Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

1,582 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:
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Reviews: 1,582 | Ratings: 5,636
Photo of surfer4life
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle

A - Hazy golden brown with a thick off color white head. Some sediment and good lacing.

S - Very sweet malt, almost reminds me of how a belgian quad smells. lots of spice in it, raisins and obviously, brown sugar.

T - Not a sweet as the you would think, actually some hop bitterness to it. The front is sweet, I get vanilla and caramel. Hoppy in the middle and sweet brown shugga on the end!

M - Full bodied with medium carbonation. Coats the mouth perfectly and leaves it wanting so much more.

D - Far to drinkable, I will look for it again and should like to have it on tap.

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Photo of bnes09
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange amber ale. Mostly transparent. Pours a thin head with fairly poor retention and minimal lacing, which is probably pretty common for a beer of this strength.

Huge aroma of pine and citrus hops, nutmeg and caramel.

Taste follows with a surprisingly assertive hop providing flavors of pine and grapefruit. Big caramel malt with a maple sweetness. Lots of spices, nutmeg and a hint of cinammon. Highly complex flavor profile and well balanced.

Medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the lips. Finish is dry due to the hops.

Overall, I was very impressed with this brew not knowing what to expect. Tons of solid flavors and the alcohol is masked very well.

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Photo of 312HopBomb
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep amber color with a slight white cap. This is nice and clear.

The nose is sweet with prominent brown sugar. The hops peak through to mix it up.

The taste is sweet but not too much. A nice malty and brown sugga sweetness with a good dose of hops.

Mouthfeel is medium full with moderate carbonation.

I really liked this one. Had been wanting to try it but hard to find. Thanks to Jose for sharing!

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Photo of andrewjraab
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Orange / cherry glow, slightly hazy produced a towering fluffy head that reduces to a ring around the glass with a bubbly pillow in the center. Heavy lace and stick after each drink. Wonderful looking beer.

S - Citrus notes - Pineapple?, orange zest, resinous, oily, caramel.

T - Citrus and piney hop punch to the mouth - wonderful. This is followed by a sweet malty presence - caramel, brown shugga that balances really well. The mouthfeel is somewhat chewy, but it is amazingly drinkable considering type of brew and ABV.

O - WOW - glad I snagged this one off the shelf, I will definitely be going back for more perhaps to lay a few down. This is a DAMN good brew.

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Photo of MMOSNN
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - a golden amber with a two-finger off-white head and spotty lacing.
Smell - citrusy hops, brown sugar, and caramel malts all mix together very well.
Taste - this beer is very unique, it follows the nose but this combination of flavors is so bizarre, but in a good way.
Feel - great carbonation, full and slightly chewy body, and smooth finish.
Overall, I can't make sense of this beer but the complexity draws me in. I want to age some bottles to see how it develops.

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Photo of williamjbauer
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap served into a pint glass

Rereveiwed on 11 27 12 bottled, in weizen glass

A - Clear dark amber with 3 finger khaki head with excellent lacing and fantastic head retention, poured 20 min and still had 1 finger head.

S - No surprises malty and brown sugar. Caramel and a little coriander spicy notes as well. Loads of fresh piney hops.

T - Nice sweet flavors with earthy saltiness but heavy wheat and caramel. Very sweet on the front palate, great malt profile, really showcasing the sweetness here. Sharp strong bitter piney hops finish that fades rapidly. Bit of warming booze on the back end but pretty well balanced considering the 10% ABV, though this does become a bit too prominent as the beer warms.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation, crisp

O - Very nice beer, captures the brown sugar sweetness while still maintaining that signature Lagunitas hoppy fresh finish. I really love this beer, a great seasonal and I could drink this anytime, though I like the Sucks a bit more.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice, bright amber color with a sticky light brown head. Aroma of caramelized fruit and brown sugar. Taste is more sugar and fruit, with a light bit of hops that really brings balance to the beer. Sweet and sticky, but not cloying.

Pretty delicious.

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Photo of Glibber
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful red amber color with a healthy thick white head that laced and stuck to the glass. A nice citrus hop that i mplies a little sweetness. The taste was malty, without being as hoppy as some of the other Lagunitas seasonals. Since this comes out every other year, I almost forgot how good this beer is. It is smoother than wild, and has more fruit flavors -orange - than any other Lagunitas in my opinion. The alcohol is well hidden, and this is one of the best offerings from this brewery.

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Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, from the motherland Lagunitas, into my Zatec fluted glass. Nice firm 2 fingers of tan head. Good retention and nice sticky icky lacing. Smells floral, sweet malt, a bit of Duncan Hines brownies. Sweet up front on the palate. Finishes earthy and bitter. Dangerous 10% beer. Johnny Dangerous.

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Photo of Mongrel
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Great looking beer. Pours a slightly hazy honey-amber with a finger of dense, frothy off-white head. Plenty of clingy lace.

S - Smell is intoxicating. Abundant hops - mainly citrus and pine - plus honey, apple and some sort of x-factor, like jasmine.

T - Taste-wise, the first impression is bitterness, like a west coast IPA. This quickly yields to big, rich sweetness, like a barleywine. The whole experience is immensely fruity, bringing apple, grape, grapefruit and raisin. Perfectly balanced and the sweetness is big, but in no way cloying. Brown sugar doesn't come through per se - it's more like a honey sweetness. Aftertaste is cool and dry, with some grapefruit hoppiness.

M - Mouthfeel is big, round and velvety. Pure luxury on the palate with a moderately long finish.

Overall, this is a dangerously delicious brew and one of my favorite seasonals. Luxurious, but approachable and dangerously drinkable. Virtually no perceptible signs of the high ABV, and a damn good value, to boot.

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Photo of Thur123
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a deep reddish garnet, similar to a barley wine in color, maybe a tad darker. The head was very slight and faded quickly, leaving a thin ring. The smell is tropically sweet malt with the cane sugar in, in addition to, a kind of bittersweet hop edge and ripe fruit, with both citrus and plums.

Glug glug glug

Mmmm, first are the dark fruits and the rich sweet malt, which underlies all the other flavors very nicely. The hops and citrus come in second with a bitter edge that mixes well with the sweetness. Towards the end of the profile is a second helping of a sugar cookie like malt with the heat from the alcohol only a little masked. This being said, the booze character brings no heat, just warmth. Mouth feel is think and delicious. A great beer that's opened my eyes to the strong ale.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Edit: I am reviewing the Brown Shugga as a Barleywine.. there is no way this is the same recipe as the last couple years.

Current batch 12oz.. picked up on Friday at Albertsons for $1.29 (they charged me the wrong price for sure).. poured into my Delirium tulip.

Good 2" head that leaves rings of lace atop a very clear cherry wood color brew.

Aroma is waay hoppier than I remember last years Brown Shugga.. piney hops are at the front and leave little room for much else.. but there is a big background of caramel malts ... this really reminds me of a PNW barleywine.

Flavor is an American barleywine.. Deep bitterness and solid caramel/toasted malt backbone with a nice pine hop flavor that melds well with fruity (fresh black cherry) yeasty flavors. Fairly thick body is expected with a nice prickly/yet creamy carbonation... long lingering hop and lite toffee finish.

Brown Shugga is a BW in '07/'08 .. Where's the Gnarleywine? I think I have a little left in my glass.

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Photo of cubedbee
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, a deep burnished copper two fingers of off-white head, nice retention, nice sheets of lacing left behind. Nose fits the name, lots of sweet brown sugar, slightly caramel, with a slight alcohol soaked fruitiness. Some floral hops start to come through after you've acclimized yourself to the sweetness. Taste mirrors the nose with a strong sugary sweet malt upfront, slightly biscuity, slightly fruity with a decently hoppy finish merging with a not unpleasant bite of alcohol. Full bodied and smooth, this is a nice enjoyable sipping beer. Overall, dangerously so, as I could easily drink several of these high octane beers.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - nice big beer with amber/reddish color body and a huge white head that leaves nice lacing
S - caramel, orange, peach, vanilla, butterscotch, slight mustiness/old ale/oxidized quality
T - caramel, orange, grapefruit, peach, slight mustiness/old ale/oxidized quality
M - heavy, alcohol covered, aftertaste is orange rind, caramel, musty strong ale
O - good beer, definitely rivals bigfoot in my book, will cellar and see how it does

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Photo of rtratzlaff
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish brown with a full thick off white head that leaves tons of lacing.

Aromas of sweet malt, alcohol soaked dark fruit, and pine hop characters.

The flavor is syrupy sweet malt along with a flash of hops that keep the sweetness from being cloying.

Full bodied with just enough carbonation.

With warmth, this drinks almost like a barleywine; rather than a hoppy strong ale/DIPA as it started out.

Drinkability: One a day would do the trick for a happy hop head that also loves sweet malt. Less alcohol would make me go back to this beer more often.

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Photo of jman42
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

A = Crystal clear copper color. The head was moderate but the lacing is still sitting at the top of my glass even though it is half gone.

S = Sweet and malty

T = Definitely taste the alcohol in this. One of those beers that I didn't realize it was 9.9% until I took a taste. Taste the sweetness of the brown sugar too.

M = Smooth on my tongue. Combination of a lingering malty and bitterness taste after I swallow.

O = A nice beer to age probably. A great beer to have on a cold Autumn/Winter night after a hard day of fun. Pour into a snifter and drink in front of the fire.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a slightly hazed ruby-amber with a finger of richly creamy beige foam. The head settles to a thin ring, leaving behind a few splotches and legs of lacing as it disappears.

A bit of rich maltiness in the nose gives way to grapefruity and floral hop notes and some fruity esters.

A bit thick and chewy in body, with a very moderate carbonation and a bit of a slick mouthfeel. The underlying sweet malt character is overwhelmed quickly by layers of citrusy, piney, and a bit of herbal hop notes, pit fruits (notably cherries), and some warming alcohol as it enters into a very long, dry, bittersweet finish.

Extremely drinkable, despite the hefty 9.9% ABV, and quite desireable as well. It's a sipper, no doubt, but a very pleasurable one. Any essence of brown sugar is obviously hiding in with the malt underneath the hops, but it takes away from nothing. Quite superb.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 11/18/2014, three weeks before the date of this tasting.

I've never been a fan of sweet, malty IPAs, but Lagunitas has brewed up something incredible here. Grapefruit and caramel aromas promise a balanced drink, but I was still unsure after a few whiffs...wouldn't be the first time a malt bomb showed that kind of promise in the nose. But, lo and behold, the palate delivers, and with astounding depth, no less. Vanilla tastes wrap up zesty, orange peel-hops, leading the way as the first in an array of fruit-and-cream flavors that swell up out of this beer: molasses, burnt sugar, peach, graham cracker, pear, apple cider. And with all that sweetness, it's still drinkable beyond belief. That's what I love about this beer: it never gets cloying. Must be the brown sugar, because I've never had a beer this strong and sweet finish without a lingering note of tongue-smacking sugariness. Finishes balanced, in fact, leaving nothing but a fleshy stone fruit and whipped cream character on the tongue, light as can be.

This beer is superb - one of my favorite strong ales to date. Cheers!

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Photo of PatrickJR
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Beautiful rust colored with a slight haze. Massive 4+ fingers of tan colored head almost spill over the edge of the glass. Retention is great and the lacing is abundant; sheets of it on the glass.

S - Brown sugar, as the name implies, certainly jumps out at me but I also get a lot of vanilla with an almost banana-like element. Lots of custard/pie associations. There's also an interesting wave of fruitiness mixed in, tangerines and peaches first come to mind. Some pine pulls through as well. With all the maltiness Lagunitas still lets me know that this brew has it's fair share of hops mixed in.

T - Things start off fairly sweet with lots of caramel and vanilla and just a smidge of butteriness. Apple-like fruitiness provides the segue into hoppy flavors. Pine dominates here with hints of earth and suggestions of citrus peel. Alcohol sweeps the floor leaving a linger bittersweet flavor. While unique and tasty, it feels like there's something missing. I can't put my finger on it, but it seems like the beer is striving for a flavor that never fully manifests. As soon as the malt builds up the hops takeover, and as the hops crescendo the alcohol cleans the slate.

M - Full bodied, but not as sticky and syrupy as I would have thought. Very creamy. Carbonation is extremely low rendering this brew nearly still. Much like a fine barleywine in this respect. Fantastic.

D - A superb offering from Lagunitas. Ultimately I could've used a little more complexity and coherence with the taste (and a little more hidden alcohol) but overall this is a unique and more than worthy brew.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lots of head, this one. Lace is much and lots of cling, right down to the last sip. Head is about three fingers, color is a dark brown, a 21 on the SRM beer color chart. Smell is rich and sweet, with aromas of brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, peach, and roasted malt. Taste is bold and sweet, with flavors of caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, grapefruit, and sweet roasted malt. Mouthfeel is full and chewy, smooth like heavy cream with just enough zing to make it interesting. Don't let the flavor fool you, the almost 10 percent alcohol by volume creeps up on you and away you go. This brown shugga' is calling for me to get some more. A good desert beer for sure.

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Photo of rand
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From bottle to pint glass

A: Pours a clear, dark amber with moderate carbonation. Forms a small but tight head - plenty of sticky lacing as I gently twirl the beer.

S: A surprisingly big rush of citrusy hops dominate the nose. There's some nice caramelly malts in the background, but a lot less than expected given the style. Some apple and honey round things out.

T: Well, the hops definitely meet you right up front with that citrus-apple-tea Lagunitas' hop-thing, but the malty sweetness steps up in full force. Raisin bread and alcohol combine, giving this a holiday sipper-like appeal. Finished sugary sweet and rich.

M: Full bodied and rich, as expected, but not overly so. This is a 10% strong ale that won't weigh you down the whole night. Plenty of carbonation to wash away the sticky residue.

D: The beer has a big and aggressive profile, but it's so candy-sweet I could see a wide demographic taking to this. Or, at least, I'm drinking it fast. So thumbs up to drinkabiltiy.

Notes: There could have been a lot of things that went wrong with this brew, but everything is nicely balanced. I've always liked Lagunitas lineup of big beers, but they've earned my respect with this one.

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Photo of Mikus
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

This was a pleasant surprise (and only a 9.99 sixer), and lives up to the rep. Beautiful pour. Nice clean piney aromas and notes, as well as a healthy malt presence. Love the brown sugar addition. Pine keeps it clean. Evolves and changes in the glass. I will buy this again.

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Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

had many times before, finally reviewing.
pours a beautiful brown bronze, almost shiny. two finger head with sticky lacing. very few bubbles swimming within.
smells as name states. sugary sweetness, nice hop presence. youd never know this beer was 10 percent from either the smell or taste. its perfectly hidden. all the flavors just freak out and take over your palate and leave the abv behind. however it is in my eyes, fairly drinkable which makes it dangerous because before you know it youre 3 or 4 in and wondering where the buzz came from.
there isnt a whole lot of lingering effect, which i find strange because considering the sugar cane, youd think it would remain well after taking a sip. its big and there while drinking, then fades fairly quickly. the sweetness packs it in with a punch, and then makes a quick exit.
love this beer overall, and always look forward to it.

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Photo of EddieTheTrooper
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Oh this truly be a great beer. Brown Shugga is brewed with just that-- brown sugar, about 2 lbs per barrel I was told. Thats the first thing that hit me about his beer, the thick molasses feel of it and the sweet taste. The aroma is almost as intoxicating as the beer (over 10% ABV) and while it is one of the better beers I've ever tasted I could not drink too much of it in a night, mainly because its so sweet ad so strong.

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Photo of Deuane
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Deep copper with a medium light tan head, Head holds on and then reduces to a thin cap leaving behind nice lace.

S-Caramelized brown sugar, toasted malt and a nice hop kick,

T-Toasty malt on the palate with present but subduded brown sugar sweetness. Nice hop kick to keep the malt/brown sugar sweetness in check. A tickle of fruitiness in the background.

M-Medium to Medium-heavy body with a wonderful smoothness and pleasant creaminess.

D-Very drinkable. Sweet but not too sweet and just enough hop kick to keep hop heads happy. I struggle to believe that this is 9.9%...a stealthy beer for sure! Brown Shugga....I love you! Thanks Mick!

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,636 ratings.
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