Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,443 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,443
Hads: 5,004
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 5.78%
Wants: 233
Gots: 853 | 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
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Reviews: 1,443 | Hads: 5,004
Photo of RunDWP
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (421 characters)

Photo of warrenout330
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
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 (623 characters)

Photo of Thanby
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
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. (410 characters)

Photo of Bitter_Echo
3.78/5  rDev -5%
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! (680 characters)

Photo of alexk307
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

A: Brown, almost ruby red with a thin white head.

S: Hops, citrus, and a little boozy. Sort of smells like lemon pledge.

T: First taste was a wall of hops and it finishes off with a super sweet back end. A little bit too sweet for me in combination with the hops.

M: Super sweet and carbonated

O: A good brew, nothing I'm in love with. Would drink again but probably not a future purchase. (393 characters)

Photo of Sweasty
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga'pours a nice crystal clear dark copper color. Things are topped off by 2 fingers of light khaki head. The head falls to a ring. Adequate lacing is left down the glass.

The aroma is quite nice. Herbal/citrus hop notes make a strong showing upfront. Brown sugar and light molasis notes follow. Some baked sweet cookie notes round things out.

The taste follows the nose. Hops show up first. Herbal/mint hope notes are at the front. Hop quality turns a bit grapefruity. Cutting through the hops are brown sugar and light molasis notes. Baked sweet bread and sugar cookie notes round things. The finish is dryish with a lingering bitter-sweet note.

The beer is fullbodied. The carbonation is adequate and helps give the beer a velvety smooth mouthfeel.

THis is a tasty brew. The alcohol is quite well hidden, offering a smooth sipper. The nice balance between the bitter hops and the sweet brown sugar work well. This is a wonderful cold weather drink. (965 characters)

Photo of Wolfpack2005
3.49/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very heavy and syrupy with a deep amber color with a 1 finger off white head.

The aroma has a carmelized sweet smell with a hint of hops and alcohol.

Taste is very sugary. I never tasted a beer brewed with copious amounts of brown sugar (that i know of) but I would imagine this is how it would tastes, a dull syrupy sweetness. However this sweetness is kept in check with an ample amount of earthy hops. The alcohol definately creepys into the flavor as the beer warms.

Very nice thick mouthfeel with an average amount of carbination.

Overall, an decent cool season beer with a unique sweet malty flavor, but dont plan on drinking more than one or two because both the sweetness and the abv creepy up on you. (721 characters)

Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Note - Bottle says day 270 on the neck in small black print.

A - Poured this down the center and left a massive yellowish off white four finger head with different sized bubbles that left above average odd looking lacing. Nice dark blood orange semi-hazy beer.

S - I pick up some citrusy hops and a definite sweet maltyness from the sugars they used, which remind me of a strong sweet juice of some kind. As the beer warmed more I picked up some mango, peach and more subtle tropical notes.

T - Get the sweetness right up front, almost candy-ish which gets bitter and has a finish that reminds me of a bitter citrus rind off of a orange. The sweetness and bitterness fight one another for domination. Do not pick up on the alcohol on the flavor but can feel it after it goes down.

M - Nice chewy, soft full bodied beer that is slightly oily and is quit pleasant in the mouth. My tongue feels like it has been cleaned by something astringent after drinking for a while (like Listerine.) Would get higher marks if it was not so aggressive on my palate.

O - A really impressive closing beer which packs a lot of sweet flavors, and is not the most drinkable in my book. Gets cloying after half way through. Good luck with this one because it packs a sweet punch, Cheers! After further drinking I found that pairing this with something salty like nuts really helps cut the sweetness and makes this a better brew. Try it, you will not be disappointed. (1,455 characters)

Photo of pershan
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured an orangish-brown with very little head into a chalice. I detected alcoholic esters with a slight citrusy hop aroma. The taste was an enormous explosion of hop flavor and alcoholic esters, blending nicely with a distinct citrusy sweetness. The initial taste dissipated into a long-lasting hop bitterness. A very tasty and drinkable beer - it is definitely one of my favorites from Lagunitas. Nice carbonation and lacing too. (491 characters)

Photo of Beerisheaven
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have long seen this and long passed over it. Consumed at The Flying Pig in Malvern, PA on Friday night past.

Poured from tap with a beautiful amber, ruby color. Nice white head sitting on top which made it look very appealing and enticing. A real good looking beer in a glass.

The aroma and taste were very enjoyable. Hard to not say the word sugar in the description but the beer melds the malt and hops in fine fashion with a nice sweet candy taste lurking in there as well. I really enjoyed it.

The mouthfeel was clean, crisp, and enjoying while this is one that you enjoy so much you would consider staying with this one all night long.

I really enjoyed this beer and will have to try it again on a more regular basis. I really think that they did a nice job here. (774 characters)

Photo of shaebs99
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Large off white head forms that leaves plenty of sticky lacing as the head diminishes. Clear deep amber color.

S: The aroma is a nice combination of malt (with brown sugar notes) and citrusy hops. The result reminds me of something like ruby red grapefruit. Sweet and citrusy. Though I would say the malt wins by a nose.

T & M: pretty much what you would expect. Large malt base accentuated by brown sugar, but the hops are present enough to keep this in check.

D: Very enjoyable. Reminded me of why I enjoyed the 06 Double Bastard. I feel that the hops were more present than some reviewers would lead you to believe. In the one I had I didn't really notice the alcohol in the taste and only slightly in the nose

I am considering picking up another 6-pack of this so I can enjoy it throughout the winter. Not a beer you would drink all night, but definitely one I am going to return to (938 characters)

Photo of ImusBeer
3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured up a dark orange/red with an off white head of only about a finger.

The aroma of molasses and honey with no real hint of the 9+ percent alcohol content. the taste was dominated by malt & molasses, a very complex beer. Hints of oak and leather are also present.

The mouthfeel is heavy and sugary (Brown Shugga, duh) some alcohol hints but not too harsh. Overall a smooth tasting and complex beer. (404 characters)

Photo of MaineBrewing
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear dark amber with a little chill haze, slight red hue to the color. Head was thick and frothy a mix of medium bubbles and lots of fine suds.

S - Aroma is a dark complex amalgam of sweet malt. A candied cherry fruitness. tons and tons of molasses, rum like. Burnt sugar.

T - I have had this 6 pack for a few months, upon first release it was very hoppy. Its only probably been 3 months tops? the hops have fallen off completely to let the beautiful malt shine. This is certainly unique from other barleywine style ales as it is very rum like. SO I guess its less of a malt character and more of a candy, sugar. Lots of toffee. Although the aroma hops have faded, the finish is very hoppy, not so much bitter but just a nice bite, very quenching, and balances the malt sweetness well. Without this it would be way too cloying, but that is not the case. This beer is great.

M - Mouthfeel is par for the course, thick, just enough carbonation to keep it lively. finishes sweet but the bitter hops as mentioned above quell the sweetness.

O - This beer is probably my favorite from Lagunitas. If your looking for a traditional barleywine this might be a little too sweet and rummy, but it tastes great to me, just a unique flavor. Also I try not to make a review about price and value as I feel a beer should be judged on what it is over economics... but man, 9.99 for a 6 pack of this??? In a sea of 11.99 4 packs, such a great beer for 9.99 a sixer gets me everytime. (1,488 characters)

Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle from Wine Gallery in Brookline, MA. A: Amber, very clear, moderate amount of tan head that goes down to a caked on layer. Lots of lacing. S: Brown sugar of course, lots of dark fruit and some citrus as well (orange especially). Some boozey spice and roasted malts. T: Syrupy sweet up front with a nice bitter finish. Much more hoppy than I expected, which is very nice. M: Very thick, chewy, moderate to low carbonation. D: I was really surprised by the hop profile on this one--it's sort of like a cross between a barleywine and a DIPA. Really fantastic, unique beer. I'll definitely pick this up again if I see it. (629 characters)

Photo of ThaneMcC
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (494 characters)

Photo of OldRickSputin
4.8/5  rDev +20.6%

Had low expectations for this one. I like many Lagunitas beers...they're nice. But Brown Shugga is SUPER NICE!

This is damn close to perfection!

Wonderful looking medium amber color with a massive head that never completely disappears. The lacing left behind coats the glass from top to bottom.

The smell is deceiving, very pleasant. It definitely changes with temperature and as the head dissipates. Starts off smelling like cinnamon roll and After a few minutes, it's more like Hop Stoopid, which I really enjoy - Fresh pine & some grapefruit/citrusy notes.

First sip is so sweet and wonderful that it seems like it might actually be tough to drink the entire 12 ounces. But just as the smell changes, so does the taste (same transition).

The people at Lagunitas should be given some awards for this. They crafted a truly unique, enjoyable beer drinking EXPERIENCE and then they went ahead and honored us by putting it out at a reasonable price.

It also has just the right amount of balls at 9.99% ABV. (1,025 characters)

Photo of joeskirkie
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I went for a snifter and poured a beautiful copper brew with a nice head which developed and laced well.

Smelled sugary sweet, with grassy hop hints and just a touch of citrus.

The taste balances very well, the refreshing citrus hop bite goes hand-in-hand with the sweet sugars. A hop finish has a slight linger to it.

It's not too heavy, I'd ask for another, I definitely dig it. (383 characters)

Photo of Fatduck
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ive been very fond of the Lagunitas brew's that I've had so far, so when I saw the brown shugga I had to try it.

Pours a ruddy copper color with a fluffy tan head. It leaves little lacing. Smells like spicy hops and a bit of sweet malt. Feels good on the way down, refreshing and easy drinking. I think this is one dangerous beer. 9.9% alcohol and goes down fast and easy.

I'll be returning to this brew. (406 characters)

Photo of blivingston1985
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear reddish-orange. Some Particles visible. Creamy off-white head that reduces down to a good lace that lasts the whole glass. Very good.

The smell is sweet. Caramel, brown sugar...some hops.

Very smooth drinker. Easy to wind up on the floor with this one. Nice light carbonation that complaments the texture of the beer well. Very big taste. Very sweet. Not very much to it in the way of complexity. Brown sugar, a little citrus-orange, and a nice bitterness. (476 characters)

Photo of begforme4484
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice brown coloring. Smells great. The taste was what got me on this beer. Mouthfeel was right on par.

Not much needs to be said for this beer except, if you see it on tap, TRY IT.

I've had it before and knew it was good. But I had a friend with me who liked to dabble a bit in craft beer. So he had me suggest a drink for him, and he loved it. (348 characters)

Photo of Nietzsches_Horse
4.51/5  rDev +13.3%

If you combined a nice American Barleywine, with a nice DIPA, and added a touch of brown sugar sweetness, you might end up with something like this. And if you also priced it very generously, and only released it during the long dark days of winter--when a nice, sweet, cheap and strong beer is most welcome--you'd probably be pretty close to answering the conundrum, "How come you taste so good..." (400 characters)

Photo of BradBLR
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a wonderful beer. First was the smell of the beer, it was great smelling a little sweet. The first taste was a little shocking, a lot stronger that I was expecting. But after the intial shock, this beer was great. A very strong taste, with a nice hop flavor. Also the slite sweetness that accompanied was excellent. Try this beer, it's seasonal so keep your eyes open for this one! (390 characters)

Photo of CaptainHate
4.63/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I had tried a sample of this at the local supermarket and thought it was deserving of a much more in depth exploration. So I had my growler filled (at a very reasonable price) and took it to a meeting of my fellow reprobates who like listening to music and drinking beer.

I was pretty sure that this would be regarded fairly highly by my fellow hop-kissers and was not surprised. The other alternatives were Hopping Frog Christmas Ale (not bad) and Great Lakes Conway Ale (it's ok but I've had it before and wasn't particularly interested in bottles of it). Anyway this was a big hit and we drained the growler with scant regard for the alc content.

Even though Lagunitas dumps enough sugar in this to stimulate a diabetic coma, it really doesn't negatively impact the taste, nor does the fairly high alc content. This is a strong tasting but very balanced tasty ale. (870 characters)

Photo of xare
2.06/5  rDev -48.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance was fine - head lasted a bit, brown appearance, nothing really that would distinguish it from another strong ale.

Smell was of alcohol... Nothing else. Maybe some malt.

Taste was of malt and alcohol. No brown sugar whatsoever. What a letdown. I love brown sugar and was hoping that there'd be the taste of brown sugar at least. Instead, I get malt-flavored rubbing alcohol. While a hit on the streets, according to One-Tooth Willie, it isn't a hit in my books.

Mouthfeel had a bit of bitterness from the hops... and a lot of heat. Too much heat. Wasn't crisp and clean.

Hops weren't excessive and in fact, were the only thing that made this brew drinkable. I finished the bottle but after half of it was gone, I was struggling. Glad that I had this at the bar, because there is no way I could've finished a 6 pack of this. Far too hot for my tastes and no brown sugar flavors that I can discern. Mainly, it's just a malty strong ale with nothing that makes it drinkable. Not a drain-pour but it isn't that much better. (1,033 characters)

Photo of mschind
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a pint glass with a one inch creamy head that fades to a thin persistent cap. Brilliant clear copper color.

S- Resinous hops with a big malty molasses blast.

T- Follows the nose with the brown sugar/molasses sweetness dominating but nicely rounded out by the hops which take on a citrus note.

M- Rich medium body, well carbonated which helps to balance the sweetness.

O- I look forward to this every year. I think it would cellar well but I'm not that disciplined. The big malty sweetness the aggressive hops is an unusual combination that really works here. (577 characters)

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,443 ratings.