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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

3,710 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,710
Reviews: 1,298
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 147
Gots: 247 | 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: 3,710 | Reviews: 1,298 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of haazer
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

haazer, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of Wildman
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Wildman, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of Anthony1
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Anthony1, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of RickKrumenacker
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

RickKrumenacker, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of mmcave
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

mmcave, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of Mistofminn
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Mistofminn, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

paco1029384756, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of TippySelenoid
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

TippySelenoid, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of BillH200174
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

BillH200174, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of athensbeermaster
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

athensbeermaster, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of ncvbc
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

ncvbc, May 28, 2007
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Gueuzedude, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of FLima
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

FLima, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Hellabeerguzzler, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of ckeegan04
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

ckeegan04, Apr 23, 2010
Photo of BeerDawgs
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

BeerDawgs, Nov 04, 2012
Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

ShadesOfGray, Apr 18, 2010
Photo of Transatlantic
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Transatlantic, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of wschmit
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

wschmit, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of easement
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

easement, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of brstls4drmrs
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

brstls4drmrs, Nov 04, 2012
Photo of chinchill
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

chinchill, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of johnchen1229
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

johnchen1229, Jan 22, 2014
Photo of Darkmagus82
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a clear amber color with some hints of ruby red seen shining through. Upon pouring there is a nice one finger of a thick, off white head. The head has a fantastic level of retention, hanging on for quite some time, but eventually fading to leave a bit of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is very sweet with lots of brown sugar and caramel and some big fruit aromas as well. The fruit smells are a mix of light fruit as well as a bit of some darker fruit aromas. The lighter aromas are biggest of a tropical smells with some apple and apricot mixing in, while the darker fruit aromas are mainly a mix of cherry and plum. A hint of a biscuit smell rounds out the aroma, producing an overall sugary and fruity nose to the beer.

Taste – The taste is rather surprising in light of the nose, as it contains a much maltier, slightly less sweet, and more hopped flavor the smells let on. The taste begins with a rather big malty flavor of a bready and doughty nature. There is a good level of sweetness right from the start as well with lots of tropical fruit flavors of tangerine, mango, and papaya as well as tons of caramel flavors. As the taste advances, the tropical fruit flavors lose some potency, being replaced by flavors of brown sugar and a bit of a cherry flavor. As the taste moved on from the middle, some grapefruit and grassy hop tastes come to the tongue. These flavors grow slightly more intense to the end of the taste, where the mix of flavors ends up leaving a moderately hopped, rather fruity and sugary, thick malty flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The beer is on the thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the average side. A slightly lower carbonation may have been a little better for the big malt and sweeter flavors of the brew, but the thicker feel is very nice for highlighting the hop flavors mixed with the big malty and sweet flavors, really producing a rather nicely blended flavor.

Overall – A good malty and sweet brew with a decent level of hop and a great drinkability even at 9.9 % abv. A rather nice, and easy drinking big brew.

Darkmagus82, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22oz bomber poured into a pint glass. Amber color with a very small head. Aroma is mostly caramel, with a little bit of citrus. Taste was caramel/brown sugar, with a strong malt presence, and some grapefruit hoppiness. A fairly robust beer, kind of chewy. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and will look for it again.

lordofthewiens, Jun 30, 2007
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,710 ratings.