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Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

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

1,806 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1806
Reviews: 837
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%

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: 1,806 | Reviews: 837 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2005 13:32:00 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2013 02:05:11 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2007 16:55:32 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2009 02:27:26 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-28-2010 09:33:38 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2008 19:58:07 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 17:25:49 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


3.85/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 01:18:48 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-21-2010 23:41:31 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2008 00:32:51 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
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!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2007 02:52:34 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-10-2011 04:48:59 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.7/5  rDev +23%
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!

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2003 21:44:38 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
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 pine 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.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2011 06:10:37 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, crimson coloring, with a healthy tan head on top.
Aroma is rich and sweet, port-like, dark fruits, yeast, and spice. Heady.
Tastes...delicious! Huge flavor, dark fruits aplenty, cherries and grapes, berries and melons, lush and delightful....rich and tasty....zing, zing, zing, zoom, zoom, zoom...very tasty...9%? 'zat'all?
Full bodied, long, rich, fruity finish.
A really nice barelywine. Creamy, richly rewarding, just like a barleywine ought to be...big thumbs up from me.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2005 10:42:47 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2008 02:24:38 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077


3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2008 22:44:02 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell


4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown/chestnut with 3 fingers+of rocky tan colored head. Pretty good lacing & very good head retention

S: Chocolate & malt

T: Chocolate, toasted grain & nuttyness up front. Breadyness & warming alcohol soon follow. Pralines & toffee soon show up as well. Finishes dry, warming with some pretty piney hops at the back of the throat.

MF: Medium bodied, almost chewy with quite a bit of carbonation, which detracts a little

Drink very easy for the abv, nice take on the style & worth a pint or two

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2007 05:37:15 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a ruby red/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm, malty scent that boasts of crystal malts and a slight raisin aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth, burnt caramel flavor that goes down easy and finishes rich and warm. It has a roasted/raisiny finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good strong ale. It's full flavored and packs a punch.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2007 01:43:26 | More by WesWes
Photo of zeff80


3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2008 02:11:04 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros


3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2009 21:56:26 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby color topped by a creamy tan head. In the aroma I get notes of crystal malt, and a hint of citrusy hops at the end. Aroma has notes of toasted/ biscuit malt as well. Wow, a smooth creamy body greets my tongue as I take the firs sip of this beer. It is lightly sweet up front and finishes with a fruitiness that reminds me of raisins. There is a slight bit of bitterness in the finish, just enough to provide a foil to the maltiness that is the center-point of this beer. This beer is a very nice, well balanced beer. It is so smooth and well integrated. If you like malt accented strong ales witha bit of balancing hops, then this beer is for you

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2004 19:32:04 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


3.78/5  rDev -1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 16:57:19 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ours ruby orangish brown - similar to deep cranberry with a thin head that becomes a patch, but returns sith a gentle swirl of the glass.

The smell is of caramel, soft dark fruits and an earthy dough.

The taste is malty - caramelish, sweet grains, and a touch of brown sugar. It is soon enhanced/balanced by a mix of dark and tropical fruits. Sharp spiciness comes from a variety of wintry spices - nutmeg, clove, cinnamon(?). An underlying doughiness ties it together. Spices and hops strong enough to add to balance and flavor, while leaving it with an overall malty character. This is complex and rich - the flavor interact well. Alcohol is fairly well covered for abv - just enough to add a soothing warmth. Rich finish. Flavor, especially maltiness, lingers for a long time.

It's full bodied and silky smooth. Has a creaminess about it with a mellowed alcohol dryness.

This is a wonderful winter brew. Very flavorful. A nice one to enjoy in the winter. Be careful though, the alcohol level is about 9%, though it seems a bit less.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2007 15:42:39 | More by jwc215
Photo of RblWthACoz


4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark ruby with a tan head. Nose is heavy with hops and a slight touch of alcohol...though not much. Flavor is heavily influenced by hops, but the alcohol seems to mute it a bit. And if my naiveté is skewing my judgment, the hops are definitely reigned in after being allowed to run out in the open for two seconds. In the overall sense, it is a good flavor pattern. Feel is a bit thin. Doesn’t seem to be a lot of carbonation on it. Overall it is a good brew. For a limited release though, I can’t say I consider it anything special. Just another hoppy release that is still good to try.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 22:20:14 | More by RblWthACoz
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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,806 ratings.