Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company
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Ratings: 3,649 | Reviews: 1,296 | Display Reviews Only:
3.63/5 rDev -9.7%
A hazey dark amber beer with orange highlights. Has a big creamy off white head and a touch of lace. There is a piney hop character to the aroma right up front. Then in the background is a sweet malty note. The flavor starts with a big rush of brown sugar sweetness on the tip of your tongue. Followed by a nice piney hop bite along the sides of your tongue and into the back of your throat. But it is that sweet sugar character that stays with you.
01-22-2006 17:06:00 | More by ybnorml
4.25/5 rDev +5.7%
Received in a trade from warriorsoul...thanks man...
Been wanting to try this for a while. I've recently taken highly to strong ales and this one was high on the list to try. Fills my standard pint nicely with a caramel, amber liquid goodness. Topped off with a sticky tan half inch head. Not much lacing though.
Lots of hops in the nose, citrus and fruity aromas dominate, oranges and tangerines, with some floral notes. Some good caramel maltiness comes through too. Alcohol is definately noticable, but not overbearing. Aroma started out strong, but subsided a bit when the head dissipated. After the head left I couldn't pick out anything discernable.
A nice strong flavor profile. Hops really come through again. A nice blend of many hop flavors. Overall sweet with floral hops that finish with some resin. A bit of straw and herbal varieties find there way in as well. Definately has its bitter edge. This beer is nearly balanced with some caramel maltiness, probably from the brown sugar added in, but could offer some more. A nicely balanced flavor. There is also a bit of spiciness as well and some sweet alcohol comes in as well. Very nice. Definately for the hop head.
Mouthfeel is solid. A bit of hop oiliness comes in. Coats the mouth well. Also, there is some good crispness to finish it out. I was afraid the sugar addition would thin this out, but it still comes through with a good body.
Drinkability is really good. A bit high in the alcohol to have too many, but I'd definately pick this up fairly often if it was available to me. A good example of a strong ale, but with extra hops. Aging this could prove interesting to let the hops settle down and some of the malt and brown sugar flavors to come through.
01-21-2006 03:43:32 | More by blitz134
2.17/5 rDev -46%
12 oz bottle. Pours a reddish orange with a thin white head that quickly dissipates to a small collar.
The aroma is sweet brown sugar with pine, fruit and paint thinner-like alcohol.
The flavor is sweet sugary caramel malts initially with a metallic bitter alcoholic finish. Fruit and cola some out as it warms. The mouthfeel is medium and kind of watery.
Overall, I was not too impressed. The flavors did not balance well, rather harsh and raw and too sweet for my tastes. I didn't much enjoy it.
01-10-2006 06:00:11 | More by Beaver13
3.98/5 rDev -1%
The last of the Lagunitas bottles I was able to buy while down in Dayton. Pours a semi murky burgundy color, sort of brown in the middle and red along the sides. Smaller but compact off white head sits atop. Good lacing.
Aroma is definitely sugary along with molasses and caramel but there's also a fruitiness I wasn't expecting. Reminiscent of red delicious apples and also maybe tangerines. A bit of alcohol warmth accompanies the fruits.
Taste is similar. Begins really sweet. I knew it had brown sugar in it, obviously, but I think I could tell fairly easily even if I didn't know. Caramel goes away but there's more of a sweet cinnamon roll flavor. Lots of yeasty esters seem to take hand towards the middle but they soon give way to the hops and alcohol. I think these go hand in hand here. Alcohol warmth is noticeable to me even through the thicker body. Finish is residually sweet yet also bitter and I feel this one go all the way down my belly.
As said before, the body is really thick and vicious. The flavors come out but are sometimes dominated by the shear weight of this liquid. This is definitely a sipper. Take time, relax, and enjoy this during the colder times of the year.
01-09-2006 21:19:21 | More by granger10
4.65/5 rDev +15.7%
rereviewing due to the release of the 05/06 batch.. bottle differs by bright red and thicker letters spelling out 'brown shugga'... something tells me this beer is going to be different as it's a recreation of a mistake- and boy was i right!
pours a silky, clear dark amber with a taut ring of creamy foam with empty speckles where bubbles once were. 50% haze on top, swirly and twirly. spotty lacing on the glass.
hoppy nose brings out ripe red plum fruit and slight cough syrup aromatic drafts. orange liqueur dominates the scent here, defining this beer as an apertif more than a beery beer. bigger than i remember, still smelling good.
flavor repeats the aggressive hoppiness, brings the brown sugar in tasty spades. buttery brown sugar with vanilla and cookielike girth. thick and balanced mf/wise with a good level of carbonation. the more i think about it, the more i realize this brings the same flavors and accents with a slightly different twist on the overall recipe still just as good as it was last year.. a little crisper, a little richer. less boozy, and more hoppy. maybe it's just because its so fresh.
aw, who gives a fuck. this still an A+ beer and one i'd be happy to rereview every year until it disappears.. at bare minimum, ill be drinking it annually.
01-09-2006 15:27:29 | More by goodbyeohio
3.88/5 rDev -3.5%
22oz bottle, no freshness date, but I'm not usually concerned about that (especially with almost 10% abv). Poured into my tulip the color of cranberry-apple juice, a dark red-brown that drifted towards honey-brown as I drank and the light played through the levels of beer.. A thin little head of yellow-tan bubbles rose and fell to a ring around the brew and an island in the middle. Some strings of tiny bubbles, some thin lacing. Pretty good looking...
The scent brings to mind crabapples, cherries, and yes, a molasses-cinnamon-brown-sugar sweetness. Kind of light, airy, and sweet. Not too pungent or cloying.
There's a malty bite, a dance across the tongue of undecidedly sweet flavors; A bit of hop bitters on the back of the tongue and an alcoholic finish that reminds me of whiskey. The aftertaste is really long lasting and carries simultaneously some lingering piney hops and balancing brown sugar slickness. I really only get the distinct flavor of brown sugar after letting the aftertaste linger untouched in my mouth for a few minutes.
Mouthfeel is thick and chewy for an ale like this, and damn if it's not filling. I decided to partake of this to tide me over between lunch and dinner and I think I might have to skip dinner. A glass of this really filled me up. The alcohol is just present enough to add its two cents to the flavors, but it's a good contribution. Carbonation is minimal in this brew, but what's there does a good job.
Overall, this is an interesting beer to try. It's so damn filling, and the alcohol is present enough, that I'd say this makes for a good afternoon snack, but this is a really hearty beverage and I'm going to save the rest of the bottle for another time - dessert, maybe.
01-07-2006 23:23:30 | More by Tupperwolf
4.18/5 rDev +4%
thanks to maltygoodness for this one.
appearance: very dark amber. mine poured little head, but from everyone else's reviews this didn't seem to be any sort of problem. maybe i need to learn to poor a better...note to self.
smell: very sweet and caramelly. also tenges of hops and malt
taste: everything seems really well balanced. the sugary effect is still definitely there, but i really like it. you would never really be able to tell that this brew had a abv of 9.9%. it has a very nice hoppy taste tp it, and the malts are mixed in there well.
m: there is strong hoppy oil mouthfeel to it. there is a smoothness that is somewhat strange because this is big bodied beer
Drinkability: like i said ther alcohol is hidden very well, and this a very unique beer that i wish i had readily available to me.
01-07-2006 03:23:54 | More by DeaconBluez
3.33/5 rDev -17.2%
Clear burgandy. Thick, dense off-white head. The froth coats the glass heavily as I drink. Aroma is sweet. Very sweet. Caramel sweet. And there's a whiff of alcohol as well. And some tropical fruits. Rummy alcohol notes are noticed up front on the palate. And the alcoholic bitterness lingers long after the sip. The flavor is pretty sweet, but not quite to the cloying extent. Sweet and alcoholic sum up this beer quite well. And there's some estery goodness in the mix as well. Passion fruit tones and such. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Decent enough, but not really noteworthy.
Here's a shout out to the LBB for the sample. Thanks bud.
01-06-2006 03:54:48 | More by Bighuge
3.7/5 rDev -8%
An interesting beer, not what i expected. Big, nice hoppy residual taste, sweet up front, but nice bitter after-taste. Not really barley wine [to me at least], but not really anything else. Not for the faint at heart, or for those unwilling to try something different.
01-05-2006 05:30:33 | More by ReDave
4.08/5 rDev +1.5%
This poured to a nice deep copper and orange with a fairly large head that quickly faded to a small ring. There's no real lace.
The flavors here are fairly straightforward for the style, but then again, this doesn't really fit into a standard style. Brown sugar and light malts dominate the smell. The same can be found in the front of the taste, while substantial hops linger through the finish. The mouthfeel is assertive and interesting.
Drinkability is outright dangerous for the alcohol content.
12-29-2005 08:59:22 | More by watermelonman
3.95/5 rDev -1.7%
This beer poured a clear red amber color and formed a nice off white foamy head that vanished quickly coating the glass with lace. A small amount of carbonation was present. An aroma of malt, caramel, and some sweets that I guess is brown sugar. The flavor was of malt, a toasted caramel aspect and some elements of brown sugar. The body was lighter than I was expecting and the finish was bittersweet. If this beer is really 9.9 %, it hides it very well. Really no trace the the heavy alcohol is noticeable.
12-29-2005 02:02:09 | More by Wildman
4/5 rDev -0.5%
It came to me a crisp, coppery amber, the hue of long-aged Scotch, with the ever so slightest haze. A frothy film of light tan head laid long on the surface. Frills of lacing draped the inside of the glass.
The aroma brought a draft of leathery, toasted malt, fruity with raisins and figs. The duscky sweetness of brown sugar hlped buoy a mild but present pine floral hops note. A peep of alcohol slid forward briefly.
Upon tasting, the maturity of toasty malt accented the maple syrup and molasses sweetness that plunged forth. A snaky current of dark dried fruits slithered among a more citrus driven hops character and accompanying bitterness. A brief cameo of alcohol stepped in toward the close before the sugary sweetness and residual bitterness laid claim to linger ling at the close. Heavily slanted toward malt and sweetness, it had just enough hops presence to keep it from tumbling overboard.
Pretty much heavy of body, the malt and sugar imparted a chewy, lip-smacking sweetness on the palate, and the flashes of hoppy bitterness lent a mild lingering glow.
From the first the malt and sugar flexed their muscles, but never overdid the workout, steering clear of ever cloying and ruining the mood, a well-timed directional shift enabled by the sufficient and tasty hops profile. Granted, you might want to be in the mood for the syrupy sucrose sensation it creates, but combined with the hefty but never obnoxious ABV, it makes for a nice warmer in the colder times. But make note- that ABV is sneaky because of just how masked it seems, so caution is recommended. Still, we're all big kids here, so one or two seems a pleasant way to spend some time in front of the fire. Brown Sugga...how come you taste so good?
12-20-2005 19:49:15 | More by Foxman
4.25/5 rDev +5.7%
This beer pours a deep amber, with a good-sized, foamy head. Initially, its smell was much more prominent, almost floral. You can smell the brown shugga' in there.
Nice and malty tasting, but not unbalanced. This beer's hoppy, but the hops aren't the main attraction. It's the molasses!
This label declares this ale to be an experiment. As far as I can tell, the data shows that this beer rocks.
12-17-2005 23:54:55 | More by Marty
3.83/5 rDev -4.7%
2004 Release - O.G. 1.100, Alcohol 9.9% 51.1 IBU according to the label.
At cellar temp, pours a dull, hazy copper. Shouldn't be 'chill' hazed at this temp, but seems so. Strange, only because I don't remember the beer looking this way when I bought the case last January.
One finger of beige head that dissipated in a couple minutes (before first sip). A mix of slow- and rapid-rising bubbles - more effervescent than when young.
Strong aroma of sugary dried dates, raisin and fresh tobacco. Still a noticeable alcohol presence in the nose, lending an almost rum-soaked note to the fruitiness...although its subdued somewhat by time.
Wow. Totally different mouthfeel after a year of aging! This beer, for me, was the embodyment of "chewy" when it was young. Now, it's *much* thinner, though still not light. Drier. Hops cut through with an awesome, distinctly grapefruit-like, bitter finish. Gone, almost entirely, is the malty sweetness that I remember being so prominent in this one - despite its lingering presence in the aroma.
I'm really enjoying this beer, though I find myself thinking that the malt is almost too far gone, and the hop bitterness is stealing the show. Makes me wish this wasn't the last bottle I'd set aside. More aging would (hopefully) mellow the hops a bit, restoring balance.
This is a really nice brew. Alcohol is well hidden - aside from the aroma while pouring - and the somewhat thinner mouthfeel makes it more drinkable now than it was a year ago.
Not my favorite, but a solid barleywine (or strong ale, whichever it is now) nonetheless and a nice job by the folks at Lagunitas.
12-17-2005 01:56:02 | More by DunkelFester
4.5/5 rDev +11.9%
Pours into a pint glass lighter than expected, transparent "whiskeyish" copper and yellow with a nice barely off-white head which leaves some nice lacing after recession. Nose has clear brown sugar hints as well as hoppy fruity aromas, also slight boozy hint which cleans the sinus'. Taste is smooth and thick with sugary sweet flavors suggesting honey or even maple syrup. Mouthfeel is full with very well hidden alcoholic esters, like many have pointed out, at almost 10 percent this is one easy drinking brew....definitely tread lightly with this one. A very high caliber brew from lagunitas.
12-14-2005 01:11:50 | More by masikon
3.8/5 rDev -5.5%
Grabbed a six pack a BevMo! Was a spicy meatball at $8.99
Pours A reddish brown with a little tan head on top. Bright orange highlights. Nice slow carbonation. Nice bubbly lacing.
Sweet malt aroma with hints of grapelike fruits. I can smell the alcohol.
Sticky on the palate. Light sweet flavor of caramel, bitter citrus finish that clings to the tongue. The ABV warms my belly.
Very smooth and drinkablr despite giantic ABV, could be trouble.
12-10-2005 23:49:45 | More by SteveO1231
3.58/5 rDev -10.9%
Pours a clear amber brown with an eggshell head that fades. Decent lacing on the glass.
Aroma of hops, brown sugar, and booze. There's no hiding the ABV in this one.
Nice sweet taste of brown sugar and hops followed by a wave of alcohol. The alcohol taste is not obnoxious, but it is noticable. I suppose that it's hard to avoid with a large quantity of brown sugar. Finishes with a nice sweet hoppiness.
Nice full and creamy body.
This is pretty easy to drink. The only detractions are the alcohol in the flavor and the high ABV. It's a decent brew overall.
12-10-2005 01:22:59 | More by MaltyGoodness
4.05/5 rDev +0.7%
v.2005, 22 oz. bomber
Big fluffy 2 1/2 finger head...impressive for such a "big" beer. Dark amber color, slightly hazy, visible syrupy appearance.
Smells like hops and brown sugar...no suprise here.
Taste proves there's truth in advertising....I taste brown sugar. Oh, and hops. 50+ IBU's, just what you would expect from Lagunitas. This tastes like half barlywine, half IIPA, spiked with brown sugar. What more could you want? Alcohol is VERY well hidden.You can't find it....but it will find you if you're not careful.
Syrupy mouthfeel, but still fairly carbonated. Drinkability? So deadly, it should be illegal.
I actually think that the 2004 version is better, but this is still outstanding. I would like to age a few of these, but I don't think I could resist the temptation.
12-03-2005 17:50:45 | More by 1whiskey
4.22/5 rDev +5%
Pours a thick hazy reddish brown ale with barely a hint of a tan head. Looks a LOT like fresh motor oil going in to the glass.
Smell is lots of citrus hops with a hint of wood in the smell. The malt is almost an after thought here very light malt scents mostly honey and flower nectar with a faint scent of molasses. After this warms up the rum scents and flavors come out to be savored.
Taste is very hoppy with a lot of tropical fruit flavor in the first sip. In the first taste I detect pineapple, coconut and mango/pine. Powerful hops here and it really lubes your teeth with the hop oils. After about 3 sips the malts make themselves known, honey and brown sugar and some cookie dough. Very tasty I could see calling this a barley wine.
Mouthfeel is good but not as thick as the pour might have suggested.
A tasty sipper of a beer here which is quite mild to me but I am sure Hop exposure has thrown of my taste a little bit. Probably not the thing to serve a Budweiser drinker. I like it though.
11-19-2005 03:02:31 | More by Zorro
3.88/5 rDev -3.5%
So is adding brown sugar to your recipe considered cheating?
The beer pours a nice mahogany brown with a thick off-white head... The head dies off in time leaving some clumpy foam at the top of the brew and lots of lacing on the glass.
The nose is entirely malt and alcohol with some fruity esters thrown in to keep things lively. Flavor is like a mega-amber with plenty of sweet grain notes, caramel sugars, apricot and plum fruit notes and a pretty severe alcohol bite. Hopping is pretty bold and balances the mega-malt approach with pine and citrus notes.
Mouthfeel is good - a bit of an oily note but just enough carbonation and bittering to end each sip well. Final note isn't hop bittering but alcohol burn.
Lagunitas' Imperial Red is one of my favorite brews and this is pretty much a "Double Imperial Red" with all the flavors amp'ed up. While it's quite tasty and very drinkable, the high ABV does detract a bit from the beer - first because you get pretty useless pretty damn fast but also because they didn't really tame the alcohol burn very well - it's a bit too obvious in the flavor mix..
11-09-2005 04:47:31 | More by RedwoodGeorge
4.5/5 rDev +11.9%
This is a real beer.
The "brown" labeling lead me wrong. This is definately more on the imperial ale style or a mini barley wine. Be warned.
Pours a pretty dense head with tons of lacings clinging everywhere they can. Deep amber color. Nice. . .
Smell is sweet and malty with nice earthy hop tones. A tempting hint of what is to come. Mouthfeel is sweet and slick. Taste is complex and delicious, piney hops and sweet malty alchohol burst into my mouth. Awesome flavor but not overly strong like some Imperial or double styles. Serious kick in the alchohol department but not overly noticable.
Usually I don't rate this style of beer high on drinkability but this one is different. I am very happy with this brew and will happily drink my share. But with almost 10% ABV you have to be careful, this one will do you in quickly.
11-01-2005 06:44:51 | More by kgotcher
4.45/5 rDev +10.7%
six pack picked up at beverage warehouse. 6.99 for a sixer, can you belive that? I was dumbfounded. The checkout clerk even commented on how he loves this beer and he couldn't believe the price. I went back and grabbed the whole case.
Poured into a snifter it produces a huge fluffy slightly off white head, great retention and eventually falls to a thin covering. Deep copper with some Orange on the outskirts. Perfect clarity, shiney body, nice to look at...very appetizing.
Smells really sweet. Lots of caramel and alcohol. Some toasted characteristics as well.
this is decisively malty although there is an oily quality combined with the alcohol that makes it enjoyable and drinkable. The sweet smells are gone and never to be found again after the first drink. I don't know if it's because of the name or not but for the first time in my drinking career I detect vanilla? and some brown sugar. They compliment eachother nicely.
This is a meaty beer. Not for the faint at heart. I almost had to pull out a fork to get through the chewy body. All of this was welcomed though and although I couldn't see drinking more than a couple at any given time due to its sweetness it dissapeared at a rapid rate.
Lagunitas once again impresses.
10-23-2005 17:26:10 | More by DogFood11
4.22/5 rDev +5%
650 ml bottle, with an always entertaining if somewhat maniacal "story" behind Brown Shugga on the label's side. On the front it says this is a "messed up" Gnarlywine. Tasted at room temperature. Popping the green cap gives a whiff of strong and very sweet maltiness. This beer poured nicely, with low carbonation, producing a creamy light brown head which was moccha like in that it seemed to have streaks of lighter whites swirling. Rings of lacing which stuck instantly and seemed very viscous. The beer is a light, dusty ruby red. Dark nectarine, or light strawberry in certain light. An attractive beer without question. The aroma is very similar to a good barleywine. The phenols are always there, and the aroma tickles the nose with its strength. Heavy malts, but a definite kick of strong hopping is also present, adding an earthiness and a dryness I have not smelt in too many barleywines, or, like Brown Shugga, barleywine hybrids. Thick burnt caramel, red wine, the inevitable licorice and and creamy root beer. The northwest hops always add a nice balance to the heavy malting. The aroma is quite sweet, yes, but not as much as I thought it might be with the addition of brown sugar. The sugar can definitely be smelt, however. Smelling very closely, a very refreshing note of citrus, mixed with red grapes. Other aromas include rice pudding, mollasses, and fresh cinnamon buns. The taste is delectably full and satisfying in its maltiness, but the hops play their part perfectly here too. The syrupy malts come first, sugary and bursting with brown sugar and licorice flavours. In the middle the citrus hops come again and combined with the malts give a chocolate-orange combination which is incredible. I paired this beer with St Paulin cheese from France, and the light nutiness of the cheese made the chocolate and especially the orange come through in the beer magnificently. I would recommend the pairing. The alcohol is masked quite well up until the finish, when the bitterness, almost vodka-like in its bite, creeps up on you. The taste too is barleywine with perhaps an added sweetness. Burnt toast and cinnamon, maple syrup and a load of mollasses. The mouthfeel is definitely full, with extremely low carbonation, making it quite syrupy. Despite its near-10% abv, this is very drinkable, but with caution. It warms the stomach rather rapidly. A beer I wish was more widely available in Alberta(for now, only one store in Calgary has the exclusive rights to sell it). It also paired well with 3-year aged cheddar. A definite re-drinker, and cellaring a few for a year or two sounds mighty prudent.
10-10-2005 09:42:40 | More by Cwrw
4.15/5 rDev +3.2%
A very powerful brew, lots of basic complexity, a solid malt backbone and a strong, strong hop presence. This brew is magnificently huge, but somehow it manages to be incredibly well balanced out despite it.
Pours a dark apricot in color, hazy and mysterious. Head is creamy and tan in color and had excellent retention leaving tons of lace clinging to the sides of my glass. Nose is intensely hoppy, lots of pine and herbal tones dominating. Taste, while hppy and bitter has a very strong malt sweetness, I've rarely had a beer that goes from bitter to intensely sweet all in one moutfull, but somehow this one manages. The sweetness is a very thick and dense sort of tone. Mouthfeel is medium, but suits the beer perfectly. Drinkability is very good, but this is definatly a strong brew and as such I don't think I could drink an inordinate amount of it.
09-30-2005 08:24:11 | More by Gaisgeil
4.65/5 rDev +15.7%
Dark orange-copper with a faint roseate glow. Brown Shugga' looks like a brighter, sunnier barleywine. The magnificent head is the color of golden brown sugar, is the consistency of whipped butter and leaves a wonderful lace display. There's nothing about the appearance that I don't love.
A sweet, malty sipper would have been fantastic. However, if the nose is any indication, the brewery has seen fit to chuck in a generous load of American hops as well. Brown Shugga' smells like a DIPA that flavors its brown sugary malt side a fraction more than its citric hop side. If it tastes like it smells, I'll be in beer heaven.
The American strong ale, American barleywine and DIPA styles overlap to some extent. This Lagunitas offering could fit comfortably into any of them; maybe not so much the third. For my money, it tastes like a barleywine that's sweeter than it is bitter; like it has been sitting in my cellar for two years and has been smoothed and mellowed to perfection. Actually, that's exactly where it has been and that's exactly what has happened.
The flavor profile consists of wall-to-wall caramel malt coated with brown sugar and toffee pudding, studded with sticky dates and drizzled with caramel syrup. The 'boozy cherries' nature of some barleywines is present as well and comparisons to holiday fruitcake would not be out of line. Even though hops take a backseat to the malt juggernaught, a spicy, Chinook-like pungency is undeniable.
The beer is significantly sweet without crossing the line into cloying. There's enough bitterness present to take what could have been a sticky mess and turn it into pure, liquid poetry. The mouthfeel is everything I'd hoped for and more. Words like viscous, velvety and luxurious come to mind.
I've contemplated cracking this bottle open on many occasions over the past year. I'm glad I waited though. I have no doubt that time has been more than kind and has turned the beer into the glorious exilir that I'm enjoying so much today. I would love to have a case or two sleeping in my cellar right this very moment. Brown Shugga', how come you taste so good?
09-18-2005 21:45:27 | More by BuckeyeNation
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,649 ratings.