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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,445 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,445
Hads: 5,018
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 238
Gots: 870 | 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: 1,445 | Hads: 5,018
Photo of craftaholic
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (1,424 characters)

Photo of Slynger
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (530 characters)

Photo of JK4Stout
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (987 characters)

Photo of korguy123
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (728 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (857 characters)

Photo of specksnreds
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (475 characters)

Photo of ryanonline
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (753 characters)

Photo of lstokes
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (619 characters)

Photo of jayhammed
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (167 characters)

Photo of stephenjmoore
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (579 characters)

Photo of DeepBrew
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (414 characters)

Photo of babaracas
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of steelerguy
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
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. (1,032 characters)

Photo of Onemoresolo
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge head, nice balance between pine and molasses-y malt. Fantastic winter brew.

I put a few bottles aside to see how this ages. Hopefully it turns into a brown sugar syrupy mess. Mmm (184 characters)

Photo of cbarrett4
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at Henry's 12th Street Tavern in Portland. Was the first glass poured from the new keg.

Poured with a great head fading to a pretty persistent lace. Good dark copper hue. The nose is pretty amazing with lots of sweet malts, hops, molasses and hints of brown sugar and banana. Tastes like an unsweetened bananas foster. Lots of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, banana, while the alcohol works well (like the brandy in bananas foster). The hops do come through, especially on the finish, giving it a drier profile. Simply a great beer and one I wish was available year round. (589 characters)

Photo of Jemonster
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Sexy looking beer from one of my favorite breweries. Redish tan with dense tan head that leaves lacing. Fine carbonation.

S: Smells sweet and rich like a sophisticated dessert. Yeast and light hops, some stone fruit odor comes through as well.

T: Syrupy sweet as expected, but balanced well by the malty malt and bitter hops. Tastes like a little more than the 51.1 IBU as stated on the bottle in my opinion, and less than the 9.99% ABV.

M: Viscous, creamy, and lightly tingly. Has the body of a good shot of espresso. You have to pause to feel the bubbling from the carbonation. About the same mouthfeel as a well made root beer, which is what I really like.

D: Gotta be a 4. Can't rate it any higher because 2 might do you in on an empty stomach. A lightweight might not be able to drive after 1. Very easy to drink though, and tasty enough to make me look for it again. (880 characters)

Photo of Atlas1
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stopped off at the Brickskeller on my way home from work tonight. I don't stop in there as often as I used to, but it's still a good place for beer. Ah, nostalgia....

The Brown Shugga was poured from the bottle (12 oz.) into a standard pint glass for me. It was a bronze/amber color, with lots of carbonation, and a thin, but firm, creamy head on top. The foam was long-lasting and left an excellent lace in its wake. Really, this was a fine looking beer. The nose was rich and sweet, with a malty spice that dominated, although there were some noticeable hops in the aroma as well. Taste was super sweet in the intake, and that sweetness lasted on through to the finish. It had a nice hop bite to it at the end. An interesting flavor, for sure, but a good balance of super sweet with bitter hops. Also, there were noticeable traces of brown sugar (obviously), vanilla, molasses, and maple. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy.

This is a great beer, in my opinion. I am not want to drink malt-monster all the time, but this appeals to me as much as the Oskar Blues Old Chub, which I love. But the Shugga has more of a hop kick to it, which I think I ultimately prefer. It's boozy, but not over-wrought with alcohol in either the aroma or the taste. Would go well with a hearty beef or game stew as well as a rich dessert, like a cheesecake. Enjoy this beer. (1,355 characters)

Photo of Floyd12
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poored from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- Dark but translucent caramel brown. With a large off white fluffy head. The head had excellent retention and left nice lacing all down the side of the glass.

S- Very sweet smelling do to the large ammounts of brown sugar used in the brewing of this beer. But als a warm toasty smell of malt and hops.

T- While there is a lot of sweetness to this beer, it is kept in check by the malts, hops, and toasted aroma of the beer. There is also a faint fruity/floral presence in the aftertaste. But at 9.99% ABV it does posses a taste of alcohol

M- Thick full-bodied beer. But very smooth and very creamy.

D- While there are so many wonderfull atributes to this beer, it still has a somewhat overly "boozy" taste to it. Enjoyed much better with a salty snack to balance out the both the alcohol and sweet tastes (855 characters)

Photo of danronian
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep amber. Minimal head that dissipates quickly when I poured it into a pint glass. Very few bubbles coming from the bottom of the class.

S - Smells a lot like brown sugar with a little citrus.

T - Tastes of roasted malt with a lot of brown sugar.

M - The abundance of syrupy sugar overwhelms the 9.99 abv. The sweet taste makes the high alcohol content very drinkable and less noticeable.

D - The smell and mouthfeel is sweet and the syrup lingers in your mouth. A good sipping beer though not something to drink quickly due to its extreme syrupy thickness.

Too sweet to drink more than a couple but something good to try. One is enough for me for a while. A bit too much sweetness for it to be a favorite of mine. (725 characters)

Photo of IronLover
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep caramel in color with hints of amber and perfect clarity. Poured with a rich, foamy off-white head that leaves a well defined ladder of sticky lacings. Citrus orange and grapefruit aromas with an underlying sweet sugary aroma. Smooth, creamy feel with soft, pleasant carbonation.Medium to full bodied. Grapefruit and orange citrus flavors ride a wave of sweetness through the middle. Finishes lazily with sweet caramel flavors that taper to pine hop flavors and the faintest hint of alcoholic heat. The way the flavors come to a slow finish really slows the pace of this to a sipper. A nice combination of sweet caramel flavors and citrus hops. (649 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Copper-red, clear, and off-white head. Very full. Lacing.

S - Pine, with a slight citrus bit, and a honeyed maltiness.

T - Follows the nose, but flips what is out front. The first hit is sweet, the honey-like sugars and a bread flavor like a rich dinner roll, followed quickly with a big punch of pine, a touch of lemon, grapefruit, orange, as well as a bit of floral. The close is pretty bitter, but the malt backbone keeps it rounded.

M - Big time beer, almost no alcohol on the tongue. Slick, full, a touch crunchy with hop oils in the close.

O - This is one of the better strong ales I've enjoyed, handles the combination of bitterness and sweetness well, making it a pleasure to drink. With a 10% ABV, this is one that I'm glad comes as a 12 oz. (wish more beers did). Excellent. (799 characters)

Photo of JosiahS
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

glass: Tulip

Sort of a dark wood color, very clear. Nice foamy 1-finger head. Looks very appealing.

Out of the fridge the smell is very one-sided, i'm getting fruiting hops, papaya and mango, that's about it. As it warms more malt is present, brown sugar and light caramel.

The taste is a wonderful blend of brown sugar, caramel, papaya, mango and a nice resiny hop flavor. If it wasn't for the light heat down the throat i would never have guessed this is coming in at 10% ABV. Dangerous. The mouthfeel is smooth and velvety.

I'm very impressed by how well hidden the alcohol is in this brew. Overall, it's awesome. I'll be sure to take my time with this, even though i feel as though i could drink it within 15 minutes. (725 characters)

Photo of Thanby
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful clear amber with a bunch of foamy off-white head that sticks like... well, sugar.

Surprisingly hoppy aroma, but the sticky sweet malt balances it nicely. Brown sugar is noticeable behind the hops.

First taste is the nice hop bouquet followed by a wash of sweet caramel malt, and the brown sugar sweetness.

Medium body, smooth and creamy as I've ever tasted, no trace of the ABV. Dangerous. (410 characters)

Photo of Gajo74
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a combination of amber and copper with a two fingernail length head. This head dissipates into a creamy and sticky lace that retains quite well.
The aroma is intense! As the name suggests, the first thing that hits me is the brown sugar. As I get further along in the drink, other aromas come through strongly such as citric, orange rind and grapefruit, as well as a heavy resiny hops aroma.
The taste is dynamic. It starts off with a strong malty sweetness; again, brown sugar and citric fruits. As with the aroma, the bitter hops becomes more prominent as I get further along with the drink.
Medium to full bodied but very drinkable. Syrupy and chewy but crisp at the same time due to the stinging carbonation.
This is the first American Strong Ale I have rated. I don't know what to make of this style in the sense that it feels like an IPA to me. I would like to rate other examples of this style to compare. Nevertheless, I'm impressed by this one. It is quite intense and the high ABV gives you quite the pleasant buzz! (1,033 characters)

Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle to pint glass. Three fingers of thick, fluffy, off-white head with large bubbles. Settles slowly leaving thick lacing. Produces a steady carbonation stream. Color is a clear copper. The brew is attractively translucent.
Smells like sweet toast, some malt, caramel, a little bit of booze.
Taste is tropical fruit, fruit syrup, a little dry hop, but not bitter. Sweet grapefruit. Sour, but more than balanced by sweet. Really smooth mouthfeel, especially for something that's supposed to be 10% ABV. Although I'm halfway through the bottle and I can feel it.
This one is rich in feel, which is fitting since I've just recently polished off a paczki (a rich, donut-like fruit or cream filled pastry eaten on Fat Tuesday). Sip this one, savor it. (765 characters)

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,445 ratings.