The Waldos' Special Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale
The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.70%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 542 | Ratings: 2,306
Photo of hopphead31415
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is an American Imperial IPA with a whopping 11.7% ABV and 100+ IBUs.

Look-It has a relatively a relatively clear appearance with a yellow gold color and a slightly off-white thin foamy head.

Smell-I smell melon rind, citrus, clementine, guava, a slight metallic acridity, and a rich maltiness. I also get wet pine, a dank hoppiness, and a grassy hop overtone.

Taste-The taste follows the nose. It is full of malts and hops. Surprisingly, the alcohol doesn’t come through very strong. It drinks more like a 6 or 7% brew. I get melon rind, dank earthy hops, clementine, orange peel, cracked black pepper, wet pine, a strong resin coating the tongue, and a sticky mouthfeel. It is full-bodied and full of flavor. The carbonation is surprisingly light. It allows the flavors to come through better, I think.

Overall-You need to try this beer at least once. Share a bottle with a friend if you must.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.22/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I tried this at the Daily Growler in Powell, Ohio. It poured a clear copper with thin white head that left some lace. The scent had waifs citrus peel goodness. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink with tropical fruit peel presence. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with good carbonation. Overall it was an excellent beer.

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Photo of mschrei
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I’ve had this beer for the last four years now and have never rated it. So here’s my review of the 19. Practically a Barleywine. Malty, hoppy, dank and bitter. Not a juicy smell, not weedy at all, very malty on the nose, some hops. Big boozy hoppy bitter taste. Feel is big, bold, in the middle finish with a feeling of “damn, I’m drinking alcohol”. This is one I look forward to every year because it kicks my ass and it kicks ass.

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Photo of defunksta
4.07/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a mildly hazy, bright orange color with a crisp, mild head. Nothing too impressive here.
Aroma: Intense aromas of dank tropical melon and citrus. Heavy orange, pineapple, mango, peach. Even as the head fades the aroma is powerful.
Taste: Wow, what a ride! Initially a heavy and dank citrus and tropical fruit hoppiness. Dank sweet orange, pineapple, melon, mango, guava. This transforms into a massive honey or candy malt sweetness and alcohol burn. Finishes relatively bitter. Strong mosaic and simcoe hop flavors that are done to the max. It reeks of dank tropical melon hops.
Feel: Mild carbonation. Heavy and resinous. Not overly oily. A bitter astringency lingers on the tongue. Not really getting much cannabis, more just of a stronger and dank, sweet fruit.

Overall: My first triple IPA, but this one is intense and sweet. The alcohol is hard to hide well in a beer this strong. Masked by the heavy malt sweetness, which sort of wanders away from the definition of an IPA. It's a Simcoe and Mosaic bomb. A huge malt flavor, hop bitterness, and alcohol burn in this one. The main point is not to take too big of a sip. Definitely a slow sipper!

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Photo of Retroman40
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured an absolutely brilliant golden color with just a hint of copper. Pure white head settled as some persistent wisps of foam. Nice aroma of citrus hops and malt. Taste is hops upfront with rich malt in the middle with a long balanced finish. The mouthfeel is very smooth and there is no hint of the rather high ABV. Overall this is a great beer that should be grabbed while it is still around. I can summarize this as what you'd get if you took the best of 90 Minute and Jai Alai and put them together.

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Photo of NathanGrosse
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A beautiful transparent golden color and thin cream-colored head that quickly dissipated. The aroma is sharply hoppy and citrusy. The flavor is less of a punch in the tongue that I was expecting; deeply sweet, almost syrupy with a puckering and citrusy hop bitterness that lasts long after the big malty body fades. The body is thick and heavy; this stuff sticks to the inside of your mouth. The alcohol is masked very well, even as it warms up. Overall, I was very impressed with this beer; a very affordable triple IPA.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured into the tulip glass with a clear, golden colored body, and formed a very small head. The bubbles never rose thicker than half a finger, and only stayed there for a moment. Without a blanket of foam to hide under, the potent, citric smell was evident from an arm's length away, and it intensified to nose hair singeing levels when truly sniffed. The grapefruit smell was backed by guava, lime, and white grape juice. The taste was just as intense as the smell, hitting first with a boatload of citrus in the form of grapefruit and some candy sugar sweetness. The alcohol was pretty well hidden, with this drinking nowhere near 12 percent ABV. There was some burn in the finish, and a lingering citric hop tang. This might be the best Lagunitas beer I've ever had.

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Photo of cferrin5
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the first time I've tried Lagunitas The Waldos Special Ale, and from some of the reviews I've read, this beer has changed for the better. I can tell you that this release is good stuff. It's not quite as intense as some Imperial IPA's, like Dogfish 120, but it's pretty close.

Overall, this beer strikes a fine balance between hops and malt. Both aspects are dialed up (it's 11.7% abv), but in a good way ... both elements keep each other in check like two power punching boxers. The beer never gets cloyingly sweet or pungently bitter, but rather threads the needle right down the middle. I purchased one bottle to taste now and one to keep. There's sediment on the bottom already, so I suspect this has aging potential. I will report back on the cellar bottle in a couple of years. An ale for the holidays and special occasions. Recommended.

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Photo of Fenderbender0789
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW!-Finally a super hoppy beer WITHOUT the grapefruit effect.
Smells like Sensimillia, definitely dank--truely pure fresh hops here boys.
Leave it to Lagunitas to knock this onehitter series right outta the park!! AND not gouge you on price. Best of the best in my humble opinion. Thanks!-many Blessings..

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Photo of Ego
4.37/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

feisty golden, one finger of white foam, sticky on the sides, lots of carbonation welling up from the nether regions of fermentia, a very nice looking brew, but true I am not here to stare at this thing all night, time to dive in

whew, juicy wet pine, they say dank and they would be accurate throwing that around the room, some citrus in there bringing up the rear, but mostly, and most lovely, mashed up wet hops in your palm, hints of lemon zest, but man o man danky wet friggin hops galore, this makes me drool

taste etc...
crackling with bitter, mouth killing bitter with malt sweetness sweeping over, hop flavor is a cascade (pun) over the taste buds, pretty hefty in the mouth, surprisingly not too foamy, just a real nice lesson in crazy hop heaven

get your hops on, this is hops all day and twice on Sundays, where's Waldo ? apparently his striped ass was in the hop fields

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Photo of LarryV
2.39/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a golden amber color without a significant head. Hoppy aroma, I don't really get a lot of citrus from the aroma, just a sweaty underarm aroma. Taste is dank, resinous, sweaty. There is a bit of a burn from the alcohol as well.

Much too sweet for my taste. I really don't get the high ratings for this beer, it reminds me of sweaty armpits. I'm finding it a chore to get through the sixer of this, I definitely would not purchase this again, I don't find anything to like about it, I will go as far as saying that this beer sucks.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Every year I've had this beer, it has been dank, herbacious, and loaded with bitter and piney hot flavor. people having it for the first time in 2019 will have no idea what I'm talking about. This year, they went the juicy route with orange and grapefruit, hints of mango, And just a tingle of cannabis in the aroma and peppermint in the aftertaste. Not nearly as dank and hoppy as previous years, but not as harsh either. Don't get me wrong, I loved the harsh version and this fruity rendition is a little strange to get used to but once you rearrange your expectations, it's just as delicious, only differently delicious, as it's always been. Waldo is a solid annual standby.

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Photo of ericiidx
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

11.7% ABV for the 2019 season. Deep golden color with a small, thin head that dissipates quickly. Smells of grapefruit, pineapple and cat piss. Full disclosure -- I have cats, and maybe I don't clean their litter boxes often enough? Go fuck yourself. Tastes of grapefruit, pineapple, mango, orange peel... Fruit Punch Minute Maid...? I digress. Very easy to drink too much. The definitive mango tone is a welcome uniqueness from what I'm used to with Lagunitas -- very unusual from their somewhat typical profile. It stands out. I totally get it; I've had more than one pothead tell me to eat a mango before smoking (note the seasonal release date...)

Lightly carbonated, and characteristically hoppy. Heavy mouthfeel that sticks around a long time. Hides its alcohol content well, but the finish is on the harsh side (~12% ABV? fair enough!) Leaves a pleasant, long-lasting fruity taste in the mouth once you get past the gentle burn of the finish, not entirely unlike Juicy Fruit-brand chewing gum. I've had far worse-tasting 10+% ABV beers, but I did grow to dislike this a bit by the time I had finished the 6-pack. Overall, not that bad. As a seasonal offering, it's worth trying out once. Who knows, you may love it. What's the worst that could happen?

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Photo of HGMiguel219
5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has to be my favorite from Lagunitas by far. I love an IPA with a nice high abv and this one is at 11.7% and doesn’t even taste like it. I’m definitley going to have to buy a few more six packs especially since this is a seasonal brew. Hopefully they make it a permanent one because it’ll definitley always be in my rotation for sure. Salud!

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Photo of AustinSmiley
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW!! I drank a lot of lagunitas, this is insane and tops most of the most sought after ipas/ pale ales, especially at 11.7% abv.

Look: after reading some reviews i thought it would be a lot darker. Pours a nice golden color with a head that lingers. I would defninitely not even call this amber but rather golden.

Smell: wow! definitely smell some fresh mosaic hops surrounded by a beautiful hop bouquet. I am not sure why some people are saying this smells like its barrel aged. I am drinking this on 4/23 and this smells like this is some of the freshest hops you can get on this side of the prime meridian.

Taste: Never really drank a pale ale with this much alcohol but goddamn!!!! this is like zombie dust on some killer steroids. It is packed with flavor that really coats your mouth and lingers but at first you can taste the alcohol coming though a little bit. There is barely any malt character, just hops and alcohol. There is no doubt a 6 or 7% alcohol beer with this exact flavor profile would be a little better to taste, but then it would not be Waldo's.

Feel: carbonated and coats your mouth feelers with resinous hops. Exactly what I want out of today's pale ale.

Overall: 5/5 Was not expecting this level of freshness and professionalism from Lagunitas. Will have to stock up if there is any left on the shelves.

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Photo of August8music
4.17/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
A Very pleasant beer. Easy to approach but super dangerous once you drink it.
There is a alcohol burn to it but what do you expect from 11.7%
The 100IBU isn't as bitter as you might think, however there is a oily coating that goes over you and lingers with bitterness to really push that IPA flavor. For the price this is a great beer.

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Photo of VoodooBear
3.76/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Review for the 2019 release.

Presentation: 12 oz. brown bottle with no dates. Served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: The one and a half finger head stays around for a little while and leaves a lot of lacing in big patches all over the glass. It's a pretty clear, bright, reddish gold to copper color.

Smell: There's some strong citrus aromas of grapefruit and lemon with a hint of dank, earthy pine in the background.

Taste: It's extremely bitter at first and quite fruity with hints of pineapple and grapefruit peel. Then there's a big, malty, sticky sweetness as it goes down with a strong hop resin aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: It's strong, with a robust body, medium-high carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: The aroma and taste are pleasant enough and it looks gorgeous but there isn't anything particularly special about it in today's saturated beer market.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Copper and mostly filtered with champagne carbonation and a finger of white head.

Smells slightly dank and full of tropical fruits. Ripe pineapple, mangosteen, rose, garlic and onion.

Tastes of dank onion bomb, and the tropical fruit mentioned above. Sweet.

Medium, syrupy body with little carbonation.

Excellent brew. I got this in Redding where I am drinking it, April 17th, 2019.

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Photo of Wolvmar
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2019 Vintage. 12oz bottle purchased at Barrels & Vines. Copying most of the 2018 review with a few changes.

Pour: Rich, golden orange/burnt orange color. 1 finger white head. Dissipates into a white ring with lots of lacing. Really attractive.

Nose: Pine, mango, even a little rum.

Taste: bitter pine, rum-soaked tropical fruit, grapefruit/pineapple juice on the front end. Lots of bready malts. Finishes with bitter hops. Intense flavor profile but everything works well together. Not barrel aged but if it said it was rum barrel aged I wouldn't disagree.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation. Fairly viscous but not syrupy, smooth and relatively easy to drink.

Overall: really like this. It packs a punch in flavor and ABV but is easy to drink and refreshing even with the bold taste profile. Could drink this with a steak or Mexican and, of course, by itself. Would definitely try this. Wonder how it ages? Purchased a 6 pack so will find out.


2018 Vintage. Reviewed Nov 2018. 12oz bottle purchased at Total Wine in Sarasota (Siesta Key). Poured into a red wine glass.

Pour: Rich, golden orange/burnt orange color. 1 finger white head. Dissipates into a thick white ring with lots of clouds and lacing. Really attractive.

Nose: Pine, mango, even a little rum.

Taste: bitter pine, rum-soaked tropical fruit, grapefruit/pineapple juice on the front end. Some bready malts on the backend. Finishes with bitter hops. Intense flavor profile but everything works well together. Not barrel aged but if it said it was I wouldn't disagree.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation. Fairly viscous but not syrupy, smooth and relatively easy to drink.

Overall: really like this. It packs a punch in flavor and ABV but is easy to drink and refreshing even with the bold taste profile. Could drink this with a steak or Mexican and, of course, by itself. Would definitely try this and will probably pick up another bottle to take home.

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Photo of WickedBeer
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Not sure on the date.

Pour a dark, mildly hazy golden color. Some good amounts of thick, sticky head rise up and leave large patterns of lace behind as it settles.

The nose is sweet, with citrus peel & papaya as the predominant aromas, with malt and mango in the finish. Great tropical backbone, with only a touch of booze to round it out perfectly.

Sweet and dank, but with this time a lot of rich mango flavors that burst out of the gate.. following is a great hop presence throughout that leaves a very mild bitterness and finishes very smooth for the ABV. Citrusy undertones evens it out nicely.

Soft, smooth IPA. Carbonation is low and the finish has a slight boozy warmth to it. Very nice.

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Photo of robfohl
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

11.7 abv this year, 2019, exceptional, dank, a real treat...$56 a case at San Jose Bevmo.. touch of citrus, hint of cat pee.. alcohol well hidden.. stock up now!

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Photo of bshefftz
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Excellent DIPA, exceeded expectations! Sweet and malty, robust ABV, piney hops, good and fresh. Would seek this out again but it appears I'll have to wait until next year... Glad to see Lagunitas still brewing good stuff.

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Photo of H-TownMcBuck
4.34/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured out of bottle down side of glass. Minimal head and lacing. Look is orangish and lots of suspension making it kind of murky. Now to the good part, smell is sweet, fruity, and floral. Taste comes on strong like apricot and finishes fresh like orange. This beer is a flavor bomb to the tastebuds. May be overwhelming to some. I really enjoyed this beer and recommend as a single sipper

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Photo of izraelc
3.68/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Damn!!!! It's like hop flavored whiskey. I've never had a beer burn going down. Wild Turkey has got nothing on this beer. Golden pour with thick head. The smell is very deceiving. Smells light and hoppy and then BAM!!! Very syrupy with a strong bitter hop finish. Not for the faint of heart. Make sure youve got brass ones before you attempt this one.

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Photo of chicagobeerguy
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep apricot peach color, very thin lacing around edges. Powerful aroma of pineapple, tropical hops, apricots, peaches, orange, mango. Great smelling beer. Taste is solid. Taste mimics the nose with a sweet honey note and a slightly bitter finish. Enjoyable bitter though. Quality beer that rivals Born Yesterday.

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The Waldos' Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 2,306 ratings