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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

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 988 | Ratings: 4,216
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear orange-brown body with light carbonation. Small, foamy, off-white head sits on top. Moderate retention and lacing.

Smell: Sweet moist pine, caramel, resinous hops, spice, and grapefruit. This in an (I)IPA people, not an "American Strong Ale". Some earth and roastiness in there too. Smells pretty damn nice.

Taste: Starts out with creamy toasted malt, some caramel and citrus. Big, resinous, herbal hops take over from there (some citrus mixed in). Quite bitter. Some caramel and pine sap definitely work there way in in the middle. Finishes dry and bitter; alcohol masking is just ok.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, gooey, active, slurgy (that's not a real word, but I think it fits this beer well). Carbonation creates a nice rolling effect across the palate. Very nice mouth-coating; pungent aftertaste hangs around forever. On the full side. Once again, finishes dry and bitter.

Drinkability: Awww yes, drinkability. Wiseman Jorge and I slammed these down like water a couple weeks ago at the beach. Not as slammable as I remember, but still pretty tasty. As with most Lah-goo-knee-tuss brews, beware the ABV.

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Photo of hopoilcrazy
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Amber and transparent clarity. Two finger head dissolves to a nitre lace

S - Spicy hops, cloves, cinnamon, red apple, musty, cognac

T - Juicy hops: mango, peach, guava. Roasty malt body. Semi-dry with a lingering Columbus-y bitterness

M - Mouth watering hop oil coat. Medium body with a firm alcohol burn that does not overwhelm

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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 HopHunter19
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice orange amber color with an off white head that sticks for days and leaves nice lacing
S - grapefruit, orange, fruity hops, bread malts, sweet, some grassy/floral hops in there too
T - sweet caramel malts, grapefruit, citrus rind, piney hops, some grassy and floral notes too, very distinctly an American strong ale.
M - medium mouthfeel, alcohol covered decently, aftertaste is grapefruit and bready malts
O - overall this is a decent offering, I don't think I would buy more than a six pack of this per season, but a good beer for sure

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

12oz bottle (no date) poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Coppery orange with the slightest of haze. Initial 1/4" rocky off-white foam died back to a ring at the edge, a paper thin island in the middle, and lots of delicate persistent lacing (strands and islands) on the sides. Bubbles moving up slowly through this beer.

Smell: Something spicy in here with a swirl. A bit boozy with some piney and citrus hops. A bit sweet as well. I want to say the spice I'm smelling is coriander....but I'm not sure about that either.

Taste: That spicy flavor right up front, blending quickly with a solid sweet flavor from all the malt, then finishing cleanly with those citrus (a bit of grapefruit) and mild pine flavor hops. Very balanced between the two extremes and quite nice. Hop flavors become a bit more pronounced by the end of the glass as the beer is nearly warm temperature. Indeed, the hops start to take on a oil of bergamot (earl gray tea) flavor as the beer warms up, making the beer even more herbal and spicy in flavor profile. As I saw someone else post on their review of this beer - there is a lot of shit going on here.

Mouthfeel: Just a hint of carbonation. Creamy and thick but very smooth and does not linger too long in the mouth or on the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: Alcohol very well hidden so this beer is a bit dangerous but I definitely noticed the effects by the end of the glass. Complex flavored beer - definitely one for sipping and savoring. Definitely a strong ale with it's own unique character. Part DIPA and part spiced ale is how I would characterize this beer.

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

Pours a medium-dirty penny color, with a pretty decent ecru colored head that lingers atop the beer for quite awhile. Big bubblegum-y hop nose, a little caramel/toffee as well. On the palate I get a lot of spicy/bubblegum hop flavor, along with caramel, a little sweetness and a nice bitter finish. Another great effort from Lagunitas.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance is a deep clear reddish color with generous white head and heavy lace. Nose is hoppy with note of pine and earth, paired with a strong malt backbone that brings a bit of molasses and honey to the smell. Taste starts sweet and malty and has strong pine hops paired with some citrus and honey. Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy with appropriate carbonation. Overall, quite delicious and hoppy, borders on American barleywine territory.

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

Served on-tap in a clear pint glass at Michael's Bistro (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Caramel-amber brown with healthy 1/2 finger tightly bubbled beige head which leaves nice lacing.

S: Malty aromas of toffee and raisins combine with soft earthy hops and nutty, fruity yeast

T: A fine brew that emphasizes subtlety of the malt profile... until the alcohol anvil hits you. Toffee, raisin, and date combines with earthy, mildly floral hoppiness and more of the fruity yeast before the alcohol puts its big foot forward. It lends a fruity, berry presence which doesn't hurt or help the brew thankfully.

M: Smooth and creamy due to the fine carbonation with a mildly nutty, floral hops aftertaste. Goes down very nicely despite the 9+% ABV.

D: Another winner from Lagunitas -- highly drinkable but with power in all the right places. Undercover Shutdown Ale (along with Hairy Eyeball, Brown Shugga, and Maximus (balanced DIPA)) shows that hops is not the only thing they can do well.

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Photo of MNJR
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grainy feel. Toasty caramel, lots of sweetness and prune/berry fruit, and a slight bubblegum flavor. The alcohol taste is virtually not present for such high content. Big and very flavorful. The oily hops linger after the sweetness fades. Unusual, and very good

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

Undercover Shutdown Ale

Served from a 12oz bottle into a Lagunitas Widemouth mason jar.

This brew appears orangish brown and has a fingers worth of off white head. Rings of lacing cling and mark the spaces between each sip.

The nose is full of those West Coast hops from head to toe. The usual malt present in brown ales is covered up by a citrus and pine bouquet.

The taste differs from the nose because it brings both IPA and brown ale characteristics to the table. First, a hoppy overload nails my palate and then slides into the nutty malt backbone shortly after. A boozy tingle wraps it up.

The mouthfeel is full-bodied and sticky. Bittersweetness is sent throughout the palate with an ample amount of carbonation.

Overall, awesome West Coast spin on a brown ale. Gotta thank good ol' reefer for making this one possible.

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

Pours an amber with good levels of carbonation and a small tan foam that leaves plenty of lacing.

Aroma has a biscuit malt presence and plenty of floral and piney hops.

Taste is of the biscuit malts balancing with a somewhat aggressive hop profile. Well done.

Mouthfeel is buttery and creamy, and the carbonation adds a prickly sensation to it as well. Medium bodied

Drinkability is high simply because it tastes so good, but it is a bit high on the ABV.

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Photo of shaunb81
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured a copper, almost red body with a decent white, 1" head. Medium lacing coats the glass.

Smell - It's definitely fruity (mango or peach). It's also got some sweet malty aromas, some florals and it smells a bit sour after about 10 minutes or so.

Taste - Sweet and fruity malts make it pretty yummy, but it gets a little funky after about 10 minutes. After about 10 minutes though, there wasn't much to grade.

Mouthfeel - Balanced, medium density, and a little creamy. I like it!

Overall - This will definitely put you on your ass after a few of them and it is pretty easy to do so. The hops are nice and I like the fruitiness to the brew as well. Tread carefully, though!

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

Karma to atsprings for bringing this bottle my way. Bomber into a pint glass.

Pours an amber/copper hue with a 1/2" light tan head. Slight carbonation rises up through the translucent brew, fueling a well-retained head that leaves decent lacing.

I wasn't expecting the aroma; a malty onslaught mixed with big-time caramel notes, a touch of English IPA-style hops, toffee, and brown sugar.

The taste is smooth and sweet, with caramel and toffee malts paving the way. It's not nearly as hoppy as I would've liked (after all, it is a DIPA), but the finish produced a decent bitterness. Body is semi-viscous and perfectly carbonated with a decent bite that makes you perk up and take note. I can't say I'd seek out this one again, as there are many, better double IPA's out there, but it does go down smoothly and drinks amazingly well.

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Photo of da_beers
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Love what Lagunitas does, very excited to try this one out.

A - Pours a dark coppery amber color, beautiful chunky head of about three inches, incredible lacing coming down.

S - Sweet malts are very overpowering, not in a negative way tho. Smells almost sticky. Cedar woodiness as well as some citrus hidden away in the back.I

T - Has the distinct Lagunitas hop profile, but ends with a great sweet resiny characteristic. Malts are very present, probably its most distinct taste. Some pineapple/tropical fruit as well. Kind of a bit boozy, but not too bad.

M - Its quite smooth and buttery I would say, on the heavier side of medium bodied - you definitely know you're drinking an ale here.

O - Overall I really enjoyed this American Strong Ale. Not my favorite by Lagunitas, but that isn't saying much because they generally kick ass.

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Photo of northaustin
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i was lucky enough to have experienced this "sneak release" it was great. a nice double hopped i.p.a. a little more carbonated than i would have liked but no biggie. the story behind it is cool and i feel honored to have gotten to try it. i bought three six packs of it so if anyone wants some within the next month or so then let me know.

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

Red orange body, good clarity but with a degree of thickness to it, mild but steady caronation streams, all topped by three fingers of sticy, rocky, lively froth which rose above the rim.

Aroma bursting with fresh bread, sugar cookies, apricots, and sweet alcohol.

Sticky sweet malt slathers the tongue at first. Hops build and bite with enough authority to achieve balance with that thick malt just before the swallow. Earthy and herbal hops as opposed to the typical citrus notes.

Thick and rich mouthfeel oozes throughout. Big beer with solid drinkability.

Overall a nice effort which might have veered a bit toward Old ale/Strong ale or barleywine during an eight month hiatus as it was lost in my cellar with a few friends.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clean amber, with a huge head of off-white suds. Thick and detailed lace.

Aroma: Bitter hops, with some floral and pine (and grapefruit) tones.

Taste: Deliciously smooth, this “American Strong Ale” is centered around a huge hop bill, with lots of bitter grapefruit and pine notes alongside some big malts to balance it all out. A very flavorful ale, with a slight warming finish, yet masterfully masking the potent 9.3% ABV. A wonderful and easy-to-drink ale.

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Photo of tbraun1
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to pint glass

A - Pours deep amber. Rich, frothy head without any effort. Great retention.

S - Rich and fruity. Citrus. Little alcohol bite to the nose.

T - Rich and bold brew here. Hops on the front end, slight alcohol as you would expect by the ABV, bit of spice and a subtle smoke malt back end. Best enjoyed as it warms.

M - Very satisfying. Definitely one to savor due to the high ABV. Slight carbonation, not too thin. Great aftertaste.

O - I really enjoyed this one. Great for a nightcap or when you want something with a bit more kick. Enjoy. Cheers.

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Photo of Chris33
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

grabbed this as a single bottle, poured into a pint glass.

nice 2 finger lingering head. Very nice dark caramel/almost red in color.
I got a strong spice and toasty feel to the nose with some brown sugar.
I didn't get the citrus flavors off the nose but are very present upfront on the palette. Maltiness turns to bitter at the end. Lingers a bit but overall this is a great offering as I typically expect from Lagunitas. ABV is hidden pretty well for this being 9+%
I would seek this out again for sure.

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

Look: A clear, deep copper, with a solid, long-lasting, cream-colored head that leaves behind thick rings of lace. A good -ooking beer by any standards.

Smell: The aroma is strong in this one. The C-hops are of the forest variety. There is a good helping of grass, but plenty of moist earthiness as well. Coconut and whiskey come through as things warm up, but before the fragrance becomes liquor laden, butterscotch and caramel provide mellowing balance. It's a complex bouquet, but sort of sullen as well; I was expecting more citrus, something brighter.

Taste: Lots of hop bitterness but plenty of hop flavor to balance--citrus rinds turn to tropical punch and back again, with biting and lasting grapefruit sharpness. But there is a heartiness as well, due to a caramel malt backbone that grows nuttier and more complex as time goes on.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and deceptively light, with moderate carbonation and a dry finish. The alcohol is nearly undetectable in spite of a 9.7 ABV.

Overall: The malt is complex, the hops are aggressive, it seems as if one should play a supporting role. But it is an interesting beer and one whose popularity I can understand-- this clash of the Titans is a novelty, perhaps. And as frustrated as I was by this beer's ambiguity, by the end, I wanted another. Even if the colors didn't go well together, they were all very nice on their own.

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

Pours a medium amber with strong citrus fruit on the nose. Strong initial bitter bite that intensifies on the back end with a very strong alcohol presence. I can taste some sweet malt, citrus & maybe a little syrup along with the bittering & flavoring hops. Intense & very well done.

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

Pours a dark orange red copper bronze color with a two finger white great. The nose reminds me a lot of belgian ale. Coriander, cloves, orange peel, brandy, hard candy. The flavor is equal parts spice and sweet. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and creamy. This is a unique beer. However, i find it a bit sweet for my taste. I could use some more IBU.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 4,216 ratings.
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