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Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

945 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 945
Hads: 2,590
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 18.91%
Wants: 75
Gots: 424 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale | 9.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 945 | Hads: 2,590
Photo of Bunman3
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hairy eyeball, indeed. I've been on the receiving end of more than one. This is a really tasty beer. It looks fantastic - great head and lacing, deep amber in colour. The hops are evident on first sniff, but the strength of this beer is the rich flavour profile. The dark fruit, toffee and coffee cake notes get backed up by a warming and incredibly satisfying booziness. A dandy beer, to be sure!

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Photo of GStone899
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smell is hard to distinguish. Dark malts and toffee come through. Taste is very bold and rich with the taste of toffee, chocolate n dark fruit. Would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: [4.50] Dark copper colored. Surprisingly dark but still very transparent. It forms a full finger of off whtie head that is dense and unmoving. I am really impressed by the look of this beer. The bottle lists the ABV (9.1%) and there is a born on code (11/05/15).

S: [4.00] I am getting a Marzen type aroma. Caramel, breadiness, toffee, some grassy hops interplaying, and definitely some yeast esters.

T: [4.50] Brown sugar, caramel, roasted malts, maybe mild bittersweet chocolate.

M: [4.00] Rich on the tongue. Nice carbonation slight hop tickle at the finish.

O: [4.25] I never read the commercial description or other info so this bottle says "Ale". To me this is very Marzen like in its flavor profile, maybe with less of the spices, but the malt build is similar. Like a really good brown ale. I have locked in final answer - really good brown ale. Lots of caramel, toffee, roasted malts, some nuttiness. It is really flavorful and pretty awesome. Looks really nice in the glass has wonderful taste profile and is smooth as it goes down. Sadly it is a limited release. But because it is Lagunitas it is only $5 so I may have to grab an extra for later!

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Photo of DaBurls
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

this was the first year trying this. it wasn't as overwhelming as I thought it would be. the look is great: dark redish brown. Smell is sweet, piney, almost like a green grape. Taste is a sweet, malty upfront with a toasty syrup backend taste. Feel of it wasn't too shocked. It is what it is: strong American ale with a good overall taste and slight alcohol warmth. Overall: solid beer from Lagunitas. Cheers

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Photo of crob3888
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a beautiful reddish-brown with a light beige head that left excellent lacing in the glass. Aromas and flavors are an intermingling of dark fruits, raisin bread, and sweet brown sugar with a hint of alcohol heat. Overall its not as complex as I prefer for the style; compared to the strong ales from Stone, Firestone Walker, Lost Abbey, Hair of the Dog, and The Bruery, this is very one-note and underwhelming in that regard. But, it's still drinkable and flavorful enough for a decent score, and the price-point is fair.

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1pt. 6 fl. oz brown bottle - not dated

Hairy Eyeball Ale poured a dark brown with a red cast when held up to the light. A thin tan head was produced that dissipated rather quickly to a collar of foam. The nose was of dark fruit and malts with light hops in the background. The taste is rich, sweet malt dominated, caramel, toasty and 'chocolately' with just enough light hops at the finish to keep things balanced, The mouth feel is smooth, medium-full bodied and a little sticky. The carbonation is medium.

Overall, dangerously drinkable and not too filling, Not as hoppy as the 'usual' Lagunitas beers...not being a hop head I like that.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

$ 4.50/25.4 oz bottle + $ 2.68 shipping = $ 0.326/oz from Blackwell’s Wines and Spirits, SF CA
Undated bottle at 42 degrees into hand washed and dried JK snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma of malt
Head average (Three cm, aggressive pour), off white/light tan, creamy with rocks, diminishing to an irregular eight to ten mm rocky ring with legs and a thin layer with a rocky island
Lacing excellent – complete rings of tiny bubbles
Body dark amber, clear
Flavor malty but not oppressively so. No hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl.
Palate medium, creamy, soft carbonation.

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25

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Photo of rob99er
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved this strong ale. Not a tongue buckler like Bastard, but that was fine by me. I was in the mood for a lighter strong ale. Very tasty and I'm going to get another bottle. Highly recommend.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark red/brown with a thick creamy head.

smell is sweet yet mild. not overpowering. a tamed down version of Brown Shugga's aroma.

taste is sweet, some bitterness at the end. an easy drinker, not a thick body. goes down smooth, finishes sweet and bitter. much sweeter than any other strong ale i've ever had. not a bad taste but a little thin and maybe too sweet. hides the 9.1% very well!

overall this is good, not bad but maybe too sweet for my taste. a nice strong ale for sure!

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Photo of BeerDocT
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

"Ragwater, bitters and blue ruin." Any beer that quotes Tom Waits on the label can't be bad. Or can it? Read on... .

Appearance 4.0: Pours out an attractive chestnut brown. Translucent with no particulates. OK head (1/4"). Decent lacing.

Smell 4.0: Good bouquet, but overall subdued. Kind of a sweet, boozy scent to this baby.

Taste 4.55: Front is surprisingly dry. Middle is sweet and that's about it. Finish is where a very nice slightly smoky/ caramely taste overwhelms your taste buds. Also, there's a nice, light, hoppiness here; reminds me of a good Belgian Dubble. Also some biscuit malt detectable. Aftertaste is slightly grassy, but smooth and cleansing after the big Finish.

Mouthfeel 4.5: Mouthfeel is a little watery, but this actually serves to minimize the "burn" from all the booze in this brew. Otherwise smooth and enjoyable.

Overall 4.25: Big, bold and beautiful, this brew will knock you on your keister. No alcohol burn, but this beer packs a big wallop. No wonder they quote a Tom Waits song on the label: you'll be growling and pounding the ground, singing about meeting the Devil like Ol' Tom does if you drink more than one of these! Recommended for men that can hold their liquor and women who can't ;)

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Photo of Wer34truh
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Has a opaque brown color, with a tiny head.

The smell is of heavy malts, caramel, distinct notes of malts, and fruit sweetness.

The taste is not at all as bitter as the smell, on the contrary, it's quite sweet, Notes of brown sugar, dominant malts, and fruits. Mouthfeel is easy to drink, with low carbonation.

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Photo of zac16125
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a snifter
no bottling dates, presumably most recent vintage

A: Nice clear dark ruby color with large tan head that dissipates slowly and leaves tons of lacing. Beautiful beer. 4.75

S: Not what I expected in the aroma. Kind of a smokey malt, very subtle hops, lots of booze, subtle caramel malts. Not bad but a bit harsh. 3.75

T: More sweetness than the nose, lots of caramel/toffee, a bit sugary, some booze to balance out the sweetness. 4

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation on the heavier end but not bad, ABV is very well masked and drinkability is quite good. 4.25

O: Nothing spectacular but a solid beer at a fantastic price means its something I would gladly drink again. 4

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Photo of tigerbeer90
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage - bottled Dec 2012. Never had this fresh, so factor that in.

A: Beautiful copper/ruby hue. Looks a lot like SN Bigfoot
S: A bit muted after 3 years, but caramel, raisin, apricot
T: Similar to an old ale or an aged barleywine. Lots of malt with some dark fruits coming through, slight alcohol. As it comes up a bit in temp, the alcohol and dark fruits kind of have a rum soaked raisin taste going on.
M: Thinner than I thought at 9%, but that's a good thing. With some of these sweeter beers (unless it's an imperial stout) I prefer a less syrupy feel, just my opinion.
O: As I said, never had this fresh but bought it with some age on it hoping it would be like an aged SN Bigfoot. It is very similar, maybe a bit less balanced but very nice. An interesting beer that I may need to try fresh once, but have a feeling this is the best way to try it.

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Photo of hardysf
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Don't know about this beer. Didn't know what I was buying as there is no info about type of beer on label. Just og, and ibu and the high abv lagunitas is infamous for. I was expecting a old ale, barleywine, etc.

Pours a dark brown, mahogany maybe. Lots of head that dies, but enough carb stays throughout the beer with some nice lacing. The aroma is a miss. Smells like old dirty bar. I'd guess maybe a lager yeast was used.

Taste is a little better. Roasted malt, caramel, and molasses. Maybe a hint of brown sugar. Maybe a little overly sweet for my liking. No standout flavor, and the stale beer/ old macro brew flavor is present. I'm curious if lager yeast was used.

The mouthfeel is good. But lagunitas is so well developed, that's to be expected. Sticky and coating the mouth. I kept drinking it but couldn't explain why...

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Gorgeous mahogany clear body, plenty of carbonation, with good off-white head and lace. Nose is naught but a lot of booze and almost-warm caramel/raisin. The flavor is reminiscent of a quadrupel, but with much more poorly hidden alcohol. Dried fruit, raisin, toffee, mild hop bitterness. Full body, slightly sticky.
Not especially tasty, but not bad or flawed. Too big for its britches.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.27/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a brownish-red with a one finger, off-white head with little carbonation. Not a big smell, just sweet.
Taste like f dark fruits especially cherry, malt, toffee, slightly cough syrup due to alcohol burn. Hop bite as well. Taste lingers. Mouthfeel not great, cherry is most pleasant. My least favorite from the great Lagunitas.

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Photo of EMV
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a semi-transparent copper/mahogany color. 2 fingers of creamy off-white head take awhile to fall away.

S: Toasted malts, grains and brown sugar... hops of course (this is a Lagunitas beer after all).

T/F: Delicious flavor... complex malts and sugars without being sweet. Molassas and faintly spicy. That hits the palate first, followed by the classic Lagunitas hop profile with floral and citrusy hops. Finishes clean and medium in body. Good carbonation. Sticky and chewy in mouthfeel.

O: If you enjoy Lagunitas beers... you'll like 'Hairy Eyeball' as their classic flavor is all over this beer. Tasty and delicious, and a 'big beer'.

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Photo of Viaduck
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Nice red color & a big, long lasting head. Smells hoppy. Tastes sweet, not bitter. I'm not a fan of IPA's but I do like sweet. I like the battle & balance of sweetness & hops here. Pretty good

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Photo of stevoj
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is rather faint, but taste makes up for that with a full on malt and hops assault. Medium brown with silky beige head, nutty, malty flavor with a nice hops tang on the finish. this is a really delicious beer. Slight warmth from the alcohol, but not overpowering

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, one-year old (I did a side-by-side tasting comparison of the one-year old with a fresh bottle). I will select the rating to be counted based on the one-year old vintage, and record below the rating of the fresh as 'Fresh: < numerical rating >'

Look: They both pour exactly the same: an incredibly clear amber, with a nice amount of frothy beige head that last about a minute, and both have nice lacing. Fresh: 4

Smell: The one-year has quite a bit going on, strong aromas especially of dark fruits; the fresh doesn't have much aroma, perhaps a bit of malts, but that's about it. Fresh: 3.5

Taste: one-year has strong flavor of dark fruits (reminding me somewhat of a Belgian dark strong ale), and surprisingly, there is still plenty of hop flavor here; I also get a bit of what I believe is the wet cardboard flavor (I am assuming from the oxidation). The fresh has a reasonable amount of malts and hops, and is tasty, but it clearly lacks the complexity of the one-year. Fresh: 3.75

Feel: Generally speaking, both have a medium body, with a nice enough finish. Fresh: 3.75

Overall: The one-year vintage has more complexity in the aroma and in the taste that the fresh, and that is what I am looking for in a big beer. For both vintages, I agree what another review wrote: "... full of flavor without being too sticky sweet." Fresh: 3.75

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Photo of sjccmd
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Birghty, fruity aroma. Spicy and slightly minty. Sweet molasses bread. Dark fruits. Plums, raisins, and candied fruit. Cinnamon and other baking spices.

Clear ruby amber with a very light tan head. Decent retention and lacing.

Rich caramel malt, honey, and dark fruit. Citrus and bitter hops. Toasted rye bread. Rich, somewhat sweet. Sticky but not cloying.

Medium heavy body and medium light carbonation. Big and mouthfilling. Finish is mostly dry with some lingering sweetness.

Difficult to evaluate based on any kind of style, but it is full of flavor without being too sticky sweet.

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Photo of Dvanistan
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I dont regularly opt for a non-IPA, but then again, you really cant go wrong with Lagunitas (which btw has changed the label/cover art for this particular brew. Much improved, too.)

It's a little sweet. But not too sweet. I doubt you'd be able to take more than a single 22 oz. Any more may leave a bad aftertaste. Besides, it's pretty heavy on the booze.

It goes down surprisingly well for a brew that exceeds 9%

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Photo of babaracas
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't had this one in years, good for a re-review. Pours a medium dark red-orange-brown... let's call it a pleasant rust color, clear with a thick cap of cream colored foam, much of which spider-webs its way down the glass. Smell: dark brown sugar, date bread, notes of prune, candied orange-ish, pecan-ish... liquid fruitcake. Taste: more balanced here... loads of caramel, dates, anise, note of cooked peach, piney and earthy hopping teams up with a boozy note to cut through. Full-ish bodied, creamy feel with a hop, sugar, and booze strewn finish befitting the label.

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Photo of spoony
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From a 650 ml bottle to a tulip.

A-A normal pour produces about a finger of light-tan head. The head drops quickly to a cap and leaves a stray bit of lace on the glass. The beer is dark amber in color and nearly clear.

S-The aroma is heavy on the malt with suggestions of barley grain and toffee. Alcohol makes a strong showing and is lightly spicy, especially as it warms up. Not much in the way of hops here, just a vague, earthy, leafy note.

T-The taste tracks the smell pretty closely, i.e., lots of malts with barley, toffee, and cocoa powder notes. Some vague bitter, leafy hops on the finish, and a good kick of spicy alcohol provide a little balance to the sweetness of the malt.

M-The body is medium in heft with a persistent, prickly carbonation that breaks up the sweetness of the beer nicely.

O-This beer is OK, but nothing I would search out again. It reminds me of a strong Scotch ale or wee heavy. Not a bad beer on a chilly December evening, but nothing terribly unique or memorable is happening here.

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Photo of dmgallag
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

So... Another solid ale from Lagunitas. A little sweet for my taste and for copious consumption. However, goes down way to easy for the 9% it clocks in at. I would do it again, but not seek it out.

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 945 ratings.