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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.60%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by GilGarp on 03-10-2009

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,001 | Ratings: 4,259
Photo of Kraken
2.8/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 3/24/09
Loved the story behind why this was brewed, had to pick up a 6'er. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16oz pint glass. Exceedingly firm pour yields 1/8 inch head, bright white in color. Head fades quickly leaving no sign of lace. Color is a clear copper amber.

Nose- Piney, pithy grapefruit. Some pronounced caramel notes. Very dry, with some brown sugar sweetness. Plenty of bitterness in the finish. Very Hot. Kind of a hopped up sugary hot mess.

Mouthfeel- Very dry, and bitter.

Drinkability- Very strong, and confused.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.8/5  rDev -30.3%
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.

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Photo of diamondc
2.83/5  rDev -29.6%
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 MeisterBurger
2.88/5  rDev -28.4%
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 keokani
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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

Smell: caramel, butterscotch.

Taste: heavy sweetness, medium bitterness.

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

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

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Photo of drpimento
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Expected better, given the ratings. Served with a fine, creamy, off white head and good lace. Color is a clear medium amber. Aroma is bright citrus, hop, a little yeast. Flavor is very intense grapefruit. Too intense for me. Body is ok and carbonation is a shade light. Finish is like flavor. Not a session for me.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.93/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear copper color. The head is a little over two fingers high, and off-white in coloring. It not only retains nicely, but has a rugged texture suggesting a good hoppiness. Rings of lacing are left on the glass.

S: Huh. I hardly smell anything. I'd wonder if my glass was dirty, but I also get very little from out of the bottle. The typical Lagunitas character and some brown sugar-esque malts are there, along with just a touch of piny hops - and that's about it. The aroma is amplified slightly once it warms up, revealing some nice fruity notes. My patience is paying off: this is developing into an enjoyable nose.

T: A gentle combination of piny hops and dark fruit notes open this up. The finish, on the other hand, is caramel-y to the point of obstruction. Touches of minty bitterness can't save this beer from being positively choked down by toffee, toffee, and more toffee. Let it warms up, and it even becomes quite boozy. Meh.

M: Even though it's too sweet, and not even that enjoyable tasting, I'll give it some credit - it goes down easily in that way only a Lagunitas strong ale can go down easily. I'm only picking up traces of its alcohol presence on the tongue; the 9.7% is hidden quite well. Actually, once it warms up, it isn't hidden well at all - basically, this is one to drink cold.

O: This is the probably the first Lagunitas beer I actually don't like. Still, it's not exactly bad - there are whispers of a good strong ale to be found, what a shame the extensive caramel backbone runs roughshod over everything. That, and it becomes rather harsh when warmed up sufficiently. I won't be returning to this one when just about everything else from Lagunitas shows off their (awesome) house character better.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.94/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 5/31/2009 (Draft at Flying Saucer, Houston, Tx):

Pours a clear reddish brown colored body, foamy cream-colored head, very lasting. Sweet hoppy aroma, kind of a weird fruity aroma. Not very strong. Pale somewhat hoppy, sweet taste. A mild pale ale. Sweet fruity taste, almost like strawberry. Creamy mouthfeel.

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Photo of JayS2629
2.98/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

The color is a deep amber copper with thin white head that fades fast but leaves nice lace. The smell is like a new car. Polished leather, and mild soapy aromas mixed with floral and pine notes. Some citrus, orange and bitter grapefruit mixed in. The taste, unfortunately follows the taste with soapy leather and pine, but has strong caramel and butterscotch balancing it out. Perfume like essense with notes of brown sugar and citrus. Interesting balance with the hops leading the way. Overall, a little difficult to finish.

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Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Burnt orange brown copper color. Paper thin head dissipates quickly leaving light white lacing along the sides of the glass.

Smell: The nose is good as the beer warms in the glass. Burnt malt smell. The bitterness and alcohol jump right out at me. Mild backing sweetness. The malts smell of molasses. Hints of dark fruits, figs, raisins, black cherry.

Taste: Heavy malt profile with a moderate hop bitterness. I expected a browner hopped up beer but this is more along the lines of an overpowered rendition of Mendocino's "eye of the hawk." The taste leaves me wanting more. It is a mildly sweetened blend of sugars and sour fruits with a strong warming alcohol presence. The hops don't do a lot for me. There is a decent hop presence but the alcohol tends to overpower the bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Light medium a bit chewy. Finishes fine. Nothing spectacular.

Overall: This is a relatively bland outing by Lagunita's. I expected something much more exciting but this is a malt bomb that is too strong to appreciate much of. I'll pass on this one next time.

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Photo of HappyPappy2X
3.04/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A: 12oz pour into Belgian goblet;
Medium carbonation;
Burnt orange color;
1 cm. head dissipates in several minutes.

S: Floral hops, malt sweetness, more floral hops. "Clean."

T: Hops bitterness up front, subtle malt sweetness catches up, back of throat sweetness fades slightly before tannic bitterness takes it home.

M: Light, considering a 9.6%abv. Carbonation seems to mask some flavor.

O: Lagunitas excels at producing high ABV, good, yet unremarkable beers at decent prices. UISDA is no exception. Balanced? Check. Clean? Sure. Memorable? Doubt it. I have a hard time judging it to style, since "American Strong Ale" is so vague a descriptor. I need to do more research to help solidify what the epitome is of this style, but whatever the outcome, I doubt Lagunitas will make the finals.

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Photo of AVDeuph
3.06/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This is my first review, but I figured I gotta start somewhere so here goes:

A: Looks like Autumn in the 1970's. A reddish-brown with some deep, caramelized orange undertones.

S: At first the nose was rubber and alcohol, but upon some mild disturbance some good strong grapes/pencil eraser, however you look at it.

T: Alcohol is clearly present. A very bitter bite, a little overbalanced on that end. Fruitier aromas didn't quite translate to flavor they way I had hoped.

M: Well carbonated with small bubbles that mostly blend together as soon as they hit your mouth. Relatively light for a ale of this gravity.

D: For me, the alcohol is present enough that I'm conscious of it at all times. Not the best characteristic for this category.

Bottom line I liked it, but I'll keep searching out others in the style before I buy this again.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.06/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a snifter.

Deep amber see-thru body. A finger of cream colored head quickly recedes to a small skim, but the lacing proves to be pretty good.

Smells very strongly of caramel malt, brown sugar and dark fruity booziness. Hops are bit players, but pine, citrus and some floral notes make an appearance. Very sweet smelling overall, though.

In the mouth, the hops seem to be primarily citrusy. Not so much grapefruit as orange and pineapple. Sweetness dominates again with loads of dark fruit and maltiness. Too much lingering sweetness for me.

Body is on the full side of medium. Moderate carbonation. The finish has lingering sticky sweetness as well as the orange and pineapple.

Overall impression: Interesting brew, but too sweet for my taste. 1 bottle was enough.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.06/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on 4-7-09

Pours a clear deep red/brown, with a huge, foamy, clingy, off-white head that leaves crazy thick lacing.

Smell is all fruity and grassy hops, with a strong malt in the back. Reminds me very much of an Arrogant Bastard.

Taste is sweet and hot, combining to create a cinnamon-like quality. Fruity hops on the finish, with slick alcohol.

Mouthfeel is super slicks, adds to the booziness.

Drinkability is poor, see above.

Overall, lots of booze, little else.

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Photo of beagle75
3.07/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with one finger of diminishing off-white foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Toffee and bales of warm hay make for a prominently malt-influenced smell. There is a thread detectable that is volatile and herbaceous, suggesting a light but lively spiciness. Some heady ethanol fumes swirl about.

T: Begins almost sweet, with polished caramel malt, lively--but not especially potent--spicy hops, bright and airy carbonic acidity, and booziness that swells into the middle. Some diacetyl also emerges in the middle while sweetness begins to subside. The finish is husky and toasty, with moderate bitterness and a hint of lingering sweetness.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, acidic and warming on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: One of Lagunitas's seasonal strong ales, this spring release puts an increased emphasis on hops but still cannot move beyond malt, booze, and simplicity. It is slightly punishing on the palate, leaving it scorched from the combined effects of carbonic acid and ethanol. Hay and husky malt will reward the drinker that favors such qualities, but otherwise this is just a lot of unnecessary abv.

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Photo of IMincedTheKing
3.07/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours amber with a finger of sturdy, ecru head.

A huge blast of sweet citrus assaults the nose, orange rind and lemon. Obviously hoppy, and the ABV is given away by a trace of alcohol.

Very little hop bitterness is present. It opens with a load of hoppy citrus and caramel malts. That gives way on the swallow to a flavor reminding me of cheap gin, and then a half-gin/half-hop aftertaste lingers. It's almost tasty, but the huge alcohol presence is unforgivable, even at 9%. The mouthfeel is chewy and syrupy with light carbonation.

I don't think I can take any more of this.

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Photo of Beejay
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Clear reddish brown with a small tan head.

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

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

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

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

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Photo of vkv822
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz : tulip snifter

Clear amber-orange, foamy off-white head, good lacing.

Resiny pine and citric hops blend into sweet caramel, toffee malts.

A bit more emphasis on the resiny pine, but still fairly balanced with sweet caramel malts. Very light alcohol heat.

Medium body with average-low carbonation.

A decent strong ale, though nothing stood out as very enjoyable.

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Photo of beertunes
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a nice clean, clear, reddish-brown color with just under an inch of tan head that had good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma was mostly sweet, with an alcohol sharpness. Just a trace of hops hiding in the background. Alcohol is the dominant taste on the tongue, then malty sweetness and some hop bitterness on the back.

The body was OK, but not as full as I like in this style. Drinkability was OK, but like several other brews from these guys, I remeber this beer being better.

Overall, a decent but unspectacular beer. Worth trying.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thin head on a clear orange amber body. Aroma moves into barleywine territory with candy sugar, caramel malt, and syrup. Flavor follows the aroma with lots of candy sugar, tart citrus, caramel malts resin and terpentine. Medium to light body and light to moderate carbonation. Not excited about this one really. Tastes more like a barleywine but still not good for that style either.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.11/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Appearance: Perfectly clear burnished copper. Head is white and creamy to start. Drops to a super thin cap and collar. Sheets and notches of lacing in abundance. Moderate carbonation on the pour.

Smell: Big malts. Cooked malts. Sugar in spades, running from light caramel up through a touch of toffee with some backing raw sugar sweetness. A solid punch of citrus with some floral elements. A bit of aspirin bitterness on the back. Very fruity and sweet. Some bready elements. Some pine. Big and sweet.

Taste: Sweet, but not cloying. Cooked malt sugars. Some caramel and a touch of toffee onthe finish. Hops push some straight bitterness with some pine needle, floral elements, and a good hit of orange. A backing fruitiness that pulls over the citrus element. Big and malty with a solid bitterness, but not particularly balanced. Alcohol on the finish, especially as it warms.

Mouthfeel: A bit oily and smooth. Body ends up a bit thin overall, coming in at a solid medium. Light to moderate carbonation. Wet and juicy.

Overall: It's like hiding in the pushes with a strobe light.

It's a Lagunitas beer. Decent, but not necessarily earth-shattering or stellar. Sweet and incredibly drinkable for the style. A bit thin and boozy in the long run, but it's worth checking out at least once.

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Photo of n2185
3.12/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a clear, burnt orange color with two fingers of off-white head that recedes into a thin ring with little lacing.

S: Caramel malts up front followed by oranges and tangerines from the hops. I also get a bit of a sweet candy aroma every now and then.

T: Lots of thick, caramel malt flavor followed by piny hops and bitterness. There are some citrus notes in there as well, and a slight alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Medium-thick body with low carbonation, this beer has a sticky sweet and oily feel to it.

O: Not a bad beer, but I feel like this beer is almost identical to several other Lagunitas beers. Nothing makes it really stand out from the crowd. It's a good bargain, at least.

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Photo of Tom_O
3.16/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Unfortunately not as good as I was hoping for. Not sure how to describe this style of hop taste, but I've have had others like it before. Too "earthy" if that makes any sense. Nothing special for me is what I'm getting at, long story short.

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Photo of Segelstrom
3.19/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A - poured to frozen tumbler w/ a modest lightly foamy head. - not well maintained. Good clarity

S- nothing jumps out at me here. hoppy but not overtly so

T - not one for the record books. strange flavor I could not identify

M - OK - carbonation just about right

O - not one of Lagunitas' best efforts. I really like their overall lineup as they are one of my favorite brewers but this one is not one and will not be purchased by me again.

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Photo of dar482
3.2/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The bottle was about 3 months old, Julian dated “102,” year 2013.

The beer pours with a huge head composed of tiny to medium bubbles that slowly dissipates and turns into larger bubbles. It’s quite rocky as it goes down. The color is a rich clear ruby/amber.

The aroma is extremely muted. I even let the head go down. I’m very surprised as it’s only 3 months old, but I guess certain beers hold up differently. I get a bit of caramel sweetness and slight bit of citrus.

The beer hits you with a huge caramel sweetness, but then a slight hop flavor cleans it up. There’s a big hop bitterness that really deals with that overpowering sweetness that hits you at first. The bitterness is that of resin and herbal qualities.

There’s surely a booziness in there, though still quite drinkable because of the hops and malt balance. The style is hard to pick out. It’s almost like a huge Imperial Amber.

In the end, the beer is still has too much alcohol feel, caramel, and candy sweetness.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.02 out of 5 based on 4,259 ratings.
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