Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

1,577 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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,577 | Ratings: 5,619
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 jeffjeff1
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was pretty good.

Appearance- dark reddish color, transparent

Smell- brown sugar, molasses

Taste- brown sugar, molasses

Mouthfeel- medium to full bodied

Drinkability- It was a pretty good beer. Definitely a winter beer , will drink it again most likely in winter

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared at a 'lateral' tasting of Lagunitas strong ales, next to Hairy Eyeball and Imperial Red (we didn't get to Olde Gnarlywine).

A: Pours a reddish amber body with a cream-colored cap of fine bubbles. The foam remains for a couple of minutes and can be resurrected pretty easily when it recedes into a light cap on the brew. Some lacing / register marks down the glass. Quite nice.

S: Brown sugar (duh), hazelnut, toffee, molasses. I noticed this was considerably different from the Hairy Eyeball, which had a much stronger dark fruit component. Interesting.

T: I couldn't smell any dark fruit, but I could taste some (plums, figs) in the undercurrent of this brown-sugar driven brew. Lots of nut-forward adornment in hazelnut and toffee varieties, swimming in an oily hop resin of citrus and pine. This was hoppier than Hairy Eyeball but had less fruit for sure. The finish was malty, mostly caramel and molasses.

M: Medium-full body. Good carbonation that hides the astringency pretty well.

D: I just found myself enjoying Hairy Eyeball much more. This isn't a bad beer, but when the brewery offers a much better product in the same category, for the same price... *shrug*

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Photo of mrmanning
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Irishboy. A deep tan pour with some haze. Head is beige and leaves spotty lace. Nose of pit fruits, lots of caramel malts, demerera, citrus, dark bread. Tastes of woody brown sugar, citric hops and rye bread crust, butterscotch, caramel, plum, sweet candy. Sticky and sweet finish with a slight hop bite towards the end. Has mellowed out nicely with some time on it. Thanks Richard!

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Photo of david18
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A little too sweet for my tastes this is an ok winter sipper but there are numerous beers of the style that I would drink first. It was recently cloned on Jamil's show, which got me interested agian, but it is really too sticky a beer to drink too often.

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

Aggressive head on the pour, settles into a two finger cream white mix of mostly tiny bubbles, pleasant thin lacing, very slow to dissolve down to the liquid surface. Curiously penetrating nose, although most of the components are "sweet" in nature it drives up into your nostrils. Scents of molasses crisp, toffee, caramelized brown sugar, white grape, cherry and pear fruit cushion the nose, however, there's a formidable burst of grapefruit citrus, hay and grass as well, not a sugar bomb but any stretch. In the mouth it's medium-bodied with carbonation which fits the whole, more bitter or astringent feel here without being offputting. The butterscotch, honey, molasses coating mostly during the first few seconds before tangerine, white grapefruit and sourdough bread show up. Some banana alongside the grape, pear, apricot, cherry fruit, not that fruity overall. Gets smokier and more of a roasted chocolate dust edge near the finish. One of this beer's more intriguing aspects is the interplay between the innate sweetness and the other elements.

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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep amber to caramel color with slight ecru
head and lacing

S: Malty maple aromas

T: Sweet like the aforementioned brown shugga'
with the clear presence of alcohol and
an unpleasant acidic aftertaste.

M/D: Good body and proper carbonation set this
brew up nicely but the acidity on the
swallow and

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thin tan head that quickly fades to a thin skim. Can be ressurected with a little swirling. Translucent chestnut color.

Smells of creme de cacoa,hazelnut, boozey black cherry dark fruit, carmelized brown sugar. Woody hop oil. I'm a fan.

Dark fruit (plum, grape, black cherry) fights with brown sugary hazelnut. A complex sipper. Boozey aftertaste: very hot.

I accidentally dumped a glass of this in my dresser drawer thereby turning it into a Brown Shugga sea with little sock and underwear islands. I'm hoping it comes out.

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Photo of jlb307
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade from gorby10826 (Thanks, Mike). Not sure the age, but the label on my bottle looks different from the one on the picture above.

A: Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Amber color with a reddish hue. Only developed about a 1/4" head which didn't last long at all. Not much lacing, either. Looked like a little bit of sediment was present. Very nice looking.

S: Smelled like an aged IPA. Citrus and pine coming from the hops, but an underlying sweetness that compliments it a lot. Little bit of alcohol smell to it, but not a lot. Sugary to be sure.

T: Pretty much like it smells, so not very complex. Still tasted very good but was hoping for a little more. Don't get me wrong, this is a great tasting beer. Taste of caramel and vanilla hung around for a while. Little bit of alcohol twinge.

M: Could have been better. Was a little thin for my tastes when compared to the flavor.

D: Very good beer and dangerously easy to drink. That 9.5% hit me sooner than I thought. Would happily have it again, and hope to have it again soon.

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

Got this bottle from scarlet, who told me that it has a bit of age on it.

A - Pours a deep ruby-mahogany with a smallish tan head that quickly dissipates into a thin layer of foam. Lacing is fairly light.

S - Good balance despite the weakened hop profile. Citrus and a hint of pine fuse with sweet, complex notes of brown sugar and dark fruit, especially black cherry.

T - As expected, malt sweetness dominates on the palate. Dark fruit and brown sugar carry over from the aroma, joined by notes of anise and just a hint of vanilla. Some wood-like characteristics come through as it warms. There's a noticeable alcohol presence as well that actually compliments the sweet malt notes quite well. Despite the age on this beer, there's still just enough hop bitterness to bring some balance to it.

M - Medium-bodied with a lingering tinge of sweetness on the palate. Carbonation does a good job of staying out of the way while keeping the beer from being too rich.

D - Immensely enjoyable. I'm interested to see what sort of a hop profile this beer has when it's fresh, but as it is it's still very flavorful and complex. The alcohol is fairly conspicuous on the palate, and yet it's still very easy to drink.

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Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a bottle that was sitting in the cellar for about 6 months. I was actually surprised by how much I liked this beer. I reminded me more of an old ale or barleywine for the rich malt and biting hops, but it's all good. This beer was tasty. The flavor has a mix of tart cherry, caramel, toffee, and raisins, all with a hint of molasses. The medium body was a little more drinkable than your average 10% American beer, and I wouldn't mind having another. Certainly one of my favorite Lagunitas beers.

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Photo of currysage1
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly murky burnt red, lots of yeast in suspension. light head that goes down to a skim and a ring.

Smell is of smoky carmel, dark sweet and complex, black pepper, alcohol twinge, vanilla extract, candied citrus peel.

Taste is brandy with carmel, almost a too burnt creme brulee, good hop bite that mixes well with the alcohol presence. Burnt/charred sugar are evident, dark grape, again with the black pepper.

Feel is heavy but not slick, very enjoyable before bed but could not have many more, this is a have one and move on type. Not to say I won't buy again.

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Photo of colts9016
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer from jyounger30, thank you for this bottle.

Poured into a nonic at 51 degrees.

Appearance: A deep dark copper color with a reddish hue. There was a nice one finger tan head with bubbles and foam. The head lasted for a few minutes and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The clarity of the beer is clear. There is a little bit of effervescence in the beer.

Nose: A dark brown cane sugar, similar to raw sugar in boiling water. There is nice malt aroma with some alcohol and caramel. There is a biscuit/toast aroma with some yeast.

Taste: A rich heavy malt complex with brown sugar, caramel and the alcohol. I can taste a bready/toast and yeast flavors.

Overall: The mouth feel is heavy and slightly carbonated. The body of the beer is thick and the finish lingers for a few moments. This beer will sneak up on you and kick you in the butt. The alcohol flavor is there but not dominating. The beer has a great flavor and is easy to drink . When I drink strong ale beers, I expect the beer to have a well rounded flavor and is not overly alcoholy. Good job, this the first beer from Lagunitas and I like was I am tasting.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.01/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep copper color with a very small off-white head on top. This disappears to a ring around the edge which surprisingly leaves decent sip rings sticking to the glass. Smells of strong pineapple, lemon, pineapple, and pineapple. Extreme citrus going on here.

Mouthfeel is crisp, but a tad spritzy. Flavor is of sweet molasses, brown sugar, tart apples, and finishes bitter. A dull bitter this one is. Reminds me of a barleywine for sure. Drinkability is low, because this is just too sweet and too weird. This is a strange strong ale. Glad I tried it, but I won't be back anytime soon.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle served at the Flat Rock Saloon and poured into a standard shaker glass. Appears a hazed amber brown color akin to pale dry ginger ale with two fingers of dense ecru foam. Smells and tastes of molasses, caramelized malts, brown sugar (of course), a touch of hoppy bitterness. This ale is, without a doubt, rather sweet. But, for some reason, it works really well here. Every flavor plays off of each other nicely. Falls somewhere between medium and full bodied with ample carbonation. A different twist on a strong ale that's certainly worth a try.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours a slightly dark, golden brown color. One-finger of creamy, light tan colored foam makes the head. Retention is fairly good. Lacing is good, but fairly slick.

Definitely has a sweet smell to it. Along with a bready yeastiness. Kind of like good bread, toasted with a light sprinkling of brown sugar and butter. Mild hints of molasses. Very mild hop zing.
It smells like it lies somewhere between a barleywine and an old ale. Which puts it right in my ballpark.

Very nice, indeed. Good level of sweetness, not cloying, at all. Great presence of sweet maltiness. Good brown sugar profile, though I was honestly hoping for it to be a bit more pronounced. Light caramel notes. Actually, an unexpected hops bite, right around the middle of the palate. Finish is sweet and seems to last for a decent little while.
This is much more balanced than anticipated.

This is the weak point for me. Lower end of medium bodied. Almost thin. It is smooth, sure, but it lacks a creaminess that would send it over-the-top, into the land of 'super-delicious'. Very under-carbonated.

Despite my personal concerns over the body/mouthfeel of this brew, it's deliciously drinkable. Damned if I can find the 9%+ABV in here, BTW. Very balanced and smooth and easy drinking. Lagunitas, please send me more (since I can't buy your products in my state).

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Photo of mralphabet
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 Oz Bottle poured into pint glass

A: Pours a hazy copper brown with about one fingers worth of head... sticky lacing...

S: Wow !!! The name says it all.... Brown Shugga' .... with a mix of molasses, burnt malt and touch of hops. Very sweet smelling.

T: The sweet flavors hit you right up front... Brown sugar & molasses... there is some strong hops in the finish and the aftertaste has a lot of hops and burnt sugars in it...

M: Very thick and creamy almost velvet like...with sharpness at the end.

D: Not a session beer.... to sweet to drink of bunch of these and with the ABV close to 10... Wow.

This is my first beer from Lagunitas, it was very interesting. I'll be looking for more.

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Photo of mikecharley
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Scored as an extra from coldmeat23 in our latest trade. Thanks man!

Pours a red ale-ish color. dark copper is a perfect description. Has a little tan head that really doesnt stick around. The look reminds me a little of a nugget nectar.

Smells of an american strong ale, with a sweet twist. Has great hop character.

The flavor is wonderful. The balance is spot on for the style. Nice and sweet, with a great bitter finish. Would drink this beer all day.

The mouthfeel is the only major flaw in this brew. It is really thin, and not so good.

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Photo of RickKrumenacker
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel in head that dissipated a little quickly, but leaves a thin ring around the top...pretty good lacing throughout

S - Sweet, sugary smell...smells a lot like a barleywine...some piney hops come through as well

T - Nice hoppy bitterness hits you right way to a barleywine-like sweetness...alcohol comes through, but isn't overpowering

M - Really coats the mouth...almost a little too sweet, but the hoppy bitterness balances things out

D - Very nice...not one that you can drink a ton of, but something that I will definitely look for again

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Photo of kwakwhore
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown pour into a tulip. Small cream colored head which doesn't last very long.
Aromas consist of something a little bit musty, some sweet malts with a molasses component. and a bit of bread malt.
Surprising bit of hop in the flavor. The aroma gave no hint of this sort of hop presence. Still on the malty side for sure with a large amount of sweet malt, but this is one of the hoppier beers I've had from Lagunitas, including their IPA. Bit of an alcohol burn in this one, not surprising at 9.9% abv.
Mouthfeel is full of carbonation, another surprise for such a strong beer. Alcohol burn actually moderates a bit after the beer gets warmer.
Very drinkable beer for its strength. A sipper, but a really good one.
My favorite offering to date from Lagunitas and one I'll seek out again.

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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 dancinwillie
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Light amber to brown color. Big foamy head, off white with yellow highlights.

Roasted malt, a lot of hop aroma. Reminds me of SN Bigfoot a lot in the aroma.

Bitter pine hopping, slightly mouth coating slickness. A lot of residual sweetness. I don't really taste the brown sugar component, although I do pick it up in the aroma. Almost tastes spiced with cinnamon. Light cherry flavor too I believe.

Mouthfeel is pretty great. Full bodied, full flavored, slick and oily. Carbonation is great. Super job here.

A real tasty beverage. I have been less than impressed with Lagunitas previous to this beer. But this one gives me some respect for them, and makes me want more of their beer, and that certainly includes this example. A keeper.

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Photo of jrjohnso
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

"Good sipping beer on an 85 degree sunny day"

12 oz bottle purchased at Whole Foods Orlando. No freshness date, but at 9.5% ABV, I'm not too concerned

Minimal head while poured into a wine glass. You can tell this is thick as the last couple drops from the bottle sat on top of the beer as little spheres dancing around.

Smell of sweet sugar and raisins.

Big taste of carmelized sugar that stays on the tongue for a while until giving some piney hops a tiny window to shine through.

Overall, this beer is a solid example of a big American strong ale/barleywine. One every once in a while when I need a break from IPA's in fine for me.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A-Deep ruby red with an thin eggshell white head. Damn..this is one enticing looking beer.

S-Strong sweet malts all the way. Classic Lagunitas nose. Lives up to the name so far.

T-Oh my gosh this is good! Thick syrupy sweet barleywine flavor hits you with heady malts, a punch of alcohol. Midpalate is resinous, deep, sweet marachino cherrys marinated in smokey fine bourbon. More than anything, this reminds me of a well made Manhattan. Awesome.

M-Well balanced creamy mouthfeel with balanced carbonation.

D-Very drinkable, which is scary given the ABV. Give me another, and another!

American strong ale? Hmmm...I'm not sure about that. I'd say it drinks like a barleywine and a well balanced and tasty one at that. If I'm not drinking beer, I am partial to Knob Creek Manhattans, and boy, this bowled me over on the first sip. Boozy? A bit, but it really hides the ABV. A very nice surprise from a brewery that is good at giving pleasant ones.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,619 ratings.
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