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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

1,948 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,948
Reviews: 847
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 36
Gots: 116 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,948 | Reviews: 847 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flexinwext
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark mahogany color. 2-3 finger tannish head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is so sweet it reminds me of lemonade and cookie dough. Very malty and sugary taste. Tastes almost like brown sugar in beer version. Not much bitter taste in the front but the aftertaste reminds me of a barleywine. Overall a great beer. A little high in ABV to drink too many but I'm definitely good for 2 or 3.

flexinwext, May 10, 2009
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

4.5 A: Opaque dark brown with a tan colored head. Good retention and lots of lacing.

4.0 S: Nose is very perculiar. Biggest aroma is Spaghetti O's. Tomatoe sauce, orange, other light fruits and a strong vegetable component.

5.0 T: This is very tasty and very complex. There's a caramel backbone with a dozen fruits and vegetables contributing. Flavors that stand out are orange, tomatoes, and plum.

4.5 M: Good carbonation. Nice and creamy. Well done.

4.5 D: What an odd and surprisingly awesome beer. This is tasy enough to drink several more times.

DavoleBomb, May 07, 2009
Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: dark brown / ruby red, mild head finishes with a ring, nice lacing, little bubbly activity
s: very sweet brown sugar-raisin-y aromas
t: very sweet malts -- brown sugar, on the verge of barleywine-like bitterness, finishes with mix of alcohol and bitterness
m: medium to thick body with carbonated burst at the finish
d: considering i enjoy barleywines, this is more drinkable, but might not be so approachable for everyone

belgbeerdrinker, May 05, 2009
Photo of brewdoc75
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this in the fridge for a few months. I drank half the six pack when I got it. Time to review it.

A: Beautiful mahogany amber color. Soft, off white head is everlasting. Good lace.

S: Fruity, sweet caramel and toffee. A touch of prune/raisen. Slight hoppy aroma with citrus undertones. A touch of alcohol.

T: More of the aroma with plenty of sweet maltiness. Emphasis on the caramel and toffee. Definitely has a fruity component leaning towards that of a dubbel. The hops are just enough to keep it bitter and interesting with some citrus.

M: Medium bodied brew. Good carbonation. Finishes clean and crisp.

D: This is a good winter style. Reminds me of an Americanized dubbel overall. I enjoyed it on a nice 70 degree day after dinner, but I think it would be better at about 20 degrees on an autumn or winter day. Does every beer this brewery put out taste so good?

brewdoc75, May 04, 2009
Photo of donteatpoop
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear brown color with zero head.

Had some coffee notes to the nose.

The taste was much the same in respect to the coffee, lots of hops as well.

A little dry in the mouth, but overall a good mouth feel.

Decent beer, don't know that I'd seek it out in the future.

donteatpoop, May 03, 2009
Photo of biegaman
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"Life is uncertain. Don't sip." - Words of advice from Lagunitas

A thin patch of sand-looking head formed from the pour. Its presence wasn't expected to stay long and before I could even finish typing these first few sentences, it did indeed evaporate leaving behind only a loose soapy trim and a small ensemble of bubbles. The colour is a lucid cranberry with, if it weren't for the deep tone, perfect clarity.

With its bouquet of sappy pine, rich caramel, sweet molasses, sugary confections and array of dark fruits (and I'm sure I'm missing plenty) I'd say this resembles a blend of 60% English old ale and 40% American barleywine. It is ultra rich, ultra strong and ultra delectable. This is the kind of potency and nuance that most brewers have to resort to barrel aging to find.

Lagunitas does not mess around. The beer itself tastes great which is no wonder because each of the individuals flavours that comprise it would taste great on their own anyhow: brandy-centered chocolates, chewy toffee, port soaked blackberries, candied cherries and plenty of rich caramel coated biscuits. The profile is undeniably beer but it draws on similarities to red wine and strongly steeped black teas.

Sweetness is the king of this jungle. Bitterness makes a good grab at power but ultimately it's this long boiled malts, fortified wine-like sweetness that prevails. With it comes a great deal of fruitiness and caramelization as well as a hefty kick of alcohol. Every time I've had the Hairy Eyeball I've remarked on how easy it is to drink; it's never misleading about the 8.8% but it sure is easy going about it.

California is without doubt the most competitive of American states as far as craft breweries go. Of all its many great micros I have no reservations about calling Lagunitas one of my favourites. They not only have a charming attitude towards work and life, as illustrated in their hilarious write ups and company mentality, but a kick-ass lineup of beer to boot. Lagunitas: don't stop what you're doing because I don't ever want to stop drinking it.

biegaman, May 01, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear Brown with a thick brownish head, leaves to ring.

S - Sweet malt, candy like, somewhat deep.

T - BIG malt, great balls of fire. Definite bitter finish, but enough?

M - Good coating and carb, but a little cloying.

D - Nice offer to try!

srandycarter, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of wcudwight
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks mikesgroove. Although we receive Lagunitas in NC, I've never tried this beer nor have I seen it on shelves. So I'm excited about this.
Cola colored that shines more ruby when held up to the light. Nice thick beige colored head with excellent retention.
Brown sugar and dark fruits in the aroma. Grapes, cherries, even some pear.
Lot's of caramel in the flavor with some brown sugar. Very sweet tasting, yet still quite balanced. Similar fruity flavors in the taste that was in the aroma. Grapes, cherries, pears. Also some toasted raisin bread. Nice spicy kick in the finish. Excellent beer that is both complex and balanced.
Thick heavy mouthfeel that coats and leaves a creaminess.
Easy to drink. The alcohol is noticable but not overbearing in the least. I'll be looking for this one in the future.

wcudwight, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of Gyle41386
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark mahogany that looks crimson when held to light. Two fingers of tan head. Decent retention. Leaves loads of lacing.

Big caramel malt presence in the aroma. There's also some piney hops, wood, and dark fruit.

Pretty sweet flavor. The raisin flavor is a big contributor to the sweetness. Tons of malt. There's a faint hop bitterness in the finish. This is just a bit too sweet.

Pretty heavy body, but a pretty smooth drinker.

Gyle41386, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of TheNightbird
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a nice dense coffee color head. The head pours about one finger. Nice lacing on the glass. Amber mahogany in color.

S- Heavy carmel, toffee, mocha, fruit aromas of cherry and raisins. Slight earth smell.

T- Raisin, sweet carmel, toffee and fruit. Strong hop taste, fruit and earthiness. Nice bitterness that turns into a slight dry finish. Long carmel and fruitiness with a aftertaste. The beer coasts the tongue long after your sip is done.

M- Heavy body. Carbonation is a perfect.

D- Nice beer couldn't drink all night but is a great winter time beer.

TheNightbird, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lagunitas night at Davis Grad

A - Dark mahogany, with a one-fingered orange-white head. Dissipates moderately and leaves no lacing.

S - Chocolate, honey, and toffee.

T - Same as above, lightly bitter.

M - Full-bodied, well-balanced, sweet and tangy.

D - Not bad, but would like more flavors, perhaps more spices.

MisterClean, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of bort11
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

mikesgroove sent this one with the Fight Club: Project Mayhem BIF.

12 oz bottle pored into a shaker pint. Half inch of off white head. Leaves a nice ring at the top. Color is a dark ruby red. You can only see any light when held to the light.

Smell is a sweet brown sugar and caramel malt. A little dried oranges. Taste is also quite sweet. Brown sugar again, though the orange citrus from the hops stands out more.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a thick body. Very nice strong ale.

Blipped "Eyeball Kid" by Tom Waits

bort11, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of TheTrevor
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark red with purple highlights and a single-finger head. The smell is a mix of many different things, including toasted malt, at least a couple kinds of hops, dark fruit, molasses, and alcohol. The taste starts off with a sweet candylike malt that reminds me of a belgian tripel that gives way to some grassy then citrusy hops that balance it out very well. This is a beer that deals in extremes while remaining very tasty. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with a little slickness and warming from the alcohol, with mild carbonation. This beer is surprisingly drinkable for a high ABV beer with a fair amount of hops. Great beer, everyone should try it at least once.

TheTrevor, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of luciusgilmer
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle poured into tulip glass

A: rich amber color and medium strong head that dissipated halfway through to leave one little disk of foam.

S: as others have noted, this is a complex brew, with layers of scent and flavor, but the alcohol and hops were the first impressions.

T: Other than a rich hops and malt taste, I first noticed the raisin (someone else nailed that). I get a lot of sweetness from it, but nothing so specific as "toffee" or whatever. A bitter aftertaste.

M: quality carbonation keeps this peppy without seeming gassy; far from flat. It's a great beer to swirl around a bit, and I do recommend you drink it slowly (I know the ABV should suggest that to you, but this is a bit on the sweet side, so there's a chance you could chug it...)

D: It's rich and a bit heavy, not to mention sweet, but that doesn't mean you can't drink a few. I don't know that I'd drink it with some other beer to follow.

luciusgilmer, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of farrago
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thin head with good retention, mixture of bubble sizes knit together well, dark cream white in color, moderate lacing. Dark brown to red in color, perfect clarity, richness of hue keeps it sitting impressively in the glass. Thickly constructed nose of toffee, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, date, plum fruit, some doughiness but not a lot of roast or toast, nothing beyond minor presence of hoppy citrus or flowers, malt city. In the mouth it's full-bodied and heavy, pretty much squats on the palate. This even with credibly strong carbonation. There's more pine and mixed white citrus here, however, the smart money is still on the toffee, chocolate, caramel and honey flavors. The fruit as in the nose half raisin and date, half plum and cherry. Its cloying qualities make it pull up short rather than extend through a longer finish. Flavor intensity is a plus, just wears you down some, not sure I could finish two bottles in a row without feeling bloated.

farrago, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of seanbhudson
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper brown color with a medium tan head that has an average retention. A good amount of sticky lacing.
Huge aroma of alcohol, dark fruit, molasses and more.
Rich malt and earthy hops. There is a real complex range of flavors. I am having a hard time picking out individual flavors. There is citrus, grass, coffee, dark fruit, brown sugar, pineapple, spices (clove, cinnamon). You can also taste the alcohol.
Full bodied creamy almost sticky mouthfeel. Soft carbonation. Warm feeling from alcohol.
I really enjoyed rolling it around in my mouth and tasting the different flavors. This is a pretty rich and alcoholic beer so you can't drink too many of them.
NOTES: BBCSD-0903-Patrick

seanbhudson, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack of this from Albertson's in Laramie, WY. Around $8.

A: Medium brown with an off white head that slowly reduced to nothing. A few spots of lacing. Quite clear. Nice looking beer when held to the light.

S: Caramelized sugars, a slight hint of booze, has some very familiar smells, almost like a dopplebock, but has some of the spicy sweet malt characteristics of a quad as well. Light roasting as well. Pretty interesting all around.

T: Sugary and sweet upfront, hints of maple syrup and brown sugar, a slight bit of chocolate even, definite alcohol note to it too. A slight hint of raisins as well.There are just so many things going on here, dopplebock, scottish ale, even a bit of a quad taste as noted in the nose. Definitely a "malt" bomb if I've ever had one. Hops are not really present, but do show a little bit of a spicy bitter kick at the end.

M: Fairly thick, minimal carbonation, somewhat dry and quite sticky, quite a bit of alcohol warmth as well, really warms the gullet more so than the mouth.

D: Eh...I don't know on this one, lots of interesting flavors, and my tongue and head just don't know where to go on this one. I could maybe drink a second, but definitely not a third. Quite an interesting beer. Lots and lots of things going on. I'd recommend this to anybody that likes dopplebocks and scottish ales.

pokesbeerdude, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of LieutenantWort
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Color is a deep caramel with a moderate, creamy head that leaves a lot of lacing as it goes down.

Aroma is malty with traces of dark cherries and a slight sting of alcohol. Mouthfeel is a littly syrupy, but pleasantly smooth. Taste is rich with heavy malts, oak notes, and a suggestion of bourbon. Finishes slightly bitter, but mild & warm.

I definitely enjoyed this beer. I'd have no problem drinking another one... or two!

LieutenantWort, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of avalon07
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a slightly cloudy texture. There was a small amount of creamy, long-lasting head and very good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of hops, malt and an almost syrupy odor.

T: Tasted of piney hops, malt and caramel, Almost had a barleywine quality - but not quite as powerful.

M: A decent amount of carbonation and a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is a decent, easy to drink beer. Different than what I expected, but definitely worth a try

avalon07, Apr 09, 2009
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 atsprings
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Lucifer tulip pours a crisp brown with a decent khaki head that diminishes to a thin layer and leaves slight lacing. Aroma is burnt caramel, dried fruit and a hint of wood. The taste is a strange blend of caramel, brown sugar and dried fruits that gives way to a balanced taste of pine hops and caramel malts.. The beer is medium bodied with smooth carbonation and some warming alcohol that shows in the finish. This is certainly an interesting beer, but I was hoping for something better.

atsprings, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of chaz410
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer at the awesome Brawley's Beverage in Charlotte NC.
Pours a dark brownish red. Nice thin white head.
Smell is full of belgian-like malty notes. Bubblegum, raisens, and a little bit of dried berries. Not a whole lot of hops but a little bit at the end of the nose.
Taste is very smooth. Sweet with dark fruits, little bits of bubbleguma dn some crisp melon-like malt and hop combinations. The hops aren't really powerful in the taste, their more so integrated into the malt taste.
Very drinkable with a nice mouthfeel. Extremely impressive for a 8.8% ABV beer!

chaz410, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of Haybeerman
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep, clear chestnut brown color. Poured a 2 finger tan head with fair retention. Ample lacing in thick rings.

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

T: Light caramel and toffee. As it warmed, also flavors of tobacco and coffee. Muted grass and citrus flavors in the middle. The finish is mildly bitte with lingering sweet malt.

M: Full side of medium body. Low carbonation. Smooth, creamy and thick.

D: Drinkable for >8% abv; beer doesn't disguise it. Nice malt characters and hop balance. Not overly complex; nicely balanced.

Haybeerman, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 12-ounce bottle with a twist-off top pours a brilliantly-clear crimson-tinted dark copper liquid into my Duvel tulip. A thick two-finger cap of stained ivory foam sits solidly atop the drink, waiting around patiently for who-knows-what, depositing fine sticky sheets of webby lacing onto the sides of the glass.

The smell is loaded with caramel and spritzed with a twist of lime, and employs a juicy splash of ripe golden apples that adds additional fermented sweetness. Rich notes of warm toasted grain build upon that foundation, carving out a place atop a brown sugary, peppery, medium-dark malty backbone.

The taste is fruity, candy-like and otherwise quite malty with mild toffee and silky-smooth caramel accenting more cooling alcohol. Once again a notion of apples appears, along with a few phantom slices of Bartlett pear and a succulent invisible handful of ripe red grapes. A light lingering note of mildly-bitter citrus oil survives well into the aftertaste, but the drink nonetheless finishes a touch boozy and quite sweet.

The drink is fullish-medium in body with an excellent sizzle of fine carbonation. Though Hairy Eyeball is quite potent at 8.7% ABV, it remains pretty mild in flavor with admirable alcohol suppression that leaves the beer plenty drinkable.

cvstrickland, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of garymuchow
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much more malt in aroma than the others from this (series). The hops are almost non-existent compared to those.
Poured aggressively into a goblet and showed a smaller tan head that settles some in time and left dark markings. Very clear and a deep red of garnet. Good looking in the light.
Nice 'red" malt flavors with enough alcohol flavor (a slight spice and bite) to clearly know it's a strong ale. More subdued hops for style, but still enough to clearly know their present. Just above moderate for hop bitterness and flavor. Mild dryness lingers nicely. Dark fruit and berry flavors show with patience and warmth.
Moderate body and a nice smoothness. I like lower carbonation and this one shows that.
As the alcohol rises the drinkability starts to lower, but this still works fine, just a slower sipping beer.

garymuchow, Apr 05, 2009
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,948 ratings.