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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

2,092 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,092
Reviews: 858
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 47
Gots: 147 | 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: 2,092 | Reviews: 858 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of srandycarter
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear Brown with a thick brownish head, leaves to ring.

S - Sweet malt, candy like, somewhat deep.

T - BIG malt, great balls of fire. Definite bitter finish, but enough?

M - Good coating and carb, but a little cloying.

D - Nice offer to try!

Photo of wcudwight
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks mikesgroove. Although we receive Lagunitas in NC, I've never tried this beer nor have I seen it on shelves. So I'm excited about this.
Cola colored that shines more ruby when held up to the light. Nice thick beige colored head with excellent retention.
Brown sugar and dark fruits in the aroma. Grapes, cherries, even some pear.
Lot's of caramel in the flavor with some brown sugar. Very sweet tasting, yet still quite balanced. Similar fruity flavors in the taste that was in the aroma. Grapes, cherries, pears. Also some toasted raisin bread. Nice spicy kick in the finish. Excellent beer that is both complex and balanced.
Thick heavy mouthfeel that coats and leaves a creaminess.
Easy to drink. The alcohol is noticable but not overbearing in the least. I'll be looking for this one in the future.

Photo of Gyle41386
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark mahogany that looks crimson when held to light. Two fingers of tan head. Decent retention. Leaves loads of lacing.

Big caramel malt presence in the aroma. There's also some piney hops, wood, and dark fruit.

Pretty sweet flavor. The raisin flavor is a big contributor to the sweetness. Tons of malt. There's a faint hop bitterness in the finish. This is just a bit too sweet.

Pretty heavy body, but a pretty smooth drinker.

Photo of TheNightbird
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a nice dense coffee color head. The head pours about one finger. Nice lacing on the glass. Amber mahogany in color.

S- Heavy carmel, toffee, mocha, fruit aromas of cherry and raisins. Slight earth smell.

T- Raisin, sweet carmel, toffee and fruit. Strong hop taste, fruit and earthiness. Nice bitterness that turns into a slight dry finish. Long carmel and fruitiness with a aftertaste. The beer coasts the tongue long after your sip is done.

M- Heavy body. Carbonation is a perfect.

D- Nice beer couldn't drink all night but is a great winter time beer.

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

On tap at Lagunitas night at Davis Grad

A - Dark mahogany, with a one-fingered orange-white head. Dissipates moderately and leaves no lacing.

S - Chocolate, honey, and toffee.

T - Same as above, lightly bitter.

M - Full-bodied, well-balanced, sweet and tangy.

D - Not bad, but would like more flavors, perhaps more spices.

Photo of bort11
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

mikesgroove sent this one with the Fight Club: Project Mayhem BIF.

12 oz bottle pored into a shaker pint. Half inch of off white head. Leaves a nice ring at the top. Color is a dark ruby red. You can only see any light when held to the light.

Smell is a sweet brown sugar and caramel malt. A little dried oranges. Taste is also quite sweet. Brown sugar again, though the orange citrus from the hops stands out more.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a thick body. Very nice strong ale.

Blipped "Eyeball Kid" by Tom Waits

Photo of TheTrevor
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark red with purple highlights and a single-finger head. The smell is a mix of many different things, including toasted malt, at least a couple kinds of hops, dark fruit, molasses, and alcohol. The taste starts off with a sweet candylike malt that reminds me of a belgian tripel that gives way to some grassy then citrusy hops that balance it out very well. This is a beer that deals in extremes while remaining very tasty. The mouthfeel is slightly thick with a little slickness and warming from the alcohol, with mild carbonation. This beer is surprisingly drinkable for a high ABV beer with a fair amount of hops. Great beer, everyone should try it at least once.

Photo of luciusgilmer
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle poured into tulip glass

A: rich amber color and medium strong head that dissipated halfway through to leave one little disk of foam.

S: as others have noted, this is a complex brew, with layers of scent and flavor, but the alcohol and hops were the first impressions.

T: Other than a rich hops and malt taste, I first noticed the raisin (someone else nailed that). I get a lot of sweetness from it, but nothing so specific as "toffee" or whatever. A bitter aftertaste.

M: quality carbonation keeps this peppy without seeming gassy; far from flat. It's a great beer to swirl around a bit, and I do recommend you drink it slowly (I know the ABV should suggest that to you, but this is a bit on the sweet side, so there's a chance you could chug it...)

D: It's rich and a bit heavy, not to mention sweet, but that doesn't mean you can't drink a few. I don't know that I'd drink it with some other beer to follow.

Photo of farrago
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thin head with good retention, mixture of bubble sizes knit together well, dark cream white in color, moderate lacing. Dark brown to red in color, perfect clarity, richness of hue keeps it sitting impressively in the glass. Thickly constructed nose of toffee, caramel, brown sugar, raisin, date, plum fruit, some doughiness but not a lot of roast or toast, nothing beyond minor presence of hoppy citrus or flowers, malt city. In the mouth it's full-bodied and heavy, pretty much squats on the palate. This even with credibly strong carbonation. There's more pine and mixed white citrus here, however, the smart money is still on the toffee, chocolate, caramel and honey flavors. The fruit as in the nose half raisin and date, half plum and cherry. Its cloying qualities make it pull up short rather than extend through a longer finish. Flavor intensity is a plus, just wears you down some, not sure I could finish two bottles in a row without feeling bloated.

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

Pours a clear copper brown color with a medium tan head that has an average retention. A good amount of sticky lacing.
Huge aroma of alcohol, dark fruit, molasses and more.
Rich malt and earthy hops. There is a real complex range of flavors. I am having a hard time picking out individual flavors. There is citrus, grass, coffee, dark fruit, brown sugar, pineapple, spices (clove, cinnamon). You can also taste the alcohol.
Full bodied creamy almost sticky mouthfeel. Soft carbonation. Warm feeling from alcohol.
I really enjoyed rolling it around in my mouth and tasting the different flavors. This is a pretty rich and alcoholic beer so you can't drink too many of them.
NOTES: BBCSD-0903-Patrick

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

Picked up a six pack of this from Albertson's in Laramie, WY. Around $8.

A: Medium brown with an off white head that slowly reduced to nothing. A few spots of lacing. Quite clear. Nice looking beer when held to the light.

S: Caramelized sugars, a slight hint of booze, has some very familiar smells, almost like a dopplebock, but has some of the spicy sweet malt characteristics of a quad as well. Light roasting as well. Pretty interesting all around.

T: Sugary and sweet upfront, hints of maple syrup and brown sugar, a slight bit of chocolate even, definite alcohol note to it too. A slight hint of raisins as well.There are just so many things going on here, dopplebock, scottish ale, even a bit of a quad taste as noted in the nose. Definitely a "malt" bomb if I've ever had one. Hops are not really present, but do show a little bit of a spicy bitter kick at the end.

M: Fairly thick, minimal carbonation, somewhat dry and quite sticky, quite a bit of alcohol warmth as well, really warms the gullet more so than the mouth.

D: Eh...I don't know on this one, lots of interesting flavors, and my tongue and head just don't know where to go on this one. I could maybe drink a second, but definitely not a third. Quite an interesting beer. Lots and lots of things going on. I'd recommend this to anybody that likes dopplebocks and scottish ales.

Photo of LieutenantWort
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Color is a deep caramel with a moderate, creamy head that leaves a lot of lacing as it goes down.

Aroma is malty with traces of dark cherries and a slight sting of alcohol. Mouthfeel is a littly syrupy, but pleasantly smooth. Taste is rich with heavy malts, oak notes, and a suggestion of bourbon. Finishes slightly bitter, but mild & warm.

I definitely enjoyed this beer. I'd have no problem drinking another one... or two!

Photo of avalon07
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a slightly cloudy texture. There was a small amount of creamy, long-lasting head and very good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of hops, malt and an almost syrupy odor.

T: Tasted of piney hops, malt and caramel, Almost had a barleywine quality - but not quite as powerful.

M: A decent amount of carbonation and a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is a decent, easy to drink beer. Different than what I expected, but definitely worth a try

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

Really a very intresting beer here, and something i have been meaning to come across for quite some time. Served cold but allowed to warm, this one was consumed on 04/07/2009.

The pour was very nice. Rich looking copper color with a light cloudiness to it. I was impressed by the thick look to it. Rich head of white across the top faded quickly leaving behind only token lace in its wake. The aroma was sweet, lots of caramel and a touch of piney hops make it just bitter enough to get by. Really nice profile here as I take the first sips. Rich malts, smooth, easy caramel flavor with a light and subtle bitterness that reminded me of a nice barleywine. Medium feel here as the syrup like nature of it lended itself to a bit thicker of a profile. thought the alcohol was very well hidden indeed,

Overall a very solid beer with a tight flavor profile. The rich malts dominated everything through enough hops shone through to provide a nice balance to it. Reminded me of bigfoot.

Photo of atsprings
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a Lucifer tulip pours a crisp brown with a decent khaki head that diminishes to a thin layer and leaves slight lacing. Aroma is burnt caramel, dried fruit and a hint of wood. The taste is a strange blend of caramel, brown sugar and dried fruits that gives way to a balanced taste of pine hops and caramel malts.. The beer is medium bodied with smooth carbonation and some warming alcohol that shows in the finish. This is certainly an interesting beer, but I was hoping for something better.

Photo of chaz410
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer at the awesome Brawley's Beverage in Charlotte NC.
Pours a dark brownish red. Nice thin white head.
Smell is full of belgian-like malty notes. Bubblegum, raisens, and a little bit of dried berries. Not a whole lot of hops but a little bit at the end of the nose.
Taste is very smooth. Sweet with dark fruits, little bits of bubbleguma dn some crisp melon-like malt and hop combinations. The hops aren't really powerful in the taste, their more so integrated into the malt taste.
Very drinkable with a nice mouthfeel. Extremely impressive for a 8.8% ABV beer!

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

A: Deep, clear chestnut brown color. Poured a 2 finger tan head with fair retention. Ample lacing in thick rings.

S: - Light aroma of hops and medium dark malt. Mocha notes and some nutty caramel.

T: Light caramel and toffee. As it warmed, also flavors of tobacco and coffee. Muted grass and citrus flavors in the middle. The finish is mildly bitte with lingering sweet malt.

M: Full side of medium body. Low carbonation. Smooth, creamy and thick.

D: Drinkable for >8% abv; beer doesn't disguise it. Nice malt characters and hop balance. Not overly complex; nicely balanced.

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

The 12-ounce bottle with a twist-off top pours a brilliantly-clear crimson-tinted dark copper liquid into my Duvel tulip. A thick two-finger cap of stained ivory foam sits solidly atop the drink, waiting around patiently for who-knows-what, depositing fine sticky sheets of webby lacing onto the sides of the glass.

The smell is loaded with caramel and spritzed with a twist of lime, and employs a juicy splash of ripe golden apples that adds additional fermented sweetness. Rich notes of warm toasted grain build upon that foundation, carving out a place atop a brown sugary, peppery, medium-dark malty backbone.

The taste is fruity, candy-like and otherwise quite malty with mild toffee and silky-smooth caramel accenting more cooling alcohol. Once again a notion of apples appears, along with a few phantom slices of Bartlett pear and a succulent invisible handful of ripe red grapes. A light lingering note of mildly-bitter citrus oil survives well into the aftertaste, but the drink nonetheless finishes a touch boozy and quite sweet.

The drink is fullish-medium in body with an excellent sizzle of fine carbonation. Though Hairy Eyeball is quite potent at 8.7% ABV, it remains pretty mild in flavor with admirable alcohol suppression that leaves the beer plenty drinkable.

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

Much more malt in aroma than the others from this (series). The hops are almost non-existent compared to those.
Poured aggressively into a goblet and showed a smaller tan head that settles some in time and left dark markings. Very clear and a deep red of garnet. Good looking in the light.
Nice 'red" malt flavors with enough alcohol flavor (a slight spice and bite) to clearly know it's a strong ale. More subdued hops for style, but still enough to clearly know their present. Just above moderate for hop bitterness and flavor. Mild dryness lingers nicely. Dark fruit and berry flavors show with patience and warmth.
Moderate body and a nice smoothness. I like lower carbonation and this one shows that.
As the alcohol rises the drinkability starts to lower, but this still works fine, just a slower sipping beer.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, very dark crimson color with a medium sized tan head that has great retention and decent lacing. I must say though, I like the old label better with the dog's 1 bulging eye.

This is bubblegum maximus with a hefty load of light fruits...green apples, muscadine grapes and cantaloupe. I have never smelled as much bubblegum as there is in this beer. It's like one of those blue baby gum cigars when freshly opened. Crazy smelling beer.

Taste is not quite as gummy as the nose, but it is still there. Residual sugar sweetness is actually a good thing in this beer, as it helps keep the high alcohol and (what seem to be) high AA hops in check. Body is full, almost syrupy...but oh so easy to drink. This one is a beer geek's wet dream. Definitely recommended.

Photo of CHSLBrew
2.7/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter.

A-Deep brown-copper beer, pretty clear, but dark so as to seem slightly opaque. Tan head rises up and quickly receds to a collar around the glass.

S-Thick sweet malts, some sticky hoppiness floats in and out of this overall sweet malt and fruity aroma.

T-Slight choco-breadiness coupled with an odd fruitiness. Some earthy, herbal nuances. Bitterness is more than balancing and countered by alcohol-bitter-flavor and feel. Finishes medium-sweet with a residual bready malt.

M-Medium-low carbonation, medium-full body. Feels like a hearty, dry dinner.

D-Not a great one in my book, and seemed to overall lack a sense of balance and what flavors are supposed to be accentuated.

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

A - Dark amber-brown body, slightly hazy. Small Light brown head settles quickly but leaves good lace.

S - Light aroma of hops and medium dark malt. Mocha notes and some nutty caramel.

T - Dark, slightly tobacco-like, hops and milk chocolate up front. Notes of light caramel and toffee. Minor citrus and grassy hop flavors in the middle. The finish has round roasted grain flavor with chocolate and coffee and mild malt bitterness.

M - Medium thick, creamy body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Reasonably drinkable for what it is. Nice mocha character, not too complex but enjoyable and pretty well balanced.

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

Minimal head after pouring into a wine glass. Just a ring a foam left after a couple sips, but a swirl brings out more.

Great aroma of raisins and molasses.

The beer shows it's big beer status in the taste. Thick syrupy malt gives way to a burnt creme brulee aftertaste.

Label show IBU's of 56.7 vs. Maximus of 72.41. The taste is no where near that close. Big use of malt hides the hops in this one.

Photo of Gigantis
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip.

Medium brown color with a nice very light brown head. Some reddish/amber hues. Good head retention but not much lacing as the beer disappears (more quickly perhaps than it should).

Smells like malty burnt brown sugar and molasses. Good dark fruit, hoppy undertones. Slight alcohol smell.

Taste expands on the scent. Carmel malts and barley with some of that fruit and sugar... Great hop balance at the end coupled with oh so slight booze burn. Excellent! It doesn't taste as sweet as it smells, which I consider a good thing.

I expected a more syrupy feel from the makers of Brown Suggah! Not so here. Medium bodied with very good carbonation. I thought they got this just right.

It's more drinkable than it should be. Not heavy at all yet still very flavorful. It compares very favorably to Arrogant or Double Bastard if that is your thing. I would say it's as drinkable as either and, honestly, better than.

Photo of adamette
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Live review. Poured from a 2009 bottle into my Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale glass. I did not observe a freshness date if there was one.

A Great light brown generous 3 inch head over a mohogany translucent body with visible carbonation rising up. Really great look.

S Sweet malt with the outline of hops. The hops are well presented as a frame for this beer's smell. The smell cannot be improved. Inviting and complex, the alcohol can be smelled as well.

T Divine. Malt predominates as it is mostly sweet but that frame of hops detected in the smell is picked up (appropriately secondary to the malt and barley) in the taste. Really great rounded, balanced beer.

M A big beer with 8.7% ABV (according to the label on my 12 oz. bottle anyway) and big tastes of malt with the secondary hops.

D I would likely drink only 2 or 3 but I savor every last drop of this one.

Notes: This is the one and only time that I bought a case of any beer since I really started getting into finding and rating a lot of different beers. I did so since last year I was so impressed with this one and I went back to the same store (World Wines and Liquor in Mentor) to discover that it is a seasonal. I was not going to let that happen again. Also it was an early (not the first) craft beer that really turned me on to the scene. Really though, this is a great beer!

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,092 ratings.