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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,468 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,468
Hads: 5,133
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 249
Gots: 964 | 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: 1,468 | Hads: 5,133
Photo of gtermi
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beer pours a nice golden copper body with a thick white head that quickly fades and leaves tons of lace on the glass.

S: A nice amount of spicy hops and a little bit of sweet malt. Really smells a lot like other Lagunitas beers. I like it a lot!

T: There is a strong amount of spicy hops and has your typical Lagunitas hop flavor. As the beer lingers, I start to really get a strong sweet malt flavor.

M: The beer has a nice amount of carbonation and has a good amount of crispness on the back of the tongue.

O; This is a delicious beer and I really cant wait to see how this beer ages. I think that itll get better with age.

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Photo of drdan21
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance Hard to tell, it was in a bottle.

Smell Very pleasant, sugar smell definitely present with the background of maple syrup

Taste brown sugar definitely present, a bit of spice and slight burnt flavor

Mouthfeel Very comforting and smooth, creamy like

Overall this is an excellent ale. I enjoy beer in both quantity and quality and this is one for quality. Due to the alcoholic content, one or two is enough

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another treat from Watermelonman! I am sampling a 22 oz bottle in a tulip glass at room temp. The beer pours a clear copper and mahogany color with a large off white head foaming up easily. Aroma is grassy hops mixing with caramel and brown sugar. Some lite alcohol hits as well. First sip reveals an average carbonationand average body. Flavor starts malty sweet with caramel and brown sugar some raisins too. I find the finish to be very hoppy with pine and grass mixing leaving a dry bitter flavor on my tongue. Very easy drinking for 9.9 %. Quite a tasty brew and one I would track down again.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into dimpled mug. Aroma is sweet, dates, and nutty with alcohol notes present. Picked up more brown sugar this time around (2010 version). Taste is sweet malt with a residual hop bitterness and a hint of alcohol. Malt flavor is long lasting with a heavy mouthfeel. Mild carbonation. Reminds me of a barley wine mixed in a nut brown ale. A nice winter brew IMO.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer was served in a wide mouthed pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear caramel amber coloration. The head was about two fingers and quickly resolved into a creamy off white ring of foam. Specks of lacing remain on the glass.

Smell: The beer smells of sweet malty brown sugar and molassis. The beer has some excellent fruity esters floating around bannana, citrus and dark dried fruits. The hops and alcohol provide a snappy spicy earthyness.

Taste: This beer has a very sweet malty upfront taste. The beers taste is pretty much as it smells. There is a sugary molassis combo driving the taste. The fruityness comes across like good bannana bread. The hops break up what would have been a unbearably sweet beer. The alcohol participates in the taste providing a boozy companion to the hops.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is full bodied. The beer is definately a sipper. The alcohol is definately present in the mouthfeel of the beer. If you do not respect this beer it will kick your ass. The beer is definately a beer treat. I cannot see myself drinking more than one of these in a evening.

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Photo of Bombers4Benedict
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really liked this beer. I first tried it from a tap about a year ago. This time, a bottle, and still the same magic. I do realize my tastes have changed/matured a little in the last year but it still amazes me that they are able to hide 10% ABV so well, lets get to it....

A - Dark Gold/Amber with a tan head. Head is not too thick but still provides a nice lacing.

S - Has characteristics of an IPA including a sweet and sour with tart fruit aspect that I love. Took me by suprise though as I was not expected a sour/fermented fruit smell from something with brown sugar in the title.

T - Dates and figs are immediately present at first taste. Toward the end of the first sip you start to realize the caramel, brown sugar/creme brulee aspect. Great finish. This is a very sweet beer however as the beer gets warmer the alcohol shows its face a little more.

M - Thick coating comes with this as is to be expected. Leaves a film ala DIPA style beers often do in the mouth.

D - Very heavy, and high in alcohol so you might want to stop at 2. I do enjoy this beer so much i think i can drink it all night though.

 1,119 characters

Photo of loren01
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown color nice head with good lace down the glass.
S: Smells sweet. Smells like a fresh caramel roll.
T: Much the same as the smell. Very sweet but with some dark fruit in there.
M: Medium to full bodied, very sticky...goes down smooth.
D: This is a great winter sipper. I would buy this beer again for sure.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful deep reddish amber color with small, rapidly fading head that leaves some lace on the glass. Smell is quite sweet, with some of the brown sugar coming to play with citrus hops. Pleasant, though. Taste is not overwhelmingly hoppy or malty, but a nice balance of both. Lightly roasted malt kicks things off here followed by a moderate bitter kick from some hops, fading into a lingering piney and somewhat smokey flavor. Very interesting, not nearly as sweet as I would have expected--was thinking this was gonna be like DFH 90 in the sweetness dept. Very interesting flavor, akin in ways to both English and American Barleywines. Thick and coating, the MF on this one is great, very smooth and full-bodied. It says not to sip this one on the bottle, and I damn well could get away with not sipping this one. Nice work from Lagunitas, I have to explore this brewery further.

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Photo of rowew
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short necked bottle. Label is an interesting read. "We believe this Special Ale is something unique. Feeding brown cane sugar to otherwise cultured brewery yeast is a'kin to feeindg raw shark to your gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without human intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it has happened and now it's too late. Also has IBU's (51.1) and O.G. (1.100), as well as ABV.

Appearance: Pours dark orange and very cloudy (actually chunky!). Head is medium sized, but very nice retention. Leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell: Aroma is nice and malty with caramel, and brown sugar. Also has just a hint of hops and alcohol. There are also some toffee smells that open up more as the beer warms.

Taste: Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth. Taste starts out sweet - but it is a nice brown sugar sweetness, almost like a creme brulee flavor in there as well. Finish has just the right level of hops to leave a nice bitter finish.

Overall impression: This is a very interesting twist on a standard barley wine. I definitely enjoyed it, and it is very drinkable considering the ABV. Might be too sweet to drink more than a couple, but at almost 10 % ABV that probably isn't the best idea anyways!

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a fairly clear amber-orange with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down at a fairly slow pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel malts, caramelized malts, brown sugar, grapefruit, citrus, and pine hops, and a bit of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of grapefruit hops and caramel malts with some caramelized sugars and some bitterness. Through the middle, some pine and grassy hops come through with a bit more bitterness and some brown sugar. The finish is a mix of grapefruit and pine hops, some bitterness, sweet caramel malts and brown sugar, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, warming, and lightly bitter finish.

D - Very drinkable. Great overall balance with a nice malty profile with brown sugar and hops providing balance.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a clean copper/amber pour with a slight amount of head that quickly fizzed away into oblivion.

smells of fresh piney hops up front, a slight chipotle pepper smokiness overtone, very sweet scents of figs, and grassy/earthy hops again.

such a sweet malty overtone it's hard to not fall in love with this. a mix of hops with the malt profile, and i'm guessing what would be the million pounds of brown sugar that went into this makes this pretty balanced for the most part.. seconds after you take the first sip you get the sweetness of the sugar come at you and a smile appears.

full body with low carbonation makes this a good sipper. you feel the 9.9% abv in the chest as a nice warm feeling (perfect for these cold days) ut you don't really taste it.

i haven't had this one since winter of '09/'10.... almost 2 years. this is one of those instances where i'm glad they took the beer away for a while.. because i't better than i even remember it. for a beer in general, it's a personal favorite.. nothing all that excellent about it, it's just delicious and i'm glad it's back.

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Photo of downeyj4
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

It has an good copper color, but seemed to have some haziness about it. There is a large amount of hops, but has an aftertaste of brown sugar. It is a good mix, but not a beer you would want to drink a whole six pack of. This was my first Lagunitas, so I am sure that I will have more.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear copper brown with a fluffy white head that leaves nice lacing.

Smell is toasted caramel malt, massive brown sugar, and hints of fruit. There is also a bit of yeasty funk aroma.

Taste is more of the impressive balanced malt and brown sugar. There is also generous mollasses and earthy hop bitterness. Finish reveals hints of the high ABV.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a bit of hop oilyness. Very smooth.

Overall a balanced flavorful brew. The high ABV is dangerously concealed. A tasty treat that I will be returning to.

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Photo of ditch
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy, dark red copper with a one finger off white head that fades slowly to a light covering of the top of the glass. Lacing is thin all the way down the glass.

Smells of sweet caramel and citrus hops. Way more hoppy than I was expecting from an ale called "Brown Shugga'." Also hints of vanilla and oak?

Taste is sweet caramel malts, and a perfect balance if hops. Near perfect balance here. Vanilla, raisins, a little lemon peel. Alcohol finds you in the finish but is not overpowering, considering the ABV.

Mouthfeel is good. Good carbonation to bring the flavors together. Slightly oily from the hops. Good thickness.

Drinkablility is also good here. Almost too good for this kinda alcohol content. Light enough to go down quick, but enough body to make you remember not to chuck this one.

This is a great Holiday beer. Thanks Lagunitas!

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Photo of pwsoldier
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle from scarlet, who told me that it has a bit of age on it.

A - Pours a deep ruby-mahogany with a smallish tan head that quickly dissipates into a thin layer of foam. Lacing is fairly light.

S - Good balance despite the weakened hop profile. Citrus and a hint of pine fuse with sweet, complex notes of brown sugar and dark fruit, especially black cherry.

T - As expected, malt sweetness dominates on the palate. Dark fruit and brown sugar carry over from the aroma, joined by notes of anise and just a hint of vanilla. Some wood-like characteristics come through as it warms. There's a noticeable alcohol presence as well that actually compliments the sweet malt notes quite well. Despite the age on this beer, there's still just enough hop bitterness to bring some balance to it.

M - Medium-bodied with a lingering tinge of sweetness on the palate. Carbonation does a good job of staying out of the way while keeping the beer from being too rich.

D - Immensely enjoyable. I'm interested to see what sort of a hop profile this beer has when it's fresh, but as it is it's still very flavorful and complex. The alcohol is fairly conspicuous on the palate, and yet it's still very easy to drink.

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Photo of beerphan
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle -> imperialPint
no date

Pours clear, a deep orange with a sandy 2inch white head, that slowly recedes to a blanket of white and sticks around till the bittersweet end. Some nice spiderweb lacing from top to bottom. Carbonation appears aggressive.

Nose: Hoppy and caramelly. Sweet brown sugar candy.

Taste: Sweet caramelized malts, sugar, citrus. Finishes with the bitter finish fighting with the abundant sweetness. Never quite in balance but never too unbalanced. Dry and slighly cloying but quite enjoyable.

Medium-full mouthfeel, that is syrupy,dry and lingering.

A uniquely flavored brew for sure. I was gonna rate the drinkability lower because of the sweetness and the high abv, but come to think of it, this is one tastey brew that is a little too easy to drink.

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Photo of caddybuyer
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A-Deep ruby red with an thin eggshell white head. Damn..this is one enticing looking beer.

S-Strong sweet malts all the way. Classic Lagunitas nose. Lives up to the name so far.

T-Oh my gosh this is good! Thick syrupy sweet barleywine flavor hits you with heady malts, a punch of alcohol. Midpalate is resinous, deep, sweet marachino cherrys marinated in smokey fine bourbon. More than anything, this reminds me of a well made Manhattan. Awesome.

M-Well balanced creamy mouthfeel with balanced carbonation.

D-Very drinkable, which is scary given the ABV. Give me another, and another!

American strong ale? Hmmm...I'm not sure about that. I'd say it drinks like a barleywine and a well balanced and tasty one at that. If I'm not drinking beer, I am partial to Knob Creek Manhattans, and boy, this bowled me over on the first sip. Boozy? A bit, but it really hides the ABV. A very nice surprise from a brewery that is good at giving pleasant ones.

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Photo of 29mikoyan
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A nice solid ale with flavors of honey, brown sugar, malt, and a beautiful spicy and earthy hop feel. The aroma is that of flowers and sweet caramel candy.

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Photo of Tdizzle
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a fresh 6-pack from BevMo Brea. 9.84% ABV. Poured into an Allagash stemmed glass.

A- Brown Shugga' pours a remarkably clear amber color with a sticky head of off-white, almost tan-colored foam that settles to a frothy, silky cap that sticks around for the duration of my review. Each sip leaves a few drapes of lacing behind.

S- Say hello to caramel malts! Notes of brown sugar (shock), toffee and burnt caramel are backed by deliciously resinous tones of hops, particularly pine sap and juicy pineapple. There's a nice presence of boozy heat that's wrapped around the myriad of sweet and hoppy aromas.

T- The sweetness of the smell comes through in the taste. All the sugary and caramely notes of the aroma are present along with a good amount of hop bitterness -- pine and tropical fruits -- that again provides the perfect counterbalance. The finish is mildly dry and a touch watery as it leaves only a trace of hop flavor and passion fruit lingering on the back of the palate. The big alcohol is practically buried within the flavor profile. Great stuff.

M- A full-bodied and slightly viscous feel. Oily and slick with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D- I blasted through a 12oz bottle of this nectar. The massively sweet character of this beer is exceptionally balanced by hops, and the nearly 10% ABV is really well-hidden. This is one of my new favorites from Lagunitas.

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Photo of mooseo
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into tulip.

A - Pretty bright amber with a large frothy white head.

S - Sweet bready caramel malt, brown sugar, juicy grapefruit, pine.

T - Citrus and grapefruit hops burst onto the palate, followed by sweet burnt caramel, brown sugar and a light breadiness. Finishes with piney hops, herbal spice, and lingering toasted grains.

M - Medium bodied, smooth, creamy and a little sticky. Dry finish.

O - A delicious strong ale, and very hoppy. The sweet malts do lend some balance but the hops are on full display here. Easy drinking with a slow building alcohol warmth.

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Photo of jclzony
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper color with a nice fluffly white head. Aroma is has a nice sweet malt with a bit of hops and alcohol. Flavor is with brown sugar dominance with a bit of molasses and some citrus tones. Alcohol is very noticeable after finishing only one. There is a definite presentation of malt and has a sweet finish.

 308 characters

Photo of jtd1969
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Orange golden,fairly clear, with a tint of red. Slighty cloudy mainly due to abv... Good carbonation. Good lacing

S - Pleasant sweet citrus smell, some slight sugary malt
T - Lots of burnt sugar with caramel... Throw in some clean citrusy/grassy/spicy hops... A treat... Big and Bold at 9.9

M - Big smooth beer that lingers with hops, good carbonation

O - WOW, It is so good! I really enjoyed this beer!

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Photo of Ack9788
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

WOW, i think i;m still buzzed from last night, I go to school in delaware ohio and i had this powerhouse brew on tap at 1808 american bistro where they have something like 27 beers on tap.

This beer is delicious, its the perfect beer to have when you want a good beer...and nothing else, a burger with this beer and your ready to not move. Not a salad beer either, do your self a favor get a friend go to a bar with this on tap order your friend two bud lights pay for them you have a few of these and let him drive home. DO not let him taste it or you'll loose your driver.

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Photo of Vanlingleipa
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enough sweetness in one bottle to turn New York into a happy place (just kidding, love NYC).

That's the good and bad. Really enjoy the toasted/burnt malt or whatever is giving this brew that flavor. Kind of like slightly burning your toast then applying a thick layer of brown sugar. After your tongue copes with that first wave of burnt brown sugarness, a nice, not overly bitter, sensation of hops comes in. Seriously high alcohol content is not overly present, but definitely noticeable. Overall, A Wonderful Beer.

The bad: not shocking with a high sugar beer, the 9.99 ABV. It seems quite a bit higher. I can feel the effects from a 12 oz bottle. Two 20 oz tap pours is enough has given me a medium strong buzz, leading to a slight next morning headache. Advise caution when consuming Brown Shugga.

Secondly, they only make it in October, although they obviously started bottling more in 2010 because Brown Shugga went from 'hard to find' in 2009 to being stocked in the local chain supermarket.

I've poured into pint glasses, a Delirium Noel snifter, and, (get ready to shudder BAers) drank it straight from the bottle.

Pretty, dark brown-amber color, medium whitish-brown head. Lacing medium, lasting a minute or two. Scent rises from the glass like lava from a volcano, a sensation only beaten by very, very hopsy beers.

One of my favorites.

 1,354 characters

Photo of beertunes
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a straight pint glass. Minimal head leaves light but sticky lacing. A very pretty reddish-brown. Sweet aroma with nice hop touches. Flavor matches aroma closely. Smoothly sweet at the front with a balancing hop tang at the finish. Faint alcohol taste, but not in a bothersome way. Body is just a little lighter than full. Very drinkable, but this beer will sneak up on you. Because it's smooth, sweet and easy to drink you might not notice it preparing to pop you. Very enjoyable, becoming a yearly favorite.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,468 ratings.