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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

2,362 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,362
Reviews: 930
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.46%
Wants: 54
Gots: 305 | 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: 2,362 | Reviews: 930
Photo of PicoPapa
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
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 -12%
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 +8.6%
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 -3.6%
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 -1%
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 +12.5%
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 -10.2%
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 +2.9%
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 +4.9%
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 -8.9%
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 -8.9%
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 +8.9%
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 +5.7%
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 -3.1%
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 +4.2%
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 -7.3%
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.

Photo of TCgoalie
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A frothy white head collects as I pour a hairy eyeball into my glass. The color is a clear reddish brown lighter in color than I would have expected. After a few minutes, the head goes away but collects at the sides when swirled around.

Candied brown sugar smells combines with a pinch of anise to create a warming scent. A pleasant warming of the nose occurs showing a bit of heat in the smell.

Brown sugar, molasses, and some burnt flavors start to create a pleasant drinker in the front end. Near the end, some piney/flowery hops take away from what the beer is creating. The resulting aftertaste is confusingly bitter and moderately hot.

This is medium in the mouth with a good deal of carbonation and ample drying. Not too exciting in the mouthfeel.

For the 9% I would say the drinkability is average. The alcohol is not very well hidden and the harsh bitter nature does not promote more drinks. Probably the most disappointing Lagunitas I have had...perhaps it is just a bad bottle?

Photo of Giggy
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark brown leather coloring with a red hue. Head developed late in the pour then went away quickly

S - Lots of sweet, caramelized, almost burnt malt with dark fruits and you can definitely smell the alcohol

T - Dark sweet caramel malt, dark fruit,a little spiciness mixed in with a slight bitterness of hops. The sweetness masks the alcohol.

M - Heavy, full-bodied, and smooth with low carbonation.

D - A sipping beer, good taste, just hard to drink in multiples.

Photo of plfahey
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance-Red-brown in color, with bright ruby highlights when held to the light. Very clear. Low beige head with fair retention.

Aroma-Hello crystal malt. Smells like caramel and dark/dried fruits (raisins, figs, plums, prunes). Brown sugar and molasses as well. Light whiff of alcohol in the background. Inviting.

Flavor-Rich, malt awesomeness.Sweet, brown sugar, molasses, and burnt caramel show up front, followed by drying alcohol and slight hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel-Full body, almost chewy, with moderately carbonation. Velvety smooth on the palate. Moderate alcohol warmth.

This is yummy as hell. Rich, thick, and powerful-a real sipper. Love it.

Photo of sdawson
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Hairy Eyeball Ale pours a mix of smooth and burnt caramels with some amber highlights. The head and lacing is small and brief, quickly dissipating into the brew. It smells strongly of brown sugar, molasses, and a hint of pineapple. I find the taste for this one pretty jumbled and not quite complementary -- at first sip you're greeted with a rush of sticky sweet brown sugar and honey, which is countered with tart grapefruit. Notes of prune and red fruit finish off the palate. The beer has a medium body with a slight silkiness. I can barely see myself finishing off the 12 ounce bottle of this one -- the sweet/bitter tastes are more than a bit cloying on the tongue. Not one I plan to have again.

Photo of Aiptasia
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Considering the price, a very fine beer. It's an excellent example of a drinkable beer with a lot of great character. 12 oz. bottle poured into a 16 oz beer mug.

A: Pours a nice rich reddish brown in the mug with a slight head, rapidly finishing lacing and no trace after 60 seconds.

S: Smell was nice, with hints of anise, slight citrus hops and malt caramels.

T: Taste was well balanced. Alcohol esters completely masked with a nice soft hops touch. Smells fulfilled with yummy caramel notes and citrus on the finish.

M: Medium bodied as above. Great subdued character.Not crazy rich, but not too thin, either. Good medium bodied taste.

D: Very drinkable. Not too high in alcohol content, so a great drinker if you're looking for a decent six pack.

Photo of wordemupg
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into tulip feb15 2011

A clear reddish brown with a nice thick tan head that retains well and cakes the glass with lace

S fairly faint brown sugar with some tea bag and booze

T flavors much stronger then the smell with prune, hazelnut, earthy hops and dark bread with what I smell and the booze is better concealed then the smell

M slippery and thick with enough carbonation to give it some life, almost syrupy and the flavors last a while on your lips and your lips may stick together

D not bad for a 9%er, not something I'd drink all day or under a hot sun but I sunk this single pretty quick

I liked it but still pretty expensive in this part of the world, a fair bit going on with this beer I'm curious to what some aging would do for it

Photo of JayQue
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish mahogany with plenty of light coming through when held to a light. Small light tan head with below average retention. Plentiful delicate lacing on the glass.

Good aroma of sweet malts - caramel and molasses aromas.

Very good taste. A lot going on here. Malts are featured, flavors are caramel, brown sugar molasses etc. Also dark fruit, a touch of floral hops and a little warming alcohol.

The whole mix is very smooth, rich and balanced. In some respects like a mellow barleywine. The alcohol is noticeable but only for its warming effects, not for any harshness.

Drinkability is good for a 9.0 beer. I could sip a few of these over a long, cold evening. Lagunitas can do other things well besides hop bombs.

Photo of Glibber
3.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Walnut colored pour with a very healthy mocha colored head that stays put. Not much of a smell, but the taste is pretty good. More malty molasses, and coffee up front, and a more bitter burnt back end. The alcohol is hidden up front and comes out at the end. It's like eating hot chips and salsa. As long as you keep eating it is great, once you stop, it is not as nice. Packs a punch. I prefer the sweeter Brown Sugga, but this is pretty good.

Photo of mjurney
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark ruby red color, see through. Lots of bubbles. Head looks very creamy.

Deep malts and dark fruit.

Rich creamy malts... I get bready, brown sugar, caramel, touch of roasted malts. There's some dark fruit character, plum, black cherry and raisin. Hop profile is pretty mellow at the end. Full bodied, very creamy mouthfeel.

Smooth finish, a little hoppy bite at end. Slight dry aftertaste that lingers very well.

Overall Impressions:
I love the rich creamy malts in this beer!! Very tasty.

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Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,362 ratings.