The Waldos' Special Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company

The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale
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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #59
Ranked #614
4.33 | pDev: 8.08%
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale
Notes: In 1971, the Waldos met one afteroon at 4:20 in the front courtyard of their school near the statue of Louis Pasteur. They set out in a '66 Impala armed with a "treasure map" on a journey to find a secret garden near Point Reyes. They met there at the same time every day and continued their quest. They never found the secret garden....But they keep lookin'. The dankest and hoppiest beer ever brewed at Lagunitas was made with help of the Waldos for all treasure hunters.

100 IBU
Reviews: 581 | Ratings: 2,384 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Act25
Act25 from New Jersey

4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Probably hop, IBU- and ABV-inflated scores, but something about a beer near the top of its possible path... this is it.
a) Filters hazed bomb over rocky lasting head and amber, semi-haze body.
s) Resin, herb, flowershop, spice, syrup, hemp.
t) All the above plus fragrant perfumes of fruits like ripening rinds of grapefruit, mandarin orange, nectarine, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango, apricot
f) Full texture, honey, booze, but drying, barley wine? no! Brandy-like!
o) Almost a palate burner.

Yesterday at 10:59 PM
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maxpower from Missouri

4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a glowing amber-copper color, nice thick head, leaves a nice sticky lacing in my glass. Strong grapefruit cotton candy aroma. Full bodied, well carbonated mouthfeel, which makes the 11.7% dangerous. Tropical fruit flavors, nice lasting bitterness, very tasty.

Jun 05, 2020
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DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark yellow/amber with a finger of rocky head. Disappears very quickly. Not very much lacing.

Nose is huge peach and pine notes. Like a peach gummy ring. Sweet fruit strong up front, more so than the piney hop notes.

Taste is a strong presence of caramel maltiness similar to a Dogfish Head 90 minute. The peach remains en force on the pallet along with a dank, pine, resinous quality. Medium lingering bitterness, I imagine to combat the big malty sweetness. There still a candy like quality to this brew but is kept in check by the hops. Aftertaste lingers long after tasting like weed. Alcohol is well hidden at a dangerous 10%.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with slightly above mild carbonation. It has a nice density to it, but not enough to be considered heavy.

Overall, an enjoyable heavy hitter of an IPA. Not quite at the level of 90-minute but that is more a personal choice for me. This is definitely meant to be enjoyed fresh. Drinking the last bottle a month after its original purchase certainly decreases its overall quality. But my review is mostly based on my initial perception of it.

Jun 03, 2020
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LifesAnesthesia from Virginia

4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L - Golden copper with an off-white that dissipates somewhat quickly leaving behind a good amount of lacing.
S - Lots of sweet malt and caramel along with piney, bitter hops and floral notes
T - Follows the nose: sweet malt and caramel followed by dank, piney, bitter hops and floral notes along with some citrus notes
F - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Sticky, but crisp
O - A fantastic IPA with huge hop character and a sweet malt backbone

May 23, 2020
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Cfitty from New York

4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A nice tasting DIPA. The alcohol is well hidden and only noticeable because of the thickness. I would definitely buy this limited release again. 10.8% not 11.7%

May 20, 2020
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BJB13 from Maryland

4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

A dank and sticky, sweet and boozy glass full of sippin' dessert. The big flavor of resinous hops and fruity esters is well broadcast by the robust nose. Low carbonation, medium weight, smooth and frothy.

May 15, 2020
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Shiredave from New York

4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Recommended by Chad at Thrifty Beverage who said my friend Art told him this was his current favorite beer. Since Chad knows what I like and Art has a deep understanding of what's good, I'll try it.
A pretty glass - bright medium amber with orange hues, very low carbonation yet a persistent ring and film of white foam hangs in with a few spatters of lace.
Aroma is earthy and leathery with floral notes behind musky malt and alcohol. Really interesting mix of smells here that evolve as it warms, sharp citrus and warm bread smells waft in and out.
Flavors just explode in the mouth - rich, booze infused caramel malt dominates at first then resinous, peppery hop steps in to balance things out. Firm boil hop Alpha acids don't back down from the malt bombness of Waldo's SA with wet hop flavors woven into the complexity of it all.
Full bodied, rich and sumptuous even with a mead like quality and weight on the palate up front, and all Imp IPA boardering on Barleywine finish with warm alcohol and lingering grassy hop bitterness.
I like it. Art was right again. Thanks Chad.

May 12, 2020
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EdHinPasadena from California

4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: a darker, amber brew.
Smell: fruity and the hops are notable
Taste: wow! Dank taste, fruity and shine grassiness as well.
Feel: medium carbonation, nice bitter aftertaste.
Overall: an excellent brew that catches you with its surprising ABV content.

May 11, 2020
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wheatyweiss from Wisconsin

4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a perfect.

Pours a ruddy gold, slight chill cloud with a two finger soapy head that holds at one finger lacing slightly.

Aroma is of tropical hops, bready malt and a sweet dankness, slightly funky.

Flavor is tannic malt followed by fruity hop yielding to bittering hop. Malt is subdued but will balanced in the hop profile. I don't get an overwhelming malt character even with the ABV. Not as sweet as I thought it would be.

Mouthfeel is adequate. A little thinner than I would like but decently sticky. Carbonation is light.

Overall a good beer that hides it alcohol well. A typical westy DIPA.

May 05, 2020
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Griffin2 from Virginia

4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a chalice glass.
L - Pours a deep amber color with a white head.
S - Smells of fruits
T - Tastes fruity and boozy
F - Medium body and lightly carbonated
O - Very interesting IPA

May 03, 2020
Photo of darktronica
darktronica from Indiana

4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Growler fill from a local bar, covid-style. A wild ride between grassy dankness, umami, and malted sweetness. Hard to believe the ABV. A bit of pine resin sharpness near the finish.

May 02, 2020
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Ernald_Elbertson from Delaware

4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Typically not a fan of the "sweeter," double/imperial IPA's, but this one does it for me. Smell is almost entirely fruity/hops with an emphasis on the hops. It's a beer you know is gonna have some hop kick just from the smell alone.

Taste starts out bitter for a moment, then turns to fruity sweetness, and ends with the dankness and a more subdued hop bitterness. Flavor improves and opens up as it warms a bit, I would say around 50-60 degrees is the optimal temperature. Extra appreciation for the slight weed dankness character from me! It's a bit syrupy and thick, but that's to be expected from a 10.8% IPA.

I think this is more or less what Double Dog from Flying Dog wants to be, but Waldos' does it much better. Overall one of the best double/imperial/whatever you want to call it IPA's. I do wish it was a little more clear on what it was though; I bought it mostly because it is part of the one-hitter series and was a bit surprised to learn it was just a strong IPA when it calls itself a "special ale." other than that, not much in the way of complaints!

May 01, 2020
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hamguin from North Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I bought this beer on a whim, having never heard of it nor researching it prior.

It is a killer at dankness and sweet fruit front end. Thank goodness for the bitter finish.

Man, it kicks ass as the alcohol is sneaky. I was aware, having read the label.

I will buy this again.

Apr 30, 2020
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milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazed amber orange appearance with a small head that left light lacing. Aroma strongly influenced by mango as other soft fruits intrude. A ton of resinous, piney hops supported by a sweet malt backbone. Kickass alcohol fueled finish.

Apr 27, 2020
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Hooded from Texas

4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Notes from 4/18/2020.
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Rastal nucleated Teku glass.
The body is a dark copper with 1/3in of white head. Retention is average leaving patches of foam and a ring around the glass. 3.5
The aroma is low in strength and of peach, mango, and grapefruit. 3.5
The taste is medium-high in strength and of dark stone fruit, very ripe mango, grapefruit, malt, and a medium-high bitter hop finish. It's sweeter than most DIPAs, hides the alcohol well, and is super dank. 4.5
The feel is thick, syrupy, creamy, and has a medium-low astringent finish. Carbination is low. 4.25
Overall, the balance of malt and hops reminds me of Dogfish Head 90min but this is much sweeter and quite syrupy. aI like it but I can imagine this being too sweet for some people. I would buy it again. 4.25

Apr 25, 2020
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cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A medium-light haze to the burnt-orange body. Head represents nicely for an 11% beer, and even provides some lacing. Nose is citrusy and dank - at least half of which is expected. Some sweet booze comes through - like orange liqueur-flambeed tropical fruits. The dank is a mix of wet pine, grapefruit pith, green oinion, and marijuana.

The taste opens on the candied citrus side. It also has a thickness and stickiness to it. This combined with the light heat of alcohol make this a beer to sip and savor more than quench a thirst and push you to ask for more. It balances by mid-taste with onion and resin. The latter continues on an the pith and eventually pot come on.

A treat to pour and sip while doing something else - reading a book, conversing with friends, enjoying some music outside. After two, I'd need a palate reset (even if drunk slowly).

Apr 24, 2020
Photo of Terrence_H

1.42/5  rDev -67.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

An IBU of 100 that isn't mentioned on the packaging. "Special" Ale, LOL No, it's a double IPA.

I can respect the hop-bomb style because taste is subjective, but it really pisses me off that a 100 IBU beer doesn't have any mention of it on the packaging.

Apr 23, 2020
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KRug from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2020 vintage, 10.8% abv

Pours a mildly hazy copper color with a finger of bubbly tannish head that reduces to a ring, a bit of lacing

Heavy hop notes in the aroma, oily pine and dank buds, but backed with a caramel sweet malt profile to not let it get overwhelming, a light touch of citrus keeps it from getting bland

Taste is sweet malt initially, with a real honey like sweetness and stone fruit base, before being slowly washed over by a long finish of bitter hops. There's a nutty and fruity character to the hops as well and it is really well balanced

No carbonation here whatsoever, this is medium/full bodied and finishes sticky with a bit of spice

I probably should've had this one on 4/20 when I picked it up, but I was celebrating otherwise that day lol. This is a really solid DIPA, great balance between crushing hop flavor/aroma and sweet malt

Apr 23, 2020
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CaptFrothy from Maryland

4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

take with a grain of salt cause I'm no hophead but this is exceptional- bready, piney fruity snizzle. Golden in color, pinenut, appley on the sniff. Taste is piney biscuit with stone fruit element. So reminds me of my early explorations of DIPA's when I'd get a growler of DuClaw's Serum, this is flashing me back to that one, which stood out.

three thumbs up.

Apr 22, 2020
Photo of paltemose2303

4.58/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is the first Waldo's I've had, and it was an absolute beast! Loved this beer! Poured a 12 oz bottle into a traditional pint glass.

L: Probably the worst part of the beer. Nice copper/medium amber color with a small white head that didn't stick around. Not much lacing on the glass. Didn't look nearly as impressive as it tasted.

S: Some floral, tangerine, apricot, and peach aroma with a lot of hop aroma too. Pretty indicative of how the beer was going to taste. Lots of aggressive smells coming off the glass.

T: There was a ton going on in this beer! I can see how people may think it could be overly sweet with the apricots, tangerines, and peach on the first taste. There was a mild malty sweetness as well. The beer was really well balanced and came back with a nice piney hop finish that cut the sweetness pretty quickly. For such high ABV, any alcohol or warming wasn't present on the tongue or on exhaling. Great taste!

F: Pretty big mouthfeel. Not a lot of carbonation, which was fine with me. Made it a really easy and enjoyable IPA!

Fantastic IPA!

Apr 21, 2020
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MinorCharacter from Arizona

5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is without question the best hippy, I mean hoppy, beer I've ever had. It goes over the tongue and down the gullet like you imagined beer would do when you were 14 and sidling up to your 18-year old brother who was hosting an off-the-books party when your parents peeled away for a short weekend to rekindle a long burnt but still white hot relationship. That illicit sip you took of his beer, the first you ever tasted, sent you to the moon with its pungent, sticky, resplendent flavor and set the standard for what beer should alwaysforever be and do and gotdarndurnit you'll compare every single glug of beer you ever have to that one.

The Waldos' is beer for the blessed mofos who refuse to age and manna for the people who believe a jagged and impossible day can be rejiggered into one that is simultaneously now-focused, then-fond, and will-be all good.

Lagunitas done did fine with this joyous concoction.

Apr 20, 2020
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DavetotheB from Pennsylvania

4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a 12oz bottle dated mid-march 2020 (day 076) into a pint glass.

Pours a murky but translucent amber color with about two fingers of off white head. Excellent retention and lacing.

Smells of pine in a field of flowers. Definitely some dankness but also a sweet herbal/floral aroma as well.

For a beer this big (10.8 abv), there is not an overpowering sweet malt taste. Bitter pine and resin dankness-like opening your mouth around a piece of fresh cut pine in your crawlspace. And that powerful taste sticks around in the mouth even after the swallow of beer.

A very sticky mouthfeel. Not a lot of carbonation. Well balanced, even if it favors the bitter.

Overall, this is a winner, maybe the best beer I've had in 2020. Not one you'd drink more than one in a night, but extremely enjoyable as a slow-sip, one in a while beer.

Apr 18, 2020
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hophead723 from California

4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I had to grab a six pack of this highly rated and massive brew. In honor of 4/20, I have both this and Stone Enjoy By 4/20/20 in my fridge. Here we go.

Look: The body of this huge beer pours a deep, hazy, rich, and gorgeous semi-translucent amber reminiscent of raw clover honey. Lazy carbonation flutters upwards, obscured by the hoppy haze. The head is sticky and one finger thick, the color of old parchment. It leaves very slight and delicate lacing down the glass. Beautiful.

Smell: The aroma is rich with apricot, peach, nectarine, mandarin orange, black pepper, white pepper, lapsang souchong tea, Palmetto honey, and a flash of warm alcohol esters. It is complex and rich, like a very hoppy barleywine rich with hues of peppered apricot. The distinct tea and honey notes are enchantingly spicy and alluring.

Taste/Feel: An initial sweetness the moment it touches the tongue followed by a dizzying hoppy blast of prickly apricot, peach, nectarine, pine, juniper, pinesol, white pepper, black pepper, eucalyptus, licorice, star anise, ginger, honeysuckle, burlap, burnt almond, lapsang souchong tea, smokey palmetto honey, and cavendish. Good balance of both hop and malt complexity. The mouthfeel is full and rich like a barleywine but with the addition of tongue-numbing hops that resonate an astringent eucalyptus, pine, and grapefruit pith bitterness across the entire palate. Almost spicy like Saaz hops. Warm flashes of estery alcohol are evident as the beer warms.

Overall: Very bold. Absolutely delicious and satisfying with a warm hit of still well-hidden alcohol peeking through the edges of all the flavorsome complexity. The tongue is completely dominated by this massive brew. Extremely rich and complex, this beast is for experienced beer consumers only. Well worth a try.

Apr 18, 2020
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MeanMotaScootah from California

3.07/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not sure how to feel about this one. It's a "special ale" so it's basically in a class all by itself. I'd say it's more of a "strong ale" or double IPA if anything except it has a super sweet sticky taste. Maybe a candy double ipa? There is very little head retention, even with an "aggressive pour" down the the middle of the glass. The taste like I said is very sweet, lots of light caramel and butterscotch notes going on. It's boozy but not overly so, in other words I would never guess it was a 11+% in ABV. So kudos to Lagunitas for hiding the booze in this baby. It's an interesting beer, worth a try but a sixer is probably enough on this one. Wouldn't mind trying this on draft some day.

Apr 16, 2020
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DannyPaleAles from Oregon

4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2020 Waldo, enough said. Thank you lagunitas for making beer that is affordable but also brilliant. I want to give you a boozy hug, a 11.7% abv hug. Buzz on beer geeks!

Apr 15, 2020
The Waldos' Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 2384 ratings