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Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,323 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,323
Reviews: 918
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 52
Gots: 287 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  9.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,323 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JunkYardJake
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle to tulip glass.
This beer looks pretty nice in the glass. Dark brown in color with a thin white head that laced a little. Smells good with alot of dark fruit notes and bready malt aromas. Palate has some sweet raisin and caramel flavors but is burdened by the fusel alcohol and the ill-fitting bitter tannins in the finish. Mouthfeel is heavy and is highly carbonated. Not my favorite brew by any means but could suffice on a cold winter night.

Photo of rarbring
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear dark ruby amber beer, an off-white head leaving curtains and lacing.

Smelling of fresh baked darked bread and new cut grass.

A sweet start, some dried fruits, raisins and apples, an alcohol note, then bitter seeds.

Medium carbonation, a soft but yet boozy texture, rather complex and a dry finish.

Interesting and rewarding, much going on.

Photo of Damian
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Drank on-tap at Atwood's Tavern, Cambridge, MA
Served in a stemmed glass

Gorgeous appearance. Deep, dark, crimson-mahogany. The translucent liquid was topped by a near two-finger head of beige colored froth. Thick, lasting rings of lacing coated the glass.

The aroma was surprisingly mild. In fact, I could hardly detect anything. Subtle caramel malts possibly. A bit toasty. Somewhat fruity and semi-sweet. A touch of alcohol hid in the background.

Like the nose, the flavor profile was a big letdown. Malty and biscuity up front. Fruity in the center. The finish was moderately hoppy and dry. The hops were somewhat earthy and herbal. There was a slight alcohol warming on the finish as well. Regardless, the 9% was remarkably well buried.

The mouthfeel was super creamy and lush. Medium-full bodied. Pillowy and silky smooth with a slick, moderate effervescence.

Hairy Eyeball Ale was a true oddity. Although the appearance and mouthfeel were exceptional, both the taste and aroma were hugely disappointing. I felt like the life had been sucked from this beer.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duvel Tulip.

A: Dark, deep chestnut with a fluffy white head that dissapates into a little island.

S: Roasted malts, caramel, chocolate, a bit of hops.

T: Taste follows smell. There is a bit of alcohol bite, but the flavours taste like a stout mixed with a strong ale - more roast and less hops than I'm used to.

D: Its big and heavy and demands some time to finish.

Overall: Surprisingly not the hop bomb that Lagunitas loves to make. This has a lot of dark beer character and just a bit of hop profile. Very interesting.

Photo of thatlongname
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice reddish brown color. Decent head. Looks damn pretty in the light.

Smell: Malts and fruit in the nose. I think they are crystal or chocolate malts

Taste: Large malt flavors with an alcohol after taste. Mild fruits. There's some spice to the malty flavors. Strong flavors on this one.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy bodied. Low carbonation.

Overall: A huge flavor ale and surprisingly easy to drink given the ABV

Photo of garbercury
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes, poured into snifter...

A--Deep, dark ruby-red, 2 fingers of head and good lacing. Sticky retention on the glass.

S--Mild, faint nose of fruit.

T--Nice malty flavor with sweet flavors of raisin and plums.

M--Good feel.

D--I like this ASA because it is not overly hoppy, which was a bit of a surprise. Nice change of pace and certainly a solid offering by Lagunitas...

Photo of hosehead83
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. "stubby" bottle into a standard pint glass.
Deep ruby/brown in color, with a big head of thick, tan foam.
Aroma- Sweet toasted malt
Taste-Big malt bill, but not as sweet tasting as the aroma would suggest. No counter-acting hop profile to speak of but definite vanilla, cinnamon, oak? spice note that keeps this from being cloying. Very smooth and easy to drink for the strength. Use caution as this is a slow-sipper at 9.0ABV.
Overall, although not my favorite from this brewery, another solid offering from the boys at Laginitas.

Photo of andrenaline
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark ruby red colour, finger of head with solid retention which settles to small islands leaving some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Barley wine-esque with dark fruits, toffee and caramel and some musky leafy hops.

T - Again, quite unique with sweet dark fruits off the top and leafy hops on the finish. The toffee and caramel take a bit of a back seat on this one, though are still very present. A bit of pepper spice and tobacco smoke also come through.

M - Medium bodied ale that is silky smooth on the palette and finishes surprisingly wet.

O - Overall, definitely worth a try as it has some unique properties. The ABV goes completely undetected. Not my favourite by lagunitas, but still a very tasty offering.

Photo of ibbjamin
3.24/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Paid $1.99 for a 12oz bottle from Perry's Liquor in San Jose, CA. Poured into a large snifter to review.

Small off white head dissipates quickly leaving a tiny ring of lacing on the inner edge of the snifter. Brownish orange in color. A little lacing.

Aroma is rich, balanced and creamy. Fig, raisin, overripe banana, caramel malts, molasses, leather and a light hint of rum.

Taste brings on much more malt than I expected. The signature Lagunitas hops are not present. Roasted malts with some of the aforementioned dark fruits. As it warms the rummy, warming alcohol becomes more evident.

The mouth is not the beers strongpoint. A bit thin and watery. Medium bodied.

Not bad, not great. There are better beers from Lagunitas which I would prefer in the future.

Photo of ItsTheLimit
3.09/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A.) This pours a very, very dark brown and is extremely murky. Almost nonexistent head that fades quickly. I'm not too impressed with it, though there are a few nice highlights that save it from totally bombing out here.

S. ) The nose is lots of alcohol, some deep fruity notes that add a layer of sweetness. Grape, maybe almost plum or some fruit like that backed with a little bitter chocolate and coffee. Nice malty smell in here too.

T.) Wow, big alcohol bite here and it's not really masked in the least. A little burn on the end, but not entirely unpleasant. Beyond that is a sweet, dried fruit flavor which is kind of nice, but the after taste is kind of lingering in a bad way. I think saying it tastes like cough syrup is slightly extreme, but there is a distinct medicinal afterburn here.

M.) The body here is slightly syrupy, but this may be due to the alcohol content being up around 9%

D.) This definitely has a pretty low drinkability for me, partially due to the ABV, but also because there are simply better beers in this style that I can find fairly easily. Worth a try, but not much more than that.

Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very dark and murky looking brown, though there is a certain ruby hue. A small, light tan head on top quickly dissipates to a few streaks. Very faint amount of lacing.

S: Quite acidic, notes of grapes and cough syrup. Has a slight Belgian-like yeast quality to it that clashes with what seems to be a lot of malt and booze.

T: A spicy-malt combination and alcohol hit you at first. Quite boozy, and this is months after having my first. Malt, again, is heavy, but there are traces of citrus and apples. Also getting a pretty heavy grape/raisin taste at points. Can't help of thinking of cough syrup at times, unfortunately.

M: Medium to full body: chewy to an extent, but not that syrupy. It's a little rough around the edges, though the alcohol burn isn't too bad.

O: It's a solid offering, getting plenty of bang for your buck. Packed with booze that almost overpowers the flavors at times. It's a personal "one and done" kind of beers, where I enjoy it, but get rather sick of it. Worth trying.

Photo of DovaliHops
3.31/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an extremely dark brown color with a medium off-white head that disappears quickly. Scent is malty with a bit of chocolate and a hint of dark fruits. Taste is WOW...didn't see this coming from a beer with not much going on in the nose. This beer is very sweet, maybe a little overly sweet. I initially get overly sugary molasses with a tad bit of chocolate. Lots of dark fruit flavors with a bit of alcohol. Flavors are not blended together very well IMO. Alcohol is pretty well hidden. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for such a big beer. Drinkability is fair. This is not my favorite beer from Lagunitas. I feel like it's the inbred offspring of Gnarleywine, Imperial Stout, and a Quad of some sort. If you want some bang for your buck though, can't beat the price.

Photo of Dawkfan
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Appealing chestnut brown with an amber hue to it, small off white head. Slight lacing above the skim of foam that remained.

S- This needs to be warmed up, I couldn't get squat out of the nose until I did. Brown sugar and caramel malt make up the backbone of this. Underlying aromas of dark fruit and alcohol.

T- This really follows the nose, but the typical hop profile which makes Lagunitas brews so easy to identify is evident in the finish, although it is a lot milder than what we're use to seeing from them. Slight alcohol burn in the nostrils.

M- Full and long lasting, but doesn't coat. Drying finish.

D- I might try and put a couple of these in the cellar to see if it'll improve, I'm not overly confident though.

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

Dark ruby red with a cream-colored head with some pretty dense structure that looks like it's going to cling well. The smell is malty with some leathery/musty notes. As you drink, the lace makes rings around the glass that stick there and forces you to wash them out. At first sip I thought I was getting an alcohol burn on the tongue but it's the hops asserting themselves with bitterness. The flavor given off by the hops is resinous pine and that adds to the feel of mustiness or tobacco, but less so than what you get in the nose. The malts add some molasses which goes in with the mouthfeel. This beer clings to the lips and coats the tongue in an oily sort of way. There's a lot going on in this beer and it doesn't all seem to work all that well together. The hops are adding more bitterness than flavor and the malts don't deliver enough of a balancing sweetness. Balance would satisfy the style standard for an English Strong Ale. The Brewers' Association does not offer one for American Strong Ales. BeerAdvocate is no help, referring to the style as a "catch-all". So I'll rate it against the English style and continue to complain about it not being balanced.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a New Belgium Globe glass. O.G. 1.090, 8.7% ABV, IBU 56.7, no date available.

A - Pours clear chocolate brown and shines with ruby highlights in the globe. A loosely retained head leaves wispy tan lace on the glass.

S - A familiar strong ale aroma wafts out. Nothing new here; green, piny hops and nutty, toasted malt with a pinch of mocha. Light tobacco notes. Decent but familiar.

T - Much hoppier than originally expected, it's loaded with green hops but they impart their effects in the mouthfeel more. The taste is still predominantly malty; toasted, nutty, and slightly chocolaty. This beer is still very familiar.

M - Full-bodied and chewy, this rich strong ale starts malty and sweet but finishes bitter and mellow...with surprisingly little alcohol perception.

D - I have a certain disdain for normal beer that's like everything else in regards to style, but I wont argue it's bad because it's certainly not. It's just like every other strong ale.

Photo of TheSarge
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into a Stone Imperial Pint glass.

Pours quite well for a finger and half thick, and has a dark ruby red colored body that is cleanly filtered.

The aroma is quite smoky, figgy, and a bit of caramel too.

Taste wise it's sugary... Maybe brown sugar to be exact. The smokiness is there too. There is a good balance between the hops, which show up a bit on the citrusy side.

There is a good amount of carbonation here, and is actually a bit wetting to the palate. The burn of alcohol is not detectable, which makes this a bit of a dangerous beer. Much too easy to consume for the fact of being a higher ABV'd beer.

Photo of jwhancher
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on draft at Abbaye served in a tulip shaped glass. Pours a dark brown with little head. Little aroma of dark malts. Tastes like brown sugar, molasses, raisin, fig. No noticeable hop character. Interesting beer - a real sipper due to its complex profile. Couldn't even notice the high ABV. Enjoyed it & would try it again.

Photo of chefelf
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found the most interesting part of this beer to be the mouthfeel. I never thought I'd say that about any beer. It's like it doesn't even make contact with your tongue, it sort of hovers over that. It barely tastes like a beer at all.

That being said, it's very good. It just has the feeling that it is almost oily in texture. It's quite high at 9.0% ABV so one was plenty for me.

I found this to be a very interesting beer. I gave it a 4.0 for mouthfeel. I don't know if the feel is good or bad, just very, very unique.

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

On tap at The Ruck in Troy.

Pours dark brown ... hard to tell if it's black in a darkened bar. Has a big head, though, and some super lacing.

Smells like dark fruit, roasted malts, some sweetness.

Tastes like lots of malts--fig-like fruits, some chocolate. Finishes with some alcohol and some citrus-y hops. Lots of malt, but still the typical Lagunitas hop-profile present here too. There's a lot going on here, and while it all tastes good, it could probably mesh well a bit better. Still like it, though.

A bit thick on the mouth and not easy to drink quickly. I like this on draft; not sure if it's something I'd pick up a six pack of, though.

Photo of jyuhas
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - caramel brown with a crimson glare through the light, mocha cream-colored head fading quickly to nothing

s - bready, nutty, slight spicy hop character in the background, dried fruit character apparent, as it warms a bit of alcohol comes through in the nose

t - roasty, toasty, raisiny, hints of chocolate, dark caramel malts

m - thick, viscous, carbonation just below medium and nice and smooth

o - went down very easily, not overly sweet, could easily knock back a few more of these

Photo of spinrsx
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - Clear reddish brown colour with a large size frothy light brown coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for around 5 few minutes before it was completely gone.

Smell - malts, hay/straw, dark fruits - not a whole lot of smell.

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation but it still feels fairly creamy on the tongue. There is a lot of sweet malty caramel flavour mixed with notes of some dark fruits. I also picked up on some hops at the finish. The beer has a malty/hoppy aftertaste. It's along the same lines a scotch ale..

Drink - There are a lot of different flavour going on which makes it a nice beer to switch things up with. The alcohol became more evident as the beer approached room temperature. An above average beer that makes a good winter warmer/sipper.

Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red to dark brown with a light head.

Smell: Butter. Smoky malts and an oaken whiskey smell backed by some hazelnut.

Taste: Hairy Eyeball reminds me of a scotch ale. It's malty smoky and nutty. It is a good beer for a cold day. There are also hints of oatmeal and raisins.

Mouthfeel: A bit overly-carbonated. But it has a good balance with a warm complete finish.

Drinkability: The drinkability is good. I could finish a few and then regret it. Watch out for the high ABV. Lagunitas doesn't make weak beer.

Photo of imagese
2.49/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Nice clear ruby with a one finger tan head that faded fast. Soapy lacing the whole way

S- this is where I started to worry... Super strong roasted caramel, bitter apple, cherry, and faint earthy hops. A burst of alcohol warmness pulls up the rear

T- a muddled mess of all the smells, followed by an unpleasant bitter grapefruit rind hop flavor with a boozy warmth

M- great body. Full feeling, smooth, and moderate carbonation. But then BAM!!! The bitterness comes in and ruins it all

D- I surprisingly finished the 12oz bottle easily. I love big beers, so I was able to muscle thru it, but I will not grab another

Photo of mbo34
2.23/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Wasn't quite sure what type of beer this was, as the label simply called it an ale. The only hint was 9% abv. I picked up a bottle of this out of curiosity.
Overall, this beer seemed a bit of a mess. Malty and strong are about all I can say about it. The flavor was pretty uninteresting and became even more so as I finished my glass.

Photo of zeledonia
2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a nice clean coppery reddish-brown color with a one-finger light tan head that holds on and leaves decent lacing.

S: Smell is sweet malts with light fruity hops - I get peaches as the dominant fruit.

T: Taste is very malty, moving quickly to a strong bitter finish. I like malty beers, but this one tastes unbalanced, with a malt peak and a bitter peak, without much linking them. I like the flavor profile of a beer to be full, and this one is dominated by too much sweetness and not enough else filling it in. There is a LOT of dark caramel malt flavor to this beer. Dark fruits come through more in the taste than in the nose - plums and raisins in particular. Something about it reminds me of a Pedro Jimenez sherry, with that forceful sun-dried sweetness. Has a lingering bitterness, which I think is the unmasked alcohol. To sum it up, some nice flavors there, but they don't add up to a good whole.

M: Mouthfeel is okay, medium-bodied, and pretty sticky and coating. But the flavor that stays in the mouth is mostly bitter, so I kinda want it move on more quickly. A decent amount of alcohol in the finish.

D: Unfortunately, I liked this beer less and less as I drank it. I almost drain-poured the last quarter or so. The dominant flavors are a strong raisiny malty sweetness and a bitterness that lacks the nicer attributes of hops. I think I can see where they were going with it, but it lacks fullness and balance in the flavor. I find it too strong, in malt and alcohol, without sufficient other flavors to smooth them out.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,323 ratings.