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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,446 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,446
Hads: 5,028
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 21.05%
Wants: 242
Gots: 885 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,446 | Hads: 5,028
Photo of EddieTheTrooper
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Oh this truly be a great beer. Brown Shugga is brewed with just that-- brown sugar, about 2 lbs per barrel I was told. Thats the first thing that hit me about his beer, the thick molasses feel of it and the sweet taste. The aroma is almost as intoxicating as the beer (over 10% ABV) and while it is one of the better beers I've ever tasted I could not drink too much of it in a night, mainly because its so sweet ad so strong.

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Photo of Deuane
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Deep copper with a medium light tan head, Head holds on and then reduces to a thin cap leaving behind nice lace.

S-Caramelized brown sugar, toasted malt and a nice hop kick,

T-Toasty malt on the palate with present but subduded brown sugar sweetness. Nice hop kick to keep the malt/brown sugar sweetness in check. A tickle of fruitiness in the background.

M-Medium to Medium-heavy body with a wonderful smoothness and pleasant creaminess.

D-Very drinkable. Sweet but not too sweet and just enough hop kick to keep hop heads happy. I struggle to believe that this is 9.9%...a stealthy beer for sure! Brown Shugga....I love you! Thanks Mick!

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The look of the beer has a nice contrast of deep orange russet brown and a light tan head.
The beer is clear but there is some suspended particules in there too. A well formed head with lacing to boot.
Nicely aromatic like most Lagunitas beer. Plenty of piney and citrusy hops in the nose, but this one also has some sweet malts. Candied malts. Smells nice.
The taste is equally up to par with a smooth easy drinking feel. No bitterness at all.
A slightly sweet beer with a big hop taste. I get some bright citrus hops like grapefruits and some sweet malts.
Drinks very smooth and one doesn't notice the 10% abv.
A very good beer that firing on all cylinders,

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Photo of Buebie
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz brown twist off bottle. Poured into an oversized snifter. Transparent reddish copper with a nice off white 2 finger head. Leaving assorted bubbles of retention. Drapes of thin lace.

Grapefruity hops at the nose with a wonderful sweet malty aroma. Touch of vanilla, orange peel, and piney hops.

Thick and creamy with a mild dose of carbonation. Sweet up front with modest amounts of grapefruity hops. Citric orange peelish flavors, burnt caramel and toffee pizza crust like doughy flavors.
Fish is sweet and smooth with a great big hop linger. Some warming at the swallow, but not enough to say, hey this is a 10% abv beer.


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Photo of alpinebryant
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy brown / amber with a large white head. Exploding with hop aroma, sweet caramel - sugar, malt and citrus notes.

Taste of predominately caramel, strong hop presence with citrus being the strongest. Belgian candy flavor from the brown cane sugar, slight cloying bite. Very flavorful - would be curious to see what this tastes like with some age on it.

Smooth to drink, but a thick body. Drinkable and sippable at the same time. Take your pick, this is good stuff.

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Photo of DocJitsu
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber-golden color with a huge, fluffy, dark egg shell colored head. This monster of a head has a life of its own. It stubbornly hangs on either because it knows how sexy it is, or because it mocks me because it somehow knows how I want to dive into this thing. I've really been waiting a while to try it. Toasted malt, brown sugar, grassy and lemony hops, notes of bread, and just a hint of clove on the nose. The mouthfeel is interesting as it gets a little dry in the middle, but finished nice and wet. Very interesting flavor profile. Alternating citrus and pine with sweet unfermented sugar backbone that presents itself more in the beginning and at the finish. Nice fresh finish with some perfuminess that lingers. I like this one.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: nice dark broen copper tint ale, great lacing all the way doen the glass.

smell: The typical lagunitas hop smell. some sweet carmel.

taste: good hop prescence. balanced and a nice sweet taste on the backend. slightly uncomfortable. But a nice beer!

mouthfeel: medium bodied.

drinkability: a solid beer as lagunitas always does. One of the most consistant breweries out there. At forst I was liek wow, but as it went on the sweetness bothered me.

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Photo of kerklein2
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter. No date on the bottle

A- A nice dark golden amber with a small head and good lacing.

S- Woah. What do you know? Smells like brown sugar. A classic, brown sugar, malty sweetness aroma.

T- You wouldn't know it from the aroma, but this beer is really well balanced. Lot's of brown sugar, malty sweetness, and caramel flavors but they are backed up with solid bitterness. Not much taste or aroma from the hops though. This bottle is a few months old, so maybe those tastes/aromas have dissipated, but I think it ages well nonetheless. Didn't notice it until a minute after my last sip, but there is some slight alcohol burn, but it's pleasant.

M- Very smooth, almost creamy. Perfect level of carbonation for the beer, and my RR glass kept it coming.

O- I would never guess this was 10% unless I sat and really thought about the beer in between sips like I am now. Great beer that I think I like more every time I try it.

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Photo of Foxtrot
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of drpimento
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah truly gets a sweet release with this here fine, fine product. Yessir. Ah surely does. Poured only a small sample so didn't get much of a head. But, what's there lasts. No lace. Lovely deep red tinged amber color. Dark ripe fruit, malts, caramels, brandies in flavors. Booze in the mouth with good carbonation. Very good mouth. Quite rich. Maybe a bit heavy for a session beer. Nice finish.

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Photo of grittybrews
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby-tinged hazelnut brown into a tulip with a finger of quick-receding white head. Expected the aroma to be dominated by molasses character, but it featured prominent citrus hops and some sweet caramel with just a touch of alcohol.

Moderate carbonation and a full, creamy mouthfeel. Brown sugar and up front followed by a nice mix of orange citrus and dark fruit. Balanced finish with some woody vanilla and gently spicy hops.

The sweetness becomes a bit cloying but Lagunitas did an excellent job of balancing the flavors in this beer (and the alcohol is almost undetectable). Very nice to sip on a winter evening.

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Photo of TrevorGW
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this the other night. I didn't even realize it was a Holiday beer until I read the ridiculous prose on the bottom of the six pack case. A bit verbose, Lagunitas! But I forgive ye, for ye maketh delicious hoppy beers.

Pours a transparent crimson amber color with a one and a half finger head that is respectably retained. Lacing is sparse.

Smells of bright and fresh Willamette hops with a sharp maple coming through shortly after.

Interesting and entertaining taste. It first hits you with a hop explosion which quickly fades into a splash of bready sweetness (cranberry muffin comes to mind). Yum yum.

Full-bodied all the way, without being syrupy or chewy.

Dangerous at nearly 10% ABV. I drank this down pretty quickly and felt the buzz.

You have got to try this beer. I was happy to find it in a sixer for only $10.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Copper orange with a big tan head. Good lacing. Aroma is lovely g with odors of grapefruit, hops, and some caramel, as well as just a touch of alcohol. Lots of flavors. Somewhat sweet. Slick mouthfeel and oily on the back of the tongue. It goes down like cough syrup. Nice hoppy finish. Yum.

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Photo of brendanbeer
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at barcade in brooklyn.

a. rich amber brown with a nice light head that lasts and laces.

s. really oaky, woody, and sweet.

t. lovely sweet notes up front, hoppy and fresh. blends into a really nice rich bitter alcoholic sweetness.

m. silky, low carbonation adds to the smooth feel. real nice.

d. 3.5.

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Photo of NitroGen
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P: 12 oz. short brown bottle, O.G. 1.100 Alc. 9.99% by Vol.. I.B.U. 51.1

A: Amber pour with a finger of light brown foanm head that slowly fades to a scant cover and lacing.

S: Citrus pith, roasted grains and sight sweetness

T: Burst of bitter hops then a rush of sweet roasted malt and a slight oily tongue with sweetness, roasted and hops fighting it out….all in the blink of an eye.
This is a great exercise for the mouth! No obvious alcohol vapor,fumes lurking in any of the taste.

M: A great treat for the mouth! This one is a keeper and will get more to see how it ages and compare it too next years release.

D: Could drink a number of these but would have to try and keep in mind the ABV level!

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Photo of DrewV
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal-clear golden amber in the glass with a 2-finger foamy head after an aggressive pour.

S: Typical Lagunitas aroma, a bit sweeter perhaps and a bit less citrus. Some caramel malt in the mix. Not bad. By comparison, Maximus and Lucky13 both have shockingly awesome aromas. But all is not in the smell...

T: A bit reserved in the flavor, strangely enough. Some tasty flavors coming through, but nothing prominent. I guess I can detect the brown sugar in there just due to the mild sweetness and hint of molasses, but no real overpowering flavors that I might expect. Similar to Undercover Shutdown, but a bit more relaxed. As the glass warms, however, the flavors really open up and the typical strong ale flavors come through. This brew MUST be allowed to warm up. A bit boozy as it warms, but nothing objectionable.

M: Well carbonated, but not quite the body I would expect from a big ale like this. Again, the carbonation and full-bodied feel tend to improve as the beer warms. Once it gets above 50 degrees, it truly does become a "strong ale."

O: The 9.9% ABV is pretty well hidden, but comes through as the beer is allowed to warm up. Overall this is a significant contender in the strong ale category. Definitely one to wait for year after year.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light golden amber with a thick white head that melts to very thick sticky lacing.
Aroma is amber malt and brown sugar...yeah, it really is brown sugar.
Hmmm...flavor is sweet amber malt with the candied sugars but a finish of citrus malts that keeps everything in check and nothing becomes sticky or cloying. A little alcohol on the end.
Aftertaste stays clean due to the finish of citrus hops.
The ABV stays totally hidden so this one will not only sneak up on you...it will probably run up your ass.
I like it.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lagunitas has nailed the whole concept of brand loyalty by making all their beers taste like variations on the same theme, which I think centers around their IPA. No guesswork, no bad experiments. They all have the same dominating hop profile, so if you like one, you'll probably like them all.

Brown Shugga is the richer, maltier variety of their IPA. It pours a clear, burnt red color with some head at the top which forms some neat "crop circles" and yeast rings at the top after a few minutes. The nose has that classic bright, grapefruit hoppy flavor, but with more than a small share of burnt brown sugar, some heavy booziness like a barelywine. A bit of apricot and some nice esters come out after a time.

The taste makes the 9.9% abv quite evident, but it's still fairly relaxed. The texture has a sticky, thick quality to it, and the foam sticks around a bit, so that makes all the flavors last in your throat for quite some time. That said, there's very little bitterness considering all the hops that Lagunitas seems to like to use. I had this beer once when it came out and again now, 6 months later. Some of the fruity crispness has mellowed out and the richer flavors seem stronger now, so you can definitely say it ages in an interesting way, possibly becoming more of the beer I was expecting it to be, and less like a malty IPA as it was fresh.

Overall, one of the more unique and exciting options from one of my favorite breweries who have mastered the art of quality without prolificacy.

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Photo of leaddog
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours copper with a finger width of white head.

Smell - Caramalts, piney hops, brown sugar, citrus.

Taste - Brown sugar takes the lead followed by caramalts and bitter hops. Touch of citrus. Finishes with a lingering, palatable bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with lots of nice prickly carbonation. A little stickiness.

Overall - An enjoyable American Strong by Lagunitas. The brown sugar flavour is innovative and provides a unique twist. Nice balance of hoppy bitterness, sweet brown sugar and malts.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

L – Deep amber color with a nice 3-finger frothy, bubbly, cream-colored head. Excellent retention with phenomenal sheets of lacing. Clear with lots of bubbles. I can’t imagine it looking much better than this.

S – This smells very much like a cross between an American barleywine and DIPA. There’s a ton of malty sweetness with caramel, molasses, and brown sugar notes, and no shortage of American hops with grapefruit and pine aromas mostly. Alcohol is certainly present here, and there may even be a hint of some dark fruits like figs and dates here, too. This smells like it is going to be a real treat.

T – The taste is slightly different than the aroma but not in a bad way – it’s just different. It’s sweet nearly all the way through with lots of brown sugar and some noticeable caramel and molasses. Some grapefruit, orange, and pine hop bitterness creeps in toward the finish and builds in intensity as the finish progresses. Alcohol is really nowhere to be found.

F – Medium-bodied with pretty good carbonation, a sticky, chewy, and creamy mouthfeel, and a bittersweet finish. Sweet caramel and brown sugar and bittersweet fruity hop flavors linger for a bit. There’s a hint of palate-and-throat warming from the alcohol, but not as much as I was expecting after the aroma.

O – This is a nice beer and one that’s pretty tough to categorize. It smells like a strong ale but tastes almost like an imperial amber ale. I guess I can see it tasting like a strong ale, too, though. Not that any of this matters – I just like categorizing things. Useless rambling aside, this is a tasty and extremely drinkable beer given the ABV and my initial expectations after the aroma. I would have never guessed this clocked in at a tick below 10%. Part of me wishes that it tasted more like the aroma since that was so phenomenal, but the taste that is here is pretty damn good, too.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from a 12 oz bottle in a Duinen snifter.
After a long hiatus the wondrous Brown Shugga' is back and brilliant as ever. Pours a thick ruby brown with a great off white head and fantastic lacing from the slowly dissipating foam that dies down to a nice thin layer. Nose of dark sugars, citrus hops, and tons of sweet malts. Flavors are complex and ever changing with warmth. There is the firm malt backbone of brown sugar followed by waves of juicy tropical hops flavors of pineapple and orange layered on even more malt on top of malt while keeping everything in balance. Peaches come through as it warms along with some apple and pear like qualities. GREAT mouth feel with nice carbonation and a coating of citrus hops makes this a unique brew to be had and savored.

Fantastic brew from a world class brewer.


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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ok, so the Raul man has seen Brown Shugga' categorized as many things - brown ale, Barelywine, American strong ale... Whatever it is, it's off the hook! Juice, caramel, malt... Raul is feeling it like a K-town rub down. Clean, svelte...

Like Tinker, to Evers, to Chance...


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Photo of ParnellJoseph1138
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Enticing deep copper color

S-Readily apparent floral hop aroma and sweet smell

T-A fine malt presence but you really taste the sweetness of the sugar and then the orange, grapefruit character of the hops come through. A lot of complexity and character in this beer.

M-A rich full mouth feel

O-A fascinating beer with a unique combination of hops, malt, sugar. The malt presence becomes apparent first, the sweetness comes through next, and then it finishes with a hop bitterness.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a balloon glass.

This beer is a beauty. Deep copper with slowly rising bubbles underneath a thick foamy cream colored head.Thick lines of lacing remain. Cedar fills the nose -- earthy, woody, spicy cedar. Some brown sugar sweetness can be found. There is that trademark Lagunitas aroma in it. The palate is washed with dark brown sugar, cedar, cinnamon spiciness, and a spruce finish. It tastes like a Lagunitas beer, which is a good thing. The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth.

Overall, I was impressed. Scary how easily drinkable this is for the high ABV. Great holiday beer.

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Photo of Dawkfan
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark amber with just about a fingers width of tan head. Quickly subsides, there's some lacing here.

S- I was suprised by how much of a hop presence was in the nose, caught me off guard. Citrus hops most notable, with some floral as well. There's some tartness in here, perhaps sour apples? It smells sweet, but I'm not picking up the "brown shugga" at all. Interesting, definitely not what I was expecting, but very pleasant.

T- Picking up the brown sugar now. Sweet up front, really sweet actually. Apples, darkfruits, sweet malts, burnt sugar and caramel mix well with a good amount of hops that linger for awhile.

M- Thick and chewy, this one clings to the mouth and tongue for awhile.

D- Insanely drinkable at 9.84%, I can see the conparison to an American Barleywine. Highly recommended, I'm glad this is available in my neck of the woods.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,446 ratings.