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:
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Reviews: 1,583 | Ratings: 5,644
Photo of Fee
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep amber holiday ale. Its a good strong ale with rich flavors. You can taste the malt presence in this beer, but the hops are there too. The flavors are noticeable in the smell and this is a smooth beer. Its good - but the malt might overwhelm a bit, so it's a sweet offering.

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Photo of FBarber
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear reddish brown color. Couple finger tan head dissipates laving tons of sticky lacing and a thin residual head.

Smell has aromas of brown sugar, oily floral/grassy hops, sweet malts, and touch of fruit - notes of citrus.

Taste follows the nose with a strong sweetness up front giving way to a surprisingly bitter hoppy finish. Lots of orange peel, brown sugar, caramel and pine. Pretty sweet overall. Pleasant malty base comes through

Feel has mild carbonation. Thick sticky mouthfeel thats likely from the sweetness. Dry finish.

Overall its a pretty good beer- solid old ale.

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Photo of Skrumpy
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Deep amber in color, slightly hazy. Orange cream head with a fair amount of lacing and retention. Sweet caramel malt aroma with spice, burnt sugar, and orange peel. Sweet taste, brown sugar and spice with orange and caramel. The flavor lingers on the palate with a resinous, fir and citrus finish from the hops. Excellent!

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Photo of Bforsythe1
4.72/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured in to a tulip.

Appearance is amber and ruby and golden, befitting the holiday season. Id have certainly enjoyed it as a Christmas brew had I been aware of it then. Head was generous and creamy, retention was pleasing because it stuck around long enough to admire and not long enough to get in the way of a clean sip.

The smell is great, very unique and sweet. You pick up vanilla and malt as well as pine and hops. The citrus qualities were unexpected but fitting. Again, a great Christmastime brew.

Taste is top notch. sweet malt and sugar are in the front. I would describe the sugars as "toasty" or slightly burnt. Pine and citrusy hops are present on the palate in the finish, allowing the beer some very refreshing qualities that distinguish it immediately from a sweet stout or anything of the sort.

Mouthfeel is smooth and balanced, the sweetness being present without ever being syrupy or heavy and the pine and citrus are in the mix without ever being too dry or astringent. Alcohol is undetectable despite the high ABV so take care not to get too drunk, cause it'd be easy to knock these back all night long.

Overall, unique and beautiful brew. Outstanding.

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

Look is a deep amber, with a thick and creamy head.

Taste is rich, with subtle burnt sugar (not as much as the name suggests), vanilla, and pine. And of course some hops. Mouthfeel is dense and smooth.

Extra points for this brew being so flavorful, so alcoholic , and so drinkable at once. It's like a barleywine, but disguised as a sweet and spicy holiday beer (albeit a rich one). Very unique to my experience.

have had this on tap a few times (the first time I did not realize the abv and had 3)

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Photo of BraftBeer619
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on the 357th day of 2016. Consumed on 1/14/2017. Pretty fresh! Around 3 weeks old. I give this beer a B+/A- :)

L: The beer is a golden/amber color combo. I didn't pour the beer aggressive enough so I had a one finger head that dissipated, but leaves a trail on your glass as it's consumed.

S: As its name suggests, this beer has a sweet and very unique smell to it. Sweet malts with some citrussy pine mixed in there upon pouring,, but as the beer warms the sweet malts become the dominant aroma. Very unique and hard to describe at first.

T: Just like the aroma, this beer has a very unique taste. It tastes and smells kind of like a "prettier" Arrogant Bastard. Fairly sweet, caramel malts, with some citrus/pine notes that come through at the end. As the beer warms, the caramel malt becomes the much more dominant flavor. The alcohol is very well hidden, you would not be able to tell it's a 9.7% beer, very impressive and dangerous ;).

F:I think this beer is easy drinking. Lighter side of medium carbonation. Balanced

Overall to me this is a great, nicely executed, and very unique beer. The most similar beer I've tried to this is the Arrogant Bastard, but that doesn't say much because they are still very different. The 6 pack was $12 and which is such a great value. Lagunitas is becoming my favorite brewery, because they make great beers and their value is almost unparalleled.

Would I buy this gain? Yeah probably next year. Not really an everyday beer to me, but probably something I would not want to miss out on when its released. Cheers! :)

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Photo of jrsqc7
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Generous head over a clear amber body. Lotsa lacing.

More hops than expected. They are the dominant flavor in fact. Malt is not biscuity but rather sweet. Generally sweetness with hop bitterness as an aftertaste. Mouthfeel is smooth.

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Photo of Philsadvns
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great beer. Has a savory smell to it with a hint of that wonderful brown sugar it's named after, sort of thick in mouthfeel...full and satisfying on the pallet. I can hardly taste the alcohol at all. I love the color, the slight haze in the pour and pretty much everything about it. Little bit of hippiness on the back end but I don't think that's really what this beer is about, but it's there anyway. Good job Lagunitas.

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

Cookies. Got your attention? I can't escape the general sensory experience of warm, snickerdoodle cookies while drinking this. The look is closer to an Amber than I would expect of a debatably "dark" beer, but in terms of all other criteria, this pup lives up to the name. I saw Lagunitas' brewmaster describe this as "technically a barleywine," which makes sense, as barleywines are my thing next to never, given their black licorice and raisin business, and I won't say that I would drink this regularly, but should I have a slab of pumpkin pie before me, and grandma holding a gun to my head (she's that kind of lady), Brown Shugga would go down just fine. Look forward to seeing you next Christmas, fellas.

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Photo of omahawk
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Disclaimer: these big American hopped beers used to be in my wheelhouse, but are no longer my favorite. That being said, this is a well made beer. I've been drinking this 12 oz bottle from my favorite glassware for the past hour, and it's retained a fine head and beer still laces when I take a swig. It's relatively balanced for a big, boozy beer. I personally would prefer a little more biscuit and roast for balance. However, nice hop nose, good bittering. Call it an American Strong of Malt-focused Double IPA, this is a solid, big American Ale. What you'd expect from Lagunitas.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas makes some intense brews, and this is a good example. 9.7% abv. 1.100 o.g. 51 ibu.

Dark honey/amber color. Mid sized foam cap, solid white. Decent lacing left over.

Thickly sweet malt bomb aroma. Caramel scented malt with some red fruits and tangy citrus from the hops. Smells like fruity whisky.

Freshly poured from the bottle and into a mini snifter glass, the flavor has a very intense fruity hop kick, high alcohol heat buzz and a long, caramel-sweet malt that turns, woody or cask-like. I'm imagining this stuff out of the barrel!

A massive full body, nice crisp punch that mellows to long, slick malty finish. I'm thinking of pairing this with smoked cheddar cheese at some point, if I have any of this beastie liquid left by the time I'm hungry.

With Big, strong ale's I find it important to comment on how well the flavor changes as the liquid warms. After all, you really should sip on this or you may become too drunk, too early in the night. Go slow, and let it warm up some. Usually the malt gets more complex and sweeter.

I believe this style of ale is what Kings and Vikings would drink if they came back to rule the world, or if this type of brew was around then.....although, maybe they would demand a Gold colored brew......anyway.......

As it warms, the aroma strengthens, more fruity hops, bigger , sweet, cask barrel malty tones come out.

I'm thinking of this brew to be the Mike Tyson of beer. Just F'in rugged, street smart, slightly ignorant, but demanding respect....always. It's giving me major attitude as I type this. Pretty sure it wants to take a swing.

Big in all ways, complex and honestly, the balance is just right for this style. Que to Stones song.....

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

Poured from bottle into tulip, monster 2 finger light tan head, recedes rather slowly, great lacing. Darkish amber in the glass, crystal clear to look at. Smells of malt, crystal, caramel some pine on the nose. This is an in your face caramel sweetness on the front end, followed up by piny citrus hops in the middle with a mild bitterness and finishes up with malt sweetness. Very thick almost syrupy mouthfeel, great mouthfeel. I like this, and don't mind having it every now and then, but this one is just a little too sweet for me to drink quite frequently. I grabbed a six pack of this last winter and never got around to rating it. I told myself I just didn't like it and didn't know if I would finish the six pack but that puppy disappeared rather quickly, so maybe subconsciously I like this more than I think.

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Photo of Trentontiger
1.79/5  rDev -55.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This has got to be one of the worst beers I've ever tasted. Cannot comprehend how this has such a high rating. All you can taste is nasty astringent hops and heavy alcohol. Tastes terrible and also brings on a killer headache. If you're looking for a winter beer like I was, stay away from this one!

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Photo of Severymusic
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank two 12oz bottles back to back, 1/2/17. No bottling date found on the bottle. Poured into a plastic cup like a goddamned animal.

Good caramel color like dark brown sugar, smells a little spicy, good balance of bitter and sweet. You would never know this is 9.7% in a blind taste. Alcohol is hidden well.

After reading some other reviews, I'm noticing more pine-hops smell than citrus, but a better balance of the two in the taste. Burps feel like a Christmas tree.

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Photo of AZBeerDude72
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber in color with 1" of foam and solid lacing. Smells of syrup, malt, and vanilla. Taste is good, has a nice burnt sugary feel with a vanilla mix but very light on vanilla. Also some pine in there with a grapefruit dryness. Overall its a good beer and in your face on flavor, you know your drinking this one. I have to try this again but at room temp, I think it will take on a totally new flavor warm. Very nice.

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Photo of princessbay710
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In my opinion, It is just on the edge of being too malty for my liking. Dark, transparent pour. The more I sip, the more caramel it seems to get, hits the roof of my mouth. Balanced carbonation.

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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 andrewh995
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deliciously sweet and bitter at the same time while neither overpowers the other. The brown sugar is also pretty apparent. I can imagine that this one would age very well.

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Photo of Rcaros
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2016 release

Transparent amber color with a creamy off white head. Good carbonation

Pine, citrus, caramel on the nose

Sweetness up front, middle is citrus, back is pine bitterness with a sweet after taste

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Photo of GrumpyGas
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz draft pour into a short goblet boasts a red tinged amber body floating start of near white bubbles.
Citrus hop aromas dominate with a grass background.
Malt joins evenly in flavor for a nice balance.
Mouth feel is bubbly and almost wet on the finish.
Restrained and tasty.

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

L -- Pours a lovely reddish amber with a two finger, densely foamy, off-white head. Head dissipates slowly, and leaves significant lacing on the glass.
S -- Equal parts citric hops and caramely malts. Faint aromas of peach, pineapple, and brown sugar
T -- True to its name, brown sugar! dominates with a nice biscuity malt backbone. Pineapple and boozy flavors also shine through. Not nearly as hoppy as other popular Lagunitas releases
F -- At 9.7% ABV, it's hard to not to have a full and robust mouthfeel. The sugary sweetness is not overpowering, but balances the high alcohol and maltiness well. No strange aftertastes
O -- One of my new favorites

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4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Absolutely one of the best combinations of hops and mild malty sweetness .
Being I'm a stout guy and not so much a hop head, this is a great combination.
I only bought one to try, , ,but I'm grabbing some sixers to have as I was very pleased with this brew. :)
Very refreshing taste and palate change from my heavy brews .
Highly recommended for many reasons . Taste, combo, price and high abv :) ;)

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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 Turbo
3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Nice amber color and smells great, but the important thing is the taste. I purchased without looking at the alcohol content. This is a sipper, as it will warm the belly as it goes down. Pretty well balanced for a beer with this high of alcohol content. Overall, it is not my cup of "beer", as I prefer ales/ipas where I can throw back three or four. If I make it through this I will be done for the night - call me a "light weight". Well worth trying once, but I won't be coming back for more. Those who run-a-way live to play another day! Overall, my lower rating is based on this just not being my style.
Update: Half way thru and liking it more and more. Sips are becoming larger. Maybe I will have another....

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