1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

3,648 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,648
Reviews: 1,296
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 132
Gots: 226 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,648 | Reviews: 1,296 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cvstrickland

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured into an imperial pint willibecher glass from a twist-off-topped 12-ounce stubby, Lagunitas' Brown Shugga is sparkling-clear and orangish-copper with a finger-thick crown of stained ivory foam atop. The head relaxes in short order, resting at a creamy sheet that sticks thin rings of lacing onto the glass.

The sugary-caramel aroma is laced with citrus zest and drizzled over mild toasted malts, imparting a savory component to the dominant perfumey sweetness. Mushy apple and a tart, darkly fruity note of chocolate-covered cherries gain prominence as the drink progresses.

The taste is predictably sweet and decidedly fruity, with a notion of ripe Golden delicious apples pickled in dark rum. Plenty of syrupy brown sugar-coated toasty malts languish under the lightly-boozy fruitiness, and a touch of drying, bitter citrus oil in the finish cleans up the sugar-smack surprisingly well. Grainy-sweet toasted malts and smoked cherries linger in the aftertaste. Given the potency of the drink, the alcohol flavor component is well-hidden, but not stowed so far out of sight as to vanish from the profile entirely. The cooling fruitiness the 9.5% ABV provides is an integral part of the flavor and the feel of the drink, and brings a fine flush to the cheeks and stokes a hearty warming in the belly.

Full-bodied with light carbonation, the brew is a silky-smooth sipper, and tastes great, just like a young girl should. Yeah, yeah, yeah... WOOO!

01-31-2009 13:58:13 | More by cvstrickland
Photo of projectflam86


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

A- Pours a cherry copper color with a thin off white head that leaves a bit of lace.

S- The nose is really sweet with some caramel and dark fruit scents.

T- Nice sweet malt flavor with some brown sugar (obviously) and a bit of a medicinal finish. The alcohol is definitely there and it creates a nice warming effect on the way down. Really not finding as much hop bitterness as I would have thought.

M- Medium bodied with ok carbonation.

D- This was a pretty solid brew. Could have used a bit more balance with additional bitterness.

12-14-2010 03:42:27 | More by projectflam86
Photo of haazer


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Had on tap at the Blue Dog in lansdale.

A- darkest cherry color in center of glass, see through ruby stone on top and bottom of brew. 1/2" eggshell head forms, fades slowly. The space where the head was has foam stuck to the sides of the tulip.

S- So I'm reviewing this from my iPhone, the bartender places it down, I'm writin up the beers look and it's about 18" from me and I already smell this thing! Wow, candy apple, sugar, citrus, lemon, strawberry and hops. This smells very much like an IPA, and a damn good one.

T- It says 'sweet release' on the tap, they're not kidding. Very sweet candy flavor in this. On the brink of cloying but just under. Actual flavor is cherry, apple, light bit of brown sugar, floral hops, pomegranate, and booze. The booze gives some heat to this.

M- Medium bodied ale. Very sweet, induces lip smacking. Heat from the abv also.

D- High abv and strong flavors make this a sipper. A lot going on in this beer, but it's named improperly. Yes it fits the style but brown sugar is almost non-existent. I guess the name suggests sweetness, which this has plenty of.

02-14-2011 23:05:35 | More by haazer
Photo of Wildman


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
Photo of Anthony1


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured a hazy reddish orange with a frothy, foamy white head, small amount of sticking. Aromas of fruity esters, melted brown sugar, a light caramel and a mild pine resiny. Moderate carbonation and a softly crisp, creamy smooth medium bodied mouthfeel. Pleasant tasting, brown sugar and caramel, a sour citric fruity, a herbal hoppiness, a light alcohol flavor shows up towards the end and a sour citric, oily and malty finish with a slight warming alcohol taste lingering in the palate.

11-03-2009 18:11:32 | More by Anthony1
Photo of RickKrumenacker


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

A - Caramel in color...one-finger head that dissipated a little quickly, but leaves a thin ring around the top...pretty good lacing throughout

S - Sweet, sugary smell...smells a lot like a barleywine...some piney hops come through as well

T - Nice hoppy bitterness hits you right away...gives way to a barleywine-like sweetness...alcohol comes through, but isn't overpowering

M - Really coats the mouth...almost a little too sweet, but the hoppy bitterness balances things out

D - Very nice...not one that you can drink a ton of, but something that I will definitely look for again

04-27-2009 01:35:22 | More by RickKrumenacker
Photo of mmcave


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Purchased at local liquor store unknowingly poured into chalice. Nice fluffy slightly off white head, with muffy lacing, head lingers about a centimeter from the surface. The body is a deep red with lots of dark sort of purply tones. Smells of malty sweetness, this doesn't really emanate a very thick malt rather a sweet malt with nice toast notes, the hops are not too over powering but provide a nice balance. Flavor is slightly thin and sort of a sharp sweet bitterness, which I'm sort of indifferent to. The mouthful is sort of flat and through that the sweet, sort of cough spryness gets a little not so tasty, but I have to give it props for a yummy hop burps. Honesty this could be useful, but I'm not sure I'll buy again worth a try though.

01-15-2007 05:07:16 | More by mmcave
Photo of Mistofminn


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

I tried this for the first time last winter, but never got around to reviewing it. I didn't feel that a review that was months after the original tasting were worthy of a review, so I waited patiently until this surfaced again. Fresh 2009 batch, first time I've seen it this year.

Pours a golden brown, amber color with a thick and chunky tan head. Slow laboring carbonation and clear texture, coupled with the brilliant shade of amber and the light tan head give this one a pretty good look.

I already know before I put my nose near the glass that this is going to be sweet. The bottles I had last year were in February or March...not fresh like this. Boom! There is a ton of hops in the nose in this one! Totally wasn't expecting that. I would venture to say that the hops actually out do the sweet brown sugar and malt notes. Intense!

The taste, unfortunately, is no where near as hoppy as the aroma. This is where the sweet brown sugar based malt comes in. Sweet and intensely malty, just like it should be.

Smooth and creamy, with a low carbonation. I would have liked to see a heavier body and a higher carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good.

Overall, another solid offering from Lagunitas. Every beer they make has that "Lagunitas" hoppy feel to it, and this one is no exception. I would be able to peg this as a Lagunitas brew in a blind tasting no problem.

12-14-2009 22:24:12 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of paco1029384756


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a nice ruby brown color with very little head and carbonation.

Scent of cherries, sugars, alcohol, and some more sweet fruitiness, damn good.

Taste is slightly sweet with a strong maltiness. Finish is a little weak.

Mouthfeel is full, but the lack or carbonation hurts it.

12-20-2008 01:54:50 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of TippySelenoid


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured into a tulip.

It's a hazy reddish amber. There is a whitish lacing around the top with a few bubbles working their way to the top.

It smell sweet, grassy, faintly citrusy.

It's a sweet beer. But it's got some bite to it. There is a lot of grassy hop flavor as well. There are some spicy notes as well that I can't put my finger on. Orange?

It's a medium bodied but maybe a touch thicker. Appropriate carbonation.

This was a 2 year old bottle of the beer. It was my last one. It did get better as it aged. Not my favorite Lagunitas but I am looking forward to this years winter seasonal.

11-20-2011 13:54:24 | More by TippySelenoid
Photo of BillH200174


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured out a clear amber/ dark copper color. Has a thin tan colored head. Left a decent lacing down the sides of the chalice it was served in. Aromas are of sweet burnt sugars, some toffee & caramel notes as well. Slight vanilla in the background. Medium mouthfeel, rich & slick. Slightly oily too.

02-21-2012 19:11:58 | More by BillH200174
Photo of athensbeermaster


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Deep reddish brown on the color. Small head retention, light hazy tan with minor lacing on the glass. The carbonation was good and gave the brew vibrance. I may have poured the beer to slow and would explain the small head. Sweet apples on the nose. The mouthfeel was full body with the carmel producing a sliky quality and a little spicy from the brown sugar that tingles on the tongue.
When this beer reaches warmer temp. is has a good bourbon flavor.
mixed with a splash of brown sugar. All the desciptions sound like this beer would be very sweet but the 55.1 ibu (hops) keep this in check. The big magic trick is how well the 9.9 abv. doesn't overwelm this well balanced Strong Ale.

11-15-2006 17:20:32 | More by athensbeermaster
Photo of ncvbc

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

This one pours an amber/ruby color with little carbonation and a thin off white head. Pretty nice lacing as well. Smell is of sweet malts and decent hop scent. Slight bit of alcohol present in the nose. Taste is of sugary sweet malts but a pretty big hop kick also. It's like a weak DIPA or a BHM after a year. Interesting for sure. Mouthfeel is medium. Little alcohol burn. Hop bite and sugary sweet coating of malts on the tongue. Drinkability is a little lower because I can't drink much of this. Maybe two 12 oz. but one was enough I believe.

I do like the creativity of this brew and thanks goes to czoch75 for this extra.

05-28-2007 02:36:16 | More by ncvbc
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

This beer pours a hazy light amber color with orange highlights. It is topped by a thin, wispy light amber tan head that is generated by a quick swirling to actuate this beer's medium carbonation. The aroma is lightly sweet smelling with notes of candied orange peel, pine needles, toffee, alcohol, a hint of molasses and sherry.

The taste is only lightly sweet up front, at least for a beer of 1.100 starting gravity. The beer is quite malty with notes of caramel, a bit of toasty malt notes in the finish. The finish is lightly astringent with notes of fresh hop character as well as a solid bitterness that allows the malt and Brown Shugga to shine through. This beer is certainly on the malty side of the spectrum, but the hops certainly add a discernible character, that though supporting is a nice respite/ counterpoint to what would otherwise be lopsidedly oriented towards the malt. The brown sugar is evident but not overwhelmingly so, its most obvious contribution being a lightening of the body and palate. There is also a sort of twang in the finish of this beer which has a hint of molasses to it.

This beer is pretty enjoyable, and I like that it is not too sticky sweet. It reminds me a lot of the first sample of their IPA that I had, because the IPA tasted like it had lots of unfermented wort in it, and I almost wonder if I had a bottle of the Brown Shugga' that had been mislabeled. Regardless, I do like this beer and I certainly recommend it if you find it.

03-12-2005 06:00:38 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of FLima


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Beautiful amber copper color with a beige thick head with good retention and leaving some laces.
Aroma of red fruits, American yeast, caramelized pineapple, pine, molasses and toasted malt.
Strong flavor of caramel and toasted malts, peppery yeast, pine resin, lots of mango, pineapple, grapefruit and maple syrup. Very dry and bitter aftertaste.
Full body with low carbonation. Alcohol of 9.9% abv is incredibly well hidden as very few beers can be such master of disguise.
Bold beer in all aspects, malty, hoppy and yeasty. I usually don’t like sugar bombs, but this one is rather an interesting brew. It transitions between a DIPA and a Barley Wine.

01-26-2014 03:04:28 | More by FLima
Photo of Hellabeerguzzler


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Knowing the history, I thoroughly expected to hate this beer and I went into this tasting with extreme skepticism. Sometimes you just get surprised. This was one of those times. The appearance was average, the smell was nice, sugary, wheaty, but all that was somewhat average - the taste and drinkability is the compelling factor here. Very unique, highly sessionable "ale" as they call it but I'd not only drink this again, but want to try it fresh from tap. This was a 'sweet' surprise.

01-29-2011 00:08:44 | More by Hellabeerguzzler
Photo of ckeegan04


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

04-23-2010 22:37:32 | More by ckeegan04
Photo of BeerDawgs


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

A - Deep copper/brown, with 2 fingers of head and nice sticky lace left all over the glass

S - Sugar cane and alcohol! Lots of brown sugar and toasty malts.

T - Sweet as a M)($%*(^$%($#^%. Wow. Lots of sugar. Lots of alcohol.

M - Oily, medium bodied, and fairly high carbonation.

O - Good, but I can only drink about half of one of these and I am done. Too sweet and strong

11-04-2012 03:22:16 | More by BeerDawgs
Photo of ShadesOfGray


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

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.

04-18-2010 22:45:25 | More by ShadesOfGray
Photo of Transatlantic


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured into a pint glass at about 45 degrees

A - A clear caramel like brown with a purplish tint to it. Head is quite creamy and sticks around long enough to leave a pretty good lacing.

S - Oh man, first thing I get is a kick of vanilla and followed by a floral yet citrusy hop character. The ending smell seems to be molasses but it's very light.

T - This is very interesting! The first thing I notice is how syrupy sweet and bitter it is. The next thing I notice is how pronounced the molasses taste is right next to the ever strong citrusy hop note. The taste is quite amazingly blended if I do say so myself. I'm wanting to say it's a lemon/orange like citrus that i'm getting, which is quite unusual considering the beer is named "Brown Shugga"

M - Very syrupy and creamy. Quite a strong medium bodied beer.

D - You can drink one of these down no problem, but one is going to do it for you, unless you're aiming to get drunk.

11-12-2010 00:11:55 | More by Transatlantic
Photo of wschmit


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Into a regular pint glass.

A: A nice, caramel-orange hue with two fingers of lingering, sticky head. Very much like an old ale in appearance, methinks. Lots of lovely webs remain as the head slowly settles.

S: I can smell it from two feet away. Sweet, resinous, and hoppy, with some toasty notes. Overall very attractive scent.

T: Lots of residual sugar. There is a distinctly molasses/brown sugar taste to it, which isn't at all bad. I was expecting something slightly sweeter, but really it's a good balance of malt and hops. Hops are pretty floral, with medium bitterness.

M: As with the head, a bit sticky. At ten percent ABV, it's got a bit of viscosity, but really not too much body. I don't get any boozy burn at all.

D: High, for the ABV. I enjoy this a lot, and will be looking around for similar beers as winter rolls in. A very balanced beer, for this season.

11-17-2010 05:14:18 | More by wschmit
Photo of easement


3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Cloudy orange. Little head and very little retention.

S - molasses brown sugar. smells sweet. maybe some apples in there, too.

T - Malty and really sweet. As you drink it, it gets more sweet.

M - Light carbonation. Very syurpy. Very Thick.

D - I enjoyed it a lot at first, but then the sweetness got to be too much. It's good for one at a time. I can't imagine this being a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2008 22:52:47 | More by easement
Photo of brstls4drmrs

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -1.7%

A - pours a translucent brown reddish color with a 1" froth. Nice thick lacing with a thin cloud of foam remaining. Foam sticks around like an annoying in-law but in this case, it's allowed.

S - smells hoppy sweet with some caramel and brown shugga. Some nice malt tones in there as well and possible some sort of citrus zest. Just a nice blend. It's like walking into a bakery and getting the aroma of sweet dough.

T - it's like the hops had a fight with brown shugga and it resulted in a draw. The guest referee was of a citrus nature which was very faint.

M - overall not bad. It was just a little thin and flat on the finish.

O - a very nice ale. I'm glad I tried it. Now I will buy more.

11-04-2012 02:09:48 | More by brstls4drmrs
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

3.96/5  rDev -1.5%

coded but undated 12oz 2012 bottle.
Deep amber color with large and sudsy tan head. The head is moderately durable and leaves lots of sticky lacing.

Aroma: rich and surprisingly hoppy; West Coast IPA hoppy, with mainly piney and earthy/herbal tones. The high ABV is partly apparent but in a rather attractive way suggestive of rum barrel aging.

T: Excellent bitter-sweet flavor with well proportioned sweet malts and aromatic hops, leaving a long lasting aftertaste. This brown "shugga" is not really sweet overall, but seems to have a brown sugar component.

M: Medium-full body with near perfect medium carbonation; a bit syrupy.

O: this exceptional ale should appeal to those would like barleywines, IPAs and brown ales and are willing to try a mix of all three. Good as this is, it is not quite up to the level of the replacement Lagunitas Sucks ale.

01-10-2013 23:27:58 | More by chinchill
Photo of johnchen1229


3.96/5  rDev -1.5%

A: Pours a brown, clear liquid. A thin head gives way to occasional lacing along the sides. Good lace retention.

Smell: I accidentally snorted a small amount of beer trying to write this section. Wheaty, malty, sweet tones dominate the somewhat subdued smell. Very little hoppiness or bitterness.

T: Chemicals and sweet malt, boozy finish. A sweet beer with a hoppy, boozy aftertaste.

M: Creamy, slightly fizzy but not much carbonation. Sweetness and alcoholic flavors wrap around the tongue and cover the mouth, leaving a bitter aftertaste.

O: Not a huge fan of the way the hops showed up at the end, giving a bitter aftertaste. Very pleasant beer that is very nice to drink. Not much weaknesses, but could be better.

01-22-2014 05:43:06 | More by johnchen1229
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,648 ratings.