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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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

1,504 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,504
Hads: 5,304
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 267
Gots: 1,090 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,504 | Hads: 5,304
Photo of peacebone116
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I cannot believe that I have never reviewed this beer....Brown Shugga is one of my perennial favorites! This is a review of a 2009 Brown Shugga', aged in a 12-oz bottle, poured into a tulip on 11/30/12.

A: Insignificant off-white head sits atop a hazy reddish, auburn body. There appears to be decent carbonation throughout the body.

N: Pine and...well, caramelized brown sugar, honey, a touch of nose-tickling citrus.

T/M: Taste fully follows the nose with a blend of delicious pine notes that mingle with the sweetness of the malt. The body is about medium, just thick enough to support the slightly hot alcohol in the body. There is an oiliness that completely coats the tongue, spreading the flavors across--this one seriously hits all the different taste buds: sweet, bitter...okay, well, that is really it, but it seems quite awesome!

This beer aged so well. Lagunitas has played with this recipe off and on (the bottle indicates a 9.84% ABV & 51.1 IBU for this vintage), but this year was quite good fresh and even better with some age on it. I recall drinking this one a year later and finding it very good....it seems to have only gotten better (minus the haziness that set in).

On a side note, I paired this beer with a pasta dish featuring caramelized onions, yellow bell pepper and shrimp flambe with Sambuca and red pepper flakes. The sweet anise flavor of the Sambuca shrimp played well off the sweet, sugar malt of the ale, and the spicy flavors from the dish's pepper flakes complimented the hoppy qualities.

Good Shit!

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Photo of --Dom--
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is awesome. It has a taste and an aroma all it's own It doesn't follow a style or try to fit into a niche. It's just good. If you like barleywines and old ales you'll love it. If you like Ipa's and Dipa's you'll love it. Wish it was available year round.

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Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I get this almost-red amber 20oz. beer with a super-fat head and crazy lacing that smells a little like cookies (not much smell though.) I taste it and it's got a definite sugary caramel malt flavor, with a bit of hops on the top to cut out the sweeteness. Pretty tasty, I notice a tiny alcohol sweetness that throws it off a bit but not much, so I figure hey, it's about 8% but it's pretty drinkable. Then Joe tells me he's thinking of serving it in smaller glasses 'cuz he's afraid the 10% will creep up on people. Ten percent?? What?

Yeah, it has a definite alcohol flavor but there's a heckuva lot more sweeter barleywines out there. I, for one, could drink a lot of these. I wonder if the bottle is sweeter though...will find out in 2 weeks, when it hits the shelves in NYC.

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Photo of SMark
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 52° from a 12 ounce bottle with some sort of coding but I am unsure if it is date related. There were approximately three fingers of head from the pour down the middle of the glass with slight lacing. The beer was reddish orange in color

There was a definite aroma of hops. Label says 51.1 IBU's.

The beer was surprisingly smooth with some bitterness from the hops followed by a nice sweet finish.

There was fullness in the mouth while holding this brew before swallowing.

This beer seemed to get sweeter as it warmed. It was very easy to drink and tremendously dangerous at 9.9% alcohol.

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Photo of BDJake
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- burnt sienna with just under a finger of beige head that made some cool patterns on my pint glass

S- so syrupy, it made my nose hairs stick together- but intriguing, although almost same exact smell as SA imperial white, kind of creepy IMO but also a bit like raisin bread

T- fruity, malty, and yes, like brown sugar was used as an adjunct somewhere in the brewing process- not too bad though

M- thick and chewy, i was tempted to get a knife and fork- but warming as expected

D- great considering the relatively high abv- showing that not all strong ales have to hit you like double bass pedals, i.e. Stone

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter glass a dark-red/light-brown with no head or lacing, making this apperance wise below average.

Aromas and flavors of sweet caramel,barley, some citrus. Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation.

A little on the sweet side, the sweetness alone restricts the amount to consume, the alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming.

Very nice. Makes an excellent after-dinner brew.I wouldn't have more than two.

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Photo of mattbk
4.08/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of OldRickSputin
4.8/5  rDev +20%

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.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.49/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: ruby red color with white head
S: big sweetness and hops
T: hops, sweetness, and alcohol/medicine.
F: fairly thin and the medicine flavor lingers.

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Photo of Steamer
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A reddish brown, golden amber color - very nice; cream head that has good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet apple cider, or could be apple pie with a hint of cinnamon. Malty, with just a bit of hops bitterness. No standout indications that it is a high ABV brew. Just a little alcohol burn in the throat, but not until after a few sips... very smooth. Medium bodied with some nice sugar stickiness. This ale could be dangerous, but in a very good way! So good I had to force myself to sip and enjoy rather than gulp it down.

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Photo of itsscience
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a goblet.

Pours a hazy amber color with a half-finger of white head that retains well. The nose has earthy hops, sweet dark malt, honey, and alcohol. The taste is sweet with a strong boozy quality, but it finishes bitter and dry like an IPA. Mouthfeel is a little bit creamy with medium carbonation. It's a unique beer. The definition of a sipper because the alcohol is overwhelming and it seems even higher than its 9.9% ABV.

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Photo of santomark
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

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.

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Photo of Mosley1212
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at my local store tonight, because they were selling singles of it. Have been wanting to try this for a long time. Poured from the bottle into my DFH Signature glass.

A--Nice, beautiful caramel color to this beer. Also had a slight off-white, cream head, but that disappeared quickly after the pour. Slight head remains throughout, but not much.

S--Wow! The name is accurate. It smells of sweet brown sugar, caramel, and raisins. Has a heavy malt smell to it also. Reason it got points deducted is because of how overly-sweet it smells. Really hoping that doesn't follow through into the taste.

T--Unfortunately, it follows the nose pretty accurately. Heavy sweetness just consumes the palate. But once the initial sweetness dies down, the aftertaste is amazing. The flavors of the brown sugar and raisins play off of each other beautifully. It tastes almost like a decadent dessert that has had a bit of liquor poured over it. Points deducted though because of the heavy sweetness upfront.

M--It feels good on the tongue. A tiny bit of carbonation. The sweetness is overwhelming at first, but there's a bit of bitterness that comes afterward that is pleasantly juxtaposed to the sweetness. I like it.

O--It's a good offering from a brewery I haven't dealt with a lot. It makes me want to try other beers form them. This strong ale, to me, tastes like a more mellow barleywine. I would love to try this aged to see if the overly sweet taste goes away with time.

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Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, from the motherland Lagunitas, into my Zatec fluted glass. Nice firm 2 fingers of tan head. Good retention and nice sticky icky lacing. Smells floral, sweet malt, a bit of Duncan Hines brownies. Sweet up front on the palate. Finishes earthy and bitter. Dangerous 10% beer. Johnny Dangerous.

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Photo of danadeny
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber-brown body, clear, with a decent frothy head. Smell lightly or raosted malt, very sweet, minor floral hop. Tart hops at the end, roasted malt up front. Couldnt pick out a distinct brown sugar flavor but could tell from the overall sweetness (not sweet like DFH 120) that a decent amount of sugar was used. Mouthfeel is watery and light. Drinkability is smooth, ballanced, and sweet. What? this is a barleywine? i was thinking more of a Amber and Brown hybrid mix.

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Photo of JDK
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful clear amber color with a 3 finger head that reduced 1/8" for the rest of the drink.
Medium lacing that sticks to the sides throughout the drink
Smells sweet, very caramel with slight hoppy tones
Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation.
Nice sweet taste, which was expected from the brown suger. Not over the top, well balanced with the hops.
Much better than I expected and I could feel the 9.9% ABV pretty quick.

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Photo of boesesfleisch
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It was pretty hard to believe this beer was nearly 10% ABV, as it drinks very easily. Has a very interested balance of malty sweetness and west coast hops. A Must try.

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Photo of Kaiser81
3.26/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 6 pack from BevMo today and poured into a pint glass

A - A reddish brown color with about a finger width of head. It leaves some nice lacing on the glass

S - It smells like a typical red with a faint hint of brown sugar after a deep inhale; nothing like I thought it would smell like.

T - Very mild taste; no alcohol bite, no sweetness from the "brown sugar" supposedly put in there. I'm kind of stumped to explain this.

M - Light body with light carbonation.

D - It's drinkable. I just wish I could get more distinct failures.

They say this was a barley wine gone wrong, and so a ton of brown sugar was added to the recipe. I get hints of the barleywine characteristics, but not much of the brown sugar. This beer confuses me.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a translucent brown reddish color with a 1" froth. Nice thick lacing with a thin cloud of foam remaining. Foam sticks around like an annoying in-law but in this case, it's allowed.

S - smells hoppy sweet with some caramel and brown shugga. Some nice malt tones in there as well and possible some sort of citrus zest. Just a nice blend. It's like walking into a bakery and getting the aroma of sweet dough.

T - it's like the hops had a fight with brown shugga and it resulted in a draw. The guest referee was of a citrus nature which was very faint.

M - overall not bad. It was just a little thin and flat on the finish.

O - a very nice ale. I'm glad I tried it. Now I will buy more.

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

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Photo of KevinBrewer
3.41/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this beer on tap at Blue Palms in Hollywood. It is a translucent, slightly hazy reddish brown. The head was white and fluffy, but it dissipated quickly without much lacing to speak of.

The aroma is predominately of earthy hops. There is a slight sweet malty smell in the background. I would appreciate more complexity in this area.

Sweet malt and brown sugar grab the tongue at first, followed by the same earthy hops that were present in the nose. The hops stick on the palate and almost take center stage. There is a slight hop bitterness in the finish, but the earthy hops are most memorable. The aftertaste is slightly grainy. I cannot taste the alcohol at all.

The body is medium-light with a dry finish. The high alcohol content is most noticeable in the mouthfeel.

I had to switch to a lighter beer after this one because of the high alcohol content. The taste was pleasing, but heavy, and I felt like I needed some refreshment after drinking it.

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Photo of sprat1960
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Light brown with flashes of orange and yellow; transparent. Pours with a 2 finger creamy white head that dies down leaving a smooth layer of foam on the surface of the beer and some sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Light, sweet, aroma with hints of malt. Nice. Made me want to drink the beer.

Taste: Lightly sweet (without being fruity or syrupy), brown sugar, malt. Very nice, unique flavor.

Feel: Slight above average. Thin, like a typical US commercial beer. But very nice light carbonation, unlike a typical commercial beer.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer and would gladly drink it again. It was an easy to drink beer with a unique flavor, but not something that I would go out of my way for. I think the hype surrounding this beer might have left me disappointed, though a very nice beer none the less.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with a tan head. Aroma is hops, resin, dark malts. Taste is sweet with bitterness, and a broe
wn sugar note. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Overall, a pretty good winter beer.

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Photo of danh53
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

At first taste I thought this was a unique and complex beer, but when it was finished I don't really know where to go with this one. The nose and taste starts with carmalized citrus and ends dry and hoppy with an alcohol bite. Its a mix between an IPA and a barley wine, and I don't think it pulls off that balance in the end. I'm glad I was able to try it.

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Photo of BeerWizard
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,504 ratings.