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Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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1,519 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.99%

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: 1,519 | Ratings: 5,406
Photo of flagmantho
3.82/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. My bottle reads 9.5% ABV rather than the above-mentioned 9.84%.

Appearance: nice true amber color with a finger of compact tan head. Appetizing.

Smell: bright, tart, hoppy. Hops are citrusy, floral and a little funky. Hints of tart cherry, apple and raspberry. I'm quite intrigued.

Taste: big malt flavor forms a substrate on which the hops play. Some of the nice fruit subtleties are drowned in more staid strong-ale flavors like plum and raisin. Hops provide some bite; overall, a pretty good beer.

Mouthfeel: on the heavy side of medium body with a moderate level of carbonation. I feel like this beer could easily go both ways -- higher carbonation for a creamier Belgian-ey feel, or lower for an old ale/barleywine type situation -- and be better for it. Still not bad.

Drinkability: well, I like it, but with its malt-bombiness and its high ABV, it's definitely not a session one for me. I might split a sixpack three ways, though.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT.

Pours a hazy nearly opaque amber from the tap, one inch head, not much lacing.

The aromas include brown sugar (oh really?), caramel, toffee, grapefruit, and pineapple.

The flavors are pretty similar. Malty front end, with strong rick brown sugar and caramel flavors, just thick, silky and wonderful, backed up by a strong hop kick lending grapefruit, pine, and pineapple to the mix. Excellent mix of flavors. Very sweet, but the hops dry the beer out nicely.

Full body, creamy mouthfeel, starts sweet, finishes dry.

Lagunitas strikes again. A warming strong ale with great brown sugar sweetness and some nice hop character.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on December 7, 2014.

It is an attractive looking deep amber pour with a long lasting off-white head. A lot of lacing.

Sweet aroma of malts and brown sugar with a muted hop sensation.

Medium to better than medium body.

The taste begins with the sweet malty goodness and the brown sugar but there is a fascinating moderate bitterness at the finish.

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Photo of weeare138
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appears a dark reddish brown with a solid one finger beige head that sticks around. Very little lacing in this one.
Smell is of caramel malts, brown sugar, molasses, and warming alcohol.
Taste is a bit hard to figure out as this beer wants to be sweet but the balance is a bit wacky. It's a little less than good because there is an odd cough syrup like taste that is standing out in this concoction. Caramel and lots of sugar with an off balance of bitter hops thrown into the mix makes it kind of odd as if it were candied plantains served atop broccoli rabe that is really odd but slightly intriguing.
Mouthfeel, again, is odd. A bit of a rollercoster from sweetness to odd bitterness.
I really took my time with this but I don't know if it was because of the strangeness, the alcohol, or just the way it tasted.

It's ok, dog.

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Photo of dar482
4.36/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The beer comes a deep red ruby color with a huge fluffy tight off white head.

The aroma has super sweet caramel, candy sugar, toffee. It has a slight citrus along with deep pine and some of that garlic/onion. Good amount of heavy breadiness as well as some booze and yeast.

The flavor follows with a citrus and floral hint and onto tons of heavy caramel and sugary sweetness. Later into the beer, it actually causes you to smack your lips as the sugary just coats and coats your lips. The middle hints of some garlic and onion notes and then moves onto an extremely hoppy and bitter piney, resinous finish.

The beer dances that beautiful line between sweetness and bitterness. It really attacks hard on both sides. A really exceptional example of an American Barleywine.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.57/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Brown sugar nose. Medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Starts sweet but complex flavor, hops are here balancing the brown sugar and malts, the high ABV is not noticeable. Good beer to savor. $5.45 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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

Damn, seems I missed out by one on being the 1000th review of this beer. Purchased in San Francisco, and brought back to Australia to share with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a lovely burnished copper-red hue, surprisingly bright and clear, with a full and solid head of beige foam. Looks gorgeous. Lacing is a little reticent to appear, but otherwise, it looks gorgeous.

Nose is also very special, with a pungent citric crispness blended beautifully on top of a pineapple sweetness. Lashings of pepper and spice add exclamation points. Very nice.

Taste is also extremely good, giving a lovely crisp fruit entry that quickly descends into the "sweet release" promised on the label. Loads of sticky toffee, barley sugar and caramel, that is allways just leavened and supported by enough hops to ensure it doesn't get sickly. It's quite exceptional, and exceptionally good. The lingering, slightly fruity, but toffee-sweet aftertaste is delectable. Mmm, I want more.

Feel is a little light, but this also probably assists in keeping it from heavy, brutish sweetness.

A lovely brew from Lagunitas, and a truly American-styled one—the hops, the body, the sweetness all blending together into a raucous, opinionated and brash whole. Hell yeah.

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Photo of corby112
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving type: on-tap at Mad 4 Mex in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark copper/ brown color with a thin off white head. Aroma is brown sugar, cinamon, hazelnut and hops. Flavor is similar to aroma with a nice balance of brown sugar, cinamon and a strong hop presence. Finishes sweet and bitter.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Listening to Pearl Jam..
Poured a copper color with a nice fluffly white head. Nose has a nice sweet malt with a bit of hops and alcohol. Taste is brown sugar dominance with a bit of molasses. Alcohol is very noticeable after finishing only one. There is a definite presentation of malt and has a sweet finish.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a clear ruby-orange with a thin, cinnamon tan foamy layering that didn't stick around long. There was a slight rim lacing at best as it receded.

S: The nose was big and sweet with burnt molasses, maple syrup and sweet toffee which was followed by a lingering dried grapefruit hopping.

T: sweet up front with caramelized malt and dark molasses. There is a noticeable alcohol presence that sneaks in the middle of the palate as well some dried fruit (prunes), sugar plums, and raisins. The beer finishes out bitter with some dried grapefruit compliments of the Chinook hops.

M: sticky, dry, with a nice medium thick viscosity. Sweet, syrupy with a nice feel to it.

D: Very nicely done with a sweet start and bitter finish that compliment each other for a great overall experience. Alcohol was very well hidden for 9.0% and makes for a good drinkable beer, though comes off a tad sweet at times which may limit multiples.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a one-finger tan head that dies quickly with minor lace sticking to the glass. A very hoppy aroma for a borwn ale with hints of minor fruit and an alright malt base. Smooth and creamy with a great hop bite and malt sweetness. There are plenty of malts in this. I swear I can taste toasted malt, chocolate, toffee, caramel, peppermint, butterscotch, and maybe hints of roasted and/or coffee malts (anything with sugar, and yes, brown sugar). Not thin, not overly thick though, wouldn't necessarily say bready but a little viscous. A good beer that I recommend and look forward to having again.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a warm light brown body with a light tan head that fades to a ring pretty quickly. No sign of carbonation because the body is a bit to dense.

S- This beer has a light toasted malt note with a sweetness and a note of dark sugar and white sugar hint as well.

T- The slight sweet caramel malt flavor has a note of dry spice and dark rum that adds its own sweetness. There is a hint of darker sugar that comes through just a hint as it warms. The finish is a nice herbal citrus hops but the sweetness still lingers after the sip.

M- This beer has a medium light mouthfeel with no real alcohol heat. At the finish when it is really warm there is a slight alcohol heat that is a nice contrast to the sweetness.

D- This beer has an interesting flavor and I can see where it gets its name. It would be nice to have some big flavors that balance with the sweetness.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque, dark ruby/copper with a half finger of frothy white head that dissipates quickly. A lot of sticky lacing. Nose is very hop forward with a mix of floral and pine hops. There are a lot of sweet, dark fruits mainly plum and cherry. A smooth balance of caramel and roasted malts. Mouth is very bitter and hoppy up front. A surprising amount of citrus is present with a strong grapefruit presence. That blends perfectly with the dark fruits. Very roasty with some booze, but it’s very well hidden.

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Photo of akorsak
3.37/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 650 mL bottle purchased somewhere that I just can't recall.

A: The ale is a lighter than I expected. Rather than a dark brew, the ale is a lighter orange color, reminiscent of an IPA with its lightness. The orange has brown highlights and remains several shades below the amber of the bomber. The head was huge on pour, over three fingers that left thick patches of lace throughout the glass. Only upclose is the incredible amount of sediment visible, to the point that it looks like pulpy orange juice (at least from a pulp perspective).

S: The aroma is heavy on the malts, thick and concentrated like an old ale. There is a definite brown sugar aroma that could easily pass for dark Belgian candi sugars.

T: The ale is all malt and alcohol heat. The malts are as strong as the nose betrayed. The intense flavor dries out the mouth, leaving a scorched earth feeling that normally only comes from a DIPA. The alcohol presence is strong throughout, never afraid to bring the heat. Through the alcohol head, there is some undefined sweetness, but I could not easily tie it back as brown sugar.

M: The mouthfeel is quite intense, making this more of a cold weather beer. I find the alcohol to be a little too much, stripping most of the flavor out of the ale.

D: One bomber is too much. This would be better off in a 12 oz bottle. The brown sugar is a nice touch, lending a hint of Belgian-style to the ale.

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Photo of beertunes
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a straight pint glass. Minimal head leaves light but sticky lacing. A very pretty reddish-brown. Sweet aroma with nice hop touches. Flavor matches aroma closely. Smoothly sweet at the front with a balancing hop tang at the finish. Faint alcohol taste, but not in a bothersome way. Body is just a little lighter than full. Very drinkable, but this beer will sneak up on you. Because it's smooth, sweet and easy to drink you might not notice it preparing to pop you. Very enjoyable, becoming a yearly favorite.

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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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Photo of Bitterbill
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this bottle from russpowell. Thanks Russ!

It pours from 12oz bottle a hazy amber colour with a slight tinge of orange and a 1 finger head of off-white foam. Lots of lacing and the head retention is quite good. It's a fine looking brew in the glass.

Taking a few whiffs, I get a lot of sweet caramel and sugar with an almost equal amount of citrus hops. Nice. I'm also getting a touch of fruitiness.

The taste is just as impressive. Super sweet notes of caramel and brown sugar that seem to be heading to beyond what I like but....there's that citrus doing a fine balancing act and bringing the tastes back in order. Very tasty. The finish has just the slightest bitterness to it and that works fine for me.

The body is on the light side and the carbonation is medium light. The alcohol is *very* well hidden and because of that, the contents of my glass are disappearing at an alarming rate. Oh well. That's a problem I'll deal with and I give a salute to Lagunitas for brewing a fine American Strong Ale. I'd drink this again, no problem.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep, clear caramel color; orange highlights. Poured a 2 finger caramel colored head with good retention to a half finger. Lacing combined rings and sticky webs.

S: Sweet molassas and roasted malt. Plent of floral hols, orange rind, grapefruit an pine.

T: Sweet caramel-flovored bread. Resiny floral and piney hops in the middle. Residual sugar lingers through the bitter. Some warming alcohol. Nicley balanced for the style.

M: Medium body. Moderate carbonation. Resiny and dry. The abv presents little influence on the feel.

D: Easily drinkable despite the abv; well disguised in the beer. Surprisingly well-balanced and not as one-dimensional as many.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear copper colour with an average size frothy light brown/beige head. There is a low to average amount of carbonation showing and there is a fair amount of lacing on the sides of the glass. The head stuck around for a few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - malts, hops, cookies, caramel, orange, and brown sugar

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it has a very creamy and full bodied feel. There is a lot of brow sugar taste mixed with hops an earthy clove/all spice flavour. The alcohol is extremely well hidden and there are also notes of pine, oranges, and lots of malts. The beer finishes with a bitter hop and very sweet brown sugar aftertaste.

Drink - A nice sipper beer that is good for the holidays/colder weather. I'm happy I tried it.

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

12oz bottle poured into pint glass jan18 2010

A clear amber with only a few bubbles floating up to a dense fingers worth of tan head that falls fairly quickly leaving a few patches of lace

S pine, grapefruit, lots of caramel/burnt sugar and some vanilla

T quite sweet with a little earthy citrus to go along with a good amount of hops, sweet malt and some booze

M a little flat but thick and syrupy

D a little different, but I would drink this again just not many of them in a row

I think I may throw one of these under the stairs and see how it ages. that being said this is a good beer if your not afraid of something on the sweeter side, worth trying for sure

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant brown to chestnut under a 1” clingy creamy white foam collar.
S: Malt and light fruit aromas with some spice.
T: Big complex sweet malt up front with traces of dark sugar and fruit culminating in a dry finish with a bitter hop accent.
F: Medium body and carbonation, slight warming.
O: A big, satiating, bold beer for after work

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

A-Pours a crystal clear ruby-orange. Head has orange highlights and it is light and frothy. The head dies off a bit but leaves absolute cloths of lacing. Shocked at the beer's clarity. Beautiful color and glowing body.

S-I was expecting brown shugga'd maltiness up the wazoo, but boy this ale is well hopped. Sweetened citrus flesh hops. The citrus-liqueur hoppiness is backed with lighter pine and plenty of caramel and brown shugga' malt. I really love the nose…of course Lagunitas hooks me up with a hoppy treat of a nose.

T-The hops are very willing to assert themselves. Whoa, the hops go from grapefruit and blatantly transition into uber-green grass and then again morph into a different (more clementine) citrus firework display. Caramel and light nuttiness. Malted fruitiness is of booze-soaked cherries. Brown shugga' is there but not as stressed as the name would lead you to believe. Booze is evident of course. Lagunitas has the tendency to show some booze but it doesn't detract from the flavor. A beer just a shade under 10% almost always shows its alcohol. A tasty balance of hop and malt.

M-Chewy maltiness. Booze dries out the palate. Hops lend a long bitter finish. Big but easy to put away. A six pack could be dangerous because although the booze is evident, the beer somehow goes down smoothly and quickly. Caramel lingers and lingers.

O/D-Another high ABV gem from Lagunitas hard time choosing if I like this or Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale more. Really surprised by the brawn of the hops here. I was expecting a big one-sided malt bomb. Instead, its a big malt bomb wearing a hoppy fur coat of awesomeness. Must sip slowly…so strong yet so tasty.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained as part of BIF XMas from wezil. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/8" tan head over the cloudy dark amber brew. Head fades to an uneven layer of bubbles pretty quickly, but exhibits average lacing. Aroma is whoa, all about sweetness and powerful alcohol. Taste actually throws me for a loop, showing sweet malts as expected, but then fruitiness, and nary a taste of the distracting ethanol-laden nose. Mouthfeel and drinkability are very nice for the style. For a slow start this one came on as the experience went on. Worth a try, almost too drinkable...

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Photo of barczar
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%

Probably the dankest, skunkiest aroma I've encountered in a beer, along with sharp notes of grapefruit. Flavor reveals a sweet caramel malt backbone contrasted by more sharp grapefruit. The finish is resiny, earthy, and lightly bitter.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.52/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this a month ago. Review from notes.

A - Pours a nice dark brown in color with fluffy white head.

S - Mostly of brown sugar, caramel, and loads of hops.

T - Hops kind of overpower the palate but finishes with a candy sweetness from the brown sugar. Great.

M - Really strong flavors and ABV. Full Bodied.

D - Man I think I still have a few places around and can get them usually for around 2-3 dollars a bottle. I will see this again next year.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,406 ratings.
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