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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,851 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,851
Reviews: 724
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 42
Gots: 250 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
ABV varies slightly from 9.0 to 9.8
66.6 IBU

(Beer added by: GilGarp on 03-10-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,851 | Reviews: 724 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrStiffington

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +3.9%

Man, I had this last year around Mother's Day and my brother-in-law and I took down a six(among other beers) that weekend. We both dug the piss out of this one. I saw it on the shelf today and was psyched. So here goes: it looks coppery, with a decent, foamy head. The smell is of hops and malts (I guess, that's my go-to when I'm not sure what I smell). The taste is strong, hoppy, and has that bitter goodness that I can't quite describe but really dig. Is this a cross between a barleywine and a DIPA? Strong Ale is very vague... This is a strong beer and it's one of my favorites from Lagunitas. Good, good, good.

04-10-2011 22:27:25 | More by DrStiffington
Photo of vitrael


3.98/5  rDev -2%

A: Clear golden-red with small white head that dissipated quickly leaving a film. A little lacing.

S: Very pungent citrus hop and sweet malt aroma. Great smelling beer.

T: Complex and very strong. Sweet barleywine like malts take command, a little biscuit character. Hop taste matches the aroma, with a good bitterness. Not a subtle beer at all. It's a bit of an assault.

M: Medium body and light carbonation.

04-08-2011 23:13:02 | More by vitrael
Photo of WankelEngine


4.65/5  rDev +14.5%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass

A: This beer pours a deep, clear amber-red with a thick white head of maybe one finger which diminishes slowly. I can see almost no carbonation.

S: The smell is fantastic. It is very balanced, having a smooth malt backbone with strong notes of piney hops. I can also detect wood and slight hints of smoke and cherry.

T: The taste is dominated by hops, mostly pine but also undertones of citrus. Despite being heavy on the hops (the ingredients listed on the bottle are "Hops, Malt, Hops, Hops, Yeast, Hops, Water, and Hops"), the flavor is very well balanced by the malt. This sweetness, almost caramel-like, does wonders to help temper the bitterness of hops. There is also a bit of spice to this beer which masks the taste of alcohol.

M: This is a medium bodied drink with a small amount of carbonation.

O: Delicious. I've been waiting all year for this seasonal. You can hardly taste the 10% ABV which makes this beer surprisingly drinkable. (EDIT: As the beer gets warmer, the taste of alcohol becomes much more noticeable) Strong on the hops yet relatively balanced.

04-08-2011 22:45:58 | More by WankelEngine
Photo of turnstile


3.6/5  rDev -11.3%

Appearance: Pours a deep reddish-brown with an impressive, one-inch rocky head. Retention is decent with no lacing.

Smell: Sweet raisin aroma up front with Belgian yeast and caramel notes in the background. Hop aromas struggle to get through.

Taste: Tart red apples, spice, and brown sugar are the dominant flavor characteristics; very cider-like and sweet. Mild/moderate hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and quite slick. Carbonation is minimal and almost flat, but doesn't leave any residual syrupy-ness.

Overall/Drinkability: A little too sweet for my liking, but goes nicely with the Belgian yeast note (whether or not Belgian yeast is actually used - I'm not certain).

03-18-2011 04:07:27 | More by turnstile
Photo of BeardedRiker


3.88/5  rDev -4.4%

Another day, another Lagunitas. This time it's their *deep breath* Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale...but I'll call it Undercover. It came in a lovely six pack (limited release). I've bought so many good beers in 22 oz. bombers that I think I've slowly caused an antagonism with six packs as if they're not going to be good. This is, of course, not true, especially with Lagunitas! I poured the Undercover into a very cold glass that I had in the freezer. This made the head come up vibrant and thick, it being a very frothy off-white head that left some but little lacing as it receded. It smells absolutely delicious with sweet, spicy, piney, maybe some grapefruit and dark cherry. It really smells like candy. Like a...yummy beer-flavored candy...

Appearance is a clear copper color. The first flavors to tantalize the tongue is the caramel sweetness that hints of toffee. This is mixed with a very nice hoppy bitterness and spice that also hides the alcohol flavor well, although you still have the lingering flavor of the booze. The hops are extremely piney and the grapefruit smell is revealed in the flavor as well. Actually, all of the flavors stay in the mouth for awhile which is pleasant. You're literally tasting the beer after it's already down your throat and warming up your stomach with its 9.75% ABV. But this is not a bad thing. The lasting flavors are very enjoyable. It's not an aftertaste. The body is medium with malts being moderate as well. Nothing is overdone in this beer. The warmer the beer gets the more the alcohol is noticeable but I don't find it to take away from the beer's taste enough to be negative.

This is a fine American Strong Ale with some extra hops courtesy of Lagunitas' tradition!

02-24-2011 07:13:06 | More by BeardedRiker
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +7.9%

The real beer indeed looks undercover, cleverly disguised as a long island iced tea that's been infused with a hefty dose of angostura bitters. Hey, a complexion as murky as this could hide just about anything behind it. Truth be told, it's not a very attractive beer what so ever. It is completely muddied and completely flat (less a few stripes of lace).

The aroma, on the other hand, is a thing of utmost beauty. A bouquet with this level of candied citrus, pine serum, broiled caramel malt and pure hop leafs belongs in a trophy case somewhere in the California brewers hall-of-fame (if such a thing is ever built, which it should be). It has a degree of tropical character I'm only ever used to drinking on a beach.

Alcohol content be damned, this is one easy beer to drink! So what if my head ends up swimming in it, I'm sure it'll have a good time splish-splashing around with its water-wings. This is a delicious and soothing drink. Its carbonation is low, which I like because it allows the sappy, serum-y flavours to linger (even though toasted biscuits have the last word).

I let out a sigh of relief once I had confirmed that it tastes almost, if not as good as it's aroma led me to anticipate. Let me clue you in on some of the goods: caramel custard, sharp grapefruit, maple sap, toasted grains, pineapple, muscat grape, lychee liqueur and a kind of neon, psychedelic floral quality that only hippies could claim to understand.

The hippie connection makes sense - not only because of the beer's psychedelically herbal qualities and that this, after all, Lagunitas - but because it takes a free spirit to come up with a recipe like this. I always felt the term 'American Strong Ale' was a bit of a self-aggrandizing and seemingly arbitrary style marker concocted by those who took it upon themselves to redefine the guidelines. But I have to admit now that I was wrong...

What else do you call something that blends more decadently sweet, nuanced maltiness than an old ale and as much brimming, zestful hoppiness as a double IPA? The result of which, I might add, has such a distinctive, often unparalleled character, the quantity and quality of which American brewers conceived, consummated and continue to cultivate virtually uncontested? Yea, beers like this require a title of their own. A.S.A. fits.

02-18-2011 02:01:32 | More by biegaman
Photo of Mancer

New York

4/5  rDev -1.5%

The bottle poured out a hazy amber brew with a one finger high off-white head. The head dissipated to a thin halo lace. Hop sediment can be seen floating around in the beer. The initial aroma of the beer is of dark fruits, citrus and pine. The initial flavors of the beer are that of light citrus, light pine and light resin. The flavors progress to a more pronounced malt backbone with spice flavor, chewy breadiness and barley flavors. Alcohol was initially masked and became more apparent as the beer warmed. The alcohol gave the beer a nice warming in the nose. The beer was perfectly bitter and lightly dry, while having a medium body with light carbonation.

Overall, this beer is great. Initially I didn't realize the style of beer that I was drinking and sort of picked this bottle off the shelf at random. This is a nice strong ale and definitely has the flavor complexity that you find in this style of beer. Although it isn't a Stone brew, it definitely holds its own in comparison. This is a great offering from Lagunitas.

01-25-2011 04:56:01 | More by Mancer
Photo of jale


3.73/5  rDev -8.1%

A: Pours a slightly hazy light copper-brown with little white head.

S: Some roasted caramel malt(maybe) and alcohol.

T: Sweet caramel malt and some heat from the alcohol. Just a hint of some burnt raisin. Hop bitterness shows up late in the finish. A little like a barley wine.

M: Could use a little more carbonation. Medium body.

D: I could easily drink a few more.

01-24-2011 21:57:11 | More by jale
Photo of JizackFH

New York

4.22/5  rDev +3.9%

A - It pours a dark amber color with a very small white head on it. The head left a little bit of lacing as it fell.

S - The smell is that of dark fruits, alcohol, grapefruit hops, honey, caramel, and brown sugar.

T - The taste is hoppy and boozy up front. The is also a caramel sweetness and some brown sugar. The finish is bitter and has some citrus notes as well.

M - This has a medium body with good carbonation. It goes down fairly smooth for the alcohol content.

D - I think the drinkability of this beer is good. It goes down easy, and I could easily put down a few of these in a row. This is a good beer, and I'd drink it again.

12-03-2010 07:25:25 | More by JizackFH
Photo of gnemesis


3.83/5  rDev -5.7%

05/08/2010 poured into pint glass
Pours an ugly dark red topped by a thin white head. Smells of sweet malts and dark fruits. Surprisingly pine/citrus hops present in the nose. Once I sip I notice the earthy hops, more sweet malt, more plum/fig. This beer has a medium body and low carbonation but is still a tasty strong ale. Maybe its just me but the alcohol was well hidden. Not bad at all.

12-03-2010 02:23:58 | More by gnemesis
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.22/5  rDev +3.9%

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has an excellent burnt toffee scent that boasts of caramelized pale malts and some caramel malts. The hop aroma is good as well. It has an intense piney bitterness that's works well with the malts. The taste is good also. It has a smooth burnt toffee flavor that goes down slow and bitter and finishes with a bit of alcohol warmth. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good drinking strong ale. It has excellent hop character and a malt bill that rivals any old ale or barleywine.

12-02-2010 00:49:18 | More by WesWes
Photo of DrDemento456


4.45/5  rDev +9.6%

A - Looks pretty sweet. You get a nice dark amber color with an inch of fluffy sticky head.

S - Smells of mild bread malt, slight brown malt, touch of caramel, and bittersweet hops.

T - Man did I enjoy this. Starts of with a bitterness of hops then a sweetness from the caramel bread, and then finishes kind of boozy but ABV is well hidden.

M - A definite sipper but not one and done. The hops makes it so.

D - Man I can't wait till this hits my shelf's again! A very smooth strong ale that drinks great and succession's perfectly.

11-27-2010 02:51:25 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of ixodus

New Jersey

3.73/5  rDev -8.1%

A: Poured into a Chimay Goblet. Copper in color with a nice finger white head with nice retention. Leaves a lot of lacing on the sides as you drink it down

S: Sweet malt/hop aroma a slight citrus smell maybe some banana in there. Surprisingly no alchohol esters.
T: Sweet caramel malts with a nice piney citrusy hop bite, slightly bready, a little hot. Tastes a lot like it smells absolutely delicious =)

M: A smooth and creamy medium bodied mouthfeel with the a nice touch of carbonation.

Notes: Nice warming feeling from the alcohol.

11-18-2010 03:41:46 | More by ixodus


4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Clear rich copper with orange edges. Big thick creamy offwhite head. Great retention. Thick sticky laces.

Citrus-Orange, Tropical-Pineapple. Apple and PEar. Light toastiness. Sweet caramel. crackers.

Sweet toastiness infused with hops - pine, orange, and pineapple. Some Sour apple. Toasted barley, caramel and bread. Vanilla and a touch of booze. Big brutal bitterness with loads of piney resins.

Sticky, thick, med-full body. Some warming, and some drying. Well carbonated on the low end.

Pretty drinkable for 9.7%. Tasty, brutally bitter. Have one of these left aging.

10-25-2010 18:55:06 | More by CHILLINDYLAN
Photo of kzoobrew


4.2/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured into nonic. Deep orange/amber colored body. Solid, tight two finger white head perched atop. Retention is very good, slim cap left through out leaving a decent amount of lacing.

Sweet aroma combine the hops the the malt fairly evenly. Citrus fruits and caramel run rampant in the nose. The hops, while largely citrus, have a strange apple aroma intertwined. I have noticed this before in other Lagunitas beers (Brown Shugga), while strange it is certainly not unpleasant. The malt is dominated by caramel. I am not a big fan of beer which use an excessive amount of crystal malt, this works in the nose we will see how the flavor is.

The flavor is exactly what you would expect from the nose. Malt produces a heavy caramel flavor, the crystal malt does not get out of hand though. The strong caramel maltiness is balanced well by the strong citrus hops. Like many of the other Lagunitas beers, the hops are juicy citrus and tropical fruit flavored. The hints of apple in the nose carry over a bit leaving a subtle apple flavor.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. The texture is smooth and fairly creamy. The finish is much dryer than what I expected. While the sweetness certainly lingers, it does not dig in too deep. Though the eventual buzz would stop me from drinking too many, this is certainly which could easily sneak up on you. Very good beer.

10-01-2010 00:19:02 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of CHickman

New York

3.95/5  rDev -2.7%

Pours clear copper in color with a massive 2 finger creamy tan head that lasted a while and slid down leaving foam clinging to the slides with great lacing.

Smells of sweet malt, floral and citrus hops, flowers, caramel, brown sugar, grapefruit and orange peel. Very sweet and citrusy nose that was quite potent and enjoyable.

Tastes really hoppy up front, with floral hops, piney hops, citrus hops, sweet malt, flowers or grass, brown sugar, caramel, grapefruit, orange peel, toasted grains, biscuits, syrup and light spices like pepper or cinnamon. Well balanced and very complicated, this is a very tasty beer that hides the alcohol very well. Very sweet and citrusy with a caramel candy flavor in the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy and oily, with little to no carbonation, and a medium body that trails off sweet.

High drinkability as this beer is very complex, tasty and easy to drink, but the danger is that 9.75% ABV so look out. Strong recommendation to try this beer.

09-26-2010 03:09:20 | More by CHickman
Photo of lovindahops

New York

3.9/5  rDev -3.9%

decided to give this big ABV brewski a try. I am a big fan of this Caly crew

A- pours a very dark amber with no head at all. There is a thin white head that floats consistently during the sitting. The lacing is thick on the edges. The color of the brew really shouts that Strong Ale approach

S- very overpowering with caramel and sweet scents. There are some pine elements that are no doubt the hops. Also, as expected, the alcohol really shows in the end. The strength of the caramel malt is actually a little too much for me. Wow it's big

T- I do like the taste of this. Again, a dominant circus of caramel and now a better showing of piney hops. To me, the flavor of the brew is equivalent to the center of a caramello candy bar that is enrobed in hops. While that is probably a bad example, it still elaborates on the sweetness of the brew

M- creamy and full bodied. A big bold taste

D- Inves-shut down is a big beer that delivers on some flavor. I like this brew, the tough part is the alcohol level is astronomical. Sip this bad boy

09-25-2010 22:06:16 | More by lovindahops
Photo of cmac1705


3.7/5  rDev -8.9%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle without a freshness date.

Look is a medium-amber with a clingy thin head.

First scent is piney, floral, somewhat citrus in character. Pleasant.

Fist sip yields a creamy consistency accompanied by an assertive bitterness, coating the mouth with a hoppy film that sticks with you. Finish is warm and a bit boozy.

Hopheads will dig this brew, but I could use a bit more balance. It manages the 9.75 % alcohol well, making it one of the more drinkable strong ales out there.

09-23-2010 23:00:00 | More by cmac1705
Photo of jampics2


3.85/5  rDev -5.2%

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Looks nice, this beer has a orange/red color with decent head retention/lace and minor cloudiness.

Smells of caramel malt, booze, and hops. The malt has some brown sugar and possibly even vanilla hints. The booze is just at the end of the sniff and isn't too distracting. And the hops are adding some slight citrus notes, mostly grapefruit and orange rind.

The taste is really nice but big and boozy. The sweetness of this beer is up there with some of the more sugary beers I've had, but it does seem balanced with the medium to high bitterness. The malt is caramel and toffee with some vanilla notes. The hoppy bitterness is huge and lingering, with some citrus notes. Finally, there's a minor amount of what seems to be oxidation adding just a touch of cardboard.

Mouthfeel could be a bit less sticky, but the carb is awesome. It just comes off a touch dirty and sticky. Finishes with sweetness and noticeable booze. Overall, this was good. I consider it more of an imperial red ale/amber or an old American Strong. I would drink it again, for a big beer it's above average in it's refreshing nature. A good beer from Lagunitas.

09-20-2010 20:00:10 | More by jampics2
Photo of Brenden


3.9/5  rDev -3.9%

More old notes dug up today...

The color is a ceep, opaque amber-copper. About one finger of light tan head has good retention and leaves moderate lacing behind.
Lots of rawness in the aroma, followed by something like a mix of honey and caramel sweetness, with a good balance from some earthy/grassy hops notes along with a touch of citrus. Alcohol doesn't make much of an effort to hide. I could use more strength as well.
The flavor is to suit. Hops and malts are well-balanced, all of the notes from the nose pulling into the flavor as well. I didn't know how to categorize this one in terms of style, so it didn't surprise me to find out later that it's an American Strong, one of the broadest possible categories.
The body is medium-full and carbonation is moderate. This is fairly robust and chewy, getting a little sticky later but not too much or too soon. The malts eventually fade into a dry, hoppier finish.
Another one that I could have more of if the ABV wasn't so high.

09-09-2010 20:57:02 | More by Brenden
Photo of kbutler1


3.78/5  rDev -6.9%

Bottle. Pours a deep copper color with a nice looking 1 finger white head. Nice hops aroma coming from this. The nose is a mix of sweet malt and citrus with some floral aromas. Medium smooth mouthfeel. Whoa, hotdog, this beer is sweet up front! The hops kick in big time in the end followed by the alcohol bite. A sipper but this is a pretty good beer. Not sure if I would be able to drink a whole lot of this due to the sweetness.

08-27-2010 01:00:48 | More by kbutler1
Photo of fastsrt

New York

3.95/5  rDev -2.7%

Poured 12 ounce bottle to snifter

A: deep brown, thin head

S: sweet ripe fruit.

T: this one is good, real solid beer. nice sweetness with a bit of a boozy finish but over all is right on point for the style.

M: med carbonation.

D: awsome, six pack, 3 one night and 3 the next. for 12 bucks.

08-26-2010 02:06:22 | More by fastsrt
Photo of jpmclaug

South Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass

A - brown/amber body with a small white head on top

S - Sweet hop aroma with a hint of brown sugar. Pretty sweet smelling but has that normal Lagunitas hop smell

T - A mix of citrus and piney hop flavor with a brown sugar caramelly like sweetness toward the end. Honestly reminds me a lot of Brown Shugga.

M - medium body with a bit of a syrupy feel. Plenty of carbonation.

D - Decent beer but I don't think I would pick this up again. I will be honest I am starting to see why some people think a lot of Lagunitas brews taste the same.

08-25-2010 22:17:39 | More by jpmclaug
Photo of cbak999


3.98/5  rDev -2%

Note: I had this on cask keg 3 weeks ago, and it was much fresher and tastes much better. I wish I had reviewed that beer instead. Oh well. On to the bottled version:

A - Pours a dark amber, with no head at all. A thin rib of white lines the outside of the glass.

S - The smell is the best feature of this beer. I get hints of caramel and hops. Also smell warm alcohol notes.

T - this resembles a caramely, warm, imperial amber ale. It's more sweet than an IPA. I get a nutty taste. The lasting taste however, is sweet malt.

D - Drinkable for a 9+% strong ale. I don't know that I'd pound down a sixer in a session, but it's a real nice sipper! It's a seasonal, so I'll probably get it again next year. Another solid Lagunitas brew!

08-17-2010 22:18:51 | More by cbak999
Photo of hoppymcgee


3.98/5  rDev -2%

Had on cask at Blind Tiger in Manhattan. Poured into a mug.

A: Dark brown with a light layer of beer algae.

S: Free thy hops, malts, and some brown shugga (no pun intended).

T: Hops, caramel, and wee bit of honey. A little jumbled, not too much direction. Finishes bitter from the hops (maybe its dry-hopped too?).

M: It's tough to rate the feel of a cask beer because of the lack of carbonation and temperature it's served at. I think these characteristics worked well with this particular beer.

D: No problems quaffing down this near 10% ABV beer.

Overall, a solid beer from a brewery that I don't often frequent on a highly competitive menu of beers in NYC.

08-16-2010 23:00:04 | More by hoppymcgee
Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 2,851 ratings.