Undercover Investigation Shut-down + Queues

Sat 02 May 2015 | Tags: strong ale, lagunitas, queue, data structures

Another basic data structure and a strong beer.

Usually when you learn about stacks, you also learn queues, another simple data structure. Computer Science + Beer won't break with that tradition. Contrast the simplicity of queues with the complexity of today's beer.

Lagunitas's Undercover Investigation Shut-down called my name from the shelf yesterday. An American strong ale weighing in at 9.75%(!), the BJCP would probably call this a 19C American Barleywine. UIS celebrates a notorious (if minor) drug bust, part of America's inane war on recreational substances.


Queues are even more familiar than stacks: Just picture any line of people, like at the grocery store checkout. The first person to get in line gets checked out first. Others who line up behind them get to check out in the order they lined up.

The beer is a bright, clear, deep gold. Head formation is low but lingering, lacing surprisingly good, and there's enough alcohol to leave legs on the glass.


On the nose, I get a rich, malty sweetness. Maybe toffee. Medium level of fruity hop contribution. Nothing off at all.

Any time you need to do things in order, but can't get to them all at once, you should smell a queue. Incoming data from the internet? Queue it. Sending emails or other messages? Queue them.

Flavor and Mouthfeel

Sweet and viscous without getting syrupy. The toffee and fruit from the nose carry through into the flavor. There's enough carbonation to cut the overt sweetness. Balanced bitterness throughout; dank hop notes at the finish. For a high-gravity beer the alcohol is restrained, but you aren't going to be confused - this beer packs a punch. Aftertaste is a bit cloying but tempered by clean alcohol and a touch of lingering bitterness.

Like stacks, queues are easy to describe. Unlike stacks, queues aren't so esoteric in practice. Put a few items in ("enqueue"), pull a few items out ("dequeue"). We queue up so often in real life that we often don't even notice it. Sure, there are some specialty queues which stretch our imagination a bit. For instance, the deque (pronounced "deck") &mdash short for "double-ended queue" — which works like a stack and queue in one. Or the priority queue, which sorts its items so that you always dequeue the most (or least) important item. But a bog-standard queue is just about the easiest data structure to wrap your strong-ale-addled mind around.

Overall Impression

I didn't love this beer when I cracked the first bottle yesterday. It's grown on me, and with my review bottle today, I'm digging it quite a bit more. It's complex and over the top, which may not be what I need after a long week of work. Let's call this a 4/5, weekend-only kind of beer.

Queues are super important in so many areas of computer science. Good thing they're so easy to understand — I'm on my second Lagunitas!

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