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Brown Shugga' | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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1,519 Reviews
Brown Shugga'Brown Shugga'

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.99%

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: 1,519 | Ratings: 5,406
Photo of Rifugium
2.93/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Clear, mahogany-amber pour, with a small beige head that retained well and left splotches of lacing on the glass. Muted caramel aroma, a touch of fruity hops. I really expected something different with this one, but instead got the same old typical, basic, dull Lagunitas flavor. Caramel malts, tree sap, pine and citrus hops, woody nutshells, stale alcohol notes, some off-flavors consistent with oxidation. About medium in body and carbonation. I'd probably never get this again. So many uninteresting beers from this brewery, and this one's no different.

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

Poured a deep hazy burnt amber with a nice brownish tint, a huge billowing off white head faded albeit reluctantly to leave behind a ton of sticky lace puring down the sides of the glass.

The smell was odd, I had half expected a strong IPA and not a Strong ale, but that was no bother. Lots of hoppy tones, pine and citrus but the biggest players were by far caramel and a burnt sugary almost molasses like aroma.;l, also deppicted some earthy tree bark type aroma. The taste followed suit, earthy caramel tones with a definate hop presence and a sweetness that lay on the palate for a good long while. The feel was a little thin and slick, for the amount of flavor present I would have like to have a bit more thickness to it, but it was nice none the less. Alcohol was definatly not hiding and was a big presence here.

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

I had this ale courtesy of shertz, poured chilled into my Great lakes christmas glass.

A - Garnet w/ a good deal of clarity. A thick rocky beige head. The lace is quick to collect and has a fine bead.

S - Like a pine cone with a very sap filled odor-lots of resinous hops. The scent has subtle golden delicious notes w/ a hint of tropical fruits, potent nectar.

The texture is smooth w/ an intense sweetness and full but balanced carbonation w/ the hops acidity trailing.the feel is like candy with a hop filled center. The sweetness lingers long after the ale has been swallowed.

T - almost like a sugar cookie w/ a subtle molasses and brisk balanced hoppy pine flavor which is angular jutting out of the crystal malt and a relatively strong alcohol note parallels this taste. The brown sugar gives the taste an intense caramel flavor like candy corn with a hop bitterness, it is both flavorful and balanced for a strong ale which not an ordinary trait.

D - A great ale- I enjoy it immensely, it was a pleasant nightcap for me. I could possibly handle a couple or a bomber but on this night one was plenty which is my reasoning for only above average here. This is not a boring beer - Brown Shugga: "how come you taste so good?"

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Photo of russpowell
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an effervescent amber/orange with 2 fingers of sand-colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Slight pine& herbal hops

T: Huge pine hops, cakeyness, & brown suggah up front. Earthy & grapefruit hops & some honey dryness follow as this warms. Finishes with subtle booze warmth, rough grapefruitty hops, a little caramel & yes, brown sugar, works for me!

MF: Chewy with low carbonation, but a little thin for the style

Drinks damn easy for the abv, an almost great take on the style

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

22 oz bomber, no freshness date but I think the 9.9% abv give it an extended shelf life with out a doubt.

A- Big fluffy off white head, good stickage. Semi-hazy orange amber.

S- Thick layer of caramelized sugar, toasted malt and a mild oily hop. Fruity esters in the back

T- Lots of malt on the palate, nothing too sweet but a very blended toasted and caramel character. This is intensified by the residual brown sugar though there is enough hops to keep the sweetness in check. Faint vanilla and fruity ester, touch of oily hop on the palate as well.

M- Thick semi-chewy body, very smooth and creamy with a moderate carbonation.

D- Quite drinkable, where is the 9.9%?

Yet an other great example of what American craft beer is about ... sip and enjoy.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very lightly hazy deep copper to light golden amber in color with some orange highlights and moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the majority of the surface of the beer with a couple of spots that are a little thinner and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Strong aromas of caramel malts and caramel sweetness with moderate to strong aromas of citrus and pine hops. There are also some lighter notes of burnt sugar and maple.

T: Moderate to strong flavors of sweet caramel maltiness with a touch of burnt sugar and maple as well. Upfront this beer is quite sweet. That is followed by the aggressive flavors of the hops - citrus/grapefruit/orange and pine. Slightly more than moderate amounts of bitterness which linger but not for too long and some moderate amounts of alcohol taste (especially as the beer warms.

M: Slightly heavier than medium bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Some dryness and alcohol heat in the finish, especially as the beer warms up.

O: Not the easiest beer that I have ever drank but it is still enjoyable - I wish the alcohol was a little more well hidden and that the sweetness was not so shocking upfront and then fading quickly. Interesting mix of style with elements of a barleywine and a DIPA.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a (512) anniversary glass.

Finishing my day off with some Rolling Stones tribute beer. It is one, right...? In any case, this stuff pours a clear russet topped by a finger of off-cream foam. The nose comprises brown sugar (no way!), light maple syrup, pine needles, and the essence of grapefruit peel in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, with some brown-sugary maple taking control up front, and some bright grapefruit and mild pine needles getting the back half. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a nice beer, one that marries two distinctive flavor combinations and doesn't try to force them to live dysfunctionally together.

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

Had on tap at Mutiny Hall in Seattle.

A: A nice brown/mahogany color with a one finger khaki colored head on top. Nice head retention with solid lacing all around the glass.

S: Brown sugar, caramelized sugar, some light citrus fruit.

T: Similar to the aroma with a lot of brown sugar. The hops were a bit more prominent with some bolder citrus fruit, grapefruit mostly with a nice amount of pine as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Surprisingly smooth and easy to drink for ~10%.

O: Pleasantly surprised, though I shouldn't really be since Lagunitas makes some solid beer. Would drink again.

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Photo of smcolw
3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Light brown color, clear. Long-lasting head that leaves ample amount of lace on the glass.

Very low aromas--some molasses/candy sugar; no discernable hop

Caramel flavors--more sweet than bitter, but the hop is present and balances this beer just enough. Very full bodied. Good carbonation. The aftertaste brings out the hop. Interesting journey through the flavor profile.

Regardless of the complexity, this is an easy to drink beer. It is VERY deceptive given the alcohol content (9.9%!!). I could not note the usual oiliness or aftertaste of alcohol. Drink this one with some caution.

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Photo of billab914
3.36/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish shaped pint glass. Poured a dark brown, slightly red in color with a one finger white fluffy head. As I drank it the head faded but left pretty good lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is very piny with a little citrus and a moderate sweetness to it. it has a very interesting smell to it, I almost seem to get a sweet Worcestershire sauce aroma to it.

The taste is hoppy with a sugary sweet finish. It has some pine present along with some caramel malt, but the brown sugar seems to dominate the taste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is average, it's too sweet for it to be that drinkable. It was a decent tasting beer to have one of but it's a little too sweet and high in alcohol to have much of.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - It has a dark amber color, also poured with a lot of carbonation and no head.

s - Smells sweet, almost fruity. Also smells a little like syrup

t - Tastes great; very sweet taste like sugar or molasses, also a little fruity.

m - Medium body, was not as carbonated as it looked.

d - I liked this one a lot. Can't believe it's over 9%. Could definitely drink a few of these taste-wise but might refrain due to the ABV. Definitely think it's worth checking out.

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

Appearance: Amber brown approach with a nice bulbous tan head leaves awesome sparatic lacing with each sip. Aroma: Vinous hops with caramel sugar slightly burn nose this beer is awesome, full malty approach to this old ale. Taste: Great amount of hops sugary with hops piney, earthy, citric tones this is a great old ale very nice brew can't be beat in my opinion. I want some of that Brown Sugga' baby, gives me sweet loving sweet sugary malt ridden flavor makes me want to have more of this brew. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied old ale from this brew I know what's coming my way complex flavors galore. Drinkability: Wow, how can you do this to common folk alot of flavor that most people aren't ready for however hallelejuah for this example of a kick ass old ale.

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

Picked up a sixer of this today. This is one of those common brews that I have still yet to try. Poured into a Hair of the Dog tulip because I am not as cool as drabmuh.

The beer has a beautiful appearance. Crystal clear and clean copper, like a brand new penny. The khaki colored head is frothy and dense, coating the glass with lacing.

The aroma bring smalt, alcohol, pine, resin, hops, caramels.

The flavor is big and bold. A strong ale indeed. Nice ratio of hops to malt. Though I know the hop character will fade with age, I am curious to see how well this ale might benefit from some time in the cellar. Sweetness throughout.

Medium to full bodied with ample carbonation. Sticky and resinous on the palate. Alcohol presence is there.

A full flavored beer. One in any given night is plenty for me. Good stuff.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer several times before and did a review, but I am doing another review because I feel the previous one was way too shallow.

Pours a clear but darker amber brown. Nice sized crème head. Nose is a nice slightly sweet toned hoppy thing. I feel like I am getting a whiff of sugar cane on there too. Flavor is a combination of firm ale qualities with an amount of brown sugar mixed in that takes it to the side a little bit to an interesting place. The ale tones here are so well done. A nice thick and meaty offering. Feel has a great carbonation to it and a good body as well. Very drinkable. I don't get any of that 9.9% alcohol as it goes down. Smooth and even. Another very good brew by Lagunitas.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well, if this isn't par for the course these days. I had just opened this bottle and the phone rings and it's my mentor, Lew Bryson, asking me to come over to LNCBC to meet him and his wife for a beer. How could I refuse?

This one, in the menatime, poured with a huge, thick light-tan head with little retention, but plenty of lace. The nose is at once both intensely sweet and intensely hot with alcohol. Oooh. The mouthfeel was really thick and full, not creamy, just thick. A big sugary, alcohol presence on the tongue and on the finish. I really didn't get much out of this, other than alcohol and sweet and given the high alcohol content, I cannot recommend it for drinkability.

Off to meet Lew and his missus ...

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

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a perfectly clear amber color with a finger of yellowish stained head. The cap fades back to just a thin film across the top. Some strings of patchy lace cling to the glass.

This is a malty smelling brew that includes a scent of brown sugar and an overall candied sweetness. Some character of floral hops and alcohol is in the back with a lightly herbal quality.

The taste of this brew is toasted malt with some residual sugar upfront that never gets too sweet because it is countered by herbal hops and alcohol. It leaves a long lingering aftertaste of herbal hops clinging inside the mouth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is well balanced and more enjoyable than I would have believed considering what some others have said about this brew being sickening sweet. For almost 10% abv the alcohol is hidden fairly well but not completely masked.

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Photo of Lare453
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz into a dfh glass

A copper, nice 1 inch head,

S pineapple, molasses, brown sugar, coconut, Vanilla, other light tropical fruits, caramel

T surprisingly light for a 10% beer. The beginning is a light and sweet tropical fruits, the middle is heavy in molasses and it fades back to heavy pineapple and light mango with a sharp hoppy bitterness and resin. The aftertaste is a sweet and resinous brown sugar and lasts a long long time.

M little more than thin, sharp, good carbonation.

O fair beer.

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Photo of jwc215
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz, bottle

Pours deep reddish copper with a thin, well-retained head.

The smell is of brown sugar with a whiff of citrus.

The taste is of brown sugar. Malty but with a nice citric hop support coming through. At first, it's all about brown sugar and caramel, but the bitter hops emerge, though stay in the background, giving it a nice balance. The brown sugar runs throughout, but never gets too sweet.,Slight peppery alcohol.

The feel is rich and creamy.

The alcohol is well-masked. It's there, but I would have guessed around, or close to, 7%. A unique beer that is rich, well-balanced while remaining appropriately sweet. Nice Job!

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

12 oz bottle from Bert's
Pours a crystal clear medium copper color with a huge yellow white head that slowly dissipates to a cap and lots of leggy lace. Earthy and piney hop aromas mixed with a fair amount of caramel light fruit and candy and darker sugar. There's a solid shot of ethanol in the aroma that reminds you this is a big beer, but it never seems harsh. The flavor is big and sweet up front with lots of candied and darker sugars. Solid earth and resinous hop flavors with barely any harsh edges. A bit of warming alcohol lingers long after each sip. Medium body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. This is a really nice big beer, I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of tdm168
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark amber with a very large brownish, off white head that is dense and foamy; great retention

S - sugar, floral, citrus, cake batter, bread

T - caramel, sugar, bread, big citrusy hops, bitter finish, big warm alcohol in the finish

M - medium to full bodied, smooth, well carbonated, lots of alcohol

This is complex and delicious. The malt is sweet but approachable. The hops are forward but balanced and citrusy. The booze is there and slows down the drinkability. Overall, this is really a great beer. I'm glad they brought it back.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tawny kind of color,....a light caramel tone...

Rich, sweet malty nose....sweetness in the nose,

as well...brown sugar dominates anything...malty-riffic....lush brown flavy flavory...yummy, yum, yum...

rich, cocoa-tinged flavors, full, lush, very tasty...

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

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Brown Shugga has a clear body and lots of carbonation bubbles from the bottom and stuck to the side of the glass upon pour. It is red/brown in color and clear with a creamy head of four fingers. Big stickiness of lacing upon the glass and leaves a good sized puck upon the glass that doesn't go away.

Brown sugar front, light though, just like it says with some hidden malt, but truly a one trick pony on the nose. At least it's a good one! It's a caramelized brown/turbanado style sugar. Some very faint masked hops.

Taste is sugar goodness in a good way. Dominant sugar of brown throughout the palate, but manages to let in a Marzen style Octoberish malt taste as well with banana. A good solid but not too thick mouthfeel also and very hidden abv. Almost a rum character with the sugar upon taste as well.

This is a solid winner but for drinkability it's one of those beers I have to feel to be in the right mood for since it's a little one dimensional. Still a great beer!

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Photo of WoodBrew
2.75/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sure the amber brown color with nice head lures one into a false sense of security...Then BAM you take one to the buds!!!! The strong alcohol detracts from the buzz of this beer. This beer is tough and definitely not a session brew. However, if you can stick through the first half of the bottle the beer smooths out...most likely cuz the taste buds are numb. Certainly worth a try, but a six will do just fine.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a cloudy auburn-brown coloring that is almost opaque, with a slight haze to it. No head on the pour at all. The beer has a bold, round aroma, which is a smooth blend of supersweet sugar and caramel, with a decent balance of hoppiness. Flavors are sharp and heavy, with a good foundation of wet, deep hops riding strong under a boozey highlight and malty sweetness reminiscent of molasses and caramel. There is a sweet theme to this brew. The aftertaste is a slick, rich, almost syrupy sweetness, but refrains from being cloying, with a good hops presence once again. Impressive. The finish is slightly bitter, which keeps it light, and the crispness from the carbonation makes it quick.

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

On cask at The Ginger Man in NYC

A – Dark maple syrup. Light, off-white dusting of a head.

S – Huge brown sugar note. Light malt. Molasses.

T – Super soft malt ebbs and weaves through brown sugar, molasses and walnuts. Leaves a trace of pine-like bitterness on the back end.

M – Light body. Bitter / sweet finish.

O – Nice malty complexity, but the profile on whole is overly sweet, which overwhelms the relatively light body.

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Brown Shugga' from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 5,406 ratings.
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