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Wilco Tango Foxtrot | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Wilco Tango FoxtrotWilco Tango Foxtrot

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.85%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Brown Ale

Added by flexabull on 03-06-2010

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Reviews: 846 | Ratings: 2,582
Photo of rawfish
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown, not quite opaque with some copper tinged highlights. Forms a toasted white head of half a finger that is very thin with low retention, leaving nicely patterned lacing on the glass.

Robust malt character caramel malt with graham crackers, burnt toast and some earthy funk. A touch of sweetness from dark fruit, raisins and grape. Surprisingly bright citrus hop backing which I hear is typical of Lagunitas.

Malts remain robust but lacking any kind of sweetness to balance the hops. Burnt toast, a touch of smoke and some cereal grains, dark fruit notes of figs and wine grapes. Citrus hops come in very bright in contrast to the earthy malts, bitters well on the finish coupled with some acidity from the dark malts. A touch of sweetness likened to brown sugar comes out as the beer warms.

Thin to medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Alcohol is hidden but burnt acidity comes with the drying bitterness on the finish. Not sticky at all.

Didn't really have any expectations coming into this but it tastes like a strong ESB using Cascade hops. Some chocolate or crystal malt sweetness would really help this one be more balanced. I did like the hop flavors but this missed the mark.

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Photo of kennylopez
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: a dark brown cola colored with a fingers worth of off white head that leaves rings of lacing as I drink it.

Smells: I smell a mild hop note with subtle yet dominate malt backbone.

Tastes: this is a smooth strong ale. The balance is great with a pungent bitter hop that has a balanced malt character that is quite a surprise from a Lagunitas in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: this is a carbonated ale that doesn't have much of a burn from the close to 7%. I enjoyed this brew and pairs well with turkey or a thanksgiving meal.

Overall: not my favorite from Lagunitas even though this is a solid brew. I will buy it again next year, just not my favorite American strong ale especially $9.99 for a 22oz bottle.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.34/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a translucent brown with very creamy head that retains well, laces nicely, and is by far the best feature of this ale. Nose is rather weak some light citrus. On the palate the citrusy hops come right out and remind me of all the "black IPA" rage lately, as the color in this beer does not deliver the expected roasty, malty whollop that the color would suggest. A bit leafy on the finish.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

@ the Indie, Somerville MA

Oh, I get it, WTF. As much as I like Lagunitas, their sense of humor irks me (i.e. the Kronic--with a K). Clear, deep chestnut color with a thin, white head. Persistent retention rides down the glass and foam along the way. A sexy lookin' beer.

Aroma is intense orange citrus and soft pine hops thrown up my nose by intense alcoholic heat. That wouldn't be bad in and of itself but the hops clash with chocolate and brown sugar malt. WTF indeed. Those are just 2 things that don't go together in my mind.

Taste is again intense orange citrus hops with a chocolate, brown sugar, and raisiny molasses iconoclast. My sister didn't like it.

I liked it enough to order another but it was too sweet for me to finish the second.

Full disclosure: I have a pet peeve of citrus hops in dark beers. If that's your thing then perhaps this beer is better suited you.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

Well it does appear to be a nice dark brown colored liquid. When backlit though, it reveals itself to have a beautiful, deep, scarlet hue to it. The head of foam is very lightly tan tinted and about two-fingers thick. The retention is quite nice and the lacing is in thick, sticky, strands.

The nose is actually much less than I expected. The maltiness is very mild. It does have a suprising level of hop presence to it. Not overwhelming, just bolder than expected. Mild notes of generic toffee sweetness.
There is something in the scent that I can't quite nail down, also. Almost a chemical-ness or something. Something weird.

A decent level of maltiness is what I get first. Then a lite touch of sweetenss comes out, somewhat like diet caramels and light golden brown sugar. The hops come in next and pretty much kill off the bulk of the sweetness, not that there was alot there to begin with. The finish leans to the dry side, but does manage to maintain a tiny hint of sweetness. Just like the nose, it has a taste of something weird and 'off'.

This one is medium-bodied with a high carbonation level. This combines to give it a sharpness level that personally, I find off-putting. No creaminess at all.

I'll give this a little bit better on the drinkability factor, because it is easy enough to drink. It's just not that enjoyable to me. Also, it has that whole weird/fake smell/taste thing going on with it.

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Photo of Samuel906
3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark pour with sticky thick head. Very deep red in color, like mahogany. Smell is odd in my opinion, lots of malt, but too bready and yeasty, slightly boozey, and slightly nutty. Flavor is mostly malts, like a heavy duty brown ale. To me it also had hints of soy and is mildly salty. Slightly sweet, like brown sugar. Overall, drinkable but a little odd for me to want to recommend.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One finger off-white head, reddish-brown body. Decent head retention and lacing.

Nose is nothing but hops.

Taste, fortunately, is more complex. Decent dose of hops, but mixed in with some sweet brown malt (which balances it) out, almost a bitter caramel.

Mouthfeel is enough carbonation to keep it from being syrup, which is good.

I'm not a huge fan, but Lagunitas is hoppier than I tend to prefer.

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Photo of excal
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Pours a dark and slightly reddish brown that turns bright red when held up to the light. A finger of beige/off-white lacing disappears in about 30 seconds or so, leaving a thin layer on top. Thick lacing.

Smell is all citrus and pine, not too dissimilar from Lagunitas' IPAs and DIPAs.

The hoppiness is mostly pine with hints of citrus. The bitter forward is followed with (wiped out by, really) a solid, rich malty backing. A slightly roasty flavor with cocoa hints are the last thing tasted.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy at first, then fades to an odd thinness. The taste really fades from your mouth very quickly. Within a second or two after swallowing, you're only tasting the faintest hint of lingering bitterness. Solid drinkability.

Overall, it's not a bad offering, but I can't say I'm a big fan. It's not aggressively hoppy enough to be a West Coast hop bomb, the malt isn't really sweet enough to make this a typical brown ale, and the combination of the two comes out more conflicted than balanced.

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Photo of N3rdM3t4l
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bomber into pint glass.

A: Dark brown with a slightly red tint. Despite very aggressive pour only half a finger of cream colored head that became a bubbely ring around the outside. Decent lacing.

S: Citrusy hops right away on the nose. Not getting much else off of it even after a swirl.

T: Hops again just like the nose. Like iced hop tea. Not even getting the malt through on this one. Not bad but not much there.

M: medium bodied, not really heavy (expected from lack of malt flavor it must be lightly malted) and kinda wet. Yes I know it is 92.17% water so it will in fact be wet. This as it warms in the mouth so it finishes light.

O: If you like super hoppy beers like IPA then this strong ale is for you. Not my cup of tea (or glass of beer as it were) but all in all it is a decent beer. Nothing offensive and bad about it, not super complex but not boring. The hop character of it reminds me of A Lil' Sumptin Sumptin also from Lagunitas.

Edit: I was drinking it over a a long period while playing video games. As it warmed the hoppyness became less overpowering and the unique flavors of the brown malt come through. The claim on the bottle "robust" and "malty" are realized closer to room temp. Should be served warm, not sure what I was thinking drinking a double at fridge temp. Changed taste and mouthfeel from 3.0 to 3.5 because it thickened up a touch and got roastier.

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Photo of Bear1964
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a Pint glass showed a beautiful clear copper color and a nice 2 1/2 finger head that stayed a long time. The aroma was tell tale Lagunitas with spicy hops front and center, taste flashed the hops and took it to citrus/pit fruit tang that I love from the brand. This Strong Ale has all the good points of a IPA and the ABV of a Barley Wine, solid mouthfeel that lets you know you are drinking something. Overall I'm glad I tried this and always grab new stuff from this brand.

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Photo of claytong
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - brown, purple color, decent head

Smell - crazy malts, seems like they use many different kinds, light and dark, dark fruits

Taste - too much going on, age this one? I don't know but just too much to sort

Mouthfeel - not bad, smooth, a bit puckeringt

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I appreciate the fact that Lagunitas has fun with their offerings, as evidenced by their eccentric names. Wilco Tango Foxtrot comes out a rose color, with plenty of head the boot. It foams up very quickly, and stays frothy throughout the drinking experience. From the nose is some cinnamon, malt, evergreen lead, and gum. From the taste one mostly gets the battle between malt and hops, with some juicy fruit thrown in there for good measure. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side, letting the malt get the better of the hops in the end. I have to admit that this was a little tough to get through. I almost felt like I was drinking a glass of beer in the vain of Wrigely's cinnamon gum, if that makes any sense. Good, but not great. Worth a try, but probably just one from me. Cheers

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Photo of ehammond1
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2011)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

Dark brown with ruby edges. Thick, persistent khaki colored head which leaves sheets and lines of lacing left down the glass. Gorgeous.

Incredibly sweet aroma. There's a lot of toffee and caramel, some simple sugar syrup, as well as a mild punch of citrus orange.

More sweetness in the flavor. This is a sweet, syrupy, toffee candy of a beer.

Medium mouthfeel. Appropriate.

A very, very sweet strong ale. In a lot of ways, its reminded me of Lagunitas Maximus DIPA, which isn't at all one of my favorite beers. I'll pass on this next year.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- A clear, deep, dark red liquid with some brown highlights. A thick and creamy off-white heads sits on top and has some good retention.

S- A very light aroma of dark fruits, orange peel, and brown sugar with a hint of alcohol. I can't believe how faint the aroma is.

T- Brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits, and citrus. Faint but nice.

M- Smooth and slightly creamy with a lasting bitterness at the end.

D- Overall, if some of the flavors were stronger to better match up with the higher alcohol content, this would be much better. Not bad, but not a stand out either.

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Photo of mrandypandy
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased at Hop City in Atlanta.

A - pours clear, medium brown with nice ruby highlights when held up to the light. White head leaves decent lacing as I go through the glass.

S - Surprisingly hoppy. Citrus hops dominate what appears to be a roasty/toasted malt finish. Average.

T - Barleywine qualities to this beer. Heavy malt backbone with a strong (citrus) hop presence in the front. Roasted malts certainly make their presence felt, but they are outdone by the hops. Almost a "burnt" quality to it.

M - Medium body, carbonated and lively on the tongue. Slightly sweet but offset by the hops.

D - Not even 8%, but a beer you really need to sip and enjoy slowly. I couldn't do another bottle in one sitting, but I would have another on a separate occasion.

Overall, a decent beer but nothing that blows me out of the water. Tastes like countless other "strong ales" or "barlewines" I've had before, but a good representation of the style nonetheless. Worth a try, but don't go out of your way. This one has been done before, and in better fashion.

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Photo of Aaron420
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A: It poured a deep amber almost a mahogany color, with a rather dark tan head that left great lacing down the glass.

S: Very malty aroma with a slight hint of hop but mostly dark chocolaty malts.

T: It had a very rich chocolaty, malty, and nutty flavor. With nice earthy hoppy flavor to bring up the tall end.

M: A medium bodied beer with a good bit of carbonation that slides through the mouth quite easily

O: This was a pretty good easy drinking beer I enjoyed it but will not be rushing to the beer store to buy the rest of them on the shelf

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brown to amber in color and clear, head and lacing were ok but not impressive.

Everything about this beer screamed malt bomb from the smell to the taste. Heavy malts dominate every sip, although there were some brown sugar, molasses, caramel and fruit notes, with just a touch of hops.

Feel was medium bodied and fairly dry.

Overall I wasn't that impressed, but it's fine if you're looking for a pungent malt bomb of a beer.

EDIT 28Sept11 - after trying again, I upped the taste a half point. It's odd, but certainly worthy.

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Photo of bayougutter
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a darkist clear brown with a small off white head which quickly settled to a film, decent lacing.

Sweet malts, dark fruits dominate, with toffee and some hoppiness coming thru at the end

Taste wasn't bad, just not good. taste followed the aroma with more alcohol and bitterness at the end.

A little under carbed for me, but just a little.

Overall, Not bad just not good.

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Photo of beertunes
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in straight pint glass. The bar called this a brown ale. Poured a clean, clear brown with a half-inch of off-white head that had OK retention and lacing.

The aroma was a nice blend of sweetness and hops. The flavors were very hoppy up front, sweet in the middle and balanced on the finish.

The body was good, even, clean and balanced. Drinkability was good, I'd have a couple in a row, but maybe not more than that. Overall, a solidly decent beer that has taken a step in restoring my opinion of this brewery.

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Photo of IPAguy2009
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Always love a good lag ale! Paid 3.79 for this bomber. Good price for a lag ale.

A- poured a good head but it didn't last too long. Great lacing. Thick cloudy brown color. Tanish head

S- piney hops with good bready malts. Not too dynamic

T- a real heavy dark brown ale with that lag taste and hop touch.

M- thick with a sharp carbonation at the end.

O- always a fan of lags brews! My fav brewery! This one was good but not one of my favs from them. Dont have anything bad to say about it at all but there is better from lagunitas. Cheers!

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Photo of RustyDiamond
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a Surly stein. Bright, opaque copper with a thick 3 fingeres of manilla folder yellow head.

Aromas of toffee, cigar tobacco, citrus.

Sweet malty up front then a subtle dose of piney hops. Bitter and with a nice hint of chocolate. Finishes bitter and dry.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass at the Sugar Maple.

A: brown, auburn, some clarity, not very dark for a brown ale, some white head that doesn't have good retention

S: very subtle malts, cereal grains, bread, roasty notes, light earthy hops on the finish... I had to search for these aromas as the beer warms, at serving temperature, the aroma was next to nothing

T: very mild flavors, the ABV is non existent, a great balance makes for an easy drinking beer but this is so mild and subtle, I wish there was more character

mf: thin, slightly watery, medium carbonation

D: very easy drinking but not a whole lot of flavor, considering this is an imperial brown...I've had brown ales with loads more of flavor (aka Bender), not bad but will not seek out again

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Photo of corby112
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Capone's.

Pours a deep golden ruby color with copper/mahogany edges and a thin lasting ring that slowly fades into a thin lasting ring. Minimal lacing.

Slightly roasted malt aroma with hints of oily, resinous hops, pine needle and very faint citrus peel. Slight bread/yeast presence with hints of sweet caramel and toffee.

Medium bodied with some slightly smokey, sweet malt flavor balanced out by earthy bitter hops. Hints of rye, toffee and hazelnut along with some earthy pine needle and subtle citrus.

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Photo of MonkeymooTJ
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


Dark brown with a burnt caramel tone. Good thick white foamy head that was well retained


Sweet malty scent with an apparent spicy hoppiness and piney tone. A hint of possible dark fruit as well


Very slight bitter presence, though there is much more of an emphasis on the malts which lingers well into the aftertaste


I would describe this as a pretty smooth beer. Kinda sits on the tongue without too much excitement due to the lack of carbonation


All in all not too bad. Nothing really stood out to me, good or bad. Definitely has a malty imbalance which is not necessarily a bad thing. Not Lagunitas best offering, but it is palatable.

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Photo of Zebus0
3.46/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Impulse buy today for a pint.

A- Good. Looks like a brown ale. Nice amber/brown color. Almost no head on it, not a lot of carbonation. I'm cool with that.

S- It's alright. Nutty aroma to it, just a tad of spice but not much. Toasty smell.

T- Pretty good. Malty! A lot of hops too. Doin it's thing on being a strong ale. I like the bite. Malt finish.

M- Average, Like I said, not a lot of carbonation, relatively smooth.

D- About halfway through really started to grow on me. I really like stouts and strong beers so I felt right at home. Oddly I'm not a big fan of too much hops, and it had just a bit too much for me. Probably not something I would drink more than a pint or two of comfortably.

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Wilco Tango Foxtrot from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 2,582 ratings.
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