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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

2,328 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,328
Reviews: 918
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 52
Gots: 289 | 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: 2,328 | Reviews: 918 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of chumba526
2.8/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appears a dark red color with a very thin white head that quickly vanishes.

Smells strongly of prunes, raisons and other dried dark fruits. There is also a strong brown sugar smell to the beer as well.

Tastes of brown sugar. A dry fruit smell is also apparent. A tad bit of citrus hops though they are barely noticeable. The beer ends with a very slight bitterness.

Carbonation is medium low.

I find this quite difficult to drink because the sweetness is very strong. This beer can use quite a bit more balance. Not a bad beer by any means but just a tad bit too sweet for my tastes.

Photo of beerwolf77
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my pint glass the beer is a blood red plum hue with brown edges. About a finger and a half of tan head that leaves a solid thick lace ring.

The aroma is sweet and almost fruity. Solid amounts of dark fruit drizzled with sugar. Toasted bread and a hint of coffee.

The flavor is fairly simialr to the nose. Except the coffee aspect seems more pronounced. Mild sweet dark fruit gives way to a hoppy bitterness. Then a solid dose of burnt toast and coffee seem to round things out.

Medium body with light carbonation. Dry finish.

Overall a decent strong ale. Typical on all points. Nothing stands out for me though.

Photo of arizcards
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at AJ's in Scottsdale in late February for $1.59.

Beer poured dark brown with a 1 finger head that is leaving lacing and long lasting. Nose has hints of brown sugar and raisins. Taste is a huge sweet malt backbone, brown sugar raisins, dry hop finish. Mouthfeel is full bodied, medium carbonation, extremely smooth and satisfying. Drinkability is good, the abv is well hidden. Not much complexity here, this is simply a nice winter warmer. Glad to have had a chance to sample!

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

From growler to elongated chalice.

A: A two finger khaki-colored, frothy/creamy head rises slowly over a clear dark brown body. Ruby edges (completely ruby colored in front of light). The head is slow rising but diminishes quickly.

S: Borderline roasted malts of chocolate, molasses, caramel, toffee and spent coffee grounds. The hops are light: Dried herbs, resin and pine. Light yeast contributions of leather and dough.

T: Follows the nose plus flavors of rendered brown sugar and an oven heated, oil conditioned baseball glove. Moderately sweet with a long flavor duration.

M: The body is medium full (if not full), thick and sticky with a syrupy, semi-cloying texture. Average carbonation.

D: A cleaner mouthfeel would have increased the drinkability and overall score. Drinks like a porter.

Photo of aerozeppl
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

A: Mostly clear dark brown in color. Poured with a finger of white head with some lacing.

S: Kind of a tight nose. It has that smell that all malty lagunitas beers have. Not bad at all just very in line with the rest of their beers.

T: Lots of sweetness. Raisins. Plums. Caramel. Little bit of fruit thrown in there for good measure. Quite a good a diverse nose especially to style.

T: Tons of malt. Toffee caramel. A nice lingering sweetness. Almost a hint of citrus in the middle. Raisins. Little bit of hop bitterness. It is quite well balanced actually.

M: Very nice creamy mouthfeel. Good carbonation. No problems at all.

D: I think I might grab a few and cellar them. I have always had good luck cellaring their beers. Fresh this was a joy to drink. Insanely drinkable for the style.

Photo of chickenflea
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12-oz bottle. Foamy, full head. Aroma of licorice, caramel, and vanilla extract. Color is medium brown and clear. Heavy sweetness. Heavy full body, sticky texture, almost syrupy. Surprisingly clean finish for such a heavy beer. The finish makes the beer drinkable, and not just for sipping.

Photo of cdkrenz
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Thick and creamy body with a minimal head of light tan.

S - Brown sugar, molasses, subtle bread, nut, caramel, anise, and alcohol flavors with a hint of smokiness.

T - Caramel is prevalent with accents of bread toffee and anise. The anise flavor is rather unusual considering the rest of the character of this brew. It fits well as it adds a nice edge.

M - Very thick body with a nice sticky and chewiness to it.

~ I'd love to sit down with two or three of these babies and really enjoy them. This makes for a great desert beer even in it's mild demeanor. I wish I had picked up a six pack and not just a single. I'll be back for more.

Photo of jerlleutz
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just delicious, taste, smell, lay, the whole yard.

I bought a sixer of this gruel, and it gets better every bottle.

The lacing worked for me, too, and the color is the darkest of coppers out there. The smell of molasses, sundries, and road trip forced me to dive head-in.

The taste is borderline cloying, but with this ABV and this much blackness in flavor, maybe I'm off-mark, but this is probably my only, albeit, jab at this one. Paired with the right food, this may be irrelevant. Food? And beer? Wow, what a night! I think the recession is over.

Great, thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Again, see above re sweetness.

Powerful, so start the night off with this one.

Photo of misinformed
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a Lucifer snifter.

A- Dark brown with reddish highlights. Poured with barely a finger off light brown head that quickly disappeared. No lacing at all that I noticed.

S- Sweet and roasty. Malt. Some light alcohol.

T- Starts off sweet. Notes of caramel and roasted malts. Finishes with mild floral and citrusy hop notes. Slightly spicy towards the end. Once I tasted a distinct but faint hint of smoke. Pretty mellow all around.

M- Medium bodied. Starts off light then the highly active carbonation kicks in.

D- Mellow and well balanced. Seemed to be the opposite of their Undercover Investigation Ale which is hops then malts. The Hairy Eyeball starts out with a nice malt sweetness balanced out with the slightly bitter hop finish. Leans towards a sipper, but if you're into it I could see drinking a couple. It was good, but didn't do much for me.

Photo of xraided81
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: apearance is dark brown, with ruby highlights. thin off white head that quickly dissipates.
S: dark fruits, prunes, dates, dried cherries, a slight hint of burnt brown sugar,
T: sweet bready taste, the specialty malts, crystal, special b, carmel are up front in the taste, there is an aggresive hop bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: it is surprisingly light for 9% brew, i dont get the chewy mouthfeel that is present in a barley wine, or old ale.

Drinkability: It is a brew to savour and enjoy, not something to pound a six pack of in one sitting. i dont know what category this falls under, it is not hopped enough to call this a barley wine, but it has more bitterness than you would expect in a classic example of old ale

Photo of caddybuyer
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A-Ruddy brown with garnet highlights. Seems to be some suspension in the glass, but I had one a few days ago that was nearly filtered clear. A vigourous pour results in a creamy tan head that clings to the glass with sheets of sticky lace.

S-Sweet caramel malts and candied dark fruits predominate. The nose is pungent and enticing and grows more so as this one warms.

T-Sweet caramel and molasses and rum soaked dark fruit play across the palate with a rich anise creaminess followed by an astringent hop finish that lasts forever. Some warming alcohol present, but not overwhelming. This is very nice...reminds me of a hopped up quad.

M-Medium-full, rich and creamy. May be a tad overcarbonated but easily remedied by a more aggressive pour next time.

D-Well done. Big, flavorful, complex, incredibly well balanced, and best of all way tasty. Hard to believe its 9% ABV. Another great brew from Lagunitas.

Photo of Bizz88
4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beauty pours a dark mahogany with an initial two finger tan head, finishing off with a nice sticky lacing the whole glass. Has a sweet toasted malt and molasses on the tongue. Light on the carbonation with a medium/heavy body. If I lived in Petaluma,CA there would be not a taste for everyone else. If you can't get it, road trip it!!!

Photo of mooseisloose
4.7/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a name, bizarre yet intriguing, I've picked up a six of this before but it was so good, it got downed without a review. Well I scored another, marked at 8.83% ABV, so let's give it a whirl. Popping the top yields a delicious smell of brown sugar, molasses and black and hint red licorice. Pours to a nice translucent deep red brown with a thin tan head. Taste of this brew is complex. It starts with a chewy roasted malt base and progresses to a black licorice flavor with a molasses and anise slightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is extraordinary. It starts almost syrup thick then zests ion the middle with carbonation and thins (not overly so) but still sticks to the ribs. This is a perfect example of this style and a very delicious brew. This brew can be very sneaky at 8.83% ABV. This beer is also an extreme value as a six pack sells for less than most four packs of equal or lesser quality. Keep up the good work Lagunitas. May have to cellar a few to see what pans out in a year or two.

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

A:big thick head disappears with nice lacing.

S. dark fruits, bread, sugar and faint hint of alcohol

T: surprising amount of hops as well as the alcohol then sugary bread taste and fruit. Nice complex flavors that sour a little on the tongue

M. bubbly high carbonation fizzes with the alcohol

D. good it sips well perfect for spring could have 2 in one sitting

Photo of bryanmetzger
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautifully poured beer at McNulty's Pub in Cleveland Heights. Great lacing, Great aroma, a little on the thin side in the mouth, which seemed to accentuate the higher ABV. Overall, Quite yummy, a treat. A sixer would be a full evening at home, but I might have to try it.

Photo of racer2k
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this beer into my favorite pint glass

A - Beer pours a dark brown mahogany color with a bit of foam head and minimal carbonation.

S - Raisins, toffee, chocolate, brown sugar and malt are all present in the aroma. There is also a waft of a nutty flavor in there as well. This beer is definitely built on a strong malt profile with very little hop presence.

T - Like the smell there is a big malt profile to the taste of this beer. There are spicy and roasted malt elements to this beer which slightly mask the alcohol profile of this strong ale but not completely.

M - Medium body to this beer with some carbonation and a warming alcohol sensation which is especially present in the back end swallow.

D - Decent strong ale for sipping but not necessarily a session beer given the high 8.80% ABV on board. Perhaps a nice after dinner beer.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees

This pours a medium shade of copper with deep ruby highlights. The single finger head of beige foam dissipates quickly. The surface covering film that remains sticks around almost all the way through to the end. The lacing is in thin strands that are fairly sticky and fight against the oily residue that this beer leaves on the side of the glass, trying to stay up on the side.

Nice, big, malty presence. Traces of toffee and caramel, along with some dark fruit notes. Figs, dates and raisins, especially. Light hint of molasses. A nice woody quality. A light yeastiness gives way to scents of buttered toast.

Very good malty flavor. Much more of an earthy malt presence, than a sweet one. The sweetness is mild, almost an afterthought. This has a slight dryness to it, almost oaky-like. Mild notes of nuttiness to go along with the woodiness. Very light traces of brown sugar bob to the surface and get sucked right back down. Mild flavors of dark fruits, without the sweetness.

This has a good, medium body to it and a mild-to-medium level of carbonation. It is mostly smooth, although it's a touch thin, for the style. There is a slight biting sharpness on the back-end, but it fades quickly. This would benefit from a good touch of creaminess.

The 8.80%abv is minimally noticed, but gives you a nice, fuzzy, feeling with a mild hint of warmth. Perhaps not the best thing to slam a 12-pack of in a session, in that respect, but it's tasty enough that you just might, if you aren't keeping track of your intake.

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

12 oz. bottle from Whole Foods PDX Hollywood, poured into UCLA shaker pint glass 5.14.2010.

Not much to add to my review of on-tap version nose and flavor wise, but I used this as an opportunity to compare with Stone's Arrogant Bastard, which I would view as the comparator for the style re Cali Strong Ale. I thought the depth of flavor, re malt profile balance between caramel and bread, and hop profile, more aggressive bitterness on back end, tilts scale toward the Eyeball. On drinkability, though, a this ABV you better be careful. I certainly prefer the tap version to this bottled version, but as few kegs as I've seen of this in Beervana, I'm lucky to have scored this bottle. The big question is whether this will cellar well. Damn, I should have grabbed another bottle!

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,328 ratings.