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Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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1,553 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,553 | Ratings: 5,541
Photo of zoso1967
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a reddish amber color with a slightly tan head. The head is made up of both very large and very small bubbles and has great retention and lacing.

The aroma of this beer is very hoppy with a nice mix of grapefruit, zesty orange and a bit of pine. It also has a pretty good hit of sweetness that gives the citrus a sort of candied character.

The flavor is also hop forward with more of the grapefruit, orange and pine. It also has a slight dank and minty quality to the hops. The malt presence is evident with plenty of sweet sugary character. Caramel, toffee and brown sugar seem to be the main flavor components of the malt profile. To me this beer seems a bit on the malty sweet side and there is a bit of an unpleasant tug of war between the crazy sweet malts and the dry hop bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium with a lively amount of carbonation. The beer finishes with quite a lot of stickiness and leaves flavors of sweet citrus fruits on my tongue after swallowing.

Brown Shugga' goes down pretty easily, but the stickiness and maltiness hurt the drinkability of this beer for me. I really dig the hop flavors, but I am not such a fan of the malt profile. This is a very interesting beer none the less, and a nice hopping offering to get me in the mood for some of the crazy DIPAs that will be coming out soon.

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Photo of MPLS
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My third Lagunitas brew, decided to buy a 6 pack and give er a shot in this cold December.

A: Hazy orange-brown, carbonation evident, small 1/4 foam.

S: Smells sweet, hint of alcohol and really trying to imagine brown sugar and molasses.

T: I liked pulling out the sweetness, the sugar, but didn't appreciate the alcohol

M: Medium bodied, pleasant, gladly stain my teeth.

D: Drinkable when served cold in cold weather, wouldn't be pleasant warm.

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Photo of BrewDrinkRepeat
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a brilliant red copper. Tall off-white head that lingers a long time.

S: Strong malt aroma, with a definite nose of brown sugar as expected. No discernable hop aroma (which would be out of place for this beer anyway).

T: Tastes big and sweet, slightly cloying. No forward hop bitterness, but a definite tingle at the back of my throat so I know they're there. The impression of brown sugar lingers after the swallow.

M: This is a rich beer -- not thick like as tout, but definitely a big mouthfeel. Very similar to other beers where sugar is added to boost the fermentables. Pleasant alcohol warmth that get somewhat less pleasant as the beer warms up.

D: Considering the sweetness this is a surprisingly drinkable beer. That been said, I probably would not buy another one -- not so much because of any real faults in this beer, but this style doesn't appeal to me that much. I found myself not wanting to finish it after I poured the second half of the 22oz. bomber. (I might like it more in a 12oz. bottle.)

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Photo of wcintula
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is one wild beer. Poured into a Sam Adams 'Guinness-shaped' pint with a brown body and decent tan head, good on the lacing. Smells sweet and spicy a little hops. Oh boy 51 IBUs is perfect for this beer, any less might allow the shugga to be overpowering. The hop-taste is great and refreshing through all the other action in here. It's a very heavy beer, with good carbonation. Had two of these but rather would share with a friend than drink em both.

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Photo of wagenvolks
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow...could've sworn that I reviewed this beer before. Anyway, 12oz bottle into a beer mug.

Pours an attractive, sequin-amber body with good clarity and a hefty cap of taupe foam. Excellent head retention, as expected for the hops Lagunitas is famous for, but surprising given the high ABV. Rich, floral hops in the aroma with notes of brown sugar and grapefruit zest. Same tropical fruit yeast esters dominant in most Lagunitas brews.

Brown malts, boozy, creamy body with a good dose of grassy bitterness from the hops. Not the best strong brown ale I've come across, but it works. Crisp, well-carbonated medium-thick body that lays a heavy blow of booze to the stomach. A little too dry on the finish for all those hops, but this is still a tasty beer and I'm glad I have another 5 Brown Shugga's to go around.

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Photo of trevorjn06
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper/brown color with nice amber highlights and a very thin layer of froth on the surface.

Aroma is caramel, brown sugar/molasses and a faint earthy hop smell. Fairly straight forward.

Taste is definitely on the sweet end of the spectrum, though there is just enough hop bitterness to balance it a bit. Flavors of caramel, brown sugar, honey and a bit of hop bitterness wash over my tongue, this beer is not shy. The finish leaves brown sugar and alcohol flavors lingering but is relatively crisp, not too sweet.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium/low carbonation and a nice mouth-coating feeling.

Overall this beer is quite drinkable for it's strength and not cloyingly sweet as I expected. The flavor profile is relatively simple, though satisfying. I would drink this again.

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Photo of hooliganlife
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a very deep ruby brown. light fluffy creamy head quickly disappears. light retention, little to no lacing

mainly floral, bright and sweet. slight hint of pineapple

lots of sweetness but not in a bad way. mixes well with the floral and citrus hops to balance out. a tad too sweet in the bitter finish though. malts are mostly hidden but become more and more dominant through the finish and the aftertaste. slight pine bitterness through out.

fairly thick for a brown, almost syrupy though

good but way too high of an ABV and way too much sugar.

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Photo of matjack85
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found a 6pk of these at Sal's in Addison, IL for $10.99. Short, squatty, brown bottles with no freshness date, but with that unique printing style that lets you know this is a Lagunitas beer.

The beer pours a clear bronze color that takes on a reddish/orange sunset hue when held to the light. I only got a ½ finger of off-white head with my pour. It had good retention but left only minimal lacing.

I was expecting this huge brown sugar smell, but what I got was a big whiff of hops up front with the caramel and brown sugar lurking underneath.

When you get to the taste however, here comes the brown sugar - boatloads of it! Sweet brown sugar and caramel make this syrupy thick, but there are enough citrus (grapefruit) and earthy hops in here to keep the sweetness in check - well, sort of anyway. There is no effort to hide the alcohol here either, so in addition to the brown sugar and hops flavors, you also get a decent warming alcohol kick.

Thick, syrupy, full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

The high alcohol and sugary taste makes this more of a sipper for me, despite what the label says to the contrary - "Life is uncertain. Don't sip." One at a time is enough for me.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lagunitas Brown Shugga' pours out a reddish brown color topped with a small head. The aroma is sweet and malty. The brown sugar is quite noticeable in the nose. The flavor is sweet, but not syrupy. I taste raisins and brown sugar. Emphasis is on the malt, but hops come in at the finish, and the bitter hoppiness seems to build up as I work my way through this 22 ounce bottle. Alcohol is high, and that combined with the large bottle size makes for a beer to sip over several hours, if you're going at it alone.

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Photo of gonzo46and2
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear brown with ruby highlights. The head rose to about a one-finger size and laced nicely.

Aroma is very estery with notes of pineapple, plum, and other fruits. Not a big hop profile.

Taste is very sweet. More fruitiness and malts. Not much hops here either but they are balancing the beer out a little bit. The bitterness lets you know they are there.

Mouthfeel is almost cloying from the sweetness and really is the only category this beer suffers. Otherwise a very tasty beverage.

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Photo of Onslow
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours from a 12 ounce bottle .. lets go... very silky and mellow beer for having a 9.9% backbone .. tasty and abv very well hidden ... warms u up nicely .. van is the man, sneijder too (2) ... great flavours in this one- brown sugar, rum, figs, plums ... same aroma too ... a very drinkable barleywine!

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Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - burnt orange in color, with a thin dark tan quickly lacing head, scarce small bubles of carbonation wander their way towards the top

S - surprisingly hoppy, more like an IPA than a strong ale, but whatev, a nice and mellow molasses/brown sugar background, surprise surprise

T - hoppy as the aroma had indicated, but stronger, almost DIPA hoppy, with a strong brown sugary sweet-bitter after taste battle
very intriguing

M&D - not quite smooth, but it doenst try to be, bitter and sweet a great battle instead of a blend, a great play on the tongue, very nice, lagunitas brews well

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Photo of Coolcheech
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a wine glass.
This is the Brown Shugga' Sweat Release, OG: 1.100, ABV:9.8%, IBU: 51.1

A: A very clear amber, with short head. Carbonation bubbles lingered inside the glass.

S: Floral hoppiness in the bottle. After I poured it the smell became very neutral, with a mild hop aroma lingering.

T: It’s hoppy. It’s also got the sweetness, but not malty sweetness, more like a molasses … or brown … sugar.

M: This is a full body beer. There’s a coating of the mouth that is expected from a beer made with this much sugar . A little tingly on the tongue but no burn from the high ABV.

D: I’ve drank this beer plenty of times, and until now never analyzed it. It’s a good beer which I have always enjoyed, but until now, I never realized how quiet this beer was. Heavy, but quiet. It’s a hop forward beer, and the sugar gives it more body than sweetness.

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Photo of ReDave
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An interesting beer, not what i expected. Big, nice hoppy residual taste, sweet up front, but nice bitter after-taste. Not really barley wine [to me at least], but not really anything else. Not for the faint at heart, or for those unwilling to try something different.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.50] The beer is a rust to brown color. It pours out with a full finger of dense white head. The head recedes slowly and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. The beer has a date code that says it was born on 12/12/14. The bottle lists the ABV at 9.9%.

S: [3.50] Maybe candied raisins. I am not getting a strong nose on this beer. As it warms I am getting more brown sugar - but I can't tell if that is just the power of suggestion.

T: [3.50] I get a hint of smokiness early. Then there is a flush of sweet caramel flavor.

M: [4.00] The mouthfeel is great. It feels heavy like you might expect at almost 10% but there is no sense of the alcohol. The finish is short and a little dry.

O: [3.75] This beer looks great in a glass. It leaves tremendous lacing as it is enjoyed. The nose is just weak. I can't zero in on anything to hold on to. The flavor is sweet and delicious - not like other beers that I can think of. This might be a nice dessert beer (typically a role filled by stouts). I can't imagine drinking more than 1-2 of these at a time. There is a lot of sweetness happening it might pile up.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - bright copper color, tan, fluffy head

smell - Brown sugar, Pine, citrus, honey

taste - not a huge departure from the nose, brown sugar, piney hops, honey

mouthfeel - thick body, really really sweet upfront, bitter hops in the middle and then the sweetness of the brown sugar lingers afterwards, high amount of carbonation

drinkability - this is a sipper for sure, the sweetness prevents me from craving another, but this is a decent beverage worth trying

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Photo of Hautacam
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear caramel color.
Nice foamy 1 in. head that reduces to about 1/4in. and lasts.
Not much in the nose...little malt, dried fruit.
Tastes very much like a barleywine..texture wise too.
Very sweet malt, prominent alcohol and hops ...slight bitter-sweet finish.
This reminds me very much of Victory Old Horizontal...a little less hoppy, maybe.
It's very good , but it's almost too sweet to finish the whole 22 oz...but I did.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Gulden Draak tulip glass

Appearance- Copper in color with 2 fingers of off white head that leaves a great amount of sticky lacing.

Smell- Tons of pine and citrus.

Taste- In the front is a carmely bready malt flavor that is quickly cut down by a piney hop finish. Slight earthy tones throughout.

Mouthfeel- Very nice and thick for the style.

Overall- A very odd take on an American Strong Ale. To heavily hopped in my opinion. Various things to both love and hate about this beer.

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Photo of malcontent
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brilliant, deep amber body wit a copious, sticky tan head that smears lacing up and down the glass' sides.

Carmel/maple goodness collide with a sharp citrus hop kick creating an almost pineapple-like effect on the nose. Weird...but fun.

Nope, it tastes like pineapple, too, and I'm not sure I love that. Certainly the depth of flavor is startling with brown sugar clearly on display and that same, pine-y/citrus hop character charging ahead flanked on either side by rye bread/molasses interplay and, well, pineapples!

Full-bodied ale is certainly appropriate for the style and the slight slickness is acceptable for a style that requires serious hopping to counterbalance a wallop of a grain bill. Still, drinkability is hurt somewhat by a big 'ol dose of booze and that same flavor reminiscent of a certain tropical fruit...

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Photo of veinless
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brownish amber with a half-finger white head that was gone before I knew it. At least it left some lacing to let me know it was there at all.

Smell is of clean leafy hops with some generic malty sweetness. If you put a gun to my head telling me to be specific I'd say caramel and brown sugar, but don't hold me to it.

This beer is really REALLY sweet and I love it. TONS of malt at the outset, with a jaggery sweetness I haven't experienced since North Coast's PranQster. I'm getting just the faintest bit of hops at all, barely any really. No balance to this, but as a specialty beer this is great for the price. Tons of different malt sweeteners like the jaggery mentioned earlier, and brown sugar, honey, and regular generic sweetness. That's all there is to it (in my palate's view at least).

Mouthfeel is good due to the unique level of stickiness in the finish, and drinkability is just ok, as I can see the sweetness getting overpowering fast. Good experiment-turned-staple from Lagunitas.

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

12oz stubby bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Big thanks to my buddy UA8 for the hookup!

Pours a nice dark ruby red with a very small light bien head. The nose is very nice, it's sweet like brown sugar as well as dark fruits.

Very unique, the brown sugar flavor is there, it's sweet and a bit chewy. Nice layers of spices and maltiness come through a it warms. The carbonation is a bit low, but it is well done and smooth drinking. Overall another slam dunk for Lagunitas.

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

Into a globe.

A - Ruby, copper hue with an two-finger ivory head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Booze, dark fruit, a bit of brown sugar and some molasses.

T - An interesting blend of a number of tastes: some hops like a DIPA, alcohol warmth of a barleywine and a touch (I stress, a touch) of sweetness from the sugar and caramel malts. I cannot help but feel this is just a bit overwhelming, with the weight of the alcohol trumping the underlying flavors.

M - Medium body with average carbonation. Heat from the alcohol.

O - Lots of things going on here. I would be interested to see how this one aged... It has all the ingredients to become outstanding given the test of time.

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

had this on tap at old chicago in uptown..and also have had it from bottle reviews is from tap serving which i preferred ..it came a beautiful auburn brown color with a minimal head and a beige ring with some sticky lacing..i had to let this ale warm as it was served to cold..as it warmed i could smell molasses and caramel and hops some brown sugar of course..the taste was not as good as the smell ..i got to much of an alcohol hit first then the citrus and molasses and all the b4 mentioned taste played to much of a secondary role..the ale was still solid ..maybe i drank it to cold to get all the layers of flavor ..again still a solid offering from langunitas.i just like maximus and hop stoopid better

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

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a US pint glass.

Pours clear amber color with a very small amount of off-white head which dissipates rapidly. The nose is all candy sugar and brown sugar, sort of like a slightly more spicy or American Belgian ale. Not bad. The flavor is very potent brown sugar/candy flavor, with a slightly muted hops presence, all mingled with alcohol, but mostly brown sugar. There are some spicy notes, and the aftertaste is a kind of unpleasant bitter brown sugar/maple taste. The mouthfeel is full, and surprisingly, not very syrupy. Drinkability is decent, but this obviously not something you would ever want more than one of.

Overall, interesting and sweet. Lagunitas never lets me down; that said I don't think I'll be buying it again.

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Photo of indy169
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lagunitas Brown Sugga' pours a cloudy deep copper, with nice lacing. The initial mouthfeel is rather thick with a peculiar and odd feel. The smell is cleaner than the taste, and there is a melon-like flavor hidden within the heavy alcohol content. There is also a pronounced sticky, sweetness, which is reminded on the lips when dry.
I find this brew pretty decent, but lacking heart. The alcohol is too high for the flavors expressed.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,541 ratings.
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