Beer Profile: Lagunitas Brown Shugga



Profiled by Ken Carman for PGA

From their site…

“Originally a failed attempt at our 1997 batch of Olde GnarlyWine Ale resulting in an all-new-beer-style we like to call…Irresponsible.”

ABV: 9.99%

BA rating 90% and 90
97 and 86 at Rate Beer

9.99? You’d never know, and yes, that’s a compliment. But, what’s the noise about? It’s an IPA, and a beautiful one. Maybe a little over the top viscous-wise,: but not much. Since this was sold in March, yet brewed in October, perhaps the distinctiveness of all they did faded: but I doubt it. Compare it to Crustacean Barleywine-ish and you’ll see what I mean. Now that is an over the top Imperial IPA with a hint of Barleywine to it. (At best.)

Where is all the brown sugar go? Fermented out by an aggressive yeast, I suspect.

Great grapefruit in the nose: usual suspects probably Cascade, Amarillo… etc. Essentially American, or spin off of American, hops. Sweet, somewhat unattenuated, nose. No malts noted, but smells fresh, exciting: eager to be tossed into the palate.

Mouthfeel: solid caramel malt with a medium to high side of medium body. Grapefruity hops. Hey, this is simple. It’s a great IPA.

Taste is grapefruity hops up front with a firm body behind it that supports like any decent seas should. This ship sails exactly into American IPA territory.

Appearance foamy/pillow white head with a few big bubbles. SRM is 5-6 bronze. It’s beautiful as the light shines through like gold. Perhaps there’s something to this “old bottle,” thought there’s no cardboard sense or aged hops. The pictures I’ve seen in the glass are almost a deep red. That wasn’t this. Of course there’s always the production line snafu possibility, I suppose.

This is a very simple quaff. No matter what happened here, they wound up with a delicious IPA on the lower side of hops at best. Sierra Nevada upped the ante years ago with their over the top pale, but that only encouraged IPAs into becoming hyper. I like them, but that’s not the point. IPAs shouldn’t be hop race, but a standard one can judge by. I encourage over the top, just do Specialty or Imperial.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


________________________________________Beer HERE

meMaria Devan lives in Ithaca, NY and is frequent reviewer of beer and a beer lover deluxe.

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