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

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Reviews: 1,577 | Ratings: 5,618
Photo of Coolcheech
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a wine glass.
This is the Brown Shugga' Sweat Release, OG: 1.100, ABV:9.8%, IBU: 51.1

A: A very clear amber, with short head. Carbonation bubbles lingered inside the glass.

S: Floral hoppiness in the bottle. After I poured it the smell became very neutral, with a mild hop aroma lingering.

T: It’s hoppy. It’s also got the sweetness, but not malty sweetness, more like a molasses … or brown … sugar.

M: This is a full body beer. There’s a coating of the mouth that is expected from a beer made with this much sugar . A little tingly on the tongue but no burn from the high ABV.

D: I’ve drank this beer plenty of times, and until now never analyzed it. It’s a good beer which I have always enjoyed, but until now, I never realized how quiet this beer was. Heavy, but quiet. It’s a hop forward beer, and the sugar gives it more body than sweetness.

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Photo of pwlong19
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Maybe its because its Halloween, but crap this stuff is sweet. But, even with the high ABV, it is still drinkable. Take it slow because it adds up FAST. Poured medium dark amber, orange. Smell was malty sweet. Taste was sugar, like candy at first with malt aftertaste. Feel was very smooth. Overall, 4.2.

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Photo of gshak
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great concoction brewed up by the bier meisters at Lagunitas. A very drinkable, malty brew with just enough hops to seduce your olfactory senses without competing with the maltiness. Smells of sweet fruits, tastes sweet, all in all, this 2-day old brew turned out to be one of my favorites this year.

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

Pours beautiful copper, thick head with medium retention. Aroma is malty sweet, followed by a punch of hops. Taste is sweet brown sugar with a heavy dose of hops to even it out. Body is thick enough to contend with the alcohol, very well done. One of my favorites when it is in season!

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Photo of Walligator
4.59/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

I'm a huge fan of Laganitus and this beer is no disappointment! I'm definately going to age some of this. By some, try some, and write yer own review.

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Photo of sonoffenrir
4.54/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I'm seeing ratings from June and July of this year, and this is a seasonal that gets released in mid October. To see the high marks means this seems to keep well. I have never cellared any, but that may change.

This and the Undercover Shutdown are my favs from Lagunitas, but I've yet to have a clunker from them.

Starts out with a huge malty, toffee nose, which carries thru to the arrival on the palate. Gives way to great bitter hops of grapefruit, pineapple and papaya. The only complaint I have, and it's not really a complaint, is that the bitterness of the hops lingers a bit too long on the finish.

This is dangerously quaffable at 9.9% ABV. I look forward to it every year.

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

i really like this one. it's the kind of thing that i don't go looking to find, but when it's out there, i grab it again and again.

pours amber, with a lot of lacing. smell is hops and fruit - pineapple, really. upside down cake.

taste is surprisingly hoppy at the front, but fades to some fruitiness, bitter hops, and finally its namesake. really, what's left is sugar and hints of fruit.

not what i'd want on a summer afternoon, but fits nicely into the fall and winter arsenal.

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured aggressively into a snifter. Even for an aggressive pour, this had a large head. Large foamy bubbles that retains for some time. The head reminds me of a trampled beehive with its bubbly appearance. The body has a dark amber, yet incredibly clear color. I could not detect any signs of carbonation in the appearance.

The sweetness of the brown sugar is undoubtedly present in the smell, alongside quite a bit of malt and floral notes. A stingy booze-flavor is noticeable, especially as it warms. Call me crazy, but I also felt the smell of wild berries. A welcoming smell.

The malt is the first flavor which hits the tongue, with a brown sugar/floral sweetness slowly developing in the aftertaste. The malt-flavor, in combination with the sweetness, reminded me of fresh desert bread. The combination of brown sugar and floral notes adds to a caramel type flavor. Also, I felt some black tea in the brew. The semi-bitter hops are distinct throughout the experience. Despite the bitterness of the hops, the sweetness makes the feel quite juicy. As one would expect from the appearance, carbonation is low. Even though it offers a pleasant tingling sensation to the tongue as soon as it enters one's mouth.

Not as drinkable as most Lagunitas, but then again, it is significantly stronger. I thoroughly enjoyed battling with this beer, however, at the end of the day I'm not as excited about it as I thought. I have a hard time to put my finger on it, but this beer feels like it's lesser than the sum of its parts. Still another solid brew for Lagunitas Brewing Company though.

Paid $11 for a six-pack, which is honestly a steal.

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Photo of Secondfiddle7
4.74/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sweet, with malty mouth feel. Strong, but not overly boozy. Pairs well with roasted vegetables. The hops are there, but they are secondary to the sweetness. At 9.9% ABV, it's a slow sipper. A nice Fall and Winter fireplace beer.

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Photo of EdwardAbbey
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A truly unique beer, in my experience. Malty but hoppy; hoppy but malty; strong but smooth...and affordable. A paradox in every way, but what's not to like? I guess that's 'why you taste so good.'

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Photo of jjamadorphd
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

My first tasting of a Lagunitas offering and I wasn't disappointed.

Great darkish-amber color with a decent head and good lacing down the glass. Not overly carbonated and almost syrupy in texture, it was very smooth going down. I enjoyed the distinctive IPA flavor from this ale - so I can only imagine what one of their IPAs would taste like. Although I wasn't too impressed by it's overall odor, I was very happy with the flavoring and strong, bold taste of this ale - very, very good.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a six-pack at my local Trig's grocer. The fact that I pulled it out of an unopened box on the display floor is probably a good sign that it's relatively fresh. Poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.

L: Pours a burnt sienna with about an inch-and-a-half of billowy tan head that sticks around for a good while and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Just a bit hazy, with plenty of visible carbonation.

S: Caramel malt and molasses notes are quite prominent, with added scents of raisins and dried stone fruit. Some subtle black pepper and clove in the mix, as well. Nice bouquet.

T: Sweet caramel malts at the front, accompanied by notes of molasses and rum raisin. Just a bit of a buttery quality in the middle, along with touches of the aforementioned spices, black pepper and clove. The hop flavor builds in the middle, providing a bit of tart into bitter at the sides and back of the tongue--some grassy and herbal notes. The clear alcohol starts to kick in just before the end and into the aftertaste, but it really is covered up quite well by the molasses/brown sugar sweetness of this brew.

F: Medium-bodied, creamy, and very nicely carbonated. This one has a bit of stick, but I wouldn't classify it as outright syrupy. Leaves a good bit of bitter on the palate at the close.

O: This one certainly packs a punch, and it does so with very little in the way of clear alcohol coming through. The richness of the flavors and the overall sweetness are befitting a holiday brew. Lagunitas has yet to disappoint me--this is another one I highly recommend.

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Photo of Un-earthly
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excellent malt with the perfect balance of hops for this strong ale, at 9.9% it knocks you on your behind faster than you'd imagine especially with how smooth, and tasty this beer is. If you haven't tried it you should get your hands on some.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lagunitas has nailed the whole concept of brand loyalty by making all their beers taste like variations on the same theme, which I think centers around their IPA. No guesswork, no bad experiments. They all have the same dominating hop profile, so if you like one, you'll probably like them all.

Brown Shugga is the richer, maltier variety of their IPA. It pours a clear, burnt red color with some head at the top which forms some neat "crop circles" and yeast rings at the top after a few minutes. The nose has that classic bright, grapefruit hoppy flavor, but with more than a small share of burnt brown sugar, some heavy booziness like a barelywine. A bit of apricot and some nice esters come out after a time.

The taste makes the 9.9% abv quite evident, but it's still fairly relaxed. The texture has a sticky, thick quality to it, and the foam sticks around a bit, so that makes all the flavors last in your throat for quite some time. That said, there's very little bitterness considering all the hops that Lagunitas seems to like to use. I had this beer once when it came out and again now, 6 months later. Some of the fruity crispness has mellowed out and the richer flavors seem stronger now, so you can definitely say it ages in an interesting way, possibly becoming more of the beer I was expecting it to be, and less like a malty IPA as it was fresh.

Overall, one of the more unique and exciting options from one of my favorite breweries who have mastered the art of quality without prolificacy.

Edit: had a batch a year later, and it was less hoppy, more malty and strong, and closer to a barleywine than the 3xIPA it seemed more like last year. Still, opinion of it doesn't change!

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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 drunkenmess
3.69/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Finally found some of this. Not the Sucks, the original...
Pours very easy n nice, almost a dark golden/amber not hazy look to it, with an all around head that lasts thru out also adequate lacing to boot. Smells of sugar beets, brown sugar, light hops and sweetness. Tastes almost like liquid candy. Tastes of Super sweet and a slight tartness with a bite of hops. Intoxicating yet light on your pallet, besides all the sugar lol. Ummm... alittle too sweet for me but as Lagunitas becoming one of my favourite brewer's I defintley respect what they have done here. Respect ☆☆☆

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Photo of gregb13
2.53/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Looks nice in the glass. Well-carbonated for a strong ale. Nose is heavy booze, with a touch of brown sugar sweetness. Taste... wow, booze and more booze. Sweet, bordering on sickeningly so. Nothing else really stands out. Would much rather have their replacement (Sucks) than this.

**Re-review a couple weeks later... Smelled and tasted great, though still a bit boozy. I think maybe my initial review was of a compromised bottle. The place where I bought the 6-pack had been out of Shugga' for several weeks at least, but lo and behold, I spied a sixer in a plain label mixed pack with Lagunitas caps, way behind the other beers. Pulled it out and discovered 6 bottles of Shugga' and was ecstatic! Well, maybe something happened to the previous bottle I reviewed, because I came back and drank two a couple weeks later and it tasted wonderful.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pourd cold into a Libby stout glass. Bottled on 12/2/14, consumed on 1/10/15.
Look = 4.0 Pours a clear brown copper color with amber highlights. 1 finer of off white head that fades to a light cap. Dense, sticky lace.
Aroma = 4.5 Distinct spicy and earthy hop aroma balanced with heavy sweet malt notes of caramel and a hint of alcohol.
Taste = 4.0 Balanced more so than the aroma; Earthy, spicy hops and big sweet caramel malt backbone through the middle of the taste. Moderately bitter finish and a warming booze presence.
Feel = 4.25 Syrupy; full-bodied with low to medium carbonation. Smooth feel.
Drinkability = 3.75 10% ABV with some booze presence.
Overall = 4.1375 Unique beer in some ways, spicy hops and big sweet malty and boozy backbone. Really solid mouthfeel.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/31/2014; purchased in December 2014.

Appearance: Pours an extremely dark amber/red with 2 fingers of frothy/foamy khaki head. Nice retention of a thin, yellowish sandy cap. Epic lacing.

Aroma: Markedly hoppy. Tropical and resinous. Really great aroma. Love this smell; tropical & malty.

Taste: Sweet arrival, tart & fruity, extremely bitter finish. I'd put this higher than 51 IBUs. Some alcohol on the finish. A little cloying at the end; slightly off-putting.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than expected; somewhat astringent; a little like Mirror Pond in that respect but not as much; relatively little carbonation and somewhat slick.

Overall: I was about to say I really like this, but the bitterness and alcohol combine at the end [as it warms] to make this just a little unpleasant. Somewhat cloying.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.44/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Love reading the label, but didn't really like the beer. Too sweet. Odd chemical aftertaste.
I realize I'm in the minority here, but I'm not a huge Lagunitas fan. Have yet to find any of their offerings to my liking.

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Photo of classixIII
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Interesting! Clear orange to amber color with a 1" creamy head that hung around for days and left remnants of itself on the side of the glass all the way down. Sweet brown sugar and hops smell. Taste is sweet and malty but crisp and hoppy also if thats even possible. Alcohol kicks in at the end for just the right feel. I'll buy more.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured a clear dark amber with a little chill haze, slight red hue to the color. Head was thick and frothy a mix of medium bubbles and lots of fine suds.

S - Aroma is a dark complex amalgam of sweet malt. A candied cherry fruitness. tons and tons of molasses, rum like. Burnt sugar.

T - I have had this 6 pack for a few months, upon first release it was very hoppy. Its only probably been 3 months tops? the hops have fallen off completely to let the beautiful malt shine. This is certainly unique from other barleywine style ales as it is very rum like. SO I guess its less of a malt character and more of a candy, sugar. Lots of toffee. Although the aroma hops have faded, the finish is very hoppy, not so much bitter but just a nice bite, very quenching, and balances the malt sweetness well. Without this it would be way too cloying, but that is not the case. This beer is great.

M - Mouthfeel is par for the course, thick, just enough carbonation to keep it lively. finishes sweet but the bitter hops as mentioned above quell the sweetness.

O - This beer is probably my favorite from Lagunitas. If your looking for a traditional barleywine this might be a little too sweet and rummy, but it tastes great to me, just a unique flavor. Also I try not to make a review about price and value as I feel a beer should be judged on what it is over economics... but man, 9.99 for a 6 pack of this??? In a sea of 11.99 4 packs, such a great beer for 9.99 a sixer gets me everytime.

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Photo of SSS
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Orange clear color with an off white head
S-Straight up Crystal 70/80, malty goodness
T-Boozy bitter bite at the front and a nice linger at the back end.
M-Peppery over carbonation, but it cleanses the palate
O-I must admit that this is a brew that tastes identical to something I brewed a few years back, it is so odd, so I am partial to enjoying it. That said, the alcohol is somewhat overpowering...

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Photo of moonboogie_n8
4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

mmmmmmm, smell that booze.
nice, sweet little ale, warms you up.
not overly hop-y, I think the sweetness takes care of that.
these can sneak up on you quick. drink slow and enjoy the lace.

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Photo of jayhammed
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful amber color, deliciously sweet and hoppy...different, but good balance. Slightly boozy nose, sweet on the tongue and finishes with just a hint of bitterness.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,618 ratings.
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