Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "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.

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,504 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,504
Hads: 5,302
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 268
Gots: 1,090 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,504 | Hads: 5,302
Photo of therobot
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
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 uberabr
4.44/5  rDev +11%
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 +7.5%
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 +6.7%
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 tconboy
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
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 kshizzle101
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
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 Marty
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
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 fps_dean
4.39/5  rDev +9.7%
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 WrathsU
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
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 hossua34
4.8/5  rDev +20%
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 -13.3%
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.

Cheers,
Scott

 670 characters

Photo of Scrylol
3.34/5  rDev -16.5%
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 +6.3%
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%
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 +13.3%
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

Photo of blackenmn
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into the usual goblet:

Appearance and Smell:Poured a brown copper with a 1/4" head after an aggressive pour which disspipated quickly but yet a nice haze and a bit of the head sticking to the edge of the glass. It smelled alot hoppier than expected a bottle labeled brown shugga. Smelled of strong floral hops, grapefruit, orange peel, and a bit of roasty caramel sweetness hiding in there.

Taste and Mouthfeel:Tasted of pine, grapefruit, caramel and an extremly sweet sugar like note which is probably the name sake flavor of this brew. Felt pretty sticky and oily in the mouth. Much different than expected but really not in a bad way. Sweetness came out quite a bit as it warmed, great finish. A bit more complexity than expected, some definite similarities in this and Lagunitas Maximus brew.

Drinkability:I've been fairly impressed with most Lagunitas brews I've found. The way the hops are delivered through them are right up my alley. I'd probably have another one of these down the road. Pleasantly suprised with this one considering I was expecting some overly sweetened novelty brown sugar loaded brew. I'd definitely like to enjoy a bomber of this thing some time again.

 1,210 characters

Photo of PeterParker
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark copper with a thick white head. Large bubbles throughout.

Smells like an IPA. I thought this was a barley wine, definitely doesn't look or smell like one. Piney hops, malty backbone, and a bit of caramel.

Definitely an IPA. Piney and dank hops. Grapefruit, lots of bitterness, a buttery and sweet malt backbone as well.

Good carbonation and medium body. Aftertaste lingers for a while. Really no alcohol in taste or feel.

Pretty good, not sure what to make of it. Tastes like an IPA, but slightly different. Hard to put my finger on it.

 563 characters

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

12 oz bottle: Nice sweet malt aroma, definite big hop characteristic as well, maybe some brown sugar scent but subtle. Appearance is amber/red with a thin tan head. Taste has definitely got some caramel malt in this, citrus hops, sweet, and alcohol is present on the back end. Palate is somewhat sweet on the lips, very tongue coating, and aftertaste has a lingering caramel maltiness and a bit of alcohol. Overall, it's good but not great kind of like most of the Lugunitas that I've had. Maybe it's too young. Will check back on this one in a year.

 550 characters

Photo of RickKrumenacker
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel in color...one-finger head that dissipated a little quickly, but leaves a thin ring around the top...pretty good lacing throughout

S - Sweet, sugary smell...smells a lot like a barleywine...some piney hops come through as well

T - Nice hoppy bitterness hits you right away...gives way to a barleywine-like sweetness...alcohol comes through, but isn't overpowering

M - Really coats the mouth...almost a little too sweet, but the hoppy bitterness balances things out

D - Very nice...not one that you can drink a ton of, but something that I will definitely look for again

 586 characters

Photo of Darkhorse09
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on Tap at the Independent in Somerville, MA.

A: Reddish amber hue, with a lucious and creamy off white head. Really great lace, through most of the glass. It's color reminds me of the big bins of chestnuts you see in stores around christmas.

N: Great. Sweet, a little yeasty of brown sugar (obviously) and some nuts and perhaps some fruit. Smells kind of like liquor, the nose does not hide the high ABV well, but I like it. It works, especially with the mild sweetness and hoppy smells.

T: An aptly named beer. Brown sugar comes through, along with caramel malt. This upfront sweet taste is balanced by apricot and citrus hop flavors leaving a distinct bitter taste on the finish. Really interesting, not too powerful and delicious. Warming alcohol on the swallow. Really tasty.

M: Full body, adequte carbonation. Makes for a creamy, smooth, tight beer.

D: This beer is under control. Nothing extreme, but everything just right. I really enjoyed it.

 964 characters

Photo of Katahdin
2.16/5  rDev -46%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Wow something must have blown up here with the recipe. Not sure if they were going for a Barlewyine or an IPA but it definitely has the hoppiness of an IPA and the chewiness of a barleywine. The result ... a gnarly beer that fights with you every sip and refuses to go down easily. A rare misstep for Laguinitas but a misstep indeed.

 333 characters

Photo of lsiberian
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a beautiful clear reddish brown color with a powerful white foamy head that has staying power. The nose is flavor perfection with it's sweet, fruity, hoppy vapors, but the taste doesn't match the smell, appearance or body. It's a sweeter hoppy fest for sure, but comes up short of it's promise though further down the glass it does still make an outstanding beer overall.

This is a great seasonal Christmas beer One that is best for beer lovers especially IPA lovers looking for a sweet fix.

 507 characters

Photo of ANIMOUL
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Along with Anchor's yearly Christmas offering, I look forward to sipping this during the holidays. As the name suggests, brown sugar is the predominant note... along with alcohol. The copper brown color, coupled with the almost gritty-like aftertaste accentuates the brown-sugar sweetness. Probably best that its offered only as seasonal selection; since it screams of yule tide bliss, would seem awkward (i.e. depressing) enjoying this in January.

I tried to session this last year; bad idea. However, something to be slow-sipped and enjoyed during the frigid San Diego winter weather.

 588 characters

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass.

A: Clear caramel color with big off-white foam and long retention, leaving behind a great looking foam.

S: Hoppy , fruity and floral smell

T: Starts with nice maltiness, followed by the fruit taste, the bitterness comes toward the end. Piny stickiness in the aftertaste.

M: Medium mouthfeel, belies the almost 10 ABV

O: Very nice balance between tastes and aromatics.

 414 characters

Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle poured into tulip to celebrate my survival of another bike ride home on the icy sidewalks of Edmonton.

Pours a deep, slightly hazy copper-orange with half a finger of light khaki head that leaves under-construction city skyline lace as it recedes.

Smells of big caramel malt, stewed citrus fruit, tropical fruit, toast with brown sugar and a lot of perfumed, piney hops.

Tastes of spiced orange preserve, roasted caramel malt, raw brown sugar, raisin tarts and more bitter piney hops.

Feels big and sturdy. Full bodied with creamy and supportive carbonation. Finishes dry

Verdict: Highly recommended. It won't tickle your sweet tooth, though.

 663 characters

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,504 ratings.