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Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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1,519 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

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: 1,519 | Ratings: 5,406
Photo of PieOhMy
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A. Dark transparent amber. Thick foamy slow fading khaki head.

S. Sweet toffee and malts. Floral and grassy.

T. Caramel. Brown sugar. Burnt sugar. Heavy malt flavor. Tangy weediness.

M. Medium. A bit sticky. Finishes a little hot.

O. This is a Lagunitas brew for s sure. Big backbone and hoppy. This one gets a little too sweet and not quite enough hop punch for me though.

 379 characters

Photo of chickenflea
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle pours a clear reddish amber. Medium off-white head, fine bubbles, low carbonation, with attractive lacing. Sweet fermented orange aroma with some strange mustiness. The flavor is initially bitter (which I like) but quickly dissolves into a candy-like syrupy blend of flavors, the hops come on strong at the end. Texture is thick and heavy. Good body, decent mouthfeel. Just a bit too sugary sweet IMHO. I should have taken a clue from the name, huh?

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Photo of denver10
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice off colored head to this but the light brown body offers little to be too enthused about. A very nice aroma offering some aromatic citrusy hops alongside a big cookie dough and brown sugar base. I like it. Flavor starts off with some grapefruit from the hops and then transitions into the sweeter side from the malt, offering some dough and brown suger. Some bitterness in the finish. Some alcohol is noticeable in the finish, it doesn't add to the beer but it also is not a deterrent in any way. A thinner but creamy and active mouthfeel, though the activity dies out prior to the finish. I kinda think a thicker mouthfeel would benefited this beer. Overall, been wanting to try this for a while now so glad the opportunity finally arrived. Worth the wait I do think, good stuff.

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Photo of danh53
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

At first taste I thought this was a unique and complex beer, but when it was finished I don't really know where to go with this one. The nose and taste starts with carmalized citrus and ends dry and hoppy with an alcohol bite. Its a mix between an IPA and a barley wine, and I don't think it pulls off that balance in the end. I'm glad I was able to try it.

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Photo of Beejay
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Medium dark brown and hazy. Just off white head on top.

S: Hop aroma with some nice pine aroma, some slight citrus peel. There is indeed a touch of a brown sugar smell in the back.

T: Hops!! Whew! Resin and pine, with a huge hit of citrus peel afterwards. Nice caramel and brown sugar in the finish.

M: Thick, but the prevalent carbonation lightens it up a bit.

O: I knew nothing about this brew before I tried it, so it was a bit of a surprise.. But a good surprise. Dank, hoppy, and enjoyable.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to a Duvel snifter

A - A nice deep amber colour with half a finger of white head.

S - Sweet malts; caramel with some citrus in the background.

T - Sweet lightly roasted malts. A caramel and sugary sweetness dominates the profile with a nice citrus hop aftertaste. A nice balanced ale.

M - Medium body with a somewhat creamy/silky mouth feel. A good amount of carbonation.

D - This is a very well balanced and enjoyable ale. Would never guess that the ABV is almost 10%. The sweetness becomes a little too much after getting the bottom of the glass.

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Photo of LeRose
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle, no date.

Poured deep copper color with not much head. What head there was hung around and laced nicely. Visually looked like good maple syrup with a bit if foam on top.

Aroma was subdued. Some resinous pine notes, blended tropical fruit, malt, a bit of rum raisin, sweet.

Taste was much bolder. Sweetness initial, but some bitter resin at out the same time, then tropical. Didn't immediately think pineapple. More of a mango and papaya flavor. Bitterness hits at the end, and the I get pineapple syrup flavor in the aftertaste. Body had some raisiny notes, slight brown sugar or caramelized sugar taste.

Mouthfeel was smooth and sticky, but aftertaste lingers and gives some tingle from the alcohol. A bit of astringency makes it dry out some.

Overall enjoyable to drink. Not what I was expecting. Nice balance, but the lingering aftertaste takes it down tick for me.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks very pretty, deep amber color with a nice off-white head that leaves excellent lacing. Nose is lots of sweet fruit and malt, and a good bit of alcohol too. Flavor's lots of toffee and caramel malt, very mild hop flavor. Alcohol comes through strong, overwhelming some of the other possible flavors. Some light dried fruit. Mouthfeel is solid, medium to light with good carbonation. Overall, a drinkable beer, although the alcohol flavor and general ABV is just a little too high for more than one or two.

 510 characters

Photo of kmo1030
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nice dark copperwith a sticky tan head that laces well. caramel molasses smell. i notice a good amount of a fresh cut pineapple and mildy alcoholic smell too. very sweet up front, reminds me of a maple flavored frosting. brown sugar shows up big towards the middle with just a bit of dark fruit, fig, prune, and some pears. the herbal hops at the finish round things out some, but don't balance by any means. sort of thin bodied for the flavor. not too distracting, but noticable just the same. decent drinability, i think i'd prefer it in a 12 oz bottle though. not something i'd drink regularly, but a nice change of pace.

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Photo of SteveB24
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

appearance; amber that isn't clear nor opaque, some light bubbles. ridiculously thick head that rises very high and a good finger retains till the very end. the kind of head that a part of you always wants to see when you pour a beer.

smell; the aroma is a blend of caramel, hops and a bit of earthiness, with an alcoholic punch.

taste; ltrue to its name, burnt brown sugar is obvious, but smoothly joins together with a touch of earth and mildly bitter hops with a hint of spiciness. the alchohal is there but not overpowering at all.

mouthfeel; a bit creamy, medium carbonation, wet finish, full body.

overall; not as good as lil sumpin sumpin, hop stooped or sucks, but a pretty satisfying and unique as well as easy to drink and pallet able, will buy again.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber gold with a light head that dissipates quickly into a thin ring of foam.

Aromas of malt, honey, hops.

The taste follows the nose, with sweet malts up front, then a strong bitter hop taste that is overcome by the sweetness, which is cloyingly tasting of strong honey. Finishes bitter and dry. Some toffee and milk chocolate flavors come through as well.

Body is light with little carbonation. Tastes flatter as time presses on.

A drinkable brew but it is a bit too sweet for anything except a dessert beer or nightcap. The alcohol is not noticeable but at 9.84 percent it will become apparent.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours a blood orange hue with a two-finger off white head of small bubbles. Good retention. Nice rings of lacing.

S - Caramelized dextrin, fruity west coast hop, and a slight hint of clean booze.

T - Very sweet, lots of caramelized candy sugars, but also a strong flavor of beet sugar as well. Hops take over in the mid-palate with a juicy grapefruit bitterness bringing some balance. Some pineapple esters as well. Pretty tasty and full of rich/intense flavors, but the sweetness becomes a little much over time. Cant imagine having more than one of these at a sitting.

M - Medium bodied, low carbonation. Slightly sticky/syrupy.

O - I enjoy American strong ales, and I see what they were going for here, but there are some odd sugar tastes here and ultimately, the whole thing becomes a little cloying.

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Photo of kajerm
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Map Room, last beer of pretty solid night. Pours translucent red with a finger or so of fine lacing carbonation.

The aroma is piney, West Coast hops. My girlfriend insists they're floral, but I insist she's wrong (she knows her hops; this is a rare occurrence.) Big toffee malts. I definitely know where they're getting the whole brown sugar thing from.

The flavor is very similar with, malt becoming a dominant presence mid-to-late palate. Hops are big throughout.

The mouthfeel is velvety-smooth-- very nice.

Overall, a very strong offering. The fact that this thing is almost 10% ABV and I thought it was a "nice, light, drinkable beer" at the time gives me more perspective on just how thoroughly I have become the stereotypical American craft beer drinker. I really do love those barrel-aged Brett-infected Imperial Double Bourbon Coffee Breakfast Stouts, and I make no apology for it.

But enough with the stupid, pointless stream-of-consciousness BS. I liked this beer, and you should too.

also: what the hell is an American Strong Ale, anyway?

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Photo of paulozanello
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It poured a clear copper red color with a creamy beige head that lasts for a little leaving lots of lacing. Gorgeous looking beer.

Aroma is of caramel and honey malts, brown sugar and fruity/floral hops.

Taste follows nose and starts a little sweet followed by lots of hop flavors, mainly red fruits and some grapefruit. The finish has some bitterness followed by malty biscuity sweetness. Mild alcohol bite towards the end.

Body is moderate as well as carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Overall a very nice beer with good balance between malt and hops.

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Photo of joe1510
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. Bottle
$7.99 6-Pack
Liquor World

I've been kind of anxious to try this beer just for the uniqueness of it. Poured with a dark mildly hazed copper body into my pint glass. 1+ finger slightly off white head on the pour that dropped to a solid cap of frothiness. Looks good and leaves moderate lacing that eventually falls back into the body.

I really don't pick up a whole lot in the scent. There is zero hops which I didn't expect anyway. There is a very solid doughiness along with the namesake brown sugar. The thing I'm surprised about is I'm picking up some white grape tartness in there as well. Not much but it's there. Interesting but nothing spectacular.

The flavor is fairly easy to describe. It's entirely like the aroma. There is a strong (in a good way) showing of bread dough and brown sugar. Lots of brown sugar. I'm getting the white grape tartness in the finish. Just a little though. Sweet but not too sweet to enjoy.

The mouthfeel is sticky but the body is medium. The stickiness can be expected considering what this beer is. Coats the mouth until the next sip, then that one coats.

It's an enjoyable and unique beer. The drinkability is good for the simple fact that it tastes good. The stickiness and sweetness holds me back from enjoying more than a couple at a time.

The alcohol is pretty solid in here but unnoticeable. I can feel my cheeks getting a little warm but nothing in the taste. I like the idea behind this beer and for a matter of fact I like this beer. It's a fun thing to try and something I don't really see other breweries trying.


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Photo of Crosling
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
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 Thorpe429
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

G: Oversized snifter. No logo.

A: Pours a copperish color that is really more red. Pretty decent head with good retention on the sides of the glass, although the head off of the initial pour recedes quickly. Definite alcohol presence.

S: Sweet and vibrant. The brown sugar really comes through, as do miscellaneous dark fruit vapors. Maybe a hint of molasses.

T: A bit of a letdown after the smell. Only mildly sweet with some alcohol presence. The taste and smell are not corresponding for me.

M: Slight carbonation. Although this is a fairly-high ABV beer, it doesn't hide the alcohol nearly as well as others of its kind. I'm only picking up a slight hint of the fruits that were present in the nose.

D: A pretty decent brew, although I don't know if I'd really go for more than one within a sitting. I keep see picking it from time to time, maybe it'd be better on tap.

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Photo of WVRadar
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Half inch creamy tan head which dissipates slowly. Clear, deep amber body with decent lacing. Very pleasant, sweet, spicy aroma. Taste is unlike any other beer I've tried, not sure if I like it or not. Syrupy, lively mouthfeel. Definitely different, worth trying again, but I wouldn't run out and buy a case of it.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.72/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lagunitas Brown Shugga was recommended to me by Nate over at Martys in Newton. For some reason the name of this beer always struck me as gimmicky, but oh well. The color is copper, and has a small amount of mildly tan head. The nose is a good bit hoppier than I was expecting. I do get a bit of brown sugar in the smell, along with some caramel and grain. Taste is again, hoppy, with some mint leaf, and a really raw earth character. Body is medium to heavy, and leaves a very bitter aftertaste. Drinkability is hindered a bit simply by the fact that this beer is complicated. As I was told at the store, this is a challenging one. On the bright side, the 9.84 ABV can barely be detected. Maybe not among the best from Lagunitas, but certainly interesting and worth a shot. Cheers

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Photo of jczn
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

A: Cloudy, orange color. Light, off-white head. The beer actually cleared after it warmed up a bit. Surely Lagunitas wouldn't make a beer with Chill haze? (2.5)

S: Rich aroma of brown sugar and raisins, along with the smell of sweet wort. The aroma suggests a fairly high final gravity, which should be expected given the original gravity of 1.100. No hop aroma. (4.0)

F: Surprising level of bitterness given the listed 51 IBU and high gravity. The hops hit you first, followed by the residual sweetness. The brown sugar is apparent, as is the alcoholic warmth. I would have expected the sugar to attenuate better. (4.0)

M: The high FG helps to fill out the body of the beer. It's thick and full with a bit of bite from the carbonation. (4.0)

D: The residual sugar and the alcohol make this a sipping beer, while the sweetness makes it hard for me to finish. Overall, while an interesting beer, it's probably not something I would buy again. It's worth a try and it's a great experiment, but the finished product just doesn't fit together well. (3.0)

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Photo of beergoot
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Trinity Brewing in Colorado Springs...

Honey-colored body with a thick head. Malt aroma mixed with pine and citrus hops. Malt sweetness blended with caramel notes; good hop bitterness throughout. The mouthfeel was medium; dry yet a bit syrupy.

I found this to be a very good beer overall. There was a nice combination of the sweet and bitter throughout my tasting experience, producing nice layers of flavoring with every sip.

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Photo of TheViolator666
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fl. oz. bottle poured into snifter.

A: Pours with a fingers width off-white head. Copper colored body with ruby red highlights. Very nice clarity.

S: Sugary sweet, piney hops. Not much complexity.

T: Tons of piney hops in the front but seem to give way to the high amount of sugary sweet malts, caramel and molasses flavors. The malts linger in the aftertaste as well a hop bitterness. Not too hot, but could hide the alcohol better. Very similar to a Barleywine.

M/D: Full bodied. Carbonation leaves soft bite on the tongue and accompanies the alcohol on the way down. Definitely a sipping beer, 1 is plenty!

Pretty good, but I expected something a bit better.

 669 characters

Photo of sleazo
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a beautiful amber with a big three inch head into my weizen glass. almost got the whole bomber in. The smell is caramel malt with a minor hop backbone. Taste this was sweet at first but as i have consumed my palatte has become accustomed to it. There is a decent ammount of hops to balance the sweet. You usually do not see this ammount of sugar in a non Belgian beer. i fear the hangover. Due to the sweetness which borders on cloying and the fact that im drunk off of one bomber limits the drinkability.

 512 characters

Photo of Swedes21
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - beer pours a gorgeous auburn clear colour. There is not a lot of carbonation. The head is a nice off white that disappears quickly then produces some nice island head.

Smell - I am picking up some sweetness that comes from the sugar. The malts are present as well. I also taste some caramel and spice. There is an earthy tone to this beer as well.

Taste - there is a definitely sweet base to this beer that comes through on the pallett. The beer has a nice aftertaste, you can almost pick up some burnt caramel taste here, very nice.

Mouthfeel - the carbonation adds to the earthy tones that really come fwd. The beer has a nice hop presents as well. The caramel as well adds to the palette with a little thickness.

Drinkability - really interesting beer that has a dynamic I've never tasted before. The beer is complex yet simple. One for the sweetness on my charts. Thanks to SpinRSX for the afternoon sampling.

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Photo of Goldorak
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Tawny colored, with a head retention that I found superior than in most Beers with this ABV.

Smell: Candi sugar, and those barley sugar lolipops I loved as a kid (sucre d'orge).

Taste: Beyond the obvious malt sweetness and alcohol prickliness, this Beer had a woody, green leaf mouthfeel, it left a acidic sensation that reminds me of an arugula and spinach salad. It canceled out most of the cloying sugars.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,406 ratings.
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