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Waldo's Special Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Waldo's Special Ale
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99 Reviews
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Reviews: 99
Hads: 714
Avg: 4.26
pDev: 20.89%
Wants: 80
Gots: 107 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 99 | Hads: 714
Photo of LarryK
3.03/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

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Photo of corby112
3.09/5  rDev -27.5%
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.

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Photo of rawfish
3.3/5  rDev -22.5%
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

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Photo of lechroy
3.44/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Beer Revolution in Oakland.

A - Nice warm brown with a warmed single finger head that departed quickly.
S - Hopsextravaganza. That good. This baby is loaded with piney strength. Think boreal forest.
T - really heavy hitter with lots of weight. This is not a beer for the delicate palette. Lots of malt and lots of hops. Doesn't hold a candle to the Hop Stoopid, which is just a much nicer, more balanced beer without the kick in the arse.
M - heavy. maybe a touch syrup-y. Felt slightly under carbonated.
O - Let me start by saying that Lagunitas is my favorite brewery. This beer feels slightly overdone. Too much, too think, too big for my taste even as an imperial IPA. Sorry Lagunitas, I think this one isn't as desirable as many others you brew.

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Photo of illidurit
3.53/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Parish Publick House in Santa Cruz. Poured into a nice Sierra Nevada tulip glass. Bright tangerine color with a thick off-white head. Aroma is sweet and succulent with lots of caramel, orange, and lesser notes of stone fruit. Flavor is much the same. Rather sweet and sticky with rich caramel malts along with the sweet fruitiness of the aroma. Thick and slightly boozy. A dry DIPA with this hop character would be good, and a barleywine with this malt character would be good. But I don't want both in one beer. It's not bad at all. It's just too sweet for me. A definite improvement on some of their previous unbearable IPAs though.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

32 oz. growler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep orange. Medium white head. Lots of lacing.

Smell - Citrus hops. Lots of caramel malt. Sweet smelling. A little pine.

Taste - Grapefruit. Very sweet caramel malt. Toasty malt. Bitterness and booze.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Boozy. Still not that hard to drink.

Overall - It's one of those beers that if you think about it too much, it's too big. But it drinks pretty darned well for being an absurdly large IPA.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.59/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.66/5  rDev -14.1%
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.


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Photo of jethrodium
3.7/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Beer Revolution. Pours a clear, light amber with a two finger white head that has very good retention and leaves a huge amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is huge weed, some orange peel, grapefruit, and some light caramel malt. Definitely the dankest smelling beer that I've had. The initial taste is relatively sweet with dank hops. There is also some light floral hops, grapefruit, as well as some apricot. A bit of caramel malt as well. The finish is dry with a decent bitterness. Full bodied. Medium carbonation. Overall a pretty enjoyable beer. They certainly succeeded in creating a really dank beer for 4/20.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.74/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Lots of citrus hops, grapefruit and pine...not inventive on the flavors but ratchets it up to 11. Mouthfeel was a little greasy which I didn't personally love.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.82/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Photo of Maverickdp
3.91/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just tapped at favorite local spot; of course, today... what a dank special this one is... piney, hoppy, tasty but get ready to eat a big ol' bag of herb... I love it...

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Photo of Glibber
3.92/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer in downtown Boise at Bitter creek. I really like Lagunitas, and even though many of their beers have a similar hopped flavor, this one was extremely good. A little more citrus tang, but as usual for Lagunits a good looking beer with a nice aroma, heavy lacing, and not nearly as hoppy as some of the other strong and imperial offerings. Somewhere between Little Sumpin and Maximus, both of which I love- I would definately drink more of these.
At a similar ABV to Hairy Eyeball, Undercover, and WTF, but I felt this was superior.

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Photo of 57md
3.96/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Hazy copper. The nose is definitely dank - the essence of weed is hard to ignore. The flavor profile also is dominated by the essence of Sweet Leaf.

Before anyone thinks that this is just a novelty beer, let me say that the malt backbone is solid and it meshes well with the dank hop profile.

Makes me want to light one up!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of mikechance
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Samuel Horne's Tavern in Folsom, CA.

A --- nice deep and thick orange/yellow with 1/2 foam

S --- lots of citrus and flowers

T --- sweet, hoppy and bitter

M --- full bodied and nicely carbinated

O --- As usual another excellent beer from Lagunitas. Very good, but not among their best.

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Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's. Very surprised to see this beer here... when I saw it at the Apex in PDX, I was told this beer is very, very limited.

The beer pours an orange amber color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive as well, as I pick up considerable tangerine, tropical fruit (mango, papaya and the like), light pine and underlying citrus. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, and the beer is a bit sweeter and maltier than I tend to enjoy in an IPA/DIPA. Still, the beer has a goodly dose of hoppy bitterness as well, which keeps the tropical fruit from overwhelming the flavor profile. The finish is actually fairly dry and bitter. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, tropical fruit and bitter finish. There's a bit of heat from alcohol in the finish as well, but for the most part, the alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile.

Another solid beer from Lagunitas, but for my money, I'll take Hop Stoopid every time.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on 4:20 of course.

Pours a golden translucent color with a fingers worth of white head. Small spots of lacing.

The nose has a ton of pine and earthy hops. Smells like bud. Herb. Buddah. Whatever you wanna call it. Suitable considering the occasion but smelling mighty fine regardless. Big hops. Well hidden ABV.

The flavors are earthy, light onion, grassy, and piney hops. Hoppy and again, resembling mary jane. The malt is offered in a subtle fashion behind the hop masses.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and is smooth and creamy through and through. Moderate carbonation.

Overall, another impressive hop bomb from the brewers/stoners over at Lagunitas. Impressive.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.03/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.06/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Engine Room. Pours a translucent Amber color with an inch of frothy head. Some lacing.The aroma is fruity and slightly dank. Grapefruit with some light floral notes. The taste is sweet grapefruit and dank hops up front. Moderate alcohol burn. Dank, almost garlicky finish. Medium bodied with a dry mouthfeel. Overall, really good Imperial IPA.

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Photo of flexabull
4.09/5  rDev -4%
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.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.1/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of AlexFields
4.11/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a reddish amber, pretty dark in color, looks a red ale.

Smells of sweet malt, dank hops, lots of fruit--raspberry, peach, mango. Pretty crazy fruit profile here, never got so much red berry from an IPA before.

Taste is pretty similar, lots of red fruit, some dank hops, pretty sweet overall, delicious.

Good drinkability considering the alcohol and sweetness, thick mouthfeel though, pretty good carb.

Really unusual IPA and really good. Love these weird Lagunitas hoppy experiments.


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Photo of scottfrie
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

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Photo of mothman
4.12/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beige head. Copper amber in color.

Flavors of dank hops. Tons of floral and pine. Bright citrus with grapefruit. A big caramel malt backbone. Sticky hops. Pretty solid.

Mouthfeel: bitter and sticky. Medium bodied. Good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, a solid dipa. Easy to drink, but one is probably enough. Massive hop profile.

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Waldo's Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.