Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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

4,992 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,992 | Reviews: 1,512
Photo of Foxtrot
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm so glad this comes in sixer's now. With the weather being chilly, this should certainly warm me up.

12oz. bottle pours a dark brown and mahogany hued body with a pleasant 1 finger ivory colored cap. The retention that followed was good, along with lacing.

Smell is of a sweet Barleywine. Hops mingle up front with brown sugar and molasses sweetness hiding underneath. The brown sugar really comes through on the nose and looks very promising.

All I can say is "Wow". Lagunitas is really onto something with the whole brown sugar infused yeast. Begins with a slight hop and citrus presence and slowly gives way to malt madness! Caramel, brown sugar, and molasses run very smoothly to the finish. Leaves a nice after taste that is lip smacking good.

Mouthfeel is a good full medium body. This beer could put some RIS's to shame because of its incredible sweet mouthfeel. Coats the mouth and tongue and borders the edge of being creamy.

Drinkability is fantastic. The high ABV is almost undetected while showcasing its flavor.

Photo of Tolnik
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this reddish copper coloration beer into a pint glass. The foam that it gave originally was good and reduced to a good head. Sugary! wow sweet malt with a hoppy aftertaste. It does leave a good warm feeling in your mouth. Great winter beer. The beer has a great carbonation and keeps it up throughout the drink.

Photo of MattR2014
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

High abv. Tasty. Good beer to try

Photo of 312HopBomb
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep amber color with a slight white cap. This is nice and clear.

The nose is sweet with prominent brown sugar. The hops peak through to mix it up.

The taste is sweet but not too much. A nice malty and brown sugga sweetness with a good dose of hops.

Mouthfeel is medium full with moderate carbonation.

I really liked this one. Had been wanting to try it but hard to find. Thanks to Jose for sharing!

Photo of BeerWizard
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours honey gold with a decent sized head. I'm drinking this out of a Bulleit bourbon glass so we're talking about two inches of ale and an inch and a half of head. Looks pretty stellar. The nose is tangy, barely funky, with pine and candied fruit; while the flavor is sweet up front, with apricot and peach on the tongue, and then bitter in the throat. There's also a spice element to it, and I also get like Pez or Smarties candy in the nose mid-sip. For 9.99% abv, you sure wouldn't know it - I've had 7's and 8's that tasted boozier than this does. Bottle says that it's brewed with brown cane sugar, which, you know, from the name and all I was picturing a molasses-derived brown sugar, but the raw sugar makes more sense. I remember having this at a beer festival a few years ago and being duly corrected after asking for the "brown." "It's not a brown, it's an American strong ale." Indeed. Thumbs up.

Photo of krh
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Solid all around. Warms me up, taste of brown sugar. Better than 'sucks to me.

Photo of rsyberg01
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

S - 12 oz bottle, no freshness date.

A - Pours a deep clear copper with an offwhite sticky head. Looks are inviting and certainly delicious looking

S - Molasses, citrus, pine, malty. Hops are big, not in your face big, but still big. A little bit off balance.

T -Brown sugar, piney notes as well, little bit nutty, fresh citrus, good warming in my chest which is the only alcohol hint.

M - Very smooth with a bite of dryness from the hop. Balance is good.

D - I wouldnt say its a session brew, but its still decent.

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 GinjaSlice
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tastes great. Reminds me of a double bastard but more balanced. Really odd iinitial smell through almost tart/sour finish

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

Into a regular pint glass.

A: A nice, caramel-orange hue with two fingers of lingering, sticky head. Very much like an old ale in appearance, methinks. Lots of lovely webs remain as the head slowly settles.

S: I can smell it from two feet away. Sweet, resinous, and hoppy, with some toasty notes. Overall very attractive scent.

T: Lots of residual sugar. There is a distinctly molasses/brown sugar taste to it, which isn't at all bad. I was expecting something slightly sweeter, but really it's a good balance of malt and hops. Hops are pretty floral, with medium bitterness.

M: As with the head, a bit sticky. At ten percent ABV, it's got a bit of viscosity, but really not too much body. I don't get any boozy burn at all.

D: High, for the ABV. I enjoy this a lot, and will be looking around for similar beers as winter rolls in. A very balanced beer, for this season.

Photo of fitrock2112
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured Brown Shugga' into a Belgian Tulip.

A - Pours a clear amber with a off white head that goes on forever.

S - Sweet grapefruit, pine, citrus. Typical IPA goodness.

T - Bitterness, juicy hops, citrus, grapefruit and pine. Mid palate getting some lightly toasted malt with some sweetness from the brown sugar. Finally, on the aftertaste getting more grapefruit, citrus and sweetness.

M - Smooth medium mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

O - Nice beer with many great flavors for this time of year. Recommended Cheers!

Photo of watermelon
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Clear orange brown color with a thick foamy off white head. Good retention with lots of lacing.

S: Strong grapefruit hops in the nose mixed in with carmel malts.

T: Lots of grapefruit and pine hops as well as strong brown sugar malty flavor as the name would imply. Could use a bit more malt being that its a strong ale. For being 10 percent the alcohol is hidden very well.

M: Nice syrupy mouthfeel, hoppy bitterness lingers on the tongue.

O: This is a great beer at a great price. $10 for a 6pack of 10% beer that taste good is outstanding. This is a must buy.

Photo of TXHops
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

9.9% ABV

Brown Shugga is Lagunitas' failed attempt at brewing Gnarleywine back in 1998. See, I can read the label... Apparently they dumped in a bunch of brown sugar to rectify some awful situation and the result was good enough to be bottled. Fair enough--at least they were honest with us...

Brown Shugga is deep, deep amber--like unfiltered clover honey. The 1" eggshell colored head couldn't support itself and after 2-3 minutes became about a sixteenth of its former self. However, it did last, and the bubbles were tiny. The remaining, thin head was cratered by little streamers of bubbles from below, creating a nice, uneven affect.

The aroma, while sweet and faintly alcoholic, was mostly hoppy--American hops it appears, though all three aromas are subdued more than I would have expected in a hopped up barleywine--extended aging? Actually, the restraint is kinda interesting--it allows for some complexity in the aroma--not all malt, not all citrus. Maybe I'm being suggestible, but I fancy I can smell the brown sugar a little too...

The flavor is a little different. It's thin. I don't just mean the mouthfeel, I mean the flavor, which is quite pronounced at first, seems to leave my mouth searching for it after a few seconds (though it’s far from dry). When the beer first hits my tongue, I can taste the gravity of the non-attenuated sugars quite clearly. It's clear by the esters and the heat moving around inside my mouth after each sip that there's more than just malt to attenuate. The use of non-malt sugar leaves its mark distinctly. A winey, slightly cidery flavor is present in each sip, though not at all overwhelming. The hops have a characteristic "burned" quality that I frequently picked up in highly hopped, higher alcohol beers. I've frequently contemplated why this flavor seems to exist in some beers and not others. Fullers ESB has it, so it's not just American hops, nor is it only hyper-hoppy imperials. In fact, the super hoppy stuff seems to taste more sticky than burned typically. Enough digression...

I found the beer enjoyable, though not great. No particular aspect of its character makes it stand out. Actually, I REALLY like the fact that I can get a bomber of 9.9% beer for less than $3, but price aside, this beer is unexceptional, though by no means bad. The slight cidery taste and the lack of distinction in malt flavor or in hoppiness leaves this beer truly average across the board.

Photo of CO-Bloom
4.84/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet. Beautiful reddish-amber color with about a finger of off white head. The head dissipates into a quarter inch head that sticks around through the experience. Incredible lacing the lets you know this thing really is going to be sticky sweet.
S- overwhelming sweetness. Molasses, brown sugar and caramel. And believe it or not you can detect some hops, like someone caramelized some hops in brown sugar.
T- exactly like the smell only two-fold! It beautifully follows the noise. The hops help to balance out the unbelievable sweetness and booze although it is still a malt/sugar bomb. While the booziness is there (just slightly) it does not taste anywhere close to the nearly 10% ABV it has.
M- this thing is deliciously stiiiiicky. You might feel like you have to power wash your lips halfway through. Carbonation is perfect.
O- My go-to winter beer (along with Left Hand fade to black vol. 1 and Great Divide Hibernation ale) seriously near perfect IMO.

Photo of arvidkoval
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Transparent red color. Sweet malty smell with some hops. Sweet, booze, hops on the taste. Good medium body. Yummy.

Photo of Fenris244
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark red with an off white 1 finger head, decent retention, carbonation looks thin.

really fruity, grapes and raisins come through well, which is weird because the first time i had this beer it smelled totally different. Some brown sugar notes as well as almost a short bread like aroma tucked away behind everything else.

Way different from the first one i had in flavors as well... Fruity in flavor grapes and cherry coming through well, hops are surprisingly strong and balance out the sweetness from the fruit flavors well. Shortbread like malty finish and the bitterness last for a while after the sip. The alcohol tries to hide but after the 4th or 5th sip the warming lets you know it there.

Heavier in body but keeps from being syrupy, the light carbonation is just enough to give it a lighter feel on the palate.

Tasty, different and pretty drinkable, i couldnt finish a six pack in a night or anything but i could definitely have a few.

Photo of bierguru
2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A -
brown orange body head is foamy and creamy looking stays very well

S -
huge brown sugar smell which you expect do to the name but there are also mild hop fruity esters to it

T -
very malty at the beginning of the taste some hops in the middle and loads of brown sugar on the backend

M -
very light on the tongue kind of a dryness in the mouth

D -
overall worth a try but nothing i would really like often

Photo of cooler4life
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a half finger head that settled to a fluffy ring around the edge of the glass. Color is a dense orange brown. Some carbonation can be seen wisping around. Lacing and retention are great.

S: Crisp hops, rock candy!, red grapes, fresh pine.

T: Sweet and spicy. Lemon zest, maple syrup, grass, grapefruit. Balanced.

M: Spritzy carbonation combined with a peppery alcoholic burn provides nice interplay. Great mouth presence, slightly sticky.

O: Adding this one to my list of annual "Must Haves". You should probably tackle just one in a session, this one definitely holds it own.

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!

Photo of MikeBrandman
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours from a bottle a delicious looking reddish brown. Translucent with slightly visible carbonation that supports one of the best looking heads I've ever seen. 3 fingers of creamy, offwhite head that stays around the entire time. Smooth, thick lacing that goes through the entire glass. Great looking brew.

S - Such a strong smell right after the cap has been removed. Rich brown sugar smell with a slight grape aroma as well. Slightly roasted smell too, almost chocolately. No alcohol smell, which is suprising for such a strong beer.

T - Again, brown sugar and grape tastes predominately. The chocolate and roast characters are more subdued than in the smell, but still definitely there. The sugary sweetness is effectively countered by the other tastes here; definitely a creative and well thought out beer. Complex taste that doesn't get cloyingly sweet or dull with time. Alcohol taste is there, but it doesn't get bothersome or offputting.

MF - Smooth and satisfying. Slightly heavy but buttery. Very good texture.

D - So, so drinkable. The awesomely complex flavor and the unique texture leave you wanting more and more.

Photo of RunDWP
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a golden brown into a tulip with a light orange, fluffy head. Plenty of sheeting on the glass as I sipped. Sweet, molasses aroma. Flavor is dominated by brown sugar (surprise!) and malt, with a tea-like bitternsess at the finish. Thick and rich mouthfeel. It's rather sweet, not that complex, or balanced, but somehow it's a bit addictive, and I couldn't smell or taste the alcohol. Enjoyable, change of pace brew.

Photo of warrenout330
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my duvel snifter

A- poured a clear golden amber color... thick white head, damn sticky lacing all over my glass.... love it

S- smells of sugar, maybe not brown, caramel malt, rye malt, earthy funk

T- I taste a more pronounced sugar fling, rye malt, earthy funk with a well grounded balance....

M- sugary, rye bitterness, earthy hop bite with a lingering sugar smack... noy like the cereal though

O- my first ever lagunitas brew ever.... this may turn me on to them but this brew also reminds me of 2 brothers cane & Abel with a slight lightness.... as far as thickness.... love this brew

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

Pours a beautiful clear amber with a bunch of foamy off-white head that sticks like... well, sugar.

Surprisingly hoppy aroma, but the sticky sweet malt balances it nicely. Brown sugar is noticeable behind the hops.

First taste is the nice hop bouquet followed by a wash of sweet caramel malt, and the brown sugar sweetness.

Medium body, smooth and creamy as I've ever tasted, no trace of the ABV. Dangerous.

Photo of santomark
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

This is one mother of a beer! One of the best strong ales I've had and the sad thing is I can only get it this time of year. If you take a breathe of this in, it's like sticking your nose in a bag of brown sugar. Very sweet up front on the nose. Goes down malty, fig, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, a mildly spiced brew. Overall, I am in love with this beer. I wish they did some variety for this, age it in some whiskey, bourbon, rye barrels. Give it an even better kick.

Photo of Bitter_Echo
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear, dark, tannic oxidized rust color, very appealing. Smells not very hop forward, but malt, sweet, bread and grain and some caramel, but some noticeable alcohol and pine like hop notes. Tastes very sweet and malty and not at all bitter at first, the bitterness only emerging after a time (like their sumpin') and this tends to modulate the loudness of the bitterness overall. Nice late hop echo coming in later. Mouthfeel and carbonation is moderate fussy and just about right. Overall, another very good Lagunitas offering, although I don't like as much the loud malt notes in the beginning that really mute the effects of the hops...I want the hops right THEIR!

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