Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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4,992 Ratings

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Ratings: 4,992
Reviews: 1,512
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 227
Gots: 845 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,992 | Reviews: 1,512
Photo of MaximalC
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent amber color with a modest cap of off-white foam. Peculiarly sweet and tropical aroma consists of grapefruit, toffee, passion fruit, toasted bread, and brown sugar.

The taste features grapefruit up front, along with a bready malt base. Sweetness seeps through more on the back end than anywhere else, but even then there’s piney residue to compete with. The body is more substantive than the appearance would suggest, which, along with moderate carbonation, creates a tingly, creamy mouthfeel that is the finest aspect of this brew.

I don’t know if it’s age, undiagnosed brain damage, or happenstance, but this is the second beer in a row that tastes nothing like the prior incarnation I recall from years prior. I remember this as a sweet, brown brew (you know, kinda like the name “Brown Shugga” would suggest), not the amber hop bomb I have before me. As far as a pale ale goes, this isn’t half bad, but it’s not at all what I was expecting.

Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 release. Year old bottle, poured into snifter.

A: Pours a clear, dark, caramel color with a couple fingers of very greasy looking light tan head. Rings of sticky lace were left down the glass.
S: Smells of thick caramel, brown sugar, leather and leafy, sticky, hop resin. I get notes of candied orange peel, chocolate, and spice as well.
T: Follows the nose. Sticky sweet flavors of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, candied dates, and resinous hops. The finish is still extremely bitter and full of tree sap. The aftertaste is warming with booze and lingering leather, leafy tobacco, and chocolate covered raisins.
M: Thick body with a slick, sticky, bitter, and slightly sharp mouthfeel. The carbonation is soft, creamy, and very smooth.
O: Even after a year is beer is still intense. Tastes like a hoppier and less thick Barleywine. I preferred this over the fresh bottles, and I believe this will hold up for even more years in the cellar.

Photo of Foyle
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap in tulip glass. Appearance: deep amber color, slight white head leaves some lacing on the glass. Some carbonation evident. Aroma: caramel, rich barley malt syrup, earthy and citrus hops, and a slight yeasty funk. Mouthfeel: medium bodied, silky mouthfeel with some alcohol warming in the throat. Flavor: brown sugar, caramel, cookie dough, bread crust and moderate hop bitterness. Overall: well done for easy sipping on a cold winter night.

Photo of BeerWithMike
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled last night on 2/7/15. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass stein.

Brew pours a beautiful copper in color with a good 2+-finger foamy off-white head. A decent amount of ring-lacing was seen when sipped that stuck to the glass. The aroma is of burnt brown sugar and yeast for the most part. Lots going on with the taste than the nose would have you think as there is some caramel, pine, hops with a hint of dark fruits. Great taste but has a slight bitter hoppy finish that lasted a bit too long for my liking. You can't taste the alcohol at all, which is strange since it is so close to 10%! Has a great flavor but that bitter/hop finish kind of ruined it for me. Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation.

Photo of ZacCary
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Yummy!! No complaints. This is a great beer: hoppy, malty and just makes you feel good! :)

Photo of mattbk
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy, perfectly amber, nice, tight tan head. Looks good. Wonderful lacing during consumption.
S: Caramel, centennial/chinook hops/grapefruit, a bit of pine, pretty nice.
T: Super caramel malt and cherry hoppiness. Medium-level bitterness. Very little alcohol presence although it does sting on the lips a bit. Very smooth and drinkable for ~10%. The hops build on you during consumption. This more of a barleywine than an American Strong Ale - although I realize there isn't too much of a difference - but compared to say, Arrogant Bastard, this has less bitterness and hop punch. This is smoother, and generally more enjoyable.
M: Medium, could be a tad heavier, but this adds to the drinkability of the beer. The carbonation is perfect.
O: Completely solid, tasty beer, very drinkable for 10%, yet very nice as a sipping beer too. Not super interesting, but it does have some complexity to it for sure. I would completely recommend this beer.

Photo of Jacobob10
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into an oversized wine glass. Beautiful copper color with amazing clarity and a large creamy white head. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer goes down. Its appearance might be my favorite aspect.

Aroma is interesting. Plenty of orange citrus, pine, molasses and brown sugar. Flavor is full of resinous hops and alcohol. There is a sweet overtone throughout the duration of the beer. Long lasting flavor with a big body. A bit of a metallic finish.

This is a potent brew that is usually a "one and done" for me. Worth trying but not something I will seek out in the future.

Photo of MrMonotone69
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

It was alright. nice strong ale.

Photo of Sean_King
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Tasty, but I couldn't drink more than one at a time. Just not my style of beer.

Photo of Bone53
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Somewhere in between a copper and amber color wirg a two finger egg shell colored head

Smell: Citrus peels, pine, caramel/molasses, and you said it, brown shugga. As it warms i get some onion burn to the nose as well

Taste: Flavors follow the nose pretty closely; A good balance between citrusy and piney hops and sweet caramel/molasses malt character, along with a pinch of you said it, brown shugga

Mouthfeel: Medium body; As all of lagunitas big beers, this goes down amazingly smooth for 10% abv. I dont know how those guys do it. Bitterness and carbonation is on point

Overall: I wouldnt really consider this a brown ale. DFH 90 minute IPA seems to have just as much if not more malt in it as this. This is just a DIPA on the maltier side. With that being said, id consider this and 90 minute the best beers in that regard. And perhaps even Great Divide Herculese. All are great examples of a malty IPA done right. This one has a great balance between bitter hops and sweet malt, and goes down extremely smooth, especially considering the abv. Id rather go for a Lil Sumpin Sumpin, Hop Stoopid, or Sucks, but as far as a malty IPA goes, this is a winner.

Photo of Beejay
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Medium dark brown and hazy. Just off white head on top.

S: Hop aroma with some nice pine aroma, some slight citrus peel. There is indeed a touch of a brown sugar smell in the back.

T: Hops!! Whew! Resin and pine, with a huge hit of citrus peel afterwards. Nice caramel and brown sugar in the finish.

M: Thick, but the prevalent carbonation lightens it up a bit.

O: I knew nothing about this brew before I tried it, so it was a bit of a surprise.. But a good surprise. Dank, hoppy, and enjoyable.

Photo of ThaneMcC
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a coppery amber with copious white foamy head that resolves to a fine lacing.
Smells of hops (pine/citrus) and a fair amount of malty goodness
Sweet with a nice balance from the hops and clean finish.
Not syrupy despite the sweetness, and easy to drink despite the high ABV.
As commented by previous reviewers, there is a characteristic odor that Lagunita's beers have - and a delicious one at that.

Overall, a very enjoyable beer with a complex flavor profile that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Photo of leantom
4.54/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is by far my favorite offering from Lagunitas. Here goes:

A: Dark but clear brown. Massive head and lacing. Plenty of carbonation to boot. Simply marvelous.

S: Awesome - like a WC IPA mixed with sweet molasses and caramel. Pine, citrus, some grapefruit (but not overabundant), molasses, brown sugar and caramel.

T: Follows the nose, which is great.

F: Sticky piney, well-carbonated, goes down the tongue swimmingly.

O: Great beer. Will have again.

Photo of phawk44
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect balance of sweet, bitter, hoppy citrus, and high ABV.

Photo of Walruzz
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Tastes just like a "Brown Shugga" should..... nice molasses notes and depth of malt flavor. Slight bitter hoppiness keeps it from turning into one of those cloyingly sweet brown ales.

A great brown ale for IPA/Pale ale pallets. Love the golden brown color, not a true brown but a nice looking beer. Nose is malty with a hint of pine. Pours a big bubble head that fades fast but leaves a nice lace. Probably my favorite brown ale, but I'm not a connoisseur of the style. I typically avoid sweeter beers.

Photo of Matt640
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A little sweet and boozy for my taste. Interesting enough, but dont care to drink another anytime soon.

Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I've been drinking (and loving) its substitute—Lagunitas Sucks—for years, but somehow I never found or created the opportunity to try Brown Shugga' until now, when I finally bit the bullet and bought a six-pack. Amusingly—though this is a very good beer—its Sucky substitute *is* the better ale; but I really love Lagunitas Sucks, so that's not a knock on its Sweet Release predecessor.

Indeed, as I wrote, this is a very good beer. It's richly sugary, yet aggressively boozy, balancing out the sweetness; it's smoothly, roundly brown, with a robust, but not overly-thick, mouthfeel, as well as a finish that much cleaner than one might expect from a brown-cane-added strong ale; and, for its style, it's surprisingly bitter (51.1 IBU), in a good way, showcasing a smart and sophisticated use of hops to add balance to an otherwise bombastic, blown-up beer.

With its sparklingly-clean caramel color, Brown Shugga' is really a brew of rare breed: heavy and strong, clean and shiny, balanced and smooth, a bit woody and benevolently saccharine, big but also blithely self-assured. Indeed: the brewer's belief that "this Special Ale is Something Unique" seems anything but misplaced.

Photo of Lee_Adams
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

For hoppy beer fans, you'll love this. The sugar doesn't quite come to the fore like I'd hoped, but the look is beautiful, nice creamy foam after pouring, leaving lacing as it falls and taste is decently complex. With floral and fruity notes, the finish is bitter.

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.63/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, dark, yet clear, mahogany color with two full fingers of off-white head that slowly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that covered the entire top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with tons of floral hops, clover, caramel and some faint notes of malt.

Taste: Delicious! Nice, sweet malty flavors up front, quickly followed by some assertive, but not at all overpowering or out of balance hops, and finishes with some more brown sugar/caramel-like sweetness. I also get notes of dried stone fruit, like prunes and raisins, as well as some faint hits of chocolate and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy with little to no carbonation. With an ABV of 9.9%, there is quite a bit of alcohol on the palate, instilling a pleasant warmth.

Overall: Damn, this is a great beer! I love the balance between hops and sweet! Lagunitas, you knocked it out of the park with this one!

Photo of datalager
4.85/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

One of the best beers I've ever had. End of sentence.

Photo of InkedinRi
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

To me it tastes like a sweet double bastard. Good beer though strong too at 9.99% abv!

Photo of ParnellJoseph1138
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Enticing deep copper color

S-Readily apparent floral hop aroma and sweet smell

T-A fine malt presence but you really taste the sweetness of the sugar and then the orange, grapefruit character of the hops come through. A lot of complexity and character in this beer.

M-A rich full mouth feel

O-A fascinating beer with a unique combination of hops, malt, sugar. The malt presence becomes apparent first, the sweetness comes through next, and then it finishes with a hop bitterness.

Photo of Chinaskifan1
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Love the complexity of flavor along with a little kick, but not a strong alcohol taste. Well made quality beer at a bargain price.

Photo of Jfn
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Awesome beer. With name thought it might lean to sweet but surprised that had decent hops. Great seasonal beer and thankful I bought last 6er today. Really nice look and smooth.

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - great Amber color with a great white head and good lacing.
Smell - piney malty sweet brown sugar smell and you can smell the booze
Taste - so similar to the smell but not as much of the booze taste.
Feel - full body with a creamy feel.
Overal this is a fantastic strong ale and so different with that brown sugar.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 4,992 ratings.