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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

947 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 947
Hads: 3,924
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 4.99%
Wants: 108
Gots: 726 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 947 | Hads: 3,924
Photo of GeoJ
1.56/5  rDev -61.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Short and sweet: Bleeech ...

One of the single worst tasting beverages I've ever had. Slick, oily mouthfeel coats the tongue and doesn't let go. Cloyingly piney, "What the hell am I drinking?" reaction after first sip. Overdone on every level - I don't understand what this beer is trying to be.

Too boozy tasting on top of it all.

A two-sip drain-pour.

Simply horrific. (375 characters)

Photo of MLoxxer
2.12/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2.5

I poured a 12oz bottle of Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down into a tulip glass. A very lively head was produced. Although the foam began to dissipate in moments it left behind some very respectable lacing and a nice tuft of bubbles not normally seen in a US microbrew. The color was like that of a brown ale, slightly red with no haze. Without even bringing the beer to my face I could tell this one had a very hoppy aroma. In spite of being a 9.3% ABV brew the flavor is not very strong. And although it smelled hoppy from a distance I was pleased that its flavor wasn't that of another over-hopped US microbrew. The taste reminds me of a watered-down American barleywine with a slightly soapy aftertaste. Mouthfeel is very understated. This beer is certainly not terrible, but for what it is supposed to be (a strong ale) it's character is a bit short of the mark. (878 characters)

Photo of Phelps
2.24/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Served in a shaker pint at Tops.

Perfectly clear auburn with hints of burnt orange. One finger of frothy head the color of wet sand slowly fades to thick top layer, looking a little scummy.

Weird nose. Caramel, dry dog food, sweet wort. Also honey and hints of tangy apricot.

Ugh, the flavor is worse. Sweet, tangy apricot and perhaps some orange peel with floral notes give way to overly burnt caramel malt and hefty bitterness. Overly astringent and just weird. The tangy cleaning solution and burnt malt never meld.

Light yet prickly carbonation breaks into just a bit of fizz. Treacly medium body.

Weird, weird, weird. Competing flavors are fighting it out in my mouth, and I don’t appreciate it. (711 characters)

Photo of Offa
2.51/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This is rather rough and unbalanced, like a rougher, more astringent, less balanced, and generally less well-crafter relative of Lagunitas's own Lucky 13.

Deep reddish, it has a medium pale tan head steadily shrinking to a thin foamy top and leaving a little lace.

The aroma is hoppy with a lot of grapefruit an pine plus very strong alcohol notes.

The taste is similar, some candied fruit and rum, some caramel, and hop flavours, but with too much grapfefruit and too much rough alcohol. The elements do not marry well but conflict and ultimately it is too bitter, astringently hot, and harsh, with a very drying feel in the mouth. (638 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
2.6/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

9.8%. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a nonical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high; I'm increasingly liking Lagunitas.

Served straight from the refrigerator and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger beige-light light khaki head of fair retention, nice thickness, and pretty decent cream. Lacing is mundane. Colour is a clear textbook copper. No yeast particles are visible. Translucent. No bubble show.

Sm: Nice floral hopping, caramel, clean malts, cream, toasted malt, toffee, and a hint of alcohol. A mild strength aroma. No yeast comes through.

T: Malt sweetness - especially on the climax. Toffee and caramelization are prominent. Some toasted malts. A boozy character, but not in an averse way. Clean malts. Floral hopping; it's indistinct and adds little. This is a messy beer; the balance is off and the flavours are haphazard. I like it for what it is, but it just isn't focused or well put together. No real complexity or subtlety.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Somewhat syrupy; too thick. Not overbearing, but too heavy on the palate for what it is. Carbonation is good, if a bit overdone.

Dr: Drinkable but far from excellent. A decent brew from Lagunitas, but not a great one. I wouldn't get it again. Hides its ABV pretty well, but some does come through. Decently priced here in California.

C- (1,533 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
2.62/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottled 25 March 2011. Don't know enough about the beer to know if that's a problem. I'm going to assume it's not and forge boldly ahead.

Pours a deep amber color, reddish-tinged with gold highlights. Big pillowy two-finger off-white head, good retention and nice lacing. Some visible carbonation, but not much. Knocked down a bit by some tiny little particles floating around in it.

Smells round, fleshy, and golden. Fruity, but an odd, unidentifiable fruit. Kinda like melon. Or "soft" alcohol - meaning the alcohol is there, but its edges are smoothed out. Reminds me of another unclassifiable Lagunitas beer I had not too long ago - Little Sumpin' Wild. Regardless, I like it.

First taste is like the smell turned down a notch, with a little hop kick at the end. Second taste is... fine... but I think the alcohol is too much for the rest of the beer. I don't find enough flavor here to stand up to 10%, so half the time I just taste the alcohol. And that's not pleasant. I even had a couple of hard-liquor-style shudders after taking sips of it. It's lacking the warmth, softness, and fulness of the smell. After a few sips, I'm finding it nearly undrinkable. The sweetness still sneaks through a bit, but I think this one is destined for the drain.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, low carbonation. Not bad, but I'm having trouble enjoying it because of the taste.

What can I say? It smells real nice. I enjoyed smelling it. I did not enjoy drinking it. In fact, I drank very little of it. Not my cup of tea. Sharp alcohol and bitterness drown out any goodness. (1,567 characters)

Photo of JDV
2.63/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a gorgeous rich mahagony color, with some nice lasting white head. Smell is pretty nice and hoppy with a slight touch of malt perhaps and a bit of noticeable alcohol present especially as it warms some. Moderately bittered for the style, and is nicely hopped, but the noticeable alcohol taste rather, is what caused me to not like it too much. Finish is mild lasting bitterness and chest warming alcohol. I don't like tasting the alcohol in my beer this much. (465 characters)

Photo of DeFaz
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours an amber color with a medium head that leaves nice lacing. Good head retention.

Smell: Huge candy aroma along with alcohol (this smells like 9+% if not more), caramel, and orange. There's a lot going on, but the aromas don't work well together.

Taste: Again, there's a lot of flavors, but they don't blend well. This tastes way too sweet while being moderately bitter, and the alcohol seeps through. I find that oftentimes strong ales will be very sweet so as to cover up the alcohol, but this doesn't happen here. There's some fruit and brown sugar going on.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, thick, and slightly undercarbonated. This doesn't make things any better.

Overall: I absolutely appreciate the effort to make a unique beer (that's why I seek out craft beers in the first place), but this really is tough to drink given the out of control sweetness. There are some good flavors here too, but the alcohol and candy flavors just squash everything for me. (968 characters)

Photo of TechMyst
2.75/5  rDev -31.4%
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... (404 characters)

Photo of Kraken
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 3/24/09
Loved the story behind why this was brewed, had to pick up a 6'er. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz pint glass. Exceedingly firm pour yields 1/8 inch head, bright white in color. Head fades quickly leaving no sign of lace. Color is a clear copper amber.

Nose- Piney, pithy grapefruit. Some pronounced caramel notes. Very dry, with some brown sugar sweetness. Plenty of bitterness in the finish. Very Hot. Kind of a hopped up sugary hot mess.

Mouthfeel- Very dry, and bitter.

Drinkability- Very strong, and confused. (540 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
2.8/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chilled 12oz into a glass. Purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos.

A: Pours a clear dark amber / coppery shade. Has a half-finger off-white head that recedes into light filming and a donut on top of the drink. Leaves some lacing down the glass. Has nice bubbles up the center.

S: MALT. MALT. MALT. A surprising amount of toast, brown sugar, raisins, and an arrangement of floral hops with a lighter grapefruit / citrus component. It honestly smells a lot to me like a doppelbock.

T: Following the nose, a dominant sweetness with toast, dark fruits (raisins, dates) with brown sugar and caramel malt supplementing. The finish takes a complete 180 into hop territory, with grapefruit acidity and floral bitterness. The aftertaste is fairly clean but has just a little lingering bitterness. Seems like the flavors need a little more time to meld.

M: It's medium-bodied, with a watery, unsatisfying finish. Medium carbonation that serves the style decently. Has a lingering bitter aftertaste, but after finishing the beer I had mostly malt burps. Good masking of the ABV.

D: Decent. While I'm glad I tried it, it's not mind-blowing, and I don't think I'd go out of my way to stock up before the season is over. It's more like a dependable and solid brew from a dependable and solid company. (1,296 characters)

Photo of diamondc
2.83/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark bronze, not much head, but there is a lingering cap of foam and some nice lacing.

S: Some light citrus aroma .. and that's it. Maybe some slight toastiness from the malt.

T: Very woodsy & pine-like hop bitterness. Booze is out in the open.

M: Despite the booziness, it doesnt drink harshly at all. Well-carbonated with no memorable hop or malt flavors.

O: Glad I only got a single. My least favorite Lagunitas beer. (428 characters)

Photo of MeisterBurger
2.88/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear brownish copper topped by a thin off white head. Minimal lacing.

The aroma is bright citrus hops, slightly grassy with a hint of sulphur. Caramel malt comes out little by little.

The taste is lighter than you'd expect, with a sweetness followed by an oddly grassy bitterness in the finish. Piney. But mostly grassy. Some of the sulphur is in the taste too. A bit of alcohol heat in the back of the throat. Not really much going on but light sweet caramel washed away by a leafy bitterness.

The body is also lighter that you'd expect for something so bitter with noticeable malt, but it's very light with low carbonation.

Overall this wasn't great. Too grassy and unbalanced and slightly harsh. A rare disappointment from Lagunitas for me. (756 characters)

Photo of keokani
2.9/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: copper, clear, with frothy, sandy white head.

Smell: caramel, butterscotch.

Taste: heavy sweetness, medium bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium body, somewhat sticky texture, soft carbonation, bitter finish.

Drinkability: The style of this beer is a combination of old ale and English barleywine. The flatness of the carbonation makes it a sweet and sticky beer, but with a noticeably bitter finish. So, your palate and stomach have to be in the mood for the simultaneous taste extremes, which do a very good job of masking the 9.75% alcohol content. Stylistically, this is the kind of beer that I can only handle for one or two rounds at the most, before the concentrated flavor profile gets to be too much. (717 characters)

Photo of drpimento
2.9/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Expected better, given the ratings. Served with a fine, creamy, off white head and good lace. Color is a clear medium amber. Aroma is bright citrus, hop, a little yeast. Flavor is very intense grapefruit. Too intense for me. Body is ok and carbonation is a shade light. Finish is like flavor. Not a session for me. (314 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.93/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear copper color. The head is a little over two fingers high, and off-white in coloring. It not only retains nicely, but has a rugged texture suggesting a good hoppiness. Rings of lacing are left on the glass.

S: Huh. I hardly smell anything. I'd wonder if my glass was dirty, but I also get very little from out of the bottle. The typical Lagunitas character and some brown sugar-esque malts are there, along with just a touch of piny hops - and that's about it. The aroma is amplified slightly once it warms up, revealing some nice fruity notes. My patience is paying off: this is developing into an enjoyable nose.

T: A gentle combination of piny hops and dark fruit notes open this up. The finish, on the other hand, is caramel-y to the point of obstruction. Touches of minty bitterness can't save this beer from being positively choked down by toffee, toffee, and more toffee. Let it warms up, and it even becomes quite boozy. Meh.

M: Even though it's too sweet, and not even that enjoyable tasting, I'll give it some credit - it goes down easily in that way only a Lagunitas strong ale can go down easily. I'm only picking up traces of its alcohol presence on the tongue; the 9.7% is hidden quite well. Actually, once it warms up, it isn't hidden well at all - basically, this is one to drink cold.

O: This is the probably the first Lagunitas beer I actually don't like. Still, it's not exactly bad - there are whispers of a good strong ale to be found, what a shame the extensive caramel backbone runs roughshod over everything. That, and it becomes rather harsh when warmed up sufficiently. I won't be returning to this one when just about everything else from Lagunitas shows off their (awesome) house character better. (1,778 characters)

Photo of jujubeast6000
2.94/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 5/31/2009 (Draft at Flying Saucer, Houston, Tx):

Pours a clear reddish brown colored body, foamy cream-colored head, very lasting. Sweet hoppy aroma, kind of a weird fruity aroma. Not very strong. Pale somewhat hoppy, sweet taste. A mild pale ale. Sweet fruity taste, almost like strawberry. Creamy mouthfeel. (319 characters)

Photo of JayS2629
2.98/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

The color is a deep amber copper with thin white head that fades fast but leaves nice lace. The smell is like a new car. Polished leather, and mild soapy aromas mixed with floral and pine notes. Some citrus, orange and bitter grapefruit mixed in. The taste, unfortunately follows the taste with soapy leather and pine, but has strong caramel and butterscotch balancing it out. Perfume like essense with notes of brown sugar and citrus. Interesting balance with the hops leading the way. Overall, a little difficult to finish. (525 characters)

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Burnt orange brown copper color. Paper thin head dissipates quickly leaving light white lacing along the sides of the glass.

Smell: The nose is good as the beer warms in the glass. Burnt malt smell. The bitterness and alcohol jump right out at me. Mild backing sweetness. The malts smell of molasses. Hints of dark fruits, figs, raisins, black cherry.

Taste: Heavy malt profile with a moderate hop bitterness. I expected a browner hopped up beer but this is more along the lines of an overpowered rendition of Mendocino's "eye of the hawk." The taste leaves me wanting more. It is a mildly sweetened blend of sugars and sour fruits with a strong warming alcohol presence. The hops don't do a lot for me. There is a decent hop presence but the alcohol tends to overpower the bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light medium a bit chewy. Finishes fine. Nothing spectacular.

Overall: This is a relatively bland outing by Lagunita's. I expected something much more exciting but this is a malt bomb that is too strong to appreciate much of. I'll pass on this one next time. (1,074 characters)

Photo of HappyPappy2X
3.04/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: 12oz pour into Belgian goblet;
Medium carbonation;
Burnt orange color;
1 cm. head dissipates in several minutes.

S: Floral hops, malt sweetness, more floral hops. "Clean."

T: Hops bitterness up front, subtle malt sweetness catches up, back of throat sweetness fades slightly before tannic bitterness takes it home.

M: Light, considering a 9.6%abv. Carbonation seems to mask some flavor.

O: Lagunitas excels at producing high ABV, good, yet unremarkable beers at decent prices. UISDA is no exception. Balanced? Check. Clean? Sure. Memorable? Doubt it. I have a hard time judging it to style, since "American Strong Ale" is so vague a descriptor. I need to do more research to help solidify what the epitome is of this style, but whatever the outcome, I doubt Lagunitas will make the finals. (800 characters)

Photo of AVDeuph
3.06/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is my first review, but I figured I gotta start somewhere so here goes:

A: Looks like Autumn in the 1970's. A reddish-brown with some deep, caramelized orange undertones.

S: At first the nose was rubber and alcohol, but upon some mild disturbance some good strong grapes/pencil eraser, however you look at it.

T: Alcohol is clearly present. A very bitter bite, a little overbalanced on that end. Fruitier aromas didn't quite translate to flavor they way I had hoped.

M: Well carbonated with small bubbles that mostly blend together as soon as they hit your mouth. Relatively light for a ale of this gravity.

D: For me, the alcohol is present enough that I'm conscious of it at all times. Not the best characteristic for this category.

Bottom line I liked it, but I'll keep searching out others in the style before I buy this again. (845 characters)

Photo of PDXHops
3.06/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter.

Deep amber see-thru body. A finger of cream colored head quickly recedes to a small skim, but the lacing proves to be pretty good.

Smells very strongly of caramel malt, brown sugar and dark fruity booziness. Hops are bit players, but pine, citrus and some floral notes make an appearance. Very sweet smelling overall, though.

In the mouth, the hops seem to be primarily citrusy. Not so much grapefruit as orange and pineapple. Sweetness dominates again with loads of dark fruit and maltiness. Too much lingering sweetness for me.

Body is on the full side of medium. Moderate carbonation. The finish has lingering sticky sweetness as well as the orange and pineapple.

Overall impression: Interesting brew, but too sweet for my taste. 1 bottle was enough. (797 characters)

Photo of BMoney575
3.06/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on 4-7-09

Pours a clear deep red/brown, with a huge, foamy, clingy, off-white head that leaves crazy thick lacing.

Smell is all fruity and grassy hops, with a strong malt in the back. Reminds me very much of an Arrogant Bastard.

Taste is sweet and hot, combining to create a cinnamon-like quality. Fruity hops on the finish, with slick alcohol.

Mouthfeel is super slicks, adds to the booziness.

Drinkability is poor, see above.

Overall, lots of booze, little else. (478 characters)

Photo of beagle75
3.07/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Toffee and bales of warm hay make for a prominently malt-influenced smell. There is a thread detectable that is volatile and herbaceous, suggesting a light but lively spiciness. Some heady ethanol fumes swirl about.

T: Begins almost sweet, with polished caramel malt, lively--but not especially potent--spicy hops, bright and airy carbonic acidity, and booziness that swells into the middle. Some diacetyl also emerges in the middle while sweetness begins to subside. The finish is husky and toasty, with moderate bitterness and a hint of lingering sweetness.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, acidic and warming on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: One of Lagunitas's seasonal strong ales, this spring release puts an increased emphasis on hops but still cannot move beyond malt, booze, and simplicity. It is slightly punishing on the palate, leaving it scorched from the combined effects of carbonic acid and ethanol. Hay and husky malt will reward the drinker that favors such qualities, but otherwise this is just a lot of unnecessary abv. (1,215 characters)

Photo of IMincedTheKing
3.07/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours amber with a finger of sturdy, ecru head.

A huge blast of sweet citrus assaults the nose, orange rind and lemon. Obviously hoppy, and the ABV is given away by a trace of alcohol.

Very little hop bitterness is present. It opens with a load of hoppy citrus and caramel malts. That gives way on the swallow to a flavor reminding me of cheap gin, and then a half-gin/half-hop aftertaste lingers. It's almost tasty, but the huge alcohol presence is unforgivable, even at 9%. The mouthfeel is chewy and syrupy with light carbonation.

I don't think I can take any more of this. (579 characters)

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 947 ratings.