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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

2,247 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,247
Reviews: 900
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 51
Gots: 255 | 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: 2,247 | Reviews: 900 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rutager
3.92/5  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
3.64/5  rDev -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
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
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 -6.5%
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
4.41/5  rDev +15.1%
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
4.25/5  rDev +11%
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
4.02/5  rDev +5%
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
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
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
3.26/5  rDev -14.9%
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 +4.4%
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 -9.9%
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
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
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
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
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
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
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
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wow, this was really not what I was expecting it to be...

Appearance -- Pours a rosy chestnut hue with good clarity and a finger of STIFF beige had. I've never seen head hold onto the walls of a glass like this one. And it only gets weirder from here.

Smell -- The nose reminds me of a Dubbel or a BSDA: Mildly spciy and yeasty with notes of dark fruits, specifically prunes. On top of this is Lagunitas' signature dank hop profile. Is this their idea of a 'Dubbel' IPA?

Taste -- Again, lots of BSDA characteristics, sans Belgian yeast flavors: prune and dried dark fruits, gently roasted malt, cocoa, coffee, pine resin. Plenty of dank hop bitterness. Lingering flavors of dark fruits and pine resin.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body with moderate carbonation. Feels good, but not exceptional.

Overall -- This one just did not work for me. The unique dark roast flavors found in Hairy Eyeball clash with the hops. Then again, I'm not a big fan of BSDA's, which I think this closely resembles, so your mileage may vary.

Photo of shand
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sierra Nevada imperial point.

Pours a murky deep brown color with two and a half fingers of off-white head. Head is very full, and retains and laces well. The aroma is big and boozy. Dark fruits, sweet caramel malts, and a touch of coffee roastiness. The taste is pretty decent, if a bit confused. Dark fruits and malts that are somewhere between sweet and roasted come through first. Then, some hops gradually work their way into the mix to leave a hoppy aftertaste with just a touch of alcohol making itself known. As it warms, the alcohol becomes more oppressive.

The mouthfeel is almost oppressive in it's thickness, I honestly wasn't expecting anything nearly this thick. It's also a little bit too smooth, it makes the hop prickle at the end feel just a bit awkward. Overall, this is a pretty confused brew. I mean, it tastes alright, but I just never feel everything comes together to making something absolutely great.

Photo of MrTopher
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A: Mahogany/Ruby color with a small tan colored head. A small lace on the sides of the glass as its enjoyed.

S: Toasted caramel smell, some dark fruits. Nothing more to this than just that.

T: Goes a little something like this; malt, sweetness, then slight hop. This beer is different than most other Lagunitas offerings. It has a little bit of a spice bit on the middle of the tongue also. But it also has a decent amount of sweetness. Very little amount of hop in this one, dominated by malt.

M: Carbonation, check. Thickness, mild and a little creamy.

O: Decent offering from Lagunitas, I would have liked BS to have stuck around a little longer, or a rerelease of Imperial Red. But WTF is out, and I will be enjoying plenty of that.

Photo of Rootdog316
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep brown with a lasting tan head. Aroma is boozy sweet, with ripe apricot and nutty caramel. Taste brings out the nuttiness in a big way, with sweet caramel following with a slight hint of cocoa. Finishes semi-dry and bitter, pretty hopped. Earthy and dark and warming.

Photo of hiku7
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - deep mahogany with a tan head

S - toasted caramel malt, raisins and plums.

T - big malt up front, sweet but balanced by a mild hop finish

M - Thick and syrupy, mild fizzy carbonation, with a bit of alcohol heat in the finish.

D - Took me a while to get through one. The booze was coming through for me. Though I enjoyed it taking my time with it.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served on-tap in a 10 oz glass.

appears a very dark amber in color, with thin white head. looks good. aroma is mild, but pleasant. caramel, bready malt.

taste is rich with sweet malt, enough hops to balance, and some fruit flavor buried in there. no evidence of the 9% alcohol.

body is medium, but the carbonation is very smooth and makes for an easy to drink beer. overall, a pretty solid brew.

Photo of IronCitySteve
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep dark ruby color with a huge brown foam head that dissipates into a film. There is some spotty lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Faint scents of dark fruit, figs, plums raisins with a faint amount of caramel. A little dissapointing on the nose.

T: The taste was much more impressive than the smell. Starts off with a sweet taste of caramel. The middle brings out the dark fruit, mostly plums and raisins. Finishes with a nice undertone of hops and an ever so small amount of alcohol.

M: A nice full bodied beer, nicely carbonated. Leaves a creamy fruity taste on the palate.

O: This is a really nice Strong Ale. Not overly sweet, a nice hop undertone with the alcohol pretty well hidden.

Photo of JunkYardJake
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle to tulip glass.
This beer looks pretty nice in the glass. Dark brown in color with a thin white head that laced a little. Smells good with alot of dark fruit notes and bready malt aromas. Palate has some sweet raisin and caramel flavors but is burdened by the fusel alcohol and the ill-fitting bitter tannins in the finish. Mouthfeel is heavy and is highly carbonated. Not my favorite brew by any means but could suffice on a cold winter night.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,247 ratings.