The Waldos' Special Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

287 Reviews
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The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by largadeer on 04-21-2011

User Reviews
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Reviews: 287 | Ratings: 1,395
Reviews by dmatsui:
Photo of dmatsui
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: medium/dark copper with low carbonation and a thin head with low retention. Some residual lacing.

Smell: Bright, floral and lemony hops hit you full in the face with an unmistakable dank presence (citrusy sativa aromatics, no joke.) This is one of the most aromatic IIPAs I have ever had, with other complexities including mango, grapefruit and pine.

Taste: Huge hit of weed flavor as expected (again, along the lines of a lemony, funky, skunky sativa.) Huge Chinook hop presence and a very light, sweet malt base that does not interfere with the hops. Lagunitas put the hops first and foremost as always, making the Waldo an unmistakable Norcal IIPA. Booze hits mid-palate with just a touch of warmth (almost untraceable even at 9.4% abv) that transitions into a dry, floral and sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Just perfect. The beer itself in glass appears to have very little carbonation, but seems to be activated once it hits your tongue, coating it in a very light layer of tiny bubbles that dance and delight your taste buds, along the lines of a slightly flat soda. The Waldo is also oily and feels nice and slick.
Extremely drinkable.

How Lagunitas managed to infuse the complexities of chronic Norcal bud is beyond me. There are very few beers that I enjoy as much as I enjoyed the Waldo.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of --Dom--
4.87/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Believe it. This beer is the truth. Years from now when people are stabbing each other and hawking single bottles on craigslist for 20 bucks, we who were lucky enough to grab some will regale our children with tales of how we purchased it for $11.99 a six pack when it was first released. "Is it true Daddy?" the young ones will ask.. "Yes child" we will answer... "In the before-time... in the long long ago... before mankind traded in it's decency for the pursuit of liquid hoppy goldness. One beer was brewed in secret..... and given to the palates of men..One beer to rule them all.... This is the one beer... It is...precious to me...

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Photo of rodbeermunch
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well here it is, the first uploaded perfect score (there are more coming though).

Now, right off the bat, I want to say that I feel that this, PTY and Boneyard's Notorious are probably indistinguishable from each other when drank blindly. So why does this get a perfect score? Well, because its a world class beer, that is in a very convenient format (6 pack/12 oz beers) with an amazing price ($10.99/6 pack). Basically, unlike 90% of beeradvocate, I reward for producing something on a large scale instead of small batch bullshit.

With that said, let's begin substantively speaking.

Pours a dark golden color mixed with amber and orange, with amazing clarity and a small 1/2" white head that quickly moves downward due to the massive hop oils in this one.

Sure enough, this smells of perfection, a massive degree of late stage hops here of different, pungent varieties bringing the citrus, pine, juniper, tropical fruit vibe all over it. Super dank and resinous without being heavy or bitter.

Taste is perfect as well, perhaps a tad sweeter than Boneyard/PTY, but again, doubt I could tell blind. Hides alcohol amazingly, bitterness in check relatively speaking. So much vegetal hop mouthfeel, no heat. Peach also in here apparently flavor wise (not actual fruit). Smell's like the art teacher's office/jacket. Lots of pineapple like juice to it.

Now to try and buy as much of this as I can find.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.52/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Lagunitas mason jar.

Appearance: Pours a bright golden orange with moderate amount of bubbles. About a finger of white head that settles into a thin patchy layer.

Smell: A very juicy and dank hop forward aroma with a scent of citrus fruit and pine. Big citrus hop presence with a scent of grapefruit, mango, orange peel, lemon zest, guava, tangerine, and pineapple. Herbal scent of pine resin and cannabis. Light malt hints of caramel and grains with some yeast. A really good dank aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a really juicy and dank hop driven taste with notes of citrus fruit and pine resin. Big juicy citrus notes of grapefruit, mango, guava, orange peel, tangerine, lemon, and pineapple. Earthy and herbal hop notes of pine resin, grass, and onion. Backing sweet malt notes of caramel, grains, and cracker along with some yeast. A very good juicy taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very juicy and oily with a drying finish. Alcohol heat is light for 11.5%.

Overall: A great juicy explosion of hop tones. Big citrus and pine flavors with a definite 420 scent.

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Photo of Thecalmdrinker
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing brew! It's definitely one of the best IPA's I've tried!

L: A little bit hazy, with an "orangy", honey kind of color.

S: Amazingly dank! I get Mango, peaches, pine, Pineapple, Apricot, and a little bit of orange.

T: It follows the smell very well. You get all of what I pointed out above. It's sweet and bitter at the same time, which I personally love. It's balanced, but still strong. It is heavy with Lagunitas signature taste.

F: The mouthfeel is Medium heavy. It's very sticky, and it has medium to low carbonation.

O: It's easily a world class beer, with a low price and huge distribution. What more would you want. I recommend it to anyone who like Imperial IPA's.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into an oversized tulip.

Copper and orange hazy body. Super frothy head, rings and rings of lace. Film over the body. Looking good.

This smells like a juice bomb. Pineapple, passionfruit, semi-ripe mango. Bitter and resinous on top of everything. Light onion and catty notes become more apparent but aren't in the offensive category. Overall, juicy and delicious.

Veers more into grapefruit territory on the taste but damn it's delicious. Still has some sweet mango in the mix, orange juice and some dank weed in the finish.

Let's just talk about the ABV. I know it's high cuz I've heard things but I wouldn't know from drinking this. Hardly detectable. Still has an incredibly juicy character to it, plus it's bitter and resinous and dank weed-like. How Sway?!? I don't got the answers!

I'm feeling this. Beeg time. $11 sixer? Good looks, Heineken!

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Photo of twizzard
4.81/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What an absolute dank, weedy, juice bomb. And 11.5% ABV....are you kidding me?! I passed on it originally when my local recommended it but now I have to load the boat! The absolute best Lagunitas, hands down

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Photo of topofthehops
4.92/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As much as I love just about everything Lagunitas brews, I'm ashamed to say I'd never heard of this until I spied it yesterday in a email. It had just been tapped at a very cool Downtown Baltimore (Federal Hill) joint called Metropolitan. And I just so happened to be going to Camden Yards to see the Orioles, a mere 10 minute walk away.

For my admittedly wrecked palate, this is as good as it gets. Has that classic Lagunitas profile. Like Hop Stoopid on steroids. Intense flavor and aroma (I could literally smell it a foot away). I'll be driving out of my way today to grab a couple of sixers. Love it, love it, love it!

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.89/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Seeing this rated so highly I figured I would pull the trigger on the six pack for $13.99.

A - Despite this huge octane its actually quite a bright color being standard IPA orange amber with a 1/2 inch of head that slowly froths to nothing.
S - What surprised me the the most is the wave of sweet not herbal hops I got guava, papaya, and mango not a lick of ethanol or bittering hops to speak of.
T - What surprised me then was how boozy this beer is not 100% hiding the flavor or burn of the ethanol is kind of a turnoff but the sweet and bittering hops do make it somewhat enjoyable.
M - Medium to heavy somewhat easy to quaff once your tastebuds die a bit.

Overall this beer is extreme reminding me of 120 min IPA from Dogfish Head. Drinking more than two of these a sitting and you will be drunk off your ass. Try it but don't plan on enjoying it too much.

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Photo of CHickman
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Lark, pours cloudy copper brownish color with a foamy tan head that faded slowly and left excellent foamy lacing coating the sides, rings as it went down.

Wow, smells of dank, oily fresh hop juice, grapefruit, oranges, tangerine, lemon zest, piney hops, graham cracker, brown sugar, caramel, light peppery spices, fresh floral hops and all things hoppy. Really fresh, really dank and damn impressive.

Tastes like it smells with dank citrus hops, oily fresh hop juice, grapefruit, oranges, tangerine, lemon, guava, pineapple, mango, piney hops, graham cracker, brown sugar, caramel, gummy bear, toffee, lightly toasted grains and a burst of fresh floral hop cones. Balanced, delicious and extremely hoppy this tasted great.

Smooth and buttery smooth, it's chewy and viscous with mild carbonation and a nice bitterness that screams of fresh hops but hides the ABV masterfully. One of the best Lagunitas beers I've ever had.

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Photo of gshak
4.73/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

I could just sum up this review in one word - Wow!
Bottled 088 6, which must mean 03/28/16, so about 11 days old at this point. I couldn't pass up a Lagunitas IPA that fresh!
A - Well, I did pour it gently so as to get as much carbonation in as possible. It is much needed for a beer of this heft.So I may not be entirely fair here giving it a 4/5; I'm sure it is deserving of a higher score, but what the heck.
S - Guava through the roof! Peaches, grapefruit and some papaya follow through. But the guava goodness is near-orgasmic!
T - Taste follows smell. It's like drinking a fruit punch with a medley of all fruits promised in the aroma. Lingering hoppy goodness with a bone dry finish. Simply brilliant!
M - Given that it is a 11.5% ABV beer, I did expect a heavy mouthfeel on this one, and I got it. It was tempered by the alcohol and the hoppiness, leading into a chalk-dry finish. The fact that Lagunitas managed a dry finish on a beer with such an immense malt bill is testament to their IPA-making prowess. Well done Lagunitas, very well done!

O - For a triple IPA which is what this beer truly is, it is remarkable that they were able to keep it so very drinkable. No alcohol overburn, no malty stickiness, no overbearing sugariness, just an incredibly crafted, true West-cost style IPA. Much as I shy away from IPAs north of 10% ABV, this 6-er was something I truly do not regret picking up.

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Photo of imnodoctorbut
4.81/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

served chilled from 12 oz bottled to spiegelau glass. bottled 08/15.

A: clear orange gold with a little under two fingers of white foamy head, medium retention, and beautiful lacing.
S: dank, with plenty of hops, and a sublime citrus sweet at the front.
T: grapefruit and near-tropical lush citrus sweet that melds into a full malt note, and dank (and I mean DANK..sticky icky) hop kicker that drops in a welcomed bittersweetness with a touch of pine. bit of onion or maybe more like garlic character that brings it on home. full of funk - in the most beautiful way possible.
F: thick, juicy, full body. good amount of carbonation. packs enough booze heat to remind you that it's on the higher end of the alc % spectrum, but it feels more like a 8% than a whopping 11.5% - finishes nice and dry, leaving you to crave that lush juiciness again.

Bottom Line (aka personal opinion time):
this is it. this is the one to beat. an absolute prime example of the double ipa that brings the funk and manages to remain perfectly balanced. do yourself a favor and snag a full pack if you can - just mind the 11.5% bc it'll sneak up on you...the booze is extremely well hidden and (dare I say) sessionable. some of the dankest hop representation you'll find in a brew as well. I'm typically reserved and skeptic of lagunitas but they knocked it out of the park with this one.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Being a fan of session triple IPAs, I couldn't help myself. Bottles from ABV.

A faintly hazy copper with a dense, large, white head with excellent retention and lacing, this looks great. The nose is fantastic. Very, very dank with plenty of pine and weed, this is brashly hoppy and pungent. Moderately sweet as well with caramel present, maybe a little more than I'd like but given the truly fresh, clean and spot on hop nose, I can't complain. The palate opens pleasantly pungent, bitter and dank with resiny hops, plenty of pine and wet herb. Dank as, eh, HMS Danky McDankface. The mid palate has a moderate sweetness present, but this really is dominated by the hops. Bitter, resiny on the finish, this beer is medium bodied, softly carbonated and has a long lasting bitter, resiny and weed like finish that lasts for days. Excellent. It is so nice to be able to buy a sixer of a triple IPA for$12.

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Photo of stakem
4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It seems as though everyone has been losing their shit over this beer this year. It kinda reminds me of hopslam circa 2010/11...this is supposedly the omg gotta have it beer of 2016. I promised myself I would not go hunting for this but low and behold, I was buying some groceries this weekend and there she was - a lonely sixpack just sitting there. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip appears a polished clear golden color with a white soapy cap.

This smells very fruity with hops: a little tropical like pineapple and mango and honestly not much else which is fine when the hops are this bright and enjoyable.

The tastes is mutually hoppy with quite a fruit forward flavor like the nose suggests with mango and pineapple then herbal rindy and grassy with almost a green cantaloupe aftertaste that gets increasingly bitter. The alcohol is noticeable but not overstated.

This is medium to fuller bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. A very intense ipa with quite a bit residual sweetness to balance the hop and alcohol bite. Its good and im glad I got the chance to try it without going out of my way.

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

Poured clear copper/straw with fluffy white head that laced well. Scent was strong and powerful with notes of lemon, grapefruit, pineapple and mango with piny finish. Flavor was well balanced between juicy and bitter with citrus fruits taking the lead, followed by pine and a solid malt backbone. I'd say the malt balance is on the heavy side (not quite a malt bomb), though I realize to hit 11.5% the grain bill had to be huge. Solid carbonation level to balance the bitter and booze bite. The high alcohol content was hid well initially, creeped up as the beer warmed. Very good beer, the type you enjoy thoroughly, though don't need another.

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

12oz undated bottle.

Pours clear copper with a half inch head and decent lacing for the duration. A pungent blast of hops in the nose. Pine-rubbed dank weed with tropical fruit. Onions, garlic, pink grapefruit, and orange oil. On the fuller side of medium bodied. Sticky, sappy, and resinous. A carpet-bombing of dank, piney hops on the palate. Bitter but drinkable. Almost numbing and one of those few beers that's so hoppy it makes you chuckle. Light malt with all things considered. Finishes with lingering citrus, pine and hop-burps.

What a hop bomb! Great beer, and the alcohol is very well hidden.

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Photo of Celtics76
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Whoa. What a powerhouse. Pure hop juice. I could smell this beer from 20 feet away. And at 11.5% abv, surprisingly easy to drink. Only for the seasoned hophead.

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Photo of K-Dog
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everything about this beer is fantastic. Great orange and copper look to it. Citrusy smell and if you smell it close enough has a slight weed like aroma. Taste is just awesome especially for 11.5 percent. Most ipas of this strength taste more like a barley wine with devil dancer and double crooked tree coming to mind. Some how lagunitas made this beast to still taste like an ipa. And the price 11.99 a sixer are you kidding me. Hopslam cost 16.99 a sixer of you lucky. This is a much better value for such a superior beer. Hopefully this a yearly regular release. By this while u can. A word of caution. This is a dangerous beer. Drank 3 last night in about an hour and a half and woke up this morning with one of the worst hangovers I've had in quite awhile. You have been warned.

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Photo of jdhops
4.69/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bottled March 28. Poured into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a deep clear golden with a short off-white head that quickly disappears. Splotchy lacing. Lots of tiny bubbles heading upward.

S: Very freshly mowed lawn with some apricot. The freshness of the smell is truly incredible for a bottled beer.

T: Citrus, apricot, mango, pine up front. A hint of alcohol in the middle, and drying at the end. Minimal bitterness. The alcohol isn't totally hidden, but I can't believe it's 11.5%.

F: Medium, a bit sticky. Plenty of carbonation.

O: Just outstanding. Fresh and flavorful, with its own identity.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear amber color. The head is two fingers high and white in shade. Retention isn't particularly good, and the texture becomes rougher the longer it sits. Some streaks of lacing also stick to the glass.

Let's cut to the chase: this is aggressive, over-the-top, and beastly - I feel like the aroma just punched me in the face with peach, tangerine, grapefruit, guava, and weed. Does this have Mosaic? If it doesn't, I'll eat a hat. When combined with the textbook Lagunitas character, it really seems dank as hell. It's 11.5%, so there's also a hefty caramel sweetness. I just love how big and unsubtle it smells.

It tastes weed-like at first. This dankness slowly subsides, being replaced by notes of tangerine, peach, pineapple, and grapefruit. The finish is faintly boozy, about what I'd expect from something so massive. The maltiness is every bit as sweet and heavy as I expected (although it never overpowers the hop profile by any stretch). It has that classic "boozy pineapple juice" vibe many mega IPAs feature. Plus, it's so damn OTT, it's charming.

Big and thick, the finish is just light enough to make it drink a little easier than it could have otherwise. It's still a sipper up in this realm of gravity, though. The texture is slightly syrupy and the carbonation is lowish. All told, it pairs up with the flavor profile very well.

I'm a big fan of subtlety, nuance, and delicacy - and then something like this comes across along. Those three terms are pretty much the opposite of what this beer is about. And hell, that's why I love this one so much. One is enough, but one is far more satisfying than 3 mediocre IPAs in a row.

4.1/5: Drink this instead of the bong water

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Photo of leantom
4.97/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Truly beautiful beer. If this were a beer that never made it outside its source region, like those beers being made up in Vermont, it would have one of the highest ratings on beer advocate. Here goes:

A: Beautiful orange-amber. Alright head, but the lacing is great. Perfectly clear with decent carbonation.

S: Beautiful. Lots of oranges and mango. Faint hint of grapefruit, but mostly lighter tropical fruits. Superb - can't find anything wrong with it.

T: Same goes for the taste. Ton of oranges, tangerines, and mango. Also a lot of honey and caramel. Perfectly balanced between malt and hops. This beats Sucks by a mile.

F: Perfect. Dangerously light and drinkable.

O: This is a great beer. I would definitely get it again and again if it were year-round.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served in a snifter at the Union Brewhouse in Weymouth.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a coppercolor with good clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Tropical, citrus, floral, herbal, candied fruit, caramel malts, and a little booze.

Taste: Nice hop flavor. Sweet malt backbone, booze, and light tingly bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, a bit booze, light tingly bitterness, and medium carbonation.

Overall: It's been a year since I have seen this beer. Had to get a review in before it's gone till next year. Probably grab another beer too.

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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%.

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Photo of KenChuck
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: look mang this guy I know, Jesse, came over and had a like 8 or 9 of these. It was pretty cool cause Jesse usually sucks.

Smell: Dank, in a good way.

Taste: Taste how my armpit smells some time. But I like it.

Feel: after 4 I hit Jesse in the face with a can of Kodiak and he didn't feel nothing. True story.

Overall: i knew these guys who taught their dog how to smoke. It was pretty cool. This beer somehow made me feel as cool as that smoking dog.

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Photo of oberon
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours into a small tulip glass a clear burnt orange infused medium golden with a thinner but creamy-like white head atop.Big citric hops and vidalia onion aromas,tangerine and mango juicy notes,the onion is more pronounced on the palate to me.Sweet onion up front with tangerine notes on the palate and then the onion once again peaks thru in the finish.I get a hint of white pepper a to go along with some sugary alcohol sweetness and sweet dough to round out the non hop part of the beer.Very interesting,the onion flavors are big but the tropical fruits are just as big and the hop profile comes together very well.The sweetness does get bigger as you drink more but it should for a beer this big,fantastic and a good way.

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The Waldos' Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 287 ratings.