Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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4,287 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,287
Reviews: 1,364
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 180
Gots: 457 | 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: 4,287 | Reviews: 1,364 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bfarr
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brown shugga is a hazy red tinted amber with a thin head. A sweet malty aroma leads right into a sugar fest. A very sweet flavor is surprisingly offset by a fuzzy and lightly hoppy feel. It's highly carbonated so there's no syrupy mouthfeel.

I love this beer partially because I love a sweet beer from time to time. It's really easy to drink despite the ABV, which I think is a little more masked on-tap.

Photo of MikeBrandman
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours from a bottle a delicious looking reddish brown. Translucent with slightly visible carbonation that supports one of the best looking heads I've ever seen. 3 fingers of creamy, offwhite head that stays around the entire time. Smooth, thick lacing that goes through the entire glass. Great looking brew.

S - Such a strong smell right after the cap has been removed. Rich brown sugar smell with a slight grape aroma as well. Slightly roasted smell too, almost chocolately. No alcohol smell, which is suprising for such a strong beer.

T - Again, brown sugar and grape tastes predominately. The chocolate and roast characters are more subdued than in the smell, but still definitely there. The sugary sweetness is effectively countered by the other tastes here; definitely a creative and well thought out beer. Complex taste that doesn't get cloyingly sweet or dull with time. Alcohol taste is there, but it doesn't get bothersome or offputting.

MF - Smooth and satisfying. Slightly heavy but buttery. Very good texture.

D - So, so drinkable. The awesomely complex flavor and the unique texture leave you wanting more and more.

Photo of ByTor2112
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very light brown-the color of maple syrup. Active carbonation feeds a thin tan filmy head.

Aroma-sinuses are suffering, but I detect some alcohol, caramel and a sweet candy smell.

Mouthfeel-medium carbonation delivers a sweet alcohol infused coating to the palate. Not bad, strong, but for me it is succeeding in balancing the two dominant flavor profiles; alcohol and sweetness. Alcohol is present but not too hot. Sweetness is heavy but it gets cut back by a bitter finish that is a touch metallic. Different, but I am not put off by this ale being a high gravity-sweet-malt bomb. A froth on the palate intensifies the brown shugga' flavor profile.

Truth be told it is tasting like an American style Barleywine minus some hops and maybe a different yeast strain. I love Lagunitas' brewing style, but I can't see drinking more than one of these at a time. Winter warmer? Yep. Campfire beer? Yep. Definitely worth a try to drink something different.

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber gold with a light head that dissipates quickly into a thin ring of foam.

Aromas of malt, honey, hops.

The taste follows the nose, with sweet malts up front, then a strong bitter hop taste that is overcome by the sweetness, which is cloyingly tasting of strong honey. Finishes bitter and dry. Some toffee and milk chocolate flavors come through as well.

Body is light with little carbonation. Tastes flatter as time presses on.

A drinkable brew but it is a bit too sweet for anything except a dessert beer or nightcap. The alcohol is not noticeable but at 9.84 percent it will become apparent.

Photo of Pahn
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

12oz bottle into a wine glass. Reviewed from notes taken in late March, 2010.

Appearance: 1/3 inch just off-white head settles quickly. Hazy, deep ruby/amber color. Loops of lacing.

Smell: Citrus (orange) hops and some nice caramel. A bit sugary. Smells like a great balance of fruity and sugary.

Taste: Bitter, hoppy, and sickly sweet. Tons of citrus (orange and grapefruit) hops, tons of sugary sweetness, with some caramel and almost no maltiness otherwise. Not what I expected at all.

The combination of huge sweetness and (in this context) overdone hop bitterness makes for a disgusting flavor... but I'm still giving this a 4.0 for taste. The thing is, it tastes like it says it's going to taste. This is a bomb of sugar and hops. To me it tastes awful, but if you have a sweet tooth (I don't) and are a hop head (I kind of am), this could be the best beer you ever taste. Also, points for 10~% ABV not showing itself at all in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Sticky, light to medium bodied. What you would expect a sugar shock + hop bomb to feel like.

Drinkability: My notes here simply state "too f*ckin sweet." I was angry at the taste of this beer. Also, I hate when a beer smells good but tastes bad.

What can I say? If you go into a beer called "Brown Shugga'" that boasts of its intense sugary sweetness without a sweet tooth, you're kind of a moron. The day I tried this beer, I was that moron. I can tell that this is a well-done beer if you like this flavor profile. I don't.

Photo of ckeegan04
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with reddish hues. Thin foam head that fades to a very thin layer.

S - Sweet malts and just a touch of booze. Hints of dark sugar comes through as the beer warms. Touch of fruit comes through as well.

T - Sweet caramel malts dominate the taste with just a touch of alcohol warming. Brown sugar is noticeable but not overwhelming. Just a touch of pine hop residue underneath.

M/D - Medium to full bodied and a surprisingly strong carbonation. Very easy drinking given the high ABV, hardly noticeable in the taste.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to a Duvel snifter

A - A nice deep amber colour with half a finger of white head.

S - Sweet malts; caramel with some citrus in the background.

T - Sweet lightly roasted malts. A caramel and sugary sweetness dominates the profile with a nice citrus hop aftertaste. A nice balanced ale.

M - Medium body with a somewhat creamy/silky mouth feel. A good amount of carbonation.

D - This is a very well balanced and enjoyable ale. Would never guess that the ABV is almost 10%. The sweetness becomes a little too much after getting the bottom of the glass.

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

Got in as an extra in a trade from GRG1313, thanks man! Poured from a 12oz short bottle into a snifter glass. Pours a wonderful looking burnt orange to brown in color with a huge, very creamy, yet frothy tannish colored head...with excelent head retention. Awesome looking solid and sticky lacing all over the glass.

Aroma consists of a sweet caramel, malts and toasted oats, and a strong hop bite. Small amount of fruit...appricot maybe?

There's a very good flavor in this beer! It's smooth, creamy, medium bodied...full of sweet caramel, toasted oats, Belgian yeasts, roasted malts, oak, and a small amount of hops. The aftertaste has some nice fruit notes...but still can't figure out the fruit. A very good and staple-like beer from Lagunitas.

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

Pours a dark golden brown with a light rim of head. Carbonation seemed appropriate. The smell was a nice mix of resinous hops and sweet malty goodness which I would have enjoyed more if not for the whiff of alcohol that came along with it. Taste was of strong American hops, more citrusy that I would have expected, with gentle brown sugar flavor and a warm flush of alcohol you could feel in the belly. Very nice drinker.

Photo of happilysurly
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper amber brown. Cloudy and many a floater. Very little head. Smells sweet and fruity. Grapefruit and pineapple. The taste is sweet and slightly bitter. This is goood. A delicious mistake by the Lagunitas crew. I'm tasting enough fruit (grapefruit and pineapple) top remind me of Sunday brunch. There is a little bit of toffee or butterscotch taste too. Slightly salty. You really don't catch how much alcohol is in this brew until you get towards the end or you look at the bottle. In other words, it is not at all obvious to me that I am getting drunk right now. THIS STUFF IS GOOOOD!

Photo of HappyBivouac
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last bottle of a 6 pack I purchased 4 months ago; the first 5 went fast but I sat on this one for whatever reason. Can't find the bottling date. Around the label it reads: "We believe this special ale is something unique. Feeding brown cane sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is a'kin 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 and now it's too late." Possibly my favorite packaging blurb in the history of beer.

a- Pours a slightly cloudy ruby brown and bubbly with a light tan head that recedes to a ring and spotty foam.

s- Heavy, inviting and intimidating caramelized sugar hits up front. There is a very noticeable presence of pine & grapefruit. White bread and a slight tart orange are also detectable.

t- all that caramel/brown sugar is an immediate and relentless assault, and you know what.. it works! Resiny, sappy pine bitterness hits fairly hard in a good way as well. I can feel the citrus zest hop bitterness steadily climb during the sip and in the aftertaste, with bready flavors surfacing as well. This isn't the sort of balance I've come to expect from beer. It's sort of an assault of several unique flavors that work independently but the resulting harmony, while often harsh and dissonant, ends up being very welcome and, at the bottom line, very tasty.

m- medium full-bodied and slick, with only a slight lick of carbonation. Coats the mouth a bit.

d- a wonderfully drinkable and delicious strong ale. the assault of flavor reveals its strength, but there is very little trace of actual heat. The whole thing comes off (in part because of the words on the packaging) as a beautiful accident. Would definitely pick up again.

Photo of BabyBastard
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a great deep brown with slight reddish hues. Small tan head leaves nice laces around the glass. Looks delicious. Whiff pre-pour is surprisingly filled with hops, not so much after in the glass. Once in the glass, it's pretty much all sweet brown sugar in the nose. Taste on this is an almost overwhelming sweetness, nice malty backbone that has a slight hop bitterness lingering in the background. Feel is slick and oily. Not heavy at all for such a "big beer". Dangerously drinkable, especially if you happen to have a sweet tooth.

Photo of flynnc
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

How come you taste so good. I cannot place why I have not reviewed this beer yet. This must be my fifth sixer in the past year. And by far one of my favorites. I will not lie, the awesomeness by volume is what drew me to this beer the first time. It is by far the taste that kept me coming back. I almost gave a poor review this time, due to the fact that I drank it straight from the fridge, however this beer is certainly served best cool not cold. The sweetness, a factor I typically do not agree with is the factor that makes this beer so intriguing to me. I thoroughly enjoy the heavy mouthfeel, the heavy alcohol and the dirty finish this beer gives me. That damn dog has done it again and I want it to do it again and again. I rate this one the top of my list right next to 1554, but remember to pack a toothbrush if you aren't drinking it at home. The alcohol is too high for you to drive home and the stoutness of the ale will make your teeth feeling like they are wearing sweaters the next morning. Like the bottle says: Life is uncertain: Don't sip!

Photo of rrski198
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber almost red hue. Big off white color head, disapated quickly.

S: Malty, carmel, earthy, wood, pine, Big hops in this beer but they are not overpowering in the nose. Alcohol is hid quite nicely.

T: Big bold beer. All sorts of malty sweetness going on. Balanced nicely by quite a bit of hops. Alcohol bites a little in the finish

M: Very sweet and coats the mouth. Like simple syrup. Hops bite at the back of the tounge and alcohol burns a little.

D: Overall an excellent full bodied beer. Very complex. Big time malty sweetness, balanced by a heafty dose of hops. A quality offering for sure and I will try and pick some up next winter.

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

Pours a hazy orange-amber with a big off-white head.

Smells of sweetness, toasty malts a hint of hop and some dark fruit as it warms up.

Lots of hops up front followed by a sweet malty middle where you can really start to taste the brown sugar. Nothing over powers anything in the taste and it all comes together to be wonderfully balanced.

Mouthfeel is slick creamy and perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability is way to easy for this monster. Where is the 9%+?

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass. The beer is a crystal clear dark brown with a light fizzy head that fades away pretty quickly. The aroma is Malay sweet with notes of alcohol. Taste is similar, although the added brown sugar definitely ups the sweetness factor. I was a little disappointed with this one until I realized that it was around 10 percent and the fellows at Lagunitas had done a pretty good job balancing the many aspects of this brew. Overall, the more I drank of this the more I found myself enjoying it...funny how that works.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A - Pours a nice opaque amber with a 1 inch head that fades into nothing. Lacing is minimal.

S - This beer smells like pineapples and toasty caramelized malt.

T - Slightly bitter citrus to start with sweet brown sugar malty finish. Just like the smell, I get a pineapple essence. The hops might play a role in this.

M - Very smooth and creamy. Carbonation seems to be a bit lacking in this bottle.

D - A sweeter and tasty beer that I can see myself purchasing again in the future. I bought this around Christmas time and to me this seems like a good beer for the holidays.

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

Caramelly brown tones are smothering an otherwise luscious red colour, giving Brown Shugga' a distinguishing candy apple appearance. Although clear, bits of coagulated protein remain suspended. Its head, a rudely fashioned clump, is hardy only if properly summoned (some swirling is required to keep it roused). Lacing, however, will result.

This beer was born from a botched batch of the brewery's Olde GnarlyWine, a fact that came as no surprise to me because the two smell awfully similar, if not nearly identical. Knowing of its inclusion, I do note some brown sugar on top of the pineapple, coconut and cantaloupe that have festered in a simmer of heated caramel and toasted biscuit.

These style beers are already teeming with notes of sweet toffee and dark fruits, the brown sugar only enhances them. There is a rotating door of flavours; the instant one flavour falls out it is replaced by another. Plums, molasses, dates, cherry, cantaloupe, toffee, chocolate, apple crumble and, naturally, brown sugar. It is like a tootsie-roll doused in some honey-like nectar and then wrapped in a hard candy shell.

This is like a barleywine in all senses but one: drinkability. This beer belongs in a pint glass not a snifter. Go ahead, check with the alcohol, it won't say nothing. It is neither destructively bitter with its hoping nor sickeningly sweet with the malts (and cane sugar). They've really balanced the sweetness (and hidden the alcohol) well.

Brown Shugga' is as sweet and tantalizing as it sounds. Most beers of this style and strength drink with a callousing nerve and stiff backbone; this one melts over the palate with tender pulses and delicate jitter. If only everyone had as much reason to be proud of what they do as the people at Lagunitas Brewing... what a world that would be.

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

12oz. bottle served in a Duvel Tulip. Poured a slightly hazy, reddish gold with less than a finger of off white head. Fair amount of hops in the aroma and plenty of malt. Smelled like a cookie. Full bodied and rich. Lots of malt sweetness but also plenty of hop bitterness to round it out. Some mouth pucker in the finish from the hops.

From hearing people talk, I thought this would be super sweet, but I think it had a pretty good balance. Like a malty barleywine.

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

2004 Vintage, Bottle, City Beer Store. Ok, so, this isn't how the beer normally tastes, but I enjoyed it and I'll go back for a normal review sometime. There was no real hop aroma or flavor at this point. The beer is pretty much a sweet malt bomb. It actually reminded me of a doppelbock to some extent. There's a big sugary caramel flavor that dominates. The beer has taken on some light sherry notes. The body is beginning to thin out but it seems to be holding up against time better than the gnarleywine, oddly. The caramel malt and brown sugar sweetness aren't quite as overpowering or simplistic as you might expect. The flavor is round and full without being cloying. Very nice.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Brown Shugga purchased at Boo's in Columbus Ga.
appearance: Beautiful! orange, brown, amber. Clear with a pretty decent creamy head.
smell: Wow, what a nice balance of malty sweetness and hoppy, citrus accents.
taste: And just as great as the nose advertises. Sort of a barleywine mixed with a DIPA....carefully mixed and well executed.
Creamy and quaffable.
Between Avery, DFH, and Lagunitas...what a great lot.

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

On-tap at Shipmates. 16 ounces of strong beer, yikes! On to the beer:

Copper colored, has a little bit of head retention and leaves a little lacing. Whoa! Smell that. Humongous caramel glazed pineapples hitting the nose. Sugary like the name, also some toasted sugar. Like the aroma its flavor is a big burst of toasted brown sugar pineapples. The aftertaste leaves a slightly burnt sugar aftertaste. While the beer is intense, the alcohol is buried very well in this beer. At almost 10% ABV, it is very drinkable.

Keep them coming Lagunitas.

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

Hey, it's my 50th review!

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

A: Super clean reddish brown, with good levels of carbonation and a fluffy head that quickly fades into a film.

S: Real sugary smell, like candy.... almost like root beer barrels, actually,

T: ROOT BEER BARRELS. Sweet, deep caramel malts, with nice bitterness after the sweetness drops off. A bit syrupy-sweet but not quite cloying.

M: Good. Thick, dense, good levels of carbonation.

D: It's a solid beer, but experimental. Quite sweet, with lots of root beer flavor and a nice thick mouthfeel.

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

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Deep orange with a swirling sea of tiny bubbles throughout, like little balloons floating in a whirlwind of love.

S: Big citrus hops (grapefruit) and a perfect balance of caramel malt. Notes of gingerbread and honey with a light, funky schwag weed scent underneath.

T: Big blast of hops on the front followed by a malty middle where the brown sugar really comes through. Finishes dusty and earthy with a trace of fading burnt sugar. Perfectly carbonated mouthfeel.

D: Ultra-smooth...goes down way too easy for a beer of this stamina and oomph.

Value: In my opinion this kicks the sh*t out of other ales that get a ton of em in price by a lot too.

What a completely unexpected treat this one was.

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

Clear coppery chestnut color, creamy off-white head, good retention and lacing. Smell is sweet carmel, brown sugar, lightly roasted nuts with a touch of dark fruit and yeast on the nose. Bold sweet carmel and brown sugar flavors with a more pronounced and bitter hop presence then the smell let on. Touches of fruit and yeast on the finish. Full bodied, heavy on the tounge, like melted carmel itself, fairly pronounced sweet and bitter aftertastes. Good beer, stops short of being cloying, but would be hard to have more than one.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,287 ratings.