Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,583 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
lagunitas.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,583
Ratings:
5,644
Avg:
4
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
296
Gots:
1,324
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,583 | Ratings: 5,644
Photo of riversider76
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber brown with a thin tan head.Decent retention,and nice lacing. This beer looks thick.Aroma is sweet,and bready. Body is thick,with a good amount of carbonation. Taste is of malty brown sugar,and spice.Nice bit of hops,and a good burn in the finish.

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Photo of clvand0
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been looking forward to trying this one. Pours an amber color with a moderate head that has excellent retention and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. The aroma was of caramel malts, but nothing much more. I expected maybe some brown shugga... The flavor is somewhat caramel-like. Alcohol is apparent and there is a lot of sugar in the taste. Too much sugar. Slightly thin. Not a bad beer, but too sweet and thin.

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Photo of seeswo
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I honestly don't know how to classify this beer, as American strong ale is starting to just mean beer to me. So my classification would be a junior version of a pretty fresh American barley wine - and not all that junior. Pours amber with a finger and a half of fast dissipating tan head. Smells of bready sugar sweet hops, however you might interpret that. The taste is pretty good - again, think American barleywine, that is fresh and hoppy, but not. In that sense that some American barley wines are so over hopped that they taste excessive when drank fresh. There is also a nice sweetness behind it. Not perfect, but this beer was <$2, so I'm impressed. The mouthfeel is pretty sweet, but not overly thick. It sits on the tongue with that sweet bitterness, but it doesn't coat it. Pretty drinkable for a 10% American barleywine junior.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a one-finger tan head that dies quickly with minor lace sticking to the glass. A very hoppy aroma for a borwn ale with hints of minor fruit and an alright malt base. Smooth and creamy with a great hop bite and malt sweetness. There are plenty of malts in this. I swear I can taste toasted malt, chocolate, toffee, caramel, peppermint, butterscotch, and maybe hints of roasted and/or coffee malts (anything with sugar, and yes, brown sugar). Not thin, not overly thick though, wouldn't necessarily say bready but a little viscous. A good beer that I recommend and look forward to having again.

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Photo of mklinger
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Nice copper brown color with small white head that left good lacing behind. Somewhat hazy beer.

Aroma was malty and full of caramelized sugar. Rich but somewhat one dimensional. Flavor was more complex -- malty, sweet, some balancing bitterness, slightly floral, earthy hop flavors with some slight hints of the 9.8% abv.

Mouthfeel was thinner than expected for such a big beer. Nice & easy to drink. It would be dangerous to drink a few of these, but they would go down quite easy.

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Photo of steinlifter
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear caramel color, tannish head with nice spidery lacing that hugged the sides.
smell was brown-sugarish, with ghost hop whiff.
taste was rather sweet and malty, interesting flavor, I can detect the sugar, bit of floral hop, a little spicy as well, alcohol presence. full bodied mouthfeel, with a bit of chewiness, creamy tongue coating.
drinkability is great!...I would'nt recommend having too many of these in one sitting though, it is quite high in abv.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So is adding brown sugar to your recipe considered cheating?

The beer pours a nice mahogany brown with a thick off-white head... The head dies off in time leaving some clumpy foam at the top of the brew and lots of lacing on the glass.

The nose is entirely malt and alcohol with some fruity esters thrown in to keep things lively. Flavor is like a mega-amber with plenty of sweet grain notes, caramel sugars, apricot and plum fruit notes and a pretty severe alcohol bite. Hopping is pretty bold and balances the mega-malt approach with pine and citrus notes.

Mouthfeel is good - a bit of an oily note but just enough carbonation and bittering to end each sip well. Final note isn't hop bittering but alcohol burn.

Lagunitas' Imperial Red is one of my favorite brews and this is pretty much a "Double Imperial Red" with all the flavors amp'ed up. While it's quite tasty and very drinkable, the high ABV does detract a bit from the beer - first because you get pretty useless pretty damn fast but also because they didn't really tame the alcohol burn very well - it's a bit too obvious in the flavor mix..

 1,115 characters

Photo of Baileyuk
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Mild brown with a slightly red tint. Head was minimal but lacing was one of the best i have seen.

S - Sweet malts with a definate alocohol note.

T - Again sweet malts, hops were more pronounced than the smell would have suggested, although these were well placed. Alcohol flavor definantly present.

MD Mayve a little zippy from the carbonation (just a fraction). Was a good beer for sure although the sweetness and high alcohol limited my enjoyment a little, and the ability for another a lot.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear red-orange color with a small head after a pretty aggressive pour. The head falls quickly and there are very few bubbles rising to maintain the head.

Aroma: I initially got a good amount of citrus hops and some spicy notes from the alcohol. There is a little bit of sweetness, but for the most part, the hops and alcohol are in charge.

Taste: The flavor is also hoppy with some evident sweetness from the sugar. The sugar has a slight syrupy impression that is as much mouthfeel as anything. The beer is attenuated, but it certainly isn't dry. The dryness comes from the hop bitterness as anything. The balance is slightly tipped toward the sweetness in the end with the alcohol setting as an evident warming to linger for a little while in the finish.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer. I like that it is still balanced slightly toward the sweetness. It is not a beer that I would drink a lot of, but it is pretty tasty and this is the last beer that I bought from a 6-pack. I don't regret that purchase, so you may want to try one too.

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Photo of jdoncbus
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured bottle into a tulip glass. Heavy lacing with 2-finger head. Pours a dark amber brown. Beer was served around 50'.

Quite malty on the nose and of course, the brown sugar. Can make out some hops but not too much.

The malt sits heavy on the palate and is pretty sweet. Some hops step out which keeps a nice balance along with some sweet caramel & brown sugar. Somewhat chewy mouthfeel which in the usual Lagunitas fashion leaves some bitterness and a slight burn down the back of the throat.

The high alcohol presence is hidden well only really noticable when going down the throat. Snow is on the ground here in Central Ohio and this beer compliments it well, keeps you warm with a nice flavor. Another winner from the brewers in Petaluma.

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Photo of MacQ32
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a nice amber/slightly copper color with a solid ginger of caramel colored head, good retention, nice lacing.

S - Lots of sweet malts and caramel, abundant citrusy (grapefruit/orange) hops, brown sugar is prominent. Very surprised with the citrusy hoppyness.

T - Tons of citrusy goodness. Grapefruit/orange i think, not extremely bitter, lots of brown sugar flavors. Basically a citrusy hop burst IPA with some brown sugar. Citrusy hops definitely outweigh the SHUGGA.

M - Medium bodied, appropriate carbonation. Easy to drink.

O - Very good beer, just not at all what I expected. The brown sugar compliments the sweet citrus very well, but it is in no way the main attraction of this brew.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a pretty, clear amber red and produced a two finger high white bubbly head. It dissipates fast into good lacing.
The smell is like with all Lagunitas, a full presence of hops. This one certainly has a good dose of sweetness to it
Tasting the beer, I feel maple syrup, brown sugar, caramel and honey flavors. This sweet start is quickly balanced by a earthy, pine hop character in the middle. The finish is a very balanced bittersweet combination of hop and malt.
Great winter beer!

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Photo of LAND_MINE
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Middle of winter, not my choice. But makes a damn refreshing choice on any hot summer day. Gave this a poor rating before when I tried it in mid January, but had to raise that when I tried it in May.

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

This beer pours a cloudy orange brown with a lot of sediment. The off white head fades a little fast, leaving a good lacing. It smells slightly of alcohol. It has a sweet aroma. I can smell a good toasted malt scent. It has a slight raisin like aroma. This beer has a malty taste. Quite malty. I can only detect the alcohol a bit. It warms my throat slightly as it goes down. It has a sweet caramel taste. Not too much for hop flavor though. I can also taste some brown sugar, hence the name Brown Shugga'. This beer is full bodied. It goes down smooth leaving a malty sweet aftertaste. I dont think this beer would make the greatest session beer. It is higher in alcohol, and the flavor is sort of aggressive, and might wear thin after a little while. As for just one, this beer is pretty good. I am glad that I tried it. If you see it, it is worth a try.

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

everything about this beer is pretty standard for it's style, except the particular sweetness it has. Pours out a nice medium amber and stays that way in the glass. little head on pour, good agitating pour at that, and doesn't retain much but a small ring around the outside. The cane sugar added gives it a nice sweetness that I enjoyed. It's not as sweet as Old Foghorn, which is good for me. Definitely can drink more than one without a second thought. I enjoyed it pretty thoroughly, and after three I can feel the residual bitterness on the sides of my tongue!

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

A: Poured a clear ruby-orange with a thin, cinnamon tan foamy layering that didn't stick around long. There was a slight rim lacing at best as it receded.

S: The nose was big and sweet with burnt molasses, maple syrup and sweet toffee which was followed by a lingering dried grapefruit hopping.

T: sweet up front with caramelized malt and dark molasses. There is a noticeable alcohol presence that sneaks in the middle of the palate as well some dried fruit (prunes), sugar plums, and raisins. The beer finishes out bitter with some dried grapefruit compliments of the Chinook hops.

M: sticky, dry, with a nice medium thick viscosity. Sweet, syrupy with a nice feel to it.

D: Very nicely done with a sweet start and bitter finish that compliment each other for a great overall experience. Alcohol was very well hidden for 9.0% and makes for a good drinkable beer, though comes off a tad sweet at times which may limit multiples.

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Photo of n2185
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Doing a vertical with a new 2012 bottle and a bottle from 2010 when the beer was last made.

A:
2012--pours a clear orange with two fingers of beige head that fades into a thin ring with a little lacing.
2010--the same as the newer bottle, but with a slighly hazier body.

S:
2012--sweet citrus up front with pineapple and grapefruit followed by a sweet caramel finish.
2010--caramel and citrus dominate with a slight oxidation aroma. There are some sweet bread notes as well.

T:
2012--grapefruit and pineapple here as well with pine and slight caramel notes. The finish is lightly bitter.
2010--sticky caramel and brown sugar flavors up front with notes of vanilla, maple, and oranges. There are some slight oxidation notes here as well.

M:
2012--medium, sticky body with lowish carbonation, this beer just avoids being watery.
2010--same as above.

O:
2012--a nice, hoppy strong ale. Simplistic, but enjoyable.
2010--still enjoyable after 2 years, but a bit past its prime. I generally prefer this beer with at least 6 months on it, but with no release last year, I couldn't do a 1 year comparison.

 1,102 characters

Photo of lastmango
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber. Nice 3 finger creamy head with lots of laving. Mild malt and grass aroma. Big malt flavor with hop bite. Too much for me. This beer has a bit of a heavy oily feel.

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

Served into a Bruery tulip glass at about 45 degrees.

Pours a rich mahogany with a creamy, off-white froth that dissipates somewhat quickly...good lacing. On the nose, I instantly get hop characters of orange, grapefruit, & a touch of pine followed by a toffee, brown sugar, caramel, light cinnamon, grains, & subtle raisin. The beer is rich and creamy (slightly syrupy) on the palate with an uneven balance. For lack of a better term, it's like this beer is bittersweet. What I mean is that there is a definite hop presence and bitterness from beginning to end, but a sweet malt background that doesn't quite fit together. Overall, I really like the beer, but find myself looking for the balance. I think that the problem that I'm having is in the syrupy sweet texture. Oh well....good beer, but nothing to write home about.

definite hop character
sweet malt background

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Photo of do_ob
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Pours a dark, hazy gold and settles a very clear, yet dense amber in the glass. Beautiful 2 finger head of sticky, off-white foam on top. The nose is very sweet - strong notes of, get this, brown sugar along with caramel, toasted malt, and some sweet fruit (peaches maybe). The taste follows fairly precisely bringing lots of caramel and sugary sweetness to the taste buds. Again, there are notes of fruit - banana, peach - that are good, but don't mesh perfectly with the other stuff this beer has going on. Very hoppy, also, to the point where this reminds me of an old IIPA. Luckily the other flavors mingle enough to make it taste pretty good. Expectedly dense on the palate, almost syrupy. No alcohol burn at all. It's actually quite creamy and smooth.

Overall, interesting but good. This one would definitely benefit from a few months in the cellar, unless you like your strong ales and barleywines overly hoppy, which I do not. Not bad, though.

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

22oz bottle, no freshness date, but I'm not usually concerned about that (especially with almost 10% abv). Poured into my tulip the color of cranberry-apple juice, a dark red-brown that drifted towards honey-brown as I drank and the light played through the levels of beer.. A thin little head of yellow-tan bubbles rose and fell to a ring around the brew and an island in the middle. Some strings of tiny bubbles, some thin lacing. Pretty good looking...

The scent brings to mind crabapples, cherries, and yes, a molasses-cinnamon-brown-sugar sweetness. Kind of light, airy, and sweet. Not too pungent or cloying.

There's a malty bite, a dance across the tongue of undecidedly sweet flavors; A bit of hop bitters on the back of the tongue and an alcoholic finish that reminds me of whiskey. The aftertaste is really long lasting and carries simultaneously some lingering piney hops and balancing brown sugar slickness. I really only get the distinct flavor of brown sugar after letting the aftertaste linger untouched in my mouth for a few minutes.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy for an ale like this, and damn if it's not filling. I decided to partake of this to tide me over between lunch and dinner and I think I might have to skip dinner. A glass of this really filled me up. The alcohol is just present enough to add its two cents to the flavors, but it's a good contribution. Carbonation is minimal in this brew, but what's there does a good job.

Overall, this is an interesting beer to try. It's so damn filling, and the alcohol is present enough, that I'd say this makes for a good afternoon snack, but this is a really hearty beverage and I'm going to save the rest of the bottle for another time - dessert, maybe.

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

Served at the Map Room in Chicago in a 10 oz chalice. An opaque golden brown with a very light cream-colored head.

A very rich, malty aroma with some fruity noted coming through, perhaps plum or raisin.

A very full bodied flavor, and not the syrupy sweetness I was expecting from a beer made with such massive amounts of brown sugar. It's a very dense, malt and fruit flavor, with a little warmth but not much spiciness coming from the alcohol.

A reall nice, full mouthfeel. Not chewy, but the beer lets you know it's there.

While strong, I would definietly order this up again. I nice beer to sip after dinner, perhaps.

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Photo of Derranged
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

The appearance is a dark reddish brown with a thick tan head.

The smell might have been one of the best smelling beers I've sampled. Very strong piney/floral hops with molasses and candied sugar are present.

The taste was very hoppy and very sweet, tastes of brown sugar and molasses. Some hops bitterness appeared every now and again.

Mouthfeel was very smooth and had little carbonation.

This beer drank pretty easily, but the sweetness alone limits this to just a few.

This beer was really good.

 557 characters

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 Tonyjenlasc
3.87/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look - Dark amber color, clear in appearance
Smell - brown sugar, caramel, dried apricots
Taste - Molasses, caramel, burnt brown sugar, candied orange, dried apricots
Feel - Sticky, dry, slightly warming

Overall - A little too sweet for my liking, but not a bad winter offering.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,644 ratings.
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