Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Undercover Investigation Shut-down AleUndercover Investigation Shut-down Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,847 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,847
Reviews: 980
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 10.07%
Wants: 101
Gots: 660 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: GilGarp on 03-10-2009

ABV varies slightly from 9.0 to 9.8
66.6 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,847 | Reviews: 980
Reviews by JamesMN:
Photo of JamesMN
3.96/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Crystal clear copper honey hue with visible effervescence slowly ascending towards a fluffy two finger off-white head. Exactly what I expect from the style and the clarity makes it very appealing.

Aroma: Sugary barley and an interesting blend of hop aromas that come together to form a sort of green tea or iced tea fragrance with a hint of lemon.

Taste: There is a lot going on here, some parts good and some not as good. It starts with a nice clean bitterness paired with amber malt flavor. The second half has the hop character developing giving the palate a lot of sweet herbal and some pine notes. The hops are slightly sticky making them the definite star of the show but their flavor can become monotonous because of how sweet they are. The malt is there to balance but doesn't really succeed because it does not have any strong flavor characteristics. The 9.7ish% ABV is completely hidden which makes this seem like a lighter brew. The bitterness reaches a high point in the finish which is smooth and slightly dry. Nice aftertaste of pine and some bitterness but lacking the afterburn of an imperial beer (which can be taken as a positive or negative depending on the drinker's preference).

Mouthfeel: As some others have mentioned, the body is a tad thin for the style. It is just below medium in body. Somewhat aggressive carbonation but not overdone. Easy drinking besides the somewhat cloying hop flavors.

Final Thoughts: I'm torn between a 4 and a 4.25 for the grade. In this type of situation I always opt for the lower number. Make no mistake, this is a good and enjoyable beer from one of my new favorite breweries, Lagunitus, that treads the style line between American Strong Ale and Double IPA. At $9.99 for a six-pack it is a fantastic deal that should not be passed up by any hop head. I was hoping to add three or four of these to my cellar but I expect they are best enjoyed fresh. Would I drink it again? Certainly.

More User Reviews:
Photo of dmgeng
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love Lagunitas and I've never seen this one before so I had to pick it up.

A - Beautiful dark ruby color. Clear with a huge white head and stong lacing.

S - Sweet hop character that is fruity almost like fresh sweet blueberries. There are also the some of the more traditional citrus and herbal hop tones. There is a rich maltiness under the hops with some light alcohol and caramel in the background. It has a traditional ESB, fruity yeast character but to the next level.

T - The taste also has that almost berry taste with a sweet fruitiness that comes from the yeast, the malt, and the hops all melding together in one fine beer. It is definitely an American Strong ale with the richness and the hops to try and duke it out on your palate. The fruity yeast and hops are more predominant on the tongue with the malty, grainy, and caramel flavors mixing well together. There is a bitterness that attempts to compliment the sweetness and is clean on the finish.

M - High to medium mouth-feel with medium to high carbonation. For being almost 10% ABV and a very sweet flavor I would expect this beer to be almost cloying but with the higher carbonation and hop bitterness it does not stick but instead just teases your tongue asking for more.

Overall, a really delicious beer and definitely a unique American Strong ale. Not as overtly powerful as Bastard nor as malty as Hairy Eyeball but is very good and is balanced enough to have more than one of (although the alcohol will sneak up on you.) This is the perfect beer for early spring with plenty of flavor to awaken your soul but enough alcohol to warm you toes.

Glass- Tulip

Photo of ruzzal
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Laguintas rules. Great beers for great prices.

Photo of timontheroad
4.27/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful clear copper color, with a fluffy two-finger head that lasted a good five minutes, great lacing all the way down the glass. Lots of flowery aromas up front, along with a touch of grapefruit and a slightly soapy smell. The flavor had lots of grapefruit and onion up front, with a sweet caramel flavor in the background, very nice combo, with a bit of lingering alcohol. The mouthfeel was medium bodied, with some good carbonation prickliness on the tongue. Overall, it really like this beer, bitter up front with a nice sweet backbone.

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.06/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange red copper bronze color with a two finger white great. The nose reminds me a lot of belgian ale. Coriander, cloves, orange peel, brandy, hard candy. The flavor is equal parts spice and sweet. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and creamy. This is a unique beer. However, i find it a bit sweet for my taste. I could use some more IBU.

Photo of thehooksman
4.39/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, copper-colored with a couple fingers of cream colored head that laces the glass like crazy.

The nose reminds of a double IPA with notes of pine, sugar and alcohol.

The flavor is well balanced between bitter and sweet with just a little alcohol in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is medium body and smooth but the alcohol heat lingers for a nice numbing effect.

Glad I discovered this. It's a very refreshing brew despite the elevated abv.

Photo of oberon
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing yet another Lagunitas American strong ale.Pourd into a tulip glass a clear bronze color with a thinner but well sustained slight off white head,aromas were a bit lighter than expected,mainly some resinous hop and sweetish alcohol.Thinner feel for a "bigger" beer and a little prickly.Flavors dont seem to pack enough punch although that could come from the lighter feel,resinous hop intertwined with a hefty caramel malt base,the alcohol creeps as the beer warms.I love this brewery, but I dont love this beer sad to say.

Photo of foxcaptain
4.48/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at local Flying Saucer Emporium. Pours dark amber red. Little to no head with tan color. Lacing on glass very pronounced. Taste is malty and sweet with an alcohol warmth on the back end. Aroma is pine and grapefruit. Delicious DIPA will definitely try again.

Photo of ExtraStout
4.43/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Sneak Release Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale pours a clear orange red with a nice creamy head that lingers for quite a while. From the moment I opened the bottle I was hit with big citrusy hop aroma, grapefruit, and pine backed up with a good amount of malt sweetness. The sweetness is predominate in the flavor, lots of caramel and toffee, but there is no lack of citrusy hop flavor. There is a nice bitterness that rounds out the beer, but not overpowering for the beers strength. A bit of alcohol comes through in the finish, but not too much for a beer of the strength.

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.12/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes on 5/15/10.

A: Poured into a snifter, this meanderingly monikered beer has a ruby-copper color and a near one-finger head that leaves thin retention. The look of the lacing is okay, with medium stickiness.

S: Sweet hop fuel. Melon and honey aromas smack a piney hop presence and create a glorious scent. Basically every fruit in existence can be found in the smell of this beer. My girlfriend and I concur that the smell is somewhat reminiscent of Hopslam.

T: The melon and honey sweetness that I smelled runs in step with a ball-busting pine and citrus hop bitterness throughout the duration of each sip. I like this beer quite a lot, but being very critical, I would say that the sweetness is just a tad hot and there is also a noticeable streak of alcohol.

M: Pretty light-bodied with a low to medium carbonation in U.C.I.S-d.A. (had to do that) but the full sweetness and tongue assaulting hops make up for these attributes and make this an exciting feel.

D: Dangerously drinkable, I would say. I can definitely taste the 9.75 % alcohol, but it does not affect how easily this one goes down. I will have more of these over time. The only possible downfall of the drinkability would be the obvious sweetness in the taste.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.42/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours from draft a light molasses color with
nearly no head and thus a very slight lace
effect. There was little sign of active

S: A boozy aroma combined with hints of an IPAs
pine and florals

T: Just as it smells high octane alcohol flavor
with supporting floral notes reminiscent of
a slight IPA

M: The brew was a little thin but managed to
leave a bit of a slick on the back of my

D: This is an average choice amongst American
Strongs. It's not that this choice is a
poor one but that this style is being done
really well right now by other brewers.

Photo of sicilian
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A fine alternative to SN Bigfoot.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.02/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at When Pigs Fly, served in a snifter.

A pretty beer. Copper-colored, medium tan head. A good deal of lace.

Sweet, caramel malt aroma.

Taste of caramel and toffee. Maybe a hint of booze.

A nice beer, reminiscent of an English barleywine.

Enjoyed it.

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.34/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours from the bottle a copper color with a creamy white head.
The aroma is predominantly citrus and tropical fruit, maybe some candied fruit and a hint of spice.
Plenty of bitterness in the taste along with orange and tropical fruit sweetness. A mouth-puckering long and bitter finish. One to chew on.
Mouthfeel is medium and sticky.
Probably my favorite Lagunitas beer to date.

Photo of andyfrancis
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Deep red-amber color with off-white head. sweet malty aroma. Whoa. The alcohol makes its presence known, though not unbearably. Bitter with a hint of a sweet finish to balance it out. Could use a bit more carbonation. Would make for a good sittin by the fireplace nightcapper.

Photo of marvin213
3.97/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Depending on how I let the light hit it, the color varies from a super dark brown to a nice light tan. Not a whole lot of foam here, but the lacing looks serious...ly suggestive of hops. I get on BA here to confirm it's a Strong Ale (and not some sort of IPA).

Nose is fantastic--it's like a cross between that citrusy Hop Stoopid extract and a dark brown, malty strong ale. It's like a Backwoods Double Troubled Bastard minus a bourbon barrel.

The taste isn't quite as good as the smell, but it's a darn solid beer. It actually tastes as the senses thus far would reflect. It's a brown hopper! In the age of hop rules all, I'm a little disappointed I didn't get more of that citrusy...but, in all honesty, that wasn't what I was looking for when I grabbed the undercover. It's a hoppier Popskull. It may just be the hoppiest stong ale I've had--I'm diggin' it!

Mouthfeel might be a relative weakness. It doesn't have a malty sweetness like other strong ales, nor is tough like a forefather's beer a la Old Curmudgeon. It does, however, have a hop-pop, feel-appeal to it! :-)

As I figured when I picked up this single to throw in my box as I was leaving the beer store, this one's forgettable. It's neither a go-to strong nor a hopeful hop art. It is, though, yet another testament to the bad-assness that is Lagunitas Brewing Co. Never will I fear picking up some obscure beer from that place. It's still good work.

Photo of Billolick
4.01/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle

Pours a nice rich glowing shade of almond hued amber. Khaki head stays nicely. Goes to a thick high collar and then a fine film and moderate low lacing strands.

The sniff reveals notes of rich malting and minty hops.

Full flavor malty brew with broad shoulders and a bold hoppy finish. Notes of maple malts, vanilla, honey and resinous hops sealing the finish.

Lagunitas all the way

Photo of ElSid
3.99/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Beers of California


Bottled Date: None

A: Topped with a creamy white foam, this brew appears amber brown with honey hues in the glass.

S: Earth, sugar, and honey hold steady as pine and citrus aromatics jet forward attacking the nostrils.

T: As with the nose, the malt presence here is substantial with honey sweet breadiness along with toffee and caramel notes. There is also strong pine and tangerine citrus notes that build to an earthy, syrupy bitterness. The alcohol comes through in the finish but remains balanced with the component flavors.

M: Medium to full with a robust syrupy linger and ample supporting carbonation.

O: Pegged as a strong ale but reminiscent of an American barleywine, this beer is well executed showcasing wonderful and synergistic malt and hop characteristics. In the "Big Brother is Watching" age that we live in, this beer is a reminds us that we can still be true to ourselves.

Photo of MrUse
4.23/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Good looking beer. After smelling it i was expecting tons of hoppy bitterness. I was pleasantly suprised. Great mix of flavors with just the right amount of bitterness, and it packs a punch. I definitely will buy this again.

Photo of tigg924
3.38/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, medium carbonation, clear, amber

Smell:pine and hops dominate

Taste: pine, hops, caramel, and alcohol

Mouthfeel: nice combo of sweet and bitter with bitter dominating the finish medium carbonation on the tongue, medium body

Drinkability: I would have this again, but will not search for it. To me this is very hoppy--like a cross between and old ale and an IPA..If you love hops, go for it. I want something a bit more balanced

Photo of badmoon
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip from a bomber.

A: Bronze hue with orange highlights towards the edge. Started with a good finger of head that dissipated quickly. Very little lacing.

S: The nose is of pine and a spice that I can't quite put my finger on. I'm also picking up some nutmeg.

T: It's a big brew with an obvious pine influence. After taking a few sips, the alcohol warmth on the throat is evident. It's an attention-getter.

M: Medium body brew. The hops are definitely present at the back of the beer. The carbonation is just right.

D: I like it. This one is deceptively strong. I think this is one that you could over-do.

Overall: Very interesting beer. I really liked it! I'm not sure I could have more than one or two but that's alright. I will be buying this again. Try it!

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours and orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma is caramel, pine and alcohol. The flavor is more of the same with the pine and caramel malts being fairly well balanced. The alcohol is very present. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of goatxpower
3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- pours a nice, clear copper reddish brown. small head fades quick (might have been a bad pour on my end).

S- For just a second, you get the big hops that you expect from Lagunitas... then it utterly disappears. Sort of dissapointing.

T- Peachy, boozey, almost Southern Comfort-like tones, A little bit of toast and bread. A little bit of caramel, but nothing burnt. Much smoother then I expected.

M- Very sweet, like a Barleywine. Lingers with just a touch of hops. Almost thought that it may have been a Bizzaro interpretation of a ESB until I smelled the American hops. Despite comparison to barleywine, has a rather light body.

D- Stylistically, this is all over the place. But, this beer goes down too easily. I could easily drink a 6-er...and then pay the price in the morning.

Overall- a but restrained for what I'm used to from Lagunitas, but other then that, a great beer. Flavorful enough to drink several. Underwhelming, compared to the rest of this brewery's line-up. Do I have a problem if I consider this session-able?

Photo of bsp77
4.3/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Bottled on March 25 (Julian date of 084).

Appearance: Clear coppery-amber with thin off-white head and light lacing.

Smell: Caramel and toffee, with some expected Lagunitas citrus and grapefruit.

Taste: Quite malty, with an emphasis on caramel, toffee and a rich fruitiness. Fairly hoppy as well, but not too bitter, with grapefruit and orange rounding out the flavor profile.

Feel: Moderate carbonation and a somewhat smooth body. While certainly not light, it is not nearly as full-bodied as would be expected for the high abv.

Overall: Great, nicely balanced Strong Ale. This has the typical Lagunitas hop taste, but it is well integrated into the rich malt profile and somehow the bitterness is restrained. Lagunitas calls this an Imperial Mild - not sure if that is a joke or not, but it makes a twisted sort of sense.

Photo of DollarCan
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice amber orange with a frothy off white head.
Brown sugar sweetness toast and some faint fruity notes as well as some pine from hops.
sweet yet bitter at the same time. candy like sugar mixed with some hop bitterness.
some alcohol creeps into the finish, but leaves you with some hop bitterness.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 3,847 ratings.