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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

2,009 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,009
Reviews: 849
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 42
Gots: 127 | 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: 2,009 | Reviews: 849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Perdue125
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Nice and dark with a good creamy head with good retention and lacing.

Smell: Is light and sweet with a hint of caramel

Taste: Very Sweet up front with caramel and raisins. A hint of citrus from the the hops. Finish has a slight alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel: Seems a tad light for a strong ale but no real complaints

Drinkability: Probably a little more drinkable than the average Strong Ale due to the light mouthfeel, I wouldn't drink more than 2 in a sitting.

Perdue125, Feb 18, 2009
Photo of Clydesdale
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A cloudy brownish-red color with a fairly large, tight and creamy light tan head with very good retention and lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malt up front, although a bit mild. Golden raisins, sweet citrus, perhaps even pineapple. Some estery alcohol also detectable, although rather well-hidden. Spicy hints of clove and candied fruit.

T: Sweet, sugary caramel malt. Brown sugar/molasses definitely present. Fades into a fruity, spicy, and increasingly bitter finish. Candied fruit, especially golden raisins and dried pineapple. Some floral, herbal, and tobacco-like hop flavors. Some alcohol is present, but it's been integrated nicely. Spicy flavors of yeast, cloves, and perhaps ginger. Lots going on here.

M: A sticky, sweet body. Carbonation is pretty light. At times boozy and heavy; at others easily quaffable for the style and ABV. Just shy of coatingly sweet. Fairly creamy.

D: I'm pretty impressed with this. Quite complex and definitely delicious. For its high alcohol content, it drinks nicely. I'll look for this one earlier next year - very appealing.

Clydesdale, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of albern
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not usually a big fan of Amer Strong Ales, but this one is quite good. It pours a nice ruby and mahogany color with a decent off white, almost orange tinged colored head. Lots of lacing, some retention. The nose is very berry flavored, big caramel malts, very sweet, slightly earthy feel in the nose.

The taste has a bit of an ABV throaty burn, but not bad at all for an 8.8% beer. The taste has the berry sweetness indicative of the nose, there is some hop punch in the beer; there are some barleywine qualities in the beer. It is pretty full bodied, a tad syrupy, pretty low carbonation, a bit sweet and sticky, a touch cloying, but overall this is a good beer. The beer has a sweet liqueur quality to it in the best sense, without the alcohol harshness, although there is plenty of ABV in the beer that is more warming than anything else. Overall, the beer is quite complex and enjoyable.

albern, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of PoolhouseRebel
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass. A brownish red with a decent head right in between beige and tan, not much lacing on the glass.

Smell is sweet and sugary, almost caramel with big fresh fruit or berry notes and some alcohol behind it.

Tastes the same as the nose with some nice citrus to go along with it. Not getting much of an aftertaste in this however, it seems like all the flavors happen right on the tongue leaving more of a feel than an aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium, nicely balanced between slick and carbonated

Good drinkability but could have been bigger and I would've liked to taste a bit more alcohol in this one. A solid brew. nonetheless.

PoolhouseRebel, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of beerfairy
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice brown or dark caramel color with a beautiful 1 inch thinck creamy head. Great lacing on the glass. Head and lacing maintain throughout the experience.

S: Heavy malt smell, a bit of fruitiness

T: Malty but not overpowering, you can taste a slight bit of alcohol after drinking about half the bottle.

M: Coats the mouth well, bit of a bite from the alcohol at the end.

D: With the 8.8% ABV I can't drink more than a few of these in a sitting, but it's not a bad beer.

beerfairy, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Thomas Hardy's snifter.

Appearance: A darker amber color with swirling carbonation and a darker orange off-white head, leaving raindrop lacing around the glass.

Smell: Malty and spicy at the forefront. Caramel malts, a bit of fruit, good spiciness with some pepper, and almost some spicy biting citrus, which I like since I hope that means it won't be too much of a malt bomb.

Taste: Yes, good. A good interesting balance between the citrus and almost interestingly Saison-like and sour hops, unless it's some kind of yeast they're using. Then some brown sugar, caramel malts, and fruit sweetness come in, and maybe some bitter chocolate. Finish is mellow and there's hardly a semblance of alcohol, which is nuts. Finish has more hop bitterness and sourness than I expected, but it's still mellow and holds back a bit of the more caramel and chocolate malt flavors. I wonder if this bottle has already had a chance to maybe mellow out a bit? Good stuff.

Mouthfeel: A big brew, and the mouthfeel to come with it. Coating, but not enough sugars or out-of-whackness to be cloying. Could be creamier and a bit more carbonated, but as it stands it's certainly good for this high of an ABV.

Drinkability: A solid Strong Ale from Lagunitas. Especially at around $9-$10 a sick-pack, you can make this one last over a long snifter session. I wish it packed more of a punch overall, and even though I don't smoke cigars, for some reason I imagine this is one that would go well with one. And not only that, it's warm out right now, in February in Richmond, and the beer is drinking just fine. That adds some points, since most would be reserved, at least for me, for winter.

asabreed, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of TheMistler
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Delayed-release head, tan with medium sized bubbles. Not much of it, and it dissipates very quickly. Tiny whisps. A dark but clear amber-brown brew, it pours a tad thick.

Molasses, caramel, a whiff of cherries to the nose. Vanilla. Dough malt. The slightest hint of alcohol.

Sweet, dark fruit. Dark bread. Vanilla. Some slight spice, white pepper. I wonder if it is due to the alcohol. Tobacco. I saw that another advocate noted the presence of tobacco in the aroma, and I'm not sure that I've ever used it as a descriptor, but the former smoker in me definitely tasted a hint of it. A bit of soy sauce. Some pine hops at the end, a hint of resin. Surprisingly well balanced, though this is of course a malt-heavy brew.

Some slight syrupiness, a sensation I generally dislike, but it isn't too bad here. Heavy feel, but with a surprisingly (given the lack of head) good carbonation kick. Prickliness builds, after starting out negligible.

Tasty, pretty darn drinkable. Dangerously so, in fact. ABV contributes a bit to the taste, but it very well hidden nonetheless.

TheMistler, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of washburnkid
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I haven't had the most consistent experiences with Lagunitas IPA, so I sprang for their current seasonals to give this nearby brewery another shot!

Thin film of head disappears quickly over a brown body with copper and amber highlights. Smells of roasted dark malts, very sweet and pleasant fruits with the slightest alcohol coming through. Tastes of malts and hops, balanced so perfectly; flavors of nut and chocolate make me wonder if this beer is the spawn of a porter and a brown ale. Only the tiniest bit of sour and alcohol pulls through each sip. The mouthfeel is what is unattractive for me. Medium carbonation is just fine, but the beer itself is light, water and even thin. An exceptionally easy beer to drink overall--it's like the nearly 9% alcohol stayed in the bottle during the pour! I'd recommend Arrogant Bastard over this one in the category, but I'm pleased with this Lagunitas release. It's perfect for a rainy night.

washburnkid, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of paco1029384756
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color with two fingers of off white head.

Scent of caramel, grass, earth, alcohol, tobacco, fruits, and some sugars. Nothing really too out of proportion with this beer, though the alcohol is a tad strong.

Taste of caramel, raspberries, strawberries, grass, some alcohol, and a hint of leather. Well balanced for the diverse flavors, alcohol is hidden pretty well.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with some carbonation, a bit thin.

paco1029384756, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of soupyman10
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one cause I'm of the opinion that Lagunitas beers are consistently solid for a comparatively modest price. This one's no different, although I had the hardest time figuring out what the heck it was (barley wine? double IPA? strong ale?). Either way, pours a deep amber color with a small head that dissolves to a fairly fine film quickly. Smell is lots of fruit, sweet caramel malt, prunes, maybe some raisins. A touch of chocolate. Vanilla. Flavor's fairly similar, if with an added alcohol heat to it (as with most of Lagunitas's beers). Molasses, caramel, candy malt. A touch of fruit. Body is solid, appropriate for the style, with good carbonation. Overall, a solid brew if not one of my favorites of theirs (I'd go for the Brown Shugga over this one if in a Lag. strong ale duel).

6-pack/$11/Whole Foods

soupyman10, Feb 04, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
2.4/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Reviewed 1/25/2007 (22oz bottle):

Pours a dark brown black color, almost no head, quickly diminishing. Tan in color. Strong dark fruit aroma, grape, some hops, some alcohol. Taste of alcohol, hoppy flavor, some of that dark fruit taste again. Letting warm up a bit, hopefully the alcohol taste will be mellowed. Not much mellower.

jujubeast6000, Feb 02, 2009
Photo of tavernjef
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep coppery brown in dull light but turns a nice ruby red up to a bright light. Slim cap of darkened yellowy foam emerges and resedes quickly. A few spots of lace trickle across the glass.

Aroma is softly yeilding on the nose with deep roasted malt slathered in a rich tang of brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, and fig.

Taste is a nice simple but lengthy tone of softly tangy malts that render a very well-rounded, semi chewy, dark fruit thickness. Solid date, fig, and raisiny goodness mellowed over well with hints to vanilla, brown sugar, and chewy molasses cookies.

Great medium body of soothingly easy textured malts with one creamy ease of mellowed tang and chewyness. Nice and lofty in the front and middle with a long gooey finish of dark malty stuff sticking around.

I found the drinkability here as pretty easy and quite high. The texture is amazingly amble and fillingly rich with a nice taste to match its soothingly silkenesk flow. Nothing Hairy about it really. More like yummy!

tavernjef, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of khiasmus
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"American 'strong' ale? What the heck is that? Us old-schoolers never called anythin' such." So said uncle Jimmy, with his curmudgeon jowls reminiscent of plastic bags on a windy day...
"Well I spose it LOOKS like a beer, can't say fairer than that... Like some sorta Amber ale or sumthin'... not much on the 'head' though. Is this sposed to be a good thing, this stickiness on the walls of the glass?"
"Called lacing, unc," I grunt, looking out across the yard at my cousins enjoying their swingset, as I enjoy my own creaky wooden porch-swing.
"I be durn if I ever heard a no beer with such a feminine side... you youngins and yer open minds... watch now, yer damned near yer brains fallin' out!"
I crack the obligatory half-smile and prod, "well, whaddya think?"
"Shore can smell the alcohol in this'n, boy. Some kinda plum-cake sweetness too, and I spose there's a bitter'n hop in there somewhere...."
He takes a first swallow and I'm proud that he took the time to smell it before quaffing the thing.
I sip my own.
"yep, just like the smell, but for the thickness of it... thas' a mighty warmin beer there, 'minds me a that 'ere whisky we'z a-drinkin yestereve." (He picked up that word from me. Thinks it makes him sound like a college grad...)
Really more of a barleywine, I think. Highly alcoholic, as uncle Jimmy pointed out. Hops are there, but don't quite get enough presence to override the intense molasses-syrup sweet and lingering spicy alcohol. The hops do leave a slight astringency, though a heavy one, along with the warmth of the finish. This one will probably age well.
"Well boy, I be durn if that ain't a good 'un. Be durn if it ain't."
"Quite right, Uncle Jimmy."

khiasmus, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of GilGarp
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from a stubby 12oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. A slow pour into the center of the glass creates great white head on top of a perfect redish brown beer. There's good retention and nice lacing left behind on the glass.

Aroma is sweet and malty with a slight bit of sour cherries and alcohol.

Taste is nicely done with good bittering and sweetness in balance. There's certainly a lot of hops but what I really enjoy about this beer is the cherries, apples, and pears that give it a fruity, almost Belgian, quality to it. A bit of sour on the finish helps as well.

Mouthfeel is good for the style with full body and minimal carbonation. Just how I like it.

Drinkability is good for the strength but the almost 9% ABV will show itself after just a few sips.

Overall a good beer but there are other examples of the style that I enjoy better like Double Bastard and Odell's ESR. Still a good offering and at a fair price.

GilGarp, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of homebrew311
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into delerium nocturnum snifter.

A- A nice brownish red brew with a clear appearance. Thin offwhite head with nice lacing around the glass.

S- I detect a great amount of sweetness from the grains. Somewhat fruity, grape like.

T - Again, grain up front, can really detect the sweetness. Boozy taste as it goes down, but not too much considering the 8.8 ABV. Reminds me of DFH Raison D'Etre with a much sweeter grain profile.

M- Appears thin, but goes down thick and slightly syrupy. A little bit sticky.

D - Not good for a session, but very drinkable for a strong ale. A little bit too sweet for me, but another solid brew from Lagunitas that comes at a terrific value (8.99/6 pack)

homebrew311, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of ihaf2p
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a fan of Lagunitas but have reservations about beer with high ABV. This beer drinks very smooth and has a great brown sugar and molasses taste to it. ABV is not prevalent...could drink a couple of these with no problems. I did not get much aroma from the beer which was a little suprising...overall would probably buy it again.

ihaf2p, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of ThirdLap
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a $10 sixer from Wine and Spirits World in Vacaville. Served in a RR tulip at about 55°.

A - Pours a dark cherry brown with a 1" light tan head that quickly recedes to a few millimeters. Minor agitation forces a dense return, reminiscent of a nitro pour. Slippery lacing leaves a highly cobwebbed glass as it empties.

S - Not its strong point. I get malt and hints of lighter fruits.

T - Well, it smells like malt for a reason; this is a very malt-forward beer. Most of the flavors you get with such beers are there (raisins, molasses, caramel, etc), but I'd be reaching if I said I was getting a whole lot more. Some spices perhaps. Hops are present but muted.

M - Medium carbonation, minimal alcohol burn, with a mildly bitter finish. Sticky and thick mouthfeel that works very well here. Pretty darn good.

D - Despite a very well-masked abv, drinkability suffers due to it being a rather uninspiring beer.

ThirdLap, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of Frosty80
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: clear, dark amber

Smell: not very fragrant. maybe some dark fruit and malty sweetness with a little bit of alcohol

Taste: id say dominated by bitterness and alcohol, though that might give the wrong impression. there is a little bit of malty sweetness and dark fruit, but the alcohol and bitterness is more up front

Mouthfeel: medium body. low carbonation. smooth

Notes: just like Lagunitas - not a lot of anything here. its like they are too afraid of putting too much flavor in their beers. further evidence that lagunitas is overrated

Frosty80, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of mattster
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At a friend's house, 12 ounce bottle poured into standard hi-ball glass.

Pours a nice foamy head of 1" atop a translucent dark reddish-brown brew.

Smell is of dark malts - Slightly sweet smelling and taste is a little sweet, but nice dark roast notes coffee and light hints of chocolate. Very well balanced with only a tough of bitterness from hops. Really nice carbonation and I never would have guess the ABV had I not read it on the bottle. No burn, very smooth. I could have a nice little session with this gremlin.

All and all, a superb brew. Thanks Scott.

mattster, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of supercolter
2.78/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I will be very honest, I did not really enjoy this beer. Appearance is good, nice deep brown color with a little head and no lacing. Smell is okay with lots of dried dark fruit right up front, a bit of hops and way too much alcohol for 8.80% in my opinion. Taste is more of the same but something doesn't mix well here. It goes sour and not in a good way. Mouthfeel is decent, slightly above medium body. Drinkability is not that good.

supercolter, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of Buebie
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Picked up today at Zipp's.

Poured from a 12oz brown stubby into a snifter.
Dark in color with a ruby violet transparent glow when held to light. Carbonation is just under a finger of tan, cola like head.
Fizzles down quickly to no retention. Lace is thin and streaky, most of which receeds back into the beer.

Aroma is very fruit forward with a welchs red grape kind of saturated, sweet juice concentrate aroma. Some malts and a touch of cereal grains with a grassy dry hay like aroma. Just a mild touch of solvent at the knose, and by mild I literally mean it.

Very laid back carbonation becoming increasingly smooth with a creamy texture. Terrificly smooth mouthfeel with just a touch of slickness.
Upfront its a bit too sweet with a kind of robotusen cough syrup flavor. Turning a bit sour in a sourish cherry flavor. Hints of oak and more welches juice concentrate.

The flavors are a bit rough, but the mouthfeel is fantastic. I believe a little age on this would do it alot of good. So lets see what 6 months gives us.

Buebie, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of optiontwo
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. poured into generic pint glass

Appearance: Dark ruby red with almost a purplish hue to it. One and a half inch frothy head conjured up from a semi-vigorous pour. Great lacing.

Smell: Definitely not what I was expecting the first thing I smell is grape juice. Sweet, almost artificial smelling, fruits (plum, fig, blueberry) mix together with caramel scent. Mmmm.

Taste: Hmmm. It's hard to put my finger on some of these flavors but I'll give it a shot. Subtle blueberry and grape come through right away followed by sweet caramel flavor and it finishes with a nice resinous hop flavor and bites properly. Unfortunately, it has a slight metallic aftertaste which is not overwhelming but distracting.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thick but not bad.

Drinkability: Alcohol is hidden pretty well, I wouldn't guess that this beer is 8.8% ABV but it leans toward the syrupy side so I don't know how many I'd like in a sitting.

Overall: All in all this is a good, unique brew. The flavors blend together almost a little too much and it becomes somewhat muddled, that and it has the slight metallic aftertaste. Otherwise this is another solid effort from Lagunitas.

optiontwo, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of SLeffler27
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This plum red beer puts up a decent beige froth that drops to a strong ring of thin lace while a film clings to the tulip glass. A notable, iridescent glow emanates when put to light.

This beer fills the room with sweet, malty wheat bread and molasses followed by notes of spruce. Some fumes of alcohol present when the glass is raised.

Flavors closely follow the aroma, as this beer starts bitter but warms to a sweet acidic brew and is surprisingly well balanced.

A full, creamy body with lively carbonation and light astringency.

This is a great companion for any meal or just for its own sake. The nice complexity makes this a fit also for contemplation or conversation.

Date consumed: 7 September 2008

SLeffler27, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of roadhouse
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

Appears reddish brown, somewhat hazy, with a three-quarter inch cream colored head that sinks to a film and leaves a small amount of lacing.

Aroma is very raisiny and sweet with a candied fruit thing going on. Quite good but there's a syrupy quality to it that goes a bit too far.

Taste is again raisiny with candied fruit flavors. There's a decent citrusy hop bitterness to offset the sweetness that I was expecting. The only downside is just how one dimensional it is. It starts the same and finishes the same.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, pretty creamy, and smooth.

This wasn't a bad beer but it just seemed really boring to me. I wouldn't seek it out.

roadhouse, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish-brown body with a small, thinning, white head.

Smell: A scent of freshly opened boxes of raisins overlaying a light, earthy maltiness and notes of sherry and roast.

Taste: Moderately sweet, earthy maltiness with just a slight roastiness. Prominent raisin fruitiness. Light sherry, some spices, and even a dash of coffee. Medium-light bitterness. Hint of alcohol on the drying, lightly astringent finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: A bit too sweet and a bit too coarse, though it fits the name.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 29, 2008
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,009 ratings.