The Waldos' Special Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company

The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale
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IPA - Imperial
Ranked #65
Ranked #662
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: 596 | Ratings: 2,407 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of damndirtyape
damndirtyape from Ohio

4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served into a tulip glass. Couldn't quite make out the date stamp on the neck of the bottle, but the main label says 2021, and I just saw it in the store last week, so I'll assume it's mostly fresh.

Appearance: Mostly clear copper-amber color, with a bit of chill haze. Off white with a hint of tan rocky head, with some persistent strands and islands lacing even with the high ABV.

Smell: Lots of fresh cut citrus, with some berry, white grape, and tropical fruit. Quite nice.

Taste: Very hoppy, but well balanced with a good caramelized/bready malt. Grapefruit, orange, tropical fruit, strong pine finish.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and nicely thick. Good carbonation. A bit warming at the finish from the higher ABV.

Overall / Drinkability: A very rich and slow sipping beer, with quite a lot of hop power that starts to wear out my tongue by mid-way through the glass. Alcohol is well hidden but it does sneak up on me. Probably just one per evening, but I would not mind it in a 16oz format for a very nice evening.

Sunday at 11:23 PM
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MNJR from Illinois

4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Powerful stuff. Copper gold-orange color, murky to look through but not super hazy. Not much going on to smell it, alcohol is the first thing, then piney, nothing special. Resiny, chewy, thick feel with good carbonation. Flavors of honey, pine, fruit, sweetness, lemon, mango, pineapple,. Dry, prickly feeling hops with a touch of mint linger. Lots going on, lots to taste. Not chewy but sturdy. A 3X IPA that earns the designation for bold flavors that stay in tune, and a walloping ABV that means this is one to sip and savor.

Sunday at 09:15 PM
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GeorgianBayPackr from Pennsylvania

4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow, this is an intense, dank hop assault for your senses. Somewhat off-putting at first because it is so dank, but as your taste buds adjust and the beer warms in the glass, it then softens, somewhat, after several sips into a spicy treat with a slightly sweet, medium body. Pepper and pine lingers. The high alcohol is well masked, but it is almost necessary to balance the intensity of this dank destroyer.

Sunday at 12:00 AM
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RedBalloon from Washington

4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle dated 3/15/21 poured into a Teku on 4/3/21.

Pours 1" of light creamy head. Translucent golden orange. Not a lot of retention or lacing.

Aromas of dank herb, pine, citrus, fresh cut grass, green onion, and garlic.

Tastes like cannabis, pine, citrus, and onion. Bitter hops all the way with a sweet caramel malt backbone.

Feels oily, sticky, and medium-bodied. Good effervescence, not too astringent.

Excellent triple IPA showcasing the dank, piney, and herbal hop characteristics. Assertive and unbalanced, but easy drinking for hop lovers. Outstanding. It's unfortunate that this has moved from a 6-pack to a 4-pack of 12oz bottles, but still worth the price.

Apr 04, 2021
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mikeinportc from New York

4.03/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2021 version. I've had this multiple time over the years, but have somehow missed reviewing it .

Translucent bright orange, with light, pale orange head.

Smell is candied orange rind, slight fresh grapefruit, some resinous,slightly boozy pine, and a slight bit of floral hop aroma.

Taste is close to the aroma, but with grapefruit flavor more prominent than orange. Slight, brief, bread crust note in the middle. Light lingering bitterness. Despite the 11.7% abv, any sense of it is almost non-existent. Maybe a hint of it after finish. Have to really concentrate on it to notice.

Feel is medium - surprisingly light for what it is -, initially with a moderately soft carbonation tingle, finishing with a lightly-slick feel , coating the the tongue. Slight warmth & astringency at the back of the throat. I expect that will fade in time. It's barely there.

Overall , good TIPA. It's what you'd expect it to be : malty backbone, with the pine,citrus, & bitterness that let's you know it's an IPA. From past experience I know that it will get better in the next 2-4 months (at least), but am rating it as-is, now. Will TRY! ;) to save some & revisit , after it has had a chance to mellow a bit. Even so, it's worthwhile right now.

Apr 04, 2021
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hreb from Washington

3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2021 OneHitter release (12oz bottle) into a pint glass. Brassy amber color and a nice thick foam. Lagunitas says it's unfiltered, but it looks quite clear to me. Aroma is gentle, but really fresh, and has a classic pine/citrus profile to it. Flavor brings a big hop taste with bitter pine tar and resin, but also an ample malt backbone with a little bit of crystal and caramel flavor. Heady. Dangerously drinkable and daaaank.

Apr 03, 2021
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teromous from Virginia

3.67/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

There is some faded print on the neck of the bottle: "074 1 2 5123 0838"

Appearance: The body is hazy and copper colored. Clearly visible shapes appear through the glass but there are some small fuzzy particles that change the shape from time to time. The head is medium-short, off-white, and creamy with some medium-large bubbles creeping through.

Aroma: A strong aroma of citrus bursts from the glass; orange, grapefruit, and tangerine.

Taste: Up front there is a strong mixture of citrus and stone fruit, combining peach with orange and grapefruit. The middle of the mouth has a strong mixture of candy-like citrus flavors; peach and orange jolly ranchers. This sweet and citrusy flavor sustains thoroughout the drinking experience. It feels overly sweet with this strong caramel undertone but the beer seems to work well as a sipper.

Mouthfeel: It's a slow drinker, mostly due to the sweetness. The label states that this is "Alc. by Vol. 11.7%" and it does a ridiculously phenomenal job of masquerading the ABV.

Overall: It's an odd beer because the hop character is amazing and it does an unparalleled job of masking ABV, but it also feels overly sweet, even to the point that I question if this is fully attenuated. The ABV feels great as do the hops, but the sweetness brings down the beer. For this reason I would only recommend it to those with a serious sweet tooth who also happen to love hops. If you happen to love hops but don't have a sweet tooth it might be worth the risk. The beer is pretty awesome but it also feels like an early work in progress. I would, very likely, drink it again if it was re-brewed in another year for greater attenuation. In fact I would be very happy to, given the promise this beer poses; it has obvious potential but it's too sweet right now.

Apr 02, 2021
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UWDAWG from Washington

4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2021 release:

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter.

Look- Deep amber, light cream colored sudsy head, average head retention, above average lacing.

Smell- Pine resin, bready, citrus.

Taste- Citrus, bready, pine resin, sweet, nice balance.

Feel- Thin body, high bitterness, slightly below average carbonation, soft, slightly bready/pleasant finish.

Overall- Very flavorful West Coast IPA with a robust malt backbone and nice balance.

Mar 31, 2021
Photo of bret27
bret27 from California

4.42/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Fresh drop yesterday to Bay Area.
Can’t find exact bottling date on packaging.
Amber coloring. Clear. Nice head.
Smells like a malty hoppy dank west coast bomb. Rye notes.
Nicely balanced. Lots of hops and malt. Incredibly smooth and lacking in booze for a TIPA.
Medium dry mouthfeel.
Overall: very smooth and balanced. Highly recommended if you like West Coast TIPA’s
This has 2 subjective handicaps however.
1. Lagunitas isn’t a hyped or locally-owned brewery anymore.
2. It’s 100% west coast. No hazy, foggy, juicy, pillowy, stonefruity stuff.

Mar 25, 2021
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Bilch from California

4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

brown 12 oz bottle from a 4 pack, into a 16 oz mason jar.

look: a khaki colored 1 inch head, fades quickly with no lacing. The beer is a medium dark honey orange color, with slight haze.

smell: dank, rich fruity hops, with a malt background.

taste: malty and sweetness,, with a lingering bitterness. alcohol is totally disguised.

feel: low to medium carbonation. full bodied.

overall: This is a great beer. I look forward to it yearly. It does everything I like in a beer!

Mar 25, 2021
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gooddaydiablo from New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

look: deep dark orange,

smell: malty and sweet

taste: malty and sweet, some tea taste too

feel: ok, nothing too surprise

overall: I kinda don't get it why this beer rating that high, it's good but I think there are other lagunitas that's better

Mar 04, 2021
Photo of lukester
lukester from Washington

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

My absolute favorite beer bar none. I don't give anything 5 stars across the board except this dank monster triple IPA!. I'm just finishing my 3rd keg of it this year and headed to Betty Ford soon ;-). The only benefit Covid has brought is the lack of bars buying kegs so personal kegs were at least easy to get. I'll be lucky to get another keg next year but hoping.

I'm definitely an IPA hound and have been for 30 years before they became so popular with the 30 somethings.

This beer is as unique as they come with an amazing balance for such a high ABV beer. I wish Lagunitas would find a way to get this dank flavor in more of their IPA's.

I'm not going to go into a bunch of hipster taste descriptions about all the minutia of flavors but if you like a HUGE IPA with excellent mouth feel, great balance and sit you back in your chair punch (2 of these in a night will lay you down) get it when its available.. just leave the kegs for me! ;-)

Sep 16, 2020
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misteil from Ireland

3.76/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

from rushed notes

served at P.Mac’s, Stephen Street Lower, 330ml lagunitas jar thingy

look: one finger white head with very good retention for the strength, lots of lacing, copper coloured beer, light carbonation.

smell: lots of malt, caramel, citrus fruit, orange and orange peel, pine, sweet, doesn’t smell too strong.

taste: massive, caramel malt, a tonne of sweet fruit flavour, orange, some mango, lot of lemon sherbet, pine, maple syrup, really sweet, moderate bitterness on the finish, fruit and pine flavour linger after the finish, alcohol is moderately noticeable.

feel: full bodied, light carbonation, dense, heavy, sticky, good amount of warming alcohol, lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue.

overall: i just can’t hack these imperial ipa’s, they’re just too much, this is of course a well made beer, and certainly nice, but just too big for me to really like it, still though quite nice.

Sep 12, 2020
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.

Jul 14, 2020
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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

4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | 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
The Waldos' Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 2407 ratings