1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  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.

3,352 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,352
Reviews: 871
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 53
Gots: 292 | 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: 3,352 | Reviews: 871 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of drcarver
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - a clear deep amber color with a tiny white head. no real carbonation within the brew and head does not last. Little lacing

S - if it weren't for the initial citrus hoppiness I would have mistaken this for a quad. dark fruit with hints of spice.

T/M - hop is aromatic only. starts sweet but not overwhelming. moves into a nice fruity and spice flavor. finishes cleanly. no sign of alcohol.

O - very nice brew. couldn't have too many but it was a pleasure drinking it.

drcarver, Jul 03, 2011
Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a plain tumbler pint glass at Eli Cannon's in Middletown, Conn.

A: Deep, reddish amber color with a thin, one-finger head of creamy, off-white foam. Carbonation looks ample and a bit of lacing is left on the glass.

S: Complex, fruity aroma with lots of citrusy hops, sweet, ripened berries and a spicy alcohol tinge.

T: Doses of sweet, fruity caramel malt carries a slightly roasted character into the juicy malt center. This is ushered on waves of spicy, lush, herbal and citrusy hops that bring out some of the plum, berry and apple brandy-like qualities of the brew. The finish is high gravity with a swallow of alcohol and spicy, fruity malts tinged with a searing, grassy hop aftertaste.

M: Full-bodied and rather viscous for a fruity, flavorful, yet complex strong ale. Satisfying flavors and a rather drinkable feel.

O: A well-crafted strong ale that relies a bit more on its hops and spicy alcohol qualities in the complex scheme of things. The near 10% ABV is detected, but doesn't step all over the fine, fruity nuances of the ale. Pretty well-balanced for a strong ale.

Gambrinus1184, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of HattedClassic
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A slightly oily texture. Pours very little head that diminishes quickly. The beer itself is a nice clear brown with hints of red. Slight lacing.

Smell: the beer smells hoppy with a caramel dominate smell. The alcohol also makes a noticeable appearance. However, the hops come out more as the beer warms.

Taste: Citrus hops with sweet malts in the background. The alcohol also makes an appearance but not so much as it detracts from the beer.

Mouthfeel: Crisp with prickly feel. The beer also goes down cold, which is surprising considering the alcohol content.

Overall: A decent beer. The beer isn't that visually impressive but it certainly earns it label as a strong ale with an abv at around 10%.

HattedClassic, Jul 01, 2011
Photo of glid02
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a clear copper color with an off-white head leaving solid lacing.

Smells of pale malts with hints of darker caramel malts, overrun by juicy citrus hops. Hints of herbal hops lurk in the background.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Pale malts up front are joined quickly by loads of citrus and tropical fruit hops. Near the end of the sip slight earthy hops dry things up a bit. The ending is mildly bitter. Mouthfeel is good, with decent carbonation.

Overall I remember the Sneak Peek tasting a lot better – currently it seems as though the hops are too one-dimensional. Still, a tasty beer that’s worth a shot, especially for hopheads.

glid02, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a fantastic golden brown, with a dense light tan head. Great lacing, rings all the way down the glass.

S: A big dose of spice and citrus hops, a sweet toffee aroma.

T: Candy, caramel, citrus fruit. Not too alcoholic, but has nice warmth. Has that lagunitas yeasty quality to it. Good hop bite lurking in the background. Definitely a lot of malt and sweetness up front.

M: Nice carbonation, pretty creamy. Not too hot, but a noticeable alcohol burn. Full body.

O/D: It's a solid strong ale, Lagunitas always seems to do a good job...even if they kind of taste the same. Could have a couple of these tops, near 10% makes this a big beer.

mostpoetsdo, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of jayhawk73
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a copper color w/ a nice cocoa one finger head. Good lacing and carbonation. Somewhat hazy, and you can't see through it completely.

S- Hops, pineapple, orange, malt, and a touch of alcohol. Very pleasant smelling beer for sure. Wish the malt had more presence in the nose though.

T- Hops.. hops.. and hops. Malt makes a comeback here as well, with the fruit nose almost disappearing completely in the taste. A little alcohol burn in the aftertaste that I really like.

M- Definite bitter feel from the hops overwhelm everything else, although it's really not bad. I actually enjoyed the feel on this beer.

O- Pleasant beer, and easy to drink. Definitely pick it up if you haven't tried it yet.

jayhawk73, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of peacebone116
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Release, enjoyed in a Delirium snifter on 5/13/11.

A: Clear dark red copper with little retained head but lace that clings to the edges of the glass and wisps that swirl randomly on top.

N: Sweet candied sugar and pine sap.

T/M: Creamy, light body. Sweet malt center with a wonderful citrus front and a dry, resinous pine finish.

This is a very dangerously drinkable beer; only the heavy sweetness reminds me of its alcoholic strength. Overall, this beer reminds me of a hopped-up Brown Shugga'....very delicious and a great example of a balanced beer, expertly walking the line between sweet malt-forward ale & crisp hoppy beer.

peacebone116, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a red-tinted copper coloring with a foamy, frothy, slim off-white head that settles quickly into a sparse coating of film atop the brew. The aromas are hoppy initially, with a sweet and peppery highlight to them. Further inspection gives off a slight citrus and sweet character, also. Flavors are round and forward, with a moderate wet, fresh hopping, and semisweet caramel tone, and a smokey, almost burnt/charred characteristic. The aftertaste has a grapefruit subtleness to it, with tangy caramel and bitter/drying hops throughout. The finish is a bit awkward, with the drying sensation being balanced off with a creamy and slick feel to it, all of which come crashing to a fairly quick stop at the end. Interesting brew, but a bit on the awkward side at the end, like a bad one-night stand. Sure, it was fun at first, but the ending is never pretty...

GarthDanielson, Jun 29, 2011
Photo of minterro
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Consumed at Kalamazoo Beer Exchange.

A: about a half a finger of thick foamy yellow-white head that fades slowly. the head has great lacing on the glass! The beer is a deep ruby color.

S: very grassy, a bit sweet, and quite hoppy. It has pretty much the same smell as the aroma hops I put into the Imperial Pale Ale that I'm currently brewing.

T: similar to the nose. Not super complex, but it just straight up tastes great. I can taste the citrus and spice when I'm drinking it more then when it’s being smelt

M: medium to full body, medium to low carbonation. It’s heavy and a tad chewy. Pretty smooth.

O: I was very impressed by this beer and really really hope that my beer turns out half as good as this one. Hats off to the people at Lagunitas Brewing Company this was one heck of a beer. I would highly recommend this beer!

minterro, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of chilly460
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep cherry tinted amber with a nice tan head that sticks around nicely. Leaves plenty of lace to the bottom of the glass.

S - The aroma is extremely sweet with brown sugar notes. Different fruits are there as well, cherry, fig come to mind. Plenty of caramel and toffee. It also has a big dose of earthy hops at the finish.

T - Great balance between the sweetness and the hops. Immediate attention grabber is the brown sugar taste, but it's done in a way that doesn't get overdone. It's sort of like good southern sweet tea, it's an art form. This is complemented by more of the fig and cherries picked up in the nose, and then cleaned up with the nice earthy, grassy style hops.

M - The mouthfeel is somewhere between full and medium with a solid amount of carbonation that helps keeping it from being heavy, despite the sweetness.

O - If someone had described this beer to me, I'd have said it wasn't something I'd enjoy. Not so, loved this beer...they keep the sweet/hoppy balance going perfectly, and end with a very interesting beer that is easy to drink and delicious. Never too much sweetness, if you're looking for a "different" beer, this is one for you.

chilly460, Jun 27, 2011
Photo of droomyster
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This massive bear of a beer. Pours a brown body with some light head that exudes massive aromas of molasses, pine hops, and summer camp breakfast an open air tree grove. Flavors have more brown sugar and pancake syrup than the nose, but are sufficiently balanced balanced by the hops so that they aren't cloying. Extremely full bodied and as rich and mouth-filling as they come. If you like the flavor of such a heavy beer as much as I do, then this will be your nirvana. Otherwise it's not your cup of tea. I love brews that unabashedly choose to sink or swim. A nice brew to take your time with.

droomyster, Jun 25, 2011
Photo of genitempo
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Once again, consistency with labeling always is a good strategy. Lagunitas shows this with trademark dog and choice of label paper. Decent pour. Rich, copper body with minimal head. Practically no lacing whatsoever.

Smell - on the cusp of stronger hops, but not overbearing.

Taste - nice hoppy and rich flavor. Really strong up front, then ends abruptly (a beer that would go with a good meal to prevent taste overlap).

Mouthfeel - medium body. a little too much carbonation.

Overall - This is middle of the road for Lagunitas (which is still a level above most attempts made by other breweries).

genitempo, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of enfield249
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark honey too copper red color, with a small head of off white foam

S - Malty and slightly spicy aroma

T - Sweet malt, grain, roast

M - Medium full, slightly astringent, not to much hop bitterness.

O - I would describe it as a IPA minus the hops. Very nice strong ale.

enfield249, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of phiberoptik
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this by accident! Well technically my beer store got it by accident. Lagunitas is only distributed in the Columbus area, but the distributor accidentally sent it with an order down here to Cincinnati. Lucky me!

Pours a nice rich amber color with a rich creamy head.

Smell is very hop forward, clean, fresh, and citrusy. I get more sweet fruit than pine. For a "mild", there is really nothing mild about it.

Taste is wonderful. Bursting with hops and very well balanced. Slight bitterness in the finish but very mild for the amount of hops that come out in the nose and taste. A nice alcohol finish as you would expect from a near 10%'er. For a "mild", there is really nothing mild about it.

Great mouthfeel with medium body, good covering of the tongue and a nice level of carbonation.

Overall this is a great beer. One I would definitely buy again. It gives you a ton of hops without a sticky mouth or a lasting bitterness in the back of your mouth.

phiberoptik, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Heritage02Rider
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured into chilled glass from my hermetic growler. Color is medium amber, not brown, not red; amber. I like the color. The head was full and thick and creamy. Oddly for as thick as it was it dissipated quite quickly to a foam ring, thus the 3.5.

S: the smell was slightly hoppy; not malty as the color would dictate. The odor was very reminiscent of Stone's Arrogant Bastard.

T: the beer is slightly hoppy with a sweet malty overtone. Again reminiscent of Stone.

M: beer is clean and smooth. It doesn't make you cringe nor does it make you smack you lips from sweetness. It does have a slight citrus hoppy after taste.

D: drinkability is good. The beer has a 9.7 ABV but goes down easy like a much lighter beer. You can drink many of these, but the higher alcohol will catch up to you.

O: a decent beer very close to their southern CA brothers Arrogant Bastard. My choice goes to Stone, but this is a decent runner up for a summer dark beer.

Heritage02Rider, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of jeremy2027
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

1. Poured into Sam Adams "perfect pint" glass.

2. Light brown a shade above a good amber, quite clear.

3. Grapefruit right off the bat with a little sweet malty notes.

4. First sip you could taste more of the malt character and some hop bitterness. After a few sips the bitterness is quite apparent and hits you right in the back of the mouth.

5. It was ok I have had much better beers from Lagunitas, I probably wouldn't buy this again.

jeremy2027, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that died down rather quickly but left a thin film of bubbles covering the surface and a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of pine resin hops in the nose along with some notes of citrus and hints of caramel.
T: The taste has flavors of caramel malts and pine resin hops and is accompanied by a moderate to high amount of bitterness. There are some initial hints of malty sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly sticky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Although the alcohol is well masked from the taste, this beer is definitely one that needs to be sipped given its strength and the high amount of bitterness.

metter98, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of ejimhof
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a two and a half inch frothy white head that dissipates slowly.Pours an orange color and leaves a slight lacing.

Smell: sweet malt with some hops is what I get out of this.

Taste: Creamy malty and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and easy drinking.

Overall: Very easy to drink strong ale has that combination of sweetnees and maltiness that I like. You need to watch how many of these you drink in a session.

ejimhof, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of daledeee
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a clear dark chestnut brown. Minimal head with a ring and lacing that stayed nicely.

S; Apricot, sugars, spice and hops

T: Really hoppy with lots of malt. This beer is loaded with flavor. Rather syrupy and doses of apricot.

M: Very high gravity and warming.

O: This is a good beer but not quite balanced enough. I mean this thing is really loaded with flavor but has a little less balance than I am used to.

daledeee, Jun 18, 2011
Photo of Arbitrator
2.78/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chilled 12oz into a glass. Purchased from Whole Foods in Los Altos.

A: Pours a clear dark amber / coppery shade. Has a half-finger off-white head that recedes into light filming and a donut on top of the drink. Leaves some lacing down the glass. Has nice bubbles up the center.

S: MALT. MALT. MALT. A surprising amount of toast, brown sugar, raisins, and an arrangement of floral hops with a lighter grapefruit / citrus component. It honestly smells a lot to me like a doppelbock.

T: Following the nose, a dominant sweetness with toast, dark fruits (raisins, dates) with brown sugar and caramel malt supplementing. The finish takes a complete 180 into hop territory, with grapefruit acidity and floral bitterness. The aftertaste is fairly clean but has just a little lingering bitterness. Seems like the flavors need a little more time to meld.

M: It's medium-bodied, with a watery, unsatisfying finish. Medium carbonation that serves the style decently. Has a lingering bitter aftertaste, but after finishing the beer I had mostly malt burps. Good masking of the ABV.

D: Decent. While I'm glad I tried it, it's not mind-blowing, and I don't think I'd go out of my way to stock up before the season is over. It's more like a dependable and solid brew from a dependable and solid company.

Arbitrator, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of KomodoDragon
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 25th anniversary Bells pint glass.

A - I had to recheck the bottle to be certain I did not have the Lagunitas copper ale. Copper red coloring with a small white head and fantastic lacing.

S - Ok. a bit odd. The alcohol - 9.87% ABV - smell came thru, and it was reminiscint of cough syrup.

T - Aye, but get past the smell and the taste is wonderful. Malty goodness, some fruit flavors, maybe apricot. 72 IBUs of northwest hop is evident but not overpowering. And a welcomed smooth warm finish.

M - Matly, chewy, great.

Well done - again - Laghunitas. A smooth beer that begs you to sip and appreciate.

KomodoDragon, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of BrainDad
4.63/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, just arrived, at Hopcat in GR. Beautiful deep amber color like a good whisky. I've always thought Lagunitas takes it in the shorts with reviews because their beers are between styles. You should check out this beer!

The flavor is characteristic sweet malt with a nice hop tone. Very rich!! Tastes great and feels smooth on the tongue, especially for the ABV. I will be back here to drink more and buy a few bombers when I can find them around. Wish I could get to Petaluma this year but this will have to do.

If you like Lagunitas specialty brews you will like this. If you haven't had a strong ale this smooth you better try one.

BrainDad, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of jbphoto88
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep ruby color leaning towards a leathery brown. The head is playsand tan and fast to fade. The brew is crystal clear and wonderful to look at.

The nose is heavy on the malts with subtle hops. A roasted grain body with elusions of a grand alcohol content reminescent of a barley wine. Hints of bitterness are there but not in the hop citrus/ piney way.

Taste is much like the nose with a strong malt backbone and flavors approaching the caramel/ toast side of things. The bitterness is present but the flavor of the hops are eclipsed by the malts.

The mouthfeel is good with a strong bitterness that dukes it out with the sweetness of the grains. Smooth and lightly carbonated with a dry finish makes this beer a pleasurable drink with a not so noticeable ABV. A good strong beer that tastes and feels good but doesn't have huge character. It's ok but gets boring, so worth checking out but not one I'd come back to.

jbphoto88, Jun 16, 2011
Photo of alamode
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 release.
12oz bottle poured into an American Pint.

A: a transparent, deep gold color...like a thick piece of amber. slightly off-white head that reduces to a ring, leaving a thin film of bubbles and plenty of lacing.

S: pine, pineapple, sugared malt and a hint of booze.

T: signature Lagunitas hops play nicely with an alcohol bitterness. a fading citrus & some over-ripe grapefruit with sugar also come through. a slight solvent-like flavor comes in the finish when it reaches room temp.

M: moderate carbonation. oily, but pleasent.

D: I had this back in May and was a big fan of it being more fresh. It was close to fantastic in every aspect and I def would have scored it higher, had I taken notes. Even with as little as 2 mos on it, I am noticing signs of age. A very nice spring offering that I plan to celebrate annually.

alamode, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of zdk9
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- This one is the darkest of oranges, like a creepy mystical orb. There's but a quarter of a finger of head, barely more than a whisp, but the lacing is strong with this one.

S- My first impression is canned pineapple, all the way. Then it gets more complex- there's caramel, dark wheat bread, and soy sauce, some oranges- possibly candied. More dark grain flavors comes out as it warms and my nose gets adjusted to the pineapple.

T- Not at all what I expected from the smell- the first sip is like grain husks, ryish, and also reminesent of kasha. A bit spicy. There's pine and grapefruit pith on the back of the mouth, and a malty sweetness on the front of the mouth- a bit like when a saltine sits in your mouth for a while and the starches turn into sugars.

M- Thick and quite syrupy. Just what I'd want out of this beer, and a good match for the flavors- the heavy grains just call out for a heavy beer.

O- Really nice stuff. From my first scent I was expecting a hoppy sweet bomb, but it really mellowed out and presented some interesting flavors and complexity.

zdk9, Jun 13, 2011
Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 3,352 ratings.