Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

1,583 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: 1,583 | Ratings: 5,644
Photo of barnzy78
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orangey-brown color with a huge off-white head that leaves all kinds of thick lacing down the glass. Boozy aroma with caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Mouth-feel is sticky-sweet and thick, coats the palate well. Tastes are caramel, brown sugar, with hints of fruits such as plums, vanilla and toffee. As it warms, the true flavors come out. More of an earthy hop bite adds to the sweet finish and really aids the balance nicely. Overall, this is a unique ale that I enjoyed. This is recommendable and I usually buy at least one bottle every fall upon release.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Nick at Bauer for recommending this brew....
Pours a clear orange/copper color...almost a full finger of bright white head...lacing is thin, but has decent cling.
The aroma is very inviting...sweet rum raisins up front w/ a hefty malt backbone.
Taste is incredibly bitter, yet deliciously sweet w/ just a hint of alcohol in its finish.
Mouthfeel is similar to most American barleywines...carbonation is a touch high for the style.
The drinkability for the ABV % is great...I could enjoy this bomber and maybe another...especially during the colder months. Couldn't resist pulling this one from the cellar tonight...have one more to sit until winter.
Another fine brew (even if by accident) from second favorite next to Gnarleywine...go figure.

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

Beautiful amber color with a large white head that sticks around for quite a long time. Great hops and grapefruit smell. Wow, what a great combination of grapefruit, citrus and hops. The hops and grapefruit hit upfront with a nice citrus finish. Nice full, smooth body. Great IPA all the way around. Great trade from Pieper34.

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

I easily get 2 fingers of crackling light tan foam with a easy pour. Retention is solid and leaves a considerable wall of lace with consistent holes throughout. Body is a deep red amber in tone. Nose is an interesting balance of both sweet and hoppy. You get both grassy hops and sassafras candy in the smell. Taste is of resin based hops and chewy sassafras candy resembling the nose considerably. Well balanced between the malt and the hops this is scary easy to drink for nearly 10% alcohol. I am really in love with Lagunitas this year, they have been so consistent. I am putting extras of these away in the cellar to see what magic works in a brew that I believe will age spectacularly well.

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Photo of happilysurly
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper amber brown. Cloudy and many a floater. Very little head. Smells sweet and fruity. Grapefruit and pineapple. The taste is sweet and slightly bitter. This is goood. A delicious mistake by the Lagunitas crew. I'm tasting enough fruit (grapefruit and pineapple) top remind me of Sunday brunch. There is a little bit of toffee or butterscotch taste too. Slightly salty. You really don't catch how much alcohol is in this brew until you get towards the end or you look at the bottle. In other words, it is not at all obvious to me that I am getting drunk right now. THIS STUFF IS GOOOOD!

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Photo of hoschkam
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a: redish in color with nice lacing that lasts til it's gone
s: Sweet and raisiny, but you can smell the ABV
t: sweet, strong and a bit boozy. it gets better with every sip
m: extremly smooth, with only a minor sting
overall: this is an awesome beer that seems to be a bit different every year, but I look so forward to it's availability. Happy to see it back in 2012.
Peace out!

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Photo of Nick3
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this is a great beer. Not what I expected based on the beer name and color. Color is a rich brown. A lot more hops than I expected. I can barely taste the alcohol which was shocking based on the strength. The beer is really well balanced and keeps you guessing, you look at it and think Newcastle, you smell it and the molasses and sugar are there but there is a hop aroma that you don't expect. . . you taste it and, at first, it reconfirms the smell as the hops and flowers pervade, but then the finish is rounded off with some nice malts and sweetness .. .then the hops reappear again a few seconds later. Beer is well carbonated and could use a bit more body. A bit of a schizophrenic beer but one that I would buy again.

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Photo of currysage1
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly murky burnt red, lots of yeast in suspension. light head that goes down to a skim and a ring.

Smell is of smoky carmel, dark sweet and complex, black pepper, alcohol twinge, vanilla extract, candied citrus peel.

Taste is brandy with carmel, almost a too burnt creme brulee, good hop bite that mixes well with the alcohol presence. Burnt/charred sugar are evident, dark grape, again with the black pepper.

Feel is heavy but not slick, very enjoyable before bed but could not have many more, this is a have one and move on type. Not to say I won't buy again.

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Photo of depechemode1983
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear brownish amber with a nice tan head with awesome retention. Plenty of lacing on the glass. Very attractive looking beer. In the nose you get piney hops with a bit of caramel and some dark fruit sweetness. Taste sweet with a little bitterness from the hops. Starts off with caramel and brown surgar notes. Then cherries in the middle to give it more of a fruity sweetness. Finishes with a citric hops bite along with a little alcohol warmth. Delicioius. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with little carbonation. Leave a sorta sticky oily feeling on the palate. Not bad, but different. The hight ABV and sweetness keep the drinkablity down. I could drink a couple of these and enjoy the hell out of them. Although probably stop there. More than likely i would revisit this one in the future. well worth what i paid for it.

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

Poured from a 12oz. glass into a snifter.

A - Pours a deep amber, frothy off-white head.

S - Caramel, burnt sugar.

T - A big, complex malt profile comes right out the gate. Starting as a heavy, toasty caramel, the malt flavor becomes more layered and reminiscent of a doppelbock in its sweetness, toastiness, biscuit notes, and viscosity. An earthy, spicy, slightly berry-like hop character near the back end of the palate along with a subtle boozy bite. Finish is sweet, and surprisingly bitter.

M - Full-bodied, not too heavy for such a sweet beer.

O - Somewhere between a Winter Warmer, Doppelbock, and Barleywine, this is a thought-provoking, unique beer.

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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 WhiteOak
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Brilliant dark amber brown, with a dark tan head.

S- Aroma is balanced nicely, see-sawing between hops and malt. There is a nice, bright, crushed Fir bud resin and grapefruit nose that just barely covers the caramel. Blindfolded, one would likely think big DIPA.

T- Oily, viscous & sweet. Resinous hops keep the sweet big maltiness properly counter-balanced. The palate is carpet bombed with flavor, and the finish is long, lingering, and pleasant. Nice.

M, D- I've reviewed too many hyper-hopped bitter bombs of which I commented "Too bad it didn't have the sweetness to balance properly." Well, here is a fine example of that desired balance.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 edition. Poured a light amber/orange color. Small, creamy tan head that didn't hang around long. Left good, thick lacing that coated the glass in sheets.
Sweet malty aroma with some toffee and nuts. Good spicy hop presence.
Tangy, spicy bittersweet taste with caramel, buttery brown sugar and a bit of vanilla. Nicely balanced with a mildly spicy hoppiness. Finishes slightly bitter and semi-dry with noticeable alcohol.
Rich, thick mouthfeel with good carbonation. For a beer this sweet and high in alcohol, it's surprisingly drinkable.
Definitly a different beer. Hard to categorize other than ...great! Add a little cream to this and it would make a great beer milkshake!

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish orange with a good off-white head and some nice lace rings.

Bunch of pine and some caramel notes.

Big pine pitch hoppy brightness with sweet thick malt, with caramel, some toasted sweet bread flavors. Deep, rich, complex, nice bitter and sweet finish.

Semi thick and chewy. Enough carbonation to clean the palate.

Went down very easy for almost 10%. You don't even notice the alcohol. Even with the sweetness of the malt and the overll sweet nature, the hops balance this perfectly. Great beer.

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

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. The color is a deep, clear amber with a sticky white head. On the nose is burnt brown shugga' and a hint of orange marmalade. The taste follows the nose, and that is a good thing. The flavors are sweet and phenolic with weak citrus notes. Brown Shugga is medium bodied and easy drinking. I first had this at a festival and the server described it as a Barley wine, but I agree with BA it fits better in the strong ale category. This beer is very enjoyable.

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours the color of a clean penny with a small off white head that vanishes quickly, leaving some nice lacing.
I hate the word aroma, so I'm gonna say I smell some malts and piney, citrusy hops.
This has a nice sweetness upfront and a mild citrus finish.
This is one of those beers that sneaks up on you. The ABV is well hidden. Another terrific offering from Lagunitas.

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

a very long time coming... finally! it has a hell of a reputation. it pours a clear dark copper to red color, like an amber, with a two inch off white head that relaxes a little bit in time. the nose is all time, tons of brown sugar and molasses, spice and sweet, but also way more hops than i expected. bitter, a nice contrast to the sweet, nothing offensive here at all. flavor is so complex, nothing like this out there at all. sweet, thick, and boozed out max up front, but it settles into a hoppy, equally boozed, big ipa style. yeast is the same as seemingly all lagunitas beers, which really is my only knock on them, but it works here better than anywhere. feel is full bodied, but not as huge as i thought. its also plenty carbonated, which makes it seem drinkable at a scary rate. excellent beer, worth the hype. it will only get better as the weather gets darker and colder to suit this beer. yum, yum, yum.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a crystal clear chestnut color. There's a decent two finger offwhite color head with average retention. As it recedes, a thin film of patch lacing is left behind.

S: That typical Lagunitas aromatic profile is apparent in full force, full of leafy, citrusy goodness. Concentrating further will help me pick up a nicely sweet malt backbone, full of caramel, toffee, marzipan, and - dare I say - brown sugar. I could smell it all day.

T/M: The sweetness/bitterness balance is well measured. Like a lot of offerings from Lagunitas, the citrusy hop profile comes across as almost sweetish rather than bitter, and it happens to be a perfect companion with the nutty, vaguely sweet maltiness. I thought it would be a bit too sweet, but the finishing dryness does a great job of keeping things in check. All of the general flavors are subtle rather than pulverizing - it makes it really easy to drink for 10%, though perhaps it could be slightly bolder. The body never comes across as too heavy or boozy, allowing it to go down effortlessly.

O: As far as I'm concerned, Lagunitas can do little wrong in my book. And this is another example of how good Lagunitas is.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear amber in color with a big red hue. Head is off white, just over one finger and retains nicely.

Smell has some floral aromas forward along with light herbal and perfume like hop aromas before clean smelling yeast and a good earthy malt come in near the back end.

Taste is great. Lots of rich nutty and and subtle sweet caramel malt flavors are forward. More great herbal and floral hop flavors come in on the back end with very mild amounts of bitterness and a semi-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is great, rich malty body with light hop bitterness. Lots of hoppy oil blend with moderate carbonation to give this a fluffy yet Crisp feel.

Overall this was an awesome beer. Great balance and lots of complexity.

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Photo of colts9016
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer from jyounger30, thank you for this bottle.

Poured into a nonic at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A deep dark copper color with a reddish hue. There was a nice one finger tan head with bubbles and foam. The head lasted for a few minutes and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The clarity of the beer is clear. There is a little bit of effervescence in the beer.

Nose: A dark brown cane sugar, similar to raw sugar in boiling water. There is nice malt aroma with some alcohol and caramel. There is a biscuit/toast aroma with some yeast.

Taste: A rich heavy malt complex with brown sugar, caramel and the alcohol. I can taste a bready/toast and yeast flavors.

Overall: The mouth feel is heavy and slightly carbonated. The body of the beer is thick and the finish lingers for a few moments. This beer will sneak up on you and kick you in the butt. The alcohol flavor is there but not dominating. The beer has a great flavor and is easy to drink . When I drink strong ale beers, I expect the beer to have a well rounded flavor and is not overly alcoholy. Good job, this the first beer from Lagunitas and I like was I am tasting.

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Photo of Morris729
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark golden brown in color with a thin and sticky off-white colored head. Nose is sweet caramelized malts, brown sugar, pine, and a bit of fresh cut grass. Starts off with sweet brown sugar, almost too sweet, but is quickly balanced by bitter notes of pine oils and raw hop flavors. The fact that the abv is 9.9% is quite a surprise as I couldn’t detect any notes of alcohol. However, it does explain the increased difficulty I’m having typing this review! I’ve been a fan of all the Lagunitas beers I’ve had to date, and this one is no different. A nice choice for a nightcap that I’m sure I’ll buy again.

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

Live review. Poured from 12 oz. brown bottle into my Samuel Smith pint glass. Purchased at Heinen's in Willoughby Hills, Ohio this week.

A nice looking 1 cm head which dissipates within a minute to a ring around the top of the beer. Body is medium brown/ruby.

S Love this smell! Sweet brown sugar and I am sure malt with a hoppy presence that I did not expect. Really inviting.

T Hops up front but this has a strong sweet malt presence. Brown sugar in the aftertaste is a welcome part of this beer. I must say that after repeated sips it is a bit odd, this pairing of hops and brown sugar. It is nothing if not interesting and thought provoking.

M Perhaps one of the fullest beers that I have tasted with huge brown sugar, hops tastes and a stickiness that you nearly have to chew through. Don't get me wrong, I love the mouthfeel and I think that it is appropriate to the style/what they were going for.

D Quite good for 9.9% ABV beer. The sweetness combined with the hoppy presence (label says 51.1 IBU) is brilliant.

Notes: Everyone must try this beer!

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Photo of Marty
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep amber, with a good-sized, foamy head. Initially, its smell was much more prominent, almost floral. You can smell the brown shugga' in there.

Nice and malty tasting, but not unbalanced. This beer's hoppy, but the hops aren't the main attraction. It's the molasses!

This label declares this ale to be an experiment. As far as I can tell, the data shows that this beer rocks.

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Photo of alamode
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into an American pint...

A- dark amber, thin head with oily bubbles, abundant carbonation, very nice lacing

S- hops first, slight nail polish, biscuit

T- sweet, fruity hops...sugar...almost has a woody taste. Great!

M- sticky, carbonation is great at this abv!

O- love this stuff! I think the wait made it better too! This a great Strong Ale, worth the money, very drinkable...

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Photo of cjgator3
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark brownish red color with an off-white head. The aroma is a lot of sweet malt and piney hops. The taste much like the aroma features a good dose of malt followed by a nice hoppy finish. There is a good dose of hops in the taste, but there is a sufficient amount of malt to make this a well balanced brew. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth. The drinkability is pretty high considering it's high ABV, the full malt and hop flavors mask the alcohol pretty well. Overall, this is a very good beer that is recommended.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,644 ratings.
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