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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

1,968 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,968
Reviews: 847
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 36
Gots: 121 | 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: 1,968 | Reviews: 847 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of alexatlatx
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I loved this beer...6 months ago. I should have sipped it then. I ahve recently learned from experience, that saving Lagunitas beers longer than 6 months yields poor results.

Regardless, I still love this beer. It pours a very dark amber, slightly translucent, with little to no head. The aroma consists of raisins and chocolate, with a slight dead-hop (likely because of its age).

The old age gives the "well i should have had this 4 months ago" cardboard flavor. But it also has a great light barley flavor.

I feel bad for not drinking these Lagunitas beers sooner (brown sugar, undercover, hairy eyeball). Some say that aging beer is a crap shoot. I am now hapy to know that i should just drink Lagunitas beers rather than saving them. Fresh Laugnitas beers are amazingly hopped, so i should just focus on the fresh ones.

alexatlatx, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Clear, copper in color. Modest, ivory colored head. No lacing.

Malty and sweet aroma. Burnt/carmelized sugar. Almost port like in aroma (just poured a glass for my wife, so top of mind). Grassy.

Taste gives me sweet, dark fruits. Toffee. Well balanced by hops, big pine flavor. Could turn down the hops just a touch to make it easier to make out the other flavors. Touch of coffee and/or roat flavors. Alcohol.

Medium + body. Low carbonation. Pretty dry. ABV starts to heat you up pretty well about half way through the beer.

Pretty good. When I was drinking it, my guess (correct it turns out) was that it was a strong ale. Reminds me somewhat of Arrogant Bastard. Very complex.

, Jul 13, 2007
Photo of beerphan
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz stubbie -> mini brandy snifter
no date
9% abv

Pours a shade deeper than clear cherry cola red. With smallish film for a head that leaves a ring of suds around the glass. Dotted gobs of lace. Carbonation is slow and steady.

Nose: Caramel malts, sherry

Good thick drying mouth on this one. Awesome maltiness, with smooth caramel all over. Finishes with a nice bitterness that lingers in the back of the mouth, though not providing much flavor. Slightly warming from the alcohol, but hidden well.

Well worth a try. I gonna let my other one sit for awhile and compare.

beerphan, Jul 03, 2007
Photo of kmpitz2
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz stubbie. This one is a fantastically deep amber color with crystal brilliance. There is minimal head that stays around as a light patch hovering over the brew. I'm not seeing any bubbles working out of solution in this one. The aroms is full of incredibly deep caramel sweetness, with a strong pine resin hop and a potent alcohol spiceyness added in. Everything about the aroma is big. The flavor brings a strong bready character that moves to a caramel-soaked resinous pine hop. The hop moves from a peppery sensation after swallowing the brew to a fairly strong bitter bite on the sides of my tongue. The bready character of this one is really strong throughout the drink. Mouthfeel is moderate with a very mild carbonation. This one actually feels like it is pulling moisture out of my salivary glands by drying the lateral portion of hte back of my tongue and under my tongue. Interesting feeling. I find that I really have to slow down on this one from the strength of the bready flavor and the hop along with the drying feeling I am getting. It is nice, but this is one that needs time to dissect.

kmpitz2, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of doubleipa
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very little head with a clear brown color. Lots of different aromas: heaby malt, bread, taosted, burnt, dates, oak. Nice oak and a little smoky taste.I hint of pine and citrus, but not muuch. Didn't really taste of feel the alcohol. Decent level of carbonation. Will want to taste this again in a year or so.

doubleipa, Jun 29, 2007
Photo of mdm46410
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a deep brown that shows some ruby highlights under light. Almost no head or lacing to speak of. The aroma consists of a lot of caramel, some sweet and roasted malts, and a touch of hops. Very sweet, rich aroma. As for the flavor, it has quite a bit of sweetness like the aroma suggests. You can taste very sweet caramel, fruits, and a bit of alcohol that is followed by a quick hoppy bite at the end. Very similar to a barley wine. The sweetness tends to overwhelm the other flavors towards the bottom of the glass. The mouthfeel is thick and oily with little to no carbonation. Definately a full-bodied beer. I enjoyed this beer, but wouldn’t mind the sweetness being toned down a bit, or balanced out by a few more hops.

mdm46410, Jun 15, 2007
Photo of Tyrawlings
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap and poured into a pint glass.

A: Deep mahogany in color with ruby hues. Creamy tan head poured one finger thick. Decent retention. Sticky lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

S: Toasted malts. Citrus and pine hops. Dark fruit. Brown sugar. Raw earth and warm alcohol.

T: Sweet toasted malts and brown sugar cane are followed by the tastes of dark fruit and raw, wet leaf. Citrus and pine hops leave a nice bitter bite on the tongue. Soft hints of grapefruit are followed by an earthy flavor and warming alcohol.

M: Smooth and slightly slick. Medium carbonation. Warm and dry.

D: Alot of different flavors come through in this brew. Overall balance loses out to the abundence of hops. Higher alcohol content is well hidden. Recommended.

Tyrawlings, Jun 11, 2007
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage

A: Pours a hazy looking raw sienna color with a standard sized roasted marshmallow colored head. Overall, the body seems quite calm with minimal activity.

S: Strong malty aroma with loads of toffee, raisin, vanilla, burnt caramel and earthy hops.

T: Begins bitter right off the bat across the tip of the tongue. Sweet and malty flavors of the likes of brown sugar, old apple and dark honey accompany the bitterness. Mineral flavors come next while the bitterness and sugary sweetness wallow together. Finishes with more dark honey flavors, bit of dried cocoa and really light citrus. As it warms the alcohol becomes much more apparent.

M: Medium body with a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel.

D: This beer smelled better than it tasted. Fairly unimpressed with this beer as I’ve tasted many like it.

Westsidethreat, Jun 06, 2007
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to aprilluvsbeer for sending this my way for BC2!

Pours a clear dark brown/red, medium tan head forms, settles to a thin layer and ring, some lace spots, decent retention. Smell is sweet, very malty, toffee and grains, figs/raisin, citrus, some iron, not bad. Taste is nice and malty as well, toffee and raisins, iron, dark fruits, grains, nice balance, almost old ale like. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Some heat going down. Nice strong ale to drink, one of the better Lagunitas I've had. Thanks April!

Viggo, May 24, 2007
Photo of penguinjive7
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a a decent head and lacing. Smells of spices and dark malts. Taste is of dark malt immediately countered by a spiciness that mixes very nicely with the alcohol. A hint of hop bitterness nicely balances the brew. The feel is a bit strong on the tongue with the carbonation, but not overbearing.
A nice, well-balanced brew. I have had this in the past and it is even better than I remember it.

penguinjive7, May 21, 2007
Photo of cktison
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Brick Store Pub, "Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball 2005 Strong Ale - exclusive at BSP"

A: A dark, shadowy brown with a beautiful, creamy 3/4" head of tight bubbles. Almost no loss of head over time, beautiful lacing.

S: Cinnamon apples, sweet and sugary, smells very much like the holidays or poutporri with fall smells. very interesting, very complex.

T: Sweet and malty with a nice fruity sourness to finish it from citrusy hops.

M: Creamy, deep, nice carbonation and good clean finish - very dry.

D: This is a very interesting strong ale, different flavors and smells each sip - I would have loved to have a new one to compare the 2005 version too.

cktison, May 17, 2007
Photo of Suds
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a deep and shadowy brown, with just a slight crimson shade. It presents a thin but steady tan-colored head and a respectable trail of lace. The aroma is pleasant: a mix of malt, sugar, figs, and some ethanol. Beneath the first layers of smell, there's a little grapefruity hops. Not bad. The taste is sweet (a bit sticky), with a good dose of bitterness. You can easily taste the alcohol in this one, as well as some toasted malt. The malt flavor is a consistent theme through the brew, but it's not as complex as it could be. It's pretty full in body, and modestly carbonated. Worthy of a try, but there are a lot of strong ales out there that a

Suds, May 12, 2007
Photo of TexIndy
2.58/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 650ml bottle with no dates into a pint glass. Was bascially black unless held to a light then it was a dark mahogany. Had a decent head to settled to a constant collar with very good lacing. The smell for me was awful. It had a rotting plum smell with a medicinal alcohol smell in the background. The taste was just as bad. I can see where some may like this but this ended up a drain pour for me. Very bitter with a bad aftertaste. Don't recommend unless you are a big fan of the sytle. (2, NA, ML, N)

TexIndy, May 06, 2007
Photo of acrawf6
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear rich dark mahogany with a foamy tan head. very nice

Smell. Heavy and creamy. sweet with brown sugar, and lightly fruit and spicey, like cinnoman and cranberries at thanksgiving.

Taste. The hops come out, but the malts still dominate. It is dry and earthy to me- wood chips is what i get. Under that are some nice small chocolate notes. Aftertaste gets a little sweet of molassis.

Mouthfeel. Creamy with a nice small level of carbonation. Body is full, but not thick. alcohol is present.

Overall, a nice beer to sip on. quite malty, i thought it would have had a bigger hop bite to it. I like it, and would love to have it again, but i dont see myself searching for it when i travel again.

acrawf6, May 01, 2007
Photo of BlindPig
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- 1/2" tan head on a DARK red body and when held to light clear dark ruby body.
S- Big malt body with still good balance from citrus hops. Grapefruit hops, and sweet toffee body, some grass hops.
T- Citrus hops with malt body. Balance each other out pretty well but hops still winning. Light bread malts too. Grapefruit and orange hops. Very tasty!
M- Full body medium carbonation.
D- Very tasty. I wish I would of bought one in Cali.

BlindPig, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of Nipitato
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at Downtown Wine & Spirits in Somerville.

A: Deep brown with garnet highlights. A thin tan head rings the glass. Visibly viscous.

S: Thick, strong sweet malt aroma with strong compliments of fruity esters (cherries and raisins).

T: Very good taste. Rich sweet molasses and a slightly roasted flavor dominates. Fruity port like esters add complexity. Nice full bitter finish that lingers. Well balanced, complex, and tasty.

MF: Medium full mouthfeel. No alcohol warming. Low carbonation. Viscous.

D: A very approachable good tasting American strong ale. I think it could actually stand to be a little stronger.

Nipitato, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of MmmIPA
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown body with a tan head,very big head at that too.The head is very creamy looking,looks like a head that you would see on a stout,some lacing is left on the glass as the head goes down.A small head stays with the beer for almost the whole beer.

Piney hops hit my nose first and I wanna say I smell dark fruits in there also.There is also a sweet smell somewhere in there.

The taste is hoppy and sweet,there mixed very well.The hoppiness would be more dominant if the sweetness wasnt so potent.

Mouthful is creamy and carbonation is very easy going.

This stuff is good,its my 2nd favorite beer from Lagunitas Ive had so far.Im gonna cellar 2 or 3 bottles of this stuff for a later time and see how they hold up.The booze sneaks up on ya,so watch out.


Brown body with some red highlights.One finger,tan head.Falls to a nice ring with a patch.

Smells like still,still has some hop bitterness in the nose.Smells oxidized.

I taste some dark fruits but there still fresh,taste oxidized also.I taste brown sugar in there too.

Carbonation is still very easy going and nice.

Not bad,but better fresh.Need to drink the other one soon.Get rid of the twist off caps.


Pours a dark red/brown body that looks like a barley wine and the head.wtf!!! there is no head.

Notes of sweetness.Plums,dates,raisins,and every dark fruit imaginable.Smells nice.Smells like a English barley wine.

I still taste some hops in the background and to be honest with you the sweetness isn't that dominating.The taste is mainly dark fruit.

Mouthful is very nice.Still thick but very pleasant.

This beer is still good but I don't recommend aging it for longer then 18 months after you buy it.Tasty thought.

MmmIPA, Apr 25, 2007
Photo of tonistruth
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- dark copper with mahogany hues, 1/2" off white head, little retent

S- dried fruit, caramel, malty, pine

T- fruit, caramel, brown sugar, sweet and sneaky alcohol at finish, molasses

M-medium body, some carbonation tickles, slight slight alcohol at finish

D- think hoppy scotch ale or a balanced scotch ale, complex and enjoyable, a more pronounced hop presence would be nice, good none the less

tonistruth, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's an American strong ale with roots in the English barleywine style. It's malt heavy, with a lighter hops compliment. The malt profile is rich and fruity, like apples and berries. The hops seem slightly fruity, not too harsh, but add a nice balance. This beer isn't amazing, but it's well-balanced and worth a try.

tempest, Apr 22, 2007
Photo of Osiris9588
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Pours a deep amber color with a rusty glow around the edges. The two-finger tan head is quite creamy, showing decent retention and leaving some big bubbled, erratic lacing behind after the creaminess subsides.

The aroma is very malty, along with wiffs of sweetness and grain--not unlike some Scottish ales. The flavor is also very creamy and malty, along with a strong wallop of cherry and touch of medicine, yet the phenols don't become overwhelming.

The mouth is medium body, showing decent complexity, as the creamy and sweet elements, eventually dry out a bit on the finish. Very solid overall.

Osiris9588, Apr 15, 2007
Photo of aforbes10
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

got this at the Corkscrew in Urbana, IL. Poured much, much darker than i had expected. A dark red brown with red tinge to it. Nice head that settles well and leaves a nice lacing. Odor is hoppy, slightly fruity (raspberries?) Smells strong and flavorful. Taste has tons of hop bitterness but not a ton of hop flaovr. Some caramel mingling with dry malts. Bitterness dominates this brew and is maybe a bit overdone. heavy mouthfeel. This one is a bit of a one-trick pony. Ok if you like a hop bomb i guess, but its not all that interesting.

aforbes10, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of AltBock
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. stubby bottle that has a label that has to made out of recycled paper. You can just feel the roughness of the paper. On this label is "Lagunitas" in green letters, the words "The Hairy" in red letters, the word "Eyeball" in gigantic blue letters, and the word "Ale" in red letters. Below the word "eyeball" is of course a picture of an eyeball. It's a blue eye with a small pizza section cut out of it. Must have had a problem with the printer. Below the blue eyeball is the caption "Here's Lookin' Atcha'!" If you very closely below the caption you can spot the O.G., ABV%, and IBU numbers. In the top right hand corner you can spot the Lagunitas symbol of a drunk sad dog that looks very similar to the Little Rascals Petey the Dog. To the left of the label is the Government warning and to the right of the label is just the refund prices, net contents, and their saying, "Life is Uncertain. Don't sip." Don't waste your time looking for any kind of date because they it doesn't have one. Capped with a twist off cap.

It was served in a Snifter. This eyeball was a dark chestnut brown with tons of cranberry and ruby red highlights throughout the beer. It only had a small skim of white almost tan colored head of foam that fizzled away into a few white/tan foamy rings and a trace of spotty lace. The smell was very fruity at first. I'm not too sure what kind of fruits were in that jumble. After that there were some notes of raisins, brown sugar, very little toasted malts, and it ended with a pinch of sweet citrus hops. The taste was slightly sweet with a touch of toasted malts, raisins, brown sugar, grapefruit, and it decided to end this taste with a big bang of alcohol soaked dry citrus hops. If you decide to hold the beer in your mouth, the alcohol soaked dry citrus hops keep getting stronger and stronger until you're forced to drink it down. Are they sure that their Hairy Eyeball Ale clocks in at a 9% ABV? If it does, then it really masks it's alcohol content. You better keep your eyeball on this eyeball because if you don't, you'll look like the drunk Lagunitas dog. Here's looking at another one of these!

AltBock, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of illidurit
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Rogue pint glass.

A: An extremely deep reddish brown topped by a disappointingly small head for how vigorously I poured it, not even half a finger.

S: As a result of the inadequate head, the smell is lackluster and faint. I can only pick up a bit of brown sugar or caramel. No hops in the nose.

T: Mmm, that's better. The taste saves this beer. Big brown sugar malt with a bit of a citrus hop undercurrent. Molasses and coffee notes. A pinch of spice from the alcohol comes through at the end. Reminiscent of a barleywine.

M: Full and smooth.

D: You can drink these until the 9% abv catches up to you.

illidurit, Apr 05, 2007
Photo of AChamberlain
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Damn good brew. I've had this twice recently. Once at the Atlantic Chip Shop and for this review, at the Gate in Park Slope, Brooklyn (both places are owned by the same people). On-tap. Dark brown almost black with a 1/2" head. Since this is my second time having it, I know it will be good. Hoppy aroma. I love that smell. The flavor is sweet and hoppy. Both flavors work really well together. Great balance. Medium to heavy body. Zesty finish. Highly drinkable for such a strong beer.

AChamberlain, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of WanderingFool
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It took me 3 trips to the store to finally grab a six pack of Hairy Eyeball. This time it was I who grabbed the last bottles of this beer.

Hairy Eyeball pours a clear dark mahogany color with a small, creamy tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly leaving no signs of lace on the glass. An aroma of cherry, raisins, vanilla and medicine greets you before each sip.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is somewhat chewy with a frothy fizz on the palate. The flavor is mainly caramel malt with notes of cherry and raisins. Towards the end some grape notes move in and it finishes with some floral hoppy bitterness to balance out the malt. Once gone some of the sweet malt and cherry flavor lingers on the palate.

This reminds me of a barleywine that isn't overloaded with hops. It's very well balanced, but appears rather flat without any foam or lace.

WanderingFool, Mar 22, 2007
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,968 ratings.