1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,256 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,256
Reviews: 903
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 51
Gots: 261 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-12-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Hairy Eyeball Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,256 | Reviews: 903 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of portia99
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received from Jmoore50 in the Black Booty 3 BIF. Thanks Jordan! Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a very clear dark brown with really nice ruby highlights. No head to speak of, never even gave a hint that one was trying to form...can only muster enough to leave a thin, uneven collar.

S - Good amount of alcohol up front. Some nice yeast derived fruitiness, maybe a touch of sweetness. Aromas overall are quite light and subtle. Not much for malt, maybe a hint of caramel, and not much for hop presence either.

T - A malty sweetness up front paired with a warm alcoholic nature. Some dark fruity aromas come in, a bit of cherry, some prunes, maybe some brown sugar too. Hops do make an appearance in the flavor much more than the aroma. This beer is nicely bitter and well balanced.

M - A bit on the thin side of medium bodied. This beer is quite well atenuated and fermented very cleanly...not much for unfermentables left behind for body. Carbonation is low too which really adds to the thin feel.

D - For a strong ale, this is a pretty easy drinker. Flavors are subdued, body is light, and everything is well balanced with not much of a noticeable alcohol presence. Not my favorite strong ale (so many good ones out there), but a pretty good beer - probably would be one and done in a bar and try something different the next round though...

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

I haven't sipped it yet and this beer looks great! Big frothy tan head following a medium pour, and it's hanging around. The color of this ale is a deep cherry/mahogany wood.

The aroma filled with dark fruits such as cherries and plums. Maybe some spices too. Smells like a winter beer for sure.

Taste is surprisingly fruity as well. Maybe some figs? Roasty malts are the stronghold here though. A pleasant hop bitterness is in the background.

Mouthfeel is medium and also pretty silky on the tongue.

I could have a couple of these, but that's about it as far as the drinkability goes.

Morey's Bottom Line: They label this as a strong ale, but to me, it's a winter warmer. Very similar to Anchor Christmas in my opinion. A well crafted beer for sure.

Photo of DrDoitchbig
3.44/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a surprising chocolate brown hue with some tinges of orange and red. It's probably one of the darkest strong ales I've seen, but it is a catch all style. The cream colored head started off at about one and a half fingers and stuck around throughout leaving generous, finger width gashes of lacing along the way.

Smell: Despite my numerous attempts at agitating the beer the aroma on this is pretty weak. The aroma that is here is mainly compromised of caramel malts and some earthy, floral hops.

Taste: There was a good base going on in the smell, but it was just too weak. Thankfully the taste department picks up where the smell left off and kicks it up a notch in the process. This is a fairly balanced beer with perhaps a slight edge going to the malts. Caramel and toffee come to mind with some traces of vanilla in the background. The hops are earthen, spicy, perhaps a tad medicinal with a flash of pine. Deep down there are some fruity esters hanging around. This beer has some really nice malt characteristics, but I wish they were playing second fiddle to the hops. I suppose that's just the way I like my strong ales.

Mouthfeel: A solid medium for the body, with a very nice creaminess to it. Carbonation is also solid, could be a tad higher.

Drinkability: Perhaps I've been drinking too many highly hopped beers as of late, but to me this tastes like more of an Irish Red than an American Strong Ale. The hop and malt profiles both match up fairly well to the Irish Red category. It's a nice easy going beer and I would gladly drink another, but this style has more to offer. The alcohol is covered very well.

This is the third beer I've had from Lagunitas and it's starting to become appearant that they are a little hit or miss in my book. One of the beers was fantastic, one was middle of the road and the last I just didn't enjoy. This one was the middle of the road.

Photo of CPeterson
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A -- Pours a translucent brown / deep amber, with a good head that settled to a fine skim across the top, leaving some lacing.

S -- Smells of syrup and molasses, sticky sweet with a light hop presence.

T -- Deep caramel sweetness backed by enough hop to push it down a bit. A little too sweet for my taste, but still nicely complex and rather original.

M -- Syrupy sticky sweet to the point of almost being overpowering. Heavy on the palate but not too abusive.

D -- I bought a sixer and it took my fiancee and I two weeks to finish them. I can't say I'll buy another, but I can see where other people may really enjoy this beer. It's just not for me, and this is only one man's opinion.

Photo of woosterbill
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Prime 16 into a snifter.

A: Clear, dark, ruby-brown body topped with a quarter-inch of fine, persistent off-white foam; decent lace. Good-looking beer.

S: Smoothly sweet malt - maple, chocolate, and some hazelnut. Pretty good.

T: Follows the nose at first, but finishes with a mild hop bite, and a bit more booze than I'd like.

M: Fairly sticky medium body with tons of soft, roiling carbonation.

D: A little too sweet and hot for me. Not terrible by any stretch, though.

Notes: While a thoroughly enjoyable malt-bomb, this isn't one that really stood out to me in any way. I'm glad I tried it, but won't be seeking it out in the future.


Photo of Daniellobo
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice strong ale. Hefty and pleasing...

Presentation: 12 oz draft serving. Menu offers a fair description of the brew. Notes Alc. by Vol. (9%). Served in a beer tumbler glass.

A - Amber brown to brown pour, nice 1/2" frothy head, fair retention and surface memory with some nice lace.

S - Shy notes of malt, dark dried fruits, caramel and malt. Nice but tamed...

T - Malty sweetness, soft but pleasing with notes of roasted grain, and a touch of spices.

M - Medium-full body with good carbonation on the low end, and a smooth creamy finish.

D - Nice offering, not too exciting but fine.

Notes: Not a favorite from Lagunitas, which I agree is typically underrated and yet is one of the most remarkable US craft beers available in this region. But this hairy eyeball still offers a nice brew, pleasing and quality.

Photo of GregPearson33
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a dark maple color with almost no head, although a thin film of tight, small bubbles was present throughout the glass. It might just be because the beer is really cold (should one be drinking this on the warmer side?) but there's not a particularly strong aroma given off, just some sweet caramel maltiness.

The taste was great, a well-balanced profile of burnt vanilla with a nice dollop of hoppy bitterness. Mouthfeel is a little heavy, but that's not exactly surprising given the strength. Very sip-able with a low level of carbonation. Not something I would session on, but I would definitely recommend for a pint or two. Overall, I'm a fan; there's nothing particularly interesting going on, but its just a good strong ale.

Note: don't serve this ice cold. Once I waited for this to warm up a little bit the taste greatly improved!

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

Pours a clear, dark amber color. 3/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of hops, yeast, sweet malt, slight citrus, and slight tart malt. Fits the style of an American Strong Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hops, slight roasted malt, slight yeast, and dark citrus (plum). Overall, a good blend, body, and complexity.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice amber looking really dark. Bottle has changed to having a cool looking red "harry eyeball"

S - Smelled of roasted chocolate and toffee. Nice wheat in the background.

T - I could easily detected some coco and toffee. Was a big surprise that it wasn't a hop bomb like their "brown sugga" which I kind of hated...

M - Is this really almost 9%? Man it went down so smooth I almost chugged it.

D - Going back to the singles store to locate a sixer. Man a great big beer that might be a regular for me. Might want to locate the cappuccino stout first before I get to love this one too much.

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

On-tap at Stone

A: The pour is a clear dark amber color with a mild, slightly off-white head.

S: The nose is sort of weak with and interesting mix of sweet caramel, toffee, and coffee (could have been some roasted malt). I tried letting the beer warm up, but still a bit muted.

T: The flavor is a bit more intense than the nose, but similarly lackluster. Not bad, but certainly not fantastic. The malty sweetness is the primary flavor with some hints of toast and roast and a light bitterness.

M: A full-medium body with a low to moderate level of carbonation.

D: For the ABV, it's fairly easy to drink, but it 's not necessarily a beer I would look to try again. One of the few Lagunitas beers I haven't been too crazy about.

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

A - Very dark mahogany, very clear, but so dark it is barely translucent. Small off-white head, barely remember what it looked like because it was gone in seconds leaving just a lacing.

S - Roasted malts, nice chocolate smell. That's about it and it is good enough.

T - Much like the smell there is a good amount of cocoa/chocolate flavor coming through. Nice roasted flavor as it finishes along with some hop bitterness for balance.

M - Smooth and rich feel. Finishes with some alcohol warmth and the carbonation helps it not feel to thick.

D - This is just a really good beer. Lots of malt flavor, especially chocolate. A nice bitter, clean, chocolate finish with a hint of alcohol warmth. Very nice on a cold night after shoveling some snow.

Photo of sweemzander
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No recognized bottled date.

(A)- Pours a clear, but fairly dark mahogany color with ruby red highlights. Produced a huge 3+ finger tan head that just erupted in foam during the pour, but also dissipated just as quickly. It just coated & stuck to every inch of the glass; just like if the foam was a sweater, the glass is wearing a foamy sweater lol.

(S)- A smoky peat-like smokehouse on the nose. Bits of cranberry, brown sugar, cinnamon, molasses, and bacon?

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A bit less smoke presence, but still subtle. Rather festive in smell & flavor. Very much reminiscent of a winter warmer. Spicy, with a ginger bread thing going on. Very malty.

(M)- A good carbonation level. The ginger-like spice in the flavor starts to become a little overpowering the more I drink this; it clouds the other good nuances going on in this brew.

(D)- An interesting american strong ale. Reminds me more of a winter warmer like I stated earlier, but still enjoyable. Would be even better if it were more balanced, but perhaps this would benefit from additional bottle aging?

Photo of michaelgulden
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Appearance: Dark brown, maroon on the edge. Lacing is thin and a light tan color.
Nose: Nothing too prominent. I get some dark dried fruit, like black cherries. A bit of alcohol comes though, too
Taste: There's that fruit! Big, bold flavor of cherries and raisins. Brown sugar sweetness, but a hint of hops give the finish some spice.
Mouthfeel: The hops give the beer more action than I would have expected from the taste. The beer is thin but syrupy, like warm honey.
Drinkability: I finished this one a little too quickly. Though it's almost Spring, I could definitely cozy up to a few of these in the upcoming months. Very nice overall.

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

Poured on tap at Coasters in Melbourne. Pours a dark brown, a coke-like color. Leaves incredible lacing, some of the best I've seen, for what it's worth.
Very hoppy, malty with some sweetness and some alcohol . A nice big beer.
I could drink several of these, if it weren't for the high ABV
Another gem from the boys at Lagunitas.

Photo of BeerGodz
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Look: Deep Amber, almost chocolaty color, head drops off fast, but the lacing lingers

Smell: Dried fruit, chocolate, brown sugar, some roasted malts

Taste: Up Front: Malty, raisiny, caramel, a touch of sweetness. Finish: A little alcohol comes through after a surge of hops and malt

Mouthfeel: Sticky and rich, my tongue is doing back flips...Rightchaw!

Drinkability: Quaffable times ten! , This could be a winter session beer for me, mortalz, maybe 1 or 2 at a sitting

Overall Impression: This beer is so good, that my brother in law ( who is a Coors Light drinker ) was so scared of the ABV that he had to split one with me, but he liked this beer a lot!

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Hairy Eyeball drinks more like an imperial brown ale than an American strong ale; at least that's what my palate tells me. Reminds me a tiny bit of Dogfish Heads India brown. Boozey sweet flavors with some backbone of hops to keep it from being sugary sweet. Shades of port wine flavor here and there but mostly I get a molasses type flavor. Raisins... I'm getting raisins out of this. Flirts with the line of being somewhat Belgian in style but doesn't quite make it there.
This is pretty good for what it's trying to be. I wouldn't always be in the mood for something like this, but when craving something sweeter I would certainly put this on the list for consideration. I like what Lagunitas does.

Photo of cbarrett4
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hmmm.... poured with decent head and persistent lace. Good color. Smells of almond, some odd esters, dark and smoky with gamy, roasted meat aromas (beef jerky?)

Rich yet elegant on the palate. More smoky and gamy flavors with some hints of banana bread? Odd, very odd.

Light but delicious. Though very odd indeed. A touch tannic on the finish and that detracts from the overall drinkability.

Photo of bcm119
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with a thin off-white lace. Deep, sweetish malt, spices, and dried fruit aroma, with a little booze. Similar in flavor: sweetish malts, dark fruit, and some alcohol. Baking spices and molasses overtones; hops lend balance and a hint of pineapple/ripe citrus. Body is lighter than the flavor would suggest, and the finish cleans up enough to fall just short of cloying at the back of the palate. A very nice beer, would make a great holiday sipper.

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball is boozy, sweet, and thick.

It poured black with a hint of red, like dark red cherry; with a short tan head. Of the five I've had, three left the glass crystal clean and two left a fair amount of lace. The smell was sweet and boozy; the flavor was sweet, with hints of brown sugar, whiskey, dark fruit, and vanilla. The feel was thick, smooth, and flat.

The Hairy Eyeball is a strong heavy ale with very little feel, a tad too much sweetness, but with nice warmth on a cold winter day.

Photo of notlob
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark, deep mahogany color, with a dense 1 finger head that dissipates quickly.

Aroma: Sweet caramel-toffee, dark fruits, and sweet alcohols.

Flavor: One sided with dark fruit, with a mild chocolate roast. A good bit of caramel sweetness and molasses.

Mouthfeel: Slick. Coats the mouth. Medium-low carbonation. Finishes somewhat cloying.

Overall impression: probably my least favorite offering from Lagunitas. Not an easy drinker, and not very complex to the point that I enjoy sipping on it.

Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish brown with a two-finger head that died slowly and left some lace. A very strong malt presence in the aroma; roasted and sweet along with some piney hops. A medium-bodied beer that I had to sip on as it is a little sticky and there are a good chunk of malts: caramel, bitter chocolate, toffee, coffee possibly and they definitely roasted some. Hop presence is minor but it gives off a sour fruit type taste. Balanced alright and passes the tongue leaving a dry backbite. A good ale that is worth trying.

Photo of wheatyweiss
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a czechvar glass.

Pours a rich dark brown with a two finger head that recedes to a nice thick cap.

Aroma is of alcohol up front. Light grain rides on astringent alcohol.

Flavor is roasted grain with a bit of dextrose. Brown sugar and molasses, there is a hint of coffee and smokey peat. Middle brings raisin and dark fruit, dark karo brings in a different flavor. Finishes slightly sweet and dry from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth and thick, nice.

A good beer.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with a small off white head. Enough lacing on the glass.

Smells of dark fruits and a little spice.

Tastes of the dark fruits with a layer of spice on top. An earthiness is thrown in there. A little alcohol comes through as well.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Photo of j37geogaddi
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I haven't tasted this one in a while, unfortunately, for sure...

Nice clean dark brown color with minimal head.

Smell is pretty subdued, but for the style (not particularly hoppy) its not much of a surprise. Stil, raisins and caramel come through.

OK, this beer is my kind of beer. I've been moving towards less hoppy and more dark fruit/malt based beers lately and this fits the bill. Taste of dark cherries, raisins and burnt caramel. A little sweet but there are some hops so this isn't a sickningly sweet dark ale. Maybe my only complaint is that it lacks a particular direction because all flavors are competing with each other. I feel like one more tweak would do this beer wonders. Still its one of the best beers I've tried lately.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Carbonation is nice- on the low side maybe but not for the style. I think its the syrupy nature of the beer which is keeping the bubbles down...

Alocohol is well hidden. Definitely drinkeable for the style, but after 2 I'd be hard pressed to handle another. But who really needs more than 2 of this style anyway?

Photo of miramanmike
1.56/5  rDev -59.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I did try this beer and I hate it. I will drink anything and everything. This beer was just not my thing. I would suggest that you do try it because Laginitas dose a great job at brewing and I find no real flaws with this beer (other than I don't Like its taste). I read the reveiw prior and I think this guy did like it and describe it correctly. I'll post his quote now "caramel, burnt sugar, golden raisins, with a slowly drying lightly bitter finish. Uninspiring..." and I would add very slightly if any bitter finish. OUT of BALANCE. raisen bomb. poop! but I'm an IPA lover so go figure. You decide!

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,256 ratings.