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Hairy Eyeball Ale - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hairy Eyeball AleHairy Eyeball Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

2,247 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,247
Reviews: 900
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 51
Gots: 255 | 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
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Ratings: 2,247 | Reviews: 900 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flagmantho
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rusty brown color with a little translucence left. Two fingers of tan foam form an attractive crown.

Smell: strong, slightly sweet, slightly toasty malt aroma with a sizeable helping of peppery, lightly funky hops. The smell is quite well balanced between the two large characteristics.

Taste: not as hoppy or bitter as the smell would have me believe. There's quite a lot of malt character here, including caramel, a little nuttiness and a little chocolate. Hops are more floral, it seems, and play a much smaller supporting role than in the aroma. Still, quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: plenty of body with a little bit of syrupy stickiness so the flavor can hang around. Good; just what I'd expect from the style.

Drinkability: the hairy eyeball is very much a sipper to me. While I would not hesitate to have it again, it's definitely a one-at-a-time beer to sit back and appreciate.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.86/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 7oz. snifter.

Appearance: Pours out very dark, forming a short, off-white, foamy cap. Lousy head retention, but nice web-like lacing. Body is dark brown with bright shades of crimson. When held to light, the body shows excellent clarity.

Smell: Barbecue, English malts, brown malt, and something salty (weird salty). Pretty dry and dull. Not so hot.

Taste: Tastes like a strong mix of an American brown ale and an English brown ale. Lots of nuttiness and sweet grains, along with a medley of spices, buttery esters, and prickly hops. This is a very unique beer, but I'm not really into it.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light in body for being 8.8%. Mild carbonation provides a light, prickly feel. Finishes very warm and dry. Oily I suppose, but not sticky at all; Eyeball finishes pretty clean.

Drinkability: This is the second bottle I've had of Hairy Eyeball, and I just don't get it. I might have another bottle, but only if there's nothing better available.

Photo of WOTO97
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: nut brown with slight reddish hues, one-finger head, very decent lacing

S: strong malt presence, cola, lingering note of allspice

T: very bready, lots of malt character, raisins, has an odd herbal tea finish (from the hops) complements the malt character pretty well, hides the ABV very well

M: relatively thin given pronounced malt character

D: so i tried this again just now and tastes noticeably different, still has this odd hop finish lingers on the palate, but all-in-all a pretty decent brew

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

appearance: brown complexion. not much lacing though.

smell: heavy caramel brown sugar and bready sweetness

taste: caramel, Low alcohol bite with some bitter hops on the backend. good roasted malt. good winter warming beer.

mouthfeel: medium bodied,

drinkability: it was an alright beer. a little on the sweet end.

Photo of GDBEERMAN
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas "The Hairy Eye Ball"

At first sight, the malt really shows in the appearance in the ale. A nice Carmel head with lacing, still after settled. The smell is present, but not over powering. The taste and mouthfeel are worth every sip. The taste has a alcohol presence, that is needed and exceptional, no hiding the 8.83%. The mouthfeel is great, like a thick milk shake.
the "drinkability" is not that of rice lagers, but for the alcohol content it goes down nicely.
Great Ale.

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

G – Duvel tulip

A – The color is very deep chestnut brown, translucent but nearly impermeable to light due to its extremely deep hue. Very nice head on this one, plastered lacing. Very impressive looking.

S – Interesting smell with hints of cola, cinnamon, raisin, cherry, vanilla, oat.

T – Tastes pretty okay, but it has some flavors that I am not crazy over, specifically green tea and caramel. Blatant overuse of caramel malt seems to be Lagunitas’ Achilles’ heel. Cocoa or carob, oat chalkiness, roasted tones and a hot alcohol buzz are the mainstay of the palate, aside from the aforementioned unpleasantries. Hairy Eyeball goes well with spicy or salty food, something to overwhelm the nuances of its flavor. As a stand alone, it is underwhelming.

M – Hot and relatively skinny. But not like a chick. In fact, the exact opposite.

D – I like either the appearance or the name of the beer most; the rest of the beer is so-so.

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

Appearance: Brownish red, good head.

Smell: Sweet raisins, bready.

Taste: Sweet caramel and fruity at first, then a little roast flavor, mild citrus bitterness.

Drinkability: A little strong but tasty.

Hairy eyeball is a pretty good strong beer, not as hoppy as DIPAs but not a super sweet malt bomb either. A nice change of pace and a pretty good winter beer.

Photo of Atlas1
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The label has changed on the bottle, but I imagine Lagunitas is still brewing the same recipe. I think that's a good thing.

Pours a dark ruby reddish brown color. Mahogany almost. With a decent head and good lace. A good looking beer. The nose is strong with dark fruit and candied sugar, with a strong alcohol scent as well. Sort of like fruit cake with a rum coating. The taste follow suit, delivering dark cherry flavors with a dense nuttiness. Boozy, but not off-putting. I detect some vanilla to go along with a sugary molasses flavor as well. On the whole, a fine tasting brew.

This is a big brew, but with an ABV of 8.8% it's not out of control. Sweet and savory, it's got a little something for most beer lovers. Not for the faint of heart, but strong ales rarely are. Another solid effort from Lagunitas.

Photo of BB1313
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Another nice offering from Lagunitas. Well priced! Pours a very dark brown, light head and lacing. Smells like hops and malts! Dark fruits. Creamy and on the drier side. This makes a nice sipper in the winter. There isn't much to say about this one except for it totally fits in the Lagunitas lineup.

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

A- Very dark with slight translucence that shows up as a deep red glow. Thin, off-white head.

S- Sweet/round caramel malt dominates with some sharp hoppy notes. Some slight booziness to it too as it warms.

T- Sweet and roasted malt dominate throughout, but some citric sharpness as well as some floral notes from the hops come through every now and again. As it warms, the hop characteristics become more present and the bitterness really cuts through sweetness creating a nice balance.

M- Medium bodied, silky smooth and creamy. A very pleasant alcohol warmth emerges and intensifies once it gets closer to room temp. Nice bite from the carbonation. Seemed a little syrupy on some sips.

D- Very drinkable in terms of hiding its high alcohol content, however I can't see myself drinking more than a couple in a sitting.

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

Pours a clear mahogany with a smallish light tan head.

Aromas of toasted malt, caramelly molasses, and light alcohol. Surprisingly light on the hops for a Lagunitas beer.

Dark buttered toast leads the way on the palate, with a bit of earthy caramel. Finishes with a bit of heat from the alcohol. I'm having a hard time getting much else out of this. Pretty tasty, but simple. Thinnish on the whole but not quite watery. Light to medium in body, and somewhat firm.

A decent beer, but a bit disappointing from Lagunitas.

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

poured into an imperial pint glass. a very dark amber with a finger of even white/brown head.

smell: sweet malts and massive earthy hops. smells like a mix between an american strong ale and an english barleywine.

tastes a bit hectic. its almost as if so many flavors are trying to fit in that none of them can be special. i guess im getting a very malty/ caramel aftertaste but everything else is very subdued and hard to describe.

mouthfeel: oily at first, leaves a dry front of mouth and cheeks.

drinkability: i remember this one being alot better. perhaps my palate has developed since last year or perhaps i dont remember that well. i remember it being more like a classic american barleywine. still a well masked high abv and affordable.

Photo of dude
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark. Thick. Inviting.

Caramel. Pineapple. Pepper.

Sweet. Spicy. Balanced.

Rich. Creamy. Delightful.

Easy. Does. It.

The alcohol is oh so well hidden in this, but after three bottles I was feelin' nice and relaxed. The mouthfeel on this one is very satisfying. Thanks again La-Goo-Knee-Tuss.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball purchased from Boo's in Columbus, Ga.
Poured into a DFH shaped pint.
appearance - Dark brownish-orange with a full beige head.
smell - Fruity, and sweet with a hint of spice.
taste - Oh yeah! A creamy, malty, fruity spicy, near perfect mix.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a clear chestnut brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with hints of indistinct spices. Also present are hints of molasses and mild leafy hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth caramel malt flavors with hints of spices that lurk in the background and remain indistinct kick things off. Midway through the sip the beer sweetens before giving way to some earthy hop flavors. The hops carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall this is a solid beer however it's a bit too sweet for my tastes. Worth a shot, even more so if you enjoy the maltier side of things.

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There was a time, a time not too long ago, where a man (in this case) could stand side by side with a robot, and enjoy a beer together. This was that beer. But the new batch of Hairy Eyeball may just be too young. Red and lucid like the eye of a robot (think Johnny 5 pre-electroshock) it appears the same beer. But the je ne sais quoi that once dwelled within has vanished. There was something there, something we shared. Now it is gone. Perhaps only time can bring that back. For now, though, its chemical alcohol smell and a flavor without that backlash of grassiness make this, perhaps for the first time ever, a beer reserved more for robots *sniff* than for me. In the future, I too will be robotic and this will be my beer of choice, for I am a Lagunaut.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.19/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2009 vintage that has been aged at room temperature (~65 F average) since March 2009.

A: Deep, dark reddish amber color. A quarter-finger of light beige head retains poorly and turns into a thin, big-bubbled collar with no lacing.

S: Caramel malt, dark fruits. Citrus hops (grapefruit and pineapple) give this a nice balance. There's something chalky and spicy about this that doesn't feel quite right.

T: Definitely on the maltier side... The hops, which I imagine were just a balancing agent, are fading fast. There is a mild citrusy undercurrent. Plenty of caramel and brown sugar and a hint of tobacco earthiness. Definitely some plums in there, along with some cinnamon. It's very interesting, but it's tipping toward the sugary side even with just a year on it, and that's challenging to my palate.

M: Medium bodied. The carbonation is a tad low to be called "smooth" or "creamy," but the ABV is pretty well suppressed except for a mild heat.

D: I loved the 2008 vintage and I drank several bottles of it throughout the year. My palate has changed considerably since then; I think it's an enjoyable mid-range beer, best consumed fresh.

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.26/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown body with a reddish tint that's easy to see through. The head is maybe the best part about this beer, it stick around for quite some time and leaves lots of nice lacing. Smells strongly of alcohol with some malt, hops, brown sugariness, and dark fruit. Taste is alright for me, a little over-hopped in my opinion. Theres some decent complexity, I just don't love the taste. Overall it was alright, I don't think I'll seek it out again.

Photo of Bigfatbino
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lagunitas the hairy eyeball ale

A = very dark in the glass like a porter or stout, poured at 42°F and had a light-syrupy characteristic. Left little head, but had beautiful lacing in the glass , very few bubbles.

S = Roasted barley, coffee, and citrus, but the smell of alcohol was unmistakable under it. (it's a hefty 8.8% abv)

T = STRONG. It does taste like it smells, and if it were served to me flat and warm, I would swear it really WAS some sort of coffee. The alcohol really comes out up front, and the taste of the brew itself is rather off-putting, but the finish really delivers well

M = Thick, syrupy and resinous. I'm eager to get the swallow through so I can enjoy the finish of the flavor.

D = not so much. Perhaps at a beer tasting or a festival, but for me this would not be placed into my collection of "drinking" beers, so much as "appreciation of brewing skill" beers. Food pairing: Mutton. Goat, or Game, but as a palate cleansing beverage, not a "beer with dinner"

Photo of fropones
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - pours a nice dark coppery red with about half a finger of khaki head on top and leaving beautiful lacing.

S - Smells of pineapples and mixed berries. Some malt in there as well. Very inviting.

T - More berries and pineapple, some citrus fruit in there as well. Some figs towards the back. Some brown sugar as well. Pretty sweet and very delicious.

M - Med-full body and nice creamy. Very silky with a nice bit of dryness in the end from the alcohol.

D - Extremely drinkable and extremely delicious. Alcohol barely noticeable, was surprised to see 8.8%. Only bought a single bottle, will seek out more.

Photo of kirok1999
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasted this blind and pegged it as an English Barleywine with a bit of hops. Poured a dark amber that stuck to the side of the glass, very sticky lacing.
Smelled of a barleywine spice with a nice backbone of sweetness. Caramel with a bit of astringency.
Taste is a nice spice note from the hops, yet it's a bit thin in the mouth. It has a nice lingering, dark finish that makes you want another sip.
What hurts it overall is its lack of substance and body. Nice to sip and it would pair well with a good cigar.

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

Found some notes from this beer. Bought a six pack and enjoyed every single one of them.

Style is an American strong ale. That is exactly what it is: strong. There is not much hiding the alcohol. Theres some great spice and toasty malts, but the alcohol bite is present in the sip. Don't let you believe this is a boring or overwhelming beer. It is actually really interesting and good. The mouthfeel was the only off part for me. I felt it could have been more balanced instead of sweet.

Photo of natelocc787
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this at least 5 times before tonight and each time I've been equally impressed. This beer isn't for everyone. The alcohol isn't hidden well and the flavor profile is very powerful. This is one of the more complex beers I've had. Just my opinion. Aside from the buttery, toffee flavors there is many fruit and spice flavors to round this one out. Taste is very unique and overwhelming in a good way. Mouthfeel combines silky, chewy and creamy into one long finish.

Photo of thain709
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A deep copper body with red highlights around the edges...a small head formed even after an aggressive pour...but it remained a spotty cap throughout...some lacing left

S - A strong and complex nose that provides hints of dark fruit, sweet and roasted malts, and some floral hops

T - The flavor followed the nose closely...it was very sweet at first sip...I'm getting caramel and toffee from the malts as well as a nice roastiness...the roasted malts also provide a nice lingering backbone at the end...the dark fruits, I'm thinking raisins, are well balanced in here...the hops come in at the end...but they aren't as big as I expected...they leave a nice bitterness that's paired with the roasted malts

M - Medium bodied...a little too sticky sweet for me...but a nice bitterness

D - This was almost drinking like a barleywine to me...maybe my bottle was a couple months old...but all in all a decent beer with some nice complexity to it...maybe it's better a little older?

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

A 12 ounce bottle purchased at Oaktree in NJ. Upon pouring into my shaker glass, the ale appears a clear deep brown color with about an inch of tan foam. Nose and flavor are of toffee, caramel, bitter, biting hops, very slight citrus note. medium in both body and carbonation with a lingering bitterness.

Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,247 ratings.