Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,130 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,130
Reviews: 866
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 50
Gots: 173 | 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: 2,130 | Reviews: 866 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of superdedooperboy
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. ABV is noted on the label as 8.7%. No discernible freshness date present.

Pours a beautiful clear, deep ruby-brown with a huge, rich, creamy head of beige/light tan foam. Head retention is excellent, falling away slowly and clinging with its all to the walls of the glass, leaving behind thick patchy curtains as the vessel empties.

Aroma is quite sweet and fruity. Light notes of caramel and brown sugar grace the nose, with some sweet dark cherry and a hint of floral, mildly citrusy hop notes.

Body is medium-full with a rather light level of carbonation. On the tongue, the flavors start off a bit sweet, with caramel and a faint bit of toffee, a little maple and honey; the fruitiness kicks in next, with some very faint plum and maraschino cherry. Hops come in to play to counter the sweetness, but hop flavor is restrained and bitterness is mild. More fruitiness shows around the edges before a finish that shows light milk chocolate notes and a vague hint of toast. A light dry, grapefruit-like bitterness lingers.

Alcohol is well-hidden on the palate but by the end becomes evident in its effect. Overall, this is a solid beer but nothing overly spectacular. Would probably pair nicely with some mild milk chocolate or a maple-accented dessert.

Photo of hoplover82
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at The Executive Surf Club. It was a nice suprise.

Poured almost black with deep rose and an off white thin barely there bubbly head with little lacing and no ok to poor retention.

The aroma is full of sweet raisin and prune notes and faint citrus hops.

The flavor is mainly the same as the aroma. And it reminds me of an Old Ale rather than just a Strong Ale. A nice hoppy bitter flavor comes out more that in the nose. Wish it was hoppier though as it does seem kind of cloying.

It's creamy with a crisp clean finish.

Very drinkable givin the abv. but I wouldn'y have more than 2 of these, especially if they were pints. Very glad I tried it.

Photo of jera1350
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a snifter a deep garnet shade of black. Syrupy look as it's poured. Some tan foam with sticky lacing on top.

Unique smell. It's like belgian meets barleywine. Sweet smelling with the yeast of a belgian but the hops of a barleywine. Interesting.

First of all, this beer does not fit any style that I've ever come across. In a style all its own. Good amount of bitter hops, lots of dark berry fruit and some roasty malts. Getting some belgian yeast flavor as well. Not sure if there is belgian yeast in this or not, but that's what's coming through. Bitterness lingers well after consumption.

Very velvety soft feel on the palate. More than medium bodied, but not full.

Like I said, not sure there is anything out there to compare this too. It's a really good beer that is so unique. I may just have to pick some more up to age and see how it develops. Recommend giving this one of a kind beer a try.

Photo of augustgarage
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Blue Palms in Hollywood. Served in a generic wide-mouth tulip.

Very dark brown with cherry highlights and two fingers of buff cream which recedes to a skin and crescent moon half collar. Gorgeous art-nouveau lacing.

Mild grassy hops and a savory element like bread dipped in some sort of herb-spread.

Very rich amber ale or weak barley-wine notes: caramel, burnt sugar, golden raisins, with a slowly drying lightly bitter finish. Uninspiring...

Rich, medium-full bodied with healthy carbonation.

The flavor profile is a bit weak. Not really interesting enough to warrant revisiting - maybe I should have gone with the Yakima Twilight instead...

Photo of jwillcourt
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap into a standard pint glass.

A - Deep reddish-brown color that is red around the edges. When held to the light, it is a deep red color that reminds me of cherry cough syrup. There is a quarter-inch white head that disappears in a couple minutes to a spotty foam. The head comes back quickly with a good swirl of the glass. There is good lacing all the way down the glass.

S - My drink was served way too cold. It takes awhile to coax any smell out of it. Eventually, I smell chocolate malt, coffee, and spicy hops.

T - Sweet, but not cloying. It starts with a sweet malt flavor, then slight chocolate, and finishes with a strong cherry taste. The hops provide a mildly medicinal aftertaste, which reinforces my visual impression of cherry cough syrup.

M - Full bodied and very low carbonation. It wraps my mouth with a creamy feel with almost no carbonated liveliness. It is sticky on the lips, mouth, and glass.

D - This tastes good, has an amazing mouthfeel, and left me wanting another. Didn't feel or taste the booze. Pretty strong flavor though, and I probably wouldn't want more than two in one sitting. I had a second draft a few days later at another bar, and took the same tasting notes.

Photo of SShelly
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big poofy white head on the pour with rediculous retention, dark amber, crystal clear beer.

Aroma has light hops with some sweet malt character.

Flavor is deeply malty with a little biscuit, some balancing bitterness with maybe a little hop flavor, finish is sweet malt that sits in the mouth.

a really great aftertaste with this beer, fairly easy drinking, not spectactular but solid.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An interesting concoction. Pours, a thin brown ale. Minimal head/aroma mainly getting some caramel, toffee and warmth across.

Taste, lots going on, toffee caramel undertones, good hop character, malt, not thick at all, alcohol not noticeable.

Mouthfeel, all the flavors come and go, then come again. Light biscuity bitterness. Very drinkable, its cheap, high in alcohol, low in presence.

Photo of Lothore
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a deep brownish hue with a small, 1 finger tan head which fades quickly.

S- Hints of brown sugar and unidentifiable sweetness.

T- Lots of raisin, artificial dark fruit, hints of brown sugar, molasses.

M- Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

D- This was a decent brew overall but not one of lagunitas stronger

Photo of flagmantho
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rusty brown color with a little translucence left. Two fingers of tan foam form an attractive crown.

Smell: strong, slightly sweet, slightly toasty malt aroma with a sizeable helping of peppery, lightly funky hops. The smell is quite well balanced between the two large characteristics.

Taste: not as hoppy or bitter as the smell would have me believe. There's quite a lot of malt character here, including caramel, a little nuttiness and a little chocolate. Hops are more floral, it seems, and play a much smaller supporting role than in the aroma. Still, quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body with a little bit of syrupy stickiness so the flavor can hang around. Good; just what I'd expect from the style.

Drinkability: the hairy eyeball is very much a sipper to me. While I would not hesitate to have it again, it's definitely a one-at-a-time beer to sit back and appreciate.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 7oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours out very dark, forming a short, off-white, foamy cap. Lousy head retention, but nice web-like lacing. Body is dark brown with bright shades of crimson. When held to light, the body shows excellent clarity.

Smell: Barbecue, English malts, brown malt, and something salty (weird salty). Pretty dry and dull. Not so hot.

Taste: Tastes like a strong mix of an American brown ale and an English brown ale. Lots of nuttiness and sweet grains, along with a medley of spices, buttery esters, and prickly hops. This is a very unique beer, but I'm not really into it.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light in body for being 8.8%. Mild carbonation provides a light, prickly feel. Finishes very warm and dry. Oily I suppose, but not sticky at all; Eyeball finishes pretty clean.

Drinkability: This is the second bottle I've had of Hairy Eyeball, and I just don't get it. I might have another bottle, but only if there's nothing better available.

Photo of WOTO97
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: nut brown with slight reddish hues, one-finger head, very decent lacing

S: strong malt presence, cola, lingering note of allspice

T: very bready, lots of malt character, raisins, has an odd herbal tea finish (from the hops) complements the malt character pretty well, hides the ABV very well

M: relatively thin given pronounced malt character

D: so i tried this again just now and tastes noticeably different, still has this odd hop finish lingers on the palate, but all-in-all a pretty decent brew

Photo of CampusCrew
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: brown complexion. not much lacing though.

smell: heavy caramel brown sugar and bready sweetness

taste: caramel, Low alcohol bite with some bitter hops on the backend. good roasted malt. good winter warming beer.

mouthfeel: medium bodied,

drinkability: it was an alright beer. a little on the sweet end.

4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas "The Hairy Eye Ball"

At first sight, the malt really shows in the appearance in the ale. A nice Carmel head with lacing, still after settled. The smell is present, but not over powering. The taste and mouthfeel are worth every sip. The taste has a alcohol presence, that is needed and exceptional, no hiding the 8.83%. The mouthfeel is great, like a thick milk shake.
the "drinkability" is not that of rice lagers, but for the alcohol content it goes down nicely.
Great Ale.

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

G – Duvel tulip

A – The color is very deep chestnut brown, translucent but nearly impermeable to light due to its extremely deep hue. Very nice head on this one, plastered lacing. Very impressive looking.

S – Interesting smell with hints of cola, cinnamon, raisin, cherry, vanilla, oat.

T – Tastes pretty okay, but it has some flavors that I am not crazy over, specifically green tea and caramel. Blatant overuse of caramel malt seems to be Lagunitas’ Achilles’ heel. Cocoa or carob, oat chalkiness, roasted tones and a hot alcohol buzz are the mainstay of the palate, aside from the aforementioned unpleasantries. Hairy Eyeball goes well with spicy or salty food, something to overwhelm the nuances of its flavor. As a stand alone, it is underwhelming.

M – Hot and relatively skinny. But not like a chick. In fact, the exact opposite.

D – I like either the appearance or the name of the beer most; the rest of the beer is so-so.

Photo of Mdog
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brownish red, good head.

Smell: Sweet raisins, bready.

Taste: Sweet caramel and fruity at first, then a little roast flavor, mild citrus bitterness.

Drinkability: A little strong but tasty.

Hairy eyeball is a pretty good strong beer, not as hoppy as DIPAs but not a super sweet malt bomb either. A nice change of pace and a pretty good winter beer.

Photo of Atlas1
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The label has changed on the bottle, but I imagine Lagunitas is still brewing the same recipe. I think that's a good thing.

Pours a dark ruby reddish brown color. Mahogany almost. With a decent head and good lace. A good looking beer. The nose is strong with dark fruit and candied sugar, with a strong alcohol scent as well. Sort of like fruit cake with a rum coating. The taste follow suit, delivering dark cherry flavors with a dense nuttiness. Boozy, but not off-putting. I detect some vanilla to go along with a sugary molasses flavor as well. On the whole, a fine tasting brew.

This is a big brew, but with an ABV of 8.8% it's not out of control. Sweet and savory, it's got a little something for most beer lovers. Not for the faint of heart, but strong ales rarely are. Another solid effort from Lagunitas.

Photo of BB1313
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another nice offering from Lagunitas. Well priced! Pours a very dark brown, light head and lacing. Smells like hops and malts! Creamy and on the drier side. This makes a nice sipper in the winter. There isn't much to say about this one except for it totally fits in the Lagunitas lineup.

Photo of anchordrinker
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very dark with slight translucence that shows up as a deep red glow. Thin, off-white head.

S- Sweet/round caramel malt dominates with some sharp hoppy notes. Some slight booziness to it too as it warms.

T- Sweet and roasted malt dominate throughout, but some citric sharpness as well as some floral notes from the hops come through every now and again. As it warms, the hop characteristics become more present and the bitterness really cuts through sweetness creating a nice balance.

M- Medium bodied, silky smooth and creamy. A very pleasant alcohol warmth emerges and intensifies once it gets closer to room temp. Nice bite from the carbonation. Seemed a little syrupy on some sips.

D- Very drinkable in terms of hiding its high alcohol content, however I can't see myself drinking more than a couple in a sitting.

Photo of wnh
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear mahogany with a smallish light tan head.

Aromas of toasted malt, caramelly molasses, and light alcohol. Surprisingly light on the hops for a Lagunitas beer.

Dark buttered toast leads the way on the palate, with a bit of earthy caramel. Finishes with a bit of heat from the alcohol. I'm having a hard time getting much else out of this. Pretty tasty, but simple. Thinnish on the whole but not quite watery. Light to medium in body, and somewhat firm.

A decent beer, but a bit disappointing from Lagunitas.

Photo of northaustin
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured into an imperial pint glass. a very dark amber with a finger of even white/brown head.

smell: sweet malts and massive earthy hops. smells like a mix between an american strong ale and an english barleywine.

tastes a bit hectic. its almost as if so many flavors are trying to fit in that none of them can be special. i guess im getting a very malty/ caramel aftertaste but everything else is very subdued and hard to describe.

mouthfeel: oily at first, leaves a dry front of mouth and cheeks.

drinkability: i remember this one being alot better. perhaps my palate has developed since last year or perhaps i dont remember that well. i remember it being more like a classic american barleywine. still a well masked high abv and affordable.

Photo of dude
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark. Thick. Inviting.

Caramel. Pineapple. Pepper.

Sweet. Spicy. Balanced.

Rich. Creamy. Delightful.

Easy. Does. It.

The alcohol is oh so well hidden in this, but after three bottles I was feelin' nice and relaxed. The mouthfeel on this one is very satisfying. Thanks again La-Goo-Knee-Tuss.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball purchased from Boo's in Columbus, Ga.
Poured into a DFH shaped pint.
appearance - Dark brownish-orange with a full beige head.
smell - Fruity, and sweet with a hint of spice.
taste - Oh yeah! A creamy, malty, fruity spicy, near perfect mix.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a clear chestnut brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with hints of indistinct spices. Also present are hints of molasses and mild leafy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth caramel malt flavors with hints of spices that lurk in the background and remain indistinct kick things off. Midway through the sip the beer sweetens before giving way to some earthy hop flavors. The hops carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this is a solid beer however it's a bit too sweet for my tastes. Worth a shot, even more so if you enjoy the maltier side of things.

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There was a time, a time not too long ago, where a man (in this case) could stand side by side with a robot, and enjoy a beer together. This was that beer. But the new batch of Hairy Eyeball may just be too young. Red and lucid like the eye of a robot (think Johnny 5 pre-electroshock) it appears the same beer. But the je ne sais quoi that once dwelled within has vanished. There was something there, something we shared. Now it is gone. Perhaps only time can bring that back. For now, though, its chemical alcohol smell and a flavor without that backlash of grassiness make this, perhaps for the first time ever, a beer reserved more for robots *sniff* than for me. In the future, I too will be robotic and this will be my beer of choice, for I am a Lagunaut.

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.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,130 ratings.