Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe now →

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,446 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,446
Hads: 5,031
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 21.05%
Wants: 243
Gots: 884 | 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: 1,446 | Hads: 5,031
Photo of tjkurz
2.84/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served out of bottle in pint glass. Nice but lighter brown was expecting darker - a few fingers of head that held nicely. Smelled boozey and hoppy for a brown. I was expecting at least a hint of brown sugar and a lot more maltiness. Felt decently carbonated but not too much so, great mouthfeel when warmer. Tasted boozey and hoppy for a brown. Drinkability - I really hadn't read the abv, a little boozey for me.

 413 characters

Photo of jman42
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

A = Crystal clear copper color. The head was moderate but the lacing is still sitting at the top of my glass even though it is half gone.

S = Sweet and malty

T = Definitely taste the alcohol in this. One of those beers that I didn't realize it was 9.9% until I took a taste. Taste the sweetness of the brown sugar too.

M = Smooth on my tongue. Combination of a lingering malty and bitterness taste after I swallow.

O = A nice beer to age probably. A great beer to have on a cold Autumn/Winter night after a hard day of fun. Pour into a snifter and drink in front of the fire.

 585 characters

Photo of theBubba
2.15/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nice head that lasts, nice amber color, nice lace afterwards.

Smell? Hops! Anyone who says "Smells like oatmeal with butter" is eating some pretty strange oatmeal or maybe good oatmeal on another planet. Beam me up Scotty.

Taste? Hops.

Mouthfeel? Okay if yer brain can filter out the hops.

Overall this beer doesn't do it for me. I've still got that shitty bitter hop taste in my mouth. Gotta go and brush up. I suppose I was mislead by the label. I expected something more of sweet malts and less hops. But of course I should have known better. West coast beers= HOPS. I guess I slipped up.

 595 characters

Photo of MostlyNorwegian
3.37/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown Shugga is dry. The raw cane sugar dries this beer right up so It has some boozy notes up top. A little raisiny and caramel in the sniffer with a bit of the hops in there too. This is the first one, and hey my guy didn't have any in the cooler and I am drinking it out of the bag at ambient temperature. I want slices of cured meat and pickled things with it at this threshold.
Very minimal lacing, if any with very very slight bubbling disruption on the surface with a quickly receding head.
Served it in a (red) wine glass. Handsome appearance. A slow motion beer. Not one for the quaffer. One to linger over while things get into the off ramp of life.

 661 characters

Photo of CRichardsMN
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy amber brown with floaties (my bad, poured out the whole bottle). There is no head and just a ring of white around the edge of the glass which leaves spotty residue. Pretty dense looking brew.

Has a tart, sweet, mildly hoppy nose with a thrust of caramelized malts. Light whiff of alcohol.

Very interesting. Nice full body of caramelized malts and a bite of citrusy hops up front. After that, all bets are off with a very sweet molasses (brown sugar, duh) and some strong alcohol roll around. Finishes warm and slightly bitter.

Heavier carbonation than is expected from the appearance but still a medium to medium-heavy body. Finishes only a little dry.

Had a sample 1/4oz taster a the liquor store and didn't think I liked this one. Turns out, if poured into a real glass and allowed to breathe a little, this is a pretty good beer. Not for quantity (9.84% ABV) but to sit and think about.

Another surprise brew and this time for the positive. Nice!

 1,030 characters

Photo of Tifore
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Tremont Tap House. Poured into a small tasteing glass.

A - Light brown in color, almost maple syrupy looking. Clear with no haze at all. Looks refreshing. Has a small one finger head on it that has pretty good retention. Small lacing on the glass after I finish.

S - Smells of sweet malts and molasses with loads of citrusy hops backing it up. Some smokey and roasted malts are also present. A nice balance of hops and malts. The IBU's definitely suprise me here because at 50 or so, it smells like theres way more.

T - Taste is very hop forward. Loads of piney and citrusy hops with some spicey and sweet tones as well. A all around great ale, the 10% alcohol isn't present in the mouth at all.

M - Mouthfeel is medium with a big bitter finish due to the hops.

D - A nice all around great ale from Lagunitas. Very balance and tasty. I'd get this again for sure.

 878 characters

Photo of boogyman
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a very clear amber color with a thin head that dissipates leaving some bubbles to gaze at. Bubbles coming up from the bottom is cool too. After a few gulps, the lacing shows itself as being quite decent and sticky.

S- Smells pretty sweet and you can tell of the brown sugar to come. Also some dark fruits in there that promise this beer to be pretty tasty.

T- Oh man what a awesome burst of tastes. Starts with some dark fruits and some brown sugar and then a bit of hops and a bitter bite. Boozyness comes on and is not too strong but very warming going down.

M- Very smooth! Its quite nice going down. Even though there is a noticeable boozyness to this brew, it doesn't have any burn going down.

D- Easily able to consume a 12oz bottle and I wouldn't have an issue putting down a 22oz bomber or even 2 or 3 12oz bottles. I can see this going pretty good with the upcoming thanksgiving dinner.

 908 characters

Photo of Bizz88
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear brown mahogany with a thin off white head but laced well the entire glass. A sugar malty sweet aroma with a hint of molasses. Sweet malty burnt carmel on the tongue with a slight hoppy finish. Medium body with nice carbonation. Very drinkable

 257 characters

Photo of therobot
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Rich amber color

S: Sharp smell, citrus and sweet with a trace of booziness

T: Has a mild bitterness up-front and a nice sweet after-taste can definitely taste the sugar

M: mildly thick and moderately carbonated

D: I would give it pretty good marks on drink-ability, a little sweet for my taste.

Overall I liked it, as I seem to with all of Lagunitas offerings I have tried. Less than most, but it grew on me as I finished the bottle.

 445 characters

Photo of bassboneman
3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer, despite its ABV, pours a little lighter in appearance than you'd think.
It is VERY drinkable, which could be a dangerous thing, again considering the ABV!
Unlike beers like HopRod where you can clearly discern the alcohol finish - this beer does not seem to have that!
I hope y'all enjoy this beer as much as I do!
Up yours!

 336 characters

Photo of uberabr
4.44/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Legend has it that Lagunitas pulled this one out of their hats as a last-ditch effort to salvage a dying batch of fermenting ale. “Why not add Brown sugar?” The rest is history. I’m not sure if I believe it, but it’s a nice story, and a pleasant beer.

A: Poured from the 22 into a Belgian abbey glass. Definitely unconventional. A rosy, brown color with little to no head but some lace.

S: This brew was described to me as the perfect mix of hops and malt. I didn't notice it at first, but there is definitely a very subtle but notable woodsy, even minty pine hop, which delicately masks a floral, orange malt backbone. Although it seems more serindipidous than intentional, it's very charming, and unique. Smells strongly of apples, and…duh…sugar. There are some more subtle fruity and citrusy notes; a little plum, some bananas, caramel and maple syrup.

T: Taste is pleasant, almost like a Dubbel. Sugary with a twist of orange and some caramel apples. Almost no alcohol is present at all, although I can definitely feel it. A definite but subtle malt. Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel is good. A little parched, but an adequate body and good carbonation. Drinkability is perhaps the most notable part of this brew. Can’t taste the booze. Simple, trashy, and lovely.

 1,281 characters

Photo of beerfairy
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pourd from a 12oz. bottle

9.9% ABV and a real good taste make for a dangerous concotion....awesome!

A: Pours a nice amber hue with a creamy head that dissipates quickly. Slight lacing, not much.

S: You can smell the hops and fruity prune kind of odor with a sweetness.

T: The hops grabs you at first but doesn't last which is interesting. For a 9.9% beer you can't notice the alcohol.

M: A bit of carbination and a slickness that coats the throat as it goes down.

D: This is a real good beer. I could drink quite a few, with the ABV being high, not sure I could drink a lot....oh, yes I could.

 603 characters

Photo of JK4Stout
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in tulip glass.
A- This deep caramel colored ale is gorgeous to look at. Part of me just wanted to let it sit and bubble for a while...part of me, but the drunk in me overtook that.
S- Here is where it is the big winner. This is obviously a sweet smelling, tasting, looking, etc beer. But the aroma given off by this brew makes me think of carnival food for some reason. It is simply a very warm happy swell. Not a lot of hops aroma, but there is plenty there.
T- Love this part! This beer is really smooth for 9.9%apv The sweetness isn't sickening or overpowering like many sweet beers can be, and there is a great little spice on the end.
M- Medium to large, not too much, but it certainly makes it's presence known.
D- This is one fine beer. I mean, I wouldn't expect to down a full 6er while watching a football game, but it certain makes for a nice after dinner beverage...or a before dinner beverage...or an after breakfast beverage...you get the point. It ain't bad, folks.

 987 characters

Photo of kshizzle101
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

120z bottle poured into a pint glass

A - Slightly hazy red in color. 2 inch head and thick lacing down the side of the glass.

S - Sweet malts, pine hops, and booze

T - Strong pine hops and fruity undertones, backed by sweet and biscuity malts. Aftertaste is a little spice and some burn from the booze

M - Very heavy, but exactly what this kind of beer should be. Perfectly carbonated.

Overall - I prefer the 2010 version of this beer but 2012 does not disappoint. If you love bold, in your face beers, 2012 Brown Shugga is a must try. I bought 12 the other day and plan on aging at least 3 of them.

 604 characters

Photo of kjlcm
3.39/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tried this one and while I like it I am not sure I can recommend. At 9.9% it is definitely a strong ale and I could not imagine drinking more than one of these at a sitting The brown sugar is quite pronounced from smell through taste. Along with the the hops and the strong malt backbone it is an interesting contrast. Ok, I will recommend!

 340 characters

Photo of Marty
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep amber, with a good-sized, foamy head. Initially, its smell was much more prominent, almost floral. You can smell the brown shugga' in there.

Nice and malty tasting, but not unbalanced. This beer's hoppy, but the hops aren't the main attraction. It's the molasses!

This label declares this ale to be an experiment. As far as I can tell, the data shows that this beer rocks.

 401 characters

Photo of tconboy
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden reddish brown with a nice head and thick clumpy lacing. Smells of sweet dry honey and a nice little balance of smoothness and bitterness from the hops. The strong ABV hidden well. Definitely an enjoyable beer, would likely get another if available, but not going out of my way to track this down.

 317 characters

Photo of WrathsU
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Murky red brilliantly clear body with a light khaki head. The head simmers down into a thin outer wisp and the lacing is amazing.

S - Hops foremost. I get floral aromas and a really clean bright smell. I detect a bit of fuselage alcohol but I guess that is to be expected in a 10% beer. Maybe I smell just the tiniest hint of caramelization which could be brown sugar. I'd expect more from a beer named 'Brown Shugga'.

T - Pleasantly sweet and hoppy tastes up front. More caramel flavor than smell is obviously apparent here. The hoppy tastes of floral and sweetness really give it a sweet taste but the firm bitterness helps cut it back so it is quite palatable. Again, I can't specifically place a brown sugar taste, but there is some big caramel taste. A slight boozy note in the finish, but surprisingly hidden well.

M - Medium to heavy-medium bodied. Perfect carbonation levels, slight fuselage burning sensation.

O - A delightfully decadent treat from Lagunitas. I was imagining that there would be more brown sugar detectable throughout the beer, but it was lacking. The beer is wonderful, and superbly drinkable, so even without a big brown sugar presence this is still one to seek out and grab.

 1,214 characters

Photo of fps_dean
4.39/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear brown with moderate head that dissipates rather quickly, leaving a solid ring of lacing around my glass.

Spells of caramel, brown sugar and molasses with a hint of piney hops. Not unpleasant, but doesn't smell like anything to get excited about as the smell itself is rather mild.

Tastes much like it smells, but the hops are much more prominent. There's also a hint of citrus and pine as well. The taste is much, much bolder than the smell and in a good way too.

Medium bodied, and moderate to heavily carbonated.

Overall, a very solid brew and the best seasonal brew I've had this year, and may just be the best winter brew I've had to date. Would definitely buy again.

 690 characters

Photo of hossua34
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a rich, hearty reddish-brown. Reminds me of fall leaves. A moderate sized head the color of brown sugar (no surprise) lingers a long time as a layer of foamy bubbles. Sticky lacing lingers on the glass.

S - This is seriously the best-smelling beer I have ever come across. A candied, caramellized hops note comes on strong, with a background of berries, spices and brown sugar. Deliciously complex with a smooth, sweet citrus finish. I know this is my second cheesy, poetic statement of this review, but for some reason I immediately thought of Christmas. I really did.

T - Oh my god I want to make love to this beer. The first taste is of candied, citrusy hops, tart but perfectly balanced out by the sweet brown sugary finish. An warm aftertaste of alcohol, sugar and cranberries. Delicous, complex, unique... what else is there to say?

M - This is the only place where I can really dock this beer any points. The high alcohol content, while it doesn't ruin the taste, gives it a hot feeling in the mouth and throat. The thickness is a little much, as well - bordering on syrupy. Relatively minor flaws, however, given the beer overall.

D - Never have I so happily sipped down a 12 oz. glass of beer over a 45 minute period. This has to be my #1 pick for a winter/Christmas beer, even though I don't believe it's marketed as a holiday ale. Just smelling and looking at this beer had me rambling on about the changing seasons and Christmas... enough said. I bought a single bottle of this as part of a $9.99 pick-your-own six pack; if I'd known then what I know now, I'd have taken out six of these and happily marched up to the counter.

In short, it makes Arrogant Bastard look like liquified dog sh*t - buy it on sight.

 1,737 characters

Photo of shertz
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Pint glass. No date.

A- Golden orange with little head. Many small bubbles gladly rising to the top. Lacing throughout during drinking.

S- Sweet, umm...let me guess, brown sugar? Hint of alcohol with some hops thrown in.Nice.

T- Surprisingly very hoppy. Not as sweet as I suspected. Alcohol comes out pretty strong after a couple of sips.

M- Thin and carbonated. Again, I thought it would be a little more thicker with the sugar.

D- With the high alcohol, this wouldn't make a very good sessions beer. However, the alcohol isn't as profound as one may suspect for a 9.9. Very decent brew. Would drink again.


 670 characters

Photo of Scrylol
3.34/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one finger fluffy white head. Copper colored body, seems a bit hazy. Not bad.

Tropical fruit aromas, citrus, zest, and lemon as well. Slight malty sweetness note to it. Can smell some alcohol as well.

Bitter hop flavors with tons of citrus and zest on the tongue. Followed by strong alcohol notes. Slight caramel malty sweetness to it. Leaves a dry, bready aftertaste with hints of alcohol. Pretty low alcohol burn despite the amount I can taste.

Medium body, decent carbonation. Feels creamy and goes down smooth.

Decent strong ale, but I didn't find much brown sugar in it. Bit too hoppy in terms of balance, and unfortunately was able to taste quite a bit of alcohol (though it's not that bad).

 709 characters

Photo of kerklein2
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter. No date on the bottle

A- A nice dark golden amber with a small head and good lacing.

S- Woah. What do you know? Smells like brown sugar. A classic, brown sugar, malty sweetness aroma.

T- You wouldn't know it from the aroma, but this beer is really well balanced. Lot's of brown sugar, malty sweetness, and caramel flavors but they are backed up with solid bitterness. Not much taste or aroma from the hops though. This bottle is a few months old, so maybe those tastes/aromas have dissipated, but I think it ages well nonetheless. Didn't notice it until a minute after my last sip, but there is some slight alcohol burn, but it's pleasant.

M- Very smooth, almost creamy. Perfect level of carbonation for the beer, and my RR glass kept it coming.

O- I would never guess this was 10% unless I sat and really thought about the beer in between sips like I am now. Great beer that I think I like more every time I try it.

 964 characters

Photo of chrisgn
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from a six pack.

A- amber in color, small head that dissipates leaving lacing on the top of the glass. Not much carbonation.

S- sweet malt aromas and surprisingly piney hop notes as well.

T- Delicious! Sweet and malty with a good amount of hop character in there as well....a nicely balanced beer. Expected it to be sweeter.

M- Full bodied and rich. Truly exceptional.

D- This drinks like a 5% beer. the high alcohol goes unnoticed. It would be easy over do this brew on a cold fall night.

Lagunitas is quickly becoming my favorite brewery. Everything I have had is fantastic! If you see this or any other Lagunitas beer pick it up and enjoy.

 660 characters

Photo of JerUrbans
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours out a nice clear amber color, with light tan head. Smell is hoppy, a little earthy, and some citrus in the nose as well, very nice. Taste is just great! Sweet , with some dark fruit notes, blends well with the citrus and hops. Alcohol is really well hidden. I get a nice warming feeling all over my body as I drink this. Got really good body, and is smooth, yet sticky. Flavor lingers in my mouth a long long time.

Overall this is one of the top 5 beers I have had, would absolutely seek this beer out. We get very limited amount where I'm at, but was lucky enough to secure one case from my local.

 605 characters

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,446 ratings.