Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'
5,880 Ratings
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
IBU 51.1

Added by kbub6f on 12-13-2001

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Ratings: 5,880 |  Reviews: 1,642
Photo of hoppymeal
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark amber and copper color, clear, with a good size cream-yellow head. Aroma is sweet honey and a little caramel, cereal and a hint of booze. Hops are more evident in the taste but heavier on the malt side with some sweet grapey-ness, and rich caramel malts. A nice spicy alcohol bite in the finish. I have really been enjoying some high alcohol malt bombs recently so this beer is going down quite easily.

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Photo of stephendr
4.78/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

red copper hue , nose of light hops , sweet and clean, taste is chewy with a sweet/ sour and metallic thing going on, sweet shugga finish, on of my personal favorites red copper hue , nose of light hops , sweet and clean, taste is chewy with a sweet/ sour and metallic thing going on, sweet shugga finish, on of my personal favorites

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Photo of far333
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear but darkly copper colored. A thick half inch of orangey-beige head of varying size bubbles rises up and lasts long. A foamy bowl is created as the center slowly lowers and the sides cling high to the sides of the glass.

Strong aroma of cinnamon, cotton candy, and ripe pear. Also some grainy light brown sugar coming through.

Flavor is intially rich malts with a piney and peppery bite in the background. Some citrus hops emerge in the finish, followed by a subtle brown sugar flourish. Not as sweet as the name might imply, and a good mixture of an unexpected hop presence (51 IBU). ABV is mellow on the pallette, but warms the throat and stomach.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy, just the right amount of carbonation.

Scarily drinkable, I think my taste buds could handle one more bomber, but the brain cells might be ready for a break after that.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1pt 6fl oz brown bomber.

A bright mahogany color under a foamy, lightly tan head that gives way to pools of bubbles and a whispy sheet. Trails of scattered, thin lacing.

Sweet caramelized notes of tea. Ripe, vinous fruit: plum, cherry, apple. The aromas are more sweet and almost rich than tart. Faint hjints of nutmeg and brown sugar.

Sweet, dried dark fruit: plum, fig, and grape. Complex alcohol flavors; hints of tame bourbon. Caramelized brown sugar, a touch of molasses, and vanilla. Hints of alcohol-soaked fruit in the aftertaste. The sweetness overshadows the complexities of the fruit and alcohol.

Medium in body; smooth and creamy on the palate. Velvety and quite flattering for the style and alcohol presence.

A sweet, strong ale, but not overdone. The brown sugar, nutmeg profile is the focal point which draws from the ale's other flavor aspects, but the abv % is remarkably well hidden.

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Photo of ggroller
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received from Callenak in HBIF3

A great looking beer in the glass. Murky brown beer with a rich and creamy tan head. Plenty of lacing although the head does dissipate to almost nothing as I drink.

Smells and tastes like brown sugar. No, really. It does. Notes of sherry, vanilla, and bourbon as it warms.

Rich mouthfeel. Smooth and creamy and a bit chewy.

A fairly drinkable beer although it does get a bit hot as it warms.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well, if this isn't par for the course these days. I had just opened this bottle and the phone rings and it's my mentor, Lew Bryson, asking me to come over to LNCBC to meet him and his wife for a beer. How could I refuse?

This one, in the menatime, poured with a huge, thick light-tan head with little retention, but plenty of lace. The nose is at once both intensely sweet and intensely hot with alcohol. Oooh. The mouthfeel was really thick and full, not creamy, just thick. A big sugary, alcohol presence on the tongue and on the finish. I really didn't get much out of this, other than alcohol and sweet and given the high alcohol content, I cannot recommend it for drinkability.

Off to meet Lew and his missus ...

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Photo of cheers2beers
2.68/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Boolshot for a great trade.

Served in a wiezen glass:

Appearance: Pours a very clear and clean shade of orangey brown. A steady and unexpected bead is found as well. Minimal head that died down quick.

Smell: Smells of citrus and a strange malty funk. Profuse alcohol is also noted. This overall aroma is just off, I cant explain it.

Taste: The tip of my tongue felt an alcohol sting right off the bat. I then detect that weird malty funk followed immediatly by citrusy then bitter hops. Alcohol blazes a trail from the back of my throat down to my gut. This tastes like a poor homebrew. This one is also getting cloying as it warms. Its just tastes like counterfiet malt sweetness. Please skip the brown sugar and introduce "natural malt."

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with a mild carbonation that dies out all too fast. Leaving a flat liquid. The hops do add a descent amount of oily slickness.

Drinkability: Please dont get me wrong, I am a huge fan of big ales but this train wreck is horribly disgusting. Not one of my favorites and I suggest that this beer should be avoided at all cost unless your looking for a buzz free of flavor. I love this brewery but this offering is just way off base.

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 9.9% ABV. Very little carbonation upon opening the bottle. Pours a slightly hazy copper color, with a thick tan head. Great head retention.Robust aroma, caramel, citrusy and piney hops. Very nice aroma. Caramel flavors, sugary and robust. Strong candy like hop flavors, citrusy and piney. Slight alcohol warming. Hints of sweetness from the brown sugar shine as the beer warms. Medium body, with low carbonation. This is a gem.

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Photo of Sycodrummer
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the brown bomber into a tulip glass the beer was a light brown color with some dark bronze hues. Two-fingers of fluffy white head sat atop the beer fed with some minimal carbonation.

The smell has an innitial aroma of malt, caramle, molasses, and some sweetness. Notes of brown sugar and a slight floral hoppiness in the end with some alcohol evident as well.

The taste took me by suprise (as it was different from what I remembered). The beer starts out suprisingly hoppy on the palate with an intense alcohol presence. Slightly spicy with a nutty and flowery bitterness on the back of the tounge. The innitial taste is the near oppiset of the smell. The taste, however, soon yields to its aroma and notes of sweet and matly caramel and brown sugar can be detected. The sweetness and alcohol intensify as the beer warms.

Medium body with a high amount of carbonation.

Although slightly different than I remember the beer is still excellent and highly drinkable. That said, its ABV can be more potent that it appears and the sweetness and chewy mouthfeel really come thru (together with the ABV) as the beer warms.

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Photo of cubedbee
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass, a deep burnished copper two fingers of off-white head, nice retention, nice sheets of lacing left behind. Nose fits the name, lots of sweet brown sugar, slightly caramel, with a slight alcohol soaked fruitiness. Some floral hops start to come through after you've acclimized yourself to the sweetness. Taste mirrors the nose with a strong sugary sweet malt upfront, slightly biscuity, slightly fruity with a decently hoppy finish merging with a not unpleasant bite of alcohol. Full bodied and smooth, this is a nice enjoyable sipping beer. Overall, dangerously so, as I could easily drink several of these high octane beers.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer was served in a wide mouthed pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear caramel amber coloration. The head was about two fingers and quickly resolved into a creamy off white ring of foam. Specks of lacing remain on the glass.

Smell: The beer smells of sweet malty brown sugar and molassis. The beer has some excellent fruity esters floating around bannana, citrus and dark dried fruits. The hops and alcohol provide a snappy spicy earthyness.

Taste: This beer has a very sweet malty upfront taste. The beers taste is pretty much as it smells. There is a sugary molassis combo driving the taste. The fruityness comes across like good bannana bread. The hops break up what would have been a unbearably sweet beer. The alcohol participates in the taste providing a boozy companion to the hops.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is full bodied. The beer is definately a sipper. The alcohol is definately present in the mouthfeel of the beer. If you do not respect this beer it will kick your ass. The beer is definately a beer treat. I cannot see myself drinking more than one of these in a evening.

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Photo of edchicma
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An exceptional brew! Rich caramel in appearance with a small head. Beautifully sweet maly aroma with hops undertones. Taste Sweet malt presence blends into a mid-hop burst..finsihing in a hop finish with a tad of sweetness remaining. Alcohol was present but by no means overpowering. Smoooth with a great dry finish. Mouthfeeel was excellent for such a high abv.

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Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas' Brown Shugga' poured from a 22 oz. brown bomber bottle into a standard pint glass. There was no date on the bottle but it was marked 9.9% alcohol and 51.1 IBU.

The beer poured an amber color with a lean towards red. A surprising amount of carbonation bubbles rose in the glass, and quarter inch of head held on and retained throughout the drink. The nose impressed with a strong hop presence and carmel presence with light alcohol smell in the rear.

I would be lying if I said I expected hops, even with the IBU listed on the bottle, but a heavy, sweet malt presence upfront with a light, hoppy bitterness The finish is reminiscent of an English Barleywine with a faint alcohol flavor and light, hoppiness. The flavors mellowed and intertwined as the beer warmed. This is a quality beer, and potentially the best I've come to from Lagunitas.

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear medium amber color with a rocky beige head that leaves plenty of splashy lacing

Smell: Caramelized brown sugar, some piney hops and a touch of fruit; plenty of alcohol in the aroma as well

Taste: Burnt caramel and a distinct fusel alcohol flavor appear as I swirl it around my mouth; after the swallow a good presence of piney hop bitterness makes its presence known; the alcohol reappears on the finish as does the brown sugar sweetness

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and syrupy; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: While the sweetness is not cloying, it does limit the amount of this beer you will want to consume; otherwise, quite intriguing

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Photo of Crosling
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red-orange. Fairly dynamic aroma, full of malt (caramel, pit fruit, toffee), hops (resin, grapefruit), along with a huge dose of brown sugar. Flavor is very much lke the regular Old Gnarleywine, with an added sugary malty sweetness. Less resiny and less hoppy overall, but still very hoppy. Still coating and very flavorful. An enjoyable beer, but it has its flaws.

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Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: Low, off white head that eventually becomes just a ring around the glass. The beer is a clear, medium amber in color.

smell: Nice, pleasing strong ale aroma. Smells of dried dark tree fruits (prunes), caramelized sugars, and a woody earthiness are found. Alcohol content well hidden. Slight banana bread aroma, which I associate with esters. Gentle, just right English type hop aroma. Malt-balanced.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium, and the body the same.

taste: Pretty good flavor, though not as much as the aroma. Muddy English hops with plenty of malt sweetness. Flavors of brown sugar high on the molasses, dark bread, and a lighter fruitiness. The hop bitterness is moderate, becoming evident after the swallow, and lingering long into the finish. Very little ethanol detectable.

drinkability: Tasty and easy to drink, considering the ABV

12 oz. bottle received in a trade with Zorro, and cellared for a few months

12.08.13 - party favor bottle, a nicely citrus hoppy, brown sugary strong ale, easy to drink, scores left intact

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Photo of BradBLR
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a wonderful beer. First was the smell of the beer, it was great smelling a little sweet. The first taste was a little shocking, a lot stronger that I was expecting. But after the intial shock, this beer was great. A very strong taste, with a nice hop flavor. Also the slite sweetness that accompanied was excellent. Try this beer, it's seasonal so keep your eyes open for this one!

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Photo of wingnutter
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of SethB2

Nice amber color with a thin head. Smells malty and hoppy?!

Taste is dominated by sweetness at first but theres a hop bite in there, too. I cant tell if its floral or citrusy.... Velvety mouthfeel. The alcohol is present but not overpowering. Tart dry finish at first.

As it warms up the alcohol comes through a bit more, and the finish turns sweeter. This is surprisingly balanced for an ale thats touted as "sweet". The brown sugar makes a statement but leaves enough room for the hops. Im not sure what to make of this one....Its like an IPA/ASA hybrid cooked up by some mad scientists at Lagunitas. This is a crafty craft brew.

For a beer thats pretty much 10% ABV, this one goes down real easy. Worth a try if youre a fan of IPAs or ASAs. This is my 1st Lagunitas beer, but it definately wont be my last.

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Photo of spazaru
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful hazy amber with almost no head. Smells of a hint of cinnamon and some other spices I can't identify; maybe a little of the brown sugar in there.

Great malty taste with more of the cinnamon, and then some hops kick in! Awesome so far. Very thick mouthfeel, very chewy, and the aftertaste has a hint of brown sugar as advertised. The 9.9% doesn't show up in the taste, but it knocked me flat anyway!

Another great beer from Lagunitas, one of California's more underrated breweries.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasty stuff from a Brewery that I am just learning about. Brown Sugga' doesn't have too much actural brown sugar in it, but it does have a serious malt base that hinges on caramel and toffee. An amber / copper color with a fleeting head shows nice lacing. Aromas of nuts, figs, and dates decorate the nose. Similar flavors show more intensely. Lightly licorice-like. Big hop contribution, along with a lighter than usual body, becomes very IPAish. Nevertheless, a tasty brew that's easy on the palate. Thanks Clvand0 for sharing.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Receieved today from Beerbeing. Body is amber, lace clings all around the glass. Smells malty sweet, brown sugar slightly noticeable.

Taste is complex, strong fruity malt, moderately hopped, brown sugar does not overwhelm the rest of the flavors. Mouthfeel is smooth, drinkability good. I will age the rest for a short time.

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Photo of scottoale
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks to be another beauty from Lagunitas with an O.G. of 1.100 and the bittering of 51.1I.B.U with a fairly hefty 9.9ABV...sweet !! Out pours 12oz. of a deep copper colored, 2 finger of off-white headed ale of beauty, as I thought. Nice sticky lacing...ooh la la!

Smells malty and brown sugary with a hint of hop bringing up the rear. Let's taste it. Sweet and malty with nary a hop finish. A little sweet at first but as it warms just a hair, the hops start to kick in nicely as well as the alcohol starts to warm the finish. Full rich mouthfeel and flavor, this beers got some body and some legs as well.

Very tasty stuff that goes down easy but be warned, this is a truly strong ale, one of a kind in it's style! Try it, you'll never know till you do...I recommend this one.

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Photo of gbarron
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. 'bomber.'

A - medium brown, to amber color. Not completely clear - maybe some chill haze. Nice little white head forms and stays around the whole way for me, although retreating to the sides of the glass.

S - malt, sugar, very little hop aroma. But what hops are there smell of noble spiciness - saaz? Nice malty, caramelly aroma.

T - malt is up front in this one. Since the name is 'brown shugga,' I can taste the brown sugariness in this. Malty sweet, but some hop bitterness balances it out pretty well. There is some hop flavor here, but it's hard to pick up. Can definitely taste some hoppy grassy, floral flavors when I burp (sorry to be so crude). Alcohol is well hidden. A little disappointed that the flavor here isn't as big as it could be.

M - medium bodied, standard carbonation.

D - tasty brew, I wouldn't mind having several of these. Alcohol is masked in the flavor pretty well, but will hit you later.

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Photo of asabreed
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber into my Delirium Tremens glass, so this will take me a while to get through probably, which I'd like to happen since I chose this certain glass.

Appearance: A dark amber with not much lacing and not much head to speak of either, just the bit clinging to the sides of the top of the body. Even with some swirling the head dissipates quickly.

Smell: Lots of spiciness, and sugary spiciness to boot. I like it. Some cinnamon, nutmeg spiciness. Possibly the lots-of-hops and brown sugar, too? And yes, the hops come through also. For its singular nature and balance with the aroma, it deserves a high score, as I've never really encountered anything like this.

Taste: From the aroma, the peppery spice and cinnamon and brown sugar come through. And of course coupled with that is the malt character. Before the finish, though, is where the dark fruit comes through, and fantastically. And though it seems to linger on the tongue well enough with the balanced hops, there's a shot of it that's a flash and quickly dissipates. I have a feeling I'm having this too green, though as it stands it's pretty novel and welcoming. However, I may snag another to cellar.

Mouthfeel: A bit too cloying, though I imagine with the maltiness and brown sugar too it'd be tough to get around it. A lot less carbonation, though, would make this, I think, pretty hard to drink maybe. Again, though, maybe letting it sit would take care of this, or maybe not. Or maybe this is to be expected and I'm judging it too harshly. But alas.

Drinkability: I'm glad I tried this. ASAs are becoming brews that many breweries seem to be experimenting with in fantastic ways (and / or have been for a while). That I like a lot, and this is a great effort, and if I do purchase this again, as I said before, I'm definitely throwing it in the cellar. However, for the price and the experience, it was definitely a great purchase. Looking forward to more Lagunitas brews, as this was my first.

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Photo of Rezzin
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a pint glass. Brownish red with not much head to speak of.

S - Sweet, almost smells a little sour too. Malty. You smell the brown sugerness and just a tiny bit of hops.

T - Rich and sweet. Not bitter at all but you can taste the hops. Seemed a little bit sour to me but I drank this one almost at room temperature.

M - Smooth but in a light way. I know this thing is 9.9% ABV but it's masked fairly well. Alcohol kick.

D - This is the 2nd time I've had this from the bottle and it seemed much better the first time I had it. My judgement may be a little skewed since I drank it fairly warm. Not a bad beer. My first barelywine and definitely not the last.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 5,880 ratings