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: 1,022 | Ratings: 4,312
Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale poured on-tap into a snifter. A nice mahogony with ruby highlights, this beer looks decent some lace is noticed.

Aroma is strongly malty, fruity and just a hint of hops.

Bitter grapefruit up front, with notes of pine. Resinous and earthy hop oils. Big time chewey malt flavor, dialing in caramel like sweetness but some dark fruit pits are also there. Hint of peat and slight astringency.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and a bit chewey as noted earlier. Strangely watery finish.

All in all, a good DIPA with a surprising bit of balance. Complex enough for contemplation. A sipper for sure, and strong as can be. Good though.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured an earthy caramel malt and heavy piney hop.

The taste was likewise earthy, with a deep caramel, charcoal and traces of dark fruit.

The mouthfeel was full with a smooth carbonation.

Overall a well balanced and surprisingly easy drinking ale.

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Photo of dar482
3.2/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The bottle was about 3 months old, Julian dated “102,” year 2013.

The beer pours with a huge head composed of tiny to medium bubbles that slowly dissipates and turns into larger bubbles. It’s quite rocky as it goes down. The color is a rich clear ruby/amber.

The aroma is extremely muted. I even let the head go down. I’m very surprised as it’s only 3 months old, but I guess certain beers hold up differently. I get a bit of caramel sweetness and slight bit of citrus.

The beer hits you with a huge caramel sweetness, but then a slight hop flavor cleans it up. There’s a big hop bitterness that really deals with that overpowering sweetness that hits you at first. The bitterness is that of resin and herbal qualities.

There’s surely a booziness in there, though still quite drinkable because of the hops and malt balance. The style is hard to pick out. It’s almost like a huge Imperial Amber.

In the end, the beer is still has too much alcohol feel, caramel, and candy sweetness.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz single bottle into a Lancaster Brewing pint glass. It's been about two years since I had the sneak release of this beer.

A- Lagunitas UISDA is a nicely lit light bronze color with some brownish appearence to it. The head builds to about 3/4 of an inch and starts degressing before im done pouring the bottle. A nice beige film stays on the surface forever leaving spotty lace.

S- A wonderful scent coming from this bordering between a DIPA and a strong ale. As expected a lot of hops giving off piney smells as well as light citrus with grapefruit. A malt extravaganza gving off earthy smells with bread. some sweet caramel and a oily base coming off of the hops. More sweetness possibly from the addition of some sugars. Boozy.

T- This is good stuff and as I drink it im thinking it leads more into the strong ale category. Loads of west coast hops giving off a nice bitterness from the 72 IBU's. This is not a hop bomb because the sweetness comes from a nice malt addition and other sweetners, maybe some brown sugar. On the end i get a sense of some dark fruits although they are not pronounced. At 9% the alcohol is not a problem.

M- Some bitternes is all throughout this but it goes down smoother than expected. Undercover is two steps above medium bodied with a good dose of carbonation. I guess they tweaked the recipe some cause i remember this being more assauling in the past but that could be my expanding palette. This does not burn the tounge out with the hop addition.

D- Not sessionable, but i would not mind getting drunk off of a six pack. Hey, maybe i will try that on a lazy afternoon during the weekend. This stuff is good and cant be denied even with an apparent change in recipe additions. A lot of beers I get from lagunitas taste the same but this is a step in a different direction, one that I welcome with open arms.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: rich amber color with a depth suggesting hints of gold. Head is a finger of somewhat rapidly dissipating ivory foam which leaves an attractive lace. There is just the absolute slightest touch of haze to the body, but it is mostly clear. This beer looks like it means business.

Smell: aroma is that of a strong ale, but the aroma itself is not particularly strong. Thick malt with hints of caramel and funky, piney hops are the aromas with which I'm greeted. Nice, but can we turn up the volume?

Taste: rich malty flavor. There's caramel here, and even a little woodiness (though I don't know whether this beer is aged in wood at all). Bitterness is strong and well-rounded; for all its extremity, I feel like this beer reaches a good balance. Its flavor is on the milder side of the strong ale spectrum, but I think this makes it quite good.

Mouthfeel: low carbonation and a medium-thick body. This one hangs around for awhile. To me, it has a silky texture which I appreciate.

Drinkability: this is a worryingly drinkable beer. It's going down *way* more easily than a beer of this strength has any right to do. I would absolutely drink this again (and again, and again).

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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 JohnGalt1
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75


How the heck have I NEVER reviewed this one?!?! 12oz bottle picked up tonight at Whole Foods... Clear light amber brew shows a persistent light tan head that leaves great sheets of lacing. Sharp pithy hoppiness and dry toast in the nose... Expected big bitterness up front and on the finish is only punctuated briefly mid-palate by the pithy grapefruit hops and dry toast/dark caramel notes... Body is medium but accentuated by a lighter carbonation.. Drinkability is a little light for me just because it is a bitter bruiser... Still an obviously well made brew and one of the best stories from any brewery ever.


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Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Mahaffey's the other day. I assume this is the "shutdown" ale I had, as the beer menu did have "investigation" as part of the name.

The beer pours a copper amber color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose on this beer is fairly attractive, consisting of almost a sweet lollipop nose, but with considerable underly citrus hoppiness. The flavors on the palate generally replicate the nose, except instead of candy, there is more of a sweet tropical fruit flavor, coupled with the considerable hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and the alcohol wore on me a bit as I drank down my pint.

Another solid beer from Lagunitas. A bit too sweet and boozy for my tastes, but otherwise not bad at all.

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

A clear brown colored ale with a medium sized off white colored head. This has a distinct reddish cast but is a little to dark to call red.

The smell is strongly hoppy as you would expect from a Lagunitas beer. Some malt and some wood, there is also a slight sour note from some sort of hop interaction.

Starts out malty and a little sweet with a woody and citrus aftertaste. A strongly hopped beer but it is pretty well balanced by the malt, nothing really out. Malt citrus and pine are the dominant flavors here. The balance is what makes this beer, it is balanced so that every sip tastes different, sometimes citrus or herbs and sometimes malt. I sometimes think my taste buds are jaded and expect too much from every beer then I find on like this that makes really perk up, this is the good stuff.

Good full mouthfeel.

REALLY drinkable beer here. Lagunitas isn't known for making bad beers and this one is no exception. This drinks like a mild pale ale, and kicks like a sledgehammer. There is absolutely no hint of haw strong this beer is from the taste.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz bottle. Sampled on April 19, 2014.

The pour is amber-copper with a robust cream colored head that never really fades entirely. Great clarity.

On the nose I am getting a pleasant atmosphere of butterscotch and floral hops but the hops tends to take over rather quickly.

The body is in the medium to full range but also creamy.

The taste begins with a delightful toasted biscuit malt character but then the earthy hops really kick in and take everything over to result in a dry finish. Nice beer that is worth a try.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a medium amber with a creamy finger of white head, good lace.

S: Crystal malt, some grassy hops, nice nose.

T: Red, but not particularly malty. The elegant grassy and light citrus of the hops take over early making a great complement to the slightly sweet, pastry-like malt. Tasty as hell.

M: Very clean for such an upfront hoppy beer as I found in the nose. Medium-bodied, light on the palate.

D: This is just straight up good beer. Lagunitas' red ales are something else, I love 'em.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a semi-dark brown body with sheath lacing running all down my glass and a two-finger head. A mix of earthy, piney hops and some sweet malts, like caramel, although mild. Medium to full body with a good balance between hops and malts although the malt sweetness is mild and the hops are the more powerful thing in it. Nice citric and herbal dryness, the taste is good and the mouthfeel has a nice dryness to it in the backend thanks to hop bitterness. Had a bit of creaminess/chewiness to it and I ended up chugging this; had no idea the ABV was that high until I came on this site. Nothing too outstanding but this is still another quality brew from Lagunitas and worth a try by anyone.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Taproom during game 5 of the 2009 Lakers/Rockets playoff series.

Copper with a small head and little lacing.

The beer has a lot of sweetness in the nose. The malt is caramel, bordering on bready. Alcohol is prominent. There's not a lot of hop character, but what exists is of the grapefruit persuasion. Mostly alcohol and malt.

The flavor is sweet caramel malt. Traces of citrus hops linger within the malt and alcohol. The bitterness is aggressive, and so is the alcohol. The finish is bitter sweetness with lingering alcohol burn.

The beer is medium bodied with high carbonation. This is a decent strong ale.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review is an update, last time I had this beer it was pretty awful (and obviously old), this time around it's far better - score raised significantly.

A - Pours a deep, deep copper amber color with a massively thick, snow white creamy lacing ring, delicate carbonation.

S - Caramel, toffee, citrus (oranges) and some booziness.

T - Roasted toffee base with sweet citrus over the top, and ending with a lingering bittersweet finish of citrus and pine. Lots of boozy effervescence.

M - Heavy medium body, thick, slippery, lip smacking sticky.

O - Much better the 2nd time around, glad I gave this one a second chance. Price point is perfect (as always).

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

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Clear copper/red colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some really good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, butterscotch, hops, raisins, raspberries, citrus, pine

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, butterscotch and a fair amount of hops. There is also some citrus mixed with dark fruits.. perhaps raisins and raspberries. I also picked up on a bit of a pine flavour. the beer finishes with a malty and fruity aftertaste with some lingering hop bitterness.

Overall - The alcohol was well hidden in my opinion and the taste was very well bodied. There are a lot of different flavours going on and I'm not sure I've ever had a beer that tasted quite like this one. I give it points for originality but this isn't something I'd want to drink very often.

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

A: Poured a deep, rich caramel-amber color with moderate off tan head that left a sticky lacing and lasted well into the drink.

S: hoppy with dried grapefruit and pine along with dried caramel.

T: dried grapefruit, pine, and a deed dry caramel flavor. There was a lingering grassiness as well. Was not as hoppy as one expected per style and drank more like a moderate ipa at best.

M: a tad thin with a light creaminess with a strong carbonation and finishes dry.

D: The abv was fairly well hidden making this a moderate drinking dipa. Liked it, but to closely resembled their other beers to truly stand out by itself and be different.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this in the "bargain bin". I didn't know anything about it so I thought I'd give it a try. The code on the neck of the bottle says 15963414

A clear deep amber with a small and fast fading head of foam that leaves little lacing behind.

The smell is a nice mix of strong caramel malt and grapefruit. Some notes of alcohol as well.

The taste is of caramel malt with heaps of a graininess with the hops being very faded. The feel seems to be very sticky and the alcohol comes in big blasts during the session. It finishes almost a sickly sweet and grainy. Obviously this has been sitting around somewhere as whatever date it came out fresh, it was not on the shelves here. Too bad, I can see where this might be pretty impressive fresh...

Edit, I've had a few more bottles since and I've grown to like this son of a gun and apparently, freshness is not the issue I thought it was. Score adjusted.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased from Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, CA. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe in Sydney, Australia.

Pours a clear burnished amber colour with a loose but frothy head of pale, yellowish froth. Lots of fine pointed lace. Carbonation is tight and languid, despite the body being relatively light. Looks very good.

Nose is pleasant and green, with a strong hop profile that actually suggests German hops to me, with a noble, herbal character to go with some of the more expected West Coast citrus notes. Slight twang of booze, almost like very old balsamic vinegar, and a firm but fairly neutral malt basis. Very pleasant.

Taste is very nice. Rich, smooth entry, with plenty of malt, followed by a pleasant mingling of different counterpoints. There's the booze which sings with heat through to the back of the palate. There's the hops, which provide a sharp but clean vector down the centre and a slight zesty finish. But there's also an unusual note which suggests roasted malt or even coffee. It drifts in and out, so it may just be the conflagration of the booze and the hops, but it's an interesting twist.

Mouthfeel is light, but rounded with just enough weight to keep the flavours progressing.

Overall, this is a very good beer. It's big and full-flavoured, while maintaining a sanity to it that keeps it drinkable. I enjoyed it a great deal.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a deep copper color with good carbonation and a nice dirty white head

S: Citrus hops, floral

T: Taste of caramel, booze in the back and floral/citrus upfront

M: Booze, medium body and sticky

D: Good now and really good next year after siome cellar time

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I dunno if its just the lighting but this one can range from a light orange to an amber color. Nice hoppy aroma to it. Pine.

Big beer, this one comes in sticky, hefty, caramel. Brings the pine and grapefruit bitterness. Hides alcohol well. Reminds me of a less bitter, less chinook specific arrogant bastard ale. Nice thing is this one is in a better format, slightly sweeter, more affordable.

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Photo of beertunes
3.08/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a nice clean, clear, reddish-brown color with just under an inch of tan head that had good retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma was mostly sweet, with an alcohol sharpness. Just a trace of hops hiding in the background. Alcohol is the dominant taste on the tongue, then malty sweetness and some hop bitterness on the back.

The body was OK, but not as full as I like in this style. Drinkability was OK, but like several other brews from these guys, I remeber this beer being better.

Overall, a decent but unspectacular beer. Worth trying.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

355ml bottle poured into tulip 28/12/15

A clear amber liquid with some very fine suspended particles, tiny slow bubbles throughout feeding two fingers of foam that hangs on for ages leaving lots of spider web lace all over the glass

S burnt brown sugar, caramel, smells sweet, has some hops going on, citric and herbal, faint pine, more sugars, smells like an old DIPA or a young BW

T not as sweet as the nose but still sweet, more citrus and pine but has some sweet malt balance working for it

M syrupy, bubbles cream it up, a little heat oily on the palate but sticky on the lips, brown sugar and pine linger

O one of those beers that can't decide if its a BW or a DIPA, not too shabby though and other then a little heat going down its drinkable for the strength

I guess some would call it "balance" a mix of sweet malt with plenty of hops, I think this one might do well with some age so I might throw one under the stairs and forget about it

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at the Pig & fiddle.
L: Pours brilliant garnet tinted amber under a 1” white foam cap that provides light lace.
S: Citrus, spice, malt. T: Spicy with a cola sweetness that dries out on the finish. Moderate hop bitterness is rounded and not harsh.
F: Medium to medium full body and medium to medium low carbonation. Silky smooth.
O: An easy to drink beer at a good price.

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Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.02 out of 5 based on 4,312 ratings.
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