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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 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 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 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 Knapp85
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.21/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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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 SerialTicker
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of Pahn
4.56/5  rDev +7%
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.

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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!!

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Photo of tdm168
4.14/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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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 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 Sarlacc83
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.26/5  rDev 0%
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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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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Photo of TheBrewo
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This beer was served from the tap at One-Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale, MI. It arrived in a generic tulip, showing a reddish pumpkin coloring. It held a one finger head of tannish bubbles that retained nicely, leaving sheets of lacing all around the glass. A mild chill haze distorted clarity, but no sediment was noted. Carbonation appeared to be moderate. The aroma was bright, with big hops off the bat giving earthy spice and sweet and sticky nectary grapefruit. This was cut harshly by fusel booze, nail polish remover, and the most insanely floral (independent of hops) quality we’ve ever whiffed, giving bittered earthiness against a background of a cooling but spicy perfumy cloud. The malts were pushed to the back, but were nicely inclusive and varied, with pales, heavy caramels, and toasty ambers. Our first impression was that the flavoring was strongly fusel, spicy, and phenolic, while remaining pleasantly fresh. As we sipped, the taste opened with honey sweetness, toasty caramel and redder malts, big bitterness of herbal and juicy citric hops, and fruity sugars of apricot and pineapple. Moving to the peak was an enhancement of the hops to spicier note and some resiny pine, with a mix of peppery booze, crisp tannic lemony twist, sugary sweet caramel malt balance, and more lightly toasted amber malts. The finish came with a wash of extremely fusel booze and spicy plastic phenols, with those bittered herbal hops, yeasty metallics, light pales, solid lemon rind, and a revival of that pineapple fruitiness as the sole source of balance here. The aftertaste breathed of black pepper, pale and white flour maltiness, herbal hop bitterness, spicy booze, curry spiciness, earthy mineral, raw honey, and strongly plastic phenols. The body was medium, and the carbonation was the same. Each sip gave excellent pop and glug, with nice slurp and smack, and beautifully soft cream and froth. The mouth was slickly coated with thick and sticky froth, with no real dryness other than a light tannic quality. The abv was big (10.5% this year according to the brewery rep) and present, but the beer drank easily.

Overall, the best things about this beer were the flavoring and the feel. The former displayed excellent juiciness and fruitiness to start, with dark and deep spicy strength, booze, sticky hops, and big malts to balance throughout the sip, striking a solid blend. The flavor is just massive. And then there was that nose. It had such a unique floral, perfume quality that both added to the depth of spiciness, while giving an air of freshness. Really everything is just so robust about this beer, making it highly memorable. As we’ve come to expect from Lagunitas, this guy is spicy, fresh, and amazingly drinkable.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.31/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Chub fill picked up this afternoon from the fine folks at Bar Gernika in downtown Boise... Poured tonight into my slim tulip... off white head has nice retention with good lacing for the entire glass... the brew is clear orange.

Nose shows tons of pithy grapefruit and almost as much piney hoppiness... slight maltiness shows bits of toast... but the malts are beat down by the hops... sweet tropical fruity hoppiness shows with warmth... loving this one.

Tropical fruit bowl hops on the palate remind me of mangoes and papaya.. tangerine zest, but still plenty of grapefruit.. the pale malts combine with some dry toast and deliver the hops nearly perfectly.. This is nearly perfect right now... fresh and wonderful.

Body is heavier than a standard West Coast DIPA.. but I honestly think it adds to the drinkability in this sense.. enjoy this one right now, because the malts will come out swinging as the hops die back.


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Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Groveland Tap in St. Paul, MN. Served in a Lagunitas Mason jar at exactly 4:20 pm on 4/20/13.

Appearance: Pours a bright copper golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of white head which fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Huge aroma of hops with lots of spicy pine and citrus fruit esters. Big scent of dank pine resin and grass. Floral and herbal hints. Big citrus presence with hints of ripe grapefruit, orange peel, tangerine, mango, apricot, pineapple, and lemon. Sweet bready malts in the background with hints of caramel, rye, wheat grains, biscuit, and yeast. Really sharp and oily aroma dominated by the big hops.

Taste: As big and dank as it smells, huge hop flavors of pine and citrus. Spicy and oily pine resin upfront giving a dank, weed like taste. Some grass in the hop mix as well as some herbal and floral notes. Big taste of citrus fruit with notes of fresh grapefruit, pulpy orange peel, mango, tangerine, pineapple, apricot, and lemon. Behind the huge hops are some sweet bready malt with notes of biscuit, wheat grains, spicy rye, caramel, and yeast. Very hop forward and good.

Mouthfeel: Big bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very spicy, juicy, and oily. Very drying. Alcohol is hidden fairly well, the heat is from the hop attack.

Overall: Another great West Coast IPA from Lagunitas. A huge bath of dank and fruity hop flavors.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.55/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Served at the brewery on 4/20 -- release day.

A: Generous head and a rich, glowing auburn body.

S: Huge, resiny, and amazing. Loads of astringent pine but also boatloads of fruit. Alcohol, hops, herbal spice, and just excellent.

T: Yes. This. Big, overwhelming, and incredibly impressive. Grapefruit, bitter hops, and a massive alcohol base. The aftertaste is lingering and smack worthy.

M: adequate, but overshadowed.

O: What great fortune to stumble upon this gem. Delicious and absolutely recommended.

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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 Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the Birdsal House in Peekskill, NY, a few months ago (on 4/20?) and reviewed from notes...

Pours clear medium golden amber. The head is off white, with a thin tiny bubble film and fine tongues of lacing.
Hops crushing on the nose. This is a boldly flavorful and quite large DIPA. Notes of resiny pine infused hops some gin and mini flashes of yeasty phenolics. Aggressive, heady and large. Glad I was able to give it a try.

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Photo of phishsihq
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Waldo pours a clear, golden light amber color, and is capped by a thin white head that has a good amount of retention and lacing. Aromas were somewhat muted (damn shaker glass!), but hop aromas were still dominate with tropical fruitiness, especially pineapple noticeable. Wow, this brew is smooth and delicious! Pine resin flavors mix with tropical fruit and citrus tones before meeting a slightly bready malt backbone. Incredibly well balanced, Waldo is medium in body, while being medium-light in carbonation. At 9.2% this is a beer that will get you into some trouble, but on a Friday night that may not be so bad.... Get it while you can!


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