How Brown Shugga’ came to be:

In 1997 Lagunitas Brewing Company, which is located in Petaluma, CA, was brewing up a batch of it’s now famous; Olde Gnarlywine, but something went wrong. As a means to fix the problem Lagunitas dumped in copious amounts of brown sugar to compensate, in essence save the entirety of said batch, the result? Brown Shugga’ was born and, we here at LagDads love the outcome.

Considered a Strong Ale, Lagunitas lovingly calls it an “irresponsible ale” and “dangerously slammable” — cause it is. With mounds (and mounds) of brown sugar, sweet pine, pineapple, roasted malts, chewy grains and shamelessly floral hops; Brown Shugga’ can be enjoyed “irresponsibly”.

“Limted” beers from Lagunitas are are some of the best out there (which Brown Shugga’ is a party to) and least we forget the “unLimited” and “One-hit” series are a delight for the senses, as well.

Still, each and every Fall, she hits the shelves, excitement ensues, we crack one open, pour it into a glass and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s our review.

Beer Review Score 4.5

Poured into a snifter/tulip/wine glass from a 12oz bottle

Look – A beautiful translucent blood red copper with nearly tan, two finger head and some serious sugar lacing/legs.

Smell – lots of sugars (brown mostly), sweet hops, fresh baked bread (yeast), oaky, musky funk, slight peach/pineapple, citrus orange, nice booze note, green/brown earth, huge sweet malts and pungent in the best of ways.

Taste – Rich sugar, nice huge sweet and toasted/roasted malts, nice booze, chewy grains, fruity and earthy hops, terroir, bread yeast, floral, pine, some pineapple and peach, fall/winter spices, dried sweet fruits and more sugar.

Body – Full bodied, well balanced, nice complexity, medium acidity, medium carbonation and a huge boozey sweetness from start to finish

Overall (Drinkability) – This is one of our favorites. The fact that this ale happened by accident adds to the awesomeness of this ale. Hearty, balanced, refreshing and perfect for this time of year when the weather can’t decide if it is season appropriate or not. If you aren’t a fan of huge sugar, malt and hops, this one is not for you. However, if you enjoy hops, malts, grains, sugar and booze — this one is for you in every sense of the phrase. Brown Shugga’ can be cracked open or cellared to vertical with others of old. Don’t miss out on this once a year delight or you’ll have to wait until 2016.

Final thoughts – At nearly 10% abv and less than $10 a six pack, what more could you ask for from a brewery that has mastered the seasonal ale? Answer; nothing, both literally and figuratively.


A note from the Brewer:

We believe this Special Ale is Something Unique. Feeding Brown Cane Sugar to otherwise Cultured Brewery Yeast is a’kin to feeding Raw Shark to your Gerbil. It is unlikely to ever occur in nature without Human Intervention. And it looks weird besides. But it’s happened and now it’s too Late.


Brewed by: Lagunitas Brewing Company

When available: Limited (Fall)

ABV (Alcohol by Volume): 9.9%

Style: Strong Ale (Irresponsible Ale)


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