Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'
5,809 Ratings
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 12-13-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,809 |  Reviews: 1,625
Photo of robwestcott
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured a nice light mahogany from a 12oz bottle to a dogfish head signature glass with a 1/2 finger short lasting head leaving moderate lacing.

strong aroma of brown sugar (big surprise...) and buttery caramel malts.

very sweet, hard butterscotch candy, no indication whatsoever of the 9.84 abv.

a fair amount of carbonation after the first sip, much smoother than expected.

if i had another couple of bottles, there'd be no second thoughts whatsoever finishing all three.

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Photo of VaTechPhilly
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Gemini6
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Photo of BigTrubble
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of scotorum
4.29/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Clear deep amber with a huge beige head which receded slowly to heavy surface foam and very dense lacing.

s: Pine. Later, some vinegar. Uh oh.

t: Funky spoiled fruit under sharp hops. Fortunately the flavor does not linger through the dry finish. OK it's almost 10% ABV and does not burn the back of the throat much. But really. that and its sexy good looks are about all it has going for it.

m: Moderate with great body,.

o: Maybe I got a bad batch. Just not going for the funky dirty feet vinegar aroma and flavor. An isovaleric acid in the hops issue? Whatever it is, it's the first bad Lagunitas I have had. Reminiscent of my first Brooklyn Monster barleywine, which was like drinking liquid dirty gym socks (fortunately later bottles of that were better).

Not the expected "sweet release" the bottle label promised by a longshot. Love the appearance, which screamed quality. All downhill from there. If it was any worse it would have been a drain pour. Actually, it may be very soon.

If the others in the sixpack are better, I'll be back to re-review.

UPDATE 11/13/13: Had a second bottle tonight and fortunately it lacked the offending vinegar aroma and taste which caused me to drainpour the last few ounces of the first. However I did still get a dirty socks odor, and yet much more caramel malt and brown sugar in the flavor. Consequently upgrading my rating, which was a: 4.75 s: 3.25 t: 2.75 m: 4.0 and overall 2.75, ave. 3.08, to the above.

UPDATE 11/21/13: Third bottle from the sixpack lacked the vinegar and sock odor. Not sure what to make of that except the added sugar may result in some instability remaining in the bottle? Anyway this was even better but I won't bother raising the rating again unless the rest of the lot proves to be as good or better than this one. Hoppier but almost as malty as slightly cheaper ales I enjoy such as Shipyard Chamberlain and Geary's Pale Ale, but the higher ABV and somewhat meatier body makes the extra couple of bucks per sixpack for Shugga worth it as a nightcap.

UPDATE 12/19/13: Can't believe I waited this long to have another from the sixpack, but unfortunately this one is similar to the first, except the vinegar/dirty feet smell and taste are subdued enough that it is not as close to being a drain pour. Still, far from the promised "Sweet release." Funny how one bottle can be ok and yet another from the very same sixpack can be so much worse.

UPDATE 4/7/17: Despite obvious issues with the first sixpack three and a half years ago, this has become a personal staple., along with it's "little brothers" Undercover and Sumpin Sumpin. The flavor since has been reliably excellent and unique. Raising the ratings is long overdue, from smell 3.25 to 3.75, taste from 4-4.5, and overall from 4-4.5.

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Photo of nh2032
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of draheim
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle (2012) into a tulip. Pours a crystal-clear mahogany w/ a big sudsy, oily khaki head, lazy carb, sticky lacing.

Aroma leads off with piney Lagunitas hops. And... that's about it. Not sure what I was expecting but I'm just getting clean bright hops.

Taste is a combination of piney hops and sweet, chewy caramel malt. Really nice balance between two pretty powerful extremes.

Mouthfeel is sticky and chewy with a sharp bitter finish. Dangerously drinkable for a 10% beer.

Overall a really unique brew. An American strong IPA? A dry hopped barleywine? Interesting, enjoyable mix here.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear ruby copper with a thin head that disappears with no lacing.

S - Sweet caramel malt with some citrus hops and a strong molasses/brown sugar. Very DIPA like with some brown sugar sweetness added in.

T - Sweet molasses and brown sugar, rum soaked raisins and some bitter citrus hops. The alcohol is very present in this beer. I would like to give the taste a higher score but I found it to be cloyingly sweet at times and very boozy.

M - Thick and chewy but still creamy at the same time. Moderate carbonation.

D - I enjoyed this beer but the sweetness that lingers on the tongue makes it tough for me to give it a better score. I don't think I could drink more than 1 of these in a sitting.

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Photo of LukeGude
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Wer34truh
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured aggressively into a snifter. Even for an aggressive pour, this had a large head. Large foamy bubbles that retains for some time. The head reminds me of a trampled beehive with its bubbly appearance. The body has a dark amber, yet incredibly clear color. I could not detect any signs of carbonation in the appearance.

The sweetness of the brown sugar is undoubtedly present in the smell, alongside quite a bit of malt and floral notes. A stingy booze-flavor is noticeable, especially as it warms. Call me crazy, but I also felt the smell of wild berries. A welcoming smell.

The malt is the first flavor which hits the tongue, with a brown sugar/floral sweetness slowly developing in the aftertaste. The malt-flavor, in combination with the sweetness, reminded me of fresh desert bread. The combination of brown sugar and floral notes adds to a caramel type flavor. Also, I felt some black tea in the brew. The semi-bitter hops are distinct throughout the experience. Despite the bitterness of the hops, the sweetness makes the feel quite juicy. As one would expect from the appearance, carbonation is low. Even though it offers a pleasant tingling sensation to the tongue as soon as it enters one's mouth.

Not as drinkable as most Lagunitas, but then again, it is significantly stronger. I thoroughly enjoyed battling with this beer, however, at the end of the day I'm not as excited about it as I thought. I have a hard time to put my finger on it, but this beer feels like it's lesser than the sum of its parts. Still another solid brew for Lagunitas Brewing Company though.

Paid $11 for a six-pack, which is honestly a steal.

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Photo of eldoctorador
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of magictrokini
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sweetest ASA in town. Pours clear mahogany with a minimal tan head. Aroma is all brown sugar with some hops. The taste is different from anything I've ever had. Very malty up front, with some hops that moves quickly into the brown sugar finish. Alcohol is completely hidden in the taste. Based upon the taste, you would think this a sweet stout over a barleywine any day.

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Photo of plumcrazyfx
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Eman17
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TWStandley
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of craftaholic
4.27/5  rDev +6%
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 mick303
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- great frothy lacing and film, clear reddish amber colour.

S- very fresh herbal hops, alcohol, some almond/marizipan fruitiness.

T- strong piney resin hops, lingering malty sweetness, sticky bitter caramel finish.

M- moderate carbonation, big body, quite thick, feels a bit heavy.

A bit hoppy ale, it is pretty well done, maybe not the most sessionable drinkable beer but packs a ton of flavour.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 will probably run up your ass.
I like it.

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Photo of neenerzig
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had a pint of this on tap recently at La Cav Du Vin. Served to me in a tulip glass. This beer is a clear, medium brown color. Decent sized head probably about 1/2 inch when drawn from the tap before settling to a decent surface cover with nice lace. Smells of brown sugar and malt along with some citrus hops are certainly present. Tastewise this beer is certainly sweet upfront with caramel and brown sugar present before the hoppy bitterness also makes its presence known almost immediately. I would not say the balance is not good, but neither primary flavor (the sweetness nor the bitterness) is stronger than the other. Very interesting indeed. Has a crisp, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Drinkability could be a bit more easy to drink, due to its overall strangeness. I would certainly drink this again.


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Photo of dental
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of PaulSlazinger
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of PG2G
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of WillCarrera
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, 2012 release, picked up a six-pack at Whole Foods this afternoon, poured into a nonic pint.

A- Pours a perfectly clear amber color, topped with a big two-inch tan head, nice retention and loads of nice, thick lacing.

S- Sweet brown sugar aroma, some citric hops, smells pretty nice.

T- Big brown sugar sweetness and bready malt, the brown sugar is actually a lot more prominent in the flavor than in the aroma. Citric and piney hops also assert themselves midpalate and are actually pretty well-integrated, I was expecting a lot more of a clash between the brown sugar and hops but it works very nicely. Finishes with sweet brown sugar and a hint of fruity alcohol, which is well-hidden for being so huge, I was surprised to read how alcoholic this actually is.

M- Medium-bodied, soft, creamy feel, a dry finish.

O- A really enjoyable beer, the brown sugar is really bold and delicious, it's also mad drinkable even at nearly 10%.

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Photo of ksimons
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-a clear ruby with three fingers worth of bubbly cream colored head

S-caramel malt and piney citrus hops

T-caramel malt, brown sugar, bitterness is more mild than the smell would suggest. Very well hidden alcohol.

M-medium body, good carbonation

Overall sweet and sticky, but not cloying, but still has a very large hop presence. Very well done and drinkable.

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Photo of GeoffreyM
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 5,809 ratings