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

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Reviews: 1,583 | Ratings: 5,647
Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack at Northridge in Laramie, around $8. Bottle notes beer at 9.5%.

A: Somewhat cloudy medium brown color with a sand colored head. Maybe an eight of an inch. Reduced to a film. Not a whole lot of head at all. No lacing to speak of.

S: Brown sugar, and an earthy/piney hop characteristic, strong pale roasted malt character too. Really not a whole lot else going on. Kinda boring for such a "huge" beer.

T: A lot more complex than the nose. Initially big brown sugar flavor, followed by a big malt roastiness, which leads into a piney hop flavor. Extremely sweet. Almost like chewing on a little bit of brown sugar with a hint of hops in it. Really a tasty beer. I'm glad I'm letting some age.

M: Thick. This is a really thick beer, nice carbonation. Dry finish, and a fair amount of alcohol heat. Very sticky in the mouth too.

D: I wouldn't drink a whole lot, its entirely too sweet. I'm glad I revisited it though, as it is better than I remember it. Not a bad beer. I'd recommend it.

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Photo of unclejimbay
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brown Shugga'
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 9.90 %

Reviewed @ home 12/16/08, bottle>wineglass
A 4.0 - good 1.5 finger head, respectable head retention & collar, caramel amber color
S 4.5 - sweet spicy malt aroma, backed up by a hop presence - interesting for sure
T 4.0 - Sweet malt on palate, quick crispness, I can taste the brown sugar, hops are more intense than expected, a solid attempt to balance the dark sugar notes
MF 4.0 - medium on carbonation and body
D 3.5 - interesting brew w/ high ABV, not a session brew, it's a bit hoppier than expected, gives a nice cover up to the ABV. I would try it again, but it's not a regular!

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Photo of gonzo46and2
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clear brown with ruby highlights. The head rose to about a one-finger size and laced nicely.

Aroma is very estery with notes of pineapple, plum, and other fruits. Not a big hop profile.

Taste is very sweet. More fruitiness and malts. Not much hops here either but they are balancing the beer out a little bit. The bitterness lets you know they are there.

Mouthfeel is almost cloying from the sweetness and really is the only category this beer suffers. Otherwise a very tasty beverage.

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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.

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Photo of bobsy
4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased in Buffalo and poured into a snifter. I'm presented with an amber body and a generous tan head, which gradually faded to a small film and gave up some lace. The appearance reminds me very much of a barleywine. The aroma is wonderfully perfumed, full of fruity malts, caramel and citrus. The flavour reminds me of a nice barleywine - dark fruit and alcohol, but with a sweet, caramelized brown sugar touch. In other ways, it also reminds me of a malt heavy double IPA, as there's a decent citric bitterness rounding things off. The body was decent and carbonation fairly restrained, but I do feel it would have benefited from being a touch heavier and chewier.

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Photo of JISurfer
3.41/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I saw the name "Brown Shugga", I was thinking maybe a strong brown ale. Obviously, an old ale is not that. With that said, I thought it was an alright old ale. I do like my old ales, but this one was just above average for me. Nothing really stood out in it, just that the appearance was nice.

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Photo of TheTrevor
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a purple-ish brown with a very small head and some visible carbonation. The smell is sweetness that seems to be half malt and half brown sugar and a bit of hops. The beer has a sweetness from the sugar and malt that is balanced very well by the ops, with everything hitting at once and a little bit of the brown sugar coming out in backend as well. The high ABV is hidden quite well, I would have guessed it was way less than that. The mouthfeel is slightly thick and slick with a tiny bit of warming from the alcohol. This is a surprisingly drinkable beer for what it is, the surprisingly balanced but aggressive hops and the high ABV should have made for a much heavier-sitting beer. Definitely worth a try, I'm glad I grabbed a bottle.

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Photo of fosterific
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a great pour...perhaps it is part the beer too! It has a rosy color with a full head, citrus hop smell is the first thing you catch a whiff of. I was expecting this to smell like booze, but that is well balanced or well hidden. The beer is sticky and think in the mouth but the bitter citrus of the hops makes it a seem fresh.
I was very impressed, even delighted at how drinkable this strong ale was, I would probably drink more than I should if the ABV was not on the side of the bottle.

I also heard that this was a failed barley wine...not positive, but plausible.

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

Live review. Poured from 12 oz. brown bottle into my Samuel Smith pint glass. Purchased at Heinen's in Willoughby Hills, Ohio this week.

A nice looking 1 cm head which dissipates within a minute to a ring around the top of the beer. Body is medium brown/ruby.

S Love this smell! Sweet brown sugar and I am sure malt with a hoppy presence that I did not expect. Really inviting.

T Hops up front but this has a strong sweet malt presence. Brown sugar in the aftertaste is a welcome part of this beer. I must say that after repeated sips it is a bit odd, this pairing of hops and brown sugar. It is nothing if not interesting and thought provoking.

M Perhaps one of the fullest beers that I have tasted with huge brown sugar, hops tastes and a stickiness that you nearly have to chew through. Don't get me wrong, I love the mouthfeel and I think that it is appropriate to the style/what they were going for.

D Quite good for 9.9% ABV beer. The sweetness combined with the hoppy presence (label says 51.1 IBU) is brilliant.

Notes: Everyone must try this beer!

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Photo of Nedjimb0sTavern
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pint @ Taco Mac

this was a surprising brew, mainly because it hides its gravity so well. I found myself asking if the 9.9% abv was a typo on the menu.

Aside from the drinkability it tasted about how I thought it would. Sweet and thick. Not a bad sweet though, it was a rich nutty kind of sweet.

Still though, the sweetness is kind of overpowering and I definitely would have trouble polishing of a few of these back to back (aside from the fact that I would be stone cold hammered if I did). Otherwise, a great beer.

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Photo of beerfairy
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pourd from a 12oz. bottle

9.9% ABV and a real good taste make for a dangerous concotion....awesome!

A: Pours a nice amber hue with a creamy head that dissipates quickly. Slight lacing, not much.

S: You can smell the hops and fruity prune kind of odor with a sweetness.

T: The hops grabs you at first but doesn't last which is interesting. For a 9.9% beer you can't notice the alcohol.

M: A bit of carbination and a slickness that coats the throat as it goes down.

D: This is a real good beer. I could drink quite a few, with the ABV being high, not sure I could drink a lot....oh, yes I could.

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

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. The color is a deep, clear amber with a sticky white head. On the nose is burnt brown shugga' and a hint of orange marmalade. The taste follows the nose, and that is a good thing. The flavors are sweet and phenolic with weak citrus notes. Brown Shugga is medium bodied and easy drinking. I first had this at a festival and the server described it as a Barley wine, but I agree with BA it fits better in the strong ale category. This beer is very enjoyable.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant coppery color, with a nice head and really pretty lacing. Basically translucent, but I do have some thin chunky sediment floating around in here.

Smells of smokey caramel and toffee. Taste is dominated by sweetness with a strong smokey bitterness background to support it.

Feels thick but not sticky. Although this monster is nearly 10%, it's easily drinkable.

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Photo of washburnkid
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a GREAT beer. It tasted great, and it made me feel totally fabulous. I have very few, if any, critiques.

A: One finger of cream-colored of foam that is bubbly and inviting. Beer is a beautiful melding of brown, copper and deep reddish hues. Sticky lace lines my glass and keeps me company throughout the experience.
S: Smells of loud hops, reminiscent of the famous IPA, with some sweet aromas hiding in the background.
T: Taste is a hoppy bite at the beginning of the sip that is instantly followed (and balanced out) by a subtly sweet, burnt sugar flavor. Some fruit, maybe apples, is also apparent. Only slight hints of alcohol, despite the aggressive ABV.
M: Medium carbonation, medium to heavy-bodied with a slickness left in the mouth.
D: A unique and exciting beer. I haven't had consistent Lagunitas experiences, so I'm especially glad to have picked up this brew. Definitely a favorite. It also doesn't hurt that there's a a puppy on every label.

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Photo of PerzentRizen
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first Lagunitas beer. I got this one as an extra in a trade with srandycarter - THANKS!

I have wanted to try this one for some time now. Any pure cane sugar beer has to be good - right? I poured this one into a Duvel glass at around 45 degrees. I let it warm as I drink this beer to get a feel for the range. I was a little surprised at the clarity. I figured there would be little head retention and I was right - minimal lacing.

Aroma is of brown sugar, maple syrup, and wild honey - yummm. I was a little surprised (after the first taste) not to smell the hops. The hop taste is quite spicy.

The first taste was smooth and light and got heavier as the session wound on. You get that rich fullness like you're drinking something sugary without the big sugar flavor/rush/high feeling (hard to explain). This beer is quite sweet but it is balanced by the hop flavors. This one might even be better with about 6 months on it so the hops can cool off and the honey/sugar can come to the forefront - I know they are there.

Mouthfeel is really light at cold temperatures and increases viscosity exponentially as the beer warms. Right now at 52 degrees or so this beer is like syrup in the mouth (in a good way).

I would say this beer is extremely drinkable. There is no flavor that exceeds the average craft beer drinking palate. I would say that if you like a strong hop flavor you should drink this fresh, but if you would rather have the malty sweet flavors drink this with 6 months to a year on it. If I had 2 I'd age one for a year.

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Photo of sonicdescent
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark red with a white frothy head that sticks a while.

Smells strongly of molasses and malty scents, not much hop presence.

Tastes of brown sugar definitely present but not as strong as I had expected. Gets better the more you drink, but only tops out at average.

Body and Carbonation are at medium.

It isn't that this was a bad beer, I would probably not choose to purchase it again however.

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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 jaydanahy
5/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sweet sugar goodness! For those brown ale fans, this is a fun one...if the gold standard is Sam Smith, this is in the discussion. It's a beautiful brown pour, very strong in alcohol...I would limit the consumption with a nice session beer behind it..

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Photo of cvstrickland
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured into an imperial pint willibecher glass from a twist-off-topped 12-ounce stubby, Lagunitas' Brown Shugga is sparkling-clear and orangish-copper with a finger-thick crown of stained ivory foam atop. The head relaxes in short order, resting at a creamy sheet that sticks thin rings of lacing onto the glass.

The sugary-caramel aroma is laced with citrus zest and drizzled over mild toasted malts, imparting a savory component to the dominant perfumey sweetness. Mushy apple and a tart, darkly fruity note of chocolate-covered cherries gain prominence as the drink progresses.

The taste is predictably sweet and decidedly fruity, with a notion of ripe Golden delicious apples pickled in dark rum. Plenty of syrupy brown sugar-coated toasty malts languish under the lightly-boozy fruitiness, and a touch of drying, bitter citrus oil in the finish cleans up the sugar-smack surprisingly well. Grainy-sweet toasted malts and smoked cherries linger in the aftertaste. Given the potency of the drink, the alcohol flavor component is well-hidden, but not stowed so far out of sight as to vanish from the profile entirely. The cooling fruitiness the 9.5% ABV provides is an integral part of the flavor and the feel of the drink, and brings a fine flush to the cheeks and stokes a hearty warming in the belly.

Full-bodied with light carbonation, the brew is a silky-smooth sipper, and tastes great, just like a young girl should. Yeah, yeah, yeah... WOOO!

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Photo of albern
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the easiest 9.9% ABV beer you will find. It pours a thick, syrupy, relatively clear ruby amber color with a slight off white head. Not much lacing or retention. The nose on the beer is very sweet brown sugars, sweet malts, a liqueur like cherry flavor, and estery and oily hops. The nose is quite amazing.

This is a thick, full bodied beer, very sweet, very sticky, but loaded with very nice oily and estery hops that are delightful. There is a very thick, sweet, caramelized maltiness, there is a warming booziness, but liqueur like sweet. The joy in this beer is that the piney and estery hop balances so well against the sweet, but slightly boozy caramel and candied malts. The two complement each other so well that this is not a harsh hop biting beer nor is it a over the top ABV beer with a throaty burn. The beer is a sipper, but this is well worth seeking out.

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

i can certainly echo everything in the previous posts and reviews of this beer - i really like brown shugga - an excellent brew for all the reasons previously posted - my sixpack of 12oz squat bottles appears to have screw caps - i find them impossible to unscrew by hand, even with one of those kitchen drawer rubber grip bottle opening things - removing the cap with an opener reveals that there are indeed screw threads on the neck of the bottle - perhaps the high malt/shugga content has welded the thread interface tight with heavy molasses-like sugars - all the more fun to get at the prized liquid -

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Photo of MEverritt
4.68/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Darker Amber/Brown with very little head

S- Smells of sweet brown sugar mixed with a little pine tree.

T- Actually quite good. Plenty of hop flavor mixed with the sweetness of the brown sugar which helps hide the 10% abv.

M- Alot smoother then I expected with the high abv and sugar content. I drank two because the first went down so quickly. It seemed a little heavy at first but smoothes out after a few sips.

D- I thought it was a good ale. I actually want to pair it with some BBQ. "yummm i bet it will be awesome." With the higher abv I wouldnt put it into a session type beer but 2 or 3 would be ok.

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Photo of dmk139
4.82/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a surprisingly drinkable beer considering the high IBU and ABV. The balance between the bitterness and the sweetness is very unique for me. Poured into a Pilsner Glass left it with a nice frothy head with a strong lace. I can find absolutely nothing wrong with this beer.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear red-orange color with a small head after a pretty aggressive pour. The head falls quickly and there are very few bubbles rising to maintain the head.

Aroma: I initially got a good amount of citrus hops and some spicy notes from the alcohol. There is a little bit of sweetness, but for the most part, the hops and alcohol are in charge.

Taste: The flavor is also hoppy with some evident sweetness from the sugar. The sugar has a slight syrupy impression that is as much mouthfeel as anything. The beer is attenuated, but it certainly isn't dry. The dryness comes from the hop bitterness as anything. The balance is slightly tipped toward the sweetness in the end with the alcohol setting as an evident warming to linger for a little while in the finish.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer. I like that it is still balanced slightly toward the sweetness. It is not a beer that I would drink a lot of, but it is pretty tasty and this is the last beer that I bought from a 6-pack. I don't regret that purchase, so you may want to try one too.

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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.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,647 ratings.
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