Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'
BA SCORE
84.8%
Liked This Beer
4.03 w/ 5,690 ratings
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
Ranking:
#2,929
Reviews:
1,592
Ratings:
5,690
Liked:
4,823
Avg:
4.03/5
pDev:
11.17%
Alströms:
4.04
 
 
Wants:
302
Gots:
1,336
Trade:
13
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,690 |  Reviews: 1,592
Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle to pint glass. Three fingers of thick, fluffy, off-white head with large bubbles. Settles slowly leaving thick lacing. Produces a steady carbonation stream. Color is a clear copper. The brew is attractively translucent.
Smells like sweet toast, some malt, caramel, a little bit of booze.
Taste is tropical fruit, fruit syrup, a little dry hop, but not bitter. Sweet grapefruit. Sour, but more than balanced by sweet. Really smooth mouthfeel, especially for something that's supposed to be 10% ABV. Although I'm halfway through the bottle and I can feel it.
This one is rich in feel, which is fitting since I've just recently polished off a paczki (a rich, donut-like fruit or cream filled pastry eaten on Fat Tuesday). Sip this one, savor it.

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Photo of scotorum
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Clear deep amber with a huge beige head which receded slowly to heavy surface foam and very dense lacing.

s: Pine. Later, some vinegar. Uh oh.

t: Funky spoiled fruit under sharp hops. Fortunately the flavor does not linger through the dry finish. OK it's almost 10% ABV and does not burn the back of the throat much. But really. that and its sexy good looks are about all it has going for it.

m: Moderate with great body,.

o: Maybe I got a bad batch. Just not going for the funky dirty feet vinegar aroma and flavor. An isovaleric acid in the hops issue? Whatever it is, it's the first bad Lagunitas I have had. Reminiscent of my first Brooklyn Monster barleywine, which was like drinking liquid dirty gym socks (fortunately later bottles of that were better).

Not the expected "sweet release" the bottle label promised by a longshot. Love the appearance, which screamed quality. All downhill from there. If it was any worse it would have been a drain pour. Actually, it may be very soon.

If the others in the sixpack are better, I'll be back to re-review.

UPDATE 11/13/13: Had a second bottle tonight and fortunately it lacked the offending vinegar aroma and taste which caused me to drainpour the last few ounces of the first. However I did still get a dirty socks odor, and yet much more caramel malt and brown sugar in the flavor. Consequently upgrading my rating, which was a: 4.75 s: 3.25 t: 2.75 m: 4.0 and overall 2.75, ave. 3.08, to the above.

UPDATE 11/21/13: Third bottle from the sixpack lacked the vinegar and sock odor. Not sure what to make of that except the added sugar may result in some instability remaining in the bottle? Anyway this was even better but I won't bother raising the rating again unless the rest of the lot proves to be as good or better than this one. Hoppier but almost as malty as slightly cheaper ales I enjoy such as Shipyard Chamberlain and Geary's Pale Ale, but the higher ABV and somewhat meatier body makes the extra couple of bucks per sixpack for Shugga worth it as a nightcap.

UPDATE 12/19/13: Can't believe I waited this long to have another from the sixpack, but unfortunately this one is similar to the first, except the vinegar/dirty feet smell and taste are subdued enough that it is not as close to being a drain pour. Still, far from the promised "Sweet release." Funny how one bottle can be ok and yet another from the very same sixpack can be so much worse.

UPDATE 4/7/17: Despite obvious issues with the first sixpack three and a half years ago, this has become a personal staple., along with it's "little brothers" Undercover and Sumpin Sumpin. The flavor since has been reliably excellent and unique. Raising the ratings is long overdue, from smell 3.25 to 3.75, taste from 4-4.5, and overall from 4-4.5.

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Photo of JNPIII127
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Dave1999
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep rich red colour, transparent with the smallest of white head.

The smell is sweet with a citrus hop smell.

The taste is sweet, there is brown sugar and a lot of citrus little hops.

The mouth feel is syrupy with medium carbonation.

This is strong, sweet and very tasty. Hides it's abv well.

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Photo of Natural510
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber-brown color with a faint head, lacing which is slight but residual.
Very unique nose which combines sweet maple syrup with heavy forest-pine hops.
Flavor is also a complex medley of sweet brown-sugar (what else), caramel malt, floral & pine hops, orange rind and grapes with a juicy, bitter finish.
Full in body, and in spirit. What more can you ask?
I like this, a lot. Another winner from Lagunitas, both in originality and in creating a satisfying drink.

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Photo of mckdebbie1
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I hated this beer at first. Hated it so much that 5 of the 6 sat in the beer fridge for over a year. I thought I could pass it off on someone eventually. And after awhile, like deciding to have a second child, I couldn't remember what was so awful about having the 1st, I said "sure, let's try this again". I am glad I did. The sugars must have eaten away at everything I found so unpleasant the first go around. Aging really helped this one and now I am sad I only have 4 left.

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Photo of JeffSK
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BeerWizard
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours honey gold with a decent sized head. I'm drinking this out of a Bulleit bourbon glass so we're talking about two inches of ale and an inch and a half of head. Looks pretty stellar. The nose is tangy, barely funky, with pine and candied fruit; while the flavor is sweet up front, with apricot and peach on the tongue, and then bitter in the throat. There's also a spice element to it, and I also get like Pez or Smarties candy in the nose mid-sip. For 9.99% abv, you sure wouldn't know it - I've had 7's and 8's that tasted boozier than this does. Bottle says that it's brewed with brown cane sugar, which, you know, from the name and all I was picturing a molasses-derived brown sugar, but the raw sugar makes more sense. I remember having this at a beer festival a few years ago and being duly corrected after asking for the "brown." "It's not a brown, it's an American strong ale." Indeed. Thumbs up.

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Photo of GameOfBeers
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of steelerguy
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Caramel color with amber hues. Moderate carbonation, smallish head that fades quickly to a covering that leaves some good lacing.

S - Strong hop aroma upon opening the bottle, but pouring seemed to release it a bit. The malt then takes over with sweet caramel notes to go along with the pleasant pine hops aromas.

T - Lots of malt, plenty of dark caramel malts leaving a residual sweetness. A touch of citrus hop flavor to help balance out the sweetness, and a good bit of bitterness on the finish. The brown sugar adds some depth and I think helps thin it out a bit since there is a good deal of caramel malts in here.

M - Moderate body, could feel a bit heavy but it is balanced with moderate carbonation and the high ABV adds a nice warm finish to make the beer not seen too thick.

D - This beer is a mouthful, lots of malt...especially caramel, lots of adjuncts, lots of alcohol, and a good deal of hops. They are all in balance, but quite a bit of complexity, make it fun to drink but a couple in one sitting is plenty.

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Photo of Onemoresolo
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
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 TooGood
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another phenomenal brew for Lagunitas, best looking beer I've seen. The 9.8% abv can really sneak up on you as it's such a smooth and tasty drinker.

149 characters

Photo of cbarrett4
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at Henry's 12th Street Tavern in Portland. Was the first glass poured from the new keg.

Poured with a great head fading to a pretty persistent lace. Good dark copper hue. The nose is pretty amazing with lots of sweet malts, hops, molasses and hints of brown sugar and banana. Tastes like an unsweetened bananas foster. Lots of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, banana, while the alcohol works well (like the brandy in bananas foster). The hops do come through, especially on the finish, giving it a drier profile. Simply a great beer and one I wish was available year round.

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Photo of Jemonster
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Sexy looking beer from one of my favorite breweries. Redish tan with dense tan head that leaves lacing. Fine carbonation.

S: Smells sweet and rich like a sophisticated dessert. Yeast and light hops, some stone fruit odor comes through as well.

T: Syrupy sweet as expected, but balanced well by the malty malt and bitter hops. Tastes like a little more than the 51.1 IBU as stated on the bottle in my opinion, and less than the 9.99% ABV.

M: Viscous, creamy, and lightly tingly. Has the body of a good shot of espresso. You have to pause to feel the bubbling from the carbonation. About the same mouthfeel as a well made root beer, which is what I really like.

D: Gotta be a 4. Can't rate it any higher because 2 might do you in on an empty stomach. A lightweight might not be able to drive after 1. Very easy to drink though, and tasty enough to make me look for it again.

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Photo of CAcker
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Phil-T_Phil_30
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of jdg204
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jgal4297
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Atlas1
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stopped off at the Brickskeller on my way home from work tonight. I don't stop in there as often as I used to, but it's still a good place for beer. Ah, nostalgia....

The Brown Shugga was poured from the bottle (12 oz.) into a standard pint glass for me. It was a bronze/amber color, with lots of carbonation, and a thin, but firm, creamy head on top. The foam was long-lasting and left an excellent lace in its wake. Really, this was a fine looking beer. The nose was rich and sweet, with a malty spice that dominated, although there were some noticeable hops in the aroma as well. Taste was super sweet in the intake, and that sweetness lasted on through to the finish. It had a nice hop bite to it at the end. An interesting flavor, for sure, but a good balance of super sweet with bitter hops. Also, there were noticeable traces of brown sugar (obviously), vanilla, molasses, and maple. Mouthfeel was smooth and creamy.

This is a great beer, in my opinion. I am not want to drink malt-monster all the time, but this appeals to me as much as the Oskar Blues Old Chub, which I love. But the Shugga has more of a hop kick to it, which I think I ultimately prefer. It's boozy, but not over-wrought with alcohol in either the aroma or the taste. Would go well with a hearty beef or game stew as well as a rich dessert, like a cheesecake. Enjoy this beer.

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Photo of Phi_Psi_OR_Beta
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%

Photo of jsurfs82
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Floyd12
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poored from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- Dark but translucent caramel brown. With a large off white fluffy head. The head had excellent retention and left nice lacing all down the side of the glass.

S- Very sweet smelling do to the large ammounts of brown sugar used in the brewing of this beer. But als a warm toasty smell of malt and hops.

T- While there is a lot of sweetness to this beer, it is kept in check by the malts, hops, and toasted aroma of the beer. There is also a faint fruity/floral presence in the aftertaste. But at 9.99% ABV it does posses a taste of alcohol

M- Thick full-bodied beer. But very smooth and very creamy.

D- While there are so many wonderfull atributes to this beer, it still has a somewhat overly "boozy" taste to it. Enjoyed much better with a salty snack to balance out the both the alcohol and sweet tastes

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Photo of danronian
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep amber. Minimal head that dissipates quickly when I poured it into a pint glass. Very few bubbles coming from the bottom of the class.

S - Smells a lot like brown sugar with a little citrus.

T - Tastes of roasted malt with a lot of brown sugar.

M - The abundance of syrupy sugar overwhelms the 9.99 abv. The sweet taste makes the high alcohol content very drinkable and less noticeable.

D - The smell and mouthfeel is sweet and the syrup lingers in your mouth. A good sipping beer though not something to drink quickly due to its extreme syrupy thickness.

Too sweet to drink more than a couple but something good to try. One is enough for me for a while. A bit too much sweetness for it to be a favorite of mine.

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Photo of krh
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Solid all around. Warms me up, taste of brown sugar. Better than 'sucks to me.

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Photo of JohnnyBeer79
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84.8% out of 100 with 5,690 ratings
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