Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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.

947 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 947
Hads: 3,924
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 4.99%
Wants: 108
Gots: 724 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 947 | Hads: 3,924
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. (300 characters)

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! (391 characters)

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. (580 characters)

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. (1,112 characters)

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. (435 characters)

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 (404 characters)

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. (878 characters)

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. (451 characters)

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. (601 characters)

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. (2,132 characters)

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. (1,022 characters)

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  (360 characters)

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. (1,449 characters)

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! (693 characters)

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. (1,182 characters)

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. (1,195 characters)

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). (386 characters)

Photo of ccm414
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 12oz bottle...

A- An interesting look... brownish with some amber and a little golden in color. Pours with a 2 finger head that settles down evenly leaving a nice lace around the entire glass.

S- Fruity, floral, and piney hops. Hops, hops, hops and I love it. The aromas this brew gives off are great. True to the Lagunitas Brewery. Some brown sugar and caramel notes are also poking through from the malt.

T- First comes off rather sweet with a nice bitter/hop balance and finishes with a nice slight bitterness, but still with some sweetness from the malt. The taste almost flip-flops while savoring it.

M- A medium bodied beer with a slightly lighter carbonation. The 9.70% abv does poke through with a little alcohol warmth.

D- Very drinkable. I really enjoyed this beer. Nothing special to look at, but the aromas and flavors it gives off are rather nice. I will be looking for this again.

Cheers! (930 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 InebriatedJoker
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into tulip - No best by date visible.

A: Poured a translucent brown with amber hues,one finger head that dissipated into a thin lacing ,great webbing as it lowers,good carbonation.

S: Hops with some roasted malts,slight citrus.

T: Roasty malt with citrus hops , bready yeast hints , grapefruit with slight pine notes.

O: It says Limited Release and that's to bad, I could make this an everyday addition to my fridge - Has a great hop profile that is well balanced with malts and yeast, Tasty beer that goes down easy and packs a little punch. (570 characters)

Photo of MAB
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fabulous offering; I like this better than their normal IPA.
I'm starting to wonder if they can even make a poor beer?
Lovely colour and a nice tight head.
For taste, I mostly just got hops -- which isn't a problem as far as I'm concerned.
The heightened alcohol "burn" took the sweetness down a notch and contributed greatly to the experience.
Great mouthfeel.
Definitely go look for one of these, if you can find one. (421 characters)

Photo of foxcaptain
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
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. (265 characters)

Photo of Fenris244
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Last of the three on my quest for the day, on tap at the saucer

Dark amber in color, sticky as hell head, about 1 fingers worth and its clinging to the glass for dear life it seems

Very citrusy and floral in the nose, bits of lemon peel as well as a citrus like sweetness that very apperant

Good flavors the "imperial mild" descriptor they put on this beer is spot on, good amount of citrus sweetness, hops and some malt but it's all well balanced and super smooth

Almost light in body and the flavors lend a refreshing quality that a beer of this strength has no right to have, the alcohol is very well hidden, super smooth and refreshing beer.

Overall, very solid brew and I'd be happy to have a bottle of this everyday (726 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a dark coppery brown, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with very sweet flavors of citrus and some caramel. Then a strong but not over-powering hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is hearty and brings a good balance. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, strong kick, very good representation of style, this is very nice beer to drink for a long time. (696 characters)

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

12 oz bottle to pint glass.

Appearance - Pours a clear copper/amber color. A bit of carbonation is present visually. Head pours 2 fingers and leaves a film that sticks around leaving a moderate amount of lace.

Smell - Very west coast like citrus/pine smell. Has a bit of malt on the end of the nose.

Taste - Fairly strong hop character with quite a bit of sweetness that I wasn't expecting.

Mouthfeel - Mid bodied. Has a moderate amount of alcohol present ... to be expected at nearly 10% I guess.

Overall - This beer goes down pretty easy for nearly 10% ABV. Very solid strong ale/DIPA (592 characters)

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