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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

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,971
Reviews: 847
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 36
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 Goliath
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown, appears ruby in the light. A large inch and a half of light tan head forms on top. Nice retention and a bit of lacing.

Aroma is nice. A subdued citrus hoppiness, with some sweet caramel. Also some pine and grain.

Taste is pretty nice. A subtle citrus hop note followed by a good maltiness. Strong hints of grain, caramel, and pine.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with plenty of carbonation.

Drinkability is fairly high. Alcohol is moderate, and flavor is good making for a nice and easily consumed beer.

Goliath, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Wine Warehouse in Charlottesville, VA. Poured into a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: A surprisingly clear but deep brown-bodied beer with garnet highlights. Very fine and active carbonation in this one. A slightly off-white head fades slowly and leaves thick, solid sheets of lacing.

Aroma: Thick swaths of highly roasted malts - brown sugar, molasses particularly - and dark, fruity esters - cherries, figs. A few spices - light and airy, hints of cinnamon?

Taste: Hmmmm. A very subtle mouth. Sweet, with light brown sugar being the predominant malt note. More tart fruit notes than in the nose - citrus, cherry, and a few darker, reduced notes. The malt that is there is balanced well by a spicy bitterness - perhaps the origin of the citrus.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and fairly thick, with a fairly even and fine-bubbled feel. Finishes smooth but thick.

Drinkability: Much less malty than the other Lagunitas strong ale that's commonly available (the Brown Shugga'), and a little more up my alley - more complex, more subtle. That being said, the abv% is still up there, so be careful. Interesting, and I'd recommend giving it a shot at least once.

CrellMoset, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Secret Santa: Poured a deep dark brown color ale with an average foamy head with average retention and no lacing. Aroma of big caramel malt is quite imposing and dominating. Taste is also dominated by some heavy caramel malt with some notes of bitter hops. Lacking some floral or citrus notes with not as much hops as I was expecting considering the brewery. Full body with average carbonation and no discernable alcohol. This one was a bit of a surprise considering the lack of hops (yes there is a lot but not as much as I would expect from Lagunitas) but the malt was very efficient.

Phyl21ca, Jul 30, 2008
Photo of rye726
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Posiibly more of an American Barley than a Strong Ale.

Rich amber color with a foamy tan head.

The nose is sweet with some balancing hops. Alcohol is well hidden.

The taste is also on the sweet side with lots of residual sugars. The floral hops keep a good balance.

The body is full yet goes down well. This is a damn good brew whatever it is. Up there with Old Gnarly.

rye726, Jul 24, 2008
Photo of erosier
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a deep amber color with a very short tan head that fades to a ring around the glass. Some lacing on the way down.
S: Smells of deep roasted malts, some piney hops, and a hint of alcohol at the end.
T: The taste is of a deep roasted malty base underneath a piney and earth hoppy bitterness followed by a hint of alcohol.
M: Very heavy, warming, and a good amount of carbonation.
D: Pretty good. I could drink the whole thing and although there was some alcohol present it didn't feel like 9% abv beer.

erosier, Jul 01, 2008
Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's been awhile since I had Brown Shugga, but after my first sip, the first thought I had was "this reminds me of Brown Shugga." Which I suspected, and then confirmed, is made by the same brewery. Not a knock on the brew, by any means.

Pours a dark ruddy amber. Small white head vanishes quickly, leaving a thin whit ecrust behind.

Smells sweet and fruity. Mostly citrus and malt, but definitely some tropical overtones.

Taste is robust and definitely packs an alcohol wallop. There's even a slight burn. Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated and light, despite the heavy alcohol. Lots of sweet malt, some grapefruit hops, and tons of juicy citrus and tropical fruit. And, is that melon?

Interesting, I'd definitely revisit.

Overlord, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of yemenmocha
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours cola colored deep brown with light tan head.

Nose has some baked dessert species, brown sugar, and brown bread.

Palate is caramel sweet, balanced nicely with hops, and just a little warmth on the finish.

Alcohol is very nicely concealed. Too drinkable for such a strong ale.

yemenmocha, Jun 06, 2008
Photo of animal69
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a deep mahogany brown with a modest head which dissipates quickly leaving a light lacing in my snifter ; a strong smell, cereal grains, dark fruits, caramels, alcohol and licorice, a touch of hops and smoke detected as well ; a rich, sweet, malty flavor full of nuts, dates and fig well balanced with hop bitterness ; a full bodied brew with moderate carbonation ; not a bad beer at all, pretty drinkable for a 9% ABV...

animal69, May 30, 2008
Photo of Proteus93
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A nice reddish brown... just short of being a ruby red under the light. Offwhite, semi-creamy head leaves a thin sheet over the surface.

S: A nice balance between the malt and hops aromas here. Somewhat sweet maltiness with a little pine-leaning hop aroma.

T + M: Some figgy dark fruit flavours. Toasted malts and a little bit of a caramel hint. A touch of hoppy arrogance that really steps out about halfway through a mouthful, almost immediately the sweet caramel flavour. Finishes maybe a little thick, but acceptable... quite full, rich, and big all the way down, which likely plays into that.

D: Flavours get a little rich after a while and could even start skirting on feeling a bit cloying. This can be prevented by taking it easy. It's a pretty tasty brew, but more of a one at a time thing.


Proteus93, May 24, 2008
Photo of brewcrew76
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Copper, mahogany with a thin tan head.

S - Sweet, nutty, biscuit, caramel and toffee.

T - Lightly toasted malt, sweet caramel, alcohol and a touch of hops.

M - Medium body and slightly cloying.

D - Malty and slightly boozy making it a bit cloying. Hard to have more than 1 in a sitting. Reminds me of a milder version of brown shugga.

brewcrew76, May 24, 2008
Photo of BretSikkink
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Dark brown body, good reddish-orange highlighting. Head is tan, not much left in the snifter after a professional pour, but the lacing turns out to be fabulous.

Seems nicely balanced and also nicely huge in the nose. Quite a lot of strong-ale hopping, citric and pine, with a backing of certain dark spices. Malts are also heavily represented here, with big caramel sweetness.

Hard hitter, the Eyeball. Lots of big, thick, syrupy sweetness, fat mouthfeel, and great complexity. Mainly there's a lot of caramel malt, backed up with some smokiness, and balancing the initially citric, but strongly pine-infused hops.

Not as spicy as I remember from the bottle, but still very complex and tasty, not to mention quite large. Recommended.

BretSikkink, May 14, 2008
Photo of Taffle
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Eyeball was eye-candy being poured into the glass. Appeared thick and rich with cola-like color. Head retention was a bit weak but maintained a lasting lace around the edges.

Fig and spice sweetened the nose with some hoppiness to livin' it up a bit.

The taste had a hoppy, slightly bitter introduction followed by a rich, malty finish. Bold and delicious.

The mild carbonation and maltiness represented a rich texture with tons of body.

Overall, a superb brew with some kick. Highly recommened for American Strong Ale advocates.

Taffle, May 14, 2008
Photo of mhewes
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A : Pours a reddish brown with a good white head that sticks around for a while. Good lacing also

S : Lots of alcohol and malt

T : Starts off with a lot of hops, followed by a strong malt flavor with a little bitterness at the finish

M : Good carbonation

D : Really good and easy drinking. You don't feel the alcohol

mhewes, May 13, 2008
Photo of gunnerman
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass pours an impressive reddish brown with some serioud head that leaves some thick fat lace on the glass. Smell is very sweet with hints of raison and maple in there also a bit of sweet molasses. Taste is pretty awesome of raison with malt backbone and a bit of a hop bitterness. This is pretty awesome stuff and rivals what some of the other big players are doing out their for their strong ales, In my book simply put, awesome stuff.

gunnerman, May 08, 2008
Photo of oelergud
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short stubby brown 12oz glass bottle with a twist-off cap. Classic Lagunitas label which claims 9% ABV.
Beautiful mahogany ruby clear body with good carbonation. Creamy tan head with small bubbles. Good retention and lace.
Caramel and citrusy smell. Dark ripe cherries, banana and prunes, almonds with grassy hops and a touch of hay.
Sweet malty flavor with a spiked hop lining. Almonds, prunes, some cherry, vanilla and faint alcohol. The aftertaste is a stronger hop character, still spiked and more alcoholic..
Full body and some coating with a slick note. Slightly dry finish.
Very enjoyable and drinkable.


oelergud, May 05, 2008
Photo of Portertime
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love the name of this beer, it's great. Should have been the name of their double IPA though but I digress. Poured a nice dark reddish brown with a wee head. The nose was refreshing with sweet milk chocolate notes and a hint of citrus. The taste was equally malty but balanced well with the hops and fairly smooth on the palate. It was warming but you don't notice the hefty ABV too much in the taste.

Portertime, Apr 28, 2008
Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 12 oz. twisty into a tulip glass. Appears dark brown in the glass, and reveals a beautiful ruby color when held up to the light. Medium sized tan head does not leave anything in the lacing department.

Mildly sour and metallic aroma, with some roasted malts and alcohol behind it all. I get no hops. Taste is initially somewhat metallic as well, but quickly becomes sweet with malt and then results in a warm alcohol finish with not a lot of evident bitterness. When it's all done and I have not taken a sip for several minutes I can still think about it and taste a sour aspect of this beer. I'm not sure if it was intended or not, but it's not unpleasant.

This beer is big bodied and definitely a sipper. The more it warms (and the more it warms me up) I can really start to appreciate it. Not for the faint of heart or the newly converted.

ZimZamZoom, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of Spikester
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The name was a bit off-putting as I was expecting a barley-wine or something too over the top for me.

A-Pours brown with red highlights with a good amount of head (1") and lots of tight lacing.

S-Big floral hop aroma with some slight hint of chocolate / coffee.

T-Big full hop bite with plenty of complex malts. Nothing dull about this brew. Nice dry bitter finish. I had no particular issues with the abv level as this followed a good IPA.

M-Much better than average.

D-One per sitting is all I'd recommend. Maybe two if you're brave. Very enjoyable beer.

Spikester, Apr 20, 2008
Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby-brown color and very clear. The head is beige and long lasting. Excellent ring lace after each sip.

Oily alcohol aromas; lots of sweet malt that is more dark than light.

The flavor profile is quite hoppy. The bitterness is upfront--the molasses-like malt shows up mid-taste, but the swallow returns to the hop. Some bittersweet chocolate flavors. The alcohol warmth and oiliness is muted by the full body. Decent carbonation also helps cut any of the coy perfumes.

Slightly deceptive in terms of potency, this beer seems like you could have several--the flavor seems innocent enough.

smcolw, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of BeerBelcher
2.48/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I can definitely sympathize with those who offering a contrary opinion on this beer, as I was not a fan either. It had a significant liquor presence that I did not care for that came off very medicine-y. I finished it, and it wasn't terrible, but it definitely is not an experience I will be seeking out again.

My bottle poured a copper color with minimal head. Color was nice, beer was admirably clear, and brilliantly bright. Aroma was a combination of cereal/grain with some diacetyl and and a liquorice/medicine smell. Flavor and was caramel-y and harsh. It had a real cereal/grainy element combined with a lot of liquor/medicine flavor, but not in a good way. For some reason, it felt like there was some grain in the beer other than barley, like maybe oatmeal. Mouthfeel was unremarkable.

I can't say I'll be seeking out this beer again, nor recommending it to others.

I bought this bottle as a 12oz single at 3 Cellars in Franklin, WI.

BeerBelcher, Apr 14, 2008
Photo of MiScusi
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown. The smell is malty and earthy. The taste had a lot of sweetness in it. Caramel all over the place. To me it's maybe on the verge of being cloying. What this reminded me of is Leffe Brown which is way too sweet, almost sugary for me. The malt predominates big time in this beer. I probably wouldn't get it again although maybe I can see a beer with this sort of taste being ok in certain situations (ie maybe some sort of food pairing).

MiScusi, Apr 13, 2008
Photo of Vancer
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got a nice pour going, deep oaken with a damn fine frothy head of ivory. Hard to smell sweet, but the malts in the aroma seem just that. And oh yeah, a sweet caramel, plum, molassis all mix in for a <bit to much> sweet quaff.

Needs more hop to balance out such a brew, seems almost like a sweet dobble bock. Nothing hairy about this brew, the 9% is NOT to be felt. But, by mid-bottle, the sweetness settles (or is less noticeable).

Vancer, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of pmcadamis
4.88/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - This brew is deeply purple/crimson/amber/ruby...an outstanding hue that seems to change the light like a prism (think Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album cover). The small but dense one finger head stays put for quite some time, and looks pretty much solid. Big sheets of wet lace glide down the sides of my snifter and leave some nice webwork behind.

S - Deep woodsy leafy notes and ripe fruit aromas combine to produce a scent that is much like what I would imagine a dark forest in one of Grimm's fairy tales to smell like. Ripe, nearly rotten, apples jump out at me, along with a dank fern-studded gully or cave-like note. There is also something that reminds me of chocolate covered cherries, although there aren't really any obvious chocolate notes. It's more like an artificial chocolate and raspberry or cherry aroma. This one is knocking my socks off in the nose department!

T - This is loaded with firm and tight woodsy notes. Walnuts, wet sticks collected from the woods after a rain, sesame seeds, and some hidden flavors of dried fruit (dried apple). Rhubarb? Some beef-jerky salty smoke adds complexity, and makes this a brew to be worshiped by any smoke-beer lover such as myself. Some bourbon characteristics are present due to the boozy flavors created by the high ABV. This is a damn tasty concoction!

M - Full bodied, boozy, tight, firm, and woody on the palate. Full with very subtle carbonation, this is thick but never flabby. A muscular brew if you will. This is silky and smooth, but simultaneously brutal and dry. Oh, man...this is good.

D - This is a mind-blowing brew! It's extremely complex and tasty, and could serve as an excellent sipper or a semi-sessionable brew (for a short session at home, when no driving is necessary). When I first heard the name, I immediately associated a hairy eyeball with a ball sack or single nut, but then I realized that hairy eyeball probably refers to the blood shot state of inebriation that could be attained by drinking more than one of these bad mofos!

pmcadamis, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of halfP1NT
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass, dark brown with a beautiful ruby color when held up to the light. Nice tan, soapy head leaves some thin lacing.

First to hit my nose is sweet fruit - cherry? Then sweet malts, very inviting smell.

Smooth, malty taste, a little hop bite. Roasted, sweet malts, reminds me of a red ale. I thought the alcohol was well hidden in the taste. I was hoping it would gain a little complexity as it warmed, but it really did not.

Overall enjoyable, enough carbonation that it wasn't too syrupy. Would've made a good session beer if it weren't for the high abv, but I enjoyed sipping this over an hour or so.

halfP1NT, Apr 09, 2008
Photo of SurlyDuff
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stubby 12oz bottle. Pours a clear red color with a real nice sticky lacing.

Caramel malty aroma. Cooked vegetables, fairly astringent alcohol, and burn sugar too.

Nice belgian twang in there. Good dried fruit presence. Raisins, fig, woody alcohol.

THe ABV is not hidden well in this one, but it's still drinkable nevertheless. Juicy and mouthwatering mouthfeel.

Really nice and full body. Tasty, but not in my top 3 Lagunitas.

SurlyDuff, Apr 08, 2008
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,971 ratings.