Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,582 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:
1,582
Ratings:
5,636
Avg:
4
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
296
Gots:
1,316
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,582 | Ratings: 5,636
Photo of Jordan
3.39/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Simple, the word of the day. Faint, almost undetectable sweet aromas. Light bodied. Very plain palate consisting of little more than clover honey sweetness that dissolves into a brash hop bitterness soon after it hits the tongue. For those with undeveloped taste buds, and a liking for high ABV brews, this one is for you. Unsophisticated and unprovocative, the mode most people in this country prefer.

Sorry Lagunitas, but you are quickly losing merit with me.

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Photo of ajmoody76
3.44/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

twelve ounce bottle pours clear amber. thin tight tan head. no lacing.

nutty aroma. fruity. smells like it has some alcoholic strength. no off orodrs.

super sweet. does have a brown sugar taste. can taste the higher alcohol content. fits style.

mid to full body. not a great deal of carbonation. not a bad beer. hard for me to drink to many due to the sweetness and the alcohol. but this is good going down.

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Photo of patreely12
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - poured into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass. copperish amber. considerable amount of head that lingers for quite some time. tan, fluffy and creamy. visible carbonation, almost enough to give it a cloudy look. lacing retains all the way down the glass.

S - sweet and bitter. cane and brown sugar. some floral, earthy hops. a little bit of citrus and spice too.

T/M - very malty and sweet on the front. hints of cane and brown sugar. creamy mouthfeel almost syrupy. transitions into a more hoppy, bitter back end. faint hint of smoke and a sharp taste of alcohol which gives me a tingly, warming sensation. nice strong flavors.

Overall - for a beer that's almost 10% ABV and a 51.1 IBU this is still modest and comfortable. very enjoyable in moderation.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle. Big frothy head, definitely sweet. A little balance from the hops but the added sugar dominates. A little peppery bite from the alcohol, but went down easy for 9.9%.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date: 14 January 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 12fl oz bottle

Poured gently for a firm 1-finger head, reduces to a light film, average lacing, color is the most beautiful deep clear crimson I've ever seen in a beer. The aroma of this fresh hop profile is deep and spicy on the nose. Brown sugar on the nose? Well....yes, but hidden behind the hops. The taste is the same way, with strong-bitter-spicy hops encasing the brown sugar. Drinks well for a strong ale, with some raisin flavor that sticks to the palate. I would go out of my way for this beer provided it is a yearly release. Very impressive.

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Photo of OldRickSputin
4.8/5  rDev +20%

Had low expectations for this one. I like many Lagunitas beers...they're nice. But Brown Shugga is SUPER NICE!

This is damn close to perfection!

Wonderful looking medium amber color with a massive head that never completely disappears. The lacing left behind coats the glass from top to bottom.

The smell is deceiving, very pleasant. It definitely changes with temperature and as the head dissipates. Starts off smelling like cinnamon roll and After a few minutes, it's more like Hop Stoopid, which I really enjoy - Fresh pine & some grapefruit/citrusy notes.

First sip is so sweet and wonderful that it seems like it might actually be tough to drink the entire 12 ounces. But just as the smell changes, so does the taste (same transition).

The people at Lagunitas should be given some awards for this. They crafted a truly unique, enjoyable beer drinking EXPERIENCE and then they went ahead and honored us by putting it out at a reasonable price.

It also has just the right amount of balls at 9.99% ABV.

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Photo of barhoc11
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great beer with a distinctive taste, I would drink again. It is a nice change on the regular double IPA's. The aroma and taste smell of brown sugar and it goes down 'sweet'. If you can get this, give it a try, it's not something you will dislike.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice body on this one. Dark mahogany that is consistent with barleywines. The head and lacing however is a bit thin. Smell is sweet caramel, boozy, sugary malts with a strong odor of bittering hops. And yes I would say it does have a brown sugar smell. Even being served a bit too cold it smell is powerful. Taste is all over the place. Somewhat tropical notes lead the way with the sugary sweetness of the caramel and candy sugar blasting it's way in. I have had 2 lagunitas beers before this and the aftertaste was plauged with a watered down sameness. I detect nothing like that here. It is quite flavorful thru and thru. Mouthfeel is extremely oily and thick with a bit of heat on the throat. I am really glad to have picked this up. Much preferred to Olde Gnarleywine.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I cannot believe that I have never reviewed this beer....Brown Shugga is one of my perennial favorites! This is a review of a 2009 Brown Shugga', aged in a 12-oz bottle, poured into a tulip on 11/30/12.

A: Insignificant off-white head sits atop a hazy reddish, auburn body. There appears to be decent carbonation throughout the body.

N: Pine and...well, caramelized brown sugar, honey, a touch of nose-tickling citrus.

T/M: Taste fully follows the nose with a blend of delicious pine notes that mingle with the sweetness of the malt. The body is about medium, just thick enough to support the slightly hot alcohol in the body. There is an oiliness that completely coats the tongue, spreading the flavors across--this one seriously hits all the different taste buds: sweet, bitter...okay, well, that is really it, but it seems quite awesome!

This beer aged so well. Lagunitas has played with this recipe off and on (the bottle indicates a 9.84% ABV & 51.1 IBU for this vintage), but this year was quite good fresh and even better with some age on it. I recall drinking this one a year later and finding it very good....it seems to have only gotten better (minus the haziness that set in).

On a side note, I paired this beer with a pasta dish featuring caramelized onions, yellow bell pepper and shrimp flambe with Sambuca and red pepper flakes. The sweet anise flavor of the Sambuca shrimp played well off the sweet, sugar malt of the ale, and the spicy flavors from the dish's pepper flakes complimented the hoppy qualities.

Good Shit!

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Photo of sprat1960
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Light brown with flashes of orange and yellow; transparent. Pours with a 2 finger creamy white head that dies down leaving a smooth layer of foam on the surface of the beer and some sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Light, sweet, aroma with hints of malt. Nice. Made me want to drink the beer.

Taste: Lightly sweet (without being fruity or syrupy), brown sugar, malt. Very nice, unique flavor.

Feel: Slight above average. Thin, like a typical US commercial beer. But very nice light carbonation, unlike a typical commercial beer.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer and would gladly drink it again. It was an easy to drink beer with a unique flavor, but not something that I would go out of my way for. I think the hype surrounding this beer might have left me disappointed, though a very nice beer none the less.

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Photo of HotDogBikeRide
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Translucent dark brown from a refrigerated Spec's down here in Beaumont, TX. Just 2 months old, only running for a few months this time a year anyway.

Anyway, dark but mostly translucent brown/mildly amber ale. Lots of lacing.

Smell is very muted, some barley, grains, and dominatively malty. Taste is somewhat similar in that aspect, with a lighter mouth feel then many malty beers. Pretty easy mouthful, not much carbonation though. Alcohol well hidden but not an overwhelmingly pleasing beer.

That being said it's not a bad deal for the warm winter buzz the beer provides. When each beer (9.7%) is equal to 2 of the strongest macros it's hard to complain. I imagine at higher alcohols with this style it's hard to make everyone completely happy. That being said Stone among many other companies do so without a problem.

They claim it has a moderately high IBU but I can't detect many hops in the ale. Pretty much a heavy malt bomb with the advantage of it being lower medium bodied in order to quaff it down easily. Gets you very drunk very fast, and for the money I can't complain. I love a nice heavy beer buzz.

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Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I get this almost-red amber 20oz. beer with a super-fat head and crazy lacing that smells a little like cookies (not much smell though.) I taste it and it's got a definite sugary caramel malt flavor, with a bit of hops on the top to cut out the sweeteness. Pretty tasty, I notice a tiny alcohol sweetness that throws it off a bit but not much, so I figure hey, it's about 8% but it's pretty drinkable. Then Joe tells me he's thinking of serving it in smaller glasses 'cuz he's afraid the 10% will creep up on people. Ten percent?? What?

Yeah, it has a definite alcohol flavor but there's a heckuva lot more sweeter barleywines out there. I, for one, could drink a lot of these. I wonder if the bottle is sweeter though...will find out in 2 weeks, when it hits the shelves in NYC.

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

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 52° from a 12 ounce bottle with some sort of coding but I am unsure if it is date related. There were approximately three fingers of head from the pour down the middle of the glass with slight lacing. The beer was reddish orange in color

There was a definite aroma of hops. Label says 51.1 IBU's.

The beer was surprisingly smooth with some bitterness from the hops followed by a nice sweet finish.

There was fullness in the mouth while holding this brew before swallowing.

This beer seemed to get sweeter as it warmed. It was very easy to drink and tremendously dangerous at 9.9% alcohol.

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

Poured this reddish copper coloration beer into a pint glass. The foam that it gave originally was good and reduced to a good head. Sugary! wow sweet malt with a hoppy aftertaste. It does leave a good warm feeling in your mouth. Great winter beer. The beer has a great carbonation and keeps it up throughout the drink.

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Photo of BDJake
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- burnt sienna with just under a finger of beige head that made some cool patterns on my pint glass

S- so syrupy, it made my nose hairs stick together- but intriguing, although almost same exact smell as SA imperial white, kind of creepy IMO but also a bit like raisin bread

T- fruity, malty, and yes, like brown sugar was used as an adjunct somewhere in the brewing process- not too bad though

M- thick and chewy, i was tempted to get a knife and fork- but warming as expected

D- great considering the relatively high abv- showing that not all strong ales have to hit you like double bass pedals, i.e. Stone

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Photo of mattbk
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy, perfectly amber, nice, tight tan head. Looks good. Wonderful lacing during consumption.
S: Caramel, centennial/chinook hops/grapefruit, a bit of pine, pretty nice.
T: Super caramel malt and cherry hoppiness. Medium-level bitterness. Very little alcohol presence although it does sting on the lips a bit. Very smooth and drinkable for ~10%. The hops build on you during consumption. This more of a barleywine than an American Strong Ale - although I realize there isn't too much of a difference - but compared to say, Arrogant Bastard, this has less bitterness and hop punch. This is smoother, and generally more enjoyable.
M: Medium, could be a tad heavier, but this adds to the drinkability of the beer. The carbonation is perfect.
O: Completely solid, tasty beer, very drinkable for 10%, yet very nice as a sipping beer too. Not super interesting, but it does have some complexity to it for sure. I would completely recommend this beer.

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Photo of Steamer
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A reddish brown, golden amber color - very nice; cream head that has good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet apple cider, or could be apple pie with a hint of cinnamon. Malty, with just a bit of hops bitterness. No standout indications that it is a high ABV brew. Just a little alcohol burn in the throat, but not until after a few sips... very smooth. Medium bodied with some nice sugar stickiness. This ale could be dangerous, but in a very good way! So good I had to force myself to sip and enjoy rather than gulp it down.

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Photo of itsscience
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a goblet.

Pours a hazy amber color with a half-finger of white head that retains well. The nose has earthy hops, sweet dark malt, honey, and alcohol. The taste is sweet with a strong boozy quality, but it finishes bitter and dry like an IPA. Mouthfeel is a little bit creamy with medium carbonation. It's a unique beer. The definition of a sipper because the alcohol is overwhelming and it seems even higher than its 9.9% ABV.

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Photo of Mosley1212
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at my local store tonight, because they were selling singles of it. Have been wanting to try this for a long time. Poured from the bottle into my DFH Signature glass.

A--Nice, beautiful caramel color to this beer. Also had a slight off-white, cream head, but that disappeared quickly after the pour. Slight head remains throughout, but not much.

S--Wow! The name is accurate. It smells of sweet brown sugar, caramel, and raisins. Has a heavy malt smell to it also. Reason it got points deducted is because of how overly-sweet it smells. Really hoping that doesn't follow through into the taste.

T--Unfortunately, it follows the nose pretty accurately. Heavy sweetness just consumes the palate. But once the initial sweetness dies down, the aftertaste is amazing. The flavors of the brown sugar and raisins play off of each other beautifully. It tastes almost like a decadent dessert that has had a bit of liquor poured over it. Points deducted though because of the heavy sweetness upfront.

M--It feels good on the tongue. A tiny bit of carbonation. The sweetness is overwhelming at first, but there's a bit of bitterness that comes afterward that is pleasantly juxtaposed to the sweetness. I like it.

O--It's a good offering from a brewery I haven't dealt with a lot. It makes me want to try other beers form them. This strong ale, to me, tastes like a more mellow barleywine. I would love to try this aged to see if the overly sweet taste goes away with time.

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Photo of Onemoresolo
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge head, nice balance between pine and molasses-y malt. Fantastic winter brew.

I put a few bottles aside to see how this ages. Hopefully it turns into a brown sugar syrupy mess. Mmm

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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 danadeny
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber-brown body, clear, with a decent frothy head. Smell lightly or raosted malt, very sweet, minor floral hop. Tart hops at the end, roasted malt up front. Couldnt pick out a distinct brown sugar flavor but could tell from the overall sweetness (not sweet like DFH 120) that a decent amount of sugar was used. Mouthfeel is watery and light. Drinkability is smooth, ballanced, and sweet. What? this is a barleywine? i was thinking more of a Amber and Brown hybrid mix.

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Photo of BeerWizard
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours honey gold with a decent sized head. I'm drinking this out of a Bulleit bourbon glass so we're talking about two inches of ale and an inch and a half of head. Looks pretty stellar. The nose is tangy, barely funky, with pine and candied fruit; while the flavor is sweet up front, with apricot and peach on the tongue, and then bitter in the throat. There's also a spice element to it, and I also get like Pez or Smarties candy in the nose mid-sip. For 9.99% abv, you sure wouldn't know it - I've had 7's and 8's that tasted boozier than this does. Bottle says that it's brewed with brown cane sugar, which, you know, from the name and all I was picturing a molasses-derived brown sugar, but the raw sugar makes more sense. I remember having this at a beer festival a few years ago and being duly corrected after asking for the "brown." "It's not a brown, it's an American strong ale." Indeed. Thumbs up.

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Photo of boesesfleisch
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It was pretty hard to believe this beer was nearly 10% ABV, as it drinks very easily. Has a very interested balance of malty sweetness and west coast hops. A Must try.

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Photo of Vetbidder
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm getting a sweet smell on top of a biscuit like malt scent. I'm not getting the hop scent that I would expect from a Lagunitas offering. This tastes much different than my normal beer selections. Interesting but sweet and slightly bitter at the same time. Alcohol content is fairly well hidden. I'm almost tasting some Euro skunk in the aftertaste, very yeast like. Having a hard time trying to compare this to anything else I've had. It's a big beer and creamy but not too carbonated. Afterthought.... this is some powerful stuff ! Upping my overall score by .25

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