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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

2,008 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,008
Reviews: 849
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 41
Gots: 126 | 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: 2,008 | Reviews: 849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cswhitehorse
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Hairy Eyeball pours a lovely red with a good two finger foam head and some strong lacing. The aroma is more on the malty side and I get some brown sugar and dark fruit smell like dates.

The taste is strongly malted and the 8.8 abv is hidden nicely. I get some cherries in the middle of the drink.

In the mouth is it fairly thin and doesn't leave much of a mark but the malt that hangs out waiting for a ride.

Overall not a bad beer but I would probably only drink one or two due to the richness of the brew.

cswhitehorse, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of ojiikun
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found on tap at Collins in Seattle. Full pint poured to the brim with no head, just a single ring on the wall and two little, lacy islands. Colour is just like a cola with ice in it. Orange side of brown.

Smell is malty and sweet with a few acrid hops. A little caramel, a little honey. Some meaty, balsamic notes by the end.

Taste hits you with some woodsey hops than manage a decent alpha showing. Backing is surprisingly watery and clean. Leafy more than spicy, save some black pepper.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally clean at first, only to become a little coating by the end. Light as a feather in the mouth, even despite underwhelming carbonation. Hides it's booze by wearing the costume of a hoppy brown ale.

All in all, an odd juxtaposition of light and refreshing and bursts of intensity. Drinkable, but not too memorable.

ojiikun, Mar 15, 2008
Photo of emerge077
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a highball glass a deep chestnut brown, with a slight reddish tint. Tan foam, small head, laces a little bit.

Aroma is malty, with a little raisiny sweetness.

Hop bitterness shows up in the taste, but any hop flavor/aroma is buried under a bucketload of dark caramel malt and molasses flavor. Alcohol is readily apparent. Mouthfeel had a little creaminess to it, but wasn't huge. Worth a try, but I won't look for it again.

Tried this for $4.75 at Four Moon Tavern in Chicago.

emerge077, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of Shaw
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, deep mahogany with a thick off-white head that leaves nice lacing in my glass.

Its aroma is of malt and molasses, perhaps with a hint of coffee.

The taste is all about the malt. But it's not sweet. This has a nice molasses/caramel/toasted malt flavor. The hop flavors are quite subservient to the malt. This is the maltiest beer I've had from Lagunitas.

A smooth body.

Overall a nice strong ale. Not the best from Lagunitas, but well worth drinking.

Shaw, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of MarkSCCOT
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle received from stopbarking into a pint glass.

A. Dark amber beer with a sparse head that just disappears as soon as it appears.

S. Strong crystal malts with just a hint of raisins. Hops are slight.

T. As it smells. I have heard this described as a complicated beer. Maybe it is too fresh.

M. Good finish, slight carbonation with the abv well balanced.

D. Hard to finish. The rest of the 6 pack is going in the cellar. Hopefully it gows to meet it's reputation.

MarkSCCOT, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this at the sterling Sun Singer, since they've been rotating in various singles for mixed sixer purchase--great idea. a finger of dense off-white head tops a clear, brown body with blackberry highlights. Lots more fruit on the nose than I expected, with orange, pineapple, and grapefruit emerging. This is very smooth, a fine alternative to hopped-up strong ales and barleywines I've had lately, and that's not a complaint in the slightest.

Really quite delicious, a very enjoyable strong ale that masks the high ABV (8.8%) very well. Excellent.

Gehrig, Mar 13, 2008
Photo of bigelo1016
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- poured a redish amber with just a trace of a tan head which dissappeared in no time

S- Hints of roasted caramel and maybe a fig like smell. very little if any hop smell

T- Roasted malts, caramel, a hint of chocolate and hoppy bitterness at the tail end. The alcohol comes thru alittle but really tame for it's level

M- Very clean, light carbonation, easy on the tongue

D- A little strong for too many but it's deceptive. Very good beer all around. I love this brewery

bigelo1016, Mar 11, 2008
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a deep, clear ruby red color with a very light beige head.

Aroma of sweet malts, raisins, and a kiss of caramel.

The taste is big,bright, and sweet. Sweet malts, white sugar, caramel, and raisins. Hops are noted at the end to give balance. The almost-9% alcohol is well hidden.

Medium mouthfeel, drying, and moderately carbonated.

This strong ale is very easy to drink. Almost too easy. I'll definitely have again.

Monkeyknife, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of sinistrsam
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear red/brown, with almsot no head and minimal lacing left on the glass.
The aroma was complex; chocolate and sweet malts, mild hops, brown sugar, caramel and mild sweet fruits. Very good.
Molasses and maple sugar in the taste, with hardcore sweet malts and brown sugar complimented once again by mild sweet fruits.
The feel was fizzy adn acrid at first, but then the sweetness breaks through and that fades into a little sournes, finally coming to rest as creamy and sweet. Very interesting adn enjoyable.
Overall very drinkable, and no idea about the 8.8%...

sinistrsam, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of mithrascruor
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Callahan's, San Diego.

Dark brown color with a nice creamy tan head that lingers. Enjoyable aroma of malts, caramel, and hops. Enjoyable taste, similar to the smell, but with some nuts and spices in there. Nothing overpowering; nicely balanced and not too complex. A very rich beer, and well worth trying. Goes down rather smooth and nicely. And, despite the strong ABV, it's really quite drinkable.

mithrascruor, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of malcontent
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, clear chestnut with a strong, billowing head.

Rich, aromatic nose: iced tea, hazelnuts, golden raisins and a fair splash of piney hops in that order.

Controlled malt sweetness right up front with the nutty body of a brown ale and the floral/piney hops of an APA. Brown sugar and grapefruit pith dominate the finish.

Full-bodied and evenly carbonated but a touch slick on the finish. Otherwise just fine. Highly drinkable ale and it seems to have something to appeal to both hopheads and malt-fiends alike. Check that, the booze really sneaks up on you and could easily render you silly if not careful. Down goes the drinkability...

malcontent, Mar 06, 2008
Photo of ballewblake
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No room for head on the heavy pour from the bar. Great lacing, opaque brew, dark amber body. Knocking points off smell here as I was getting a low to no smell, taste is where this one wins. Sweet and hoppy, almost double IPA flavors. Carbonation on the tongue is mild but noticeable. Excellent balance of malts and hops. Full body beer, good mouth fill. A good session beer for me.

ballewblake, Mar 05, 2008
Photo of RichardWalter
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong ale is the correct description. Strange name. Bottle does not give a clue as to the type of beer. Tastes linger including hoppiness, a little caramel, aftertaste, pleasant mouthfeel. Aftertaste also stays in the mouth and on the tonue. Pleasant look.

RichardWalter, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of macster
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour reveals a fairly clear dark brown color with copper-amber highlights. Forms a dense and thick beige colored head with good retention throughout the glass. No lacing noted.

Aromas are nice, just fairly weak and muted with predominantly sweet notes of dark caramel, figs, raisins, brown sugar and nuts. Some faint herbal/spicy hop smells are detected way in the background.

Mouthfeel is moderately full and round with a creamy texture; nice for the style.

Flavors are much more assertive and pronounced than the aromas. Starts off with sweet and pleasant flavors of rum soaked dark fruits, brown sugar, molasses, roasted malts and caramel. The 8.8% alcohol and the earthy/citrusy hops kick in together in the finish to show some muscle.

I had a Lumpy Gravy last night and thought that would be similar to the flavors of this beer. At $9.49/sixer this is a good value for a well done American Strong.

macster, Mar 03, 2008
Photo of Ricochet
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: True dark brown. I mean, really TRUE. This was the brownest beer I've seen! With little head and good lace.

S: Malt, raisin, alcohol... otherwise not much.

M: Good GASP! Thick as thick gets, almost like gravy with a strong burnt malt remainder, this was hard to swallow because I was enjoying the tastes. Wow. Sweet finish too, just at the back.

T: First, there is fruit. Not bitter, but raisin, prune, even a little lime? Then there was toasted malt and alcohol. Then there was a olive bite and even molasses on the finish. Complex.

D: No idea what to make of this other than a wonderfully tasty beer, and another score from Lagunitas.

Ricochet, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of turbine2475
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a dark crimson with a thick cream colored head that disipated quickly leaving a dense lace.
S - Scents of hop and earthy fruit that is more subtle than expected with this style.
T - Malty fruit fowardness that has a subtle lingering of hop bitterness
M - Light in carbonation with a syrap coating that adds to the slight after taste that is produced
D - Not an everyday beer, but one I would not turn down if given the chance.

turbine2475, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of jkdrummer
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice reddish brown. Great head too, dies down into a creamy lace.

S: Malty some yeast too.

T: Sweet. Alcohol presence. Toffee.

M: Syrupy like a Barley Wine.

D: Strong and not for sessions. Enjoyable evening warmer. My eyeball didn't get hairy either.


jkdrummer, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of m1ked
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I just love the name of this one.

A- Pours an impressive clear deep crimson with a 1/4" sandy, bubbly head.

S- Dark fruits- raisiny, figgy, brown bananas, creamy- not too strong of an aroma.

T- Deep rich maltiness, sweet, toffee, subtle ginger. A nice bitter finish to balance, some heat.

M- Heavy, thick, good carbonation- very smooth overall.

D- I was pleasantly surprised, a tastey brew overall, not a sessionable one for me though.

m1ked, Feb 28, 2008
Photo of Hojaminbag
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A pretty dark brown body and a couple fingers of head. Decent head retention, almost no lacing.

Smells of ripe fruit, caramel, and just sugary.

The first thing I taste is a sugary/molasses flavor followed by huge caramel maltiness. Really caramel flavored. Finishes with a little alcohol warming. Too much caramel in my opinion.

Pretty good mouthfeel, balanced carbonation. A little syrupy.

I could not drink too many of this beer. Probably only one actually. It is far too sugary and the caramel is overpowering. Considering caramel is not my favorite flavor, this is understandable. Others might feel differently.

Hojaminbag, Feb 25, 2008
Photo of marcpal
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into large goblet.

A: Dark brown with bubbly off white head.

S: Definite detection of hops and an odd waxy fruit smell. Gotta give it points for uniqueness.

T: Dont taste the alcohol but the caramel sugars are just still odd. It almost tastes like a bad bottle. Bubblegum flavored robutussin is what I was reminded of.

M: Extremely thick and malty.

D: Not interested in having any more of these, a bit of a let down. The alcohol showed up more as the beer went down.

marcpal, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of cichief
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at the Frisco Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a hazy amber-red, with a thin, light tan head.

S- Lots of sweet malt and floral hops there, very inviting.

T- Starts off very sweet, but finishes nice and dry. Fr such a big beer, there is no alcohol burn.

M- Lots of smaller bubbles, but not overly carbonated.

D- Only the strength of this beer would stop me from drinking this all night.

cichief, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of imaguitargod
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a medium small head and dissipates within a minute or two. Nice ruby color to the beer which gives a beautiful appearance to it.

Sweet and smooth are the two main flavors here. There is a slight hop to the aftertaste but is very barely detectable. That is, until you drink more. The hops tend to build the more your drink it (as far as the aftertaste goes). All in all, this is a very drinkable beer and at 9%abv it's definitely a keeper.

imaguitargod, Feb 22, 2008
Photo of thewho
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great offering from Lagunitas. I seem to look forward to each of their seasonal releases, as they are all very tasty. The one starts off with a nice, deep mahogany color, with a tan head. The lacing is great. Not any hop smell, and it is definately a warming drink. Half-way through the glass my stomach is feeling toasty! This beer is similiar to my favorite offering of Lagunitas, Brown Shugga, it just seems a bit lighter and less sweet. Both have a remarkable mouthfeel and drinkability given their ABV. Well done Lagunitas!

thewho, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of Mitchster
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$2.00 for a 12 oz bottle at Jack's. OG=1.090, 9.0% ABV, 56.7 IBU.

Pours out to a clear very dark mahogany, forming a large poofy meringue-like light khaki head with very good retention and gorgeous lacing. Very good looking brew. The aroma opens with caramel, carob, green leafy hops, walnut. The mouthfeel is chewy with a big dense body. Carbonation is mild to moderate. The taste opens with vinous esters, followed by plums, roasted grains, apple juice, resinous piney hops, a touch of juniper, and ends in a moderately strong woodsy bitterness with afternotes of roasted barley and chocolate malt. There is a little bit of burnt banana and burning rubber in the finish as well. Moderate astringency.

This is a pretty tasty brew. It's quite potent and meaty. I would buy this again. A fine American style barleywine/Strong ale. It would probably cellar really well.

Mitchster, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of jtm3
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Deep Amber. Head disappearing rather quickly

S: Sweet, very sweet. Brown sugar and caramel dominate. Some alcohol present with a touch of chocolate.

T: Better balance of hops and malt than I expected. Sweet, caramel malt flavors still dominate. Some alcohol present, but pretty well-hidden for near 9%. Syrupy, sticky bitterness comes through, however, and lasts a little too long.

M: Too chewy for my tastes.

D: This is hurt by the lingering aftertaste.

Overall, not bad. But I don't see myself having more than 1 of these due to the mouthfeel and drinkability.

jtm3, Feb 19, 2008
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 2,008 ratings.