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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down AleUndercover Investigation Shut-down Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by GilGarp on 03-10-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 979 | Ratings: 4,156
Photo of jbphoto88
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of alamode
3.65/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of zdk9
4.05/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of mjw06
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Velvety off-white two finger size head that leaves a light liquidy lacing. Dark cherry-rustik transparent color.

Wonderful in the nose. A surgary red plum, maraschino cherry and brown sugar.

The taste was that of cherries, sugary almost vodka tasting alcohol warmness and malt. The body was thin and a little light on the carbonation for my liking. Not much hop bitterness and overall it was along the lines of a barleywine, except not as strong.

Lagunitas is one of my favorite breweries, and judging this selection subjectively based on their catalog, I was a little disappointed. Very little distinguished this beer and it was definitely not worthy of its long name and "special edition" status. Reminded me of their "Brown Shugga" selection, which I'm actually very fond of, except this lacked character.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting little six pack called out to me the other day while perusing the isles of a store I don't normally shop at. Pours a deep copper color with a fluffy off white head that dissipates slowly but leaves lots of sticky lace on my glass. Lots of caramelly sweet malt aromas fly north of my glass barely tamed by the spicy pine of the hops. Taste is sweeter than I expected up front there is a ton of sweet malt mostly caramel and toffee. Taste turns earthy and pine bitter about midway through and that flavor lingers into the finish and long after each sip. Thick body, resinous and sticky sweet mouthfeel, moderate level of carbonation. I enjoyed the hell out of this brew. Its a big sweet thick monster of a beer with barely enough hops to keep it from cloying, but for my taste buds it worked.

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

On tap @ Brewers Haven in Boise. Served in a pint glass.

A: Light see-thru brown with a finger of off-white approaching yellow head. Good sticky lacing.

S: Sweet toasted malt, caramel malt, earthy hops, some nuttiness. Maybe just a touch of alcohol but it all blends pleasantly. A unique smelling beer.

T: Similar to the nose plus a nice sweet woody character that accents the toasted malt well. Middle of the tongue there is touch of orange from the hops, and there is a significant amount of hop bitterness and dryness without being overwhelming. Some chocolate candy sweetness and cocoa powder.

MF: Medium bodied and crisp, light medium carbonation and that dry finish.

O: A pleasant surprise for a brown ale, with about medium drinkability as it warms and the booze emerges a touch. The hops and sweetness are a nice change from a normal malty brown ale.

A nice change of pace.

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

Poured from a bottle into a schooner. No obvious best before date.

A - brown/amber in color with a very small head that dissipates very quickly. Very little lacing. Clear with a moderate amount of carbonation on inspection.

S - Nose is interesting with a bit of grain, but also a fair amount of ripe fruit and a hint of caramel.

T - not much bitterness, but a powerful malt combo of licorice, caramel and ripe fruit (much like the nose). Definitely some boozy warming. Very muscular beer!

M - slow uptake on the carbonation, but it does cut the velvety texture of the ale quite well. Not quite a mouth-coater, but on the thicker side.

D - With the strong booziness this one is more of a sipper, but definitely a nice drink.

Strong, muscular ale that reveals its near 10% alcohol content but stays drinkable. Primarily a strong malt profile and without the hoppy bitterness you get in some of the other strong ales (e.g Arrogant Bastard). Solid!

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Photo of mryuk
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours an unfiltered nice amber with an inch of head.

smell is slightly sweet with citrus hops.

taste hits you like a punch. very forward with some sweetness and a lot of hops all the way trough. caramel and citrus undertones.

mouth is medium-full with good carbonation.

drinkability is very high, nice beer.

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Photo of seand
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy reddish brown, with just few clumps of off white head. What little is there retains around the edges of the glass well enough to leave small spots of lacing.

S: Sweet with a light graininess, notes of dried fruit and brown sugar, as well as a touch of booze.

T: Sweet, balanced by a big hoppy finish.

M: Medium to full body, medium carbonation.

A decent strong ale; it's sweet, boozy, and hoppy, but there's nothing particularly outstanding about it.

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Photo of Long813
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown body with two fingers of light mocha head. Retention is minimal as is lacing.

S: Nice front of citrus fruit and brown sugars. Smells very similar to a barely-wine.

T: As with the aroma, fronts of citrus with a load of hops. Earthiness is very strong with some nice malt character.

M - Medium bodied with medium-low carbonation. The texture is very full and together with a sticky malt aftertaste. I'm very surprised at the lack of alcohol I can taste. It's also 9.87% ABV as given on my bottle.

O: This is one of my more favorable barley-wines, I like the combination of citrus, hops and malts.

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Photo of jman892
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear amber, with a soapy, foamy tan head. Nice lacing remains

S - Smell is a real nice citrus/peach. Very inviting smell. Smells like a grapefruit with sugar poured on top of it

T - Follows the nose, bitter, citrusy hops, with some earthiness on the back end. There is a noticeable alcohol kick to it which is not suprising given the ABV. A bit of caramel taste to it as well as a faint dark fruit as it warms

M - Clean, crisp, moderate carbonation, relatively easy drinker considering the punch it packs

O - Another solid offering from Lagunitas. Cant beat this for $12 for a 6 pack

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Photo of diamondc
2.83/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark bronze, not much head, but there is a lingering cap of foam and some nice lacing.

S: Some light citrus aroma .. and that's it. Maybe some slight toastiness from the malt.

T: Very woodsy & pine-like hop bitterness. Booze is out in the open.

M: Despite the booziness, it doesnt drink harshly at all. Well-carbonated with no memorable hop or malt flavors.

O: Glad I only got a single. My least favorite Lagunitas beer.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

San Diego Brewing Co.
San Diego, CA

Dark amber and a thin tan head. Moderate lacing down the glass.

Citrus hops, caramel malts, and alcohol in the nose.

Citrus hops, caramel malts, some bready sweetness, and a distinct and biting, very strong alcohol bite on the finish. I expected more from this beer. Disappointing only because of my expectations, but overall relatively simple and still tasty.

A thin to medium mouthfeel. Ample carbonation.

A sweet, malty American strong ale with a little too much alcohol presence on the end. Not a particularly enjoyable beer, but nothing to complain about either.

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Photo of bamojr
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

smells super hoppy. Pours darker amber light white head. This one has a huge hop flavor and some really sweet flavors too. A bit tart, but the tartness compliments it quite well. I have to say that I was drawn to this one by its name but I did really like it.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Undercover Investigation pours a deep cherry tinted amber with a nice parchment head that has good staying power. The beer leaves some nice lace on the sides of the snifter and the liquid itself appears to be nice and clear.

The aroma is extremely sweet and fruity with notes of cherry, fig and plenty of caramel and toffee. It also has a big dose of citrusy hops that make it smell bright and fresh.

The flavor has a great balance between the sweetness and the hops. The same fruity character colors the malty caramel flavors. This fruitiness blends amazingly with the citrusy and piney hops. There is just enough bitterness to keep the beer from getting too sweet, and a faint earthy spice near the end of the sips. The ABV is noticeable, but not overbearing.

The mouthfeel is somewhere between full and medium with a solid amount of carbonation that keeps it from being heavy on the palate. For as sweet as this beer is, I do not find it sticky at all with the sweet and bitter components mingling easily on my tongue after each sip.

I was really not sure what to expect with this beer and came away very impressed. This is a really well balanced strong ale with some great flavors. The fruity qualities make it very drinkable and the carbonation level makes it much more refreshing. This was recommended by a friend and I definitely second his recommendation.

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Photo of rfgetz
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours the color of a tarnished penny, solid cap of off-white head, good sticky lacing. Scent is dominated by piney and grapefruity hops, not suprised since this is Lagunitas, sweet carmely malty backbone with a touch of apple. Taste follows scent, very hop forward, sweet carmely malt backbone has touches of nuts, note of apple and grape on the backent, slight nutty roast, slight booze burn to acompany bitterness. Medium bodied, palate coating and lingering bitterness. Another Lagunitas beer that showcases the hops. Cant argue too much if a majority are decent brews.

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Photo of marvin213
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Depending on how I let the light hit it, the color varies from a super dark brown to a nice light tan. Not a whole lot of foam here, but the lacing looks serious...ly suggestive of hops. I get on BA here to confirm it's a Strong Ale (and not some sort of IPA).

Nose is fantastic--it's like a cross between that citrusy Hop Stoopid extract and a dark brown, malty strong ale. It's like a Backwoods Double Troubled Bastard minus a bourbon barrel.

The taste isn't quite as good as the smell, but it's a darn solid beer. It actually tastes as the senses thus far would reflect. It's a brown hopper! In the age of hop rules all, I'm a little disappointed I didn't get more of that citrusy...but, in all honesty, that wasn't what I was looking for when I grabbed the undercover. It's a hoppier Popskull. It may just be the hoppiest stong ale I've had--I'm diggin' it!

Mouthfeel might be a relative weakness. It doesn't have a malty sweetness like other strong ales, nor is tough like a forefather's beer a la Old Curmudgeon. It does, however, have a hop-pop, feel-appeal to it! :-)

As I figured when I picked up this single to throw in my box as I was leaving the beer store, this one's forgettable. It's neither a go-to strong nor a hopeful hop art. It is, though, yet another testament to the bad-assness that is Lagunitas Brewing Co. Never will I fear picking up some obscure beer from that place. It's still good work.

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

A-dark amber with a nice cream colored head. great lacing

S-beautiful citrusy hops with a bit of breadiness to it. medium strength

T-comes in with a high quality amount of sweet citrusy hops. it then becomes very creamy with some vanilla flavor. the after-taste is straight orange. there's a lot of citrus to this, definitely good though.

M-very creamy medium carbonation with a semi-dry finish

O-pretty hoppy even for an Amercan Strong Ale. this drinks more like an IPA in my opinion. definitely a good beer though. too much citrus in my opinion though. i wouldn't mind having this again, but i won't search this out.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark reddish orange color with a fairly small white head. Head has pretty solid retention and leaves a few spots of lacing.

S- The smell here is nothing really over the top and nothing is really jumping out at me either. Picking some citrus hops and caramel.

T- Molasses, caramel, and citrus hops all working well with each other. Quite a nice malt back bone here.

M- Medium in body and on the lower side of carbonation.

O- Not too bad at all.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at POPE, Philly, PA

Poured a clear, walnut brown, with reddish highlights, and a small white head that nonetheless laced rather well. Toasty malts and molasses on the nose. Taste was of nice toasted malts, nutty, woody, and a bitter pine sensation, with a subtle toffee flavor in there somewhere. I was kind of surprised when I looked up the ABV here, because I detected little to no alcohol bite at all. Not too out of the ordinary, but still a nice drink, and I suppose it'll get you hammered pretty fast if you're not careful, since the alcohol is masked so well. Light-medium mouthfeel, and easily drinkable, but not overly flavorful.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep red. Lots of copper and rusty hues. The head is dense and fine with a couple strong rings of lace.

Lots of sweetened pine, oranges and a very dense, dank wild grass aroma. I'm thinking there is some Summit at play here, and its bringing it's oniony aromas. But, its quite complex and enjoyable. Malts are sturdy and caramelized.

Even better than the aroma, the taste looses most of that oniony, Summit character. Candied orange is predominate. Pine brings up the rear, riding over caramel and toffee.

Quite full, for the style. An element of syrupiness with a soft carbonation.

Quite enjoyable. One could put this in the same family as Arrogant Bastard. A big, hoppy, red IPA. I'd take this over Arrogant Bastard any day.

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

in pint glass. Deep Amber and Red color with nice off white head that leave good sticky lacing start to finish.

smells of citrus and pine hops and some sweet maple syrup. maybe some dark fruit buried in there...raisins? plums?

taste is earty with citrus and hops along with a good malt backbone balance. the citrus is more of a grapefruit. Some sweet notes come through. Alcohol is very well hidden!

Medium bodied, medium carbonation..no complaints. Nice dry finish with decent hop bite.

Another Lagunitas offering that I find to be a very worthy brew. Good hoppy brew with good malt balance and background of citrus and dark fruits...take your time to sip, the abv% is well hidden and will sneak up on you!

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Photo of spinrsx
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Clear copper/red colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some really good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, butterscotch, hops, raisins, raspberries, citrus, pine

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, butterscotch and a fair amount of hops. There is also some citrus mixed with dark fruits.. perhaps raisins and raspberries. I also picked up on a bit of a pine flavour. the beer finishes with a malty and fruity aftertaste with some lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - The alcohol was well hidden in my opinion and the taste was very well bodied. There are a lot of different flavours going on and I'm not sure I've ever had a beer that tasted quite like this one. I give it points for originality but this isn't something I'd want to drink very often.

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Photo of DangQuesadilla
3.21/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this tonight on tap at my local establishment. Appeared dark in color. The aroma was not over powering or memorable. Had a deep taste, one that I will not forget. It tasted to me like this was brewed with red apple peels. However, it did not taste like a cider beer. Overall, I was happy to try it. But there are a hundred other beers I would rather drink. Glad I tried it, but not for me necessarily.

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

The other day I picked up a bottle of Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale for $1.59 at The Lager Mill. Lately I have been making it a point to try all the Lagunitas beers that my local store has to offer, so when I saw one I haven't tried yet I quickly snatched it up. No visible bottling date. Poured from a short 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label on the beer is pretty damn plain, it would be nice if there was a little artwork on this bottle like on the Hairy Eyeball. It poured a nice clean and clear amber caramel color with two and a half fingers worth of off white head that died down to a thick later that stayed the rest of the time and left some nice rings of lacing.

S- Wow, I was expecting a sweet malty aroma similar to the Hairy eyeball, but instead I am pleasantly surprised by the dominating citrus hops aroma this beer has, it smells pretty similar to a heavy citrus DIPA. The aroma is pretty much dominated by citrus hops that impart lots of grapefruit, mango and blood orange aromas. There is also a nice presence of lightly toasted caramel malts that helps balance out all those citrus hops. The smell reminds me of those berry fruit by the foots.

T- The nose led me to believe the flavor was going to be all about the citrus hops but instead I am greeted with an extremely balanced brew. Up front I pick up the lightly toasted caramel malts that have just the right amount of sweetness to them and some nice biscuit like flavors. The malts are immediately followed by loads of citrus hops with grapefruits sticking out the most. The finish has some medium bitterness to it and is slightly dry. There is also a very slight presence of alcohol, for being 9.7% it is hidden pretty well.

M- Slightly dry, medium bodied and medium carbonation that suited this beer nicely.

Overall I thought this was a pretty damn good beer. I tried Hairy Eyeball yesterday and I felt like it needed some more hops to really be a great beer, well it seems like they answered my prayers and conjured this baby up. I find most American Strong Ales are either really malty or really hoppy, this beer fell right in the middle and I really liked that, it had great balance when it came to the flavor, neither hops or malts were overpowering and they were combined with great harmony. The alcohol was hidden really nicely and combined with great flavors made for some good drinkability, if I had another one I would drink it, it makes for a nice brew to crack open after a long hot day of yard work. I will be buying this again, in fact now that I just noticed it is a limited release I will be getting a six pack next time I go to the store. If your looking for an American Strong ale that has some great flavors and balance to it this is the beer for you. Great job with this brew Lagunitas, you guys really know what your doing, now I have to see what other beers I can track down from you guys.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 979 ratings.