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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

3,680 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,680
Reviews: 1,297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 142
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: 3,680 | Reviews: 1,297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of letsgopens
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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
Photo of Braudog
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 22oz bomber; this poured an orange-tinted amber with a thin but prominately standing cover of thin foam. Light sugary aroma. The sweet brown sugar (surprise?) flavor was mellow -- I’d never peg this for an almost 10% ABV beer. This drinks very easily, only slightly warming with a nice full but casual Barleywine-like burn, with a slight hoppy tingle to finish it. Good. (#2796, 4/14/2007)

Braudog, Apr 14, 2007
Photo of RonfromJersey
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Under an intense desk lamp, darkish red-amber body, somewhat hazy. In ordinary room light, brown, almost murky. Either way, alive with carbonation, topped by two fingers plus of dense off-white-with-a-hint-of- yellow foam. Ok lacing seems to be forming.

Certainly smells sweet, a strong candy center, encircled by a mixed fruitiness, including apricots and oranges.

Rich malt start, like good dark chocolate, sweet but not at all cloying. The initial sweetness quickly and effectively balanced and conquered by a sneaky pack of hops which lay a bit of smack to the sweetness and deliver a nice zing at the swallow. Warming but not burning alcohol the belly. Hop tingle actually outlasts the malt in the aftertaste.

Big slick mouthfeel. Good drinkability for the size and style, though the sweetness and the alcohol wears quite a bit as the bomber continues.

Nice nightcapper on a chilly spring evening, even better if shared.

RonfromJersey, Apr 14, 2007
Photo of Beertroop
3.43/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice big bottle for only $3 good price with an even better taste.

App: Good looking label with its usual saying of todays notes. This one involved the phrase "A rolling stone gathers no moss." Nice Deep red color with a tint of orange. Not a big head but it did leave a nice lasing through the drink. A good looking beer when poured.

smell: Good sugar smell with a certain hop aroma. It really warms your nose. Main notes are hops, then a sweetness of caramel with a floral hint.

Taste: Hops infused with a great balance of Sugar though. I'm not a big hops guy, but this beer is very likable. It has good carbonation, maybe a little too much. It sure leaves an aftertaste of sweet bitterness on your tongue well after you taste it. Delicious beer.

M&D: Good feel to it with the hops and sugars coming out from the first sip. Good semi-dense beer. You sure know time was taken making this beer. Very drinkable if your a hop fan. Overall a Good beer.

Beertroop, Apr 12, 2007
Photo of ShamasUVA
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, reading "Feeding brown sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is akin to feeding raw shark to your gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without human intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it has happened now, and it is too late." No date, but I suspect this is fresh.

Color: 4. Deep red, slightest tinge of brown. off white head, decent retention.

Smell: 4 Cherry, Candy, Leather and Beer. A little bit of spice or licorice.

Taste: 4.5 Extremely assertive, and I don't trust the 51.1 IBU on the label, this seems much more bitter than that. I would guess Chinook hops since it lingers. Some alcohol heat. Great sweet rich fruity flavor. Not a complex maltiness but a powerful one.

Mouthfeel 4.5 Rich but not thick. This is one area where "American Strong Ale" can really run the gamut. Good.

Drinkability: 4 It's so dang tasty, you keep wanting more. .Overall a very good beer but the bitterness lingers for a solid 60 seconds so it is hard to call this "drinkable." I think this is still a little young. I would like to give it 6-12 months to see how the bitterness gets sanded down and the alcohol heat mellows. Will probably be exceptional.

ShamasUVA, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of YankChef
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Dark amber colored, with hints of peach and a maple syrup color

dark sweetness up front, waiting to be hit by the 9.9% a/c but it is very well masked in this darkly sweet balanced brew.

Certainly a sipper, however a very enjoyable one. Also inexpensive as the single bottle cost me $1.50. Try this one out if you can find it

YankChef, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of orfeu
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at cellar temperature. Light shade of copper, crystalline with swirling carbonation streams. A fluffy cloud of dense and rocky ecru foam sits atop. Pine-inflected grapefruit and mandarin orange slices in the aroma; floral and slightly sugary, too. The citric hops from the aroma are surprisingly muted in the flavor, which is a pleasantly sweet affair overall, reminiscent of canned orange sections in syrup. Sugared nasturtiums and grapefruit jellybeans. Just a hair thicker than medium-full in body; slippery mouthfeel, remaining creamy without sliding into syrupy. Impressive!

orfeu, Mar 25, 2007
Photo of prototypic
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: It's a hazy, dark copper color with a one and a half finger head. Nice and creamy, though it vanished pretty quickly and left pretty light lacing down the glass.

Smell: It smells sweet. Definitely a nice blend of malt and hops in the nose. There are some fruity citrus notes to the smell. I'm picking up hints of raisins in there as well.

Taste: Initially it tastes sweet, but not in an overbearing way. The fruit and raisin tastes are apparent. It's got a nice malty body to it which balances out a bit of hop kick at the end. It's definitely more bitter than I was expecting, but in a good way.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's somewhere between light and medium bodied. It has a light syrupy feel to it. At nearly 10% ABV, I probably won't be drinking more than one. But, I'm enjoying it. Overall, it's a good beer. Actually better than I was expecting. Definitely worth checking out.

prototypic, Mar 24, 2007
Photo of kpantz
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Executive Summary: Since "American Strong Ale" is a bit of a catch-all, I didn't really know what to expect. Reading the label, I figured I could count on some aggressive sweetness (OG 1.10) and not too much in the way of hoppiness (51 IBU). Wrong. Totally wrong. But in a good way. This is actually pretty tasty.

Appearance: Reddish-amber, somewhat cloudy with a cream-colored head, about a finger thick, but quickly reducing to a film. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Largely this smells like a cross between a green barleywine and a weak-nosed imperial IPA. Some hops in the nose as well as some weak malt and yeast notes. As the beer warms, the brown sugar finally starts to emerge.

Taste: Definitely sweet right at the beginning, but a "dirty" flavor moves in, followed by a pretty nice hop flavor (with associated bitterness in the back-end). I'm actually pretty surprised how prominently hops figure in this beer. I was expecting a sweet mess, but instead I feel like I'm drinking an over-balanced imperial IPA. Kinda strange. As with the aroma, a bit of warming and a lot of swirling gently coaxes some of the brown sugar out of hiding, but not enough to change the overall impression.

Mouthfeel: Not bad. A little sticky, but the body itself is pretty light. Carbonation level is on the high side of just right.

Drinkability: Actually pretty drinkable given the shock factor here. Even though I didn't get anything I expected to out of this beer, it's pretty enjoyable. Goes down smoothly, and even the belches taste pretty good ;)

kpantz, Mar 21, 2007
Photo of Kegatron
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours an amber rose with a slight off white head that left decent lacing. Aroma of malty sweetness, fruits, and spices.

Taste is sweet sugars and malt up front followed by a nice assertive hop presence and alcohol in the finish. That sweet brown sugar taste really hangs onto the palatte in the aftertaste. Provides a nice, solid mouthfull with some nice heat in the finish.

Sweet & warming and surprisingly drinkable, this is a great strong ale to sit down with on a cold, winter's night.

Kegatron, Mar 19, 2007
Photo of Ricochet
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yikes! This smelled like a sugary, yet inviting beverage. I've never really tried a "stong ale" , but this seemed like a run of the mill brown ale as the dark amber appearance and minimal head and lace fortold. The scent told of amber ale but was sweet. Mouth was, unique. Bitter rounded out the palette and sweet made it's presence known, but the chewiness of this beer above all, made it a really decent wash. Taste was all malt, imperial alcoholic properties like a decent bock with a tuned up ABV. There was some raisin but mostly the fruity taste of orange came through. What an exceptional taste.

Hell, I don't know where this will fit, but I want to explore it again. Great stuff. Amber ale like none other. Great!

Ricochet, Mar 18, 2007
Photo of rallison
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Delirium Tremens goblet.

A: Dark red brown with a 2 finger off white head that sticks around nicely and leaves lots of lacing.

S: Caramelized brown sugar. Alcohol. Toffee. Yummy.

T: Not ridiculously complex, but very tasty. More of the brown sugar (surprise, surprise!) with a nice bit of caramel and toffee flavors. A bit of an alcohol bite actually works to nicely counter the sweetness. Maybe some plum or date in there too. Dark fruits at the very least. Also kind of reminds of Belgian Candi sugar.

M: Nice and full with a slight alcohol burn. Overall, a good mouthfeel.

D: Not the most drinkable strong ale, but drinkable enough.

Recommended. Nice after dinner beer.

rallison, Mar 17, 2007
Photo of ultralarry2006
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves a one finger tan colored head with good retention, and some good spotty lacing. Body is a clear red amber, a little like brewed black tea.

Smell - spicy, even firey, medicinal alcohol fills the nose. Under that, there is some maltbread, tea, and a hint of apples.

Taste - pretty much like the smell. Medicinal and spicy alcohol with maltbread and oversweetened tea . A slight caramel taste on the finish. The alcohol dominates the taste and the aroma here, but it's more tasty than harsh.

Mouthfeel - Medium to thin bodied, rather semi-dry, with a little bit of hop oil slickness.

Drinkability - this is very good. High abv obviously limits sessionability.

ultralarry2006, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of ericj551
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga pours a clear amber orange with a lasting head. The smell is like a good barleywine, sweet and rich caramel malt aroma with a nice spicy, slightly citrusy and floral hops. Taste is a smooth balance. The sweet malts are up front, with a dark fruitiness. Hops follow will a nice but not overwhelming bitterness and a herbal, almost medicinal flavor. The beer is slightly less sweet and full bodied then I would expect for just under 10%, but that would make sense with the addition of brown sugar. The mouthfeel on the one is incredibly smooth, almost creamy. Alcohol is more noticeable as the beer warms.

I'm glad to see Lagunitas coming to my area, I've had a chance to try five different beers from them recently.

ericj551, Mar 14, 2007
Photo of jwc215
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz, bottle

Pours deep reddish copper with a thin, well-retained head.

The smell is of brown sugar with a whiff of citrus.

The taste is of brown sugar. Malty but with a nice citric hop support coming through. At first, it's all about brown sugar and caramel, but the bitter hops emerge, though stay in the background, giving it a nice balance. The brown sugar runs throughout, but never gets too sweet.,Slight peppery alcohol.

The feel is rich and creamy.

The alcohol is well-masked. It's there, but I would have guessed around, or close to, 7%. A unique beer that is rich, well-balanced while remaining appropriately sweet. Nice Job!

jwc215, Mar 12, 2007
Photo of Chuggnutt
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice copper, slightly murky. Light tan head falling slowly.

Smell: Hops and sweet malt, sugary (Belgian candy?), probably the brown sugar. Very cloying.

Taste: Sweet bite accented by hops. Alcohol heat, strong character on tongue. Caramelized sugar, spun out and flossy.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium feel, lighter than I'd expect as a barleywine. Dry alcohol rolls around the mouth and leaves that numbing/prickly feeling.

Chuggnutt, Mar 10, 2007
Photo of BrewDrinkRepeat
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a brilliant red copper. Tall off-white head that lingers a long time.

S: Strong malt aroma, with a definite nose of brown sugar as expected. No discernable hop aroma (which would be out of place for this beer anyway).

T: Tastes big and sweet, slightly cloying. No forward hop bitterness, but a definite tingle at the back of my throat so I know they're there. The impression of brown sugar lingers after the swallow.

M: This is a rich beer -- not thick like as tout, but definitely a big mouthfeel. Very similar to other beers where sugar is added to boost the fermentables. Pleasant alcohol warmth that get somewhat less pleasant as the beer warms up.

D: Considering the sweetness this is a surprisingly drinkable beer. That been said, I probably would not buy another one -- not so much because of any real faults in this beer, but this style doesn't appeal to me that much. I found myself not wanting to finish it after I poured the second half of the 22oz. bomber. (I might like it more in a 12oz. bottle.)

BrewDrinkRepeat, Mar 06, 2007
Photo of smcolw
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light brown color, clear. Long-lasting head that leaves ample amount of lace on the glass.

Very low aromas--some molasses/candy sugar; no discernable hop

Caramel flavors--more sweet than bitter, but the hop is present and balances this beer just enough. Very full bodied. Good carbonation. The aftertaste brings out the hop. Interesting journey through the flavor profile.

Regardless of the complexity, this is an easy to drink beer. It is VERY deceptive given the alcohol content (9.9%!!). I could not note the usual oiliness or aftertaste of alcohol. Drink this one with some caution.

smcolw, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of ZAP
3.38/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-orangish amber color....nice frothy vanilla head.

S-Sweet sugary malt...a hint of maple...Ok but doesn't grab you by the throat and scream "drink me mother fucker"...decent but not great.

T-Very sweet flavored...heavy molassses, brown sugar, maple malt backbone....there is also a unique piney hop bitterness.

M-Very full bodied and thick...this is a big boy no doubt.

D-I like sweet beers and I like this to a point. Here's my problems with this....it feels too sweet and the hops used just do not blend nicely at all with the malt...kind of a muddled drinking experience that isn't bad but isn't great either...some bitterness on the long finish really confuses the hell out of my buds after the almost sickening onslaught of sticky sweetness at the start..

I'd still say it's worth a try and I'd rate it a little above average overall...

ZAP, Feb 27, 2007
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,680 ratings.