Review: Brown Shugga', Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Brown Shugga'
Lagunitas Brewing Co. — Petaluma, CA

  • Style:  Winter Warmer
  • Bitterness:  51.1 IBU
  • ABV: 9.9%
  • Malts: Not Provided
  • Hops:  Not Provided
  • Special Ingredients:  Boatloads of Brown Sugar
  • Sampled: 12 oz. bottle

Description:  "Brown Shugga was originally a failed attempt to make our Olde GnarlyWine Ale way back in 1997. Boatloads of Brown Sugar were added to the boil in an attempt to rescue the batch. The result was quite different from the Olde GnarlyWine we were looking for, but the Accidental Release of Brown Shugga that year was the beginning of an annual rampage caused by a beer that follows no style guidelines and can best be described as.... Irresponsible.  Cheers!" — Lagunitas Brewing Co.

Random thoughts:   This is the sixteenth of my winter seasonal reviews.  I've been looking forward to tasting this Brown Shugga' because I expect it to be very different from what I've tasted so far.  I sampled a different version of this beer called Brown Mashugguna at the Portland Holiday Ale Festival.  For more on that, click here.

The tasting:  Deep amber in color with a white head that dissipated quickly.  No lacing on the glass.  Aroma is brown sugar and and citrus hops.  Flavor is brown sugar, caramel malts, and some spices that I can't place.  There are some citrus hops in the flavor, but they lurk in the background.  Medium to heavy bodied with medium carbonation.  It has a very sweet finish that isn't cloying and long lingering.  This is a good thing, in my opinion, as I've recently had a few beers that left an unpleasant long lasting sweetness.  I was very surprised to see that this is 9.9% ABV.  The alcohol is very well hidden, so proceed with caution!

Rating:  3 star.  Good. I’d drink it again if someone gave it to me.  I like this beer, but it's the kind I'd drink once, maybe twice a year.  It's definitely a nice change of pace from typical holiday ale fare and worth trying if you have not tasted it.

Have you tried Brown Shugga'?  What did you think of it?

Follow this blog on Twitter or Facebook


  1. I really liked this beer. I bought a six-pack on sale for $8.79 at Market of Choice and brought it to a family Thanksgiving. A little "big" for most of the family, but it worked well with turkey dinner.

  2. I liked that it offered something very different. But one goes a long way for me. How many of these do you think you could drink in a session?

  3. Too Hoppy for me.


Thoughts? Tell me what you think.