Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,550 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:
1,550
Ratings:
5,532
Avg:
4
pDev:
21.25%
 
 
Wants:
296
Gots:
1,257
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,550 | Ratings: 5,532
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.

 465 characters

Photo of tone77
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has an amber color with a small head. Smell is of hops and alcohol. Taste is very hoppy, some notes of sugar and alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a fairly decent brew.

 257 characters

Photo of Padron4KM
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dec 18, 2009
12 oz bottle., no bottled on or freshness date assume it's 2009 release.
Rich amber with a very thin head that left equally thin lace.
Lively carbonation leads to creamy smooth mouthfeel.
Aroma is mostly citrus with a funky earthy undertone. Burnt caramel malt emerges as it warms.
Flavor is citrusy hops with a subtle sweet malt back. Alcohol is deceptivley hidden. Watch out because it sneaks up on you.

 421 characters

Photo of hopsaplenty
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz. brown bottle, no obvious date information but 263D10423 was inkjetted near the bottom label, and 11142721115 was inkjetted on the neck.

Hazy seared caramel. Thick, dense soft tan head of mixed size bubbles that stands steady and is topped with a fine cream-like layer. Eventually it starts to fall leaving thick pock marked lace on the glass and coming to rest at a thin collar with some dust. Minimal sluggish carbonation streams rise. Sweet brown sugar, pine sap, and prickly alcohol aromas. Piney hop resin washes across the tongue dropping sweet brown sugar bombs before fading into the back behind warm alcohol. The hops come to fill out all aspects of the flavor and when coupled with the alcohol, it attains an almost pine-sol like solvency. Not particularly smooth, the pine adds a rough-cut texture to the medium-full body. The fine carbonation eases the drinkability somewhat. The finish comes to be filled out with an almost medicinal alcohol flavor laced with pine that leaves me wondering where the brown sugar sweetness went. This was an okay beer, but I probably won’t be revisiting in the future.

 1,122 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared at a 'lateral' tasting of Lagunitas strong ales, next to Hairy Eyeball and Imperial Red (we didn't get to Olde Gnarlywine).

A: Pours a reddish amber body with a cream-colored cap of fine bubbles. The foam remains for a couple of minutes and can be resurrected pretty easily when it recedes into a light cap on the brew. Some lacing / register marks down the glass. Quite nice.

S: Brown sugar (duh), hazelnut, toffee, molasses. I noticed this was considerably different from the Hairy Eyeball, which had a much stronger dark fruit component. Interesting.

T: I couldn't smell any dark fruit, but I could taste some (plums, figs) in the undercurrent of this brown-sugar driven brew. Lots of nut-forward adornment in hazelnut and toffee varieties, swimming in an oily hop resin of citrus and pine. This was hoppier than Hairy Eyeball but had less fruit for sure. The finish was malty, mostly caramel and molasses.

M: Medium-full body. Good carbonation that hides the astringency pretty well.

D: I just found myself enjoying Hairy Eyeball much more. This isn't a bad beer, but when the brewery offers a much better product in the same category, for the same price... *shrug*

 1,186 characters

Photo of brian44556
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this into a Bell's Pint Glass. No date on the bottle.

Pours a dark amber color, with little off white head. Sticky lacing surrounds the pint glass. A fierce race of carbonation bubbles race to the top. Strong smell of piney hops, caramel, and burnt sugar. The smell was very interesting for a Strong Ale, the smell of this one could pass for a DIPA. This one is pretty bitter. The hops are pretty forward, I also taste hints of caramel and molasses. The taste is sweet up front, but has a very bitter backbone. The alcohol is well masked for being 9.99% ABV. Mouthful was pretty heavy and carbonation was moderate. Overall the beer was different in a...different way. Nothing stood on why I loved it or hated it. Pretty average beer, glad I had a chance to try, but wouldn't care if I ever had this one again.

 818 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled last night on 2/7/15. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass stein.

Brew pours a beautiful copper in color with a good 2+-finger foamy off-white head. A decent amount of ring-lacing was seen when sipped that stuck to the glass. The aroma is of burnt brown sugar and yeast for the most part. Lots going on with the taste than the nose would have you think as there is some caramel, pine, hops with a hint of dark fruits. Great taste but has a slight bitter hoppy finish that lasted a bit too long for my liking. You can't taste the alcohol at all, which is strange since it is so close to 10%! Has a great flavor but that bitter/hop finish kind of ruined it for me. Medium-bodied with perfect carbonation.

 761 characters

Photo of UHRHAN
3.24/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 12-ounce bottle in a Sam Adams Glass.

-Poured a translucent brown/amber with a reddish hue. 3/4 of an inch head, that was pouring out of the bottle the second I popped the cap.
-Not much on the aromatic side, but small hints of flowered aroma. Small touches of alcohol, but not overpowering by any means.
-Taste caramelized fruits with a hint of brown sugar.
-Good mouth feel, and not heavy.
-Very drinkable and didn't really notice the high ABV content.

 467 characters

Photo of SaltofOH
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/31/2014; purchased in December 2014.

Appearance: Pours an extremely dark amber/red with 2 fingers of frothy/foamy khaki head. Nice retention of a thin, yellowish sandy cap. Epic lacing.

Aroma: Markedly hoppy. Tropical and resinous. Really great aroma. Love this smell; tropical & malty.

Taste: Sweet arrival, tart & fruity, extremely bitter finish. I'd put this higher than 51 IBUs. Some alcohol on the finish. A little cloying at the end; slightly off-putting.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than expected; somewhat astringent; a little like Mirror Pond in that respect but not as much; relatively little carbonation and somewhat slick.

Overall: I was about to say I really like this, but the bitterness and alcohol combine at the end [as it warms] to make this just a little unpleasant. Somewhat cloying.

 821 characters

Photo of mralphabet
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 Oz Bottle poured into pint glass

A: Pours a hazy copper brown with about one fingers worth of head... sticky lacing...

S: Wow !!! The name says it all.... Brown Shugga' .... with a mix of molasses, burnt malt and touch of hops. Very sweet smelling.

T: The sweet flavors hit you right up front... Brown sugar & molasses... there is some strong hops in the finish and the aftertaste has a lot of hops and burnt sugars in it...

M: Very thick and creamy almost velvet like...with sharpness at the end.

D: Not a session beer.... to sweet to drink of bunch of these and with the ABV close to 10... Wow.

This is my first beer from Lagunitas, it was very interesting. I'll be looking for more.

 694 characters

Photo of Slowjamcdub
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This one will throw you for a loop on first taste lol. Shugga over load! Yeah still trying to figure out if I really like it or just like the 10% alc lol. But for real it's good it's a nice sipper. Remember it's really sweet!

 227 characters

Photo of nvsblman
3.25/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep walnut brown with about a finger of brown head. The brown sugar (duh :) ) stands out most in the aroma, but there is also some toffee, some piney hops, and a light fruitiness. Distinct brown sugar flavor along with some fruit and a nice hoppy bite. Just a slight hint of alcohol that comes out a little more as it warms. It's pretty easy to drink given it's strength!

 372 characters

Photo of Kaiser81
3.26/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a 6 pack from BevMo today and poured into a pint glass

A - A reddish brown color with about a finger width of head. It leaves some nice lacing on the glass

S - It smells like a typical red with a faint hint of brown sugar after a deep inhale; nothing like I thought it would smell like.

T - Very mild taste; no alcohol bite, no sweetness from the "brown sugar" supposedly put in there. I'm kind of stumped to explain this.

M - Light body with light carbonation.

D - It's drinkable. I just wish I could get more distinct failures.

They say this was a barley wine gone wrong, and so a ton of brown sugar was added to the recipe. I get hints of the barleywine characteristics, but not much of the brown sugar. This beer confuses me.

 743 characters

Photo of kdevore
3.27/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

6-pack bottles

Look: caramel/amber, not as dark as I was expecting.
Smell:Floral, hoppy
Taste: Very bitter (didn't read the IBU until after purchase, my fault), not much brown sugar like I was expecting although it came through a little once my taste got a little numb to the bitterness. Higher ABV was not real noticeable.
Feel: Nothing special to note, good or bad.

Overall: I didn't really care for it. I'm not into the overly hopped beer trend and this one is very hop forward. I think I would have liked it if the bitterness was dialed back. I wouldn't have bought it had I seen the IBU rating prior to purchase, but the name threw me off. Was expecting more of a sweeter malty beer. Not so much.That being said, I did drink the whole 6 (over a few days). I'm sure I would have rated it higher if I was into the bitter beers.

 833 characters

Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.27/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a brilliantly clear amber color with two fingers of dense, fluffy head. Head retention is very good, lacing is extremely good.

S: Overripe pineapple, citrus hops, and sweet sugary caramel dominate the aroma. Not great.

T: Taste is better than aroma, but still not great. Toffee and caramel sweetness are quite strong with the same overripe pineapple and a bit of piney hops. Hip bitterness remains fairly strong, but is obviously a bit faded.

M: On the thick side with fairly strong carbonation.

O: The faded hops flavor here is hard to get past. I enjoyed the malty sweetness, but I got an overripe pineapple flavor that lingered long after swallowing the beer.

 703 characters

Photo of Jesstyr
3.28/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not my normal type of beer, so that might explain the low score, but I didnt really enjoy this beer. I see a lot of unique qualities though, and I respect that.

A: Dark orange/amber, but really no head, and what it does have doesnt really retain.

S: I didn't really get brown sugar, or many of the elements mentioned throughout this review. It has a very mild aroma in fact.

T: Not my style, but definitely dynamic. Very malty with some toasted brown sugar, but nothing overwhelming. Finishes with a strong liquor aftertaste.

M/D: Mild carbonation, and a fairly smooth, but the finish is what makes this not particularly great here. A little too bitter for my taste.

 670 characters

Photo of itcomesnpints
3.28/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a translucent copper with a medium-sized head of clean white foam. Retention isn't spectacular.

Smell of sweet caramel malt, raisins and alcohol can be detected. You really have to strain your nostrils to find it though.

Sweet malt, then bitterness, then more bitterness, then some alcohol. Nothing complex here.

Mouthfeel is fine. Hides the high abv well.

I had one of these and that was enough. For such a big beer you would like to find comparatively large flavors. Personally they just weren't there for me. It's not likely that I'll come back to this one.

 570 characters

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.28/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Aroma: Caramel, Honey, floral, molases, brown sugar.

Looks: Orange/copper colour. Nice sized, creamy coloured head. Left some rings of lace behind.

Taste: Marmalade, carmalized sugar, burnt sugar, hot alcoholic solventy.

Mouthfeel: Big body, almost chewy. Lightly carbonated.

 278 characters

Photo of Jguthpsu
3.29/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I will give this a higher rating because I can see why people like it. It does have a depth of flavor and is somewhat unique. However, I did not care for it as it was to bitter for me.

 184 characters

Photo of stumac
3.29/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a reddish copper color with a nice off white head with decent lacing. the nose is shugga, sweet malts, caramel, molasses. the taste is sweet malts up front followed directly with bitter hops, shugga, caramel, subtle dark fruits like dark cherries, subtle red apple. Light to medium bodied, medium to low carbo. American Barleywine? I think so...

 351 characters

Photo of mjl21
3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into snifter. Bottle is from 2008 Holdiay release. Comes in at 9.5% with 51 IBUs.
Consumed on 2/17/09

A-Nice darkish red. There is a minor head that leaves a nice ring around the glass. Miniscule lace.

S-Hops smack your nose. Similair to a fresh St. Rogue Dry Hopped Red. Dark fruit comes next.

T-Hops hit you fast. Malty caramel sweetness than ensues and remains. ABV is balanced in there.

M-Very, very sticky. Feels like you are drinking a sugary beer.

D-Takes a while to get through due to sweetness. A little too sweet for my taste. It doesn't feel like you are drinking a 9.5% beer.

Not one of my favorites from Lagunitas. It took 3 weeks to kill the sixer.

 692 characters

Photo of ByTor2112
3.31/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very light brown-the color of maple syrup. Active carbonation feeds a thin tan filmy head.

Aroma-sinuses are suffering, but I detect some alcohol, caramel and a sweet candy smell.

Mouthfeel-medium carbonation delivers a sweet alcohol infused coating to the palate. Not bad, strong, but for me it is succeeding in balancing the two dominant flavor profiles; alcohol and sweetness. Alcohol is present but not too hot. Sweetness is heavy but it gets cut back by a bitter finish that is a touch metallic. Different, but I am not put off by this ale being a high gravity-sweet-malt bomb. A froth on the palate intensifies the brown shugga' flavor profile.

Truth be told it is tasting like an American style Barleywine minus some hops and maybe a different yeast strain. I love Lagunitas' brewing style, but I can't see drinking more than one of these at a time. Winter warmer? Yep. Campfire beer? Yep. Definitely worth a try to drink something different.

 961 characters

Photo of ahentz
3.31/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Flavor is good and there is some fruitiness, but overall very bitter. That's not my things, but I can appreciate that it is a good beer. ABV is high but there wasn't too much of the boozy taste. It's a nice beer if you like the bitter.

 238 characters

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,532 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe