Still in America we decide to head down South to sunny California to take on Lagunitas
Lagunitas Sucks, California ~ To prove that the time is never too late to gain entry to a year-end top ten list, Lagunitas snuck in with this “replacement” beer for its winter annual release, Brown Shugga. Due to complications beginning with new brewery equipment destroyed at sea en route from Europe, this northern California brewery devised a beer that could be brewed and available to consumers (and in necessary amounts) faster than the more time-consuming Brown Shugga. Consumers snapped up this beer quickly when word spread of its trademarked West Coast-style notes of bursting hop flavor and aroma. A second batch is cleverly being labeled as “Holiday Leftovers”. Obviously, the beer did not suck.
Here are the tasting notes from the Brown Shugga
Pour, Color, & Aroma:
I loved the story on this beer. How it was a last ditch effort to save their Barley Wine from having to be dumped (take note Dogfish Head) so they added heaps of brown sugar creating this American Strong Ale. My one reservation when trying this beer was the high ABV. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a beer with high alcohol, but not very often. I still find that the alcohol tends to mask a lot of the flavors in a beer that I enjoy; however, it is the holidays, so why not give this one a try.
Pouring the beer I got exactly what I was expecting, a beer that was a nice caramel/deep amber color. The beer was crystal clear and very bubbly. The head was a soft off white color and laced the glass perfectly.
The first aroma I got was a surprising grape, immediately followed by solid grapefruit and orange fruit aromas. The complex aromas really developed themselves the more I whiffed away catching caramel, whip cream, and molasses.
Phenomenal! Does this beer really pack a 9.9% ABV? I really didn’t taste much of the alcohol at all. My initial thoughts on the flavor is that it is intensely hoppy, a nice citrus earthy hoppy flavor. A smooth creaminess flowed through topped off with a sweet sugar taste that lingered briefly, but was quickly washed away by the alcohol (finally!). There is also a nice tannin flavor similar to a dark cherry with a bit of marshmallow at the very end.
Finish & Body:
The finish was very sweet. I felt that I had just finished eating a warm sugar cookie. I really had mixed feelings with the body of this beer. The body was a little heavy and sweet, almost syrupy. Again, the alcohol in the beer did not warm me up as much as expected; however, it was still slightly there.
For a beer with such a high ABV the drinkability of the beer is outrageous! I can easily see myself getting into a little bit of trouble with this brew. I am not a fan of really high ABV beers, but this one would do the trick for me. Lastly, if you are not a big fan of really hoppy beers, this may be one to try due to the intense sweetness. Prost!
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World’s Boutique Beer #16 Lagunitas