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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

1,960 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,960
Reviews: 847
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 36
Gots: 119 | 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:
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: 1,960 | Reviews: 847 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of woemad
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint consumed on-tap at the Viking Tavern in Spokane. Described to me by the fetching bartender as a brown ale on steroids.

The pint came a ruby-ish brown, with an inch or so of white foam.

The nose was of caramel-ishly sweet malts, with some subordinate piney hops that cut through as the beer warms up.

The taste starts out like a brown ale, mostly sweet malts, but more meaty, and with a warming alcohol sensation. There's also a slightly woodsy, oaky kind of taste.

Medium bodied, with a slightly sticky mouthfeel.

Tastes like a boozy, slightly hoppy version of a brown ale. As the last beer of a long night, it was perfect after getting off work. It's a little too sweet and boozy for a session beer, however, so I opted to head home after polishing off my pint of this. I'd drink it again, but not more than one pint at a sitting.

woemad, Apr 04, 2008
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The follically gifted optical anatomy pours a deep clear ruby red with big bubbled off white head. smell is of maltiness with some clean sort of floral hop. Taste follows, predominantly malty but a noticeable spicy hop presence, but not very bitter. The brew is a good balance, but to me it is kind of boring. The flavor is nice and rich, but there is not alot of complexity here. Mouthfeel is good and viscous, drinkability is very good for a 9% brew. A good one, threw one in the cellar just to see what happens. Good beer, but nothing worth seeking out.

AKBelgianBeast, Apr 04, 2008
Photo of Bobikel
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - A clear deep reddish brown liquid pours with a minimal of white head. The foam subsides into a thin ring in a minute or so. Lacing is decent.

Smell - Caramels and malts dominate with a slight earthy hopiness and a touch of yeasty butterscotch.

Taste - Sweet malts sweep through the tongue, with a nice hoppy punch to back the whole thing up. Finishes clean with a small amount of butterscotch.

Mouthfeel - Thick and viscous with a lively carbonation spreading prikly spikes throughout the mouth and over the tongue.

Drinkability - Quite easy drinking despite the ABV. Overall a very well put together strong ale. Although a little more complexity would be nice...

Bobikel, Apr 03, 2008
Photo of kevman527
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Has a rich copper color and reddish hues. Decent one finger head with good retention, nice lacing. Very malty and brown sugary smelling. As with the smell, the malt was very prevalent in the taste and kind of had a molasses type aftertaste. Had a very smooth mouthfeel, with low carbonation.

I very much enjoyed this beer, and will definitely drink again, and recommend it to anyone.

kevman527, Apr 02, 2008
Photo of letsgopens
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled by growler from Vintage. Another interesting selection from Lagunitas, this ASA pours deep, woody amber with some golden orange highlights. The tall, rocky cap of foam appears pale tan and holds well. Significant lace lies behind. Lots of visible rising carbonation is present.

Sweet and malty with a nutty, earthy note. Warm smelling but not terribly robust. Very pleasant though with some buttery, bitter hops. Clean and well balanced.

Sharp, crisp and full flavored with a nutty, slightly phenolic character. Caramel malt and sizable hops. Bity and generally representative of the style with some detectable booze and some citrus. Honey and some moderate fruit: apple and berry.

Smooth, juicy and clean with very fine carbonation. Plenty of warmth and a mild dryness in the finish. Medium bodied throughout. A nice selection and one of the better strong ales I've had in quite some time.

letsgopens, Mar 31, 2008
Photo of flexabull
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting tasting beer... really hard to peg down a style for this one. I think Strong Ale works...

Pours a dark and clear brown color, with a very faint head.

Aromas are nutty, sweet, and of burnt brown sugars.

Flavors are like the aromas. Creamy, malty and sweet up front. Beer than settles into some nutty flavors, a barleywine like alcohol warmth, and a general dark sugar like quality. Finish is a bit crisp, and has a faint mineral hop bite.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Very full, thick, and smooth feeling.

Drinkability is pretty good. This is a tasty and interesting beer, but it's a bit much to be more than a one and done. But with that said, the one glass was well worth trying.

flexabull, Mar 27, 2008
Photo of kdesch
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not bad. I am not sure I'd go out of my way to buy another sixer. Hard to classify this beer. American brown ale? I really enjoy all the Lagunitas beers, but this one did not really stand out for anything in particular. At 9%, it is a monster so it is not really a "session beer" and I am not sure I would want to spend some of my soberness on this beer.

kdesch, Mar 25, 2008
Photo of JDV
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown to maroon color with a large creamy tan head that lasts a bit. Looks quite nice in the glass. Smell is bright and fruity and delicious sweet malt up front. Body is semi creamy with flavors of sticky malt, light alcohol and a slick mouthfeel and a complementing moderate hop bitterness. Kind of a dark toffee toasty hopped maltiness, and I thought it was pretty good, and very drinkable for 9%. Nice beer.

JDV, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of Dragerman
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Great sweet malty goodness, decent alcohol burn, nice balance, not overly hoppy, good session beer. Nice head but not foamy. No aftertaste to speak of. Best served on the warm side. Good with salami and cheese. Could have used slightly more carbonation to bring up the scores in appearance, smell and mouthfeel. Taste was excellent, not a treat, not a utility beer. Reserve for good friends and pathetic souls who have never had a really good beer.

Dragerman, Mar 23, 2008
Photo of tpd975
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark chestnut hue with a nice thick head. Low carbonation and little to no lacing.

S: Big on the malt. Tons of caramel and some toffee. The booze can be noted as well.

T: This one is big and thick. Tons of malt flavors right up front. Caramel and molasses along with some toffee start this one off. A hint of dark fruit comes next. The alcohol taste is fairly prominent here. Very few hops noted.

M: Sort of cloying. The carbonation is on the low side. Just so so to be honest.

D: Not a favorite of mine. One bottle was fine for the session, one bottle is fine forever to be honest.

Overall: I enjoy the hop forward brews Lagunitas puts out. This is not one of my favorites and one I will most likely pass on in the future.

tpd975, Mar 21, 2008
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a dense but clear deep brown body with a slightly red hint in the light. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide to the spongy tan head. After a moment the head sags to a thick meniscus but last for most of the beer.

S- This beer has a smooth full malty nose with a slightly dry light caramel note and a faint coffee malt hint.

T- The taste of sweet lightly toasted malt has some caramel qualities and lightly roasted notes for support. There is a brown sugar note that fades to a soft pine note in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and no real alcohol heat.

D- This beer has a nice big malt profile that is not too sweet and the alcohol is very well hidden. This makes a great sipper but it really catches up to you with the 8% ABV.

rhoadsrage, Mar 19, 2008
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,960 ratings.