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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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

2,006 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,006
Reviews: 849
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 41
Gots: 125 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hairy Eyeball Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,006 | Reviews: 849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Arbitrator
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2009 vintage that has been aged at room temperature (~65 F average) since March 2009.

A: Deep, dark reddish amber color. A quarter-finger of light beige head retains poorly and turns into a thin, big-bubbled collar with no lacing.

S: Caramel malt, dark fruits. Citrus hops (grapefruit and pineapple) give this a nice balance. There's something chalky and spicy about this that doesn't feel quite right.

T: Definitely on the maltier side... The hops, which I imagine were just a balancing agent, are fading fast. There is a mild citrusy undercurrent. Plenty of caramel and brown sugar and a hint of tobacco earthiness. Definitely some plums in there, along with some cinnamon. It's very interesting, but it's tipping toward the sugary side even with just a year on it, and that's challenging to my palate.

M: Medium bodied. The carbonation is a tad low to be called "smooth" or "creamy," but the ABV is pretty well suppressed except for a mild heat.

D: I loved the 2008 vintage and I drank several bottles of it throughout the year. My palate has changed considerably since then; I think it's an enjoyable mid-range beer, best consumed fresh.

Arbitrator, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown body with a reddish tint that's easy to see through. The head is maybe the best part about this beer, it stick around for quite some time and leaves lots of nice lacing. Smells strongly of alcohol with some malt, hops, brown sugariness, and dark fruit. Taste is alright for me, a little over-hopped in my opinion. Theres some decent complexity, I just don't love the taste. Overall it was alright, I don't think I'll seek it out again.

AdmiralDiaz, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of Bigfatbino
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lagunitas the hairy eyeball ale

A = very dark in the glass like a porter or stout, poured at 42°F and had a light-syrupy characteristic. Left little head, but had beautiful lacing in the glass , very few bubbles.

S = Roasted barley, coffee, and citrus, but the smell of alcohol was unmistakable under it. (it's a hefty 8.8% abv)

T = STRONG. It does taste like it smells, and if it were served to me flat and warm, I would swear it really WAS some sort of coffee. The alcohol really comes out up front, and the taste of the brew itself is rather off-putting, but the finish really delivers well

M = Thick, syrupy and resinous. I'm eager to get the swallow through so I can enjoy the finish of the flavor.

D = not so much. Perhaps at a beer tasting or a festival, but for me this would not be placed into my collection of "drinking" beers, so much as "appreciation of brewing skill" beers. Food pairing: Mutton. Goat, or Game, but as a palate cleansing beverage, not a "beer with dinner"

Bigfatbino, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of fropones
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - pours a nice dark coppery red with about half a finger of khaki head on top and leaving beautiful lacing.

S - Smells of pineapples and mixed berries. Some malt in there as well. Very inviting.

T - More berries and pineapple, some citrus fruit in there as well. Some figs towards the back. Some brown sugar as well. Pretty sweet and very delicious.

M - Med-full body and nice creamy. Very silky with a nice bit of dryness in the end from the alcohol.

D - Extremely drinkable and extremely delicious. Alcohol barely noticeable, was surprised to see 8.8%. Only bought a single bottle, will seek out more.

fropones, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of kirok1999
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted this blind and pegged it as an English Barleywine with a bit of hops. Poured a dark amber that stuck to the side of the glass, very sticky lacing.
Smelled of a barleywine spice with a nice backbone of sweetness. Caramel with a bit of astringency.
Taste is a nice spice note from the hops, yet it's a bit thin in the mouth. It has a nice lingering, dark finish that makes you want another sip.
What hurts it overall is its lack of substance and body. Nice to sip and it would pair well with a good cigar.

kirok1999, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of cagocubs
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found some notes from this beer. Bought a six pack and enjoyed every single one of them.

Style is an American strong ale. That is exactly what it is: strong. There is not much hiding the alcohol. Theres some great spice and toasty malts, but the alcohol bite is present in the sip. Don't let you believe this is a boring or overwhelming beer. It is actually really interesting and good. The mouthfeel was the only off part for me. I felt it could have been more balanced instead of sweet.

cagocubs, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of natelocc787
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this at least 5 times before tonight and each time I've been equally impressed. This beer isn't for everyone. The alcohol isn't hidden well and the flavor profile is very powerful. This is one of the more complex beers I've had. Just my opinion. Aside from the buttery, toffee flavors there is many fruit and spice flavors to round this one out. Taste is very unique and overwhelming in a good way. Mouthfeel combines silky, chewy and creamy into one long finish.

natelocc787, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of thain709
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A deep copper body with red highlights around the edges...a small head formed even after an aggressive pour...but it remained a spotty cap throughout...some lacing left

S - A strong and complex nose that provides hints of dark fruit, sweet and roasted malts, and some floral hops

T - The flavor followed the nose closely...it was very sweet at first sip...I'm getting caramel and toffee from the malts as well as a nice roastiness...the roasted malts also provide a nice lingering backbone at the end...the dark fruits, I'm thinking raisins, are well balanced in here...the hops come in at the end...but they aren't as big as I expected...they leave a nice bitterness that's paired with the roasted malts

M - Medium bodied...a little too sticky sweet for me...but a nice bitterness

D - This was almost drinking like a barleywine to me...maybe my bottle was a couple months old...but all in all a decent beer with some nice complexity to it...maybe it's better a little older?

thain709, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce bottle purchased at Oaktree in NJ. Upon pouring into my shaker glass, the ale appears a clear deep brown color with about an inch of tan foam. Nose and flavor are of toffee, caramel, bitter, biting hops, very slight citrus note. medium in both body and carbonation with a lingering bitterness.

ClockworkOrange, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of dfillius
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A: Aggressive pour yields 1/4 finger of tan head with poor retention. More head please. Clear brown liquid with red highlights.

S: Strong caramel malt. Very little of anything else. I guessed it would be an American Strong (wish it said on the label). No off smells. A whiff of alcohol.

T: 56.7 IBU, but little bitterness is apparent. Actually, a pleasant drying bitterness is noticeable later on. Strong malt sweetness, but not cloying. Very tasty. Further complexity as it warms.

M: Drying bitterness is nice. Syrupy and chewy. Well carbonated.

D: Enjoyable in winter I'd say. Strong but tasty. I'd buy another 6-pack, but I wouldn't drink two in a row.

dfillius, Sep 05, 2009
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
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,006 ratings.