Day #27 – Lagunitas Brown Shugga

January 28, 2011

Another California company tonight, this time from the community of Petaluma. Lagunitas is a swiftly growing brewery that has a wide distribution across our area. They were founded in 1993 and consider their IPA to be the flagship beer.

Today I am reviewing their Barley Wine, named Brown Shugga. The story behind this beer was they started making a batch of another beer they make, when something went haywire. Lucky for us, it turned out to be a good mistake, and they bottled this new barley wine recipe as the beer you see before you now.

A Barley Wine beer is not actually a wine at all. It is a very high gravity concoction brewed with high amounts of malts and base grains. They are usually characterized by woody flavors and aged dark fruits. As it is very high in alcohol, this style is highly praised by beer enthusiasts everywhere. It should be served in a snifter glass.

Here we go…

Lagunitas Brown Shugga

It pours a very pretty color of amber red with a nice foamy white head. It appears to be sticky and viscous.

The aroma is pretty nice as well. It starts with a fair balance of biting hops and woody notes. There is also a fair amount of sweet malts and sugar on the nose. Not as upfront sweet as I was expecting.

The flavor starts off with a kick. The hops provide a sharp bite along with the higher alcohol levels. Sweet malts and brown sugar come through after with a fair mix of woody notes. It finishes much the same but is quite good.

Barley Wines are certainly to be enjoyed, but they must be enjoyed responsibly. Please take your time and sip on it, like you would a fine scotch or sherry. It will continue to change in complexity as it warms. No need to rush through something this good! My girlfriend likes it, and so will you. 🙂



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