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Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

1,517 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 1,517 | Ratings: 5,390
Photo of BH712
3/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From bottle to tulip.

Really tried to like this one, but I'm struggling. For such a "sweet" beer, there is an overabundance of earthy hop and alcohol astringency that totally messes up the flavor and aroma. Sometimes I get an intensely sweet, almost-donut flavored dessert beer, and sometimes I get a medicinal herbal mess.

Could greatly benefit from:
-Easing up on the hops
-Using less yeast to allow more sugars to remain unfermented
-Using a juicier hop like Galaxy or Cascade
-Using a Belgian yeast like in Sumpin Wild

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Photo of sloggettstrength
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into 12oz pint glass from bottle.

Look: Clear copper color, pours two fingers of nice off-white head.

Smell: Strong hops, but lacks the typical citrus like aroma, but still includes a floral like aroma.

Taste: Strong on hops again. I do enjoy hoppy flavor, but I was expecting a little sweeter from the brown sugar, which does hit you with the malts at the end. Not a bad beer, but not what I was expecting. It did grow on me while drinking it though.

Feel: A tad dry, but not overly dry. The alcohol warms it and slightly numbing. Coats the mouth well however.

Overall: Not what I was expecting; but it was a very good an enjoyable beer. Wish it was just a bit stronger on the brown sugar character.

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

Fresh 12oz bottle served in a snifter glass at fridge temps.

Appearance: clear and copper with a really nice and creamy off-white head and beautiful Belgian lace.

Nose: distinct aroma of fresh hops right out of the package when home brewing, earthy, resinous, floral and fresh. No malt character at all in the nose.

Taste: Rich and thick despite them using ample amounts of simple sugar in the brew which will dry out the beer and give it less body. Slightly hop forward but the brown sugar malty goodness carries it to a fairly sweet and kinda boozy finish. The alcohol is pretty warming in the finish. This beer coats the mouth and is wonderful.

Overall: I really did like the fresh hop character in the nose and I'm really a fan of more malt forward beers (not a hop head like some craft beer connoisseurs). I also really like that this beer comes in a six pack. It gives me a chance to try it over the next few months to see the hop character fade and the brown sugar maltiness come to the forward. I don't think it was a very expensive 6-pack either. $12-13 I think. That is an excellent value for money when you consider that this is the better part of 10% alcohol. The use of cheap brown sugar instead of the more expensive malted barley. Great job Lagunitas!

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Photo of Jonoesh5
3.64/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful deep orange/amber body with a hefty 2 finger tan head. Nice lacing on the glass as the head dissipates. Smells hoppy like an IPA, but without as much citrus. I'm getting mostly brown sugar and hops. Mouthfeel is bitter and dry. Definite alcohol warmth and a numbing mouthfeel as beer warms. Overall, looks can be deceiving. Expected something more with this one, but certainly worth the $2 from a local Ohio grocer.

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Photo of sgulner
4.69/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

served in a goblet from draft. definitely lagunitas with the intense aroma, thick mouthfeel and good lasting roasty taste. not dry or sweet, good new age style interpretation

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

Going to rate this better than average, but with the caveat that I didn't care for it. There is a hop bitterness that cuts through the sweetness that I am not able to stand.

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Photo of dditto2
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful amber.Very thick white head. Hoppy smell, sweet and spicy. Taste is sweet with hops and malt balanced very well. Strong: 9.9%abv. It is a very good beer from a mix n match sampler.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden amber with a good lazy head of foam. Off white. Bright clarity lots of bubbles floating upwards. Nose is sweet malt and brown sugar. Orange. Taste is brisk sweet and kissed by a rich depth. Finishes dry and with an alluring bitter. Medium mouthfeel.

 269 characters

Photo of gillagorilla
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Union 2nd Anniversary glass

A: Beautiful deep brown that is still able to be seen through. Nice strong head that leaves some nice lacing.
S: Excellent sweet malt flavors that are perfectly mixed with a pine hop flavor
T: Deliciously malty with a nice subtle bit of hoppiness to it.
M: Nice even bit of light carbonation.
O: Great beer at a great price with a nice ABV. This one will keep nicely.

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Photo of bassboneman
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This beer, despite its ABV, pours a little lighter in appearance than you'd think.
It is VERY drinkable, which could be a dangerous thing, again considering the ABV!
Unlike beers like HopRod where you can clearly discern the alcohol finish - this beer does not seem to have that!
I hope y'all enjoy this beer as much as I do!
Up yours!

 336 characters

Photo of mikeg67
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Pours clear amber with tall, long-lasting, foamy white head and nice lacing. Aroma is citrusy hops, bready malt, caramel and ripe fruit. Body is medium and slightly crisp. Bready, caramel malt, sugar candy, ripe fruit, herbal, citrusy hops and alcohol nicely balanced on the palate. Finish is long and dry. Delicious, dangerously easy to drink brew.

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Photo of mtomlins
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is a big, full bodied beer with a sweet caramel nose and body with pleenty of bittering hops to balance things out. Really nice and pretty easy drinking albeit with some hot alcohol notes.

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Photo of nsheaxc
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Overall this brew is a hard to miss for the winter time. For sure a best "bang for your buck" beer when it comes to hoppy strong beers that you can get almost anywhere.

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Photo of timwatson31
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was looking forward to this one, and afterwards I am kind of "meh" about it. I like hop bitterness in my beer, but this has an odd bitter note at the end that I did not like. I tried two and gave the rest of the six pack a good home with a friend who likes this style beer more than me.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a combination of amber and copper with a two fingernail length head. This head dissipates into a creamy and sticky lace that retains quite well.
The aroma is intense! As the name suggests, the first thing that hits me is the brown sugar. As I get further along in the drink, other aromas come through strongly such as citric, orange rind and grapefruit, as well as a heavy resiny hops aroma.
The taste is dynamic. It starts off with a strong malty sweetness; again, brown sugar and citric fruits. As with the aroma, the bitter hops becomes more prominent as I get further along with the drink.
Medium to full bodied but very drinkable. Syrupy and chewy but crisp at the same time due to the stinging carbonation.
This is the first American Strong Ale I have rated. I don't know what to make of this style in the sense that it feels like an IPA to me. I would like to rate other examples of this style to compare. Nevertheless, I'm impressed by this one. It is quite intense and the high ABV gives you quite the pleasant buzz!

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Photo of Onemoresolo
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Huge head, nice balance between pine and molasses-y malt. Fantastic winter brew.

I put a few bottles aside to see how this ages. Hopefully it turns into a brown sugar syrupy mess. Mmm

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Photo of blindtiger24
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Slightly hazy copper with good carbonation. Great lacing on the sides of the glass from the sticky head.

S: Dank, woodsy hops jump right off the first pour. Smells like many other Lagunitas IPA varieties.

T: Big, tangy, sticky, citrus and pine hop flavors. Definitely some biscuity, bready notes as well. Melds with a nice, sugary, malt, candied nut flavor at the end.

M: Boozy, warming, sticky from those hop oils and lip smacking malt sweetness.

O: An enjoyable beer, but I would prefer a little less intensity of the hop flavors in favor of more malt or spice complexity. Overall, enjoyable, but seems more a true IPA our double IPA than a strong ale.

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Photo of Tim-ORourke
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I am not a Pale Ale guy, but this one is great because it is well balanced with sweetness, malt and spice. The fact that it is 9.9% abv and tastes this good is impressive to put it mildly.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The much coveted "Brown Shugga'" became mine and it was pretty tasty.

A - Deep amber color. Mostly clear with fluffy eggshell head and nice lacing.

S - A very rich character with malt, toffee, some hops, and some dark fruit present. This is a very complex aroma with some alcohol and caramel in the background. It has a traditional ESB, fruity yeast character but to the next level.

T - Matching the smells, the flavor is even more complex with tons of depth. I sense an american brown but with more hops, no chocolate character, and a strong toasted sugar flavor. The fruity yeast and hops are more predominant on the tongue with the malty, grainy, and toffee flavors mixing well together. There is a bitterness but it is in no way dominant and only lends a compliment to the rich malt character.

M - Medium to full mouth-feel with light carbonation. It's lightly syrupy but isn't cloying with some residual bitterness and you can feel that it's alcohol level and attenuation are spot on to make this beer a winner.

Overall, a delicious beer. I would prefer their hoppier offerings but I am not disappointed by this beer. This is no doubt an American strong ale with the rich malt character and American hops really make this beer a tasty winter beer.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of Tracker83
2.41/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Couldn't detect any hoppy aromas in the smell. Taste was overpowering onion and garlic flavors. I fear I had a bad bottle because I usually love Lagunitas other offerings. I will try it again in the future to confirm whether or not this was indeed a bad bottle.

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Photo of CO-Bloom
4.68/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L- Poured from a 12oz bottle into a New Belgium goblet. Beautiful reddish-amber color with about a finger of off white head. The head dissipates into a quarter inch head that sticks around through the experience. Incredible lacing the lets you know this thing really is going to be sticky sweet.
S- overwhelming sweetness. Molasses, brown sugar and caramel. And believe it or not you can detect some hops, like someone caramelized some hops in brown sugar.
T- exactly like the smell only two-fold! It beautifully follows the noise. The hops help to balance out the unbelievable sweetness and booze although it is still a malt/sugar bomb. While the booziness is there (just slightly) it does not taste anywhere close to the nearly 10% ABV it has.
M- this thing is deliciously stiiiiicky. You might feel like you have to power wash your lips halfway through. Carbonation is perfect.
O- My go-to winter beer (along with Left Hand fade to black vol. 1 and Great Divide Hibernation ale) seriously near perfect IMO.

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Photo of RangerDanger
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I admit that I'm a Lagunitas fan. That being said, I still think this is a wonderful, full bodied ale. There is an amazing mix of hoppiness and sweet malt that lets neither dominate but allows both to stand forward. The ABV is certainly there so be careful. Even so, you don't really taste it. Another good ale from Lagunitas!

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Photo of CraigP83
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice amber color, transparent with a thin off-white head. Smells of hops. There is another odor I can't quite pin, possibly grapefruit? Tastes like a slightly sweet IPA. I didn't get the brown sugar taste I was expecting until my glass warmed a bit. Drinks hot, perceived alcohol and cane sugar

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Photo of pkalix
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

bone colored head, small streams of minor carbonation rising to the top. icy hop aroma with some sweetness mixed in. a little metallic aroma in the smell. metallic in the taste. kind of tin-ny. sweet. some underlying hops but bitter nonetheless. getting sweeter. caramel-ly. overall, a decent brew.

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

I loved this one. Slightly sweet. It is about what you would expect for a 10% beer and much less sweet than you would expect due to the name. The hops balance out this beer quite nicely as it is very hoppy with a nice nose. A hopped up barleywine is the best way to describe this bargain of a beer.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,517 ratings.
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