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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

2,321 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,321
Reviews: 918
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 51
Gots: 285 | 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: 2,321 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kiwano
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark nutty brown acorn or leather slight head on top that dissipates after a bit

S - A little metallic and malty

T - Nice taste a hint of sweetness, lots of malt, only the tiniest hint of hops, but enough so that it is not too sweet or malty. When it warms up there is some nuttiness, and a tiny bit of roasted something flavor.

M - Somewhat creamy with a small amount of carbonation. I would have liked it with a bit more carbonation as it seems to get a little flat after a while.

D - Definitely drinkable - high alcohol content at 9% but it is not so present in the taste. Tasty but looses its zip a bit after a while.

Photo of heebes
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

Pours a deep dark mahogeny with a thin off white foamy head. Nose is light fruits, cherry, sweet malt notes and some phenol alcohol auromas. Taste is smooth, bit of a sweet hop presence, some sugar, slight fruity notes mixed with nice caramel maltiness. I just think this is so well balanced. Fairly complex in flavour, certainly not the "hot mess" ive read in other reviews.
Medium to heavy mouthfeel, slightly syrupy. Overall a decent drinker, havent noticed the strong alcohol content yet. Wish I grabbed a few of these, as I always seem to with Lagunitas. I had no idea this was a Strong Ale going in, and have to say it exceeded my expectations. Don't let others thoughts stray you, this is a must try.

Photo of billab914
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Three Floyd's glass. It poured a darker caramel color, with a good sized, frothy, off-white head to it. The head lasted well into drinking it, and left some great lacing all over the glass as I drank it.

The aroma shows a good amount of hoppiness to it. I get more of a pine, grapefruit, juicy flavor coming out of the hops. Candi sugar seems present as well in it. The maltiness is there too, and adds some sweet, malty, caramel type notes. The more it warmed, the more of the candi sugar and caramel maltiness came out. Decent mix of flavors to it.

The taste has a very nice mix of hoppy and malty to it, with some candy like sweetness as well. I get a brighter, citrusy flavor coming out of the hops, with some grapefruit and pine coming through more towards the finish. At the same time it's malty, with a good dose of caramel, toffee and candi sugar to it. It mixes and balances the flavors pretty nicely actually.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side, with carbonation being a little below average. The drinkability was good, I enjoyed it a lot. It was pretty bold in both hoppy and malty categories, but managed to integrate them together pretty nicely. It reminded me a little of Arrogant Bastard actually, only more sweet. Pretty nice beer overall.

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

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: It pours dark brown with red highlights and two fingers of lightly tanned head that has average retention but rocky and sticky lace.

S: Candi sugar, sweet dark fruits, nuttiness, mild banana, and Belgian yeast.

T: Banana nut bread, caramel, cloves, cinnamon, raisins and some dark roastiness. This tries but never becomes sweet, always maintaining a raisin-like bitterness. The Belgian characteristics are much less apparent on the palate than on the nose.

M: This has a medium-thick body with average carbonation and a little heat.

D: This is very tasty and seems to be akin to a Dubbel-Strong Brown Ale blend.

Photo of leedorham
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a deep reddish orange with a thick off-white head. Great head retention and lacing.

S - Smells of alcohol & caramel malts with some fruity hop character in the background.

T - Heavy on the caramel site with a bitter balance. Lime character in the hop flavor. A bit of raisiny character.

M - Alcohol warmth to the finish. A bit of burn on the back of the tongue that I attribute to the hops.

D - Warms the belly and drinks a bit hotter than the abv would indicate.

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

From a 12oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Paid $1.65 for a single at Life Source Natural Foods in Salem, which has recently improved their beer selection.

A-pours a clear deep orange-amber, almost chestnut hue with a one and one half finger cream-colored head with modest retention. Light lacing is even all the way down the glass.

S-Malts dominate the aroma with caramel and bread pudding with cinnamon and raisins. Spicy hops (possibly Fuggles) are also present. Definitely more Belgian, than American IMO.

T-A rich creamy malt forward flavor reminiscent of a lighter barleywine. Works nicely as the style is between IPA and barleywine. Caramel, biscuity malts with some dark dried fruit are most prominent, and a hint of citrus zest in the finish. Taste is more balanced as it warms. Still, more Belgian than American, IMO, due to the yeast.

M-Smooth and creamy without being oily or buttery. Nice, but may be a tad light.

D-At 9.0% ABV the alcohol is very well masked. I don't notice it in the taste. Very drinkable. A good, but not great beer. A nice addition from a West Coast brewer.


Photo of chodinheaven
4.21/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep mahogoney, almost opaque, with a inch tall off-white head that dissapates slowly and leaves beautiful lacing on the glass. The smell is the only thing from this beer that lacks at all, but not too bad as hints of alcohol and slight resiny hops come through. The taste is huge and robust though, hitting the palate with a big bold flavor of creamy malts and crisp hops that is balanced perfectly by a coffee bitterness that finishes the taste off. With a creamy yet crisp mouthfeel, this beer is good for most people who like a good strong beer without being overwhelmed by the alcohol flavor. It's there, but only as an afterthought despite being 9 percent. This makes it surprisingly easy to drink but beware because it packs an unsuspected wollop. Great beer from Lagunitas.

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

Tan, substantial, one and a half finger head. Color is dark brown/violet.

Nice, roasty aroma. Not as much raisin as I would have thought by the look. Mellow cocoa-like flavor. Hops are floral, though very subtle.

A little dark berry and raisin, with a strong hop bitterness. Roasty taste flattens out and loses the cocoa form the aroma. Alcohol is a little warm, but blends into the brew smoothly. Hops are very light and velvety.

Mouth is rich and smooth. I could stand a little more carbonation.

A decent example of the style, though there is nothing that sets this one apart from others except that it has no obvious flaws. Very clean, but not distinguishable.

Photo of SkipWeathers
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - brownish-red, clear, nice paisley lacing on top

S - brown sugar, caramel, pine

T - bitter, brown caramel, molasses, rum, piney resin

M - rich velvety feel in mouth, astringent

D - Another big hit from Lagunitas; one of my favorite brews of 2010. Smooth but with a fair amount of bitterness. Nicely balanced. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Photo of PicoPapa
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours a dark brown with ruby hues. 1/2 Inch of frothy head. Lots of lacing. Aromas of booze, raisins, and a bit of hops. Flavors of dark fruits, alcohol, and some bitterness. Not much hops here which is shocking since this is a Lagunitas beer. Hints of brown sugar. Dark fruit aftertaste. Overall this beer is decent but the dark fruit flavors make me think it'd be rough to drink a few of these in one sitting.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber to black in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, caramel and candy sugar. In the taste, just like the aroma, caramel and candy sugar, with hints of alcohol. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry sticky sweet candy sugar aftertaste. Nice big ale, but kind of line and average.

Photo of begforme4484
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a darker brown color. Decent head, good lacing.

Some sweet candy smells. Herbal/citrus hop notes.

Dark fruits, a nice sweet candy flavor, and some herbal hop notes. Very nice.

Medium bodied, with lower carbonation.

ABV is hidden well and is very easy to drink.

Photo of bfields4
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice filtered caramel brown color with amber highlights. Good frothy off-white head.

Very malty aroma. Sweet caramel, dark fruits, citrus and lots of spices. Nice complex complex aroma.

Brown sugar, vanilla come in big followed by raisins and cherries, maybe even a twinge of citrus. It finishes with a dry alcohol kick.

The big complex flavors are very nice. Really reminiscent of Arrogant Bastard for me. The alcohol is a touch overstated. This beer could probably use some time to mellow out, but really overall a good tasting beer.

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

I LOVE Lagunitas, as I'm sure all two people who actually read my beer reviews know. So, when I saw this baby at my usual place, I had to get it. IT'S CALLED FREAKING, "THE HAIRY EYEBALL"!!!

When you smell this beer, it fills the nostrils with sweetness, very sugary. I get raisin (malts!). Unlike basically 99.999% of Lagunitas' beers, The Hairy Eyeball isn't very hoppy, but that's not a bad thing.

Color is a clear, dark copper. I wish the head was a little bigger when I poured it, but no biggy. The lacing it leaves are a pretty sight.

This is a very smooth beer and much more malty than any other Lagunitas I've had. The flavors tingle the tongue in such an order: sweet toffee, sweet and fruity raisin or prunes, a mellowed - compared to other Lagunitas brews - hoppiness, and the subtle yet evident tang of alcohol. The Hairy Eyeball is 8.83% ABV, but you wouldn't be able to tell from the taste, which is good. This reminds me of a winter warmer beer, although it's not as hoppy as most of the style.

If you want to go to sleep with a warming beer, definitely try this one out. Although it's not a style that I prefer, this one is still a good one. Sweet, malty, smooth, just the right amount of hops, and plenty of alcohol without tasting like it. Try it!

Photo of aval89
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a dirty brown color with shades of dark orange in the light.. managed about an 1/8 inch of tan head.. tight bubbles..

S: toasty malts, caramel/toffee.. some herbal tones from the hops with just a faint hint of citrus.. some candy aromas pull through with a smokiness to it..

T: heavy roasted malts almost burnt.. dark fruits.. smooth caramel/toffee notes.. more of that herbal flavor with more faint citrus from hops.. candi sugar again with a smokey, spicy finish..
As beer warms you get some chocolate notes as well.. small booze detection..

Mf: thick, rich, yet smooth/creamy..

D: despite high abv. Alcohol is well masked & makes for an easy sipper ..

Photo of DaveHS
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Ruby/burgundy with 1/4 inch of khaki colored head. Rings of stringy lacing.

S-Fruity. Cherry, brown sugar, fruitcake, brandy.

T/M-I was expecting a lot more from this. Limited in terms of flavor for what is usually a bold, flavorful style. Papery, boozy, dry. Hints of brown sugar, but none of the fruit the nose promised. This isn't doing much for me. Medium bodied, with fizzy carbonation.

D- Skip this and go straight to the Gnarlywine.

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

Saw this and felt inspired by the name coupled with my liking of Lagunitas brews.

Look is a deep, dark amber with moderate carbonation.

Smell is... there? I find it to be lacking. What little smell I sense is sweet and malty.

Taste is quite pleasant. Very malty with a nice amount of hops to level it out. The carbonation adds a little bit of lift to the flavor. The lingering tail has a bit of a smokey sweetness to it that I enjoy.

Mouthfeel is full all the way around, and the fact that this brew isn't overbearing in any field makes it quite drinkable.


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

A - This beer pours a dark mahogany color, and glows red when held to the light. It has a 2-finger light tan head that left specs of lacing.

S - It smells of sweet caramel malt, hops, dark fruits, and there is also some booziness coming through.

T - It tastes of roasted and caramel malts. There is also a nice hoppy bitterness and some dark fruit flavors coming through. There are also notes of vanilla, chocolate, and some booziness.

M - This has a medium body and mild carbonation. There is a slightly chewy feel to it, and it goes down quite smooth. There is some alcohol warmth here as well.

D - the drinkability is good. It's easy to drink, and tastes great. I really like this beer, and I'm glad I got the chance to pick some up. I recommend giving it a try.

Photo of Cylinsier
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours dark brownish red and opaque with a bit of lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted elements and a bit of dark sugar malt.

Tastes a bit buttery with some strange dark fruit sweetness and winter spices, along with a little hop.

Thicker feel with little carbonation.

Interesting beer but didn't really appeal to me for some reason. The taste was just not what I was expecting. Sort of weird flavor combination, closest to a winter warmer maybe but more potent.

Photo of lnashsig
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Duvel tulip, pours a dark amber color- very little head or lacing. Smell- dark apples, brown sugar, cinnamon. Taste- buttery apples, a little winter spice, and alcohol heat! This one is way hot. Its almost distracting to the rest of the beer. Mouthfeel- syrupy and void of much carbonation. Drinkability- this may take me a long time to get down. I am hoping it really improves with warmth.

Overall, this was a little meh for me. So far, I have not enjoyed any of the Lagunitas offerings, still searching for something impressive from them.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Plan B in West Hartford, Conn.

A: Deep, reddish amber in color with garnet highlights and a foamy, dense cap of white foam. Clarity is muddled by a chilled haze, but is fine enough, with good, clingy lace as well.

S: Roasted malt, a bit of tobacco and fruity esters float around the aroma. A spicy, mellow, herbal citrus smell gets caught up in it too.

T: Sweet, deep roasted malt flavor up front balanced by doses of herbal, earthy, citrusy hops. Lots of complex, fruity ale flavors make up the malt complex, which is complimented by some smoky flavors and a demure alcohol presence. The finish is full bodied and bittersweet with bits of lingering hops, orange peel and spiciness.

M: Full bodied, rich mouthfeel with some chewiness to it. The darker roasted malts make up the complexities in the texture, I think.

D: Another fine sipping strong ale from Lagunitas. They always seem to make their hops known, as evidence by this brew as well, but with a delicate and complex malt balance. Too many of these brews at 9% ABV in one sitting and the next day, you probably realize why it's called "hairy eyeball."

Photo of BeerBoss
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great beer! Im just starting out in the Lagunitas series and so far the results have been positive.

Has a nice dark amber color with little head.

Smell is average with subtle hints of sweet notes.

Feels very smooth on the tounge with a smokey sweet start and hints of brown sugar.

Finish is smooth with a subtle bitterness.

Photo of NorCalYeti
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

taste- brown sugar, buttered popcorn, caramel malt flavors, syrupy

color- light brown

clarity- clear

smell- wood smoke, brown sugar, roasted malts, molasses, buttered popcorn

body- slight sustained hop bite at the top and back of the mouth, smooth mouthfeel, well balanced, probably the best "brown style winter warmer" i've had

appearance- cocoa-colored head when first poured and then little to no carbonation, some lace retention

overall impression- big, brown, sweet warmer. this is an above average beer and always worth a sixer a year

notes and comments- i think the bottle was slightly compromised and lost some of its carbonation. there were visible signs of liquid escaping the bottle (dried foam at the cap, liquid on the label, little carbonation when first opened)

glassware: tulip

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

12 oz bottle from Pints O Plenty for $1.70.

Appearance: Dark brown with clear reddish highlights. Off white to light brown head is huge, filling most of the snifter. Good retention, great lacing.

Smell: Very sweet. Caramel, honey, toast. Some sweet citrus hops. No trace of alcohol.

Taste: Dark caramel malts are sweet and toasty. More hops flavor than smell and just enough hops bitterness to help offset that huge sweet malt load. Finish is toasty and delicious.

Mouthfeel: Very soft. Despite the excellent head, it seems a little (just a little) undercarbonated. This beer has enough body to stand a little more carbonation without making it feel too light. Smooth and just slightly sticky.

Drinkabilty: I've avoided this beer for a couple of years for some reason. I wont anymore. This is a great, malt forward strong ale. Sweet and toasty.

Photo of HOPPYKC
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Flying saucer. I didn't even look to see if the bottle had a bottled on or bb date available. i want to say hey to the black guy next to us. Have a good time at Angels Rock Bar. Sorry i missed ya'.

A- I dark as night appearance. Not quite black but definitely not able to see through. I also didn't get any lacing around the glass.

S- A nice meld of hops and malt together. I get a nice alcohol smell as well.

T- The taste is great. Hops and a nice grain like taste that mix together so well. It doesn't hide the alcohol as well as id like it to but its still great.

M&D- Goes down really smooth. Its not quite as heavy as it looks. Its a nice easily drinkable brew that Lagunita's has made.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,321 ratings.