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Lagunitas Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down AleLagunitas Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale

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612 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 612
Reviews: 170
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 43
Gots: 39 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.28% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jdoncbus on 07-21-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 612 | Reviews: 170 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mikesgroove
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Poured a very hazy and cloudy brownish amber. This was almost a spiced pumpkin pie type of color, with a nice two inch plus head of sticky and foamy lace on the top. The head gradually faded and left behind nothing more then a half inch layer of lace across the top, but the side glass lace on this one was extraordinary. A full on blanket of it coating the entire side of the glass. Just really a tremendous amount of sticky lace that refused to go anywhere. The was some carbonation that was visible along with it, streaming up from the bottom. A good look overall and a nice looking glass when it was done.

S – Aroma was not as hoppy as the finished version. Not to say that there was not a lot of hope nose to it, as trust me there was more then an adequate amount of pine resin and citric hops in the nose, however there was a noticeable amount of spice to the smell as well. A good amount of cinnamon and almost a maple sugar type aroma was mixed in as well. Very sweet and combined with a nice grassy and earthy type aroma, it made this come off extremely balanced. I thought that compared to the final release this was much sweeter and spicier, especially in the aroma. Made for a nice change and gave it the impression of being more then just a hop bomb.

T – The flavor again came off to me very different then the final release, which I actually was able to try first. This was much more reliant on the balance of the sugary malts then on being just a hop explosion. There was a good amount of piney hops to it, however it was balanced very very well. Lots of sugar and spice mixed in wonderfully and left a great aftertaste. It was remarkable how balanced it actually was. You could not tell which was winning out, but what was really evident was the amount of spice in it. Lots of cinnamon was detected and this really had a very sweet taste to it. No hint of the ABV at all, I mean none at all. It could have been 2% for all I knew, really blended and covered up well. Quite impressed with this one so far, seems to be a winner.

M – The feel here to be honest is a little tricky. I actually have to admit that it did come off a little bit thin. Now not that bad that I would say it was a mark off, but it did not feel as full as I would have expected based on how big the flavors were. I think this may have been partly due to the lack of carbonation once you got to the second glass. It was however very sticky. Extremely so and you lips were literally sticking to your teeth with every sip. Still very nice overall, just thought it could have come off a tad bit fuller.

D – Superb, in a word that would some it up. It was so well balanced and blended that I could have just kept going with this one. I never really felt the abv sneak up, or really at all. And it was not soo heavy that you had to make it a sipper. This was almost sessionable it was soo smooth. I really was surprised by this and that is probably why it went down so quickly. A very solid drinker here.

Overall this was really great. The most shocking thing by far was how much it actually differed from the official release. They were definitely two distinct brews, but were close enough that you could tell there was the same overall idea behind them. It was a pleasure to have both, and hard to tell which one was better, but this was really a fine brew and I was very happy to be able to try it. Would have to say that I would definitely recommend this to anyone if they see it.

mikesgroove, Oct 05, 2007
Photo of cjgator3
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark copper colored amber with a nice creamy off-white head. The aroma is sweet malt with some citrusy hops. The aroma is very nice, but a little underwhelming for a IIPA. The taste starts out pretty smooth and malty but the hops quickly make their presence felt and stick around long after the sip. Overall, this is a pretty solid brew that is recommended.

cjgator3, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of warmstorage
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, $3.99 at Gold Rush Liquor, Anchorage.

Appearance: Deep copper to light red, with a big rocky off-white head. Big lacing, almost a thick wall of it. Outstanding appearance, almost a Belgian tripel-worthy rockiness.

Aroma: Deep malty, with notes of roast, and solid earthy hops. Almost like an American style barleywine.

Taste: Sweet tangy and deep spicy earthy hoppy, much like Bigfoot in character and hoppiness, especially the 2007 Bigfoot. Very nice, and finishes with strong sugars and hints of burnt sugar and wood. Distinct C hops. A delicious American style barleywine.

Mouth: Full but not thick, this is a solid, slightly slick finishing beer.

Overall: Finally, a Lagunitas specialty/seasonal that I can love! Delicious, American barleywine/American strong ale. Solid in almost every way, this is perhaps the best Lagunitas I've ever had (and you can see from my reviews that I've had a lot.)

warmstorage, Sep 26, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Double IPA huh? My first thoughts were that it was a lighter barley with a touch of cocoa. It actually appears a bit like a dark amber, and the malts are sweet and fruity, and like I said, there's a touch of chocolate flavor. The hops didn't seem that big, citrus and peppery, but not nearly as big as Great Divide's Hercules DIPA. For a DIPA, it leaves hops to be desired, for a strong ale, it's pretty cool.

tempest, Sep 26, 2007
Photo of arizcards
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at Sportsmans in mid-May for $3.39.

Beer poured a copper color with a well sustained head that is leaving rings behind in my glass. Nose is a wonderful blast of citrus and pine hops and caramel malts. Taste is well balanced, caramel malts predominate up front blending into a pine citrus hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, fairly chewy for the style. Drinkability is good. There is a little bit more emphasis on the piney hops so if that is your thing you need to try this beer! This is definitely a value, very comparably priced to offerings from Stone and Bear Republic.

arizcards, Sep 22, 2007
Photo of umustdrink
4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An Imperial ESB
9.28% ABV

A - See through deep bloody red color, some bubbles flowing. Rocky off-white head, big and fluffy at about a half inch. Lots of lacing.

S - Sweet brown sugary malts, very bready and very slightly bitter, piny hops.

T/M - Starts out thin feeling with oily hoppy flavor, hops are balanced with sweet caramely brown sugar malts. Bitterness comes back tasting green and piny, finishing out the flavor.

D - Excellently balanced beer, hops and malts at perfect harmony which is my favorite kind of beer. Highly recommended.

umustdrink, Sep 21, 2007
Photo of irishkyle21
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been drinking a lot of amazing IPA's and DIAP's lately ( its starting to show around the waste line) and Shut Down Ale is a definite winner in my books. It pours with a huge rocky off white head that holds up extremely well and leaves behind large blobs of lacing. Has a clear rusty amber color if there is such a thing.

Has a scent of fresh hops, citrus, bread and caramel. I find the smells complement each other well.

Tastes of sweet malt then the hoppy piny bitterness hits you. Has a good clean bitter finish that holds on. A great beer to sip on as the alcohol is very warming but not that evident on my palate.

irishkyle21, Sep 18, 2007
Photo of doppelmeup
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a spectacular looking beer! Pours a beautiful deep topaz color into a pint glass with a huge, pillowy head that lasts forever. Lacing all the way down the glass. One of the best looking beers I've ever seen!

Aromas of fresh hops. Not overpowering, but very fresh smelling. Slightly fruity and flowery.

Taste is very nice. Definitely bitter and hoppy, but not to the point of being overdone. A sweetness as well, but just enough to compliment the hops. I'm not sure I completely agree with the style for this beer. When I think of double IPAs, I think of over-the-top hoppiness and a very malty backbone. This beer seems more of a strong ale. But don't get me wrong; I really like this and think it is very good!!

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Some bitterness remains on the palate after enjoying a mouthful.

I have to say that as I write this review and drink this beer, the head is still amazing!!!

Overall, this beer is exceedingly drinkable, but I know the ABV will catch up to me. Even so, I have to give it a high drinkabiltiy score, because it goes down so easily!

Highly recommended. If you see it, pick it up and take it home.

doppelmeup, Sep 17, 2007
Photo of atsprings
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber almost brown with a decent head that lasts as a thin layer. The aroma is dominated by piney hops with a hint of caramel in the background. The taste is a very enjoyable blend of earthy pine hops and dark caramel malts. The beer is slightly on the heavy side with good warming alcohol. This one is certainly a sipper, but a very enjoyable one.

atsprings, Sep 12, 2007
Photo of TechMyst
2.73/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is the "SNEAK RELEASE" not the "12th Anniversary" edition. Wouldn't put this in the IPA or IIPA genera; I'd like it in the Strong Ale category. Yes it is a hoppy beer, but the spice profile in the malts give this a big big boost. Not as good as Mendicino's Eye of the Hawk, but better than Stone's Arrogant Bastard. A bit chalky on the palate. Nice buzz though. Good, but I wouldn't rave about it...

TechMyst, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of tpd975
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Since Lagunitas came to Florida I have been pounding their brews one after another. What you get is great taste for four dollar a bomber.

A: Pours a nice bronze color that almost looks like an amber ale. There is a huge rocky head that puffs up nicely and hangs around for sometime. What is left makes layer after layer of lacing, some of the best I have ever seen.

S: Resiny pine. pine needles, pine cones, pine sap, pine sol. No matter how you say it the aroma is pure pine.

T: As soon as this one passes your tongue you are hit with a subtle citrus taste which is quickly overrun by a nice strong piney bitterness. The bitterness fades and is then overtaken by a wonderful caramel malty sweetness.

M: Full bodied and pretty thick.

D: Nice brew. Of course because of the 9.28 ABV you may want to pass on that second bomber.

Overall: Another great beer by Lagunitas. For $4 a bomber their beers can not be beat. I spent the day relaxing at the beach and upon coming back inside the beach house I popped this one open. It was so smooth and refreshing, I think I may now lay down and take a nap. I'm gonna throw a Maximus in the fridge, it would be perfect this evening while enjoying one of west coast Florida's most beautiful sunsets from a chaise lounger on Longboat Key. If I'm not unconscious by then I may just be inclined to drink their newest release Kill Ugly Radio, as I think about my wonderful day, and what else lies ahead during my holiday / birthday weekend at the beach.

tpd975, Aug 31, 2007
Photo of hijjt
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a red/amber color with a good sized tan head.

Smell: Hoppy citrus smell with a hint of banana, and a touch of alcohol.

Taste: Not nearly the bitterness of a double IPA, the hops is there, however the malty sweetness easily takes over the flavor. Citrus hoppiness and slight bitterness is quickly taken over by the strong caramel malt. The alcohol is easily masked even for its high content.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, the carbonation is masked and doesn't overpower.

Drinkability: Good drinkability, more than expected.

Overall, I really liked it; I am not sure that it fits in the genera in which it was placed here, but definitely worth a try.

hijjt, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of Drew966
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale pours a dark, reddish copper color with an of white head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle. The aroma is a bit milder than I would like, it is primarily hops. There is a strong hop flavor up front that fades to a strong malt flavor toward the end. Pretty decent, worth a try.

Drew966, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of number1bum
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber pours a nice clear copper color with a big and fluffy three finger cream colored head. Leaves a ton of lace and ample amount of stick on the sides.

Smell is hoppy but more piney than citrusy for my nose. Smell suggests to me that there will be pretty ample bitterness (the label suggests that, as well). There is some sweet caramel malt and alcohol in the nose, as well.

Taste starts off with some bitter, pine flavored hops, adds in a bit of grapefruit and citrus, and then finishes with some more hop bitterness. There is a pretty solid malt backbone (subtle caramel sweetness but really just robustly malty) to keep the hops in line for the most part. I'd consider it a bit of a little bit of a hop bomb in terms of bitterness but not in the league of a Hop Wallop by any means. Mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation is pretty crisp. Alcohol is mostly well hidden although it does come out a bit in the nose and just a touch in the taste.

Enjoyable brew for sure, but not my favorite DIPA (and I should point out that the label never refers to it as an IPA or Double IPA - only an "especially bitter ale." I'm really not even sure it's a DIPA. It shares some characteristics but it's got more malt flavor and less hop flavor than most DIPAs). Definitely worth a try though.

number1bum, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of shaebs99
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall I did enjoy this beer, but I may be biased to more hoppy DIPA's.

Poured from bomber into a tulip. Nice sized off white head over a deep rich amber. It just really looked good after the proper pour I gave it with swirling carbonation.

Aroma is mostly of citrusy grapefruit hops. Nothing really strong and overpowering. Not a hop-bomb probably will be the same for the taste.

Taste is a pretty well-balanced offering between the malt and citrusy hops. The hops win in the end, but a lot closer than most DIPA's out there

Medium bodied and smooth. Very drinkable.
Considering the price tag is a bit (in some cases quite) lower than other DIPA's definitely something I would get again.

shaebs99, Aug 14, 2007
Photo of nickfl
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with a 3 finger creamy tan head that takes a while to settle down and leaves dense lace. The beer itself is a deep reddish-brown color with good clarity.

S - Resiny, piney hop aroma wiht notes of citrus and slight floral character.

T - Malty, with a nice roasted flavor that is followed up by strong hop flavors and big bitterness that drives the finish but isn't unpleasantly excessive as in some highly hopped beers.

M - Smooth, fairly heavy body and high carbonation.

D - This is a very enjoyable beer. I am always wary of hop-centric beers from the west coast, but this one is pleasant and well balanced. I also have to say that this may be one of the best uses of high alpha hops for flavor and aroma that I have experianced.

nickfl, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of macster
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown color with some amber-orange hues. Forms a 1" frothy off-white head with decent retention of some wispy foam throughout. Minimal spotty lacing.

Nicely balanced aroma profile with competing notes of dark caramel, chocolate malt balls, raisins, spices and a touch of citrus-like hops in the background.

Medium body on the palate with a nice slick, smooth feel as it passes over the tongue.

Flavors are also very well balanced with notes of sweet caramel candy, toffee, dark fruits and toasted malt combined with a subtle spicy-citrusy hop contribution. The body and balanced flavor seems to keep the 9.9% alcohol almost unoticeable.

Perhaps not a classic but a solid, drinkable American Strong for sure.

macster, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Poured a very deep amber color with a long lasting white head that left good lacing.

Smell was of grapefruit and some sweet malt.

Taste was very good! Grapefruit and nice bitter hops but was balance very well by the malty sweetness.

Overall, more hoppy than malty. That is a rare occasion for a DIPA nowadays it seems. Very good. Highly recommended!

bluegrassbrew, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of Stoneman78
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- pours a clear, brown hue with a creamy white head that is mostly diminishing with fair lacing throughout
s- aroma of sweet citrus hops and caramel malts
t- fairly well-balanced ale that is slightly underwhelming for a DIPA, initial flavor is of citrus and pine hops, followed by caramel/toffee malts, subtle alcohol in the finish
m- medium-bodied ale with adequate carbonation
d- Balanced and warm DIPA that is smooth drinking, the abv is very well-masked, not the hoppiest DIPA, but a solid entrant in this category

Stoneman78, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of vtfan77
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- Deep copper with a decent head and good lacing

S- Extremely hoppy; smells mainly of pine with a bit of a metallic aroma. The malt is also quite evident with a nice toasty character.

T- The pine character is very prominent and pretty much dominates the taste. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing; it does taste good. The malt does a pretty good job of holding up to the hop onslaught; the ample bitterness is balanced just enough to not become overpowering.

M- Medium- full body, decent carbonation; the mouthfeel fits the beer perfectly.

D- The high alcohol definitely limits the drinkability of this bad boy. I can finish the bomber no problem, but certainly wouldn't want any more. Pretty average in this department.

This is a good, solid beer, but it failed to wow me. There's not really anything terribly unique or distinctive about it. It's still very good and pretty cheap. I may get it again if the mood strikes me. Recommended.

vtfan77, Aug 10, 2007
Photo of BretSikkink
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tawny amber color, nice appearance with a light tan head. Foams up about an inch, nothing special, but the retention is great and lacing solid.

Upfront, a hoppy nose, although some caramelized malt peeks in. Grapefruit and other citric aromas waft initially although as things warm up I noticed more of a piney scent, that complemented the flavor. There is enough malt to stand up to the hop assault, and it has a pleasant sweetness that counterbalances the bitter hops and peppery alcohol - not quite as thick and solid as molasses, but leaning toward that flavor.

Hops, however, do run the show. There is some fresh grassiness amongst the citrics, but the deeper bitterness of pine resin is the overall impression. This is aided by the high, sharp alcohol content, which is nicely integrated into the flavor, but is not hidden.

The mouthfeel is thinned by the hops, although there is a syrupy sweet film left over that is all malt. It's fine by any standard, not superb, about the same as the drinkability: good for 9 per cent, but definitely apparent.

Flavorful, gets me my hop fix. I wish I had an Arrogant Bastard to sip against it; I think this might lean a little towards a Strong Ale, although it is quite good either way.

BretSikkink, Aug 07, 2007
Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1" beige head over the clear coppery amber brew. Head lasts well, with tons of sticky lace froth. Aroma is fresh citrusy hops with twinges of pine as well. Taste is ample maltiness to start, which is quickly balanced and overpowered a bit by the dominant hops flavor. Particularly the pine lingers, and there is warming after toughts as well. Mouthfeel is a bit prickly due to the strength of hops character, but this one remains plenty drinkable.

ppoitras, Aug 05, 2007
Photo of Shaw
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber in color with an foamy head. This beer is much more brown than other Double IPA's I've had.

It smells powerfully of citrus hops, dried fruit and caramel. Wow.

The taste is -- of course -- big and hoppy with a strong flavor of alcohol. This is a pretty smooth Double IPA, its bitterness is not as harsh as others of the style.

With a slick mouthfeel that's just about perfect, this is quite the drinkable beer, considering its 9 percent ABV.

This is a very accomplished and polished Double IPA and a nice spin on a style that many believe has just one note.

Shaw, Aug 05, 2007
Photo of sloejams
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this when it was initially released, I guess just over a year ago. It didn't seem like a DIPA to me then and it doesn't really now. I guess it leans toward the YuleSmith Winter side of DIPA, almost a Double Red. Fuck it, this is a tasty beer and that is what is important.

Characteristically, it appears very much like a red: deep amber in color with a finger head that laces quite nicely. There's a lot more malt than your traditional DIPA. There's plenty of hops there too, seems like it should be a strong ale. Again fuck it, it's a good beer. Enjoy one.

sloejams, Aug 04, 2007
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, served in a pint glass.

A - clear, deep amber color with a good size tan head that settled down to a layer, leaving good lacing.

S - initial nose is hops, but as I sniff more, I'm smelling a sweet caramel type malt.

T - very well balanced brew, sweet malts/bitter hops, abv is only detected after the beer warms up. Burps are all hops.

M - medium bodied, mild carbonation.

D - good, drinkable DIPA. Be careful of the 9.3% abv.

JoeyBeerBelly, Aug 04, 2007
Lagunitas Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 612 ratings.