1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brown Shugga' - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

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

3,604 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,604
Reviews: 1,294
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 124
Gots: 212 | FT: 13
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brown Shugga' Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,604 | Reviews: 1,294 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange amber with a moderate head that fades quickly. Smell is quite alcoholic and with strong aromas of honey, some apricot, malt, and faint hops. The taste is very warming and with carmelized brown sugar flavors balanced by lots of hops.Its just a little bit sweet, not at all overwhelmingly so. The alcohol is very well hidden. Absolutely delicious balance between sweet and bitter. Mouthfeel is full bodied but not thick. Not sticky. Good carbonation. Very drinkable- perilously so.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2007 01:46:27 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2010 02:51:59 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2007 21:30:47 | More by Wasatch
Photo of duceswild
duceswild

Maryland

4/5  rDev -0.5%

03-05-2014 04:19:23 | More by duceswild
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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...

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2005 00:15:00 | More by ppoitras
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2009 06:48:38 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of ejimhof
ejimhof

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

09-20-2013 00:37:19 | More by ejimhof
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2010 02:46:38 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

4/5  rDev -0.5%

12-29-2013 00:45:41 | More by BillRoth
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2010 23:30:42 | More by biegaman
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah

District of Columbia

3.98/5  rDev -1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2012 01:25:22 | More by Huhzubendah
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

3.5/5  rDev -12.9%

11-26-2012 02:25:49 | More by drewone
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2012 04:13:02 | More by superspak
Photo of brandoman63
brandoman63

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

11-21-2011 15:45:10 | More by brandoman63
Photo of Gonzoillini
Gonzoillini

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

11-27-2013 23:24:32 | More by Gonzoillini
Photo of rab53
rab53

Washington

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

12-02-2011 03:16:29 | More by rab53
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2006 23:59:04 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2008 23:21:53 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of smakawhat
smakawhat

Maryland

4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 00:44:13 | More by smakawhat
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2012 16:37:57 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear burgandy. Thick, dense off-white head. The froth coats the glass heavily as I drink. Aroma is sweet. Very sweet. Caramel sweet. And there's a whiff of alcohol as well. And some tropical fruits. Rummy alcohol notes are noticed up front on the palate. And the alcoholic bitterness lingers long after the sip. The flavor is pretty sweet, but not quite to the cloying extent. Sweet and alcoholic sum up this beer quite well. And there's some estery goodness in the mix as well. Passion fruit tones and such. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Decent enough, but not really noteworthy.

Here's a shout out to the LBB for the sample. Thanks bud.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2006 03:54:48 | More by Bighuge
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

What a pleasant beer. And talk about unique. . . if BA had a originality category, this would get a 5.

Pours out a reddish brown color. Beige head, about 5/8". Good lace. Aroma is sweet, like brown shugga!

The alcohol is extremely well hidden. You get a hop blast somehow, which I didn't expect in a beer with so much "brown shugga" in it. But it isn't over the top sweet that is a turn off. Had some bitterness to pair with it.

Easily Lagunitas's most original work. A great brewery, a real good beer.

Its not as good as Hop Stoopid or their Pale, but its in good company with all their others. . .

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 22:54:40 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reddish brown beer, not quite clear, topped by a short, light tan head. Fine bubbles formed some lacing, foam reduced quickly to a solid ring. Caramel, toffee, and grapefruit aromas hit the nose first, with notes of orange and alcohol becoming more apparent as it warmed. There were also some tropical fruit/fruit punch aromas as well. Solid bitterness with sweet toffee and grassy hops. Fruit character was much more restrained and was mostly citrus. Light molasses flavour towards the end, but it finished strongly bitter with a little alcohol warmth. Medium bodied, medium/low carbonation that resulted in a creamy texture. Some dryness. A decent beer, but the high bitterness doesn't really let the malt character show very well.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2007 23:35:45 | More by DrJay
Photo of tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2012 01:45:12 | More by tdm168
Photo of JohnGalt1
JohnGalt1

Idaho

4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit: I am reviewing the Brown Shugga as a Barleywine.. there is no way this is the same recipe as the last couple years.

Current batch 12oz.. picked up on Friday at Albertsons for $1.29 (they charged me the wrong price for sure).. poured into my Delirium tulip.

Good 2" head that leaves rings of lace atop a very clear cherry wood color brew.

Aroma is waay hoppier than I remember last years Brown Shugga.. piney hops are at the front and leave little room for much else.. but there is a big background of caramel malts ... this really reminds me of a PNW barleywine.

Flavor is an American barleywine.. Deep bitterness and solid caramel/toasted malt backbone with a nice pine hop flavor that melds well with fruity (fresh black cherry) yeasty flavors. Fairly thick body is expected with a nice prickly/yet creamy carbonation... long lingering hop and lite toffee finish.

Brown Shugga is a BW in '07/'08 .. Where's the Gnarleywine? I think I have a little left in my glass.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2008 08:59:13 | More by JohnGalt1
Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 3,604 ratings.