Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

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very good

2,124 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,124
Reviews: 864
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 50
Gots: 172 | FT: 2
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: 2,124 | Reviews: 864 | Display Reviews Only:
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 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!

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

A - Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours clear ruddy amber with a thin/medium brown head.

S - Extremely sweet malt and lots of brown sugary goodness.

T - Really sugary malt. Syrup.

M - Slightly less than medium bodied, good carbonation.

Notes - In summary, this is a good beer that's a bit too sweet even for my sweet tooth.

Photo of beertunes
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a review of a beer that I like a lot, but I'm not sure which style we should consider this to be. This beer is listed as a Strong Ale, which I consider North Coast Old Stock to be the template for the style. I think this beer is more of a Barleywine, keep that in mind while reading my review.

Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a lovely deep combination of deep brown/garnet colors. Poured with an attractive deep tan head that left more lacing than I expected for the style(s).

A gorgeously strong aroma feature sweet malts without outstanding hop notes. There are some spice scents that show through and are very pleasing.

The flavors follow the nose while expanding upon them. The bold malts deliver the expected flavors, while the underlying spice and hops give great finish.

The big, strong ingredients produce an excellent body. Nicely drinkable for a strong beer, use caution if having several.

Again, if I were rating this as a Barleywine, it would rate higher. As it is I love this beer. It's worth searching out.

Photo of Shumista
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Chimay goblet.

A- Hairy eyeball looks great. It pours a dark brown that has tons of red in it when you hold it up to the light. Medium light tan head resulting from an aggressive pour.
S- Sweet caramel malt and dark fruit, not what I expected for some reason.
T- Very fruity taste coming from the dark fruits, sweet brown sugar, caramel malts and a nice amount of bitterness from the hops in the background.
M- Medium bodied and syrupy.
D- It's pretty sweet so I don't think I would want to have any more than one more after this one. This would make a pretty good dessert beer I think.

Not a bad beer at all, I'm glad I picked it up on a whim. Definitely one that is worth a try. I probably won't be buying it again anytime soon though because while it wasn't bad it didn't impress me that much either.

Photo of cjgator3
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. This beer pours a dark reddish brown color with a thin light tan colored head.

S- The aroma is sweet malt and caramel, dark fruits, raisins and a good dose of hops fill the aroma as well. The aroma is very enjoyable with a nice balance between the malt and hops as neither seems to outshine the other.

T- The taste starts off with a sweet malty base with hints of spices. A good amount of hops in the finish helps to balance the sweetness of this beer out. The finish is definitely accompanied by a warmth from the alcohol, but it definitely isn't overly boozy. I'm really digging the hop profile. The hops in the finish are not overly aggressive and bitter but they really do help to balance out the brew lingering well into the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This one is definitely a sipper, but it does drink pretty good for a beer of it's strength. Overall, Hairy Eyeball is is pretty solid beer that I would definitely purchase again. Recommneded.

Photo of JamesP123
2.88/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 release 12 oz bottle oured into a mug.

A. Dark bworn/reddish color, small off white head that dissipated quickly, but left some lacing throughout the glass.

S. Kinda sweet, smells of raisins or some sort of dark dried fruit (figs, prunes etc.)

T. Really tastes like raisins or dried fruit, Fairly balanced between the Hops and Malts, can definately taste them both almost equally. A slight alcohol flavor, but not much

M. Lighter than I expected, not as creamy. A little more carbination than I would have liked.

D. Would struggle to drink more than one of these in a row, but liked it none the less. A little too sweet/not hoppy enough for me. Although my favorite style is a IIPA so go figure.

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some ruby highlights and a moderate head. Not alot of foam lasts in the glas, but there's some decent lacing.

Hard to find, and surprisingly so for this style. Some rich malt and sugar notes, but pretty weak.

A burnt brown sugar bomb for sure, with some warming alcohol and leafy hop notes. Concentrated sweet and toasted malt dominates.

Palate coating and chewy, with some slick sugary maltiness on the finish. More sweet than bitter in the finish.

A heavy-flavored beer with some alcohol punch, not exactly something I'd double-down on. Very tasty, but a "one is enough" per sitting type of brew. I enjoyed it, and would seek it for a return to the style. Price is right ($2.15 for a 1 oz. single).

Photo of RunDWP
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked a six-pack of this up, somewhat on a whim and because it's a Lagunitas brew I haven't tried yet, and wow, what a brew! Another brown sugary type ale from Lagunitas that works!

It pours a nice mahogany color in the glass, with light brown foam and plenty of lacing on the glass. Slightly nutty aroma. The flavor is far more substatial than the aroma, and has plenty of nut malt goodness, with a brown sugar sweetness. This one is definately malt dominated, but finishes with a slightly earthy, grassy hops. Really liked the warm blend of flavors, here. Some heft in the mouthfeel from all that malt. Very smooth, and drinkable beer, especially if you don't mind all the sweetness.

Photo of xhcadamx
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - deep mahogany brown with ruby highlights. Little head but very tight lacing.

S - Lacking. Leather or tobacco.

T - WOW!!! Everything is this joint. Reminds me somewhat of Imperial Red Ale. I wish the smell followed suit. Hoppy and malt fruitiness.

M - thin for the style but helps in the drinkability.

D - I like this.

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

I poured this one from a 12oz stubby brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a dark reddish brown color with a 1/2" dense tan head. The head stayed a while and eventually dropped to a thin skim. Lots of sticky lace down the sides of my glass.

S= The aroma was really sweet, with a heady, brown sugar and molasses quality.

T= Like the aroma, the flavor was super sweet, almost cloying but not quite. Loads of molasses/brown sugar flavor over a rich brown maltiness. The finish tried to dry out a bit and only partially succeeded.

MF= Heavy bodied beer, with a solid carbonation level and a big amount of surface tension. All of this resulted in a slick feel.

D= This is a unique beer, but not one I could ever drink more than 1-2 of in a sitting. Would appeal to those who like very sweet beers.

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

Pours a clear, brown to burgundy color with a thick, light brown colored head, that sticks around longer than average, leaving lots of klingons on the side of the glass as it recedes.

Aroma has a lot of sweet character, syrupy malts, brown sugar and some mild dark fruit aromas.

The flavor is represented pretty well in the aroma, It consists of the sweet malt characters once again, brown sugars, molasses and hints of dark fruits, with just a very mild bitter finish, not enough to ruin the overall thick, sweet character of the beer.

Very nice texture on this medium heavy bodied beer, feels great in the mouth with just enough carbonation to tickle the taste buds but not ruin the creamy texture of the beer. The alcohol is fairly well hidden, only detected in the mild warming sensation it imparts. I first tried this beer at a beerfest a couple weeks ago and really enjoyed it so when I saw a 6-pack at my local beer store I couldn't resist. It tastes every bit as good as I remember!

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

I'm impressed with this one....aroma is rich and malty with dark fruits....the taste is also rich and malty with a nice fruitness...caramel, brown sugar, plums, pears, a little grannysmith apple....

A very nice strong ale I would definitely enjoy drinking many more of..

Photo of Ricelikesbeer
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a little thin, and not much head. a little murky and plain brown. smell is sweet with just a little funk. Definately not overpowering, but noticeable. Taste is also sweet, malty with alittle brett funk and sugar. Good finish, and is sweet and hides the high alcohol. Mouthfeel is decent, fairly smooth, nothing special is pretty drinkable and decent all around. Nothing amazing for this style, but pretty good and worth the money to try. Sweet and a different than most other american wilds I have had, just not too special.

Photo of ffejherb
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into shaker pint on 3/17/09. Thanks to Kegatron for donating a bottle to my beer charity.

A - Poured a clear deep reddish/burgundy/mahogany color with lots of particulates suspended throughout and a slim head that transformed into a wispy retention and left virtually no lacing on the glass.

S - Mild leafy, tea-like and herbal hops and some dark fruit notes suggesting raisins and prunes. Not overly alcoholic given the ABV of this brew, yet it does become more apparent as the liquid reached room temperature. Pretty muted nose overall.

T - Subtle alcohol notes paired with a dark fruit tang and a touch of tea-like hop bitterness in the finish. Some spicy notes appear in the backend akin to clove and coriander. There is also a touch of black licorice sweetness.

M - Medium body with a syrupy texture and pretty lively carbonation on the tongue. Bitterness is actually quite pronounced on the palate.

D - Not really my cup of tea. Pretty subtle in aroma and flavor, overall. Not bad per se, but just not a style that appeals to me compared to a DIPA, Imperial Stout or even a good old fashioned pilsner.

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

Appearance: Dense dark brown body with ruby highlights. A tannish head clocks in just shy of a finger high and great curtains of lace.

Aroma: Lots of sweet, caramelized, almost burnt malt with some dark fruit and a healthy dose of booze.

Taste: Still lots of sweet caramel malt and dark fruit with a little spiciness mixed in and a decent splash of hops for some balance. The alcohol is kept in check, but is a constant companion.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and smooth with low carbonation.

Drinkability: A sipper, but perhaps a little above average for the style.

Verdict: Hairy Eyeball is somewhat similar to Brown Shugga', but certainly different enough to warrant its existence. Perfect for a cold and drizzly day like today. I'll be aging a couple of bottles next to the bottles of Brown Shugga' to see how it evolves.

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas... one of my favorite breweries. Not only are their beers all delicious and consistent, but they are all high ABV and well priced too... (usually like 8.99 or 9.99 a 6 pack or 3.99 a bomber) This beer is no exception, pours a nice dark red/brown. Tons of lacing and good head retention, sexy. On the light bodied side, very sweet taste to it. Sort of took me by surprise but it had a nice mouthfeel to it. Very hoppy but well balanced with the sweetness. Some alcohol taste kicks in at the end, but it has a nice warming appeal to it. The sweetness was a tad bit too present for me, but other than that this is a great beer... here's lookin atcha!

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

This beer caught me a bit off guard and was sort of a let down.. It basically in all ways is very similar to a dark bock (an eis, maybe not as far as a double but close).. In fact if you gave me a blind tasting of it I would insist it had to be one.. but it is an ale, in fact.. So I was a bit disappointed as I was hoping for something unique from this "american strong ale"...
That being said, it is not a bad beer at all.. Dark amber/brown pour. Fruity, bready, malty smell with caramel (again, think bock). The flavors are very malty, with caramel and a cola-like taste, raisins, and only a trace of bitterness in the aftertaste. Medium bodied with a full-mouthed presence.. Again, its very similar to say an eisbock or perhaps a darker scotch ale.. Definitely good, but nothing unique.

Photo of djeucalyptus
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured into an oversized snifter, hairy eyeball appears a deep raisin hue with hints of glowing amber and garnet. A dirty cream head of a solid finger sticks around for a while, eventually giving way to a thin frothy cap that leaves impressive sheet-like lacing down the glass.

aroma of caramel, malt, raisins, cherries and prunes. Pine and a bit of herbal hopping. a hint of mellow spice... star anise, cloves... maybe cinnamon.

taste is sweet, with a heavy malt up front, followed by a slightly spicey, slighty bitter middle. hops, candied dark fruit, and a bit of pine. raisins and prunes. hints of cocoa and coffee. A clean, lightly alcoholic and piney bitter finish. Nothing really dynamic or astounding, but definitely some solid flavors.

mouthfeel is pretty solid. can't really knock it. Full bodied with ample carbonation creates creaminess out of what would otherwise be a sticky and syrupy mess. Rich, smooth, creamy, and clean.

All in all, pretty dang drinkable for a strong ale. A bit syrupy/sweet on the whole, but that's not necessarily bad. I wouldn't want to drink more than one or two, but I'm sure I could. Kind of reminds me of Brown Sugga, but with a bit more hops, a bit more sweetness, and a bit more strong. Nothing really amazing, but an all-round impressive strong ale.

Photo of mjl21
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle states it comes in at 56.7 IBUs and 8.7%. No bottling info is given but this should be the 2009 batch.

A-Pours dark brown with a half finger tan head. A decent foamy ring remains with nice foamy spots floating in the middle. No lace.

S-Sweet malt and raisins/prunes.

T-Sweet malt and raisins. Like a Dubbel without the yeast flavor. Some minor lingering bitterness from the hops. Aftertaste reminds me of a perfectly cooked marshmallow.

M-Heavier bodied, crisp carbonation, and sticky feeling left on the lips.

D-Alcohol is well hidden. Sweetness ultimately limits consumption.

A good American strong ale for a cold night.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,124 ratings.