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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

4,686 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,686
Reviews: 1,446
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.41%
Wants: 202
Gots: 684 | FT: 17
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: 4,686 | Reviews: 1,446 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thin tan head that quickly fades to a thin skim. Can be ressurected with a little swirling. Translucent chestnut color.

Smells of creme de cacoa,hazelnut, boozey black cherry dark fruit, carmelized brown sugar. Woody hop oil. I'm a fan.

Dark fruit (plum, grape, black cherry) fights with brown sugary hazelnut. A complex sipper. Boozey aftertaste: very hot.

I accidentally dumped a glass of this in my dresser drawer thereby turning it into a Brown Shugga sea with little sock and underwear islands. I'm hoping it comes out.

Photo of bobjonesSD
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into Delirium Noel Tulip. Aggressive pour yields a nice white foam head on light brownish red beer. The aroma is malty and sweet-smelling with some very light dark fruit notes. The taste starts with brown sugar (or is that just the name?!) leading into a sweet maltiness that coats the palette. A little bit of a spicy alcohol burn into the finish. Overall a very nice beer and different from any of Lagunitas's other offerings.

Photo of 1759Girl
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance> What a BEAUTY. Lovely mahogany color with a big thick vanilla head. Lacing for days and amazing retention. Clear with low to medium liveliness. Gorgeous. I'm incredibly thirsty.

Smell>hops to the maximum... and a smidge sweet.

Taste> Hmmm... Don't get me wrong. This strong ale is really great in some points, but somethings just not quite right. There is just something between the midtaste hop punch, right after it gets this delicious brown sugar sweetening where it almost goes a little metallic before it moves to the nice mellow resin hang.

mouf> easy, good, just right

Drinability> in spite of the odd little i-don't-know-what... this is still a rather drinkable beer

Photo of OStrungT
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a cloudy orange brown with a lot of sediment. The off white head fades a little fast, leaving a good lacing. It smells slightly of alcohol. It has a sweet aroma. I can smell a good toasted malt scent. It has a slight raisin like aroma. This beer has a malty taste. Quite malty. I can only detect the alcohol a bit. It warms my throat slightly as it goes down. It has a sweet caramel taste. Not too much for hop flavor though. I can also taste some brown sugar, hence the name Brown Shugga'. This beer is full bodied. It goes down smooth leaving a malty sweet aftertaste. I dont think this beer would make the greatest session beer. It is higher in alcohol, and the flavor is sort of aggressive, and might wear thin after a little while. As for just one, this beer is pretty good. I am glad that I tried it. If you see it, it is worth a try.

Photo of informaticsDoc
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of sonicstylee
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

everything about this beer is pretty standard for it's style, except the particular sweetness it has. Pours out a nice medium amber and stays that way in the glass. little head on pour, good agitating pour at that, and doesn't retain much but a small ring around the outside. The cane sugar added gives it a nice sweetness that I enjoyed. It's not as sweet as Old Foghorn, which is good for me. Definitely can drink more than one without a second thought. I enjoyed it pretty thoroughly, and after three I can feel the residual bitterness on the sides of my tongue!

Photo of beerthulhu
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a clear ruby-orange with a thin, cinnamon tan foamy layering that didn't stick around long. There was a slight rim lacing at best as it receded.

S: The nose was big and sweet with burnt molasses, maple syrup and sweet toffee which was followed by a lingering dried grapefruit hopping.

T: sweet up front with caramelized malt and dark molasses. There is a noticeable alcohol presence that sneaks in the middle of the palate as well some dried fruit (prunes), sugar plums, and raisins. The beer finishes out bitter with some dried grapefruit compliments of the Chinook hops.

M: sticky, dry, with a nice medium thick viscosity. Sweet, syrupy with a nice feel to it.

D: Very nicely done with a sweet start and bitter finish that compliment each other for a great overall experience. Alcohol was very well hidden for 9.0% and makes for a good drinkable beer, though comes off a tad sweet at times which may limit multiples.

Photo of n2185
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Doing a vertical with a new 2012 bottle and a bottle from 2010 when the beer was last made.

A:
2012--pours a clear orange with two fingers of beige head that fades into a thin ring with a little lacing.
2010--the same as the newer bottle, but with a slighly hazier body.

S:
2012--sweet citrus up front with pineapple and grapefruit followed by a sweet caramel finish.
2010--caramel and citrus dominate with a slight oxidation aroma. There are some sweet bread notes as well.

T:
2012--grapefruit and pineapple here as well with pine and slight caramel notes. The finish is lightly bitter.
2010--sticky caramel and brown sugar flavors up front with notes of vanilla, maple, and oranges. There are some slight oxidation notes here as well.

M:
2012--medium, sticky body with lowish carbonation, this beer just avoids being watery.
2010--same as above.

O:
2012--a nice, hoppy strong ale. Simplistic, but enjoyable.
2010--still enjoyable after 2 years, but a bit past its prime. I generally prefer this beer with at least 6 months on it, but with no release last year, I couldn't do a 1 year comparison.

Photo of Faroveryonder
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of JohnofUpton
3.87/5  rDev -4%

Photo of krl2112
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of McBAINx
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BevMoAndrew
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served into a Bruery tulip glass at about 45 degrees.

Pours a rich mahogany with a creamy, off-white froth that dissipates somewhat quickly...good lacing. On the nose, I instantly get hop characters of orange, grapefruit, & a touch of pine followed by a toffee, brown sugar, caramel, light cinnamon, grains, & subtle raisin. The beer is rich and creamy (slightly syrupy) on the palate with an uneven balance. For lack of a better term, it's like this beer is bittersweet. What I mean is that there is a definite hop presence and bitterness from beginning to end, but a sweet malt background that doesn't quite fit together. Overall, I really like the beer, but find myself looking for the balance. I think that the problem that I'm having is in the syrupy sweet texture. Oh well....good beer, but nothing to write home about.

definite hop character
sweet malt background

Photo of Tupperwolf
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, no freshness date, but I'm not usually concerned about that (especially with almost 10% abv). Poured into my tulip the color of cranberry-apple juice, a dark red-brown that drifted towards honey-brown as I drank and the light played through the levels of beer.. A thin little head of yellow-tan bubbles rose and fell to a ring around the brew and an island in the middle. Some strings of tiny bubbles, some thin lacing. Pretty good looking...

The scent brings to mind crabapples, cherries, and yes, a molasses-cinnamon-brown-sugar sweetness. Kind of light, airy, and sweet. Not too pungent or cloying.

There's a malty bite, a dance across the tongue of undecidedly sweet flavors; A bit of hop bitters on the back of the tongue and an alcoholic finish that reminds me of whiskey. The aftertaste is really long lasting and carries simultaneously some lingering piney hops and balancing brown sugar slickness. I really only get the distinct flavor of brown sugar after letting the aftertaste linger untouched in my mouth for a few minutes.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy for an ale like this, and damn if it's not filling. I decided to partake of this to tide me over between lunch and dinner and I think I might have to skip dinner. A glass of this really filled me up. The alcohol is just present enough to add its two cents to the flavors, but it's a good contribution. Carbonation is minimal in this brew, but what's there does a good job.

Overall, this is an interesting beer to try. It's so damn filling, and the alcohol is present enough, that I'd say this makes for a good afternoon snack, but this is a really hearty beverage and I'm going to save the rest of the bottle for another time - dessert, maybe.

Photo of strattor
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served at the Map Room in Chicago in a 10 oz chalice. An opaque golden brown with a very light cream-colored head.

A very rich, malty aroma with some fruity noted coming through, perhaps plum or raisin.

A very full bodied flavor, and not the syrupy sweetness I was expecting from a beer made with such massive amounts of brown sugar. It's a very dense, malt and fruit flavor, with a little warmth but not much spiciness coming from the alcohol.

A reall nice, full mouthfeel. Not chewy, but the beer lets you know it's there.

While strong, I would definietly order this up again. I nice beer to sip after dinner, perhaps.

Photo of Derranged
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

The appearance is a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head.

The smell might have been one of the best smelling beers I've sampled. Very strong piney/floral hops with molasses and candied sugar are present.

The taste was very hoppy and very sweet, tastes of brown sugar and molasses. Some hops bitterness appeared every now and again.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and had little carbonation.

This beer drank pretty easily, but the sweetness alone limits this to just a few.

This beer was really good.

Photo of scotorum
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Clear deep amber with a huge beige head which receded slowly to heavy surface foam and very dense lacing.

s: Pine. Later, some vinegar. Uh oh.

t: Funky spoiled fruit under sharp hops. Fortunately the flavor does not linger through the dry finish. OK it's almost 10% ABV and does not burn the back of the throat much. But really. that and its sexy good looks are about all it has going for it.

m: Moderate with great body,.

o: Maybe I got a bad batch. Just not going for the funky dirty feet vinegar aroma and flavor. An isovaleric acid in the hops issue? Whatever it is, it's the first bad Lagunitas I have had. Reminiscent of my first Brooklyn Monster barleywine, which was like drinking liquid dirty gym socks (fortunately later bottles of that were better).

Not the expected "sweet release" the bottle label promised by a longshot. Love the appearance, which screamed quality. All downhill from there. If it was any worse it would have been a drain pour. Actually, it may be very soon.

If the others in the sixpack are better, I'll be back to re-review.

UPDATE 11/13/13: Had a second bottle tonight and fortunately it lacked the offending vinegar aroma and taste which caused me to drainpour the last few ounces of the first. However I did still get a dirty socks odor, and yet much more caramel malt and brown sugar in the flavor. Consequently upgrading my rating, which was a: 4.75 s: 3.25 t: 2.75 m: 4.0 and overall 2.75, ave. 3.08, to the above.

UPDATE 11/21/13: Third bottle from the sixpack lacked the vinegar and sock odor. Not sure what to make of that except the added sugar may result in some instability remaining in the bottle? Anyway this was even better but I won't bother raising the rating again unless the rest of the lot proves to be as good or better than this one. Hoppier but almost as malty as slightly cheaper ales I enjoy such as Shipyard Chamberlain and Geary's Pale Ale, but the higher ABV and somewhat meatier body makes the extra couple of bucks per sixpack for Shugga worth it as a nightcap.

UPDATE 12/19/13: Can't believe I waited this long to have another from the sixpack, but unfortunately this one is similar to the first, except the vinegar/dirty feet smell and taste are subdued enough that it is not as close to being a drain pour. Still, far from the promised "Sweet release." Funny how one bottle can be ok and yet another from the very same sixpack can be so much worse.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours a slightly dark, golden brown color. One-finger of creamy, light tan colored foam makes the head. Retention is fairly good. Lacing is good, but fairly slick.

Definitely has a sweet smell to it. Along with a bready yeastiness. Kind of like good bread, toasted with a light sprinkling of brown sugar and butter. Mild hints of molasses. Very mild hop zing.
It smells like it lies somewhere between a barleywine and an old ale. Which puts it right in my ballpark.

Very nice, indeed. Good level of sweetness, not cloying, at all. Great presence of sweet maltiness. Good brown sugar profile, though I was honestly hoping for it to be a bit more pronounced. Light caramel notes. Actually, an unexpected hops bite, right around the middle of the palate. Finish is sweet and seems to last for a decent little while.
This is much more balanced than anticipated.

This is the weak point for me. Lower end of medium bodied. Almost thin. It is smooth, sure, but it lacks a creaminess that would send it over-the-top, into the land of 'super-delicious'. Very under-carbonated.

Despite my personal concerns over the body/mouthfeel of this brew, it's deliciously drinkable. Damned if I can find the 9%+ABV in here, BTW. Very balanced and smooth and easy drinking. Lagunitas, please send me more (since I can't buy your products in my state).

Photo of leeswagerty
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep red amber; almost a caramel colour

S: Barely smell "brown sugar" but definitely a sweet aroma.

T: Tastes like brown sugar, caramel, a hint of chocolate. Great taste.

M: Smooth and rich. Perfectly bitter.

D: Wow, at 9% alcohol you would never know. Not boozy at all. You could easily drink wayyy too many of these and not realize it until you're absolutely drunkard.

A great seasonal brew, DEFINITELY try this out if you have the chance. AT LEAST once!!!

Photo of boesesfleisch
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It was pretty hard to believe this beer was nearly 10% ABV, as it drinks very easily. Has a very interested balance of malty sweetness and west coast hops. A Must try.

Photo of sonofliberty2
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%

Photo of Nedjimb0sTavern
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pint @ Taco Mac

this was a surprising brew, mainly because it hides its gravity so well. I found myself asking if the 9.9% abv was a typo on the menu.

Aside from the drinkability it tasted about how I thought it would. Sweet and thick. Not a bad sweet though, it was a rich nutty kind of sweet.

Still though, the sweetness is kind of overpowering and I definitely would have trouble polishing of a few of these back to back (aside from the fact that I would be stone cold hammered if I did). Otherwise, a great beer.

Photo of Dodo2step
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P- Pittsburgh Bottle Shop

A- dark caramel amber color with a 2 finer head that has some stayng power. 5 minutes later and it is still there. Nice spiderweb lacing.

S- pine hops with caramel hints. i also get some wafts of alcohol coming through.

F- strong pine on the mouth with hints of citrus. I also get some of the brown sugar coming through when the alcohol hits.

M- A chewy feel and the alcohol comes out as it goes down the throat. Smooth though with a punch.

O- Not a bad beer but after a while the alcohol overtakes the flavors and it becomes more of a grain beer. Very good though for the most part.

Photo of tzieser
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear copper color with a fluffy white head. fainter than expected nose, some definite sweetness going on, but the hops were definitely there as well. I was expecting a much sweeter taste at first, but then I reminded this is a west coast barley wine, and should be treated as such. very sweet malts up front, the brown sugar is there and the hops take control of the lingering flavor. The mouthfeel is phenomenal on this one. velvety smooth. This was a great beer, but I feel as though it should be cellared for a few years to mull the hop flavor a bit. Definitely pick this one up if you see it.

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an Ikea brandy snifter. Appearance is translucent amber with a surprisingly thick brown head - especially for being in a snifter! There's lots of lace for the first few minutes, although that's mostly gone towards the end of it.

Smell is citrusy hops, with some alcohol burn. I was really surprised, since I was expecting more of a toasty brown ale, but this actually smells like it could be an IPA.

Taste hits you up front with lots of citrusy hops. Little bit of resin in there too. Swallow is nice and malty, and that's where the brown sugar taste comes in. Finish is pretty sweet from the brown sugar, with some well-incorporated booziness.

Mouthfeel is moderately thick, with some nice prickly carbonation that does well to cut through some of the maltiness and booziness.

Overall, this is definitely an interesting beer, although I'm really not sure what to make of it. I feel like they could have definitely gotten away with calling this a DIPA, although I guess they did a little better not attributing it to a style at all. I tend to like hoppy beers better when they're a little bit lower-ABV, and the brown sugar mixed with the booziness can make it seem a little sickly sweet occasionally, so I do have some problems with it. But the hop flavors are really nice, and the brown sugar is a nice addition, and it's definitely unusual and interesting, so I did really enjoy it!

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,686 ratings.