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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 jampics2
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter.

Looks nice, this beer has a orange/red color with decent head retention/lace and minor cloudiness.

Smells of caramel malt, booze, and hops. The malt has some brown sugar and possibly even vanilla hints. The booze is just at the end of the sniff and isn't too distracting. And the hops are adding some slight citrus notes, mostly grapefruit and orange rind.

The taste is really nice but big and boozy. The sweetness of this beer is up there with some of the more sugary beers I've had, but it does seem balanced with the medium to high bitterness. The malt is caramel and toffee with some vanilla notes. The hoppy bitterness is huge and lingering, with some citrus notes. Finally, there's a minor amount of what seems to be oxidation adding just a touch of cardboard.

Mouthfeel could be a bit less sticky, but the carb is awesome. It just comes off a touch dirty and sticky. Finishes with sweetness and noticeable booze. Overall, this was good. I consider it more of an imperial red ale/amber or an old American Strong. I would drink it again, for a big beer it's above average in it's refreshing nature. A good beer from Lagunitas.

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Photo of Brenden
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More old notes dug up today...

The color is a ceep, opaque amber-copper. About one finger of light tan head has good retention and leaves moderate lacing behind.
Lots of rawness in the aroma, followed by something like a mix of honey and caramel sweetness, with a good balance from some earthy/grassy hops notes along with a touch of citrus. Alcohol doesn't make much of an effort to hide. I could use more strength as well.
The flavor is to suit. Hops and malts are well-balanced, all of the notes from the nose pulling into the flavor as well. I didn't know how to categorize this one in terms of style, so it didn't surprise me to find out later that it's an American Strong, one of the broadest possible categories.
The body is medium-full and carbonation is moderate. This is fairly robust and chewy, getting a little sticky later but not too much or too soon. The malts eventually fade into a dry, hoppier finish.
Another one that I could have more of if the ABV wasn't so high.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a deep copper color with a nice looking 1 finger white head. Nice hops aroma coming from this. The nose is a mix of sweet malt and citrus with some floral aromas. Medium smooth mouthfeel. Whoa, hotdog, this beer is sweet up front! The hops kick in big time in the end followed by the alcohol bite. A sipper but this is a pretty good beer. Not sure if I would be able to drink a whole lot of this due to the sweetness.

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Photo of fastsrt
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured 12 ounce bottle to snifter

A: deep brown, thin head

S: sweet ripe fruit.

T: this one is good, real solid beer. nice sweetness with a bit of a boozy finish but over all is right on point for the style.

M: med carbonation.

D: awsome, six pack, 3 one night and 3 the next. for 12 bucks.

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Photo of jpmclaug
3.52/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass

A - brown/amber body with a small white head on top

S - Sweet hop aroma with a hint of brown sugar. Pretty sweet smelling but has that normal Lagunitas hop smell

T - A mix of citrus and piney hop flavor with a brown sugar caramelly like sweetness toward the end. Honestly reminds me a lot of Brown Shugga.

M - medium body with a bit of a syrupy feel. Plenty of carbonation.

D - Decent beer but I don't think I would pick this up again. I will be honest I am starting to see why some people think a lot of Lagunitas brews taste the same.

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Photo of cbak999
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Note: I had this on cask keg 3 weeks ago, and it was much fresher and tastes much better. I wish I had reviewed that beer instead. Oh well. On to the bottled version:

A - Pours a dark amber, with no head at all. A thin rib of white lines the outside of the glass.

S - The smell is the best feature of this beer. I get hints of caramel and hops. Also smell warm alcohol notes.

T - this resembles a caramely, warm, imperial amber ale. It's more sweet than an IPA. I get a nutty taste. The lasting taste however, is sweet malt.

D - Drinkable for a 9+% strong ale. I don't know that I'd pound down a sixer in a session, but it's a real nice sipper! It's a seasonal, so I'll probably get it again next year. Another solid Lagunitas brew!

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on cask at Blind Tiger in Manhattan. Poured into a mug.

A: Dark brown with a light layer of beer algae.

S: Free thy hops, malts, and some brown shugga (no pun intended).

T: Hops, caramel, and wee bit of honey. A little jumbled, not too much direction. Finishes bitter from the hops (maybe its dry-hopped too?).

M: It's tough to rate the feel of a cask beer because of the lack of carbonation and temperature it's served at. I think these characteristics worked well with this particular beer.

D: No problems quaffing down this near 10% ABV beer.

Overall, a solid beer from a brewery that I don't often frequent on a highly competitive menu of beers in NYC.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up as a single for a whole one dollar and 99 cents. Worth the money, but let's get down to the details.

Appearance-lighter than expected, little carbonation (perhaps a storage issues) but nice head.

Taste-Alcohol prevalent, almost too much. Hit the spot, but not for the timid. Some grapefruit notes.

Overall - Again, worth the cost and would order it on draft to compare, but nothing too exciting.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Source/Serving: fresh 12oz. Bottle

Smell: Evenly weighted grafefruit/grassy hops, toffee, caramel, and brown sugar. Lots of both and very nice and rich. Slightly salty,

Taste: Surprisingly smooth up front, and on the malty side but not too sweet. Brown sugar and caramel with a kiss of hop oil in the background. More grapefruit oil in the middle with very little bitterness but not terribly sweet either. Tons of resin and some oil with smooth grains. Remarkably smooth. Finish dries out a bit but pretty much more of the same. A sharpened grassy/citrus peel bitterness perks up the palette and enhances the prior malt overload. Lingers dry, resiny and thick on the tongue with some orange peel bitterness, grass, and toffee.

A highly drinkable and enjoyable lightly hoppy strong ale that goes great with food. When its in season I always get a six pack or 2 to try with different food pairings or to just have on a hot day.

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Photo of riored4v
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 6/4/10

Pour into pint glass lead to a thin, off-white head. Clear, dark amber colored body.

Smelled of dark fruit, citrus and grapefruit. Good caramel and malty sweetness. Hints of brown sugar.

Taste had a good maltiness up front with a nice strong bitterness. Very citrusy, piney and resiny. Nice caramel sweetness with some strong grapefruit flavor.

Mouthfeel was medium body with medium carb and a mildly sticky finish.

Drinkability was decent considering the abv. Slightly sticky with a mild sign of booze.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

07/13/10- Had this one on-tap at Bodega.
A: Rusty copper orange, very thin creamy collar.
S: Caramel, alcohol, and lots of hops, which come off like grapefruit, green leaves, slightly moldy pine, along with apricot and honey nut characteristics.
T: Really nice hops profile, mixture of earthy, green, citrus, and pine. Sweet malt balance of brown sugar that lingers on the teeth.
M: Nice frothiness, and not quite syrupy.

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Photo of JISurfer
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A beer with an actual story, now that's something I like. I liked the beer itself as well. While I do did my strong ale's with more malt, this was still pretty decent. Even though the hops seem to be in the forefront, I thought the lightly smoked malt taste was a nice addition, coupled with a slight taste of grapes. The smell is mostly with hops in the limelight, maybe a little citrus and grapes as well. All in a good brew by Lagunitas, which has never disappointed me before. Probably one of the more consistent breweries I've tasted from.

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Photo of imwalle
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

look: dark amber brown with little head

smell: citrus and butterscotch

taste: slight bitterness and very sweet

mouth feel: sticky, medium body, bitter finish. low carbonation

drink-ability: could drink one or two but the powerful taste stops me being able to drink a lot.

overall it is a good beer and will definitively will look for this again.

 350 characters

Photo of DESTRO
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this a big bootiful beer. a deep reddish brown, super malty, caramel, alcohol, citrus hop bomb. maltier sweetness overshadows the hops, which themselves are pretty strong. full bodied, sticky and coating, very satisfying. it's a sipper for sure, one and im good and ready for something else.

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a DC tasting thanks to nimbleprop. Bottle from 07-08.

a - Pours a murky amber brown color with one inch of white head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel malts, sweet fruit, bready malts.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, fruity malts, sugar, and a hint of alcohol, but not much.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - I thought this was a really nice beer that was more like a barlewine to me. It's held up really well and I would love to try again.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice bright light copper pour with a lasting frothy two finger head,leaving some lacing. Aroma of pine,hop resin,grapefruit,and lemon hints. Flavor is well balanced for the amount of hops,nice caramel and toasted grain sweetness but not overpowering spicy,and citrus hops ,alcohol is well hidden,medium to full body with a full,slightly sticky mouthfeel, a nice crisp hoppy aftertaste. I am going back to get more of this tomorrow. Nice !

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Kickbacks Gastropub in Jax. Poured into a Unibroue tulip. Poured vigorously with little head, very little lacing but resinous hop juiciness is clearly noted sliding all over the glass. Aroma is of some malt sweetness, some alcohol and a ton of goddamned hop goodness. Taste is a touch hot (this cask is quite young and fresh, where the increased heat is balanced out by increased hop freshness). Taste of sweet, caramel malts and all kinds of hop flavors stylin and profilin'. As good as the bottled/kegged version but as usual, just a little something extra on the cask pour. Over the top Lagunitas liquid awesomeness....

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

poured into duvel tulip.

A: pours reddish brown, with a finger of light brown to off white head which fell to a thin layer.
S:mell is a cross between sweet citrus fruit and caramel malt.
T: first its a sweet burnt sugar malt, next a sweeten grapefruit and pine. hops are not that bitter but they are wrapping under my tongue
M: slightly syrupy and coating. low to medium carbonation.
D: easy to drink flavors are balanced. somewhat reminds me of a sweeter east-coast IPA

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

Pours a dark brown, almost reddish clear color with a medium sized white head that goes away quickly. Smell is VERY hoppy with tons of sweetness. A lot of sweet malts and molasses coming through. Maybe even a bit of dark fruit. Smells a lot like a rich imperial IPA though...maybe even borderline American barleywine. The taste is initially sweet sugars (molasses w/dark fruits), followed by hoppy bitterness and some alcohol booziness (once it warms up a bit). The taste is almost exactly as it smells, which is impressive. The mouthfeel is a bit chewy, but not a turn off at all. Very full-bodied and delicious. Drinkability is fairly high, and I cannot believe this beer comes in a six pack with such an amazing price (9.99). Lagunitas always has great prices. This is listed as an American Strong Ale, but I would say this could easily pass for an IIPA/Barleywine. Solid brew.

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Photo of Rookie71
4.97/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A bronze colored pour with about 1-2 fingers of head

S: A nice hoppy smell with a bit of fruitiness

T: A nice strong punch of hops

M: Mild carbonation, relatively smooth, with a little alcohol feel in the finish

D: One of my favorites. I will miss it until next year as I think i have depleted all of my local supplies. I have purchased at least 20 six packs of this, although much has been shared with friends. A really great beer to sit down and drink 2-3 while watching my favorite sporting event on television

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of keokani
2.9/5  rDev -27.7%
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 ThreeDimesDown
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper with ruby highlights when held to the light. Off-white, moderate head on an aggressive pour that has little retention. Lacing was minimal.

Aromas of piney hops, grapefruit citrus, molasses and dark cherries.

Taste has a lot going on with caramel malts up front, followed by pine and citrus hoppiness. Molasses, dark raisins and cherries are all in the mix as well. The finish comes off with a faint blueberry coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel is creamy, medium to full. The ABV % is hidden very well and the medium carbonation gives a slight dryness to the finish.

Overall, I was surprised that this brew was a well balanced as it is, due to all the big flavors and aromas. A very nice brew that I'll be going back for in the near future.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.72/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a ruddy copper into a Duvel tulip with a quick-receding touch of off-white head. Strong aroma of grapefruit and caramel with a touch of pineapple.

Intense carmel sweetness up front with a mouthfeel that might border on syrupy if it weren't for the slightly high carbonation. Increasingly bitter flavor that progresses from sweet lemonade to tart grapefruit on the finish.

Alcohol is present but not overpowering. The sweetness of this one can be a little much, but the lingering bitterness on the finish helps to balance this sipper.

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Photo of Beejay
3.08/5  rDev -23.2%
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 bobsy
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A lovely pour reveals a radiant dark copper body, topped by a large creamy tan head. Retention and lacing is just short of spectacular, and rounds off a great appearance. For an imperial IPA this definitely errs towards sweetness on the nose, with large caramel notes sparring with grapefruit and spicy alcohol. The hops are definitely more underplayed in the aroma than I would expect for a Lagunitas beer, but its nice to see that there's more to them than just hop bombs (you start to wonder after a few...).

The line between an imperial IPA and a barleywine can be a fine one, but I'd be tempted to say that this one often drifts over to the barleywine style because of its more apparent alcohol and tendency to sweetness. Regardless of what style it tastes like, I'm pleased because its a delicious beer. Dark fruit and caramel seem to lie at the core of the drink, permeating a molasses-tinged sweetness throughout, This is alleviated by a moderate citrus hopping, which combines with alcohol to provide a peppery finish. Some neat stuff going on here for sure. The body matches the big attitude of the beer, with the residual sugars providing it with a nice, big slickness, and the carbonation making it almost creamy.

A very strong entry that drinks more like a delicious American barleywine or some sort of strong ale. It certainly doesn't have the in your face hopping you'd expect from an imperial IPA, but thankfully it replaces it with a luscious complexity. Nice stuff. Thanks Shawn!

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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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