Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,515 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,515
Ratings:
5,360
Avg:
4
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
275
Gots:
1,154
For Trade:
13
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.99%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 12-13-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,515 | Ratings: 5,360
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 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 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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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 brian44556
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this into a Bell's Pint Glass. No date on the bottle.

Pours a dark amber color, with little off white head. Sticky lacing surrounds the pint glass. A fierce race of carbonation bubbles race to the top. Strong smell of piney hops, caramel, and burnt sugar. The smell was very interesting for a Strong Ale, the smell of this one could pass for a DIPA. This one is pretty bitter. The hops are pretty forward, I also taste hints of caramel and molasses. The taste is sweet up front, but has a very bitter backbone. The alcohol is well masked for being 9.99% ABV. Mouthful was pretty heavy and carbonation was moderate. Overall the beer was different in a...different way. Nothing stood on why I loved it or hated it. Pretty average beer, glad I had a chance to try, but wouldn't care if I ever had this one again.

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

Poured from a 22 oz. 'bomber.'

A - medium brown, to amber color. Not completely clear - maybe some chill haze. Nice little white head forms and stays around the whole way for me, although retreating to the sides of the glass.

S - malt, sugar, very little hop aroma. But what hops are there smell of noble spiciness - saaz? Nice malty, caramelly aroma.

T - malt is up front in this one. Since the name is 'brown shugga,' I can taste the brown sugariness in this. Malty sweet, but some hop bitterness balances it out pretty well. There is some hop flavor here, but it's hard to pick up. Can definitely taste some hoppy grassy, floral flavors when I burp (sorry to be so crude). Alcohol is well hidden. A little disappointed that the flavor here isn't as big as it could be.

M - medium bodied, standard carbonation.

D - tasty brew, I wouldn't mind having several of these. Alcohol is masked in the flavor pretty well, but will hit you later.

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Photo of industrialswill
4.97/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My Oh My !!!

This is some good stuff!
Dark brown with a thick tan colored head.
Powerfull smell with the promise of a strong beer up ahead.
Tastes exactly like what I had hoped, a full boogey ale full of rich roasted malt and a nice hop balance. The heat from the 10% ABV is so nice. This is practically the perfect beer for me. Hope these are available in Heaven.

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Photo of BrewSomerville
3.28/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Aroma: Caramel, Honey, floral, molases, brown sugar.

Looks: Orange/copper colour. Nice sized, creamy coloured head. Left some rings of lace behind.

Taste: Marmalade, carmalized sugar, burnt sugar, hot alcoholic solventy.

Mouthfeel: Big body, almost chewy. Lightly carbonated.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.88/5  rDev -3%
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!

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

Lagunitas' Brown Shugga' poured from a 22 oz. brown bomber bottle into a standard pint glass. There was no date on the bottle but it was marked 9.9% alcohol and 51.1 IBU.

The beer poured an amber color with a lean towards red. A surprising amount of carbonation bubbles rose in the glass, and quarter inch of head held on and retained throughout the drink. The nose impressed with a strong hop presence and carmel presence with light alcohol smell in the rear.

I would be lying if I said I expected hops, even with the IBU listed on the bottle, but a heavy, sweet malt presence upfront with a light, hoppy bitterness The finish is reminiscent of an English Barleywine with a faint alcohol flavor and light, hoppiness. The flavors mellowed and intertwined as the beer warmed. This is a quality beer, and potentially the best I've come to from Lagunitas.

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Photo of watermelon
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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Photo of nvsblman
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep walnut brown with about a finger of brown head. The brown sugar (duh :) ) stands out most in the aroma, but there is also some toffee, some piney hops, and a light fruitiness. Distinct brown sugar flavor along with some fruit and a nice hoppy bite. Just a slight hint of alcohol that comes out a little more as it warms. It's pretty easy to drink given it's strength!

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Photo of Foxtrot
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

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Photo of 312HopBomb
4.24/5  rDev +6%
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!

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Photo of rsyberg01
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of jsdunlop
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
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...

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Photo of alexk307
4.2/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of wschmit
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L (4.25) – Very nice amber color. This is honestly my favorite color. Nice little head too.

S (4.5) – Smells great. You really get that piney, bitter smell that you want.

T (4) – Tastes really good. Not quite what I was expecting by the style or name. I do not get much sweet or alcohol, but it is good.

F (4) – Has nice mouthfeel. Goes down well.

O (4.25) – I’m kinda new to Lagunitas stuff, and had heard a lot about this one. I thought it was good, but not top shelf, run all over town to buy, type of beer. Nice beer, and I’d add to my rotation.

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Photo of fitrock2112
4.2/5  rDev +5%
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!

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Photo of TXHops
3.35/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of cooler4life
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,515 ratings.