1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

4,681 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,681
Reviews: 1,446
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.41%
Wants: 199
Gots: 680 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,681 | Reviews: 1,446 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nova009
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter

A- pours a dark brown body reminiscent of brown sugar, when held to light there is a red tint, small khaki head appears and dissipates down to a ring, lacing is okay but kind of spotty in areas

S- caramel hits the nose first, dark fruits like figs, toasted malt, vanilla, a slight nutty scent comes to mind, only a very slight brown sugar smell

T- the mouth gets hit hard by caramel and hops, the hops didn't really come out in the smell but it is definitely present in the flavor, piney notes out of the hops, slightly floral as well, an interesting balance of bitter and sweet, it is almost a strong-ale barleywine hybrid

M- medium body, very creamy and coats the palate nicely without the hops overly attacking it, carbonation is a little high but it seems to work

D- this is a sipper, i couldnt drink too many of these, with that being said it was a very intriguing beer, the combination of the strong ale and barleywine flavors is a nice concept, a nice one to grab in singles during the winter months

Photo of Stunner97
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- copper to amber brown with nice small bubbles streaming up the glass, decent tan white head of the pour that faded away to lingering white head,

Smell- loads of citrus hops really dominate this nose only really slight hint of malt

Taste- starts off with a bit of that malt and brown shugga flavor, and then the hops really kick in very very strong on this one, the citrus hops that you get on the nose really follow through quite firmly, its definitely alot more hoppy then I would have probably expected but its not bad has decent balance and overall enjoyable taste

Mouthfeel- rather heavy and smooth with decent amount of carbonation, goes down easy

Drinkability- overall this beer is pretty drinkable despite its big 9.9 punch, its got maybe a touch much on the hop end for me and maybe would of like to seen kick more of malt too, but overall its decent beer but falls short of what i would call great, would be interesting to try with a bit of age on this beer, one thing i do start to notice though is alot of the lagunitas beers im starting to feel do taste quite the same not a bash but just hey im starting to see that

Photo of kwjd
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the beautiful farmer's market in Los Angeles. Pours a copper brown colour with a finger of thick white head, leaving lacing down the glass. Smells of brown sugar (no surprise) with a lot of nuttiness and mild hops (I typed in "mold hops" in my iPhone, but I'm pretty sure I meant "mild"). Quite a refreshing beer, which is surprising when I came on here and saw this is listed as 10%!

Photo of jsdunlop
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: nice looking copper hue with a thick, frothy head, few stray carb bubbles flowing to the top every so often.
S: cherries first, then a burst of alcohol and brown sugar, definitely some hop aroma going on as well.
T: fermented brown sugar notes, tart cherries along with a strong residual sweetness that coincides very nicely with the abundance of hops in this one. Alcohol content is masked very well throughout this brew.
M: Moderate carbonation and medium body, slick mouthfeel throughout.
D: Drinkability is definitely a highlight of this one, have to watch it though, as the 9.8% abv could bring some ill effects after more than a few of these...

Photo of cmart332
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of cagocubs
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Brown-Orange dark amber with very think white head. Foam accumulates on edge of beer throughout drink.

S: Sweet molasses scent up front. Also features citrus with spice.

T: toasted and fairly bitter from hops off the bat. Followed by alcohol taste that was saved by a great late release of sweetness in the aftertaste. An exciting beer to experience.

M/D: Medium body thats flavor lingers in your mouth with great aftertaste. For being 9.9% it is masked beautifully in this strong ale. It is easy to drink.

Photo of Grundle20
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:
Pours a ruby hued brassy color in to a pint glass. There is a decent one finger head with some mild retention and lacing.

Smell:
The scent is very sweet and malty presenting notes of toffee and New England brown bread. A pleasant hopping prevents the scent from being overwhelmingly sweet.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Here's a beer that is definitely pushing the boundaries of its style. The mouthfeel is bitter and full with a strong alcohol presence. For being 9.9% ABV though I find this beer to be incredibly tasty and well balanced when you put the apparent alcohol on the side. It tastes like figs and raisins with just the right touch of hopping. The finish is a little thick but the flavors are semi pleasant touches of bitter grapefruit rind which then moves on to a mild figgy aftertaste.

Drinkability:
Pretty much the only thing hurting this beer drinkability is its near 10% ABV. It's rather tasty and well balanced given its make up to me.

Bottom Line:
It's a lot better than I thought it would be. I was expecting something a little more dopplebock like but I was pleasantly surprised by the hop and fruit character this beer presents.

Photo of Ricochet
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yikes! This smelled like a sugary, yet inviting beverage. I've never really tried a "stong ale" , but this seemed like a run of the mill brown ale as the dark amber appearance and minimal head and lace fortold. The scent told of amber ale but was sweet. Mouth was, unique. Bitter rounded out the palette and sweet made it's presence known, but the chewiness of this beer above all, made it a really decent wash. Taste was all malt, imperial alcoholic properties like a decent bock with a tuned up ABV. There was some raisin but mostly the fruity taste of orange came through. What an exceptional taste.

Hell, I don't know where this will fit, but I want to explore it again. Great stuff. Amber ale like none other. Great!

Photo of smbslt
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of seand
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark translucent copper with a small amount of light tan head. Just a bit retains around the edge of the glass, leaving small spots of lacing.

S: Boozy caramel sweetness, with notes of brown sugar as you might expect. There's also a floral touch of hops.

T: Just short of cloyingly sweet, with a fairly big hoppy kick towards the finish. There's some slight nuttiness. The alcohol is fairly noticeable as well.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

D: Drinkability isn't bad, but it's a little far on the sweet and boozy side.

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a Duvel Tulip. Poured a slightly hazy, reddish gold with less than a finger of off white head. Fair amount of hops in the aroma and plenty of malt. Smelled like a cookie. Full bodied and rich. Lots of malt sweetness but also plenty of hop bitterness to round it out. Some mouth pucker in the finish from the hops.

From hearing people talk, I thought this would be super sweet, but I think it had a pretty good balance. Like a malty barleywine.

Photo of Scotchboy
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes, 1/16/11. Bottle, pint glass.

This beer pours a very attractive and rich copper color. There was a significant head, which I wasn't really expecting.

Immediately this smelled of hops on the nose. I can't tell if the hops are citrus or pine forward, I pick up some grapefruit but there are earthy/grainy undertones as well. The sweetness of the brown sugar is there as well, almost 50/50 with the hops.

The taste is what you would expect after smelling this beer, hop bitterness and sweetness on the tongue. Brown sugar and carmel malts as well. Very full bodied and strong, with a little alcohol kick.

MF: Full bodied, drying.

Drinkability: Not bad, not great. I finished the bottle and wasn't looking for another one, so probably typical for the style. I'll say above average.

Photo of RexBanner
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%

Dark amber in appearance. Pillowy head that settles to a sticky ring leaving spider web like lacing on the glass.

Piney hop forward nose. Malt background, light maple syrup and whole wheat bread aromas.

Not as sweet as I thought it'd be. Malt body with a very, very light brown sugar taste. Everything is washed away by the piney, resiny hops.

Light to medium body. Lightly carbonated, finishes semi dry.

I must say I was a bit disappointed with this brew. Reading the reviews I imagined I was in for a unique malt forward, perfectly balanced strong ale. Instead I got something closer to an American barleywine. Overly hopped, out of balanced and one dimensional. One reviewer compared this to hairy eyeball. I disagree, as I feel that hairy eyeball is much more balanced and tastier than brown shugga. But as with everything else; if you've enjoyed this in the past then that's all that matters. Cheers!

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tawny kind of color,....a light caramel tone...

Rich, sweet malty nose....sweetness in the nose,

as well...brown sugar dominates anything...malty-riffic....lush brown flavy flavory...yummy, yum, yum...

rich, cocoa-tinged flavors, full, lush, very tasty...

Photo of David8bit
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good mouth feel. Yeasty bready taste. Tasty brew, but too sweet for session beer in my opinion

Photo of Greywulfken
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: center-pour into tulip glass didn't kick up more than a modest off-white head froth; the beer itself was a beautiful deep amber with strong ruby highlighting

S: smell was straightforward brown sugar; some suggestion of dates and candied fruit

T: much crisper on the palate than the nose - has a heartier malt character that gets away from the "possibly barleywine"-like aroma. Some of the alcohol slips into the taste (this is a 45-ish degree beer I'm drinking). The brown sugar is more subdued and you're left with an almost (whiskey/bourbon) barrel-aged flavor.

M: the woodsiness of this beer also creates a thinning feel on the tongue; some bitter astringence from the alcohol, some from the hops - chewier/maltier feeling up front, a drying finish... modest carbonation.

O: I was really expecting to be sugar-slammed here, or maybe a suggestion of a barleywine-like beer, but all that was mostly on the nose; the beer itself reminded me a little of the Innis & Gunn Rum Cask Oak Aged beer I'd sampled once. I would say this is a good but not exceptional beer for my tastes.

Photo of Massbmx
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Arch578
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of darklordlager
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper/light brown with a good 2" light tan head after a vigorous pour into a pint glass. The head has fantastic staying power, and leaves sticky residue as it goes down the glass.

Smell is of sweet bread, citric hops, pale and caramel malts. Caramelly and a bit of grapefruit.

Taste
Dashing bitterness arrives first, followed by a blast of sweetness. As hoppy as some DIPA's I've had, but with a nice toasty/bready element to it that matches nicely. Really biscuity finish reminiscent of pretzels. Light molasses taste lingers as well.

Kind of a juxtaposition of flavours, exuding some barleywine, DIPA, and brown ale characteristics.

Photo of kevanb
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a really wonderful copper color, hues of amber, burgundy and orange when struck by the light and atop rests a really nice bone colored head, just under two fingers high that has great retention, a nice layer of froth always hangs around with a great web of lacing left behind. The aroma is nice, lots of rich caramel malt, sweet brown sugar, sticky piney hops with some nice juicy tropical fruit, potent alcohol and sweet maple syrup. The balance of hops to malts is really nice, but the strong alcohol presence is a bit disappointing. The hops really jump out on the tongue with a really nice bite of pine and earthy bark flavors but the beer really brightens up with nice citrus and tropical mango and pineapple like flavors that in a weird way blend well with the sweet rich flavors that the malts bring out. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar and sweet alcohol with a touch of maple are all detectable and well integrated. The body is nicely carbonated has a nice feel in the mouth, a bit lighter than I would’ve expected but it coats the mouth well without being cloying and has a nice crisp finish.

Verdict: A well done beer, I am surprised how well the hoppy elements melded with the malty and sweeter aspects which was really pleasant. This can definitely satisfy on a cold day while not being a rich, overly malty seasonal beer. That being said, I am more excited about the return of Lagunitas Sucks.

Photo of Pro_Magnon
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of NoLeafClover44
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into DFH signature glass. Bottled September 20, 2012.

A - Pours a bright amber color with perfect clarity. The head is a half finger of off white densely packed carbonation. Paints the walls of the glass as I drink.

S - Smells of citrus hops, molasses, and egg bagel. The aroma is subtle and a bit different from the norm.

T - The flavor begins sweet, almost too sweet. Tangerine and brown sugar with an earthy finish. Citrus hops and booze make themselves known.

M - Thick body and regular carbonation. Smooth.

O - This beer is a different animal. The sweetness is complex and pairs nicely with a mellow hop earthiness. This is a very solid beer that I will get again as the cold weather approaches.

Photo of younger35
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank it on tap from the cask at a local bar. Hand pumped from the barrel into a snifter. Served around 50 degrees. Was impressed from the start!

Appearance- Very deep amber/pale brown color. Broke nicely around the edges to a light almost yellowish amber. Great frothy head. Beer looked very inviting.

Smell- Had a sweet almost candy like smell. Subtle floral tones.

Taste- Sweet brown suger, caramely taste. Hints of vanilla undertone the woodsy sweetness. Big burst of alcohol is very pleasant on the back of the tongue. Nice hop characteristics balance the beer very well. The taste sticks with you.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, alcoholy feel. Very mild cask carbonation, perfect for this beer.

Drinkability- Fantastic. The Alcohol is very pronounced but overall a very tasty beer. This is a very unique beer that I would highly recommend if you ever run into it on tap.

Photo of einman
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kpantz
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Executive Summary: Since "American Strong Ale" is a bit of a catch-all, I didn't really know what to expect. Reading the label, I figured I could count on some aggressive sweetness (OG 1.10) and not too much in the way of hoppiness (51 IBU). Wrong. Totally wrong. But in a good way. This is actually pretty tasty.

Appearance: Reddish-amber, somewhat cloudy with a cream-colored head, about a finger thick, but quickly reducing to a film. Moderate lacing.

Smell: Largely this smells like a cross between a green barleywine and a weak-nosed imperial IPA. Some hops in the nose as well as some weak malt and yeast notes. As the beer warms, the brown sugar finally starts to emerge.

Taste: Definitely sweet right at the beginning, but a "dirty" flavor moves in, followed by a pretty nice hop flavor (with associated bitterness in the back-end). I'm actually pretty surprised how prominently hops figure in this beer. I was expecting a sweet mess, but instead I feel like I'm drinking an over-balanced imperial IPA. Kinda strange. As with the aroma, a bit of warming and a lot of swirling gently coaxes some of the brown sugar out of hiding, but not enough to change the overall impression.

Mouthfeel: Not bad. A little sticky, but the body itself is pretty light. Carbonation level is on the high side of just right.

Drinkability: Actually pretty drinkable given the shock factor here. Even though I didn't get anything I expected to out of this beer, it's pretty enjoyable. Goes down smoothly, and even the belches taste pretty good ;)

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,681 ratings.