Name: Lagunitas Brown Shugga’
Brewery: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Petaluma, California
Style: American Strong Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 9.99%
First Brewed: 1996
A complex nose of deep toasted notes and rich burned sugar aromas, along with some resiny hoppiness and pruney fruitiness. Sweet on the palate, complex fruity, malty, sugary flavors with some sharpness. Aftertaste similar, with some alcohol evident.
Living in Indiana, we couldn’t get Lagunitas beers. I have had their IPA, and since moving, have fallen in love with their Czech Pilsner. When this hit the shelves, I was excited to see what it tasted like. I grabbed a bottle only to learn they had it available at the tasting bar at my local Total Wine & More. So I headed over there, and tried it. I tried it ice cold, so that might have something to do with it. That, and I expected a beer called Brown Shugga’ to taste like… well, brown sugar. It didn’t. It was almost a pale ale flavor. But that was then and this is now. So hopefully, since I am reviewing the beer, I will have a better/deeper understanding of the beer and the flavors. I am excited to try this again. Hopefully a few weeks in the bottle really brought out the sugars. I doubt it, but here’s hoping!
In the Glass: The beer looks nice in the glass. It also has a really nice, thick head. Not a deep head, but a nice, frothy head that reminds me of winter/seasonal beers. The beer is also cloudy in the glass, but is inviting. The color is inviting… that is what I meant.
Nose: I pulled this right from the fridge… I am tempted to let it sit for 15-20 minutes before I even write this. Never mind. Let’s drink. Or smell. This beer, being called Brown Shugga’ should taste like… you guessed it. BROWN SUGAR! But it doesn’t. It smells like an IPA. There is a hint of sweetness toward the back of the aroma, but that’s it. Nothing to write home about. For a beer that uses this much sugar, I had much higher expectations with the aroma.
Flavor: I will say, this has more sugar flavor than I remember. I am also letting this warm up a little bit. It is not as sweet as I expected, but it does have some sweetness to it that I don’t remember from the first time I tried it. Actually, leading to the aftertaste (that I will speak about in a minute) I am almost impressed with this beer. Rarely do I find a beer that tastes better than it smells. This is one of them.The Widmer Brothers Marionberry Hibiscus Gose is like that.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. It is thick, not creamy… but leaves a nice texture on the tongue. Not many, if any bubbles which is nice. Also, you don’t notice (at least on the palate) the 9.9% ABV. Bigger beers like this tend to leave booze on the nose or on the palate, but not this one. They hid the alcohol well.
Aftertaste: This might be my favorite part of the beer. Imagine taking a spoon full of sugar. Eat it. Then spit it out. Now that flavor is what this beer leaves on your palate. The first time I had this beer, I left it a 2/5 on Untappd. Not this time. I am very impressed with this beer, and am going to have a hard time not giving this a big rating.
Like I said, I am impressed. I always say, anything worth trying is worth trying twice. I am glad that I had this one twice. I am going to let what is left in the glass sit for a little bit and see how much it changes as it climbs closer to room temperature. I am sure it will get better, as most beers do. I pretty much love everything that Lagunitas makes… and this one will join that list. If you can get your hands on this limited release, grab some. It’s worth it.
Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ – The bottle says: “NA”
I have heard good things about the beer that we are doing today, but I also know that Ricky doesn’t like it. Ricky and I don’t always agree, so we’ll see how it is anyway.
In the glass, the beer has just a little bit of white foamy head to it, but not a lot. It is an interesting color, kind of a light brown, orangish-red color. It’s not really thick, and it’s easy to see through the glass. It doesn’t look too carbonated, as there aren’t really any bubbles floating around. There does appear to be a lot of sediment floating around in there, however. The smell… well, I don’t smell a lot to it. Ricky said he does and that it smells like an IPA. The little bit of smell I get from it does smell kind of like an IPA. But mostly it just smells wet. Let’s see how it tastes. I’m not sure what to expect.
It tastes… sour. Not exactly like most of the sour beers I’ve had, but it definitely does have a sourness to it. That’s the first taste I get. There is also a little bit of hoppiness in there. Also a little bit of spice. This beer is just a strange combination of flavors, and most of them start on the front of my tongue and work their way back. At first sip, I didn’t like it. But I’m starting to appreciate the complexity of flavors a bit more, and it might honestly be something I might buy again if I was in the right mood. It does not taste how I was expecting or hoping, though. I mean, the beer is called Brown Shugga… wouldn’t you want some brown sugar in there? But I get none at all. I think that’s what I’m most disappointed in! But oh well, it’s not too bad.