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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,172 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,172
Reviews: 1,342
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 178
Gots: 399 | 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: 4,172 | Reviews: 1,342 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BigBigPickle
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I like this beer.

A: Pours a very dark amber with generous head. Great head retention and tremendous spider web lacing on the glass.

S: Hops, malt, Brown Sugar (of course). Also fruit that I cannot place - but definitely there. A dark fruit - plum, raisin?

T: Malty sweetness aided by the brown sugar make this a real treat. The hop-bitter finish and great residual sugar coupled with the fruit leave a great taste in my mouth after each sip.

M: Sticky sugars and great hop pucker make for a great mouthfeel.

D: A bit high in alcohol. Very nice hop presence and the brown sugar stickiness is a definite asset.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. My bottle reads 9.5% ABV rather than the above-mentioned 9.84%.

Appearance: nice true amber color with a finger of compact tan head. Appetizing.

Smell: bright, tart, hoppy. Hops are citrusy, floral and a little funky. Hints of tart cherry, apple and raspberry. I'm quite intrigued.

Taste: big malt flavor forms a substrate on which the hops play. Some of the nice fruit subtleties are drowned in more staid strong-ale flavors like plum and raisin. Hops provide some bite; overall, a pretty good beer.

Mouthfeel: on the heavy side of medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. I feel like this beer could easily go both ways -- higher carbonation for a creamier Belgian-ey feel, or lower for an old ale/barleywine type situation -- and be better for it. Still not bad.

Drinkability: well, I like it, but with its malt-bombiness and its high ABV, it's definitely not a session one for me. I might split a sixpack three ways, though.

Photo of Padron4KM
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dec 18, 2009
12 oz bottle., no bottled on or freshness date assume it's 2009 release.
Rich amber with a very thin head that left equally thin lace.
Lively carbonation leads to creamy smooth mouthfeel.
Aroma is mostly citrus with a funky earthy undertone. Burnt caramel malt emerges as it warms.
Flavor is citrusy hops with a subtle sweet malt back. Alcohol is deceptivley hidden. Watch out because it sneaks up on you.

Photo of leeswagerty
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep red amber; almost a caramel colour

S: Barely smell "brown sugar" but definitely a sweet aroma.

T: Tastes like brown sugar, caramel, a hint of chocolate. Great taste.

M: Smooth and rich. Perfectly bitter.

D: Wow, at 9% alcohol you would never know. Not boozy at all. You could easily drink wayyy too many of these and not realize it until you're absolutely drunkard.

A great seasonal brew, DEFINITELY try this out if you have the chance. AT LEAST once!!!

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

Serving type: 12 ounce bottle poured into a Duvel glass

Appearance: Nice thick head that sits on top for at least 45 seconds before leaving a slightly cloudy covering. A quick swirl brings that foamy head right back up. The color is rusted red, though, when held to the light it reminds one of a red sunset sky. Little specks of sediment float very still, due to the thickness of the beer.

Smell: This beer has a great aroma. Malt, hops, and without a doubt, brown sugar (smelling kind of like brown syrup) greet the nostrils.

Taste: Malt and brown sugar mix with citrus hops on the finish. It really does remind one of syrup until the generous hops kick in at the finish. The alcohol is present, it leaves a bit of a taste on the tongue, however, it manages not to distract too much from the taste.

Mouthfeel: This beer is heavy, it takes over your whole mouth and sits there. There is some creamy feel at first swirl.

Drinkability: This is not a beer that one would drink a whole six pack in a sitting. Well, you could, I just wouldn't go anywhere afterwards. It's a perfect beer for cold, howling, brittle, winter nights.

Photo of Foxtrot
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm so glad this comes in sixer's now. With the weather being chilly, this should certainly warm me up.

12oz. bottle pours a dark brown and mahogany hued body with a pleasant 1 finger ivory colored cap. The retention that followed was good, along with lacing.

Smell is of a sweet Barleywine. Hops mingle up front with brown sugar and molasses sweetness hiding underneath. The brown sugar really comes through on the nose and looks very promising.

All I can say is "Wow". Lagunitas is really onto something with the whole brown sugar infused yeast. Begins with a slight hop and citrus presence and slowly gives way to malt madness! Caramel, brown sugar, and molasses run very smoothly to the finish. Leaves a nice after taste that is lip smacking good.

Mouthfeel is a good full medium body. This beer could put some RIS's to shame because of its incredible sweet mouthfeel. Coats the mouth and tongue and borders the edge of being creamy.

Drinkability is fantastic. The high ABV is almost undetected while showcasing its flavor.

Photo of jamie2dope
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lagunitas Brown Shugga was recommended to me by Nate over at Martys in Newton. For some reason the name of this beer always struck me as gimmicky, but oh well. The color is copper, and has a small amount of mildly tan head. The nose is a good bit hoppier than I was expecting. I do get a bit of brown sugar in the smell, along with some caramel and grain. Taste is again, hoppy, with some mint leaf, and a really raw earth character. Body is medium to heavy, and leaves a very bitter aftertaste. Drinkability is hindered a bit simply by the fact that this beer is complicated. As I was told at the store, this is a challenging one. On the bright side, the 9.84 ABV can barely be detected. Maybe not among the best from Lagunitas, but certainly interesting and worth a shot. Cheers

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

A- burnt sienna with just under a finger of beige head that made some cool patterns on my pint glass

S- so syrupy, it made my nose hairs stick together- but intriguing, although almost same exact smell as SA imperial white, kind of creepy IMO but also a bit like raisin bread

T- fruity, malty, and yes, like brown sugar was used as an adjunct somewhere in the brewing process- not too bad though

M- thick and chewy, i was tempted to get a knife and fork- but warming as expected

D- great considering the relatively high abv- showing that not all strong ales have to hit you like double bass pedals, i.e. Stone

Photo of runningjoke
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this into a pint glass.

A. Orange amber the color of orange tea with a thin head that turned into a spidery cover.
S. Smelled of malt, burnt sugar, orange, and roses(?).
T. Malt, caramelized sugar, hops, chicory, all seem to come together as sweetened grapefruit.
M. Really smooth and mouthwatering.
D. Goes down real easy and begs for the next one.

Great beer!

Photo of cvaypai
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle to oversized snifter.

Appearance - Pours a coppery, orangey crimson brown and is hazy when looked through. Poured with a thin layer of head that dissipates very quickly clinging just to the sides of the glass. The lacing can be seen down the glass.

Smell - Oranges and cherries right up front, this is a different smelling beer. Other dark fruits can be found. Brown sugar and other sweet malts are detected, caramel. Very floral and fruity smelling and tons of smell coming from the hops. Resinous pine and grapefruit can be smelled on the end. Something just a bit off about the nose, can't put my finger on it.

Taste - Incredibly sweet up front, tastes of pears and apples, the sweet malt is right there with the fruit tang, coming in the like of caramel, brown sugar and other sweetness, possibly honey. Fruity bitterness on the end but not as much as I thought there would be, grapefruit and orange can be found. Just tons of flavors going on here. Very sweet almost like jolly ranchers on the end.

Mouthfeel - Carbonated well for the size. Very full bodied and heavy on the palate, it should be for a strong ale though. The sweetness is there biting the tongue, it feels nice in the mouth, almost cream like and smooth.

Drinkability - Not even a hint of alcohol, I could easily consume a few bottles of this and probably get pretty drunk at the abv. I wouldn't care though, it is almost refreshing for it's abv and style and I would definitely reach for another if I had one. I will be getting more.

Photo of jsdunlop
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: nice looking copper hue with a thick, frothy head, few stray carb bubbles flowing to the top every so often.
S: cherries first, then a burst of alcohol and brown sugar, definitely some hop aroma going on as well.
T: fermented brown sugar notes, tart cherries along with a strong residual sweetness that coincides very nicely with the abundance of hops in this one. Alcohol content is masked very well throughout this brew.
M: Moderate carbonation and medium body, slick mouthfeel throughout.
D: Drinkability is definitely a highlight of this one, have to watch it though, as the 9.8% abv could bring some ill effects after more than a few of these...

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

12oz bottle

Pours a caramel/amber color with a good size off white creamy head, and good lacing. Smell is sweet malty brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, oranges & cream, with a some citrusy hops. Taste is sweet with lots of caramel malt, brown sugar, and oranges up front with a slightly citrusy hop bitterness on the end. Kind of leaves of oranges & cream aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel, easy drinker. Overall this is a great beer.

Photo of mgbickel
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured ½ of the bottle into a snifter. Formed a very thin ½ finger head that didn't stick around long. Some lacing present, but nothing to write home about. The color is awesome...the color of a caramel apple, but crystal clear...

Lots of brown sugar (wasn't expecting that!) molasses, grains and a touch of honey on the nose. Hops and roasted malts in the background.

Sweet malts hit the mouth immediately. This is followed by a grainy transition into the hoppy, bitter finish. Very complex and changes as the brew comes to temperature...worth sipping over time.

Medium mouth feel that can get a little heavy, but never overwhelming.

This is a thinking man's beer. You have to try to appreciate each sip and swirl it around in your mouth and mind...will not turn this down!

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown screw top, nice label; no date to be seen, though there is some kind of cryptic code which might be a freshness date; oh well, at the abv, I'm not too worried...

Appearance: Nice dark burnt orange beer with good clarity and a nice dense ivory cap with good retention.

Smell: Awesome aromas! This is like liquid creme brulee; there is TONS of sweet, burnt caramelized sugar and vanilla custard here, backed with some citrus hops. This is truly remarkable. Way more 'creme brulee-y' than ST's Creme Brulee Stout, it must be said.

Taste: LOTS of dark, boozy, vinous fruit across the palate. Medium to high levels of citrusy hop bitterness, with bittersweet burnt sugar and dark caramel as well. This is big, boozy, and sweet, but ends pretty bitter. This is less sweet and more complex than the aromas suggest.

Mouthfeel: Big, silky, alcoholic

Drinkability: Warming, big, and a bit too much to have more than one or two; still, one of these to cap off the night in front of a roaring fire would be splendid

Conclusion: Here finally is a Lagunitas brew that really, really impresses me.

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into ye' olde Duvel tulip.

A: Noticeable carbonation streaming upwards off the nucleation point to create a thin, but creamy off white head. The beer is a mahogany color with some reddish highlights around. Looks very inviting.

S: Full of brown sugar, caramelized sugar and sweet malts. Hops mask what would be a quite strong alcohol presence. Big, luscious and a nice bitter hop aroma as well.

T: Absolutely mind blowing taste. So creamy with a big caramel flavor. Glad I got around to reviewing this beer, because it is one of my favorites that I never really sat and studied. Hops experienced on the nose were bitter, yet the beer is a malt bomb. Very understandable how some classify this as an American Barleywine.

M: A bit wispy for the mat presence. Guess this is why some people don't classify this as an American BW. Still creamy and luscious, yet the beer also has some carbonation to it that keeps it crisp.

D: Way too drinkable and at near 10%, this ones dangerous. Alcohol is hidden very well so read your labels kids.

Photo of grdahl
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle,

A- Nice white head, pleasant brown orange color

S- sweet brown sugar and camel, very malty with very little hop aroma

T- The emphasis is on malt, pleasantly sweet with lots of camel and molasses present. The sweetness is not overly done however.

M- chewy but not thick

D- Very drinkable for a beer of it's strength.

Overall- Loved it!! Lagunitas brews are an incredible value and represent all that is great about the American Craft Beer industry. Well done!!!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-29-2009

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful deep reddish amber color with small, rapidly fading head that leaves some lace on the glass. Smell is quite sweet, with some of the brown sugar coming to play with citrus hops. Pleasant, though. Taste is not overwhelmingly hoppy or malty, but a nice balance of both. Lightly roasted malt kicks things off here followed by a moderate bitter kick from some hops, fading into a lingering piney and somewhat smokey flavor. Very interesting, not nearly as sweet as I would have expected--was thinking this was gonna be like DFH 90 in the sweetness dept. Very interesting flavor, akin in ways to both English and American Barleywines. Thick and coating, the MF on this one is great, very smooth and full-bodied. It says not to sip this one on the bottle, and I damn well could get away with not sipping this one. Nice work from Lagunitas, I have to explore this brewery further.

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

Poured a clear copper color with a fluffy white head. fainter than expected nose, some definite sweetness going on, but the hops were definitely there as well. I was expecting a much sweeter taste at first, but then I reminded this is a west coast barley wine, and should be treated as such. very sweet malts up front, the brown sugar is there and the hops take control of the lingering flavor. The mouthfeel is phenomenal on this one. velvety smooth. This was a great beer, but I feel as though it should be cellared for a few years to mull the hop flavor a bit. Definitely pick this one up if you see it.

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

A- Pours a hazy reddish amber hue with a half finger of cream colored head that quickly dissipates leaving little lacing. Fair amount of carbonation.

S- Brown sugar and citrus at once, neither stronger nor weaker than the other. Also a bit fruity, some raisins in the background.

T- Brown sugar really comes through almost honey like, but can also taste the before mentioned citrus from the hops. Pretty complex... noticeable changes as it warms.

M- Medium-heavy body, a bit syrupy, decent amount of carbonation.

D- This is pretty fun to drink with the variety of flavors, and the near 10%ABV(hidden well) doesn't hurt either. Drink this in moderation.

Photo of jdense
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage cellared bottle, poured during Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting 12/22/09.

Dark brown body, 3/4 finger tan head, nice lacing. Huge sweetness in the nose which masks the hops. Taste is sweet, with some roasted malts present, a bit too syrupy for me. Not the most drinkable of beers at this ABV and sweetness, though I must note two years of cellaring mellowed out the alcohol quite a bit. A definite late night sipper. Not for the faint of heart.

Photo of weatherdog
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Jak's Taps in Chicago served in a small tulip glass

Came a ruby brown with a nice cream colored head. It did have ridiculous lacing all the way down

Smell is of a faint grassy hop and just a touch of malt sweetness

The taste on the front end is of grassy bitterness and then a kind of marriage of sweetness and some dark fruits. It finishes surprisingly absent of any strong flavor with just a little alcohol.

This beer is so drinkable for the gravity and is is smooth on the back-end making one down a glass faster than one should. My only problem with this easy drinking beer is the slight alcohol bite at the end dings it a little on the drinkability. I actually think that alcohol presence is needed otherwise I'd down too many of these in too fast of time. If Lagunitas could come up with same taste profile in a sessionable strength then I would be all over that.

Photo of hooliganlife
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a very deep ruby brown. light fluffy creamy head quickly disappears. light retention, little to no lacing

mainly floral, bright and sweet. slight hint of pineapple

lots of sweetness but not in a bad way. mixes well with the floral and citrus hops to balance out. a tad too sweet in the bitter finish though. malts are mostly hidden but become more and more dominant through the finish and the aftertaste. slight pine bitterness through out.

fairly thick for a brown, almost syrupy though

good but way too high of an ABV and way too much sugar.

Photo of cvanderwerff
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I first tried this beer last year thanks to an old co-worker from Starbucks. By far his favorite winter beer. And now has become one of mine. I am starting to look forward to seeing it on the shelves every winter now. For those who are not familiar with this beer. It started out as a rushed recipe for their Gnarly Wine ale. But as most rushed things go it took a turn off course, so they added mass amounts of brown sugar to try to speed up the fermentation process. The end result turned out to be this great winter beer. I would not recommend this to anyone who is not use too how a barley wine should taste. But for those who enjoy a good barley wine give this a try at least once.

Photo of tigg924
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, caramel brown in color, high carbonation

Smell: caramel malt and citrus hops

Taste: toasted malt, dash of caramel, citrus hops, and brown sugar that starts in the middle and lasts through the end

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, nice mix of sweet and bitter. The sweet taste shows itself more as the beer warms.

Drinkability: A solid beer that is one per sitting for the high abv. As stated above the sweetness really comes out as the beer warms. I will look for this again.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12-17-09
Cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Cloudy reddish/brown sugar color, 1 finger of foam, 1 finger of a lacing ring around the glass. Great carbonation is present and shown through entire review

S - Citrus notes with pine mixed in, hop heavy at first

T - A big hop hello when first tried but mellows pretty quick, brown sugar taste and smooth but a little dry aftertaste due to the hops

M/D - I enjoyed this brew quite a bit, a brew I can drink throughout the night. I medium bodied brew that is sweet and smooth, but dry at the end, a good well rounded brew in my opinion. I will for sure have again. Another seasonal so stock up if you can find it.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 4,172 ratings.