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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.

2,945 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,945
Reviews: 730
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.1%
Wants: 49
Gots: 282 | 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: 2,945 | Reviews: 730 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DESTRO
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this a big bootiful beer. a deep reddish brown, super malty, caramel, alcohol, citrus hop bomb. maltier sweetness overshadows the hops, which themselves are pretty strong. full bodied, sticky and coating, very satisfying. it's a sipper for sure, one and im good and ready for something else.

DESTRO, Aug 09, 2010
Photo of zimmerbloke
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From Blind Beers BIF:

Really interesting beer! As soon as I opened the bottle, I was smelling *something*... it definitely took me a while to work my way into the beer to figure out what, exactly. Poured into a New Belgium globe glass (as with the rest of the blind beers) with a good inch of off-white head. Aroma is even stronger and very sweet. Caramel, definitely, with a little bit of dried fruit. Some citrus... really enjoy the hop profile. Reminds me of a double IPA, but malt is too presently strong/sweet. More like an American Barleywine/Strong Ale. Taste is good, but doesn't expand much on the aroma. Some hoppy flavor, but predominantly sweeter malts and a bit of alcohol, in a nice way. This is definitely stronger, probably close to 10%. Definitely sits on the tongue and coats the mouth a little bit, has a very pleasant aftertaste. I would be happy to drink this regularly, but I can't imagine getting through more than one bottle in a sitting.


Felt like I was really close to nailing this beer! Also really enjoyed drinking it.

zimmerbloke, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of WakeandBake
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice bright light copper pour with a lasting frothy two finger head,leaving some lacing. Aroma of pine,hop resin,grapefruit,and lemon hints. Flavor is well balanced for the amount of hops,nice caramel and toasted grain sweetness but not overpowering spicy,and citrus hops ,alcohol is well hidden,medium to full body with a full,slightly sticky mouthfeel, a nice crisp hoppy aftertaste. I am going back to get more of this tomorrow. Nice !

WakeandBake, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.68/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Kickbacks Gastropub in Jax. Poured into a Unibroue tulip. Poured vigorously with little head, very little lacing but resinous hop juiciness is clearly noted sliding all over the glass. Aroma is of some malt sweetness, some alcohol and a ton of goddamned hop goodness. Taste is a touch hot (this cask is quite young and fresh, where the increased heat is balanced out by increased hop freshness). Taste of sweet, caramel malts and all kinds of hop flavors stylin and profilin'. As good as the bottled/kegged version but as usual, just a little something extra on the cask pour. Over the top Lagunitas liquid awesomeness....

KickbacksSteve, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of rootbeerman
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into duvel tulip.

A: pours reddish brown, with a finger of light brown to off white head which fell to a thin layer.
S:mell is a cross between sweet citrus fruit and caramel malt.
T: first its a sweet burnt sugar malt, next a sweeten grapefruit and pine. hops are not that bitter but they are wrapping under my tongue
M: slightly syrupy and coating. low to medium carbonation.
D: easy to drink flavors are balanced. somewhat reminds me of a sweeter east-coast IPA

rootbeerman, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of DovaliHops
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, almost reddish clear color with a medium sized white head that goes away quickly. Smell is VERY hoppy with tons of sweetness. A lot of sweet malts and molasses coming through. Maybe even a bit of dark fruit. Smells a lot like a rich imperial IPA though...maybe even borderline American barleywine. The taste is initially sweet sugars (molasses w/dark fruits), followed by hoppy bitterness and some alcohol booziness (once it warms up a bit). The taste is almost exactly as it smells, which is impressive. The mouthfeel is a bit chewy, but not a turn off at all. Very full-bodied and delicious. Drinkability is fairly high, and I cannot believe this beer comes in a six pack with such an amazing price (9.99). Lagunitas always has great prices. This is listed as an American Strong Ale, but I would say this could easily pass for an IIPA/Barleywine. Solid brew.

DovaliHops, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of keokani
2.9/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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

Smell: caramel, butterscotch.

Taste: heavy sweetness, medium bitterness.

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

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

keokani, Jul 27, 2010
Photo of ThreeDimesDown
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper with ruby highlights when held to the light. Off-white, moderate head on an aggressive pour that has little retention. Lacing was minimal.

Aromas of piney hops, grapefruit citrus, molasses and dark cherries.

Taste has a lot going on with caramel malts up front, followed by pine and citrus hoppiness. Molasses, dark raisins and cherries are all in the mix as well. The finish comes off with a faint blueberry coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel is creamy, medium to full. The ABV % is hidden very well and the medium carbonation gives a slight dryness to the finish.

Overall, I was surprised that this brew was a well balanced as it is, due to all the big flavors and aromas. A very nice brew that I'll be going back for in the near future.

ThreeDimesDown, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of grittybrews
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a ruddy copper into a Duvel tulip with a quick-receding touch of off-white head. Strong aroma of grapefruit and caramel with a touch of pineapple.

Intense carmel sweetness up front with a mouthfeel that might border on syrupy if it weren't for the slightly high carbonation. Increasingly bitter flavor that progresses from sweet lemonade to tart grapefruit on the finish.

Alcohol is present but not overpowering. The sweetness of this one can be a little much, but the lingering bitterness on the finish helps to balance this sipper.

grittybrews, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of Beejay
3.05/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Clear reddish brown with a small tan head.

S: Lightly hoppy, with an almost lemon lime scent? Grassy and citrus. Perhaps some toffee in there, and something I can't figure out.

T: Hops up front, grapefruit, and a touch of pine, perhaps a little bit of plum in the back. There isn't a lot to the finish. It kinda of blands out at the back end. The plus side is you can't taste the Abv. Hints of caramel, and lots of herbal notes, but is seems to lack balance or a clear progression of flavor.
Edit: as it warms a bit you more of a grassy hop flavor that is nice, though still not amazing.

M: Feels fairly thick, slightly syrupy. Decent carbonation.

D: Hop forward, but single note. I don't think there is enough balance for me. I feel like there should be a second act, but this beer left at intermission.

Beejay, Jul 26, 2010
Photo of WOTO97
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Style above reads American Strong Ale, the good people at Lagunitas claim Imperial Mild (whatever that is); all I know is this is a very solid brew. A dense head floats on a deep amber body with great clarity. The nose loses some points for a having a bit too much booze coming through. Aside from the alcohol, hops leave a nice pine quality, which lingers beneath a nice dense malt character. As the beer reaches room temp, the booze is pretty prominent. Lots of doughy malt comes through on the back of the palate. The pine from the nose comes through on the back of the palate with some nice bitterness up front. Slight raisin and plum come through in the mid palate but very faintly. Mouthfeel on this beast really makes it for me: despite the big flavors, the body is relatively clean with a very dry finish (almost akin to what you'd expect from rye beer). The booze on the nose is the only detractor here for drinkability. Lots of great flavor components without the thick, dense body (perhaps a detractor if it were february, but in the summer this is a great big beer).

WOTO97, Jul 23, 2010
Photo of david18
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had a twelve ounce pour of this at the Amsterdam Ale HOuse on Manhattan's upper west side. Strong ales are one of my favorite beer styles but not necessarily in the summer. It's also not the best strong ale from a brewery that has a lot of different versions of the style.

Dark brown color, good carbonation, very good aroma (malty and hoppy). ABV is high but the flavor is well balanced.

david18, Jul 21, 2010
Photo of edwino
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from lone hill liquors in la area.

Really a delish brew. Flavor has a nice sweetness to it,; noticeable alcohol but not overpowering.

Nice rom that to me opened with hops then settled down.

It Is decent abv, so maybe just a one off for the evening....

edwino, Jul 21, 2010
Photo of jbone78
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this several times, but just now got around to rating it. Pours an amber color with a frothy head. not bad. smells hoppy, but what lagunita's beers don't? with an abv over 9%, you can taste it. it is subtle, but you can tell it is stiff. I would say this one is a borderline Imperial amber, but with 9%.


jbone78, Jul 21, 2010
Photo of Erish
4.58/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this 12 oz. bottle into an English pint glass.

A: reddish amber, the one finger head quickly falls into a thin cap with decent lace; if the appearance were just a tad better this would be an A+ beer.

S: caramel, fruity esters, whiff of pine.

T: caramel, candied orange, cherry pie, then the middle simply explodes with sweet candied fruit, dark raisins, sweetened condensed milk, the finish is tart cherries wrapped around a slowly emerging core of grass and bitterness. Amazing!

M: creamy, almost milk-like, with light carbonation.

D: This nearly 10% ABV beer hides its alcohol well. I am going to try and score more of this at World Market.

Erish, Jul 20, 2010
Photo of Stunner97
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- some sediment can be seen floating a mid slow amount low carbonation, white head fades rapidly to thin lacing, copper red color

Smell- slight hop and faint malt, having tough time pulling alot off the nose,

Taste- much stronger taste then i was getting on the nose, nice malt base up front which is rapidly and way over took by very strong dominating hop bitter mid palate and long bitter drying finish, very intersting beer in the aspect that up front is alot of malt and fun to see just how quickly that malt is squashed out, just really really nice balance and enjoyable flavor profile,

Mouthfeel- heavy thick and bordering syrupy, light carbonation, very smooth

Drinkability- dangerously drinkable considering just how strong this beer is, i have to say absolutely loved alot about this beer, its was able to walk that thin line where it was both neither to hoppy or to malty but having a very satisfactory level of both, a very very solid example of what a strong ale should be having firm hop but not killing all else in the flavor profile, a beer i certainly would recommend and get again, but shhhh... dont tell to many people keep it undercover

Stunner97, Jul 18, 2010
Photo of RiverRatJoe47
4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm not a beer expert or beer brewer, just a beer drinker. But I'm 63 years old and have consumed a few beers. So I hope my review won't be deleted automatically on the grounds of "insufficient detail".

I just wanted to say that I tried my first-ever glass of this ale last week, and the thought instantly hit me that Undercover Shut-Down is the absolute best beer I've ever drank.

It tasted so wonderful and full -- and without being heavy -- that I found myself extending the experience by taking a drink of the beer and letting it sit in my mouth for five or ten seconds before swallowing it. After that swallow, I took a drink of water to clear the beer's taste from my mouth as much as possible just so that the next drink of the Undercover would hit my senses as powerfully as the first drink had.

The parallel I would draw is that Undercover Shut-Down is to the best beers I've had previously, as a fine single-malt Scotch whiskey is to domestic rotgut whiskeys. Undercover, to me, tasted this good. It is a beer to be savored in the same way that a fine Scotch would be sipped.

I'm visiting Boise, Idaho for six months. Before going home to Kansas I hope to find a supply of Undercover somewhere so that I can share it with my buddies in Kansas. Sorry for the absence of tech talk in this review; all I know is that this is a very fine beer that greatly appealed to me. At the restaurant where my son and I enjoyed this beer, as (bad) luck would have it we were served the last two glasses they had before the keg ran out. Broke our hearts. I hope the restaurant reloads soon.

RiverRatJoe47, Jul 18, 2010
Photo of semibaked
3.4/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Goblet.

A - Pours a bit syrupy and a dark amber color with a thin layer of off white foam and leaves some lacing.

S - Syrupy sweetness, slight hops, and malts, pretty simple and nice smelling.

T - More syrupy sweetness, raisins, stronger hops than in the smell and they are definitely on the bitter side.

M - Medium bodied, thick like syrupy and pretty low carbonation.

D - This is pretty decent, nothing spectacular or bad about it. It is definitely sweet and heavy.

semibaked, Jul 18, 2010
Photo of StlHopHead77
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought the last two of these that I saw at Food and Fermentation.

A-Beautiful rust-brown with two fingers of sturdy off-white head,good lacing and active carbonation.

S-Floral hops up front giving way to brown bread and caramel maltiness.

T-Silken,balanced hoppiness with hints of salted caramel and pine.A touch of Alc. warmth on the finish.

M-Assertive and medium-bodied with a lasting and enjoyable aftertaste.

D-Another brew with silly drinkability considering it's ABV.I am a huge fan of this beer and could see myself pushing the boundaries with this one.

StlHopHead77, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of cokes
3.53/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep, clear copper hued with a squat dome of sandy white foam which dwindles quickly but sticks as a collar to leave solid lacing.
Green-ish nose full of pine sap and ferns. Some biscuit maltiness is noted, slathered in honey (and, later when in warms, caramel). As is the alcohol, but only slightly. For something of this constitution, the nose is a bit closed.
Caramelly malt usher through the mouth first. A little bready, then a fuller cherry fruitiness. The transition to hops is via copper and metals. Then it's a blast of pine sap bitterness, crushed, dead flowers, quinine, and grapefruit pulp. Alcohol adds a congruent back-end bitterness. It's big, broad, and not altogether realized. Simply big without a defined purpose.
Glossy, full bodied. Then it becomes increasingly syrupy. The carbonation is stunted. It drinks as big as it is, but not solely due to its strength. In the short term, that's fine, but the wall gets hit quickly.
There's an initial balance that fades away. Had it stuck around, this would be a solid entry in the margins between DIPA/Barleywine territory. As is, it waves the white flag too early, and flounders the rest of way without any hop or malt signposts for guidance.

cokes, Jul 12, 2010
Photo of benclimbs
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours red brown with a huge thick head that doesn't go away and plenty of lacing throughout the glass

smell is very nice, woody caramel with a bunch of vanilla

taste is also very pleasant...some nice dry hops accompany the mix of bready and off-sweet malts finishing smooth and clean...not incredibly complex but goes down nice!

mouthfeel is rich and thick

very drinkable for a 10% strong ale, so many are overly hopped or overly sticky sweet, this is perrty solid!

benclimbs, Jul 12, 2010
Photo of DoctorDog
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a nonic.

A- Deep copper / amber, and slightly hazy. Pours with ~1 finger of creamy tan head, which fades very slowly to an island of bubbles.

S- Surprising amount of citrusy hops are noticed first, followed by a sturdy caramel maltiness.

T- Citrus hops flavors, fruity notes, sweet malts, and a bit of booze. Sturdy hop bitterness, and moderate sweetness.

M- Slightly low carbonation with a medium feel. A bit of alcohol warming.

D- Good. All around quality brew that is an easy drinker for it's 9.75% ABV.

Future outlook: Very nice beer obtained at a very modest price. Might have to snag a few of these to stow away.

DoctorDog, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of craytonic
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pour is a (chill) hazed amber-copper, huge foamy head that slowly fades.

Smell: Citrus/grapefruit/pine hops, followed by caramel maltiness

Taste: Similar, I am surprised to see this labeled as an "American Strong ale". Mostly citrus hops and caramel malts.

Mouthfeel: A bit too creamy and a touch over-carbonated, otherwise tasty.

Drinkability: very drinkable, alcohol well hidden. That said, not a standout.

craytonic, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of thetomG
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a reddish amber color that toes the line between being transparent and cloudy. Minimal amount of white head that lingers slightly leaving a little bit of lacing around the glass.

Not getting too much on the aroma - maybe just some small caramel notes but nothing else really stands out. Aroma is OK but not the strong suit of this beer... flavor on the other hand.... DELICIOUS!

There's a lot going on here but no single flavor overpowers the others too much - if I had to pick one I'd say that maybe the malty aspects shine through the most, but overall it is very well balanced and tends towards the sweet/boozy side of things.

The well balanced theme continues on the palate - not too sticky, not too thick, and nicely carbonated.

Already looking forward to drinking more of this one...

thetomG, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice brew, rich and long in line with the quality hoppy offerings of Lagunitas.

Presentation: 12 oz brow capped bottle. Offers a batch code but lacks any legible freshness or bottling date. Simple label with typographic design around the name of the brew and Lagunitas mascot, and framing narrative about the naming and commemorative nature of the brew. Notes O.G. (1.092), IBUs (72.41), and Alc. by Vol. (9.75%) Served on a tulip glass.

A - Pale to medium amber clear pour, with a fair head, medium retention and some lacing.

S - Nice hoppy nose with a nice malty touch. Fruity, citrus, and lightly resiny.

T - Nice hoppy range with alcohol well integrated. Range of the citrusy, and fruity hops with touches of caramel malt in the background.

M - Medium body and carbonation. Deceptively light at points before it picks up its finishing bite.

D - Rather nice drink, works pretty well.

Notes: Another nice one from Lagunitas, they also do other good stuff but they seem to be shine the strongest when working on hoppy brews and this one is actually there. Lacks a notch to make it to their best offerings but it is close.

Daniellobo, Jul 08, 2010
Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 2,945 ratings.