1. Extreme Beer Fest tickets go on sale Sat, Sep 27 @ Noon EDT.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

2,911 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,911
Reviews: 728
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 46
Gots: 270 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,911 | Reviews: 728 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich amber color with a depth suggesting hints of gold. Head is a finger of somewhat rapidly dissipating ivory foam which leaves an attractive lace. There is just the absolute slightest touch of haze to the body, but it is mostly clear. This beer looks like it means business.

Smell: aroma is that of a strong ale, but the aroma itself is not particularly strong. Thick malt with hints of caramel and funky, piney hops are the aromas with which I'm greeted. Nice, but can we turn up the volume?

Taste: rich malty flavor. There's caramel here, and even a little woodiness (though I don't know whether this beer is aged in wood at all). Bitterness is strong and well-rounded; for all its extremity, I feel like this beer reaches a good balance. Its flavor is on the milder side of the strong ale spectrum, but I think this makes it quite good.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation and a medium-thick body. This one hangs around for awhile. To me, it has a silky texture which I appreciate.

Drinkability: this is a worryingly drinkable beer. It's going down *way* more easily than a beer of this strength has any right to do. I would absolutely drink this again (and again, and again).

flagmantho, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of GPHarris
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick off-white head into a snifter that left a thin ring throughout but billows nicely. the body was a bright brown with reddish hints.
s - malty with a hint of bananas and booze.
t - bready malts with a hint of hops and a slight alcohol burn. there are also some dark fruit flavors.
m - medium and slick and a little bubbly.
d - nice sipper that really mellows towards the finish.

GPHarris, Jul 02, 2010
Photo of gildobeer
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Extremely drinkable for almost 10% ABV, but that also comes with a sweet/malty taste that gets old after about half a beer. I feel like it would be good with more hops, but the Lagunitas sweetness is there for sure. Not really my style but a decent way to get a buzz.

gildobeer, Jul 01, 2010
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark amber in color with about 1/2 inch of nice head

S - sweet caramel, malts, and a bit of hops

T - a delightful bitterness filled with caramel and toffee notes; sweet but not overwhelmingly so

M - well rounded and buttery, overall very nice

D - rating this on my first and going to enjoy another; recommend trying this one for sure

StoneBrewFanatic, Jun 29, 2010
Photo of aerozeppl
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Super dark brown color. Light does get through. Looks like cola. All of the Lagunitas darker strong beers look sort of the same. That is ok in my book. Poured with a finger of white head. Sticky lacing which is impressive for a beer of this strength.

S: Bit of a strong hop nose up front. Not really much else. A touch of toffee which is something else you commonly find in the nose of their beers.

T: Tons of bitterness up front. This is a hoppy ass beer.Very smooth as part of the taste. Lots of malt comes through. The hops are the malt produce an interesting taste combination. Not bad just something a little different.

M: All things considered light. It has a bit of hop stickiness but the body itself it light condiering the ABV.

D: A fairly easy drinker. I really like their stuff and the price simply cannot be beat. I need to cellar a few of their bigger beers again.

aerozeppl, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of Atricapilla
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into two goblets so I could split it with my lovely wife...Appearance was caramelly copper; kind of like Dr.Pepper. Fairly effervescent with a thin foamy white head. Smell was of pine and brown sugar, with a slight yeastiness. Flavor was a bit sweet, malty and hoppy. Not as bitter as expected from the description on the label.

Atricapilla, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of argock
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a clear pint glass at Michael's Bistro (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Caramel-amber brown with healthy 1/2 finger tightly bubbled beige head which leaves nice lacing.

S: Malty aromas of toffee and raisins combine with soft earthy hops and nutty, fruity yeast

T: A fine brew that emphasizes subtlety of the malt profile... until the alcohol anvil hits you. Toffee, raisin, and date combines with earthy, mildly floral hoppiness and more of the fruity yeast before the alcohol puts its big foot forward. It lends a fruity, berry presence which doesn't hurt or help the brew thankfully.

M: Smooth and creamy due to the fine carbonation with a mildly nutty, floral hops aftertaste. Goes down very nicely despite the 9+% ABV.

D: Another winner from Lagunitas -- highly drinkable but with power in all the right places. Undercover Shutdown Ale (along with Hairy Eyeball, Brown Shugga, and Maximus (balanced DIPA)) shows that hops is not the only thing they can do well.

argock, Jun 28, 2010
Photo of jagoffyinzer
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a thin head that remains through out drinking with some nice lacing. It's has a cooper color that is pretty murky but still some what transparent.

S: It's sweet and citric. It's got a caramel bite with a very faint smell of alcohol.

T: A bitterness coats your mouth the entire time tasting and plays off other components in the beer. Upfront is caramel and toffee and as it finishes, it has an underlying alcohol note just like the aroma.

M: It's light and thin, very smooth. It does a great job at coating your mouth so you can take it all in.

D: Another strong beer that doesn't feel so strong. It does a good job lying to your body that there really isn't that much abv here.

jagoffyinzer, Jun 27, 2010
Photo of Natural510
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rose color with decent head; nice half-moon lace ring on the glass.

Strong aroma of hops and sweet malt with hints of honey and molasses.

Sticky sweet; noted mix of tropical & dark fruit, brown sugar and pine cone. Malt and hops in heavy doses creates its own balance I suppose.

As expected, very full in body. Cloying sweetness hurts the drinkability factor somewhat. Satisfying to anyone seeking a revved-up blast of hops.
May be better in the long run with a bit of age on it. Otherwise, another good offering from Lagunitas.

Natural510, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of Seanibus
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely, slightly hazy golden with a delicate head. The aroma is fruity and hoppy, quite strong, like an herby candy. Flavor is spicy and super hoppy, with citrus and pine and a musky rosemary-like herbyness. There is a sharp stinging bitterness on the finish. The mouthfeel is super prickly. This is like sticking your face in a sack of West Coast hops.

Seanibus, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of MenloBeer
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

A - Pours a reddish copper, with a little head that dissipated quickly, but the carbonation was such that there was still a foamy top throughout the beer. Spotty lacing.

S - Malty sweetness up front, sugar and caramel. Some molasses tones.

T - Bitter hop attitude at first, rounded out by the brown sugar, caramel, and molasses notes. Not overly sweet, but certainly not a bitter beer. Interesting composition.

M - A little more oily than I would have liked, but it fits the style. Thick on the palate, and a little buttery.

D - The ABV and sweetness take this beer out of the "multiple beers in one night" category for me. On a foggy summer night in the Bay Area, though, it's a nice little treat. I could do a bomber.

I like what Lagunitas cooks up. This didn't disappoint. Brewed in memory of their shut down, and released in Spring, it is a pretty solid Bay Area beer. The cool nights we get make a "winter warmer" like this a welcome addition to the fridge, even in warm weather months like June.

MenloBeer, Jun 25, 2010
Photo of hoplover82
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours crystal clear deep amber with a medium creamy off white head with good retention and very nice and sticky lacing.

S-The aroma is pretty subtle with caramel up front and some faint floral, citrus and pine hops. But everthing is very faint and you really gotta look for it.

T-Much like the aroma, there is lots of caramel and the hops come through a little more in the flavor.

M-The mouthfeel is very creamy and full (as it warms), if it'sa cold, it seems a little watery. It has a very clean finish with a bitter earthy hoppiness.

D-Goes down pretty smooth indeed. I highly recommend this one.

hoplover82, Jun 25, 2010
Photo of djmichaelk
3.48/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a perfect pint.

A - Nice pretty copper color, although lighter than I would've expected given the style. One-finger head doesn't stick around very long, but leaves a nice thick cap on top. Patchy lacing on the glass.

S - Piney and grassy right off the bat, with a burnt sugar undertone that reminds me of a barleywine.

T - Hops biting in the front, backed by dark sugar, more toffee than caramel. The bitterness of the hops keeps it from being cloyingly sweet, and helps keep it in balance -- well, as much as something like this can be. There's nothing really balanced about it, but the combination keeps it from being completely out of whack.

M - Thick and creamy, nicely coating. Would be a higher score but the dryness of it in the finish is just a bit off-putting.

D - Between the ABV and the drying hop finish, it's hard to see me downing more than a couple of these.

O - A solid offering from Lagunitas. This would be good as a winter seasonal, not sure why it gets released in spring.

djmichaelk, Jun 23, 2010
Photo of berpwillie
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a transparent copper color with good white head, good lacing, and average carbonation. floral piney hop smell, much the same in the taste with some fruity grapefruit hints. sweet bitter finish, and long flavor duration. medium bodied with a thin slick texture. absolutely fantastic beer.

berpwillie, Jun 22, 2010
Photo of oglmcdgl
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at ujs g-side yall.

A- cm or two of eggshell white head atop a copper orange brew that glows with perfect clarity.

S- sweet toffee and caramel with some candied fruit and a hint citrus. Very clean nose.

T- sweet malts up front with caramel and toasted honey wheat bread. Some citrus and tropical fruit follow the malts and balance things out nicely. Slightly bitter and piney in the finish.

M- medium to full bodied with a mid level carb. Semi dry.

D- well hidden abv and easy enough to drink. I like it.

oglmcdgl, Jun 21, 2010
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Good cream nose with a good retention and lacing. Body a slight haze, with a deep amber color.

S: Pine and orange come through. A bold and robust aroma. A hint of single-malt scotch is present.

T: A hefty Abv, but not that you can tell by the taste. A pine, medium taste that shows a hint of booze at the end. The ABv is hidden very well behind a good complexity of hops and malt. The malts are present on the off tastes of this ale.

M: Creamy on the start, with a smooth finish. The lingering taste releases more malt flavors.

D: For the style and ABV, this is a very drinkable beer. I take them on bike rides to sip and enjoy during a ride. Easy going, does not leave you with a heavy and full feeling.

GDBEERMAN, Jun 21, 2010
Photo of atsprings
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Raleigh Times served in a 10oz glass and reviewed from notes. Served a crisp dark amber with a thin off-white head that diminishes to a ring and leaves slight lacing on the glass. Aroma was a nice blend of citrus hops and sweet malts. The taste is a nice amount of citrus hops with a good amount of sweet malts backing them up nicely. The beer is slightly heavy, but has a nice bitter dryness that smooths things out nicely. This is another great Double IPA from Lagunitas, one I will always get my share of when it's available.

atsprings, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of Elimination
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: copper, penny shine of an orange, light hues shine with a thin foam on top

smell: sweet molasses, has a sourness but all these smells are quite faint

taste malt, barely, hops, a dryness disperses those flavors, a little nutmeg and pumpkin spice at the end

mouth: very warm, has a slight hotness to it, steamy feeling

drink: is good, but wouldnt slam to many at this abv.

Elimination, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of beertunes
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a nice clean, clear, reddish-brown color with just under an inch of tan head that had good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma was mostly sweet, with an alcohol sharpness. Just a trace of hops hiding in the background. Alcohol is the dominant taste on the tongue, then malty sweetness and some hop bitterness on the back.

The body was OK, but not as full as I like in this style. Drinkability was OK, but like several other brews from these guys, I remeber this beer being better.

Overall, a decent but unspectacular beer. Worth trying.

beertunes, Jun 19, 2010
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper brown orange color with some decent off-white head that laces pretty well. Smell is deeply floral and citrusy, though there was a hint of soapiness in there too that wasn't so good--if not for that, it was a really great aroma. Taste is a bit bigger on the malts, though the hops stuck around for a nice barleywine-type flavor profile. Big caramel and syrupy malts with some big pine and citrus hops to go along. Medium mouthfeel, coats ok, not particularly dry. It could potentially use a bit more carbonation. Good drinkability, dangerously so at almost 10% ABV.

LordAdmNelson, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of ckeegan04
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark bronze with brighter orangish-brown hues around the edge of the glass. Foamy dirty khaki head that is a solid two fingers thick. SLowly fades to about one finger of foam and leaves chunky lacing behind.

S - Surprisingly strong aroma of citrus hops (I have had this beer in the cellar for almost a year now) and a strong sweet caramel malt balance. As the beer warms teh sweetness becomes a bit stronger and a little alcohol sneaks in.

T - Sweet caramel and just a touch of citrusy hop bitterness. The aroma of the hops clearly had a bit more staying power than the taste. Very sweet malts dominate the taste and there is just a touch of heat from the alcohol. A touch of fruitiness provides just enough balance to keep this a very drinkable beer.

M/D - Medium to full bodied. Ample carbonation without being too carbonated. As the beer rests a while the feel becomes more and more creamy. Very easy drinking beer given the high ABV. Possibly the first Lagunitas beer that I have felt was truly remarkable (I still cant make up my mind on Hop Stoopid).

ckeegan04, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of Jesstyr
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed a bottle of this in a pick 6 from Ninety9 Bottles in Norwalk, CT. While I don't really enjoy this brew, it is certainly unique and different - something you have to admire in an American Strong Ale.

Pours bronze and amber, very clear, but with a nicely formed 1 finger head that lingers nicely. Excellent lacing. Nose is sweet, beautifully malty, and quite sugary - brown sugar I believe. Nothing at all like this beer tastes.

Taste is bitter and hoppy at first - a very strong pale ale for certain. Evolves into citrus bte, and then a smooth caramel finish - giving it a bit of sweetness. A diverse range of flavors, but I cant get past the initial bit. Body in light, and lingers in the mouth. High abv is fairly noticeable.

Jesstyr, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of mithrascruor
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear bronze color (though a bit lighter than what I might expect) with a 1.5-finger head that is somewhat creamy and a bit rocky. Good retention and great lacing.

Smell: Interesting aroma. There's some citrus and fruits that is on the sweet side, and a bit of malty caramel.

Taste: A bit on the sweet side with some lightly roasted caramel malts. There's a bit of grapefruit in there as well. Hops start coming in with a bit of bitterness towards the finish. The aftertaste has a bit of alcohol in it.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and pretty smooth. Seems to coat the mouth well and there's some effervescent carbonation.

Drinkability: Very strong, but surprisingly easy to drink. However, the alcohol in the aftertaste does stand out more after a while, and the taste is perhaps a bit too sweet at times.

Despite the high alcohol content, this beer is sort of on the light side, as far as flavor and mouthfeel are concerned. I'd also prefer if it were more balanced; i.e. a bit less sweetness. That said, it is still an enjoyable strong ale, but I think next time I'd get their Hairy Eyeball over this.

mithrascruor, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of rrski198
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark amber red, little head, good lacing

S: American hops coming through...Centenial, cascade, amarillo??? If I was blind folded, I would say this is a west cost style IPA

T: Ok, hops are there. Wow.... are they there. But an awesome malty sweat backbone. Toasted wheat bread.

M: Chewy, thick, average carbonation. Coats the mouthly and the bitterness lingers long after the sweetness fades away.

D: The alcohol is hidden quite well. This is my second of the six and despite the chewiness of the beer, it is quite drinkable. I will have another and then call it quits.

rrski198, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of bgjohnston
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark brown color, with a couple of inches worth of tan foam in the glass before settling down.

The smell off the top of the glass does not fully give away the sharp bite that hits your tongue on the first sip. There is a nice malt sweetness that comes out of the background as you consider it, but overall this is a pretty dry and hoppy brew.

It does not feel particularly thick in mouthfeel, but it does stick to the palate for a while. You can make a glass of this one last a while, and good thing, too, since the alcohol hides until you are almost through the glass. It is easily drinkable for such a strong beer.

I think this could be one of my new seasonal favorites. Make more, please!

bgjohnston, Jun 10, 2010
Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 2,911 ratings.