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Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,517 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,517
Ratings:
5,384
Avg:
4
pDev:
21.25%
 
 
Wants:
281
Gots:
1,174
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: 1,517 | Ratings: 5,384
Photo of maundythirsty
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber beer. No bubbling. Thin, off-white hea ... Hey, where'd the head go? The smell is a busy combination of dark sugars and malt and delicate floral and citrus hops.

That malt taste is talking to me, but it's hard to hear over a very bitter dose of hops compounded by the nearly 10 percent ABV. It's thick and smooth. Very dry.

Brown Shugga could take some getting used to, but I think I could really like this stuff. The alcohol comes across with such a heavy vodka-esque bite.

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

Poured from 12 oz bottle into glass:

A: Pours caramel brown with a 2 inch off white frothy head that dissipates quickly

S: I'm first hit with Lagunitas' typical hop profile...followed by a sweet, caramel malt aroma. Smells like an extra malty barley wine with a ton of west coast hops. Not bad...

T: Very similar to the nose...hop forward with a malty finish. Hoppier than one would guess from the description but enough sugary malt flavor to balance out the finish. Don't necessarily get the brown sugar but a definite sweetness comes into play. Good...not great.

M: Nice, sticky mouthfeel typical of most barley wines. Viscous enough to layer the mouth with flavor but only slightly cloying.

O: I love Lagunitas and their approach to brewing. They make affordable, tasty beers with a great abv to price ratio. Brown Shugga falls behind Sucks and Stoopid for me but a very good offering that I certainly look forward to. I have a six pack hanging out in my pantry that I'm going to sit on for a while...curious to see if age will mellow this one out.

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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...

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.22/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pretty color on the pour. Beautiful ruby. Grassy hop aroma. Rubbing alcohol, an astringent smell, orange juice. Taste, again grassy hop flavors. Bitter with an alcohol presence. A spicy heat to it. Overall, I am just not a big fan of the American strong ale category in general. This is no real exception to that. It's caught in between an iPa, a barley wine, and maybe a Scottish ale. All of which can be delicious. Their three way love child is not my fav though.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber color.

Overall: This beer has a strong sweet aroma. It contains flavors of malts, sweetness, fruitiness, caramel and bitterness. This is a very good malty brown ale.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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