Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,519 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.99%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 12-13-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,519
Ratings:
5,402
Avg:
4
pDev:
21.25%
 
 
Wants:
288
Gots:
1,181
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,519 | Ratings: 5,402
Photo of silentjay
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a mahogany brown color gives rise to a two-fingered tan head that doesn't stay around long, but does leave plenty on the glass.

a very sweet and malty aroma hints at brown sugar (which was expected), as well as maple syrup, molasses, toffee, honey, caramel and some fruits: tropical? pineapple maybe, dates, a bit of citrus. some booziness as well.

taste is a bit boozy, but sweet like caramelized sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and light molasses. a good amount of hops balance that out and add a fruity and bitter finish.

medium-heavy on the tongue and leaves an oily feeling on the tongue with a burning in the throat. carbonation is understated and good for the style.

is a sipper due to the detectable and warming booze as well as the almost-overwhelming sweetness. borders on being a mess, but pulls through with some pleasant complexity in a pretty unique beer.

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Photo of Hamburgers
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours cloudy dark reddish amber with two finger white head. Head quickly dissipates to thin film leaving some nice lacing. Aroma big on malt, some caramel, piney hops, and brown sugar. Flavor is somewhat sweet balanced by a bitter finish. Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation and just a slight oily texture.

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint.

A: Beautiful rosy amber with a nice head and a ridiculous amount of lacing.

S: Smell's like a sweet IPA. Candied fruits, alcohol and yeast.

T: Follows the smell: hops, brown sugar, and fermented fruit.

D: Drinkability is great! Its a big beer and there's no attempt to cover the nearly 10% ABV, but the alcohol has a refreshing warming feeling.

Overall: This a tasty beer and although its a bit unbalanced, its a must try. Its original and refreshing and a great autumn beer.

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Photo of rpstevens
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another bottle courtesy of maximum12 from secret santa 09, thank you. Poured from a bottle into a smuttynose tulip. I thought this was a brown ale and I popped it open for lunch, oops, now it's open and there's no turning back. The beer has a great syrupy amber color, reminds me of a nice american barleywine. The pour yields a one finger off white head that fades to a tight ring, but leaves a substantial amount of bubbly lacing on the sides of the glass.

The smell is very sweet, brown sugar as expected, dark fruits, sugary syrup, vanilla and toffee. There isn't much to balance out all the sweetness in the nose.

The taste is more sweetness at first, brown sugar, toffee and vanilla but it is followed by a nice dose of citrus hop flavors. There is some definite grapefruit in there that leads to a nice balanced finish.

The beer is surprisingly carbonated for an American Strong Ale, and the hop balance to all the sweetness creates a nice dry finish and interesting flavor combination. This reminds me of an aged big foot, definitely a lot sweeter, but the mouthfeel and body are similar for me. This is a beer I will not turn down in the future.

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Photo of donteatpoop
3.76/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice amber color with a thick two finger white head that clung to the glass and lasted throughout the drink.

The nose picked up some nice earthy tones, caramel malts, and a vauge scent of licorice - I don't know, maybe it's the brown sugar that I'm tasting.

Tastes hoppy, very sweet, the caramel malts and sugar crystals were almost too sweet; especially as the beer warmed.

The mouthfeel was pretty well balanced, a good carbonation level; the aftertaste was slightly unpleasant, like too much sugar in the Kool-Aid.

Certainly drinkable, it didn't taste like it was 9%+ alcohol.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2010)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Color is a gorgeous copper and rust. Clear liquid with a thick off-white head that doesn't last for too long. Does not leave much lacing at all on the glass but the pour is beautiful.

An incredibly sweet smell. Smells like caramel candy. I smell caramel and brown sugar and maple syrup; this is just sweet, sweet, sweet! It's certainly unique, and because I knew what I was getting in to when I bought this beer (an American strong ale with a mess of brown sugar added), I'm certainly happy I can smell the sugar!

This beer scores points for being unique and absolutely one-of-a-kind in the taste department. I've had nothing even similar to this. It seems like a sugary sweet barleywine. The alcohol is incredibly well hidden but is present. Tastes likes brown sugar, as I suppose, it should.

The mouthfeel is rich and luscious. It's a treat to enjoy this beer in more ways than one. It makes for a world-class dessert!

A dessert beer at it's finest. Even though I love cheesecake, I would only want one slice, and this beer strikes me in a similar way. One is perfect, two is over-doing it, and three would be unheard of. Not an overly drinkable beer, but a fantastic one!

Lagunitas wins again. They decided to make a brown sugar strong ale, and they have done it perfectly!

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with a tan head. Aroma is hops, resin, dark malts. Taste is sweet with bitterness, and a broe
wn sugar note. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth. Overall, a pretty good winter beer.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

A- pours a dark copper color with a small creamy light-tan head that reduces to just a bit floating on top.

S- sharp piney hops with some grassiness, sweetness from the malt and brown sugar and some booze.

T- piney hops follows the nose with some oily hop resins, the sweetness kicks in afterword which is complemented my the malt. The finish is sweet with a hop linger. I can't actually point out any brown sugar taste but the sweetness can't be missed. This one is definitely a sipper, but the booze is hidden decently considering the high ABV.

M- thick-heavy body, low carbonation, chewy and velvety mouthfeel with a creamy finish.

O- this one was interesting and worth a try. The mix of piney hops and super sweetness seems a little off a bit for me though. An interesting concept.

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Photo of schad
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Had high expectations via word of mouth, sadly disappointed. Decent malt backbone with tons of hops. Looks like a clear amber. Moderate lacing. Taste is overwhelmingly boozy followed by molasses and a hint of sweetness. Well worth the price.

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Photo of djeffbee
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This pours deep amber with a one finger white head with some lacing.

S: Deep malty aroma with a tad of molasses, caramel - nearly resembling a barleywine or doppelbock.

T: I was expecting sweet, but tasted bitterness. The aroma and taste are almost like two different beers.

M: Nice tingly mouthfeel and medium body.

D: At 9.9% ABV, you don't drink too many of these - but they are quite enjoyable.

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Photo of ryandurka
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i dont like hoppy beers so i drank the wrong stuff here. for what it is its good. its not too strong so you can drink a bit of this before it gangs up on you. the price is nice as it is domestic and it does have a good taste, specially if your into hoppyness

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Photo of techfed87
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a good sized head, quick to settle down. Color is dark brown, clear. Smell is pretty sweet, kind of reminds me of a beer I had once...Raison D'Extra! That had that same kind of caked sugary quality to it. And from the bottles, I'd guess both use quite a bit of brown sugar in them.

First sip is a bit less carbonated than what I was expecting it to be. Big malt presence, quite sweet, and a great hop balance to keep this from diving too far into the sugar wagon. Mouthfeel is also pretty rewarding.

All in all, a pretty good beer!

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Photo of Drk93TT
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep copper color with a good 1 finger head. The lace just screams sugar and sweetness..sticky lace all on the glass.
S: Smells of big pine up front with some sugary sweetness on the nose.
T: Very sweet and sticky on the palate right away... an IPA-like snappy crispness to boot. Can definitely taste the sugar in this one... wow.
M: Well carbonated indeed, the flavors really come out in this one.. citrus, even a peach like crisp bite to it.
O: Solid, the 9.99% will really sneak up on you though! A must try !

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Photo of HeyItsChili
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours semiopaque amber with a yellow/tan colored thin head that sticks around for a while.

S - Bitter hops tickle the nose, sweet sugary roasted malts mingle behind, there's a raw alcohol scent too.

T - There is a strong and up front alcohol taste that I don't mind as much as some reviewers. Bitter hops and some, but not quite enough sweetness take a little edge off.

M - Crisp, almost biting, medium carbonation, medium/thin body.

D - Powerful and tasty, but hoppier than the name would, I think, suggest.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cool beer here, plenty unique. Brown color with reddish hues. Aroma of brown sugar, (duh) and not much else.

Hides alcohol with all that sweetness. Easy drinking, but watch out. Still gives a little hop prick to ya, even through out all that sweetness. Good stuff. Deceptively strong.

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Photo of MarkQ617
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Had this poured into my trusty beer mug. The color's excellent, a molasses brown, just as you might expect. The taste was fairly boozy, not with notes of brown sugar (obviously). Some hop flavor, not as much as you'd expect from Lagunitas. Good, not great.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack at Northridge in Laramie, around $8. Bottle notes beer at 9.5%.

A: Somewhat cloudy medium brown color with a sand colored head. Maybe an eight of an inch. Reduced to a film. Not a whole lot of head at all. No lacing to speak of.

S: Brown sugar, and an earthy/piney hop characteristic, strong pale roasted malt character too. Really not a whole lot else going on. Kinda boring for such a "huge" beer.

T: A lot more complex than the nose. Initially big brown sugar flavor, followed by a big malt roastiness, which leads into a piney hop flavor. Extremely sweet. Almost like chewing on a little bit of brown sugar with a hint of hops in it. Really a tasty beer. I'm glad I'm letting some age.

M: Thick. This is a really thick beer, nice carbonation. Dry finish, and a fair amount of alcohol heat. Very sticky in the mouth too.

D: I wouldn't drink a whole lot, its entirely too sweet. I'm glad I revisited it though, as it is better than I remember it. Not a bad beer. I'd recommend it.

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Photo of OnThenIn
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Tiny golden head that doesn't stay very long on top of an amber colored beer.

S: The aroma is citrus and grapefruit entangled with some caramel.

T: Nice flavor. Starts with caramel and the citrus notes. A bit of dark fruit flavor as well. The bitterness comes in and rides out the rest of the drink with a grassy, pine flavor along with it. Definitely an inherent sweetness to the beer.

M: Good carbonation and medium body. Pretty smooth.

D: The higher abv is not very upfront at all, which really adds to the drinkability, but the bitterness seems to linger for a bit, hurting drinkability. Overall, it is pretty smooth and definitely tasty. The sweetness does eventually catch up with this beer.

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Photo of CRichardsMN
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance:
Pours a cloudy amber brown with floaties (my bad, poured out the whole bottle). There is no head and just a ring of white around the edge of the glass which leaves spotty residue. Pretty dense looking brew.

Smell:
Has a tart, sweet, mildly hoppy nose with a thrust of caramelized malts. Light whiff of alcohol.

Taste:
Very interesting. Nice full body of caramelized malts and a bite of citrusy hops up front. After that, all bets are off with a very sweet molasses (brown sugar, duh) and some strong alcohol roll around. Finishes warm and slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel:
Heavier carbonation than is expected from the appearance but still a medium to medium-heavy body. Finishes only a little dry.

Drinkability:
Had a sample 1/4oz taster a the liquor store and didn't think I liked this one. Turns out, if poured into a real glass and allowed to breathe a little, this is a pretty good beer. Not for quantity (9.84% ABV) but to sit and think about.

Comment:
Another surprise brew and this time for the positive. Nice!

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Photo of Redwood21
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: I am digging the color of this beer, think liquid brown sugar...go figure. the head is decent, but prevents this beer from being any higher
S: decent sweetness with some citrus like aroma, kinda a weird combo
T: the weird combo gets sidetracked here. the sweetness and hoppyness sorta blend and sorta dont. its not bad but im not sure its as balanced as it could be,

a good beer jury is still out though.

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Photo of Givemebeer
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Amber/copper colored pours a nice head and lacing

S: Floral and citrusy

T: Follows the nose but with some toastiness and caramel from the strong malt backbone

M: Medium bodied with a lingering citrus finish

O: Good beer. Happy that I tried it. Packs a punch with the strong hop and malt presence.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very rich. Very sweet. The brown sugar added during the brewing permeates every aspect of this beer. It poured a color only of what I could describe as liquified brown sugar. A foamy head formed, and as I drank a sticky lace was on the glass. The aroma was of brown sugar. The flavor was of brown sugar. By the way, I like brown sugar. I used to sneak it out of the bowl as a kid when my Mom would bake. There were other tones in this beer: the malt was a nice backdrop flavor to the brown sugar. The only negative was that it was so rich and the alcohol was pretty strong I am not sure I could drink too many of these. My palate would be worn down.

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Photo of hckyfn9999
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy dark copper color with some red hues. Small white head. Doesn't last too long and leaves a little lacing.

Smell is fruity yeast, nutty, carmel, and appropriately enough... brown sugar. Also some alcohol as the beer warms, actually it begins to dominate the smell.

Taste is sweet initially some carmel, followed by some sweet fruit, and then some citrusy hops bitterness. A lot more hoppy than you would want from something called sugar.

Mouthfeel is pretty good and they hide the 10%abv well making this pretty drinkable.

Pretty good brew.

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Photo of hero27
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle
9.9% abv

Pours a dark amber with an orange tint.
Rich caramel, sweet roasted malts, (the obvious brown sugar) with a slightly hoppy pine finish.. slightly medicinal & peppery as well.
This is a meal in a bottle...very sweet & rich. Plenty of alcohol burn..maybe a little over the top. But overall, a good offering from Lagunitas that does not disappoint.

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Photo of jmalex
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap on one occasion and loved it. Now to see how it holds up under critique.

APPEARANCE: Pours a hazy red amber with virtually no head at all. Just a weak collar and a few bubbly patches. No idea if this is to style. What style is this anyway?

SMELL: A wacky amalgam of caramel, apricots, raisins, dates, and floral and citrusy hops. Alcohol makes a serious appearance here too. Quite impressive.

TASTE: Again, what style is this? An incredible maltiness hits you first which is dark and sweet (brown sugar!) and has some sort of a Belgian quality to it with the fruit flavors that accompany it. The heat of the alcohol is strong and contributes quite a dry quality to this beer. The hops, not to be outdone, come on strong in the finish leaving a lasting bitterness well after the final swallow. This beer is all over the place which is impressive in its complexity but seems a bit disorganized and haphazard.

MOUTHFEEL: Little to no carbonation, but in this beer, it would make it really harsh. The texture is fairly smooth, if not quite dry.

DRINKABILITY: Suffers from the dryness and alcohol content. Perhaps this beer would benefit from some aging to round it out - much like a barleywine. It could be considered such a beer anyway, and would probably be better if the hops were toned down allowing the subtle brown sugar flavors to shine more. An impressive creation, but perhaps trying to be too much.

When I first had this beer, the hops did not stand out as much as they do in the bottle. The beer was harsh, but not like I'm experiencing now. I'm certainly willing to give it another chance (it's not bad at all to begin with), but I'd like to try it with some age on it.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,402 ratings.
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