Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,519 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,519
Ratings:
5,402
Avg:
4
pDev:
21.25%
 
 
Wants:
288
Gots:
1,180
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,519 | Ratings: 5,402
Photo of nelson4
3.03/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A- Very deep color, reddish brown. Head disappeared slowly with significant lacing.
S- Not a real impressive smell, caramel with a hint of sweetness
T- Hoppy with a caramel and malty sweetness, slightly bitter after
M- Slightly carbonated with relatively smooth mouthfeel
D- Warm 9.9 only allows for small sips to enjoy

Overall, I was not very impressed with the balance of the hops to the sweetness. Good mouthfeel and appearance still make this beer worth while.

 465 characters

Photo of CaptainIPA
3.04/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy bronze color with a prodigious head and notable lacing. Fine appearance.

Aromas of burnt toffee, scorched caramel and toasted brown sugar, followed by residual odors of sour fruit, overripe melon and rotten veggies. Not all that pleasant.

Chewy and rather syrupy mouthfeel. Opens with sweet (and I mean, SWEET) waves of brown cane sugar before moving into assertions of burnt toffee and toasted caramel. Hints of malted barley surface and are quickly blasted away by suggestions of spun-sugar cotton candy. As Brown Shugga' warms, the heat of alcohol becomes perceptible.

Too cloyingly sweet for my tastes; overwhelmingly so to the exclusion of any other background flavors. If you lived on Capn' Crunch as a kid, give this one a try.

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Photo of Keystone
3.05/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I don't know if I am drinking the same beer as some people? I was not sold on this one. Good feel to the beer and nice light carbonation as others have pointed out. However that was about it for me. Didn't smell good, too sweet on the front and the after taste is as if someone poured cheap vodka in my beer.

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Photo of jbertsch
3.05/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A solid amber in appearance. Reddish hues. Head is very minor...almost a film from the get go. Decent lacing

Aroma is of faint funky malt up front. Caramel is defintely there. Earthy sugar-in-the-raw type sweetness is there, too. But not as strongly as I expected. The hops, while moderately notceable at first, definitely takeover as this warms. Hops are also present and balance the aroma nicely.

Taste - Sweetness up front transfers to very noticeable caramel malts in the middle. The malt holds ground for a few seconds before the alcohol shows up and makes some noticeable elbow room on the finish, reminding you this is a 9.9% abv offering. slight medicinal notes on the finish. Almost reminds me of a barleywine.

Mouthfeel is carbonated at first, but it thins out quickly. Fairly appropriate for something with this ABV.

Drinkability is ok. The sweetness fades too much when this warms and the hops become king of the mountain. Tough to plow through it, not that your supposed to. But I don't yearn for each sip quickly.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.06/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a deep clear amber with hardly any head. Aroma of sweet malt, crystal malt, light fruits (grapes?). Flavor is mostly sweet and syrupy, some lemon, and bitter hops in the finish (although I wouldn't say that this was a hoppy beer...). Heavy and slightly harsh palate. Certainly drinkable, but I wasn't really a fan.
6/4/6/3/14 (3.3/5)

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Photo of Traquairlover
3.11/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12-oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A = Very clear, coppery amber liquid with small quarter inch yellowish off white head comprised of small bubbles that settles fairly quickly into light foam covering on surface and a thicker solid ring of bubbles around edge of glass.

S = Fairly strong up front smells of hops with some citrus peel and some light pine, there is an almost acrid quality to it which I do not find particularly pleasing, I had hoped for some more brown sugar, maple syrup type scents, but they just don't seem to be there.

T = Slight metallic quality to it with some citrus rind, uncooked whole wheat bread dough, perhaps a small amount of cinnamon crackers, but still the almost battery acid like metallic bitter taste that hits up front and then comes back in the finish just detracts from the flavors in the middle. Not that impressed.

M = Medium to medium-light body, surprisingly thin for the OG, still, it does have good mouthcoating and the carbonation level seems just about right, not quite as soft as I tend to like, but not a high stinging level either.

D = I don't know about this one, I do not find either the taste or the smell overly enticing and the ABV while not too strong is present. I really didn't particularly want to finish the whole glass and don't really want another. That said, it is not really hard to drink either, just not my cup of tea.

 1,387 characters

Photo of supercolter
3.11/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This to me was only slightly better than the Hairy Eyeball Ale. In fact I would say these to beers are nearly identical except for two things. The Brown Shugga has higher alcohol content but it is hidden better with the flavor and so it is not as offputting. Also, there seems to be a bit more molasses or brown sugar used and a bit less dried fruit which makes it slightly more balanced.

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Photo of champ103
3.11/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear dark ruby/brown color. A two finger white head forms, and recedes after a minute. Tons of sticky lace is left behind.
S: Sweet malt, yeast, some spice as well. Plenty of alcohol.
T: Follows the nose with lots of sweet malt. Dark fruits of raisins and plums. A big, kind of Belgian yeast flavor as well. Lots of alcohol.
M/D: A medium to full body. Syrupy and sticky. Lots of alcohol makes this hard to finish.

Not bad, but the alcohol really shows here. Other than that, just some sweetness, and not a lot of depth. Another overly alcoholic beer with no nuance. Not something I would recommend.

 612 characters

Photo of williamherbert
3.12/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Deep reddish-orange color with a massive, fluffy head. Very clear. lace ain't gonna be happenin'. Slight haze.

Has a sweet malt -- almost German -- smell, that almost smells like a good ol' fashioned taffy pull. Very sugary sweet with smells of chocolate and toffee. An unreal sweet, sugary malt.

An interesting sweet malt beverage. It's far too sugary and malty sweet for this hophead. Reminds me of Goya Malta with almost a winter ale flavor thrown in. Good for that style. The sweetness could be described as "insane."

As it warms up, thickens up. This is such an odd beer. The brown sugar of the name is almost palpable. It's not a repeat beer. It's way too sweet for me.

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Photo of geexploitation
3.13/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a crystal clear ruby-brown with gorgeous, jewel-like highlights. Thick but small head that fades to a dusting and collar. Aromas of pears and yeast, along with a bit of zesty sweetness. On the palate, bitterness and brisk carbonation start things off, followed by thick, sugary sweetness and a touch of bitterness at the back of the tongue. Some chocolatey sweetness at the very end. Not very complex, however -- it's mostly just varying levels and characteristics of sweetness. Mouthfeel is marked by slick malts, alcholic heat, and prickly carbonation, with the alcoholic detracting signficiantly. Overall, this beer is nothing to shout about. It's curious to see what this much brown sugar does to a beer, but it's not necessarily pleasing. It needs more balance and a bit more complexity to be truly compelling.

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Photo of Floydster
3.13/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle purchased from Beverage Warehouse for about two dollars, split with my dad tonight

Poured into a Stone pint glass with a medium brown color and super small white head. maybe an eighth of an inch, left no real lacing

Smell was strong and some cherries and oranges, could tell this one packed a punch from its aroma

Taste was hoppy, I was expecting lots of sugar and malt based on its name and message on the side of the bottle but I was wrong, as dry as an IPA at times because of the hoppiness, some oranges are also in the taste, sweeter when it gets to room temperature, hint of molasses in the aftertaste

Could not drink much of this at all, the five or six ounces I had wasw enough, strong taste and near ten percent alcohol will keep me away

Not the best from Lagunitas but not bad at the same time, wish this one was a little sweeter which is odd because most of their beers are typically, cool idea for brewing this one though but the sugar cane is barely distinguishable, recommended if curious like I was

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Photo of david18
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A little too sweet for my tastes this is an ok winter sipper but there are numerous beers of the style that I would drink first. It was recently cloned on Jamil's show, which got me interested agian, but it is really too sticky a beer to drink too often.

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Photo of Gavage
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: pours a hazy amber color with a 2" head that falls pretty quickly.

Smell: pumpernickel bread, brown sugar and caramel candy sweetness are easy to detect by the nose well outside the glass, but is only partially pleasant.

Taste: sweetness abounds here. Big brown sugar tones, caramel, ripe plums, and a balancing piney bitterness are the up front flavors. Some alcohol and bread-like tones round it out.

Mouthfeel: smooth from start to finish. Medium bodied beer. Long sweet sugary aftertaste.

Drinkability: this beer got a bit annoying as the bottle emptied. The sweetness just got tiring. A 10 oz glass was enjoyable, but goes downhill during the refill.

 683 characters

Photo of BeerManDan
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a thick hazy amber color with very little foam and had not lace. The smell was of a citrus nature with a hoppy/malty aroma. The taste was of bitter hops and could not find any trace of brown sugar at all. It was thick and brown, but the bitterness over powered the sweetness. To me, this was not a well balanced or complex beer.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.16/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Map Room in Chicago. It was their "featured" tap when i visited. Poured with really no head, just a ring of bubbles. looks fairly barley-wine-y, which is what the map room described the beer as being. brown, syrupy look to it. smell is sweet...they served it cold so that's all i got at virst and when it warmed up...still just sweet, maybe some brown sugar specific sweetness coming through. Taste is first just like sugar water and alcohol. Sweet and mildly fruity and very dry on the finish after every sip. Mouthfeel becomes, as a result, very sticky. almost like liquified sugar in vodka. overall, it was ok, but a bit sweet and dry. I might like it if it was aged and the flavor profile become a bit more complex.

 742 characters

Photo of TruePerception
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

(Previous review, transferred from beer journal)

Lagunitas' Brown Shugga' Ale: 9.9% ABV; Appearance: medium amber, a finger of fluffy head, good retention and lacing; Smell: lots of pine; Taste/Mouthfeel: pine!, faint sweetness, decent/pretty good, long finish.

Poured into a pint glass.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.18/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nice 1 finger head with excellent retention and a clear brown color.

Smell is of some fruity phenols with some fusel alcohols. There seems to be some crystal malt, brown malt, biscuit malt, and chocolate malt underneath. However, this is a stretch of a guess as the alcohol is a bit dominant. That's what will be yielded with that much brown sugar though. There is also a big whiff of hops.

The beer is a little too dry from the amount of sugar. There is some crystal malt sweetness and perhaps some brown malt and what not. However, the amount of sugar dries this beer out and takes away the body and flavor of the other malts. There is a bit of hop bitterness and flavoring to balance everything out.

The mouthfeel suffers because of the abundance of sugar to get the ABV up.

This isn't way too strong for 9.9% abv beer. But it is a little astringent. Cut back on the sugar and boost the malts up a little, and I'll like it more.

As the beer warms it becomes more astringent and boozy.

A friend and I split a sixer. I'm not mad that I have two more, it's a strong beer for a cheap price it will knock me on my ass.

 1,130 characters

Photo of m4gdelen4
3.19/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a beautiful amber/copper color with a frothy finger head.

Smell is extremely sweet and alcoholic.

Taste is quite hoppy which in it's own way accentuates the sugary taste - cloying flavor. This beer is much better at about 9-11 months when the hoppiness and sugary qualities have faded enough to reveal a more balanced malt profile. It becomes a solid barleywine with a hint of sweetness.

IMO excellent for cellaring

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Photo of BeerIsland
3.2/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fairly cloudy in the glass, orangy, with a decent head that melted away fairly quickly. The nose is nice and sweet; smells like spent grain. The taste is not real exciting, complex but transitions through a sort of medicinal phase before finishing with a fruity tang. The mouthfeel is good but too heavy to be very drinkable. I'm not sure where I got this but I know it wasn't recently; perhaps this bottle is a little old.

 423 characters

Photo of WeisGuy
3.2/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a - pours a deep copper color, fairly cloudy, half-inch off-white head with retention around the edges, little lacing

s - big caramel apple aroma leaning more toward apple juice, a considerable piney and orange hop aroma, some boozy notes

t - lots of sweet caramel and red apple up front with a big piney bitterness developing on the mid-palate, finish is more bitter and dry than expected with lighter notes of caramel and brown sugar, fairly strong boozy component on finish as well

m - medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation, fairly dry on the finish, pronounced alcohol warming

d - definitely a big beer that doesn't disguise that fact, fairly harsh on the palate, not all that interesting or complex for a big beer, glad this comes in 12oz versus 22oz bottles, too bad it's in six-packs

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.2/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint.

It's a prettydark orange. A little head, no lacing.

Smells of hops and sugar/caramel.

This beer is sweet. Really sweet. After the sugar taste, you notice the bite of hops. Actually for almost 10% ABV it is not bad, but too sweet. however, the more you drink the less you will be bothered by the sweetness.

It is a little syrupy (maybe the sweetness makes me feel liek this?)

Way to sweet to drink too much of, but an interesting beer for sure.

 480 characters

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.21/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Lagunitas- Brown Sugga'

Appearance- Hazy orange brown with a thick, creamy, heavy lacing head.
Smell- Strong alcohol with hints of molasses/ brown sugar and oak.
Taste- Sweet molasses/ brown sugar with a HUGE dose of alcohol. Slight woodsy flavors; oak, oak leaves, and mild cherry, raisin, and prune notes.
Mouthfeel- Sweet and slighty cloying up front with a strong alcohol and bitterness finish.

Overall- Alcohol is too dominent. Maybe age it to mellow out the flavors.

 481 characters

Photo of Bung
3.21/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Hardy copper/amber pour with a nearly non-existant white head. Non-descript hops with slight malt and brown sugar aroma. Flavor dominated by hops, not overly bitter, just overly present. Not sure how anyone could get sweet out of this. I want to sit and disect this but it's just an IPA with some brown sugar. Clean finish sure, drinkability good especially for the abv. Probably great if you're a straight hop head. The base of the beer tastes like EVERY SINGLE other beer I've had from Lagunitas. Malt and roast are just too words they don't like to incorporate. It's like they just keep taking their IPA and adding different small items and calling it a different named Strong Ale. Everybody is always so high on this brewer and I guess I just don't get it. West Coast bitter beer, the thought being this is crisp and clean and organic in some instances. Rambled enough. I was unimpressed with this and will age 1 but look to donate the other 4 I have. Even their capuccino stout was just a heavy brown. Ok, now I'm done.

 1,038 characters

Photo of MDekker
3.22/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours out a caramel brown color with a really weak head. Mostly translucent.

S: Sugary sweet aroma - caramel, almost hints of strawberry. No sign of hops.

T: Wow! Yeah, brown sugar, maple syrup sweetness. A little weird, enough to give me the heebie-jeebies. Strong alcohol flavor, and then the hops kick in too. They're not as strong as the sweetness. It's decent, but I'm not a huge fan so far.

M: Pretty average here. Good carbonation. Not too watery, not too thick.

D: Like I said, the heebie-jeebies a little bit. I hope I didn't get a slightly bad bottle, but I don't want more after this.

 602 characters

Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.22/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pretty color on the pour. Beautiful ruby. Grassy hop aroma. Rubbing alcohol, an astringent smell, orange juice. Taste, again grassy hop flavors. Bitter with an alcohol presence. A spicy heat to it. Overall, I am just not a big fan of the American strong ale category in general. This is no real exception to that. It's caught in between an iPa, a barley wine, and maybe a Scottish ale. All of which can be delicious. Their three way love child is not my fav though.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,402 ratings.
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