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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

1,971 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,971
Reviews: 847
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 37
Gots: 122 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,971 | Reviews: 847 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlindros
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

jlindros, Aug 24, 2009
Photo of almychristopher
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this beer pours a hazy reddish brown color with an off white head that fades to a sheet of lace leaving rings around the glass. the aroma brings loads of roasted malt and a bit of fruit at the back, maybe some yeast esters. the taste doesn't disappoint with the sweet nearly sticky maltiness, and the fruity flavors this is a pretty flavorful beer, the alcohol and astringency at the end are there, but not bad for nearly nine percent. great carbonation, thanks to Sam the Beer Man, with their nice five beer growler line up.

almychristopher, Aug 13, 2009
Photo of MeadMardigan
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: dark copper, opaque on the table with quickly dissipating head that clings to sides of glass

S: sweet barley, some hops

T: caramel, toffee, short hop burst that quickly disappears; lingering finish

M: carbonation tingles the tounge, alcohol bites at the throat, slightly syrupy

D: very pleasant; high ABV doesn't deter

Unsure where the name came from; expected a punch in the face, but is surprisingly "sweet" and mellow.

MeadMardigan, Aug 09, 2009
Photo of Brownsfan7
2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Had this in bottle after a trip to my local beer store.

honestly this was hard to drink..very malty, with a very heavy alcohol taste. I Tried during memorial day as a sipper..I would try others If I was new to the game!!! If you want to start on a Lagunitas brew I suggest Hop Stoopid.

Brownsfan7, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of yesyouam
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball is a red-brown ale with particles afloat. It has a small, dense, sand colored head that leaves tenacious lacing. It has a sweet, malty aroma with a grassy note. It has a smooth medium body with a slightly sticky finish. It's pretty sweet and resiny. It's reasonably bittered; the green, fruity bitterness shows up at the finish and provides the aftertaste. It's a touch heavy for a session ale.

yesyouam, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of thor638
2.73/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Great smell and a good looking beer. Appearance is very dark and the smell malty and strong caramel notes. Def a session beer with great caramel feel. Too heavy for me to go more than one but worth trying and having a good conversation with - as noted in previous posts not much carbonation even on the tap

thor638, Jul 22, 2009
Photo of allergictomacros
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red with 2 fingers of dense, sticky foam. Nose is caramelly malt for the most part, and a hint of floral hops. Very malty and very bitter flavour. Tons of dark caramel sugars and dark fruit and toasty grain. Hints of apple and juicy citrus hops. Fairly heavy body but with a good deal of carbonation as well. Feels quite prickly on the tongue. Not in any way sessionable. Lots of flavour but also very heavy brew.

allergictomacros, Jul 10, 2009
Photo of jwhawkins81
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - Dark fruits with a caramel and sweet malts.

Appearance - Dark red amber with no carbonation.

Taste - Dark fruits and alcohol but not too much. Extremely similar to Nostradamus (which I gave a A) but less refined and subtle.

Notes - Needs more carbonation

jwhawkins81, Jul 09, 2009
Photo of BierFan
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. ABV of 8.7% and 56.7 IBU's.

Appearance: Just a thin layer of tan head. The body is brown and looked fairly viscous as it was poured.

Smell: Loads of sweet caramel. Little bit of hops, but they're hard to notice with the huge caramel and toffee aroma.

Taste: Doesn't taste as good as it smells. The taste of this beer isn't really working for me. Flowery hop taste, dark sweet malts, little buttery taste. I just don't care for the taste.

BierFan, Jul 03, 2009
Photo of DiabolikDUB
2.68/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from Bottle into Pint glass.

Pours a clear, but dense, dark copper color with 2 fingers of rocky, creamy light tan colored head that never fully disappears. The aroma is very malty and heavy with toffee, molasses and a touch of hops. The flavor is sweet malt, some citrus hops and finishes very strong with brown sugar and a very noticeable alcohol presence. Its full to medium bodied that is a touch sticky. I would say this beer is a pretty cross between a scotch ale and a malty barleywine. Overall, I'm just not impressed with it. Alcohol is a little too noticeable.

DiabolikDUB, Jul 01, 2009
Photo of Jayli
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours an amberish brown, nice reddish hues with a one finger of light tannish head. Head recedes quickly and leaving spotty lacing on the glass. Nose is very sweet - sugar, caramel malts, and some candied dark fruits. Taste is of sweet malts and sugar at first. VERY, very sweet beer. The middle is of dark fruits, though still very sweet - like candied dark fruits, and caramel. The finish leaves a very sweet aftertaste to it. Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, thick syrupy mouthfeel to it with an aftertaste similar to when you eat too much candy. The alcohol is very well hidden. For me, the sweetness was overkill that lowered it's drinkability.

Jayli, Jun 30, 2009
Photo of sohio
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball

My fifth, again poured into one of the few beer glasses I haven't broken.

A: Dark cherry wood, a nice, lacey head that gets beat up by the ABV. It soon settles down into a liquored up, heavy beer. Thats your only warning.

S: A dark fruit basket, with your dads cologne thrown in. Hmmm....

T: Dark fruits, with raisins and fig prevailing. Brown sugar shows up to say hi, also. The alcohol is very well hidden beneath the sweetness. You'll notice it when you lick your lips though. A very barrel-aged beer without trying to be one.

M: Medium to heavy. It really depends of the temperature of the beer. It seems like 10 degrees seperates this from an "Ale' to a "Barleywine".

D: This is where its dangerous. Its just so good and sweet, you really dont notice the abv before its too late. But by then, you just don't give a shit.

A solid, (sweet) beer.

sohio, Jun 29, 2009
Photo of PirateUlf73
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

A: Hazy and dark brown, with perhaps a slight garnet tint and a modest tan head.

S: Strong scents of raisin and caramel, as well as plums and brown sugar. Very sweet-smelling, but not too much so. Quite nice.

T: An interesting melding of dark crystal malts, brown sugar and raisin flavors. Very reminiscent of, say, a Chimay blue. Very nice, especially with a pleasant alcoholic warming on the way down.

M: Full-bodied, but not too heavy. Decent carbonation, but never prickly. Fairly sweet aftertaste.

D: A sipper. Take it slow and savor all those lovely flavors.

I must say that this is perhaps the first beer that I noticed flavors hitting me in a particular sequence, which I though was pretty cool. A very nice strong ale that deserves time and contemplation. I could see myself drinking this over a particularly sharp and tactical chess game.

PirateUlf73, Jun 25, 2009
Photo of alleykatking
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz pour from bottle

A- Pours a nice brown color with red hints when held up to the light. Good 1/4 inch off white/tannish head that melts away leaving little lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- The smells of sweet bready malts along with figs and raisin dominate the body of aroma with hints of caramel and apricot bring up the foreground.

T- From the get go all you can taste is really sugary sweet malts and well....sugary sweet malts. Upon the next couple of sips I realize you can taste a little more of the fruits but it's just faint notes. I can also detect the remains of what might have been a bigger hop bite at the end if I could have bought this fresh.

M- This has a good medium mouthfeel to it. Other than the sugary malts leaving crystals it seems like over the palate it moves gracefully over the palate and down the throat. Carbination was good and almost on the too much side but it evened itself out.

D- I would drink this again if given the chance.

alleykatking, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of ToddT
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Brown in color with a red tint and a tan head. Head fades quickly to a ring and leaves a minimal lacing on the glass.

S- Sugar, raisins, figs, caramel, and malt swirl up from the glass.

T- Sweet malts and sugars stand out at first. This is then tempered down by the notes of fruit and caramel. The finish lingers with a slightly bitter final note.

M- More than medium bodied and a little on the syrupy side . Finish is fairly clean in spite of the thick mouthfeel.

D- Somewhat of a sipper, it hides the 8.8% ABV pretty well, but it is overly sweet.

If it was just the fruit adding the sweetness this would be a winner, but I suspect there is some extra sugar in there as well, making this just too sweet.

ToddT, Jun 20, 2009
Photo of jgap
2.63/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a deep red with a sizeable cream- color head that fades to a good lace. Smell is a sweet, sugary caramel and... Is that cheese? Taste is immediately sweet malt. LOT of sweet malts. It's syrupy and really sweet. I think it tastes more like a Maibock. Once you muddle through the sugar slush, there is a very light hop that quickly becomes alcohol which fades into the aftertaste. It's really just too sweet for me. Mouthfeel is syrup. Not that drinkable. I love lagunitas but I'm not sure about this one

jgap, Jun 11, 2009
Photo of DoubleJ
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce twist-off* from Hollingshead's, on to the beer:

A soft, whispy head sits on top this dark colored amber beer. It's holding up well in the meantine, and leaves some traces of lacing on the glass. Aroma....figs, cider, faint apricot, prunes...is this a winter warmer on crack? Very sweet nose as well. Tastes like a tradtional winter warmer too. But it's June dammit! Nonetheless, it still tastes nice. Some brown sugar, prunes, spruce and fig notes. English pudding too. Soft and medium bodied in the mouth, but with texture, and there's little (if any) booze felt.

Here it is for all you winter warmer lovers who want an imperial version, The Hairy Eyeball. Recommended as I drink this in June in SoCal...which must mean its better in the winter.

* Twisted-off with the bottom of my Erdinger Champ bottle. See, I told you I would use it to open a bottle.

DoubleJ, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of WakeandBake
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A deep dark clear amber body with a thick offwhite head, light to meduim carbonation , lots of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is of sweet caramel malt , with a bit of spicy hops,and just a hint of alcohol. Flavor is rich like caramelized sugar,rasins and dry malt grains,with some zesty piny hop notes,honey, a little spice like maybe peppercorn or something like that but very faint, full body with a smooth texture, nice malty finish, the 9% ABV was well hidden. This was a really good drinker, I plan to buy more.

WakeandBake, Jun 09, 2009
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Lagunitas is pulling a Magic Hat by giving their beer a ridiculously obscure name not hinting the buyer at what it is. I hate that. Next thing you know they'll have slogans printed under the caps saying "Willy's got no teeth!," or some such crap. Anywho...

Clear dark blood orange color with a thin tan head. Fades quick to a thin skim and showy collar.

Smells sweetly of melted hard candy balanced by Rollo candy caramels. Good balance.

Jolly rancher beer with cola-esque caramel. Again, nice balance. Mild herbal hop spice and no sign of a 8.7% abv. Syrupy mouthfeel.

donkeyrunner, Jun 05, 2009
Photo of BenJames1984
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Let me start off by saying that Lagunitas has never let me down. This is no exception.

I poured this from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- A rich brown color, with a touch of ruby. Thin white head that dissipated after about five minutes, with minimal lacing.

Smell- Notes of raisin, and a bit of sweet bread as well.

Taste- Very balanced with a nice malty backing. Very sweet, with just a tease of hoppiness. Amazing.

Mouthfeel- lightly carbonated, but goes down very smooth.

Drinkability- I love this beer, and could see myself buying more in the future. I could probably drink about 2 of these, maybe three in a session.


BenJames1984, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of elniko
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Chimay goblet.

A: Dark almost ruby coloring with oily head and less lacing than I expected. Carbonation apparent but not heavy. Good looking brew.

S: I get some toffee tones from the nose, alcohol tones as well mixed in with just a tinge of hoppiness. Not a terribly strong nose in my opinion.

T & M: Very nice, medium bodied beer for the high ABV. I get some raisin along with the toffee tones from the nose up front along with maltiness with a nice hoppy finish that I would expect from a Lagunitas brew. Balance is spot on.

D: For such a high ABV very drinkable, although I don't think I'll be having again as this is very hard to find in DFW. I got the last one in the only store that I found it at.

elniko, May 21, 2009
Photo of ThoughtPolice
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vigorous pour into a goblet

Pours a deep ruby/pomegranate red. Beautimous color when viewed with a light behind it. Khaki head of 1 finger, falls quickly. Leaves copious lacing at first, then spotty after head falls.

Strong sweetness, hops are overshadowed and not noticeable to me. (my preference would be to bump that aroma/flavor presence a little bit)
I get grapes, raisins, faint biscuit, faint alcohol. Something fruity is in the background.

Alcohol well-masked is the first thing I wrote down, and it's for sure.
I get raisins, faint citrus, malty sweetness (though I can't get much more specific on the malt flavor) Hop bitterness comes out in the finish
Taste lingers as back of mouth sourness/bitterness. I like it

Right carbonation level
Mid to thick mouthfeel, leaning toward mid range, really...
Sticky lips. But it's a little thin, I'd say, for the style.

Good, but not top notch. This particular specimen may have spent too long in the fridge (~1 month). I say it's one step away from being a barley wine, and that might be where it should be taken on the next batch.

ThoughtPolice, May 20, 2009
Photo of unclejimbay
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hairy Eyeball Ale
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 8.80 %, reviewed from E Street JB - 5/14/09

I really enjoyed this brew. I had not had it before, so I eventually got another because it tasted so good. I found this to be the best tasting Lagunitas brew that I have enjoyed to date IMO.

It is a dark brown color. Tastes include; caramelized malt, dark brown sugars and molasses without being overly sweet. Sweet notes are well balanced with the hop presence. The high ABV is well hidden with this bold medium+ to full bodied beer.

I would drink this beer as one of my first choices any time I see it available and I want a Strong Ale. Especially if it is 2-4-1 happy hour at E St!

unclejimbay, May 15, 2009
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
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,971 ratings.