Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

1,583 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,583 | Ratings: 5,645
Photo of AZBeerDude72
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber in color with 1" of foam and solid lacing. Smells of syrup, malt, and vanilla. Taste is good, has a nice burnt sugary feel with a vanilla mix but very light on vanilla. Also some pine in there with a grapefruit dryness. Overall its a good beer and in your face on flavor, you know your drinking this one. I have to try this again but at room temp, I think it will take on a totally new flavor warm. Very nice.

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Photo of princessbay710
4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In my opinion, It is just on the edge of being too malty for my liking. Dark, transparent pour. The more I sip, the more caramel it seems to get, hits the roof of my mouth. Balanced carbonation.

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Photo of HotDogBikeRide
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Translucent dark brown from a refrigerated Spec's down here in Beaumont, TX. Just 2 months old, only running for a few months this time a year anyway.

Anyway, dark but mostly translucent brown/mildly amber ale. Lots of lacing.

Smell is very muted, some barley, grains, and dominatively malty. Taste is somewhat similar in that aspect, with a lighter mouth feel then many malty beers. Pretty easy mouthful, not much carbonation though. Alcohol well hidden but not an overwhelmingly pleasing beer.

That being said it's not a bad deal for the warm winter buzz the beer provides. When each beer (9.7%) is equal to 2 of the strongest macros it's hard to complain. I imagine at higher alcohols with this style it's hard to make everyone completely happy. That being said Stone among many other companies do so without a problem.

They claim it has a moderately high IBU but I can't detect many hops in the ale. Pretty much a heavy malt bomb with the advantage of it being lower medium bodied in order to quaff it down easily. Gets you very drunk very fast, and for the money I can't complain. I love a nice heavy beer buzz.

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Photo of andrewh995
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deliciously sweet and bitter at the same time while neither overpowers the other. The brown sugar is also pretty apparent. I can imagine that this one would age very well.

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Photo of Rcaros
4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2016 release

Transparent amber color with a creamy off white head. Good carbonation

Pine, citrus, caramel on the nose

Sweetness up front, middle is citrus, back is pine bitterness with a sweet after taste

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Photo of GrumpyGas
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz draft pour into a short goblet boasts a red tinged amber body floating start of near white bubbles.
Citrus hop aromas dominate with a grass background.
Malt joins evenly in flavor for a nice balance.
Mouth feel is bubbly and almost wet on the finish.
Restrained and tasty.

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Photo of Holderness
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L -- Pours a lovely reddish amber with a two finger, densely foamy, off-white head. Head dissipates slowly, and leaves significant lacing on the glass.
S -- Equal parts citric hops and caramely malts. Faint aromas of peach, pineapple, and brown sugar
T -- True to its name, brown sugar! dominates with a nice biscuity malt backbone. Pineapple and boozy flavors also shine through. Not nearly as hoppy as other popular Lagunitas releases
F -- At 9.7% ABV, it's hard to not to have a full and robust mouthfeel. The sugary sweetness is not overpowering, but balances the high alcohol and maltiness well. No strange aftertastes
O -- One of my new favorites

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4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Absolutely one of the best combinations of hops and mild malty sweetness .
Being I'm a stout guy and not so much a hop head, this is a great combination.
I only bought one to try, , ,but I'm grabbing some sixers to have as I was very pleased with this brew. :)
Very refreshing taste and palate change from my heavy brews .
Highly recommended for many reasons . Taste, combo, price and high abv :) ;)

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Photo of MMOSNN
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - a golden amber with a two-finger off-white head and spotty lacing.
Smell - citrusy hops, brown sugar, and caramel malts all mix together very well.
Taste - this beer is very unique, it follows the nose but this combination of flavors is so bizarre, but in a good way.
Feel - great carbonation, full and slightly chewy body, and smooth finish.
Overall, I can't make sense of this beer but the complexity draws me in. I want to age some bottles to see how it develops.

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Photo of Turbo
3.56/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Nice amber color and smells great, but the important thing is the taste. I purchased without looking at the alcohol content. This is a sipper, as it will warm the belly as it goes down. Pretty well balanced for a beer with this high of alcohol content. Overall, it is not my cup of "beer", as I prefer ales/ipas where I can throw back three or four. If I make it through this I will be done for the night - call me a "light weight". Well worth trying once, but I won't be coming back for more. Those who run-a-way live to play another day! Overall, my lower rating is based on this just not being my style.
Update: Half way thru and liking it more and more. Sips are becoming larger. Maybe I will have another....

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Photo of Vetbidder
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm getting a sweet smell on top of a biscuit like malt scent. I'm not getting the hop scent that I would expect from a Lagunitas offering. This tastes much different than my normal beer selections. Interesting but sweet and slightly bitter at the same time. Alcohol content is fairly well hidden. I'm almost tasting some Euro skunk in the aftertaste, very yeast like. Having a hard time trying to compare this to anything else I've had. It's a big beer and creamy but not too carbonated. Afterthought.... this is some powerful stuff ! Upping my overall score by .25

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Photo of mynie
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

How on earth have I never reviewed this before?

First off, kudos to Lagunitas for releasing such a strong, wonderful seasonal so widely, and doing so while keeping the cost solidly below east coast local offerings. As much as I appreciate the efforts of the fancy-beard crew at Cumwater brewing, or whatever the local place is called, I can't justify spending 15 bucks for a four-pack of their so-so beer when I can buy this for 11 a sixer.

This pours a dark amber that's not really brown but kind of like sunstruck brown sugar. Nice heard and fierce effervescence, for a beer of its strength.

Smells like a US old ale or strong ale: lots of stuff going on, stylistically intense and messy but never getting out of hand. Aggressive, old school west coast hops against super duper intense amber malt.

Tastes like it smells: a wonderful goddamn mess. It's not bitter and then fruity, like most very hoppy American beers, nor is it at all fruity heavy. It's just bitter and then sweet. Aggressive, bright, piney hops and then aggressive, sugary, bready malt.

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Photo of redjellydonut
4.94/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best beer I've ever had. I stumbled across this last winter in Texas, not realizing it was a seasonal. Had I known, I'd have bought out every six-pack I could find. I didn't know beer could be like this. I've always preferred dark, malty beers over the IBU-laden ales that seem to dominate the craft beer industry. Brown Shugga is the hoppy beer I've waited my whole life for. It represents the perfect blending of bitterness and malt, sweetness and bite. The only misgiving I have about it, and it's a very small one, is the volume of alcohol. It's only a liability because it prevents me from drinking as much of it as I'd like. A 10 ounce tulip of this stuff is really all my brain can handle in the evening after work, but my tastebuds scream for two and my tastebuds almost always win out.

It pours with a thick tan head and leaves the most beautiful lacing ever, like the wind-whipped contrail of an old Saturn V. It's thick on the tongue, but astringent as it goes down. it's almost a shame to drink it because it looks so beautiful in the glass...dark rum reds, golden brown sugar syrup...the most beautiful beer you've ever seen.

It's a belly-warmer, to be sure, and is just sweet enough to go with a gooey chocolate or gingerbread cake. Otherwise, I'd be inclined to drink this nectar all on its own.

Lagunitas has become my single favorite brewery and this is my single favorite of their beers. Just amazing!

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Photo of HoodviewBrew
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Full disclosure: I normally dislike beer over about 25 IBU. This one clocks in at 51. I have to say, though, that this one is pretty tolerable for a beer style I don't go for. The hop taste is very fresh and floral rather than the usual sour gym sock you normally get with overhopped beers. The sweetness of the brown sugar taste also balances out the hop bitterness pretty well. I won't personally buy again but for those that like a hopped beer this one will be great.

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Photo of m_hall
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Standard pour from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint yields a clear deep amber colored ale, topped by an imposing three finger tall cream head. Retention and lacing are both superb.

Nose is hops-forward, pine-y, with and underlying fruity sweetness and toasted malt.

Flavors come in sweet- caramel, toffee, along with lighty toasted biscuit. Fruit notes of apricot and dark cherries come in through the mid-palate, along with some clove-like spice, finishing dry with fairly strong pine hops and lingering molasses.

Feel is medium-full, creamy, with fairly light carbonation and a subtle alcohol warmth that very much belies the stiff 9.8% ABV punch it delivers (this is a beer that can and will sneak up on you, be warned.)

I have to admit, it took me a while to "get" this one... I had purchased a six-pack of this approximately seven months ago (Lagunitas doesn't seem to put a date on their bottles, so I can't tell precisely how old this is.) While I remember thinking it was a good beer back then, the sweetness was quite brash and the finish somewhat overly hopped to be as great as it could be. However aging seems to have brought out the best in this; The sweeter notes from the brown sugar used in the brewing have matured and now work very harmoniously with those now more evened-out evergreen hops. That combined with the burly but appropriate alcohol make Brown Shugga' an outstanding strong ale. I would urge anyone trying this to not write it off right away if it doesn't suit them- put a few up for a bit instead. Your patience may very well be rewarded.

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Photo of stevoj
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard to believe this was considered a mistake. Dark amber with Thin beige creamy head. Aroma is subdued malt and molasses. Taste comes on a bit stronger, palate aftertaste stronger still. Slight hint at alcohol warmth. Very good on a cold winter’s day.

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is super surprising. It was very sweet and not overly strong. It has lots of notes of brown sugar, dark fruit, and toffee. I really enjoyed this one even though this is not my normal style.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Nice light brown color, light tan head, very frothy and hangs around for a bit. Quite clear and bubbly
S: Smells quite nice, hard to describe though. Dark fruit notes present like that of a dobbelbock or dubbel. Has some floral hop notes as well, sort of spicy on the nose. Toast also present.
T: Really good, only complaint is it is a little over hopped. A lot of the nose repeats but its quite bitter, somewhat piney and resinous, though clean.
F: Very crisp, but very bitter which gives an astringency and takes away from what would be a more refreshing beer. Body is pretty light and smooth otherwise.
O: Pretty solid and I really like it. Will probably have this again if I see it.

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Photo of bbtkd
3.59/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Based on the name, I had expected a sugar bomb which I tend to prefer over a bitter hop bomb. The nose is excellent, it looks great, but the hop bitterness overpowers the brown sugar taste. Not impressed due to the bitterness, but I plan to revisit this one.

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Photo of plumberman63
1.87/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

bitter, nasty coffee flavor. I hate coffee. was told by the guy at the store it was sweet. I told him I didn't like bitter beer. But did have a good color and aroma. jut not to my taste.

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Photo of mckdebbie1
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
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 gustavmahler-09
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown-gold, with two-finger head that lingers. Smells of raisins, caramel, not very present. Taste explodes, raisins, prunes, chocolate, alcohol and, yes, brown sugar. Feels creamy, lush, smooth. Maybe the best barleywine I've had.

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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!

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Photo of HorseheadsHopHead
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes in a clear, fizzy amber color with a generous, creamy, beige head. Sheets of lacing are left down the sides of the glass.
The aroma offers caramel, molasses, pine, plums, candied orange peel, cherries, and dried apricots.
On the palate, you get a nicely balanced malt sweetness. Lots of caramel, molasses, and toasted bread. Near the finish you get dark fruits; red cherries, plums, figs, and dried apricots. The finish is mostly caramelized sugar sweet, but with some balancing pine, and a light alcohol warmth.
The mouthfeel is medium-full, medium-light carbonation, and smooth and creamy.

Good stuff. It tastes very similar to a barleywine. Less complex, but maybe more drinkable. Another winner from Lagunitas.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - nice big beer with amber/reddish color body and a huge white head that leaves nice lacing
S - caramel, orange, peach, vanilla, butterscotch, slight mustiness/old ale/oxidized quality
T - caramel, orange, grapefruit, peach, slight mustiness/old ale/oxidized quality
M - heavy, alcohol covered, aftertaste is orange rind, caramel, musty strong ale
O - good beer, definitely rivals bigfoot in my book, will cellar and see how it does

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,645 ratings.
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