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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
86
very good

1,950 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,950
Reviews: 847
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 36
Gots: 117 | 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
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Ratings: 1,950 | Reviews: 847 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of ccrida
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my Spiegelau snifter, Hairy Eyeball is a dark, cloudy garnet with a one-finger khaki head that settles into a long-lasting skim, leaving decent lace.

Smell is sweet and clean, honey and peaches, very candi like, with some piney hops as it opens up.

Taste is strong crystal malt, sugar and cured fruit esters, with floral and citrus hops and a dry, alcoholic finish. This is an unusual ale, really more Belgian strong then anything else, clean and smooth if not too complex.

Mouthfeel is drier and lighter bodied.

Drinkability is pretty high, a smooth and simple stronger ale with a clean profile and high digestibility. Still it's pretty sugary, and with the higher ABV, I doubt I'd enjoy more then 2 or 3 of these.

ccrida, Mar 19, 2008
Photo of MSchae1017
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was poured into a pint glass from the 12oz bottle.

The beer erupts with a moderately sized cream colored head and a deep amber body. The head holds nicely leaving trails of lace.

The smell is of sweet candy along with caramel malts. There is also the faint aroma of piney and minty hops.

The taste is up front with sweet candy like malts. This is followed quickly by minty hops. Other flavors present are piney hops and caramel, toasted, roasted, and biscuity malts.

This beer has a full body and active carbonation.

Overall, it is a nicely drinkable beer. The candy sweetness and minty hops are not quite my preference, but it is certainly quaffable. Worth a try, but not my first choice.

MSchae1017, Mar 18, 2008
Photo of cswhitehorse
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Hairy Eyeball pours a lovely red with a good two finger foam head and some strong lacing. The aroma is more on the malty side and I get some brown sugar and dark fruit smell like dates.

The taste is strongly malted and the 8.8 abv is hidden nicely. I get some cherries in the middle of the drink.

In the mouth is it fairly thin and doesn't leave much of a mark but the malt that hangs out waiting for a ride.

Overall not a bad beer but I would probably only drink one or two due to the richness of the brew.

cswhitehorse, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of ojiikun
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found on tap at Collins in Seattle. Full pint poured to the brim with no head, just a single ring on the wall and two little, lacy islands. Colour is just like a cola with ice in it. Orange side of brown.

Smell is malty and sweet with a few acrid hops. A little caramel, a little honey. Some meaty, balsamic notes by the end.

Taste hits you with some woodsey hops than manage a decent alpha showing. Backing is surprisingly watery and clean. Leafy more than spicy, save some black pepper.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally clean at first, only to become a little coating by the end. Light as a feather in the mouth, even despite underwhelming carbonation. Hides it's booze by wearing the costume of a hoppy brown ale.

All in all, an odd juxtaposition of light and refreshing and bursts of intensity. Drinkable, but not too memorable.

ojiikun, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a highball glass a deep chestnut brown, with a slight reddish tint. Tan foam, small head, laces a little bit.

Aroma is malty, with a little raisiny sweetness.

Hop bitterness shows up in the taste, but any hop flavor/aroma is buried under a bucketload of dark caramel malt and molasses flavor. Alcohol is readily apparent. Mouthfeel had a little creaminess to it, but wasn't huge. Worth a try, but I won't look for it again.

Tried this for $4.75 at Four Moon Tavern in Chicago.

emerge077, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of Shaw
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, deep mahogany with a thick off-white head that leaves nice lacing in my glass.

Its aroma is of malt and molasses, perhaps with a hint of coffee.

The taste is all about the malt. But it's not sweet. This has a nice molasses/caramel/toasted malt flavor. The hop flavors are quite subservient to the malt. This is the maltiest beer I've had from Lagunitas.

A smooth body.

Overall a nice strong ale. Not the best from Lagunitas, but well worth drinking.

Shaw, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of MarkSCCOT
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle received from stopbarking into a pint glass.

A. Dark amber beer with a sparse head that just disappears as soon as it appears.

S. Strong crystal malts with just a hint of raisins. Hops are slight.

T. As it smells. I have heard this described as a complicated beer. Maybe it is too fresh.

M. Good finish, slight carbonation with the abv well balanced.

D. Hard to finish. The rest of the 6 pack is going in the cellar. Hopefully it gows to meet it's reputation.

MarkSCCOT, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this at the sterling Sun Singer, since they've been rotating in various singles for mixed sixer purchase--great idea. a finger of dense off-white head tops a clear, brown body with blackberry highlights. Lots more fruit on the nose than I expected, with orange, pineapple, and grapefruit emerging. This is very smooth, a fine alternative to hopped-up strong ales and barleywines I've had lately, and that's not a complaint in the slightest.

Really quite delicious, a very enjoyable strong ale that masks the high ABV (8.8%) very well. Excellent.

Gehrig, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of bigelo1016
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- poured a redish amber with just a trace of a tan head which dissappeared in no time

S- Hints of roasted caramel and maybe a fig like smell. very little if any hop smell

T- Roasted malts, caramel, a hint of chocolate and hoppy bitterness at the tail end. The alcohol comes thru alittle but really tame for it's level

M- Very clean, light carbonation, easy on the tongue

D- A little strong for too many but it's deceptive. Very good beer all around. I love this brewery

bigelo1016, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a deep, clear ruby red color with a very light beige head.

Aroma of sweet malts, raisins, and a kiss of caramel.

The taste is big,bright, and sweet. Sweet malts, white sugar, caramel, and raisins. Hops are noted at the end to give balance. The almost-9% alcohol is well hidden.

Medium mouthfeel, drying, and moderately carbonated.

This strong ale is very easy to drink. Almost too easy. I'll definitely have again.

Monkeyknife, Mar 10, 2008
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,950 ratings.