Friday, May 13, 2011

Undercover Investigation Shut Down Ale

Brewed by: Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, CA
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: % 9.75
IBUs: 72.41
Bottle: 12 oz.
Served in: Tulip glass
Place of purchase: Red Carpet Wine & Spirits, Glendale, CA
Price: $9.99 / six-pack

Well, as it happens from time to time, husband & wife drink the same exact beer and taste something completely different! This is one of those beers.

In case you were wondering, we don't actually talk to one another when we're doing the reviews. We typically pour the brew into an appropriate glass for the style and photograph it. Then, we sit down and review each category. In fact, the only time we speak is right before the "Taste" category, where we usually say "Cheers!" and clink our glasses. It's only after we're done that we share our thoughts with each other and times like these, we really wonder what the other person was thinking! We invite you to try the Undercover Investigation and see who you agree with!

In every proper review, your trusted husband & wife team of Beeraucrats will examine the Appearance, Aroma, Taste, Mouth-feel, Drinkability and Overall Rating of the Beer and arrive at a Total Score from 1 to 10.


Mugsy: Very deep brown. Looks like maple syrup, actually. Takes on a slightly more amber hue in the light but still very dark. Not opaque, however. Some carbonation is visible. Medium head when poured which disappears quite quickly to form a very slight, thin head. Leaves some lacing on the glass, however.

Jugsy: Dark copper in color. Clear, with very mild carbonation visible. Medium tan head dissipates quickly.


Mugsy: Slightly sweet and fruity smelling. Hints of honey and dates. Maybe even a little brown sugar, which is not uncommon with Lagunitas ales, in my opinion. The hops are there too, but they're underneath the sweeter scent. There's also a little bit of the yeast in there, which in this case, doesn't smell fantastic. Not bad but not great either. Overall, the complexity of the aroma really makes me wanna dig in!

Jugsy: Sweet malts and hops! Smells like a mix of sourdough and sweet bread with a hint of something fruity - raisins, plums, perhaps a touch of citrus. The faintest hint of piney hops in the background.


Mugsy: Quite sweet. Again, honey with some fig coming through. Very slight hint of maple syrup. Wow, for an IBU rating that's over 70, I expected a full-on hop assault. However, the hops are much more subdued. They're there to bite the tongue oh, so gently at first sip. But then they mix with the sweetness of the malt and the two dance delicately around each other until they hit the back of the throat, as you wash it all down. Quite complex. After taste is nice but maybe just a little too much caramel or sugar.

Jugsy: Cool, bitter hops are overwhelming initially, then the sweet malt comes through. There's definitely a distinctly soapy taste right before the hops work their numbing charm on the tongue. I would say a variety of floral and piney hops were used in this brew. The taste is at least two-dimensional. Flavors don't stand much of a chance to develop with the abundance of hops present.


Mugsy: Slight stinging on the tongue from the hops which doesn't last long, as it's washed away by the light feeling of the liquid in the mouth. With so much sweetness, I would almost expect it to be somewhat thick. It's not, though. It's not watery, but on the thinner side, which is a welcome surprise. However, the sweetness does leave a coating in the mouth and on the tongue after it's all gone down.

Jugsy: The mouth-feel is decidedly creamy with a fair bit of carbonation. In conjunction with the bitingly bitter hops, this brew will leave you with a tingly and then numb tongue -- at least for a few seconds. Also leaves a bitter hops coating on the tongue.


Mugsy: Very easy to drink. The sweetness in flavor and residue left over in the mouth might be a little off-putting for some, but that's relatively minor. Due to the flavor and the relatively thin mouth-feel, this is very easy to throw back. And that's dangerous, considering this bad boy clocks in at 9.75%! I can't say that I'm feeling it yet, but then again, I have only been sipping. ABV aside, I'd easily be able to drink another couple of these before realizing that I'm gonna need to hand the car keys over to Jugsy, who in turn hands them over to the taxi driver.

Jugsy: I'm a huge fan of hops, but the heavy-handed bitterness of this brew doesn't put it at the top of my drinkability list. This beer is to be savored, not thrown-back. And at an ABV above 9.7%, it's best to savor just one or two at most!


Mugsy: Very nice offering from Lagunitas. One of the most important aspects of rating beer (as my lovely lady & I opine), is coming to the decision of whether or not the first one made you want to order another one. And in this case, the answer is most definitely, "YES." The flavor is just complex enough without being over-stated, putting it high on the ranking for "the next one," regardless of whether you're at home, having dinner or just out with your drinking pals. As mentioned before, the sweetness and sweet residue for me, fall into the negatives and may end being the reason I'd only have a couple more. But after switching to something else that may be far inferior on so many other aspects, I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up going back to this one after all. By the way, I'm feeling that 9.75%. Hey, taxi! Taxi! Oh, wait - I'm on my sofa.........

Jugsy: I definitely enjoyed the Undercover Investigation by Lagunitas, as I do most of their brews. However, I can't help but feel like this beer - while catering to hop-heads (which, I confess, I am) is in essence a one-trick pony. Mugsy and I had a Little Sumpin' Sumpin' the other night and I think that was a superior brew in that there was a much more successful balance of flavors (oh, and I could still feel my tongue after drinking it!) By the way, make sure to drink the Undercover Investigation while it's still cold - warming does not improve the taste any!

Mugsy 7.70
Jugsy 6.80