Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding
988 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Undercover Investigation Shut-down AleUndercover Investigation Shut-down Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
lagunitas.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
988
Ratings:
4,216
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
10.22%
 
 
Wants:
134
Gots:
946
For Trade:
8
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 988 | Ratings: 4,216
Photo of russpowell
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent orange/caramel with 4 fingers of fluffy pearl colored head. Great head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit, leafy & citrussy hops

T: Taste follows the nose, along with some brown sugar & toffee, plus dryness up front. Herbal & woody hops surface along with some booze bite as this warms, brown sugar & a slight oaky sourness is there as well, interesting... Finishes dry with caramel sweetness & herbal & tangerine hops

MF: Chewy with smooth carbonation, warmth builds as you drink it, a little more malt balance would've worked for me...

This is a big beer. Complexity & dryness are slowing me down a bit, but a super-solid offering to be sure. I am enjoying this in my cool air conditioned basement, bet it's better by a roaring fire in the dead of winter,,,

 784 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Three pour bartender on this one. Lots of head and what was left on my glass lasted a very long time, leaving a blanket of lace. Deep, dirty copper color and very clear.

Predominant grapefruit rind aroma. A bit of candy sugar to the nose also.

Starts off malty with lots of Crystal and mild sweetness. You cannot anticipate the hop explosion that comes with the swallow. Both pepper and alcohol warmth show up in the aftertaste. Full bodied with low carbonation.

In short, this is an unexpectedly complex beer.

 516 characters

Photo of billab914
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Dogfish shaped glass. It poured a darker amber color with a frothy, creamy, sticky head to it. Nice looking color and pretty good lacing as I drank it as well.

The aroma is not surprisingly, pretty hoppy for the style. I get some floral, pine and citrus notes to it. I'm getting a bit of a pineapple or peach flavor out of the hoppiness as well. There's also a pretty big malt presence with some caramel and candied fruit flavors blending pretty well wit the hoppiness. Pretty nice aroma overall.

The taste shows more of the bright, juicy hops to it. I get some peach and mango flavors up front, while some pine and grapefruit bitterness comes out a little more towards the finish. The sweet, malty, caramel flavors compliment very well and give it some really nice candied fruit flavors.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall, I thought it was a very good beer. The hoppiness was really good, and the malts compliment very well. It really comes together well, very nice overall.

 1,046 characters

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.

 479 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had it since the first year it was released, saw a single bottle for sale and picked one up. Copper deep amber body with a light colored white head. Fine speckled lacing. Aroma has a toffee toasted malt character with an earthy/citric hop nose going on as well. Big alcohol layers hidden in the sweet and hoppy notes I'm getting. Flavor, has a toasted malt character with sweet sugary notes and alcohol burn going on with a big massive hoppy resinous quality about it, grapefruit and citrus malts burst to blend the flavors into what we are drinking here. Mouthfeel, is medium to full bodied with the high burn of alcohol coming through. Resinous oily hop oils coming on with each sip, still not a bad beer just a bit bigger in alcohol than I typically care for. It stays away from the barleywine zone, but damn fine overall.

 825 characters

Photo of stakem
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Josh for gifting me with this. 12oz bottle poured into a can glass. The brew appears clear copper in color with big frothy yellowish khaki head that fades leaving webby lace.

The smell includes caramel malt and fruity alcohol with a touch of herbal hops. It has a little solvent aspect to it.

The taste is fruity alcohol/hops with caramel to biscuit malt sweetness. A slightly herbal aspect before getting solvent with alcohol.

This is medium bodied and modestly carbonated. Overall a boozy, decent brew.

 514 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting little six pack called out to me the other day while perusing the isles of a store I don't normally shop at. Pours a deep copper color with a fluffy off white head that dissipates slowly but leaves lots of sticky lace on my glass. Lots of caramelly sweet malt aromas fly north of my glass barely tamed by the spicy pine of the hops. Taste is sweeter than I expected up front there is a ton of sweet malt mostly caramel and toffee. Taste turns earthy and pine bitter about midway through and that flavor lingers into the finish and long after each sip. Thick body, resinous and sticky sweet mouthfeel, moderate level of carbonation. I enjoyed the hell out of this brew. Its a big sweet thick monster of a beer with barely enough hops to keep it from cloying, but for my taste buds it worked.

 802 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes from September, '07 that were lost and recently found:

Pours copper amber with a head that slowly becomes a lasting patch. Some lacing sticks. Nice retention for abv.

The smell is of aromatic citric/piney/resiny hops. Great hop profile!

The taste is of citric/piney/resiny hops with a firm sweet malt backbone that gives it a nice balance to the bitterness. The hop flavor stands out without the lingering bitterness, and without completely covering the maltiness. Alcohol reasonably (to say the least) well-covered.

The body is medium - approaching full. Smooth despite alcohol.

A delicious brew that is hoppy, yet well-balanced. A nicely done, drinkable DIPA.

 686 characters

Photo of tdm168
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark amber with a thin, dense, white head that has good retention

S - big floral hop aroma with fainter underlying orange and grapefruit notes

T - faint bread, big caramel, huge hop character - floral, citrusy, piny, herbal, bitter

M - full bodied, a bit crisp

This was a really solid beer. It had huge flavor. I think it could stand to be more malty but huge floral, citrusy hops and a laid back malt character is how Lagunitas seems to role. That being said I'm along for each and every ride. This reminds me quite a bit of their Imperial Red Ale. It has much the same hop character. The body and ABV are a bit bolder. Nonetheless, it's got solid flavor and drinkability. It's definitely worth a try.

 710 characters

Photo of ejimhof
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a two and a half inch frothy white head that dissipates slowly.Pours an orange color and leaves a slight lacing.

Smell: sweet malt with some hops is what I get out of this.

Taste: Creamy malty and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and easy drinking.

Overall: Very easy to drink strong ale has that combination of sweetnees and maltiness that I like. You need to watch how many of these you drink in a session.

 432 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Funkwerks globe glass.

Real nice looking beer, super dark ruby red and clear with amber ruby and brown tinges. Head forms frothy at three fingers with a light tan color. Big retention and scattered lacing throughout the glass and leaving a big one finger puck and island.

Nose brings a nice mellow citrus grapefruit hop quality, soft and fleshy. Small faint caramel hides in the back, with a little dank earth.

Palate fills with a nice full caramel and mix of earthy hops. Swallow brings much of the mellow citrus grapefruit and fleshy tones. Chewy hop forward palate. Alcohol is really hidden on this for nearly ten percent. Mellow toasty and caramel tasting like malts come and match with subsequent sips.

Overall this comes off as just a big solid and controlled hoppy amber to me more than a strong ale, and that appeals greatly to me. Real well put together brew, and love the mix of fruit and dank earth hop profile on this as well.

 972 characters

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

Clear, bronze appearance, slim whitehead.

Mild fruit in aroma ,apple mostly, a little spicy, minor bitterness. Nice and malty. A little sour.

Tasting, it really feels like a good dark English malty mild ale, but one with a beast in it's belly. You can feel the fire coming up. Really gentle, mellow...and then a nip,a bite...a 9% mild? Here we go...

Very nice, well done, but don't think I could have more than one. Are mild supposed to be 9%?Not sure...not...sure...

 471 characters

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

A – Amber, light grade maple syrup. Off-white head pours with a nice creaminess, ok retention, and poor lace.

S – Soft pine behind a big honey, honeysuckle, and pineapple.

T – Opens dead and build slowly into malt, molasses, brown sugar and booze. Herbal-forward middle with rosemary and sage, and a supporting orange zest / citrus note. Climaxes in a big, rolling pine bitterness matched with molasses.

M – Medium full body. Boozy bitter backend.

O – Balanced sweet and boozy. Almost barleywine-like.

 515 characters

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Crystal clear amber, with no bubbling carbonation visible. Thin, foamy almond colored head.

S - Spiced tree sap with bitter grapefruit zest. Very sweet molasses nose. Warm spruce and alcohol notes.

T - Bitter hops up front with a warming spruce flavored alcohol. Hop leaf and and citrus peel. White grapefruit meat.

M - Clean, crisp and fresh with some sweet stickiness.

O - Nice strong ale, reminding me of a sweet double IPA.

 435 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

TGI Thursday!!!! Couple beers...why not. Trying the Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale...it's a mouthfull...and so is the beer! This beer can shut down evening operations quickly with its hig ABV. The appearance is good! A nice rich Amber with creamy off-white head that is lacing suburbly. The smell has a sweet malt character with hints of pine/earth. The first sip brings a wash of ABV, followed by sweet malt. The ABV numbs the tongue slightly and the sweetness holds on to the pallete. The mouthfeel was down graded just a bit due to the high ABV. Overall its a good beer...reminds me a little of the Brown Shugga that they produce(d), and the sweetness reminds me slightly of Two Brothers Cane & Ebel.

 721 characters

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer is a red-tinted copper coloring with a foamy, frothy, slim off-white head that settles quickly into a sparse coating of film atop the brew. The aromas are hoppy initially, with a sweet and peppery highlight to them. Further inspection gives off a slight citrus and sweet character, also. Flavors are round and forward, with a moderate wet, fresh hopping, and semisweet caramel tone, and a smokey, almost burnt/charred characteristic. The aftertaste has a grapefruit subtleness to it, with tangy caramel and bitter/drying hops throughout. The finish is a bit awkward, with the drying sensation being balanced off with a creamy and slick feel to it, all of which come crashing to a fairly quick stop at the end. Interesting brew, but a bit on the awkward side at the end, like a bad one-night stand. Sure, it was fun at first, but the ending is never pretty...

 907 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle

Pours a nice rich glowing shade of almond hued amber. Khaki head stays nicely. Goes to a thick high collar and then a fine film and moderate low lacing strands.

The sniff reveals notes of rich malting and minty hops.

Full flavor malty brew with broad shoulders and a bold hoppy finish. Notes of maple malts, vanilla, honey and resinous hops sealing the finish.

Lagunitas all the way

 403 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.39/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Smooth and mild, belying the high ABV hidden underneath. Pours out dark amber with medium creamy head. Light aroma of malt, flavor kicks in with some piney hops, but they balance well with the malt. Lingering bitterness, dry finish.

 232 characters

Photo of Tone
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/2 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of strong hops, sweet malt, hint of syrup, yeast, slight citrus, hint of roasted malt, and a hint of citrus. Fits the style of a Strong Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and thick with an average carbonation level. Wow, the body if bold, but not too complex. Strong hops up front, slight alcohol is noticeable, sweet malt, and slight yeast. Overall, good appearance, great aroma, but the blend and complexity are lacking.

 516 characters

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

Double IPA huh? My first thoughts were that it was a lighter barley with a touch of cocoa. It actually appears a bit like a dark amber, and the malts are sweet and fruity, and like I said, there's a touch of chocolate flavor. The hops didn't seem that big, citrus and peppery, but not nearly as big as Great Divide's Hercules DIPA. For a DIPA, it leaves hops to be desired, for a strong ale, it's pretty cool.

 409 characters

Photo of Duff27
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Two fingered light tan head on a dark red/brown beer. Great drink-by-drink step lacing and a nice retentive head to boot.

S- Brown sugar and citrus hops penetrate my nostrils.

T- Pungent hops, caramel malts. Cinnamon? I don't know what that is but I think I may love it. Very well hidden nearly 10%abv...dayum.

M- Medium mouthfeel, kinda creamy. Decent enough carbonation.

D/O- I don't know if I'd go so far as to say I was blown away by this beer but whatever a notch down from that is...well, say that. Thanks for the try PTMcB!

 538 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: clear amber in color with a 1" head that lasts quite a while. Nice lacing develops during the session.

Smell: caramel, bread, and a strong hop bitterness is pleasant on the nose.

Taste: big caramel base here with some light breadiness. Pine, grapefruits, and a hint of fruit sweetness rounds it out. Alcohol is mildly noticable.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smooth towards the finish. Long aftertaste as the bitterness is at the forefront. Medium to almost a heavy bodied beer.

Drinkability: kind of a slow sipping beer here as the alcohol is high and the bitterness is bold. Definitely worth giving this a shot.

 646 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has an excellent burnt toffee scent that boasts of caramelized pale malts and some caramel malts. The hop aroma is good as well. It has an intense piney bitterness that's works well with the malts. The taste is good also. It has a smooth burnt toffee flavor that goes down slow and bitter and finishes with a bit of alcohol warmth. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good drinking strong ale. It has excellent hop character and a malt bill that rivals any old ale or barleywine.

 647 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 5/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Dark orange brown with a nice white head and lacing. Hoppy, caramel malt aroma, similar to a barley wine. Nice creamy, malty body with toasted and caramel malt and dark fruit. Fairly understated, but complex and well balanced. Hops are forward but not aggressive. The ABV is well covered. I like this one. Close to a DIPA.

 382 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours and orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma is caramel, pine and alcohol. The flavor is more of the same with the pine and caramel malts being fairly well balanced. The alcohol is very present. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 306 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe