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Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,104 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,104
Reviews: 861
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 48
Gots: 156 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,104 | Reviews: 861 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Maxwell:
Photo of Maxwell
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, rich mahogany with hints of rich amber, ruby, and brown. The beers with a head of medium sized, off-white/nearly-yellow bubbles that sit a healthy fingers width above the beer once they settle down, and leave a nice medium width lacing along the sides of the glass. In body, the beer is nearly too dark to see through, but is crystal clear and clean of any sediment or particles. On the nose, the beer smells tamely of toffee and caramel malt. There are touches of biscuits and rustic bread thrown in, but overall the nose is subtle sweet malt, which is surprising given the ABV. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet, nearly cloying, with a fizzle of hot booze on the edges. Dark fruit sweetness is very prominent from the malts, and subtle acidity does work its way into the corners of the mouth, but bitterness is subtle to none-existent in the mouth. In flavor, the beer begins as rich toffee and bread malt, working its way towards oatmeal bread, then caramel. Sweeter caramel and booze enter towards the finish and carry a middling-length finish of raisin bread and caramel, almost like a bread pudding. The aftertaste is light, spicy booze and sweet malt caramel. A touch of stale bread runs across the palate. In the mouth, the beer feels on the plus side of medium in body, with a middling carbonation that does put a nice tickle on the tongue. Mouthfeel is crisp, slightly syrupy, and a bit prickly. When the beer leaves, the mouth is left sticky with malt sweetness and a little river of saliva in the cheeks. Overall, this is a nice simple strong ale/barleywine/old ale/what is the difference between those styles, really? This beer treads on the maltier side of the tracks, and carries a supreme drinkability, which is dangerous given the ABV. It doesn’t hit me over the head with any intense or decadent flavors, but merely provides good flavor and warmth to the belly. This is a perfect sipper after dinner, as it will not weigh the belly down too much. A nice beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of woodychandler
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am continuing with my bottle purge and when a friend said that he wanted to come over and say goodbye before heading off to graduate school at U of FL, I decided to break out something big and hairy.

From the bottle: "Perihelial Release"; "Here's Lookin' Atcha!"; "Lagunitas Brewing Company wish you and yours all the best as together we enter the new year. Thanks for your trust and support and we'll keep an eye out for you!"; "91,400,000 miles"; "Laying there, starting up at the ceiling, head pounding last night was a dim recollection. How did he get home? Was he alone? Looking to the left and right, the answer was yes, maybe. His head was full of 'rag water, bitters and blue ruin'. His teeth felt like he'd been chewing aluminum and his breath smelled like a burning tractor tire. There was a wrenching knot somewhere between his liver and east St. Louis and he couldn't be sure whether or not he'd wet himself. A yellow sine wave rang in his ears so loud it made his teeth itch and he was sure that if he touched his skin anywhere it would induce a rhythmic retching jag. Even in the face of all that, he found himself smiling at the realization that today represented the fresh breast of a new year - an undiscovered country - and also that there was still one warm, half-full, half-flat redolent Hairy Eyeball on the nightstand. Yes - there is a God. Call us sometime! 1.707.769.4495. Cheers!"

My pour produced a brief finger of light-tan head that quickly fell to wisps. Nose was kind of boozy with a strong dried dark fruitiness, like prunes, raisins and dates. Color was a Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was medium. The first thing that I noticed after taking a sip was the intense fusel alcohol heat. The second thing was the extreme fruitiness and maltiness that came right behind it, reminiscent of a holiday fruitcake. Finish was warm, not outright hot, and incredibly fruity.

Photo of RexBanner
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass.
Appearance: Dark crimson in color. Clear, no sediments. Pillowy cream colored head which lasted throughout the session. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Malty, fruity, hoppy. It almost smells like those cans of mixed fruit saturated in a bottle of Malta.

Taste: Malt sweetness up front followed by a pleasant bitterness that prevents this from being just another run of the mill malt bomb. Faint fruit taste is present. Hard to make out though, maybe peach? Caramel and molasses or maybe maple syrup is present also. A boozy heat permeates the mouth with every sip, especially when the beer reaches room temperature. The bitter aftertaste is really pleasant for this beer.

Mouthfeel: Light, not heavy at all. Slight carbonation in the beginning but it fades very quick. Goes down easy, especially for an 8+ brew.

This is a good winter warmer. Not the best but for a 22 oz bottle it'll surely get the job done. It has a good balance of sweetness and bitterness. It's almost like a cross between a dunkel and a bitter IPA.

Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic a deep ruby color with a dark brownish tint a quick to form one finger slight off white head atop,great balance and complexity in the nose deep brown sugar and alcohol dipped dark fruit intertwined with spicey/grassy hop really trying to hold up to the malt...advantage malt but a close call.Big and warming with great flavor and balance gummy,juicy malt with that brown sugar and raisin-like quality finishing resiny and piney inducing great hop burps.I love these kind of big American brews insanely balanced,big and bold with great complexity,Lagunitas rocks!

Photo of mojohawk21
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of RoyalT
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Clear but very dark ruby black in color with a monstrous head that must be respected (else you will be cleaning up your floor). The head is big, beautiful, and tan, with good retention and some cool lacing.

Smell – Oh, mama, this one is big. The huge, caramel malts are just the start. You’ve got “brown shugga” types of sugars here along with some oaky notes and a light hop balance.

Taste – This is heavy-duty from start to finish but also quite smooth. The huge sweetened malts from the nose come out in the taste like they were aged a few years in American oak barrels. There’s a subtle hint of bourbon as well.

Mouthfeel – Exceptionally smooth and full-bodied, this one will get your lips smacking and your salivary glands watering. My mouth is sticky from tasting this ale. It is big and chewy.

Drinkability – This is an excellent effort at the style from Lagunitas. It is velvety smooth, strong but not excessive, and goes down amazingly well for a nearly 9.0 ABV BW.

Update – I originally rated this with an ’03 vintage so thought it would be interesting to review it again with an ’04 (drank in Jan ’05). This really is an easy-drinker, and the big sugary malts make it dead-on for the style. Well done, Lagunitas!

Photo of ExtraStout
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

After my first sip, the first thought I had was "this reminds me of Brown Shugga." Which I suspected, and then confirmed, is made by the same brewery. Not a knock on the brew, by any means.

Pours a dark ruddy amber. Small white head vanishes quickly, leaving a thin whit ecrust behind.

Smells sweet and fruity. Mostly citrus and malt, but definitely some tropical overtones.

Taste is robust and definitely packs an alcohol wallop. There's even a slight burn. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and light, despite the heavy alcohol. Lots of sweet malt, some grapefruit hops, and tons of juicy citrus and tropical fruit.

Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of OhioBobcat
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of MadScientist
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: A dark copper ale with good clarity. The head is long lasting but thin made of tan, creamy and soapy bubbles that leave a fine lacing on the glass.

A: There is a medium malt aroma with some cherries and a spicy note. There is a caramel aroma that reminds me of kettle caramelization that is found in Scotch Ales. A slight phenolic kind of spicy note.

T: There is a lot of malt and toffee flavors with a restrained, medium amount of malt sweetness. Not much in the way of hops flavor but a medium hops bitterness baking for a balance that is tilted towards the sweet side of the scale. The finish is off-sweet with a quick citrus hops flavor and a little hops bitterness but mostly a malty, caramel sweetness aftertaste.

M: A medium full bodied beer with a medium-low level of carbonation.

O: It's sort of an American version of an old ale with a prominent malt presence but a firm hops bitterness.

Photo of Tiernan
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of hopsleeroy
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very viscous amber with virtually no head on it. Had the look of a high alcohol barleywine. Smelled cherries, wood, and maybe a little nuttiness right off the bat. Was expecting that same flavor of cherries but it was lacking a little. Very woody and caramel flavor with little bit of a bourbon(very light) feel. Malty backbone came through for a good balance with a clittle bit of citrus hops. Mouthfeel was fairly slick and oily but not over the top. I enjoyed this beer and it certainly didn't feel like 9%. I enjoyed this beer and would drink it again but didn't think it was spectacular.

Photo of GameOfBeers
4.16/5  rDev +8.6%

Photo of SanFranJake
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of Chuggnutt
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Mahogany brown with some orange. Clear. Head is a nice tan with hints of orange.

Smell: Cloyingly sweet, warm malt. Hops are overwhelmed, but a bit fruity. Almost a flossy Belgian candy sugar.

Taste: Like an old ale—malty, bitter, dark but not burnt. Overlaying that is the sweet alcohol barleywine character and strong almost peppery hops.

Mouthfeel: Nice, thick chewy body. Warming from the alcohol.

Overall: This packs a punch for sure. Not the best I've had from Lagunitas, but not bad by a long shot, either.

Photo of steelerguy
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Very dark mahogany, very clear, but so dark it is barely translucent. Small off-white head, barely remember what it looked like because it was gone in seconds leaving just a lacing.

S - Roasted malts, nice chocolate smell. That's about it and it is good enough.

T - Much like the smell there is a good amount of cocoa/chocolate flavor coming through. Nice roasted flavor as it finishes along with some hop bitterness for balance.

M - Smooth and rich feel. Finishes with some alcohol warmth and the carbonation helps it not feel to thick.

D - This is just a really good beer. Lots of malt flavor, especially chocolate. A nice bitter, clean, chocolate finish with a hint of alcohol warmth. Very nice on a cold night after shoveling some snow.

Photo of Dmann
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Top notch stuff here people. When I poured this beer it was a very dark amber red with a great head that left large ammounts of lacing around the glass. The smell was unique with a mix of carmel malts, various spices and a touch of cedar. This beers flavor was unique as well with a good dose of carmel malt sweetness which opens up into a nice subtle hop bitterness and spice flavors. The mouthfeel is nice and airy and complements the beer very nicely. This is another good beer from lagunitas.

Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of bulldogg915
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of nickadams2
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A_Dark reddish brown with a thick light brown head. Thick lacing coats the glass.

S_Toffee,caramel and fruit.Sweet and malty.

T_Very malty.Sweet toffee caramel up front.Slightly fruity.Alcohol is hidden pretty well for a near 9 percent abv.

M_ Full bodied,thick,and creamy.Coats mouth nicely and goes down smooth.

D_Very drinkable especially for a high abv.

Photo of EastBay_Nick
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of FadetoBock
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Photo of Drunkenass
4.25/5  rDev +11%

Photo of danthehopslamman
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at When Pigs Fly. In a snifter the beer was a dark brown color with a small tan head. There was no lace.

The aroma was caramel and fruit. There was a bit of booze also.

Nice taste. Raisins, caramel. Still a bit of booze. Minimal hops.

Smooth, sweet, easy drinking. You forget it's 9% ABV.

I could drink this a lot.

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,104 ratings.