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:
5,374
Avg:
4
pDev:
21%
 
 
Wants:
276
Gots:
1,165
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: 5,374
Photo of dee4maine
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

what a great bargain Strong ale. drink it fresh or age it, either way one is in for a treat of caramel, malt, spiciness, tangerine hint, molasses. mouthfeel is very appropriate and makes the flavor linger.

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

Overall
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 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 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 mastodonj
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Has a large although short-lived head, light beige with huge lacing.
Exceptional nose, complex. Sweet but not cloying. Malty.
A warming taste with tart-sweet and adult flavors, read: bold alcohol but not astringent.
Overall, a great ale. Perfect for a cold evening.

 265 characters

Photo of Kudashov
1.9/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

22 oz Brown bottle poured in a pint glass .
we have Ian Brown on the Hi-Fi with some golf on the TV . Bottle has dog on label and cap and it looks like " Pete " from Our Gang . Aroma is instant as cap is taken off . My sense of smell is not that good but I could smell this before cap was put down . I smell raisins , sugar , & molasses . Like treacle bread . My first gulp is pleasant and nice lacing present on glass . Slick mouthfeel and sweet on the end . Just not sweet enough ( which I already am but ..) . I like sweet but this was not my type . This brew is not what I was looking for .

 595 characters

Photo of specksnreds
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass which revealed the beer's dark amber color. Not much head, and a velvety carbonation. Malt, malt, malt. Surprisingly little hoppiness, but I don't care. This malt bomb's ABV adds the right counter point. The booze isn't hidden, and it's upfront to say the least. A little sweet and heavy on the mouthfeel, and it lends this beer to sipping. Warms up nicely on the tongue. The malt wallop is quite heavy, but this one may benefit from some shelf time.

 475 characters

Photo of theBubba
2.15/5  rDev -46.3%
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 BabyBastard
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a great deep brown with slight reddish hues. Small tan head leaves nice laces around the glass. Looks delicious. Whiff pre-pour is surprisingly filled with hops, not so much after in the glass. Once in the glass, it's pretty much all sweet brown sugar in the nose. Taste on this is an almost overwhelming sweetness, nice malty backbone that has a slight hop bitterness lingering in the background. Feel is slick and oily. Not heavy at all for such a "big beer". Dangerously drinkable, especially if you happen to have a sweet tooth.

 538 characters

Photo of jlb307
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade from gorby10826 (Thanks, Mike). Not sure the age, but the label on my bottle looks different from the one on the picture above.

A: Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Amber color with a reddish hue. Only developed about a 1/4" head which didn't last long at all. Not much lacing, either. Looked like a little bit of sediment was present. Very nice looking.

S: Smelled like an aged IPA. Citrus and pine coming from the hops, but an underlying sweetness that compliments it a lot. Little bit of alcohol smell to it, but not a lot. Sugary to be sure.

T: Pretty much like it smells, so not very complex. Still tasted very good but was hoping for a little more. Don't get me wrong, this is a great tasting beer. Taste of caramel and vanilla hung around for a while. Little bit of alcohol twinge.

M: Could have been better. Was a little thin for my tastes when compared to the flavor.

D: Very good beer and dangerously easy to drink. That 9.5% hit me sooner than I thought. Would happily have it again, and hope to have it again soon.

 1,065 characters

Photo of mkh012
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look- Amber or burnt orange. A lasting, frothy head. Carbonation is visible. A good-looking brew.

Smell- Mainly a fruity hop character. Orange, tangerine, pineapple, tropical fruits. Not getting the brown sugar too much, but it's certainly a sweet aroma.

Taste/Feel- A bit disappointed here. Not a bad beer by any means but perhaps overly hopped. Does a "Brown Shugga" beer really need to be 51 IBU? It does more than balance here. In my opinion, it outshines. Growing on me a bit as I drink it, the more caramel, brown sugar notes becoming slightly more apparent, but hops are the real star here. The alcohol is well-hidden, but this is still a strong beer for a developed palate because the bitterness lingers. I guess I've been spoiled by Belgian beers lately that manage to have a much cleaner aftertaste at this ABV. Not as well-rounded as I had hoped.

Glad I tried it, but probably would not seek this one out again.

 926 characters

Photo of 11-52_4hops
4.36/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Caveat - just got done shoveling snow, so might be a bit of a pro-bold brew bias. So be it.
Clear copper color. Reasonable head with some lacing. Strong malt and hops nose. Taste is a pleasant assault of malt, brown sugar, and heavy. The sweetness and the bitterness work very well here. I really like this beer -- has me hoping for more snow so I can earn another couple. Bonus .25 for Lagunitas fun to read labels.

 417 characters

Photo of RexBanner
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%

Dark amber in appearance. Pillowy head that settles to a sticky ring leaving spider web like lacing on the glass.

Piney hop forward nose. Malt background, light maple syrup and whole wheat bread aromas.

Not as sweet as I thought it'd be. Malt body with a very, very light brown sugar taste. Everything is washed away by the piney, resiny hops.

Light to medium body. Lightly carbonated, finishes semi dry.

I must say I was a bit disappointed with this brew. Reading the reviews I imagined I was in for a unique malt forward, perfectly balanced strong ale. Instead I got something closer to an American barleywine. Overly hopped, out of balanced and one dimensional. One reviewer compared this to hairy eyeball. I disagree, as I feel that hairy eyeball is much more balanced and tastier than brown shugga. But as with everything else; if you've enjoyed this in the past then that's all that matters. Cheers!

 911 characters

Photo of Mickeyp2814
3.54/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

If you like beers with a high bitter factor this is for you. I was expect something totally different. I should have read the description. However I like this beer. It's definitely not a beer you drink after yard work or even one you simply chug. It's a beer to be appreciated. Take your time and enjoy the bitter and boozy notes.

 330 characters

Photo of Rezzin
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a pint glass. Brownish red with not much head to speak of.

S - Sweet, almost smells a little sour too. Malty. You smell the brown sugerness and just a tiny bit of hops.

T - Rich and sweet. Not bitter at all but you can taste the hops. Seemed a little bit sour to me but I drank this one almost at room temperature.

M - Smooth but in a light way. I know this thing is 9.9% ABV but it's masked fairly well. Alcohol kick.

D - This is the 2nd time I've had this from the bottle and it seemed much better the first time I had it. My judgement may be a little skewed since I drank it fairly warm. Not a bad beer. My first barelywine and definitely not the last.

 685 characters

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

Poured a dark golden/amber color with a 2 finger head. Nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma of pine, citrus and some sweetness.

Nice full flavor with citrus and pine up front followed by a good balanced sweetness. Finished with mix of bitter and sweet in the aftertaste.

Medium to full body, a little slick with good carbonation.

Overall this is a fantastic beer.

 362 characters

Photo of Lothar666
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Poured an opaque dark brown amber body with hints of orange around the edges of the glass. Head was bone white and very creamy, a full two fingers thick and displayed excellent retention. Lacing was thick, sticky and white and just as creamy as the head.

S- Candy and brown sugar with a bit of strong alcohol and something quite tart in the background... Caramel Apples perhaps?

T- Raw fermented brown sugars and strong alcohol dominate the pallet, over a backbone of sweet dark malts and dark bread. A bit more of the caramel apple in the background but quite muted compared to the odor- hops make their presence felt a bit in the finish but even they are subdued by the overwhelming sugar flavor. Drinking this reminds me of drinking chinese tea the way I used to as a kid- with half the glass filled with honey and brown sugar.

M- Thick, viscous and a bit sticky and chewy... The burn in the back of the throat is a cross between what one would expect from a strong barleywine and from drinking a straight glass of high fructose corn syrup. For some this would be unpleasant, but I am a sweets junkie as well as a beer geek so the two go together surprisingly well.

D- Surprisingly drinkable for such a sweet, sticky and strong brew, but my opinion may be a bit biased due to my predilection for sweets. Still, I think that this one would get tiring after the first was done and I would probably move on to something a but more tame. However, this one definitely succeeds at being a unique beer.

 1,505 characters

Photo of bradleyp
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks again to the Bier Stein for stocking this beer. Poured into a 6 oz. glass. Split with GF.

A: Light brown, very see-through.

S: Hops and malts blend exceptionally. Brown-sugar aroma is very pungent.

T: Very hoppy. I could also taste some sugar sweetness.

M: Went down very nicely. Not too spicy.

D: I would surely buy this again, and again, and again.

 363 characters

Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
3.64/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance
Dark brown with a copper hue
Smell
Malty, pine and fruit come off with some gusto
Taste
There was a malt/hop presence that came through a lot stronger than I expected- but it was welcome. For some reason I was expecting something different. But the flavor was bold and lingering as I’ve come to expect from Lagunitas
Overall
I have to give this one a try again, I may have had something else to clog my senses, but I wasn’t entirely impressed which was disappointing because I was quite looking forward to it. Hold on – I’ll be right back I’m going to go buy some more and re-edit this later icon smile Beer reviews

-BeerandWHiskeyHQ.com

 660 characters

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