Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

1,567 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: 1,567 | Ratings: 5,587
Photo of happy4hoppybeer
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter glass a dark-red/light-brown with no head or lacing, making this apperance wise below average.

Aromas and flavors of sweet caramel,barley, some citrus. Medium body with just the right amount of carbonation.

A little on the sweet side, the sweetness alone restricts the amount to consume, the alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming.

Very nice. Makes an excellent after-dinner brew.I wouldn't have more than two.

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

This beer is awesome. It has a taste and an aroma all it's own It doesn't follow a style or try to fit into a niche. It's just good. If you like barleywines and old ales you'll love it. If you like Ipa's and Dipa's you'll love it. Wish it was available year round.

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Photo of Emnmarko
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Caramel colored brew with loads of sediment. Looks like my kid backwashed in it for an hour. A creamy two finger head forms after a heavy pour.

S- Rich deep malts. Some booze. Almost an aged aroma.

T- Rich roasted malts with caramel sweetness that balances nicely with the bitterness. The flavor is big and bold. A dry milder and warm aftertaste hangs on for a few.

M- Surprisingly easy to drink for an ale with an abv. of 9.9%. The alcohol is there, but more in spirit. Not a session beer by any stretch but not a sipper either.

O- This is a fine brew with an amazing amount of flavor coming at you but in a way that you can enjoy. Lagunitas has continued to impress me with their thoughtful brewing. Having tried the "replacement ale" I had to try this one as well. Well done.

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Photo of mikeys01
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 22oz bomber. Appearance is a very clear amber, with a slight tint of red sunset. Topped with a slightly viscous off white head, and very clingy lacing.

Aroma is super candy sweet, filling my nostrills with scents of burnt sugar and cotton candy. Slight citrus and alcohol notes also discernable.

Taste is initially sweet and rather hot with alcoholic burn, with some piney and sharp citrus hops kicking in the background as well. The middle brings on thick dark brown sugar, sticky sweet and lightly caramelized. Not quite as complex as a barleywine but very tasty in its own right as something a little different. Finish is nicely bitter, warming, with lingering hints of biscuit and vanilla.

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Photo of YankChef
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Dark amber colored, with hints of peach and a maple syrup color

dark sweetness up front, waiting to be hit by the 9.9% a/c but it is very well masked in this darkly sweet balanced brew.

Certainly a sipper, however a very enjoyable one. Also inexpensive as the single bottle cost me $1.50. Try this one out if you can find it

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Photo of SerialHiker
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fairly transparent brownish orange…some nice bubble action going on in the middle…two fingers of light khaki colored head sticking around for the review...looks good, but anticipating it being a bit watery…(4/5)

Smell: Tons of piney hops…citrus hops, sweet malt, candy sweetness, brown sugar, vanilla, dark fruit and some caramel…tons going on here if you stick your nose all the way in…(4.5/5)

Taste: Piney, earthy hops, sweet malt and alcohol heat right off the bat…there is a nice brown sugar sweetness to this, definitely living up to the name…sweet malt is there but fighting a severe uphill battle…some spice (clove maybe) to this one…some caramel and cream notes…finishes with pineapple, citrus, pine and tons of hoppy bitterness and resin…tons and tons of flavor…(4/5)

Mouthfeel: Medium body, with tons of carbonation…sweet, chewy, resiny…some piney bitterness in the after taste…alcohol heat very apparent…(3.5/5)

Overall: Wow! This brew is somethin’…it’s an overabundance of pine/citrus/earthy hops that dominate and then some…sweet malts do their best and are complimentary…I’d have to say the brown sugar stops this thing from going off the hops deep end and does round off/balance the super hops where the sweet malt leaves off…my lips are sticky with hops resin, this is anything but “watery”…there is some spice warmth that I wasn’t expecting…the only downside with this one is the alcohol heat which is undeniable and maybe a bit to strong…it’s super drinkable, maybe scarily drinkable seeing as it’s 9.9% ABV, but that’s the risk you take…I’m not sure if I could drink more than 2 of these in one sitting and still complete full, coherent thoughts, but one is very, very nice…(4/5)

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Photo of mmcave
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at local liquor store unknowingly poured into chalice. Nice fluffy slightly off white head, with muffy lacing, head lingers about a centimeter from the surface. The body is a deep red with lots of dark sort of purply tones. Smells of malty sweetness, this doesn't really emanate a very thick malt rather a sweet malt with nice toast notes, the hops are not too over powering but provide a nice balance. Flavor is slightly thin and sort of a sharp sweet bitterness, which I'm sort of indifferent to. The mouthful is sort of flat and through that the sweet, sort of cough spryness gets a little not so tasty, but I have to give it props for a yummy hop burps. Honesty this could be useful, but I'm not sure I'll buy again worth a try though.

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Photo of JDK
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful clear amber color with a 3 finger head that reduced 1/8" for the rest of the drink.
Medium lacing that sticks to the sides throughout the drink
Smells sweet, very caramel with slight hoppy tones
Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation.
Nice sweet taste, which was expected from the brown suger. Not over the top, well balanced with the hops.
Much better than I expected and I could feel the 9.9% ABV pretty quick.

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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep amber to caramel color with slight ecru
head and lacing

S: Malty maple aromas

T: Sweet like the aforementioned brown shugga'
with the clear presence of alcohol and
an unpleasant acidic aftertaste.

M/D: Good body and proper carbonation set this
brew up nicely but the acidity on the
swallow and

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Photo of santomark
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

This is one mother of a beer! One of the best strong ales I've had and the sad thing is I can only get it this time of year. If you take a breathe of this in, it's like sticking your nose in a bag of brown sugar. Very sweet up front on the nose. Goes down malty, fig, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, a mildly spiced brew. Overall, I am in love with this beer. I wish they did some variety for this, age it in some whiskey, bourbon, rye barrels. Give it an even better kick.

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

A - Pours a clear, orange-tinged copper color with a creamy, off-white head that retains well and leaves ample lacing behind.

S - Sweet, caramel maltiness with some citric and piney hops balancing it out. A hint of brown sugar in there as well, although perhaps this is just due to the power of suggestion.

T - Reminiscent of a sweeter DIPA. Slightly toasted, caramel and brown sugar maltiness carries the flavor, but is balanced out with an ample amount of spicy, citric, piney hops. Definitely leans towards the sweet side of things, but the hops really help keep it in check and make this quite a tasty brew.

M - Medium bodied with a light carbonation. Smooth and rich.

D - An interesting offering from Lagunitas that hides its almost 10% ABV very well. One or two of these are definitely enough, but its quite a nice winter sipper.

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Photo of nUgZ
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a fairly dark amber color with a 2 finger head and very nice lacing.

S: Extremely sweet hoppy smell. It's hard to identify anything other than sugar and hops in the nose. Somewhat fruity the more I smell it.

T: Not nearly as sweet as the nose suggests. Much better balance of sweet hops and malts. The alcohol is detectable, but pretty well hidden.

M: Fairly heavy mouthfeel...almost chewy. Smooth and easy to drink with moderate carbonation.

O: This is a very tasty beer. I'm glad I tried it. The nose is a little sweeter than I prefer, but other than that it's great.

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Photo of Jordan
3.39/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Simple, the word of the day. Faint, almost undetectable sweet aromas. Light bodied. Very plain palate consisting of little more than clover honey sweetness that dissolves into a brash hop bitterness soon after it hits the tongue. For those with undeveloped taste buds, and a liking for high ABV brews, this one is for you. Unsophisticated and unprovocative, the mode most people in this country prefer.

Sorry Lagunitas, but you are quickly losing merit with me.

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Photo of ajmoody76
3.44/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

twelve ounce bottle pours clear amber. thin tight tan head. no lacing.

nutty aroma. fruity. smells like it has some alcoholic strength. no off orodrs.

super sweet. does have a brown sugar taste. can taste the higher alcohol content. fits style.

mid to full body. not a great deal of carbonation. not a bad beer. hard for me to drink to many due to the sweetness and the alcohol. but this is good going down.

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Photo of patreely12
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - poured into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass. copperish amber. considerable amount of head that lingers for quite some time. tan, fluffy and creamy. visible carbonation, almost enough to give it a cloudy look. lacing retains all the way down the glass.

S - sweet and bitter. cane and brown sugar. some floral, earthy hops. a little bit of citrus and spice too.

T/M - very malty and sweet on the front. hints of cane and brown sugar. creamy mouthfeel almost syrupy. transitions into a more hoppy, bitter back end. faint hint of smoke and a sharp taste of alcohol which gives me a tingly, warming sensation. nice strong flavors.

Overall - for a beer that's almost 10% ABV and a 51.1 IBU this is still modest and comfortable. very enjoyable in moderation.

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date: 14 January 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 12fl oz bottle

Poured gently for a firm 1-finger head, reduces to a light film, average lacing, color is the most beautiful deep clear crimson I've ever seen in a beer. The aroma of this fresh hop profile is deep and spicy on the nose. Brown sugar on the nose? Well....yes, but hidden behind the hops. The taste is the same way, with strong-bitter-spicy hops encasing the brown sugar. Drinks well for a strong ale, with some raisin flavor that sticks to the palate. I would go out of my way for this beer provided it is a yearly release. Very impressive.

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Photo of OldRickSputin
4.8/5  rDev +20%

Had low expectations for this one. I like many Lagunitas beers...they're nice. But Brown Shugga is SUPER NICE!

This is damn close to perfection!

Wonderful looking medium amber color with a massive head that never completely disappears. The lacing left behind coats the glass from top to bottom.

The smell is deceiving, very pleasant. It definitely changes with temperature and as the head dissipates. Starts off smelling like cinnamon roll and After a few minutes, it's more like Hop Stoopid, which I really enjoy - Fresh pine & some grapefruit/citrusy notes.

First sip is so sweet and wonderful that it seems like it might actually be tough to drink the entire 12 ounces. But just as the smell changes, so does the taste (same transition).

The people at Lagunitas should be given some awards for this. They crafted a truly unique, enjoyable beer drinking EXPERIENCE and then they went ahead and honored us by putting it out at a reasonable price.

It also has just the right amount of balls at 9.99% ABV.

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Photo of barhoc11
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great beer with a distinctive taste, I would drink again. It is a nice change on the regular double IPA's. The aroma and taste smell of brown sugar and it goes down 'sweet'. If you can get this, give it a try, it's not something you will dislike.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice body on this one. Dark mahogany that is consistent with barleywines. The head and lacing however is a bit thin. Smell is sweet caramel, boozy, sugary malts with a strong odor of bittering hops. And yes I would say it does have a brown sugar smell. Even being served a bit too cold it smell is powerful. Taste is all over the place. Somewhat tropical notes lead the way with the sugary sweetness of the caramel and candy sugar blasting it's way in. I have had 2 lagunitas beers before this and the aftertaste was plauged with a watered down sameness. I detect nothing like that here. It is quite flavorful thru and thru. Mouthfeel is extremely oily and thick with a bit of heat on the throat. I am really glad to have picked this up. Much preferred to Olde Gnarleywine.

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Photo of peacebone116
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I cannot believe that I have never reviewed this beer....Brown Shugga is one of my perennial favorites! This is a review of a 2009 Brown Shugga', aged in a 12-oz bottle, poured into a tulip on 11/30/12.

A: Insignificant off-white head sits atop a hazy reddish, auburn body. There appears to be decent carbonation throughout the body.

N: Pine and...well, caramelized brown sugar, honey, a touch of nose-tickling citrus.

T/M: Taste fully follows the nose with a blend of delicious pine notes that mingle with the sweetness of the malt. The body is about medium, just thick enough to support the slightly hot alcohol in the body. There is an oiliness that completely coats the tongue, spreading the flavors across--this one seriously hits all the different taste buds: sweet, bitter...okay, well, that is really it, but it seems quite awesome!

This beer aged so well. Lagunitas has played with this recipe off and on (the bottle indicates a 9.84% ABV & 51.1 IBU for this vintage), but this year was quite good fresh and even better with some age on it. I recall drinking this one a year later and finding it very seems to have only gotten better (minus the haziness that set in).

On a side note, I paired this beer with a pasta dish featuring caramelized onions, yellow bell pepper and shrimp flambe with Sambuca and red pepper flakes. The sweet anise flavor of the Sambuca shrimp played well off the sweet, sugar malt of the ale, and the spicy flavors from the dish's pepper flakes complimented the hoppy qualities.

Good Shit!

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Photo of sprat1960
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look: Light brown with flashes of orange and yellow; transparent. Pours with a 2 finger creamy white head that dies down leaving a smooth layer of foam on the surface of the beer and some sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Light, sweet, aroma with hints of malt. Nice. Made me want to drink the beer.

Taste: Lightly sweet (without being fruity or syrupy), brown sugar, malt. Very nice, unique flavor.

Feel: Slight above average. Thin, like a typical US commercial beer. But very nice light carbonation, unlike a typical commercial beer.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer and would gladly drink it again. It was an easy to drink beer with a unique flavor, but not something that I would go out of my way for. I think the hype surrounding this beer might have left me disappointed, though a very nice beer none the less.

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Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I get this almost-red amber 20oz. beer with a super-fat head and crazy lacing that smells a little like cookies (not much smell though.) I taste it and it's got a definite sugary caramel malt flavor, with a bit of hops on the top to cut out the sweeteness. Pretty tasty, I notice a tiny alcohol sweetness that throws it off a bit but not much, so I figure hey, it's about 8% but it's pretty drinkable. Then Joe tells me he's thinking of serving it in smaller glasses 'cuz he's afraid the 10% will creep up on people. Ten percent?? What?

Yeah, it has a definite alcohol flavor but there's a heckuva lot more sweeter barleywines out there. I, for one, could drink a lot of these. I wonder if the bottle is sweeter though...will find out in 2 weeks, when it hits the shelves in NYC.

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Photo of SMark
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 52° from a 12 ounce bottle with some sort of coding but I am unsure if it is date related. There were approximately three fingers of head from the pour down the middle of the glass with slight lacing. The beer was reddish orange in color

There was a definite aroma of hops. Label says 51.1 IBU's.

The beer was surprisingly smooth with some bitterness from the hops followed by a nice sweet finish.

There was fullness in the mouth while holding this brew before swallowing.

This beer seemed to get sweeter as it warmed. It was very easy to drink and tremendously dangerous at 9.9% alcohol.

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Photo of Tolnik
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this reddish copper coloration beer into a pint glass. The foam that it gave originally was good and reduced to a good head. Sugary! wow sweet malt with a hoppy aftertaste. It does leave a good warm feeling in your mouth. Great winter beer. The beer has a great carbonation and keeps it up throughout the drink.

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Photo of BDJake
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- burnt sienna with just under a finger of beige head that made some cool patterns on my pint glass

S- so syrupy, it made my nose hairs stick together- but intriguing, although almost same exact smell as SA imperial white, kind of creepy IMO but also a bit like raisin bread

T- fruity, malty, and yes, like brown sugar was used as an adjunct somewhere in the brewing process- not too bad though

M- thick and chewy, i was tempted to get a knife and fork- but warming as expected

D- great considering the relatively high abv- showing that not all strong ales have to hit you like double bass pedals, i.e. Stone

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,587 ratings.
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