The Waldos' Special Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company

The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale
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Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
Imperial IPA
Ranked #179
Ranked #1,157
4.31 | pDev: 8.35%
Thursday at 02:23 AM
Apr 21, 2011
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
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Rated: 4.46 by IsaiahHoogendyk from Washington

Thursday at 02:23 AM
Photo of Kabong
Reviewed by Kabong from California

2.91/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
Waldos has been an absolute staple on my seasonal beer calendar for many years.

That may end this year. The latest batch is rank: you would have been very hard pressed to find a better tasting 11.5++ abv beer that tasted as great as Waldos prior to 2023. I dunno wtf happened, but the taste went right into the rotten fruit mead zip code this year.

May 21, 2023
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Rated by jbolger from Connecticut

4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Yes it is! It’s dank. It’s hoppy. It’s bitter - 100 IBU. It’s strong- 11.7 ABV. It’s flavorful, delicious & I love it.
May 15, 2023
Rated: 4.09 by PittBeerGirl from Ohio

May 15, 2023
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Reviewed by Rocknrao from California

4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
I used to think of Waldos 420 as the poor man’s Pliny The Younger.
It seems like it’s gotten maltier and sweeter over the years. More like a barley wine. Still a must get at least once for the season.
May 11, 2023
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Reviewed by evanwoertz from California

4.78/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
exquisite notes in the taste and smell, sappy and piney, a touch of sharp floral, a nice bite, hint of caramel, almost no foam or head whatsoever, fresh, feel is crisp and not heavy or buttery at all. tastes sweet and smooth.
Apr 28, 2023
Rated: 4.49 by RalphStanley34 from French Polynesia

Apr 27, 2023
Rated: 4.42 by not2quick from Missouri

Apr 21, 2023
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Reviewed by Parmesan from Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
L: Pours a beautiful golden orange, with a large foamy white head that leaves sheets of lacing all around the glass.

S: Sweet tropical fruit including orange and pineapple mixes with a sweet malt backbone and a light hop. Smells quite sweet but very nice.

T: Sweet malt mixes with a strong tropical happiness to create a very sweet beer finishes with a medium bitterness definitely on the sweet side for a imperial ipa, but still very good.

F: Smooth carbonation mixes with a large body

O: This is a very good IPA that definitely leans to the sweeter side.
Apr 19, 2023
Rated: 4.3 by LA2ED7

Apr 18, 2023
Rated: 4.39 by Jacob313 from Michigan

Apr 18, 2023
Rated: 4.02 by zestd from Idaho

Apr 14, 2023
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Reviewed by LucidoMMA from California

4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Pours very nice golden brown color with a semi-retentive head.

Aroma is floral with some pine notes, and some citrus notes.

Very nice hop bite right away followed by a white grape and pineapple flavor. Finishes dry and bitter.
Apr 07, 2023
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Reviewed by Iamaskier from Idaho

4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
L: Under a finger head, golden body.
S: Sweet. Tropical fruit, honey, floral notes, caramel malt, a hint of hoppy spice.
T: Tropical fruit and slightly spicy hops upfront, then floral, alcoholic bitterness that’s backed by caramel malt and returning to a lingering floral bitterness.
F: Moderate carbonation, slight warmth after swallowed but generally masked alcohol in the mouth.
O: I got this for a steal and didn’t think anything of it. What a surprise. The balance of floral, spicy, and malty is masterful. Granted I haven’t had many Imperial IPAs, so maybe this isn’t so abnormal, but measured against every other beer I’ve sampled? The balance of flavors and feel, considering it is such a big beer, is just masterful. Proof that great IPAs still standout.
Apr 04, 2023
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Reviewed by FrankieKaufman from Ohio

5/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
First time trying this limited offering from Lagunitas. Packing notes that it is a highly limited release for 2023. First impression is the rich copper color and danky hop smell. After one sip, I can see why this triple IPA is so well loved. Bitter, dank with some slight sweetness. It’s remarkable and seems dangerously drinkable for 11.7% abv. Highly recommend this one and will definitely look for it each spring.
Mar 25, 2023
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Reviewed by Roy_Hobbs from Connecticut

3.48/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
2017 vintage (yes, I'm drinking a 5+ year old IPA) . I'll try not to adjust my ratings to compensate for the fact that this should have been consumed in late 2017 or early 2018. Appearance is a cloudy orange with half a finger of white head that didn't last super long. Aroma is somewhat yeasty (bad sign?) but beneath it there are amazingly still some muddled tropical notes of mango and citrus. Taste is shockingly not terrible. It's not fresh, but I can still pick up the pine and malts. Honestly my biggest beef is that the alcohol is very pronounced. Overall, better than expected given its age.
Feb 06, 2023
Rated: 4.43 by Beergod420 from Michigan

Feb 04, 2023
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Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
such a monster, i look forward to it every year, and then drink too many of them, and then am happy to wait another year to have one. its an iconic lagunitas beer, famous for a reason, and probably among their very best in terms of like, when this came out, it had no peers, and not it stands as a beacon of what is possible in enormous ipa, like its not a barleywine, its super clear and refined, and its not that sweet for how strong it is, what other beers do this to this extent? not many. its blonde honey colored, no viscous at all, frothy headed and fizzy, looks awesome. the nose is sticky dank and weedy, a little floral sweetness and honeycomb, the hops are northwestern, danky, a little orange, a little citrus candy, a little taffy, good sativa, waxy, resinous, pine for sure, there has to be simcoe in this, maybe centennial too, a bit woodsy, and its like that in the taste too, oily and heavy on the palate with some burn from the alcohol but somehow not as heavy as it seems like it needs to be, and its balanced without being objectively malty in the least. one of those classic lagunitas beers where the house yeast really works, not always the case, but it sure is in this one, its necessary to not be totally neutral, and thats cool. great bitterness, palate coating and sturdy but its never harsh or forced, so rare these days. carbonation is always lively and uplifting, and the aftertaste is as flavorful as the drink without it being a permanent decision. the story of this is as cool as the beer, weed seeking, an old treasure map, some 420 dudes still involved, this is the kind of craft beer culture we all fell in love with back before instagram made milkshake sour beer a thing, and its as good now as it was then, truly one of the very best and most anticipated from lagunitas. some people like to keep this around, let the hops fall off and they kind of turn into american blonde barleywine, but freshness is best. the hops on this are not just big, they are shockingly flavorful too, and overall this is downright special, even if i can only handle a few at a time, or a few each year, weedy indeed, way before the days of terpenes and all that, an og! cool how they have all the special gear for this, artsy and interactive posters, rolling papers, stash boxes, so sick! love this one.
Jan 07, 2023
Rated: 4.58 by kds2437 from Texas

Nov 06, 2022
Rated: 4.4 by dms1767 from Nebraska

Oct 19, 2022
Rated: 4 by mpenske from California

Sep 22, 2022
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Reviewed by Nass from Florida

4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
The pour is honey colored. The 11.7% abv is well hidden amongst the strong bitter hop profile The taste bitter upfront but not over bearing along with some pine, mango, guava, & mild grapefruit notes. I remember when I had my first triple IPA I was hesitant at first because the abv seemed so high for the style but it was actually an enjoyable experience and this was too. Cheers! A-
Sep 03, 2022
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Reviewed by MadMadMike from Florida

4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
12 oz bottle, 2022 One Hitter, poured gingerly into a Avery Brewing snifter.

Look - Golden amber brew brings generous head that retains throughout the experience.

Smell - Piney hops, resiny citrus and malt.

Taste: The piney hops hit first, then sweetness, malt back that’s balanced well. Alcohol breathe-out.

Mouth - A bit thick and viscous, low to medium carbonation, good bite, bitter and subtly sweet.

Overall - Big ole hop bomb that packs a punch to the senses.
Aug 17, 2022
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Reviewed by DrOfGolf from Delaware

4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured out into a clear glass beer mug and it produced a nice white head. The smell was of hops and possibly something sweet. The taste was amazing. If you like hoppy beer, you'll like this one. A really good hoppy filled beer that is truly worth the effort to find.
Aug 06, 2022
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Rated by aarono from Indiana

4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
I loved it. Very strong. This beer had, to me, almost a cane sugar flavor with a thick, creamy feel. Truly a great beer.
Aug 05, 2022
Rated: 4.51 by FrankCastle from California

Jul 25, 2022
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Reviewed by TurboMon_911 from New Jersey

4.66/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
2022 0ne Hitter Release - Poured a slightly hazy copper into a 10 oz. Bangkok Beer fluted glass. Very delicate off white head with little to no retention and minimal lacing. Carbonation was present from start to finish. At 100 IBU & 11.7% AVB the malts come through surprisingly well as was expecting a more hoppy/alcohol type of aroma. The hops are present in aroma & taste also but are so well balanced nothing really overpowers you. Has a somewhat bitter finish with the caramel malty sweetness present mid-swallow. Mouth is almost syrupy but rolls rather smoothly and is extremely enjoyable. As it got warmer the flavors became rounder with less bite and slight alcohol burn. Overall an outstanding ale that I look forward to finding again next year.
Jul 23, 2022
Rated: 4.5 by MonkeyPilates from Minnesota

Jun 28, 2022
Rated: 4.54 by barrycothran from California

Jun 17, 2022
Rated: 5 by MynamesRickJames from Minnesota

Jun 16, 2022
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Reviewed by HipCzech from California

4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Serving: 12 oz bottle (“2022 one-hitter release) poured into a 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter.

Appearance: Clear, deep amber with a frothy head of off white bubbles; modest lace.

Smell: Pine needles, resin, citrus rind, burnt caramel, and earth.

Taste: Bols but balanced. Plenty of toffee and caramel to counter the bitter, piney, dank and resinous hops.

Mouthfeel: Rich, slightly oily, medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall; A big, hoppy, malty IIPA with good alcoholic warmth for sipping.
Jun 12, 2022
Rated: 4.31 by Beer_Goblin from New York

May 29, 2022
Rated: 4.26 by JHeard79 from North Carolina

May 28, 2022
Rated: 4.14 by Burgy from Minnesota

May 13, 2022
Rated: 3.83 by ajdemma from New York

May 09, 2022
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Reviewed by AcidCatfish

4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Poured from bottle into Spiegelau IPA glass.

Looks - Dark for an IPA. Almost honey or amber-like. The head is tan, looks puffy and pillowy. Some visible carbonation bubbles, but not too many. Minimal lacing, from what I notice.

Smell - Bright floral and Spring-time citrus fruits (tangerine and kumquats). Some spiciness in there as well and a hint of sweetness that isn't too pronounced. The floral scent is similar in experience to Rosewater - but does not smell at all like rosewater if that makes's a "nose feel" of rosewater...rosewater-adjacent. Some vegetative in there as well.

Taste - Taste follows nose. Kumquate-dominant before going into floral flavors. Muted maltiness in there as well. Dry spiciness and exceptional bitterness at the finish. Doesn't have as much dank in there as previous years. It doesn't scream "cannabis celebration" to me like previous iterations have. Alcohol is well hidden though - you get no burn. This is a beer you can't really finish as the beer warms it gives off a mild whiskey falvor experience, but again it is whiskey-adjacent and almost entirely, but not quite fully, unlike whiskey. Some vegetative flavors at the finish as well.

Feel - Thick, syrupy. Not very effervescent. The head is nice and soft - creates a pillow for your lips and palate. Thick as it goes down. Still drinkable. I have to say, this is thicker than past iterations and much more like syrup. It isn't unenjoyable, it is just different. Thins out as it warms, which is expected.

Overall, this is enjoyable as all hell. However, it is missing the dank that this beer is normally famous for. It is a bit syupy which can be overwhelming for some, but wasn't for me. There is no alcohol burn which is amazing considering the high ABV. I'd say, the alcohol is so well hidden that you may need to remind yourself to stick to one or be cautious when drinking this. It hits you quickly. When going up against other amazing Imperial IPA's such as Pliny Elder, this certainly sticks out on its own as a unexpected balance between exceptional bitter and mild malt with some fruitiness and floral in there - but is it as good? I'd say it is as drinkable as Pliny Elder but not as good. I'd love to see this brew completely revamp next year as I find this recipe is running its course a bit. Still enjoyable, I still recommend people go out and get this.
Apr 30, 2022
Rated: 4.49 by Wrigfen from South Carolina

Apr 30, 2022
Rated: 4.43 by LemonBits

Apr 28, 2022
The Waldos' Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 2523 ratings