Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company
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Ratings: 2,791 | Reviews: 724 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Pahn:
4.43/5 rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5
On tap at Prime 16 in New Haven.
Appearance: Bartender leaves a half inch head that dissipates slowly leaving a thick lacing ring. Pours an attractive, translucent dark reddish orange. Leaves a few spots of lacing.
Smell: Hops and caramel. The smell is not assertive, but the hops have a nice pungent quality to them. During a sip, the hop smell increases and it smells like putting your face in a bag of somewhat mild hops like Galena. It's really nice.
Caramel note has a bit of a tang, but the smell is more oriented toward hops, and is not very strong. I'd give it a 3 or a 3.5 for "faintness despite good smell," if it weren't for that beautiful flavor-enhancing shot of hop aroma that comes out with almost every sip.
Taste: Thick molasses and caramel, blended perfectly with strong, fresh tasting hops up front and in the finish. Hops aren't exactly citrusy, but they do have characteristic west coast hop aspects that I'm having trouble putting words to. No solvent flavor or much discernible heat at all, despite the very high ABV.
The malt flavor is the star, with the hops a very prominent supporting actor (and they play off of each other well). The malt has BBQ sauce and molasses elements, but also fresh pre-boil pale malt elements. The taste is at times reminiscent of those old Coca Cola bottle or Root Beer bottle candies; slightly cola-ish and spicy, somewhat anise-like but not really. Bold and beautiful malt flavors supported by strong American hops. Great.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low to moderate carbonation. Perfect amount of bitterness through to the finish. Long aftertaste that is almost entirely hops.
Overall: For me, this is a perfect beer. One of those seasonal beers you wait to come back in bars and stores, and "How is this even better than I remember it?" So solid, balanced, and flavorful.
I've reviewed this beer in the bottle before, and didn't plan on reviewing it again. However, I'm so in love with it, and the hop balance (freshness dependent) is so helpful to the overall flavor, that I figured I'd throw up this tap review. This is a beer that I want to always have on hand.
Serving type: on-tap
05-22-2011 21:52:43 | More by Pahn
More User Reviews:
3.69/5 rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
12 oz bottle poured into my Short's goblet. Bottled dated 67th day of 2014, so March 7th after a bit of Googling. I tried this beer once a while back and I really enjoyed it, so it'll be interesting to see how it's held up (in a refrigerated cooler) for the last few months.
UISDA pours a coppery, brassy orange out of the bottle and settles a little deeper in the glass with a predictable amount of head on the forced pour. The first thing I'm reminded of is a strong doppelbock with its deep ocher tone, limited translucency, and all-around prosaic appearance. The foam is off white, just a tinge of brown, and lingers on top of the beer in a thin layer in the middle of the surface and a thick band around the periphery. Some carbonation evident. This is an utterly "blah" beer, nothing special, nothing wrong, just plain.
The smell, by contrast, is relatively complex. The first thing I detect after a swirl and a deep whiff is hops, nothing citrusy or juicy, but dank and meaty, almost like a mosaic and nugget hop ate a piece of bacon before they were added to the boil. Speaking of pork, there's an almost spicy quality to the aroma too, like pepperoni, or even marijuana. There's little beneath the hop aroma, which is interesting considering that this is an aged specimen.
This relative dearth in the aroma carries through to the taste, which makes me suspect that this beer is better fresh. A hint of sugar presents itself, which makes me question the yeast strain; following it is a burst of bitter hop aroma, which doesn't pair well with the underlying sweetness from the alcohol and the yeast strain (Belgian pale, or something?). The combination yields a bitter citrusy flavor, like licking your fingers after handling a lime or the worst kind of grapefruit. In all, the taste is thin and one-dimensional.
Thinness, of course, is the enemy of mouthfeel. Bitterness is a close second. Unfortunately, UISDA presents both of these characteristics, leading to a less than desirable drinking experience. Despite the high alcohol content (which isn't part of the dramatis personae), the mouthfeel is thin and the ingredients are bitter.
UISDA is an interesting, but ultimately unconvincing experiment. There are a lot of styles being thrown around here, including DIPA, American Barleywine, and Weizenbock, which I assume is what led the brewers to label it as the nebulous "Strong Ale." Despite my negative comments, I'd like to revisit this beer afresh when it's less than a month old, as I think the desired flavors will be more present. Still, I expected better shelf-life from a 4-month-old, refrigerated, 9.5% ABV beer from an otherwise excellent brewery.
Serving type: bottle
07-25-2014 22:15:40 | More by JamesShoemaker
Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 2,791 ratings.