Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,571 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:
1,571
Ratings:
5,594
Avg:
4
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
297
Gots:
1,287
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,571 | Ratings: 5,594
Photo of StoutHunter
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Brown Shugga for $1.89 at The Lager Mill. I have liked every single Lagunitas brew I have had so when I saw one I haven't tried yet on the singles shelf I knew I should give it a try. Poured from a stubby 12oz brown bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label on this beer is ok and a little plain, most Lagunitas beer have eye catching labels and this one isn't too eye catching. It poured a clear and clean amber color with two and a half fingers worth of fluffy white head that left some nice looking lacing.

S- Wow this is one sweet smelling beer, the aroma reminds me of some of those super sweet doppelbocks. At first I get some nice bready caramel malts, but those are quickly overpowered by what I think is candied sugar and brown sugar. There was also some grassy hops at the end. I have never used this term before but the aroma makes it seem like this might be a "sugar bomb". This one also has a boozey smell to it.

T- First off I got to say I am very glad this isn't as sweet as it smelled, I don't think I have ever had a beer that smelled so sweet but wasn't that sweet in the taste. The caramel malts are nice and grainy and bready. After the malts come the sugar, it leans more towards brown sugar but I also pick up some candied sugar you would expect from a Belgian Dark Ale with some dark fruits like raisins and plums like you would also expect from that style. Like the aroma the finish has medium amount of grassy hops that gives it a subtle bitter aftertaste. The booze is hidden much better then it was in the aroma, but it still lets you know its a bigger beer with some warming at the end.

M- Sticky, medium bodied, and it had a pretty good amount of carbonation.

Overall I though this was a pretty good brew. It is kind of similar to WTF, if you replaced the hops with candied and brown sugar. It isn't the most complex beer but the flavors are pretty nice and everything comes together nicely. Normally I am not a fan of super sweet beers but thankfully the sweetness stayed in the aroma and wasn't that overbearing in the flavor. This beer isn't that drinkable, but if I didn't have shit to do in the morning and had another bottle, I would drink it. I could see this being a good bigger beer for the summer, it could be refreshing and might make a good campfire beer, I may have to verify it this summer. If you like stronger beers with some sweetness to it, this should be up your alley, and if your a fan of Lagunitas then this won't disappoint. This was another solid beer from Lagunitas, everything I have had from them has been good, so far my favorite Cali brewery. 2013 edit, tried the years release and it seemed very off to me, it was full of onion and garlic like hop aromas and flavors, i don't what's up with it.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter glass a dark-red/light-brown with no head or lacing, making this apperance wise below average.

Aromas and flavors of sweet caramel,barley, some citrus. Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation.

A little on the sweet side, the sweetness alone restricts the amount to consume, the alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming.

Very nice. Makes an excellent after-dinner brew.I wouldn't have more than two.

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

12oz bottled October 12, 2010.

Pours lightly hazy red/amber/copper with a large foamy off-white head that maintains a nice cap and leaves a lot of foamy lacing.

Aroma is caramel, toffee, brown sugar, citrus hops, herbal, bread, yeast, grass, floral. Moderate strength.

Flavor is rich caramel, toffee, brown sugar, a hint of chocolate, some molasses, dark fruits, some pine and citrus hops. Moderate sweetness with a bit of bitterness. Lingering finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, very creamy, a bit sticky, low to medium carbonation.

Good stuff. Not the best barleywine out there but still very good. Enjoyed it.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.8/5  rDev -5%
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. . .

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.8/5  rDev -5%

Pours a half finger of head on a clear straw colored body.
The aroma has a mild grass and floral smell, with some lemon in the background.
The taste is bursting with flavors: lemon, grapefruit, brown sugar, strong caramel and anise. Great..
The texture is crisper.
Almost too drinkable for the high ABV.

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Photo of erosier
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber/copper with a tall and thick tan colored head that laces the glass all the way down. The aroma is of some sweet malts followed by a hint of alcohol, then a big boppy bitterness followed by a very sweet brown sugar aroma to finish it off. The taste is the same as well. It has a strong sweet malt base with a very nice hoppy bitter with very little hint of the amount of alcohol that is in this beer. It then follows up with an overly sweet aftertaste of brown sugar. It tastes like a strong ale that was fermented with brown sugar in the end. The mouthfeel is good - very warming, fresh, and smooth. The drinkability is high especially for a beer of this gravity.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear copper colour with an average size frothy light brown/beige head. There is a low to average amount of carbonation showing and there is a fair amount of lacing on the sides of the glass. The head stuck around for a few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - malts, hops, cookies, caramel, orange, and brown sugar

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it has a very creamy and full bodied feel. There is a lot of brow sugar taste mixed with hops an earthy clove/all spice flavour. The alcohol is extremely well hidden and there are also notes of pine, oranges, and lots of malts. The beer finishes with a bitter hop and very sweet brown sugar aftertaste.

Drink - A nice sipper beer that is good for the holidays/colder weather. I'm happy I tried it.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a copper color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Small amount of lacing. Aromas of hops, brown sugar, and an overall sweet smell. Taste is hops mixed with brown sugar. Sweet, boozey and somewhat bready. This beer has that nice hoppiness to it you expect from Lagunitas, but the brown sugar sweetness is almost too much. Overall I like it and this is a high octane brew that drinks well but it is very sweet.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Rich dark red, slowly fading off-white head that leaves a moderate amount of lace, and completely filtered.

S - Lots of malts in the beginning and then the brown sugar aroma kicks in. I also smell a little spiced peach, molasses, and candi sugar.

T - The brown sugar and molasses flavors are most prevalent in this brew with a nice caramelized malt backbone. The hops are spicy with flavors of citrus and fruits, almost an apple cinnamon type flavor, that blend well with the sweetness of all the sugary flavors.

M/D - Medium-heavy body with below-average volumes of carbonation, but works well in this brew. Not harsh on the palate at all and hides it's alcohol quite well. Finishes a little on the dry side due to all the hops.

For the price of this beer (less than $2 for a 12oz bottle locally) it's hard to find another beer this big and full of flavor.

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Photo of LambicPentameter
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewing from notes after drinking on 2/10/14. Enjoyed out of a 12 oz stubby brown bottle, but there is no dating to be found on bottle or label. My best guess is that this was from the Fall 2013 release of the beer based on when I purchased it. Poured into a large 22 oz snifter glass.

Appearance - Has a look that reminds me a little bit of the name, but maybe more reminiscent of cinnamon or caramel than brown sugar. Liquid is translucent and if it weren't for the darker color, I'm pretty certain I'd be able to see through it to some degree. Atop the body sits two fingers of dark khaki foam. Retention is moderate, but the head starts shrinking and contracting almost immediately, just slowly. Eventually, it comes to a stop with a slight film across the surface of the entire beer, with mottled pockets of thicker foam. The sides of the glass are coated with a finger of thin curtains from the lace.

Smell - Some notes of pine and tropical fruit peek through briefly, but this is definitely a grain-forward beer. Notes of caramel, molasses and toasted sugar all contribute sweetness, but there is also a pungency from the hops that insert the impression of bitterness and expand on the pine that peeked in at the very beginning.

Taste - Previewed quite well by the smell, the taste is sweet with notes of cooking caramel and the wonderfully crusty top of a creme brulee. Honeyed bread, dried fruit and some hints of maple syrup are all present as well as some slight bite from the hop profile, with pine and herbs coming through to round it out with some bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and moderate carbonation, with a sweet finish that lingers on the tongue with just a bit of stickiness.

Overall, a quality beer, although I'd sooner have the straight up DIPA "substitute" for this beer (Sucks) rather than this strong ale that straddles the line between DIPA and Barleywine. That said, it's one of those beers where the whole is certainly better than the sum of it's parts. No individual factor stood out to me, but when taken together, it's quite a tasty brew.

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Photo of BigHeavy
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip. Beer was not allowed to warm before initial consumption, but was enjoyed over the period of about an hour.

A: Beer pours a very dark shade of burnt orange. Pour yields a 1 finger or so head which fades into a very thin cap, which is very splotchy across the top of the beer. Brown Shugga' is fairly clear and allows some light through, and lets you witness some nice bubbles. Minimal lacing. Really is pretty to look at.

S: What a unique smelling beer. Never smelled anything quite like it. Aroma is heavy on sweetness, with some malts (caramel?) and some brown sugar-like notes. Some faint Lagunitas-style hoppiness going on, along with some alcohol.

T: Again, incredibly unique. An almost cloying sweetness pounces on your tongue. Definitely lives up to its name, taste kinda like brown sugar dissolved in booze. It overwhelms whatever hops until the beer warms up a little. Hops are typical Lagunitas. Beer is definitely boozy on the tongue as well. Kind of a different taste I'm still struggling with a bit. Complex, but confusing to my palate right now.

M: Pretty carbonated for a big beer, at least in my experience. A little oily on the palate, as the sweetness coats your mouth.

D: This is one I only have as a night cap before bed, as I could never drink more than one of these at a time due to the initial cloying nature. The 10% ABV is noticed rather quickly, as it goes straight to the dome.

O: Not my favorite offering from Lagunitas, but still "good". Probably won't get another sixer this year, although I am hanging onto the last one from this pack to see how it changes. Interesting and though provoking beer, just not my favorite.

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Photo of deeznuts420
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this is a great strong ale. if you get it fresh the hops pop through nicely and it isn't as sweet as the name suggests. it's a a very drinkable brew that definetly caught me off guard. the sweetness hits first but then it seems to turn into an american barley wine. great beer for the money. Lagunitas is the best value out of California out here in PA. A case of stone Ipa costs me 43 bucks while this is about the same price as this brew that is more complex and alcoholic. sucks is good but it's a totally different beer and is probably an easier drinking beer but if these two were side by side for the same price there's no question i'd pick the Brown shugga

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass the beer is cloudy brownish amber. A solid two fingers of light beige head fade leaving a thick coating of lace.

The aroma has a huge hop presence. Mixing in with the hops is tons of sweet malt. It has the tartness of a DIPA or Barley wine. I really don't get any brown sugar just hops and malt.

The flavor is rather hoppy as well. I can pick up the brown sugar in the taste for sure. Loads of caramel malt and a sharp bitter finish. The abv is noticeable in every sip.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Overall I never really know how sum up strong ales. They don't really have a certain criteria to base an opinion on. I love barley wines and this reminds me of one. I gues that means I like it.

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Photo of gbarron
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. 'bomber.'

A - medium brown, to amber color. Not completely clear - maybe some chill haze. Nice little white head forms and stays around the whole way for me, although retreating to the sides of the glass.

S - malt, sugar, very little hop aroma. But what hops are there smell of noble spiciness - saaz? Nice malty, caramelly aroma.

T - malt is up front in this one. Since the name is 'brown shugga,' I can taste the brown sugariness in this. Malty sweet, but some hop bitterness balances it out pretty well. There is some hop flavor here, but it's hard to pick up. Can definitely taste some hoppy grassy, floral flavors when I burp (sorry to be so crude). Alcohol is well hidden. A little disappointed that the flavor here isn't as big as it could be.

M - medium bodied, standard carbonation.

D - tasty brew, I wouldn't mind having several of these. Alcohol is masked in the flavor pretty well, but will hit you later.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a small half inch beige head. Body is a clear amber color. Head retention was decent and lacing was above average.

Smell at first kinda reminds me of an english barleywine. Caramel malt and burnt brown sugar dominate. Light pine hops and some alcohol come through. A bit disappointed in the aroma, thought it would be more potent

Taste is similar to smell. Sweet malt is dominant flavor, caramelized sugar and faint butterscotch follow. There is also bits of spice like cinnamon or ginger that come through. Pine hops balance out the sweet malts and leave a light bitter aftertaste. For 10 percent the alcohol is pretty tamed

Mouthfeel is somewhat light for such a strong beer. Carbonation level is also a bit high. Lack of a smooth head doesnt help. Was expecting a richer, fuller body

Drinkability was pretty good. For 10 percent this beer was dangerously smooth. I had really high expectations for this beer which unfortunately werent met. Flavors were good but nothing stood out and made this beer memorable. Reminded me of a less flavorful version of Old Gnarlywine

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Photo of droomyster
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a short copper colored head that recedes quickly. Body is slightly hazy deep brownish red. Strong aroma of cherries and molasses, grassy/citrus hops, lots of alcohol and red grapes. Big blast of sweetness, brown sugar? Heck yeah, and well supported by a strong bitterness. Light doughy yeastiness. Full body, light carbonation. I consider this the chewiest of the chewy. Goes down slow and sticky, lingering medicinal taste.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Pours a light amber with a 2 finger light beige head. Huge clumps and trails of lacing litter that glass.

S- caramel, dark fruits, biscuit, citrus, and pine.

T- sweet caramel, citrus rind, toasted malts, and bitter pine and citrus at the finish.

M- Medium body and carbonation. Nice and creamy with slightly dry finish from the bitterness.

O- First time trying this beer and a very tasty strong ale. Almost a hoppy imperial red ale that has some dark fruit notes along more sweetness. Glad I picked up a 6 pack.

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Photo of drinkiusmaximus
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

A - Deep copper color with a two fingered head nice retention and ample lacing.

S - loads of of sweet malt, clove, vanilla and a little pine. strong hop scent.

T - Sweeter than I normally like, but makes a nice change of pace. Full flavored, brown sugar and hop prominent, bitter hoppiness. Vanilla, a little spiciness and boozy finish.

M - Full bodied with a good degree of carbonation and sticky sweetness left on the tongue slightly cloying.

D- Very tasty strong ale if you're only having one. Otherwise it's on the sweet side and, oddly for a strong ale...strong alcohol. Great to warm on any cold night.

Prost!!!

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Under an intense desk lamp, darkish red-amber body, somewhat hazy. In ordinary room light, brown, almost murky. Either way, alive with carbonation, topped by two fingers plus of dense off-white-with-a-hint-of- yellow foam. Ok lacing seems to be forming.

Certainly smells sweet, a strong candy center, encircled by a mixed fruitiness, including apricots and oranges.

Rich malt start, like good dark chocolate, sweet but not at all cloying. The initial sweetness quickly and effectively balanced and conquered by a sneaky pack of hops which lay a bit of smack to the sweetness and deliver a nice zing at the swallow. Warming but not burning alcohol the belly. Hop tingle actually outlasts the malt in the aftertaste.

Big slick mouthfeel. Good drinkability for the size and style, though the sweetness and the alcohol wears quite a bit as the bomber continues.

Nice nightcapper on a chilly spring evening, even better if shared.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle picked up from Wine Warehouse, Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a traditional Blue Mountain Brewery-logoed pint glass.

Appearance: Swiss cheese-esque lacing, big foamy, slightly off-white, uneven head, hazy, ruby body, average retention. Great lacing!

Aroma: Sweet tropical fruits, tons of thick brown sugar and molasses, as well as some other caramelized malts, both darker and lighter. Runs the gamut.

Taste: Tons of malts. Brown sugar is (obviously) prominent, some heavier roasts (coffee) are faintly present, grainy toast. Some fruity esters - cherry - and some sweet citrus - grapefruit, orange - round things off. Verrry sweet.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy, even, fine-bubbled, big-headed and -bodied.

Drinkability: Very sweet, and very high in abv%, but I surprisingly liked this way more than I expected I would. Alcohol is very well-hidden, malts are surprisingly complex (even if they are intense). A pleasant surprise and a very good beer.

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Photo of IAmAPenguin
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma - Fresh hops with a clear brown sugar, cinnamon spice, toffee and molasses.
Appearance - Very reddish, crimson color with almost no foam and standard lacing.
Taste- Very crisp, malty flavors with notes of caramelized sugar, burnt caramel, toffee and thin molasses. Finish is smooth with herby hops. Overall, this is interesting. Its dark and malty flavors but its actually really easy drinking and thin. I don't get any alcohol at all which makes this one really dangerously easy drinking. Not a bad beer at all.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From: Piccadilly on Neil, Champaign, IL
Date: None on bottle, released in early winter 2012
Glass: Tulip

Lagunitas' Brown Shugga' is a strongly hoppy (US west coast style) ale with more caramel flavor than most DIPAs offer. While it could easily qualify as one, it instead lands in the "strong ale" catch-all, equally fine. The beer is quite drinkable, but I found it to be a somewhat generic version of the "highly hopped, high ethanol" west coast style beers I've had in the past. Thus, while tasty, I was never surprised or stricken with the particular character that defines this beer relative to others. Might I try it again when very fresh? Sure.

Pours approximately a 1cm tall head of dirty white bubbles, small in size, with average retention of one to two minutes. The head, as it falls, leaves some thick washes of lace along the innards of the glass, a variety of solid walls of sticky foam to mixed spiderweb-like patterns. The head eventually wastes away to a fine cap of foam atop the body of the beer. The body itself is a strong copper-orange color, with light bringing out brighter orange-yellow hues. The beer is somewhat hazy (perhaps 30% opaque), but carbonation is still readily visible through it, quite actively rising from the center of the glass.

Aroma of fairly substantial caramel and its attendant sweetness, though I wouldn't describe it as reminding me of brown sugar. This is joined to some tropical fruit and mild citrus, from ale yeast or hops, who knows. There's also mild pepperiness and faint ethanol lingering in the background. In general, pleasing and appetizing, if not particularly unique.

In general, this tastes pleasant if you appreciate US west coast-style, well-hopped beers (and I do), with a substantial malt backbone, but it's also not particularly different from many others in the same hop intensity and ethanol content categories. Front of palate is of heavy caramel sweetness with hints of hop or yeast-derived fruit esters and minor bitterness. Mid-palate finds the hops slightly taking the main focus, with bitterness, grapefruit, woodsy/herbal, and mild tropical fruit all being as though filtered through a screen of caramel sweetness and flavor. Back of palate notices sweet, heavy caramel notes, ethanol, and herbal/woodsy/green hop flavors with strong bitterness. Aftertaste focuses on bitterness, mild caramel sweetness, and lingering ethanol.

Beer is medium-bodied, with carbonation of medium to medium-low intensity, leading to a beer that is slightly foamy on the palate, but never quite fizzy. Ethanol is felt primarily in the nostrils after each sip, slightly burning the back of the throat as well. Closes out semi-dry, with modest residual stickiness along the palate.

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

Opened 12 fl ounce bottle and poured into Snifter glass.

Pours 1" head that dies down to ½" of froth atop a slightly hazy dark Caramel brown brew.

Smells of malts; I almost get a slight hint of gingerbread - but maybe it is imaginary. Taste is sweet and of molasses and vanilla. Hops are pleasant and provide balanced bitterness. I was expecting this brew to be a whopper, it was quite pleasant and very easy to drink. Not something I would drink on a regular basis, but I know lots of people who would really love this stuff.

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

Pours a pretty burnt orange color topped by a half-inch of creamy ecru head that sticks around for the duration. Aroma of crisp floral hops, sweet caramel malt, and a touch of brown sugar. Palate is initially sweet, with caramel malt and a considerable amount of brown sugar intensifying mid-palate. A light spiciness comes through right before the swallow, finishing with a good amount of warming alcohol. Body is smooth and creamy, quite enjoyable. On the whole a good beer, but be careful - the well-masked alcohol can sneak up on you.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,594 ratings.
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