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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.

955 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 955
Hads: 4,017
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 20.95%
Wants: 117
Gots: 788 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 955 | Hads: 4,017
Photo of StoutHunter
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The other day I picked up a bottle of Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale for $1.59 at The Lager Mill. Lately I have been making it a point to try all the Lagunitas beers that my local store has to offer, so when I saw one I haven't tried yet I quickly snatched it up. No visible bottling date. Poured from a short 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label on the beer is pretty damn plain, it would be nice if there was a little artwork on this bottle like on the Hairy Eyeball. It poured a nice clean and clear amber caramel color with two and a half fingers worth of off white head that died down to a thick later that stayed the rest of the time and left some nice rings of lacing.

S- Wow, I was expecting a sweet malty aroma similar to the Hairy eyeball, but instead I am pleasantly surprised by the dominating citrus hops aroma this beer has, it smells pretty similar to a heavy citrus DIPA. The aroma is pretty much dominated by citrus hops that impart lots of grapefruit, mango and blood orange aromas. There is also a nice presence of lightly toasted caramel malts that helps balance out all those citrus hops. The smell reminds me of those berry fruit by the foots.

T- The nose led me to believe the flavor was going to be all about the citrus hops but instead I am greeted with an extremely balanced brew. Up front I pick up the lightly toasted caramel malts that have just the right amount of sweetness to them and some nice biscuit like flavors. The malts are immediately followed by loads of citrus hops with grapefruits sticking out the most. The finish has some medium bitterness to it and is slightly dry. There is also a very slight presence of alcohol, for being 9.7% it is hidden pretty well.

M- Slightly dry, medium bodied and medium carbonation that suited this beer nicely.

Overall I thought this was a pretty damn good beer. I tried Hairy Eyeball yesterday and I felt like it needed some more hops to really be a great beer, well it seems like they answered my prayers and conjured this baby up. I find most American Strong Ales are either really malty or really hoppy, this beer fell right in the middle and I really liked that, it had great balance when it came to the flavor, neither hops or malts were overpowering and they were combined with great harmony. The alcohol was hidden really nicely and combined with great flavors made for some good drinkability, if I had another one I would drink it, it makes for a nice brew to crack open after a long hot day of yard work. I will be buying this again, in fact now that I just noticed it is a limited release I will be getting a six pack next time I go to the store. If your looking for an American Strong ale that has some great flavors and balance to it this is the beer for you. Great job with this brew Lagunitas, you guys really know what your doing, now I have to see what other beers I can track down from you guys.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A – Amber, light grade maple syrup. Off-white head pours with a nice creaminess, ok retention, and poor lace.

S – Soft pine behind a big honey, honeysuckle, and pineapple.

T – Opens dead and build slowly into malt, molasses, brown sugar and booze. Herbal-forward middle with rosemary and sage, and a supporting orange zest / citrus note. Climaxes in a big, rolling pine bitterness matched with molasses.

M – Medium full body. Boozy bitter backend.

O – Balanced sweet and boozy. Almost barleywine-like.

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Photo of JCaweinstein
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into SA Perfect Pint glass, no bottle date or code that I could find.

Pours an medium amber color, couldn't stop thinking of rust either when it came to the color. One finger creamy head that disappeared rather quickly. Lacing left at the top and the bottom of the glass.

I smell citrus and hops. The citrus is along the lines of grapefruit. The aromas are not the strongest atribute of this beer as I really had to work to pick up the aromas. Even as the beer warmed it was difficult to smell.

Taste is where this beer shines. Starts up front with the right amount of malty sweetness which is followed up by the grapefruity citrus and finally a strong hop finish. Very tasty indeed.

This is a medium bodied beer and has big alcohol content at 9.87%. The alcohol however barely makes itself known during the course of this glass.

One fine ale. I paired this with a mildly spicey chicken enchilada and it was near perfect. This beer looks and tastes great, one I will certainly be looking out for next spring.

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Photo of boneboy
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer pours a deep amber with orange tones. The finger width, off-white head quickly dissipates. Lacing is minimal.

S - Very hop dominate, with mostly citrus notes, especially
grapefruit. There is however a bit of pleasing sweetness.

T - The taste is similar to the aroma. Again, the hops are the star, but there is a nice bit of sweetness to balance. I also detect a bit of piney hops that my nose didn't pick up.

M - A pleasing medium/medium-full body with just the right amount of carbonation.

O - This hop-forward beer is quite enjoyable. It hides its high ABV nicely. This is definitely a good value, and I will revisit it in the future.

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Photo of dtivp
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear deep amber with a half of a finger white head that faded slowly into a small ring with moderate lacing.

Aroma of hops, malt and hints of citrus.

Taste was initially hop heavy then balanced out with a sweet malt, hunts of grapefruit and pine.

Mouthfeel was medium body with light carbonation, very crisp and smooth, alcohol booziness was well masked.

Overall a very nice double IPA to be enjoyed on a nice summer evening.

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Photo of hamilton23
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours amber in color with a fair amount of creamy off-white head.

S: Hops at first and then some citrus fruits.

T: Citrus hops, some grapefruit and a little lingering sweetness to balance out the hop profile.

M: Slightly dry, clean.

O: This is an interesting one...a hop-forward strong ale. The balance of the hop profile with the sweetness is nice. It hides the high ABV well.

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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.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.47/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle. Thanks for this beer VinnieVanGogh!

A- Pours a darker amber with hints of orange hues. One finger dirty white head shows light retention. Light specks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S- Citrus and bitter hops both show through the front of the aroma. There is a nice smei-sweet caramel malt base that also shows from the middle on. Hints of molasses in the backend with a stong warming alcohol hint as well.

T- Citrus hops in the front mix with brown sugar and caramel malts that give a overall well blended flavor. Middle of the beer shows hints of the alcohol creeping in. Also with this is hints of molasses and caramel malts. Ending of the beer shows some piney hops along with a light citrus hops. Caramel malts and interesting off flavor of butter popcorn. Alcohol comes back in the ending but never gets too hot as I thought it would.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Caramel malts, brown sugar, and citrus hops are left on the palate. Aftertaste is alcohol, hints of hops, and caramel malts. Flavors were well balanced for the style I thought with little jerk motion on the palate. Light butter flavor in the ending shows a little off flavor but that seemed to be about it. Heavy alcohol drying on the palate with each sip.

O- This beer had turned out to be one that seemed a lot different that what I thought it was going to be. I really liked the flavors overall even with the light off flavor in the ending. ABV was high though which limits this beer.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From baycat

A - Deep red/brown body, quickly dissipating taupe head.

S - nice hop profile, cinnamon, toffee malt.

T - Sweet, dry, fruits. bitter hops. Kind of odd.

M - Big, aggressive.

O (D) - This is somewhat interesting, It's ok. Nothing spectacular, but it's hoppy, and thats worth something.

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Photo of SDtastentune
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Great Darker brown/amber look, great lacing.

S - Smells of malts/hops/alcohol.

T - Taste has a deep malty/sweet/alcohol thing close to a strong ale of some sort.

M - Goes down easy for a 9%'er, great aftertaste of robust'ness. Good medium carbonation.

O - Overall its a good strong ale, close to an arrogant bastard but not as hopped up/bitter, has a taste of its own... great brew!

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.72/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a brownish amber, a little on the red side. Barely any head formed and just left a couple puddles sitting on top. The nose is a lot of sweet and tangy malts with some darker notes. A lot of brown sugar and that Lagunitas hop character. A lot of citrus and some earthy tones. That hop character is right up front in the taste. Resinous tones along with some darker fruits from the malt and hop combination. The malt body shows through with a bready and dark malt characters. Cherry and a metallic twang. Finishes with a resinous pine flavor that lacks a big bitter kick.

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Photo of ChopperSmith
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a stubby brown 12 oz. bottle into a standard clear pint glass.

Appearance: A nice clear deep amber/orange color (like Baltic amber). A one and a half finger tan foamy head that left nice lacing as it receded to a frothy tan cap.

Smell: Very fruity and floral hops, grapefruit peel and pine. I could smell this one as I was pouring it into the glass, so it's anything but subtle.

Taste: Sweet malts up front give way to a bracing hops bite. Very fruity taste, with citrus and dried apricot and a great hops bitterness that mellows out on the finish. Really interesting flavors, and BOLD flavors, to this one. With the high ABV the alcohol is there, but it's masked well by the BIG flavors of hops and malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with good carbonation. Feels crisp and clean on the tongue.

Drinkability: Hell yeah! This is truly an All-American Strong Ale. Big hops and malts, big ABV, big hops aromas. Due to the high ABV and strong flavors, one or two of these go a long way...but could easily do a session as this one tastes better the more you drink. Just leave the driving to someone else.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Crystal clear amber, with no bubbling carbonation visible. Thin, foamy almond colored head.

S - Spiced tree sap with bitter grapefruit zest. Very sweet molasses nose. Warm spruce and alcohol notes.

T - Bitter hops up front with a warming spruce flavored alcohol. Hop leaf and and citrus peel. White grapefruit meat.

M - Clean, crisp and fresh with some sweet stickiness.

O - Nice strong ale, reminding me of a sweet double IPA.

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Photo of PonchoEquihua
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was a recomendation of one guy in Sout Bay Liquor Store in Chula Vista Ca.

I was impressed with his 9.4 ABV and as soon i was in home poured it in 16 oz glass and

Very nice amber cooper with reds, almost a finger of head
Malty, fruity, caramel sweet and very handling in the aromatics and bittering hops.

Not for a session beer of course but it makes well in a evening watching a game.

I like it

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Photo of BeerMaverick
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Brown and clear brew with about an inch of off-white head. Good amount of lacing that lasts throughout the session.

S - Some hoppy citrusy tones come through and are backed by a malty sweetness. The alcohol is also detected here.

T - This beer is on the sweeter side. A good amount of brown sugar and caramel are present with the malt character. The hoppy bitterness plays with the alcohol, but doesn't cover it up.

M - A full-bodied brew that definitely coats the tongue in a layer of syrupy malts.

O - A good beer overall. I probably won't get this again because there are many other beers I'd like to try and better ones that I've had. Had one of these while playing Call of Duty: Black Ops...fitting, but really started to mess with my gameplay once I was through with it. Only recommend one of these in a sitting due to its sweetness, heavy character, and high abv.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.86/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle at 45 degrees into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: It pours a mostly clear red color with a two finger head of dirty white foam that holds and laces very well.

S: Strong maltiness, red apples, a little toffee, and dark fruits.

T: Buttered popcorn, caramel, strong hoppiness, dark fruits, and some tangy citrus.

M: This has a medium-thick body with average carbonation and some stickiness.

O: This is tasty and strong, yet pretty easy to drink.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown color with a reddish hue from a 12 oz bottle, with ABV on the label.
One finger head that dissipates into a thin film that stays.
Aroma is very fruity upfront. Feels like a mixture of apricots, peach and figs.
Sweet notes hit the palate first with the bitterness slowly taking over at the finish. With time as the beer warms up the bitterness of the hops takes over the sweetness that is initially dominant.
Nice silky mouthfeel with very good lacing throughout.
Surprisingly easy to drink even with the high ABV.
Definitely one of the better strong ales around. Worth a try.

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Photo of Pahn
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

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Photo of Avantyawn
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce pour

A: Deep reddish brown, huge frothy head, generous lacing as beer goes down.

S: Funky barnyard wet hop smell. Caramel malts and bitter hop closing. Grapefruit and mango.

T: Pungent green vegetables, bitter hops, semi sweet malt finish. An odd tasting beer, but...I like it. Has a very familiar Lagunitas ale taste composition.

M: Biting and strong carbonation, medium mouthfeel. Carbonation helps clean the funk from yr lips n gums.

O: Overall, this is an unusual and super funky tasting Strong Ale. It sort of reminds me of their wet hop ale and Arrogant Bastard a bit as well ( not as good as Arrogant Bastard). I can't say I LOVE it (like most Lagunitas offerings), But I LIKE it and its well done and totally unusual and interesting tasting. Tastes a bit like a more funky Maximus. This won't be an everyday beer ( it's limited anyways) but I am glad to try it and look forward to finishing the 6er! This is an adventurous strong ale and you should check it out if you like pungent funky strong ales.

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Photo of boss302
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A amber decent head 4

S lots of hop aroma, with a little grassiness.  Malt is apparent in the aroma. 4

T good malt, hops are very forward, finishes a little sweet and astringent. A bit too cloying for my taste. 3.5

M med heavy, feels thick, good carbonation, balance is toward hops. 4. 

D a good beer, but would be difficult to follow with another. 3.5 

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Photo of jwinship83
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my samuel adams perfect pint glass. i have passed this by on the shelf countless times now. i never knew it was a DIPA.

A- the pour yields an amber colored body with a small tightly knit bright white head on top. the head has excellent retention and leaves behind random spots of lacing.

S- the nose here is big, bold, and very hoppy. grapefruit just bursts from my glass. there are other citrus fruits present as well, like orange and a little bit of pineapple. the little bit of malt that i can detect comes across as bread-like and sweet caramel.

T- the taste starts out with more of the bready and sweet caramel malts that i could smell. then i pick up one something that vaguely reminds me of something belgian. candi sugar maybe? after that it becomes all about the hops. very strong on the grapefruit front. there is also some pine, orange, and just a touch of pineapple. the alcohol comes through a little stronger than i was expecting.

M- the body is a touch bigger than a solid medium. the carbonation is just about right. there is a little warming form the alcohol. nice and bitter.

D- i regret passing up this beer as many times as i have. lagunitas is once again able to pull off a well hopped beer. this beer gave me a buzz after just one, so i dont think that having a couple would be a good idea. it is something i will continue to buy until my store runs out. check this one out if you havnt already.

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Photo of shaunb81
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured a copper, almost red body with a decent white, 1" head. Medium lacing coats the glass.

Smell - It's definitely fruity (mango or peach). It's also got some sweet malty aromas, some florals and it smells a bit sour after about 10 minutes or so.

Taste - Sweet and fruity malts make it pretty yummy, but it gets a little funky after about 10 minutes. After about 10 minutes though, there wasn't much to grade.

Mouthfeel - Balanced, medium density, and a little creamy. I like it!

Overall - This will definitely put you on your ass after a few of them and it is pretty easy to do so. The hops are nice and I like the fruitiness to the brew as well. Tread carefully, though!

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is just a good solid beer. Not overly complex but a beautiful hoppy sipper.

Bottle dated the 117th day of the year making this beer around 3 weeks old.

I'll start by saying this beer is moreso to me a Imperial Red. A Red DIPA if you will. Ruby Red Grapefruit hop forward beer. JUICY fruit hops for sure. If you're a hop-head you will love this beer for sure.

Smells fantastic, juicy citrus hops with a nice display of malts backing this up but this one is about the hops. Piney bitterness at the end for sure in the nose and taste. Damn! I just can't stop smelling this beer! The taste does not dissapoint but the nose is better.

A sipper but for the 9.87% the bottle reads, it would not be hard at all to put back more than a few of these.

Overall - I recommend this beer to any hophead. I have only two complaints:

1. The finish has the same typical finish it seems every hoppy
beer lagunitas brews.

2. You have to drink this beer fresh. Having plenty of
experience with this beer, I know many like to age Strong
Ales. This one IMO just completely goes downhill with age
and tastes just like all their hoppy beers do with age.
Off-puttingly sweet and cloying.

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Photo of jmerloni
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Maple amber mahogony, translucent, nice off-white coloration. Looks buttery and delicious.

S - Oh man, ton of hops and a ton of brown sugar malt backbone. Citrus, floral notes.

T - Extremely hoppy, a bit of an oaky bitterness here, with maybe a touch of vanilla or anise, with alcohol coming through on the swallow. This beer could be better toned on on both ends of the hop/malt balance. It's a simple tasting beer that is trying to overdo itself by blasting the drinker with both hops and malt. If there were 33% less of both hops and malt (or at least malt), this could be a 5.0 on taste. Because the ingredients certainly are fresh.

M - Medium bodied. Leaves your tastebuds pretty numb. I'm on my third one of these and I can only taste it half as well as I could the first.

D - A sipper. You can't chug these by any means. Drink a 6 of these and you'll be as drunk as anyone at the party. Better as a slow sipper and could probably be sold in 4-packs with minimal complaint. This is a very solid beer, overall, better than Arrogant Bastard. It'd be a boon for Lagunitas to use west coast IPA hops, though. That'd make this beer an elite. Taste too much like an Atlantic coast DIPA.

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Photo of twoheadedboy
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A deep amber color poured into a snifter.

Smell is earthy, flowery hops with a sharp booziness. Taste is exceptionally sweetly alcoholic, with caramel notes and a tangy breadiness with a light, slightly chewy mouthfeel.

Overall a very solid brew, if a little one-note; very enjoyable but not super complex. Definitely a sipper, the alcohol is quite noticeable (and I rarely say that).

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 955 ratings.