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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,502 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,502
Hads: 5,298
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 267
Gots: 1,083 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,502 | Hads: 5,298
Photo of Thur123
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep reddish garnet, similar to a barley wine in color, maybe a tad darker. The head was very slight and faded quickly, leaving a thin ring. The smell is tropically sweet malt with the cane sugar in, in addition to, a kind of bittersweet hop edge and ripe fruit, with both citrus and plums.

Glug glug glug

Mmmm, first are the dark fruits and the rich sweet malt, which underlies all the other flavors very nicely. The hops and citrus come in second with a bitter edge that mixes well with the sweetness. Towards the end of the profile is a second helping of a sugar cookie like malt with the heat from the alcohol only a little masked. This being said, the booze character brings no heat, just warmth. Mouth feel is think and delicious. A great beer that's opened my eyes to the strong ale.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit: I am reviewing the Brown Shugga as a Barleywine.. there is no way this is the same recipe as the last couple years.

Current batch 12oz.. picked up on Friday at Albertsons for $1.29 (they charged me the wrong price for sure).. poured into my Delirium tulip.

Good 2" head that leaves rings of lace atop a very clear cherry wood color brew.

Aroma is waay hoppier than I remember last years Brown Shugga.. piney hops are at the front and leave little room for much else.. but there is a big background of caramel malts ... this really reminds me of a PNW barleywine.

Flavor is an American barleywine.. Deep bitterness and solid caramel/toasted malt backbone with a nice pine hop flavor that melds well with fruity (fresh black cherry) yeasty flavors. Fairly thick body is expected with a nice prickly/yet creamy carbonation... long lingering hop and lite toffee finish.

Brown Shugga is a BW in '07/'08 .. Where's the Gnarleywine? I think I have a little left in my glass.

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Photo of cubedbee
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, a deep burnished copper two fingers of off-white head, nice retention, nice sheets of lacing left behind. Nose fits the name, lots of sweet brown sugar, slightly caramel, with a slight alcohol soaked fruitiness. Some floral hops start to come through after you've acclimized yourself to the sweetness. Taste mirrors the nose with a strong sugary sweet malt upfront, slightly biscuity, slightly fruity with a decently hoppy finish merging with a not unpleasant bite of alcohol. Full bodied and smooth, this is a nice enjoyable sipping beer. Overall, dangerously so, as I could easily drink several of these high octane beers.

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Photo of rtratzlaff
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish brown with a full thick off white head that leaves tons of lacing.

Aromas of sweet malt, alcohol soaked dark fruit, and pine hop characters.

The flavor is syrupy sweet malt along with a flash of hops that keep the sweetness from being cloying.

Full bodied with just enough carbonation.

With warmth, this drinks almost like a barleywine; rather than a hoppy strong ale/DIPA as it started out.

Drinkability: One a day would do the trick for a happy hop head that also loves sweet malt. Less alcohol would make me go back to this beer more often.

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Photo of jman42
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

A = Crystal clear copper color. The head was moderate but the lacing is still sitting at the top of my glass even though it is half gone.

S = Sweet and malty

T = Definitely taste the alcohol in this. One of those beers that I didn't realize it was 9.9% until I took a taste. Taste the sweetness of the brown sugar too.

M = Smooth on my tongue. Combination of a lingering malty and bitterness taste after I swallow.

O = A nice beer to age probably. A great beer to have on a cold Autumn/Winter night after a hard day of fun. Pour into a snifter and drink in front of the fire.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a slightly hazed ruby-amber with a finger of richly creamy beige foam. The head settles to a thin ring, leaving behind a few splotches and legs of lacing as it disappears.

A bit of rich maltiness in the nose gives way to grapefruity and floral hop notes and some fruity esters.

A bit thick and chewy in body, with a very moderate carbonation and a bit of a slick mouthfeel. The underlying sweet malt character is overwhelmed quickly by layers of citrusy, piney, and a bit of herbal hop notes, pit fruits (notably cherries), and some warming alcohol as it enters into a very long, dry, bittersweet finish.

Extremely drinkable, despite the hefty 9.9% ABV, and quite desireable as well. It's a sipper, no doubt, but a very pleasurable one. Any essence of brown sugar is obviously hiding in with the malt underneath the hops, but it takes away from nothing. Quite superb.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 11/18/2014, three weeks before the date of this tasting.

I've never been a fan of sweet, malty IPAs, but Lagunitas has brewed up something incredible here. Grapefruit and caramel aromas promise a balanced drink, but I was still unsure after a few whiffs...wouldn't be the first time a malt bomb showed that kind of promise in the nose. But, lo and behold, the palate delivers, and with astounding depth, no less. Vanilla tastes wrap up zesty, orange peel-hops, leading the way as the first in an array of fruit-and-cream flavors that swell up out of this beer: molasses, burnt sugar, peach, graham cracker, pear, apple cider. And with all that sweetness, it's still drinkable beyond belief. That's what I love about this beer: it never gets cloying. Must be the brown sugar, because I've never had a beer this strong and sweet finish without a lingering note of tongue-smacking sugariness. Finishes balanced, in fact, leaving nothing but a fleshy stone fruit and whipped cream character on the tongue, light as can be.

This beer is superb - one of my favorite strong ales to date. Cheers!

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Beautiful rust colored with a slight haze. Massive 4+ fingers of tan colored head almost spill over the edge of the glass. Retention is great and the lacing is abundant; sheets of it on the glass.

S - Brown sugar, as the name implies, certainly jumps out at me but I also get a lot of vanilla with an almost banana-like element. Lots of custard/pie associations. There's also an interesting wave of fruitiness mixed in, tangerines and peaches first come to mind. Some pine pulls through as well. With all the maltiness Lagunitas still lets me know that this brew has it's fair share of hops mixed in.

T - Things start off fairly sweet with lots of caramel and vanilla and just a smidge of butteriness. Apple-like fruitiness provides the segue into hoppy flavors. Pine dominates here with hints of earth and suggestions of citrus peel. Alcohol sweeps the floor leaving a linger bittersweet flavor. While unique and tasty, it feels like there's something missing. I can't put my finger on it, but it seems like the beer is striving for a flavor that never fully manifests. As soon as the malt builds up the hops takeover, and as the hops crescendo the alcohol cleans the slate.

M - Full bodied, but not as sticky and syrupy as I would have thought. Very creamy. Carbonation is extremely low rendering this brew nearly still. Much like a fine barleywine in this respect. Fantastic.

D - A superb offering from Lagunitas. Ultimately I could've used a little more complexity and coherence with the taste (and a little more hidden alcohol) but overall this is a unique and more than worthy brew.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lots of head, this one. Lace is much and lots of cling, right down to the last sip. Head is about three fingers, color is a dark brown, a 21 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is rich and sweet, with aromas of brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, peach, and roasted malt. Taste is bold and sweet, with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, grapefruit, and sweet roasted malt. Mouthfeel is full and chewy, smooth like heavy cream with just enough zing to make it interesting. Don't let the flavor fool you, the almost 10 percent alcohol by volume creeps up on you and away you go. This brown shugga' is calling for me to get some more. A good desert beer for sure.

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Photo of rand
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From bottle to pint glass

A: Pours a clear, dark amber with moderate carbonation. Forms a small but tight head - plenty of sticky lacing as I gently twirl the beer.

S: A surprisingly big rush of citrusy hops dominate the nose. There's some nice caramelly malts in the background, but a lot less than expected given the style. Some apple and honey round things out.

T: Well, the hops definitely meet you right up front with that citrus-apple-tea Lagunitas' hop-thing, but the malty sweetness steps up in full force. Raisin bread and alcohol combine, giving this a holiday sipper-like appeal. Finished sugary sweet and rich.

M: Full bodied and rich, as expected, but not overly so. This is a 10% strong ale that won't weigh you down the whole night. Plenty of carbonation to wash away the sticky residue.

D: The beer has a big and aggressive profile, but it's so candy-sweet I could see a wide demographic taking to this. Or, at least, I'm drinking it fast. So thumbs up to drinkabiltiy.

Notes: There could have been a lot of things that went wrong with this brew, but everything is nicely balanced. I've always liked Lagunitas lineup of big beers, but they've earned my respect with this one.

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Photo of Mikus
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

This was a pleasant surprise (and only a 9.99 sixer), and lives up to the rep. Beautiful pour. Nice clean piney aromas and notes, as well as a healthy malt presence. Love the brown sugar addition. Pine keeps it clean. Evolves and changes in the glass. I will buy this again.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had many times before, finally reviewing.
pours a beautiful brown bronze, almost shiny. two finger head with sticky lacing. very few bubbles swimming within.
smells as name states. sugary sweetness, nice hop presence. youd never know this beer was 10 percent from either the smell or taste. its perfectly hidden. all the flavors just freak out and take over your palate and leave the abv behind. however it is in my eyes, fairly drinkable which makes it dangerous because before you know it youre 3 or 4 in and wondering where the buzz came from.
there isnt a whole lot of lingering effect, which i find strange because considering the sugar cane, youd think it would remain well after taking a sip. its big and there while drinking, then fades fairly quickly. the sweetness packs it in with a punch, and then makes a quick exit.
love this beer overall, and always look forward to it.

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Photo of EddieTheTrooper
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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 Jon_Hendricks
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber color.

Overall: This beer has a strong sweet aroma. It contains flavors of malts, sweetness, fruitiness, caramel and bitterness. This is a very good malty brown ale.

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Photo of grittybrews
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
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 +6.3%
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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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,502 ratings.