Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

5,646 Ratings
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: 1,583 | Ratings: 5,646
Photo of kbnooshay
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a clear orange amber color with a very thin off white head. Smells like a hopped cough syrup. Weird. Well this tastes like a barelywine with brown sugar in it! A LOT of brown sugar. This is citric and super sweet. The hop flavor is definitely grapefuity. Hints of molasses and dark fruit really make this interesting. Feel is super slick and oil with slight tingling from the carbonation. I could drink a few of these but the result would be drunkedness.


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Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this ale courtesy of shertz, poured chilled into my Great lakes christmas glass.

A - Garnet w/ a good deal of clarity. A thick rocky beige head. The lace is quick to collect and has a fine bead.

S - Like a pine cone with a very sap filled odor-lots of resinous hops. The scent has subtle golden delicious notes w/ a hint of tropical fruits, potent nectar.

The texture is smooth w/ an intense sweetness and full but balanced carbonation w/ the hops acidity trailing.the feel is like candy with a hop filled center. The sweetness lingers long after the ale has been swallowed.

T - almost like a sugar cookie w/ a subtle molasses and brisk balanced hoppy pine flavor which is angular jutting out of the crystal malt and a relatively strong alcohol note parallels this taste. The brown sugar gives the taste an intense caramel flavor like candy corn with a hop bitterness, it is both flavorful and balanced for a strong ale which not an ordinary trait.

D - A great ale- I enjoy it immensely, it was a pleasant nightcap for me. I could possibly handle a couple or a bomber but on this night one was plenty which is my reasoning for only above average here. This is not a boring beer - Brown Shugga: "how come you taste so good?"

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Photo of KevinBrewer
3.41/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this beer on tap at Blue Palms in Hollywood. It is a translucent, slightly hazy reddish brown. The head was white and fluffy, but it dissipated quickly without much lacing to speak of.

The aroma is predominately of earthy hops. There is a slight sweet malty smell in the background. I would appreciate more complexity in this area.

Sweet malt and brown sugar grab the tongue at first, followed by the same earthy hops that were present in the nose. The hops stick on the palate and almost take center stage. There is a slight hop bitterness in the finish, but the earthy hops are most memorable. The aftertaste is slightly grainy. I cannot taste the alcohol at all.

The body is medium-light with a dry finish. The high alcohol content is most noticeable in the mouthfeel.

I had to switch to a lighter beer after this one because of the high alcohol content. The taste was pleasing, but heavy, and I felt like I needed some refreshment after drinking it.

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Photo of lhaqq
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Orange/light copper slightly cloudy body with little white head.
S: Not too much of a smell. Some candy sugar but also some bitterness from the hops.
T: Tastes like a decent IPA meets a triple, sans most of the sweetness of the triple. Has the bitterness of an IPA but just tastes heavier, and more sugary.
M: Compact lively carbonation. Still feels light in the mouth despite the heavy taste.
D: Dangerous, I think. My friend said she could taste the alcohol, but I thought it was pretty well masked. At least according to the server, the abv is actually 12% which, if true, is even more impressive given the lack of alcohol taste and the often overly sweet concomitant flavor.

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

Pours a light golden reddish brown with a nice head and thick clumpy lacing. Smells of sweet dry honey and a nice little balance of smoothness and bitterness from the hops. The strong ABV hidden well. Definitely an enjoyable beer, would likely get another if available, but not going out of my way to track this down.

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Photo of rasta16ry
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this after work on draft at the Ginger Man in the middle of the week, so I got a table and a waitress. She brought it over in a snifter glass, so I had quite a bit to work with. There wasn't much of a head left but it was a really nice amber color and some white lacing was there on the glass.

I didn't get so much of the hops smell as I did the malt and brown sugar, which made it very sweet.

Personally it seems to me that it tastes much better than it smells. The smell made me a little nervous because of the sweetness, but after tasting it I really had a better feel for the hops, which are there, and how they cooperate with the brown sugar. Ultimately the combination really masks the alcohol content, which I understand is around 10%.

I got two of them, because I liked it so much, but that's really the ceiling for me as it is a deceptively strong beer. Definitely worth the little extra it costs, and a very enjoyable beer.

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

A very smooth, syrupy brew that seems like a mouthful of candy. This beer goes down easy and has a sneaky high alcohol content. There are hints of citrus but they are very subtle. The added sugar does make this a treat of malty sweetness. I am always very surprised that these go down so quickly as usually higher ABV's are more of a sippin' brew.

Great before bed beer, but make sure you brush your teeth as that sugar blast will definitely do damage ;)!

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

A: Golden brown, almost amber. Inch-high head with some staying power.

S: Pink grapefruit, with a little molasses beneath but not cloying.

T: Sweet citrus, again with the grapefruit, though subtle and delicious. The sugar definitely adds something to the feel in the mouth.

MF: Definitely fills my mouth, with good carbonation level to boot.

D: Probably too drinkable. I had to go fast, unfortunately, and it went down smooth as you please.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Clear, red amber. Pours a fingers width of off-white head.

S- I feel like the aroma on this brew had potential. There were very faint hints of citrus and hops combined with a malty sweetness. If the aroma was amplified a bit, it would really benefit the beer.

T- Quite interesting indeed. Found a nice malt presence with a little citrus. The unique part was the infusion of brown sugar cane. It offered a sweetness vastly different from anything else I have had. That being said, this beer had it's moments, then it didn't.

M- Medium bodied with a nice, sugary sweetness that stuck to the tongue.

D- Whoa! The nearly 10% abv sneaks up on you like no other. That being said any traces of alcohol are literally undetectable. Enjoy this one to the fullest.

Overall, this brew is on and off. At puts this may be a high quality brew and at others times, just plain average. I really enjoyed the infusion of sugar cane, which offered a unique taste. Recommended.

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Photo of kimcgolf
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a dark orange-red with thin off-white head that lingers well and leaves excellent lacing. Nose is malty dark fruit and hoppy citurs, with just the right blend of alcohol. Like most Lagunitas, mouth is full and chewy, with the taste accenting the fruits and alcohol of the nose. This all rounds to a long warming finish, in which the 9.9% abv also makes itself known (after a couple).

A fine beer on a cold winter's night.

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Photo of supercolter
3.11/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This to me was only slightly better than the Hairy Eyeball Ale. In fact I would say these to beers are nearly identical except for two things. The Brown Shugga has higher alcohol content but it is hidden better with the flavor and so it is not as offputting. Also, there seems to be a bit more molasses or brown sugar used and a bit less dried fruit which makes it slightly more balanced.

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Photo of cagocubs
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Brown-Orange dark amber with very think white head. Foam accumulates on edge of beer throughout drink.

S: Sweet molasses scent up front. Also features citrus with spice.

T: toasted and fairly bitter from hops off the bat. Followed by alcohol taste that was saved by a great late release of sweetness in the aftertaste. An exciting beer to experience.

M/D: Medium body thats flavor lingers in your mouth with great aftertaste. For being 9.9% it is masked beautifully in this strong ale. It is easy to drink.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.57/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: orange and red hues, just a touch on the cloudy side. Capped off with a thin and fizzy head. The color is rather pleasant and maintains a certain radiance and warmth to it. The walls of the glass were almost bare as lacing was token

S: sweet profile that makes me think of butterscotch and belgian candies. Roasted malts, and an essential companionship of lemon and pine hops

T: malts give a good bottom end and allow the sweeter stuff to mingle in the mouth. Sweetness of brown sugar, caramel, and soft medicinal honey syrupy appeal (not a bad thing). I think the medicinal characteristics are a direct result of the hops (lemons, pine, grapefruits) that do the trick of cutting through the sweetness from time to time. Also hits with a bit of bite and spiced cherries and fruits.
All in all this guy is pretty balanced for what flavors their are, and their is a bunch and nothing is over the top! Great sipper

M: mild and creamy body, super agreeable and gratifying. Body has the strong ale style right, all while maintaining a good hop profile. Alcohol notes pop through after sitting, in any event I hardly realized

D: what the devil! why have I not had this before? I have found new favorite to add to the list, sheer wonder in a bottle. Without a doubt one of my favorite strong ales to this date

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Photo of username8000
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at Flying Saucer.

This poured a nice coppery red color with a thick beige head, although it dissipated rather quickly.

The nose was sweet like maple syrup and citrusy with hints of cinnamon.

The taste was very similar to the nose, but more sweet than citrus. Very smmoth and thick with a pleasant lingering finish. The alcohol was evident, but not overpowering.

Although I enjoyed this one, it was a bit sweet for me to have more than one or two.

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

On tap at blue palms.

Comes out a nice medium copper/red with fluffy offwhite head.

Smells of citrus, some serious cascade/centennial late in this beer, touch of sweetness behind the hops.

Flavor is malty sweet, very smooth, any bitterness is just balancing the beer. Maybe a touch to the sweet side of things but that lends more to my personal preference. Unlike the nose there is only a touch of hop flavor I can find in this.

Nice medium mouthfeel, medium carb. A very easy drinking "bigger" beer. I approve.

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Photo of illidurit
3.52/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pour: 12 oz stubby bottle to pint glass. Dark browned orange color with a creamy but small tan head.
Nose: Huge sweet citrus doused with maple syrup. Almost like a sweet double IPA.
Mouth: Pretty similar to the aroma; grapefruit with maple syrup is the dominant flavor. There's some bitterness, astringency, and alcohol too. Medium full body, substantial ( and maybe a bit much) carbonation. Average drinkability.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Clear dark-amber beer, topped with a hearty, tan head. Retention was low.

S-Citrusy-orange hops with some resiny hops underneath. Hints of spices. There was a sweeter, perhaps malty aroma behind the hops, which also could have been attributable to the brown sugar.

T-Toasty and beefy (in size, not flavor) with a light brown sugar note. Bitterness is assertive and balancing with quite a bit of hop character, may be a sweetish resinous character and orange-iness. A slight alcohol flavor melds into the other flavors.

M-Medium body with a springy, bright medium carbonation. Some grainy feel materializes, from the thick hoppiness. A nice boozey feeling lingers in my mouth, no at all harsh.

D-Very drinkable, in its complexity and ease of consumption. This is an interesting beer with strong hop character and bitterness, balanced well by the smooth malt flavors, with a hint of something wild with the brown sugar mixed in.

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Photo of mattster
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened 12 fl ounce bottle and poured into Snifter glass.

Pours 1" head that dies down to ½" of froth atop a slightly hazy dark Caramel brown brew.

Smells of malts; I almost get a slight hint of gingerbread - but maybe it is imaginary. Taste is sweet and of molasses and vanilla. Hops are pleasant and provide balanced bitterness. I was expecting this brew to be a whopper, it was quite pleasant and very easy to drink. Not something I would drink on a regular basis, but I know lots of people who would really love this stuff.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 12oz. single for $1.50... seemed like a good deal.

Pours into a globe glass a beautiful bright red color with great clarity and nice thick white head. Good retention and excellent lacing all around.

Aroma is sweet and really hoppy with pine and citrus like many a west coast IPA. Really pleasant in this respect.

Flavor is intense starting sweet with big malt and brown sugar leading gradually towards a hop smack on the tongue. Lots of great hop bitterness makes this beer blur the line between strong ale and double IPA. Maybe not enough IBUs (51) but certainly well balanced for having such a high OG (1.10).

Mouthfeel is very good, full bodied but not too thick or cloying. Good carbonation and smooth on the palate.

Drinkability is also good for the style but high ABV hinders it somewhat.

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Photo of KI9A
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear, amber, OK head, nice lace.

S: Citrusy, sweet.

T: Matches up with smell. Sweetness offest by hop bite. Lots of malt, fair amount of hops. I'm digging this stuff.

M: Coats the mouth, lingering hop bittnernes.

D: Where is the 9.9%? Wait, I feel it now. Thought it might be too sweet, judging by the packaging, what a nice surprise! Can't wait to see what the other reviews say!

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Photo of seanbhudson
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber/copper color with a large off-white head that dissipates at an average rate. Some lacing.
Molasses, brown sugar and alcohol.
Sweet malt with a molasses flavor and hint of vanilla. There is a nice earthy bitter finish to balance it.
Full bodied with a syrupy texture. Soft carbonation. Slight alcohol burn to finish.
At first I thought this would be too sweet but it is surprisingly smooth and the bitter finish balances it out.

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Photo of malcontent
3.66/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brilliant, deep amber body wit a copious, sticky tan head that smears lacing up and down the glass' sides.

Carmel/maple goodness collide with a sharp citrus hop kick creating an almost pineapple-like effect on the nose. Weird...but fun.

Nope, it tastes like pineapple, too, and I'm not sure I love that. Certainly the depth of flavor is startling with brown sugar clearly on display and that same, pine-y/citrus hop character charging ahead flanked on either side by rye bread/molasses interplay and, well, pineapples!

Full-bodied ale is certainly appropriate for the style and the slight slickness is acceptable for a style that requires serious hopping to counterbalance a wallop of a grain bill. Still, drinkability is hurt somewhat by a big 'ol dose of booze and that same flavor reminiscent of a certain tropical fruit...

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.51/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle cellared for about 1.5 years. i thought this would be brown in color, but it was a clear bright amber/copper with lots of big particulates/floaties. minimal creamy head and lacing. caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and a hint of aged rum in both the aroma and flavor. big sweetness upfront gives way to surprisingly noticeable citric/resiny sharp hop bite at the end. medium to full in body with a creamy mouthfeel and long sweet/bitter finish which ends as drying. unexpected and interesting.

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Photo of mataelbata
4.8/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this beer was recommended to me and serves as my introduction to Lagunitas Beers. I love it. It is such a drinkable beer at 9.9% abv. It deserves respect. I don't think that it will improve with age, it is perfect as is! I would definitely try more of Lagunitas.

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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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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,646 ratings.
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