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: 1,018 | Ratings: 4,306
Photo of landdon
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I like the fact that this has a nice hop taste, but it's not so over powering like many micros are these days. It's got a nice flavor, and very tasty. Right now, it's my number one pick!

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Photo of joe12pk
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Strong malt and tropical fruits...Really at a loss for words for how good this ale is. I've rated 211 beers so far and this is easily in the top ten. Cheers!

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Photo of RiverRatJoe47
4.73/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'm not a beer expert or beer brewer, just a beer drinker. But I'm 63 years old and have consumed a few beers. So I hope my review won't be deleted automatically on the grounds of "insufficient detail".

I just wanted to say that I tried my first-ever glass of this ale last week, and the thought instantly hit me that Undercover Shut-Down is the absolute best beer I've ever drank.

It tasted so wonderful and full -- and without being heavy -- that I found myself extending the experience by taking a drink of the beer and letting it sit in my mouth for five or ten seconds before swallowing it. After that swallow, I took a drink of water to clear the beer's taste from my mouth as much as possible just so that the next drink of the Undercover would hit my senses as powerfully as the first drink had.

The parallel I would draw is that Undercover Shut-Down is to the best beers I've had previously, as a fine single-malt Scotch whiskey is to domestic rotgut whiskeys. Undercover, to me, tasted this good. It is a beer to be savored in the same way that a fine Scotch would be sipped.

I'm visiting Boise, Idaho for six months. Before going home to Kansas I hope to find a supply of Undercover somewhere so that I can share it with my buddies in Kansas. Sorry for the absence of tech talk in this review; all I know is that this is a very fine beer that greatly appealed to me. At the restaurant where my son and I enjoyed this beer, as (bad) luck would have it we were served the last two glasses they had before the keg ran out. Broke our hearts. I hope the restaurant reloads soon.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
4.72/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep orange/amber body. White head fed by decent carbonation.

Very sticky sweet malt, with some pineapple, mango, and apricot coming in as well. Lots of tropical fruits and honey malt.

Now this is the definition of sticky sweet tropical fruits. Lemons be damned, this is all pineapple all the way. I get a bit of mango and apricots as well. insanely dry-hopped, and so very well done. Almost tasted randallized. This is perfect dry-hopping for me. All fruit, with a bit of resin and dank-ness floating around in the back late. Its just so sticky, sweet, and tropical.

Feel syrupy, and no bitterness at all. Beautiful beer from a brewery that knows how to dry hop!

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Photo of MistahBeah
4.71/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Hazy honey colored with some amber and orange highlights. Dense creamy two finger head with some retention but lots of foamy lacing. Good amount of tiny bubbles streaming upwards. Quite a good looking beer

Aroma: Citrus and pine hops. Some fruity sweetness almost like grape juice. Grapefruit. Biscuity

Taste: Follows the nose but I was honestlyh expecting a bigger hop profile. Definitely grapefruit and pine for the hops with a little bit of orange or coriander. A good amount of sweetness in the mid palate with some hints of banana. There's some nice breadiness and a hint of spice followed by a very refreshing finish. The hops are present every step of the way but are never overpowering. As for the alcohol, you certainly could have fooled me. Not a trace. Fantastically balanced.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly crisp and refreshing. Big and nicely carbonated. Wet

Overall: Fantastic. Expertly balanced. Not the hop-bomb I was expecting but that's not a bad thing at all. Its a shame this is a limited release because I would get this all the time otherwise. If you see it you should grab it

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Photo of humuloner22
4.71/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

They keep doing it, I have reviewed a few now by this brewery. At first I had a few that I was not impressed at all about, but the more I keep trying them lately it was me or I was getting older batches, something. Maybe I should revisit them. Although, I have found that breweries that do great ales and IPA's don't make the best lagers or pilsner's. The one I hit hard was the Pils, anyway, to this one, it was amazing. The hops was there, for sure, but it was so well balanced. It was in the same line as the Sucks, of which I have one or two left, so I may do a comparison. Anyway, the color was nice reddish brown and the aroma was magnificent. So far this is my favorite Cali brewery for sure, I need to revisit Stone, as I have been hearing a lot about the Enjoy by series, anyway, this one is awesome, not much to complain about here. Just go find some!

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Photo of MIchelle
4.71/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is an amazing brew! Pours a beautiful dark amber color with a nice thick white head. Lots of lacing on the glass as you sip. As looks go you can't do better then this, once poured you won't be able to wait to sip this brew. The high abv isn't unbalanced in the taste of this brew. It has a nice hop flavor but not over board. Very smooth drinking with a slight dryness. Very clean on the palate, it's not heavy or in your face but full bodied and flavorful. The smell is pleasant. The hop comes thru on the smell big time. This is an awesome brew, I had it a while back but never rated it so was waiting to try again before rating. Lagunitas hit this one out of the park as far as this beer drinkers concerned. :)

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Photo of Bugcatcher
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This has to be one of my favorites from lagunitas such a well crafted beer and so many great flavors. Lagunitas never disappoints me. I'm a huge fan of sucks, hop stoopid, brown sugga, and and all the little sumpin ales but this one is the one I've been looking for.

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Photo of misinformed
4.69/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up a 6 pack of this a week or so ago and am on my 5th bottle, so I figured it was about time to review it. Poured in to a Lucifer tulip.

A- Deep red/mahogany. Dark enough not be able to see through clearly. More orange when looking straight down into the glass. Poured with a small off-white head that quickly disappeared.

S- Sweet citrus hops, very much like grapefruit. Some alcohol later.

T- Starts with a very nice citrus/hops flavor. Reminds me a lot of grapefruit. The hops drop off quickly for a nice sweet, malty finish that is not too strong. Really, really well balanced. Starts off with the nice hoppy punch followed by the sweet finish which is not overpowering at all.

M- Medium bodied. Smooth with some light carbonation. There is a mild and pleasant prickly alcohol burn present if it warms up that much.

D- Very nice! I like this one a lot. The flavor is balanced so nicely between the citrusy hops at the start and the mellow sweetness of the finish. I could drink this all the time.

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Photo of beerviews2013
4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: a nice tight vanilla colored beer head of thick foam the tight head slowly loosened up the more it sat around. The color of this beer is a copper brown with a hint of red.

Smell: Got a nice 3 quick sniffs of this and got all hops baby just the way i like it.

Taste: Took the first drink and WOW!!! That's bitter lots of great hops used in this beer making. what stood out for me was the after taste somewhat of a grape fruity after taste. I never tasted that before so I'm not sure what the exact ingredients are but it is some berries or similar.

Overall: all and all this is a pretty good ale maybe a dipa melody to it.

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Photo of SDtastentune
4.68/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Great Darker brown/amber look, great lacing.

S - Smells of malts/hops/alcohol.

T - Taste has a deep malty/sweet/alcohol thing close to a strong ale of some sort.

M - Goes down easy for a 9%'er, great aftertaste of robust'ness. Good medium carbonation.

O - Overall its a good strong ale, close to an arrogant bastard but not as hopped up/bitter, has a taste of its own... great brew!

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
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 EdwardK77
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This strong ale certainly lived up to its billing. There was very nice lacing left in the glass and the flavor was certainly complex. This was billed as a bitter ale but I feel that they did a great job of balancing the bitterness with other flavors that allowed for easier drinkability. I did notice that this left a pleasant sticky mouthfeel that made you feel like you were drinking something that was well made. I also enjoyed that this ale was high alcohol without hitting you over the head with it. Would definitely look for this ale again.

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Photo of 1after909
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My Bottle says Limited Release so perhaps theyll make it a seasonal release.

Didn't taste as strong as the ABV would suggest. Went down cold & smooth. Two finger head which is what I look for and the head stayed for a while.

Another selection that I bought one bottle of in my Make Your Own 6 Pack emporium. Will definitely pick up a few more next time

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Photo of Damian
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drank from a 22 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Julio's Liquors, Westboro, MA

Poured a medium amber-mahognay with a frothy, rocky, two-finger, light tan head that slowly faded to a clingy film. Definitely much darker than your average DIPA. Copious amounts of sticky lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was outrageously sweet, malty and fruity, with some hops trailing in the background. Super caramel rich with brown sugar, maple syrup and a touch of oak.

The taste was rich and flavorful yet smooth, supple and extremely well-balanced for the style. Rich bready malts were apparent up front. A nutty, oakiness appearing mid-palate, along with peaches, apricots and ripe tropical fruits. The beer turned from being sweet and malty on the front end to crisp and hoppy on the finish. Piney, orangey, spicy hops came out strong, lasting into the bracing, semi-bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied yet fairly smooth and creamy.

Drinkability was simply off the charts. Between the extraordinarily well balanced nature of this brew and the barely noticeable 9.28% ABV, this beer went down like candy.

Is there a more sessionable DIPA out there? Probably not. Should this beer even be classfied as a DIPA? Probably not. It characteristics are more akin to that of a barleywine or a strong ale. But no matter how one may choose to describe it, it's a damn fine brew.

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Photo of marc956
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just an FYI bro's and readers, the one I got here in Texas is 9.87% abv.

A very good beer with LOTS of hops and flavor, drinking it you know it's not a session beer but it's very drinkable. Lagunitas is a quality product and I only wish more people could try this one! Went very well with pizza.

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Photo of alkemy
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a medium mahogany/amber with a pretty thin off-white head. Lots of hops on the nose. It's a combo of floral and piney hops. Contrary to the taste, which is pine-centric, the floral note dominates the scent. As I said, pine dominates the taste with a sticky, prickly vibe. There's also a bit of chewy dough taste and caramel from the malts. There's also a citrus presence that intertwines with that piney opening. Nice viscosity and carbonation that pairs well with the biting pine notes. This is another winner from Lagunitas!

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Photo of phlegming
4.66/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This beer is wonderful. Strong, malty with enough hops to keep it interesting. Mouthfeel is so silky. Smell is citrusy and clean. But the taste is what keeps me coming back. This ale is delicious. And it comes in 6 packs for under 10 bucks. Perfect!

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Photo of templar316
4.66/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours tall into my Sam Smith goblet. The lacing just won't quit, it keeps clinging to the sides. The body colors a perfect amber. The scent is what really distinguishes it from the finest euro ales. Piney hops blast through and then roll into molasses. The flavor rolls from pineapple to fig, picking up untouched sugar cane and evergreen forest. There's a little alcohol burn to warn you. Worth seeking out. About 4 months after bottling.

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Photo of mooonbeammike
4.64/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I drink in near darkness so I have no comment on color, lacing, etc. Purchased from 711 based on abv/price. Enjoyed a sixer over 2 nights, the second night at room temp. Smelled sweet and raisiny to me with a hint of the alcohol. Felt silky in my mouth and pretty light in body given the alcohol content. Little carbonation. Sweet and malty but bitter at the same time w a tinge of what fermented fruit leather might taste like. At nearly 10%, three of these back to back makes for a nice buzz. I imagine Id like one with a soft gingersnap or 2 w a rare piece off beef. 3 plus a toke in bed has me winking out before 2 episodes of the xfiles. Ill drink six in a row when I'm ready to start a 4 hour day before noon. IMO great taste, price, and volume economy on the lift/blanket you get.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.64/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this the week of 4/20, and I guess given the story behind the name of this brew, it is fitting.

Very clear and clean dark caramel color. Minimal head but it leaves plenty of lace behind. Scent is huge hop, malt, spicy alcohol, dark fruit. Boner.

Very spicy brew. Loads of malt and nice hops, but the spiciness of the big alcohol profile and other spices dominate this one.

Medium mouth, very wet.

Speaking of wet, if I was a gal, thats what I would be right now

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Photo of threeviews
4.64/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I am re-reviewing from last year...Poured from a bottle (Julian date of 051, which translates to February 20, 2014) into a tulip glass.

A- Although my last experience (circa Spring 2013) yeilded an absolutely clear, cognac bronze, this year's bottles poured with some sediment and produced about 1/2-1 finger head that deteriorates rather quickly...I am guessing a 'dirty' filter (perhaps the Lagunitas Cellar Team trying to figure out the intracacies of the new brewery in Chicago?). (3.75)

S- Hop aroma dominates with sweet (candied) citrus, floral and piney notes. However, a hefty caramel malt sweetness is also prominent and evidence that UIS-DA is clearly more of an American Strong Ale (i.e. Hop-forward Barleywine) instead of a Double IPA. (4.75)

T- Hops and malt collide on the palate in harmony balancing each other out. However, the malt backbone prevents the published 66.6 IBU's from ever becoming astrigent. As a matter of fact, the balance of hops and crystal malt is quite nice. I enjoy the fact that this falls somewhere between a Double India Pale Ale and an American Strong Ale...nicely done. (4.75)

M- A full-bodied ale with enough carbonation to move the flavors across the palate and eliminate this offering from being excessively cloying. (4.75)

O- For the style, this is an exceptional beer. However, this is too reminiscent of Lagunitas' Brown Shugga' to make it stand out in their profile. However, being an absolute fan of the latter, I am fortunate to have a similar (yet seasonal) offering without having to wait an entire year. If you assume that UCIS-DA is yet another Double IPA, then think again. If you are a fan of (fresh) Brown Shugga', then you can revel in a second round come this Spring Seasonal. (4.5)

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Photo of Sorcerer
4.63/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Alrighty then, perhaps an ambusch, yet none the less, a wee bit o' judgement here lads, and gals...

Yay, I have have tasted this afore, and I expect no disappointment:

Undercover in appearance is true.

But the smell is way above average.

What do you expect, it's printed in the side and it s not cheap!

The name says it all really.

Smells like moonlit bliss on a desert isle with a fair maiden and fermented coconut juice.

Taste is mild fantasy. Mildew, piney resin, willow bark, dirty cott'n socks, stalled lawnmover with leaking petrol, pretty girls on a hot day.

Mouthfeel is full of high calorie, diabetic nightmares.

In the end, a six pack is enough to get one person there, but not irreversibly too far.


It's a big beer. I can only drink five or six today; more accurately: tonight.

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Photo of Hopinista
4.63/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Dogfish shaped pint.

A: Amber/copper brown with a nice white head that leaves intricate lacing all the way down the glass.

S: Floral and citrus hops with a strong undertone of malt sweetness, very slight spiciness in the back. Very inviting.

T: There's a lot going on here. It calls itself an American Strong, but everyone accuses it of being and IPA. I think it definitely has the hop presence to be and IPA, but the malt backbone really takes it in a different direction. You get the nice floral hop note followed by the caramel-esque hop finish that creates a really unique experience that brings everything together in s great way.

M: Mildy carbonated. Smooth but slightly sticky and cloying, which is one of my biggest turn offs on beer. A cloyingness on the palate is a huge turnoff for me.

O: Another great offering from Lagunitas. They very rarely disappoint in my opinon. I think this could just benefit from a little less on the cloyingness, aside from that, amazingly delicious.

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Photo of R_Brown77
4.63/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

One of my favorite ales, the name is perfect because you'd never guess you're scarfing down a 9% ale until it's too late. You'll be out of commission before you saw it coming. Undercover Shut-down.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.02 out of 5 based on 4,306 ratings.
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