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: 1,021 | Ratings: 4,311
Photo of plfahey
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Mahogany amber with brilliant clarity. Moderately thin beige head with decent retention.

Aroma-Powerful hop aroma with sweet notes of lemon, grapefruit, and pine. Malt is caramelly, raisiny, and a little grapey. Surprisingly there is very little hint of the alcoholic strength.

Flavor-Raisin caramel malt sweetness opens up to piney, grapefruity hops-the flavors meld seamlessly. Sweet at first before being dried by alcohol and moderately high hop bitterness. Finish is dry and raisiny with substantial resiny/piney hop flavor.

Mouthfeel-Moderately full to full body with some chewiness evident. Moderate carbonation. Smooth and silky. Slight alcohol warmth is really the only hint you get that this is a 10% beer. Dangerous.

I think this is a pretty damn good beer, and dangerously drinkable. The malt and hop aromas and flavors are excellent, and the high alcohol content blends seamlessly into the background. Well done Lagunitas.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - crystal clear copper, solid thumb of tan head retained well, eventually leaving random sticky lacing
S - earthy and piney hops, butterscotch, spicy, and a hint of fresh mint
T - a shot of floral and earthy hops right away, giving way to caramel maltiness with light honey, brown sugar, cracked pepper and alcohol spiciness
M - medium carbonation, prominent alcohol heat and dryness, but remains somewhat sticky
O - what else can I say about this brewery, they never disappoint, another tasty treat that gives a quick kick of hops that gives way to a sweet malty base, the alcohol is well hidden on the taste but gives a warming kick on the feel, well done

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Photo of andrenaline
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice copper colour with a reddish hue, finger of beige head with decent retention and nice sticky lacing.

S - Super sweet lemon iced tea hops, touch of bitter earthiness, butter toffee and caramel on the finish.

T - Brown sugar sweetness and caramel off the top, the sweet earthy hops come through with cedar and pine. The balance is superb between the malts and hops.

M - A tad dry and chalky on the finish, though the carbonation is nice and it goes down smooth.

O - There's no way I'd ever guess this was 9.7%, the flavours are superb, with the only minor drawback being the mouthfeel (which is more of a personal preference than anything). A solid brew and I could totally take down a 6-er of this...

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Photo of xnicknj
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into snifter

Pours a mostly clear burnt orange with some ruby hues. Very thin head fades quickly into a few clouds of film with little lacing on the glass.

Strong punch of hoppiness with pine and hints of grapefruit. Sweetness with breaded caramel and raisin, decent amount of alcohol heat on the back end.

Bitter pine hops up front with some resin followed by pithy grapefruit and pulp. Some notes of raisin and caramel with a thick, burly malted backbone. Breaded tones and syrupy sweetness. Finishes with another hit of grapefruit hop bitterness and fairly stiff booze.

Fuller body, decent carbonation, tingly and sticky on the tongue. Pretty decent flavor, although the alcohol feels a little over the top, as well as the syrupy sweetness.

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Photo of raszputini
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with an off-white one finger head. Dissipates pretty quickly. Light maltiness with some floral hops for the nose. The taste was surprising. I was immediately hit with a wave of sweetness that caught me off guard. This was mellowed by the malts and then destroyed by a pretty bitter hop finish. I really enjoyed this brew. It is remniscent of scotch ale, with a much larger hop character.

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Photo of Rschis16
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First of all, presentation is always cool and should be mentioned when talking about Lagunitas. Their labels are witty and fun to read while enjoying another one of their brews. This one comes out a deep copper color with a neat, white head on top. The nose hints at alcohol and some sweet malts with a touch of floral hops.

First sip yeilds a big sweetness that is close to cloying, but not quite. The next thing that hits you is the booziness. Its almost scotch-boozy in the taste and mouthfeel, but this doesn't take away from the beer. The last thing that hits the taste buds is the big bitterness in the finish. That 72.41 IBU's on the bottle are felt, but to the point of balance. Yes it is bitter, as the label boasts, but there is much more going on with this ale in the way of sweetness and balance. The mouthfeel is crisp and is carbonated moderately highly.

Good beer, nothing too out of hand though. Reminds me of a scotch ale that had hops added in. Not bad.

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Photo of jboucher
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass

9.87% ABV

72.41 IBU's

Appearance: Clear reddish-copper color with tiny bubbles roaring to the top. Initially, there is a creamy three finger head that slowly settles down to a one finger head. Superb head retention. Thick, sticky lacing is present throughout the entire drinking process.

Smell: Lemongrass, pine, orange rind, and ruby grapefruit are the first things to come to mind upon the initial whiff. Seems like a hop head's dream. There is a feint hint of caramel-like malt in the background. Slightly spicy, floral, and fruity.

Taste: Malt are apparent upon the arrival. There is a lot of pine notes on the palate. What a beautiful hop and malt marriage! The slightly dry lingering finish is best described as semi-bitter malty grapefruit. It definitely was not as hoppy as it smells. The alcohol is masked nicely, although you can definitely feel it.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, sticky, nice carbonation, which leads to a very crisp beer. The creamy head adds to the smoothness of this beer.

Ending notes: This limited release brew from Lagunitas was a gem. Definitely worth trying. Kicks like a bronco. Very interesting. It lived up to my expectations. Another splendid brew, Lagunitas!

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear honey color with almost no head.

S: Kiwi, passionfruit, some other overripe tropical fruit and a hint of smokiness.

T: This definitely doesn't taste like it's 10%. Pretty big floral hops with some citrus hops in there as well. There's some overripe mango sweetness on a finish that's otherwise hard and bitter. Not bad, but probably not one I'd seek out again in the near future.

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Photo of HaysAmerica
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a snifter glass. No bottling date or best by date. It is a limited release but nothing else other than that on the bottle. Pours a deep, golden or maybe very burnt orange. Not quite red, not orange for sure, not ruby by anymeans. Looks like tea actually. Has about one finger head of white color before fading a little too quickly.

Very floral hop nose! Served @ 53F. Makes me think of pine needles, which automatically makes me think of an IPA. Although this is listed as a Strong Ale. Has a very clean hop forward nose. Malt is not detectable in the nose at all for me.

Very carbonated, quite hoppy (the bottle has the word hops 5 times on it) & some malt coming through. Pretty standard for this brewery. Great lacing on the glass by the way. Pine needles, a little spicy but very restrained, slight acidic taste. Sticky & long lasting bitter taste. This one stays w/ me as far as the after taste goes. Quite mouth coating. The 9.87 ABV is hidden well. There is some warming due to the alcohol but this is not distracting nor unwarranted.

Overall, I'm impressed. I'd have it again. The $$ is right on for this as a sixer. Not that I'd really want to drink all 6 in the same night. Prosit!

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz. brown bottle, abv listed as 9.87% on the label. Pours out a gorgeous clear deep rustic copper colour, creamy off-colour head that retains as a thick cap.

Sweet tangerine and ruby grapefruit on the nose, some currants and mild sweet cake-y malt.

The flavour certainly hides the alcohol for such a big beer, yet at the same time doesn't have quite the volume of flavour expected for such a big beer. In fact the flavour is pretty mild throughout, yet balanced. Light sweet brown sugary malt, bright orange hop character, and that's pretty much it.

Medium-bodied, thin texture, low carbonation.

This is a curious one, it's nearly 10% abv but has the flavour profile of a low intensity American Pale Ale which makes it incredibly drinkable, yet a bit of a let down at the same time.

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Photo of HOPPYKC
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. I didn't see a bottled on or bb date available on the bottle.

A- Pours a nice dark amber color that is fully transparent. A small tan colored head grew to about a half inch and then dissipated away very quickly, probably faster than any beer ive reviewed. I didn't see any carbonation bubbles, but they may be due in part to the high alcohol content.

S- The smell is overwhelmingly malty in my opinion. I know this is an American strong ale and my preference is more towards IPA's or DIPA's, but when you read the ingredients on the bottled it says hops 5 times; so i guess i just expected a little more hop than malt.

T- The taste overall is right along with the smell. Getting past the malt character and into the overall smell of the brew, i really like the taste. Crisp and alcohol is hidden very well. Rounded.

M- There is a tingling all around the mouth and tongue. Goes down smooth but seems to have some high carbonation levels when drinking. I didn't notice any in the appearance but the taste seems to bering that.

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Photo of bound4er
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. Pours clear with a dark amber to mahogany appearance. White head of about two fingers that slowly recedes and leaves plenty of lacing.

S. Not overpowering but nice smelling nonetheless. Fruitiness prevails along with a bizarre undertone I can only describe as cured lunch meat. There's actually a brininess to the nose.

T. Fruit, spice and caramel malts upon entry. Hop bitterness builds from the rear of my mouth towards the front. Lingering bitterness provides a nice dry finish.

M. Medium bodied with a nice mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

O. Lagunitas usually delivers the goods in terms of drinkability and this beer doesn't fail. I find many Strong Ales to be slow sippers with intrusive alcohol but Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale really disappears quickly. Highly enjoyable.

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Photo of bsp77
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint. Bottled on March 25 (Julian date of 084).

Appearance: Clear coppery-amber with thin off-white head and light lacing.

Smell: Caramel and toffee, with some expected Lagunitas citrus and grapefruit.

Taste: Quite malty, with an emphasis on caramel, toffee and a rich fruitiness. Fairly hoppy as well, but not too bitter, with grapefruit and orange rounding out the flavor profile.

Feel: Moderate carbonation and a somewhat smooth body. While certainly not light, it is not nearly as full-bodied as would be expected for the high abv.

Overall: Great, nicely balanced Strong Ale. This has the typical Lagunitas hop taste, but it is well integrated into the rich malt profile and somehow the bitterness is restrained. Lagunitas calls this an Imperial Mild - not sure if that is a joke or not, but it makes a twisted sort of sense.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Copper or amber in color with a white head of remarkable ferocity. Great look for this catch-all Strong Ale style.

Citric hops and caramel malt. That's the recipe for a brew that I like. Some darker, quasi-roasted malt notes squeak in, with an herbal edge to the hops.

A little fruitier flavor as opposed to the spicy edge of the nose. Caramel leads the malt, with a little toffee. Somewhat English barleywine...quite fruity with apple and pear cider, apricot, and citric zest notes. Even a little cherry syrup in there.

Good carbonation with medium body, alcohol is hidden but not buried, and the finish is fairly crisp and dry. For its size and flavor profile, this is an easy-drinking brew. Give it a shot.

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

Man, I had this last year around Mother's Day and my brother-in-law and I took down a six(among other beers) that weekend. We both dug the piss out of this one. I saw it on the shelf today and was psyched. So here goes: it looks coppery, with a decent, foamy head. The smell is of hops and malts (I guess, that's my go-to when I'm not sure what I smell). The taste is strong, hoppy, and has that bitter goodness that I can't quite describe but really dig. Is this a cross between a barleywine and a DIPA? Strong Ale is very vague... This is a strong beer and it's one of my favorites from Lagunitas. Good, good, good.

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Photo of vitrael
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Clear golden-red with small white head that dissipated quickly leaving a film. A little lacing.

S: Very pungent citrus hop and sweet malt aroma. Great smelling beer.

T: Complex and very strong. Sweet barleywine like malts take command, a little biscuit character. Hop taste matches the aroma, with a good bitterness. Not a subtle beer at all. It's a bit of an assault.

M: Medium body and light carbonation.

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Photo of WankelEngine
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass

A: This beer pours a deep, clear amber-red with a thick white head of maybe one finger which diminishes slowly. I can see almost no carbonation.

S: The smell is fantastic. It is very balanced, having a smooth malt backbone with strong notes of piney hops. I can also detect wood and slight hints of smoke and cherry.

T: The taste is dominated by hops, mostly pine but also undertones of citrus. Despite being heavy on the hops (the ingredients listed on the bottle are "Hops, Malt, Hops, Hops, Yeast, Hops, Water, and Hops"), the flavor is very well balanced by the malt. This sweetness, almost caramel-like, does wonders to help temper the bitterness of hops. There is also a bit of spice to this beer which masks the taste of alcohol.

M: This is a medium bodied drink with a small amount of carbonation.

O: Delicious. I've been waiting all year for this seasonal. You can hardly taste the 10% ABV which makes this beer surprisingly drinkable. (EDIT: As the beer gets warmer, the taste of alcohol becomes much more noticeable) Strong on the hops yet relatively balanced.

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Photo of DNICE555
3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Eli's. Free beer tastes soo good. Thanks Nick. I'm a raquetball adonis.

a - Murky amber brown with no head by the time it got to me. It's ok though waitress was smokin

s - caramel malts, sweet fruit, bread

t - malt, fruit, sugar, alcohol, minor hop presence

m - medium body medium carbonation

d - very sweet for a dipa. hops were lacking balls.

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Photo of turnstile
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a deep reddish-brown with an impressive, one-inch rocky head. Retention is decent with no lacing.

Smell: Sweet raisin aroma up front with Belgian yeast and caramel notes in the background. Hop aromas struggle to get through.

Taste: Tart red apples, spice, and brown sugar are the dominant flavor characteristics; very cider-like and sweet. Mild/moderate hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and quite slick. Carbonation is minimal and almost flat, but doesn't leave any residual syrupy-ness.

Overall/Drinkability: A little too sweet for my liking, but goes nicely with the Belgian yeast note (whether or not Belgian yeast is actually used - I'm not certain).

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Photo of BeardedRiker
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another day, another Lagunitas. This time it's their *deep breath* Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale...but I'll call it Undercover. It came in a lovely six pack (limited release). I've bought so many good beers in 22 oz. bombers that I think I've slowly caused an antagonism with six packs as if they're not going to be good. This is, of course, not true, especially with Lagunitas! I poured the Undercover into a very cold glass that I had in the freezer. This made the head come up vibrant and thick, it being a very frothy off-white head that left some but little lacing as it receded. It smells absolutely delicious with sweet, spicy, piney, maybe some grapefruit and dark cherry. It really smells like candy. Like a...yummy beer-flavored candy...

Appearance is a clear copper color. The first flavors to tantalize the tongue is the caramel sweetness that hints of toffee. This is mixed with a very nice hoppy bitterness and spice that also hides the alcohol flavor well, although you still have the lingering flavor of the booze. The hops are extremely piney and the grapefruit smell is revealed in the flavor as well. Actually, all of the flavors stay in the mouth for awhile which is pleasant. You're literally tasting the beer after it's already down your throat and warming up your stomach with its 9.75% ABV. But this is not a bad thing. The lasting flavors are very enjoyable. It's not an aftertaste. The body is medium with malts being moderate as well. Nothing is overdone in this beer. The warmer the beer gets the more the alcohol is noticeable but I don't find it to take away from the beer's taste enough to be negative.

This is a fine American Strong Ale with some extra hops courtesy of Lagunitas' tradition!

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Photo of biegaman
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The real beer indeed looks undercover, cleverly disguised as a long island iced tea that's been infused with a hefty dose of angostura bitters. Hey, a complexion as murky as this could hide just about anything behind it. Truth be told, it's not a very attractive beer what so ever. It is completely muddied and completely flat (less a few stripes of lace).

The aroma, on the other hand, is a thing of utmost beauty. A bouquet with this level of candied citrus, pine serum, broiled caramel malt and pure hop leafs belongs in a trophy case somewhere in the California brewers hall-of-fame (if such a thing is ever built, which it should be). It has a degree of tropical character I'm only ever used to drinking on a beach.

Alcohol content be damned, this is one easy beer to drink! So what if my head ends up swimming in it, I'm sure it'll have a good time splish-splashing around with its water-wings. This is a delicious and soothing drink. Its carbonation is low, which I like because it allows the sappy, serum-y flavours to linger (even though toasted biscuits have the last word).

I let out a sigh of relief once I had confirmed that it tastes almost, if not as good as it's aroma led me to anticipate. Let me clue you in on some of the goods: caramel custard, sharp grapefruit, maple sap, toasted grains, pineapple, muscat grape, lychee liqueur and a kind of neon, psychedelic floral quality that only hippies could claim to understand.

The hippie connection makes sense - not only because of the beer's psychedelically herbal qualities and that this, after all, Lagunitas - but because it takes a free spirit to come up with a recipe like this. I always felt the term 'American Strong Ale' was a bit of a self-aggrandizing and seemingly arbitrary style marker concocted by those who took it upon themselves to redefine the guidelines. But I have to admit now that I was wrong...

What else do you call something that blends more decadently sweet, nuanced maltiness than an old ale and as much brimming, zestful hoppiness as a double IPA? The result of which, I might add, has such a distinctive, often unparalleled character, the quantity and quality of which American brewers conceived, consummated and continue to cultivate virtually uncontested? Yea, beers like this require a title of their own. A.S.A. fits.

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Photo of Mancer
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle poured out a hazy amber brew with a one finger high off-white head. The head dissipated to a thin halo lace. Hop sediment can be seen floating around in the beer. The initial aroma of the beer is of dark fruits, citrus and pine. The initial flavors of the beer are that of light citrus, light pine and light resin. The flavors progress to a more pronounced malt backbone with spice flavor, chewy breadiness and barley flavors. Alcohol was initially masked and became more apparent as the beer warmed. The alcohol gave the beer a nice warming in the nose. The beer was perfectly bitter and lightly dry, while having a medium body with light carbonation.

Overall, this beer is great. Initially I didn't realize the style of beer that I was drinking and sort of picked this bottle off the shelf at random. This is a nice strong ale and definitely has the flavor complexity that you find in this style of beer. Although it isn't a Stone brew, it definitely holds its own in comparison. This is a great offering from Lagunitas.

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Photo of jale
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy light copper-brown with little white head.

S: Some roasted caramel malt(maybe) and alcohol.

T: Sweet caramel malt and some heat from the alcohol. Just a hint of some burnt raisin. Hop bitterness shows up late in the finish. A little like a barley wine.

M: Could use a little more carbonation. Medium body.

D: I could easily drink a few more.

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

A - It pours a dark amber color with a very small white head on it. The head left a little bit of lacing as it fell.

S - The smell is that of dark fruits, alcohol, grapefruit hops, honey, caramel, and brown sugar.

T - The taste is hoppy and boozy up front. The is also a caramel sweetness and some brown sugar. The finish is bitter and has some citrus notes as well.

M - This has a medium body with good carbonation. It goes down fairly smooth for the alcohol content.

D - I think the drinkability of this beer is good. It goes down easy, and I could easily put down a few of these in a row. This is a good beer, and I'd drink it again.

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Photo of gnemesis
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

05/08/2010 poured into pint glass
Pours an ugly dark red topped by a thin white head. Smells of sweet malts and dark fruits. Surprisingly pine/citrus hops present in the nose. Once I sip I notice the earthy hops, more sweet malt, more plum/fig. This beer has a medium body and low carbonation but is still a tasty strong ale. Maybe its just me but the alcohol was well hidden. Not bad at all.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.02 out of 5 based on 4,311 ratings.
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