Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,471 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,471
Hads: 5,144
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 250
Gots: 971 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,471 | Hads: 5,144
Photo of JMD71
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled & reviewed on 3/9/07:

Ap: Brilliant copper hued & sparkling. Slight haze. 1/2 finger of head drops back quickly. Carbonation steady. Lacing persisent, but falls back as the glass empties.

Ar: Strong citrus fruits, such as tangerines. Some malt presence with a solid alcohol body. Brown sugar toast is noted but not overly strong.

Ta: Very sweet entry leads to a rich, malty middle with moderate hop bitterness which fades into a heated finish. Once heat recedes, sweetness reasserts itself. Rich plum pudding with brandy butter. ABV well hidded - good balance!

Mo: Full bodied & chewy. Slightly syrupy, but not overly so. Good carbonation which helps offset the warming mouthfeel from the high ABV. Carbonation leaves mouth fairly clean with a bit of an astringent aftertaste from fusel alcohols.

Dr: Slow sipper as I know its strength, but if I didn't know better this would go down quickly. The sweetness from the brown sugar really tames the formidable ABV.

Comments: Very tasty! Very full flavored & well balanced. Enjoyed this all the way through & definitely warrants a repeat purchase.

 1,118 characters

Photo of surfer4life
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle

A - Hazy golden brown with a thick off color white head. Some sediment and good lacing.

S - Very sweet malt, almost reminds me of how a belgian quad smells. lots of spice in it, raisins and obviously, brown sugar.

T - Not a sweet as the you would think, actually some hop bitterness to it. The front is sweet, I get vanilla and caramel. Hoppy in the middle and sweet brown shugga on the end!

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth perfectly and leaves it wanting so much more.

D - Far to drinkable, I will look for it again and should like to have it on tap.

 628 characters

Photo of jtd1969
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Orange golden,fairly clear, with a tint of red. Slighty cloudy mainly due to abv... Good carbonation. Good lacing

S - Pleasant sweet citrus smell, some slight sugary malt
T - Lots of burnt sugar with caramel... Throw in some clean citrusy/grassy/spicy hops... A treat... Big and Bold at 9.9

M - Big smooth beer that lingers with hops, good carbonation

O - WOW, It is so good! I really enjoyed this beer!

 410 characters

Photo of dredmahawkus
4/5  rDev 0%

Its pretty good...and very drinkable....but I was expecting better....I remember this being better then this! I dunno....guess you have to try it! I got a case! half gone so its not that bad!! lol Its better then bad its good?

 226 characters

Photo of gregb13
2.53/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks nice in the glass. Well-carbonated for a strong ale. Nose is heavy booze, with a touch of brown sugar sweetness. Taste... wow, booze and more booze. Sweet, bordering on sickeningly so. Nothing else really stands out. Would much rather have their replacement (Sucks) than this.

**Re-review a couple weeks later... Smelled and tasted great, though still a bit boozy. I think maybe my initial review was of a compromised bottle. The place where I bought the 6-pack had been out of Shugga' for several weeks at least, but lo and behold, I spied a sixer in a plain label mixed pack with Lagunitas caps, way behind the other beers. Pulled it out and discovered 6 bottles of Shugga' and was ecstatic! Well, maybe something happened to the previous bottle I reviewed, because I came back and drank two a couple weeks later and it tasted wonderful.

 846 characters

Photo of fourplayed
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap into 16oz beer glass. Clear dark amber color with 1 finger head.

Pine and floral Hops are up front, sweet notes of caramel.

Taste of Hops up first -pine and citrus, mild sweet sugga', malt backbone.

Medium body, med carbonation, Bold Hop bite and dry finish, medium alcohol warmth 10% abv very well hidden.

Overall this is a very nicely balanced brew, though the Hops are bid and up front, the malts and sweet sugga' are present and make this a nice flavorful brew. Lagunita's continues to amaze me. Several bar patrons told me this is the best version over the last several years. not as sweet and hops tones down from years past.

 642 characters

Photo of Blitzstyle
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a SA glass from a 12 oz bottle. Nice 2 fingers of creamy head, some decent retention that blankets the brew when it fades. Redish amber in color.

Sweet caramell malts, brown sugar, piney and orange hop aromas.

Very sweet and sticky, brown sugar and caramell malts right up front, balanced with a good amount of piney hop bite! Alcohol in the after taste but it is hidden well.

Sugar sweet with a hop bite to keep this from being to surupy, thick and rich. Alcohol is hidden very well I was suprised to see it at such a high abv. Could pound several of these if I wasn't being carfull.

 599 characters

Photo of 1whiskey
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

v.2005, 22 oz. bomber

Big fluffy 2 1/2 finger head...impressive for such a "big" beer. Dark amber color, slightly hazy, visible syrupy appearance.

Smells like hops and brown sugar...no suprise here.

Taste proves there's truth in advertising....I taste brown sugar. Oh, and hops. 50+ IBU's, just what you would expect from Lagunitas. This tastes like half barlywine, half IIPA, spiked with brown sugar. What more could you want? Alcohol is VERY well hidden.You can't find it....but it will find you if you're not careful.

Syrupy mouthfeel, but still fairly carbonated. Drinkability? So deadly, it should be illegal.

I actually think that the 2004 version is better, but this is still outstanding. I would like to age a few of these, but I don't think I could resist the temptation.

 795 characters

Photo of MoorBeerPlz
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12oz. bottle into my usual New Belgium globe glass...

A: Poured a clear, bubbly copper/brown with gold tints. Beautiful light brown, foamy, 2 finger head that dropped off to a thin layer on the top and light lacing along the sides of the glass.

S: Bringing the glass close brought the aromas of hops, malt, pine and a sweet smell not unlike brown sugar as it's cooking. Maybe some citrus in there too.

T: Hops, followed by a molasses sweetness and ending with a sweetened hop finish. I detected some warmth at the very end of the swallow from the alcohol but it didn't detract from the overall taste.

M: Smooth, creamy feeling that slowly runs around your mouth. Dry finish but with a little residual on the tongue. I like how another reviewer called it; "stickiness".

O: Overall a solid, very drinkable brew. The anticipated sweetness is not nearly as bad as your mind expects from the name. I didn't really pick up on a brown sugar like flavor but that's beside the point. While the ABV is up there a ways, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this again. Good job Lagunitas.


 1,095 characters

Photo of TrevorGW
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this the other night. I didn't even realize it was a Holiday beer until I read the ridiculous prose on the bottom of the six pack case. A bit verbose, Lagunitas! But I forgive ye, for ye maketh delicious hoppy beers.

Pours a transparent crimson amber color with a one and a half finger head that is respectably retained. Lacing is sparse.

Smells of bright and fresh Willamette hops with a sharp maple coming through shortly after.

Interesting and entertaining taste. It first hits you with a hop explosion which quickly fades into a splash of bready sweetness (cranberry muffin comes to mind). Yum yum.

Full-bodied all the way, without being syrupy or chewy.

Dangerous at nearly 10% ABV. I drank this down pretty quickly and felt the buzz.

You have got to try this beer. I was happy to find it in a sixer for only $10.

 849 characters

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

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

A - Deep copper color with a two fingered head nice retention and ample lacing.

S - loads of of sweet malt, clove, vanilla and a little pine. strong hop scent.

T - Sweeter than I normally like, but makes a nice change of pace. Full flavored, brown sugar and hop prominent, bitter hoppiness. Vanilla, a little spiciness and boozy finish.

M - Full bodied with a good degree of carbonation and sticky sweetness left on the tongue slightly cloying.

D- Very tasty strong ale if you're only having one. Otherwise it's on the sweet side and, oddly for a strong ale...strong alcohol. Great to warm on any cold night.


 682 characters

Photo of AylwinForbes
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dulcie picked this up at Wholefoods. Being big fans of the Lagunitas we are interested in trying new things. That said, I was a little circumspect about drinking a beer that seemed to speak of sweetness in the name. The 10% alcohol level was certainly a compensating factor; but actually it was a revelation in the glass. It poured a clear coppery teak colour with very little carbonation; the nose was redolent of molasses, but in the mouth you have an interesting tension between the bitterness of hop and the residual sugar. The key is, it wasn't sweet at all, but beguilingly smooth and syrupy with some caramel butterscotch notes. In an inexperienced hand it could be extremely dangerous: hugely drinkable. A top five find for us.

 735 characters

Photo of blindtiger24
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy copper with good carbonation. Great lacing on the sides of the glass from the sticky head.

S: Dank, woodsy hops jump right off the first pour. Smells like many other Lagunitas IPA varieties.

T: Big, tangy, sticky, citrus and pine hop flavors. Definitely some biscuity, bready notes as well. Melds with a nice, sugary, malt, candied nut flavor at the end.

M: Boozy, warming, sticky from those hop oils and lip smacking malt sweetness.

O: An enjoyable beer, but I would prefer a little less intensity of the hop flavors in favor of more malt or spice complexity. Overall, enjoyable, but seems more a true IPA our double IPA than a strong ale.

 665 characters

Photo of ggroller
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received from Callenak in HBIF3

A great looking beer in the glass. Murky brown beer with a rich and creamy tan head. Plenty of lacing although the head does dissipate to almost nothing as I drink.

Smells and tastes like brown sugar. No, really. It does. Notes of sherry, vanilla, and bourbon as it warms.

Rich mouthfeel. Smooth and creamy and a bit chewy.

A fairly drinkable beer although it does get a bit hot as it warms.

 435 characters

Photo of hotpauko
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Typical Lagunitas style beer which means well made. This is a sweet beer so be prepared. High ABV noticeable but blends well. Recommend letting it sit to room temp which improves smooth mouth feel. Strong caramel alcohol laced aroma. The sweet alcohol taste takes over the malt and hops, but not too hoppy. Two stage beer. First the overall beer flavors followed by heavy "brown shugga" that lingers in the back of the mouth and tongue.

 436 characters

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 Duane_Opfer
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with no date. Poured into a pint glass. Consumed on 12/08/13. Review written from notes.

A - Brownish red with a finger of dense small bubble, off-white head. Mostly transparent with moderate carbonation. Head lasts. Distinct bands of carbonation.

S - Not very fragrant. Citrus hops and caramel malts.

T - Clearly a strong ale, but sweet... brown sugar does come through. Almost completely masks ABV. Malt flavors are forward. Some hoppy critrus flavors.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Dry and sticky, likely from the sugars.

O - Despite a lower scoring, very enjoyable and very easy to drink, in fact too easy to drink considering the high ABV.

 676 characters

Photo of OrangeMen
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- Bright amber, orangish hues, glistens when held to light, very transparent and clean. Pours two finger thick, soapy/bubbly white head. Sticky lacing on sides of glass.
Aroma- Sweet sugary malts, slighty toasty, rich. Bright pine, sweet citrus hops, slightly floral, sweet and sticky bitterness.
Taste- Bright and fruity bitter hop profile, piney, citrus oranges, and slight pineapple. Rich underbelly of sweet and sugary malts, toasty/bready. Finishes with a wonderful balance of sweet and bitter.
Mouthfeel- Lighter to medium mouthfeel, very sticky and slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation.
Overall- Wonderful balance to this beer, sweet sugary malts and bitter hops. A rather good marriage than a contrast of styles, both aspects blend well together. A very sticky feel, bright and fruity.

 804 characters

Photo of cadenwhitaker
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A sweet Two Hearted? That's what I first thought of while drinking. At first the citrus really threw me off, I was expecting something more Nutty. Halfway through the glass I got more of the sugga' (if that's what they call it) and by the finish I could feel the alcohol and less of the citrus that boned me in the beginning.

 333 characters

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

Poured 12 oz into NB globe. No freshness date that I could see.

Red-orange amber color with a thin head that leaves spotty lace. Rings within the creamy head simmer around the glass.

Malty sugar balances a hoppy tone that finishes with a little yeast. Can not detect hardly any alcohol in the nose. Big malty flavor with earthy, sweet notes and a touch of peppery spice. The sweetness ensues but not too much at all.

Medium-heavy bodied and slightly chewy. Nice carbonation, not too prickly yet less than syrupy.

This beer is well balanced in every facet. It is hard to believe that this is 9.99%, it could certainly sneak up on you. It really reminds of a Belgian Strong PA. The sugar makes it different but is not overdone. An excellent value here.

 757 characters

Photo of Duttonic
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes 12/21/10. Had on-tap at the Dancing Bear. Served in a Victory Golden Monkey snifter.

A- Brownish-red/amber, hazy, one finger off-white head, nice lacing.

S- Cherries, cranberries, faint brown sugar.

T/M- Silky, carbonated tinge(like champagne), slightly bitter finish.

D- Awesome. I could drink a lot of this. The alcohol is integrated very well. Great texture, nice finish, extremely well balanced from start to finish.

 435 characters

Photo of BobJude
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ok, I had my 2nd one tonight and truly appreciated this beer. I am not sure what an American Strong Ale is, but to me, this was a very good double IPA with a great sweet undertone that really balanced the hop bitterness and flavor.

 232 characters

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

A: Amber in color with a thumb of thin white head.

S: It smells like an American IPA, very floral and citrusy. Really it smells like every other beer they produce.

T: I don't taste anything that could be brown sugar, mostly a light caramel flavor being overpowered by hops. The hops go through a wide range of citrus and floral flavors changing as the beer warms.

M: Medium body, the bitterness lingers quite long.

D: I was hoping for something more sweet with less of that very common American IPA flavor. It is a good beer other than that, just not what I was looking for.

 578 characters

Photo of BurpingtonDC
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into an imperial pint glass. It's no secret that Laguinitas makes a mighty fine ale, so without further adieu...

A - This is a beautiful brew indeed. Deep copper color with a three fingered head and ample lacing.

S - great smell, hints of sweet malt, clove, vanilla and a little pine. strong hop scent.

T - Sweeter than I normally like, but makes a nice change of pace. Full flavored, brown sugar and hop interplay--sweet at the fore then finishes with a prominent bitter hoppiness. Vanilla, a little spiciness and boozy finish.

M - Full bodied with a good degree of carbonation and sticky sweetness left on the tongue.

D- Very tasty strong ale if you're only having one. Otherwise it's on the sweet side and, oddly for a strong ale...strong alcohol. Great on a cold winter night.

 807 characters

Photo of bhyndthebottle
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Always a nice beer from Lagunitas. Taste follows the smell of rich caramel malts and citrus hops. Finish has a nice spicy kick that finishes rather clean and dry. Good n' hoppy!

 177 characters

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,471 ratings.