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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.

956 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 956
Hads: 4,019
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 20.95%
Wants: 118
Gots: 792 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 956 | Hads: 4,019
Photo of BarleyBoz
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am becoming more and more familiar with Lagunitas but this beer is hands down the best beer that I have had from them. Without knowing what I was opening, I was astonished by all characters of this brew. Beginning with its initial nose right from the bottle, I knew it was going to be delectable. After an aggressive pour, the nose really opened up and the hops jumped right out. The reddish color and clear clarity made this brew refreshing just to look at. The balance of the structure and the length that was evident from start to finish also amazed me. It left my palate satisfied but I could not wait for the next sip. This beverage has definitely climbed into my top three favorites as of late.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle from the 2010 vintage pours a crystal clear copper color with a sedentary cap of creamy tan froth. Excellent lacing as the foam recedes at a snails pace.

Nose is citrusy, apple orchard hoppy and does not stray much at all from the typical Lagunitas aroma. Smells good, but the same shit over and over again from them is getting a bit old.

Taste is sweet and hoppy, with tropical fruit flavors from the hops and alcohol reigning supreme. There is some decent balancing from the caramel and sugary malts, but if someone put this in front of me blindfolded, I would have a myriad of Petaluma beers to rattle off. Alcohol is too much and becomes harsh fast. Sorry Lagunitas, if I would have had this before Lucky 13, Imperial Red, Correction Ale, WTF, etc... I would give it higher marks. But it feels like a been there, done that kind of brew.

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Photo of Fezfreak
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color and a decent head that left a nice lacing throughout; but could have been fuller had I agitated the pour a little better.

My first whiff of this was of malted rubbing alcohol. But thankfully it subsided and became more malty after a few minutes in the open air.

Taste is a well-rounded balance of hops and toasted malt with strong hints of rye, and as such I would almost bet there is a quantity of rye in the grain bill. Reminded me a lot of Hop Rod Rye, and as it warmed a little - it tasted more and more like Arrogant Bastard.

Mouthfeel is somewhat smooth and creamy; not as bold as I was expecting and so I nicked the score a little for that.

This would pair nicely with spicy food; particularly beef dishes. Also ideal as an after work, "pre-dinner" tonic, as long as you don't consume more than a couple.

However, at 9.75% abv, this is not a session beer. But if you wish to make it one, have a designated driver or drink it either at or within walking (ha ha - pun intended!) distance of your home.

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

Poured into a DFH Pint.
appearance: Clear amber. Pretty sizeable creamy head.
smell: fruity, citrusy, bitter, sour with malty base. Impressive nose.
taste: Great balance! Like a strong ale and DIPA combination. Reminds me of a mild Burton.
mouthfeel: medium.
drinkability: Pretty amazing for as Lagunitas calls it an "oxymoronic Imperial Mild".

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Photo of Wildman
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear dark amber color and formed a nice huge off white foam head that left latticed lace as it subsided. A small amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, caramel and plums. The flavor was of malt, caramel, hops/citrus and a hint of pepper. The body was medium and a bit silky. The finish was bittersweet. Hides the alcohol well.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Usual copper appearance. Frothy head. Big hop aroma, so far, this is a typical Lagunitas beer (so I'm excited).

Big hops on the palate, rather dry, minimally fruit (cherry pie) enters and subsides quickly. I have serious doubts this is almost 10% alcohol. Bigger malt backbone to it than a lot of the Lagunitas family. Hop quality is the usual citrus feel, closest to grapefruit. Caramel. A little thicker, but nothing that creates that sweet approaching light syrup feel. Lagunitas is always cheap, which makes it a lot more drinkable.

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Photo of Pencible
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a clear dark copper, with some off-white head. It smelled like strong copper and resin and herbal hops, with some caramel malt. It tasted like copper and resin and floral hops, with sweet honey malt. It was thick with a little carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this wasn't terrible complex, but it had a great hoppy scent and taste with nice malt balance. Very crisp and clean, with great body too, and very well hidden alcohol. So this was dangerously easy to drink. Excellent beer that's totally under the radar. (I'd love to try it blind with PtE, HopSlam, etc. just to see how much hype affects reviews.) Definitely recommended.

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Photo of chaz01
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasting size portion at a local beer tasting event. 12 ounce bottle served in a plastic cup.

A: Dark ruby brow with a thick creamy head.

S: Lots of fruity and floral aromas.

T: Sweet malt flavors with some brown sugar. Bit hoppy in the finish with some grapefruit flavors.

M: Medium bodied, good carbonation levels.

D: Nice, smooth and well balanced for a big beer. I was surprised to see its ABV is 9.7%, as this went down too easily. Definitely would look for it again.

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Photo of Pittsburgh
3.61/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Second Lagunitus I have tried. Good pour, nice amount of bubbles dissolves to a thin layer at the top of the glass. Dark brown color, taste is interesting to me, not sure if it's the combination of hops and malt, but I haven't had anything much like it. I definitely am feeling the malt, hops are there as well, syrup flavor, sort of sticky like an IPA. More malty than hoppy. Smooth taste, but lacking in the flavor department. I think it's missing something.

It's a good beer, not really my cup of tea, I think it's ok, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again. A little above average for me.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz dark brown bottle. No freshness date.
The color is a deep amber-hued red copper with a fast-fading off-white head. Little wisps of lacing stick to the glass.
A big whiff of resinous hops is released upon opening the bottle. Grapefruit, orange zest and some rummy smells follow.
This is a full impact ale in many ways. Sharp-edged metallic, piney and citrusy hops come out with a bang. Sweet caramel malt lays low providing a thin layer of body for the over-whelming hop and alcoholic kick. Tastes of orange Tang and white rum are ever present. The hop punch almost borders on a salty taste, which is completely wrong, yet interesting.

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Photo of kraigguffey
4.8/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

After a recommendation from Rob at my local brew store I grabbed a sic pack of this Imperial. Wow, I own him a beer. This beer is the perfect summer Imperial IPA, maintaining the bite of an Imperial but still maintains a very crisp taste that goes down easy in the humid heat of the south.

I'm sad to see this beer as a "special release".

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Photo of vdread
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the Lagunitas website lists Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale as an 'imperial mild', whatever that means.

it pours a wonderful dark amber/red color with a thin head.

smells are initially strong with fresh, juicy C-hops, with some sweet caramel malt in the background.

as i expected, this brew is delicious. the hops are very prevalent, juicy, and fruity, with a solid bitterness. the malt is rich, sweet. caramel and toffee. alcohol is noticeable, but i wouldn't guess nearly 10%

mouthfeel smooth, almost chewy. thick for sure, with a lasting malt sweetness and hop bitterness.

the more Lagunitas i drink, the more i love them. i was a bit skeptical of the style at first, but this proved to be an excellent strong ale. lots of rich malt flavors and a stinging hop bite.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured into a pint glass to an overflowing off white head. It is amber colored. The aroma is fresh grapefruit, orange and maybe some pear. The taste is full of grapefruit but you can tell it has a nice malty backbone. This beer is big on citrus on the smell and taste. I really like Lagunitas as far as hoppy beers go. I am not a fan of big hops but I consistantly like their offerings.

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Photo of Bizz88
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours dark amber with an eggshell white finger and a half head that dissipated quickly to very sticky lacing down the glass.
S- sweet hoppy malt to the nose with a spicy hint.
T- a nice hoppy bite with a brown sugar sweetness.
M- Smooth,medium body light on the carbonation.
D- Very drinkable. Down two of these back to back, just be at home.

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

Reviewed from notes on 5/15/10.

A: Poured into a snifter, this meanderingly monikered beer has a ruby-copper color and a near one-finger head that leaves thin retention. The look of the lacing is okay, with medium stickiness.

S: Sweet hop fuel. Melon and honey aromas smack a piney hop presence and create a glorious scent. Basically every fruit in existence can be found in the smell of this beer. My girlfriend and I concur that the smell is somewhat reminiscent of Hopslam.

T: The melon and honey sweetness that I smelled runs in step with a ball-busting pine and citrus hop bitterness throughout the duration of each sip. I like this beer quite a lot, but being very critical, I would say that the sweetness is just a tad hot and there is also a noticeable streak of alcohol.

M: Pretty light-bodied with a low to medium carbonation in U.C.I.S-d.A. (had to do that) but the full sweetness and tongue assaulting hops make up for these attributes and make this an exciting feel.

D: Dangerously drinkable, I would say. I can definitely taste the 9.75 % alcohol, but it does not affect how easily this one goes down. I will have more of these over time. The only possible downfall of the drinkability would be the obvious sweetness in the taste.

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Photo of caddybuyer
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stemmed pint glass.

What is this undercover investigation?

A-Clear ruddy copper with an eggshell head. Nice looking brew.

S-Fruity and floral hops with a boatload of malt in there as well...pungent classic Lagunitas...

T-Sweet caramel malts accented by a medley of canned fruit and a hint of cherry...citrus hops are present but there to balance it all out. Nice astringent bitter finish. Someone told me this was a double IPA. No way. This is a nicely hopped American strong ale with a tasty malt backbone in the signature Lagunitas style. Almost 10 ABV? Wow...could have fooled me.

M-Smooth creamy and well balanced.

D-I just love virtually everything these guys do....like Stone, they have a signature profile that they tweak to conform to various styles, but their best efforts are when they just do what they want without regard to convention. Another well made, very drinkable effort.

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Photo of WestValleyIPA
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into my Zatec fluted glass. Got about 2 fingers of slow dying, white, nice lacing head. Smells a bit of sweet malt, stinky cheese, and typical Lagunitas hop. Tastes a bit sweet, some baking spices and a nice medium long bitter finish. Be careful, as the near 10 percent abv will sneak up on you. Definitely a once a year buy.

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Photo of silentjay
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a ruby brown color with a relatively small one-finger almost white head that leaves quick, but leaves a film on the glass.

smell is strong and at first of piney, grassy, spicey hops with some citrus not all that different from an IPA. some caramellly and toffee smelling malt and a bit of booze hits the nose as well to differentiate it.

taste at first is boozy. it is supported by the hops, but they aren't nearly as dominant as in the aroma. plenty of malt sweetness is there, but some fruit flavors appear as well. maybe black cherries, plums, grapes, and apples. finishes with a peppery spice that tries to offset the alcohol a bit.

mouthfeel is relatively light for the style though its still pretty full-bodied. low on carbonation which goes well with the strong flavors. finishes smooth, but has a lingering aftertaste.

a sipper, for sure. alcohol is present, but at a high ABV and in the style, it is expected and adds to the flavors. Overall a very good beer, but it falls a bit below the expectations set by the aroma.

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Photo of misinformed
4.69/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up a 6 pack of this a week or so ago and am on my 5th bottle, so I figured it was about time to review it. Poured in to a Lucifer tulip.

A- Deep red/mahogany. Dark enough not be able to see through clearly. More orange when looking straight down into the glass. Poured with a small off-white head that quickly disappeared.

S- Sweet citrus hops, very much like grapefruit. Some alcohol later.

T- Starts with a very nice citrus/hops flavor. Reminds me a lot of grapefruit. The hops drop off quickly for a nice sweet, malty finish that is not too strong. Really, really well balanced. Starts off with the nice hoppy punch followed by the sweet finish which is not overpowering at all.

M- Medium bodied. Smooth with some light carbonation. There is a mild and pleasant prickly alcohol burn present if it warms up that much.

D- Very nice! I like this one a lot. The flavor is balanced so nicely between the citrusy hops at the start and the mellow sweetness of the finish. I could drink this all the time.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Balooon glass from the bottle

A-Very deep amber to the point of nearly having a red hue, nice thin but creamy head that laces very sticky

S-Hops and sweet malt dominate the nose. But has slight undertones of some sweet fruit as well almost like a grape.

T-The flavor is very suprising given the nose, while hops are very present they do not dominate what stsys on your palate like the sweetness from teh rich malts and grains. Slight alcohol burn is nice going down and it stays with you from drink to drink with a killer bittersweet finish

M-I'm gonna hit this one pretty hard here as it comes off pretty thin and slightly overcarbonated. Very complex beer tho and the flavors blend together very well.

D-Very easy to drink. In fact untill I pulled this one up to review I had no idea it was such a high ABV. This one could get me in trouble in a hurry

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Photo of MeisterBurger
2.88/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear brownish copper topped by a thin off white head. Minimal lacing.

The aroma is bright citrus hops, slightly grassy with a hint of sulphur. Caramel malt comes out little by little.

The taste is lighter than you'd expect, with a sweetness followed by an oddly grassy bitterness in the finish. Piney. But mostly grassy. Some of the sulphur is in the taste too. A bit of alcohol heat in the back of the throat. Not really much going on but light sweet caramel washed away by a leafy bitterness.

The body is also lighter that you'd expect for something so bitter with noticeable malt, but it's very light with low carbonation.

Overall this wasn't great. Too grassy and unbalanced and slightly harsh. A rare disappointment from Lagunitas for me.

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Photo of alkemy
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a medium mahogany/amber with a pretty thin off-white head. Lots of hops on the nose. It's a combo of floral and piney hops. Contrary to the taste, which is pine-centric, the floral note dominates the scent. As I said, pine dominates the taste with a sticky, prickly vibe. There's also a bit of chewy dough taste and caramel from the malts. There's also a citrus presence that intertwines with that piney opening. Nice viscosity and carbonation that pairs well with the biting pine notes. This is another winner from Lagunitas!

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is ruby gone to rust. Head is thin and reduces to a skim and crown rather quickly.

Hops are huge in the nose, leaning on the spicy side yet also having a nice greenness about them. Cinnamon, white pepper and citrus peel round it out.

This is one juicy, spicy, bitter, sweet, just-about-perfect flavor. If it were a tad more malty, I'd rate it even more highly. There's a cherry liqueur thing happening here, resembling the stuff inside chocolate covered cherries, without the chocolate. The round, slick, creamy and buoyant mouthfeel carries the sweetness and bitterness a long way, and just when it threatens to become too astringent, a malty sweetness and cinnamon-like spice provide balance. Alcohol presence is such that it threatens to become medicinal, but the fruitier/spicier elements of the malt/hops teamwork keep it from sliding too far that way. So this beer is clearly all about balance, and how to cram a lot of flavor in without becoming messy and unbalanced.

U.I.S-d.A. (catchy!) is my kind of beer, "American Strong Ale" or otherwise. Big, flavorful, balanced, complex. Oh yeah.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish mahogany color with a thin tan head that retains as well as you could expect for a high ABV beer. The aroma has a huge piney and citrusy hops character upfront, followed by caramel and toffee, dark fruits, and some alcohol. The flavor also has a big hoppyness upfront with notes of pineapple, lime, and pine resin, as well as some juicy malts (caramel, toffee and red vines), dark fruits (fig, plums, raisins), and a decent alcohol presence. The mouthfeel is rich and luxurious without being heavy, and drinkability is decent. Pretty solid strong ale from Lagunitas, but the problem is that it doesn't do much to discriminate itself from their other hoppy strong ales.

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Photo of kramerjt
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. Color is a deep amber, and a moderate cream colored head.

Hit with solid aromas from the start, big hits of lemon and grapefruit, very smooth mouth feel.

Like the high ABV, without the high alcohol notes.

Overall a great sipping beer, one I'll try again.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 956 ratings.