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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.

950 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 950
Hads: 3,969
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 20.95%
Wants: 111
Gots: 753 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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: 950 | Hads: 3,969
Photo of dmgeng
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love Lagunitas and I've never seen this one before so I had to pick it up.

A - Beautiful dark ruby color. Clear with a huge white head and stong lacing.

S - Sweet hop character that is fruity almost like fresh sweet blueberries. There are also the some of the more traditional citrus and herbal hop tones. There is a rich maltiness under the hops with some light alcohol and caramel in the background. It has a traditional ESB, fruity yeast character but to the next level.

T - The taste also has that almost berry taste with a sweet fruitiness that comes from the yeast, the malt, and the hops all melding together in one fine beer. It is definitely an American Strong ale with the richness and the hops to try and duke it out on your palate. The fruity yeast and hops are more predominant on the tongue with the malty, grainy, and caramel flavors mixing well together. There is a bitterness that attempts to compliment the sweetness and is clean on the finish.

M - High to medium mouth-feel with medium to high carbonation. For being almost 10% ABV and a very sweet flavor I would expect this beer to be almost cloying but with the higher carbonation and hop bitterness it does not stick but instead just teases your tongue asking for more.

Overall, a really delicious beer and definitely a unique American Strong ale. Not as overtly powerful as Bastard nor as malty as Hairy Eyeball but is very good and is balanced enough to have more than one of (although the alcohol will sneak up on you.) This is the perfect beer for early spring with plenty of flavor to awaken your soul but enough alcohol to warm you toes.

Glass- Tulip

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.75 - Pours a nice rich, caramel, orange and mahogany color. Forms up a good finger and a half of lightly tan colored head. Medium/High head potential and retention, especially impressive considering the high ABV. Large, spotty lacing left behind.
S - 4.5 - Smells like a mix between a DIPA and a barleywine. Peaches, mango, orange, pineapple, grapefruit citrus, hops, caramel and a lightly malty backbone.
T - 4.25 - Again, like a mixture of DIPA and barleywine. Sweet orange, grapefruit and hops upfront. Ends on a balancing, hop and malt bitterness. The finish is reminiscent of a black IPA. This very well balanced and isn't over the top sweet as the nose will lead you to believe it is.
F - 4.5 - Nice oily, medium creamy mouthfeel.
O - 4.25 - This is a very nice and well-balanced offering from Lagunita's that really blurs the lines between a DIPA and a barleywine.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75


How the heck have I NEVER reviewed this one?!?! 12oz bottle picked up tonight at Whole Foods... Clear light amber brew shows a persistent light tan head that leaves great sheets of lacing. Sharp pithy hoppiness and dry toast in the nose... Expected big bitterness up front and on the finish is only punctuated briefly mid-palate by the pithy grapefruit hops and dry toast/dark caramel notes... Body is medium but accentuated by a lighter carbonation.. Drinkability is a little light for me just because it is a bitter bruiser... Still an obviously well made brew and one of the best stories from any brewery ever.


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Photo of HamdenHector
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; burnt orange in color; moderate amount of bubbles rising; 1 finger off white head that receded slowly to a thin cap; nice lacing that lasts;

S: pine, herbal, a little caramel;

T: herbal with lemon behind it; some black pepper spiciness along with herbal notes from mid-palate through the finish; moderate bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; highly carbonated;

O: the spiciness at the and is a little overwhelming; otherwise, I really like the balance and interplay between the various flavors;

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Photo of Libeertarian
4.46/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look is a clear burnt orange. Darker than copper, I'd say. Tannish, thick, long-lasting head. Smell is of hops, quite perfumy. Makes it hard to wait for the tasting. Taste is balanced very much in favor of hops, so this ale's as bitter as a standard IPA, but it's sweet and peppery, and therefore fairly well balanced (excepting malt qualities) probably owing as much to the high alcohol (says 9.3% on my bottle, not 9.7%) as it is to the variety of hops. A strong and more bitter aftertaste, but still sweet and peppery. Somewhat like a vegetable broth, but not overwhelming like you'd notice in Bridgeport's Hop Czar Imperial IPA, for example. It's warming as and after it goes down. There's a slight chewy/oily sensation on my teeth as it lingers and even after it's gone. Leaves the mouth fairly dry and constricted, especially if you wait a few minutes. The combination of the bitter, warming, and drying qualities causes my lips, tongue, teeth and hard palate to feel pleasantly numb. My brain is probably next. Thank you, alcohol! At least let me finish my review before you set in! I really took my time writing it and managed to drink the whole thing before it was completed. Oops!

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Photo of TheRaven
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Great tasting IPA that packs a wallop. If you're like me, and will only read this review when you are standing in the store trying to decide what to buy, get this if you plan to share with friends, are stocking a fridge for use over time, or have no plans for tomorrow.

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Photo of WAbeerfiend
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tumbler on 04.18.14.

A: 2 1/2 finger head. See through red.

S: Pine, grapefruit, ketchup, malt.

T: Sweet malt, grapefruit, ketchup. Caramel is there too.

M: Creamy smooth.

O: Sweet malt comes on first, then grapefruit, ketchup, and some alcohol burn at the end. The malt turns into caramel which lingers. It was like a barleywine, but with a little less hop presence. The alcohol burn was not as strong as I thought that it would be.

Rating: B

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Photo of Samp01
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper amber with a large lasting beige head, has good head retention and lacing. Aroma is of earthy hops, caramel malt, yeast with some dark fruit undertones. Taste the same as aroma with some good earthy hops bitterness, yeast and some notes of brown sugar. A medium to full body, smooth and a sticky mouth feel, good carbonation on the palate. Finishes with a good portion of sweet caramel malt, yeast a bit of dark fruit and brown sugar flavors and earthy hops on the ending. Has a nice caramel malt character and well behaved hops bitterness. Overall a well balanced and good drinking brew.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%

On tap. Great sweet malty aroma. Very tasty. Sweet caramel flavors with a good bitter punch. One of my favorites I've had from Lagunitas. Will look for some in the store next time.

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Photo of MikeB20
3.25/5  rDev -19%

P: 12oz bottle into a perfect pint glass.

A: A slightly cloudy amber color with a two finger off-white head. Lacing is quite good.

S: Citrus hops and even some alcohol, wasn't expecting a boozy smell at 9.7%. More caramel malt and even some honey as the beer warms in the glass.

T: The first taste was sharp and bitter, alcohol is pronounced even when this beer is cold. There's some sweet caramel malt up front but it's quickly punched in the face by the hop bitterness and alcohol taste. Flavors seem to settle down with subsequent sips.

M: Moderately high carbonation but a slightly thinner body, slick on the tongue.

O: This beer is pretty intense and I wasn't really expecting that when I poured it. Perhaps it's because my only other taste of Lagunitas is the very smooth Little Sumpin Ale. A decent beer but it wouldn't be my go-to for Lagunitas, even with my limited exposure.

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Photo of CVB_Mr_007
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Any review of this beer may be subject to intoxication. One pint of this ale will twist reality. Unlike many beers with the ABV of Undercover, you will want to pour another and enter the realm of 4.5 stars of pure enjoyment.

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Photo of Sludgeman
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Re-reviewed on 8/3/14 (bottled 5/22/14). Original review on 8/16/13 (bottled 3/16/13.)
Interesting reading my year old review. My new review was very similar in description, but after a year of other beers I gave this beer just slightly lower ratings numbers.

Healthy pour of entire bottle into a chalice.

A – Pours a clear dark reddish amber with a three-finger off-white rocky head. Good head retention. Excellent lacing.

S – Sweet, malty, a floral hoppiness (knock-out roses), a faint spiciness.

T – A nicely balanced beer with a malty start and a hoppy finish. Slightly sweet, brown bread, creamy caramel, a nice botanical bitterness throughout, alcohol is well hidden.

MF – Smooth, medium bodied, with a dry finish (but not too dry). Some lasting bitterness on the tongue. Good carbonation.

A great beer. An American Strong Ale, certainly not a malty, high ABV barleywine, but similar taste characteristics. Fantastiic aroma. Love me some strong ales, this one is a keeper. A good beer to keep in the fridge to contrast with your super hoppy beers without having to stray too far from that DIPA style.

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Photo of JamesShoemaker
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into my Short's goblet. Bottled dated 67th day of 2014, so March 7th after a bit of Googling. I tried this beer once a while back and I really enjoyed it, so it'll be interesting to see how it's held up (in a refrigerated cooler) for the last few months.

UISDA pours a coppery, brassy orange out of the bottle and settles a little deeper in the glass with a predictable amount of head on the forced pour. The first thing I'm reminded of is a strong doppelbock with its deep ocher tone, limited translucency, and all-around prosaic appearance. The foam is off white, just a tinge of brown, and lingers on top of the beer in a thin layer in the middle of the surface and a thick band around the periphery. Some carbonation evident. This is an utterly "blah" beer, nothing special, nothing wrong, just plain.

The smell, by contrast, is relatively complex. The first thing I detect after a swirl and a deep whiff is hops, nothing citrusy or juicy, but dank and meaty, almost like a mosaic and nugget hop ate a piece of bacon before they were added to the boil. Speaking of pork, there's an almost spicy quality to the aroma too, like pepperoni, or even marijuana. There's little beneath the hop aroma, which is interesting considering that this is an aged specimen.

This relative dearth in the aroma carries through to the taste, which makes me suspect that this beer is better fresh. A hint of sugar presents itself, which makes me question the yeast strain; following it is a burst of bitter hop aroma, which doesn't pair well with the underlying sweetness from the alcohol and the yeast strain (Belgian pale, or something?). The combination yields a bitter citrusy flavor, like licking your fingers after handling a lime or the worst kind of grapefruit. In all, the taste is thin and one-dimensional.

Thinness, of course, is the enemy of mouthfeel. Bitterness is a close second. Unfortunately, UISDA presents both of these characteristics, leading to a less than desirable drinking experience. Despite the high alcohol content (which isn't part of the dramatis personae), the mouthfeel is thin and the ingredients are bitter.

UISDA is an interesting, but ultimately unconvincing experiment. There are a lot of styles being thrown around here, including DIPA, American Barleywine, and Weizenbock, which I assume is what led the brewers to label it as the nebulous "Strong Ale." Despite my negative comments, I'd like to revisit this beer afresh when it's less than a month old, as I think the desired flavors will be more present. Still, I expected better shelf-life from a 4-month-old, refrigerated, 9.5% ABV beer from an otherwise excellent brewery.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark amber with a frothy off white head - good retention & very nice lacing.

Smells like a barley wine with that thick resinous pine scent. It also has some nice floral notes and toffee.

Taste is resinous pine eased by sweet toffee with bitter herb in the back rounding it out. The bitter and sweet swing around the beautiful malt backbone. This is a big delicious beer.

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Photo of mthomp081
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - burnt-very deep orange, 2 finger foamy head, patchy lacing

S - pine, hops, citrus

T - great balance of alcohol, hops, pine, and some citrus fruits that have a sweetness

M - full bodied, medium carbonation

O - Delicious beer here. Fantastically balanced hops, alcohol, and sweetness from the citrus fruits that are perfectly complimenting each other. Full bodied and strong. 66 IBUs is hidden well with the sweetness that I can taste. Excellent flavor, aroma, and beautiful orange hue,

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Bruery snifter. The beer pours out a rich, coppery amber color with 3 fingers of fine white head with average retention but nice lacing. The large bloom blocks some of the aromatics, but I do get some notes of marmalade, toast, rye, and a hint of cedar.

Medium body. Very firm feel. Typical Strong Ale flavor profile. Up front a creamy, malty sweetness followed by a moderate hop spiciness at mid-palate and finishing with a rich, boozy warmth and a lingering grassy bitterness. Predominant flavors of fresh bread, marmalade, rye, and booze. Very pleasant, but strong and hard-hitting.

Another solid Strong Ale from Lagunitas. I like this one better than Brown Shugga, but not as much as the Bastards (Stone). The flavors are well-balanced, but the bitterness on the finish is slightly unpleasant and it needs a little something to push it over the top. Perhaps some oak-aging to add some vanilla notes, complement the booziness, and smooth out the finish????

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Photo of majorbase2
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very nice looking dark amber color with a good sized light brown head. Decent retention and lacing.

Lots of malts in the aroma. Burst of citrus. Pine. Surprisingly no hints of alcohol. Some roasted grains, a little bit of a funky smell to them.

Taste is extremely powerful. Very sweet. Lots of caramel malts up front, very very strong. Some bready malts in there too. Pine resin. Good amount of citrus, as well. Grapefruit, pineapple, orange. Once again, the alcohol is masked extremely well. Lots of strong tastes in this.

Medium bodied with not too much carbonation. A little syrupy and resinous.

Overall, a very solid beer. One of my first (possibly the first) American Strong Ale, and I love it. Lots of flavor. The alcohol is masterfully masked. This was a good one.

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Photo of barczar
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly clear deep copper/amber, with a lingering frothy cream head.

Muted citrus, resin, deeply caramelized malt, and notes of toffee form the aroma. Citrus dominates.

Flavor reveals candied citrus in the background, which lingers throughout. The bready caramel malt is no slouch. It's balanced nicely by the citrus hops, with a nicely bittered finish. Pine emerges in the aftertaste.

Body is full, with modest carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

Very well balanced between flavoring hops, bittering hops, and malt. To the extreme in flavor and malt, perhaps just a touch you sweet. I love Lagunitas.

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Photo of potion
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

bottled a month ago
a - clear copper brown, with a khaki white frothy head
s - dark sweet malts and piny hops, overall clean
t - piny, resinous hops, orange and some grapefruit, sweet bready malts that of course really shine through, toasty, caramel, some alcohol but really not as much as expected
m - medium bitterness, lightly carbonated smooth non-astringent, chewy and a bit sticky, slight heat from the alcohol
o - great and easy to drink for the abv, nice price, solid lagunitas as usual

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Photo of barnzy78
3.96/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2014 release, 9.2% abv, date stamped 087 4 1
L - creamy ivory head caps a light copper colored ale
S - caramel, bready malt, pine, toasted grain, floral, citric hop
T - big malt presence with bread, grain, caramel, and a nice fruity, citric, pine hop profile
F - fuller side of medium for body, ample carbonation, alcohol is very hot and boozy
O - nice flavors, overly boozy, but still very good overall

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4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really don't review enough beers from this brewery as they put out such a consistent product.

This beer pours a deep mahogany amber in tone. Really almost brown in tone. Head is a one inch pillow of biscuity tan. The head fades to a curtain of lace and a skim sitting on this darkly beautiful pond.

Nose really is full of unique diversity as there is a lot going on here. Sweet malts yield lots of dark fruit and red hard candy notes. The hops play a big role here to balance the sweetness in really the perfect way. Hop tones are on the citrus side. A hint of dark alcohol shows its evil head just a bit as well.

Taste is just as special as the nose. First thing that really sparks my buds is when it enters the mouth. Top quality citrus based bitters paint the mouth on the initial sip. Cherry hard candy and a hint of molasses bring a balanced sweetness. Hop character is such a even tenant here as it brings a factor that balances and brings just the right amount of dryness to this beer.

Overall I am very impressed with this brew. It is a great stand alone brew and shows some interesting potential for aging.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the 12 ouncer into a snifter.

I love the head and lace party on this beer. Fluffy, frothy head stands high and persists well and as it dissipates it leaves lace scattered everywhere. The body is copper almost brown with some hues of blonde at the stem. Carbonation trickles upwards slowly. Very good looking beer.

There's some muted grapefruit, heavy pineyness, and some toffee and caramel. It's interesting how I initially didn't notice the citrus, but a second pass of the nose and now it's all I'm picking up.

A very citrusy flavor continues with this brewski. It's still a bit muted and has that pungent taste that I associate with hops that have lost some of their freshness. Still, it's tasty and there are some bready, and sweet malt and caramel flavors that add a nice complement. It's a good beer that would be incredible if fresh.

Undercover does a good job of walking the fine line of being a big beer but still being citrusy and refreshing. The medium-body has malty creaminess before the grapefruit peel hits and delivers a long, dry finish and a bit of bitterness.

A good beer. I wish Lagunitas had a better method of indicating freshness, I can only hope that this bottle was from this year. Even so, I think this dropped in April so I'm not drinking it nearly as fresh as I should have. Still it's held up well. Good beer.

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Photo of JohnFatAss
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

What a great looking beer!
Amber in color. Clear. Thick, foamy, off white head.
Impressive lacing draped the sides of my glass.

It has a sweet smell of brown sugar.

Sweet, Carmel malts. Hoppy. A little bitterness in the finish.
The bitterness does not linger making this beer easy to drink.

This is a dangerous beer. The ABV is 9.7% and is well hidden.

Full bodied and a little bit on the heavy side makes for a very satisfying craft beer experience,

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Photo of BeeryMcbeerenstein
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Forgot about this sitting in the basement for a few months
Poured into a tulip.

A- Deep Amber, crystal clear with minimal head. Super clean looking beer.

S- Caramel, toffee, hops, all mixed together with some definite alcohol presence as well. Nice smell, just know that they punch is coming.

T- Boom. This beer is like a hammer. Boozy, hoppy and sweet all at once, but yet it's not cloying or abrasive. Definitely getting the booze in here. Less hoppy than what I remember drinking it fresh(er)

M- Enough body to hold it up, but dry enough to not be cloying and really heavy. Pretty solid crystal presence, but the beer seems to be as attenuated as it could get for the caramel.

Dig it. Can only drink 1 though. Shit's like a hammer

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampling right now on 6/16/14. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a Weissber vase glass. LOVE the name of this brew!

Pours a dark amber in color with a good finger+ foamy off-white head. A good amount of lacing is seen with each sip that sticks to the sides of the glass. The aroma is of ripe oranges at first with brown sugar. The taste is the same and starts out that way with a slightly bitter malt finish. But doesn't linger. You can also taste the higher alcohol content in as well. Perfect carbonation. A different brew but tasty. You aren't going to drink a bunch of these in one sitting, that is for sure. :)

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 950 ratings.