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The Waldos' Special Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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352 Reviews
The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by largadeer on 04-21-2011

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Reviews: 352 | Ratings: 1,640
Photo of LarryK
3.03/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Was excited to try this given its placement among the Top 50 DIPAs as well as its very-limited-edition status – I didn’t think it left the state of California -- and managed to have a pour last week at The Blind Tiger.

Appearance: Very dark for a double IPA, more of an amber hue than one would expect.

Smell: Malty, sweet, barleywine-esque.

Taste: This is a barleywine masquerading as a DIPA. While it certainly has a robust, full, malty flavor, almost none of the characteristics I look for in a DIPA are present, and the sweetness of the malt totally dominates any hop flavors that might be present.

Mouthfeel: Again, this is a heavy beer, highly carbonated and very much drinks like a 10.5% beer.

Overall: This might be the first beer I’ve ever had from Lagunitas that didn’t blow me away. I’ve also mellowed on barleywines some, and so some bias may be present, but given that this beer is being called a DIPA it definitely missed the mark for me.

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Photo of corby112
3.09/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a dark copper color with mahogany edges and a one finger, frothy off-white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring.  Glass is left coated with streaks of soapy lacing.  Looks great!  

Dank floral hop aroma with a decent balance of tropical fruit, earthy grass and sweet malt.  Malt presence is a bit stronger than expected with lots of caramel and toffee sweetness along with some dark fruit and cracker.  

Full bodied and surprisignly malty for the style.  Again, there is a lot of caramel sweetness along with fig, vinous fruit and biscuit.  The strong malt character takes away from the hops too much for my liking. Also, the hop profile is kind of one dimensional with dry bitterness lingering throughout.  Needs some sweetness to cut through.  All dry, earthy  bitterness with prominent grass and pine needle flavors.  Lacks balance and complexity.  A rare miss from Lagunitas.

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Photo of deebo
3.11/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Fresh bottled poured into a proper pint glass.
A-A big bubbled white foam atop a clear golden brew with an orangish hue.
S-Big fruitiness up in here. Sweet marmalade. A little grass.
T-Bold flavors punch you in the face. Lots of sweetness, candied oranges. A fair amount of piney hops start to come out as you go deeper. A bit of a caramel, toffee note from the ample malts. A nice mango flavor comes out as it warms. This is a heavy, sipping beer.
M-Big ass beer. A vapory alcohol bite that gets stronger as the beer warms.
O-A heavy, sipping beer. This is a bit too much for me. Too sweet and boozy. Tastes like Hopslam's less refined bro.

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Photo of winningwes91
3.25/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

What in the world is the hype with this one? It's very malty and boozy. Kinda a mess tbh. It smells and tastes like an old boozy ipa/barleywine. I've had no luck with ipas over 10%, and this is by far the worst. I'm actually being generous with the score.

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Photo of Diverr69
3.27/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I am a big fan of Lagunitas brewery. I have often mentioned to others that I have never had a Lagunitas beer that I didn't like. Until now. Maybe timing, mood, sense of taste all have something to do with how we perceive a beer.

My first sip was positive and I thought the beer had potential. But the more I drank it, the less I became fond of it. It was a 12 ounce draft pour and about one fourth of the way, I started tasting the hop and alcohol bittering become too much. I love hops and love hoppy beers but this one had too much bitter from the aforementioned combination to be a pleasant experience. If I had not paid a premium for the beer, I probably would not have finished it. But I did finish it and decided against pursuing a 6-pack of it. I went out of my way to sample this and was totally disappointed.

There is no balance to this beer, only bitterness. A slight sweet maltiness did little to balance the beer and the flavor and aroma were quickly snuffed out by the overwhelming bitterness

I was reminded while drinking this about hot sauces and how guys will laugh and taste the hottest damn sauces they can find, turn red, sweat and choke and then laugh and say, "That's some good shit!" Well, if IPA lovers are trending in that direction, no matter how bitter, the bitter the better, then go for this beer.

Waldo's Special Ale should be served like hot sauce, in very small portions. Like a shot glass.

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Photo of rawfish
3.3/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

On tap at Hamilton's Tavern. Served in a bar chalice glass. Dark orange/amber and very hazy, a thin line of off white foam. Good retention and nice rings of lacing left on the glass.

Caramel malt, deeper notes of toffee and red fruit. Hops are dank with copious amounts of pine, canned peaches and orange citrus. Huge sweetness and booze on the back end.

Much like the nose, heavy honey bread, caramel and heavy doses of vinous fruit. Malt dominance is briefly cut by the pine and resiny forward hops that have a dull background of citrus and a grassy edge. One dimensional hops aren't enough to balance the sweetness and a medium bitterness and hot alcohol wash out through the finish.

Burdensome body with average carbonation. This beer should not be this boozy with the amount of malt that is here, also lacks drying. More bright flavors and bitterness would be useful.

Call me naive, I didn't know Waldo's Special was the Lagunitas 4.20 beer. So this DIPA is a month old, I just thought Lagunitas + IPA = winner. A big bodied and boozy DIPA, one dimensional profile and sluggish body doesn't help it either. Maybe if it wasn't 90+ degrees out I would like it more. Had to pass the glass around to get this one finished

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Photo of lechroy
3.44/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Beer Revolution in Oakland.

A - Nice warm brown with a warmed single finger head that departed quickly.
S - Hopsextravaganza. That good. This baby is loaded with piney strength. Think boreal forest.
T - really heavy hitter with lots of weight. This is not a beer for the delicate palette. Lots of malt and lots of hops. Doesn't hold a candle to the Hop Stoopid, which is just a much nicer, more balanced beer without the kick in the arse.
M - heavy. maybe a touch syrup-y. Felt slightly under carbonated.
O - Let me start by saying that Lagunitas is my favorite brewery. This beer feels slightly overdone. Too much, too think, too big for my taste even as an imperial IPA. Sorry Lagunitas, I think this one isn't as desirable as many others you brew.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.48/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour is transparent golden amber with a tight off white head. Nose has some malt caramel and a good bit of citrus hop with a hint of mint. Taste has a light spice to it, moderate malt presence and a touch doughy, strong citrus hop and light minty finish. Body is fuller and slightly syrupy with strong carbonation.

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Photo of jlindros
3.53/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a big frothy bubbly 1 finger head that fades semi slowly with nice messy lacing, clear honey orange color.

Nose big sweet candy malt, candied orange peel, candied stone fruit, some sweet dried pear apple like things, little sweet syrupy like, hint of booze.

Taste brings lots of sweet malt, some candy syrupy flavors, plenty of candied fruits again, syrup sweet pear apple like, apricot, a little citrus orange rind marmalade, into some booze tingle, floral spice phenols as well as mild ester profile, then big spicy herbal earthy hops as well, briny even, with a huge bitter finish, spicy chewy hops lingering, more candied orange marmalade sweet fruit etc.

mouth is med to fuller bod, syrupy, sticky decent carb, warming tingly booze.

Overall eh, more of a beer that's just "throw everything in there and hope for the best:" but just meh.

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Photo of illidurit
3.53/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Parish Publick House in Santa Cruz. Poured into a nice Sierra Nevada tulip glass. Bright tangerine color with a thick off-white head. Aroma is sweet and succulent with lots of caramel, orange, and lesser notes of stone fruit. Flavor is much the same. Rather sweet and sticky with rich caramel malts along with the sweet fruitiness of the aroma. Thick and slightly boozy. A dry DIPA with this hop character would be good, and a barleywine with this malt character would be good. But I don't want both in one beer. It's not bad at all. It's just too sweet for me. A definite improvement on some of their previous unbearable IPAs though.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.56/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours hazy and burnt golden orange with a sandstone colored, finger width head. Sub-par retention, quickly giving way to a semi-barren surface with pockets of suds mostly clinging to the edge of the glass. Minimal lacing, with a few broken lines and tiny spots.

Smell - Typical Lagunitas hop profile dominates the aroma. Bittersweet red grapefruit, dank pine, lesser orange.

Taste - Follows the nose. Bittersweet notes of ruby red grapefruit and lesser orange, with underlying pine character. Distant, generic bready malts. Lingering grapefruit pith bitterness and some astringency from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Sticky texture with a dry finish. Not the easiest thing in the world to drink.

Overall - I realize this has been a tap only release for several years now, and I'm glad to see it getting its due as a bottled release, but there's nothing new or innovative here. It follows the same formulaic hop profile that Lags uses for just about all their hopped up special releases. I used to love it, but frankly its grown tiresome.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.57/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2016-04-31 in Lancaster, PA at The Fridge on-tap.

Looks like I'm the outlier on this one. It has an odd flavor IMHO, which includes umami, vegetal, sweet graham cracker and lots of hop bitterness. It is unique. I've not had this combination of flavors before but won't look to have this again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.58/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

32 oz. growler poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep orange. Medium white head. Lots of lacing.

Smell - Citrus hops. Lots of caramel malt. Sweet smelling. A little pine.

Taste - Grapefruit. Very sweet caramel malt. Toasty malt. Bitterness and booze.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Boozy. Still not that hard to drink.

Overall - It's one of those beers that if you think about it too much, it's too big. But it drinks pretty darned well for being an absurdly large IPA.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.59/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Clear dark, burnt orange. Creamy, near-white head. A sticky beer.

Sweet crystal and caramel malts, biting citrus character, and some pine. Very hoppy, but also balanced by lots of sweet malt character as well.

The flavor is similar to the aroma. Sweet caramel and pine notes combine nicely, with biting, stinging citrus notes. Sweet biscuits and floral.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Tasty, but I wish Churchill's had served this beer a couple months earlier, as this beer was brewed to be enjoyed on 4/20. Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if I'd had it 2 more months fresh.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.66/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a pilsner glass last night at Sunset Beer Co. Cost was $8.00. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high given the brewery and this beer's current ratings.

A: Pours a half finger head of beige colour, decent cream, pretty decent thickness, and awful (~10 second) retention. Body colour is a clear tropical orange-amber. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. An arresting attractive vibrant hue. I can't wait try it. A damned impressive appearance for the style - excluding the lack of good retention.

Sm: Tropical fruit - including juicy citrus. Evocative floral hop character. Complex and deep. Quite inviting. No yeast character or alcohol is detectable. Light oily hop character. Some grapefruit zest. A moderate strength aroma. Some subtlety. A lovely aroma overall for an (imperial) IPA.

T: Lots of juicy citrus fruit and floral hop character. Gushing fruit - mango, tangerine, clementine, bright currant. Alcohol is noticeable but it isn't hot or boozy. Just a touch imbalanced. The usual distinctive Lagunitas hop oil note is present, but a bit more tame than I expected - certainly more restrained than in Sucks or IPA. There's a lot of flavour here. Adequate pale malts provide needed countering sweetness and a strong body. Nectary and sugary. Not piney at all. I'd prefer it with more oily character. Tasty, but the lack of balance is far from ideal. Not a lot of depth or subtlety, but good complexity. I'd like to see them bring the ABV down while retaining the flavours.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Lightly oily. Clean. Crisp. Good presence on the palate. Good thickness. Good carbonation. Smacky.

Dr: I had high expectations for this one, and while it doesn't disappoint, it also doesn't impress. Quite downable even if the noticeable alcohol does bring drinkability down a bit. Another good but not great beer from Lagunitas. I'd get it again, but honestly I may prefer Lagunitas IPA just for simple easy drinking. I wouldn't want more than three of these in a single night. Not worth seeking out, but very worthwhile if you chance across it.


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Photo of jethrodium
3.7/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Beer Revolution. Pours a clear, light amber with a two finger white head that has very good retention and leaves a huge amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is huge weed, some orange peel, grapefruit, and some light caramel malt. Definitely the dankest smelling beer that I've had. The initial taste is relatively sweet with dank hops. There is also some light floral hops, grapefruit, as well as some apricot. A bit of caramel malt as well. The finish is dry with a decent bitterness. Full bodied. Medium carbonation. Overall a pretty enjoyable beer. They certainly succeeded in creating a really dank beer for 4/20.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 4/20/2015 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, some citrus and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of caramel and citrus. Then a subdued hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is hearty and brings a decent balance. There is some alcohol sting. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a decent 2IPA but there are several others in the style that I would pick first.

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Photo of nawpnawp
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice golden tint with thin but sticky head. The nose is all citrus (mostly grapefruit) and floral. The taste is much of the same. There is a sharp sweetness at the front, followed by a very nice finishing bitterness from the hops. I must say, this beer is extremely well balanced on each sip. However, I wish the sweetness lingered around as much at the bitters. The finish and lingering bitter is a bit much for me.

Overall, an excellent double IPA if you're looking for a hop bomb with a nice touch of sweet citrus. It compares closely to Hopslam.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Lots of citrus hops, grapefruit and pine...not inventive on the flavors but ratchets it up to 11. Mouthfeel was a little greasy which I didn't personally love.

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

Disappointed. I consider triple IPAs my favorite genre of beers, and I would never consider this to be "world class." Certainly not in the same category as Younger, Exponential hoppiness, triple sunshine, or even notorious. It isn't bad by any means, as there are many bad 10% and up IPAs out there, but this maybe borderlines outstanding to me. A little bit of a mess. Not nearly as clean as the aforementioned brews. It's large distribution in april is the best part about this one. For a stock triple, not bad.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Candia Rd
Pours a fairly clear deep golden color with a bubbly off white head. Dank dank dank on the nose. Bitter dankness in the flavor with just a hint too much caramel maltiness, but if it weren't there I bet this would be bracingly bitter. Light alcohol decent brew.

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.8/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

appearance- Orange amber in color. Pours a two/three finger soapy head.

aroma- Nose is a little muted, but picking up orange, citrus, and a general pungency.

taste- A nice burst a citrus/tangerine/orange hop flavors at first. Malt is a nice sweet mixture of pale and caramel, and at 11% its not cloying. Finish transitions from the sweet fruits to a little more pungency with onions and floral flavors. Alcohol is a little noticeable in the finish.

feel- Very smooth, full bodied, medium/low carbonation, and a semi sweet finish (just avoids cloying).

overall- Very good imperial ipa with nice hops flavors and solid malt profile that adds a nice smooth feel while avoiding being too sweet. Definitely a solid option for high alcohol ipa.

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Photo of SHDoyle
3.81/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Description: Honey colored and a little bit cloudy with minimal white head and lacing. Smell is dank, resinous and almost "skunky" but not in that nasty, Heineken-esque way. Also underlying tropical fruit notes. Taste is thoroughly dank up front but that eventually gives way to a bitter finish, but it wasn't necessarily a pleasant, hoppy bitter. It might have been Nelson Sauvin hops, but the bitterness to me was almost a bit acrid and off-putting. The conspicuous alcohol presence may have contributed to what was not a pleasant finish for me. Finally, a bit of onion funk on the finish. Lot going on with the taste. Mouthfeel was nothing special: medium carbonation and body.

Suggested food pairing: Vanilla ice cream. Something sweet to balance out the wild flavors.

If you like this beer then you should also try: ReDANKulous

Overall: 3.75 (This beer is good but I would not likely drink it again) This one really has me all over the place. The smell and initial taste really indicated that this was going to be something special, but the way it finished really threw me. In fairness, I'm just not a big fan of that type of hops so I don't want to blame it all on the beer. But it really seemed overly bitter to me. Also, the high ABV was not a plus with this; the beer was hot and could definitely be toned down a bit. It felt so close to being an incredible beer, but in the end I'd have to say that this was a disappointment. I have a few more so I'll try it again and hopefully it'll grow on me.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.81/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a clear amber with an eggshell-white head. Initial impression is pine resin, citrus rinds, malt present but subordinate to the hops. Mouthfeel is almosy oily. Finish is less bitter than you'd expect. Alcohol presence is also less evident than you might think at 11.5%. Overall, it's not too bad but if I was looking for an IIPA I'd actually enjoy, I'd look elsewhere.

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Photo of artoolemomo
3.82/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- Received with about half a finger's worth of head which has okay retention. The head is pure cotton white while the body is a pale to medium amber which appears as a pale amber in the light. Some lacingis left behind.

Nose- Starts off with a pretty even blend of citrus (orange, lemon, and grapefruit), peaches, slight hints of cherry, and caramel that tends toward a slightly burnt quality. Slight grassiness; dank. As it opens up, peach takes over and at points, it smells like freshly sliced peaches. Some honey, floral notes. Tropical fruits as well. Swirling reveals light grassiness and some herbal qualities.

Taste- This appears to be a mix of the newer style of IIPAs and the old style: a blend of bright citrus (orange and lemon), matchstick, tropical fruits, and a good amount of pine and resin on the finish. Some earwax, woodiness, and cracked pepper. Some cherry but none of the dominant peach of the nose and that's a shame. The more and more I drink this, the more it tastes old school. It's almost ashy and burnt from the profusion of pine, resin, and woodiness. This will definitely hit the spot with hopheads but for fans of Sucks, this might be a turn off. Beers like that have definitely changed my palate and have made beers like this one less enjoyable. Most fruit notes fade into the background as straight up lupulin takes over the palate. A solid, good beer and pretty good for the style that it is but I just can't rank it as highly as many others have. Too much of an earwax beer for me and something I would have loved 5 years ago. I'm very glad that I didn't get a growler of this last week.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Maybe a little zing.

Drinkability- A bit of a task for me because of its focus on the more bitter hops but still pretty drinkable for such a beer. Four dollars is okay for a 12 oz pour of an imperial but seems a little expensive for a Lagunitas brew. But this is Apex and I don't think this is ever bottled.

Overall- A solid, good beer which would probably be great if the strong peach of the nose had any presence on the flavor profile. It would also be nice if there were more caramel and malt to balance out the sometimes simplistic hop presence. Still worth a try but I probably wouldn't get this again.

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The Waldos' Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.32 out of 5 based on 1,640 ratings.
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