Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
5,685 Ratings
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
Ratings:
5,685
Reviews:
1,591
Avg:
4
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
299
Gots:
1,335
For Trade:
13
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,685 |  Reviews: 1,591
Photo of robebo44
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MikeWard
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of stumac
3.29/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a reddish copper color with a nice off white head with decent lacing. the nose is shugga, sweet malts, caramel, molasses. the taste is sweet malts up front followed directly with bitter hops, shugga, caramel, subtle dark fruits like dark cherries, subtle red apple. Light to medium bodied, medium to low carbo. American Barleywine? I think so...

 351 characters

Photo of bismarksays
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of bmur112
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of captainbearcat
5/5  rDev +25%

Photo of derkfromwi
4/5  rDev 0%

Photo of GTB
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of Mattyb79
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of shand
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a nonic.

Pours a hazy red-amber color. This is a highly carbonated brew, judging from the evident carbonation bubbles. The head is pretty puny though, less than a fingers worth without much retention. Lacing is great though. The smell is loaded with hops and grapefruit. It's not all that bitter though, there's a sweetness to the brew for sure.

This tastes dank. Seriously, this has some serious ganja going on. There's a bit of a sweetness to the aftertaste too. It's almost like sugared grapefruit as the aftertaste. It's a good beer. The mouthfeel is great, it's just thick enough to make the beer feel substantial without becoming too sticky or cloying. The drinkability benefits from this - it hides it's alcohol very well.

This is a pretty good beer from Lagunitas. It's not my favourite beer in the world, but it's unique (who the hell would mix a barleywine and an IPA?), tastes good, and could really be someone's favourite beer. Recommended.

EDIT: 11/19/2012: Brown Shugga's back, so I went back and looked at my old beer novice review. "Who the hell would mix a barleywine and an IPA?" I guess I really hadn't had many barleywines at all then! I still think the sugared grapefruit line is perfect for the finish though.

 1,271 characters

Photo of Beer4B
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of allergictomacros
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear copper with an inch of somewhat loose head. Laces well.

S - Very fruity, some dark sugars and molasses come to mind. Slight metallic touch as well.

T - Raisins, booze, quite bitter as well. Some toasty malt and a touch of sweetness, but not overly so. Some grassiness keeps the flavour from being too heavy. Nonetheless, very thick flavours in this.

M - Moderate in body with a nice low carbonation. Slightly chewy.

D - Not as heavy as I initially feared. For some reason I was expecting something in the brown ale category... dunno why. This however is pushing barleywine territory.

 606 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-a clear ruby with three fingers worth of bubbly cream colored head

S-caramel malt and piney citrus hops

T-caramel malt, brown sugar, bitterness is more mild than the smell would suggest. Very well hidden alcohol.

M-medium body, good carbonation

Overall sweet and sticky, but not cloying, but still has a very large hop presence. Very well done and drinkable.

 364 characters

Photo of scotorum
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Clear deep amber with a huge beige head which receded slowly to heavy surface foam and very dense lacing.

s: Pine. Later, some vinegar. Uh oh.

t: Funky spoiled fruit under sharp hops. Fortunately the flavor does not linger through the dry finish. OK it's almost 10% ABV and does not burn the back of the throat much. But really. that and its sexy good looks are about all it has going for it.

m: Moderate with great body,.

o: Maybe I got a bad batch. Just not going for the funky dirty feet vinegar aroma and flavor. An isovaleric acid in the hops issue? Whatever it is, it's the first bad Lagunitas I have had. Reminiscent of my first Brooklyn Monster barleywine, which was like drinking liquid dirty gym socks (fortunately later bottles of that were better).

Not the expected "sweet release" the bottle label promised by a longshot. Love the appearance, which screamed quality. All downhill from there. If it was any worse it would have been a drain pour. Actually, it may be very soon.

If the others in the sixpack are better, I'll be back to re-review.

UPDATE 11/13/13: Had a second bottle tonight and fortunately it lacked the offending vinegar aroma and taste which caused me to drainpour the last few ounces of the first. However I did still get a dirty socks odor, and yet much more caramel malt and brown sugar in the flavor. Consequently upgrading my rating, which was a: 4.75 s: 3.25 t: 2.75 m: 4.0 and overall 2.75, ave. 3.08, to the above.

UPDATE 11/21/13: Third bottle from the sixpack lacked the vinegar and sock odor. Not sure what to make of that except the added sugar may result in some instability remaining in the bottle? Anyway this was even better but I won't bother raising the rating again unless the rest of the lot proves to be as good or better than this one. Hoppier but almost as malty as slightly cheaper ales I enjoy such as Shipyard Chamberlain and Geary's Pale Ale, but the higher ABV and somewhat meatier body makes the extra couple of bucks per sixpack for Shugga worth it as a nightcap.

UPDATE 12/19/13: Can't believe I waited this long to have another from the sixpack, but unfortunately this one is similar to the first, except the vinegar/dirty feet smell and taste are subdued enough that it is not as close to being a drain pour. Still, far from the promised "Sweet release." Funny how one bottle can be ok and yet another from the very same sixpack can be so much worse.

UPDATE 4/7/17: Despite obvious issues with the first sixpack three and a half years ago, this has become a personal staple., along with it's "little brothers" Undercover and Sumpin Sumpin. The flavor since has been reliably excellent and unique. Raising the ratings is long overdue, from smell 3.25 to 3.75, taste from 4-4.5, and overall from 4-4.5.

 2,839 characters

Photo of IRONRakkasan
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Modernrickk
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of memphischas
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of facundoCNB
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a clean copper/amber pour with a slight amount of head that quickly fizzed away into oblivion.

smells of fresh piney hops up front, a slight chipotle pepper smokiness overtone, very sweet scents of figs, and grassy/earthy hops again.

such a sweet malty overtone it's hard to not fall in love with this. a mix of hops with the malt profile, and i'm guessing what would be the million pounds of brown sugar that went into this makes this pretty balanced for the most part.. seconds after you take the first sip you get the sweetness of the sugar come at you and a smile appears.

full body with low carbonation makes this a good sipper. you feel the 9.9% abv in the chest as a nice warm feeling (perfect for these cold days) ut you don't really taste it.

i haven't had this one since winter of '09/'10.... almost 2 years. this is one of those instances where i'm glad they took the beer away for a while.. because i't better than i even remember it. for a beer in general, it's a personal favorite.. nothing all that excellent about it, it's just delicious and i'm glad it's back.

 1,081 characters

Photo of UnionMade
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Eli Cannon's a while back. Taken from notes scribbled on the back of a "beer tastin's" flyer.
Served in a snifter glass, at the perfect temperature. 55 degrees or so. Color is hazy, orangey and toffee-like. Very bright and interesting. Whispy white head. The head dies out about halfway through. Minimal lacing. Big, sweet, caramel laden aroma. Hops are definitely present, in a piney, citrusy sort of way. Very barleywine like. Is that what this is supposed to be? Somehow strong ale doesn't seem to fit. This is much closer to Bigfoot, Old Crustacean and the like than it is to UBU ale or Double Bag, to name a couple strong ales. Some alcohol and heady, estery fruit. Prune and apples. Slight vinous notes. I'm not really getting much in the way of brown sugar, unless that's some of that odd caramel sweetness. The flavor opens with big, bold sweetness. Huge amounts of caramel malt, the brown sugar much more present than in the scent. The sweetness rides all the way through the finish, though its well tempered with plenty of hops. Balanced, I'd say. Plenty fruity and "bigbeer-ish". Some red grape and sherry, with healthy doses of apple, pear and plum. Assertive piney hop flavor. Minimal booze, though you don't forget its there. A little bit of a saccharine bite in the end. Huge, syrupy body with modest carbonation levels. All around a pretty hefty feeling brew. One hell of a snifter sipper.
I bet bottles of this would age very well. I'll have to pick a few up next time I see it. I assume the keg on hand was fresh, and its already got a bit of that sherry agedness to it. Very nice. I'd like to buy this by the gallon and watch my entire saturday slip into hazy orange oblivion.

 1,707 characters

Photo of jmarsh123
3.44/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours clear brownish red with a good amount of off-white head. Good lacing down the glass.

Lots of toffee bready malts and brown sugar in the aroma. A few hops cut through the sweetness

Same flavors as the aroma. Sappy sweet with a little hop bitterness. A bit boozy at the end.

Syrupy but falls just shy of cloying. Alcohol shows through a bit more than I'd prefer on this ABV.

Meh not bad, but not really something I'd be looking for either. I don't really have strong positive or negative opinions about this beer.

 521 characters

Photo of timmy2b
3/5  rDev -25%

Photo of HarmonMW
4/5  rDev 0%

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,685 ratings.
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