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Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

3,667 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,667
Reviews: 1,297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 141
Gots: 234 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 12-13-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,667 | Reviews: 1,297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of duceswild
4/5  rDev -0.5%

duceswild, Mar 05, 2014
Photo of DoubleJ
4.18/5  rDev +4%

On-tap at Shipmates. 16 ounces of strong beer, yikes! On to the beer:

Copper colored, has a little bit of head retention and leaves a little lacing. Whoa! Smell that. Humongous caramel glazed pineapples hitting the nose. Sugary like the name, also some toasted sugar. Like the aroma its flavor is a big burst of toasted brown sugar pineapples. The aftertaste leaves a slightly burnt sugar aftertaste. While the beer is intense, the alcohol is buried very well in this beer. At almost 10% ABV, it is very drinkable.

Keep them coming Lagunitas.

DoubleJ, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of jdhilt
4.58/5  rDev +13.9%

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Brown sugar nose. Medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Starts sweet but complex flavor, hops are here balancing the brown sugar and malts, the high ABV is not noticeable. Good beer to savor. $5.45 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

jdhilt, Jul 29, 2005
Photo of Zorro
4.22/5  rDev +5%

Pours a thick hazy reddish brown ale with barely a hint of a tan head. Looks a LOT like fresh motor oil going in to the glass.

Smell is lots of citrus hops with a hint of wood in the smell. The malt is almost an after thought here very light malt scents mostly honey and flower nectar with a faint scent of molasses. After this warms up the rum scents and flavors come out to be savored.

Taste is very hoppy with a lot of tropical fruit flavor in the first sip. In the first taste I detect pineapple, coconut and mango/pine. Powerful hops here and it really lubes your teeth with the hop oils. After about 3 sips the malts make themselves known, honey and brown sugar and some cookie dough. Very tasty I could see calling this a barley wine.

Mouthfeel is good but not as thick as the pour might have suggested.

A tasty sipper of a beer here which is quite mild to me but I am sure Hop exposure has thrown of my taste a little bit. Probably not the thing to serve a Budweiser drinker. I like it though.

Zorro, Nov 19, 2005
Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

ejimhof, Sep 20, 2013
Photo of BARFLYB
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%

12oz fresh bottle into a Stella Artois glass late at night by myself. It's been about two years since i've had this offering.

Deep rich amber with some copper and brown spots throughout. A steep pour yielded a nice somewhat frothy beige head that lasted for a bit before dying a horrible death. It eventually went around the glass but it left some window streak lacing which while not great, at least it's something for this strong ale.

Smelling funky fresh with a deep sweetness, could it be from brown shugga, yeah, i guess so. Big brown sugar with caramel/toffee and a bit of toasted malt. Just smelling this you can tell it's big and might be hiding something. Getting just a outline of dark fruit including some plum. The hops don't show up at least for me, but believe me, they are in there.

And the hops show up in true Lagunitas fashion mixing very well with this sweet brew. The malts win, but the hops make a good citrusy appearance. Shugga is malt forward with the sweetness that goes along with that and a big brown sugar taste. Caramel/toffee and just the faintest hint of roasted coffee in the background. Finishes sweet and somewhat fruity with mo brown shugga...

The body is big malty and sweet. I would say a good step above medium bodied. The alcohol is not present at all and that's a feat considering this is near 10%, Perhaps it's all that sweet sugar. No hotness what so ever. A nice hop feel with some small bitterness enhancing the feel on this. This is a fresh bottle, I believe that if the hops were not so charged, this would taste like shit. The hops are keeping this one together, drink up.

I thought this stuff was seven percent when I had it last. I think ten percent is a bit high for this sweet style of beer but Lagunitas pulls it off making this very easy to drink and not a chore. The sweetness while big is settled nicely by a nice west coast hop blasting. I drank it much faster than I thought I would.

BARFLYB, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

afsdan, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of superspak
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%

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.

superspak, Dec 17, 2012
Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +7%

Thanks goes out to jpm30 for this brew.

Pours a cloudy amber color, nice carbonation, small fizzy off-white head, which leaves some sticky lacing around. The nose is malty, hoppy, slight spicy, and lots of caramel. The taste is sweet, malty, some hops, slight spice, and a good dose of caramel. The alcohol is hidden well. Medium body, well rounded brew. Very drinkable, this is a good ASA, another great brew from Lagunitas, highly recommended.

Wasatch, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.98/5  rDev -1%

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.

Huhzubendah, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.1/5  rDev +2%

Lagunita's Brown Shugga' - Initially the recipe was intended to be a Barleywine, but they failed, and re-labeled the brew as Brown Shugga. It developed a following and is now an annual offering.

Appearance: Brown Shugga appears clear and brownish, with a good sized off white foam and lace work.

Smell: Piney hops and a hint of sweetness. At the onset, I was anticipating the taste. I would go as far to say that the aroma to this beer was excellent.

Taste: Caramelized brown sugar! Hops! Indeed, it falls flat as a Barleywine, but this is a finely crafted Strong American Brown Ale. A nice resinous piney hop presence with a strong malt backbone. Warming.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: A bit chewey in the mouthfeel, alcohol is big but not overstated here. A pretty delicious beer and I do plan to drink more of this.

Stinkypuss, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of Gonzoillini
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Gonzoillini, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of ppoitras
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

12oz bottle obtained as part of BIF XMas from wezil. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/8" tan head over the cloudy dark amber brew. Head fades to an uneven layer of bubbles pretty quickly, but exhibits average lacing. Aroma is whoa, all about sweetness and powerful alcohol. Taste actually throws me for a loop, showing sweet malts as expected, but then fruitiness, and nary a taste of the distracting ethanol-laden nose. Mouthfeel and drinkability are very nice for the style. For a slow start this one came on as the experience went on. Worth a try, almost too drinkable...

ppoitras, Mar 07, 2005
Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -0.5%

BillRoth, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.4/5  rDev +9.5%

A nice bright copper/burgundy pour. Hints of red and brown along the rim. Good head, dense foam with some clumping and lacing as it went down.
Aroma of malt and caramel. Hints of apricot and sugarcane. Hops and some dry pine are faint, towards the back.
Tastes rich in malt, but not overpowering. Some pumpkin pie spices are available but hard to find. Definite maple/brown sugar influence, but only if you think about it.
Smooth. Doesn't stick, seems kinda light. The alcohol sneaks up on you. I was feeling good.
The aftertaste is a bit much for me. Too sweet for my dry tastes.

Mebuzzard, Dec 06, 2006
Photo of mdaschaf
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%

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.

mdaschaf, Oct 27, 2012
Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

brandoman63, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev -0.5%

wrightst, Aug 14, 2014
Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Caramelly brown tones are smothering an otherwise luscious red colour, giving Brown Shugga' a distinguishing candy apple appearance. Although clear, bits of coagulated protein remain suspended. Its head, a rudely fashioned clump, is hardy only if properly summoned (some swirling is required to keep it roused). Lacing, however, will result.

This beer was born from a botched batch of the brewery's Olde GnarlyWine, a fact that came as no surprise to me because the two smell awfully similar, if not nearly identical. Knowing of its inclusion, I do note some brown sugar on top of the pineapple, coconut and cantaloupe that have festered in a simmer of heated caramel and toasted biscuit.

These style beers are already teeming with notes of sweet toffee and dark fruits, the brown sugar only enhances them. There is a rotating door of flavours; the instant one flavour falls out it is replaced by another. Plums, molasses, dates, cherry, cantaloupe, toffee, chocolate, apple crumble and, naturally, brown sugar. It is like a tootsie-roll doused in some honey-like nectar and then wrapped in a hard candy shell.

This is like a barleywine in all senses but one: drinkability. This beer belongs in a pint glass not a snifter. Go ahead, check with the alcohol, it won't say nothing. It is neither destructively bitter with its hoping nor sickeningly sweet with the malts (and cane sugar). They've really balanced the sweetness (and hidden the alcohol) well.

Brown Shugga' is as sweet and tantalizing as it sounds. Most beers of this style and strength drink with a callousing nerve and stiff backbone; this one melts over the palate with tender pulses and delicate jitter. If only everyone had as much reason to be proud of what they do as the people at Lagunitas Brewing... what a world that would be.

biegaman, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%

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!

smakawhat, Jan 23, 2011
Photo of rab53
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

rab53, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%

A: Poured a clear ruby-orange with a thin, cinnamon tan foamy layering that didn't stick around long. There was a slight rim lacing at best as it receded.

S: The nose was big and sweet with burnt molasses, maple syrup and sweet toffee which was followed by a lingering dried grapefruit hopping.

T: sweet up front with caramelized malt and dark molasses. There is a noticeable alcohol presence that sneaks in the middle of the palate as well some dried fruit (prunes), sugar plums, and raisins. The beer finishes out bitter with some dried grapefruit compliments of the Chinook hops.

M: sticky, dry, with a nice medium thick viscosity. Sweet, syrupy with a nice feel to it.

D: Very nicely done with a sweet start and bitter finish that compliment each other for a great overall experience. Alcohol was very well hidden for 9.0% and makes for a good drinkable beer, though comes off a tad sweet at times which may limit multiples.

beerthulhu, Jul 15, 2008
Photo of tdm168
4.1/5  rDev +2%

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.

tdm168, Oct 12, 2012
Photo of billab914
3.38/5  rDev -15.9%

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.

billab914, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of sendbeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

sendbeer, Nov 18, 2012
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,667 ratings.