Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,577 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:
1,577
Ratings:
5,619
Avg:
4
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
299
Gots:
1,307
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,577 | Ratings: 5,619
Photo of kerklein2
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter. No date on the bottle

A- A nice dark golden amber with a small head and good lacing.

S- Woah. What do you know? Smells like brown sugar. A classic, brown sugar, malty sweetness aroma.

T- You wouldn't know it from the aroma, but this beer is really well balanced. Lot's of brown sugar, malty sweetness, and caramel flavors but they are backed up with solid bitterness. Not much taste or aroma from the hops though. This bottle is a few months old, so maybe those tastes/aromas have dissipated, but I think it ages well nonetheless. Didn't notice it until a minute after my last sip, but there is some slight alcohol burn, but it's pleasant.

M- Very smooth, almost creamy. Perfect level of carbonation for the beer, and my RR glass kept it coming.

O- I would never guess this was 10% unless I sat and really thought about the beer in between sips like I am now. Great beer that I think I like more every time I try it.

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Photo of Foxtrot
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm so glad this comes in sixer's now. With the weather being chilly, this should certainly warm me up.

12oz. bottle pours a dark brown and mahogany hued body with a pleasant 1 finger ivory colored cap. The retention that followed was good, along with lacing.

Smell is of a sweet Barleywine. Hops mingle up front with brown sugar and molasses sweetness hiding underneath. The brown sugar really comes through on the nose and looks very promising.

All I can say is "Wow". Lagunitas is really onto something with the whole brown sugar infused yeast. Begins with a slight hop and citrus presence and slowly gives way to malt madness! Caramel, brown sugar, and molasses run very smoothly to the finish. Leaves a nice after taste that is lip smacking good.

Mouthfeel is a good full medium body. This beer could put some RIS's to shame because of its incredible sweet mouthfeel. Coats the mouth and tongue and borders the edge of being creamy.

Drinkability is fantastic. The high ABV is almost undetected while showcasing its flavor.

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Photo of drpimento
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah truly gets a sweet release with this here fine, fine product. Yessir. Ah surely does. Poured only a small sample so didn't get much of a head. But, what's there lasts. No lace. Lovely deep red tinged amber color. Dark ripe fruit, malts, caramels, brandies in flavors. Booze in the mouth with good carbonation. Very good mouth. Quite rich. Maybe a bit heavy for a session beer. Nice finish.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber color.

Overall: This beer has a strong sweet aroma. It contains flavors of malts, sweetness, fruitiness, caramel and bitterness. This is a very good malty brown ale.

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Photo of grittybrews
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby-tinged hazelnut brown into a tulip with a finger of quick-receding white head. Expected the aroma to be dominated by molasses character, but it featured prominent citrus hops and some sweet caramel with just a touch of alcohol.

Moderate carbonation and a full, creamy mouthfeel. Brown sugar and up front followed by a nice mix of orange citrus and dark fruit. Balanced finish with some woody vanilla and gently spicy hops.

The sweetness becomes a bit cloying but Lagunitas did an excellent job of balancing the flavors in this beer (and the alcohol is almost undetectable). Very nice to sip on a winter evening.

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Photo of TrevorGW
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this the other night. I didn't even realize it was a Holiday beer until I read the ridiculous prose on the bottom of the six pack case. A bit verbose, Lagunitas! But I forgive ye, for ye maketh delicious hoppy beers.

Pours a transparent crimson amber color with a one and a half finger head that is respectably retained. Lacing is sparse.

Smells of bright and fresh Willamette hops with a sharp maple coming through shortly after.

Interesting and entertaining taste. It first hits you with a hop explosion which quickly fades into a splash of bready sweetness (cranberry muffin comes to mind). Yum yum.

Full-bodied all the way, without being syrupy or chewy.

Dangerous at nearly 10% ABV. I drank this down pretty quickly and felt the buzz.

You have got to try this beer. I was happy to find it in a sixer for only $10.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle. Copper orange with a big tan head. Good lacing. Aroma is lovely g with odors of grapefruit, hops, and some caramel, as well as just a touch of alcohol. Lots of flavors. Somewhat sweet. Slick mouthfeel and oily on the back of the tongue. It goes down like cough syrup. Nice hoppy finish. Yum.

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Photo of brendanbeer
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at barcade in brooklyn.

a. rich amber brown with a nice light head that lasts and laces.

s. really oaky, woody, and sweet.

t. lovely sweet notes up front, hoppy and fresh. blends into a really nice rich bitter alcoholic sweetness.

m. silky, low carbonation adds to the smooth feel. real nice.

d. 3.5.

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Photo of NitroGen
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P: 12 oz. short brown bottle, O.G. 1.100 Alc. 9.99% by Vol.. I.B.U. 51.1

A: Amber pour with a finger of light brown foanm head that slowly fades to a scant cover and lacing.

S: Citrus pith, roasted grains and sight sweetness

T: Burst of bitter hops then a rush of sweet roasted malt and a slight oily tongue with sweetness, roasted and hops fighting it out….all in the blink of an eye.
This is a great exercise for the mouth! No obvious alcohol vapor,fumes lurking in any of the taste.

M: A great treat for the mouth! This one is a keeper and will get more to see how it ages and compare it too next years release.

D: Could drink a number of these but would have to try and keep in mind the ABV level!

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Photo of DrewV
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal-clear golden amber in the glass with a 2-finger foamy head after an aggressive pour.

S: Typical Lagunitas aroma, a bit sweeter perhaps and a bit less citrus. Some caramel malt in the mix. Not bad. By comparison, Maximus and Lucky13 both have shockingly awesome aromas. But all is not in the smell...

T: A bit reserved in the flavor, strangely enough. Some tasty flavors coming through, but nothing prominent. I guess I can detect the brown sugar in there just due to the mild sweetness and hint of molasses, but no real overpowering flavors that I might expect. Similar to Undercover Shutdown, but a bit more relaxed. As the glass warms, however, the flavors really open up and the typical strong ale flavors come through. This brew MUST be allowed to warm up. A bit boozy as it warms, but nothing objectionable.

M: Well carbonated, but not quite the body I would expect from a big ale like this. Again, the carbonation and full-bodied feel tend to improve as the beer warms. Once it gets above 50 degrees, it truly does become a "strong ale."

O: The 9.9% ABV is pretty well hidden, but comes through as the beer is allowed to warm up. Overall this is a significant contender in the strong ale category. Definitely one to wait for year after year.

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Photo of BraftBeer619
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on the 357th day of 2016. Consumed on 1/14/2017. Pretty fresh! Around 3 weeks old. I give this beer a B+/A- :)

L: The beer is a golden/amber color combo. I didn't pour the beer aggressive enough so I had a one finger head that dissipated, but leaves a trail on your glass as it's consumed.

S: As its name suggests, this beer has a sweet and very unique smell to it. Sweet malts with some citrussy pine mixed in there upon pouring,, but as the beer warms the sweet malts become the dominant aroma. Very unique and hard to describe at first.

T: Just like the aroma, this beer has a very unique taste. It tastes and smells kind of like a "prettier" Arrogant Bastard. Fairly sweet, caramel malts, with some citrus/pine notes that come through at the end. As the beer warms, the caramel malt becomes the much more dominant flavor. The alcohol is very well hidden, you would not be able to tell it's a 9.7% beer, very impressive and dangerous ;).

F:I think this beer is easy drinking. Lighter side of medium carbonation. Balanced

Overall to me this is a great, nicely executed, and very unique beer. The most similar beer I've tried to this is the Arrogant Bastard, but that doesn't say much because they are still very different. The 6 pack was $12 and which is such a great value. Lagunitas is becoming my favorite brewery, because they make great beers and their value is almost unparalleled.

Would I buy this gain? Yeah probably next year. Not really an everyday beer to me, but probably something I would not want to miss out on when its released. Cheers! :)

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Surprise!
Light golden amber with a thick white head that melts to very thick sticky lacing.
Aroma is amber malt and brown sugar...yeah, it really is brown sugar.
Hmmm...flavor is sweet amber malt with the candied sugars but a finish of citrus malts that keeps everything in check and nothing becomes sticky or cloying. A little alcohol on the end.
Aftertaste stays clean due to the finish of citrus hops.
The ABV stays totally hidden so this one will not only sneak up on you...it will probably run up your ass.
I like it.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lagunitas has nailed the whole concept of brand loyalty by making all their beers taste like variations on the same theme, which I think centers around their IPA. No guesswork, no bad experiments. They all have the same dominating hop profile, so if you like one, you'll probably like them all.

Brown Shugga is the richer, maltier variety of their IPA. It pours a clear, burnt red color with some head at the top which forms some neat "crop circles" and yeast rings at the top after a few minutes. The nose has that classic bright, grapefruit hoppy flavor, but with more than a small share of burnt brown sugar, some heavy booziness like a barelywine. A bit of apricot and some nice esters come out after a time.

The taste makes the 9.9% abv quite evident, but it's still fairly relaxed. The texture has a sticky, thick quality to it, and the foam sticks around a bit, so that makes all the flavors last in your throat for quite some time. That said, there's very little bitterness considering all the hops that Lagunitas seems to like to use. I had this beer once when it came out and again now, 6 months later. Some of the fruity crispness has mellowed out and the richer flavors seem stronger now, so you can definitely say it ages in an interesting way, possibly becoming more of the beer I was expecting it to be, and less like a malty IPA as it was fresh.

Overall, one of the more unique and exciting options from one of my favorite breweries who have mastered the art of quality without prolificacy.

Edit: had a batch a year later, and it was less hoppy, more malty and strong, and closer to a barleywine than the 3xIPA it seemed more like last year. Still, opinion of it doesn't change!

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Photo of leaddog
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours copper with a finger width of white head.

Smell - Caramalts, piney hops, brown sugar, citrus.

Taste - Brown sugar takes the lead followed by caramalts and bitter hops. Touch of citrus. Finishes with a lingering, palatable bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with lots of nice prickly carbonation. A little stickiness.

Overall - An enjoyable American Strong by Lagunitas. The brown sugar flavour is innovative and provides a unique twist. Nice balance of hoppy bitterness, sweet brown sugar and malts.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.26/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

L – Deep amber color with a nice 3-finger frothy, bubbly, cream-colored head. Excellent retention with phenomenal sheets of lacing. Clear with lots of bubbles. I can’t imagine it looking much better than this.

S – This smells very much like a cross between an American barleywine and DIPA. There’s a ton of malty sweetness with caramel, molasses, and brown sugar notes, and no shortage of American hops with grapefruit and pine aromas mostly. Alcohol is certainly present here, and there may even be a hint of some dark fruits like figs and dates here, too. This smells like it is going to be a real treat.

T – The taste is slightly different than the aroma but not in a bad way – it’s just different. It’s sweet nearly all the way through with lots of brown sugar and some noticeable caramel and molasses. Some grapefruit, orange, and pine hop bitterness creeps in toward the finish and builds in intensity as the finish progresses. Alcohol is really nowhere to be found.

F – Medium-bodied with pretty good carbonation, a sticky, chewy, and creamy mouthfeel, and a bittersweet finish. Sweet caramel and brown sugar and bittersweet fruity hop flavors linger for a bit. There’s a hint of palate-and-throat warming from the alcohol, but not as much as I was expecting after the aroma.

O – This is a nice beer and one that’s pretty tough to categorize. It smells like a strong ale but tastes almost like an imperial amber ale. I guess I can see it tasting like a strong ale, too, though. Not that any of this matters – I just like categorizing things. Useless rambling aside, this is a tasty and extremely drinkable beer given the ABV and my initial expectations after the aroma. I would have never guessed this clocked in at a tick below 10%. Part of me wishes that it tasted more like the aroma since that was so phenomenal, but the taste that is here is pretty damn good, too.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from a 12 oz bottle in a Duinen snifter.
After a long hiatus the wondrous Brown Shugga' is back and brilliant as ever. Pours a thick ruby brown with a great off white head and fantastic lacing from the slowly dissipating foam that dies down to a nice thin layer. Nose of dark sugars, citrus hops, and tons of sweet malts. Flavors are complex and ever changing with warmth. There is the firm malt backbone of brown sugar followed by waves of juicy tropical hops flavors of pineapple and orange layered on even more malt on top of malt while keeping everything in balance. Peaches come through as it warms along with some apple and pear like qualities. GREAT mouth feel with nice carbonation and a coating of citrus hops makes this a unique brew to be had and savored.

Fantastic brew from a world class brewer.

Cheers

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ok, so the Raul man has seen Brown Shugga' categorized as many things - brown ale, Barelywine, American strong ale... Whatever it is, it's off the hook! Juice, caramel, malt... Raul is feeling it like a K-town rub down. Clean, svelte...

Like Tinker, to Evers, to Chance...

Yep!

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Photo of ParnellJoseph1138
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Enticing deep copper color

S-Readily apparent floral hop aroma and sweet smell

T-A fine malt presence but you really taste the sweetness of the sugar and then the orange, grapefruit character of the hops come through. A lot of complexity and character in this beer.

M-A rich full mouth feel

O-A fascinating beer with a unique combination of hops, malt, sugar. The malt presence becomes apparent first, the sweetness comes through next, and then it finishes with a hop bitterness.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Lagunitas largemouth glass.

Deep copper with slowly rising bubbles underneath a thick foamy cream colored head.Thick lines of lacing remain. Cedar fills the nose -- earthy, woody, spicy cedar. Some brown sugar sweetness can be found. There is that trademark Lagunitas aroma in it. The palate is washed with dark brown sugar, cedar, cinnamon spiciness, and a spruce finish. It tastes like a Lagunitas beer, which is a good thing. The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth.

Overall, I was impressed. Scary how easily drinkable this is for the high ABV. Great holiday beer.

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Photo of Dawkfan
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark amber with just about a fingers width of tan head. Quickly subsides, there's some lacing here.

S- I was suprised by how much of a hop presence was in the nose, caught me off guard. Citrus hops most notable, with some floral as well. There's some tartness in here, perhaps sour apples? It smells sweet, but I'm not picking up the "brown shugga" at all. Interesting, definitely not what I was expecting, but very pleasant.

T- Picking up the brown sugar now. Sweet up front, really sweet actually. Apples, darkfruits, sweet malts, burnt sugar and caramel mix well with a good amount of hops that linger for awhile.

M- Thick and chewy, this one clings to the mouth and tongue for awhile.

D- Insanely drinkable at 9.84%, I can see the conparison to an American Barleywine. Highly recommended, I'm glad this is available in my neck of the woods.

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Photo of craftaholic
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured from a stout lil' 12 oz into a shaped pint. The body is that of a steeped black tea and the head is a light yet clinging 2 inch head that leaves behind a nice dusting for a lacing.

Smell: A treat for the proboscis and then some its a melody of floral notes, malty nuances, subtle pumpernickle, obvious mounds of brown sugar and alcoholic undertones.

Taste: This one is quite delectable to say the least. They hit the nail on the head because its packed to the brim with shugga' but not sickeningly so. There is a nice balance of thick caramelized malt and almost spiced complexity that is counterbalanced with a citric resinous hop. Thankfully the backbone of this one never gets overwhelming but rather stands back to mediate the malt and hop combination. The finish is astringent with a discernible bitter character and a slight pinch of molasses.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, carbonated just right, an aftertaste but doesn't overstay its welcome and although somewhat sweet it isn't sticky.

Drinkability: Surprisingly the abv is not a good indicator because it drinks to me like a 6% session; but in the strong ale category it ranks high.

Overall: I will say its a strong offering from what i've seen as of now to be a pretty legit brewery in their offerings. I almost put off the review because I was savoring the beer outright with this one because its a familiar yet distinct flavor of its own.

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Photo of Lahoi
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow. An amazing beer. Way too easy to drink for a 10% ABV beer. In fact, it was so smooth I drank it much faster than I should have, and, along with the other beers I had, I felt it the next day. But it was worth it!

It's hard to compare this beer to others in the category because I've never had anything quite like it. It's so complex. Just when I thought I'd pinned down a flavor or note, I would detect something else. This is a slow, sipping beer like that of a barleywine or some stouts, especially those aged in bourbon barrels. Yet don't get me wrong: this beer isn't anything like a barleywine or a barrel ag d stout. Again, it's like nothing else I've enjoyed.

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Photo of Slynger
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown Shugga: a deep, clear, reddish orange with some small, dirty white bubbles that leave lasting lace.

The nose is sweet malty caramel, toffee, and brown sugar with fruity cherries and citrus, and earthy-spicy hops. Deliciously intriguing.

Full bodied with a lightly sharp, soft, and creamy-curvy carbonation. Flavors of sweet brown sugar and burnt toffee; fruity cherries and apricot citrusy hops. Grassy, spicy, earthy hops linger in the finish.

Wow! A really tasty and unique brew that I enjoyed way too quickly. Awesome.

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Photo of JK4Stout
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in tulip glass.
A- This deep caramel colored ale is gorgeous to look at. Part of me just wanted to let it sit and bubble for a while...part of me, but the drunk in me overtook that.
S- Here is where it is the big winner. This is obviously a sweet smelling, tasting, looking, etc beer. But the aroma given off by this brew makes me think of carnival food for some reason. It is simply a very warm happy swell. Not a lot of hops aroma, but there is plenty there.
T- Love this part! This beer is really smooth for 9.9%apv The sweetness isn't sickening or overpowering like many sweet beers can be, and there is a great little spice on the end.
M- Medium to large, not too much, but it certainly makes it's presence known.
D- This is one fine beer. I mean, I wouldn't expect to down a full 6er while watching a football game, but it certain makes for a nice after dinner beverage...or a before dinner beverage...or an after breakfast beverage...you get the point. It ain't bad, folks.

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Photo of korguy123
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From Notes

A- Clear brown pour (like rich maple syrup) 1/4" off white cap. Lacing is minimal which is to be expected for the 9.99%

S- Toasted malts, slight strawberries. Brown sugar comes out in full force as it warms further, Rich toffee and caramel tones.

T- Brown sugar heaven. Not overly sweet, just perfect. Caramel notes. toasted malts give a nice smooth roasted tone to this. Hop bitterness is spot on. Slight metallic taste and a faint alcohol warmth.

M- Medium to full bodied, slightly creamy and smooth. Sticky on the lips.

O- Very good, something different from the everyday. Definitely couldn't drink more than one per sitting but with something like this you would want to treat yourself on occasion with this.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,619 ratings.
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