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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,188 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,188
Reviews: 1,349
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 178
Gots: 410 | 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
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Ratings: 4,188 | Reviews: 1,349 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cvaypai
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle to oversized snifter.

Appearance - Pours a coppery, orangey crimson brown and is hazy when looked through. Poured with a thin layer of head that dissipates very quickly clinging just to the sides of the glass. The lacing can be seen down the glass.

Smell - Oranges and cherries right up front, this is a different smelling beer. Other dark fruits can be found. Brown sugar and other sweet malts are detected, caramel. Very floral and fruity smelling and tons of smell coming from the hops. Resinous pine and grapefruit can be smelled on the end. Something just a bit off about the nose, can't put my finger on it.

Taste - Incredibly sweet up front, tastes of pears and apples, the sweet malt is right there with the fruit tang, coming in the like of caramel, brown sugar and other sweetness, possibly honey. Fruity bitterness on the end but not as much as I thought there would be, grapefruit and orange can be found. Just tons of flavors going on here. Very sweet almost like jolly ranchers on the end.

Mouthfeel - Carbonated well for the size. Very full bodied and heavy on the palate, it should be for a strong ale though. The sweetness is there biting the tongue, it feels nice in the mouth, almost cream like and smooth.

Drinkability - Not even a hint of alcohol, I could easily consume a few bottles of this and probably get pretty drunk at the abv. I wouldn't care though, it is almost refreshing for it's abv and style and I would definitely reach for another if I had one. I will be getting more.

Photo of jsdunlop
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
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 Exiled
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle

Pours a caramel/amber color with a good size off white creamy head, and good lacing. Smell is sweet malty brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, oranges & cream, with a some citrusy hops. Taste is sweet with lots of caramel malt, brown sugar, and oranges up front with a slightly citrusy hop bitterness on the end. Kind of leaves of oranges & cream aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel, easy drinker. Overall this is a great beer.

Photo of mgbickel
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured ½ of the bottle into a snifter. Formed a very thin ½ finger head that didn't stick around long. Some lacing present, but nothing to write home about. The color is awesome...the color of a caramel apple, but crystal clear...

Lots of brown sugar (wasn't expecting that!) molasses, grains and a touch of honey on the nose. Hops and roasted malts in the background.

Sweet malts hit the mouth immediately. This is followed by a grainy transition into the hoppy, bitter finish. Very complex and changes as the brew comes to temperature...worth sipping over time.

Medium mouth feel that can get a little heavy, but never overwhelming.

This is a thinking man's beer. You have to try to appreciate each sip and swirl it around in your mouth and mind...will not turn this down!

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown screw top, nice label; no date to be seen, though there is some kind of cryptic code which might be a freshness date; oh well, at the abv, I'm not too worried...

Appearance: Nice dark burnt orange beer with good clarity and a nice dense ivory cap with good retention.

Smell: Awesome aromas! This is like liquid creme brulee; there is TONS of sweet, burnt caramelized sugar and vanilla custard here, backed with some citrus hops. This is truly remarkable. Way more 'creme brulee-y' than ST's Creme Brulee Stout, it must be said.

Taste: LOTS of dark, boozy, vinous fruit across the palate. Medium to high levels of citrusy hop bitterness, with bittersweet burnt sugar and dark caramel as well. This is big, boozy, and sweet, but ends pretty bitter. This is less sweet and more complex than the aromas suggest.

Mouthfeel: Big, silky, alcoholic

Drinkability: Warming, big, and a bit too much to have more than one or two; still, one of these to cap off the night in front of a roaring fire would be splendid

Conclusion: Here finally is a Lagunitas brew that really, really impresses me.

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.65/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into ye' olde Duvel tulip.

A: Noticeable carbonation streaming upwards off the nucleation point to create a thin, but creamy off white head. The beer is a mahogany color with some reddish highlights around. Looks very inviting.

S: Full of brown sugar, caramelized sugar and sweet malts. Hops mask what would be a quite strong alcohol presence. Big, luscious and a nice bitter hop aroma as well.

T: Absolutely mind blowing taste. So creamy with a big caramel flavor. Glad I got around to reviewing this beer, because it is one of my favorites that I never really sat and studied. Hops experienced on the nose were bitter, yet the beer is a malt bomb. Very understandable how some classify this as an American Barleywine.

M: A bit wispy for the mat presence. Guess this is why some people don't classify this as an American BW. Still creamy and luscious, yet the beer also has some carbonation to it that keeps it crisp.

D: Way too drinkable and at near 10%, this ones dangerous. Alcohol is hidden very well so read your labels kids.

Photo of grdahl
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle,

A- Nice white head, pleasant brown orange color

S- sweet brown sugar and camel, very malty with very little hop aroma

T- The emphasis is on malt, pleasantly sweet with lots of camel and molasses present. The sweetness is not overly done however.

M- chewy but not thick

D- Very drinkable for a beer of it's strength.

Overall- Loved it!! Lagunitas brews are an incredible value and represent all that is great about the American Craft Beer industry. Well done!!!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 12-29-2009

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of tzieser
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
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 NicholasSchell
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a hazy reddish amber hue with a half finger of cream colored head that quickly dissipates leaving little lacing. Fair amount of carbonation.

S- Brown sugar and citrus at once, neither stronger nor weaker than the other. Also a bit fruity, some raisins in the background.

T- Brown sugar really comes through almost honey like, but can also taste the before mentioned citrus from the hops. Pretty complex... noticeable changes as it warms.

M- Medium-heavy body, a bit syrupy, decent amount of carbonation.

D- This is pretty fun to drink with the variety of flavors, and the near 10%ABV(hidden well) doesn't hurt either. Drink this in moderation.

Photo of jdense
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage cellared bottle, poured during Twelve Beers of Christmas tasting 12/22/09.

Dark brown body, 3/4 finger tan head, nice lacing. Huge sweetness in the nose which masks the hops. Taste is sweet, with some roasted malts present, a bit too syrupy for me. Not the most drinkable of beers at this ABV and sweetness, though I must note two years of cellaring mellowed out the alcohol quite a bit. A definite late night sipper. Not for the faint of heart.

Photo of weatherdog
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Jak's Taps in Chicago served in a small tulip glass

Came a ruby brown with a nice cream colored head. It did have ridiculous lacing all the way down

Smell is of a faint grassy hop and just a touch of malt sweetness

The taste on the front end is of grassy bitterness and then a kind of marriage of sweetness and some dark fruits. It finishes surprisingly absent of any strong flavor with just a little alcohol.

This beer is so drinkable for the gravity and is is smooth on the back-end making one down a glass faster than one should. My only problem with this easy drinking beer is the slight alcohol bite at the end dings it a little on the drinkability. I actually think that alcohol presence is needed otherwise I'd down too many of these in too fast of time. If Lagunitas could come up with same taste profile in a sessionable strength then I would be all over that.

Photo of hooliganlife
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a very deep ruby brown. light fluffy creamy head quickly disappears. light retention, little to no lacing

mainly floral, bright and sweet. slight hint of pineapple

lots of sweetness but not in a bad way. mixes well with the floral and citrus hops to balance out. a tad too sweet in the bitter finish though. malts are mostly hidden but become more and more dominant through the finish and the aftertaste. slight pine bitterness through out.

fairly thick for a brown, almost syrupy though

good but way too high of an ABV and way too much sugar.

Photo of cvanderwerff
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I first tried this beer last year thanks to an old co-worker from Starbucks. By far his favorite winter beer. And now has become one of mine. I am starting to look forward to seeing it on the shelves every winter now. For those who are not familiar with this beer. It started out as a rushed recipe for their Gnarly Wine ale. But as most rushed things go it took a turn off course, so they added mass amounts of brown sugar to try to speed up the fermentation process. The end result turned out to be this great winter beer. I would not recommend this to anyone who is not use too how a barley wine should taste. But for those who enjoy a good barley wine give this a try at least once.

Photo of tigg924
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, clear, caramel brown in color, high carbonation

Smell: caramel malt and citrus hops

Taste: toasted malt, dash of caramel, citrus hops, and brown sugar that starts in the middle and lasts through the end

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, nice mix of sweet and bitter. The sweet taste shows itself more as the beer warms.

Drinkability: A solid beer that is one per sitting for the high abv. As stated above the sweetness really comes out as the beer warms. I will look for this again.

Photo of FreshmanPour77
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12-17-09
Cold from a bottle to a glass

A - Cloudy reddish/brown sugar color, 1 finger of foam, 1 finger of a lacing ring around the glass. Great carbonation is present and shown through entire review

S - Citrus notes with pine mixed in, hop heavy at first

T - A big hop hello when first tried but mellows pretty quick, brown sugar taste and smooth but a little dry aftertaste due to the hops

M/D - I enjoyed this brew quite a bit, a brew I can drink throughout the night. I medium bodied brew that is sweet and smooth, but dry at the end, a good well rounded brew in my opinion. I will for sure have again. Another seasonal so stock up if you can find it.

Photo of jacobseyb
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tumbler. Pours a reddish-brown-copper with little head that dissipates quickly to crown the beer. Definite sweet aromas of malts and sugar with some hoppy citrus (grapefruit) aromas as well. Taste is very sweet and the citrus flavors along with pine dominate the flavors. Feels rather light really compared to my expectation and the carbonation is rather light as well. A good drinking beer that could be pretty sessionable if not for the alcohol content.

Photo of EddieTheTrooper
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Oh this truly be a great beer. Brown Shugga is brewed with just that-- brown sugar, about 2 lbs per barrel I was told. Thats the first thing that hit me about his beer, the thick molasses feel of it and the sweet taste. The aroma is almost as intoxicating as the beer (over 10% ABV) and while it is one of the better beers I've ever tasted I could not drink too much of it in a night, mainly because its so sweet ad so strong.

Photo of cbarrett4
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at Henry's 12th Street Tavern in Portland. Was the first glass poured from the new keg.

Poured with a great head fading to a pretty persistent lace. Good dark copper hue. The nose is pretty amazing with lots of sweet malts, hops, molasses and hints of brown sugar and banana. Tastes like an unsweetened bananas foster. Lots of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, banana, while the alcohol works well (like the brandy in bananas foster). The hops do come through, especially on the finish, giving it a drier profile. Simply a great beer and one I wish was available year round.

Photo of GarrisWH
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear, orange-tinged copper color with a creamy, off-white head that retains well and leaves ample lacing behind.

S - Sweet, caramel maltiness with some citric and piney hops balancing it out. A hint of brown sugar in there as well, although perhaps this is just due to the power of suggestion.

T - Reminiscent of a sweeter DIPA. Slightly toasted, caramel and brown sugar maltiness carries the flavor, but is balanced out with an ample amount of spicy, citric, piney hops. Definitely leans towards the sweet side of things, but the hops really help keep it in check and make this quite a tasty brew.

M - Medium bodied with a light carbonation. Smooth and rich.

D - An interesting offering from Lagunitas that hides its almost 10% ABV very well. One or two of these are definitely enough, but its quite a nice winter sipper.

Photo of wnh
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a clear, bright bronze-tinted ruby with a small and fleeting cream-colored head.

Intensely hoppy nose, loaded with sweet citrus (orange and lemon), oily resin, and perhaps a touch of fresh leafy hops. Smells like Lagunitas. A rich and malty backbone is clear, showing sweet caramel, toffee, and--dare I say it?--brown sugar.

Flavor profile seems nearly opposite the nose. Big, rich maltiness is front and center, leaning toward an earthy and nutty toffee, light toast, and--assuming, again, this is not merely the power of suggestion--brown sugar. Still plenty hoppy, showing oily resin with a hint of sweet citrus, but not as hoppy as the nose suggests. Very little detectable bitterness, though the little bit that shows through the huge malt seems to suggest a relatively high IBU count. (Bottle check: 51.1 IBUs.)

Medium to full in body, but far from heavy, even with all that seems to have gone into this beer. Sweet and fruity on the whole, but finishes with a subtle dryness. Long, lingering finish.

A very enjoyable beer, and surprisingly drinkable at 9.5% abv.

Photo of trbergman
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a shaker pint.

A - Pours a reddish copper with a half inch of dense, taupe-colored head.

S - Bready, caramel and toffee, dried apricot, citric hops.

T - Smooth caramel and fruits, with a slight alcohol burn. Some citrus flavor from hops, but restrained hop bitterness allows a subtle sweetness to come through.

M - Full bodied and smooth.

D - A decent beer that could be better if the alcohol were toned down a bit.

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got my growler filled up at the Hulmeville inn.

Poured into a snifter. Poured a very cloudy amber color with a thick tightly bubbled off white heading. Amazing leggage that sticks around the edges 'till the last drop.

Smell is hoppy at first. Followed by a crisp sweet caramel sweetness.

Taste is bit bitter at first wave. Second wave is mostly of the heavily caramel and roasted malt taste that just sticks to the palate. Very rich and sweet. There are hints of brown sugar that does compliment the sweetness.

Mouth is medium to full bodied. Chewy feel in the mouth. An all around hop cleanse on the palate.

Drink is good. ABV is very well hidden. The heavily sweetness with the bright background of hops just make this an amazing drink. Drink up folks.

Photo of brownbeer
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear amber with a small head.

The nose is a hop bomb. Big, bright, fruity hops, floral with caramel tones.

Hop forward in every sense with the body being somewhat syrupy, a hit of brown sugar and sweet caramel malt midway finishing with bitter hop acids while somehow maintaining a chaotic balance.

Lagunitas seems to be the hopheads brewery. I thought this would be, not really sweeter because it's sweet, but maybe less hoppy. Awesome stuff that'll sneak up on you if you aren't careful.

Photo of Mistofminn
3.95/5  rDev -2%
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.

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 4,188 ratings.