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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

4,849 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,849
Reviews: 1,485
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 208
Gots: 777 | FT: 18
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,849 | Reviews: 1,485 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of IAmAPenguin
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma - Fresh hops with a clear brown sugar, cinnamon spice, toffee and molasses.
Appearance - Very reddish, crimson color with almost no foam and standard lacing.
Taste- Very crisp, malty flavors with notes of caramelized sugar, burnt caramel, toffee and thin molasses. Finish is smooth with herby hops. Overall, this is interesting. Its dark and malty flavors but its actually really easy drinking and thin. I don't get any alcohol at all which makes this one really dangerously easy drinking. Not a bad beer at all.

Photo of almostjay
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of yancot
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Mikeypnh
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of falloutsnow
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From: Piccadilly on Neil, Champaign, IL
Date: None on bottle, released in early winter 2012
Glass: Tulip

Lagunitas' Brown Shugga' is a strongly hoppy (US west coast style) ale with more caramel flavor than most DIPAs offer. While it could easily qualify as one, it instead lands in the "strong ale" catch-all, equally fine. The beer is quite drinkable, but I found it to be a somewhat generic version of the "highly hopped, high ethanol" west coast style beers I've had in the past. Thus, while tasty, I was never surprised or stricken with the particular character that defines this beer relative to others. Might I try it again when very fresh? Sure.

Pours approximately a 1cm tall head of dirty white bubbles, small in size, with average retention of one to two minutes. The head, as it falls, leaves some thick washes of lace along the innards of the glass, a variety of solid walls of sticky foam to mixed spiderweb-like patterns. The head eventually wastes away to a fine cap of foam atop the body of the beer. The body itself is a strong copper-orange color, with light bringing out brighter orange-yellow hues. The beer is somewhat hazy (perhaps 30% opaque), but carbonation is still readily visible through it, quite actively rising from the center of the glass.

Aroma of fairly substantial caramel and its attendant sweetness, though I wouldn't describe it as reminding me of brown sugar. This is joined to some tropical fruit and mild citrus, from ale yeast or hops, who knows. There's also mild pepperiness and faint ethanol lingering in the background. In general, pleasing and appetizing, if not particularly unique.

In general, this tastes pleasant if you appreciate US west coast-style, well-hopped beers (and I do), with a substantial malt backbone, but it's also not particularly different from many others in the same hop intensity and ethanol content categories. Front of palate is of heavy caramel sweetness with hints of hop or yeast-derived fruit esters and minor bitterness. Mid-palate finds the hops slightly taking the main focus, with bitterness, grapefruit, woodsy/herbal, and mild tropical fruit all being as though filtered through a screen of caramel sweetness and flavor. Back of palate notices sweet, heavy caramel notes, ethanol, and herbal/woodsy/green hop flavors with strong bitterness. Aftertaste focuses on bitterness, mild caramel sweetness, and lingering ethanol.

Beer is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium to medium-low intensity, leading to a beer that is slightly foamy on the palate, but never quite fizzy. Ethanol is felt primarily in the nostrils after each sip, slightly burning the back of the throat as well. Closes out semi-dry, with modest residual stickiness along the palate.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

What a pleasant beer. And talk about unique. . . if BA had a originality category, this would get a 5.

Pours out a reddish brown color. Beige head, about 5/8". Good lace. Aroma is sweet, like brown shugga!

The alcohol is extremely well hidden. You get a hop blast somehow, which I didn't expect in a beer with so much "brown shugga" in it. But it isn't over the top sweet that is a turn off. Had some bitterness to pair with it.

Easily Lagunitas's most original work. A great brewery, a real good beer.

Its not as good as Hop Stoopid or their Pale, but its in good company with all their others. . .

Photo of Fatehunter
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Pours a half finger of head on a clear straw colored body.
The aroma has a mild grass and floral smell, with some lemon in the background.
The taste is bursting with flavors: lemon, grapefruit, brown sugar, strong caramel and anise. Great..
The texture is crisper.
Almost too drinkable for the high ABV.

Photo of dental
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of erosier
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber/copper with a tall and thick tan colored head that laces the glass all the way down. The aroma is of some sweet malts followed by a hint of alcohol, then a big boppy bitterness followed by a very sweet brown sugar aroma to finish it off. The taste is the same as well. It has a strong sweet malt base with a very nice hoppy bitter with very little hint of the amount of alcohol that is in this beer. It then follows up with an overly sweet aftertaste of brown sugar. It tastes like a strong ale that was fermented with brown sugar in the end. The mouthfeel is good - very warming, fresh, and smooth. The drinkability is high especially for a beer of this gravity.

Photo of spinrsx
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear copper colour with an average size frothy light brown/beige head. There is a low to average amount of carbonation showing and there is a fair amount of lacing on the sides of the glass. The head stuck around for a few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - malts, hops, cookies, caramel, orange, and brown sugar

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it has a very creamy and full bodied feel. There is a lot of brow sugar taste mixed with hops an earthy clove/all spice flavour. The alcohol is extremely well hidden and there are also notes of pine, oranges, and lots of malts. The beer finishes with a bitter hop and very sweet brown sugar aftertaste.

Drink - A nice sipper beer that is good for the holidays/colder weather. I'm happy I tried it.

Photo of zak333
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of PicoPapa
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a copper color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Small amount of lacing. Aromas of hops, brown sugar, and an overall sweet smell. Taste is hops mixed with brown sugar. Sweet, boozey and somewhat bready. This beer has that nice hoppiness to it you expect from Lagunitas, but the brown sugar sweetness is almost too much. Overall I like it and this is a high octane brew that drinks well but it is very sweet.

Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Rich dark red, slowly fading off-white head that leaves a moderate amount of lace, and completely filtered.

S - Lots of malts in the beginning and then the brown sugar aroma kicks in. I also smell a little spiced peach, molasses, and candi sugar.

T - The brown sugar and molasses flavors are most prevalent in this brew with a nice caramelized malt backbone. The hops are spicy with flavors of citrus and fruits, almost an apple cinnamon type flavor, that blend well with the sweetness of all the sugary flavors.

M/D - Medium-heavy body with below-average volumes of carbonation, but works well in this brew. Not harsh on the palate at all and hides it's alcohol quite well. Finishes a little on the dry side due to all the hops.

For the price of this beer (less than $2 for a 12oz bottle locally) it's hard to find another beer this big and full of flavor.

Photo of LambicPentameter
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewing from notes after drinking on 2/10/14. Enjoyed out of a 12 oz stubby brown bottle, but there is no dating to be found on bottle or label. My best guess is that this was from the Fall 2013 release of the beer based on when I purchased it. Poured into a large 22 oz snifter glass.

Appearance - Has a look that reminds me a little bit of the name, but maybe more reminiscent of cinnamon or caramel than brown sugar. Liquid is translucent and if it weren't for the darker color, I'm pretty certain I'd be able to see through it to some degree. Atop the body sits two fingers of dark khaki foam. Retention is moderate, but the head starts shrinking and contracting almost immediately, just slowly. Eventually, it comes to a stop with a slight film across the surface of the entire beer, with mottled pockets of thicker foam. The sides of the glass are coated with a finger of thin curtains from the lace.

Smell - Some notes of pine and tropical fruit peek through briefly, but this is definitely a grain-forward beer. Notes of caramel, molasses and toasted sugar all contribute sweetness, but there is also a pungency from the hops that insert the impression of bitterness and expand on the pine that peeked in at the very beginning.

Taste - Previewed quite well by the smell, the taste is sweet with notes of cooking caramel and the wonderfully crusty top of a creme brulee. Honeyed bread, dried fruit and some hints of maple syrup are all present as well as some slight bite from the hop profile, with pine and herbs coming through to round it out with some bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and moderate carbonation, with a sweet finish that lingers on the tongue with just a bit of stickiness.

Overall, a quality beer, although I'd sooner have the straight up DIPA "substitute" for this beer (Sucks) rather than this strong ale that straddles the line between DIPA and Barleywine. That said, it's one of those beers where the whole is certainly better than the sum of it's parts. No individual factor stood out to me, but when taken together, it's quite a tasty brew.

Photo of Zach122
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of BigHeavy
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip. Beer was not allowed to warm before initial consumption, but was enjoyed over the period of about an hour.

A: Beer pours a very dark shade of burnt orange. Pour yields a 1 finger or so head which fades into a very thin cap, which is very splotchy across the top of the beer. Brown Shugga' is fairly clear and allows some light through, and lets you witness some nice bubbles. Minimal lacing. Really is pretty to look at.

S: What a unique smelling beer. Never smelled anything quite like it. Aroma is heavy on sweetness, with some malts (caramel?) and some brown sugar-like notes. Some faint Lagunitas-style hoppiness going on, along with some alcohol.

T: Again, incredibly unique. An almost cloying sweetness pounces on your tongue. Definitely lives up to its name, taste kinda like brown sugar dissolved in booze. It overwhelms whatever hops until the beer warms up a little. Hops are typical Lagunitas. Beer is definitely boozy on the tongue as well. Kind of a different taste I'm still struggling with a bit. Complex, but confusing to my palate right now.

M: Pretty carbonated for a big beer, at least in my experience. A little oily on the palate, as the sweetness coats your mouth.

D: This is one I only have as a night cap before bed, as I could never drink more than one of these at a time due to the initial cloying nature. The 10% ABV is noticed rather quickly, as it goes straight to the dome.

O: Not my favorite offering from Lagunitas, but still "good". Probably won't get another sixer this year, although I am hanging onto the last one from this pack to see how it changes. Interesting and though provoking beer, just not my favorite.

Photo of deeznuts420
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this is a great strong ale. if you get it fresh the hops pop through nicely and it isn't as sweet as the name suggests. it's a a very drinkable brew that definetly caught me off guard. the sweetness hits first but then it seems to turn into an american barley wine. great beer for the money. Lagunitas is the best value out of California out here in PA. A case of stone Ipa costs me 43 bucks while this is about the same price as this brew that is more complex and alcoholic. sucks is good but it's a totally different beer and is probably an easier drinking beer but if these two were side by side for the same price there's no question i'd pick the Brown shugga

Photo of beerwolf77
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass the beer is cloudy brownish amber. A solid two fingers of light beige head fade leaving a thick coating of lace.

The aroma has a huge hop presence. Mixing in with the hops is tons of sweet malt. It has the tartness of a DIPA or Barley wine. I really don't get any brown sugar just hops and malt.

The flavor is rather hoppy as well. I can pick up the brown sugar in the taste for sure. Loads of caramel malt and a sharp bitter finish. The abv is noticeable in every sip.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall I never really know how sum up strong ales. They don't really have a certain criteria to base an opinion on. I love barley wines and this reminds me of one. I gues that means I like it.

Photo of Brewsed
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of FightinIrish88
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of xtonytx
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of gbarron
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. 'bomber.'

A - medium brown, to amber color. Not completely clear - maybe some chill haze. Nice little white head forms and stays around the whole way for me, although retreating to the sides of the glass.

S - malt, sugar, very little hop aroma. But what hops are there smell of noble spiciness - saaz? Nice malty, caramelly aroma.

T - malt is up front in this one. Since the name is 'brown shugga,' I can taste the brown sugariness in this. Malty sweet, but some hop bitterness balances it out pretty well. There is some hop flavor here, but it's hard to pick up. Can definitely taste some hoppy grassy, floral flavors when I burp (sorry to be so crude). Alcohol is well hidden. A little disappointed that the flavor here isn't as big as it could be.

M - medium bodied, standard carbonation.

D - tasty brew, I wouldn't mind having several of these. Alcohol is masked in the flavor pretty well, but will hit you later.

Photo of angelmonster
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a small half inch beige head. Body is a clear amber color. Head retention was decent and lacing was above average.

Smell at first kinda reminds me of an english barleywine. Caramel malt and burnt brown sugar dominate. Light pine hops and some alcohol come through. A bit disappointed in the aroma, thought it would be more potent

Taste is similar to smell. Sweet malt is dominant flavor, caramelized sugar and faint butterscotch follow. There is also bits of spice like cinnamon or ginger that come through. Pine hops balance out the sweet malts and leave a light bitter aftertaste. For 10 percent the alcohol is pretty tamed

Mouthfeel is somewhat light for such a strong beer. Carbonation level is also a bit high. Lack of a smooth head doesnt help. Was expecting a richer, fuller body

Drinkability was pretty good. For 10 percent this beer was dangerously smooth. I had really high expectations for this beer which unfortunately werent met. Flavors were good but nothing stood out and made this beer memorable. Reminded me of a less flavorful version of Old Gnarlywine

Photo of droomyster
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a short copper colored head that recedes quickly. Body is slightly hazy deep brownish red. Strong aroma of cherries and molasses, grassy/citrus hops, lots of alcohol and red grapes. Big blast of sweetness, brown sugar? Heck yeah, and well supported by a strong bitterness. Light doughy yeastiness. Full body, light carbonation. I consider this the chewiest of the chewy. Goes down slow and sticky, lingering medicinal taste.

Photo of kawilliams81
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a light amber with a 2 finger light beige head. Huge clumps and trails of lacing litter that glass.

S- caramel, dark fruits, biscuit, citrus, and pine.

T- sweet caramel, citrus rind, toasted malts, and bitter pine and citrus at the finish.

M- Medium body and carbonation. Nice and creamy with slightly dry finish from the bitterness.

O- First time trying this beer and a very tasty strong ale. Almost a hoppy imperial red ale that has some dark fruit notes along more sweetness. Glad I picked up a 6 pack.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,849 ratings.