Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,517 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,517
Ratings:
5,375
Avg:
4
pDev:
21%
 
 
Wants:
276
Gots:
1,167
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,517 | Ratings: 5,375
Photo of untitledeuphoria
4.4/5  rDev +10%

Fall 2013 batch, drank 9.01.14, poured from a 12oz bottle into a 12oz Stange.

It had been a few years since I last had this beer, and upon coming across it at Good Beer NYC I immediately snatched up whatever I could. Here we go...

A: Pours a clear, glowing red caramel (reminiscent of barleywine coloring), two fingers of light khaki head, excellent head retention, sticky lacing, eventually fades to a moderate cap.

S: Molasses, bitter dark fruits, toasted malt, touch of hop oil, and with all of that sugar I just can't help but smelling some maple syrup too.

T: I swear this beer is a second cousin to a barleywine somewhere... upon first sip I get tastebud deja vu to past nights of drinking big barleys along the Atlantic coast. Anyways... Molasses with a hint of vanilla, caramel, bitter fruit, and fall spicing, most notably clove. Phenomenal taste profile, better than I ever remember it.

M: Smooth, alcohol is completely obscured, light carbonation, thick... leaves a coating well after swallowing, taste lingers well afterwards without any flavor deviation.

O: Absolutely terrific. Big Flavor, super smooth, great mouthfeel, huge ABV. I hate myself for not picking up more than I did.

 1,200 characters

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

Pours clear, bloody, dark amber, with one of finger tan head with some floaties.

It has an agressive pine-hop nose, and then it smells a bit buttery, with some caramelized malt.

Prominent, candied-caramel malt with an equally agressive pine hop flavor combatting it comprise the major elements of the flavor. At 51.1 IBUs, the bitterness is downright restrained, but the hop flavor remains massive. Pine-resin molassas, that's what it is. There is some alcoholic heat, but it's surprisingly subdued considering the brown sugar in the equation.

Medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation make for a pleasant and appropriate mouthfeel.

Overall, a damn fine little barleywine from a brewery I'd previously written off. Maybe I need to give Lagunita's another chance...

 778 characters

Photo of Big78CJ
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown center witha lighter tan rim gives this beer an interesting appearance. The half-inch head is actually a bit off-white as well. This beer is more dense-looking than I would have expected.

S: The first smell I gleaned off the head was of a citrusy hop origin. There seems to be some sweet mixed aroma (vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, toffee...) whipping the hops into submission.

T: Hops are present in my first sip; this beer did not adequately advertise the hop content of its brown shugga but still quite tasty. Sweet malt, perhaps sweeter from the shugga, is a pleasant backing for this ale.

M: Slightly chewy from the heavy malt yet slightly watery from the bitter hops. There is more complexity here than I intitially thought.

D: This beer definitely surprised me. I exspected this to be a honey brown style of beer with way more sugar than I would like. The name is deceptive of the flavor. This seems to be a case where brewing/fermenting does not add the same flavor as adding after after the fact.

** This beer was an absolutely amazing pairing with norwegian gjetost cheese and soda crackers.

 1,121 characters

Photo of HOPPYKC
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle in to a pint glass. No bottled on or bb date.

The look of pouring this is great. Orange to a slightly dark copper color. Not a lot of head on this pour. Slightly hard to see through so not completely transparent.

The smell is that of sugar and hops. It smells surprisingly like an IPA which i am very fond of. I i like having the hops character and the malt so balanced but i think the sugar is great. Also a bit of fruit from the zest of lemon.This all goes for the taste as well.

This is a bit thinker than most of the IPA's iv'e had and thats not a bad thing. I definitely have to say that as iv'e had a few drink i begin to taste the alcohol a bit more. I am still surprised by the fact that this is ABV 9.99% and its so easy to drink . Good for Lagunitas.

 792 characters

Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a few for Thanksgiving with the appetizers.

A- Good looking brown ale with a khaki head, not too big but laced a good amount. Visible carbonation.

S- Interesting aroma. The brown sugar is defiantly present and the hops are there. They seem to be on the grape fruit side and complement well.

T- Impressive beer. The flavors all complement each other and nothing really distracts from the overall beer. The first thing that caught me off guard is the hoppieness of this beer. There is a substantial brown sugar /sweet malt backbone which is very tasty. and the hops keep the beer from being too sweet. Very good beer.

M- Its a medium full bodied beer, almost cloying but the hops keep the finish dry enough.

O- Awesome beer, there is almost no hint of the alcohol content. Need to try the oaked version. Only complaint is that the aroma doesn't shine as much as the taste does.

 886 characters

Photo of Jemonster
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Sexy looking beer from one of my favorite breweries. Redish tan with dense tan head that leaves lacing. Fine carbonation.

S: Smells sweet and rich like a sophisticated dessert. Yeast and light hops, some stone fruit odor comes through as well.

T: Syrupy sweet as expected, but balanced well by the malty malt and bitter hops. Tastes like a little more than the 51.1 IBU as stated on the bottle in my opinion, and less than the 9.99% ABV.

M: Viscous, creamy, and lightly tingly. Has the body of a good shot of espresso. You have to pause to feel the bubbling from the carbonation. About the same mouthfeel as a well made root beer, which is what I really like.

D: Gotta be a 4. Can't rate it any higher because 2 might do you in on an empty stomach. A lightweight might not be able to drive after 1. Very easy to drink though, and tasty enough to make me look for it again.

 880 characters

Photo of Nick3
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is a great beer. Not what I expected based on the beer name and color. Color is a rich brown. A lot more hops than I expected. I can barely taste the alcohol which was shocking based on the strength. The beer is really well balanced and keeps you guessing, you look at it and think Newcastle, you smell it and the molasses and sugar are there but there is a hop aroma that you don't expect. . . you taste it and, at first, it reconfirms the smell as the hops and flowers pervade, but then the finish is rounded off with some nice malts and sweetness .. .then the hops reappear again a few seconds later. Beer is well carbonated and could use a bit more body. A bit of a schizophrenic beer but one that I would buy again.

 730 characters

Photo of apbarwood
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a deep amber/brownish with a small cap of sandy-colored foam. Pretty good retention with nice sheets of creamy lacing. The aroma is unsurprisingly sweet with a nice caramel, toffee, brown sugar quality with a subtle citrus note. I'd like to make an air freshener out of this. At any rate, the flavor is superb with a big, thick caramelized sugar note taking the lead. There's a sort of sweet, sticky toffee flavor that blends nicely with caramel, brown sugar and like a bright red fruity center. Not overly hoppy but there is definitely something there. The finish is nicely dry with citrus and pine flavors coming into the mix. The hops do a really good job of keeping the sweet malt flavors from cloying and keeps me wanting more. It's full-bodied with a nice warming quality but never feels overwhelming. I absolutely loved this beer. Probably one of the best experiences I've had with a beer in the past year. People who like big, malty beers should definitely check this one out but I'd recommend it to anybody. This is going to make it into my annual winter seasonal haul.

 1,091 characters

Photo of surfmeister
2.25/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Interesting, and yet, undrinkable.
Pretty deep red/brown color, murkiness undercuts the appearance though, thick head with cascades of brown bubbles with an aggressive pour, caramel, sweet, nutty fragrance, taste was a cloying, sick molasses-like sweetness coupled with an overbearing alcohol punch, all other tastes were basically blotted out, mouthfeel was slimy and alcoholic, this beer ended up in the drain half way through, you shouldn't have to try this hard to like a beer

 481 characters

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

P: 12 oz. short brown bottle, O.G. 1.100 Alc. 9.99% by Vol.. I.B.U. 51.1

A: Amber pour with a finger of light brown foanm head that slowly fades to a scant cover and lacing.

S: Citrus pith, roasted grains and sight sweetness

T: Burst of bitter hops then a rush of sweet roasted malt and a slight oily tongue with sweetness, roasted and hops fighting it out….all in the blink of an eye.
This is a great exercise for the mouth! No obvious alcohol vapor,fumes lurking in any of the taste.

M: A great treat for the mouth! This one is a keeper and will get more to see how it ages and compare it too next years release.

D: Could drink a number of these but would have to try and keep in mind the ABV level!

 708 characters

Photo of Aiptasia
4.37/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. longneck into an absinthe glass.

A: Pours a rich amber color with a great 1" head. Excellent long retention with a brown cotton candy color with excellent cling on the lacing. Color is a rich, clear frosty rootbeer.

S: Amazing florals immediately eminate when uncapped. Cloves, anise and lime citrus on the nose.

T: Sugar malts with hints of liquorice and plum. The lime carries over into the flavor in the middle with a grapefruit rind and pine hops finish.

M: Full bodied and delicious with sugar sweetness. Heavy micro carbonation. Well balanced alcohols almost undetectable until the warming kicks in the belly.

D: An excellent assertive beer. Very drinkable with a food pairing due to the alcohol content. Chicago style pizza and most Mexican food comes to mind.

 780 characters

Photo of Lahoi
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow. An amazing beer. Way too easy to drink for a 10% ABV beer. In fact, it was so smooth I drank it much faster than I should have, and, along with the other beers I had, I felt it the next day. But it was worth it!

It's hard to compare this beer to others in the category because I've never had anything quite like it. It's so complex. Just when I thought I'd pinned down a flavor or note, I would detect something else. This is a slow, sipping beer like that of a barleywine or some stouts, especially those aged in bourbon barrels. Yet don't get me wrong: this beer isn't anything like a barleywine or a barrel ag d stout. Again, it's like nothing else I've enjoyed.

 671 characters

Photo of Celt44
4.62/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite possibly, the best stong ale I've EVER had. B+ ????

Appearance is a dark amber/copper. Head didn't last exceptionally long. Good lookin' beer

Smell is absolutely beautiful - Hop, Malts, and sweetness...

Taste - utterly unique - Strong hops up front - malty in the middle - and a stong brown sugar ending, hence the name. How'd they do that? Alcohol hidden very well.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, carbonation average.

Overall - As of today - the most tasteful strong ale I'VE EVER HAD. PERIOD. Congrats Lagunitas, Brown Shugga's a work of art.

 546 characters

Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

mmmmmmm, smell that booze.
nice, sweet little ale, warms you up.
not overly hop-y, I think the sweetness takes care of that.
these can sneak up on you quick. drink slow and enjoy the lace.

 188 characters

Photo of jbone78
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was found at my local store.

Pours copper to brown in color with light head. Smells of floral hops, tastes starts off the same. Citrus hops that balances well with the "Brown Shugga" and caramel malts. Finishes with a little grapefruit bitterness but not too bad.

I like this beer and I would buy again. But would buy Hop Stoopid over it any other day.

-Bye

 368 characters

Photo of travisdiener32
3.38/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a fresh bottle for my first taste of brown shugga. Poured into beer flute.

Appearance is light brown to amber, with ample head. Smell is of of light brown sugar and surprisingly ample hops. Taste is also heavy hops, with a slight brown sugar finish, akin to a DIPA without any citrus notes. Brown sugar does become more apparent as the beer warms, however the hoppiness does seem to dominate the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is great for the style, not overly heavy or light.

Overall a good beer but a little too unbalanced to be considered a great or go to beer for the style. Try it out, but there are much better offerings from Lagunitas.

 650 characters

Photo of ahentz
3.31/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Flavor is good and there is some fruitiness, but overall very bitter. That's not my things, but I can appreciate that it is a good beer. ABV is high but there wasn't too much of the boozy taste. It's a nice beer if you like the bitter.

 238 characters

Photo of auntfloyd
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a US pint glass.

Pours clear amber color with a very small amount of off-white head which dissipates rapidly. The nose is all candy sugar and brown sugar, sort of like a slightly more spicy or American Belgian ale. Not bad. The flavor is very potent brown sugar/candy flavor, with a slightly muted hops presence, all mingled with alcohol, but mostly brown sugar. There are some spicy notes, and the aftertaste is a kind of unpleasant bitter brown sugar/maple taste. The mouthfeel is full, and surprisingly, not very syrupy. Drinkability is decent, but this obviously not something you would ever want more than one of.

Overall, interesting and sweet. Lagunitas never lets me down; that said I don't think I'll be buying it again.

 767 characters

Photo of optiontwo
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 Oz. poured into generic pint glass

Appearance: Ruby Red/Brown color, decent carbonation and lacing, one inch head.

Smell: Smells like a nut brown to me but I know it's not. Sweet caramel and nuts in the aroma.

Taste: That's more like it. The description of this beer is right on. A good American strong ale with the sweetness of cane sugar. Sweet brown sugar flavor upfront with slight alcohol heat towards the end and finally a nice crisp hop bite. I feel as if the sweetness would be a bit cloying if it weren't for the amount of hops used. Ultimately the taste is quite nice.

Mouthfeel: Thicker than most strong ales I've tried but that's not a bad thing. Carbonation feels right.

Drinkability: Taste is sweet and crisp, mouthfeel is thick so these kind of contradict each other when it comes to drinkability, but with it being 9.5% I'd have to say that it's not very high.

Overall: Another great brew from Lagunitas that I'll definitely be picking up again.

 974 characters

Photo of LairdChisholm
4.36/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear copper color with a less than one finger, off white head very little lacing to speak of. There are many small streams of carbonation bubbles going to the top.

S - Strong smells of sweet malts with brown sugar and molasses and citrus malts. Good balance.

T - Incredible balance here. There is a mixture of brown sugar/caramel malts with citrus/grapefruit hops. There is a semi sweet after taste that makes you want to take another sip.

M - Good amount of carbaonation with medium to light mouthfeel.

D - Considering the ABV, this drinkability is dangerous.

 577 characters

Photo of edward_boumil
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Nice light brown color, light tan head, very frothy and hangs around for a bit. Quite clear and bubbly
S: Smells quite nice, hard to describe though. Dark fruit notes present like that of a dobbelbock or dubbel. Has some floral hop notes as well, sort of spicy on the nose. Toast also present.
T: Really good, only complaint is it is a little over hopped. A lot of the nose repeats but its quite bitter, somewhat piney and resinous, though clean.
F: Very crisp, but very bitter which gives an astringency and takes away from what would be a more refreshing beer. Body is pretty light and smooth otherwise.
O: Pretty solid and I really like it. Will probably have this again if I see it.

 697 characters

Photo of Derranged
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

The appearance is a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head.

The smell might have been one of the best smelling beers I've sampled. Very strong piney/floral hops with molasses and candied sugar are present.

The taste was very hoppy and very sweet, tastes of brown sugar and molasses. Some hops bitterness appeared every now and again.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and had little carbonation.

This beer drank pretty easily, but the sweetness alone limits this to just a few.

This beer was really good.

 557 characters

Photo of mbusster88
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours clean brown/red color with good thick head. No carbonation present on this and a good amount of lacing.

S: Smells very sweet and bold. Good amount of malt profile in the nose and some heavy sugary notes.

T/M: Taste is very sweet up front with a ton of sugar and sugar cane type flavors. Very easy on the palate. Good body to this makes it favorable to drink. However, I was looking for just a bit more flavor than i got.

D: Good beer to try, not my favorite of the style but it does make me want to try more. I would get this one again to try but probably wont make it a staple in the fridge.

 605 characters

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

A: Pours a crystal-clear golden amber in the glass with a 2-finger foamy head after an aggressive pour.

S: Typical Lagunitas aroma, a bit sweeter perhaps and a bit less citrus. Some caramel malt in the mix. Not bad. By comparison, Maximus and Lucky13 both have shockingly awesome aromas. But all is not in the smell...

T: A bit reserved in the flavor, strangely enough. Some tasty flavors coming through, but nothing prominent. I guess I can detect the brown sugar in there just due to the mild sweetness and hint of molasses, but no real overpowering flavors that I might expect. Similar to Undercover Shutdown, but a bit more relaxed. As the glass warms, however, the flavors really open up and the typical strong ale flavors come through. This brew MUST be allowed to warm up. A bit boozy as it warms, but nothing objectionable.

M: Well carbonated, but not quite the body I would expect from a big ale like this. Again, the carbonation and full-bodied feel tend to improve as the beer warms. Once it gets above 50 degrees, it truly does become a "strong ale."

O: The 9.9% ABV is pretty well hidden, but comes through as the beer is allowed to warm up. Overall this is a significant contender in the strong ale category. Definitely one to wait for year after year.

 1,270 characters

Photo of TheDinger
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Growler fill at GBX. Poured into snifter and it's a nice copper/amber pour with a huge 3+ finger pillow head. Smell is unique and a bit unexpected. Getting the hop bomb of citrus and pine mixed with some sweet malts. Not getting much shugga, but it smell quite good. Taste is just as interesting. Part barleywine, part IPA, part SA. Not sure, but it's sweeter that I thought it would be. The hops are actually a great finish and don't overpower it. A quite complex brew that was tough to sit down. Lots of carbonation, perhaps too much as this was quite dry and a bit metalic. Overall- A pretty good effort and a nice blend of sweet malts and american hops. Weird to explain and put into a category, but a must try and one I will hit out of the bottle to see what may be different. Enjoy-

 788 characters

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,517 ratings.