoy the entire bottle on a hot day.

letsgopens, May 10, 2007
Photo of ArrogantB
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%

12 oz bottle that I have had in the cellar for about six months. The color was a deep orange, cloudy, and had a short white head which disappeared quickly. The smell was a little bit sweet. The taste was alcoholic and slightly like a barleywine. Not much hops going on at this point. I liked this beer a lot better fresh. Also, the high ABV is enjoyable but lowers the drinkability. I can't wait for Gnarleywine.

ArrogantB, May 08, 2007
Photo of kirok1999
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%

Pours a nice brown with a quickly fading off white head. Decent lacing. Smells very sweet, slight hops. Taste is definite brown sugar, this is a very aptly named beer. Sweet malts, massive brown sugar, very slight hop notes, make a nice, drinkable brew.

kirok1999, Apr 28, 2007
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.18/5  rDev +4%

Into a pint glass, pours a light copper with good off-white head, lacing in pots down the glass. Aroma is full of brown sugar, molasses, alcohol, caramels, toffees, sweet malty goodness, and don't even pick up any hop qualities. The taste has some bittering, slight citrus and oils from the hops, but again its the brown sugar that floats this boat, a smooth but subtly carbonated mouth giving it a great feel as it soothes you with oils, and sweetness, and delight. I can't say its my favorite strong, but a damn good one.

objectivemonkey, Apr 27, 2007
Photo of greenbeaner
3.9/5  rDev -3%

This is one great lookin beer. Deep burnt amber haze with a one finger head that falls quickly to a thin layer of film on the beer. Sticks to the side of the glass quite nicely.

Nice and subtle on the nose, hops, sweet caramel and lots of malt. Mild yeast and fruity notes.

Taste starts off with some decently powerful hops, then moves on to heavy malts, and carmalized fruit, and ahhh yes...warm alcohol...mmm

Feels solid, medium bodied, crisp with a nice bite. Slightly sticky with a dry finish.

Good stuff, I'd drink it again, very nice balance of the large amounts of sweetness and bitterness. A nice surprise as this is my first of the Lagunitas brews. Well worth the buy.

greenbeaner, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of JMD71
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Sampled & reviewed on 3/9/07:

Ap: Brilliant copper hued & sparkling. Slight haze. 1/2 finger of head drops back quickly. Carbonation steady. Lacing persisent, but falls back as the glass empties.

Ar: Strong citrus fruits, such as tangerines. Some malt presence with a solid alcohol body. Brown sugar toast is noted but not overly strong.

Ta: Very sweet entry leads to a rich, malty middle with moderate hop bitterness which fades into a heated finish. Once heat recedes, sweetness reasserts itself. Rich plum pudding with brandy butter. ABV well hidded - good balance!

Mo: Full bodied & chewy. Slightly syrupy, but not overly so. Good carbonation which helps offset the warming mouthfeel from the high ABV. Carbonation leaves mouth fairly clean with a bit of an astringent aftertaste from fusel alcohols.

Dr: Slow sipper as I know its strength, but if I didn't know better this would go down quickly. The sweetness from the brown sugar really tames the formidable ABV.

Comments: Very tasty! Very full flavored & well balanced. Enjoyed this all the way through & definitely warrants a repeat purchase.

JMD71, Apr 17, 2007
Photo of jmalex
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%

Had this on tap on one occasion and loved it. Now to see how it holds up under critique.

APPEARANCE: Pours a hazy red amber with virtually no head at all. Just a weak collar and a few bubbly patches. No idea if this is to style. What style is this anyway?

SMELL: A wacky amalgam of caramel, apricots, raisins, dates, and floral and citrusy hops. Alcohol makes a serious appearance here too. Quite impressive.

TASTE: Again, what style is this? An incredible maltiness hits you first which is dark and sweet (brown sugar!) and has some sort of a Belgian quality to it with the fruit flavors that accompany it. The heat of the alcohol is strong and contributes quite a dry quality to this beer. The hops, not to be outdone, come on strong in the finish leaving a lasting bitterness well after the final swallow. This beer is all over the place which is impressive in its complexity but seems a bit disorganized and haphazard.

MOUTHFEEL: Little to no carbonation, but in this beer, it would make it really harsh. The texture is fairly smooth, if not quite dry.

DRINKABILITY: Suffers from the dryness and alcohol content. Perhaps this beer would benefit from some aging to round it out - much like a barleywine. It could be considered such a beer anyway, and would probably be better if the hops were toned down allowing the subtle brown sugar flavors to shine more. An impressive creation, but perhaps trying to be too much.

When I first had this beer, the hops did not stand out as much as they do in the bottle. The beer was harsh, but not like I'm experiencing now. I'm certainly willing to give it another chance (it's not bad at all to begin with), but I'd like to try it with some age on it.

jmalex, Apr 16, 2007
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,673 ratings.