Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,443 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,443
Hads: 5,003
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 232
Gots: 851 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.99% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 12-13-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,443 | Hads: 5,003
Photo of bbothen
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into standard pint glass. Episode of 1981 Memphis Championship Wrestling playing in background. ~!

Pours a hazy caramel like color with a thick & fluffy 2 finger deep off white head.

Smells of sweet burnt sugar, huge sugar, fruity, boozy, maltiness.

Sweet malt overload, toasted malts & sweet caramel malt, slightly fruity, vanilla, sweet sugar.

Thick, chewy, moderate carbonation, slick, smooth, warming.

The sweetness & ABV makes this a 2 bottle max for me. Mostly from the sweetness.

An interesting brew right here. I remember enjoying it more before I reviewed it. Something to learn there? Will gladly have again. (632 characters)

Photo of Rezzin
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a pint glass. Brownish red with not much head to speak of.

S - Sweet, almost smells a little sour too. Malty. You smell the brown sugerness and just a tiny bit of hops.

T - Rich and sweet. Not bitter at all but you can taste the hops. Seemed a little bit sour to me but I drank this one almost at room temperature.

M - Smooth but in a light way. I know this thing is 9.9% ABV but it's masked fairly well. Alcohol kick.

D - This is the 2nd time I've had this from the bottle and it seemed much better the first time I had it. My judgement may be a little skewed since I drank it fairly warm. Not a bad beer. My first barelywine and definitely not the last. (685 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Hollingshead's,

A: Pours a dark amber, with a medium white head, medium lacing.

S: Light, but I get some molasses and malt.

T: Brown sugar and molasses is clearly evident, very malt, light hop burst at the end.

M: Creamy, medium-bodied, nice full carbonation character.

D: A good beer by Lagunitas, I wasn't wowed by it, but pretty solid. (353 characters)

Photo of billybob
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a redish amber color with a two finger beige head that settled to a half inch tight bubbled head to the finish with lots of lacing. smell of brown shugga, slight citrus and floral aromas and alcohol. taste is very sweet sugar and toffee and some citrus maybe oranges on the back of the palate. mouthfeel is thick, syrupy and weak on carbonation. the 9.90 abv limits the drinkability but i would buy it again for a high test pick me up. (441 characters)

Photo of humuluslupulus8
3.56/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A: The head was off-white and fairly thick, but no lacing was left on the glass. The beer was a very dark orange color; about as dark orange as you can get before the color would become red.

S: I smelled citrusy hops and a slight sting from the amount of alcohol within the beer. The aroma wasn't too impressive to me as a whole.

T: This beer had strong flavors. There was plenty of malt flavor and lots of hops bitterness. However, these two characteristics were just barely balanced. I could also notice the strength of the alcohol, but did not necessarily taste the alcohol.

M: The beer had a medium-thick mouthfeel. The head was creamy and lasted for a while. There was also an appropriate level of carbonation in the beer. The mouthfeel in Brown Shugga' perfectly complemented the strong flavors and amount of alcohol.

D: The beer was pretty intense for the first few sips, but it became easier to drink as time passed (and as the alcohol took effect I suppose). The beer was so strong and filling that I was content after finishing one bottle; I wouldn't have wanted more. This beer would have been more drinkable to me if it leaned a little to the sweeter side as far as flavor is concerned. The strong bitterness of the hops was equally matched by the malt presence, but there wasn't really any sweetness that I expected in a beer called Brown Shugga'. (1,365 characters)

Photo of weeare138
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appears a dark reddish brown with a solid one finger beige head that sticks around. Very little lacing in this one.
Smell is of caramel malts, brown sugar, molasses, and warming alcohol.
Taste is a bit hard to figure out as this beer wants to be sweet but the balance is a bit wacky. It's a little less than good because there is an odd cough syrup like taste that is standing out in this concoction. Caramel and lots of sugar with an off balance of bitter hops thrown into the mix makes it kind of odd as if it were candied plantains served atop broccoli rabe that is really odd but slightly intriguing.
Mouthfeel, again, is odd. A bit of a rollercoster from sweetness to odd bitterness.
I really took my time with this but I don't know if it was because of the strangeness, the alcohol, or just the way it tasted.

It's ok, dog. (836 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a (512) anniversary glass.

Finishing my day off with some Rolling Stones tribute beer. It is one, right...? In any case, this stuff pours a clear russet topped by a finger of off-cream foam. The nose comprises brown sugar (no way!), light maple syrup, pine needles, and the essence of grapefruit peel in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, with some brown-sugary maple taking control up front, and some bright grapefruit and mild pine needles getting the back half. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a nice beer, one that marries two distinctive flavor combinations and doesn't try to force them to live dysfunctionally together. (720 characters)

Photo of kegger22
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a hazy brown with a tiny head that rapidly faded to a skin. The aroma was citrus The taste was malty sweet with little citrus hop backbone. However, and I have rarely (never) described taste this way, Shugga' tasted flat and heavy. The feel was full bodied with little carbonation. Drinkability was good. It still wasn't bad, but the heavy/flat sensation did affect my opinion of the flavor. (398 characters)

Photo of Braudog
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the 22oz bomber; this poured an orange-tinted amber with a thin but prominately standing cover of thin foam. Light sugary aroma. The sweet brown sugar (surprise?) flavor was mellow -- I’d never peg this for an almost 10% ABV beer. This drinks very easily, only slightly warming with a nice full but casual Barleywine-like burn, with a slight hoppy tingle to finish it. Good. (#2796, 4/14/2007) (399 characters)

Photo of MrCee
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hoppy but with a soda feel that makes it seem a little bitter as well as sweet. Light on the color. Nice on the alcohol content so it seems like it should be loaded but it isn't.. Ok on the aftertaste. A decent beer for people that are not into hoppy beers. A nice diversion but not something you would want a six pack of. (322 characters)

Photo of TexIndy
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on date of 10/28/10. Was a clear, dark amber color with good amount of carbonation. It had an average sized head that quickly settled into a very thin collar. Very slight lacing.

The aroma was heavy on caramel malt, brown sugar and piney hops as well. Good dose of alcohol. The taste follows the aroma with the sweet malt leading the way with some hops to somewhat balance the sweet. Very sweet - not cloying but close. Strong alcohol again. Mouthfeel was medium with good carbonation and sweet aftertaste.

Overall, it was good but just couldn't get into this one too much. Maybe some age would tone down the booziness which would help there but the sweet would stay. Avail here in TX. Rotation - glad I tried it but one is enough for me [N;N] (799 characters)

Photo of u2carew
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz stubby poured into a chalice.
A) Pours with a finger thick head then settles to some big bubbled lacing on top, and thin, tight, and creamy on the sides of the glass. Some haze. Ruby in color.
S) Caramel. Orange. Floral. A bit earthy.
T) Powerful malt blast up front mixed with some hop bite, but not too intense. Finishes nutty, with some citrus sweet/sour and a slight bitterness.
M) Full body feel. Fizzy. Fairly smooth. A touch of dryness in the finish.
D) A decent brew. I might consider another if it's the first beer of the night - the ABV is up there! (564 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an Allagash glass on 11/5/12

Clear, deep copper hue. The head is a billowy two and a half fingers. Foam is slow to dissipate, leaving meandering trails of raised lace on the glass.

The aroma is citrus hops, brown sugar, pine and some bread. It smells very Lagunitas and, aside from a hint of soap, it smells really good.

The taste is comparably Lagunitas - Lots of pine with washes of citric hop juiciness. The hops are an odd bedfellow to the brown sugar, but it seems to work well. Perhaps it is the sugars coming across as toasted versus sticky and sweet.

The feel is medium, or maybe a bit heavier. It is prickly with hop resins with hop oil mortar. Carbonation is similarly feisty, making for a grabbing feel.

Well, Brown Shugga' does sweeten up with warmth. Regardless, I like this more than when I had it many years ago. (845 characters)

Photo of jmvecchio1
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown Shugga pours as a clear, hazy, amber color with a touch of orange. A fluffy white head accompanies the pour and sticks around for a while.

The smell is a blend of sweet malts, hops, and a hint of a floral aroma.

On the sip you get hops up front, but those quickly give way to the sweet malty tones brought on by the brown shugga that’s been added to the brew. Once the sweet notes have passed, hop oil lingers but doesn’t overpower. (444 characters)

Photo of Douglas88
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from trade with Ty. Pours a light brown with little to no head. The taste is mostly a sweet smooth malt, some hops, citrus, cinnamon and apples, and some brown sugar. It's a great mix that really blends together nice. No real notice of the alcohol. An easygoing drink with a lot to like. (294 characters)

Photo of sonicdescent
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark red with a white frothy head that sticks a while.

Smells strongly of molasses and malty scents, not much hop presence.

Tastes of brown sugar definitely present but not as strong as I had expected. Gets better the more you drink, but only tops out at average.

Body and Carbonation are at medium.

It isn't that this was a bad beer, I would probably not choose to purchase it again however. (445 characters)

Photo of hellcatsjg
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
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. (710 characters)

Photo of kirok1999
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice brown with a quickly fading off white head. Decent lacing. Smells very sweet, slight hops. Taste is definite brown sugar, this is a very aptly named beer. Sweet malts, massive brown sugar, very slight hop notes, make a nice, drinkable brew. (253 characters)

Photo of Augustiner719
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

Appearance: Semi clear, amber brown color with a nice airy head that has many divots and plently of lacing.

Smell: Smells like maple syrup and brown sugar melted with beer and poured over a steak. Strong smell, yet complex and warming.

Taste: Tastes a lot like it smells. very sweet but true to the smell its got a sweet meaty taste that is overwhelming along with the prescense of alcohol. Rum like in the alcohol comparison.

Mouthfeel: Perfect carbonation. Not overly carbonated, cloying sweet sticky mouthfeel but not overwhelming.

Drinkability: Way too sweet. Almost a dessert beer. Hops allow it to balance somewhat but overall too sweet for my taste (704 characters)

Photo of CortexBomb
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is coppery brown with almost no head. Nose is more subdued than I was expecting, bready, but with a notable pine edge.

The taste starts out sweetly citrus character with noticeable back of the tongue bitters. The hops quickly are buried in an avalanche of malts, though the citrus edge maintains its presence. Hoppy character, yet still well balanced.

The mouthfeel on this is nice, not super thick, but fairly viscous with good hop bitters. The drinkability, decent but not remarkable. It's an average drinking beer with an average price. I might rebuy, I might not.

The bottom line: I didn't know quite what to expect with this beer, but what I got was a well balanced beer with a notable hop presence. I don't think it's particularly amazing, but it succeeds as an enjoyable strong ale. (797 characters)

Photo of illidurit
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pour: 12 oz stubby bottle to pint glass. Dark browned orange color with a creamy but small tan head.
Nose: Huge sweet citrus doused with maple syrup. Almost like a sweet double IPA.
Mouth: Pretty similar to the aroma; grapefruit with maple syrup is the dominant flavor. There's some bitterness, astringency, and alcohol too. Medium full body, substantial ( and maybe a bit much) carbonation. Average drinkability. (413 characters)

Photo of mjryan
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep amber coloured, with a simple white head. Good retention and some lace. Aroma is very sweet and fruity. Flavour is very sweet, with a large hop presence. Bitterness tries to balance the sweetness, but loses in the end. Has a very full body with a moderate carbonation level. This is an intensely sweet beer, which is no supprise considering its called brown sugga and says something about sweet release on the label. The large hop presence was unexpected and really this beers saving grace for me. The hops, although muted by the huge amount of residual sugar in this beer, added another layer, that kept things from getting boring or nausiating. One is good in a night. Would make a great dessert beer. (708 characters)

Photo of heebes
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Pours a ruby mahongany with little to no head. Nose is surprisingly citrus and grapefruit hops, very sweet smell dominated by the hops. Taste is balanced moreso with a strong malt profile. Still sweet with caramel and brown sugar notes, added by resiny hops. Some light and dark fruit characteristics appear in the middle. Mouthfeel is light to medium. The high abv is apparant once this breathes a little. Sipper. One bottle in a session is plenty. Decent idea for a beer. (489 characters)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured from 12 oz bottle into Spiegelau IPA glass. Pours a clean amber with a solid off white head of about 1.5 fingers. Very sticky lacing

S- Huge aroma. A carmelized, sugary sweet smell. Candy apple. Fuity hops on the backside. Some pine. Delicious smelling beer

T- Very, very sweet. Taste does a solid job of following nose. Some of the flavor reminds me kind of a sherry taste. Also detect maple, syrupy molasis, vanilla, honey, cider, and brown sugar. Alcohol is present with the warmth. Pretty mellow though without a lot of bitterness, but some level of bitterness shows to battle the sweetness. Not real balanced though, IMO. A level of cloying.

M- Full body. Moderate carbonation and drinkability. As mentioned, alcohol is present. Dry finish

O- Quite different than anything i can remember. I am not a huge barley wine guy, but this was enjoyable. I wouldn't have 2 in a row or drink it often simply because the sweetness level of this beer was just too much for me to take. I don't have a ton of barleywine experience at this point, but this one seems to match the profile. Maybe even a cross between a barleywine and a DIPA. The flavor profile doesn't fit my palate all that well, but i respect the effort here by Lagunitas. Good job (1,253 characters)

Photo of Lothar666
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Poured an opaque dark brown amber body with hints of orange around the edges of the glass. Head was bone white and very creamy, a full two fingers thick and displayed excellent retention. Lacing was thick, sticky and white and just as creamy as the head.

S- Candy and brown sugar with a bit of strong alcohol and something quite tart in the background... Caramel Apples perhaps?

T- Raw fermented brown sugars and strong alcohol dominate the pallet, over a backbone of sweet dark malts and dark bread. A bit more of the caramel apple in the background but quite muted compared to the odor- hops make their presence felt a bit in the finish but even they are subdued by the overwhelming sugar flavor. Drinking this reminds me of drinking chinese tea the way I used to as a kid- with half the glass filled with honey and brown sugar.

M- Thick, viscous and a bit sticky and chewy... The burn in the back of the throat is a cross between what one would expect from a strong barleywine and from drinking a straight glass of high fructose corn syrup. For some this would be unpleasant, but I am a sweets junkie as well as a beer geek so the two go together surprisingly well.

D- Surprisingly drinkable for such a sweet, sticky and strong brew, but my opinion may be a bit biased due to my predilection for sweets. Still, I think that this one would get tiring after the first was done and I would probably move on to something a but more tame. However, this one definitely succeeds at being a unique beer. (1,505 characters)

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,443 ratings.