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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.
very good

1,906 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,906
Reviews: 844
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 34
Gots: 102 | FT: 3
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hairy Eyeball Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,906 | Reviews: 844 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Burt

Rhode Island

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

Served in a pint glass.

Brown with a little red when held up to the light. Off white thin head that dispersed quickly that left little lacing.

Caramel and dried fruit with a little hint of alcohol.

Taste is just like the smells, starts of sweet at the beginning, dried fruit in the middle and finishes thick on the tongue with a little alcohol burn.

Picked this up to finish off a mixed 6 pack and thought it was a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2011 21:29:36 | More by Burt
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 ToasterChef


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

A cellar temperature bottle is poured into a pint glass. A large tan foamy head looks really good. It rests atop a dark ruby colored liquid with plenty of rising carbonation. I can smell caramel malts as I pour the beer. Getting up close and personal, I can smell brown sugar, alcohol, and some mildly oily hops. It smells good. I can taste why this is a strong ale; both the hops and malts are big and bold. Brown sugar, caramel, plum are all present. Bitter hops come in as I swallow and linger on, along with some alcohol. There is a bit of burn as I swallow and some stickiness throughout, but it is still a good mouthfeel. I like this beer. It's a pretty good strong ale. I would certainly pick up another bottle if I come across one.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2011 00:10:24 | More by ToasterChef
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 Sensaray


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

Pours deep dark red mahogany with a full 3 finger light tan head.

Smells like fruity dark malty booze, in a good way. Some raisins.

Tastes like dark druit and dark malts, with a slight bitterness, then closes with a bitter intertwining with that dark fruitiness. The 9.0% alcohol I thought was prominent in the smell doesn't present itself as much in the taste.

Lightly carbonated, medium body.

Good beer. A couple months ago slightly fresher I remember enjoying it more, but it's still good now.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2011 02:37:21 | More by Sensaray
Photo of bubseymour


2.15/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Appearance - Unique, nice looking clear, dark mahogony color with minimal head presense despite aggressive poor (no head within 30 seconds)

Smell - sweet and malty

Taste - Very Sweet and very heavy. Hoppy aspirin like bitter finish. Not sure I like this one at all. Tastes like a combination of Robitusin with groundup aspirin in it.

Mouthfeel - Syrup like.

Overall - I don't understand the hype for this beer. Its quite difficult to drink and the flavors just don't work for my pallet at all. Beers over 8% are very hit or miss for me. A few A+'s and a several D's and even an F. This one is a big D (only because it looks and smells ok). I will not be able to finish this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2011 18:28:19 | More by bubseymour
Photo of smakawhat


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Thanks to mdaschaf for the extra! Batch code 02083614

Barely half a creamy one finger light tan head is made only to leave a simple puck on top of a very dark cherry brown with red hues. This brew looks old, and there is no carbonation what so ever. (Verifying batch code Jan 20th!)

Bouquet is a strong malt, mixed with toffee, cinnamon and strong thick caramelized brown sugars. Smells like a good strong malt bomb.

Taste is a little wet and surprisingly a little fizzy in the palate. Malt pleasure comes with a good strong pine hop bitter, but also a wet finish for a strong ale. Boozy but fun. Small hint of milk chocolate on the finish. Better as the beer warms up providing more milk chocolate senses and hop bitter.

Overall she works out alright, but doesn't taste too much different compared to some of their other strong offerings. Glad I had it though.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2011 19:24:04 | More by smakawhat
Photo of Vanlingleipa


4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Year before last, Hairy Eyeball saved my butt. One guy had bought six cases of Brown Shugga and I could only manage to find a six packs for this seasonal. It was gong to be long and hard winter.

Then I discovered Hairy Eyeball. It didn't replace BS as a top fav, but was tasty, plentiful and really helped fill the BShugga void.

HE is another sweet, complex brew from Lagunitas. It pours into a glass with its classic dark amber color. Small to medium head and sticky lacing.

The deep amber hints of, then delivers a rich, toasted malt sweetness with lots of caramel and toffee flavor, then follows that sweet, dark fruitiness with a hint of dryness to round out the body of this brew. Not much burn but watch out for the alcohol - one 12 oz bottle is usually enough for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2011 17:34:53 | More by Vanlingleipa
Photo of jondeelee


4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Hairy Eyeball (which wins my award for the most disgustingly-named food ever that still manages to be somehow appealing) smells so rich and malty that it comes off more as a beer extract than a legitimate brew. Huge vanillas, oranges, apricots, brown sugars, creams, chocolate ice creams, and wildflowers mix with an equally heavy rosewater and light grapefruit scent.

On the tongue, the brew is equally complex and heavy, with layers upon layers of flavors glooping across the tongue. Early flavors include apricots and oranges, brown sugar, lychee nut, fig, and grapefruit. Mid-mouthful, these peel back to reveal a darker, chocolate malt layer, that continues to darken into coffees towards the end. A healthy grapefruit hop overtone lingers throughout the mouthful, growing perhaps slightly stronger toward the end. The aftertaste is largely darker coffee and chocolate malt flavors, with a good dose of bitterness from the hops. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is an excellent beer, and fascinating in both taste and texture. The only real fault is that the 8.83% ABV does result in an vodka-like bite, which can prove distracting, especially late in the aftertaste. However, the rest of the beer quite makes up for this.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2011 03:29:17 | More by jondeelee
Photo of robbrandes


4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle in a tulip.

pours quite dark brown, hints of deep purple. nice full head, recedes to a nice layer of faintly off-white bubbles and lacing.

big bready nose, some dark fruit and caramel undertones. just a whiff of the alcohol bomb hidden within. pretty boozy upfront, but the sweetness of the malts, some caramel, raisins bring everything back together nicely. exceptional mouthfeel keeps the glass coming back for more drinks.

good stuff, certainly would buy again.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2011 05:28:50 | More by robbrandes
Photo of AgentMunky


4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass. No visible best before date.

A: Light head fades very quickly. A rich, dark-dark brown, but clear. Wonderful colour.

S: Rich and chocolatey malts. Some alcohol. Nice

T: Very good beer! Malty, with lots of fruit and a touch of chocolate. A bit drying on the endtaste. Alcohol is present, but not obtrusively so. There's more going on, but it's a little hard to explain. Old ale funkiness?

M: Round, very smooth, and utterly delicious. Whoah.

O: Great beer! Drinkable, recommended, and super-tasty. Will have again. The more Lagunitas I try, the more I like it.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2011 03:10:12 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of u2carew


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubby
A) Pours with a finger thick tan colored head. The head settles slightly but maintains a nice creamy and tight retention. Dark amber in color. Clear body.
S) Malty - Earthy caramel and toffee. A waft of alcohol.
T) Caramel malt bomb! Alcohol in the mix but the balance of the malts does well to offset the 9%.
M) Fizzy. Medium body on the bolder side. Dry in the finish. Slight alcohol warmth in the finish and beyond.
O) This makes for easy drinking - a dangerous combination with ABV as it is. I'd have another one, but the following day. Two of these might put me under.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2011 00:10:15 | More by u2carew
Photo of John_M


4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Surprised to see I have not yet reviewed this excellent beer from Lagunitas. On cask (much to my surprise) at Max's last night.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color with red hilights. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good, especially for cask. The nose is impressive, showing some caramel, light brown sugar and some decent, underlying dry citrus. On the palate... I just don't know how Lagunitas does this. On cask this beer is fairly sweet, showing light brown sugar, some ranier cherry, chocolate and a hint of vanilla, but with more than enough hoppy bitterness to keep it all in check. This beer is beautifully balanced, with nothing overdone or out of place. Mouthfeel is sensational... on the palate this beer is soft and caressing, with a long, moderately sweet, but also refreshingly bitter finish. What amazes me about this beer is it's drinkability. Despite the sweetness and relatively high alcohol, this beer was not at all heavy, cloying or tiring on the palate. Incredible, really...

Have always been a fan of this beer, but on cask it truly is sensational.

Serving type: cask

07-09-2011 17:49:32 | More by John_M
Photo of JerzDevl2000

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up last week right after I got the Undercover Shut-down Ale. I didn't realize that these were both American Strong Ales and sure enough, this one lived up to its stylistic name as well. While this tasted a bit like a Barleywine as well, it wasn't as sweet and had just a bit more of a balanced mouthfeel to it.

The pour was the best aspect of this beer, as it was a deep mahogany with a head that filled up the remainder of my pint glass. Even though it settled, it lasted throughout my drinking session and made up for the minimal lacing on the edges of the glass. There wasn't a lot of carbonation to detract from the taste, which was mostly booze, followed by dark fruit, caramel, and some sweetness. No hops or citrus in the aftertaste and this was just a bit thicker too, to the point where I felt somewhat full after finishing this!

Lots of booze here both in taste and in the warming sensation, which did detract a bit from everything in this beer. This would have been better to have during cooler months since it's somewhat overpowering but the flavors work well together and the slightly toasted mouthfeel ties everything in together well.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 15:03:37 | More by JerzDevl2000
Photo of Canibacea


5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Delicious Brew for sure. Nice Rich Body and Mouthfeel. I am drinking this along with the Undercovor Investigation, and in comparison it is slightly less Hoppy and slightly more Malty. Both have a remarkably smooth and drinkable quality, yet an abundance of flavor. Nice goin Lagunitas.


Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 02:10:15 | More by Canibacea
Photo of avaldivia


3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Lagunitas

A: Dark amber color with a nice head which did not go away quickly.

S: Nice malt character. Alcohol is definitely noticeable on the nose.

T: Caramel and dark fruits upfront. Kind of sweet. Alcohol finish. There is no hiding that kick in this beer. I don't mind that alcohol punch so, I find it nice.

M: Medium to thick bodied. A bit syrupy.

O: Solid. Not a beer a will order every time at Lagunitas, but every now and then, it is very enjoyable. Especially if it is cool outside.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2011 16:29:42 | More by avaldivia
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the beer pours a deep, dark, vibrant and clear blood-ruby coloring that almost looks brown in dim light. The brew starts off with a thin (half inch) yet solid and dense head that is biege in color, and this slowly settles out into a film that is barely coating the top. Aromas remind me of a barleywine...delicious and rich. There is a darkly sweet molasses backbone to the smell, with fruits blended throughout, such as cherry and plum. Some very slight spicing and hops are noted deep into the aroma, as well. Flavors are rich, but on a slick and lightly oily body. The flavors have a bit of coffee in the background, as well as bittering hops, both of which balance out the heavy caramel sweetness and dark fruit characteristics. The aftertaste is rich in the caramel sweet, and slightly cloying, making the finish slightly bittersweet and rich, as well. There is a slight linger to the finish, but the flavors keep this from being overly unpleasant. Decent brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2011 22:57:23 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of fragilehearted


3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this before, but didn't review it. I remember liking it, so I picked it up again. Here goes! 12 oz into Chimay chalice.

A - pretty deep reddish-brown. 1 finger head that stuck around for awhile before going down to a ring+cover. Lacing is already stuck to the glass before drinking.

S - toasted malts, dark fruits, some hop spiciness. As it warms, the caramel comes out a lot..smells perk up a bit, fruitiness becomes a bit more pronounced.

T - malty first, then spicy hop bitterness. And woo - you can taste the booze. The alcohol is not well-hidden at all in this one. (Why am I having this in the summer again?)

M - full bodied. Appropriately carbonated.

O/D - overall a good American Strong Ale, but one will do me for the night.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2011 06:32:00 | More by fragilehearted
Photo of thegodfather1076


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was served out of a 12oz. bottle dispensed into a glass....

Presentation - Cool yet simple label, graphics and concept.

Appearance - Pours out a deep amber brown color with a 1 finger tan head that stick around for awhile before dissipating into a nice foam ring. Light lacing left behind.

Smell - Smells of a nice blend of hops with a sweet caramel malt sent. A bit fruity.

Taste - A nice hoppy bitterness that blends into a sweet malty taste. The alcohol is definitely tasted but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel - Lightly carbonated and medium bodied.

Drinkability - Smooth and drinkable with a nice flavor profile.

This one was enjoyable for me because I am fan for more bitter brews. I would recommend trying this out.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 12:33:29 | More by thegodfather1076
Photo of drinkiusmaximus

New York

3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone pint glass.
A. pours with a half finger of beige head Body is a dark brown with reddish highlights, actually a rather decent looking beer. Head takes a minutes to die down little retention with Decent lacing.

S. Malt, caramel, dark fruit, and alcohol. smells also reminiscent of walnut in there also.

T. Heavy alcohol burn intermingled with woodiness,dark fruits and an odd walnut husk taste.

M. Heavy bodied. Slightly syrupy but not overly sticky.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2011 22:43:06 | More by drinkiusmaximus
Photo of sixerofelixir


3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Funny name for a beer.. lol

Pours a tepid dark-brown. A light tan head sticks very well. Smell is cocoa powder and sorta airy and cool. Herbal notes on the taste, maybe some anise. Mostly dark malts and booze. High resins and tannins; nutty. Finishes minerally, bitter, and hot. I had no idea what to expect, but this was a complex & decent brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2011 04:19:08 | More by sixerofelixir
Photo of CaptDavyJones

New York

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

Poured a reddish-brown color from a 12 oz bottle with ABV on the label.
Thin film of a head that dissipates fairly quickly. Not surprising with such high ABV.
Aroma is a blend of sweet caramel, molasses and malt. Fruity esters make their presence felt intermittently.
Taste is also predominantly malty upfront. Almost full bodied, silky mouthfeel and coats the palate very nicely. Hints of bitterness in the finish.
Drinkability is very good, considering this is a high ABV ale. The alcohol is very well hidden.
Overall, this is a fairly solid strong ale, almost like a barleywine.
Definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 01:39:51 | More by CaptDavyJones
Photo of CFHMagnet


2.65/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.
A. A strong pour finds me with a half finger of effervescent beige head in my glass. Body is a red-tinted dark brown, actually a rather pretty color. Head takes a few minutes to die down to a ring and very light frosting on top. Decent lacing.

S. Malt, caramel, dark fruit, and alcohol. In that order.

T. Malt and caramel lead the assault on the tongue. Alcohol pops up and says hi, then a nut flavor takes over that ruins it for me. It's a woody/nutty flavor that combines with a dryness and slight bitterness to just turn me off to this beer. I don't know why, because any of these traits alone would be pleasant, but the way they are combined in this beer does not please my palate.

M. Heavy bodied, with some carbonation, although this seems to almost get lost in the body and flavor. Slightly syrupy.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2011 04:49:33 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of micromaniac129


3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich chestnut color. I get about an inch of beige dense mousse like foamy head that lingers quite long and leaves fair lacing.
Carbonation unknown due to the murky thickness of the brew.

Aroma is of malts, sweet and candied maybe some dark fruit too.

Taste is strong and rich tasting malts. I taste some roasted malts too.

Thick and smooth mouthfeel with some bitterness. It has a clean finish with soft alcohol warming in the aftertaste.

A good tasting beer that is not as threating as it may look. Easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 00:45:15 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of SkeeterHawk


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's weird. I would have sworn that I had reviewed this beer about 4 years ago, and I picked this six pack by mistake as I planned on reviewing the DownTown Pale and picked up the wrong one. Well, at least I haven't reviewed this one yet. Let's give it a go:

Appearance: Pours a clear chestnut color with a small 1/8" cap of tan foam on top that was made up of small bubbles, but seemed to disappear pretty quickly...within about 45 seconds. It ended up as a small ring at the edge of the glass. There is a decent amount of lace left on the glass after the beer is drank a bit.

Aroma: The beer is really malty with some hops in the aroma, but they are somewhat earthy and lightly floral so that they blend with the malt well. There is evident sweetness in this beer and is showing up as dark caramel as much as anything. There are some fruity esters coming out as the beer warms up some, and there are raisins and some other white-grape-like things going on here.

Taste: The flavor is very malty, but overall it is pretty well attenuated and somewhat dry on the palate. The alcohol is noticeable in that it adds to the dryness and also cleans up the finish. There is a lot of nuttiness to this beer, and not only does it look like Hazelnuts, but it tastes like it too. The sweetness is also a big player in this beer, and is giving us dark caramel and a little bit of syrup to slick up the back of the throat to give the alcohol something to penetrate and slow up the obviousness that this was a big beer. The body is medium to slightly full with ample to maybe slightly low carbonation.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty decent beer. This is different than my recollection of this beer as I remember it being much more hoppy than it is and having a rather harsh mix between the hops, dark malts, and water in the finish. This beer is much different and is much more palatable. This beer is a little on the mild side for the style as far as palate sensations go for this style, but overall it is clean and well presented. I would drink this beer again and more importantly, I am not sad about my mistake of buying the wrong six-pack.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2011 03:51:53 | More by SkeeterHawk
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,906 ratings.