1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,969 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,969
Reviews: 847
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 36
Gots: 122 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hairy Eyeball Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,969 | Reviews: 847 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Volo had 7.3% a.b.v. on their menu, but there was more of a 9% presence here. Brownish with a mocha head, significant head and lace, overflowing bottle a bit like Belgians do once the bottle was opened. Horrible aroma, fishy and like someone sweaty had drunk from this glass just prior. Not like to think about that. Pefectly served at Volo at just under room temperature and enjoyed on their deck. Smooth, creamy, refreshing, full mouthfeel. Hops came at you more and more, but carbonation was not overbearing rather drying. Spicy hop aftertaste.Had two years later, aroma quite passable and so an upgrade.

Sammy, May 27, 2005
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +4.4%

t0rin0, Oct 20, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, slight fruit, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with strong malt and slight caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a strong emphasis on the malt aspect all around.

UCLABrewN84, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

djrn2, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

zestar, Sep 15, 2013
Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%

spycow, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. The color is a nice really dark red-amber with a really thin head that doesn't really last. The nose is strong and malty with some brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits, and a bit of light booze. Really nice and complex. The taste is some brown sugar and light dark fruits. The feel is a bit boozy but quite nice with a good body and drinks well.

Thorpe429, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +4.4%

nmann08, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured very dark amber with a little beige-colored head.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted malts with notes of dark fruits and sweetness.
T: It definitely tastes like a strong beer and the flavors are dominated by the malts. There is also some bitterness from the hops and hints of caramel, raisins and spices.
M: The beer feels medium-bodied on the palate and somewhat syrupy and sticky.
D: This is a beer that really needs to be sipped, although the alcohol is masked rather well. I couldn't see having more than one of these in a single sitting.

metter98, Apr 22, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +4.4%

Texasfan549, Feb 02, 2012
Photo of brentk56
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear russet brown color with an impressive head that delivers a few strands of lace

Smell: Caramel and spice cake aromatics

Taste: The caramel and spice cake flavors jut out to the front, with some piney hops building in the middle; tobacco flavors and some medicinal elements arrive after the swallow though the finish is overly sweet

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: The flavors don't integrate particularly well and the finish is a bit too sweet; not a bad beer but below the top echelon for the style

brentk56, May 18, 2014
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Candied cranberry with orange slice edges. Once the final few ounces are added, the beer becomes murky caramel. There's a huge amount of yeast in suspension, with the occasional bubble plowing its way up to a great looking head. The cap is equal parts ivory and ecru and sports a finely pitted, finely bubbled surface. Enough lace sticks to keep me enthused about the overall appearance.

The nose is caramel malty, orange and pineapple fruity and spicy in the way that some Belgian beer is spicy. I don't believe an actual Belgian yeast was used, so perhaps the brewers added clove or something similar. It's different and I like it.

Hairy Eyeball Ale tastes like the beer equivalent of fruit salad. It's a veritable cornucopia of orange, lemon, grapefruit and pineapple chunks soaked in melted caramel and brown sugar syrup. I'll thrown tobacco in there as well, even though it doesn't sound very appealing in a fruit salad. While I can appreciate a minor alcohol bite, it's incredibly soft and well-integrated. That tells me the beer is well aged. I'm guessing it's two years old at least.

I'm still picking up a moderate spiciness that might be due to some amount of rye malt, or might be due to the addition of spices themselves. I'll take a wild stab and say ground clove, ginger and cinnamon. I think I read somewhere that Lagunitas considers this beer to be a Christmas ale. I'll go along with that.

The (estimated) two years in the bottle, in addition to taming the alcohol, have melded the individual members of the flavor profile very well. They've also resulted in a mouthfeel that is incredibly smooth and creamy. It needs a bit more chewiness and a few more bubbles before I'll consider bestowing greatness upon it.

I think Lagunitas is one of the most underrated, least appreciated craft breweries in the entire country. Their big beer is top-notch. Olde Gnarlywine, Brown Shugga', Cappuccino Stout and Imperial Red are all fantastic. Hairy Eyeball, as well, has both flavor and power to spare. In fact, it can stand nose to nose with some of the best American strong ales... and not blink.

BuckeyeNation, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

In the world where brandy flavor meets ale, that's where the Hairy Eyeball lives. Shying slightly from the hop-forward taste of most American Strong Ales, Lagunitas prefers more English flavor with a complex malt backbone and a few of those intangible savory "Olde Ale" notes.

The ale kicks off with a highly frothy pour. A slow separation occurs as the dense foam cap pulls patiently away from the bready body beneath. Its russet brown body is given a mysterious and masculine color because of the hazy veil that the lightly filtered ale projects. Its strong retention leads to a host of lacing patterns that's left behind on the glass.

Its malty-rich aromas calls all the sweet tooth's out there with heavy toffee, molasses, buckwheat honey and nutty brittle. A mix of vinous and dark, stone fruits give a hint of sherry and brandy to richer and earthier sweetnesses of date, apple, fig, plumb, prune and raisin. Herbal and piney hops offer a tepid balance to the sweetness but never attempts to match its intensity.

Bready-sweet throughout, the beer greets the palate with a sense of rum cake, coffee cake and fruit cake as the malty-rich taste saturates the taste buds with the same molasses, toffee and honey flavors of the nose. But a toasty, nutty and "cake-like" tone sheds light on mild coffee and chocolate tastes that lurk closely behind. As the ale develops mild tartness, its alcohol turns sherry-like with drunken grapes, cherries and apples; along with a pleasant vinous acidity. There's just enough resinous hop bite to keep the beer from cloying though its bitterness is simply a prop.

Full bodied without question, the beer's moderate carbonation allows the malt richness to lay weightily on the tongue for full saturation of sweetness. Its creaminess is slow to dissolve and the ale lumbers toward a malty-sweet finish and a long linger of toffee, fruit and alcohol spice.

The Hairy Eyeball is a highly decadent ale that doesn't simply pair well with cake desserts, it serves to replace them altogether. Accompaniments of stilton, dried fruit and assorted nuts would make for the most divine closure to any premium dinner.

BEERchitect, Feb 06, 2014
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +4.4%

kjkinsey, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Secret Santa: Poured a deep dark brown color ale with an average foamy head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma of big caramel malt is quite imposing and dominating. Taste is also dominated by some heavy caramel malt with some notes of bitter hops. Lacking some floral or citrus notes with not as much hops as I was expecting considering the brewery. Full body with average carbonation and no discernable alcohol. This one was a bit of a surprise considering the lack of hops (yes there is a lot but not as much as I would expect from Lagunitas) but the malt was very efficient.

Phyl21ca, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +4.4%

GRG1313, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really a very intresting beer here, and something i have been meaning to come across for quite some time. Served cold but allowed to warm, this one was consumed on 04/07/2009.

The pour was very nice. Rich looking copper color with a light cloudiness to it. I was impressed by the thick look to it. Rich head of white across the top faded quickly leaving behind only token lace in its wake. The aroma was sweet, lots of caramel and a touch of piney hops make it just bitter enough to get by. Really nice profile here as I take the first sips. Rich malts, smooth, easy caramel flavor with a light and subtle bitterness that reminded me of a nice barleywine. Medium feel here as the syrup like nature of it lended itself to a bit thicker of a profile. thought the alcohol was very well hidden indeed,

Overall a very solid beer with a tight flavor profile. The rich malts dominated everything through enough hops shone through to provide a nice balance to it. Reminded me of bigfoot.

mikesgroove, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +4.4%

jaydoc, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Stone

A: The pour is a clear dark amber color with a mild, slightly off-white head.

S: The nose is sort of weak with and interesting mix of sweet caramel, toffee, and coffee (could have been some roasted malt). I tried letting the beer warm up, but still a bit muted.

T: The flavor is a bit more intense than the nose, but similarly lackluster. Not bad, but certainly not fantastic. The malty sweetness is the primary flavor with some hints of toast and roast and a light bitterness.

M: A full-medium body with a low to moderate level of carbonation.

D: For the ABV, it's fairly easy to drink, but it 's not necessarily a beer I would look to try again. One of the few Lagunitas beers I haven't been too crazy about.

womencantsail, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +4.4%

kylehay2004, Feb 08, 2014
Photo of Knapp85
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one poured out as a reddish brown colored ale. The head was white and foamy looking and leaving just a touch of lacing behind on the glass. The smell of the beer is a little sweet and a little fruity, it's got a little bit of everything going on in there. The taste is kind of the same way in my opinion. I'm not sure exactly what they're going for here but it's interesting. The mouthfeel was drinkable, decent carbonation and nicely balanced. Overall I'd like to have this one again one day just to give it another shot. Perhaps I'd enjoy it even more the second time around.

Knapp85, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown body with a small, thinning, white head.

Smell: A scent of freshly opened boxes of raisins overlaying a light, earthy maltiness and notes of sherry and roast.

Taste: Moderately sweet, earthy maltiness with just a slight roastiness. Prominent raisin fruitiness. Light sherry, some spices, and even a dash of coffee. Medium-light bitterness. Hint of alcohol on the drying, lightly astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: A bit too sweet and a bit too coarse, though it fits the name.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
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!

oberon, Feb 17, 2007
Photo of largadeer
2.85/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - Dark brown but not completely opaque. A strong pour provided very little head, but what does appear manages to last for a decent amount of time.

Smell - Toasted malt, caramel, roasted nuts. Faintly noticeable alcohol. The toast aroma really dominates everything here, but it's nice and appropriately wintry.

Taste/mouthfeel - Alcoholic sweetness mixed with toasty, roasty bitterness. Caramel-coated nuts. Full-bodied with fairly low carbonation. Hops come out a bit in the finish, but are rather subdued; they're used to accent the flavor rather than define it.

Notes - A decent beer, but I do have one problem with it: it's entirely too strong for its depth of flavor. If I'm drinking a 9% beer, I want it to be complex; something to savor and sip slowly. The simple, sessionable flavors of this beer don't work with its high ABV. Bigger is not always better, guys.

largadeer, Jan 09, 2008
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,969 ratings.