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

2,362 Ratings

(view ratings)
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,362 | Reviews: 930
Photo of therobot
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received in trade from fear025, thank you.

A: Dark, reveals a deep garnet color when held to light. Light quickly dissipating head.

S: Mild hops, smell of dark fruits, raisins, or plum

T: Follows the smell, mild hops, a strong amount of malty goodness, and a fairly sweet, pungent dark fruit finish. Coats the throat and tongue

M: Thick, and low carbonation

D: Fairly drinkable, my limit would be the 1 bottle at a time.

I found this to be pretty similar to the brown shugga', maybe it is because I just reviewed that one as well. However I did find this one more to my liking.

Photo of climax
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The Hairy Eyeball... hhhmmmm, summons an interesting mental facade. Lets dive in. The color was a transparent chestnut brown, a sturdy mocha head was alive at the top.

The nose was one word, malt. The complexity of the aroma was quite impressive. Bolder flavors of cocoa, cookies, and biscuits were up front. As it warmed and I dug deeper, the breath of cinnamon, peat moss, bourbon, and earthy hop dryness surface.

The flavor was as expected, complex and full of live. The alcohol was evident, which was never strong, but just added a dash of warmth. Smoke and roasted dark bread flavors lingered throughout. Roasted nuts, cinnamon butter, and ripe fruit all live within, excellent.

The body was thick, still easy to drink. The carbonation was perfect, the feel was syrupy in the mouth, and chalky through the finish. Would make an excellent winter warmer, or a fantastic dessert.

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

Found this on tap at the Mellow Mushroom in Greensboro, NC, it shows a very opaque black color, chilled in a nice goblet. It has a giant milkshake-like light tan head with tons of lacing left behind. The aroma brings malty caramel and yeasty evergreen with a sweet brandy touch. Neat. The flavor brings a sort of Dr. Pepper, malt blend with some hints of whiskey and maybe juniper toffee. There are some chocolate and maple brown bread ideas milling around as well. This is medium-heavy bodied with moderate carbonation. It has a thick, near syrupy feel and is not highly drinkable in my book. Very good, interesting stuff although it seemed somewhat unbalanced, hard to capture on the taste buds, almost harsh. Alcohol is notable.

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

This poured a deep dark red with a 2 finger head. Some fruity esters and very mild pine like hops. Very malty and sweet, kind of like a Dopplebock. Hint of raisins and brown sugar. This is tasty and easy to drink. I would seek out another one of these!

Photo of dball
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The eyeball is much darker than I expected it to be. It has a shallow head and laces nicely in the glass. It smells delicious and carries hint of aroma that gives it that true strong ale character. I really enjoy the strong yet full flavor with a very nice blend of healthy malts and mild hops. The going down is just right for a complete beer experience and the tastey sips invite a second bottle.

Photo of kzoobrew
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

review input from notes. Enjoyed 08/31/10

Deep brown to crimson red colored body. Two finger ecru head with decent retention. Thick lacing left around the perimeter of the glass.

Aroma is heavy on dark fruit and spice. Dark Cherry and raisins give way to a caramelly bready malt. Spices in the nose meld to the other aromas a bit but I can pick up some clove and cinnamon fairly easily.

Dark fruit and dry spice are up front at first sip. Hairy Eyeball tastes very much like a holiday beer. Caramelized sugar, fruit and a bready malt, kinda fruit cake like I suppose. Slight heat from the booziness but not off putting.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Very smooth drinking while finishing surprisingly dry.

Solid beer but not my thing. When picking a slightly similar beer from Lagunita's portfolio I would go with some Brown Shugga instead. Drank easy but not super enjoyable. Not the beer for me.

Photo of wangbruins
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark, calm brown with plenty of red hues but not much head at all

S- Cherries and raspberries with some brown sugar. It is very sweet smelling

T- Cherries and dark fruits like raspberries and plums with a sugary aftertaste that isn't too powerful

M- Really smooth and pretty bold feeling at the end but not overpowering

D- I drank six and so can you

Photo of stonermouse
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

A- Light brown; color a bit like a Coke.

S- Scent is a little bland, just barely giving away what lies ahead. A little metallic to the smell as well.

T- Very nice. Really complex at the back end. Definitely chocolate, but creamy and a little nutty as well. Pretty refreshing, considering the flavor palate; probably because it is not overly heavy.

M- A little flat. Again, a little light for such a dark and complex beer.

D- Pretty good stuff. The ABV and heavy flavor make it tough to session, but one will do.

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

A: Darkbrown head with a weak tan head.

S: Roasted sweet malts, a little chocolate and a hint of hops.

T: Deep dark roasted malts upfront. The beer is a little tangy at the end. Some hops are present, but the malts are dominant. Maybe a little nut hidden in the flavor as well. The alcohol is very well masked.

M/D: Thick, creamy and delicious. If you can take the ABV you could drink it all night.

Photo of billshmeinke
2.85/5  rDev -25.8%
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 +6.8%
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 +4.7%
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 +2.9%
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 -3.1%
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 -1.6%
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 +9.9%
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 -27.1%
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 -4.9%
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 -2.1%
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 -0.3%
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 +3.6%
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 -2.9%
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%
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%
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 -13.5%
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.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Hairy Eyeball Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 2,362 ratings.