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

Pours a dark reddish-brown that has an off white head that has good retention and very good lacing. The smell is a pleasant sweet smell of sweet malts, sugars, and some dark fruits. The taste is caramel, molasses, followed by a nutty and maple flavor, than get some raisins mixed in and it finishes off with a slight citrus taste at the end. The after taste is a sugary sweetness mixed with a little bitterness from some hops. The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, but thanks to the sugars it becomes sticky on the lips and tongue. I know this has 9.0% ABV according to the beer bottle, but can hardly taste the alcohol and the good taste and balance makes me want to drink more than one, but I only bought one for $1.99 plus tax and deposit. For those who have not tried this go out and buy one and I think you might buy another.

Photo of jsh420
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours clear dark caramel brown with a 2 finger head that left lacing all over the glass

smells of nutty caramel malts

taste - very malty! rich roasted caramel little chocolate little heat from the booze

mouthfeel is a heavy body with good carbonation smooth and creamy yet sticky and will make you brush your teeth immediately after your sip

drinkability is ok the heavy body high abv and sugar teeth rotting
malts made me barely finish this one

Photo of Codnasty
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured From a 12oz bottle into a Pint Glass

A- Pours a dark amber color, almost mahogany with a 1/2 tan head on top.

S- Raisins and Vanilla with a hit of coffee at the end

T- Malty to start with some nice spice and a good hop finish at the end to balance it out. Maybe a little cinnamon in there as well.

M- Mild carbonation and very smooth

D- Hides its 9& ABV very well, I could easily go through a Sixer.

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

From a 12 oz into a tulip, it kind of glugged out of the bottle like some used motor oil. A pretty dark, cola looking color, thin white head that vanished quick.

Smell of raisins, slight chocolate, fruity, grapes, sweet brown sugar, molasses.

Taste is a up front coffee, a bit of charcoal, a good amount of grape, burnt sugar, toffee, bread like, baked goods, a bit of croisont, Its really all over the place, slight citrus, pineapple, flavor notes coming from all angles.

Mouthfeel is quite thick, a pretty sharp carb that wants to sting a bit, has a sharp tongue feel but goes away leaving a nice film

This is a very good beer, a true lagunitas classic. Going with there style, it doesnt fit into a certain category like most, american barleywine and strong ale its hard to decide.

Photo of ms11781
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a deep brown color, maybe a deep reddish brown depending on the light. Seemed to pour thick and viscous. Slight tannish colored head that goes away within a minute perhaps half a minute.

Smells of all sorts of sweetness. Sweet malt aroma, caramel, toffee, definitely some chocolate there too. Maybe the slightest hint of piny hops, but the malt takes over again as soon as I get the hop aroma.

Taste is very sweet. Caramel, some chocolate, sweet malt and sugary all at once. Actually pretty complex. I also get some toffee, molasses and some hops too (citrus?). There really is a lot going on in this one. Slight warming from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick and syrupy but it actually goes well with the sweetness. Medium carbonation that can be somewhat prickly on the tongue at times, which also isn't a bad thing as it seems to add a bite that balances out the sweetness.

I wouldn't say the drinkability is too high with this one. Definitely not something you'd have more than one of but it's enjoyable while it's in the glass. Probably just a bit above average for a beer of the style.

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

This beer pours a mahogany color. The head is a quarter inch in height, and recedes quickly into a thin cap of lacing. The aroma is of caramel, pine and citrus. It is rather pungent, but quite simple. The taste has more caramel than the aroma which I think is a really good thing. There is still a noticeable hop presence, however, it is in the form of a rounded bitterness on the tongue, and a lively bite in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with sprightly carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a nice beer that I would happily drink again. The aroma is pretty generic, but the taste is solid and for this beer that is enough.

Photo of davesway10
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Excellent beer, excellent taste. For the most part, I love everything that lagunitas has to offer. Well balanced and exceptionally tasting beers. what more could you want especially from a high ABV beer. Good stuff, keep it coming lagunitas. 9 more letters.

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

Part of a semi-special beer birthday tasting. This 6 pack is from winter of '09. 2nd bottle that I have had (roughly 10-12 months apart).

Pours dark into my glass, but when held up to the light, it's actually dark ruby in color. Not a lot of lacing or head retention.

Wow carmel, toffee, malt bomb on the nose.

More of the same on the palate. Tons of malts, but not overly sweet. Pretty much nailed the hop profile to match the ridiculous grain bill.

Fairly thick syrupy after taste. Not bad, but a little sticky.

Despite the alcohol being well hidden, I'd definitely say this beer is a sipper. I'm not sure how much longer this beer will age. Will be interested in revisiting it in a few more months.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.89/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. The color is a nice really dark red-amber with a really thin head that doesn't really last. The nose is strong and malty with some brown sugar, caramel, dark fruits, and a bit of light booze. Really nice and complex. The taste is some brown sugar and light dark fruits. The feel is a bit boozy but quite nice with a good body and drinks well.

Photo of therobot
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from fear025, thank you.

A: Dark, reveals a deep garnet color when held to light. Light quickly dissipating head.

S: Mild hops, smell of dark fruits, raisins, or plum

T: Follows the smell, mild hops, a strong amount of malty goodness, and a fairly sweet, pungent dark fruit finish. Coats the throat and tongue

M: Thick, and low carbonation

D: Fairly drinkable, my limit would be the 1 bottle at a time.

I found this to be pretty similar to the brown shugga', maybe it is because I just reviewed that one as well. However I did find this one more to my liking.

Photo of climax
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Hairy Eyeball... hhhmmmm, summons an interesting mental facade. Lets dive in. The color was a transparent chestnut brown, a sturdy mocha head was alive at the top.

The nose was one word, malt. The complexity of the aroma was quite impressive. Bolder flavors of cocoa, cookies, and biscuits were up front. As it warmed and I dug deeper, the breath of cinnamon, peat moss, bourbon, and earthy hop dryness surface.

The flavor was as expected, complex and full of live. The alcohol was evident, which was never strong, but just added a dash of warmth. Smoke and roasted dark bread flavors lingered throughout. Roasted nuts, cinnamon butter, and ripe fruit all live within, excellent.

The body was thick, still easy to drink. The carbonation was perfect, the feel was syrupy in the mouth, and chalky through the finish. Would make an excellent winter warmer, or a fantastic dessert.

Photo of Durge
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Found this on tap at the Mellow Mushroom in Greensboro, NC, it shows a very opaque black color, chilled in a nice goblet. It has a giant milkshake-like light tan head with tons of lacing left behind. The aroma brings malty caramel and yeasty evergreen with a sweet brandy touch. Neat. The flavor brings a sort of Dr. Pepper, malt blend with some hints of whiskey and maybe juniper toffee. There are some chocolate and maple brown bread ideas milling around as well. This is medium-heavy bodied with moderate carbonation. It has a thick, near syrupy feel and is not highly drinkable in my book. Very good, interesting stuff although it seemed somewhat unbalanced, hard to capture on the taste buds, almost harsh. Alcohol is notable.

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

This poured a deep dark red with a 2 finger head. Some fruity esters and very mild pine like hops. Very malty and sweet, kind of like a Dopplebock. Hint of raisins and brown sugar. This is tasty and easy to drink. I would seek out another one of these!

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

The eyeball is much darker than I expected it to be. It has a shallow head and laces nicely in the glass. It smells delicious and carries hint of aroma that gives it that true strong ale character. I really enjoy the strong yet full flavor with a very nice blend of healthy malts and mild hops. The going down is just right for a complete beer experience and the tastey sips invite a second bottle.

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

review input from notes. Enjoyed 08/31/10

Deep brown to crimson red colored body. Two finger ecru head with decent retention. Thick lacing left around the perimeter of the glass.

Aroma is heavy on dark fruit and spice. Dark Cherry and raisins give way to a caramelly bready malt. Spices in the nose meld to the other aromas a bit but I can pick up some clove and cinnamon fairly easily.

Dark fruit and dry spice are up front at first sip. Hairy Eyeball tastes very much like a holiday beer. Caramelized sugar, fruit and a bready malt, kinda fruit cake like I suppose. Slight heat from the booziness but not off putting.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth drinking while finishing surprisingly dry.

Solid beer but not my thing. When picking a slightly similar beer from Lagunita's portfolio I would go with some Brown Shugga instead. Drank easy but not super enjoyable. Not the beer for me.

Photo of wangbruins
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark, calm brown with plenty of red hues but not much head at all

S- Cherries and raspberries with some brown sugar. It is very sweet smelling

T- Cherries and dark fruits like raspberries and plums with a sugary aftertaste that isn't too powerful

M- Really smooth and pretty bold feeling at the end but not overpowering

D- I drank six and so can you

Photo of stonermouse
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

A- Light brown; color a bit like a Coke.

S- Scent is a little bland, just barely giving away what lies ahead. A little metallic to the smell as well.

T- Very nice. Really complex at the back end. Definitely chocolate, but creamy and a little nutty as well. Pretty refreshing, considering the flavor palate; probably because it is not overly heavy.

M- A little flat. Again, a little light for such a dark and complex beer.

D- Pretty good stuff. The ABV and heavy flavor make it tough to session, but one will do.

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

A: Darkbrown head with a weak tan head.

S: Roasted sweet malts, a little chocolate and a hint of hops.

T: Deep dark roasted malts upfront. The beer is a little tangy at the end. Some hops are present, but the malts are dominant. Maybe a little nut hidden in the flavor as well. The alcohol is very well masked.

M/D: Thick, creamy and delicious. If you can take the ABV you could drink it all night.

Photo of billshmeinke
2.85/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint.

Finger and a half off white head. Brown with a tinge of amber in color. Good retention. A nice cap of foam on top. Nice lacing.

Powdery cocoa. A hint of caramel. Faint spicy hops.

Toasted malts, powdery cocoa, some citrusy hops.

Medium bodied, nicely carbonated, smooth and creamy. A nice hop bite on the end.

Kind of like an india black ale, but it could be hoppier.

Photo of halo21
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance: I poured this thick, potent elixir into a Sam Adam's perfect pint glass, displaying white chunky head with a opaque red body.

Smell: Bold and strong; esters and heat, brown sugar and molasses; the yeast smell that I feel tie the Lagunitas beers together.

Taste: Amazing! Sweet and strong; candied fruits, yeast, caramels and sugars.

Mouthfeel: Heavy! Coats the whole mouth; creamy and active.

Drinkability/Palitability:Lower; not a beer to be messed with coming in at 8.8% ABV. Lagunitas has a way of making beers that sneak up on you.

Photo of StlHopHead77
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into generic pint glass

Appearance-Muddy brown with faint crimson moments.Beautiful 1 1/2 inch tan head that dissipated slowly leaving minimal lacing.

Smell-Cherries Jubilee.Dark cherry,burnt sugar and alcohol.That's Cherries Jubilee,right?Inviting to say the least.

Taste-Sweet,dried fruit and caramel malt.Slight coffee,mocha character.Balanced hop bitterness and late alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel-Rich,full and creamy with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability-Considering the ABV,the drinkability is good but the sweetness could become cloying after two.

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

A - Pours a mahogony brown with thin lacing and no carbonation.

S - Mild malt profile with some dark fruit. Not overly aromatic so I'm having difficulty picking out much more than this.

T - Brown sugar, molasses and dark fruit with a caramel/toffee backbone.

M - Creamy, thick, big bodied, and sweet throughout the sip. At the very end there's some mild hopping that surfaces and lingers for a little bit.

D - Very drinkable - nice balance.

Haven't had this beer in a long while. I opened a (5) year old bottle of this a few weeks ago and unfortunately, it went down the drain. This beer doesn't strike me as one to be aged for that period of time, maybe a year or two, that's about it. Would definitely purchase this again.

Photo of WJVII
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BA bud Cdkrenz for this sample from his sixer...
Poured into a pint glass this brew is a deep amber color that has a nice 2 finger off white head that lasts real long leaving sticky lacing after each sip. The aroma is of burnt caramel, some toffee, slight apricot and fig notes. The taste is a little milder than the aroma led it to be. Some nice malts up front with decent toffee sweetness and a slight mild bitter finish. Alcohol is definitely in the back of my throat lacing a nice warm sensation. This is a decent brew but not sure if good on a hot summer night to have more than one.

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

pours a dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head and tan sticky lacing and ring..i smell malts and toffee and dark fruits some roasted spices..taste is the same..its roasted malts and toffee some dark fruits,,some chocolate and toast put is some citrus hops and finish it off with some brown sugar..mouth feel is heavy /medium and robust with a nicely balanced strong ale ..i could only drink 1 of these but i did enjoy it will buy in singles again and recommend this one

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

At the source. Deep mahogany brown, mild carbonation, little lacing.

Aroma of dark fruits, malts, caramel and hints of the alcohol - very rich scent.

The taste is rich as well. Take the aroma and multiply by two and this is the flavor reward. Excellently balanced beginning, middle and end. Sweets - fruits with alcohol - hops.

Double the ingredients and you have a barleywine - excellent example of a strong ale. My favorite from Lagunitas.

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