The Waldos' Special Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale
2,201 Ratings
The Waldos' Special AleThe Waldos' Special Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.30%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed for all the treasure hunters.

Herbaceous. Botanical. Dank. Resinous.

Added by largadeer on 04-21-2011

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,201 |  Reviews: 517
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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. 2017 edition had next year and a bit too much malt and alcohol.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

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 Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

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

Photo of GRG1313
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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 spycow
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of nmann08
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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 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.

 1,435 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.37/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

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.


04/15/17 2017 vintage on-draught at the Ginger Man, Manhattan:


04/24/18 2018 vintage bottle (11.3%):

Aggressive as hell with evident boozy warmth. Palate-scraping resinous and piney hop character mingles with an impression of warm fruit - pineapple and subdued mango. Pale malt holds down the fort, but I imagine there's crystal malt or caramalt in there as well to counteract the hop bitterness. It's less imbalanced than its high ABV might make on think, finishing with unpleasant bitterness.

Lacks the hop pungency one would anticipate in an 11.30% ABV. Is the point here to emphasize alcohol or hops? Lagunitas seems to tend towards the former.

Okay, I'll say it: it's a bit of a chore to drink. I wouldn't want more than one in a sitting, and even one 12oz bottle is a bit much. Sure, it's less undrinkable than one would expect an 11.3% ABV imperial IPA to be, but it's still noticeably boozy and the hops aren't expressive enough to justify it.

I don't dislike it, but it grows unpleasant as one forays deeper and deeper into the bottle. They've got to tone down the ABV and dial up the hops to make this really worthwhile. Difficult to drink.

One thing I will say to its credit that doesn't affect my rating is its sheer bang for the buck...a sixer ran me $11.69 USD plus tax, which isn't too shabby factoring in its massive 11.3% ABV. Lagunitas remains one of the best value breweries on Earth.


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

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 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 zeff80
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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 Boone757
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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 LXIXME
4.29/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -13.2%

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The Waldos' Special Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 2,201 ratings