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Waldo's Special Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Waldo's Special AleWaldo's Special Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

319 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 319
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 57
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.79% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: largadeer on 04-21-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 319 | Reviews: 58
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

ACBF sample

A-Pours clear orange with a large head, especially for the sample cup.

S-It smells fresh and brightly hoppy with a lot of orange hoppiness. There is also a noticeable aroma of pine and weed.

T-Juicy citrus and resiny pine. It's straightforward but pretty tasty. Powerfully hopped. Just enough backing from the malt with little residual malty flavor.

M-Surprised the ABV is this high, it's hidden very well. Bitter. Medium bodied. Resiny.

O-Another well brewed hoppy beer from Lagunitas. Not as good as a few of their others but still a great beer to sample.

Photo of rawfish
3.3/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap at Hamilton's Tavern. Served in a bar chalice glass. Dark orange/amber and very hazy, a thin line of off white foam. Good retention and nice rings of lacing left on the glass.

Caramel malt, deeper notes of toffee and red fruit. Hops are dank with copious amounts of pine, canned peaches and orange citrus. Huge sweetness and booze on the back end.

Much like the nose, heavy honey bread, caramel and heavy doses of vinous fruit. Malt dominance is briefly cut by the pine and resiny forward hops that have a dull background of citrus and a grassy edge. One dimensional hops aren't enough to balance the sweetness and a medium bitterness and hot alcohol wash out through the finish.

Burdensome body with average carbonation. This beer should not be this boozy with the amount of malt that is here, also lacks drying. More bright flavors and bitterness would be useful.

Call me naive, I didn't know Waldo's Special was the Lagunitas 4.20 beer. So this DIPA is a month old, I just thought Lagunitas + IPA = winner. A big bodied and boozy DIPA, one dimensional profile and sluggish body doesn't help it either. Maybe if it wasn't 90+ degrees out I would like it more. Had to pass the glass around to get this one finished

Photo of barczar
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a brilliant golden with a frothy cream head that lingers and leaves sheets of lacing as it dissipates.

Resin, pine, grass, and sharp citrus dominate the aroma. There's a hint of dank, catty hops.

Flavor is dominated by tart orange, lemon, and grapefruit pith, with resin and pine accenting nicely into the fairly bitter, resiny finish. Fruity notes surface with earthy hops in the finish.

Body is a touch light, with moderate carbonation and noted alcohol warmth.

Great fruity hop character, accented well by herbal, grassy, resiny hops. Bitterness is not overwhelming. Earthiness helps with that in the finish.

Photo of artoolemomo
3.82/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- Received with about half a finger's worth of head which has okay retention. The head is pure cotton white while the body is a pale to medium amber which appears as a pale amber in the light. Some lacingis left behind.

Nose- Starts off with a pretty even blend of citrus (orange, lemon, and grapefruit), peaches, slight hints of cherry, and caramel that tends toward a slightly burnt quality. Slight grassiness; dank. As it opens up, peach takes over and at points, it smells like freshly sliced peaches. Some honey, floral notes. Tropical fruits as well. Swirling reveals light grassiness and some herbal qualities.

Taste- This appears to be a mix of the newer style of IIPAs and the old style: a blend of bright citrus (orange and lemon), matchstick, tropical fruits, and a good amount of pine and resin on the finish. Some earwax, woodiness, and cracked pepper. Some cherry but none of the dominant peach of the nose and that's a shame. The more and more I drink this, the more it tastes old school. It's almost ashy and burnt from the profusion of pine, resin, and woodiness. This will definitely hit the spot with hopheads but for fans of Sucks, this might be a turn off. Beers like that have definitely changed my palate and have made beers like this one less enjoyable. Most fruit notes fade into the background as straight up lupulin takes over the palate. A solid, good beer and pretty good for the style that it is but I just can't rank it as highly as many others have. Too much of an earwax beer for me and something I would have loved 5 years ago. I'm very glad that I didn't get a growler of this last week.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Maybe a little zing.

Drinkability- A bit of a task for me because of its focus on the more bitter hops but still pretty drinkable for such a beer. Four dollars is okay for a 12 oz pour of an imperial but seems a little expensive for a Lagunitas brew. But this is Apex and I don't think this is ever bottled.

Overall- A solid, good beer which would probably be great if the strong peach of the nose had any presence on the flavor profile. It would also be nice if there were more caramel and malt to balance out the sometimes simplistic hop presence. Still worth a try but I probably wouldn't get this again.

Photo of raynmoon
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: clear golden, slightly on the lighter end of the honey - like orange color. Nice head retention and lacing.

S: "dank" first comes to mind. A very earthy, herbal citrus quality with that classic lagunitas aroma

T: taste follows the nose. I first get hit with a modest bitterness that is backed equaly byn the malt body. More on the medium heavy side for an ipa. Very "sticky".

Overall, very balanced and enjoyable. A winner for lagunitas.

Photo of otispdriftwood
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Lagunitas has done it again. Was at Rattle n Hum in NYC when this went up on the beer board. Since anything Lagunitas makes interests me, I tried it and was I glad I did. This beer reminds me of the Sucks! but more piney and floral. Super drinkability. I didn't know the ABV until I got home that evening and was blown away that it was 9.2%. My best guess would have been no more than 7 - 7.5%. The taste and mouthfeel followed the smell. Smooth, flavorful without any afterbite whatsoever. Where's Waldo?It's available at DeCicco's in Brewster in growlers so I'm cutting this review short and getting me some more. If you like Lagunitas' beer, and love hops, you'll love this one.

FYI - Last review was 4-21-12.

Fast forward to 4-21-14. The ABV went from 9.2% to 10.79% and it definitely changed the taste of the beer. Still good. Still a major hop bomb. But the increased alcohol muted the hoppiness, IMHO. Liked it better at 9.2%.

Photo of itsscience
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Amber in color with a finger of white head that quickly settles. Dear lord, this beer is dank: there's maybe a little bit of sweet malt, sweet citrus, and grapefruit on the nose, but earthy hop notes take center stage. The smell of freshly cut grass, weed, and hop oil slaps you in the face. Given the back-story of this beer and the way it smells, I believe that Lagunitas set out to make a beer that smells as close to marijuana as possible. It tastes teeth-clenchingly bitter with herbal hops, grapefruit, peach, a sweet cracker malt presence, and the oniony finish of an extremely hopped beer or a beer made with Summit hops. It has a dry, medium body and is full of mouth-coating hop resin. At nearly 11% ABV, this beer is dangerously crushable, so watch out.

Photo of corby112
3.09/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a dark copper color with mahogany edges and a one finger, frothy off-white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring.  Glass is left coated with streaks of soapy lacing.  Looks great!  

Dank floral hop aroma with a decent balance of tropical fruit, earthy grass and sweet malt.  Malt presence is a bit stronger than expected with lots of caramel and toffee sweetness along with some dark fruit and cracker.  

Full bodied and surprisignly malty for the style.  Again, there is a lot of caramel sweetness along with fig, vinous fruit and biscuit.  The strong malt character takes away from the hops too much for my liking. Also, the hop profile is kind of one dimensional with dry bitterness lingering throughout.  Needs some sweetness to cut through.  All dry, earthy  bitterness with prominent grass and pine needle flavors.  Lacks balance and complexity.  A rare miss from Lagunitas.

Photo of flexabull
4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Was pleasantly surprised to see this on tap at a local wine bar.

Pours a slightly hazy and bright gold color with a pretty nice off white head.

Aromas are nice. Very resiny, with notes of sweet citrus, some mango, and pineapple.

Taste is pretty sweet up front. Notes of hard candies, sugars, and creamy malts. Finish is really resiny, with mangos, pineapple, and some hints of bitter grapefruits.

Mouthfeel is smooth, thick, full, with nice crisp carbonation.

Overall, a very nice DIPA. Leans too much too the sweet side for my liking. With some toned down malt sweetness, a more dry feel, this would be top notch. This is still no slouch as is, and I'm being a bit nit picky, because this is quite nice.

EDIT : From reading some other reviews, it sounds like this beer is dated, and past it's prime. Still very good, and I can tell that this would have been excellent really fresh.

Photo of ehammond1
3.59/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Clear dark, burnt orange. Creamy, near-white head. A sticky beer.

Sweet crystal and caramel malts, biting citrus character, and some pine. Very hoppy, but also balanced by lots of sweet malt character as well.

The flavor is similar to the aroma. Sweet caramel and pine notes combine nicely, with biting, stinging citrus notes. Sweet biscuits and floral.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Tasty, but I wish Churchill's had served this beer a couple months earlier, as this beer was brewed to be enjoyed on 4/20. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I'd had it 2 more months fresh.

Photo of kojevergas
3.66/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a pilsner glass last night at Sunset Beer Co. Cost was $8.00. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high given the brewery and this beer's current ratings.

A: Pours a half finger head of beige colour, decent cream, pretty decent thickness, and awful (~10 second) retention. Body colour is a clear tropical orange-amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. An arresting attractive vibrant hue. I can't wait try it. A damned impressive appearance for the style - excluding the lack of good retention.

Sm: Tropical fruit - including juicy citrus. Evocative floral hop character. Complex and deep. Quite inviting. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. Light oily hop character. Some grapefruit zest. A moderate strength aroma. Some subtlety. A lovely aroma overall for an (imperial) IPA.

T: Lots of juicy citrus fruit and floral hop character. Gushing fruit - mango, tangerine, clementine, bright currant. Alcohol is noticeable but it isn't hot or boozy. Just a touch imbalanced. The usual distinctive Lagunitas hop oil note is present, but a bit more tame than I expected - certainly more restrained than in Sucks or IPA. There's a lot of flavour here. Adequate pale malts provide needed countering sweetness and a strong body. Nectary and sugary. Not piney at all. I'd prefer it with more oily character. Tasty, but the lack of balance is far from ideal. Not a lot of depth or subtlety, but good complexity. I'd like to see them bring the ABV down while retaining the flavours.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Lightly oily. Clean. Crisp. Good presence on the palate. Good thickness. Good carbonation. Smacky.

Dr: I had high expectations for this one, and while it doesn't disappoint, it also doesn't impress. Quite downable even if the noticeable alcohol does bring drinkability down a bit. Another good but not great beer from Lagunitas. I'd get it again, but honestly I may prefer Lagunitas IPA just for simple easy drinking. I wouldn't want more than three of these in a single night. Not worth seeking out, but very worthwhile if you chance across it.


Photo of scottfrie
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear bright citrus amber color with an oily off-white head that left a ton of sticky lace down the glass. I get notes of dank, herbal and citrusy hops with just a hint of malty undertone on the nose. Citrus and more dank hops follow the nose on the palate with a hint of honey and hop resin. Sweet, faintly booze, and slightly bitter finish. Medium-full body, low smooth carbonation, greasy, slick and slightly oily mouthfeel. The alcohol is hidden very well for being double digits. Solid but not their best.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Verdugo Bar in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and tropical fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest and pine flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but pretty strong.

Photo of Knapp85
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a really nice amber color with a very minimal head on top. No lacing or retention. The smell of the beer is loaded with hops and sweet malts. The taste is very piney, some citrus and earthy caramel malts. The mouthfeel is slick, low carbonation and resiny. Overall this is a good beer, need to try it fresh on tap or bottled to get this a proper review. Still very good.

Photo of inlimbo77
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

64oz growler
Filled, 4/23/13. Drank, 5/2/13

A: Pours out a hazy orange/amber color. Darker than I was expecting. Full finger of lacing. Leaving some sheeting. Still good carbonation. Pretty beer.

S: Dank hops, earthy hops, orange, some citrus. Some vegetal character here, more than the fruit for sure. Some sweet malts. Actually do get some booze on the nose, but it's 10.5% so to be expected.

T: Thick syrupy hop bitterness right off the bat. Smacks you in the face. Again, it's not the fruity tropical fruits of most West Coast IPAs. Certainly more of the earthy hops. Really nice balance from the malts that obviously aided in the darker color. Almost a slight nuttiness from them toward the back of the palate. Finish is dry and lots of lingering hop bitterness. The booze is there, but mostly comes at you after sipping on this a while.

M: Big medium here. This beer has some weight.

Photo of jzeilinger
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a medium to dark amber color with ridiculous dark lacing that sticks to the glass like cotton candy, light carbonation.

S - A very interesting vegetable-like dank spice, one of the most unique beers considering the nose.

T - Onion, garlic, vegetable dank, and an interesting combo between hops and malts that's hard to describe, but it really works! Ends with a grapefruit and sweet vegetable dankness that lingers on the palate.

M - Thick and viscous with an amazingly smooth, velvet-like mouthfeel.

O - This is a very unique beer that doesn't taste like most big IPA's, it's balanced, and it's not...it just works.

Photo of LarryK
3.03/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was excited to try this given its placement among the Top 50 DIPAs as well as its very-limited-edition status – I didn’t think it left the state of California -- and managed to have a pour last week at The Blind Tiger.

Appearance: Very dark for a double IPA, more of an amber hue than one would expect.

Smell: Malty, sweet, barleywine-esque.

Taste: This is a barleywine masquerading as a DIPA. While it certainly has a robust, full, malty flavor, almost none of the characteristics I look for in a DIPA are present, and the sweetness of the malt totally dominates any hop flavors that might be present.

Mouthfeel: Again, this is a heavy beer, highly carbonated and very much drinks like a 10.5% beer.

Overall: This might be the first beer I’ve ever had from Lagunitas that didn’t blow me away. I’ve also mellowed on barleywines some, and so some bias may be present, but given that this beer is being called a DIPA it definitely missed the mark for me.

Photo of Alextricity
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap at One-Eyed Betty's in Ferndale, Michigan.

Appearance: A light brown color with a nice bubbly film on top -- lacing's decent, but nothing extraordinary.

Smell: As others have described it, quite dank... malts, fruitiness... interesting smelling beer, no doubt.

Taste: Like the aroma, but holy hell the alcohol is very noticeable... not just in the flavor, but in the warmth as well. It was masked in the aroma, but that 10% definitely comes through on the taste buds. The warming sensation works well with the aromas and rest of the flavors, and makes for a pretty solid sipping beer. The feel is solid as well, no complaints there.

Overall, after having it side-by-side with something like Kuhnhenn's DRIPA, I found it to be ALMOST forgettable, which is a shame, because it was still a damn good beer. It smelled great, and tasted very good. The ABV is pretty insanely high on this, and it's an excellent example of the style. I hadn't even heard of this beer before having it, but I trusted Lagunitas, and it didn't fail me. Incredibly solid beer.

Photo of Pahn
4.56/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

On tap at the Stag's Head in Manhattan.

Appearance: Bartender leaves a 1 inch offwhite head that sticks around indefinitely. Pours a fully opaque yellow-orange and leaves rings of lacing.

Smell: Huge citrus and dank weed--what more could you ask from an IPA? The pungency of freshly cut citrus. Like sneaking into a greenhouse in the morning and shoving your head into a new compost pile of grapefruit peels and marijuana.

Taste: Sweet but with lots of dank, herbal/earthy/vegetal weed flavor along with powerful grapefruit pith notes. Touch of crystal malt on top of a toasted malt backbone. Small but noticeable alcohol bite, with a huge pink grapefruit flavor.

Great balance, and extremely satisfying for a hop lover. This is what you're hoping a beer will taste like when you find out that Lagunitas released a special beer for 4/20.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, moderate to high carbonation. Slightly dry, with a bit of sweet stickiness. Not much heat but a little kick. Dry this beer out and it would be the top of the top tier (D)IPAs for me, but as is it's still really great.

Overall: This is the Ultimate ("HQ", "Final Form", however you want to put it) Version of the Lagunitas hoppy pale ale. Sweet, robustly hopped, citrusy, dank, strong, and delicious. Hoppy beers have always been this brewery's strength, and this beer exemplifies that.

Photo of xhuskr
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at 1 (Seal Beach)
Came home to rush up for a pint believing that it would not lost until Wed. Glad I went

A-fantastic lace the whole way down...hope to make a beer with that great of lace sometime


T-citrus, pine..the usual..in a very nice balance..an IPA with a malt backbone that matches..not overtakes it

M-softness...had a 'Snuggle' type of mouthfeel...not a huge bit of hops, but hops, then smooooth...if not for the ABV and things to do..would have had a 2nd

O-with so many great IPA out there it's becoming harder to find that 'line'...very pleased and would get another at a given chance... Almost...almost had a bit of Racer XV (Cafe Racer) to it...rare and yummy!!

Photo of tdm168
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Ridgewood Wine and Beer Co.

A - opaque orange with a big, soft, off white head that has great retention

S - bready, very citrusy, faintly herbal, some alcohol

T - pine, huge citrus character, bread, very malty, alcohol in the finish

M - a bit viscous, chewy, full bodied, smooth

This is a really nice DIPA. I'm very glad I was able to try it. It had a tremendous hop character that gave it great drinkability. The malt is also very prevalent but well balanced with the hops. This is an all around pungent, delicious, hoppy DIPA that is definitely worth a try.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours a medium red with a light white head, leaves some nice lace.

S: Sweet crystal malt with tropical fruit.

T: Pineapple and passion fruit with a green undercurrent. Malt is heavy with some definite residual sugar character.

M: Resiny and dank, medium to full-bodied, a big hop character.

O: I'll keep it real. This is Knuckle Sandwich's doppleganger. These two beers are so similar it's crazy. A big malty Double IPA, go for it.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Elliot Bay Pizza.

A - Served a dark orange copper with a nice foamy light tan head with great retention and lots of lacing rings left on the glass.

S - Dank citrus and tropical fruit. Cheesy.

T - Similar to the nose. Citrus, tropical and dank cheesy hop bomb.

D - Smooth drinker with good carbonation and a medium body.

O - A big dark dank ipa. Fruity and a bit of cheese in the nose and taste.

Photo of Sarlacc83
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at 16 tons

A: Cloudy rusted copper color with a thin head. Some nice legs.

N: Wow. Very dank. Some grapefruit and pineapple. Really, really herbal and grassy. Big caramel notes hold up the nose. Peppercorns, ginger, and floral notes.

T: Hop bomb with a lot of malt notes. Incredibly huge. Bitterness hits on the backend with mixed tropical fruits. House yeast character is prevalent.

M: Very sticky and resinous. Heavy mouthfeel with moderate carbonation.

O: This is a slap you in the face, take your wallet beer. It’s excellent. It’ll definitely take its toll. Nice.

Photo of ArrogantB
4.26/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Fire on the Mountain, $4.20 for a pint, nice! Color is a little darker than orange, maybe even amber but most likely tawny. Aroma is pretty dank hops, pine, pine, hint of citrus and a bit of sugar? Flavor is deep dank hops with only the slightest bit of onion. Pretty thick mouthfeel, heavy beer, most definitely a DIPA. One pint was more than enough but it was definitely worth seeking out, one of Lagunitas better brews.

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Waldo's Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 319 ratings.