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Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,230 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,230
Reviews: 894
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.72%
Wants: 49
Gots: 238 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,230 | Reviews: 894 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NODAK
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is filled with brown sugar, a bit of dark fruit, alcohol and a toastiness as well.

Pours a mahogany color in the glass with a pretty weak head.

Taste starts off sweet, with a brown sugar beginning. A fair amount of caramel malt shows up in the body, as well as a touch of dark fruit and just the slightest hint of toastiness. A medicinal bitterness hits at the backend and tends to linger a little while. For a beer that's otherwise pretty sweet and malty, this was definitely a different turn.

All in all, I guess I could compare this to a doppelbock or even a Belgian dark ale with bitterness on the backend.

Photo of beals
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a 12oz bottle into a DFH snifter.

A: brown. brownish-tan head, 1 finger, receded quickly. dark, deep. i'm digging the way this beer looks in the glass.
S: alcohol, malt, bit of a cherry aroma, perhaps? not much here.
T: no hop nose, sweet malt middle, backend a bit bitter. all the hop presence is at the back. aftertaste is sticky, malt flavor not terribly complex.
M: thick, bit chewy. moderate carbonation.

O: OK, bit of a strong brown ale. not amazing. i like strong beers, but i'm not sure i'd have more than 1 of these in a session. meh.

Photo of josefnewsong
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - deep, dark burgundy color, clear and bubbly, 2 inches of off-white head that recedes slowly and leaves an almost opaque coating of lace
s - nothing major here. sweet syrupy malts, molasses, whiskey, a touch of hops
t - cherry flavors and a whole lot of alcohol dominate - i would have guessed 10.5% at the very least, more likely somewhere around 11 or 12 if I hadn't already known about the 9abv. As it warms the cherry flavor begins to taste artificial, almost medicinal but still not bad - could just be an effect of the alcohol presence. Slight roast and toffee flavors are in the back but not much else.
m - medium bodied, sticky, syrupy
o - a brew that I pulled from my cellar because most of the good beer stores are closed and I didn't feel like going out - and because I wasn't too excited about aging it, it just got tossed down there. Certainly a pleasant experience, but nothing to rave about. Also I didn't check the date but I'm pretty sure it's not fresh

Photo of BeerPhan86
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Being a big fan of Brown Shugga, I was looking forward to this seasonal from Lagunitas. I really like this brewery and almost everything they make, especially their stronger ales. Bring it!

A - Pours a clear mahogany with a small half finger tan head. Head dissipates quickly but the lacing is quite sticky.

S - Smells like a Belgian dark ale, with hints of dark fruit and malt. There is also some noticeable molasses and brown sugar.

T - A blast of sweet malt up front with cherry and raisin followed by some dry, earthy hops. The alcohol is well hidden for such a strong beer. Reminds me of a Doppelbock or Belgian dark ale, very fitting as the winter seasonal. Finishes dry with a nutty aftertaste that has hints of oak.

M - Well carbonated with a relatively thin mouthfeel. Sticky on the lips.

D - The alcohol is hidden but the effects are not, I feel buzzed almost immediately! Definitely a sipper for me.

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

- Pours a rich ruby red color that is just a touch hazy with a finger of off-white head atop. The head fades down to a thin ring around the glass leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel malt, some deep dark fruits, and some grassy hops. There is a brown sugar as well.

T - Starts off with some sweet dark fruit flavors (raisin and plum) as well as some slightly roasted caramel malts. Just a touch of some grassy hops in the background. Through the middle some richer fruit flavor and some brown sugar comes through. The finish is a blend of some dark fruit sweetness, a touch of bitterness, brown sugar, and a hint of alcohol flavor that lingers.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Has a bit of a slick syrupy feeling. Finishes fairly full with just a touch of alcohol warming.

D - For 9% abv, pretty drinkable. Nice balance of flavors, and they are decently complex. A bit full and heavy so a bit more of a sipper, but still really enjoyable.

Photo of JeffBob
4.78/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

WOW was speechless at first sip

A nice beautiful dark red

S hops and the smell of hiking through hay and wild flowers in the spring.

T So complex at first its kind of stoutish with some yummy chocolatey goodness, the the hops kicks in along with some spice and bright notes then chocolate again fading into a bitterish hopish after taste.

M thick and smooth a bit carbonated but given the dark complexity it is perfect.

O just peachy keen I love this beer.

Photo of MAB
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The sum of the parts add up to more than the whole. While everything about it is good (at least), my overall impression was exceptional.
A tough one to categorize. American Strong Ale meets the criteria, though.

Color was deep brown, almost porter-like.
Lovely aroma, but I'd expect nothing less from Lagunitas. They ALL smell good.

Taste was very good. Some (roasted) grain flavors combine with the chocolate malt to come forward in front of the hops. The hops are there but this is not a bitter beer, by any means.
The alcohol contributes to the sharpness of the malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel was also good. I expected it to be a bit thicker, since it was 9% ABV, but it was still a nice consistency--not too thick.

Overall, though, this one struck me as a real find, and a keeper. I'm a big fan.

Photo of VMWhelan
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a deep ruby-brown with a finger of tannish head with good lacing.

Nose is very sweet and malty. Caramel and dark fruits are prevalent, with some brown sugar notes.

Taste follows the nose upfront but that is followed by a pronounced floral hop bitterness and some booziness.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and slightly sticky. Leaves the mouth dry.

Overall this isn't bad. The 9% ABV could be balanced out better, so this one is a sipper.

Photo of Rutager
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance. Hazy, copper brown with half a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Sweet, malty grains, dried cherries, green apple.

Taste. Sweet caramel, raw sugar, roasty malt, red apples. Bitter, fruity and dry finish. Alcohol well hidden.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation. A little thick.

Overall. Good tasting beer.

Photo of Pahn
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Free pour yields a third of an inch foamy offwhite head that dissipates quickly. Pours a translucent brownish ruby. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Light pineapple-y hops (among other hard to pin down hop aromas), wheaty and almost banana-like. A smell almost like Chinese tea... along with some molasses.

I've been avoiding this beer because I didn't understand what in the world it was supposed to be (website helpfully says "Beer with lots of caramel malt," in so many words). Smelling it hasn't gotten me much closer; if anything, I'm more confused. That said, it smells quite good, with a nice mix of hops and various (weird) malty smells.

Taste: Up front, it follows the nose (fruity hops, some caramel malt), then it segues into a huge bowl of cereal. The last minute of each sip is like a big bite of whole grain cereal. Not a bad thing, though not a great thing.

I'm still not quite getting it... It's a solid, good tasting beer, with lots of welcome bitterness to offset the myriad sweet flavors, but it's also a bit of a kitchen sink beer. Lots of nice but seemingly unrelated flavors rush past, then I'm left with my bowl of 9% ABV cereal. I don't really know what else to say about it.

Mouthfeel: Full side of medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Simultaneously sugary and dry finish that works very well with the flavor.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer, but the cereal flavor was ultimately too dominant, and beyond that, I drank a full 12oz of it and am still not really sure what the hell it was.

Photo of bnes09
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany ale. Nice transparent ruby color when held to light. Big egg-shell colored head forms which seems to last forever. Head leaves some lace patches also.

Rich and complex malt aroma. Mostly caramel and nuts come to mind. Pine cones and an alcohol spice also hit the nostrils.

Malt character is sweet overall with dark fruit and caramel flavors. Also a hint of golden brown toast. Roasted nuts. Assertive hop bitterness of pine and fresh grass. Alcohol is there but does not dominate the flavor. Overall, very smooth and satisfying.

Feel is fairly thick and chewy. Plenty of bubbles bring the flavors together. Somewhat drying.

Its a pretty solid brew. Different for sure. Very flavorful and complex.

Photo of gopens44
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark ruby red and mostly clear with a decent creme colored foam head

S - Sweet with a hint of grapes followed up by toasted malts and a smattering of hops

T - Bitter as hell with a nice hop presence followed up by a sweet malty flavor.

M - Really creamy and full bodied. Dry with low to medium carbonation and just a bit of bitter aftertaste.

O - Not too shabby, but it could be a little better balanced.

Photo of TheHoppiest
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a squat 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. I've only ever had this at beer tastings, somI am looking forward to having a chance to sit down with this beer for a few minutes.

Pours a beautiful mahogany, with flashes of ruby as the beer is swirled in the glass. The head is minimal, like swirling wisps of smoke above a garnet lake.

Has a fruity, yeasty smell, with notes of dried apricot, grapes, and candied cherries. The yeastiness is rather pronounced, overlaying a sweet malt.

Yeasty and malty, as you'd expect from a strong ale. Caramel and toffee, figs toasted in butter and brown sugar, and hints of tannic fruit combine for a warm, slick brew.

Full bodied, this is a definite sipper with not much bitterness to finish it off.

As with most beers Lagunitas makes, this brew reflects a lot of hard work and thought, along with quality ingredients, resulting in a tasty and enjoyable beer I'd gladly drink again.

Photo of goldbot
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark amber/mahogany. Thin, off-white head that dissipates quickly but leaves some lacing. Rich malt aroma - plenty of dark fruit/raisin, caramel, chocolate. Some resinous hop presence. Tons of malt flavor - rich, sweet chocolate, raisin, caramel. Good hop bitterness to balance it well. Full body and a thick and creamy mouthfeel. A very well balanced, malty strong ale.

Photo of spree92
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served at Bottlescrew Bills in Calgary.

A- Thick brown with a small off white head.

S- Dried fruit and alcohol. Heavy malts and really sweet.

T- Alcohol is hidden well. Heavy in the stomach. Sweet on the tongue.

M- Dry, sticky.

O- A really good beer from a really good brewery.

Photo of richkrull
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one poured a very dark amber almost brownish color with some big beige head and good lacing on it. Smells like heavy malt with a bit of alcohol coming through, not bad though. Taste is rich roasted malt and molasses. Not much alcohol taste coming through which is good. This is on the high end of a medium mouthfeel. It's a little thicker beer but it goes down smooth. I definitely liked this beer and will look for it again. For being 9% alcohol, it tastes great and goes down very easy.

Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a reddish mahogany color with a 1 finger off white head that dissipates quickly.

S - Sensing a lot of maltyness in this beer with some dark fruits and berries, some syrupy molasses.

T - Interesting flavors working around here. The most upfront taste was molasses mixed with perhaps some raisins, not unlike a cinnamon raisin bagel. Some bitterness pulls through to balance out that heavy sweetness.

M - Almost the consistency of light syrup, not as thick as regular syrup, but still some consistency that coats the mouth. Can feel just a little bit of burn from the alcohol.

Overall - A decent brew. I couldn't get passed that feeling that what I was drinking was just syrup with alcohol, almost the consistency of a cough medicine. I didn't think it was really that bad in the taste, and I think the hops bitterness really saved this beer from become a syrup bomb.

Photo of azdback
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Deep dark orange red color. Head is about a finger of off white creamy goodness. The lace is quite sticky and hanging around in patches.

Smell is of floral and citrus hops. I also get some sweet malts. No alcohol at all, this being so high in ABV.

It has the same tastes that the smell gave. Sweet malts, almost molasses is taste. Hop is a bit orange in both sweetness and citrus in bitter. Kind of a caramel taste and some alcohol warming in the throat and belly.

The mouth is that of a barleywine. Sweet and rich to the end. I will even use silky to describe it.

The first couple of times I tried this I just drank it out of the bottle and I didn't like it that much. The strong taste of Belgium yeast was over powering. Not this time. It was poured into a glass and became a different beer. Quite enjoyable. If you get a chance to pick this one up... Do!! And don't sip it out of the bottle on a camping trip. Pour it out and let the beer do the talking.

Photo of rfgetz
3.45/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, letting light through easily, minimal head. Scent is of musty earthy hops and combines with a strong molasses and fig backbone. Taste is slightly thin in complexity and the body follows suit with some wateryness. taste brings some more fruittyness with spice, but the earhty and musty hops cover up much of this. One of the weaker flavored and bodied strong ales I have had.

Photo of obrike
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Interesting effort from Lagunitas, but one I like. Under 10 bucks for a sixer of 9 abv beer...how do you continue to do this?

Poured a cola-esque color...not quite as brown, but close. Decent fluffy head, stuck around for a bit, then faded, leaving bits of lace through the drink.

Smelled a bit of dark fruits, kinda buried, reminescent of a doppelbock style.

I like this. Super smooth, again, reminds me of a doppelbock style...dark fruits, sweet maltyness, hops on the back-end. Hides booze quite well.

Lagunitas did it again, but this time, without the typical Lagunitas "hop flavor" you're used too.

Good brew. This is why Lagunitas will always be a favorite of mine.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - clear deep ruby amber, thumb of tan head left generous sticky lacing as it dissipated
S - rich dark fruit, molasses, some buttery bread and alcohol
T - extremely rich flavours of molasses, sweet plumb and raisin, light bakers chocolate, nutty, and a cedar wood quality
M - well carbonated, relatively thin and quickly moves to an alcohol biting dryness
O - very rich and warm flavours, the alcohol is very well hidden in taste and balanced by the sweetness, but detectable in the dryness, but very drinkable, as expected Lagunitas never fails to impress

Photo of FanofHefe
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a tulip. Dark brown body with some red hue. Good tan head that leaves some good lacing all along the glass.

The aroma is an understated balance of dark fruits, sweet malt, and just a touch of hops. Interesting and hard to place where this is going.

Well...I like the flavors pretty well. The hops are not too bitter, but are prominent and mix with the overall malty and dark fruit flavors pretty well. Very interesting and, again, hard to place this overall. But, it's tasty.

Medium mouthfeel, and just a hint of booziness. Overall a good offering, and different enough to be interesting.

Photo of depechemode1983
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark mahogany color. Almost looks like blood when held up to the light. It has and amazing foamy sticky tan head with amazing retention. There is lacing everywhere. Like a curtain around the glass.

S - Nose is sweet with a bit of a hop bitterness. Some sweet grapefruit and oranges along with some malty toffee sugars. Malts are dominant in the nose.

T - More bitter than the nose would indicate. Bitter sweet oranges upfront with sweet toasted malts in the middle and a slight bitter aftertaste that lingers for a bit. Pretty straight forward.

M - Medium to light in body with medium carbonation.

D/N A very good beer although not very drinkable. Not complex and flavorful enough to keep me wanting more. Worth a try if you come across it though.

Photo of LBBeer
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Factory Gastrobar in Long Beach, CA.

A--Looks like a perfect deep rich brown ale. Nice frothy brown-tinted head.

S--Lots of sweet malt on the nose.

T--Slight clash between the roastiness of the malt and significant dry hop character, a very interesting combination, if not subtle.

M--Big, smooth and almost creamy on the palate, again a contrast to the dry finish.

O--Lagunitas doesn't disappoint, but this brew is a bit all over the place!

Photo of colforbin73
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is too hoppy to be a dopplebock.... it is an ALE. without really reading about it, after i poured and sipped... what else could you call it? it's a Strong Ale. it does not fit comfortably in one style category or another: it can't really be a medal winner... but it can still be a good drink. so, it is a beer with no real pedigree, but i am enjoying it fine nonetheless.

pours a rich auburn brown and immediately foams up a nice 2 finger head, which dissipates pretty quick -- leaves only moderate stickies on the glass as you drain it. i am getting moderate malt aroma in the nose, not bad, but not particularly enticing. the taste is musky, rich and mild but with a decent bitterness that i appreciate -- i would compare it to Rochefort 8 for example... with extra bitters. the feel is good, not exceptional.

i like this brew... it is not a wowzer -- came out in January -- woulda been perfect a couple weeks ago. nice late winter Heavy Ale.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,230 ratings.