Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,576 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:
1,576
Ratings:
5,612
Avg:
4
pDev:
11.25%
 
 
Wants:
299
Gots:
1,304
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,576 | Ratings: 5,612
Photo of warrenout330
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my duvel snifter

A- poured a clear golden amber color... thick white head, damn sticky lacing all over my glass.... love it

S- smells of sugar, maybe not brown, caramel malt, rye malt, earthy funk

T- I taste a more pronounced sugar fling, rye malt, earthy funk with a well grounded balance....

M- sugary, rye bitterness, earthy hop bite with a lingering sugar smack... noy like the cereal though

O- my first ever lagunitas brew ever.... this may turn me on to them but this brew also reminds me of 2 brothers cane & Abel with a slight lightness.... as far as thickness.... love this brew

 623 characters

Photo of mkh012
3.62/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look- Amber or burnt orange. A lasting, frothy head. Carbonation is visible. A good-looking brew.

Smell- Mainly a fruity hop character. Orange, tangerine, pineapple, tropical fruits. Not getting the brown sugar too much, but it's certainly a sweet aroma.

Taste/Feel- A bit disappointed here. Not a bad beer by any means but perhaps overly hopped. Does a "Brown Shugga" beer really need to be 51 IBU? It does more than balance here. In my opinion, it outshines. Growing on me a bit as I drink it, the more caramel, brown sugar notes becoming slightly more apparent, but hops are the real star here. The alcohol is well-hidden, but this is still a strong beer for a developed palate because the bitterness lingers. I guess I've been spoiled by Belgian beers lately that manage to have a much cleaner aftertaste at this ABV. Not as well-rounded as I had hoped.

Glad I tried it, but probably would not seek this one out again.

 926 characters

Photo of Thanby
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful clear amber with a bunch of foamy off-white head that sticks like... well, sugar.

Surprisingly hoppy aroma, but the sticky sweet malt balances it nicely. Brown sugar is noticeable behind the hops.

First taste is the nice hop bouquet followed by a wash of sweet caramel malt, and the brown sugar sweetness.

Medium body, smooth and creamy as I've ever tasted, no trace of the ABV. Dangerous.

 410 characters

Photo of Bitter_Echo
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear, dark, tannic oxidized rust color, very appealing. Smells not very hop forward, but malt, sweet, bread and grain and some caramel, but some noticeable alcohol and pine like hop notes. Tastes very sweet and malty and not at all bitter at first, the bitterness only emerging after a time (like their sumpin') and this tends to modulate the loudness of the bitterness overall. Nice late hop echo coming in later. Mouthfeel and carbonation is moderate fussy and just about right. Overall, another very good Lagunitas offering, although I don't like as much the loud malt notes in the beginning that really mute the effects of the hops...I want the hops right THEIR!

 680 characters

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

12 oz bottle from Wine Gallery in Brookline, MA. A: Amber, very clear, moderate amount of tan head that goes down to a caked on layer. Lots of lacing. S: Brown sugar of course, lots of dark fruit and some citrus as well (orange especially). Some boozey spice and roasted malts. T: Syrupy sweet up front with a nice bitter finish. Much more hoppy than I expected, which is very nice. M: Very thick, chewy, moderate to low carbonation. D: I was really surprised by the hop profile on this one--it's sort of like a cross between a barleywine and a DIPA. Really fantastic, unique beer. I'll definitely pick this up again if I see it.

 629 characters

Photo of pershan
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured an orangish-brown with very little head into a chalice. I detected alcoholic esters with a slight citrusy hop aroma. The taste was an enormous explosion of hop flavor and alcoholic esters, blending nicely with a distinct citrusy sweetness. The initial taste dissipated into a long-lasting hop bitterness. A very tasty and drinkable beer - it is definitely one of my favorites from Lagunitas. Nice carbonation and lacing too.

 491 characters

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

APPEARANCE:
Pours a hazy amber/copper color with a large off-white head that dissipates at an average rate. Some lacing.
SMELL:
Molasses, brown sugar and alcohol.
TASTE:
Sweet malt with a molasses flavor and hint of vanilla. There is a nice earthy bitter finish to balance it.
MOUTHFEEL:
Full bodied with a syrupy texture. Soft carbonation. Slight alcohol burn to finish.
DRINKABILITY:
At first I thought this would be too sweet but it is surprisingly smooth and the bitter finish balances it out.
NOTES: BBCSD-0812

 519 characters

Photo of shabbtastic
2.93/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured amber brown with a very weak head that faded into a small white cap. Laced very well for the weak head retention. Just can't understand the twist off cap though.

S - The label says brown sugar and that's exactly what you smell, very sweet indeed. Roasted Carmel malts with molasses tones and maple syrup.

T - Sweet up front which is very nice and balanced, but then WHAM! The rest of the ride is alcohol. I didn't find that very appealing. Overall the taste was very harsh. The sweetness did little to hide the alcohol IMO, very unbalanced.

M - Medium / full bodied and very dry.

D - This is a one and done. The high ABV makes it that way. Not a horrible beer but I would pass on this on in the future.

 717 characters

Photo of ImusBeer
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured up a dark orange/red with an off white head of only about a finger.

The aroma of molasses and honey with no real hint of the 9+ percent alcohol content. the taste was dominated by malt & molasses, a very complex beer. Hints of oak and leather are also present.

The mouthfeel is heavy and sugary (Brown Shugga, duh) some alcohol hints but not too harsh. Overall a smooth tasting and complex beer.

 404 characters

Photo of Contra
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is probably one of the most cloudy beers I've ever had. Minimal head, with a dark amber hue. Quite tasty, as it reminds me of a thick I.P.A. with less of the floral qualities, yet sweeter. It also reminds me of barely-wine, but not overtly so.

The beauty of this beer is how cheap it is. I paid $3.50 for a 22 oz. bottle. Lagunitas is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries, especially for how inexpensive they tend to be.

 438 characters

Photo of shaebs99
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Large off white head forms that leaves plenty of sticky lacing as the head diminishes. Clear deep amber color.

S: The aroma is a nice combination of malt (with brown sugar notes) and citrusy hops. The result reminds me of something like ruby red grapefruit. Sweet and citrusy. Though I would say the malt wins by a nose.

T & M: pretty much what you would expect. Large malt base accentuated by brown sugar, but the hops are present enough to keep this in check.

D: Very enjoyable. Reminded me of why I enjoyed the 06 Double Bastard. I feel that the hops were more present than some reviewers would lead you to believe. In the one I had I didn't really notice the alcohol in the taste and only slightly in the nose

I am considering picking up another 6-pack of this so I can enjoy it throughout the winter. Not a beer you would drink all night, but definitely one I am going to return to

 938 characters

Photo of blivingston1985
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear reddish-orange. Some Particles visible. Creamy off-white head that reduces down to a good lace that lasts the whole glass. Very good.

The smell is sweet. Caramel, brown sugar...some hops.

Very smooth drinker. Easy to wind up on the floor with this one. Nice light carbonation that complaments the texture of the beer well. Very big taste. Very sweet. Not very much to it in the way of complexity. Brown sugar, a little citrus-orange, and a nice bitterness.

 476 characters

Photo of joeskirkie
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I went for a snifter and poured a beautiful copper brew with a nice head which developed and laced well.

Smelled sugary sweet, with grassy hop hints and just a touch of citrus.

The taste balances very well, the refreshing citrus hop bite goes hand-in-hand with the sweet sugars. A hop finish has a slight linger to it.

It's not too heavy, I'd ask for another, I definitely dig it.

 383 characters

Photo of Fatduck
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ive been very fond of the Lagunitas brew's that I've had so far, so when I saw the brown shugga I had to try it.

Pours a ruddy copper color with a fluffy tan head. It leaves little lacing. Smells like spicy hops and a bit of sweet malt. Feels good on the way down, refreshing and easy drinking. I think this is one dangerous beer. 9.9% alcohol and goes down fast and easy.

I'll be returning to this brew.

 406 characters

Photo of begforme4484
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice brown coloring. Smells great. The taste was what got me on this beer. Mouthfeel was right on par.

Not much needs to be said for this beer except, if you see it on tap, TRY IT.

I've had it before and knew it was good. But I had a friend with me who liked to dabble a bit in craft beer. So he had me suggest a drink for him, and he loved it.

 348 characters

Photo of Nietzsches_Horse
4.51/5  rDev +12.8%

If you combined a nice American Barleywine, with a nice DIPA, and added a touch of brown sugar sweetness, you might end up with something like this. And if you also priced it very generously, and only released it during the long dark days of winter--when a nice, sweet, cheap and strong beer is most welcome--you'd probably be pretty close to answering the conundrum, "How come you taste so good..."

 400 characters

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.

 242 characters

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

This was a wonderful beer. First was the smell of the beer, it was great smelling a little sweet. The first taste was a little shocking, a lot stronger that I was expecting. But after the intial shock, this beer was great. A very strong taste, with a nice hop flavor. Also the slite sweetness that accompanied was excellent. Try this beer, it's seasonal so keep your eyes open for this one!

 390 characters

Photo of xare
2.06/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance was fine - head lasted a bit, brown appearance, nothing really that would distinguish it from another strong ale.

Smell was of alcohol... Nothing else. Maybe some malt.

Taste was of malt and alcohol. No brown sugar whatsoever. What a letdown. I love brown sugar and was hoping that there'd be the taste of brown sugar at least. Instead, I get malt-flavored rubbing alcohol. While a hit on the streets, according to One-Tooth Willie, it isn't a hit in my books.

Mouthfeel had a bit of bitterness from the hops... and a lot of heat. Too much heat. Wasn't crisp and clean.

Hops weren't excessive and in fact, were the only thing that made this brew drinkable. I finished the bottle but after half of it was gone, I was struggling. Glad that I had this at the bar, because there is no way I could've finished a 6 pack of this. Far too hot for my tastes and no brown sugar flavors that I can discern. Mainly, it's just a malty strong ale with nothing that makes it drinkable. Not a drain-pour but it isn't that much better.

 1,033 characters

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

A- Poured into a pint glass with a one inch creamy head that fades to a thin persistent cap. Brilliant clear copper color.

S- Resinous hops with a big malty molasses blast.

T- Follows the nose with the brown sugar/molasses sweetness dominating but nicely rounded out by the hops which take on a citrus note.

M- Rich medium body, well carbonated which helps to balance the sweetness.

O- I look forward to this every year. I think it would cellar well but I'm not that disciplined. The big malty sweetness the aggressive hops is an unusual combination that really works here.

 577 characters

Photo of sjverla
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Nose: Alcohol and dark fruit. Sugary and oddly savory. Mild, mellow grass notes. Excellent balance.

Appearance: About half-inch of caramel head dissipates quickly and laces nicely. Pours a hazy ruby globe into a snifter.

Taste: Alcohol heat and tartness mix with rich, fruity sweetness. Grapes give way to burnt caramel. Gives way to strong hops. Nice complexity. A little heat lingers on the gums. The feel is smooth and slick. Very drinkable.

Overall: Excellent beer. Easy drinking and delicious. Almost too easy to drink at 9.99% ABV.

 540 characters

Photo of Giovacchini
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle enjoyed at Olde Sonoma.

A- dark copper, with a thin tan head.

S- brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and some spice.

T- toffee, toasted malt, caramel, mild fruitiness, and brown sugar.

M- creamy mouthfeel with mild carbonation.

O- I liked this brew a lot. It has a really nice flavor and is very drinkable. I have another 2010 bottle of this and I'm gonna save it and compare it side by side to the new batch.

 420 characters

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

Appearance: Pours a reddish amber color.

Overall: This beer has a strong sweet aroma. It contains flavors of malts, sweetness, fruitiness, caramel and bitterness. This is a very good malty brown ale.

 200 characters

Photo of MeanMotaScootah
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

If you like sweet and big - you'll love this beer. There is a mild fig mixed with whiskey aroma but beyond that it's very malty. It has a very creamy mouth feel with a ton of cherry caramel on the front end and a mellow sweet finish. There is very little hops in the beer. The alcohol is nicely hidden (much like many of the big beers that Lagunitas puts out) so be careful with this one - it drinks like an amber but will take you down like a Tripel. I almost think if they made this with a Belgium yeast it would taste very Belgium. It's a great beer for the style.

 572 characters

Photo of Bisco42
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

So good. Easy drinking, looks perfect, the carbonation is on point and the aftertaste leaves you yearning for another. This beer is phenomenal for the price/abv with the taste. It also ages well.

 197 characters

Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,612 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe