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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,192 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,192
Reviews: 1,349
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 178
Gots: 412 | 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: 4,192 | Reviews: 1,349 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of keithmurray
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - bright copper color, tan, fluffy head

smell - Brown sugar, Pine, citrus, honey

taste - not a huge departure from the nose, brown sugar, piney hops, honey

mouthfeel - thick body, really really sweet upfront, bitter hops in the middle and then the sweetness of the brown sugar lingers afterwards, high amount of carbonation

drinkability - this is a sipper for sure, the sweetness prevents me from craving another, but this is a decent beverage worth trying

Photo of Onslow
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours from a 12 ounce bottle .. lets go... very silky and mellow beer for having a 9.9% backbone .. tasty and abv very well hidden ... warms u up nicely .. van is the man, sneijder too (2) ... great flavours in this one- brown sugar, rum, figs, plums ... same aroma too ... a very drinkable barleywine!

Photo of BrownAleMale
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Gulden Draak tulip glass

Appearance- Copper in color with 2 fingers of off white head that leaves a great amount of sticky lacing.

Smell- Tons of pine and citrus.

Taste- In the front is a carmely bready malt flavor that is quickly cut down by a piney hop finish. Slight earthy tones throughout.

Mouthfeel- Very nice and thick for the style.

Overall- A very odd take on an American Strong Ale. To heavily hopped in my opinion. Various things to both love and hate about this beer.

Photo of siege06nd
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Bill for letting me bum a bottle off of him. Poured into my Sweetwater standard pint glass...

A. This revered beverage pours a moderately hazy, caramel amber color. Lacing is about a quarter finger of slightly offwhite stuff that deposits some speckled lacing across the glass.

S. Quite a bit going on. Piney and citrusy hops balanced almost perfectly by caramel, nutty, and fruity malt. It all rolls up into a bread, hoppy bouquet that is near perfectly balanced. Really nice candied fruit notes, but the unmistakeable spice and zest of the hops reigns supreme. An interesting and tantalizing nose on this beer.

T. Very hop forward, with waves of the citrusy, piney, herbal stuff hitting first. While assertive and straightforward, the hops retain a lightness and buoyancy that keep them from being overwhelming. Present behind all the spicy zest is a light, nutty fruitiness. Mostly stone fruits, this provides a counter balancing sweetness and an interesting counter melody to what is mostly brash, bitter hopping. The finish is all booze...bitter, hot and not altogether pleasant. Would be interesting to see how this one settles down over a year or two.

M. Carbonation is fairly heavy for the style...the spritziness of the beer covers the flavors slightly, to my disappointment. Otherwise, it is a blast of hops, sweet malts, and booziness. I couldn't imagine having more than one of these in a sitting, it's just too polarizing.

O. A solid beer, but not one I would seek out again and again. Out of a fresh bottle, it is bitter, juicy, sweet, hoppy, and boozy. While these characteristics are fairly well integrated, the boldness of the flavors kinda knocks you back on your feet. I think age would do this one well, helping to refine some of the brashness that is apparent when it's fresh. Solid and certainly worth a try, but not a repeat visit for me.

Photo of wagenvolks
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow...could've sworn that I reviewed this beer before. Anyway, 12oz bottle into a beer mug.

Pours an attractive, sequin-amber body with good clarity and a hefty cap of taupe foam. Excellent head retention, as expected for the hops Lagunitas is famous for, but surprising given the high ABV. Rich, floral hops in the aroma with notes of brown sugar and grapefruit zest. Same tropical fruit yeast esters dominant in most Lagunitas brews.

Brown malts, boozy, creamy body with a good dose of grassy bitterness from the hops. Not the best strong brown ale I've come across, but it works. Crisp, well-carbonated medium-thick body that lays a heavy blow of booze to the stomach. A little too dry on the finish for all those hops, but this is still a tasty beer and I'm glad I have another 5 Brown Shugga's to go around.

Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A sweet Two Hearted? That's what I first thought of while drinking. At first the citrus really threw me off, I was expecting something more Nutty. Halfway through the glass I got more of the sugga' (if that's what they call it) and by the finish I could feel the alcohol and less of the citrus that boned me in the beginning.

Photo of Kraty1
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of kingcrowing
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz stubby bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Big thanks to my buddy UA8 for the hookup!

Pours a nice dark ruby red with a very small light bien head. The nose is very nice, it's sweet like brown sugar as well as dark fruits.

Very unique, the brown sugar flavor is there, it's sweet and a bit chewy. Nice layers of spices and maltiness come through a it warms. The carbonation is a bit low, but it is well done and smooth drinking. Overall another slam dunk for Lagunitas.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a warm light brown body with a light tan head that fades to a ring pretty quickly. No sign of carbonation because the body is a bit to dense.

S- This beer has a light toasted malt note with a sweetness and a note of dark sugar and white sugar hint as well.

T- The slight sweet caramel malt flavor has a note of dry spice and dark rum that adds its own sweetness. There is a hint of darker sugar that comes through just a hint as it warms. The finish is a nice herbal citrus hops but the sweetness still lingers after the sip.

M- This beer has a medium light mouthfeel with no real alcohol heat. At the finish when it is really warm there is a slight alcohol heat that is a nice contrast to the sweetness.

D- This beer has an interesting flavor and I can see where it gets its name. It would be nice to have some big flavors that balance with the sweetness.

Photo of prototypic
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: It's a hazy, dark copper color with a one and a half finger head. Nice and creamy, though it vanished pretty quickly and left pretty light lacing down the glass.

Smell: It smells sweet. Definitely a nice blend of malt and hops in the nose. There are some fruity citrus notes to the smell. I'm picking up hints of raisins in there as well.

Taste: Initially it tastes sweet, but not in an overbearing way. The fruit and raisin tastes are apparent. It's got a nice malty body to it which balances out a bit of hop kick at the end. It's definitely more bitter than I was expecting, but in a good way.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's somewhere between light and medium bodied. It has a light syrupy feel to it. At nearly 10% ABV, I probably won't be drinking more than one. But, I'm enjoying it. Overall, it's a good beer. Actually better than I was expecting. Definitely worth checking out.

Photo of mscudder
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a globe.

A - Ruby, copper hue with an two-finger ivory head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Booze, dark fruit, a bit of brown sugar and some molasses.

T - An interesting blend of a number of tastes: some hops like a DIPA, alcohol warmth of a barleywine and a touch (I stress, a touch) of sweetness from the sugar and caramel malts. I cannot help but feel this is just a bit overwhelming, with the weight of the alcohol trumping the underlying flavors.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Heat from the alcohol.

O - Lots of things going on here. I would be interested to see how this one aged... It has all the ingredients to become outstanding given the test of time.

Photo of gregshead
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep red with a finger of fizzy head.

S: Sugar and spice smell

T: Almost a toffee taste mixed with a sweet but subtle brown sugar. Reminds me of a red ale with a brown sugar and

M: Looks more carbonated than it tastes to me. A little bit on the syrupy side.

D: How in the world is this 9.99%? A little on the sweet side but enjoyable.

Photo of gatornation
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

had this on tap at old chicago in uptown..and also have had it from bottle reviews is from tap serving which i preferred ..it came a beautiful auburn brown color with a minimal head and a beige ring with some sticky lacing..i had to let this ale warm as it was served to cold..as it warmed i could smell molasses and caramel and hops some brown sugar of course..the taste was not as good as the smell ..i got to much of an alcohol hit first then the citrus and molasses and all the b4 mentioned taste played to much of a secondary role..the ale was still solid ..maybe i drank it to cold to get all the layers of flavor ..again still a solid offering from langunitas.i just like maximus and hop stoopid better

Photo of indy169
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lagunitas Brown Sugga' pours a cloudy deep copper, with nice lacing. The initial mouthfeel is rather thick with a peculiar and odd feel. The smell is cleaner than the taste, and there is a melon-like flavor hidden within the heavy alcohol content. There is also a pronounced sticky, sweetness, which is reminded on the lips when dry.
I find this brew pretty decent, but lacking heart. The alcohol is too high for the flavors expressed.

Photo of jkdrummer
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Photo of phishsihq
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown Shugga by Lagunitas pours a mahogany-amber color and is capped by a good amount of beige head that likes to stick to the glass. As w
ith nearly every Lagunitas brew I have tried, hops are noticeable in the nose. Sweet and nutty, piney hop aromas dance over a hint of brown sugar and molasses. Caramel malty sweetness dominate on the palate, but not overly so. The malt richness is complemented nicely with some earthy yeast notes, as well as tangerine and piney hop flavors, a touch of alcohol, and a well rounded bitterness. Medium-full in body, this American Strong Ale is lower in carbonation but high in alcohol (9.9%). How come you taste so good!


Photo of dbatch
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dub deuce purchased some time ago, not too long though...

A: Pours a reddish orange color with little head retention and few carbonation bubbles floating. I dont know exactly what I was expecting, but the color was not this. It is clear, I expected it to be a bit cloudier, but c'est la vie.

S: Sweet, malty goodness abounds here. Definitely caramel and brown sugar (NSS) Its not too sweet either, offset by the malt and a faint aroma of citrus in the back.

T: This beer tastes just as it smells - brown sugar sweetness up front is matched by the strong maltiness. A little hop bitterness in the back, but very nice.

M: Very light mouthfeel, smooth, not too carbonated.

D: A little too sweet for an everyday beer, but not bad once in a while.

Photo of GeoffM
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours very smoothly with a solid head that retains nicely. Good lacing. A lovely dark amber color.

Smell - Decently malty but also lightly sweet. Must be the brown sugar.

Taste - Gorgeous mouthfeel, nearly sticks to the tongue, but pleasantly so. Bitter with a sweet aftertaste. Hops are more apparent when first tasting, malts noticeable in the finish, which is pretty nice considering the bitterness. Alcohol is hidden pretty nicely.

Overall - Simply solid. A nice little experiment, nothing I'd go crazy over but worth giving a shot.

Photo of ybnorml
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Mdog
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear dark amber, good head.

Smell: Caramel sweetness and a touch of citrus.

Taste: Follows the smell, caramel and pithy citrus. Surprisingly a little more bitterness than sweetness.

Drinkability: Tasty enough but kind of strong.

I was expecting a little more sweetness and brown sugar flavor in this beer, considering its name. It was still pretty good, maybe with a year or two of age on it to let the hops settle down it would fit its moniker a little better.

Photo of malcontent
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brilliant, deep amber body wit a copious, sticky tan head that smears lacing up and down the glass' sides.

Carmel/maple goodness collide with a sharp citrus hop kick creating an almost pineapple-like effect on the nose. Weird...but fun.

Nope, it tastes like pineapple, too, and I'm not sure I love that. Certainly the depth of flavor is startling with brown sugar clearly on display and that same, pine-y/citrus hop character charging ahead flanked on either side by rye bread/molasses interplay and, well, pineapples!

Full-bodied ale is certainly appropriate for the style and the slight slickness is acceptable for a style that requires serious hopping to counterbalance a wallop of a grain bill. Still, drinkability is hurt somewhat by a big 'ol dose of booze and that same flavor reminiscent of a certain tropical fruit...

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Listening to Pearl Jam..
Poured a copper color with a nice fluffly white head. Nose has a nice sweet malt with a bit of hops and alcohol. Taste is brown sugar dominance with a bit of molasses. Alcohol is very noticeable after finishing only one. There is a definite presentation of malt and has a sweet finish.

Photo of Rezzin
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Photo of jera1350
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

My first beer from Lagunitas. Very interesting.

Nice deep copper brown color. One finger head, good amount of lacing.

Very unique smell, like nothing I've experienced before. Molasses, brown sugar, buttery with some malt and a slight hop aroma. Very sweet smelling, like brittle or toffee.

Very sweet upfront- brown sugar indeed. Home made caramel with real butter tasting. Some strong hop presence to finish. This is interesting to say the least.

Very smooth, thick and creamy mouthfeel. This is what I would expect a "cream ale" to feel like. Very velvety and soft on the tongue. Nice hop bite to finish.

Drinkability is only average. I couldn't do more than one or two of these in a night. The sweetness really stands out. There is a big hop presence but it still can't balance out the strong brown sugar taste.

Interesting beer. Glad I tried it. This would be a great holiday beer to share with others.

Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with a copper hue
Malty, pine and fruit come off with some gusto
There was a malt/hop presence that came through a lot stronger than I expected- but it was welcome. For some reason I was expecting something different. But the flavor was bold and lingering as I’ve come to expect from Lagunitas
I have to give this one a try again, I may have had something else to clog my senses, but I wasn’t entirely impressed which was disappointing because I was quite looking forward to it. Hold on – I’ll be right back I’m going to go buy some more and re-edit this later icon smile Beer reviews


Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 4,192 ratings.