Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,581 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
lagunitas.com

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 12-13-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,581
Ratings:
5,634
Avg:
4
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
296
Gots:
1,316
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,581 | Ratings: 5,634
Reviews by HavasuDG:
Photo of HavasuDG
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

More User Reviews:
Photo of OldRickSputin
4.8/5  rDev +20%

Had low expectations for this one. I like many Lagunitas beers...they're nice. But Brown Shugga is SUPER NICE!

This is damn close to perfection!

Wonderful looking medium amber color with a massive head that never completely disappears. The lacing left behind coats the glass from top to bottom.

The smell is deceiving, very pleasant. It definitely changes with temperature and as the head dissipates. Starts off smelling like cinnamon roll and After a few minutes, it's more like Hop Stoopid, which I really enjoy - Fresh pine & some grapefruit/citrusy notes.

First sip is so sweet and wonderful that it seems like it might actually be tough to drink the entire 12 ounces. But just as the smell changes, so does the taste (same transition).

The people at Lagunitas should be given some awards for this. They crafted a truly unique, enjoyable beer drinking EXPERIENCE and then they went ahead and honored us by putting it out at a reasonable price.

It also has just the right amount of balls at 9.99% ABV.

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Photo of mynie
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

How on earth have I never reviewed this before?

First off, kudos to Lagunitas for releasing such a strong, wonderful seasonal so widely, and doing so while keeping the cost solidly below east coast local offerings. As much as I appreciate the efforts of the fancy-beard crew at Cumwater brewing, or whatever the local place is called, I can't justify spending 15 bucks for a four-pack of their so-so beer when I can buy this for 11 a sixer.

This pours a dark amber that's not really brown but kind of like sunstruck brown sugar. Nice heard and fierce effervescence, for a beer of its strength.

Smells like a US old ale or strong ale: lots of stuff going on, stylistically intense and messy but never getting out of hand. Aggressive, old school west coast hops against super duper intense amber malt.

Tastes like it smells: a wonderful goddamn mess. It's not bitter and then fruity, like most very hoppy American beers, nor is it at all fruity heavy. It's just bitter and then sweet. Aggressive, bright, piney hops and then aggressive, sugary, bready malt.

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

Wow. An amazing beer. Way too easy to drink for a 10% ABV beer. In fact, it was so smooth I drank it much faster than I should have, and, along with the other beers I had, I felt it the next day. But it was worth it!

It's hard to compare this beer to others in the category because I've never had anything quite like it. It's so complex. Just when I thought I'd pinned down a flavor or note, I would detect something else. This is a slow, sipping beer like that of a barleywine or some stouts, especially those aged in bourbon barrels. Yet don't get me wrong: this beer isn't anything like a barleywine or a barrel ag d stout. Again, it's like nothing else I've enjoyed.

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Photo of redjellydonut
4.94/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best beer I've ever had. I stumbled across this last winter in Texas, not realizing it was a seasonal. Had I known, I'd have bought out every six-pack I could find. I didn't know beer could be like this. I've always preferred dark, malty beers over the IBU-laden ales that seem to dominate the craft beer industry. Brown Shugga is the hoppy beer I've waited my whole life for. It represents the perfect blending of bitterness and malt, sweetness and bite. The only misgiving I have about it, and it's a very small one, is the volume of alcohol. It's only a liability because it prevents me from drinking as much of it as I'd like. A 10 ounce tulip of this stuff is really all my brain can handle in the evening after work, but my tastebuds scream for two and my tastebuds almost always win out.

It pours with a thick tan head and leaves the most beautiful lacing ever, like the wind-whipped contrail of an old Saturn V. It's thick on the tongue, but astringent as it goes down. it's almost a shame to drink it because it looks so beautiful in the glass...dark rum reds, golden brown sugar syrup...the most beautiful beer you've ever seen.

It's a belly-warmer, to be sure, and is just sweet enough to go with a gooey chocolate or gingerbread cake. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to drink this nectar all on its own.

Lagunitas has become my single favorite brewery and this is my single favorite of their beers. Just amazing!

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber in color with 1" of foam and solid lacing. Smells of syrup, malt, and vanilla. Taste is good, has a nice burnt sugary feel with a vanilla mix but very light on vanilla. Also some pine in there with a grapefruit dryness. Overall its a good beer and in your face on flavor, you know your drinking this one. I have to try this again but at room temp, I think it will take on a totally new flavor warm. Very nice.

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Photo of MeanMotaScootah
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

If you like sweet and big - you'll love this beer. There is a mild fig mixed with whiskey aroma but beyond that it's very malty. It has a very creamy mouth feel with a ton of cherry caramel on the front end and a mellow sweet finish. There is very little hops in the beer. The alcohol is nicely hidden (much like many of the big beers that Lagunitas puts out) so be careful with this one - it drinks like an amber but will take you down like a Tripel. I almost think if they made this with a Belgium yeast it would taste very Belgium. It's a great beer for the style.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from a 12 oz bottle in a Duinen snifter.
After a long hiatus the wondrous Brown Shugga' is back and brilliant as ever. Pours a thick ruby brown with a great off white head and fantastic lacing from the slowly dissipating foam that dies down to a nice thin layer. Nose of dark sugars, citrus hops, and tons of sweet malts. Flavors are complex and ever changing with warmth. There is the firm malt backbone of brown sugar followed by waves of juicy tropical hops flavors of pineapple and orange layered on even more malt on top of malt while keeping everything in balance. Peaches come through as it warms along with some apple and pear like qualities. GREAT mouth feel with nice carbonation and a coating of citrus hops makes this a unique brew to be had and savored.

Fantastic brew from a world class brewer.

Cheers

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Photo of plunkinberry
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hoppier than expected for something called Brown Shugga - guess I expected something sweet and maltier. Still good.

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Photo of drunkenmess
3.69/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Finally found some of this. Not the Sucks, the original...
Pours very easy n nice, almost a dark golden/amber not hazy look to it, with an all around head that lasts thru out also adequate lacing to boot. Smells of sugar beets, brown sugar, light hops and sweetness. Tastes almost like liquid candy. Tastes of Super sweet and a slight tartness with a bite of hops. Intoxicating yet light on your pallet, besides all the sugar lol. Ummm... alittle too sweet for me but as Lagunitas becoming one of my favourite brewer's I defintley respect what they have done here. Respect ☆☆☆

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Lagunitas largemouth glass.

Deep copper with slowly rising bubbles underneath a thick foamy cream colored head.Thick lines of lacing remain. Cedar fills the nose -- earthy, woody, spicy cedar. Some brown sugar sweetness can be found. There is that trademark Lagunitas aroma in it. The palate is washed with dark brown sugar, cedar, cinnamon spiciness, and a spruce finish. It tastes like a Lagunitas beer, which is a good thing. The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth.

Overall, I was impressed. Scary how easily drinkable this is for the high ABV. Great holiday beer.

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Photo of HotDogBikeRide
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Translucent dark brown from a refrigerated Spec's down here in Beaumont, TX. Just 2 months old, only running for a few months this time a year anyway.

Anyway, dark but mostly translucent brown/mildly amber ale. Lots of lacing.

Smell is very muted, some barley, grains, and dominatively malty. Taste is somewhat similar in that aspect, with a lighter mouth feel then many malty beers. Pretty easy mouthful, not much carbonation though. Alcohol well hidden but not an overwhelmingly pleasing beer.

That being said it's not a bad deal for the warm winter buzz the beer provides. When each beer (9.7%) is equal to 2 of the strongest macros it's hard to complain. I imagine at higher alcohols with this style it's hard to make everyone completely happy. That being said Stone among many other companies do so without a problem.

They claim it has a moderately high IBU but I can't detect many hops in the ale. Pretty much a heavy malt bomb with the advantage of it being lower medium bodied in order to quaff it down easily. Gets you very drunk very fast, and for the money I can't complain. I love a nice heavy beer buzz.

 1,122 characters

Photo of 57md
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark copper in color. The nose is hoppy. The flavor profile has a blend of subtle malty sweetness and hop bitterness – the hop bitterness comes out on top.

I’m probably giving in to the marketing too much but I swear that I can catch the faint essence of brown sugar. This beer certainly paired well with baked ham and potatoes for a classic Sunday dinner with the family.

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Photo of Damian
4.83/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Drank from a 12 FLUID OZ bottle purchased at Crazy Bruce's Liquors, West Hartford, CT

Poured a gorgeous, crystal clear, dark crimson-orange with a tight, creamy, two-finger, light saddle head that slowly faded to a thick ring of froth. Lots of spotty lacing stuck all along the glass.

The aroma was intense and enticing. As the name suggests, brown sugar was immediately noticeable. Rich, caramel malts also came through strong along with hints of Christmas cookies and a touch of alcohol. A nice mix of sweet and spicy.

The flavor was full, rich and incredibly well balanced. So smooth and creamy. Tons of bready, rich, sweet malts came through up front. Brown sugar and gingerbread were noticeable in the center. Juicy, ripe fruits (peaches and apricots) came through as well. Sweet, citrusy hops (some orange peel) appeared in the finish along with indications of orange liquor. A sweet, sticky coating of this orange liquor-like flavor lingered in my mouth (as well as on my lips) long after the beer was finished.

Mouthfeel was creamy, smooth and medium-full bodied with a fine, mild carbonation. Silky smooth on the palate. Syrupy and sticky.

Drinkability was simply off the charts. The alcohol in this beer is hitting me hard but where did the liquid go? I simply cannot believe I am almost finished. I have labeled other beers as being "dangerously drinkable" but this one puts them to shame. 9.9% ABV? This certainly must be a typo.

Simply put, this is an exceptionally well-rounded beer. Its sweet, sugary aspect is apparent, yet it never becomes cloying or messy. (This beer borders on being a sweeter version of a barleywine, and a damn fine one at that.) Brown Shugga' actually reminds me a great deal of Lagunitas's own Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale, but slightly better. I advise you to seek out this magical beer at any cost.

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Photo of Bugcatcher
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wonderful beer. Perfect amount of sweetness. I will be buying this again for sure.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

L: brilliantly clear deep amber liquid, huge frothy tuft of amber-tinged creme-colored foam, sticking all over... looks lovely!

S: west coast barleywine hops and malt... hints of pine, black pepper, and mint, but full of spice, grapefruit, lemon/lime... little bit of cigarette ash... with a name 'Brown Shugga', I'd prefer to be smelling more of it

T: the hops combined with the up front booze make for a citrus eau de vie light grappa, or something... soft, brown malts lingering in the aftertaste as well as medicinal esters and fading, vaguely herbal bitterness... no bottle date, but this shows some age on the hops (and bready malt)... not much richness in the malt, so despite the smell suggesting something akin to Bigfoot, it's very much (late) hop forward and somewhat drier than expected

F: between the fossilizing hop resins, ostensible dextrins, and generous swells of ethanol, this is a majorly smooth

O: yeah, I wasn't a huge fan of this years ago (actually, this beer almost immediately turned me off to Lagunitas, for years) when I first tried it and time and experience hasn't made me appreciate it more... this is one of those west coast beers that's hopped out of balance for the sake of it and hasn't a distinct identity, despite the name 'Brown Shugga' on the label touting

 1,300 characters

Photo of Davemontion
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of the best tasting beers I've had

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Photo of m_hall
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Standard pour from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint yields a clear deep amber colored ale, topped by an imposing three finger tall cream head. Retention and lacing are both superb.

Nose is hops-forward, pine-y, with and underlying fruity sweetness and toasted malt.

Flavors come in sweet- caramel, toffee, along with lighty toasted biscuit. Fruit notes of apricot and dark cherries come in through the mid-palate, along with some clove-like spice, finishing dry with fairly strong pine hops and lingering molasses.

Feel is medium-full, creamy, with fairly light carbonation and a subtle alcohol warmth that very much belies the stiff 9.8% ABV punch it delivers (this is a beer that can and will sneak up on you, be warned.)

I have to admit, it took me a while to "get" this one... I had purchased a six-pack of this approximately seven months ago (Lagunitas doesn't seem to put a date on their bottles, so I can't tell precisely how old this is.) While I remember thinking it was a good beer back then, the sweetness was quite brash and the finish somewhat overly hopped to be as great as it could be. However aging seems to have brought out the best in this; The sweeter notes from the brown sugar used in the brewing have matured and now work very harmoniously with those now more evened-out evergreen hops. That combined with the burly but appropriate alcohol make Brown Shugga' an outstanding strong ale. I would urge anyone trying this to not write it off right away if it doesn't suit them- put a few up for a bit instead. Your patience may very well be rewarded.

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Photo of Boomblaze
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a 2013 so about 18 months on it. This has to be the sweet spot cause I had it after a year and it was messy. Now
that typical Lagunitas sweetness has really mellowed and the balance is perfect. Still getting some of the hops with a perfect mouthfeel and heavenly smoothness. This has given me faith in ageing there beers as the other shugga's and undercovers I aged were not that great.

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Photo of Bforsythe1
4.72/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured in to a tulip.

Appearance is amber and ruby and golden, befitting the holiday season. Id have certainly enjoyed it as a Christmas brew had I been aware of it then. Head was generous and creamy, retention was pleasing because it stuck around long enough to admire and not long enough to get in the way of a clean sip.

The smell is great, very unique and sweet. You pick up vanilla and malt as well as pine and hops. The citrus qualities were unexpected but fitting. Again, a great Christmastime brew.

Taste is top notch. sweet malt and sugar are in the front. I would describe the sugars as "toasty" or slightly burnt. Pine and citrusy hops are present on the palate in the finish, allowing the beer some very refreshing qualities that distinguish it immediately from a sweet stout or anything of the sort.

Mouthfeel is smooth and balanced, the sweetness being present without ever being syrupy or heavy and the pine and citrus are in the mix without ever being too dry or astringent. Alcohol is undetectable despite the high ABV so take care not to get too drunk, cause it'd be easy to knock these back all night long.

Overall, unique and beautiful brew. Outstanding.

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Photo of NHJimD
4.73/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sweet smell, crisp, bitter taste. This is a real winner!

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Photo of Beginner2
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Listed in the "1001 Beers To Taste Before You Die".

It was very hard for me to like this beer the first time I had it.
The hops grabbed ahold of my tongue and would not let go... in fact, I was worried I might not get my tastebuds back.
Determined not to buy this again, this wild stallion rears its head again in a 6 pack brought as a gift by a neighbor who we invited over for dinner.
Then, Brown Shugga' sits in my cellar for a year; thinking we might get along better if it has time to mellow.
I drank it last night and. speechless, could not write a review.
Nor could I finish it. Nor would I pour it down the drain out of respect to everyone who likes this beer.
So, I let it sit overnight in an uncovered tulip.
I had a sip first thing in the AM before I made my coffee.
Brown Shugga' was better... but still not good for me.
Moral of the story: mellowing with age is a relative thing.

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Photo of Jbertelle
4.84/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Strong and super tasty, excellent brew.

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Photo of Trentontiger
1.79/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This has got to be one of the worst beers I've ever tasted. Cannot comprehend how this has such a high rating. All you can taste is nasty astringent hops and heavy alcohol. Tastes terrible and also brings on a killer headache. If you're looking for a winter beer like I was, stay away from this one!

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Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a small tulip glass a clear deep reddish orange with a tight one finger head that stuck nicely to the glass as it settled slowly into a slight off white soapy-like mass.Ahh there are some hops in there and lots of em big and piney in the nose over top ofsweet and caramel and brown sugar with hints of cherry as well.Somewhat sweet at the offset mainly caramel malt and dark fruit with underlying notes of brown sugar these flavors meld very nicely into a viney,sprucey hoppy finish that lingers nicely.A great American strong ale with a nice American hop profile,not as sweet as I had thought it would be and thats ok with me another good one from Lagunitas.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,634 ratings.
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