1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

3,781 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,781
Reviews: 1,303
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 159
Gots: 269 | FT: 12
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: 3,781 | Reviews: 1,303 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of irishkyle21
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Starts off with an eye catching orange/red color. Not the best head retention but it still sticks around and leaves some lacing on the glass.

The hops come in strong on the nose (grapefruit and citrus mostly). Followed by a sweet caramel malt and what seems to be brown sugar (not positive but its something sugary).

Tastes somewhat like Arrogant Bastard but sweeter (IMO of course). Citrus, tropical fruits, caramel, thick sweet malt. I cant really say I noticed the brown sugar but it is sweet.

irishkyle21, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours a deep copper/bronze with a decent head and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell is some alcohol surrounded by caramel and some toffee notes.

Taste is a bit of caramel on top of a slight fruitiness. Heat from the alcohol is only slightly noticable. I get a touch of brown sugar in the finish.

I feel it is a tad thin as are all the Lagunitas offerings I've tried. Could use a fuller body.

Overall, a tasty treat. Very good, but with some more body could be fantastic.

bluegrassbrew, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of MisterClean
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Vino's Wine & Cheese in Roseville, CA.

A - Deep tan, heavy/foamy white head.

S - Raisin, cinnamon, w/ light, florar hops.

T - Cardamom, allspice, curry. Yes curry, can't describe the other pungent spice, so it's a curry. Very spicy tasting beer, very unique.

M - Very spicy tasting beer, very unique. No alcohol in taste. Are we sure this is a 9.9% ABV?

D - This is a slow-sipper and would balance best with a bland meal or appetizers.

MisterClean, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of riversider76
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber brown with a thin tan head.Decent retention,and nice lacing. This beer looks thick.Aroma is sweet,and bready. Body is thick,with a good amount of carbonation. Taste is of malty brown sugar,and spice.Nice bit of hops,and a good burn in the finish.

riversider76, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown shugga pours a clear brown amber with good fluffy head. head dissipates but lace remains quite thick. The nose has subtle hop notes and some light malt. The taste is predominantly smooth hop flavors with less bitterness than an IPA but it is still there. A wierd sugar malt taste makes up a decent backbone. Hop flavors on the finish leave a slight bitterness in the mouth. A good brew, but nothing particularly special. Mouthfeel is good, chewy but not terribly thick. Drinkability is the highlight of this strong ale as the 9.9 does not show up at all. A great strong ale for session drinking which makes no sense but it is what it is.

AKBelgianBeast, Jan 12, 2008
Photo of saintwarrick
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On name alone, I had to give this brew a try. This brew pours a light brown/bronze with a nice creamy head that looks like hot cocoa. With brown sugar in the ingredients, that and caramel stand out the most in the aroma, reminds me of this caramel coffee creamer I have had before; also toffee and butter rum candy are very prevalent -- this beer is a damn candy store.

It smells sweeter than it tastes, which isn't bad at all. Subdued caramel and cocoa taste but not super sweet; very chewy and really damn smooth, that's the biggest thing that stands out. Little more nougat-like sweetness at the end with a big creamy rum note that shows through as it goes down. Only the tiniest bit of warming alcohol.

Wow, this is a dangerous, evil brew. That 9.9 abv is nowhere to be found, more like a 4.5. Well balanced and a delight to drink. Go grab some now.

saintwarrick, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of IPAcraig
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this beer after my last class of my first week of my last semester of law school. Woohoo!

This beer is a bold neon orange with shades of red. After a hefty pour only a minimal head sat atop the body, but surprisingly one quick swirl produced a nice one inch white topping.

A big aroma. A balanced aroma. Malt, caramel and sugar up front followed by a nice dose of hops; both working in harmony.

This reminds me of a barleywine, specifically Bigfoot, with a bit more sweetness and slightly less hops. Yeah, I would say that short description is spot on. A bit of alcohol is present as well.

A light body, yet a slightly syrupy feel on the tounge. Slightly lessthan medium carbonation.

At 9.9% alcohol, this beer drinks very easy. Lots of flavor but good balance. A very fine beer, and a bargain if I do say so.

IPAcraig, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of shaebs99
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Large off white head forms that leaves plenty of sticky lacing as the head diminishes. Clear deep amber color.

S: The aroma is a nice combination of malt (with brown sugar notes) and citrusy hops. The result reminds me of something like ruby red grapefruit. Sweet and citrusy. Though I would say the malt wins by a nose.

T & M: pretty much what you would expect. Large malt base accentuated by brown sugar, but the hops are present enough to keep this in check.

D: Very enjoyable. Reminded me of why I enjoyed the 06 Double Bastard. I feel that the hops were more present than some reviewers would lead you to believe. In the one I had I didn't really notice the alcohol in the taste and only slightly in the nose

I am considering picking up another 6-pack of this so I can enjoy it throughout the winter. Not a beer you would drink all night, but definitely one I am going to return to

shaebs99, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of garbercury
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A--Clear reddish hue, a little bit of lacing but not much head or retention.

S--Has the smell of a weak barleywine. Almost a medicinal smell to it.

T--Medicinal, bitter, strong alcohol aftertaste to be sure.

M--One of the better things, which is not really the way it should be.

D--This beer is strong to be sure. I like Lagunitas, good brewery. Worth a try if you enjoy strong ales, not a favorite though.

garbercury, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of LeftyBWS
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. stumpy brown bottle into a pint glass.
A: Bright amber/brown. Rather fizzy, can hear the carbonation breaching the surface. Thinnish beige head. Carbonation slows quickly, though. Not much head retention or lacing.
S: Sugars and some floral hops. Maybe some cinnamon? A nice malty layering of the nose, overall.
T: Smooth and light malts lead into some brown sugar tastes with some spices too. Tastes of caramel sweetness, as well. Finish is bready but sweet, only lightly bitter at first but this fades quickly. Overall, a good taste but not too exciting.
M: Lightly bitter nip in the finish, but it avoids being sicky-sweet despite the predominant sugar flavors.
D: Pretty good. But it is 10% ABV...

LeftyBWS, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of jaxon53
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at just about cellar temperature, into a pint glass, from a twelve ounce brown bottle. Poured a deep copper amber color that had great clarity. Two fingers of thick, frothy, beige colored head formed from a somewhat vigorous pour. Head faded pretty quickly into a fluffy ring of foam atop the beer. Some sticky, glass coating lace was left behind on the glass. Smell had some plum, rum soaked cherries, thick sweet malt, and a small amount of alcohol. Tons of dark dried fruits in the flavor, some pineapple, some sweet brown sugar, and plenty of body warming alcohol stacked on a sweet malty base. Finishes smooth and just a bit boozy. Mouthfeel is thick, almost syrupy, with a medium to full body. Great drinkability. This has got to be one of my favorites.

jaxon53, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a deep amber brilliant when held to the light with some reddish hues, the head is off-white and was about a finger thick, dropped to a thick ring around the edge of the glass.
the aroma malty, citrus, hop sack, toffee, alcohol.
the flavor is malty, with a good hop back bone, citrus, pine, and spices, resinous, toffee and caramelized malt linger.
awesome beer!

plaztikjezuz, Jan 06, 2008
Photo of BeerSox
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into nonic.

Crystal clear amber hue that has a slightly red tint when held up to the light. A frothy one finger head slowly settles toa thin cap leaving behind a wall of stringy lacing.

The main scent in this one is a thin caramel aroma, or more accurately, brown sugar. The hop aroma is barely detectable, as well as the alcohol.

Overall the flavor of this one is somewhat bitter, with maybe a little bit of a sweet sugary start. A touch of caramel is in there, along with some spicy hops. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. The finish is some of the brown sugar and lingering bitterness.

I found this one middle of the road, unique, but not worth getting excited about. It tastes a lot like a mild Scottish Ale, with a little more alcohol. Recommended (barely, and if you like maltier beers).

BeerSox, Jan 04, 2008
Photo of Smartestmonkey
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried on 1/2/08.

Pours a coppery light brown color. No head but a thin foam that fades to the sides and results in nice lacing as the drink is consumed. There is nice carbonation in the glass, nice bubbles. The aroma is first and foremost sweet strong malt with hints of vanilla, caramel, syrup, and some floral hop. The taste is much the same. Up front it's sweet malt, caramel, some spice, and maple syrup. I agree that the taste reminds me of brown sugar. In the end the taste is distinct bitter hop. This beer is well balanced, simple, and straightforward.

Smartestmonkey, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of Minkybut
2.98/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer had a red hue to it with a minimal head. The beer was very hoppy smelling. This brew I was hoping was going to be really great, but it was just to high on the alcohol burn and too sweet for my taste. I will not buy again

Minkybut, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of Stoneman78
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear orange hue, tan foamy head that is mostly sustained, moderate lacing
S- Boozey aroma, tones of molasses and brown "shugga", some fruity sweetness too
T- Sweet roast and caramel malts, sugary molasses, bitter coffee, finishes bitter with a stiff alcohol warming
M- Full-bodied, oily texture, mild carbonation
D- A unique brown/strong ale with flashes of flavor, a bit too cloying and boozey for my tastes, I would probably not go out of my way for a second tasting

Stoneman78, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer several times before and did a review, but I am doing another review because I feel the previous one was way too shallow.

Pours a clear but darker amber brown. Nice sized crème head. Nose is a nice slightly sweet toned hoppy thing. I feel like I am getting a whiff of sugar cane on there too. Flavor is a combination of firm ale qualities with an amount of brown sugar mixed in that takes it to the side a little bit to an interesting place. The ale tones here are so well done. A nice thick and meaty offering. Feel has a great carbonation to it and a good body as well. Very drinkable. I don't get any of that 9.9% alcohol as it goes down. Smooth and even. Another very good brew by Lagunitas.

RblWthACoz, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of jkdrummer
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant red amber hue. Firm head at first but fades. Steady carb. Initial taste is sweet sweet sweet, some malty-ness in the background. Gave me sticky lips. Bitterness follows but not that pleasant. After a few sips the obvious alcoholiness takes over, they aren't kidding with the 9% ABV either. A strange brew but a unique taste of sweet brown sugar that isn't found in any other ale that I know of . . . Try it.

jkdrummer, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of ccrida
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Appearance is a hazy, brownish amber, with a large, long lasting off-white head that leaves clingy lace, an obvious benefactor of the sugar and hop content.

Smell is fruity and malty, with a nice west coast hop backbone.

Taste is also really assertive on the hops of the PNW variety, but plenty of assertion from the malt and sugar. Fruity apricot and grape esters really come out as it warms, but it keeps from thickening too much. Sweet of course, but there's more to it that, with only a hint to the high ABV, this is ones probably my favorite of the winter big hoppy reds.

Mouthfeel is a bit oily, medium bodied.

Drinkability is very good for me...I rarely have more then 2 or 3 in a sitting due to the high ABV and robust taste, but I enjoy them fresh all winter. Another tasty, cheap big brew from Lagunitas, very cool!

ccrida, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of tayner
1.7/5  rDev -57.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

poured a dark amber with a good head.

Smelled like perfume, floral hops

tasted like sugar dissolved in lighter fluid and then sprayed with perfume

couldnt keep it in my mouth long enough to comment on mouthfeel

I couldnt drink this.. my second official drainpoor.

tayner, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of hellcatsjg
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown ale with a slight tan head that has good staying power.

Smell: Light sweetness with some citrusy hops. Not much from the nose here.

Taste: Once you get acclimated to the too powerful citrus hops, this beer has a nice sweet flavor. This beer, like all the Lagunitas brews I have tried, relies too much on the hops. The sweet nutty flavor and the added brown sugar sweetness would be better served up front more. Decent flavor, but not what I had hoped for.

Mouthfeel: Good thickness and good smoothness. Also, a nice warmth as you go. The hops linger a bit too long in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Easy to drink if you are looking for hops. Decent enough beer and hides its ABV well.

hellcatsjg, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of gkatsoris
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice amber brown. With a very strong head; 3 fingers high and holding.

S: Nutty! And vanilla, hops, and a little alcoholy. Maybe the slightest hint of citrus (orange) from the hops.

T: Sweet, like powdered sugar sweet. Nutty! Maple syrup and honey and vanilla. Followed by subtle hops (on the tip and edges of the tongue). Very balanced. The sweetness really balances the high alcohol.

M: Nice carbonation. Very balanced. Coats the tongue well, and gives the tongue a nice zip afterwards.

D: Considering the alcohol content, this drink is very smooth. Feels nice, the aroma lingers, and the taste stays. Not bad at all!

gkatsoris, Dec 29, 2007
Photo of Kendo
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got it on tap at Lionheart in Albany on 12/26/07.

A: Clear, dark amber-reddish body with a beige, half-finger head. Leaves good rings of lacing on the way down the glass.

S: Almost all sweet stuff: brown sugar, roasted and caramel malt and molasses. Hint of alcohol -- spiced rum -- as it warms.

T: Malty sweetness dominates, especially early in the sip: roasted and caramel malt (like the nose), brown sugar and molasses. Citrusy hops add bitterness at the finish, however, and do a pretty good job of offsetting the sweetness. Also finishes hot -- more so as it warms. Fruit also becomes evident as it warms.

M: Heavier-than-medium in weight, well carbonated.

D: OK. A little too sweet for my preference and the noticeable booze knocks it down a bit.

Notes: The first time I ever had this was a sample at dba in NYC. I didn't buy a full glass then b/c I thought it was too sweet. I've now come to appreciate that there's more balance here than I originally thought, but still, this beer resides more on the sweet, malty side of the equation rather than on the bitter, hops side. . . . At one point I had the thought "this is like a poor man's Arrogant Bastard" -- a sweeter Strong Ale with more booze in it, leaning a tad towards barleywine territory. Worth checking out.

Kendo, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of SargeC
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber with a minimal, light-tan head.

Smell: Sweet quality, fruit juice with underlying hops.

Taste: powerful sweet character dominates. The hops peek through just enough to be interesting.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a syrupy quality. Leaves a sticky film on everything it touches.

Drinkability: Very flavorful and unique. It reminded me of a light Barley Wine.

SargeC, Dec 26, 2007
Photo of tgbljb
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a crystal clear deep amber color with moderate off-white head.
Smell is a bit sweet, with some subtle tones of caramel present.
Taste is nice. The sweet malt (and brown sugar) combine nicely with a firm hop presence to form a truly enjoyable beer.
The hops show throught more at the finish.
This is the scariest beer I every drank. The alcohol is completely hidden in the taste (but I can feel it). A nice winter beer.

tgbljb, Dec 26, 2007
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,781 ratings.