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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,466 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,466
Hads: 5,127
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 248
Gots: 962 | 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: 1,466 | Hads: 5,127
Photo of brendanbeer
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.5%
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 +6.5%
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 +6.5%
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 +6.5%
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 +6.7%
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 +6.7%
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 +6.7%
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 +6.7%
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 +6.7%
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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Photo of craftaholic
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from a stout lil' 12 oz into a shaped pint. The body is that of a steeped black tea and the head is a light yet clinging 2 inch head that leaves behind a nice dusting for a lacing.

Smell: A treat for the proboscis and then some its a melody of floral notes, malty nuances, subtle pumpernickle, obvious mounds of brown sugar and alcoholic undertones.

Taste: This one is quite delectable to say the least. They hit the nail on the head because its packed to the brim with shugga' but not sickeningly so. There is a nice balance of thick caramelized malt and almost spiced complexity that is counterbalanced with a citric resinous hop. Thankfully the backbone of this one never gets overwhelming but rather stands back to mediate the malt and hop combination. The finish is astringent with a discernible bitter character and a slight pinch of molasses.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonated just right, an aftertaste but doesn't overstay its welcome and although somewhat sweet it isn't sticky.

Drinkability: Surprisingly the abv is not a good indicator because it drinks to me like a 6% session; but in the strong ale category it ranks high.

Overall: I will say its a strong offering from what i've seen as of now to be a pretty legit brewery in their offerings. I almost put off the review because I was savoring the beer outright with this one because its a familiar yet distinct flavor of its own.

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Photo of Slynger
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga: a deep, clear, reddish orange with some small, dirty white bubbles that leave lasting lace.

The nose is sweet malty caramel, toffee, and brown sugar with fruity cherries and citrus, and earthy-spicy hops. Deliciously intriguing.

Full bodied with a lightly sharp, soft, and creamy-curvy carbonation. Flavors of sweet brown sugar and burnt toffee; fruity cherries and apricot citrusy hops. Grassy, spicy, earthy hops linger in the finish.

Wow! A really tasty and unique brew that I enjoyed way too quickly. Awesome.

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Photo of JK4Stout
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in tulip glass.
A- This deep caramel colored ale is gorgeous to look at. Part of me just wanted to let it sit and bubble for a while...part of me, but the drunk in me overtook that.
S- Here is where it is the big winner. This is obviously a sweet smelling, tasting, looking, etc beer. But the aroma given off by this brew makes me think of carnival food for some reason. It is simply a very warm happy swell. Not a lot of hops aroma, but there is plenty there.
T- Love this part! This beer is really smooth for 9.9%apv The sweetness isn't sickening or overpowering like many sweet beers can be, and there is a great little spice on the end.
M- Medium to large, not too much, but it certainly makes it's presence known.
D- This is one fine beer. I mean, I wouldn't expect to down a full 6er while watching a football game, but it certain makes for a nice after dinner beverage...or a before dinner beverage...or an after breakfast beverage...you get the point. It ain't bad, folks.

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Photo of korguy123
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From Notes

A- Clear brown pour (like rich maple syrup) 1/4" off white cap. Lacing is minimal which is to be expected for the 9.99%

S- Toasted malts, slight strawberries. Brown sugar comes out in full force as it warms further, Rich toffee and caramel tones.

T- Brown sugar heaven. Not overly sweet, just perfect. Caramel notes. toasted malts give a nice smooth roasted tone to this. Hop bitterness is spot on. Slight metallic taste and a faint alcohol warmth.

M- Medium to full bodied, slightly creamy and smooth. Sticky on the lips.

O- Very good, something different from the everyday. Definitely couldn't drink more than one per sitting but with something like this you would want to treat yourself on occasion with this.

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Photo of gford217
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, clear reddish amber with a small rocky off-white head. There is very good retention and lacing.

The aroma is heavier on the citrus hops than I was expecting and that's a good thing. There is a caramel malt and molasses sweetness in the nose that balances the hops very well.

The taste follows the aroma but seems to be a bit better integrated as the early citrus hop kick seems to be perfectly balanced with the big caramel malt and toffee backbone. The finish is actually a bit piny with a resinous bitterness through the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and just sticks on the palate with both hops and sugary sweetness.

This one has the typical Lagunitas hop profile but the additional sweetness of the malts and sugar seem to do wonders for this one. Very good stuff.

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Photo of specksnreds
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass which revealed the beer's dark amber color. Not much head, and a velvety carbonation. Malt, malt, malt. Surprisingly little hoppiness, but I don't care. This malt bomb's ABV adds the right counter point. The booze isn't hidden, and it's upfront to say the least. A little sweet and heavy on the mouthfeel, and it lends this beer to sipping. Warms up nicely on the tongue. The malt wallop is quite heavy, but this one may benefit from some shelf time.

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Photo of ryanonline
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice browish red, verrrry clear though, not something i always like in a strong ale. thin whitish head that quickly dissipates.

smells like slightly aged hops with some citrus, and bran like malt with a big brown sugar presence.

SSSWEEETTt! Brown sugar and nice and crisp citrus hoppy profile. A little bit of roast in the background.

Bubbly and lightly sticky, medium bodied and kind of prickly. dry finish yet the sweet sugar lasts beyond that.

Sweet and delicious and not overly filling, and at nearly 10% this is quite a beer, and i could have a lot of them and have a good evening.

Sweeetttt! Someone talked in a forum post about pumpkin ales about a bartender rimming the glass with brown sugar....i think this one more qualifies. great beer.

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Photo of lstokes
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had at the U of C pub, it came to me reddish-orange with an off-white head that left acceptable lacing.

I loved the brown sugary smell with some spicy hops and the equivalent taste--caramel coats your mouth, brown sugar leaps out at you, there's just enough citrus hop to keep things bitterly interesting. Alcohol is very well masked, although it does creep in at the end of the swallow. I thought the mouthfeel was not really full-bodied enough to hold up the taste, which is why I've marked it down, but it was still a delicious beer, sweet and boozy like the most deliciously alcoholic coffee cake you've ever had.

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Photo of jayhammed
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful amber color, deliciously sweet and hoppy...different, but good balance. Slightly boozy nose, sweet on the tongue and finishes with just a hint of bitterness.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark amber body with brown and ruby hues. Huge light tan head is thick and stays around.

S- Getting a ton of juicy hops. Citrus, grapefruit, pine, sweet malt, brown sugar.

T- Really surprised at the hop presence. The juicy hops are there up front with a malty barley wine flavor in the middle. The finish leaves a sweet aftertaste that really tastes like sweet brown sugar and molasses.

M- Full-bodied, medium carbonation, slight alcohol burn, sticky sweet aftertaste.

O- Very interesting beer. Almost a malty IIPA/ barleywine loaded with sweetness. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of DeepBrew
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass.

A: Clear caramel color with big off-white foam and long retention, leaving behind a great looking foam.

S: Hoppy , fruity and floral smell

T: Starts with nice maltiness, followed by the fruit taste, the bitterness comes toward the end. Piny stickiness in the aftertaste.

M: Medium mouthfeel, belies the almost 10 ABV

O: Very nice balance between tastes and aromatics.

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Photo of babaracas
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish orange with one finger thick tan head, settling slowly to a quarter inch and leaving a spray of lace down the glass. Smell: grapefruit, pineapple, tropical fruit, dates, caramelized sugar. Taste: brown sugar, lightly toasted bread, pine cutting through the sweetness, then into sugared grapefruit, dried mango-ish tropical fruit. Body ramps from medium to full, with prickly carbonation into fluffy into a chewy, hops and booze soaked finish. Although pretty big and sweet, it doesn't come off as heavy, at all. It would be interesting to try all of Lagunitas' seasonal 9-ish% ASA/Impy Reds together (how different are they?). In any case, this is a win. Bottled 270/365 2012.

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Photo of steelerguy
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel color with amber hues. Moderate carbonation, smallish head that fades quickly to a covering that leaves some good lacing.

S - Strong hop aroma upon opening the bottle, but pouring seemed to release it a bit. The malt then takes over with sweet caramel notes to go along with the pleasant pine hops aromas.

T - Lots of malt, plenty of dark caramel malts leaving a residual sweetness. A touch of citrus hop flavor to help balance out the sweetness, and a good bit of bitterness on the finish. The brown sugar adds some depth and I think helps thin it out a bit since there is a good deal of caramel malts in here.

M - Moderate body, could feel a bit heavy but it is balanced with moderate carbonation and the high ABV adds a nice warm finish to make the beer not seen too thick.

D - This beer is a mouthful, lots of malt...especially caramel, lots of adjuncts, lots of alcohol, and a good deal of hops. They are all in balance, but quite a bit of complexity, make it fun to drink but a couple in one sitting is plenty.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,466 ratings.