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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,470 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,470
Hads: 5,141
Avg: 4
pDev: 21%
Wants: 250
Gots: 969 | 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: 1,470 | Hads: 5,141
Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this ale courtesy of shertz, poured chilled into my Great lakes christmas glass.

A - Garnet w/ a good deal of clarity. A thick rocky beige head. The lace is quick to collect and has a fine bead.

S - Like a pine cone with a very sap filled odor-lots of resinous hops. The scent has subtle golden delicious notes w/ a hint of tropical fruits, potent nectar.

The texture is smooth w/ an intense sweetness and full but balanced carbonation w/ the hops acidity trailing.the feel is like candy with a hop filled center. The sweetness lingers long after the ale has been swallowed.

T - almost like a sugar cookie w/ a subtle molasses and brisk balanced hoppy pine flavor which is angular jutting out of the crystal malt and a relatively strong alcohol note parallels this taste. The brown sugar gives the taste an intense caramel flavor like candy corn with a hop bitterness, it is both flavorful and balanced for a strong ale which not an ordinary trait.

D - A great ale- I enjoy it immensely, it was a pleasant nightcap for me. I could possibly handle a couple or a bomber but on this night one was plenty which is my reasoning for only above average here. This is not a boring beer - Brown Shugga: "how come you taste so good?"

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Photo of Jason
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, no freshness date but I think the 9.9% abv give it an extended shelf life with out a doubt.

A- Big fluffy off white head, good stickage. Semi-hazy orange amber.

S- Thick layer of caramelized sugar, toasted malt and a mild oily hop. Fruity esters in the back

T- Lots of malt on the palate, nothing too sweet but a very blended toasted and caramel character. This is intensified by the residual brown sugar though there is enough hops to keep the sweetness in check. Faint vanilla and fruity ester, touch of oily hop on the palate as well.

M- Thick semi-chewy body, very smooth and creamy with a moderate carbonation.

D- Quite drinkable, where is the 9.9%?

Yet an other great example of what American craft beer is about ... sip and enjoy.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.93/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Clear, mahogany-amber pour, with a small beige head that retained well and left splotches of lacing on the glass. Muted caramel aroma, a touch of fruity hops. I really expected something different with this one, but instead got the same old typical, basic, dull Lagunitas flavor. Caramel malts, tree sap, pine and citrus hops, woody nutshells, stale alcohol notes, some off-flavors consistent with oxidation. About medium in body and carbonation. I'd probably never get this again. So many uninteresting beers from this brewery, and this one's no different.

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Photo of russpowell
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent amber/orange with 2 fingers of sand-colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Slight pine& herbal hops

T: Huge pine hops, cakeyness, & brown suggah up front. Earthy & grapefruit hops & some honey dryness follow as this warms. Finishes with subtle booze warmth, rough grapefruitty hops, a little caramel & yes, brown sugar, works for me!

MF: Chewy with low carbonation, but a little thin for the style

Drinks damn easy for the abv, an almost great take on the style

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

I have had this beer several times before and did a review, but I am doing another review because I feel the previous one was way too shallow.

Pours a clear but darker amber brown. Nice sized crème head. Nose is a nice slightly sweet toned hoppy thing. I feel like I am getting a whiff of sugar cane on there too. Flavor is a combination of firm ale qualities with an amount of brown sugar mixed in that takes it to the side a little bit to an interesting place. The ale tones here are so well done. A nice thick and meaty offering. Feel has a great carbonation to it and a good body as well. Very drinkable. I don't get any of that 9.9% alcohol as it goes down. Smooth and even. Another very good brew by Lagunitas.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/9/2012. Pours slightly hazy reddish orange color with a very nice 2 finger dense cream colored head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big pine, caramel, grapefruit, orange rind, apple, brown sugar, bread, toast, floral, grass, and herbal earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of grapefruit, orange zest, caramel, pine, apple, brown sugar, toast, bread, citrus rind, floral, grass, and herbal earthiness. Fair amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, light fruits, brown sugar, bread, toast, floral, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Great balance and complexity of flavors; with a great hop bitterness/malt balance; and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with hardly any warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent "experimental" Barley wine! Great flavor balance and complexity; and dangerously easy to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering as expected.

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

Appearance: Amber brown approach with a nice bulbous tan head leaves awesome sparatic lacing with each sip. Aroma: Vinous hops with caramel sugar slightly burn nose this beer is awesome, full malty approach to this old ale. Taste: Great amount of hops sugary with hops piney, earthy, citric tones this is a great old ale very nice brew can't be beat in my opinion. I want some of that Brown Sugga' baby, gives me sweet loving sweet sugary malt ridden flavor makes me want to have more of this brew. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied old ale from this brew I know what's coming my way complex flavors galore. Drinkability: Wow, how can you do this to common folk alot of flavor that most people aren't ready for however hallelejuah for this example of a kick ass old ale.

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Photo of chinchill
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

coded but undated 12oz 2012 bottle.
Deep amber color with large and sudsy tan head. The head is moderately durable and leaves lots of sticky lacing.

Aroma: rich and surprisingly hoppy; West Coast IPA hoppy, with mainly piney and earthy/herbal tones. The high ABV is partly apparent but in a rather attractive way suggestive of rum barrel aging.

T: Excellent bitter-sweet flavor with well proportioned sweet malts and aromatic hops, leaving a long lasting aftertaste. This brown "shugga" is not really sweet overall, but seems to have a brown sugar component.

M: Medium-full body with near perfect medium carbonation; a bit syrupy.

O: this exceptional ale should appeal to those would like barleywines, IPAs and brown ales and are willing to try a mix of all three. Good as this is, it is not quite up to the level of the replacement Lagunitas Sucks ale.

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Photo of smcolw
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light brown color, clear. Long-lasting head that leaves ample amount of lace on the glass.

Very low aromas--some molasses/candy sugar; no discernable hop

Caramel flavors--more sweet than bitter, but the hop is present and balances this beer just enough. Very full bodied. Good carbonation. The aftertaste brings out the hop. Interesting journey through the flavor profile.

Regardless of the complexity, this is an easy to drink beer. It is VERY deceptive given the alcohol content (9.9%!!). I could not note the usual oiliness or aftertaste of alcohol. Drink this one with some caution.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - It has a dark amber color, also poured with a lot of carbonation and no head.

s - Smells sweet, almost fruity. Also smells a little like syrup

t - Tastes great; very sweet taste like sugar or molasses, also a little fruity.

m - Medium body, was not as carbonated as it looked.

d - I liked this one a lot. Can't believe it's over 9%. Could definitely drink a few of these taste-wise but might refrain due to the ABV. Definitely think it's worth checking out.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tawny kind of color,....a light caramel tone...

Rich, sweet malty nose....sweetness in the nose,

as well...brown sugar dominates anything...malty-riffic....lush brown flavy flavory...yummy, yum, yum...

rich, cocoa-tinged flavors, full, lush, very tasty...

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Photo of jwc215
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz, bottle

Pours deep reddish copper with a thin, well-retained head.

The smell is of brown sugar with a whiff of citrus.

The taste is of brown sugar. Malty but with a nice citric hop support coming through. At first, it's all about brown sugar and caramel, but the bitter hops emerge, though stay in the background, giving it a nice balance. The brown sugar runs throughout, but never gets too sweet.,Slight peppery alcohol.

The feel is rich and creamy.

The alcohol is well-masked. It's there, but I would have guessed around, or close to, 7%. A unique beer that is rich, well-balanced while remaining appropriately sweet. Nice Job!

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very lightly hazy deep copper to light golden amber in color with some orange highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a couple of spots that are a little thinner and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of caramel malts and caramel sweetness with moderate to strong aromas of citrus and pine hops. There are also some lighter notes of burnt sugar and maple.

T: Moderate to strong flavors of sweet caramel maltiness with a touch of burnt sugar and maple as well. Upfront this beer is quite sweet. That is followed by the aggressive flavors of the hops - citrus/grapefruit/orange and pine. Slightly more than moderate amounts of bitterness which linger but not for too long and some moderate amounts of alcohol taste (especially as the beer warms.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Some dryness and alcohol heat in the finish, especially as the beer warms up.

O: Not the easiest beer that I have ever drank but it is still enjoyable - I wish the alcohol was a little more well hidden and that the sweetness was not so shocking upfront and then fading quickly. Interesting mix of style with elements of a barleywine and a DIPA.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Latest release. Beer is brown and clear forms a thin white head but leaves very little lacing behind.

Aroma is overwhelmingly sweet. Smells like a strong barleywine.

Beer is medium to full bodied and completely sweet. I guess the name makes sense, since it tastes like sugar water. Drinkability is moderate and mouthfeel is fine. There is almost no bitterness I bet this beer is meant to sit on the shelf of some cellar for 10 years before its very drinkable. Yeah. That's what I think.

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

Had on tap at Mutiny Hall in Seattle.

A: A nice brown/mahogany color with a one finger khaki colored head on top. Nice head retention with solid lacing all around the glass.

S: Brown sugar, caramelized sugar, some light citrus fruit.

T: Similar to the aroma with a lot of brown sugar. The hops were a bit more prominent with some bolder citrus fruit, grapefruit mostly with a nice amount of pine as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Surprisingly smooth and easy to drink for ~10%.

O: Pleasantly surprised, though I shouldn't really be since Lagunitas makes some solid beer. Would drink again.

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

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a perfectly clear amber color with a finger of yellowish stained head. The cap fades back to just a thin film across the top. Some strings of patchy lace cling to the glass.

This is a malty smelling brew that includes a scent of brown sugar and an overall candied sweetness. Some character of floral hops and alcohol is in the back with a lightly herbal quality.

The taste of this brew is toasted malt with some residual sugar upfront that never gets too sweet because it is countered by herbal hops and alcohol. It leaves a long lingering aftertaste of herbal hops clinging inside the mouth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is well balanced and more enjoyable than I would have believed considering what some others have said about this brew being sickening sweet. For almost 10% abv the alcohol is hidden fairly well but not completely masked.

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Photo of tdm168
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark amber with a very large brownish, off white head that is dense and foamy; great retention

S - sugar, floral, citrus, cake batter, bread

T - caramel, sugar, bread, big citrusy hops, bitter finish, big warm alcohol in the finish

M - medium to full bodied, smooth, well carbonated, lots of alcohol

This is complex and delicious. The malt is sweet but approachable. The hops are forward but balanced and citrusy. The booze is there and slows down the drinkability. Overall, this is really a great beer. I'm glad they brought it back.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a sixer of this today. This is one of those common brews that I have still yet to try. Poured into a Hair of the Dog tulip because I am not as cool as drabmuh.

The beer has a beautiful appearance. Crystal clear and clean copper, like a brand new penny. The khaki colored head is frothy and dense, coating the glass with lacing.

The aroma bring smalt, alcohol, pine, resin, hops, caramels.

The flavor is big and bold. A strong ale indeed. Nice ratio of hops to malt. Though I know the hop character will fade with age, I am curious to see how well this ale might benefit from some time in the cellar. Sweetness throughout.

Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation. Sticky and resinous on the palate. Alcohol presence is there.

A full flavored beer. One in any given night is plenty for me. Good stuff.

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Photo of billab914
3.36/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Poured a dark brown, slightly red in color with a one finger white fluffy head. As I drank it the head faded but left pretty good lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is very piny with a little citrus and a moderate sweetness to it. it has a very interesting smell to it, I almost seem to get a sweet Worcestershire sauce aroma to it.

The taste is hoppy with a sugary sweet finish. It has some pine present along with some caramel malt, but the brown sugar seems to dominate the taste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is average, it's too sweet for it to be that drinkable. It was a decent tasting beer to have one of but it's a little too sweet and high in alcohol to have much of.

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

The beer pours a dark amber/red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice balanced aroma of malts and hops. It's warming to the nose, but also enticing with loads of hop smells. The malt aroma is composed of lots of pale malts and a wonderful array of specialty malts, which provide the "Brown Shugga" element. The taste is great. It has an incredibly smooth malty taste that weighs heavy on burnt toffee flavors. It goes down easy and finishes silky smooth with a nice hop blast that lingers. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a tremendous beer. It packs a bundle of flavor; a fine drinker.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12/26/04- Purchased at Piazza's Market in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12 oz bottle with no date, poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- Orange-amber cloudy pour with many floaters. Nice thick chunky head, but very little lacing to be found.

Smell- Sweet and sticky smell. Lots of sugary scents going on.

Taste- Sugar, sugar and sugar. Brown sugar, molasses, browines, chocolate a bit or raosted taste in the bitter hops.

Mouthfeel- Very chewy and bitter.

Drinkability- A bit too much on the sweetness scale to me. I like my barleywines, and this was decent, but it feels like I need to chase this with some jolly ranchers stix and some fun dip.

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Photo of Lare453
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz into a dfh glass

A copper, nice 1 inch head,

S pineapple, molasses, brown sugar, coconut, Vanilla, other light tropical fruits, caramel

T surprisingly light for a 10% beer. The beginning is a light and sweet tropical fruits, the middle is heavy in molasses and it fades back to heavy pineapple and light mango with a sharp hoppy bitterness and resin. The aftertaste is a sweet and resinous brown sugar and lasts a long long time.

M little more than thin, sharp, good carbonation.

O fair beer.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well, if this isn't par for the course these days. I had just opened this bottle and the phone rings and it's my mentor, Lew Bryson, asking me to come over to LNCBC to meet him and his wife for a beer. How could I refuse?

This one, in the menatime, poured with a huge, thick light-tan head with little retention, but plenty of lace. The nose is at once both intensely sweet and intensely hot with alcohol. Oooh. The mouthfeel was really thick and full, not creamy, just thick. A big sugary, alcohol presence on the tongue and on the finish. I really didn't get much out of this, other than alcohol and sweet and given the high alcohol content, I cannot recommend it for drinkability.

Off to meet Lew and his missus ...

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Photo of smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Brown Shugga has a clear body and lots of carbonation bubbles from the bottom and stuck to the side of the glass upon pour. It is red/brown in color and clear with a creamy head of four fingers. Big stickiness of lacing upon the glass and leaves a good sized puck upon the glass that doesn't go away.

Brown sugar front, light though, just like it says with some hidden malt, but truly a one trick pony on the nose. At least it's a good one! It's a caramelized brown/turbanado style sugar. Some very faint masked hops.

Taste is sugar goodness in a good way. Dominant sugar of brown throughout the palate, but manages to let in a Marzen style Octoberish malt taste as well with banana. A good solid but not too thick mouthfeel also and very hidden abv. Almost a rum character with the sugar upon taste as well.

This is a solid winner but for drinkability it's one of those beers I have to feel to be in the right mood for since it's a little one dimensional. Still a great beer!

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

on tap at the BTAH in NYC, Poured copper, nose of dried fruit and some caramel. More caramel and sweet notes of brown sugar and cookie dough. Yes, this is a fairly sweet barley wine. Some drying elements come in late and as it warms, Smooth, medium bodied brew. Some warming alcohol also present. Too sweet for me. When I ordered this one somebody asked if I had diabitis

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,470 ratings.