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Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

917 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 917
Hads: 2,452
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 10.62%
Wants: 59
Gots: 349 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

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: 917 | Hads: 2,452
Photo of Sammy
3.59/5  rDev -7%
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. (607 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
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. (537 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (557 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (387 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

awfully good beer for the price right here, under 5 bucks a bottle, this strong, impressive from the brewery who always frustrates me with the same yeast profile. its not so evident in this one, more of a belgian or a high gravity ale yeast profile, clean and highly attenuated stuff, not the usual from these guys on the yeast front, finally. not as dark as expected in color, looks like an english nut brown, smallish head too is short lived. the nose is caramel heavy, with some cherry and banana yeast notes, as well as some medium roast cocoa and a little residual sugar. the flavor is beautifully rich, a nice juxtaposition to its appearance, with heavy burnt or burning sugar flavors and a vanilla candy finish. great bubbles and i can still taste the grain, which makes this for me. confused on the yeast front, which is better than the typical lagunitas safe realm, but its undecided. shockingly strong, i would have guessed 7% abv before i saw the label. not sure how they can keep putting out beer this good for such a fair price, but the more of these bombers the better. great stuff, really. (1,104 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.85/5  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 (554 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (582 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (2,146 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
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. (605 characters)

Photo of largadeer
2.86/5  rDev -25.9%
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. (883 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single bottle - now I kind of miss the nonsensical label edge ramblings from the bigger Lagunitas offerings.

This beer pours a clear, very dark chestnut brown colour, with orange brick highlights, and one finger of weakly puffy, and silken foamy beige head, which leaves a scattered web of curlicue lace around the glass in its brief wake.

It smells of toasty caramel malt, candy sugar, mild pine/citrus hops, a tame oily nuttiness, and a subtly metallic alcohol burn. The taste is big caramel, toffee and treacle-flecked malt, vanilla and citrus cream, brown sugar (or should that be 'shugga?), ethereal (read: weak) mocha notes, wet piney hops, and soft warming alcohol.

The carbonation is quite understated, and barely supportive, the body just slightly short of full weight, with a nicely rounded smoothness. It finishes quite off-dry, the well-established sugary malt persisting, amongst a somewhat lamely tugging and blended hop bitterness, and some middling astringent heat.

Seems like I've seen this all before from this brewery, but I'm not really complaining - not about a solid, strong west coast ale. Well, maybe the booze isn't quite as well integrated as it usually is, but that's just splitting hairs. I could see hitting a sixer of these, if perchance, I wanted to get my drink on, and yet at the same time enjoy it all the way through. (1,363 characters)

Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a highball glass a deep chestnut brown, with a slight reddish tint. Tan foam, small head, laces a little bit.

Aroma is malty, with a little raisiny sweetness.

Hop bitterness shows up in the taste, but any hop flavor/aroma is buried under a bucketload of dark caramel malt and molasses flavor. Alcohol is readily apparent. Mouthfeel had a little creaminess to it, but wasn't huge. Worth a try, but I won't look for it again.

Tried this for $4.75 at Four Moon Tavern in Chicago. (492 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
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. (2,119 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, burgandy color with a thin, bubbly, off-white head. No lace.

S - It smelled of molasses, caramel, dried fruits. Some floral and grassy notes.

T - It tasted a little boozy with a powerful, malty caramel taste. There were dried cherry and plum flavors, too.

M - It was soft, smooth and chewy. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a nice strong ale. Fairly easy-drinking despite the powerful ABV. (419 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
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. (981 characters)

Photo of oberon
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
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! (582 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
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. (731 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
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. (570 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber-brown body, slightly hazy. Small Light brown head settles quickly but leaves good lace.

S - Light aroma of hops and medium dark malt. Mocha notes and some nutty caramel.

T - Dark, slightly tobacco-like, hops and milk chocolate up front. Notes of light caramel and toffee. Minor citrus and grassy hop flavors in the middle. The finish has round roasted grain flavor with chocolate and coffee and mild malt bitterness.

M - Medium thick, creamy body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Reasonably drinkable for what it is. Nice mocha character, not too complex but enjoyable and pretty well balanced. (627 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at The Firkin.

According to the bartender, they intentionally age several of these kegs for months to see how they develop. This particular keg was aged for nine months (proper gestation, sounds to me). It pours a deep ruby-brown topped by over a finger of cream-tan foam. The nose comprises light raisins, light figs, wheat, and mild biscuits. It's all kinda weak and nondescript to my 'strils. The taste holds notes of figs, light roasted malts, raisins, dark wheat, brown sugar, cinnamon, toasted biscuits, very light wood, light orange rind, and very light bitter coffee. Damn, is the stuff all over the place (in a good way)! The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry-ish finish. Overall, a very solid brew, one that clearly blossoms with age. (809 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.67/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle cellared one year... A dark mahogany body reveals orange and ruby highlights when held to the light; and it's creamy light tan head slowly erodes to a wide collar without leaving behind much more than spotty lace. The nose is rich with caramel, molasses, piney hops, light spice and wood. It's quite refreshing, and reminiscent of a crisp fall evening under the stars. It's medium-bordering-on-full bodied and just slightly zesty in the mouth before warming to become creamy and smooth as its very fine carbonation "pillows up". Caramelized brown sugar and light spice dominate the rich, malty flavor before a splash of alcohol becomes apparent. Some softer notes of caramel and nuttiness follow in the finish. Resinous, piney hop flavors are present the whole way through, but shine in the aftertaste. Exceptionally well-balanced and highly drinkable despite its strength. A most wonderful holiday meal beer or nightcap! (928 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into snifter.

A: Dark brown and rosy color, very clear with light darker colored head

N: Some dark malts and fruits like raisin, a sweet and slightly sour malty yeasty nose, some roasted malts as well

T: Dark roasted malts, deep dark rich fruits, raisin and slight plum, malty chocolate is very slight, sweet molasses in the center, it gets sweeter the longer it goes, some biscuit and light hops, a slight spicey hop comes out closer towards the end as well as a slight woody esther

M: Mouth is malty with some carbonation, semi thick and creamy

F: More sweet fruits, the bitter hop gets stronger and spicier, lingering earthy bitterness, sweet fruits stick around for a bit, more roast as well

Final thoughts: This is an interesting change for Lagunitas from the really hoppy beers. Its pretty interesting for a dark American strong ale. Nice dark fruits and malts, touch of hops, a little sweet. However I could expect a little more from this beer, it just seems like something is missing. (1,005 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, dark fruits and some hops.

T: The taste is sweet, very malty and kind of buttery up front with flavors of dark fruit and caramel. There's a mild but complimentary hops presence that provides a nice balance. The 8.80% ABV is nearly undetectable. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, deceptively strong kick, this is a very good beer to drink for a while if you want to try pounding a stronger beer. (755 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich, edgy dark amber ale. Seems to be a lot of oxidized, sherry-like flavors. Rather sweet but also hoppy. Tangy mouthful of flavors, lots of raisins, dates, and fruity acids. Tastes quite strong. Hard to categorize, body is not as full as a barley wine style. Hints of coffee and cocoa. A kind of bitter toffee. Lots of hops spill into the aftertaste.

Very intriguing but a real stew of flavors. A bargain if you want a six pack of strong beers around for medicinal purposes. (478 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I purchased this a Giant Beer Garden & Eatery in Linglestown, Pa, enjoyed chilled in a mug.

The color is deep garnet with bronze highlights, clarity is good with visible carbonation and thick cap of biege about 2 fingers depth with fine bead and copious lace. The smell is a mix of sweet and toasted malt with a caramel accent and light dried fruit ester from the yeast with mild pine fragrance of hops. The feel is great, sweet yet balanced by enough hops to keep it from seeming cloying or sugary. The carbonation level is spot on with a mild alcohol warmth and semi-dry finish.

The taste is great, lots of malt layers with subtle toast and an almost bready yeast underneath the slight fruitiness with a hint of dark sugar and a mild pepper-like taste up front which is a bit of alcohol taste yet there is a mild pine flavor which I am guessing is hop derived. The bitterness level seems to present itself more as it warms with a nice chewy malt flavor and slight dark caramel taste coming in later. The alcohol is very mild in the taste..I only noticed it halfway into the bomber, but it enhances the flavor I am sure since there is a fresh raisin-like element that adds to the light roasted malt flavors. I would drink this again for sure since the value for such a quality beer at a great price is usually a no-brainer. I consider this one of the better strong brown ales I have had recently. (1,401 characters)

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 917 ratings.