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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 352 | Ratings: 1,644
Photo of Sammy
4.01/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

On tap at pizza plant transit. Lace sheet. Bang on the style, tasty and dangerously drinkable dipa. They keep killing. A much better than average DIPA.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.99/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Verdugo Bar in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and tropical fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest and pine flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty but pretty strong.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This poured out as a really nice amber color with a very minimal head on top. No lacing or retention. The smell of the beer is loaded with hops and sweet malts. The taste is very piney, some citrus and earthy caramel malts. The mouthfeel is slick, low carbonation and resiny. Overall this is a good beer, need to try it fresh on tap or bottled to get this a proper review. Still very good.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

For anyone on a hop journey, I wouldn't say that Waldo's Special Ale is quite the destination. But it's a solid stopover! Lagunitas stays comfortably in their comfort zone with the dankest, most resinous, herbaceous and fruitiest hops that they can muster for an imperial IPA that'll rival most barleywines in strength but not fatigue.

Bright golden-orange and with a soft hazy glow, the beer's friendly appearance is capped with a cotton-white persistent froth. Full-on fruit aromatics cast a high and fragrant perfume- radiant citrus, curious herbal wafts, and booze spice tingle the nose ahead of juicy malt sweetness of caramel, simple syrup and light graham cracker.

The taste simply blossoms on the middle palate as the fruit flavors bloom- vibrant red grapefruit, mandarin orange, nectarine, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango, apricot and lemon seem to all burst at their seams and tantalizing the tastebuds with succulent and tangy sweetness. With the malt trending honey-like, the fruit flavors get even riper. Smoothly bitter in finish, hints of freshly whittled pine, turn pungent, grassy, herbal and eventually strongly cannabis-like.

Medium-full in texture, the lingering honey sweetness buffers the hops, booze and dryness to a great degree. But finishing spicy with alcohol and with a light numbing on the tongue, the beer's power is finally realized. Echoes of cannabis and citrus waft on in a long and bitter aftertaste.

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Photo of largadeer
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Rose and Crown, served in a 10 oz tulip.

Appearance: Effervescent golden-amber with a lasting head.

Smell: Incredibly fruity and citrusy, this is awesomely dank stuff. Stonefruit is at the forefront, but there's pineapple and tangerine right behind it. It's mildly sweet in a fruity way; there's little perceptible malt. Nectarine comes to mind after a while. The hop profile is great, and pretty unusual, too.

Taste & mouthfeel: Wow, Lagunitas is really stepping it up with their hoppy beers this year. This is a beautifully balanced DIPA, bursting with hop flavor that's backed by a near ideal level of malt. Ripe nectarine pops into my head again, which is followed by more citrusy grapefruit/pineapple hop flavor mid-palate. It opens sweet but ends dry, exhibiting a moderate level of bitterness that doesn't wear on the palate. There's not much malt flavor to speak of, more a raw grainy character buried beneath layers of hip flavor. Between this and Hop High, I've earned a new respect for Lagunitas. Hopefully they brew this again.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle, called "The Waldos' Special Ale" on my instance. I had no idea that this was tied to 4/20, or I might have cracked this one this past Wednesday instead!

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber colour, with two chubby-ass fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves a bit of sudsy coral reef lace around the glass as it slowly and evenly sinks away.

It smells of rather dank pine resin, gritty and grainy caramel malt, a prominent flinty stoniness, muddled domestic citrus fruit, free-range discount store brown sugar, and some further leafy, grassy, and certainly perfumed floral hoppiness. The taste is bready and crackery caramel malt, a still fairly musty and kind of rotting green piney essence, hot-seeming pedestrian orange and white grapefruit peel, wet earthy chalk, some mixed tropical fruit, and further leafy, weedy (yeah), and floral hop bitters - the well-elevated booze keeping its respectful, if not exactly court-mandated distance.

The bubbles are fairly stringent in the assumption of their prescribed duties, via their complex frothiness (natch), the body a solid middleweight, with aspirations of punching up a class, and more or less smooth, if you just ignore that bristling alcohol about to punch through the paper facade. It finishes off-dry, lots of citrus, dank pine, and booze-addled caramel abounding.

Every new release from these guys purports to be something new and innovative, and it sort of is, usually, as well as just being a riff on what they are already famous for - I've already detailed it above, so I shan't be repeating it, but y'all know what I'm blathering about. Here, everything is dialed up to 11 (and a half, literally), and hah, my hearing and tastebuds freaking love it! As for killing a 20-dollar sixer (cheap, around here)? Maybe not.

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Photo of brentk56
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours out hazy and golden, with a fluffy head; a few spots of lace hang around

Smell: Overwhelmingly dank, with a sweet onion and tropical fruit character; mango, citrus pith and resinous hemp

Taste: Brace the tastebuds, as this beer assaults from the outset, bringing a bitter, resinous melange of mango, hemp and grapefruit pith; an oniony aspect takes over through the middle; while a honeyed sweetness struggles to build, underneath, it is not up to the task as the bitterness leaves the tongue worn out by the end of the bottle

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, sticky and moderately carbonated

Overall: Well, this DIPA tests the manhood of your tastebuds; some folks seem to really like it but the guy next to me at the bar said he would struggle to drink more than one and I would have to agree

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Photo of emerge077
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 is 8.75%. Sampled 4/20/12.

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar pint glass. Bright orange with a delicate ring of drippy lacing around the edges and a lasting skim across the surface.

Truly capital-D dank aroma of funky mango and grapefruit, similar tropical fruit flavors with a resiny, sticky feel on the lips. Aftertaste of juicyfruit gum. Some sweetness, but balanced by a light maltiness, and not cloying at all. Comes off pretty much perfect, and if not for time constraints, I would have had 3 pints on the spot.

Basically an "imperial Sucks" which is awesome in itself.

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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 oberon
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours into a small tulip glass a clear burnt orange infused medium golden with a thinner but creamy-like white head atop.Big citric hops and vidalia onion aromas,tangerine and mango juicy notes,the onion is more pronounced on the palate to me.Sweet onion up front with tangerine notes on the palate and then the onion once again peaks thru in the finish.I get a hint of white pepper a to go along with some sugary alcohol sweetness and sweet dough to round out the non hop part of the beer.Very interesting,the onion flavors are big but the tropical fruits are just as big and the hop profile comes together very well.The sweetness does get bigger as you drink more but it should for a beer this big,fantastic and different...in a good way.

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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 mothman
4.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Beige head. Copper amber in color.

Flavors of dank hops. Tons of floral and pine. Bright citrus with grapefruit. A big caramel malt backbone. Sticky hops. Pretty solid.

Mouthfeel: bitter and sticky. Medium bodied. Good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, a solid dipa. Easy to drink, but one is probably enough. Massive hop profile.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 3/28/2016. Pours slightly hazy golden orange color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and fluffy off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of huge mango, melon, peach, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, light pepper, pine, honey, spicy rye, bread, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Incredible aromas with awesome complexity and balance of juicy/dank citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of huge mango, melon, peach, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, light pepper, pine, honey, spicy rye, bread, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of mango, melon, peach, pineapple, passion fruit, papaya, grapefruit, tangerine, lemon/orange rind, pine, spicy rye, bread, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy/dank citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and minimal astringent hop flavors after the finish. Moderate dryness from bitterness that increases through the glass. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, sticky/resinous, and lightly creamy/grainy/bready balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an incredible big imperial IPA! All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of juicy/dank citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt flavors; and very smooth and dangerously easy to drink for the huge ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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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 Kurmaraja
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2015. This smells and tastes great - not as pure dank / weedy as they'd have you expect - but the mouthfeel is unreal. Totally unique. Somehow light - at least not cloying, viscous, or coating, though not crisp - but also strangely pillowy. It seems to thicken in your mouth as you drink it. A pretty wild feeling and something that distinguishes this from other beers of its ilk.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow/orange in color with some very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall white head that slowly reduces to an extremely thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a much thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: The smell of this beer was dominated by the very intense aromas of tropical hops - specifically mango and pineapple. There were some lighter hints of peach and just the slightest hint of malt.

T: The taste very much followed the smell with tropical fruits from the hops dominating. There were huge flavors of mango and pineapple followed by some lighter notes of peach and just a hint of malt sweetness. There beer is very well balanced as there is little hop bitterness and/or bite.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Coats the inside of your mouth and tongue with a slight amount of slickness.

O: I found this beer to be very refreshing, very well balanced, and very easy to drink. The alcohol was extremely well hidden but at 9.2% ABV this is not a session beer. I loved the smell and the taste and would gladly get it again.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Amber hazed w/ light tan head.strong happy smell dank herb and floral odor w/ tropical aroma.feel is moderately bitter balanced with semi thick body of malt with medium carbonation and alcohol in feel w/ semi dry finish.

Taste is Tangy, spicy and juicy with tropical with slight grapefruit and mild pine accents with malt balancing some of the bitterness with a sweetness that compliments the hop tropical quality with mild alcohol in the finish.taste of hops in this double IPA are very fresh and the alcohol is gentle for the strength

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Rich orangey golden amber hue, tiny bubble move a bit slower ... a sign of a bigger beer. Juicy, citrus, tropical fruit, esters, honey malt, Portuguese sweet bread, and blonde tobacco in the nose. Sweet and bitter, chewy and warming. Ample bitterness, alcohol is very warming. Slightly dank, mango and pineapple with a tea like finish. A massive brew that pretty much takes over your palate.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.87/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I recently visited The Foodery (Northern Liberties) in search of a laundry list of beers & I was elated to score seemingly the last one of this on the shelf in the singles cooler. How cool is that?!?

From the bottle: "2016 OneHitter Series"; "In 1971, The Waldos met one afternoon at 4:19 as not to be late and set out in a '66 Impala armed with a treasure map on a journey to find a sopt near Point Reyes. They never found the spot ... But they kept Lookin'. The Dankest and Hoppiest Beer ever Brewed at Lagunitas as made with the Help of the Waldos for all treasure hunters ..."; "Life is Uncertain, Don't Sip!"

I Pop!ped the cap & in my excitement, I gave it a heavier pour than I had intended. It foamed up like a rearing, roaring dragon, slightly overflowed my glass, stopped, formed two-plus fingers of foamy, light-tan head that quickly fell back to wisps, leaving sticky lacing in its wake. Color was Golden-Amber (SRM = > 5, < 7) with NE-quality clarity and this enticed the Gelt Gang of Mammon, Midas & Croesus to drop by for a visit & a taste. Nose was dank and resinous & I began to look around to make sure that my stash was still intact. Phew, it was! I did a quick one hit to calm my nerves & took a hit of this monster. Man, bringing it up to my nose, I got another blast of pine resin, tropical fruit, cattiness & just plain dank. Dave's not here, man! Mouthfeel was big, full, like a dollop had been laid on my tongue, man. Wow, is that f**kin' juicy! When the mall here in our metropolis first opened in the early-1970's, there used to be this groovy stand that made these wild fruit juice drinks while you waited. My favorite was the mango-tangerine-pineapple-papaya-banana mash-up. This was EXACTLY like that! Wow, man. Aw, man, I promised my 'rents that I was gonna (at least) cut down. Man, I have a hops jones like you would not believe & it is crazy s**t like this that puts me right back on the non-righteous path, dig? Aw, f**k it, I was bound to backslide eventually anyway. The finish was mellow, man. I mean, like fruity mellow, dig? This was really a groovy beer. Let's do this more often!

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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 stakem
4.09/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It seems as though everyone has been losing their shit over this beer this year. It kinda reminds me of hopslam circa 2010/11...this is supposedly the omg gotta have it beer of 2016. I promised myself I would not go hunting for this but low and behold, I was buying some groceries this weekend and there she was - a lonely sixpack just sitting there. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip appears a polished clear golden color with a white soapy cap.

This smells very fruity with hops: a little tropical like pineapple and mango and honestly not much else which is fine when the hops are this bright and enjoyable.

The tastes is mutually hoppy with quite a fruit forward flavor like the nose suggests with mango and pineapple then herbal rindy and grassy with almost a green cantaloupe aftertaste that gets increasingly bitter. The alcohol is noticeable but not overstated.

This is medium to fuller bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. A very intense ipa with quite a bit residual sweetness to balance the hop and alcohol bite. Its good and im glad I got the chance to try it without going out of my way.

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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 AlexFields
4.11/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a reddish amber, pretty dark in color, looks a red ale.

Smells of sweet malt, dank hops, lots of fruit--raspberry, peach, mango. Pretty crazy fruit profile here, never got so much red berry from an IPA before.

Taste is pretty similar, lots of red fruit, some dank hops, pretty sweet overall, delicious.

Good drinkability considering the alcohol and sweetness, thick mouthfeel though, pretty good carb.

Really unusual IPA and really good. Love these weird Lagunitas hoppy experiments.


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Photo of tdm168
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Ridgewood Wine and Beer Co.

A - opaque orange with a big, soft, off white head that has great retention

S - bready, very citrusy, faintly herbal, some alcohol

T - pine, huge citrus character, bread, very malty, alcohol in the finish

M - a bit viscous, chewy, full bodied, smooth

This is a really nice DIPA. I'm very glad I was able to try it. It had a tremendous hop character that gave it great drinkability. The malt is also very prevalent but well balanced with the hops. This is an all around pungent, delicious, hoppy DIPA that is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass.

Deep thick orange amber body color, slightly opaque with slow rising fine carbonation. Thick rich vanilla yellow three finger head. Billows up with a big soapy thickness, but pops pretty quickly. Thick bubbled and pill like lacing, and lots of fine swiss cheese head appearances.

Aroma manages quite a bit of hop mix. Dank and sweet earth. Lots of weed like aromas and sticky malt sweetness, with some lingering tropical hop qualities that bring out some more sweetness. Slightly hints towards tangerine and pineapple angles a bit as well. Sticky hints of honey and caramel going in the mix a bit large.

Palate is quite an adventure. Very large sweet notes of tangerine and honey on first sip. Lingering bitterness with more tropical mid palate flavors but also with some big earthy tones. Finishes a bit astringent and deep, with a syrupy mouthfeel that brings out quite a bit of caramel and almost toffee like sugars. Dank aromas follow the aftertaste and linger, nearly smokey as well.

Great varied hop profile mix but far too sweet for my tastes, definitely tastes like an IPA going for broke and crazy.

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The Waldos' Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
4.32 out of 5 based on 1,644 ratings.
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