Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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4,309 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,309
Reviews: 1,367
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 180
Gots: 473 | FT: 16
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: 4,309 | Reviews: 1,367 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Axic10
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at U Pick 6 in Erie, PA.

Appearance: Brownish with a thin layer of of white head.

Smell: Malty, brown sugar and sweet caramel.

Taste: Sweet caramel malt, brown sugar with some hoppy bite mixed in.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied and creamy.

Drinkability: Enjoyable beer by a top notch brewery that I will be drinking again.

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

On Tap at Sharp Edge Bistro On Penn, Pittsburgh.
Served in a Lagunitas glass, first time I have seen it on draft. Brownish orange color, big fluffy off-white head, long lasting foam and lace trails. Smells of malty sweetness, caramelized or burnt sugar, slightly fruity as well. I was expecting a very sugary sweet taste, but was really suprised by the balance. Lots of toasted, caramel malt. The brown sugar is in there, but with enough hops to keep the sweetness in check. Thick but not sticky or cloying mouthfeel, very smooth and creamy, good carbonation. Very drinkable, can not feel the high (9.9%) alcohol.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz stubby bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Big thanks to my buddy UA8 for the hookup!

Pours a nice dark ruby red with a very small light bien head. The nose is very nice, it's sweet like brown sugar as well as dark fruits.

Very unique, the brown sugar flavor is there, it's sweet and a bit chewy. Nice layers of spices and maltiness come through a it warms. The carbonation is a bit low, but it is well done and smooth drinking. Overall another slam dunk for Lagunitas.

Photo of DoctorDog
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A- Deep ruby / amber, and quite clear. Pours with >1 finger of tan head, which fades fairly quickly to a thin island of bubbles.

S- Piney/citrusy hops are quite prominent upon pouring, and then fade out as the head dies...allowing the sugary sweet (brown sugar?) and caramel malty notes take over. Hints of dark fruit.

T- Unsurprisingly, this brew is quite sweet. A blend of fruity, caramel, sugar sweetness, countered by a sturdy citrusy bitterness,

M- Moderate to slightly low carbonation with a medium-full feel. Slightly syrupy.

D- Very good. An all around interesting and enjoyable brew that is an incredibly easy drinker for it's 9.99% ABV.

Future outlook: More please. Need to designate a few of these for cellaring as well...

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

Special thanks to Cdkrenz as holiday sampler...
Poured into a pint glass this brew has a deep amber color with nice red tints when held to the light along with an off white 2 finger creamy head that left great lacing down the glass as I drank it. The aroma is heavy hop handed with some sweet caramel and brown sugar (as the title supports). The taste is knock your socks off good. I mean the balance of hops and sweet malt along with a thick consistency and mild warmth of alcohol in the finish. It starts with a slight citrus and pine hops but then the sweetness hits the back of your mouth. The finish is nice and bitter with the slight hint of alcohol on the tongue. This brew is something I am going to seek out again as all I had was the one sample. This one will not disappoint.

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

More nonsensical, bottle-tilting label ramblings from the good folks at Lagunitas...gotta love it.

This beer pours a clear dark brassy amber colour, with one finger of thick foamy pale beige head, which leaves a low unstable wall of lace around the glass as it dutifully recedes. It smells strongly of grapefruit hops and caramel cream, full stop, with a wee bit of warming alcohol. The taste is creamy, sugary caramel malt, grapefruit and orange citrus, some inexplicably perceptible leafy hops, and some mild, minding its own business booze. The carbonation is moderate, the body smooth, syrupy, and creamy, like whipped honey. It finishes sweet and sugary, with a rising, but still tempered alcohol edge, as it warms.

A pretty enjoyable DIPA analogue, with the brown sugar just adding to the war effort against the big West Coast hops - attrition we can all appreciate.

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

Brown Shugga pours a rich caramel color with a little cap.

smells of piny resinous hops, sweet caramel malt. god these hops are thick

oh brown shugga you are deceptive! i thought that the first thing i would taste would be a blast of alcohol, but that's not the case at all. i sense literally no alcohol presence here. it's super-sweet, bordering on syrupy, with floral and pine hop resin coming out the wazoo. rich with malty goodness, there are layers of caramel, slight roastiness, dark fruit... why is it that Lagunitas brews always leave me speechless. simply fantastic.

mouthfeel good, full, leaving a great aftertaste.

drinkability? do i even need to comment? i fucking LOVE this stuff...LOVE Lagunitas, LOVE everything they make.

Photo of fsimcox
2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours transparent ruby amber. When I hold it up to the light, I see right through. Off-white, slightly tan head. Smaller than I expected. Less than a half inch of foam that dissipates rather quickly. Some lacing.

Smells of sweet malt, liquorice, a little citrus, and a hint of the alcohol.

Sweet, creamy brown sugar upfront, hops in the middle, and a warm bitter finish. Some grapefruit aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is silky and creamy, some carbonation, and a warm finish. Sweetness and syrup feeling lingers.

A nice holiday beer. Very good on a cold night, but not something I would want every day.

Photo of gopens44
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Just about as ruby red as it gets. Very little retention of an otherwise thin foamy head.

S - Hops and a touch of caramel in the nose

T - Hoppy, nice well balanced bitterness amongst the very pleasant sweetness

M - Medium carbonation and thick on the tongue. Slightly bitter aftertaste.

Great beer! Reminded me a little of Oaked Arrogant Bastard, so when I either can't find one of those fresh or don't want to pay the high price, I think this may be a good substitute. Thanks to the guys from Lagunitas for putting this out, I'll drink this quite often!

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

From notes 12/21/10. Had on-tap at the Dancing Bear. Served in a Victory Golden Monkey snifter.

A- Brownish-red/amber, hazy, one finger off-white head, nice lacing.

S- Cherries, cranberries, faint brown sugar.

T/M- Silky, carbonated tinge(like champagne), slightly bitter finish.

D- Awesome. I could drink a lot of this. The alcohol is integrated very well. Great texture, nice finish, extremely well balanced from start to finish.

Photo of atorres600
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this is my new fav beer from lagunitas. i really like what they did here with this brew. I adore the blends of barley and brown sugar used in this beer. I think it has a GREAT taste and ratio. great job highly recommended !! i have a 6er in the fridge at all times now ... till it runs out !

Photo of depechemode1983
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear brownish amber with a nice tan head with awesome retention. Plenty of lacing on the glass. Very attractive looking beer. In the nose you get piney hops with a bit of caramel and some dark fruit sweetness. Taste sweet with a little bitterness from the hops. Starts off with caramel and brown surgar notes. Then cherries in the middle to give it more of a fruity sweetness. Finishes with a citric hops bite along with a little alcohol warmth. Delicioius. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with little carbonation. Leave a sorta sticky oily feeling on the palate. Not bad, but different. The hight ABV and sweetness keep the drinkablity down. I could drink a couple of these and enjoy the hell out of them. Although probably stop there. More than likely i would revisit this one in the future. well worth what i paid for it.

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

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep caramel color, nearing a nice amber color. Crystal clear with a slow, steady stream of carbonation. Only could muster about a finger's worth of head out of this one and it didn't last long. Splattered lacing all around.

S - The smell kind of caught me off guard with this. Given the high abv, style listing, and that it was a failed Gnarleywine, I was expecting high malts and sweetness. I am getting lots of sweetness, but that's only as a result of the large amount of brown sugar in the nose. Outside of that it smells like a really fresh IPA. Lots of pine and citrus smells. The clash between the hops and malts / brown sugar is tantalizing.

T - Given the great smell, this beer had some expectations behind it. The front-end of this is a lot more malt and sweet than the nose, which carries through throughout the rest of the beer. About midway through, the hops shine through, but bring more bitterness than fruity notes. It's only near the end of the beer that this beer gains some floral and citrus notes, but the bitterness and sweetness continues through in the finish. Orange and grapefruit come through strongly at the very end.

M - Mouthfeel is medium to heavy with pretty low carbonation. Leaves a nice coating on the mouth, and a relatively long and flavorful finish.

D - Drinkability is moderate. As I get further in the beer, the sweetness and bitterness begins to take its toll and as it warms the alcohol really becomes apparent. Near the beginning, it's a fantastic beer, but it drags on as I drink more.

Photo of CHickman
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber in color with a massive 2 finger foamy tan head that faded very slowly; leaves very good spotty lacing clinging to the glass.

Smells of sweet malt, brown sugar, caramel, molasses, floral hops, citrus hops, flowers, light alcohol like rum and some cinnamon; really sweet overall and quite potent.

Tastes of brown sugar, sweet malt, caramel, molasses, floral hops, citrus hops, light toasted grains, flowers, light alcohol like rum and cinnamon; wow, this is a tasty brew that's sweet and malty, but doesn't cross the line of being obnoxious sweet. Very enjoyable flavor overall with a slight hop bite that's bitter and balances the malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, with light carbonation, a medium body that borders on heavy, and a sharp bitter finish that trails off sweet and slightly spicy.

Medium drinkability, as this is very sweet and too sweet to be a session beer, but I enjoyed this quite a bit as a beer to sip and savor. High recommendation as this was very tasty and complex, and that 9.99% ABV is nowhere to be found; great job hiding the power! Mick Jagger would be proud.

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

12 oz bottle, it appears to be from February 2009. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Hazy dark amber, almost brown. Still pours with some head, but not much retention. Nice sheets of lacing.

Smell: Candy malt sweetness. Birthday cake. Surprisingly detectable remnants of fruity/citrus hops. Smells like an inviting barleywine.

Taste: Sweet and malty with citrus hops bitterness up front. The middle is thin and has a twangy malt flavor and an alcohol bite. The finish gets great again with cakelike malt flavor and sticky hops.

Mouthfeel: Other than the thin-in-the-middle feel, its pretty full, like a barleywine. Resiny hops finish on the tongue.

Drinkability: I'm liking it, but I'd rather just have their Gnarleywine. Not sure what the point of this one is. Much better than when I stuck it in the cellar a year and a half ago.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 12/09/2010:

12 oz. bottle at 45* into a snifter.

A: This pours a reddish-brown color with a finger and a half of off-white head that laces very well.

S: It's tough to categorize this from the nose; it features notes of maple syrup, caramel apples, and some bourbon-y vanilla notes.

T: The taste is of hazelnut, cinammon, sweet dark fruit notes, apples, and maple syrupy bourbon.

M: It has a thick body with some creaminess and leaves the lips very sticky.

D: This is tasty but a bit conflicting and out of balance.

Photo of BeerWhale
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours thick and caramel colored with a white head, and a strange aroma.

You can tell the increased sugar content by the sweetness on the front end of this creamy beer. The brown sugar adds a thick and smooth quality to the beer as is coats your mouth. It sits well on the tongue and the hops add a cutting, refreshing quality to the beer. After drinking your mouth feels relatively clean, when compared to something like a stout.

Overall a quality offering that has a well rounded taste and mouthfeel. Either as an introduction to craft beers or an evening session beverage, this offering is a very good example of quality craft brewing.

Photo of muttyd
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been wanting to try this one for awhile now. Finally picked up a six pack. Amber, slightly brown body with a thin off white head that persists throughout. Slightly hoppy, nutty, sweet grain aroma. As the name suggests, the flavor has notes of a big brown ale - caramel brown sugar, slightly roasty, nutty, and malty. Hops take a back seat to the sweet malt flavor. Moderate carbonation with a chewy body. Finishes with a slight espresso roast, slightly bitter, and sticky. Glad this one comes in a six pack - very drinkable.

Photo of wspscott
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip
no date, but it is from a case I got last Dec. so at least a year old. Somewhat surprised I haven't reviewed this.

A: A hazy light brown color with no head at all. Not pretty, but not ugly, just looks like an average strong ale.
S: Very sweet, caramel and brown sugar, some hoppy bitterness and a definite fruitiness that I assume is yeast driven.
T: The hops have mellowed over the year, but are still very much there, although more hidden. It seems to be american hops, some definite citrus/grapefruit as it warms. The dark sugars are very obvious, different from what you get from caramel malts. Surprisingly, there is no sign of the alcohol other than a slight warming.
M: Very low carbonation, I don't remember this low, I wonder if it is the bottle or if I waited too long. Lots of residual sugar leaves this sweet and sticky. Feels "big".
D: I like this beer a lot. It is very different from a barleywine or DIPA. The sugar sweetness adds something different relative to malt sweetness. The large amount of hops help to bring towards balance, but there is so many hops and so much sugar that it is impossible to imagine this would ever be referred to as balanced. It is very difficult to imagine drinking more than one of these at a time given the alcohol and "bigness", but every time I remember I have some in the basement, I am happy. Definitely worth trying for anyone who likes "big" beers.

Photo of AScribjr
4.78/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Once agaian Lagunitas hit it out of the park...Pour dark amber with a nice thick head that stays with the beer. And a very lace. The Sweet Release is a nice winter beer, with great flavor. Drinkability is is so nice you must be aware of it's 9.9 ABV. This is a beer I will enjoy again, and I hope you enjoy this one also...

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

Appearance: Amber in color. It was lighter than I first anticipated it. Not a complaint but just and observation

Smell: Smell was sweet and hits of the alcohol was obvious.

Taste: Great beer: Definately as sipper. This is one of the better beers I have had. Large flavors of grain and nut come to the front.

Mouth feel: Fills the mouth with load of flavor and a malty texture.

Drinkablity. Great beer to drink but I could only have one at a time. The flavor and alcohol can be overwhelming at time.

Once again... Loved this beer.

Photo of bsp77
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Somewhat dark reddish-amber with nice light tan head.

Smell: Tangerine-accented orange, slightly tart grapefruit with some sweet caramel. Sugary and alcoholic.

Taste: Very hoppy with grapefruit, orange and pine. There is a caramel- and toffee-like malt backbone and a nice layer of sweetness. Ends somewhat bitter and balanced, but the sticky sweetness is cloying and distracting.

Feel: Surprisingly light, effervescent body for the high abv - must be due to the brown sugar. Only somewhat dry finish and more boozy than warming

Drinkability: Comes across as a light, grapefruit-hoppy Barleywine. Sounds good, but too sticky and boozy.

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

Poured into a pint glass at Amsterdam

A: Pours a nut brown, not much of a head at all. A thin pale tan film on the top with a full coverage of a sparkly lacing on the sides of the glass that reminds me of a wintery sugar.

S: It has a nice sweet nose. Malty caramel, brown sugar, maybe a little floral hops, a nice wet juicy, passion fruit.

T: A little sweet but not to the point I'd recognize the strength of the abv. There's a good hop presence, dark juicy herbal, brown sugars. The sweetness is nicely balanced by the hops.

M/D: It has a full medium juicy body with a thinner finish, a nice medium carbonation, making it a very drinkable beer. It has such a juicy finish that I just want more. Dangerously drinkable.

Photo of projectflam86
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a cherry copper color with a thin off white head that leaves a bit of lace.

S- The nose is really sweet with some caramel and dark fruit scents.

T- Nice sweet malt flavor with some brown sugar (obviously) and a bit of a medicinal finish. The alcohol is definitely there and it creates a nice warming effect on the way down. Really not finding as much hop bitterness as I would have thought.

M- Medium bodied with ok carbonation.

D- This was a pretty solid brew. Could have used a bit more balance with additional bitterness.

Photo of mountsnow1010
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Great Van Morrison brown color with a yellowish head that leaves a nice thick lace.
S - Delicious hop notes - really clean grapefruit smell backed up by a bit of a sweet caramel.
T - Hops up front - distinct lack of bitterness - followed by a sweet rich flavor. A bit of grassy hop flavor as well.
MF - Really nice - smooth and perfect carbonation. I'm not sure one could improve much upon this mouthfeel. Slight warming sensation.
D - 9.99% alcohol? I get a bit in the mouthfeel but otherwise this could be fairly low alcohol. High- dangerously high- drinkability.

Really, really enjoying this beer - I would highly recommend it.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,309 ratings.